#6-16 The Golden Guardian


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Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I wish my team had been smart enough for that. No Handle Animal meant I left the toy alone.

Add on that we were proceeding in round by round movement and paranoid about what we knew was lurking nearby and peaceful resolutions did not even cross our minds.

The Exchange *****

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

I wish my team had been smart enough for that. No Handle Animal meant I left the toy alone.

Add on that we were proceeding in round by round movement and paranoid about what we knew was lurking nearby and peaceful resolutions did not even cross our minds.

I think it was the fact that we had several dog lovers at the table. No body wanted to be killing someones pet.

I have actually had that happen in Masters of the Fallen Fortress a couple times I have run it. I put a food dish (with the "pet"s name on it) in one room and several of the PCs feel real bad about the combat. They have even ensured to stablize the critter once or twice... (fun comment in the game "Does all the monsters in this scenario have NAMES?!?)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

We had no idea it was a pet, unfortunately.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

James MacKenzie wrote:


When I ran the finale, the party made their stand in the same chamber as the Golden Guardian. I added three Aspis minions to each of the invading parties: These became the Guardian's opponents. Their attacks targeted the guardian and he generally tore one of them apart each round. When PCs attacked one of these "supernumeraries", a different villian took his place as the Guardian's dance partner.

This allowed the party to see the Guardian in action as an ally without meaningfully altering the difficulty of the fight. I also had the big bad throw one spear shot at the guardian and "crit" for a crapton of damage: This emphasized his badassitude and worried the party that he was going to take their ally out.

This is exactly how I plan on running things, which is similar to how I played and ran Quest for Perfection Part III, another of my all time favorite scenarios. (I think this will quickly take a place next to that, and has so much more to offer...so I think it will surpass it.) In that one, extra bandits charged and got hit with traps, or took stray arrows from militia so that only the right number of enemies would get to the PC's during each wave. It helps take abstract defense points and turn it into impactful accomplishments. ("See I told you that trap would pay off!" "Did you see that guy I trained actually kill a bandit?" "Man, I'm glad that thing is on our side!")

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Serpent wrote:

Thanks for all the feedback on the scenario! A few comments:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I just played this last weekend and I must give kudos for limiting the number of successes a single character could get gaining the Golden Guardian's trust. I played this with an Investigator and was totally dominating all the skill portions of this adventure. When, after answering the first 3 questions, the GM told me I couldn't answer any more I about fell out of my chair. It shut me down and forced others who had been relying on my skills to join in. Good job!
Sovereign Court *****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I actually can't stand that NPCs like that. Interactions like that (both this one and a previous Season 6 scenario) feel really artificial. Without a good reason or a good hook, why does this NPC not want to talk to the diplomat? Besides, it leads often to the spotlighted person just stammering a bit and everyone feeling awkward before the diplomat speaks up again.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

James McTeague wrote:
I actually can't stand that NPCs like that. Interactions like that (both this one and a previous Season 6 scenario) feel really artificial. Without a good reason or a good hook, why does this NPC not want to talk to the diplomat? Besides, it leads often to the spotlighted person just stammering a bit and everyone feeling awkward before the diplomat speaks up again.

Well, in this particular case, we were trying to pass a test to prove our worth based on our knowledge (not our diplomatic skills). Allowing only one of us to answer all of the questions would have only proved that one person's worth, not everyone's. So this makes some sense to me.

***

The guardian should probably speak dwarven.

Dark Archive

The Kobold's pet was the highlight of the scenario, for me and the players.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Running this tonight, hoping it goes as well.

Dark Archive

Only played it rather than GMing, but I had a lot of fun. My one complaint was that the murals did get to be excessive after a while.

We did figure out the pet part... and did something a bit different with it. We grabbed the ball, got its attention... and then threw it out the double door, slamming it shut and baring it after the basilisk moved through, specifically to leave a surprise if anyone tried to follow us in (Aspis has been plaguing us every step of the way so far, just because we hadn't run into any yet on this expedition didn't give us much confidence that this trend was going to change). We then pushed the statue up against the door to keep it from being able to get back in.

Dark Archive

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I really, really like that there were a lot of option in this scenario for players who didn't want to rush in and kill everyone.

I was running, and I didn't feel the mural were excessive. I didn't require the players to roleplay their answers, and I was very happy to get a chance to share the cool backstory of the scenario with the players. Scenarios tend to have really cool stories setting them up, and it's almost never that the players get any of that information. I found it interesting that they players got to show of some of what they knew(and showcase non-combat skills), and then the golden guardian tied everything together into a cohesive narative.

Also, I really love that we can get feedback from the author. That's incredibly rare in most other living campaigns I play. Very classy.

*

Re: the pet, I think I almost lost it from trying so hard not to laugh at my party. They figured out pretty quick from the blindfolds, statue and the toy what was around. So they came up with the brilliant idea to blindfold the Halfling and leave him behind with the toy to "play" with whatever was running around. So with the rest of the party hiding back behind the double doors he tried to both throw the toy into the kennel and slam the door shut on the pet without looking. With predictably comical results. But he finally did get the deed done after getting nicely soaked with basilisk slobber.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Absolutely loved this one. We had an absurdly well picked party for it.

The nagaji bard made some friends on the way in without hitting any of the kobolds. Between being a nagaji and some other chronicle boons and traits his diplomacy with kobolds is in the high 20s area.

My clanky druid was the party tank, so he was walking around blind folded , calling for a medusa. He got knocked over by the lizard, and being a saurian shaman managed to make friends with it. The bard still got stoned of course. He refused to allow Stinkeye to be used for a cure... but we figured out what the jars were after a little prodding.

We were knocking on the doors before entering , searched the place, got to the big room.

The bard fascinated the place with a dance off

we had the ankylosaurus "sit" on the egg to open it up. A lil kobold diplomacy later we fought the final fight. The kitty cat chewed up our grappler pretty bad, but the rest went down in short order. Guy with a longspear stuck me good once, got nauseated and made a break for it.

*****

The advanced kitty at the end is quite deadly if it gets off a charge. I took one of my group from full health to outright dead with its charge which was a bit of a surprise.

Dark Archive

Which tier? We played low tier but had a couple of 3s with reach waiting just out of view inside the door to the temple room (with a couple of bait party members farther in the room in line of sight of the door), and we managed to AOO the kitty to death mid-charge >.<

Shadow Lodge

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Just played this yesterday and it was a blast. Ended up playing adjusted 4-5, which meant some fiddling and had two characters which had participated on the prequels change out and miss out on this scenario. No big loss, or so I thought. Then we realised that the dwarven murals had actually foretold the coming of my absent jungle dwarf druid! Feathers and all.

That made for a fun encounter.

In hindsight, playing up as a melee character could have been pretty disastrous, particularly with the boss packing some serious heat, so I'm glad my chosen one sat this one out to better raise up his namesake baby tyrannosaurus in the grippli village.

Mikko, you did good. Helvetin jees.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I ran the adventure this afternoon on the high tier. All in all, the adventure was a success and the players seem to have enjoyed it.

Party Setup:

Tiefling Inquisitor 5
Elf Wizard 3
Halfling Vexing Dodger 2
Efrit Swashbuckler 5
Gnome Alchemist 3
Gnome Sorcerer 5

Section A
Emphasizing the fact that the players are entering an area where the (possibly carrying) walls are in terrible shape, as well as sometimes hearing rubble falling in a dark corner, helped realize they were walking into ruins (and possibly a trap).
The traps were effectively dodged, and the kobolds were succesfully subdued. This was partly caused by the letter from VC Valsin, and partly by the inquisitor player who didn't want lethal casualties.

Section B
As is meant to happen, the players immediately became paranoid, and scaring them by playing into to the paranoia, was a nice bonus. They immediately went into murder-mode when they realized where the threat was, until the Vexing Dodger noticed the collar, had a realization and pulled out the toy. The glint in his eyes was priceless. Perched on the Inquisitor's animal companion, he lured Stinkeye back to his room and locked him in (barely succeeding at his saves).

Section C: The Riddle
Based on some of the earlier feedback in this thread, I used a somewhat different approach to the Riddle encounter.
Note that this would work best with players who are somewhat familiar with dwarven lore. If they played #6-00 Legacy of the Stonelords, as well as the first 2 parts of Scions of the Sky Key, they should be able to manage.

Basically, I printed the cut-scene text of the engravings in the correct order (easily graphically embellished), and had the players discuss the meaning of it, rather than reading out every engraving and having them make rolls.

Based on the earlier assumption about "Played scenarios":
1- The first engraving is a major point in history
2- The two dwarves locked in battle, should remind of Legacy of the Stonelords
3- The veins, the lavender vine and the "giant lizard" in the engravings of the Bandu Hills should remind the players of Scions of the Sky Key parts 1 and 2.
4- If the party identified the pillar in the infirmary, a small hint is easily dropped
5- The Grippli are automatically identified (Scions of the Sky Key part 2)
The rest, they also figured out by themselves. except for the last one, which should currently be totally new information anyway.
Should they not manage, you can always resort to the skill checks anyway. But this way you can make players feel more awesome for being smart, rather than for having lucky dice or then for being well-built. They definitely seem to have enjoyed this approach.

Section C: Final Combat
The party had almost exclusively strongly built characters. That combined with the maximum amount of Defense Points, caused the waves to be totally underwhelming and nearly a slapstick. The BBEG was slaughtered before he could make a second round (Talking about being smashed back to -40 and then some). But yeah, the BBEG can be quite nasty if the Defense Points total is low.

All in all, I really enjoyed running this adventure. It had fun encounters, and a lot of background information. Kudos to you, Mikko.

---
After the adventure, a question came up that was not relevant today:
In the situation where the party destroys everything and everyone in "murder hobo" mode: Is it still possible to recover Sharrowsmith's body and/or wayfinder within the scope of the scenario?

Another question I have, is what happened to Stinkeye? I may have overlooked something, byt my party liked him and I had no explicit information stating as to whether or not he survived. So I had him survive the battle (though in bad shape).

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I played the Tiefling Inquisitor (of Abadar) in question in Monkhound's game. I think I like this one best from this series. Part one was decent, two was quite good but ran a bit too fast for my taste (a side effect of a fast-running chase scene). This one was that elusive prize: a trilogy finale that doesn't disappoint.

I like it when the mission letter makes it clear what's expected of you. The opening fight was an interesting exercise; it's easy to diplomacize an encounter that hasn't become a fight yet. But if NPCs start with attacks, it's going against many players' instincts not to react with MASSIVE RETALIATION.

Stinkeye was fun. That really had us all on the edge of our seats, really nervous with every save. I'd calculated we could take the basilisk, but might suffer casualties. As-is, that nearly happened. When another player is riding your AC and forgets to keep its eyes closed, well, that's kinda scary..

As I'd mentioned, our halfling rogue was riding my roc AC. So when we came in to the final room he immediately flew up to the guardian and presented the talisman. When the kobolds' "god" didn't want to attack us, the kobolds were more willing to negotiate for a bit. That in turn made it easier to avoid kobold casualties.

The scene with the guardian was nice. I have a decent bunch of Golarion lore and as a group we could identify panels 1-9 of the mural from player knowledge, with stuff that PCs can reasonably be expected from "around the water cooler in the Grand Lodge". More specifically, you could know all of them if -
1) you've either read Dwarves of Golarion casually or read the Five Kings Mountains entry of the ISWG carefully.
2) you've played Legacy of the Stonelords and understood what happened there. Since this was the crowning effort of Season 5, it seems fair to assume that all pathfinders heard about it.
3) you know what the Rain of Fallen Stars is (you know, the single most famous event in Numeria).
4) you've played parts 1-2 in this series and remember the information found in it.

In other words, you can decode almost all of the murals without unfair metagaming. The only one you sort of have to guess is the last one, but by then it's doable.

I really like how the guardian then fills in the blanks for you. I'm a sucker for scenarios that actually show the background plot to the people playing it :)

.

The final fight was nearly underwhelming, but saved by the big bad. The golden guardian "helping us" didn't really work out that well, since we deployed near the door and basically killed everything that came in. It's hard to imagine who might be getting through to fight him.

Deploying around the corner from the front door stops enemies from easy charge-pounce shenanigans or totally enjoying archery. We had a slightly easier time here because our wizard had deployed an alarm spell in the front entrance so we had some time to position ourselves.

So we slaughtered everything that came in that we could see. And then suddenly a guy pops out, enlarges and one-hit downs the playing-up wizard. Godzilla Threshold time. We immediately hit him with our best shots and downed him quite thoroughly, but he definitely managed to give us a good scare. So the intended effect of him in the encounter has been achieved nicely.

Grand Lodge * RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Thanks again for all the feedback (and special thanks to Monkhound and everyone else who has posted a review)! The Golden Guardian is my first PFS scenario, so being able to identify the weak and strong points of it has been very useful.

It's been awesome to read about all the creative solutions you've used to beat the challenges, particularly the encounter with the pet.

To answer Monkhound's question:

Spoiler:
Sorry about the missing information! This is not an official clarification since I don't represent Paizo, but I think murder-hoboing everything makes it impossible to recover Sharrowsmith's body. In B6. Morgue it's mentioned that "The kobolds have been begging the Golden Guardian to help them clear the rubble, but to no avail." That strongly implies that the kobolds, despite their racial Profession (miner) bonus and all, had not been able to clear the rubble themselves even though many weeks had already passed since Sharrowsmith collapsed the tunnel. Also, in Conclusion, it's mentioned that "...the Golden Guardian and kobolds assist the PCs in clearing the collapsed corridor of rubble."

So, no PP to murder hobos if you ask me.

As for Stinkeye:

Spoiler:
Stinkeye didn't return with the kobolds--it stayed behind and was beaten into negative hp by the Aspis agents. With Con 15, it had a pretty decent chance of stabilizing, so I'd say Stinkeye survived the scenario.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Hi Serpent,

Thanks, my players were happy with your answer about Stinkeye :)

Could you also maybe elaborate on the choice for the price of the Blade of the Open Road? The cost of 19715gp looks like a misprint, Bane being an equivalent +1 weapon enchantment. Dropping the first "1" would make the price correct, I believe.
The item is nicely designed, but the current steep cost is,... Well... A bit of a shame :).

***** ⦵⦵

Echoing the strange prices on the sword.

Its a shame it is only available as a longsword but the price is also broken. Would be easier to buy a bane weapon in the style wed like and have someone just engrave it and save a bundle.

Are we missing something?

Grand Lodge * RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I also like the item, but unlike most of the things in the scenario and the chronicle sheet, I didn't design the sword, so I don't know the math behind the price. I hope John will comment on it.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

1) My group went the murder-hobo route through most of the adventure. They killed the guards and basilisk, they set off all the traps. Basically, they missed most of the defense points up until the temple room. (They did get bonus points for chronicle sheets.)

2) With this lack of defense points...the final encounter was a complete walkover, and seemed very underwhelming, not really challenging them. And since it was mostly level 3 characters (playing on high tier barely), that made for a pretty disappointing end fight Zarel sounded better on paper than he ended up being (probably due to the melee heavy party with the only casters being melee characters with a splash of casting), and his minions just seemed weak overall getting mowed down with their low AC's and reduced hit points.

The one disappointment on my side (not the modules side) was I had to cut the golden guardian test due to time constraints. There was enough time for the final fight or the test, but not both, and since I had a bit of a murder-hobo group, I thought the fight would be the better fit for them. Afterwards, I'm wondering if that was the right decision, as I think the test is one of the most interesting components and best story elements.

**** Venture-Captain, South America aka Draco Bahamut

Cool scenario, but i have a few questions:

Lore Questions:
So, did the Venture Captain Nieford Sharrowsmith ran out of prestige points ? Why no one tries to ressurrect him ? He is not dead for that long. I ll show out a scene where Aya tries to have him ressurrected and his spirit refuses or already been judged. Or else people will wonder why she is so cold about that possibility after claiming for so long that she miss him.

Defense Points Questions:
If all defense points are gained, they remove 5 Aspis Mercenaries from each wave, but there are one 3 in each wave. Give the chalenge of this scenario, maybe they should be more, but someone forgotten about the defense point mechanics and removed them at some point. How much Aspis Mercenaries should have been in each wave ?

*

Draco Bahamut wrote:

Cool scenario, but i have a few questions:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Defense Points:

DEFENSE POINTS IN ACTION
The actions that the PCs take during the adventure
substantially influence how prepared they are to face the
Aspis Consortium. Make the following adjustments to the
Aspis Consortium encounters. These adjustments apply to
both Wave 1 and Wave 2.

1–3 Defense Points: No adjustment. The defenses in place
are not sufficient to hamper the Aspis Consortium.

4-5 Defense Points: One of the Aspis agents did not make
it past the traps and kobolds. Remove one Aspis mercenary
from each wave. In addition, Zaril has expended 1 round of
his enlarge ability (in Subtier 4–5, he has also expended 1
round of his bane ability). He expends an additional round
of each ability for every 2 Defense Points beyond 4 that the
PCs acquire.

6–7 Defense Points: The PC’s defenses have injured
the members of the Aspis Consortium. Remove one Aspis
mercenary from each wave, and reduce the starting hit points
of each creature as follows:
Subtier 1–2: Kamektah begins combat with 11 hp, the Aspis
mercenaries with 10 hp, and the hyena with 9 hp. Zaril’s shield
of faith spell has worn off, reducing his AC to 17.
Subtier 4–5: Kamektah begins combat with 26 hp, the Aspis
mercenaries with 20 hp, the advanced leopard with 17 hp.
Zaril’s shield of faith has worn off, reducing his AC to 18.

8-9 Defense Points: The PCs have created a formidable
defense, and the Aspis agents’ resolve is shaken. Remove
one Aspis mercenary from each wave, and apply the injuries
described in the 6–7 Defense Points entry. All creatures except
Zaril are shaken.

10-11 Defense Points: The Aspis agents’ resolve is deeply
shaken. Remove one Aspis mercenary from each wave, and
apply the injuries described in the 6–7 Defense Points entry.
All creatures except Zaril are sickened.

12+ Defense Points: The PCs’ defensive wards give even
the hardened demon worshipper Zaril pause. Remove one
Aspis mercenary from each wave, and apply the injuries
described in the 6–7 Defense Points entry. All creatures in both
waves, including Zaril, are sickened.

As I read it you only apply the highest award, not every award up to that award. Therefore you only remove 1 of the 3 Apis Consortium, and then lower the hp of all others and apply sickness to all combatants.

**** Venture-Captain, South America aka Draco Bahamut

Make sense, thanks.


I don't know if this will be helpful to any GMs, but I played through this recently, and the final fight was indeed easy (as others have mentioned)... but then I bought the PDF and read up on the final fight, and it's very different from what I experienced. Maybe this will clarify and help.

First, as noted by jtaylor73003, you do not apply ALL the defense point listings and end up removing all the mercenaries. You look up the score the players got, and do only what that listing says to do. This should cause more mercenaries to be in the fight, and I'm pretty sure it's exactly what the author intended.

Second, I believe the author used the word walkway where he meant catwalk. That giant stone "hammer" on the map in the final room does not bisect the room. The head of the hammer is a solid block 15' tall, that's true. However, the handle of the hammer is supposed to be an overhead walkway that people can go under. Otherwise, the far side of the room is effectively unreachable by normal people, and obviously not what the author intended.

Third, the final fight is supposed to start on top of that walkway. We know this because the text on page 14 says that the golden guardian asks the PCs to get on top of this raised hammer area and inspect the murals that are displayed up there. Then on page 16 it says "Just as the PCs finish speaking with the Golden Guardian, the group of kobolds returns, screaming 'More intruders! They attacked us!'" And then it says the PCs have 1 round before attacks begin.

Therefore, the PCs must still be on the hammer head or walkway at the time, and must either use their 1 turn to get off the raised area, or remain there.

Why is that interesting? Because page 12 says you need a DC 12 Acrobatics check to cross the uneven walkway. So now you've got PCs bottlenecked, or falling off the edge because they failed a check. Maybe even enemies are failing these checks, if they try to cross! Lots of stuff could happen here. This is a good terrain issue that adds an interesting dynamic to the combat.

In addition, getting to the murals in the first place also may in some cases require that Acrobatics check. If the players have been lulled into thinking that the module is nearly over and the fight with the guardian was the final one, when asked to come across and inspect the murals, they might cross over, fall, re-cross it, and not heal up (because the module seems like it's ending). It's a small injury tax that could mean they go into the real final fight in sub-optimal condition. Even if they do heal up from any initial falls, if they are metagaming and think "I can use my spells instead of wand charges since the module is over," they will go into the final fight lower on spells than expected. Since the final fight can be a cakewalk, these little nuances may cause the fight to be slightly more challenging.

When I played I was a 5th level cleric with Stone Shape on my spell list. If we had started up on top, and if the walkway had been described as a catwalk or bridge rather than as a solid wall, I would have been sorely tempted to use Stone Shape to cause the bridge to fall/collapse when the bad guys came up onto it. This would have only done 1d6 damage for a 3rd level spell, which kind of sucks, but the awesome factor of collapsing a bridge like that would have been worth it. And tactically, it would have been very fun to see how it plays out with people stuck on different levels.

All of this is to say, please look over the pages I've mentioned and see if you've can make the final fight more dynamic, just by following the concepts the author originally intended. Thanks! And happy gaming!

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

outshyn: interesting analysis, but consider this counterquestion: what if the PCs are ranged-heavy? Then they're on top of an awesome position to gattle down the Aspis forces before they even get close.

We found the final fight rather easy, but the inquisitor did get to use one round of his chicanery and insta-dropped (not killed) the playing-up wizard, so there was still an "oh crap" moment to liven it up.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

@Ascalaphus : On the other hand, you were downstairs, warned by a smartly placed Alarm spell. That gave you a serious advantage as well.
We had some more trouble when I played it, even though we were mostly a ranged party. Cover and an opponent that was enlarged for 2 rounds did quite a ravage, since he threatened the archers on the hammerhead.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Yeah, those Alarm spells really do earn their keep, especially in that adventure. Gave us a couple of extra rounds to set up the gauntlet for the Aspis waves.

The Inqy can reach the walkway while enlarged? That's kind of evil :P


Ascalaphus wrote:
outshyn: interesting analysis, but consider this counterquestion: what if the PCs are ranged-heavy?

Well... in part, my thought is "tough luck" for the GM. I mean, we aren't supposed to change the modules in PFS, so it kinda has to be run from atop the hammer, whether that makes it easier or harder for the fight. Obviously, as a player if I had been able to get my Stone Shape spell to collapse the bridge, it would have given a real advantage (I think). If the bad guys try to cross the walkway and fail the Acrobatics check, that could also make the fight easier.

So running it by-the-book has a possibility of making it easier, in certain circumstances. If it does, well, too bad, the module shouldn't be changed. However, I expect that will be rare. We'll see. I am running part 3 on Wednesday night this week and next week. I will attempt to run it exactly as the author wrote it and intended. My belief is that this will make the fight more dynamic and challenging, but I could be wrong. If I am, I will let myself be wrong and accept the fight however it plays out.

The Aspis mercenaries in the final fight (at least at tier 1, which I'm prepping) have bows, and Kamektah has a scorpion whip. The whip has a reach of 15'. That may seem like it's not far enough because the walkway is 15' high. However, small and medium creatures occupy a 5' square, so the whip reaches 3 squares out from that point -- so in this case, that means it reaches up to people on the walkway and can hit them. And since the Paizo blog made it clear that weapons with the trip quality can also be used for the "Drag" combat maneuver, Kamektah can drag PCs right off the ledge.

That's by-the-rules and by-the-module. It was also done previously in the Slave Pits of Absalom module, so there is precedent. So it should be wild and fun and certainly not as easy/boring as standing on the ground and slogging it out. I hope.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I agree that it's a neat location with lots of potential for cinematic action. I can imagine however that people on the ledge do get cover against attacks coming from below, it's a sort of hard corner after all.


Totally agree. However, the enlarged dude had no problem hitting with his enlarged longspear, anyway. He was so tall that I only granted partial cover (+2 AC) to PCs along the ledge and mostly visible. I also tried to have the whip NPC attack and drag someone off the ledge, but I granted the players improved cover (+8 to AC) since she was directly below them and could hardly see them. She just couldn't hit an AC that high, and quickly died.

The mercenaries held at the corner of the entry wall and shot with bows effectively, though. So they had their own cover and it worked great.

Boy, this stuff really required me to be up to snuff on the cover rules!

The hyena didn't care about cover. It raced up the stairs, did Acrobatics check to charge across the walkway at full speed, and chomped the wizard standing near the ledge. They killed that hyena fast, but at least it got an effective charge attack.

So, I think the mercs, giant dude, and hyena were a success. The whip NPC not so much. Back to the drawing table before next week's fight.

By the way, that enlarged guy? He could have TPK'd the team, but didn't only because I sucked at managing him. His longspear has an incredible threat range while enlarged, so he can safely attack and pull back from the PCs. This means every attack the PCs do should be ranged, because closing to melee means AOO (AND the guy has Combat Reflexes)! I did the whole "provoke AOOs" thing at the start of combat and did some damage, but quickly got overwhelmed by the 7 sheets/stat blocks needed for the fight, and so I couldn't recall every ability each NPC had, and so I allowed the PCs to close in. That was dumb. If I had not forgotten the AOO strategy, those PCs would have been dead, since half of them insisted on closing to melee. As it was, they were within 2 or 3 HP of death anyway. So maybe it was fine that the encounter went the way it did. A TPK would have sucked.

I have a general question, keyed off that. One player was upset that his movement provoked AOO and I wouldn't share that with the player beforehand. I told the player that the enemy is large and with an unusual threat area due to the weapon, so I did not feel that it was something where I should draw out the threat range and advise the player of safe movement options (but there were none, anyway). He said that kind of info is not supposed to be a surprise. I shrugged, because I agree you should know a normal 5' threat range from normal enemies, and I'll help you with movement in that regard, but this oversized weird stuff? That's for you to deal with.

What do you guys think? How do you run that stuff?

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I'd be more upfront about the AoOs for reach weapons and sizes. These things are clearly observable for the PCs.

If someone is about to trigger an AoO because of some weird hijink of the cover rules, tell them. These rules are not ambiguous, but they are obscure, so you can't expect people to know the details. Playing Gotcha with rules is not nice.

Also, we should always be up to snuff on cover rules. There's soooo much tactical advantage to be gained if you use them well.

.

By the way, the inquisitor has access to a truly nasty tactic. His Growth subdomain lets him Enlarge as a swift action, but he shrinks again at the start of his next turn. Consider carefully into which of the 4 squares he occupies to shrink, and when you grow again, where to grow. Consider this situation:

P _ _ _ I _ _

Now the inquisitor grows and takes his attack;

P _ _ I I _ _

PC thinks he's gotta suck it up, moves closer and provokes;

_ _ P I I _ _

Inquisitor's turn, he shrinks again;

_ _ P _ I _ _

Takes a 5ft step;

_ _ P _ _ I _

And grows, and attacks;

_ _ P _ _ I I

So now to attack, the PC will again have to provoke by moving; and if he tries to walk away, he also provokes.

As you can see, with the right build, the Growth version of Enlarge is better than a continual spell.


Ascalaphus, thanks!

So, I ran my 2nd game tonight, and ended up not telling players about the reach of each creature beforehand. They were able to observe the creatures and discover the reach when they acted in combat, and they were able to do knowledge checks and use the "you get 1/2/3 questions" thing to ask about reach if they wanted, but I didn't just declare it out at the start of the fight, since it is part of the stat block and they are supposed to use knowledge checks to gain that info. Of course, normal medium creatures can be assumed to have normal reach -- it's not like I insisted they play dumb. They knew what they could infer or had previously learned. It only took a single swing from oddly-sized monsters for the players to say, "OK, that one has/hasn't got reach."

Also, I ended up using your shrink/grow idea to resize into different squares. I needed it desperately, because of the following gameplay issue: the PCs were kicking major butt. They threatened at every chance, they used tactics, they used height and the bridge -- just everything that could be used to an advantage. It was great for them. It sucked for me when I realized at the end of the night that the Aspis Consortium had landed all of two hits.

The huntress with the whip sucked last week trying to drag people off the ledge, so this week I had her run up the stairs and just start whipping for damage. The problem was that low rolls kept her from ever scoring a hit, and she died fast. Does anyone know of a way to get a bonus to attack rolls with a whip? Can you get a charge or higher ground bonus while using a whip? She needs help!

The hyena was with her and landed a bite and succeeded on a trip, but then while prone our warpriest used the Aspis-bane sword on the hyena, landed a crit, and did almost max damage (52 points). Hyena dead.

Because they had 9 build points, a merc was removed from each wave, and because they had only 4 PCs another merc was removed. So in each wave there was only 1 merc/archer dude, and while one landed an arrow shot, pretty much the bard and wizard just Magic Missile'd those mercs to death.

That left the big invisible guy. He appeared right next to the raised area and spear-stabbed the bard on the ledge, but with a roll of 6 on the die, even with bonuses, even going against the bard's flat-footed AC, he failed to hit. I didn't even give the bard cover, and still it didn't hit. At that point, the bard retaliated with Hideous Laughter. This worked, and the big guy was rolling on the floor. Everybody that could reach the big guy took a shot at him, and he was near death. When he finally came out of the laughter and could move, I had him shrink away from the attackers, and then instantly grow big away from the attackers, and then 5' step away as well. This meant he provoked no AOO and was clear to attack with a reach weapon, but again missed, and then again fell prey to Hideous Laughter. At that point, the PCs all just murderified him. Big guy landed 0 hits.

I'm not sure what I could have done to make it more challenging to the PCs. They were on their A-game and rolling hot, while I was not as cognizant as last time and my rolls sucked.

Some things they did differently. For example, they didn't explore the basilisk room, and didn't know it could be friendly. They simply blindfolded their eyes until they found the monster, surrounded it, and beat it to a bloody pulp. The basilisk did land 2 max-damage bites, though. I was surprised by all of this. I wanted the comedy/cuteness of a playful pet basilisk to shine through, and it didn't. But also, tonight's game was with players who have not played since they were kids 20 years ago... and yet the moment they saw blindfolds and a statue, they looked at each other, said, "basilisk," and put on the blindfolds. I was surprised by how effective the beginners were tonight.

Also, the wizard was fascinated by the traps and wanted to reset/rebuild all of them, including extending the falling wall to all 15 feet. However, nobody had ranks in Disable Device. He was bummed, but then he was elated when it turned out that the dragon trap allowed for craft (trap) to reset it. He did it untrained and got a great roll, so they got all the traps on their side.

I suspect they had a great time, but I also suspect they won't talk about this final fight the way they talked about the dinosaur chase. That was memorable.

For next game: mercs go for melee on the bridge and try to push PCs off, hyena charges & bites, and whip girl does anything to land a hit before dying. ANYTHING. Meanwhile, not sure about the big invisible guy. I really like him being a giant below them, spearing upward at them. It seems epic, even if the poor guy couldn't land a hit this time. He was so deadly last time I had to run him sub-optimally or I would have killed a PC. So no change for him, yet.

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Is the sword on the Chronicle available sized for Small pathfinders?

Liberty's Edge *****

Chris Mortika wrote:
Is the sword on the Chronicle available sized for Small pathfinders?

From the organized play guide: "PCs can always buy weapons and equipment off their Chronicle sheets ... for their size as long as their size is Small or Medium." I don't see any reason for this to be an exception.

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Well, I don't imagine that Gamin, for example, is available in different sizes. Am I mistaken?

Liberty's Edge *****

By RAW he is, though if he is an exception it's because he's unique. The item on this chronicle isn't, and any others that exist are certainly made by members of the Society anyway.

**

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Any news about the price of the sword?

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Gayel Nord wrote:
Any news about the price of the sword?

Still quite interested in this as well.

A definitive reply from campaign management would be nice :).

Silver Crusade *

I feel like I missed something between scenarios.

Scions I: The kobolds prayed to the guardian. He was hibernating until [INFO FROM Scions I REDACTED] woke him up and he kicked out the kobolds.

Scions II: Irrelevant.

Scions III: The kobolds are back downstairs and pray to the guardian, yet he starts attacking the PCs as soon as they enter...why, exactly? This part does not make sense to me. He turned back to tolerating/ignoring the kobolds (or even hibernating, this is not quite clear) but immediatly attacks the PCs?

Silver Crusade *

I have decided that this happened:

Scions of the Sky Key I&III:

Before Scions I - Sharrowsmith destroyed part of the ruins. This not only majorly angered the kobolds but also awoke the Golden Guardian from his hibernation. He noticed that he kinda dropped the ball by letting all the kobolds into "his" city and proceeded to kick them out.
The kobolds decide that they have to appease their god and because obviously the miners are at fault they will be appropriate sacrifices.
During Scions I - The PCs come in, rescue the minors and slay some kobolds. Now they have no sacrifices and dare not kidnapping more miners. They decide to use their mining capabilities to get some gold.
Between Scions I and III - The Golden Guardian calmed down somewhat and decided that it's kinda cool to have his own tribe of worshippers as long as he doesn't have to do anything about it. It's beneath him to help them clean up their city, but as long as they present him with some gold he kinda likes his new life. Hey, he's CN - he can change his mind like that.
During Scions III - He still is not in the mood to clean up the caves. But as the PCs enter something changes - these are not primitive people like the kobolds but obviously people on a mission. These folks are usually bad news and he has to do SOMETHING to impress the tribe...so he attacks.

Thoughts?

Grand Lodge * Contributor

Blackbot, I think that explanation works. Personally, I think the GG is just very annoyed by the kobolds, but they're such a petty nuisance that he eventually forgives them and goes back to hibernation. When he sees the PCs, he pretty much thinks "Not again!" because he probably knows that the person who caused the collapse (Sharrowsmith) was also a human, and thinks that the PCs are likely to cause trouble.

Some inconsistencies (and things that may seem inconsistent) exist because the author of Scions 1 and I were writing the scenarios at the same time, and thus we didn't have complete information about each other's scenarios, although we were communicating throughout the project.

I hope that helps!

Grand Lodge * Contributor

Some semi-official errata:

p. 19, Rewards section: The Out of Subtier reduction should be (165 + 648) / 2 = 406 gp.

Silver Crusade *

Thanks for answering and giving insight into the writing process of trilogy scenarios! :)

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—St. Louis aka Joshua N Hancock

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Geuze wrote:
Gayel Nord wrote:
Any news about the price of the sword?

Still quite interested in this as well.

A definitive reply from campaign management would be nice :).

I have a character who bought this today and found the question in three different threads. I'm guessing there has been no official response because it is a very specific question about a specific item on a specific chronicle sheet.

Having said that, I would like an answer to this question since I'm about to take this character into Bonekeep 3 in a month and 10,000 extra gold would help a lot.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—St. Louis aka Joshua N Hancock

Apparently, it's based on the treasonous and heretical weapon enchants from Quests and Campaigns, which are both +2 equivalents.

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

hum you are right....

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