PFS #6-19 Test of Tar Kuata (Spoilers)


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Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Hi everyone,

I just read through the scenario and it looks intriguing, with a nice martial arts feel. I had a few questions though.

1- Trials 1 through 5:
The idea is nice, love it. A problem I see is that the skill checks may be somewhat on the easy side, resulting too easily in half the party succeeding at it.
Other remark: Would taking 10 be allowed on the trial checks? Personally I wouldn't allow it in these cases, but this could be argued about by others.

2- Trial 6:
Awesome combat design. I love the idea of an NPC using Combat Patrol this way :D
The question I have is whether it's legal to push opponents over the edge with Pushing Assault, since technically one could argue about the "safety" of falling off the spire.

3- BBEG
A qlippoth :D

Silver Crusade 3/5

2: As no one is actually harmed by being pushed, what with the spirits, it actually is safe (as the PCs might have found out already if some of them didn't make the climb). I'd allow her using the feat.

5/5

A number of these tests can be trivialised by the use of magic which will be commonly available to level 3-7 PC's. How are people intending to handle someone who spider climbs up the column for example?

I havent yet decided whether I will treat it as "rewarding clever gameplay" and give them the success or "this is a test of your strength not your mind" and fail them.

I would be interested in other peoples views especially as I am running this in a week or so.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

andreww wrote:

A number of these tests can be trivialised by the use of magic which will be commonly available to level 3-7 PC's. How are people intending to handle someone who spider climbs up the column for example?

I havent yet decided whether I will treat it as "rewarding clever gameplay" and give them the success or "this is a test of your strength not your mind" and fail them.

I would be interested in other peoples views especially as I am running this in a week or so.

Warning what type of challenge every trial is (body or mind), could be interesting. If players want to "cheat" by using Spider Climb, you could for example replace Climb by Bluff, in an attempt to hide it climbing.

On the other hand, you could also just treat it as "expending your available resources" and just leave it be.

On a sidenote, some characters might have a natural Climb speed. How to deal with that? For that I'd say to just leave it be as well.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

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Alright, the following clarifications are not really official, but I'll see what I can do to help sort things out while we wait for the Paizo guys to stop by (perhaps).

Monkhound wrote:
A problem I see is that the skill checks may be somewhat on the easy side, resulting too easily in half the party succeeding at it.

That's a tricky one. That will really depend on party composition and the subtier you're playing in (in relation to your character's level). Bear in mind that PCs are actually supposed to do slightly above average in these tests; it'll be a lot more fun for them if they succeed more often than they fail, as failing right from the start of the adventure might be somewhat frustrating. I'd expect most parties to finish in the range between 7 and 12, but closer to 12. A couple of lucky rolls will push that to the maximum possible number of Trial points (and give PCs the extra resulting benefits), while only a really bad sequence of die rolls will get a party to finish below 7 (which is the threshold for a good performance).

Monkhound wrote:
Would taking 10 be allowed on the trial checks?

I don't think allowing a character to take 10 would be that much of a problem. In the first trial, doing so would possibly cost them the extra Trial point. The second trial does not involve any skill checks, so taking 10 is not possible. In the third trial, I'd say being blind counts as a form of distraction, so taking 10 is also not allowed. In the fourth and fith trials, I guess it would be ok (though they cannot take 10 on saves). So they'd only really get three chances to Take 10. That's my interpretation, at least.

Leathert wrote:
(about Pushing Assault) As no one is actually harmed by being pushed, what with the spirits, it actually is safe (as the PCs might have found out already if some of them didn't make the climb). I'd allow her using the feat.

This is correct. It is legal to push opponents over the edge.

andreww said wrote:
A number of these tests can be trivialised by the use of magic which will be commonly available to level 3-7 PC's. How are people intending to handle someone who spider climbs up the column for example?

It's hard to come up with an answer for every situation, but I think that if the spell helps the PC succeed without changing the "spirit" of the task at hand, the monks would see that as ok (flying to the top of the spire would not be acceptable, since the climb has a "moral" symbolism).

There's one thing to keep in mind, though, which is not really in the text but was discussed during development: if you take the balance and the climbing tests, for instance, these take place during a certain timespan. The spire is VERY high (200 ft. if you go check Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of the Pharaohs), so it would require a ton of climb checks, which would get really boring really quickly in gameplay. So, the Climb checks, much like the Acrobatics checks in trial 4, are simplifications to represent the task as a whole. Thus, using cat's grace to remain balanced would not really work, since the spell has a duration of minutes only, while the task lasts a lot longer than that.

[EDIT] Regarding the Climb: a character with a speed of 30 ft. would need 27 successful checks to Climb the spire, which amounts to a little under 3 minutes if he doesn't fail any rolls. So, while in the adventure the checks are still an abstraction of the rules, I'd say spider climb does work in this case.

This said, if a player comes up with a clever use of a spell she has, I think GMs should reward her choice of spells and allow her to use it—again, as long as it's within the spirit of the task.

Monkhound wrote:
On a sidenote, some characters might have a natural Climb speed. How to deal with that?

Personally, I'm a fan o rewarding player's choices when it comes to character abilities. It's really frustrating when you spend resources to get something as, say, a climb speed, and the GM won't let you use it. So... let them climb!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

On a sidenote, I advocate that alhtough a character can buff himself, using a spell to enhance an ally would count as cheating in the monks' book, since that ally would be relying on someone else's help (which goes against self-reliance and self-perfection).

Like I said before, take it with a grain of salt, since I do not speak officially for Paizo.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Thank you for your reply, Pedro.

Another question relating to both the Grand Lodge and Scarab Sages faction goals (in the journal), as well as to the Legacy of the Stonelords boon for recovering Sky Key fragments:

The Chronicle sheet does not show a fragment of the Sky Key (I can make an educated guess as to the why), but does completing the primary condition of this scenario provide credit for the conditions mentioned above?

Silver Crusade 3/5

Started prepping this and I'm also wondering about one thing: how deep is the water supposed to be in the final encounter?

I'm thinking at least a square/5 ft. so that swimming in there seems plausible, but is that it, or is it deeper?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

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Monkhound wrote:
The Chronicle sheet does not show a fragment of the Sky Key (I can make an educated guess as to the why), but does completing the primary condition of this scenario provide credit for the conditions mentioned above?

Hi Monkhound, I'm not familiar with the Legacy of Stonelords boon, but meeting the primary condition does secure Logyra's fragment for the Pathfinder Society... not sure if this statement helps at all :P

As to whether it should be on the chronicle sheet, I defer to John Compton, who has a thorough understanding of the season metaplot and how the boons interact with each scenario. I'm certain he'll help you if he finds this thread. ;)

Leathert wrote:

Started prepping this and I'm also wondering about one thing: how deep is the water supposed to be in the final encounter?

I'm thinking at least a square/5 ft. so that swimming in there seems plausible, but is that it, or is it deeper?

Yes, a depth of 5 feet would be correct. I think that was originally indicated on the map, it might have been an oversight. Unless something changed in the later stages of development, I say go with 5 feet. :)

A medium character who is taller than that is still chest-deep in the water, so underwater combat rules apply. I strongly advise checking the underwater combat rules on page 432 of the Core Rulebook and heat dangers rules on page 444, since these rules come into play in the mines.

Sovereign Court 5/5

at the end it says to post on paizo.com/pathfindersociety if you had a suggestion other than the 2 listed for the sage. where would we post this, here or in general? i would think it is a spoiler to put it in general. but it was not specific.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

Last season we had a similar situation and the suggestions were posted (in character) in the faction talk forum.

I guess you could post your recommendation on the Scarab Sages faction subforum, but be sure to tag it as a "Spoiler for Scenario #6-19".

Sovereign Court 3/5

I was looking at Tatsutek's tactics, which say he uses Enthrall to open with. There is no DC listed, but it would appear it should be 12. SLAs use charisma modifier unless stated otherwise (Tatsutek has a 10 Cha), and it's a 2nd level ability.

Furthermore, Enthrall states "Any potentially affected creature of a race or religion unfriendly to yours gets a +4 bonus on the saving throw." I think you'd be hard pressed to find a PFS character that didn't fit that description, so we're talking about an effective DC of 8.

Am I reading everything correctly?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Talon Stormwarden wrote:

I was looking at Tatsutek's tactics, which say he uses Enthrall to open with. There is no DC listed, but it would appear it should be 12. SLAs use charisma modifier unless stated otherwise (Tatsutek has a 10 Cha), and it's a 2nd level ability.

Furthermore, Enthrall states "Any potentially affected creature of a race or religion unfriendly to yours gets a +4 bonus on the saving throw." I think you'd be hard pressed to find a PFS character that didn't fit that description, so we're talking about an effective DC of 8.

Am I reading everything correctly?

It is a second level spell, but doesn't it use the WP's casting ability (wisdom), rather than Charisma? That would make it a DC 15 rather than 12.

Still suicide, though, but he's a fanatic.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

Hi Talon, regarding the spell's description, the race factor doesn't come into play (since Tasutek is human and PCs should not be unfriendly based on his race), which leaves the religion aspect. Basically every religion in Golarion is hostile to Rovagug, but I'd only give the +4 bonus to characters that are actually devoted to another deity (clerics, paladins, etc., or a character that through roleplay demonstrates that he is a fervent adherer to some god even if he does not have levels in a divine class, such as a monk who worships Irori...).

A couple of changes in Tasutek's sheet dropped the DC to 12, yes, while the tactics remained unaltered. Considering that the DC is indeed low (specially for the higher tier), I can see how sticking to tactics as written can make him vulnerable to a devastating first round from the players.

Still, remember that by spending one use of his fervor ability, Tasutek can cast a spell on himself as a swift action on the same turn that he uses enthrall (which should really only be in the opening round, and preferably if he acts first), so, since he's got multiple actions, enthrall is not a complete waste—it affects all PCs and may get one or two out of the combat for a couple of rounds, even with a low DC. He can also maneuver in the same round to draw the players close to the qlippoth, specially if the PCs fail to spot him. Stunning barrier is a good choice of first spell to use with the fervor ability, as it's both defensive and offensive.

In terms of flavor and roleplay, using enthrall is a little like delivering a villanous speech before combat ensues, like an apocalyptic sermon, hopefully one that creeps out the PCs a little bit. He wants his enemies to listen to the word of Rovagug, after all. :)

5/5

There are a couple of other issues with the final encoutner which I largely ignored when I ran it.

Tasutek is human and has no form of exceptional vision. The cavern appears to have no light source other than the webs which are described as vaguelly luminecsent. As written he should probably be unable to see anything.

Secondly the temperature is described as extreme heat which is over 140'. That is beyond the ability of Endure Elements to protect you so arguably he should also have cooked. The thognorok has Resist Fire but that doesnt protect you from the non lethal heat damage so should also probably have cooked.

On the flip side the first encounter with the polearm master, which I roundly expected to be a walkover, nearly resulted in the entire party ending up unconcious. The kitsune mouser with a ring of seven lovely colours was unconcious after being hit then provoking as he flew in, the ranger went down after a whirlwind and an opportunity attack and the fighter/barbarian spent a lot of the fight nearly unconcious before dropping. If the arcanist hadnt managed to land a Glitterdust then it would have been a defeat and have just denied the group their 12th trial point.

There is however one issue with her tactics. It suggests using Pushing Assault to drive people off the platform but Pushing Assault doesnt actually allow you to push people into dangerous areas.

The encounter with the anti paladins was also far more dangerous than it might otherwise have been given it comes right after people crash to the ground from the trap (which my group missed).

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

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Hi andreww,

On page 12, the last line of the Merotsi Mines reads "Torches in the wall sputter in the damp air, providing only dim light throughout the mine". That should cover the whole mine. I can understand the confusion given that the description of the last chamber says that signs of human occupation are gone (on top of that, the last map is not a custom map, so we could not add torches, as far as I know). It should've been clearer, but yes, there are torches in the last chamber and light conditions are the sae as the rest of the caves (dim light).

About the temperature, you're correct. Tasutek has access to [i]resist enery[/i\, so if you run this again it would be a good idea to swap one 2nd-lvl spell for that one in the lower subtier (he already has it prepared in the upper subtier). When the fight starts, he should've already cast it on himself to resist the conditions.

The Pushing Assault issue is a called-out exception to the general rule (as discussed above). Her tactics specifically mention that she can use that feat to push the PCs off the platfotm, and that's the intention. The space the PCs finish in is not inherently dangerous, since the invisible stalkers are there to catch them and PCs still have a chance to catch themselves. The wording of Pushing Assault says "a safe space [b][the target] can stand in[[/b\"; the "can stand in" part is where we're drawing the exception (but, like I said, that's intentional, and valid for this encounter only). For the sake of fairness, PCs can also push her off, though.

Silver Crusade 3/5

Ah, I also missed that light part, and ran into some problems of when Tasutek can actually see the PCs. I did have him casting Light as he heard them coming, when I realized this, but it caused some backtracking. Got confused by the lack of torches on the map, but I do understand why they're not there.

5/5

Pedro Coelho wrote:
On page 12, the last line of the Merotsi Mines reads "Torches in the wall sputter in the damp air, providing only dim light throughout the mine". That should cover the whole mine.

Yeah, I read that as only applying to the second level, confused by the tricky maps I was! Then again even if there werent torches the PC's were bringing their own light. One thing which wasn't entirely clear was how far the webbing went up, I assumed it was from the water level to the ceiling which gave him significant cover as he fought the PC's using a reach weapon from within the webbing unhindered by it.

Quote:
About the temperature, you're correct. Tasutek has access to [i]resist enery[/i\, so if you run this again it would be a good idea to swap one 2nd-lvl spell for that one in the lower subtier (he already has it prepared in the upper subtier). When the fight starts, he should've already cast it on himself to resist the conditions.

He does although his tactics say to use it for the energy type most used by the party as informed by the homunculus.

Quote:
The Pushing Assault issue is a called-out exception to the general rule (as discussed above). Her tactics specifically mention that she can use that feat to push the PCs off the platfotm, and that's the intention. The space the PCs finish in is not inherently dangerous, since the invisible stalkers are there to catch them and PCs still have a chance to catch themselves. The wording of Pushing Assault says "a safe space [b][the target] can stand in[[/b\"; the "can stand in" part is where we're drawing the exception (but, like I said, that's intentional, and valid for this encounter only). For the sake of fairness, PCs can also push her off, though.

To be honest I found that option a fairly limited one. The push is only 5' per hit and her iterative is less likely to hit. The DC to grab on is pretty low as well.

I should add that I thoroughly enjoyed running this one, it has some very interesting elements to it with plenty of RP and Combat opportunities. Aramaya was far more dangerous than I thought she would be although my group only just squeezed into the high tier (5,5,5,6,7). The antipaladins were also very dangerous coming just after the damage from the trap, especially as the first group were hit by the second falling cart.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Man I had fun with this one. Interesting encounters and a very curious location combined with a dwarven metaplot left me wanting moar.

One Q though, do the invisible stalkers interact with the community in other ways than guarding the spire and catching climbers? Do they speak? Have personalities?

My sylph wanted to get to know them, since he figures they are the closest thing to an air outsider relative he's found and he wants to learn to fly(via a feat taken later), but I didn't push it during game because we didn't have the time. Anyhow, I want to write the monsters into his ongoing backstory somehow and would like to know. I expect they were just a fitting guardian creature though: IIRC, the Osirion book back in 3.5 edition hinted at the spire being guarded by something invisible.

Dark Archive

Speaking as someone who played, rather than GM'd (studying up for starting GMing soon by reading GM threads for scenarios I've already played and hence don't need to worry about spoilers).

The fight with Aramaya was fantastic, and the whole monkish training scenario was an interesting change of pace and chance to RP as well. Even if I did tick off Aramaya by Hasting the party and then trying to Glitterdust her, resulting in me getting bull rushed off the edge - I had to sit out the rest of the fight, but I given the context I didn't mind in the slightest, it really amused both me and the GM :)

The fight with the antipaladins wasn't all that dangerous, but was extremely amusing, particularly the player reactions when the GM asked us what all our alignments were :) They also did more collective damage to the party than any of the other encounters, on account of them all getting hit by Web (and one with Glitterdust), being unable to engage in melee, and instead channeling at us. Unfortunately for the antipaladins, all the front liners were neutral, and a couple got chewed up by AOOs when they broke free from the web and tried to rush past the neutral front liners to get to the good buffers in the back.

The Tasutek fight was... underwhelming. This party was probably a bit high on the power curve (all 7s, two good frontliners backed by 3 buffer/debuffers), but even though he skipped Enthrall because he got beat on initiative and was attacked before he got to go, he was completely stomped in one round, before his pet was even able to engage. Only reason his pet lasted two rounds was the Magus performing a full attack and managing to roll a 1 for all his attack rolls. That said, this is a pretty common problem for BBEG type encounters without much in the way of mooks when the party has all of the action economy advantage - the main thing that kept the Aramaya fight on more even terms was the nonlethal requirement, limiting the amount of direct damage we could put on her since we didn't have enough Merciful metamagic to cover all the casters.

Overall, despite the anticlimactic final battle, the entire group seemed to enjoy the scenario. It was well paced, had a good mix of RP and combat elements, and what combat was there threw a few tricks at us that you don't see very often, which was a lot of fun to deal with.

5/5

How did your party reach Tasutek on the first round? He starts in the water with a web between the PC's and him.

Dark Archive

Now that I think more deeply about it, you're right, it must have been two rounds, since he went down to a pair of hasted full attacks - the first round was mostly maneuvering and buffing (plus a Fireball that exploded most of the web); One PC, a Monk/Gunslinger, moved forward onto a rock and Tasutek moved into melee to attack him. Cornering a normal gunslinger is great, but a Gunslinger 1/Monk of the Empty Hand who uses his rifle butt as his improvised weapon? Not so helpful. The Magus then Bladed Dash into a flank. Tasutek wasn't able to connect with anything the next round (hence why I forgot about it), got nailed by the Monk, then got taken down by the Magus (Hasted Spell Combat with a pile of buffs and flanking is pretty nasty). The outsider went last - it spent its first round moving, and reached the Magus to start attacking just after the Magus took down Tasutek.

Grand Lodge

Tatsuek had init 18 which due to rolls (and more than 1 player at the table having +10 initiative or better) put him 5th in the order (ahead of exactly 1 player) T. went down in the second round, but due to a gunslinger monk and a bladed dash (along with some other movement options for players) the board had changed in a way I felt invalidated the use of enthrall rather than going straight for his deity's favored tactic (destruction). (Also, we were running to the end of a time limited slot as we had spent a good bit of time in the trials) If memory serves doesn't he start on the rock slightly northwest of the water? (I could be wrong here, it was a long day)

Overall, I really enjoyed running the scenario, with a great mix of enemies you don't see everyday.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I just noticed in the universal monster rules that a web as used by the qlippoth in this case requires a DC 20 perception check to detect. Since the Acid Web ability functions as the Web universal monster ability, this should apply.
It ís a bit nasty, but either waiting for players to ask for a perception check, or asking the player to roll a perception check right before he would enter a webbed square seems in order.
This could also give the combat a little more edge.

Anyone else got an opinion about this?

Grand Lodge

I believe the scenario calls out the Qlippoth as a 22 to notice. My players rolled perception before entering the web, though only one actually noticed the creature.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

The scenario calls out a perception check to notice the lurking qlippoth. I don't remember it asking for a check to notice the web.

Grand Lodge

Sorry, I misread your earlier post, I assumed those were the "greenish filaments" in the room description. (Though I did have people with a 20 perception check as well)

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

So, I ran this yesterday for a party of 5 (Barbarian 7, Sorcerer 6, Arcanist 5, Rogue 4, Cleric 4; So 4-player High tier).

The trials were a success and a great opportunity for roleplaying, which the players enjoyed immensely. With the combat against Aramaya, players got a little bit scared, but the barbarian sundered her spear during round 1, making her only a slight bit less dangerous. In the end, a summoned earth elemental stole the show with a critical hit for maximum damage, causing her to drop to 0 HP.

I must say that when Aeotsep gave everyone weapons (Trial 6), on the spot, I had trouble defining who made the climb (Trial 5) "unaided": I was not sure whether that meant "without help from the invisible stalkers", or "without any form of magical help". In the end I opted for both, rewarding the players that made the climb on their own with the masterwork weapons (I gave them the full reward for Trial 5 all the same).

The exploration of the mine was tough/messy, though largely because the rogue decided to scout without using stealth (nobody understood why). He climbed down the rails and was immediately spotted by the antipaladins. He jumped into a cart and was pulled back up by the barbarian, but that lead to the knights to wait for them in battle formation.
At that moment, the party decided to jump into the cart and to let the rogue lower them (and to fail the Disable Device check by 1), causing them to crash, with the antipaladins immediately charging them before they could get out of the cart.
It was a bloodbath: The arcanist went down with the first Channel Energy, the cleric (Sarenrae) was smitten down immediately after that, leaving the sorcerer and the barbarian to sort things out while the rogue was climbing down. They defeated the knights, but it was brutal (and nice to see antipaladins in action for once).
I gave the knocked out (prone) players that were in the cart full cover against the next Channel Energy attacks, since the ability is blocked by obstacles.

The final combat was easily defeated with Tasutek getting Fascinated by the sorcerer's Euphoric Cloud (which meant the players could position themselves however they wanted) and then savaged to death by the enlarged barbarian's polearm.

All in all, the scenario is nice and the players seem to have enjoyed it, but it was long. It is probably possible to spend less time on the trials if you shorten the roleplaying aspect, but I don't think that should be the case: It gives the players the opportunity to present their charaters in a different light, and that's nice.
The exploration in the mine is in itself not a very long run either, but the combination with the Trials can take a while, and that is without taking the Scarab Sages mission into account, which asks the players to ask/talk around even more.

I would absolutely recommend playing/running the scenario, but be aware that this one can be difficult to run in a 4-hour slot.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I was the arcanist in Monkhound's game.

I had a good time with this adventure. The trials were a good mix building up to a climax. The difficulty was enough that you actually have to try and won't succeed every time, but not so unforgiving that it feels unfair. And you can afford a few failures so that you're not punished too severely for reacting in-character rather than always going for the optimal response.

We didn't really get to the Scarab Sages subplot due to lack of time, and what I heard of it felt a bit disappointing - we were supposed to realize these people were qualified "because". After the Sanctum of the Sages, I was kind of expecting an actual meaningful choice.

Even skipping the Scarab Sages, and shorting out the Instant Fortress, we were still more than an hour over time. I think that's mainly because of the time spent on the trials; the Rovagug part of the adventure went at normal speed.

So I'm thinking maybe this adventure didn't really "budget" enough time for the trials. It's something I've seen before in adventures, where you can easily go over time if you get into the RP of things. But the trials are the point of this adventure...

I think for stories like this, we really need a category of "double-slot" adventures that don't try to cram a 6+ hour story in a 4 hour slot. Yet it seems most modules aren't really connected to the Society, you can just run them for credit.


i have to disagree with what seems to be generally positive reviews. I played in this so it may be chocked up to GM interpretations or running, however I found the majority of the scenario generally frustrating and unfulfilling.

-Group info low tier 4 oracle (me), 3 paladin, 4 figther (archer), 4 pregen samurai (oddly enough had the least problems throughout), 3 magus hexcrafter, 5 witch

-Initial expectations was that I would have good chance to explore some scarab sage, and thus Osirion, story. This was exciting as I was playing my Osirion Oracle who worships the ancient pantheon.

-The initial briefing left enough vague that my initial impression was not changed and I went into this with high hopes which were reinforced by the faction letter, which had me curious if we were going to find a new jeweled sage
-Initial interaction with the monks was reasonable but this was were my initial expectation began to crumble and what began as good RP became frustrating.

The tests
-"Test 1" was highly dependent on a knowledge religion roll, which the entire table including myself failed (low rolls not low stats) and it was further frustrating as my character had no interest in Irori and had been expecting some Osirion history. So we were left pulling some eastern mysticism from our rear ends, my RP of disagreeing with the idea of 1 path to perfection being insufficient to pass the test, luckily we had a player playing a samurai to give us the mysticism hocum.
-Test 2 the board test was a continuation of general poor table rolls. This was the only test I managed to luck through but than had to take back a successful test when I realized my haunted curse meant the task was impossible, ghosts tossing the board 10ft away seem to make breaking them impossible.
-Test 3 again some more poor table rolls. This time the need for stat checks forces anyone who may have a low score (whether it is due to dump stat or racial mods) to just flub these rolls, in my case some smart RP, tactics were rewarded for the first roll (create water to add to the sounds made by the monk as he approached) but than low str meant the second roll was failed.
-Test 4 at this point my character had had enough of these silly tests which had little to nothing to do with his great nations past and I refused to participate (thus failing this test). This test was even more ridiculous as it required so many continued rolls that essentially you were bound to fail and only through pure luck a single character managed to pass.
-Test 5 continued the trend of tasks I was unsuited for and left a bitter taste in my, and my characters mouth. This is the sort of challenge that would have been best served as a group objective sending the competent climbers to secure a rope for those less competent. Instead I was left looking at a -7 to climb checks and wondering why I should even bother. Sure I have other characters who could manage with no trouble (heck in 1 level, achieved after this scenario, this oracle could achieve it easily with levitate) but that should not be a requirement to enjoy the scenario.

These "trials" felt essentially like an exercise in putting a square peg in a round hole. You don't ask a monk to heal the party or buff the group so why is a oracle, or any other class, being asked to be a monk to succeed at a mission.

To add insult to injury we, myself and another Sage player, are expected to decide one of these monks should be worthy of a sage jewel? They showed nothing but self righteous, bull headedness that their way was the right way. But we are expected to entrust them with a gem that will teach them things completely at odds with thier way of life, thinking and "enlightenment."

Continuing we have the fight at the summit of the tower which feels like an exercise of wasting time. This is because our witch managed to land a misfortune which nerfed the rolls of the monk to the point were we were not swiftly dispatched. Instead we ran around the platform attempting to pin down the monk finally succeeding in doing enough damage to knock her our (though I think the GM may have shortened the fight due to time and the general pointless feeling that had grown from round after round of failed attacks on her part and failed ones on ours.) This is most definitely a group specific reaction to this encounter. It felt long and drawn out because our bad rolls as a group continued only this time to be joined by bad rolls on the GMs part. But as for story progression why have the group fight this monk when the next day you want to have the pathfinders go deal with your bandit problem? Isn't that test enough for their strength of arms?

The rest of the scenario after the frustrating beginning was disappointing. One relatively easy fight with antipaladins who had issues landing any relevant blows. A fun but underwhelming bypassed trap being sprung by a familiar. And finally a boss fight on a map which was complex for no reason, and only served to slow the fight down while the boss had nothing to take advantage of the distance or slow speed due to the layout.

In the end the other Sage player and I endorsed Dhiara because she was the only NPC we did not meet and thus could not be completely disappointed by her characters perspective. At worst she will blend in with other pathfinders being an adventurer.

I began with the hope that I may be able to enjoy a faction based mission with some potential for history; but ended with disappointment that nearly none of the RP had anything to do with the actual faction that the scenario is supposedly endorses and frustrated about over half of the game being tied up in "RP" that boiled down to rolls which equated to putting a square peg in a round hole.

Sorry if this seems too harsh it is just 1 players perspective

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I understand your resentment, but let me correct two thing:
- The trials are most certainly a group effort. You get success for 1 person succeeding, and a bonus success if at least half of the party succeeds (except for the Acrobatics trial, where half the party needs to succeed at 2 checks to get the bonus success).

- The DC for most Trials lies between 10 and 13 for ability checks (strength or dexterity) and between 12 and 15 for fairly basic skill related checks (perception, Acrobatics and climb). Only the knowledge check is slightly higher.
But yes, poor rolls are frustrating Indeed.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@crazedloom: as I understood the scenario, you're not there for the Sages. You're there for the Sky Key, and since you want a favor from some Iroran monks, it's gonna be about making nice with their perspective.

Looking for a sage in that monastery was pure opportunism on Tahonikepsu's part. "Hey, as long as you're visiting these scholars, why don't you see if any of them might be a good candidate?"

I think you were expecting the wrong thing from this scenario, and therefore you were doomed to be disappointed.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

Hi crazedloon,

I'm sorry you didn't have a good time playing the adventure. From what you you say in the beginning of your post, it does seem like you came in with certain expectations that were not met, and that contributed to sour the experience. It looks like the dice weren't helping, either, but that goes beyond what we can do. :)

After your message, I went on to check the scenario's description to see if that was leading people on, but re-reading it, I see that it doesn't actually emphasizes the Scarab Sages—in fact, the whole teaser text focuses on Tar Kuata, the monks and the need to "prove [the PCs] worth if they are to win the monks' trust and treasure". The Scarab Sages faction mission is in fact a sideplot to the main mission which is recovering the piece of the Sky Key. I'm not sure where you got the impression that the main focus were the Jeweled Sages—from the promotional text, or perhaps from your local GM as he explained what the scenario was about?

Like Ascalaphus said, Tahonikepsu and Amenopheus are seizing the opportunity here. Since they have operatives going to Tar Kuata after the Sky Key, they want to use the occasion to observe the monks and do some research about an ancient Jeweled Sage (since Tar Kuata has existed for so long, their records go thousands of years back). Again, this is only a sidequest.

The search for suitable Jeweled Sages has been hinted at before, but here we are providing you with a few options to actually influence the metaplot. If your character does not agree with the monk's views and the doctrines of Irori, he'll probably like Dhiara better than the rest of the monks, since she's probably more of an adventurous type. Or, perhaps, you want to inform the Jeweled Sages that, in your view, Tar Kuata offers no suitable candidates! I encourage you to post your recommendation in the faction talk subforum, if you have not done so already.

Going back to the main quest, which is to convince the monks that the Pathfinder Society can be trusted with the Sky Key: the trials are a series of skill challenges, which are not everyone's cup of tea (much like chases also tick some people off, and have similar mechanics). This is actually a group effort—the monks are judging the team's performance, and not the PC's individual performances.

I see your party composition was basically 3 martial characters and 3 spellcasters, generally speaking (though their builds could lend some nuances to these categories). Going through skill challenges without skilled characters in the group can be tough. On the other hand, where you lacked in skills, you made up in abundant combat prowess, which seems to have made the second part a breeze. I'm not saying that you need to fill all traditional roles to play a scenario, but usually encounters are designed considering a wide array of options for the PCs, so when one of the "types" is missing, things can get a little more difficult. If you had an all-rogue party, you'd probably have made through the trials with a hand tied to the back, but suffered in the second part. Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know how many Trial Points you accrued by the end of the scenario? Was it less than 6?

In any case, if your group wanted to assign one person to attempt each challenge, that would still work, as long as they did well individually. However, if everyone takes part in the trials, it is more likely that you will perform better collectively. So, you don't need to be a monk to contribute to the group's success by nailing all the trials, since each character has a chance of helping the group at some point.

Regarding the combat against Aramaya, I personally think it suits the monks, from a story perspective, to test the PCs combat abilities in a controlled environment before sending them off to fight the Doomsday Knights. They wouldn't want to send a handful of unprepared adventurers to death and have that on their consciences, later.

About the final fight, Tasutek has a wand of searing light in the upper tier and a wand of sound burst in the lower tier, so he has the option to strike from a distance... I'm curious about what happened in your final combat.

All in all, again I apologize for you having had a bad experience, free time is a valuable resource and it's a shame to waste it going through something we don't like.

Sovereign Court 3/5

I played my arcanist in this scenario and had a great time, despite not being particularly suited to any of the tests of skill (except for the first, which I knocked out of the park with a roll of 35 iirc).

The monks gave calm encouragement to my character as he attempted these tasks. I didn't succeed at any of them, but I rolled well enough to at least stay on the log for 40 minutes, which helped us gain a 2nd point for that test. I even joked that my next level might go into monk. Of course that's ridiculous, no one in their right mind would let themselves be diverted from the ultimate power that is mastery of the arcane arts just to do a few situps and pushups, but it was an entertaining interlude nonetheless. ;)

5/5

Talon Stormwarden wrote:
I played my arcanist in this scenario and had a great time, despite not being particularly suited to any of the tests of skill (except for the first, which I knocked out of the park with a roll of 35 iirc).

I would say that managing to get Glitterdust to stick on Aramaya was pretty much crucial to succeeding at the 6th task. Without that you would have been down 2 trial points and would have missed out on the 12 point boon.

Curse you and your glitterdust shenanigans!

*shakes tiny fist of impotent rage*

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Our 7th level barbarian player said "okay, challenge - not raging". And in the first physical challenge he activated it "no, no, this is controlled rage!".

3/5

went very long for us as well, I was trying to run certain parts a bit faster, but it's just hard to cram it in with all that's going on.

Aramaya got shutdown pretty hard, failing a color spray and two ear piercing screams(merciful)

anti-paladins were the most dangerous - and without the 1 channel/rd restriction probably could have really made the party sweat

last guy did 0 dmg

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Pedro Coelho wrote:
Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know how many Trial Points you accrued by the end of the scenario? Was it less than 6?

Despite the party I ran for being mostly caster-based (and a enraged barbarian who failed both the accuracy and perception tests), they achieved 11 Trial Points. If you have at just 1 party member succeeding at every trial and you defeat Aramaya, you should have 9, if I remember correctly. Trials 2-5 grant bonus TP for at least half the party succeeding.

I think the reason I like the trials so much, is that it reminds me of the Avatar the Last Airbender episode with Guru Patik (the sage that teaches Aang to unlock his chakras). That's basically the vibe I got with Aeotsep when I read through the adventure. It's quite hard and time-consuming to portray such an NPC and to get the players to like/support him because he frustrates them so much, despite him being a very good candidate.

3/5

ironically I think the most dangerous moment in my run of this was when the level 3 paladin in the group told me he provoked an AOO from bbeg

it being late and trying to get through,I took him at his word, rolled a 20 then a 19 with the great axe(spell and blessing buffs up) when another player piped up and said no buddy, you just moved into a threatened square, doesn't provoke

possible one shot avoided!


Pedro Coelho wrote:

I'm not sure where you got the impression that the main focus were the Jeweled Sages—from the promotional text, or perhaps from your local GM as he explained what the scenario was about?

Like Ascalaphus said, Tahonikepsu and Amenopheus are seizing the opportunity here. Since they have operatives going to Tar Kuata after the Sky Key, they want to use the occasion to observe the monks and do some research about an ancient Jeweled Sage (since Tar Kuata has existed for so long, their records go thousands of years back). Again, this is only a sidequest.

I'll admit I did not expect destiny of sands level sage plot however I was expecting something and the letter from Amenopheus was what lead me to hope for some quality plot advancement. It was that letter which lead to the disappointment in the plot advancement because nothing actually involving the sages, or anyone who could qualify, at least in my opinion, happens and no history is actually revealed about that "subplot"

Pedro Coelho wrote:
.... where you lacked in skills, you made up in abundant combat prowess, which seems to have made the second part a breeze.

Well the last combats being a breeze had less to do with party composition and more to do with the actual assets available to the baddies, Ill discuss that further down.

Pedro Coelho wrote:
I'm not saying that you need to fill all traditional roles to play a scenario, but usually encounters are designed considering a wide array of options for the PCs, so when one of the "types" is missing, things can get a little more difficult. If you had an all-rogue party, you'd probably have made through the trials with a hand tied to the back, but suffered in the second part.

That of course is the best design for a scenario, and would not fault a scenario which emphasizes diversity of character abilities. However if I recall the test correctly, of course this is based on memory and only being a player.

test 1: Knowledge skill or bluff, this is something an arcane or skill monkey could manage
test 2: Dex test followed by a STR test most characters will fail one of these (even at DC 10) because few characters need both these stats high (only exception being TWF fighters)
Test 3: Perception followed by STR the first can be managed by a slew of characters (as it is the most important skill in the game) but again the second is
something only the melee characters will excel at (or even have a better than average chance of passing)
test 4: Acrobatics with a Fort or Will, The first is most likely going to be on skill monkeys with a few combat characters having it but those skill monkeys
will tend to fail that second test and piled on top it gets harder and harder and requires 3 tests which means you will most likely roll poorly somewhere
test 5: Climb followed by combat. Well this one is actually in the skill monkeys wheel house (provided they took climb) as they tend to not need as much armor or that which they do wear has low ACP.

So from the look at the tests the best characters for each test is

test 1 Arcane (stat, skill point, and class skill)
test 2 Melee (stats)
test 3 melee (stats and most likely skill to have)
test 4 melee? (this is really no ones wheel house as its redundant checks mean bad rolls will happen and few builds havew the skill and saves)
test 5 Skill monkey

This means
-the Divine caster, who may be able to step up for the first test, is likely not feeling useful/successful and they already tend to be the relegated to band aid (often not at the players choice) so they get nothing from half a scenario
-the skill monkey is honestly not really useful for these tests as the tend to lack one stat or save to actually be successful
-Arcane is only useful in the first and then gets to feel left out
-melee seem to be the best suited for the majority of the tests (I guess the reason they are monk tests?)

but then the rest of the scenario seems to be in their wheelhouse as well so seems to emphasis one type of character

Pedro Coelho wrote:
Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know how many Trial Points you accrued by the end of the scenario? Was it less than 6?

I believe we managed more than 6 less then 12 only the samurai at our table managed to roll well enough to pass most of the tests which was our tables only saving grace.

Pedro Coelho wrote:
In any case, if your group wanted to assign one person to attempt each challenge, that would still work, as long as they did well individually. However, if everyone takes part in the trials, it is more likely that you will perform better collectively. So, you don't need to be a monk to contribute to the group's success by nailing all the trials, since each character has a chance of helping the group at some point.

I guess with some good rolling this is true, but at least at my table it boiled down to 3 players flailing about miserably failing test after test.

Pedro Coelho wrote:
About the final fight, Tasutek has a wand of searing light in the upper tier and a wand of sound burst in the lower tier, so he has the option to strike from a distance... I'm curious about what happened in your final combat.

well in the low tier his wand is pretty useless as the combat happens in such a large space that the 30ft range of the spell wont manage to hit anyone until they can close the distance to melee or worse a ranged party can simply pick him off at range where he can do nothing.

Pedro Coelho wrote:
All in all, again I apologize

nothing to apologize for, it was not entirely horrible and it is of course part of the game.

Grand Lodge

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crazedloon wrote:

test 1: Knowledge skill or bluff, this is something an arcane or skill monkey could manage

test 2: Dex test followed by a STR test most characters will fail one of these (even at DC 10) because few characters need both these stats high (only exception being TWF fighters)
Test 3: Perception followed by STR the first can be managed by a slew of characters (as it is the most important skill in the game) but again the second is
something only the melee characters will excel at (or even have a better than average chance of passing)
test 4: Acrobatics with a Fort or Will, The first is most likely going to be on skill monkeys with a few combat characters having it but those skill monkeys
will tend to fail that second test and piled on top it gets harder and harder and requires 3 tests which means you will most likely roll poorly somewhere
test 5: Climb followed by combat. Well this one is actually in the skill monkeys wheel house (provided they took climb) as they tend to not need as much armor or that which they do wear has low ACP.

To be fair it sounds like some of the available checks were overlooked or forgotten.

Test 1: Knowledge (history or religion) or Bluff - Divine casters/party faces/skill monkeys/arcane all have a good chance
Test 2: Dex followed by STR, with a +5 bonus if you have Improved Unarmed Strike - favors monks/sacred fist warpriest/ and brawler, but my last table had a 5 STR sorcerer as one of the 2 people who passed
Test 3: Perception followed by DEX or STR (with bonuses for blindfight/sense/sight - Variety of players made/can make consistently
Test 4: Acrobatics and Fort or Will to not increase the DC between checks - multiple players made it to 2 times through and 1 or 2 made all 3 sets - again rogues/monks get favored
Test 5: Climb actually might be the most penalizing (since high str generally also have high ACP), but as long as you don't fail by more than 5 you can keep attempting - but rogues/monks probably the most favored

Sure there are players who may not accomplish 1 or any of them, but I think every player at my tables has accomplished at least one (generally one they weren't suited for). Also, the teacher is supposed to be portrayed as a good guy quick with praise (with the benefit of giving you a +2 on checks in the next trial) or helpful if you fail.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Well, it does make sense that monk trials tend to favor monks. That said, the DCs are low enough that it's highly likely that an average party will succeed, and that every PC will succeed at at least one by pure luck.

5/5

Quote:
well in the low tier his wand is pretty useless as the combat happens in such a large space that the 30ft range of the spell wont manage to hit anyone until they can close the distance to melee or worse a ranged party can simply pick him off at range where he can do nothing.

I am guessing your GM missed the web which arguably blocks line of sight at the start.


Would you say that the web gives a form of Cover or Concealment?

Web Spell wrote:
If you have at least 5 feet of web between you and an opponent, it provides cover. If you have at least 20 feet of web between you, it provides total cover.
Web Monster Rules wrote:

Web (Ex)

Creatures with the web ability can use webs to support themselves and up to one additional creature of the same size. In addition, such creatures can throw a web up to eight times per day. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets up to one size category larger than the web spinner. An entangled creature can escape with a successful Escape Artist check or burst the web with a Strength check. Both are standard actions with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the creature’s HD + the creature’s Con modifier. Attempts to burst a web by those caught in it take a –4 penalty.

Web spinners can create sheets of sticky webbing up to three times their size. They usually position these sheets to snare flying creatures but can also try to trap prey on the ground. Approaching creatures must succeed on a DC 20 Perception check to notice a web; otherwise they stumble into it and become trapped as though by a successful web attack. Attempts to escape or burst the webbing gain a +5 bonus if the trapped creature has something to walk on or grab while pulling free. Each 5-foot-square section of web has a number of hit points equal to the Hit Dice of the creature that created it and DR 5/—.

A creature can move across its own web at its climb speed and can pinpoint the location of any creature touching its web.

Silver Crusade

I played this as a monk2 rogue5, follower of Irori. The intro section was superb, ability challenges tests and a nice little end fight. Not a fan of that ACG spell.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

It seems to me the web spell does not mimick the web monster ability; they work with different mechanics—for instance, the web spell gives the grappled conditions to creatures trapped inside it, while the web monster ability gives the entangled condition. The web spell requires a combat maneuver spell to escape, and the web monster ability requires a Strength check to break free (though both allow a Escape Artist check). The web spell works on creatures of any size, whereas the web monster ability only works on creatures up to one size larger than the web spinner.

With all this in mind, I'd say the magic webbing from the web spell is naturally thicker and more potent than natural webbing (which would explain why magic webbing provides cover—it being stickier, thicker, stronger, maybe).

So, per RAW, I believe the two are different in nature, and the qlippoth's webbing should not provide cover in this encounter (I could be wrong).

[Edit] Also, the webbing from a web spell is flammable, which is not the case with natural webbing (again, according to RAW).


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@ Pedro Thank you so much. I was leaning towards the first part - no cover, and I feel good that I ruled the second part - no fire, correctly.

My group will be done tonight/tomorrow and I loved the last encounter. I kept Tasutek on his rock and just buffed with fervor, specifically greater stunning barrier and divine favor. Took out the summoner's eidolon in one swipe.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

Quote:
The web spell requires a combat maneuver spell to escape

I meant combat maneuver check, of course. :P

Grand Lodge

Played it today with a low level Sloth Mage playing up - had a great time.
Got very scared during the fight with the Apocalypse Knights, loved the flavour of the tests. Really memorable scenario.
Of course, all the juicy plot developments with the Jeweled Sages were very welcome too.


Whats the procedure if a player wants to nominate their character as a jewel sage candidate? I saw that mentioned in the reporting section

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