NobodysHome's Silly Serpent's Skull Moments [***Spoilers***]


Serpent's Skull

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I've been reading quietly here for quite a while. Please keep making updates, this thread is really funny. You're a very cool and patient DM. :)


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Phase IV: The Rise and Fall of Hero the Goat

This was perhaps my favorite part of the entire AP so far, simply because the kids were doing stuff far beyond my understanding. As mentioned in the previous post, they'd decided that they were going to spend the next two months trying to find poisonous plants with which to kill off the cannibals. Logistics such as, "How are we going to get to their food or water supply?" never occurred to them; it was simply, "We're going to find a poisonous plant and we're going to force-feed it to all the cannibals."
Er... if you've got them in your power enough to force-feed them a poisonous plant, won't you have them in your power enough to just kill them?

Ah, well, all logic aside, I *DID* give everyone who had Knowledge: Nature a chance to make checks to try to find poisonous plants, and I believe the highest roll in the party was an 8.
Er, yep. My "intrepid researchers" who were going to the Mwangi Expanse to study the flora and fauna apparently knew absolutely diddly-squat about what they were supposed to be researching. Considering that it fit in so perfectly with their play so far, I let it slide...

So, in order to test the poisonous plants, Xethos quite reasonably decided that they needed cannibal captives. And they had none. So they got Aycenia's permission to start a bonfire by the river, TWO MILES from the cannibal camp, and started the fire at around noon, in broad daylight.
Much to no one's surprise, a bonfire in broad daylight two miles from your quarry doesn't do much. However, I did dutifully roll a random encounter and got... a pygmy goat.

The details below are a repeat of the obituary entry, but for completeness I'll repeat them here.

Yet again in a moment beyond my understanding, Hooken's player, normally a perfectly sensible lad, decided that this pygmy goat was going to be his ranger's animal companion. Er... what???
So he made a massive Handle Animal check, charmed the goat, and adopted him. He didn't give him a name.

Realizing that sunlight might be affecting the visibility of the fire, Xethos suggested that they repeat the bonfire experiment at night, when the sleeping cannibals were sure to notice a bonfire two miles away.

So what was I supposed to do? The party lit a huge bonfire at night in the middle of the island. Of COURSE the chupacabra came to investigate. Of COURSE it saw Hooken holding the tender, juicy little morsel. Of COURSE it tried to do a slash-and-grab and run off with the goat.

Cue epic hilarity as the chupacabra didn't manage to kill the goat outright, but only knocked it to negative hit points. Even worse, Hooken's CMB roll was far greater than the chupacabra's, so it didn't even succeed in the "grab" part of its plan. Then Malek started beating on it. The chupacabra Did Not Like.
The chupacabra took another round to kill the goat (I figured it was tearing off a sizeable chunk to run off with), took a slash at Malek for good measure (Malek, being a frog of very little brain, didn't mind losing a few hit points for the sake of a goat), and flew off with his prey.
Cue Malek rolling something ridiculous like a 27 Survival to track the fleeing chupacabra through the forest at night. (With half a goat dripping blood, I figured there was something to track on the ground, and that was one heck of a Survival roll for a 3rd-level character.)

They tracked down the chupacabra, killed it in its lair, and named the goat Hero, because it surely saved someone's life by taking the brunt of the chupacabra's wrath. Malek took one of Hero's hooves for his "necklace of friend's fingers", and they refrained from roasting up the goat for a Hero's feast (sorry... couldn't resist).

Since the chupacabra's lair is right next to the entrance to the Azlanti temple, I decided to have Yarzoth make her grand entrance into the temple right then, to give the kids a clue that there was something great underground. (They'd even asked Aycenia about finding magic items, and she'd responded that she knew of little aboveground, but that there were ancient temples belowground.)

Yarzoth, being a careful woman, put up a Major Image that the door was still closed before proceeding in.

In an epic, "Wow, sometimes I really HATE the dice" moment, EVERY SINGLE PARTY MEMBER interacted with the door and failed his or her Will save. Every. Single. One.

So much for leading them into the temple!

They then found the tide stones. Every. Single. Party. Member. Failed the roll to figure out the tide stones.

Sometimes, you just can't catch a break as a GM.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Very funny read, thanks for sharing! You helped kill some downtime at work.


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Phase V: Oops! We win! Let's celebrate by dying!
The next few sessions were a hilarious game of cat-and-mouse as the PCs tried various things to lure out the cannibals, culminating in being chased across the island by the entire tribe, only to hide on Aycenia's hill, knowing the cannibals considered the place haunted. About the only incident of any note was that I rolled up a wolf as a random encounter, and Hooken chose to train it as his animal companion. Probably more useful than a pygmy goat.

They finally decided to try to use stealth to sneak into the cannibal camp at night to determine their numbers.

To Jason, of course, this meant, "Shoot one of the ones on the watchtower." (Ah, and we wonder why I've named him "Deady McDeaddead".)
The ensuing battle was truly epic. Malek moved to the fore and went total defense, rendering himself nigh-unhittable by the low-level barbarians. (Jask had also put Shield of Faith on him.) As he blocked the choke point, Hooken and Jason laid waste with ranged weapons, Xethos peppered the crowd with Magic Missiles, and Narmina (whose player wasn't there) did bard things. Jask kind of stood around waiting to heal people. In a surprise bit of competence, when the witch appeared with her skeletons, Hooken sent his new wolf companion through the undergrowth (while Stealthed) to trip and worry her, sacrificing his life for the sake of the party.
With Malek's indominatability and the wolf's heroism, the heavily-wounded party won.

In a proud Xethos moment, he insisted that they should rest first and thoroughly search the camp for the remaining cannibals (they counted 5 missing) in the morning. He also insisted that they stay in camp and sleep in the cannibals' sleeping area with a LONE GUARD.
Jask used up all of his healing, but the party was still sorely wounded, and they went to sleep. In the cannibals' camp. Knowing that there were still cannibals out there. With a lone guard.

Yeah, I can't get over it, either.

I rolled randomly for when the cannibals would attack, and it came during the sorely-wounded ninja's watch. Of course. Because it wouldn't be a real session without Deady McDeaddead dying.
So in yet another obituary entry, the cannibals came upon Narmina sleeping right by the door. Fortunately, since the ninja made his Perception roll as they came in, they didn't have time to coup de grace her, instead hitting her twice. Jask stepped up to protect her, took two hits, and died, while Jason tried to engage them while sorely wounded, took a bad crit, and died.

Malek, not appreciating being woken up from his froggy beauty sleep, beat the cannibals to death with great prejudice.

Xethos pondered suicide, neither for the first nor last time... Silly kobold! SOMEONE has to make the mistakes! Otherwise what would I write about?


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Phase VI: Ghoul Fever
The summary of the party's interaction with the ghouls is pretty much, "Ghouls are not your friends, even if they pretend to be so." This took several sessions, but here are the highlights and lowlights:

  • On starting to explore the ghoul caves, the first thing the group did was to create a bottleneck with the festrogs, allowing the festrogs to constantly heal themselves by biting the PCs. Strange tactics, but then came the next room. Even though they were sure there were ghouls about, Xethos convinced them to throw a smokestick into an occupied room and charge in for hand-to-hand combat. With ghouls. While their party included a damage-focused sorcerer and a bow-focused ranger with Favored Enemy: Undead. No, I cannot explain, "Let's cripple our own ranged troops before we go in." Neither could the kids post-session. Needless to say, both Xethos and Malek ended up paralyzed next to ghouls during the fight, but since the text is very clear that Nylithati's goal is to create more ghouls, I had them bite the paralyzed PCs for minimal damage, just to ensure they got Ghoul Fever with a very high DC. But I did write up an almost-obit about the incident.
  • I was using Roll20 to reveal what they could see on the map. There's the passage between V21 and the water that has a T in the middle. They first went to V21 and saw the passage out of it, then went the long way around to the water and saw the passage leading back to V21. They never explored the passage, even though it was blacked out on the map. So their conclusion was that the only way to proceed was to swim. Amongst the aquatic ghouls. Bitter arguments ensued, but Xethos was finally talked out of it and they abandoned the underground entirely.
  • They didn't bother going back to the tide stones and the Azlanti temple. All they wanted was to get off the island, so they set to repairing the lighthouse. This led to the utterly hilarious interactions detailed upthread, in Deady McDeaddead's character of the day's (a half-orc barboracle named Blaarg Cracktooth) obit, and Narmina's near-obit. The only one I haven't mentioned before is Narmina's. Once the PCs admitted to siccing the ghouls on the boat, the captain sent them to get his men back, and told them that if any one of them returned without his men, they'd be shot on sight. So Narmina returned alone. No, I have no idea why. The captain wouldn't send her a boat. So she tried to swim to the ship. I asked for her AC and Talky McTalktalk suddenly decided he didn't do that at all. I told him it was his ONE take-backsy. EVER. He's been more careful about my warnings since then.
  • Just for completeness' sake, Malek of course rolled a gargantuan Fort save on his first attempt, so just shook off the Ghoul Fever as easily as he had gotten it. Xethos suffered it for days, in spite of someone making Heal checks every day to give him bonuses. Much to my dismay, he finally shook it off.
  • My favorite roleplaying of the campaign so far has been Nylithati's nightly visits to the fever-stricken Xethos, encouraging him to join her in undeath and feasting, and offering boons to the party in return. It was LOTS of fun, as Mr. Stereotype is a terrible tactician, but an excellent roleplayer.


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    Aha! That last post jogged my memory!

    In the ghoul caves the party encountered their sixth party member: Omniel Baldwin, a half-elf druid of indeterminate gender played by "Mr. Silent Doodler". I absolutely LOVED having Silent Doodler at the table, as he did caricatures of all the PCs, drew little cartoons of events in the game, and even drew the now-infamous sketch of "Femaleck".
    Baldwin was the one whose Heal checks saved Xethos.

    Unfortunately, I don't think Doodler cared for the game much. He wanted me to use the out-of-favor "they" as a gender neutral term for Baldwin, and after 14 years at a job where I was constantly corrected and told to always use "he or she", and NEVER "they", I messed up. A lot. The other kids in the group became obsessed with determining Baldwin's gender, to the point of distracting from the overall game. And Baldwin never did anything. "They" never cast a spell, never participated in combat, never made any skill checks beyond Heal and Knowledge: Nature, and otherwise participated very little with the overall group.

    So while I really enjoyed having Mr. Silent Doodler at my table, when he chose to stop coming after 6-8 sessions, I was disappointed, but unsurprised. If he decides to come back, he's always welcome...


    These sketches sound awesome. I love the idea of a player sketching in-game events.


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    Well, I'm *supposed* to be lab testing at work right now, but the author is making "final changes", so I have a few minutes (or hours, as the case may be).

    I'm afraid tonight may be the end of my Serpent's Skull campaign. The kids will be coming up against Zakiyya. They have no divine casters. They have no Protection from Evil. They have no cold iron weapons, nor any good-aligned ones.

    She's going to seize Malek's teensy little frog brain and drive him over the party like a mack truck through inebriated sheep.

    So, since my group is entirely teenage and pre-teen boys, I'm going to do my best to play to their weaknesses. I'll emphasize that the ladies are bathing in the nude, and really want the PCs to come back and participate in their "ceremony".

    The AP doesn't specify what Zakiyya does with the PCs post-drainage. I figure if I can convince them to lie down and get drained, she'll do a catch-and-release on them, figuring demonkind needs more stupid gullible adventurers wandering the world.

    I *really* don't want it to turn into a fight, because Malek's the only one who can get through her DR, and he's going to be dancing to her tune like a proper little froggy psychotic...


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    No, see, you expect them to fail. That obviously means they will pass with flying colors.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    He didn't take Suspicious to boost his Will save?


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Kids almost never take feats to boost saving throws, kids only think offense :-)


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    You can't kill them off, not permanently, this has been such a great read.


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    Look on the bright side! You're going to get a fascinating story tomorrow! :-P

    EDIT: More seriously, I really, REALLY don't want the campaign to end in a stupid TPK to a succubus, but I just don't see the group having a chance. I'm going to have to have her decide to keep them alive for some reason or another and work from there. We'll see what I work out...
    I'd yell about the unfairness of the AP, but EVERY group I run stocks up on Protection from Evil at 1st level, and Magic Circle Against Evil at 5th, and in spite of 4 of the 6 players being experienced in both APs and PFS, even when I said, "Something really nasty is coming up, so you guys should choose Nkechi's spells. Choose very carefully," they didn't put in either of the "take these or you die" spells.

    *SIGH*

    We'll see what happens.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Woot, more stories!

    As to the unfairness... yup, I agree. There seem to be a lot of succubi in part 2 of APs where they are very challenging. I was surprised to see one here and very surprised to fight one in [REDACTED]

    Sounds like your best bet is to find a reason why she wants a PC group. Or maybe the froggie will make a save and then crit her with an ax. PCs happen.


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    Seannoss wrote:

    Woot, more stories!

    As to the unfairness... yup, I agree. There seem to be a lot of succubi in part 2 of APs where they are very challenging. I was surprised to see one here and very surprised to fight one in [REDACTED]

    Sounds like your best bet is to find a reason why she wants a PC group. Or maybe the froggie will make a save and then crit her with an ax. PCs happen.

    While I love the "legend that is Malek", hoping for a DC 23 Will save from a Wisdom-dumped horny toad just seems beyond the realms of believability. But yeah, I'm crossing my fingers, too. If Malek saves against the Dominate, the succubus is going DOWN! (And not in a good way...)

    (Impus Major even does all the Chuck Norris and Morgan Freeman jokes with Malek as the protagonist. "When Malek was born, he slapped the doctor...")


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    It'll be good to learn why Protection from Evil is important - our group even forgets many times.

    If they TPK, you could just put their new characters into one of the major faction caravans and put them at a some sort of disadvantage for not completing R2R once the camps are established.


    justaworm wrote:

    It'll be good to learn why Protection from Evil is important - our group even forgets many times.

    If they TPK, you could just put their new characters into one of the major faction caravans and put them at a some sort of disadvantage for not completing R2R once the camps are established.

    My plan is to have the rest of the group roll up new PCs and go out on a "defeat the Frog God" quest to remove the demon frog that has been slaughtering caravans and making a mockery of their assassination squads.

    Hopefully they'll take the hint, load up on a Protection from Evil or four, and "rescue" Malek. At which point it will be a real question: Would Malek rather stay with the succubus, or resume adventuring?

    I honestly don't know how he'll answer...


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    Alternatively, why not replace the encounter with something else? You're the GM. You can modify things however you want. And the group is enjoying themselves from the sound of it... so why allow one encounter to kill all that?


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    Tangent101 wrote:
    Alternatively, why not replace the encounter with something else? You're the GM. You can modify things however you want. And the group is enjoying themselves from the sound of it... so why allow one encounter to kill all that?

    Honestly, several of them are getting frustrated at the whole "in the jungle" part of the AP. I picked the AP because Impus Major, Impus Minor, and Deady McDeaddead couldn't walk through a city without starting a fight, getting arrested, or getting beaten up and robbed. I wanted an "all wilderness" AP to keep those three out of cities, explaining why I picked Serpent's Skull.

    The "newer" players (Talky, Mr. Stereotype, and He Who Has Not Yet Been Named) would all prefer a more city-focused adventure, so I'm thinking of switching them over to Rise of the Runelords when this one peters out.

    In short, I'm allowing the chips to fall where they may because there's enough dissatisfaction with the current AP that if they die, it's worth discussing "what next?" with them.

    If they want to continue Serpent's Skull, it's easy enough for the succubus to just drain them rather than killing them. No one in the fight does so much damage that there will be any one-shot kills, with the exception of a crit from Malek.

    So I'm taking an approach of, "Let it play out, hope the kids either play it out diplomatically or survive, discuss how they'd like to proceed, adjust the story accordingly."

    I doubt anyone will die except Deady McDeaddead, and he won't be here tonight...
    ...maybe I should just kill him in absentia, for the sake of continuity.


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    Hell's Rebels looks like it's going to be urban. I admit I'm just telling you this because I want to see your group running a revolution.


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    Curse of the Crimson Throne is pretty great if they like city adventures. I'd be interested in how they'd react to Blackjack.

    I hope they will survive the succubus, though. This thread has been very entertaining. Good luck, kids! ^_^


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    Pipefox wrote:

    Curse of the Crimson Throne is pretty great if they like city adventures. I'd be interested in how they'd react to Blackjack.

    I hope they will survive the succubus, though. This thread has been very entertaining. Good luck, kids! ^_^

    Impus Major and Impus Minor are already running through Crimson Throne with the "full adults' group", so it's off the table. Otherwise it would have been an awesome choice...

    I'm really enjoying my second run of Crimson Throne, "fixing" everything even though it was the second-best AP I've ever run. So re-running RotRL (the "first best") for the kids seems like a great idea...

    ...except that I made the mistake of buying Ponyfinder, and now Talky McTalktalk (an avoid brony) wants me to run a Ponyfinder campaign.

    NobodysWife had a great idea: Have it such that the first <spoiler> they encounter turns them into ponies, forcing them to play out the entire RotRL campaign as ponies, only to have to defeat the BBEG to remove the "curse".

    I absolutely *love* the idea.

    But I think 5 of my 6 players would plan for my assassination...

    Ugh. Lunch is over. Back to work!


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    What about Iron Gods, I doubt they could do much damage in a campaign with chainsaws and rocket launchers....


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    I'm not so sure about Runelords. There are some pretty horrific elements in that, so you'd have to do a bit of work on it.

    Which also kind of puts RoW off the list as well.

    What other APs do you have?


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    Tangent101 wrote:

    I'm not so sure about Runelords. There are some pretty horrific elements in that, so you'd have to do a bit of work on it.

    Which also kind of puts RoW off the list as well.

    What other APs do you have?

    Er... all of 'em. Plus the Slumbering Tsar.

    It IS me, after all...

    EDIT: And this group would LOVE the Grauls and the ogres. When they're not doing Pathfinder, it's all FPS blood-soaked zombie games for the lot of 'em. Bunch of jaded 14-year-olds, they are...


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    RoW isn't that bad, as far as Runelords goes, have you watched primetime television lately! Compared to CSI: OCD (the entire season they keep going back to the same crime scene) Runelords is like after school on the Disney channel:-D

    As far as RoW goes, the early stuff with kids can be easily changed or omitted, and in book 5 they're geeking out over being in Russia and facing down against a non showtune singing Rasputin they won't even notice the war is Hell gore, so no I wouldn't worry about running RoW for teenagers :-)


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Got Ninja'd hours ago, didn't even catch it, my phone should be ashamed of itself :-)


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    First, the obituaries. Then, the writeup! :-P

    I DO so love being Evil!


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    I would love to see what theese kids would do in Kingmaker.


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    Well, you guys were right, the kids got out of Zakiyya's with all player-characters intact. Since I want to expand a bit on the obits, I'm coping much of their content in here for further expansion:

    I was rather ecstatic with the way the spirit dancers played out. Needless to say, the kids couldn't POSSIBLY resist moving in on the naked ladies -- the possibility of going around and just ignoring them didn't even occur to them. Hooken's mega-Perception of something like 32 and Zakiyya's natural 1 ensured the party had the drop on the bathing beauties, and could have just gone around. But nooooo.... they HAD to see what the women were up to. Unfortunately, Narmina also made a huge Knowledge: Local check and I figured Nkechi had to know something about spirit dancers, so between the two of them they told the party about spirit dancers, their religion, and how they released people's "totem spirits".

    The party was sold, hook, line, and sinker. Even when Voran managed his Sense Motive check to notice that the dancers seemed supernaturally subdued and obedient to Zakiyya, they got watchful, but not hostile. They were using words like, "Sirens", but weren't doing any checks beyond Sense Motive rolls. So when Zakiyya offered to take them back to camp and invoke their totem spirits, and it involved a ritual where the PCs had to drink blue whinnis and be unconscious for 3 hours, the players all said, "OK, no problem!" Only Impus Minor and He Who is Not Yet Named (Voren's player) remained dubious. But they decided to go through with the ritual.

    Since there were only 4 girls, I told the group that only 4 PCs could receive the "standard" treatment of being knocked out. The fifth would be more... difficult, as Zakiyya would have to couple with the inductee, and he would experience extreme pain. Needless to say, Malek was more than eager to volunteer for this "duty"
    They broke into two tents of two PCs and two girls each, but Voran still wasn't buying it. In an epic moment of karma gone right, his player rolled a natural 20 on his next Sense Motive. With our house-ruled +5, he had a 27. Nothing even remotely close to Zakiyya's Bluff roll of 38, but *his player* didn't know that. So, since he'd rolled a really high Sense Motive and Zakiyya seemed to be honest, while her subordinates seemed very worried about the ritual, he was finally convinced to go along, although with misgivings.

    Thus, Hooken, Baron, Voran, and Narmina willingly drank the blue whinnis, willingly failed their saves, and willingly went into deep slumbers. Malek and Nkechi stood watch. Zakiyya, having a dislike for "good" clerics and a positive adoration for stupid lustful barbarians, Dominated poor Malek's fragile little froggy brain like an elephant stepping on a casaba. Yeah, the *higher* of his two Will saves to avoid killing a fellow party member was a 9.

    Then she had him ruthlessly beat Nkechi to death.

    When the party woke up, each one was tattoed with a symbol on his or her forehead (none of them speak the local language any more, so none of them know it says, "Fool"), and each one had been drained of a level. Amusingly enough, the sole exception was Hooken. With a natural 20 on his Fortitude save to avoid the level becoming permanent and his wolf still alive because he'd gone along with the whole blue whinnis thing, all Hooken got was a GREAT dream and a cool tattoo. Nkechi was dead. And Malek was left unscathed and Dominated, with a message that if the party ever tried to seek her out, Zakiyya would have Malek kill them all.

    All in all, an entertaining conclusion to the dilemma of, "How do you keep Zakiyya from TPK'ing the party?"

    Unfortunately, it's late, so I'll leave the discussion of Baron's demise to the obits for the moment, and revisit it after a good night's sleep.


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    Kyle '88 wrote:
    I would love to see what theese kids would do in Kingmaker.

    Please don't make me weep...

    The Exchange

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    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

    This is one of the funniest threads I have ever read! Thanks for a night and morning of side-splitting laughter.


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    Oh... totally forgot to mention last night: Zakiyya plucked Baron. Because it was just too funny to resist. The idea of a freshly-plucked owl-man wandering the wilderness was just too delightful...


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Owl man you mean :-)


    Is Malek still able to act normally?


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    Supperman wrote:
    Is Malek still able to act normally?

    Yeah; I figure Zakiyya got inside their heads enough to know that more Pathfinders were on the way, and there's nothing that disrupts a budding cult of demon-worshippers like a bunch of revenge-obsessed adventurers knocking on (or down, as the case may be) your door.

    So her final orders to Malek were, "Behave as you would normally, except you are to convey all of the details of any discussions regarding me, my followers, or your domination to me immediately."

    It works rather well. Every time Voran talked about vengeance or curing Malek, Malek would go all glassy-eyed (no mean feat for a frog) and threaten them with Zakiyya's words.

    It was great fun, and the kids admitted that it was well-played, and I'd really hosed them and trapped them into accepting their humiliation.

    I suspect in a few weeks they're going to go a-succubus hunting, but we'll see. Maybe they'll just forget the whole thing...

    EDIT: OK. I just looked up Dominate and she can't *quite* do that, but I can certainly justify that she was riding along in his mind when they all woke up, because she'd want to know what they had planned. And they haven't discussed the domination since then...
    ...plus, who DOESN'T want to ride along inside a froggy brain on occasion?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    It reminds me of the time I was running Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. I'd made a bet with my best friend that I'd just end the campaign before the game naturally came to an end.

    Cue a Rakshasa. There was no way the group could effectively hurt it. I had no idea why the monster had been put there. (There was also a second one in the region.) And I really had gotten tired of the campaign (I was suffering burnout and no one else would do a game despite my asking several times. People who disrupted my Night Below campaign to run their own things because they really wanted to outright refused to give me a break this time. Their brief forays made them realize how stressful GMing was. Bastards.)

    I chickened out. I couldn't just kill the group. I should have. Oh, how I should have. The game ended a couple games later, and I started the last campaign of that group before things went south between two players (who were married, in name at least) and the entire group imploded.

    If they get in over their heads again and don't learn their lesson? Wipe them out.


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    Supperman wrote:
    Is Malek still able to act normally?

    Yeah; I figure Zakiyya got inside their heads enough to know that more Pathfinders were on the way, and there's nothing that disrupts a budding cult of demon-worshippers like a bunch of revenge-obsessed adventurers knocking on (or down, as the case may be) your door.

    So her final orders to Malek were, "Behave as you would normally, except you are to convey all of the details of any discussions regarding me, my followers, or your domination to me immediately."

    It works rather well. Every time Voran talked about vengeance or curing Malek, Malek would go all glassy-eyed (no mean feat for a frog) and threaten them with Zakiyya's words.

    It was great fun, and the kids admitted that it was well-played, and I'd really hosed them and trapped them into accepting their humiliation.

    I suspect in a few weeks they're going to go a-succubus hunting, but we'll see. Maybe they'll just forget the whole thing...

    EDIT: OK. I just looked up Dominate and she can't *quite* do that, but I can certainly justify that she was riding along in his mind when they all woke up, because she'd want to know what they had planned. And they haven't discussed the domination since then...
    ...plus, who DOESN'T want to ride along inside a froggy brain on occasion?

    She could grace Malek with her profane gift. ;)


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    Turin the Mad wrote:
    She could grace Malek with her profane gift. ;)

    Don't think I didn't try. He spent the ENTIRE walk up to Tazion listening to her in his head telling him that he could be stronger... mightier... famouser.

    I was AMAZED he didn't turn around, go back, and accept it...


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    Tangent101 wrote:
    If they get in over their heads again and don't learn their lesson? Wipe them out.

    Oh, geez. Not only would the Imps never forgive me, but I KNOW the game is popular because one kid is in Germany and is getting up at 2:30 am every Thursday morning just to play. And there's a backlog of kids who want to join, but I've made it clear that my limit is 6.

    They just do... silly, silly stuff.

    I'm still agog at the whole, "There's an army coming! Let's just stand here against a wall! Oh? They're here! Let's just put the sorcerer in front and see what happens!"

    Sometimes they do clever, clever things.

    More often than that, I get to post to this thread.


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    So what if you ran Ponyfinder Carrion Crown?


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I've decided to never tell my daughter Ponyfinder exists, I... I just don't think I can go the rest of my life only playing Ponyfinder, I also haven't explored it beyond reading a review of it, which in fairness to Ponyfinder was exceptionally glowing :-)

    I had bad experiences with horses growing up on the farm, I'm positive they were all trying to kill me... :-)


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Were they?


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    Supperman wrote:
    So what if you ran Ponyfinder Carrion Crown?

    I love you, man!


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    True Love Conquers All
    So I'm not sure I played Dominate right (again), but this time it was hilarious enough to let go.

    So, everyone leveled up to 7, Mr. Stereotype rolled up a new PC (Nethiri Mesmer, a female vishkanya magus), and we started off down only one PC (Voren). And the party re-entered Tazion and went immediately to Issilar's room. No buffs; no preamble, just, "We try this door."

    So of course the moment Malek smashed the door down, Issilar dominated his teensy little brain. Considering they've already faced shadow demons and succubi, you'd think ONE of the PCs would have taken Protection from Evil by now, but you'd be wrong.

    Since no one was a threat except Hooken, Issilar first had Malek beat on Hooken. It's a good thing Hooken saved against the negative level, because Malek's first round did 45 of his 46 hit points, and Hooken spent his round doing a full withdraw.

    Then came Narmina. Itty, bitty, tiny Narmina, recipient of the HUGE Malek crush. She'd tried a Dispel Magic on Issilar's Spider Climb the first round and failed, and another one on Malek's domination that also failed. She was clearly the biggest threat left standing, so Issilar changed his orders to Malek to have him beat on her.

    My first reaction was, "Well, he already failed the first Will save, and then the second one to perform an action against his nature, so he's toast," so he hit Narmina for near-minimum damage ("only" 31). Narmina's player asked whether Charm Person would work against the Dominate, so I went back to re-read the text to see whether such things worked like light, where the charm wouldn't work at all.

    Then I re-read the text on "actions against one's nature".

    Honestly, I didn't know what to do. The command to attack Narmina was new, and the reason Malek wouldn't want to hit her was very different. Perhaps I ruled incorrectly, but I gave Malek a new Will save to avoid striking his love. And he MADE IT!!!!

    The tides of battle turned, the players cheered, and Issilar no longer looks like a TPK.

    Did I rule incorrectly? Probably. I'd love to know.

    But did it make for a great, fun, hilarious roleplaying moment the kids'll remember? Absolutely.

    So in this particular use of Dominate, I like to think that the call at the table was the correct one.

    Of course, my alternative was a TPK, so I might be a wee bit biased...


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    Maybe they should invest in a wand of Protection from Evil or Clear Spindle Ioun Stone/Wayfinder?

    Also, which faction are they with?


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    Supperman wrote:

    Maybe they should invest in a wand of Protection from Evil or Clear Spindle Ioun Stone/Wayfinder?

    Also, which faction are they with?

    They're with the Pathfinders, and I out-and-out told Narmina's player that if they didn't get Protection from Evil soon, they'd have a TPK.

    Time will tell...

    They're with the Pathfinders, of course, but are very friendly with the Red Mantis...


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    I'd let charm give a new save against dominate -- getting Ordered to Attack Someone You Love is one of the classic triggers for breaking free of the evil enchanter. Sounds like everyone is having fun.


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    "The players cheered..."

    By definition, you made the right call.


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    Scary! It turns out even James Jacobs says I ran it correctly.

    Scary indeed!

    Yeah, I was thinking that the way I'd run Charm Person is that it changes the relationship. If Narmina Charmed Malek, then even if we was already obeying the order to attack her, he'd get a new save, because the conditions had changed.

    All in all, quite the entertaining evening, and now the party is desperate to protect that froggy brain. Which is a Good Thing.

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