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


Serpent's Skull

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The silence spell, causing unintended consequences since inception!


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GM_Beernorg wrote:
The silence spell, causing unintended consequences since inception!

It fundamentally amazes me just how poorly this group uses vision-impairing devices (the alchemist's Smoke Bomb) or caster shut-downs (the oracle's Silence spell) to hurt themselves.

There's just NO coordination between the players, so Hooken will be sitting there mowing down a group of enemies, and Voren will Smoke Bomb them for no reason. The Silence follies are even worse: Last night they did not stop a single enemy from casting a single spell. But they totally shut down Narlock's bardic performance for both Malek and Hooken, their biggest damage-dealers.

I'd say that Silence spell alone cost them over 50 points of damage against the enemies.

And did *nothing* for them.

It's just one of those, "Don't just DO something to DO something, guys! Think about WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH!" moments...

Talky's been doing his level best to get them to work together, but last night he was tired so he wasn't at the table, and look at the fiasco that ensued...


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One of the dangers of reading the advice forums or anything PFS-related: Too many people do not realize that there are times where no action may be the correct answer. Too many people who say that a spellcaster of any stripe should always cast a spell every single round.

I have one thing to say to that.

No.


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Seriously? Please Get It Together, People, played 05-Sep-2018

So, as I think I mentioned, Talky took me aside and expressed some concern about the negative tone of my writeups, so I've been trying to lighten up a bit, and be easier on my players. Then come nights like last night, where the sheer number of bone-headed decisions (and no, there is no "nicer" description for what they did) was downright appalling. I think it's indicative of the influence that Talky has on the group that last night he wasn't at the table, and oh. My. Goodness.

  • After reminding them how poorly declared actions of, "I follow the group" went last session, I told them, "You need to choose the person you're supposed to follow, and say, 'I follow that person.'"
    So the group immediately ignored me: Narlock had Invisibility Sphere on her, and they wanted to keep their invisibility. Mr. Stereotype, unbelievably, said, "I declare that I follow Voren."
    Yep. Not the person with the spell they were trying to keep. Just some random other person in the group. And no one called him on it! So the rest of the group all declared that they followed Voren. So when Voren cluelessly walked out of the Invisibility Sphere, so did the rest of the group. In their attempt to keep the spell, they managed to remove it from everybody at once!
  • Since they knew that their opponents were casters, they decided to put Silence on Kwai Chang and have him run up and disrupt the casters. Except... no one made sure Kwai Chang was OK with this. So once he was Silenced, instead of moving forward to disrupt the enemy, he declared, "I follow Voren." Since the rest of the group was also following Voren, this declaration shut down all of his own casters. And nobody called him on it!
  • Multiple times over both the previous session and this session, I described the dozens, if not hundreds, of morlocks held captive in cages throughout the room, most of whom were the wimpy low-level variety.
    The group didn't even consider this as they moved into the room in a cluster, triggering a set of fireballs from the nagas. Sure, this time the party was ready with Communal Resist Energy, but standing among several dozen morlocks who perished in flames really made their diplomacy with the morlocks harder.
  • In short, Book 5 should have ended last night. An illusion of the door would have made the investigating naga wander off (Athelya has Minor Image, but chose the aforementioned Silence instead), then the party could have moved forward, gotten the drop on the nagas, wiped them out in a Silence field, and the serpentfolk would have been none the wiser. They even knew that the nagas weren't telepathic! So, they had a flawless execution strategy that would have netted them 50+ barbarian warriors to help them clear the fortress.

    Instead, mistake after mistake after mistake, with bizarre and poor decisions, means this book will probably run 2-3 more sessions, as the group allowed the general alarm to be sounded again, and they can think of no means by which to free the morlocks, so they're just leaving them in their cages to be wiped out by stray Fireballs that come their way.

    So yeah, Talky dominating the group two sessions ago? Last night clearly demonstrated that the party can't function without his leadership.

    Anyway, I've already described most of the session, so here's the short summary:

    After silently shattering the door and having the morlocks all go silent, the party heard slithering coming towards the room, and we went into initiatives. As mentioned, instead of hiding the evidence, Athelya chose to start casting Silence, and since she wasn't hiding the evidence, the rest of the party started buffing and preparing for a fight. As two of the spirit naga sorceresses moved into the room to investigate and spotted the shattered door, the party made its ill-fated advance with Voren, turning itself visible while remaining silent. Recognizing the Silence field, the nagas retreated, dropping Fireballs on the party and calling out to their sisters that they were under attack again, and to sound the general alarm. The Fireballs didn't affect the party thanks to their Communal Energy Resist, but laid waste to dozens of morlock prisoners.

    The rest of the fight was a tentative advance against the nagas' retreat. The nagas in the back spent the time buffing themselves, while those in front spammed Blindness, finally blinding Voren, but a Heal from Athelya made quick work of that. Unfortunately, the fight took much longer than it should have, as the nagas had time to massively buff themselves (Mage Armor, Shield, Shield of Faith, and Displacement all stack, and +10 to AC is nothing to sneeze at) and call out to the serpentfolk guards that things weren't going well.
    The guards headed off on a flanking maneuver, and Narlock had the good sense to Grease their only possible entrance. In an amusing moment, Athelya summoned a pair of small earth elementals to break open the cages, but their 1d6+4 damage wasn't enough to get through the hardness of the cages (at least for the one round Athelya had them try).

    But all in all it was just a slogfest. Hooken laid general waste. Malek missed most of the time, but finally found his groove in time to drop one of the nagas. Narlock used Glitterdust to expose two of the nagas who had turned invisible, and in a complete embarrassment they went blind and couldn't recover (my five saving throws for the night were 2, 2, 2, 3, 5). On the other hand, Voren was trying to use Dispelling Bombs to debuff the nagas and wasn't doing much better; he needed all of a 5 or better and managed to fail with something like 5 bombs. Just an appalling night of rolling on top of everything else.
    But the Silence that kept preventing Malek and Hooken from getting Narlock's buffs was the real killer. It just devastated the combat. And it was on a stone that Kwai Chang was carrying around. He could have dropped it anywhere, but didn't.

    The final nail in the coffin of last night's session was when Athelya tried to use Mage Hand to toss the Silenced stone into a nearby pit to get rid of it. I had her roll Knowledge: Arcana first, she failed, and thus lost a round reminding herself that Mage Hand only works on non-magical objects; i.e. NOT objects that have Silence on them.

    It was just that kind of a night.


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    Vanykrye wrote:

    One of the dangers of reading the advice forums or anything PFS-related: Too many people do not realize that there are times where no action may be the correct answer. Too many people who say that a spellcaster of any stripe should always cast a spell every single round.

    I have one thing to say to that.

    No.

    Oh, don't get me started.

    The party's very first idea was to create an illusion of the door, and Athelya had the spell, but then they discarded the idea because, "Oh, it won't possibly work. I'm sure the nagas can see through illusions."

    You got past them with Invisibility!!! WHY WOULD THEY SEE THROUGH ILLUSIONS!?!?!?!?!

    I swear. The *only* time I have ever had NPCs recognize illusions was when they were cast right in front of the NPCs, and obviously weren't "real", and even then they couldn't see through them; they just thought, "OK, that's obviously an illusion, I'm going to close my eyes and see whether I can get through it."
    (Things like the great big dragon that appears right in front of you that doesn't produce sound or heat. Kind of a dead giveaway, but you still don't get to see past it...)

    And I don't even think that was in the kids' game.

    Illusions are so weak already that a GM who nerfs them even more is just kind of a jerk.


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    And I think that, in a nutshell, exemplifies my frustration with running this group: It's not only that it was 7 players (now 6), which doesn't work well in and of itself.

    It's that one player will propose the most-obvious, most-straightforward solution to a problem as one of the initial ideas. And the other players will shoot it down with a jaded, "Oh, that'll never work," as if I've gone out of my way to screw them over at every possible opportunity.

    Except I haven't. They've managed to do it to themselves over and over and over again, by throwing away an obvious and tactically-sound plan in favor of random thoughts and "every man for himself".

    As a GM, it gets really frustrating to hear, "Hey, let's try xxx!" and to think, "Wow! That's a really good idea! I hope they do that!", only to have it followed up with, "No, NobodysHome'll screw us over. He always does, so it can't possibly work, so we need to do something else."
    And they do something else, and it fails horribly, and yet again, "NobodysHome screwed us over."

    Yeah, it gets extremely frustrating being accused of doing things I've never even tried to do...


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    If they want a GM that WILL actively screw with their plans, I can introduce them to my old college GMs. Then they would know the true meaning of pain.

    sniffs the air some more

    They would actually make some of us break down in tears. Honest truth. I'm not saying that was a good thing, just that it happened and it wasn't a one time thing. And we kept playing with that group for years.

    Discuss Plan 1
    GM: That's not going to work. You know X, therefore Y, therefore imminent death

    Ok. Discuss Plan 2.
    GM: That's also not going to work.

    Ok...

    4 hours later

    Discuss Plan 7.
    GM: Nope. You forgot about Z.

    What haven't we discussed at this point? Is the only other option a full frontal assault on an enemy camp with a couple hundred enemies?

    Full frontal assault goes predictably horribly wrong, takes several more hours, only one character survives.

    GM: I have no idea why you thought that was going to be a good idea. Why did you decide on a full frontal assault?

    One player walks out of the apartment. One player sits at the end of the couch, sobbing. Two of us stare at GM in utter disbelief. One of us finally looks at the other and says...

    I disbelieve. This can't actually be happening.

    GM: Make a saving throw...spell...(2nd Ed D&D)

    SERIOUSLY THIS HAPPENED


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    I once had a player in my old Night Below AD&D campaign have a Protection from Fire spell put on him and then walked into the middle of a field to Fireball himself so he knew exactly how it felt, what it smelled like, and what it looked like from the inside. He then proceeded to use Spectral Image (a 3rd level illusion with heat, sound, and light aspects) to hit foes with multiple Fireball spells. And I allowed it because he thought it out.

    In my Reign of Winter campaign the same player used a Minor Illusion spell to create the image of a huge tree having fallen across the way so that they couldn't see the party. Hijinks ensued as both sides failed their saves massively and couldn't see through the sudden tree (with I think one exception on both sides). It was hilarious. ^_^

    ------------

    Of course, my favorite memory was when I realized the (2nd edition AD&D) Big Bad with a 25 Intelligence and 25 Wisdom (the highest you can get and essentially god-like) would think things through, realize he was going to lose to the PCs, realize "I'm already immortal and extremely powerful, why throw that away for Godhood if I'm going to lose my life moments later?" and showed up before the PCs, gave up all the artifacts needed to become a God, and said "I quit. I'm going on vacation to a nice desert island. Don't try to find me."

    The players were left speechless and then one spoke up afterward with a plaintive tone of "can he do that?"


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    Seriously? Please Get It Together, People, played 05-Sep-2018

    While I was out because I was wiped from a long day, I feel like the sluggish progress is really getting to me. After several attempts at the same fortress(due to the delays over the summer, we've been at it almost the entire year), I am getting sick of feeling like we are constantly being set back fight after fight, only to get what feels like very little. The lack of investment in the story as characters has been painful(I know in the past that has been because of my terrible in-person roleplay) because it makes the tough long fights feel empty and hollow. The last three sessions were incredibly spread out in terms of time, and so far they resulted in us getting to the sublevel, killing a few guards, killing most of the morlocks who could help us, and killing a few naga. I'm honestly at the end of my patience with Serpent's Skull. I don't know if the final fight will be worth it.

    I am frustrated, I know NobodysHome is frustrated, I know the Impii are frustrated, the only people who seem to care anymore is Mr. Stereotype and his father, and Bacon Boy. I don't see how either of them enjoy it, when there isn't much to do in story and they keep tactically getting in the way of the party.


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    Dawning Aegis wrote:
    I am frustrated, I know NobodysHome is frustrated, I know the Impii are frustrated, the only people who seem to care anymore is Mr. Stereotype and his father, and Bacon Boy. I don't see how either of them enjoy it, when there isn't much to do in story and they keep tactically getting in the way of the party.

    Yeah, it's just amazing how destructive they are to the group dynamic.

    "Just put an illusion of the door up and wait for them to go away."
    "No, that can't possibly work. So let's just do yet another f*****g full-frontal assault, having failed every single time we've tried it for the last year of real time."

    Gods. Mr. Sterotype is actually making good suggestions. "Let's turn invisible and fly over them! Let's make an illusion of the door!"
    Whatever he can do to suggest ways to avoid combat.

    And then Bacon Boy: "Nothing you EVER suggest will work, because NobodysHome will never allow it, because he's a sadistic b*****d, so we're not going to try that."

    I haven't named names until now, but yes, if we need to remove people from the group, Bacon Boy's negativity and shooting down everyone else's ideas without coming up with any of his own puts him #1 on the chopping list. Treating me like a jerk GM does nothing to help his case.


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    I've suggested this before, so forgive the repeat:

    Fast-forward everyone to the Boss Fight at The End. Award XP/apply milestone to desired level, award gp budget. PCs are advanced BEFORE the session begins. This should be doable.

    Then throw down and go out, one way or another, with a fang!


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    NobodysHome wrote:

    It's that one player will propose the most-obvious, most-straightforward solution to a problem as one of the initial ideas. And the other players will shoot it down with a jaded, "Oh, that'll never work," as if I've gone out of my way to screw them over at every possible opportunity.

    Except I haven't. They've managed to do it to themselves over and over and over again, by throwing away an obvious and tactically-sound plan in favor of random thoughts and "every man for himself".

    God, you've got my sympathy. Nearly the exact same thing was a very real risk for my kids, saved only by the fact that Desna herself kept them on a campaign-long beginner's luck streak.

    Kids, being the voice of negativity is no way to make the game fun. It makes you look like the bad guy trying desperately to shove your own inability to plan off on the GM, and if my experience is anything to go by...it doesn't work because the rest of the group will start complaining about the Negative Nancy making things unfun to the GM. Don't go down that road. It isn't fun.

    Going to second the Mad one. Shuffle things to put the campaign out of its misery - no one seems to be enjoying it, so streamlining to the end might be for the best. And it'll probably go over better than just, y'know, having a sudden earthquake hit the fortress and the dreaded Rocks Fall.


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    So, while I appreciate the idea of just going to, "Big boss fight! You win! The end!", doing so before they finish the fortress would be embarrassing and require a massive suspension of disbelief, and having the guards who just showed up just keel over dead or vanish wouldn't go over well, either.

    I just got a very nice email yet again asking me to please just end the campaign NOW, and not continue to make the people who are sick of it suffer.

    I replied that the last two times I've tried to end the campaign (once in email, once in person) I got no support from those who wanted to end it -- the people who want to doggedly continue said, "No! We have to finish it!", and those who want to end it just said, "Meh. Don't care one way or the other."

    So I've put it on them to end it. It shouldn't be hard. Bacon Boy and Mr. Stereotype are the only holdouts, and Mr. Stereotype is really a good guy; I like him a lot.

    How they're going to deal with Bacon Boy is up to them, but I think Serpent's Skull is dead.

    R.I.P. Serpent's Skull. You had a good run for a couple of years. Then you sucked, but I'll forgive you for that...


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    Interesting...
    ...Impus Major has volunteered to try GM'ing Rise of the Runelords for the group's next campaign.

    The issue will be choosing 4 players, since I will be adamant about that.
    - Impus Minor is a given
    - I am 99% sure Talky is in
    - Kwai Chang's player is being the "good adult in the room" and has agreed that if we all feel there are too many players, he should be the first to bow out. It's always irritating when the person with the most class is the first to bow out, but yes, as the adult in a room that is overcrowded with teens, he's right about needing to go

    So, two slots filled and at least five candidates for the remaining two slots:
    (1) Mr. Stereotype
    (2) Bacon Boy
    (3) Deady McDeaddead
    (4) (Hasn't appeared yet) Mr. Follow-you-home
    (5) (Hasn't appeared yet) The Girl Next Door

    I look forward to seeing how it all plays out...


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    "You had a good run for a couple of years."

    No...not that long now...

    Oh. Well. Look at that. First post on this thread is actually May 14, 2015. Holy Jumpin' Cayden.

    As enticing as Mad Comrade's suggestion may be, I actually agree with NH. It has to be on them to decide to let it die as a group, otherwise it will be considered to forever be NH's failing and supreme decision to end it, regardless of the actual facts of the matter.

    Once the decision has been made, give it a month or three. The ones who really want to play again will come around, and they'll decide on their own who they want to invite in, if anybody.

    Yeah, Dawning Aegis, you know I'm looking at you. Work it out with the Impii Brothers and whoever else. Just remember that scheduling conflicts become less of a headache with fewer people involved. If it turns out to be just you and the Impii Brothers, that's actually ok. Not trying to put more work on NH, but I know just from reading his campaign journals that he does GMPCs correctly.


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    Or NH can just wipe out everything I posted by getting in before me.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Best of luck to the kids on the new endeavor, I think a fresh slate - and removing the unpleasant influences from the table - is exactly what the group needs.

    Any chance we can convince one or the other of the Impii to record their antics here for us? =)


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    Orthos wrote:

    Best of luck to the kids on the new endeavor, I think a fresh slate - and removing the unpleasant influences from the table - is exactly what the group needs.

    Any chance we can convince one or the other of the Impii to record their antics here for us? =)

    Oh, don't worry; as co-GM I'll be sure to provide a blow-by-blow. :P


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    The funny thing is that just a couple days ago I started re-reading NH's Rise of the Runelords. Aiymi requested it for our home campaign. She's never been in a group that's made it through Book 2.

    Edit: Damn you autocorrect.


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    That was a fun three years. Is it alright to talk about how Serpent's Skull is supposed to end?


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    Supperman wrote:
    That was a fun three years. Is it alright to talk about how Serpent's Skull is supposed to end?

    I think at this point spoilers are fine.

    Considering how well the group treated with Chivane and got her the ancient artifact of Achaekek, in the final battle I was planning on trying to figure out how to have her show up riding his physical manifestation.

    Because god-on-god battle in a Godzilla-like final confrontation would have been cool...


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    My tabletop gaming group is a married couple. It's been over a year since our last tabletop game. Because stuff always comes up. Mind you, I've a new flatmate and he's interested in gaming (and last night joined my Skype group to help out with the NPC Cleric, seeing our fourth player has not showed up for three games now and I've not heard from her at all in a couple of months) and he's even making friends around here (he moved up from Florida) so I might actually get a local tabletop group together again. Which would be nice, to be honest.

    So smaller groups can still have scheduling conflicts. Even when two of the people live together you can still have scheduling conflicts. It's annoying, let me tell you. Ah well...


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    Tangent101 wrote:

    My tabletop gaming group is a married couple. It's been over a year since our last tabletop game. Because stuff always comes up. Mind you, I've a new flatmate and he's interested in gaming (and last night joined my Skype group to help out with the NPC Cleric, seeing our fourth player has not showed up for three games now and I've not heard from her at all in a couple of months) and he's even making friends around here (he moved up from Florida) so I might actually get a local tabletop group together again. Which would be nice, to be honest.

    So smaller groups can still have scheduling conflicts. Even when two of the people live together you can still have scheduling conflicts. It's annoying, let me tell you. Ah well...

    Oh, absolutely. It's just statistically better odds when you're dealing with 3-4 schedules rather than 5-6+.


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    Malek and Bara live happily and spawn freaky little tadpoles?

    Also god on god Godzilla fights are rather cool!

    Liberty's Edge

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    Just realized I haven't checked this thread in a couple months. It feels like only a few weeks!

    My group has also been talking ending the AP . . . we decided to keep going but skip the end of RtR and rewriting Saventh-Yhi. This AP's fetish for just throwing hundreds of low-level intelligent monsters at the PCs for them to mow down is and would otherwise continue to be kind of depressing for them.

    There's also the one player who has begun complaining about the time we've had set for the last 2 years straight, but I don't know how I can hope to fix that. I wake up 2 hours too early for the game as it is, and we're so spread out around the globe that finding another 3-hour block where everyone's regularly available is like picking a lock with a toothpick. So I think we're gonna drop down to three players, plus a side campaign for the player who shows up once a season (because I've lost patience for trying to explain to her what's going on and how we levelled up her character, much less running her as a relatively powerful NPC and having to build encounters that match her addition to the power level). And then I'm going to drop out of the Hell's Rebels game when my character dies (we're at the end of the first adventure, and the GM and I have agreed on my Rovagug-worshipping bloodrager who just got knocked to -Con+1 to transform into a gug-like abomination and help kill the last boss before she succumbs to her injuries). Lots of changes this fall . . .

    Anyway, I don't think there was any way this could've been avoided. Serpent's Skull is a meat grinder. Good luck in the next adventure path, boys.


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    Geez. Paizo.

    Forum just ate my post.

    The TL;DR version: Every AP uses swarms of low-level mooks at higher levels to avoid a constant stream of 4-on-1 encounters against semi-unique CR-appropriate bad guys. The issue with the kids' game is that every time someone came up with a sound tactical approach to the issue, someone else would shoot it down, and they'd end up doing something unfortunate.

    With a group dynamic that toxic, it's best to call it quits.


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    I'll try the example I gave one more time and see whether Paizo still kills it:

    In our Sunday game, our 10th-level party of 4 was being charged by 16 skeletal champions for a CR-equivalent encounter. The sorcerer declared that he'd put an Acid Pit in the middle of them as they arrived. The paladin and rogue acted as bait to funnel them into a tightly-packed group for the pit.

    15 of 16 failed Reflex saves later, and a CR-equivalent encounter cost us one 4th-level spell and no other resources and took under 5 minutes total.

    Consider how this would have played out for the kids' game:

  • With no walls, no pits, no tentacles, no webs, nor any other battlefield control spells other than Grease, the skeletons wouldn't even have slowed down. And Narlock only realized just how powerful Grease is last game, when she stopped an entire battalion of serpentfolk guards at a door because they couldn't make that DC 10 Acrobatics roll to get across the Grease. Not a lot of bad guys take Acrobatics. At high levels, battlefield control is everything.
  • Had Narlock suggested, "I'll put Grease on this side and you guys guard that side," the idea would have been opposed and shot down. Even though it would have been the best tactic available. It's that negativity and toxicity that convinced me that Talky and the Impii are right; the campaign needs to end before it starts impacting friendships.
  • Each person would have done their own thing and not worried about overall efficacy. As far as I know, only ONE of the six players has an armor class over 22. Considering they have Barkskin, Shield, and Magic Circle to boost Malek's armor class by 10 every time he fights, the fact that I tear him up every fight is a sad indictment of the lack of cooperation and planning. It's basically, "Malek, you have tons of hit points! Go in there and tank! What? You want Barkskin? Too bad! I spent all my slots on Arrow Eruption and other offensive spells!"
    So Malek and Kwai Chang each run off and do their own things (don't get me started on Kwai Chang still using shuriken at all at this level), so they don't provide the blockage that's needed, and then the party spreads out, more fearful of AoE spells than of opening up individual swarming by mooks. Considering a full-round attack from a single serpentfolk averages 41 points and a full 10d6 fireball is only 35 with a save, I'd be a lot more worried about the mook troops.

  • Anyway, this was supposed to be short, but I'd like Talky and the Impii to take away some tactical lessons from this.

    Rise of the Runelords has even more swarms of hard-hitting troops, this time with reach. Figuring out how to control the battlefield is something critical they need to work out.


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    And for those that aren't spellcasters, battlefield control is still a thing to consider, primarily by recognizing terrain and positioning.


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    Rise of the Runelords has even more swarms of hard-hitting troops, this time with reach. Figuring out how to control the battlefield is something critical they need to work out.

    Are you wedded to ROTL? I would actually suggest that you do Shattered Star instead, as part of your group has already done ROTL once, and, having done part 1 and part 2, it would set you up to do Return of the Runelords (part 3)at a later date.


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    Wrong group.

    No one in the group has done RotRL except me (ran it) and the Impii playing the goblins in Book 1 through sections that I made up whole cloth.

    The actual players in RotRL were Shiro, Hi, and GothBard, none of whom are on the list to play it this time.


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    Anyway, the ending to Serpent's Skull.

    Spoiler:
    You fight through a bunch of encounters with snake-themed enemies (Including one memorable encounter where polymorphed serpentfolk assassins try to get everyone alone and pick them off individually.) You also lead an army of Saventh-Yhi denizens into an invasion of the serpentfolk city. You get them down there by activating the pyramids in Saventh-Yhi. They're actually drills.

    Ultimately, you make it to the serpentfolk high priest and fight him and his giant pet snake in a giant room with Ydersius' huge fossilized skull in the center of the room. When the priest dies, he reveals that he actually already resurrected Ydersius from a tiny sliver of real bone in the petrified skull. Subsequently, Ydersius clambers out of a pit and you have a final boss fight against the still-vulnerable god.

    Liberty's Edge

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    I feel SS goes to something of an extreme with the mooks, though . . . where book 3 of RotR has an interesting fighter or sorcerer every few rooms, book 3 of SS just has 200 vegepygmies, 200 charau-ka, 100 humans, 100 troglodytes, etc. (don't have the actual numbers right now) and 2-3 unique encounters per district. It's not like the entire fortress comes at the party at once in RotR - this happens to a degree already in SS book 1 and 2 (cannibal camp, and charau-ka in Tazion if you set off the alarm).

    Then you have the writers getting out the troop rules for book 6 of SS XD

    Edit: To be clear, my players' issue is just as much with the amoral slaughter of hundreds as it is with the task of managing battlefield tactics. They liked killing the cannibals, but they're uncomfortable fighting charau-ka who they see as indigenous people in Tazion (they don't actually know they recently arrived). Saventh-Yhi is legitimately bad in that light - it's expected that you routinely kill dozens of largely innocent native people as you carry out your exploration.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Oh, geez, I'd totally forgotten about THAT!

    Yes, you are absolutely right! I rewrote almost all of Saventh-Yhi to avoid the whole, "Surrender Conditions: Kill 120 xxx" because yes, it was horrible.
    Instead, the group allied with the vegepygmies and humans, awed the boggards, assassinated just the leaders of the troglodytes, left the serpentfolk to their island, and only really slaughtered the charau-ka.

    But yes. As-written you're supposed to march in and kill hundreds of indigenous people. Not a great lesson...


    NobodysHome wrote:

    Wrong group.

    No one in the group has done RotRL except me (ran it) and the Impii playing the goblins in Book 1 through sections that I made up whole cloth.

    The actual players in RotRL were Shiro, Hi, and GothBard, none of whom are on the list to play it this time.

    Ok, but YOU have done it, and I'm sure if you ask, several (if not all) of the players have read the campaign journal (not to mention listened to dad go on and on and on about it...). Effectively that spoilers a whole bunch of the story. Whereas, doing Shattered Star leaves you & Impus Major up with the written up backstory from your ROTL campaign, as the known backdrop for Shattered Star.

    Not to mention we get to see you on all new material, not cribbing from your previous work...


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    So:
    (1) Nope. I can say with 100% confidence that not a single player (other than possibly Talky) has read even the first page of the journal.

    (2) Shattered Star is the reason we were playing Serpent's Skull. The kids turned loose in Magnimar were a catastrophe. If you think they're bad at combat tactics, put them into vague social situations where the "correct" action isn't unclear. I had two party wipes before I was halfway through Book 1 because the kids kept attacking high-level NPCs because they didn't catch on to the cues.
    I'm also pondering running Shattered Star for Hi, Shiro, and Gothbard "soon", and I don't want to double-run it.

    (3) I won't be GM'ing.

    (4) The whole point of using a campaign I've done before is that I can provide massive help to Impus Major without a lot of work on my side. Helping Impus Major run a new campaign would be... Major work.


    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    I would pay you for a journal of Shiro, Hi, and Gothbard doing Shattered Star.


    I’m sorry to see it end, but it seems it needed to happen. So close! Ah, well. Good luck and I look forward to reading whatever antics everyone gets up to next time!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    We will all miss you Bara!

    You had the voice of an angle, and the appetite of a very Very VERY large African bullfrog (yeah, the big ones, that eat nearly anything, even each other)

    MVM (most valuable monster) indeed.....you earned that plaque and trophy!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I think Bara themed t-shirts should be a thing.


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    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    We will all miss you Bara!

    You had the voice of an angle, and the appetite of a very Very VERY large African bullfrog (yeah, the big ones, that eat nearly anything, even each other)

    MVM (most valuable monster) indeed.....you earned that plaque and trophy!

    That's a rather pointed remark.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    I think Bara themed t-shirts should be a thing.

    Joining Team Put-a-Shirt-On!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    The Sideromancer wrote:
    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    We will all miss you Bara!

    You had the voice of an angle, and the appetite of a very Very VERY large African bullfrog (yeah, the big ones, that eat nearly anything, even each other)

    MVM (most valuable monster) indeed.....you earned that plaque and trophy!

    That's a rather pointed remark.

    No need to get sharp with him, man!


    Please note:

    The following is very, very wrong for multiple reasons. I am ashamed of it on multiple levels.

    ... I also apologize for nothing.

    Tacticslion wrote:
    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    I think Bara themed t-shirts should be a thing.

    Joining Team Put-a-Shirt-On!

    So Bara is joining a wet t-shirt contest, then?

    Liberty's Edge

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Vanykrye wrote:
    I would pay you for a journal of Shiro, Hi, and Gothbard doing Shattered Star.

    Honestly, yeah. I think it would be permissible for you to open a Patron for that, and I would definitely be willing to drop a Hamilton or so per update.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Here's my update-of-the-moment:

  • The three players who wanted to keep the campaign going have agreed to end it *after* they finish the fortress. Considering that's only 1-2 sessions away, I'm fine with that
  • One of them (Kwai Chang) is out of state until October, so we plan on our first "final session" on October 3, continuing with sessions until we're wrapped up
  • There's some animosity popping around in the group (yes, mainly from Bacon Boy) about the breakup, but I pointed out that we now have TEN players (not including me) who want to be in on a weekly game, so the notion of having just ONE group is ludicrous
  • So far, it sounds like Impus Major will be GM'ing Rise of the Runelords, I'll be assisting him, and Impus Minor and Talky are the two "guaranteed" players. Deady is very interested in coming back if the negative ninnies are gone. The problem is the final slot, where Impus Major wants to put two people: Mr. Follow You Home and Mr. "Nothing that you like is any good, but everything I like is cooler than anything you'll ever like", soon to have his name shortened to something more reasonable (and get kicked out of that group if that attitude applies to his gaming style).

  • So I'm putting November 7 as a tentative first date for RotRL.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Could it be... Mr. I Am So Great!


    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    I propose "Li'l Hipster."


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL............

    Owww Scintillae...I laughed so gorram hard I hurt my ribs!

    No seriously, if that is the 'tude...he deserves that name.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    I am *SOOOOOOO* going with "Li'l Hipster"!

    It will piss him off soooooooooooo much!

    Now if I can just trick him into wearing a man bun for the game.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    So looking forward to the RotR thread...

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