Tapestry's Toil


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5/5

So I ran this tonight and generally enjoyed it quite a lot, I would rate it as one of the more interesting season 6 adventures. However, it has a lot going on in it, I would not recommend trying to run this cold, and there are also some gaps which could really have done with being filled. I am going to keep this fairly brief so as not to spoil anything for people tempted to peek prior to it being run at Paizocon.

Spoiler:
OK, there really needs to be a bit more information around some of the environmental effects and travelling.

1. We don't have any information on how deep the river is in encounter 2 or how concealed the creatures are at the bottom of it. There is a suggestion that the pool is clear but it isn't certain from the map which bit is the pool. Also Control Water here adds some really interesting options.

2. No distance or time is given for the trip between the initial village and the mountain. This is pretty important for issues of spell durations. I set it at about a five hour hike but that was a complete guess.

3. Similarly no information is given about the amount of time it takes to move between locations once you get inside the fortress. It might have been nice if the check to get around affected timings, as it stood I just set it at one hour between each location.

4. We also have little information about the environment within, especially for the encounter areas. We don't know ceiling height or light levels. I generally went with a very open ceiling at the forge and a much lower one in the sanctum. I had dim or no light throughout.

5. The check to get about could have been much more interesting if it included more than simple damage for failure. It could easily have influenced things like the amount of warning enemies got, available buffs or number of mooks. As it stands it is largely a wand tax with a chance at some descriptive flourish on the GM's part. Unfortunately there is very little description of the interior to work with. It also wasn't entirely clear if the damage for failure came in one chunk or separate healable amounts.

6. I would repeat that this is not one to run without good prep. The river and sanctum encounters have the potential to be very complex. The final boss, especially on high tier, has a number of abilities that you want to make sure you are familiar with. He taxed my group right to the limit.

7. The end bosses spite move is one I was very surprised to see in a 5-9. If it happens you are looking at either permanent character loss or an extremely crippling financial cost. I don't mind things like that in 7-11 but in a 5-9 it is too brutal.

8. If anyone planning to run this wants my notes drop me a PM and I will send them across. I will add them to the prep site post paizocon

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

Overall, the scenario looks nice, though tough.

1- a) Moving from area A to B1 would take only a few minutes, depending on how long the party talks to the eidolon.

b) Moving from area B1 to B2 would take time based on the party's Climb speeds.

c) Navigating the Mountain is the issue: How long does it take to move from one area to the next? The textbox gives no info.

2- Encounter B2: I notice the constructs have the Grab ability in the SQ for both subtiers, but it was not added in the Offense section. Am I too assume that they don't use the ability in the low tier?

3- Wow to mistakes being punished at such an unforgiving rate!

5/5

Monkhound wrote:
1- a) Moving from area A to B1 would take only a few minutes, depending on how long the party talks to the eidolon.

I am not sure what you are basing this on, I can find literally nothing which tells us how far the mountain is from the village. The scenario simply says that the mountain rises "in one direction".

Quote:
b) Moving from area B1 to B2 would take time based on the party's Climb speeds.

Likewise I don't think this is true either, the river ford is not directly next to the entrance. Again the description simply says that the mountain "rises overhead".

I may well be missing something so if I have please let me know. I enjoyed running this a lot and so may be looking to run it again.

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

andreww wrote:
Monkhound wrote:
1- a) Moving from area A to B1 would take only a few minutes, depending on how long the party talks to the eidolon.
I am not sure what you are basing this on, I can find literally nothing which tells us how far the mountain is from the village. The scenario simply says that the mountain rises "in one direction".

Just under the paraphrase text of area B1.

Quote:
Quote:
b) Moving from area B1 to B2 would take time based on the party's Climb speeds.

Likewise I don't think this is true either, the river ford is not directly next to the entrance. Again the description simply says that the mountain "rises overhead".

I may well be missing something so if I have please let me know. I enjoyed running this a lot and so may be looking to run it again.

For the distance between B1 and B2, I misread. Apologies :) I Somehow got the impression it was just beyond the river.

5/5

Monkhound wrote:
andreww wrote:
Monkhound wrote:
1- a) Moving from area A to B1 would take only a few minutes, depending on how long the party talks to the eidolon.
I am not sure what you are basing this on, I can find literally nothing which tells us how far the mountain is from the village. The scenario simply says that the mountain rises "in one direction".
Just under the paraphrase text of area B1.

I assume you mean this:

Spoiler:
The beautiful pool captured by Hao Jin remained peaceful and undisturbed for centuries. However, since the arrival of the Ironwhip duergar, a cruel mockery has come to replace this tranquility. The waterfall is 30 feetoff of the map to the south

I read that as meaning the waterfall was 30' to the south of the B1 Map, not the A map.

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

Monkhound wrote:
andreww wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
b) Moving from area B1 to B2 would take time based on the party's Climb speeds.

Likewise I don't think this is true either, the river ford is not directly next to the entrance. Again the description simply says that the mountain "rises overhead".

I may well be missing something so if I have please let me know. I enjoyed running this a lot and so may be looking to run it again.

For the distance between B1 and B2, I misread. Apologies :) I Somehow got the impression it was just beyond the river.

Ah, I found what gave me the impression the stairs are located next to the waterfall. The box with Navigating the Mountain mentions there is a passage from the waterfall into the inner Sanctum, and although there is no description as to how to use the shortcut, it suggests the stairs are very close to the waterfall. What do you think?

What bugs me a bit in the waterfall encounter, is how the special touch works: if in spoiler-Form, is an attack roll necessary, or does it automatically succeed? The wording is somewhat unclear to me.

5/5

Monkhound wrote:
What bugs me a bit in the waterfall encounter, is how the special touch works: if in spoiler-Form, is an attack roll necessary, or does it automatically succeed? The wording is somewhat unclear to me.

I read it as anyone who is affected by the spoiler form is touched automatically although it can also be used offensively with a touch attack.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Assistant Developer

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andreww wrote:

So I ran this tonight and generally enjoyed it quite a lot, I would rate it as one of the more interesting season 6 adventures. However, it has a lot going on in it, I would not recommend trying to run this cold, and there are also some gaps which could really have done with being filled. I am going to keep this fairly brief so as not to spoil anything for people tempted to peek prior to it being run at Paizocon.

Thank you for your feedback! I will take it into consideration as I develop future scenarios for PFS. I would be happy to fill in some details that were missing from the scenario. Since these details are not in the scenario itself, these aren't "official rulings", but GMs are free to use them if they would like to.

Some missing details:

1. We don't have any information on how deep the river is in encounter 2 or how concealed the creatures are at the bottom of it. There is a suggestion that the pool is clear but it isn't certain from the map which bit is the pool. Also Control Water here adds some really interesting options.
In encounter 2, a depth of ~15 feet would work well. Deep enough to drown in, but not so deep that combat is likely to split into a surface fight and an underwater fight. As far as what is clear-all of the water on the map is clear. I am not surprised this map ended up being confusing: the waterfall itself not on the map, because the encounter area already takes up an entire flip-mat.
If you were wondering why the waterfall is described as being "to the south", but the map looks like the water is flowing from the north, well, at some point the compass rose got flipped upside down. Feel free to stick the waterfall off the north end if you would prefer. The waterfall itself is not intended to be a part of this encounter, but you are welcome to include it if you wish.

2. No distance or time is given for the trip between the initial village and the mountain. This is pretty important for issues of spell durations. I set it at about a five hour hike but that was a complete guess. I would set this at a day's journey, so the PCs refresh their spells before entering the mountain.

3. Similarly no information is given about the amount of time it takes to move between locations once you get inside the fortress. It might have been nice if the check to get around affected timings, as it stood I just set it at one hour between each location. If I were running the scenario, I would probably put the time at 15 minutes between locations, but its is up to each individual GM what they want to do.

4. We also have little information about the environment within, especially for the encounter areas. We don't know ceiling height or light levels. I generally went with a very open ceiling at the forge and a much lower one in the sanctum. I had dim or no light throughout. Dim or no light throughout is the call I would make too. Specifically, no light except dim light in the forge and in the mines (if the PCs help rescue the slaves). After all, since duergar have darkvision, only slaves need light to see. The intent behind not spelling out the entire interior was to steer the adventure away from PCs trying to explore the entire mountain and fight all of the duergar within, which is an adventure beyond the scope of a PFS scenario, but you make a good point that GMs could have used more information to work with.

5. The check to get about could have been much more interesting if it included more than simple damage for failure. It could easily have influenced things like the amount of warning enemies got, available buffs or number of mooks. As it stands it is largely a wand tax with a chance at some descriptive flourish on the GM's part. Unfortunately there is very little description of the interior to work with. It also wasn't entirely clear if the damage for failure came in one chunk or separate healable amounts. It would have been more interesting with those details, and I'll make a note of your suggestion for future "abstract combats". For each 5 points by which the PCs fail the check to navigate the mountain, they encounter a patrol. Each patrol deals 1d8+X damage, which the PCs take in separate, healable chunks.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Assistant Developer

Monkhound wrote:


2- Encounter B2: I notice the constructs have the Grab ability in the SQ for both subtiers, but it was not added in the Offense section. Am I too assume that they don't use the ability in the low tier?

I double-checked the construction points for those guys. They do have grab, and its omission from the Offense section is an error.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Assistant Developer

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Monkhound wrote:

Ah, I found what gave me the impression the stairs are located next to the waterfall. The box with Navigating the Mountain mentions there is a passage from the waterfall into the inner Sanctum, and although there is no description as to how to use the shortcut, it suggests the stairs are very close to the waterfall. What do you think?

What bugs me a bit in the waterfall encounter, is how the special touch works: if in spoiler-Form, is an attack roll necessary, or does it automatically succeed? The wording is somewhat unclear to me.

The intent with the shortcut is:
It is intended to be a shortcut to escape the dungeon, rather than another way in. The hole behind the waterfall has total cover.

That being said, if your PCs take actions that at your discretion as a GM seem like they would give them a chance to find the opening, such as if the PCs are specifically investigating the waterfall itself, you can consider giving them a difficult Perception check (DC 25 or 30, depending on Subtier) to locate the opening. The rules for climbing up the wall behind the waterfall appear on page 19 under "Hazard". PCs who go in that way do get the Sky Key, but they are more likely to skip other encounters. If that happens, I would suggest playing up the role of Swareti to encourage the PCs to enter the mountain itself.

As for the special touch in the waterfall encounter:
I assume you are talking about the line, "If a living creature within the fossegrim’s melee reach touches or physically interacts with the illusion, the fossegrim reaches out to kiss or otherwise touch that creature, automatically affecting the creature with its drowning touch ability. " In this case, the attack roll automatically succeeds, because the PC herself is reaching out to touch the fossegrim.

5/5

Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
andreww wrote:

So I ran this tonight and generally enjoyed it quite a lot, I would rate it as one of the more interesting season 6 adventures. However, it has a lot going on in it, I would not recommend trying to run this cold, and there are also some gaps which could really have done with being filled. I am going to keep this fairly brief so as not to spoil anything for people tempted to peek prior to it being run at Paizocon.

Thank you for your feedback! I will take it into consideration as I develop future scenarios for PFS. I would be happy to fill in some details that were missing from the scenario. Since these details are not in the scenario itself, these aren't "official rulings", but GMs are free to use them if they would like to.

** spoiler omitted **...

Thanks very much for that. I do have a couple of follow on questions/comments.

Spoiler:
1. If the water is clear then the undead at the bottom have nowhere to hide making it unlikely anyone will be swimming down to investigate the treasure. I stuck them in mud and weeds when I ran it but it would have gone very differently if they were visible.

2. Ironwhip is a great villain but he is complex. He has a number of subtly powerful abilities which it would have been helpful to detail in his stat block. For example his tactics have him using Shard Explosion but unless you are pretty thorough in your prep it is very easy to miss that this is a swift action which he can only use a limited number of times (2 or 3).

3. Ironwhip also has earthglide which is an ability which may cause a degree of disagreement/confusion as the rules are not very strong on how it works. I tend to run it as if he were a swimming creature so he generally gets cover or improved cover depending on how far underground he is. Its also very interesting from a tactical point of view allowing him to retreat and buff if need be.

4. There is a small error in Ironwhips statblock, his CMD should be 3(low tier) or 4 (high tier) higher than listed as Shield of Faith adds to it.

5. Its a small thing but high tier Ironwhip casts Magic Vestment on his shield but not his armour, he could easily add another 2 points of AC doing so.

6. A point for people running this, he has Wall of Stone as a 4th level spell from his mystery which adds lots of tactical options. I dropped one while the PC's were deciding what to do outside (as he can see them with Crystal Sight) to remove the chance of charging. It also clumped people up nicely for repeat flame strikes. Adding a Blade Barrier also held off several PC's.

Dark Archive 2/5

In encounter b4 it mentions Gaer Medlock is a zombie yet no stats are given for him

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hawkwing wrote:
In encounter b4 it mentions Gaer Medlock is a zombie yet no stats are given for him

Re-read the encounter. You don't need a statblock for him.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

That would be due to his exiting the scene during the box text.

Dark Archive 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
That would be due to his exiting the scene during the box text.

Exit. Stage Left!

4/5

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

While prepping, I noticed that Ironwhip's CMD seems a bit low in both subtier. It seems like he's not getting his deflection bonus to AC added to his CMD as well

4/5

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It looks like there are a couple of other miscalculations at the low subtier for Ironwhip:

  • His flat-footed AC is one less then it should be. Since his Dex modifier is +0 and he doesn't have a dodge bonus to AC, so his flat-footed should be the same as his normal AC.
  • His initiative is +5, but it should be +4 since he's got a Dex modifier at +0 and Improved Initiative.

I wonder if he had a +1 Dex modifier in some previous iteration of his stats and these were never corrected when his Dex mod was shifted.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

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Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:

Thank you for your feedback! I will take it into consideration as I develop future scenarios for PFS. I would be happy to fill in some details that were missing from the scenario. Since these details are not in the scenario itself, these aren't "official rulings", but GMs are free to use them if they would like to.

** spoiler omitted **...

Linda - as someone who's prepping this on short notice to run, I *really* appreciate your feedback and information that you've posted! This will help me out a TON for tomorrow! Thank you!

5/5

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So, I ran a core game of this over the weekend with 4 players at the lower tier and it was again a blast. I incorporated some of the suggestions above and had a great time with it. The party negotiated with Grondel again, I havent had her fight anyone yet, and navigated the river fairly easily. The fey was a bit more troublesome and the party wizard spent a lot of time stuck in an Orb but they overcame him.

The gate guards were dealt with easily, it isnt a difficult fight on either tier and they negotiated with Tanbaruk. He got them to the forge without incident where Muerrit was hit with a Suggestion to surrender. She did but the Xorn was having none of it and attacked the party viciously, downing the barbarian with a critical bite. Muerrit was distresed by people attacking Droskers representative but affected by the suggestion she limited herself to casting buffs on him. Fortunately the 4 player adjustment meant she hadnt cast any on herself!

They overcame it eventually and moved on to the sanctum where again things went south. Ironwhip is an absolute beast in combat, especially when using earth glide to gain cover in addition to his other abilities. This time he again dropped a wall of stone near the door to slow down the group and just started wailing on them. His minions went down fast but he was piling on the damage. In desperation the wizard dropped a stinking cloud to provide some cover.

His snake familiar was sent into the office to retrieve the sky key under the cover of the cloud. It grabbed it and set off the trap but fortunately wasnt affected. The barbarian ended up fleeing with the snake and the Key using a fly potion, the other Barbarian and Wizard similarly flew off (but into the citadel as Ironwhip blocked the exit with another wall of stone) and the poor pregen Kyra was reduced to a wet stain from a warhammer crit. Ironwhip animated her corpse out of spite which I think shuts down the Kyra clone vats so everyone else has to play a different pregen now.

In the end the group completed their mission but lost a PP from the secondary as Tanbaru wouldnt ally with them as they fled Ironwhip.

Overall another excellent game and I heartily recommend this one to everyone.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll second Mike's comment. That info is really helpful.

Also I'll point out that my prep is up online for this one. Multiple full casters plus stat blocks all over the place meant that it was easier to pull everything together in one place, even if that meant creating a 25 page document.

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

Ran it yesterday at 4-player high tier and I noticed some errors in the editing:

Brahlim & Narimid:
Does the enchanting music ability work under water? Cinematographically, this would be correct, but I don't see it written anywhere.

Mueritt:
In neither tier did I notice she has any holy symbol.

Chergin:
In the high tier, his caster level for spell-like abilities is noted as "(CL 9th; Concentration +13)" which should be 12th and +16.

---
As said, 4-player high tier.

Party Composition:
Party composition:
LvL6 "Don't Come near me, or... Trip!" Investigator
LvL7 "Total Support" Bard
LvL8 Barbarian with a fascination for the Sunder Combat Maneuver
LvL9 Arcane Duelist Bard

First Encounter:

Spoiler:
The players were no murder hobo's, so everything went well and they got all the info they needed.

Second encounter:

Spoiler:
The draugr captains and Brahlim had them worried, but the party's tactics worked very well in their favor.
They only took 4 negative levels, and they rested for a day to make the saves to prevent them from becoming permanent. Since there is no haste factor in the scenario, that was no problem, but they murdered Brahlim "because he tried to drown us", so he could not give them any information.

Third Encounter:

Spoiler:
This one was too easy. The duergar didn't stand any chance and they used a Grease spell to prevent the statue from coming closer. When the duergar were dead, Tanbaru appeared and they accepted to help him get even.
I must say I expected more of this encounter, but if you make it impossible for the statue to reach you, the encounter has no "Oomph" at all.
Low tier: The Duergar Sergeants are really pathetic. A +5 attack against level 5-6 characters means they will generally need a 17 or higher to hit with their main weapon.
High tier: 3 or 4 level 5 Duergar do absolutely nothing at this level.
The party was scared at the amount of statues, though.

Navigating the mountain:

Spoiler:
I understand the need for abstraction, but this felt like "Well, let's just drain resources we have aplenty anyway", seeing the amount of healing potions and wands that are found in this adventure. Maybe inflicting a condition, or more thorough preparation for Mueritt and the BBEG would have been more in order.

Fourth Encounter:

Spoiler:
With only one Xorn protecting her, her spell during the second round fizzled, and she didn't survive that.

BBEG:

Spoiler:
That moment when you ask:
GM: "Could I borrow some D6's from you guys? I don't have enough.
Party: "Yeah sure, how many?"
GM: "I'm 'a need 12".

In the high tier, he has some nasty abilities with a damage potential of 18d6 for the first 3 rounds, combining his Shard Explosion ability (Swift) with either Flame Strike or Blade Barrier. For a barely in tier party, this can be quite nasty, but they brought their A-game and they played it smart.
I have to say I like the design of this encounter very much:
- Chergin's spell selection is quite scary, as it should be.
- The mooks are not impressive (at all, and they could have had a slight upgrade to their attack modifier), but they still force you to make tactical decisions, rather than just charge through the room and defeat the end guy.

But all in all, I enjoyed this scenario and would give it 4 stars. I'll try to remember to write a review :).

5/5

Did you use Ironwhips earth glide? He can attack while partially submerged to gain cover as well as the rest of his buffs. The xorn can do the same.

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

I played the Investigator in Monkhound's game and I had a great time. My compliments; rarely has a 4-player adjustment felt so exactly spot-on.

River Encounter:
The fight with the draugr was my favourite. That mat lands on the table, you look at the river, and you just go "this is going to be bad, and that's exactly right. Before you even see any enemies.

We killed the fossegrim because really, something whose literary function is to drown people, and who decides to side with level-draining undead against you "because it's defending its territory from both you and them" - what basis for trust us that? My investigator worships the Pallid Princess, but there are limits.

Temple Fight:
I liked the fight at the temple entrance. Monkhoud put minis on the table for all the statues, so we didn't know in advance which ones might animate and come after us. Had us proper nervous. But we did well on initiative, Hasted, and ran up the stairs before any statues got into the action. The duergar folded surprisingly easily.

I think in this fight, if as a GM you set the scene properly, players are likely to pull out all the stops. We start combat at the edge of a long drop down, that makes us twitchy.

By this point, we were going "Aram Zey told us not try not to murder people", but it's been well-established that the Society and Duergar are enemies (Legacy of the Stonelords). Given that they opened fire on us, it's probably okay to respond in kind.

Then they fold like a house of cards. Based on what the Eidolon said, we were entertaining the possibility that they might not be real Duergar, just "dwarves that had their youth stolen" by some curse. But when a L8 barbarian goes to deal nonlethal damage to the last remaining enemy who's teetering on low HP, and gets a crit, well, that's a painted-red temple for you.

Navigation:
The navigation in the fortress... well, so far it was the only damage I'd taken. (My build is specialized in attacking from behind other PCs.) I liked the idea of the oni guiding us through. Maybe add a bit more descriptive text though?

We'd squashed the dueargar at the entrance, so it kinda made sense that random patrols could be dispensed with in this way, rather than play them out as full encounters. I'm okay with this design.

Forge Encounter:
The encounter at the forge was a bit weird. Here come these people wielding lots of weaponry. And you happily address them as slaves?

By the time she was done speeching the arcane duelist had invisibly crept up behind her. It was a rather unremarkable fight.

Final Fight:
The final fight was a good one. We came at the guy with a fairly heavy offensive and he held out for a bit. He pulled off a couple of impressively nasty spells. But against him he was facing a Greater/Spell Sunder barbarian and a (Disruptive!) Arcane Duelist bard with a Improved Whip Mastery, Greater Trip and a Holy Whip.

I think the whole fight took about three rounds, but by then he'd taken about 300 damage, most of it adamantine, and he was quite dead. But he'd managed to put quite a hurt on the barbarian and arcane duelist too. (I was in the back, mopping up after them. My investigator's fairly effective, but that barbarian is a monster.)

Aftermath:
Freeing the Wayang clan was kinda weird. I think here's where you bump up against the limits of the abstract mountain navigation - abstractly liberating a group of prisoners just feels a bit weird. But on the other hand, you just turned the high priest into a Jackson Pollock painting. Seeing the Wayang boon on the Chronicle sheet also looks kinda weird, like an oblique threat that soon Wayang won't be a generally available PC race anymore. This just feels strange to me.

Re: the trap on the Sky Key piece. We triggered this because we were in "okay, we killed the boss, scenario's over now" mode as players, but that trap can be really nasty. If the level 8 barbarian next to you get Confused and goes for Attack Nearest Creature that could be a TPK out of nowhere. Fortunately for us, that didn't happen.

I personally have a strong tendency after the final boss fight, to lose a lot of focus. I'm not so sure it's good writing to put in a super-clever bit right after that; I think a lot of players might not be in the right mind-state for it then. We just want to loot and brag a bit at that point.

Sure, it makes sense for a trap to be there. But I wouldn't want to write any critically important pieces of the scenario into that moment right after the final fight against a seriously dangerous boss.

As for the chronicle sheet,

Chronicle:
The Grand Lodge boon is pretty cool. I imagine it will see some use in the upcoming Special to show people who's boss.

I quite like the boon to take the oni as a familiar, especially the bit about LG casters turning him LN. That makes good sense with his background as a kami. Nice work on making the boon more inclusive there in a way that doesn't feel forces.

On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this scenario. Playing up in this was kinda scary but I was able to pull my weight. It felt like "tough but fair", which I personally think is the ideal difficulty for a scenario.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle aka Taenia

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So I ran this multiple times at Paizo Con including as a qualifier for my 5th star. One of my favorite sections was the Navigation.

Navigation:

So I couldn't resist turning this into one of those great fantasy montages, describing the characters hiding around corners, slipping down dark hallways or hiding out in rooms.

Depending on if and how much damage they took I would describe them running into a single patrol, or if they failed miserably, something like "you find yourself moving quietly through the fortress when you suddenly turn into a huge gallery with 30 duergar being martialed into teams ready to hunt down the intruders, there is a moment of stunned silence as you all look at them and they all look at you, suddenly the "insert most appropriate party character" shouts and a grand melee erupts.

One fun additions was something like, "You all quickly duck into a room and momentarily surprised by a loud rumble, you turn and see down the wall twelve bunks each containing a sleeping Duergar. Someone raises his finger to his mouth saying, "Shhhhh" as you all quickly tip toe out of the room.

Once they get past the forge I also included this one:

You find another set of stairs that lead up and a pair of double doors to the south, carefully looking in your find a large kitchen, deserted. You guys are on the run again, one of you is holding a big piece of cheese, another a giant turkey leg, the elf seems to be running while carefully comtemplating the glass of wine in his hand, occasionally swirling it around to look at the color, while the barbarians has grabbed a hunk of meat the size of his greatsword.

It is really fun to just introduce moments like that into the navigation, I almost did a scooby doo door scene being chased by a patrol of duergar, but didn't want to drag it to far out given the convention slot time.

Sovereign Court

I could have used another line of description for Tanbaru in running this.

He was forced into servitude how? Why is he helping them at all instead of... leaving?

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

Quadstriker wrote:

I could have used another line of description for Tanbaru in running this.

He was forced into servitude how? Why is he helping them at all instead of... leaving?

Tanbaru needs a goal to kling on to life. Without one, he has no reason to exist.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Ok, I ran this last night, at the high-tier with 4-player adjustment.

This ran long... and I didn't see any optional encounters... did I miss something?

The party was able to talk their way through the first encounter, (thanks to a reroll). This didn't take long. The fight at the river did take quite a long time... the water and the fossegrim's transparency caused a lot of tactical issues... and the draugr were on fire. About 90 minutes for this fight, as I recall (which was about how long it took when I played it, too).

The fight in the forge was a little slow, too, partially due to the tight quarters, probably about 45 minutes, I should guess.

The final fight also ended up taking 90 minutes with this group. I think this was partially due to the tactics I ended up using (how does Ironwhip use his shards if the PCs are not near him? However, the blade barrier no matter how tactically sound slowed things down a lot). The party seemed scared to engage him, and primarily used the elemental gems and summoned critters to engage him.

So. where can I cut things down to make sure that this runs in a Gen Con slot? Usually, I would remove the optional encounter, but there isn't one.

5/5

I don't think you did anything wrong. I might provide some extra space around the forge, the map is very small but the description clearly suggests its a much bigger area.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Manchester aka Merisal The Risen

If really struggling for time I'd be tempted to push the forge fight to an on the way out encounter and if time gets called before that can happen deduct the forge rewards. What that does for prestige / other rewards I can't be sure as I'm hoping to play this again before I run it (Kyra235 must be avenged)

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Thinking about it, I can certainly do things like calling some of the fights early... depending how the Fossegrim Falls fight is going, I could always have the fey surrender early (though the draugr wouldn't, they are the faster part of the fight).

The stairway has potential of going long, due to the nature of things, but stressing "don't split the party" (as I put it... "What's the first rule of an adventuring party?") will help a lot. This one actually went fast when I ran it (but VERY slow when I played it, 'cause we split up).

Interesting point about the Forge, Merisal. I drew in a corridor, which may have been the wrong thing to do. Next time, I will just place the map on a blank flip mat, and let 'em go at it.

The final fight... well, when I played it (and fropm what I heard from other tables), it went amazingly fast. But, what do you expect when a paladin charges up, smiting... round two would have been a Litany of Righteousness with a full round attack, had the shaman not slumber hexed him.

All in all, I will probably wrap up combats as soon as it is apparent that it is over... and just hand-wave the damage, since they'll either have a wand of CMW or CSW with 25 charges, AND a CLW with 50.

I still think that the patrol mechanic is silly, but whatever.

5/5

Jack Brown wrote:
The final fight... well, when I played it (and fropm what I heard from other tables), it went amazingly fast. But, what do you expect when a paladin charges up, smiting... round two would have been a Litany of Righteousness with a full round attack, had the shaman not slumber hexed him.

In that case I would expect him to withdraw using earth glide into the floor and then harry the group popping out off walls and dropping spells to split them up. Especially if you are playing high tier.

I have run it twice and both times I have had him drop a wall of stone at the entrance while groups faffed about outside dropping buffs. It has really slowed groups down getting to him. He can see them using his crystal sight so there is no reason for him to sit twiddling his thumbs.

4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Having played at your table this weekend (I was the semi-useless trip guy to your left), a couple of things I noted:

  • Fossegrim encounter was fine, it was just the way we approached it that was substandard. You mentioned surrendering early, but to be fair to the table, we hadn't done much of anything prior to the eidolon's full attack
  • Stairs was fast, but this will be heavily dependent on how many negative levels are applied by the draugr captains before. If you have a party that's badly mauled from the prior encounter, you might want to have the fossegrim suggest that they rest before ascending to force the saves and potentially clear the negative levels.
  • As andreww noted, the forge encounter was very cramped with just the hallway. Other than that, it went fairly fast.
  • You might consider the patrol mechanic to be the optional encounter. We wasted a fair amount of time figuring out who would be the primary for the check when it's clear that it was just a resource soak for the resources provided by the scenario.
  • I'm very unclear about the timing of the last encounter. We got to the door and opened it, got monologued by box text, and the boss had full buffs when we arrived. I wasn't given the impression that we could buff outside the door, so I'm not sure how the boss would have sufficient warning for min/lvl buffs (a.k.a. you might consider skipping a few buffs if the table is running long). There was also a bit of tactical issues on our end that extended the combat, particularly when it came to dealing with the blade barrier. Some parties will have more damage and more optimized spell selection available, as well, so results will vary here. Also bear in mind that only one player beat the boss' initiative, which had a pretty significant impact on the start of the fight.

Thanks again for the table, Jack. It was fun. Hope the Gen Con tables go well!

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Glad you enjoyed it. That, in the end, is the primary goal.

As it happens for the final encounter, the boss knows you are coming. Guards have informed him, so he was prepared. But, thank you for the feedback... for sure I'll be taking it all into consideration.

As for the fossegrim, he actually surrendered because he hit his hp threshold... which is about 1/3 of his hp remaining. Navia hit him pretty damned hard!

If it makes you feel any better, the big boss was a level 11 oracle! So, he was supposed to be really tough! His rolling high certainly meant that his tactics were changed (though I went back to them when it made sense).

I think I was also a bit rough with the way I did the elementals. BTW - I would have used both the gems were I you guys... if there was room (I believe there was plenty). Not criticizing, but that could have sped things up as well.

Thank you for your feedback, and thanks for the well wishes!

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

I had a nasty thought on this one since I am running it at Gencon. Is there any mechanical reason why the BBG wouldn't just Earthglide below them and then hit them with spells or his reach? Because of Crystal Sight it is unclear why he would not be able to do this.

Seems unsporting but does this work mechanically? At the very least he should Earthglide away to heal up for a bit once damaged.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

For that matter why wouldn't he cast a wall of stone and then cast spells from behind it? Again seems a bit unsporting but viable as a tactic.

5/5

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Glen Shackleton wrote:

I had a nasty thought on this one since I am running it at Gencon. Is there any mechanical reason why the BBG wouldn't just Earthglide below them and then hit them with spells or his reach? Because of Crystal Sight it is unclear why he would not be able to do this.

Seems unsporting but does this work mechanically? At the very least he should Earthglide away to heal up for a bit once damaged.

He cannot casts spells at them while fully within the ground as he lacks line of effect. He can see them but the stone still blocks line of effect.

I generally had him earthgliding both times when I ran it giving him cover or improved cover depending on how far into the ground he was. Combining that with his swift action shard explosion and some movement can really screw with a groups ability to come to grips with him.

I also dropped a wall of stone at the entrance each time but left a gap to allow him line of effect. The first time I ran it this low wall stymied the group for so long I was able to flame strike the lot of them about 3 times in a row.

Played to his strengths he is incredibly dangerous even against an optimised group.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

That makes sense but in theory he could still attack at reach from 10' below. Won't go there but seems like a gap some player will try to abuse some day. Hmm your tactics make sense and that is roughly how I will play him.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I'd pull out the total cover rules to deal with reach attacks while earth gliding.

Total Cover wrote:
If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Wait? The shard explosion is a swift action?

@Serisan, be glad I missed that point, or you would have definitely taken a delay living in hat final fight!

ThT changes everything in that fight. Now, he could move up, assuming the pcs did, shared explosion, and cast! Ouch!

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

Jack Brown wrote:

Wait? The shard explosion is a swift action?

@Serisan, be glad I missed that point, or you would have definitely taken a delay living in hat final fight!

ThT changes everything in that fight. Now, he could move up, assuming the pcs did, shared explosion, and cast! Ouch!

Either Flame Strike or Blade Barrier, followed by the shard explosion. My players were like "WHAT?!"

Yeah, he's a nasty bugger :p

5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

I'd pull out the total cover rules to deal with reach attacks while earth gliding.

Total Cover wrote:
If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

While earth gliding the earth isn't a solid barrier to him and he can see through it with crystal sight.

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

Earth glide doesn't allow his spells to pass through the rock, that's the thing. He has to emerge to cast.

But I'm glad he didn't do the earthgliding when we met him. Then again, we tried not to give him time/chance to do much of anything.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

andreww wrote:
While earth gliding the earth isn't a solid barrier to him and he can see through it with crystal sight.

I would still say he doesn't have line of effect from his square, as there is a five foot square of matter between him and his target.

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

A while back I was looking for line of sight rules, but all I could find in PF was line of effect rules. LoS and LoE are often the same, but not always.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Crystal Sight (Ex) wrote:
You can see through stone, earth, or sand as easily as if it were transparent crystal. Your gaze can penetrate a number of feet equal to your oracle level, or 1/12th this thickness of metal. You can use this ability a number of rounds per day equal to your oracle level, but these rounds do not need to be consecutive.
Earth Glide (Su) wrote:
You can pass through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except worked stone and metal as easily as a fish swims through water. If protected against fire damage, you can even glide through lava. You glide at your base land speed. While gliding, you breathe stone as if it were air (you do not need to hold your breath). Your burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or sign of your presence. A move earth spell cast on an area where you are flings you back 30 feet, stunning you for 1 round unless you succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save. Activating this ability is a free action. You can glide for 1 minute per day per oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-minute increments. You must be at least 7th level to select this revelation. You can bring other creatures with you when you glide, but each passenger costs an additional minute per minute of travel.

Then again, maybe I misunderstand his "During Combat" section, since melee appears to be part of his goto preference, and earth gliding, especially since he is loath to give up, seems to be contraindicated in his general tactics.

Then again, maybe I am not the most deadly GM. Which seems odd, since I have trouble not killing PCs, sometimes, and generally, within an NPC's tactics, wind up with combats running long....

5/5

His tactics says that he uses a combination of melee and spells to fight the PC's without much more detail. They don't give any priority to melee. He is explicitly indicated as using earth glide to take advantage of the slip hazard.

Dark Archive 5/5

kinevon wrote:


Then again, maybe I am not the most deadly GM. Which seems odd, since I have trouble not killing PCs, sometimes, and generally, within an NPC's tactics, wind up with combats running long....

I had this problem when I ran it for APCon. He was prone and almost surrounded, yet was still able to kill someone who would have been animated the following round had there not been First Aid Gloves and a timely knock out. He's very deadly without needing to resort to using his earthglide, especially at high tier.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Yep I agree that using such tactics could be against the spirit of fun. I really should have just posted the question in the rules section. I would only resort to such tactics if I had a group of powergamers who were beating up on him so quickly as to make him irrelevant, and the PCs should never be placed in a no-win situation due to GM tactics. They should always at least be able to ready actions for when he attacks even if you could argue he could attack from reach.

Had a character killed because a GM at Gencon had spectres sink into the floor and touch the bottoms of our feet so that we would no longer be able to ready actions to attack them. That wasn't a fun session so I don't ever recommend abusing tactics or rules to make things impossible for the players. Sorry for the thread derail, just seemed like a combination that could easily be abused.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

My blinded slayer first went through a wall of stone very slowly and then full attacked earthglided Ironwhip till he was dead.

"Guys, where's the blither? Strewth, somebody guide me!"
"Straight ahead!"
*sounds of tearing flesh*
"Am I doing good, mates?"
"Yeah, please stop already, oh gods"

It was like playing Mel Brooks' Robin Hood.

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

I recently ran a game where a certain high-powered Allip 5ft-sank into the ground, whereupon the barbarian used his adamantine earthbreaker to hack away the ground, exposing the spirit, who then got killed by the rest of the party before he got another turn too move further away.

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