In Hell's Bright Shadow (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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roguerouge wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
As for Yilliv, he does have telepathy 100, so you can have it alert the complex. I changed that, however.
I'm pretty sure he shouldn't. I've looked at both the entry in the book and Archive of Nethys and neither list telepathy anywhere.
It's misplaced, but it's in the languages line

Double checked the book and AoN, neither seem to have it.


roguerouge wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
As for Yilliv, he does have telepathy 100, so you can have it alert the complex. I changed that, however.
I'm pretty sure he shouldn't. I've looked at both the entry in the book and Archive of Nethys and neither list telepathy anywhere.
It's misplaced, but it's in the languages line

The entry for the Gambling Devil has telepathy (100 ft.) in its language line but the Scrivenite does not have telepathy listed at all.


It seems I owe you the six sweetest words in the English language: "You were right. I was wrong."


These things happen, even to the best of us.


So one of my PCs has expressed interest in reopening Hocums
Now this is only because he wants to try and game the poison rules by collecting lots of animals and milking them

Now I don’t care about the poison stuff because he really hasn’t focused his build to being able to effectively use poison

I am keen not to just say “no” to things my players come up with

That said what would the problems with trying to reopen Hocums be?
Would Thrune have an issue with people there for fear that they uncover what is below? Assuming he doesn’t connect any kind of dots

Obviously this partially hinges on if Nox gets away but either scenario is not good as he will wonder where she has gone / what happened...

There will be some kind of reckoning with the church as they have lots of dead redactors...

But moving past that I wonder what the costs of opening and running the place is. Not free because it was forced closed. Also I can put in some onerous bureaucracy because, you know, new LE government in a LE city. I feel it would pass to government ownership after Hocum died...

(I don’t want this to become too much of a distraction and neither will the rest of the group. But I don’t want to just say “No”)


I agree, let them. Poison is a very suboptimal tactic.

Is poison illegal in Cheliax? I forget. I know you can get some from The Newt, which might be a nice, brief, low-level complication


Re-opening Hokums seems very dangerous for the Silver Ravens. Even if the pc's managed to slay Nox, Thrune and the leaders of the Temple of Asmodeus know all about the place, what's down in the Many Steps Monastery and eventually they are going to send a patrol to investigate what happened, why no one has been heard from in days, etc. The pc's either have to fight off the patrol (which will only lead to escalation.) Or they have to explain their presence away. They might be able to Bluff the first patrol into leaving but that seems unlikely and the second patrol (if not the first) would almost certainly be led by someone who knows all about the Many Steps Monastery. And anyone who's in Hokums when the fate of those Asmodeans originally stationed in the place is discovered will be arrested immediately. Even if the government has to trump up charges to cover up its own misdeeds. Indeed the Dottari will probably be told to arrest anyone at Hokum's regardless of awareness of the previous occupants fate - the government and Temple have no interest in anyone nosing around Hokums for any reason. And no, the government is not going to let anyone "buy" the place. Being anywhere near Hokum's when the caca hits the fan seems like a bad idea for the pc's. At a minimum, I'd give the Silver Ravens a hefty Notoriety boost if they are caught anywhere near the place after Nox reports in or Thrune/Temple learn about what happened there.

I think Porcia Victocora purchased the place some time in the past so, technically, Rexus owns it. But that seems a very perilous right for him to assert. Both given the fate of his parents, his own dubious legal standing and the government's strong interest in preventing anyone from doing anything with the place.

I also don't really understand what Hokum's has to do with poison. There are much safer places for a pc to setup his poison farm. Somewhere outside the city seems like a much better idea.


So this is more of general question that I can’t really post on the main advice or rules questions boards due to PC snooping:

Is CR balanced assuming NPCs have gear equal to NPC wealth per level ?
I ask because the ogrekin in the monestary is a level 2 fighter which makes up part of its CR but has : a shortspear . That is it . From NPC wealth of 390gp?

So can I give it better armour and weapons ? Or would thematically the asmodeans not want that?

On a connected note the ogrekin CR is based on one of the negative and one of the positive effects. Some are much better or worse than others. For example the oversized hand is amazing and the weak mind that the core ogrekin has is dreadful. I really want to change the ogrekin around (and perhaps have a second completely different one). I assume this wouldn’t be too game breaking to do this ...


So my players have skipped the spider room of Hocums and skipped looting the first room of the monestary . The latter is due to being worried about Nox’s presence. I did play it by book and have the scrivenite alert the others despite the debate over the stat block. Going wth specific trumps general

)I can’t rationalise why they don’t all rush the group and feel like some people in my group are going to point that out . One is developing a habit of analysing and critiquing things that happen in the sessions - including pointing out “bad writing” (I will really need to hit the book 2 boards for help streamlining and ordering that one!)

I might have it just be a message to the first group and have them say something like - I knew we should have alerted the others - as they get beat down invariably easily )

That is all a big aside . My point is I don’t want to end the book with them doing a bit of random looting after killing or defeating Nox.

So what could I use as a set piece to end book one since I don’t think the fight will be.

I would quite like some kind of public display perhaps including the high priest and maybe even Thrune himself. Perhaps an announcement about a roving Cult of Rovagug who have been going around murdering guards (have crying families of dottari for effect) - this would be a call back to when my group responded to an attempted arrest by torturing and murdering some dottari.
(I also have had an idea of rewording the Lords Prayer with a few small changes to be one to Asmodeus that could be a lot of fun)

Perhaps finish off with the proclamation against the Hellknights being public ? Or is that deliberately pitched in the way it is in book 2?

Anyone have any other ideas ?


Lanathar wrote:
One is developing a habit of analysing and critiquing things that happen in the sessions - including pointing out “bad writing”

You're a saint for putting up with that from your player. I don't put up with that kind of thing when I'm getting paid at work, let alone when I'm investing dozens of hours for free in providing a space for us to play in. I will say that at least I see an implicit (and rude and unjustified) critique of your choices as a DM in that behavior, so if it bothers you, I would totally support your taking that player aside and providing tips on how to provide productive feedback.


Canonically, Barzi is ignoring the PCs officially, while indirectly expressing his displeasure. You should use the start of book two as your set piece: announcing a radical increase of the bridge tax, which targets the working classes, and disbanding the LN Order of the Torrent in favor of the Order of the Rack, which your players should realize specializes in putting down dissent and rebellion. (As previously discussed, he's going to go out and do his ritual after utterly destroying a nasty, high-level dungeon crawl. Then he gets to recover from it.)

Order of the Rack Hellknights: These Hellknights believe that individuals are too often left to their own devices, and that undirected and untamed people grow indulgent. From such egotism and individualism grow the vines of discontent, revolution, wild philosophy, dangerous invention, and useless artistry. They hate wastefulness of both thought and deed. They crush pointless dreams, end rebellions, and trample frivolous or dangerous inventions. They also closely observe individuals, seeking hints of destructive ambitions and wasteful vices, and are skilled at destroying seditious writing and strange inventions.

Tenants
• I will seek the chaos that manifests in common words and thoughts.
• Those who lack direction will find guidance by my hand—whether the palm or the fist.
• I will take the tools from the grasp of those who would craft their own dooms, whether they would do so intentionally or unintentionally.
• Though the flag of no nation has my alliance, every rebel is my foe.
• My discipline is the same as my honor. I will make myself worthy of our brethren’s tradition of greatness.
• My mere presence will represent the pinnacle of orderliness. I will save my words and deeds for when they are needed most.
• I will not allow the shedding of tears to rust the wheels of progress.

Members: denigrators of art and poetry, patriots, technology-haters, traditionalists
Armor Features: muscular design, sleek helm, flayed cloak

One of the early missions is the prison break for the armigers of the Order of the Torrent, along with a mission to talk to Octavio. Incidentally, I replaced most of that mission and had them have to prove their martial ability in a nonlethal sparring session against him. Fighting an 8th level fighter gave them some real respect for him.


Lanathar wrote:
Is CR balanced assuming NPCs have gear equal to NPC wealth per level? I ask because the ogrekin in the monestary is a level 2 fighter which makes up part of its CR but has: a shortspear. That is it. From NPC wealth of 390gp?

No. Rivozair, a CR 16 monster, has no gear. Monsters have abilities that make up for gear. Do most level 2 fighters have a strength of 21 and a constitution of 18 without using magic/equipment?

Lanathar wrote:
So can I give it better armour and weapons?

Sure. It's your game, you can do what you want.

Lanathar wrote:
Or would thematically the asmodeans not want that?

It's up to you what the Asmodeans in your game would want.

Lanathar wrote:
I can’t rationalise why they don’t all rush the group and feel like some people in my group are going to point that out.

That's why I took the telepathy out. (Even if it was written in the stat block I STILL would've taken it out.)

And if you don't want to rationalize it then don't and have the bad guys rushing towards that area.

But if you do, then I would suggest you have the lawfully appointed government employees coming down the hall to see what's going on, have some cowering in the rooms off that hallway the feel that they have to try to protect their friends by attacking these terrorists (PCs) from behind (with a flank) when the group goes past them to slaughter their friends for no reason, or, if they check the rooms first, they can start fighting for their lives/the lives of their friends in the small areas. Have the lawfully appointed government officials know about the secret doors so that they can be more mobile. Have some of the government officials in the hallways/rooms that lead into F4. If the group is checking those rooms first, the other government officials in the common room come out to the smaller rooms to try to save the lives of their compatriots.
"Rushing the terrorists" isn't always the best tactic for lawfully appointed government officials that are clerks simply doing their job. (But fighting for their lives and defending their friends so that their families can continue to put bread on the table fully makes sense.) Redactors are governmental clerks. Why would they go rushing into a room with people swinging swords at them? Play them up to be more defensive/protecting important government artifacts from the hands of terrorists, even if it will cost them their lives.

Every person that the group kills should have an affect. That person was a clerk, a police officer, a security guard, someone doing what they believed to be right. That person probably had a family, they definitely had friends. Show spouses and children being thrown out of their houses because they can't pay the bills (but those people refuse to join/accept help from the rebellion because the rebels killed their loved one and caused these problems), show kids begging for food, have some of the NPCs in the rebellion go to the funerals for friends that were dottari or redactors. That can be why some people leave the rebellion during the upkeep phase.


Warped Savant's comments are good, especially in spirit. However, I would quibble with the description of the redactors as government clerks. They are not employed by the government but are an arm of the Temple of Asmodeus.. It is certainly true that the line separating "agent of the the government" and "agent of the Temple" are pretty blurry in Cheliax and even in Kintargo but there is still a line. And the word "clerk" suggests they are non-combatants but these are 1st level monks with combat abilities most commoners and low-level government bureaucrats lack. Also, the Many Steps Monastery is not a government facility - it is the holy place of another religious order and the site of recent violence against said order by the Temple the redactors serve. As Warped Savant says, the redactors probably believe they are in the right, but they should not be under any delusion that others in the city may not agree. On the Night of Ashes, House Thrune and the Temple of Asmodeus struck at the worshippers of Saranrae, Milani and Irori. Again, the redactors most likely fully support these actions against illegal cults but they also should expect that some in the city may respond with active hostility. If someone has broken into Hokum's chances are they mean the redactors serious harm.

If Lanathar's post is meant to suggest the default tactics of the Monastery's occupants (sit in one place waiting for the pc's to find them) are foolish, that is correct - those tactics are suicidal. Welcome to most AP encounters everywhere - it's a common defect. A player who challenges NPC actions as illogical or nonsensical may be ill-mannered but still has a right to complain. Its important to remember that the players know about 1% of what the GM knows and are always struggling to figure out what's going on, who's who, what's what, etc. When NPC's behave in a way that's irrational, that makes it even harder.

The redactors should swarm the pc's if at all possible or use the options in the space to setup ambushes once they know intruders are present (whether warned by the scrivenite or by combat with the first group of redactors.) So should the ogrekin and Nox. Frankly, staying in the room with the stream is the stupidest thing for Nox to do - the stream is one of the most effective ways of killing her given her regeneration, etc. doesn't protect her from drowning. And with her ability to dimension door, she really shouldn't fear much of anything she's seen in Kintargo.


So I have fallen into the trap of ignoring the advice to remove the telepathy
I am unsure how to fix this

Perhaps like I originally thought have it be a more limited range and only reach the first group.


If the telepathy reaches any of them, I think you have the same or similar issue - whoever gets the message that there are intruders should spread the news especially as group 1 of redactors isn't all that far away from group 2. And then you're in the same boat. Note: the map works against you here - it's unlikely the pc's can get to the first group before they would have a chance to warn everyone else. Also, even if there is no telepathy, you're not that far from the same problem either. When the first group of redactors in F4 gets into combat, they should start yelling their heads off about intruders. The group in F6 should have no trouble hearing that and the combat itself. For that matter, Nox has a reasonable chance as well even if she's in the gardens (F7.)

I'm a little fuzzy on what needs to be fixed. Is it something like this: the pc's (players) expect the whole complex to be warned and the most logical outcome would be for the current occupants of the Monastery to mob/swarm the pc's. If they do, you think the pc's will get overwhelmed (TPK, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria) and if they don't some of your players will complain about how foolish the occupants were.

Here's what I did and I didn't have any reluctance about swarming the pc's. (Note: the pc's are well-built 20 point characters run by players with a lot of system mastery. YMMV):

I had the F4 redactors split-up - 2 hiding in the rooms in the F3c corridor and 2 in F5. They waited patiently while the pc's explored F4 and then when they were setting up to open the doors to F6, they attacked/ambushed them (which is what they would have done if the pc's had gone into the F3c corridor or F5.) After a round of fighting, redactors from F6 joined the fight as well. As I believe you (Lanathar) have observed either in this thread or another, the redactors are not all that tough for 3rd level characters. As the pc's waded through the redactors, the Lout joined in followed a round or two later by the hell hound, lemure and Nox. The pc's were helped by the physical layout - they were essentially "defending" the door to F6 so only the redactors could surround them and the tougher enemies had to come through the door to get to them. The pc's defeated all but Nox and after wearing her down, she used dimension door to escape. The party wizard had a wand of magic missiles which hit her every round and essentially negated her regeneration. She was likely to fall unconscious soon and being unconscious with enemies in the room is really bad for her. (Of course, what happens to her after she leaves is also really, really bad for her :)

The secret is to put the enemies into waves which you can turn off as soon as the pc's get into trouble. So if the redactors are giving them fits, the Lout goes into F7 to get Nox and that gives the pc's a few rounds to heal or decide to retreat. If the Lout is giving them fits, Nox takes a couple extra rounds to show up - she's using spell-like abilities to buff, etc. The hell hound has a speed of 40 show it shows up a round or two ahead of her (if you want.) Etc.


What if they are swarmed and then flee? Nox could pursue with dimension door but would she? And then it is worth considering how things could be reinforced should they return


Latrecis wrote:
I would quibble with the description of the redactors as government clerks.

Which is fair. I was downplaying them a little in my description for emphasis. I run the redactors (and most of the bad guys) as if they believe they're doing the greater good.

Lanathar wrote:

So I have fallen into the trap of ignoring the advice to remove the telepathy

I am unsure how to fix this

Do the players know that anyone has been telepathically informed?

Lanathar wrote:
What if they are swarmed and then flee? Nox could pursue with dimension door but would she? And then it is worth considering how things could be reinforced should they return

You've seen what I did when my players fled. (Reminder: It's right here). I'd change it depending on the types of things your group likes. Maybe the group wants to attack the caravan itself, in which case use dottari or something instead of hellknights.


Lanathar wrote:
What if they are swarmed and then flee? Nox could pursue with dimension door but would she? And then it is worth considering how things could be reinforced should they return

The players don't know she can dimension door at least not yet so you don't need worry about them questioning the tactic or lack thereof. There are two dimensions to this decision: 1) how much does Nox know about the pc's? and 2) what condition are they in? On #1, was she fighting them when they fled, does she know much about how effective (or not) they are? And on #2, what condition are the pc's in? Will it be a TPK if she follows or do the pc's have some strength left to fight her? I think she would avoid fighting them in the streets and would try to keep things out of sight in Hokum's if possible. And if you think she'd mop the floor with the pc's, then she doesn't follow.

The AP answers the question about reinforcements: "If the PCs make their presence known here but retreat before defeating Nox, she exits the complex to give a quick report to Barzillai, then returns here within 4 hours with enough reinforcements to replace all lost Asmodeans (but not replacements for the outsiders found in the complex)." IHBS, p.45. You could intersperse some dottari in with the redactors if you were of a mind though you'll note all the occupants are from the Temple of Asmodeus suggesting Thrune and Grivenner want this an Asmodean affair and not a Thrune affair. I would probably station Nox and her minions in Hokum's and if I was feeling particularly nasty, I'd have them setup a trap or ambush for the pc's. Perhaps hiding in E7 or E5.


Ok so I have some wrap up questions :

- The PCs failed every possible check against the cubic gate. I let two characters roll both types of knowledge and a second go each with planes with the bonus from the books - all failures

They are really curious but I don’t see how they can follow up

- do the soul tomes need to be a full set to grant the +4? And do they have to be sold together? Or can they be sold for 130 or so GP each? Did anyone’s players retain these items? 1600 seems too much gold for most groups to pass up

(As an aside the books for sale seems like an opportunity for an interesting NPC. Because who is going to buy all those books?)

- my group want to research the book of the damned . What should I let them find out?

- what happens to Hocums. I assume the dottari or church or both will be there pretty soon given Nox’s report. Perhaps a day at max before they close in? But if that happens that seems to invalidate the PCs achievements ...?

Nox is a beast when she hits. I think I was one dice roll away from a TPK because knocking down the melee fighter would have allowed her to close on the kineticist and then finish off the casters

Players really enjoyed it


They should be able to hire an expert. They are in a city with an academy, after all. Take drawings, gather the info the redactors acquired, and take it to the sage. After all, they can't stay there.

They gave them to Rexus as their chief researcher.

My players burned Hokum's to the ground, as I recall.


As roguerouge said, they can hire someone to help them. Alternatively, it's okay if the characters don't know everything about everything.

I would say that yes, he soul tomes have to be a full set to get the +4. If the players want to sell some I'd possibly break it down so that having 12 gives a +4, 11-9 = +3, 8-6 = +2, 5-3 = +1, 2 or 1 = no bonus. (essentially, every set of 3 provides a +1, or something like that)
But Rexus and some unnamed NPCs would have a huge problem with the group selling any of them and I'd consider removing Rexus as an ally.
Because what kind of group would be willing to sell something called "Soul Tomes"? With how personal they are, and how the memories were taken from the victims, I'd possibly consider selling them an evil act and lowering the "Loyalty" of the rebellion.
As for who would buy them, I'd likely use someone trying to curry favor with Thrune (because the books could be useful against the rebellion), possibly as a way to introduce Tayacet Tiora.
Or I'd simply ask the players where they want to try to sell them. (Because sometimes your players will come up with a better story than you could've imagined.)

Look up what's in the Book of the Damned and have what they learn depend on what you want them to know and how well they succeed at their knowledge checks.

The books don't say what happens to Hocum's so it's up to you to decide if/how you want to use it.
I had the government shut the doors and watch the place for a little while. It's probably fell off of their radar after a few months.

Nox is designed to be a really hard fight. Did your group take her out or did they have to run?


roguerouge wrote:

They should be able to hire an expert. They are in a city with an academy, after all. Take drawings, gather the info the redactors acquired, and take it to the sage. After all, they can't stay there.

They gave them to Rexus as their chief researcher.

My players burned Hokum's to the ground, as I recall.

Did you have any reprisals for that? Surely a notoriety bump? One of my players has mentioned that but I feel he will be outvoted


Warped Savant wrote:

As roguerouge said, they can hire someone to help them. Alternatively, it's okay if the characters don't know everything about everything.

I would say that yes, he soul tomes have to be a full set to get the +4. If the players want to sell some I'd possibly break it down so that having 12 gives a +4, 11-9 = +3, 8-6 = +2, 5-3 = +1, 2 or 1 = no bonus. (essentially, every set of 3 provides a +1, or something like that)
But Rexus and some unnamed NPCs would have a huge problem with the group selling any of them and I'd consider removing Rexus as an ally.
Because what kind of group would be willing to sell something called "Soul Tomes"? With how personal they are, and how the memories were taken from the victims, I'd possibly consider selling them an evil act and lowering the "Loyalty" of the rebellion.
As for who would buy them, I'd likely use someone trying to curry favor with Thrune (because the books could be useful against the rebellion), possibly as a way to introduce Tayacet Tiora.
Or I'd simply ask the players where they want to try to sell them. (Because sometimes your players will come up with a better story than you could've imagined.)

Look up what's in the Book of the Damned and have what they learn depend on what you want them to know and how well they succeed at their knowledge checks.

The books don't say what happens to Hocum's so it's up to you to decide if/how you want to use it.
I had the government shut the doors and watch the place for a little while. It's probably fell off of their radar after a few months.

Nox is designed to be a really hard fight. Did your group take her out or did they have to run?

I seem to have missed the part about how they were created.

In fact one of the players got uneasy about the idea of soul tomes and at the time I wove away the concern

Nox was a slight anti climax as I rolled very badly. Played as written with power attack and she got another -1 from a ray of enfeeblement. So I hit once. Reduced the front liner to 4 HP and they started to panic . But i have a kineticist and a glaive wielding daring champion. With the witch reducing Nox’s armour class they got I think two big hits each the last with an aligned weapon from the cleric reducing her to 3 HP - so she bounced

Weirdly it would have been harder if the 5th player had been there as I would have added another ogrekin

I should have made her go after the squishies as even though everyone has 19 or 20 AC the damage could easily have dropped them or sent them fleeing. But her tactics didn’t really specify who she targets and I wasn’t feeling evil


I'm about to start this game tomorrow and I'm really excited to see my totally conspicuous party lead a rebellion. Seriously, what I know right now of the party (character creation for half the party is tomorrow): an albino lizardman, a blue tiefling, what will most likely be a halfling riding a big dog, and a rogue with a guinea pig. I've also been working on adapting it into a system I'm more familiar with and easier for my party since half of them are new to TTRPGs.

I'm going to do what I can to introduce Thrune's main lieutenants (like Tiarise, Corinstian, Trax, and Tombus) earlier in the adventure so the party is aware of their existence prior to their major encounters. I'm also expecting my players to have several grudges against Thrune's lieutenant's, especially my tiefling against Tiarise because of the tooth fairy incident.


Lanathar wrote:
Warped Savant wrote:

As roguerouge said, they can hire someone to help them. Alternatively, it's okay if the characters don't know everything about everything.

I would say that yes, he soul tomes have to be a full set to get the +4. If the players want to sell some I'd possibly break it down so that having 12 gives a +4, 11-9 = +3, 8-6 = +2, 5-3 = +1, 2 or 1 = no bonus. (essentially, every set of 3 provides a +1, or something like that)
But Rexus and some unnamed NPCs would have a huge problem with the group selling any of them and I'd consider removing Rexus as an ally.
Because what kind of group would be willing to sell something called "Soul Tomes"? With how personal they are, and how the memories were taken from the victims, I'd possibly consider selling them an evil act and lowering the "Loyalty" of the rebellion.
As for who would buy them, I'd likely use someone trying to curry favor with Thrune (because the books could be useful against the rebellion), possibly as a way to introduce Tayacet Tiora.
Or I'd simply ask the players where they want to try to sell them. (Because sometimes your players will come up with a better story than you could've imagined.)

Look up what's in the Book of the Damned and have what they learn depend on what you want them to know and how well they succeed at their knowledge checks.

The books don't say what happens to Hocum's so it's up to you to decide if/how you want to use it.
I had the government shut the doors and watch the place for a little while. It's probably fell off of their radar after a few months.

Nox is designed to be a really hard fight. Did your group take her out or did they have to run?

I seem to have missed the part about how they were created.

The exact logistics of the soul tome creation has some consistency problems so I wouldn't feel too bad about missing it. The write-up for Yilliv is somewhat unclear - my inference from p.45-46 is that the Asmodeans did most of the damage/unpleasantness to the Irorians, not Yilliv. Yet the only way the Soul Tomes can be created is via the Scrivenite's intelligence damage. And how exactly were Rexus' parents' Int damaged? The implication of other text in the AP is that they were at their residence and killed/burned there. But that doesn't seem possible if Yilliv was attacking/torturing them prior to them dying (so he could create soul tomes from them.) Yilliv was at the Victocora Estate? The Victocora's were tortured at the Many Steps Monastery but taken to their estate to be killed? Or Thrune burned their house down out of spite even though they died at Many Steps? And their burnt corpses were the result of how they died in Many Steps? (Setting aside the foolishness of using powerful fire magic in a library.) I suspect a bit of authorial carelessness - having his parents' memories in soul tome form was a twist of the knife on Rexus' grief but not really consistent with the larger narrative for how the Victocora's died in the first place.


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In my head the Victocora Estate was burned down, the parents were hurt but not killed by the fire, brought to the Many Steps Monastery, which is where Yilliv was forced to drain their knowledge and were eventually killed.
I didn't put much thought into it, but possibly the Victocora's were hurt so badly they were nearly dead/in comas so Yilliv had to be used to get the information out of their heads.
(This is going from memory/impression rather than from exact wording so it might not be in the book at all.)


In all honesty my comments were based on memory/recalled interpretation too. And since I was criticizing the AP, I thought should go get the facts...

From page 39 (IHBS) - "It was one of the many sites attacked on the Night of Ashes, although the agents who struck against the Sacred Order did so not with fire but with stealth."

From page 43 (IHBS) - "After animating the skunk ape skeletons in area E3, Azvernathi was able to use lesser animate dead to create several more undead guardians for the upper floors, and chose bodies recovered from the ruins of the Victocora estate as his subjects. These creatures stand guard throughout this area, their horribly charred remains leaving no doubt as to the cause of their death: they were burned alive."

From page 49 (IHBS) - "The books Nox has gathered here in the garden are more than mere texts—they are soul tomes that contain many of the thoughts and memories of the archivists who were cornered, captured, tortured, and eventually killed (and in some cases animated into zombies) over the past week."

There seems some conflict in those quotes, the first two seem make it pretty clear the Victocora's died at their estate by being burned alive. The 3rd doesn't explain how Yilliv could have created Soul Tomes from them. Of course maybe he didn't...

But this is a very minor continuity glitch easily solved:
- ignore it. Most groups won't catch on. And perhaps the Irorians had a habit of calling Scrivenites of their own to record their memories. It's only damage, not drain and can be healed without affecting the soul tome.
- remove the soul tomes from the Victocora's.


Yes it is always difficult to tell what groups will catch on to
For example my worried about them questioning why they weren’t rushed by all the enemies after the alarm was raised

They laughed that in the chain room I had two hiding underneath tables (that might not have actually been there) because the book calls for them to hid in ambush and doesn’t give any ambush points

I forgot the perception check because they were suitably distracted by the chain, box and body that even I forgot . That room is confusing to picture as it is not clear how high off the ground it all is

But they have not yet asked why they weren’t swarmed

As an aside how many attempts should PCs have to disable the cube? I figure as many as they like but it attacks on each failure...?


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I'd explain that the PCs getting swarmed by everyone at once doesn't happen because that'd be a really dumb response on Nox's part.

Sending all your forces at once to respond to a disturbance by relatively unknown forces is just begging for an enemy group to take advantage of that. Whether by ambushing all your people by luring them into a big fortified position just outside that they don't know about, or just by leading them on a merry chase while a second team takes advantage of the distraction to get in, swipe what they need, and get out.

A more measured response is a more sane one. Restructure the defensive lines to make sure there's no holes your enemies can get through, and to ensure that your people are waiting in good ambush spots, make sure everyone is alert, start casting medium and long duration spells, move or destroy important documents, have patrols start seeking out your enemies not to destroy them, but to get further intel, and then to hold them off while a runner falls back to the nearest defenders and warns them to start casting short duration spells, and to send a team around through a side passage to catch the intruders in a pincer strike.

Etc.


Lanathar wrote:
roguerouge wrote:

My players burned Hokum's to the ground, as I recall.

Did you have any reprisals for that? Surely a notoriety bump? One of my players has mentioned that but I feel he will be outvoted

Not much: they had a really good plan for making their arson look like an accident. A bump in notoriety, yes: the 1d6 in the book it wouldn't be hard to confirm that the "Night of Ashes: Revenge!" sequel was an assault, especially since everyone below died too. After all, it plays into the coverup approach of the administration.


I would make clear that two of the memory tomes are from Rexus' parents. If they still sell them, then yeah they lose his services.


roguerouge wrote:
I would make clear that two of the memory tomes are from Rexus' parents. If they still sell them, then yeah they lose his services.

They don’t want to sell those

Hence the question about whether they can be sold piecemeal


I finished my first session last night, and it went pretty well.
The party consists of a 7 ft tall albino lizardman, a blue tiefling, a gnome riding a big dog, and a half elf twink. Not the most inconspicuous group, so this will definitely be pretty fun.
They attended the protest, which unfortunately led to some unfortunate rolls, but the lizardman picked up the rumour about the opera house closing down and only then learned that the building they were protesting outside was the opera house (he's not very smart). The tiefling shouted down the Thrune supporters during the second hour after giving a rousing speech for the anti-Thrune contingents at the protest. Nearing the end of the second hour, the gnome noticed Barzillai looking through the window, and pointed it out. The lizardman decided to stomp towards the opera house and challenge Thrune, prompting his response and announcement of the 8th proclamation leading to an early riot. They completely destroyed the thugs who were there before bouncing as the guards were entering the fray.
The lizardman then scared the living daylights out of the thugs attacking Rexus due to being a 7 foot tall albino lizardman who still had blood on his hands after partially eating someone at the protest. As they were collecting Rexus and about to go to the book store, Trax charged past towards the protest to assist in the mass arrests happening there.
Overall, I'm pretty sure they have a healthy fear of Nox after seeing her get a knife thrown into her throat and no selling it and I'm curious as to what will happen when they begin the missions at the second part of this adventure.


How exactly does Kintargo’s magic items work? I know that it should follow the minor/medium/major thing with settlements, but there should be at least 1 Major item, but of the items on page 72, none of them are Major (correct me if I’m wrong)—so...how does it work?


If you look at the scroll chart (CRB p. 491) and wand chart (CRB p. 496) you'll see that the scrolls of teleport and raise dead can be Major magic items and that a wand of greater invisibility can be too. There isn't a fixed cost definition for minor, medium and major magic items and they vary pretty notably based on the type of item in question and there is overlap. Example: on the wand chart, a wand of a 3rd level spell can be either a Medium or Major magic item.


I assumed it was a case of the listed items being extra on top of the cases in the stat block
Some are there for story / reference purposes - I am pretty sure the Lucerne hammer is based on a weapon that Chuko had when he was played as a PC by one of the writers


I believe martial law affects what's available as well (see the Kintargo stat block, IHBS p. 59): "halve all values for Marketplace entries."


Yes, the marketplace for magic items has been halved in the city block (IHBS, p.59) though strangely so...
Large City (from CRB p. 461): Minor = 4d4, Medium=3d4, Major=2d4
Kintargo: Minor=2d4, Medium=1d4, Major=1d2

(We can debate whether half of 3d4 is 1d4, my view it would be 1d6. And Major items should be 1d4 not 1d2)

My interpretation was the items listed on IHBS p. 72 seemed to break down appropriately so the list is the initial selection of items in the city.

Minor (4): Ring of Force Shield, Boots of Levitation, +1 rallying chain shirt, +1 frost lucerne hammer
Medium (3): scroll of restoration, wand of cure serious wounds, serpentine owl figurine
Major (3): scroll of teleportation, scroll of raise dead, wand of greater invisibility

Remember items can be on two lists, both Medium and Major for example.

I doubt the world is going to end if you make additional items available. Regardless of party makeup, many of those items will not appeal to most parties if only because they are very expensive for low-level characters. Note: the list is supposed to refresh every month. I invented my own mechanism for that: roll the dice for a category - that is the number of existing items that are gone and then roll for new items. This can lead to a more items being available than otherwise but it suggests these are hard items to sell in a city under martial law and economic contraction.


Oooh! I actually like that methodology Latrecis.

My biggest problem is finding a good way of actually doing the random items. The one from Archives of Nethys is actually biased towards armors and wondrous items and such and against scrolls and wands that could be considered Major.

More than anything I just need to figure out a system for when the items renew each month.


Another question for those of you running campaign mode for PFS:

Hell’s Rebels Chronicle Sheet Supplementary Document wrote:

Tracking Notoriety: Several boons modify the PCs’

Notoriety check boxes on their Rebellion Leader sheets,
but most of their Notoriety comes from the adventures
themselves. If the PCs earn at least 10 Notoriety points
in the course of play for a volume, check one Notoriety
box. If they earn at least 20 Notoriety points, instead
check two boxes. When running the adventures
in their entirety, instead use 15 and 30 points
as the thresholds respectively to reflect the
expanded opportunities to earn points.

Considering that events the PCs take later on cause a MASSIVE Notoriety increase (like destroying Menador Keep) then this feels very unfair. Do you guys think that it means a net gain of 15 or 30 Notoriety equals one/two boxes? Because that would seem a bit more fair...

Follow-up question: does every PFS character who gets a chronicle get access to the Rebellion Leader chronicle sheet, or is it an overall boon that applies to the player and not the character?


KingTreyIII wrote:

Another question for those of you running campaign mode for PFS:

Hell’s Rebels Chronicle Sheet Supplementary Document wrote:

Tracking Notoriety: Several boons modify the PCs’

Notoriety check boxes on their Rebellion Leader sheets,
but most of their Notoriety comes from the adventures
themselves. If the PCs earn at least 10 Notoriety points
in the course of play for a volume, check one Notoriety
box. If they earn at least 20 Notoriety points, instead
check two boxes. When running the adventures
in their entirety, instead use 15 and 30 points
as the thresholds respectively to reflect the
expanded opportunities to earn points.

Considering that events the PCs take later on cause a MASSIVE Notoriety increase (like destroying Menador Keep) then this feels very unfair. Do you guys think that it means a net gain of 15 or 30 Notoriety equals one/two boxes? Because that would seem a bit more fair...

Follow-up question: does every PFS character who gets a chronicle get access to the Rebellion Leader chronicle sheet, or is it an overall boon that applies to the player and not the character?

Bump. I do need an answer to this soon.


Hi, I'm starting to run this ap and got a little bit confused about the strategist bonus.
(sorry for my bad english)

I have 6 players, so they had all the officers' positions taken.
But then they enrolled Rexus and Laria.

So, they want to make them officers, specifically Strategists, to have more action bonuses.

Is this legal? Bonuses of the same type do not stack, but it's from different sources...

Sorry if it is a very very noob question... tried to search it but i think nobody asked that.


No worries! The answer is no, you can't have more than one officer per position slot... except for recruiter, where you can have lots and they all stack.

Quote from the player's guide, pages 23-24: "There are six different officer roles available, but the rebellion doesn’t need all six of these roles to be filled. You can have multiple identical officers, but note that with the exception of the Recruiter, the bonuses granted by officers don’t stack, so it’s best if each character takes on a different officer role."


Thanks roeguerogue!

My issue is with this part:
"You can have multiple identical officers [...] the bonuses granted by officers don’t stack"

What my players had suggested is "we don't care about the bonus, we want more extra actions".

You said: "you can't have more than one officer per position slot", but the text says otherwise
So, I understand that they'll have one numerical bonus for one of the Strategists, but does every strategist give them more actions?

Or should i understand that the "extra bonus action" also do not stack?

Shadow Lodge

Urheil wrote:
Or should i understand that the "extra bonus action" also do not stack?

Indeed.


I would also add that neither Rexus nor Laria can be officers. The only NPC's that are officially eligible to be officers are Jilia and Mialari Docur and they don't become available until Book 3 plus Jilia needs to be raised from the dead. The AP explicitly indicates when an ally is eligible to be an officer. That doesn't mean you can't change that but with a 6 pc party there should be no need.

There are only two reasons for multiple officers (except recruiter!) - the table/players find narrative value (character stories, etc.) in assistant officers or if the pc's want successor officers in the event of pc death without having to use the Change Officer Role action.


My table's bent that rule pretty thoroughly, allowing NPCs to be recruiters, with zero negative impact. Basically, once you hit 12th rank or so, you badly need the super-charge events of something like the Book 3 wooing of the nobles to get you to level 15.


ohhhhhh, i was based on this text:

Laria Longroad: Laria’s work with the Bellflower Network has given her an excellent reputation among Kintargo’s downtrodden. As long as Laria remains an ally of the Silver Ravens, all Loyalty checks to take the Recruit
Supporters action gain a +2 bonus.

Rexus Victocora: Although Rexus was never officially a part of the Sacred Order of Archivists, he learned a fair amount about how to lie low from his mother. As long as Rexus remains an ally of the Silver Ravens, the rebellion’s Notoriety score is reduced by 1 (to a minimum score of 1) at the start of every Upkeep phase

So, as "an ally" I understood that they were officers...

Ok, need to clear things up with my group.

Thanks to you all!


roguerouge wrote:
My table's bent that rule pretty thoroughly, allowing NPCs to be recruiters, with zero negative impact. Basically, once you hit 12th rank or so, you badly need the super-charge events of something like the Book 3 wooing of the nobles to get you to level 15.

I don't see how that would cause much trouble - did you let NPC's be other officers or just recruiters? I assume the reason the AP does not let NPC's be officers until well into/the end of Book 3 is to keep the focus on the pc's as the primary drivers of the Silver Ravens. Technically, when the rebellion starts, Laria and Rexus are higher level characters than the pc's...

Shadow Lodge

Whereas I assumed that no NPC allies were explicitly called out as being officer material until Book 3 as a consequence of drafting errors, in order to avoid the absurd result of not being able to fill all the officer roles at the time when they're most relevant to the rebellion's ability to make checks and take actions, assuming as the AP does a PC party of 4.

Also, thus is an AP that indulges in all manner of grandstanding, notably including not one, but two former PCs of James Jacobs's! This is not an AP that is much concerned about keeping the focus on the PCs. And you're not going to get very far trying to convince roguerouge that centering the PCs as "the primary drivers of the Silver Ravens" was a design objective. His greatest praise for the AP and the Rebellion system has been that it de-centers the PCs and centers the organization and its members.

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