Turn of the Torrent (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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Proclamation the Eighth states in part "All nonnative ships’ captains must remain on board their ships and are barred from setting foot on land within Kintargo’s city limits"

Does this mean nonnative "Kintargans"?

I was wondering why Captain Sargaeta, who is part of the Chelish navy can't leave his ship.

Contributor

Kelanen wrote:

Proclamation the Eighth states in part "All nonnative ships’ captains must remain on board their ships and are barred from setting foot on land within Kintargo’s city limits"

Does this mean nonnative "Kintargans"?

I was wondering why Captain Sargaeta, who is part of the Chelish navy can't leave his ship.

I would assume so. I'm planning to set up some kind of registry for all the local Kintargan ships, which allows my players to sneak into the archives and change the records as an alternate solution for Captain Sargaeta's mission.

Scarab Sages

Yes, any ship captain not born in Kintargo cannot set foot in Kintargo. Sargava, despite being a naval captain in the Chellish Armada, is still subject to this rule, which is why he starts helping the PCs.

Silver Crusade

We finished our run of Turn of the Torrent last week, and much fun was had by all. Even my reluctant PF player who hates his character is getting into the campaign.

Some highlights:

I wrote earlier in the thread about my group's troubles with Octavio Sabinus. He eventually did thank them for their assistance, but he still thinks of allying with them as a necessary chaos.

Percy (elf investigator): Thank you, Octavio.
Me: He thinks he's still Lictor Sabinus to you.
Percy: I will remember that, Mr. Sabinus.
Me: Lictor. His title is Lictor.
Percy: But he's not a Hellknight anymore!
Me: Are you telling HIM that?
Player of Percy: No...
Other Player: When the man in scary Hellknight plate says he's a lictor, he's a lictor. If he's lying, the other men in Hellknight plate will take care of it.

Player of Percy: Percy and Octavio would get along if not for the law/chaos thing. They're both full of themselves.
Me: Octavio isn't so much full of himself. He's just not sure you guys are competent.
Player of Percy: That's fair.

The group got along better with Captain Sargaeta, I think mainly because he was pretty. Percy was disappointed that Sargaeta was taken, but he/his player had been waiting out for a romance with the "sexy tiefling on the Player's Guide" anyway. (No one but him thinks Hetamon is sexy. Apparently it's to do with the arms.) I gave my players 2d6 favors from the captain instead of 1d10, because I didn't want them to end up with 1. And of course they rolled 11. Of course, they don't really see Captain Sargaeta as able to do anything for them, so it hasn't broken the game.

When Percy did finally meet Hetamon, he was super excited. Posker, the tengu kraken caller druid, had been trying to be Percy's wing man on a number of occasions and was excited to finally have the opportunity. He and Treep set up a Varisian pasta in the alley scene, a la Lady and the Tramp. (Posker's player was really excited about the Fushi sisters, so I had to do something with them. They now have the personalities of the characters from Little Women.)

The group got distracted and forgot to go after Varl Wex for a few days, but eventually they found his apartment and his kukri. Wex came home and did not know they were in there, but they didn't detect him coming up the stairs either. So when he pushed open the door, Posker pushed it closed again. Wex decided to try to go around to the window, but the group ended up catching him on the stairs. Aurelia the former dottari slayer grappled him while he was flat footed and tied him up. The kukri kept trying to possess Percy, but they were able to knock Wex out. This, of course, drew a crowd, who called the dottari. But Percy, linguist extraordinaire, was able to convince the crowd and dottari that they were in the right. Of course, the dottari then took away all the evidence---including the kukri.

As for the Lucky Bones, as they were exploring the first part of the dungeon, they went into the room with the bearded devil before cult HQ. The devil mentioned that he was a guard and complained that souls were souls no matter what, but the group decided to just ignore the stuck door behind him. They then "rescued" Luculla Gens and bought her deception hook line and sinker. So much so that they decided to keep ignoring that door behind the bearded devil. When they came back three days later, I decided to have one of the boys be dead from nonlethal damage, and one barely alive. I wanted to see if they'd use their raise dead on him. They did not, and mostly didn't seem that upset about it.

The highlight of the next part of the dungeon was the wretchghosts. I told them all they were craving something sweet and delicious, and they immediately decided it must be krispy kremes. And then Minethir the oracle decided to take remove disease as his first third level spell upon hitting 6th level.

The underwater level was mostly me beating them up and them managing their touch of the sea spells and extracts.

We're doing Automatic Bonus Progression, so Barzillai had to give them special magic items---and I was super generous. Everyone but Posker kept theirs.

The group ended up at rebellion level 9 by the end of book 2


So I am just wrapping up the Lucky Bones with my group but found something odd about the drowning devil Shurshogot. In Baccus' notes there is the phrase you can speak "Shurshogot be silent" in infernal to cause the devil great pain, but there are nothing stating what this actually does and for the life of me I can't find it anywhere.

Did anyone else have their players attempt to use the phrase? If so how did you run it's affects on poor old Shurshogot?

Knowing my party they may very well try to bypass fighting the thing and banish the devil if they learn of it's plight and wish to just go home. As long as no one spills the beans about his dead buddies floating out in the other rooms.


Yeah, I couldn't find anything on the effects on the "great pain" either. I looked around for a bit and found that "pain" type effects can cause lots of different conditions:

Pain Strike makes the target sickened.
Hamatulatsu makes the target sickened for 1 round, or staggered if the target is already sickened.
Inflict Pain and Symbol of Pain both cause a -4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks and ability checks.
Instrument of Agony makes the target nauseated.
Howling Agony is interesting. It puts a -2 penalty to AC, attacks, melee damage rolls and reflex saves - but the penalties can be negated for one round if the target spends a move action to howl in pain.

I was fairly generous and ruled that Shurshogot would be staggered by the pain, since I really enjoy it when my players pick up on and use the options and clues put in the AP. Staggered means he's unable to use full attacks (severely hampering his threat level) but he's still able to put up a fight. It also explains why the Drowning Devil didn't simply dismember the (likely level 7) tiefling summoner who called him in the first place. I considered making him nauseated instead of staggered (rendering him no threat at all since he's unable to attack), but I thought it would make the fight too anti-climactic.

Ironically all my research was pointless, since my (normally) very chaotic good party wound up striking a deal with the fiend instead of killing it, they even negotiated a contract. Rolled a nat 1 followed by a 2 on the devil's bluff checks, so the extraordinarily suspicious inquisitor even found most of the fine print Shurshogot tried to fit in along the way! :)


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm curious if James Jacobs could lend a little insight into the gangs (and their gang names!) who appear in this chapter.

For example, why "The Flowershop Crew" for the Nidalese refugees? And what are they refugees from, exactly? They're cooperative with the Nidalese government, to some extent, so it sounds as if there is more backstory to this gang than we're offered.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Midnight Anarch wrote:

I'm curious if James Jacobs could lend a little insight into the gangs (and their gang names!) who appear in this chapter.

For example, why "The Flowershop Crew" for the Nidalese refugees? And what are they refugees from, exactly? They're cooperative with the Nidalese government, to some extent, so it sounds as if there is more backstory to this gang than we're offered.

In many cases, the names are just that—names that sounded cool, either to me or to the author. In the case of the Flowershop Crew... there's not much more. I imagine they have some links to a flower shop, and I like the idea of the juxtaposition between flowers and gang activity...


James Jacobs wrote:
Midnight Anarch wrote:

I'm curious if James Jacobs could lend a little insight into the gangs (and their gang names!) who appear in this chapter.

For example, why "The Flowershop Crew" for the Nidalese refugees? And what are they refugees from, exactly? They're cooperative with the Nidalese government, to some extent, so it sounds as if there is more backstory to this gang than we're offered.

In many cases, the names are just that—names that sounded cool, either to me or to the author. In the case of the Flowershop Crew... there's not much more. I imagine they have some links to a flower shop, and I like the idea of the juxtaposition between flowers and gang activity...

It sounds like one of those nice/pretty-sounding names that conceals something dark and terrible...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

As far as post curfew encounters goes for book 2 have you guys been using the same patrol groups from book 1 for Turn of the Torrent?

I've been considering using a patrol of the dottari from page 11 and maybe some Citizen Group brawlers I created myself... or maybe a team of adventurers hired by the Citizens to hunt the party.

I made the Citizens a far bigger force in the first book and hope to have them as a continuing element throughout the path.


Anyone have thoughts on Setrona? She shows up, knowing the identities of the PCs and their secret group, demands not only that they act as her personal cousin-rescuing team, but that they bring her along into an obvious setup for an ambush so that she can cut off their escape, and her stated end-goal is to rescue someone the PCs neither know nor care that much about yet. Heck, she's basically saying "Go rescue people who, as far as you know, are likely to arrest you and destroy your entire resistance to get back in the crown's good graces."

...And the adventure just assumes the PCs say "Yes ma'am, right away ma'am, shall we turn ourselves over when we're done doing your errands, or would you like to surprise us with the revelation that you're an obvious Thrune spy?"

It doesn't really matter that she isn't a spy. She is so completely and utterly suspicious that no revolutionary in their right mind would tell her anything but "You've got the wrong person, lady. I don't know a thing about the Silver Ravens". How have other groups handled her?


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LittleMissNaga wrote:

Anyone have thoughts on Setrona? She shows up, knowing the identities of the PCs and their secret group, demands not only that they act as her personal cousin-rescuing team, but that they bring her along into an obvious setup for an ambush so that she can cut off their escape, and her stated end-goal is to rescue someone the PCs neither know nor care that much about yet. Heck, she's basically saying "Go rescue people who, as far as you know, are likely to arrest you and destroy your entire resistance to get back in the crown's good graces."

...And the adventure just assumes the PCs say "Yes ma'am, right away ma'am, shall we turn ourselves over when we're done doing your errands, or would you like to surprise us with the revelation that you're an obvious Thrune spy?"

It doesn't really matter that she isn't a spy. She is so completely and utterly suspicious that no revolutionary in their right mind would tell her anything but "You've got the wrong person, lady. I don't know a thing about the Silver Ravens". How have other groups handled her?

First, I built up Octavio Sabinus in "Hell's Bright Shadow" as a potential ally and the PCs are fairly well disposed towards him at this point. Also, one of the PCs has a brother who is an armiger in the order. If it's too late for that in your game, I would suggest having someone the PCs alreayd know and trust approach the PCs.

For instance have Laria say she knows that Setrona is looking for her brother and that Laria knows her and vouches for her and recommends the PCs approach her to see if there is anything that can be gained form helping her. She offers an in with the Order of the Torrent, so that should be a motivator.

Silver Crusade

I had a player who was homeless in Old Kintargo, so I told him that he knew Setrona. She sometimes gave him food out back. (Note: My players tend to just latch onto plot hooks and follow them without question.)

As to Setrona knowing they're Silver Ravens, a lot of stuff in the AP assumes people know who they are. Someone in one of these threads suggested a minimum notoriety score around 3*rebellion level, and I'm going to do this when I run it again.


Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
As to Setrona knowing they're Silver Ravens, a lot of stuff in the AP assumes people know who they are. Someone in one of these threads suggested a minimum notoriety score around 3*rebellion level, and I'm going to do this when I run it again.

Yeah, I've been reading more thoroughly, and these assumptions just keep coming up. It's honestly insulting to the players and the GM. That combined with what seems like more editing errors than usual for APs, and a cast of really detestable NPCs that you seem to be expected to love unconditionally is just making Hell's Rebels a massive disappointment.

I dunno. Maybe I was over-hyped on nothing but 5-star reviews and people raving that this was the best AP ever. A lot of people seem to love it, but I think it's possibly the worst AP I've ever seen. Maybe it's just not right for my table though. Plenty of others seem to have found things to like, I guess.

...I liked Lictor Octavio at least. Strikes me as the only major ally in the entire AP who's simultaneously competent, and not massively full of himself, instead of just having gotten one of those traits.


Yeah, come to think of it...this whole "Everyone knows who the clandestine resistance group is!" thing is really annoying.

LittleMissNaga wrote:
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
As to Setrona knowing they're Silver Ravens, a lot of stuff in the AP assumes people know who they are. Someone in one of these threads suggested a minimum notoriety score around 3*rebellion level, and I'm going to do this when I run it again.

Yeah, I've been reading more thoroughly, and these assumptions just keep coming up. It's honestly insulting to the players and the GM. That combined with what seems like more editing errors than usual for APs, and a cast of really detestable NPCs that you seem to be expected to love unconditionally is just making Hell's Rebels a massive disappointment.

I dunno. Maybe I was over-hyped on nothing but 5-star reviews and people raving that this was the best AP ever. A lot of people seem to love it, but I think it's possibly the worst AP I've ever seen. Maybe it's just not right for my table though. Plenty of others seem to have found things to like, I guess.

...I liked Lictor Octavio at least. Strikes me as the only major ally in the entire AP who's simultaneously competent, and not massively full of himself, instead of just having gotten one of those traits.

Just out of curiosity, who else do you find detestable besides Setrona?


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

It seems like a Burn Notice type thing to me, the idea is, it's assumed word gets around on the streets.

Keep in mind, they have to build it assuming a lot of different groups will handle it differently and it's not like adventurers are known for their subtlety.

I'm curious, what you all think they should've done differently.

Also, they straight up tell people, constantly, that you might need to tweak things for your party's preferences.


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LittleMissNaga wrote:
and a cast of really detestable NPCs that you seem to be expected to love unconditionally is just making Hell's Rebels a massive disappointment.

Don't forget that there is nothing saying that you need to present the NPCs exactly as written. If they have personality traits that you foresee rubbing your PCs the wrong way, remove them and present them in a way your PCs will find compelling. If you're the one who doesn't like the NPC, you're in an even better position to re-imagine them in ways you'd prefer.


LittleMissNaga wrote:


Yeah, I've been reading more thoroughly, and these assumptions just keep coming up. It's honestly insulting to the players and the GM. That combined with what seems like more editing errors than usual for APs, and a cast of really detestable NPCs that you seem to be expected to love unconditionally is just making Hell's Rebels a massive disappointment.

I dunno. Maybe I was over-hyped on nothing but 5-star reviews and people raving that this was the best AP ever. A lot of people seem to love it, but I think it's possibly the worst AP I've ever seen. Maybe it's just not right for my table though. Plenty of others seem to have found things to like, I guess.

I just made a thread about the fact that especially Turn of the Torrent assumes the PC's strut around town wearing Silver Raven cloaks. My PCs intend to keep their identities and revolutionary activities on the down low, and thus I can't have quest-givers walk up to the PC's in a tavern like it was some 1st level old school dungeon romp. I actually think it's weird that this book assumes that *any* rebel party (regardless of play style) would be this accessible.

Nones/Sargaeta are worse than Setrona, they're not even natives, works for the oppressive government, and according to the text they'll find the PCs regardless. Page 25: "Captain Sargaeta keeps his ear to the ground as best he can, and knows of the Silver Ravens and PCs even if they’ve taken pains to hide their identities". What the what? Does he have a Silver Raven homing spell? Omnipotent NPCs are just lazy GMing. I must say I think Mr. Shel didn't do a very good job with NPC introductions in this adventure.

Shaun gave me the great advice to have my sneaky rebels come to the NPCs instead of them coming hammering on their door, maybe by Laria or Rexus dropping hints. For the Sargaeta encounter I will have the PCs overhear Elia Nones trying to bribe some people about the Ravens whereabouts ("Sod of, ya Thrune lackey, even if we knew we wouldn't tell ya!"), and the PCs can then track her and in some dark alley ask her why she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.

As for the AP in general I think it has a great villain, a cool concept with the BBEG being fought several times in different ways, some great set pieces/scenes and also an awesome end. It does take a lot of GM work/adjustments/augmenting to make it fly though, but that is par for the course with sandboxy campaigns I guess.


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Axial wrote:
Just out of curiosity, who else do you find detestable besides Setrona?

Well, there's Rexus, the man we're clearly supposed to love and admire for his 'correct' desire for a bloodless revolution, and sympathize with when he realizes he can't have that. His whole character comes across as naive, and his attitude is insulting to Thrune's victims. It would be somewhat forgivable if he hadn't personally lost everyone he cared about to Thrune, but instead he's a smug spoiled rich boy who is playing revolutionary, not taking seriously the movement that other people have lost their lives for.

Laria... Honestly I'm not sure why she rubs me the wrong way. She feels very token. Like a caricature of... I'm not sure what exactly. But oh look, she's a strong female character and that means she's tough and curvy and shamelessly flirty.

Setrona, who strolls in like she owns the place and the PCs are her lapdogs, and practically the entire first half of book 2 assumes the PCs are just following her around and doing what she tells them to do. It's not just about her though. It's her whole tavern. Part of Turn of the Torrent is about upgrading from Long Roads to a better base of operations. Tooth and Nail is not that upgrade. It's a downgrade from the already-terrible smugglers tunnels under the coffeeshop, but for some reason you're just expected to move there because you love Setrona so much, and it'll make the Luculla Gens reveal "have more impact".

Speaking of which:

Luculla Gens: I don't actually dislike her as a character. She's an okay villain. B+. I dislike her as the contrived and meaningless 'fooled you' moment that she is. It's an urban adventure (supposedly) in which you get to know a big cast of characters. The revelation that the girl next door that you knew, but didn't particularly care about is a cultist is just as stunning as the revelation that the girl from elsewhere in the city that you knew, but didn't particularly care about is a cultist: which is to say it won't be stunning in the slightest unless you edit Luculla's intro and build her up to be someone the players actually trust and care about, not just someone they sort-of know about.

Tayacet: What was the point of her again? Ah, right, there isn't one. She's such a disposable character that the adventure itself suggests never using her, except as a contrived Deus Ex Machina to save the hapless PCs. Probably for the best if you just never include her.

(Actually, Long Roads had a similar problem with suggesting that Laria burst in and save the day. That's just bad adventure. Don't tell the PCs "You guys are lame, now sit quietly and watch these NPCs do your job better than you ever could." Let the PCs be the heroes themselves. Let them get in over their heads, and let them be clever and dig their own way out of any messes they get into.)

Sabo the Spider: Not sure if she's supposed to be evil Setrona, or evil medium-sized Laria. Either way, a resounding 'meh'.

Elia Nones: Oh gods, this one. I'd call her the worst character in the AP, but Shensen is still coming. Elia strolling in IN A CHELISH UNIFORM, demanding the PCs follow her wherever she pleases, and being so darn smug while she does it would make her a great villain. Too bad she's supposed to be an ally, since there's LITERALLY NO REASON for the PCs to not kill her on the spot the second she starts making demands like she owns the place. Oh what's that? "I tend to make a lot of noise and you wouldn't want to draw Chelish attention?" Sorry lady but according to the adventure, literally everyone, even if they're relatively cut off from intel like your captain, knows the identities of the PCs, where they're headquartered, and what they had for lunch last Tuesday.

Cassius Sargaeta: Smug, a jerk, someone the PCs definitely should not side with if they value the secrecy of their movement (oh wait, it's impossible to keep anything secret), and he treats the PCs like dirt while asking for their help. His whole backstory makes him seem like a bratty teenager who never grew up, and never earned his position. it was just handed to him because we needed smug teacup man to insult the PCs a few times.

Marquel Aulorian: Is okay, honestly. Shame he's a bit part. Still, the tragic disfigured rich boy writer in a cheesy romance is somewhere between cliche, and sickening. If his reunion with Cassius doesn't make you gag from concentrated memories of all the worst aspects of art school, then presumably you didn't go to an arts school I guess. Shame he's in love with a massive jerk.

Varl Wex: Is just here to hit 'Temple Hill Slasher' on the Kintargo checklist, and we all know it. Hugely underwhelming encounter.

Elgadazum the Hateful: Finally, a likeable character. This guy is cool, tough, and not a whiney, artsy brat like 90% of the residents of this city (plus Cassius). Sure he's concentrated evil in a spikey can, but at least he's a cool character. (I don't actually dislike this guy at all, I just included him because I remembered that he was another character besides Octavio who I didn't despise.)

Lorelu: Honestly, nothing much wrong with a crazy gambling ghost. I'm mostly just miffed that she's pictured with cards but never does anything card-based. Restat as a card-slinging rogue or magus ghost? Well, if I ever do anything with this adventure beyond milk it for stat blocks, I suppose so.

...And so on. My biggest problem with most of them, I guess, is that they're in a rebellion, and they just will not let go of their frivolous artsy quirks and sensibilities. People have died to Thrune, and they're going around being entitled little brats and dropping teacups.

I think I just expected the wrong kind of rebellion. I came in hoping for guerrilla warfare and shadowrun-esque covert operations. Hell's Rebels isn't that adventure. Hell's Rebels is the adventure about winning a local popularity contest by smugly reminding everyone of how you're so morally superior to them, and I imagine it's well-suited for anyone who thinks Cheliax would actually respond to that by rolling over and saying "Well, you've out-argued us, you can have our northern archduchy" instead of just burning Kintargo to the ground like they should have ages ago.


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LittleMissNaga wrote:

...And so on. My biggest problem with most of them, I guess, is that they're in a rebellion, and they just will not let go of their frivolous artsy quirks and sensibilities. People have died to Thrune, and they're going around being entitled little brats and dropping teacups.

I think I just expected the wrong kind of rebellion. I came in hoping for guerrilla warfare and shadowrun-esque covert operations. Hell's Rebels isn't that adventure.

I agree with you, to some extent. Hell's Rebels is much more cutesy and chirpy than I had expected - I thought it would be darker and more serious. I had hoped for V for Vendetta but it's more like The Scarlet Pimpernel.

It's in my opinion not that hard to turn it around though, and to darken it. NPC personalities are easy enough to change, and the base premise and plot are sound I think.


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

They can't exactly make it rated R, but it's easy enough to tweak.

But if you want to keep venting, by all means, I'm just not sure a GM thread is the place for that though.


LittleMissNaga wrote:
Axial wrote:
Just out of curiosity, who else do you find detestable besides Setrona?

Well, there's Rexus, the man we're clearly supposed to love and admire for his 'correct' desire for a bloodless revolution, and sympathize with when he realizes he can't have that. His whole character comes across as naive, and his attitude is insulting to Thrune's victims. It would be somewhat forgivable if he hadn't personally lost everyone he cared about to Thrune, but instead he's a smug spoiled rich boy who is playing revolutionary, not taking seriously the movement that other people have lost their lives for.

Laria... Honestly I'm not sure why she rubs me the wrong way. She feels very token. Like a caricature of... I'm not sure what exactly. But oh look, she's a strong female character and that means she's tough and curvy and shamelessly flirty.

Setrona, who strolls in like she owns the place and the PCs are her lapdogs, and practically the entire first half of book 2 assumes the PCs are just following her around and doing what she tells them to do. It's not just about her though. It's her whole tavern. Part of Turn of the Torrent is about upgrading from Long Roads to a better base of operations. Tooth and Nail is not that upgrade. It's a downgrade from the already-terrible smugglers tunnels under the coffeeshop, but for some reason you're just expected to move there because you love Setrona so much, and it'll make the Luculla Gens reveal "have more impact".

Speaking of which:

Luculla Gens: I don't actually dislike her as a character. She's an okay villain. B+. I dislike her as the contrived and meaningless 'fooled you' moment that she is. It's an urban adventure (supposedly) in which you get to know a big cast of characters. The revelation that the girl next door that you knew, but didn't particularly care about is a cultist is just as stunning as the revelation that the girl from elsewhere in the city that you knew, but didn't particularly care about is a cultist: which is to say it won't be...

Very good descriptions. I think I'll come back a bit later and propose modifications for each of them.

It occurs to me that Kintargo is like the obscure, artsy, weird city that all the hipsters on Golarion go. Essentially Golarion's version of Portland.


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

Have you been to Portland.


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Nah, that's all of that from me.

On a positive note, I've really enjoyed the monsters in the back-of-the-book bestiaries. Scrivenites are particularly cool. I can't wait to use one somewhere. Likewise for the cordulegaster. The little foreward for the book 2 bestiary really sold me on that neat, horrifying, memory-eating monstrosity.

Silver Crusade

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captain yesterday wrote:
I'm curious, what you all think they should've done differently.

In case this "all" includes me, I want to state for the record that I am in the "Hell's Rebels is the best AP ever!" camp. I was just mentioning a thing I would have changed.

Also, my players fell for Luculla Gens hook, line, and sinker. They skipped the room the kids were in and didn't bother with it on the way out because they had to rescue poor Luculla. One of the guys even tasked the Fushi sisters with looking out for her until she decided to "go visit her sister in Egorian."


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

That's awesome!


I'm preparing to run HR, and I've really liked the AP, but I agree with LittleMissNaga on most NPCs and the "ooooops, everyone knows about you bits": I don't see what's wrong with Wex, though. He's supposed to introduce the Slasher trough Balgorrah early, to avoid plopping Manghvune out of nowhere in book 5, and giving a reason to have the Skinsaw after the PCs to give a little more enemy variety.

Speaking of which, if there's one thing that I really hate about the AP, particularly the first 3 books, are the NPCs' classes: seriously, why is everyone a Rogue, Fighter, or Cleric?! Hell, you have at least 2 instances of Rogue/Clerics when there are a number of archetypes of Divine classes that do exactly that without the multiclass! I have to rebuild most of the NPCs in the first books because I doubt my players will have fun fighting Human Fighter #23, and I don't have fun running them, either. I think I'll make a thread tomorrow posting what conversions I came up for now, so we can share them if anyone else had made some changes: like LittleMissNaga said, I need to make Lorelu a cardcaster magus.


I agree on the class thing. I attributed it in part to it being a James Jacobs joint, as I gather he's not that up to speed on the newer classes and believes the core classes do 90% of what you really need. I was shocked to see a Warpriest show up as a nonstandard class with a classic template, so it's not a universal handicap, at least.

Shadow Lodge

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LittleMissNaga wrote:
Yeah, I've been reading more thoroughly, and these assumptions just keep coming up. It's honestly insulting to the players and the GM.

All the little vanities revolutionaries (in both fiction and reality) adopt to hide their identities and movements amount to very little. Hell, I have a Party name, and I don't mind telling you that because I know how little it matters. I'll guarantee you that just about every member, and particularly every leader, of any kind of radical organization appears on a watchlist somewhere. This isn't even a new phenomenon, justly infamous though CoIntelPro, its counterparts across the Western and Eastern Blocs, and its War on Terror reincarnations are. Contemporary revolutionaries were complaining about being tracked and harassed by Napoleon III's gendarmerie, the Prussian secret police, and the Okhrana, and the latter two left extensive files showing that the complaining wasn't even close to paranoid. There's a saying among radicals; even if your organization's got just you and your dog in it, make sure the dog's not a provocateur.

Speaking of which, the AP provides a provocateur on which to pin all the blame for NPCs knowing about the Silver Ravens: Blosodriette. Even if the imp doesn't survive very long, any time is long enough to leak the PCs' names, descriptions, and location to a hapless Long Roads patron, and suggest that he talk openly about those things. Information can trickle or cascade from there - not necessarily enough to give the whole game away (particularly once the PCs move out of Long Roads), but enough to enable some plot-moving coincidences.

Even having played alongside secrecy-focused Ravens, however, I don't really understand the mindset. The AP is plainly focused on building a mass party. By the time the Rebellion reaches rank 20, it will have over 5,000 supporters, about half the population of Kintargo! And that's not counting the PCs, Teams and Allies, who add another hundred or so altogether. Anybody who knows anything knows that the methods of urban guerillas and mass-partyists are very different. Urban guerillas focus like a laser on building and maintaining cadre - a dependable and indispensable core of individual fighters or in game terms, PCs, Teams, and Allies. For a mass party, cadre is important, but ultimately replaceable. Leaders are in and out of jail, and are occasionally executed, but rarely all of them at once and if they've done their jobs new ones spring up so the organization can carry on. If I may, one of the lessons players should learn from the old Ravens documents is about the peril of relying too heavily on a core cadre, that is, on themselves. The PCs are not the beating heart and the thinking head of the Silver Ravens, still less of Kintargo. They are merely the characters that players happen to be playing.

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Well, there's Rexus, the man we're clearly supposed to love and admire for his 'correct' desire for a bloodless revolution, and sympathize with when he realizes he can't have that. His whole character comes across as naive, and his attitude is insulting to Thrune's victims. It would be somewhat forgivable if he hadn't personally lost everyone he cared about to Thrune, but instead he's a smug spoiled rich boy who is playing revolutionary, not taking seriously the movement that other people have lost their lives for.

* * *

...My biggest problem with most of them, I guess, is that they're in a rebellion, and they just will not let go of their frivolous artsy quirks and sensibilities. People have died to Thrune, and they're going around being entitled little brats and dropping teacups.

I think I just expected the wrong kind of rebellion. I came in hoping for guerrilla warfare and shadowrun-esque covert operations. Hell's Rebels isn't that adventure. Hell's Rebels is the adventure about winning a local popularity contest by smugly reminding everyone of how you're so morally superior to them, and I imagine it's well-suited for anyone who thinks Cheliax would actually respond to that by rolling over and saying "Well, you've out-argued us, you can have our northern archduchy" instead of just burning Kintargo to the ground like they should have ages ago.

Rexus's was a very real demographic, though not necessarily moral, profile for a large number of fin-de-siecle revolutionaries, particularly in Russia. Demographically-speaking, you could be describing Lenin (though in moral and to an extent biographical terms I think the truer parallel is with Karl Liebknecht).

Actually, parallels and references to fin-de-siecle Social Democracy are all over Hell's Rebels if you know where to look. If Rexus is Liebknecht, then Hetamon is Hugo Haase (it's even in his name!) and Octavio Sabinus is Emil Eichorn. The Cloven Hoof Society is the Bund, which I suppose makes tieflings the Jews. Vespam Artisans is one of the cooperative societies; Vespasio's NPC entry invokes the term. Lady Docur's is the Smolny Institute. I could go on. What's truly frustrating about all of this is that despite the superficial parallels and references, there's very little in the AP to do with class struggle. The most we get are the reactions to the Bleakbridge tax hike, which is presented as a class issue affecting the poor, and to which the affected traversers and the Yolubilis fishermen respond with collective action. All of this is supposed to happen in the background, which I guess is a credit to Kintargo's working class, but speaks very poorly of the Silver Ravens' assumed ability to link up to a real social movement that could and should be the beating heart and thinking head of Kintargo. But I digress.

The other, more pertinent, frustrating thing is that the Five Steps of Revolution are bass-ackwards as presented. The AP has this to say about "planning for the future," the final Step of Revolution:

"Although ensuring the safety and security of Kintargo into the future is important, Laria believes that planning for such longterm goals is a waste of time until a plan to depose Thrune and take back the city can be set in motion, especially since it’s impossible to know what the situation in Kintargo might be like in such a nebulous future."

I'm sorry to say it, Ms Frasier, but that is the single worst thing you've ever written (and I'm even more sorry if it was editorially mandated and I should be blaming Mr Jacobs). Revolutions are not simply made by organizations following a template, but proceed according to existing social tensions. Theory has a vital role to play before an organization is even constituted: identifying the social tensions that might gestate a new society and postulating what that new society might look like according to the conditions in which it gestates, so that the organization can be crafted specifically to midwife it.

I know you have at least a tenuous grasp of this, because, getting back to the point at last, you made sure Rexus and Laria have visions of the Good Life - the new society that it is possible to build from the ashes of the old. That's not quite theory, which begins by analyzing society's tensions rather than by postulating abstract ideals, but it's about as close as I'm guessing you were allowed to get. And it's an important role to play.

If the assumption is that the PCs will be the cadre who live and die for the Cause, we need NPCs to have a vision of the Good Life. In a sense, all the quirks that bother you so, LittleMissNaga, pose the question of the Good Life. For what is the revolution being made? To put down a mad dog in power so that things can go back to normal (which might have been fine for e.g. Octavio or Cassius or Rexus himself but wasn't all that great for the mass of the people), or to tear down a whole rotten edifice and build something new? Rexus in particular holds the vision that animated fin-de-siecle Social Democracy: material abundance for all, the Land of Cockaigne, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, or if you must, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. That kind of vision is important and necessary, regardless if you think holding it insensitive to the victims of Thrune.

And by the way, events can push Rexus to the bloody-minded Cause-monger you'd like to see more of. By the end of Turn of the Torrent, "if the devastated [because as of the end of In Hell's Bright Shadow, he can no longer hope his family lives] young man is ignored, he may well end up getting himself killed … likely by making a foolhardy attempt to assassinate Barzillai Thrune or High Priest Grivenner of the church of Asmodeus."

With that I've more or less said my piece on NPC quirks in general, and you're right that some of these NPCs (Setrona, Tayacet, Elia, Varl) are there to check off boxes or move the plot along without actually being characters. There's just a couple more points I want to address specifically.

Quote:
Laria... Honestly I'm not sure why she rubs me the wrong way. She feels very token. Like a caricature of... I'm not sure what exactly. But oh look, she's a strong female character and that means she's tough and curvy and shamelessly flirty.

This criticism would hold more water if Laria was meant to represent all womankind, but she's not. (An aside: she's the only halfling given actual characterization in the AP to my knowledge, but then, halflings aren't real and their representation only matters to fans who project onto them.) In Hell's Bright Shadow alone gives us Korva, Zea, Scarplume, Blosodriette, and Nox, and those are just the non-Laria women I can remember off the top of my head. Enemies and allies, strong and weak in their own ways, with motivations that run from safety to solidarity to vengeance to sadism to power. While she may have had her head [forced?] up her butt when it came to writing about the role of theory in revolution, Ms Frasier knows what Critical Theory has to say about representation and furthermore knows that "there is no wrong way to be a girl" ;)

Interestingly, I was unable to place Laria in my constellation of obvious Social-Democratic parallels. Maybe Emma Goldman, if I had to pick, but that's a stretch (among other objections, she was an anarchist, not a social democrat). Whether that makes her so unoriginal as to be stock or so herself that the parallel is buried under characterization is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

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Cassius Sargaeta: Smug, a jerk, someone the PCs definitely should not side with if they value the secrecy of their movement (oh wait, it's impossible to keep anything secret), and he treats the PCs like dirt while asking for their help. His whole backstory makes him seem like a bratty teenager who never grew up, and never earned his position. it was just handed to him because we needed smug teacup man to insult the PCs a few times.

Now this guy's a clearer parallel, specifically to Paul Wieczorek, albeit circa 1903 rather than 1918. He and Octavio (Emil Eichorn, remember) play a different role to Rexus and Laria. Rather than envisioning the Good Life in the future, they've been more or less living it until it was taken away from them, and are now open to new possibilities. Cassius's affected mannerisms in particular are his defense mechanism against knowledge that he can never get what he had back, and that if he wants something like it (Marquel, for instance), he'll have to expand his horizons.

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Setrona, who strolls in like she owns the place and the PCs are her lapdogs, and practically the entire first half of book 2 assumes the PCs are just following her around and doing what she tells them to do. It's not just about her though. It's her whole tavern. Part of Turn of the Torrent is about upgrading from Long Roads to a better base of operations. Tooth and Nail is not that upgrade. It's a downgrade from the already-terrible smugglers tunnels under the coffeeshop, but for some reason you're just expected to move there because you love Setrona so much, and it'll make the Luculla Gens reveal "have more impact".

I know it's easy to skim text that you've decided to hate, but you're actually expected to move to Old Kintargo because circumstances dictate it. The action keeps taking place there, so it's convenient to meet somewhere that isn't on the far side of town and across the river. The Tooth and Nail is more or less a placeholder for anywhere the PCs might end up. Personally, I like the Three-Legged Devil as a place to spend the night. It may technically be in Jarvis End, but it's near Old Kintargo, it's set up to host overnight guests (which, according to its map, the Tooth and Nail is not), and we know it's set up to do so because it has "served periodically in the past as a safe house for rebels and fugitives of all stripes." For the same reason, Giveni's loyalty is unquestionable, unlike Setrona's. It's an utter shame he's never given screen time.


Wow, that's an impressively though analysis/comparison.

While I don't think real-life parallels fix actual adventure problems, they are very cool.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, zimmerwald, that gives me a whole lot of context to use when I finally get this AP onto my players' table.


We just finished this book, and Im having some suspicions that I would like some information about ( seeing as we play over roll20, I cant verify myself ).

Background: We quit playing Giantslayer due to massive player deaths, over and over again. SO we started Hell's Rebels..

After we finished the book, I went back and looked, and some of the things the GM said the HARDCOPY lists are not in the pdf. Particularly in this book is the GLobster. My GM states the hardcopy book states it has over 200hp, regeneration, DR to slashing, etc.. and the pdf states HP is closer to 70 hp with none of those massive things. (Also he says the book lists ungol-pa as 8th level, and his wand of lightning bolt as being a CL 8)

THe same thing in giantslayer with a few key encounters (the cursed dwarf , the advanced Riftdrakes, the Barbarian giant in book 3, the blind oracle at the end of book 3 - all had abilities NOT listed in the PDF that my GM states are listed in the books.

Are the hardcopy books different than the pdf, or is my GM just deliberately increasing the encounter difficulty and killing us off?


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

No difference between book and PDF, Ungol-Pagh is 6th level, wand only has 12 charges, no caster level listed.

Not sure what he's doing with the Globster, but it's not in the book like that. :-)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

It's entirely possible that the hardcover says something different than the pdf...you just take a pen, scratch out "70", and write in "200" next to hit points. Piece of cake :)

Shadow Lodge

Jester84 wrote:
Are the hardcopy books different than the pdf, or is my GM just deliberately increasing the encounter difficulty and killing us off?

The latter. The printed globster is the Bestiary 3 globster with the Advanced template, the defenses of which are limited to 69 hp, some immunities, and some resistances. No DR or regeneration. As printed, Ungol-Pagh is a 6th-level enchanter with a CL 5 wand of lightning bolt (technically the CL's unlisted, but unlisted CLs default to, well, the default).

It's the GM's prerogative to change all that, of course, and it's understandable that he wouldn't want you metagaming from the .pdf. Seems like the kind of thing you might ask him to be up-front about, though.


Its not metagaming. Its the fact that it was still standing after it had been dealt an obscene amount of damage, and was killing me, and the GM insisted that it was a CR 8 in the book and that he was running it as the book says its to be run.. an 8th level ungol pa isnt the issue.. a 200 hp regenerating creature with DR thats impossible to overcome ( its normally immune to piercing and bludgeoning, but he said it also had DR against slashing ) seems a BIT out of line to take on , much less at the same time as a 8th level wizard. Ive GM'ed many years, and hearing "over 200 HP and regeneration" SCREAMS that something is not right when its 4 6th level players... underwater..

Shadow Lodge

Jester84 wrote:
Its not metagaming.

Any statement along the lines of "we shouldn't be fighting something like this at our level" is metagaming. That doesn't make such statements verboten, or intrinsically bad, they just are what they are. Metagaming in that vein can serve as a check on what the GM can get away with.

But what I was actually saying was that, if the GM knew you had a copy of the .pdf, he might change up encounters specifically to prevent you from using that information, whether you intended to or not. I agree, creating a supermonster like you describe seems punitive, but that's something to hash out with the GM and other players.


I didnt check it until AFTER. Didnt even go and find the PDF until after. He still insists its what is written in the book. And yes, metagaming in the sense of knowing what we should or should not be facing.

So, unless a developer can chime in and say "yes, early printings had this in them" or such and such, I can safely assume the general consensus is "He made that up and is trying to kill you"


Jester84 wrote:
So, unless a developer can chime in and say "yes, early printings had this in them" or such and such, I can safely assume the general consensus is "He made that up and is trying to kill you"

I'm quite sure there's no different print editions for AP modules (like there is for many of Paizo's hardcovers). Paizo are releasing them akin to magazines, and all are the same. Only exception have been Rise of the Runelords (and soon Curse of the Crimson Throne) when it was rereleased as a hardcover.

So yes, he's changing the encounters himself, for some reason. Why he's not being truthful about this you'll of course have to ask him about. I often change encounters myself to better suit the group, but I don't hide that fact if the players inquire.

Shadow Lodge

Razcar wrote:
Only exception have been Rise of the Runelords (and soon Curse of the Crimson Throne) when it was rereleased as a hardcover.

I'm not sure those count. Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne were written to be run with D&D 3.5, and no definitive Pathfinder editions existed until the anniversary hardcovers.

Quote:
So yes, he's changing the encounters himself, for some reason. Why he's not being truthful about this you'll of course have to ask him about. I often change encounters myself to better suit the group, but I don't hide that fact if the players inquire.

Seconded, if it wasn't clear.


To those talking about revolution theory: Could you be more specific about what you would change about how the PCs go about their revolution?


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
To those talking about revolution theory: Could you be more specific about what you would change about how the PCs go about their revolution?

While historical revolution stuff is neat, I think that my players and I were expecting more covert ops and other sneaky stuff. I'd go for dismantling the publicity and the 'everyone knows about you' angle, reworking quest-givings, and general character personalities in book 2, cut the entirety of book 3, AKA the one where the PCs respond to an invitation to an obvious trap with "There's no way in heck we're walking into that. Lets just convince as many of our allies as we can to not go, and the rest can die as fools since they insist on acting the part", and beyond that I dunno. By that point things are already significantly off the as-written rails, and who knows where it'd go.

I don't really want to rewrite 87.5% of the AP, though. Minor modifications here and there are fine and dandy, and can do great things for an AP. But with what Hell's Rebels would require, I think I'm better off just writing a different adventure from scratch, or running a different AP. (After all, why bother working hard to run what I don't like when I absolutely LOVE the look of Carrion Crown, yet haven't run that one yet? I'll just run it instead).


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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
To those talking about revolution theory: Could you be more specific about what you would change about how the PCs go about their revolution?

Not sure Baha-who wanted changes in the AP as more of Zimmerwald's sociopolitical parables, but here's my adjustments of Turn of the Torrent. Quite many, I'm afraid, as I found this to be the weakest installment in the Hell's Rebels AP.

* Keep Setrona and Octavio's storyline, but change the hook. Introduce it through Laria, and make the PCs look up Setrona herself, anonymously if they like. Otherwise keep as written.

* The doghousing particulars are very fuzzy to me and while it uses dogs (an AP theme of sorts) I find it a bit lacking in suspense (it feels more like a normal jail break which there are several already). Instead I will use something I dreamt up that I think is more in tune with BT's evil tinkering: the Wheel of Cheliax. It's a sturdy metal wagon, pulled by four black oxen, with two man-high iron wheels. The spokes are shaped like the Chelish' cross, and have several perforated limb-sized holes in the tread. The victim is firmly fastened on a spoke with a complicated set of iron bracers (since there's two wheels one victim can get tortured on each side). Through a mechanical contraption the slow revolving of the wagon's wheels will move a pre-selected pair of limbs (hands, or feet, or even the head) closer and closer to the gap in the tread, with a nasty slow clanking for each turn. Eventually the victim's limb will start to get slowly crushed against the streets as they get to be wheeled around town screaming, trailing blood and mashed bone. This morbid caravan will be ran by the Order of the Rack and guarded by six Hellknights. The PC's have to think out a daring heist to free the person excruciated on the Wheel (stop the wagon over a manhole, quick open locks or drug the oxen with poisoned darts etc.)

* Luculla Gens will be introduced in AP part 1. She is way too late an introduction to become a twist otherwise. Maybe become a romantic interest for a PC?

* Keep the Torrent jail break.

* The Poison Pen is a mess IMO. Totally scratch the hook. Have Nones look for the Ravens in seedy bars instead, so the PCs can make contact. Make Nones and Sargaeta less of a pair of (rhymes with) cash flows. Make it a jail break heist from scratch instead of a FedEx. Make the Poison pen known previously, and make him usable for the rebellion! Mr Shel has him sit on his loveboat the rest of the AP. What a lost opportunity. Marquel can write searing poems and bawdy songs ridiculing Thrune which the PCs can spread (how get access to a printing press for the pamphlets? Maybe the Thrunies have an iron golem printing press the PCs can steal. Another cov-op!), and amass lots of support this way. The captain is far from the valuable asset here, he's got a big boat, so what. It's Marquel, and his viciously sharp pen, that they should use to win them the hearts of the people.

* Scratch Tayacet as a "nice bad gal". I have a PC Durotas contact to play this role. Instead she will try to incriminate the Ravens in the Vex murders and paint them as Norgorber cultists/Grey Spiders come again. My PCs will keep themselves anonymous, but the name of the Silver Ravens BT will be free to attack and demonize with his sizable propaganda machine. I think the Vex story is a little weak otherwise and just there as foreshadowing.

* Expand Varl Vex, more murders, more leads etc, and the hook for the PCs will be that their call sign (a raven) will have been painted in blood at the murder sites. For every murder they will loose support. This is done by Tayacet - she is in fact the "top people" BT has called in to "solve" the crimes, but of course, she is the one pointing fingers at the Ravens. The PCs will get to a murder site before Tayacet/the Dottari once and see a suspicious lack of bloody painted Ravens. In fact, Tayacet's the one who sent Vex the kukri in the first place, which will be clear from a letter with Tayacet's hand writing style found in Vexes apartment. Make Vex more influenced by Balgorrah and a budding worshiper of Norgorber. A couple of accolytes, and end with a midnight chase over rooftops while Tayacet as a third party tries to sabotage the PCs catching Vex.

* Add a total new part - a heist on House Sarinis' estate. It is (in my Kintargo) built upon the now demolished (and moved) old Temple of Asmodeus. In the Silver Raven notes Rexus will find that the Thrunes took the Raven's "greatest assets" and stored them in the "temple". They will have to infiltrate the estate (which is now being refurbished, so they can disguise as workers), get to the cellar and run through a small dungeon (old temple, so devil guards and nasty traps). What they'll find is four silver headbands with a small blue gemstone on the forehead. They work as Iron circlets of guarded souls, and when the gemstone is pressed a dull silver bird mask materializes over the face. I will scratch the Figurines from part 1, and instead these (old) items will be what defined and named the previous Ravens. And they will explain why BT just can't scry them out in the future.

* Keep the Lucky Bones, which I think seems like a fun dungeon and a great future hideout.

* Scratch "A grateful city". Instead I will have BT start a smear campaign against the Silver Ravens (with Tayacet using Vexes murders as one part), where he hires a bard to deride the PCs, and pamphlets are spread accusing this "terror cell" of all kind of crimes, especially Vex's murders. This will lead to a social combat scene at an anti-Ravens rally (I think it's a shame the Chelish Citizen Group is underused in Turn of the Torrent) and a street brawl which the PCs and their supporters can win this time (gotta have big street fights in a Rebellion adventure).


Those are some great ideas! I'll see what I can incorporate.

Shadow Lodge

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
To those talking about revolution theory: Could you be more specific about what you would change about how the PCs go about their revolution?

If this was directed at me, feel free to name names in the future. I don't mind ;)

In Hell's Bright Shadow and Turn of the Torrent have the PCs doing basically the same things: scooping up dissident individuals the dregs of organizations that Thrune missed in his purge, engaging in small-scale regime sabotage, and building a reputation among the people along the way. This is all pretty much fine, but the way it's written is unfocused and random. The charitable way to read the unfocused randomness is that Kintargo is supposed to be a sandbox and that the missions are supposed to be player-driven. This reading is supported by the existence of the Kintargo Rumor Mill, which is meant to direct players to encounters. The less charitable reading is that there is no organizing principle, no theory of power, behind what the PCs are doing, and they are simply responding to events. This reading is supported by Laria's abominable Fifth Step of Revolution.

The question I'd have the PCs at least try to answer instead of presenting the Fifth Step is "where are the centers of power that can bring down the regime?" The obvious answer in a D&D world, individually powerful characters, has been taken from the PCs. They must look to collective action. To me, this suggests that the Prisoners of Salt mission is particularly important. I am loath to believe that a single facility that can be run by five guys is responsible for substantially all of Kintargo's salt production, but since it is indeed presented that way, and since the salt trade is a major local industry and source of government revenue, disrupting production becomes a high priority. The classic way to dirupt production would be an occupation (a walkout is not feasible when management doubles as armed guards), but that seems likely to invite repression. On the other hand, simply freeing the prisoners does nothing to disrupt production long-term, since Thrune can always find more. I might suggest the idea of burning the place down or otherwise sabotaging it permanently.

As Turn of the Torrent ramps up, I'd have the Silver Ravens contributing to the creation of demonstrations or encampments at both sides of the bridge, and [maybe] later to the mobilization of the alternative ferry service. This would require generating whole new encounters, involving troops of dottari and citizens (and probably Chelish Citizen provocateurs too). The PCs would have to deal with interest convergence. Do the small shopowners on Bleakbridge blame the regime or the picket for their loss of business? Can the PCs influence their attitude (or even convince them to support the manifestation with food and supplies)? Can the PCs persuade the dottari to allow a semi-permanent manifestation, or will they be forced to disperse? When the CCG shows up, do the PCs lead their cohort against the provocateurs (hoping the dottari don't intervene, and likely doomed if they do) or defuse the situation and keep their fleet in being as it were? Or do they deliberately flood the already-crowded jails? Yes, this was and remains a real tactic, even in extremely repressive regimes. The idea is that if the regime has to constantly process new prisoners, they'll cut down on average jail-time, even for high-value prisoners. Might be a way to free the Torrent armigers without a jailbreak, though knowledge of Ghenemahl pretty much takes the jail-flooding plan off the table for all but the bravest volunteers or the most brutal PCs.

The set piece of the PCs showing their own people's trial of Varl Wex counterpoised to a doghousing across the street really appeals to me. Public spectacle of justice v. public spectacle of repression, productive people-serving v. futile regime-serving, that sort of thing. Perhaps the doghousings aren't specifically of dissidents, but rather of murder suspects. Really highlight how the rebellion succeeded in exercising what is really a state power, while the state failed miserably. Having Thrune swoop in to take it over in the name of the state also provides an excuse for the Grateful City encounter to take place - and for it to take place without violence. Thrune would be on the back foot responding to events (likely just after waking up from his ritual-induced coma learning how out-of-control things have gotten) rather than in the driver's seat where he likes to be. He would still, however, be a personal threat to the PCs, who would hopefully know better than to get themselves killed fighting him. Yeah right :P

I don't see a meaningful difference between the PCs learning that someone is looking for them and the PCs being confronted by someone looking for them, but since the former seems much more palatable to some people, there's little point not doing it. Let the PCs set up encounters with contacts. Make it clear why, politically, these contacts could be viable before the PCs have a chance to be put off by their personal foibles. Give them a reason to grit their teeth through the hard but necessary alliance-building rather than making it easy to walk away.

I agree with Razcar that the Poison Pen should be a greater presence after Marquel is rescued. Why such an established dissident, almost on a notoriety par with Shensen, doesn't give a unique ally bonus to the rebellion is utterly beyond me. Never mind that he is one of the few unambiguous allies in Turn of the Torrent.

. . . At some point this post turned from coherent to spitballing ideas, which just goes to show the difficulty of a theoretical approach. Oh well, it's a forum post, not an essay for publication.

LittleMissNaga wrote:
While historical revolution stuff is neat, I think that my players and I were expecting more covert ops and other sneaky stuff.

The whole point of bringing up "historical revolution stuff" is that romantic "covert ops and other sneaky stuff" isn't really how it works. Or rather, those kind of things take place (see: bank robberies funding the Bolsheviks), but aren't the dominant praxis outside deviations like the Weather Underground. We all know how well that little project went, don't we?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
[revolution stuff]

It strikes me that, even if a GM didn't want to spin these off into proper encounters, they'd still make excellent color for some of the rebellion actions--particularly Recruit Supporters.


Hey, long time lurker and first time post.

My players ran into Sabo a little too early and now she knows what they look like and their alignments. They were able to make a forged document but can't hand it to her themselves. They're thinking in bribing a dottari guard to hand the documents. I'm trying to figure out what the actual chances of this working were and what the rolls needed be?

Diplomacy to make the guard helpful.
Diplomacy again to make the guard risk his job on this request.
His bluff against Sabo's Sense Motive.

I imagine if Sabo starts grilling him on questions like "Sho is your officer? Who has requested this?" the guard would start breaking down and he would be immediately caught.

Silver Crusade

Nympherine wrote:

Hey, long time lurker and first time post.

My players ran into Sabo a little too early and now she knows what they look like and their alignments. They were able to make a forged document but can't hand it to her themselves. They're thinking in bribing a dottari guard to hand the documents. I'm trying to figure out what the actual chances of this working were and what the rolls needed be?

Diplomacy to make the guard helpful.
Diplomacy again to make the guard risk his job on this request.
His bluff against Sabo's Sense Motive.

I imagine if Sabo starts grilling him on questions like "Sho is your officer? Who has requested this?" the guard would start breaking down and he would be immediately caught.

Assuming you're using a standard guard stat block, Sabo's sense motive is going to blow their bluff out of the water. So you'd probably need some kind of check to find a suitably deceitful guard. In which case I'm thinking a bribe would be in order.

On the other hand, it may be easier for the party to get their hands on some hats of disguise, or at least some dottari uniforms they can hand off to some of their allies.


I've tried to ward them off the bribery route and hinting at how much that could backfire, but they're incredibly intent on getting a guard to go instead of themselves. I'm still allowing them by miracle of lucky dice rolls that it could work, but it seems the chances of getting caught is super high.

Then if/when Sabo does find out, does it basically make the Trickery option of this mission impossible? She's not going to fall for a duped document again after the first attempt.

Shadow Lodge

Nympherine wrote:
Then if/when Sabo does find out, does it basically make the Trickery option of this mission impossible? She's not going to fall for a duped document again after the first attempt.

See if you can get a scroll of this into the party's hands. The party will have to be sneaky about the casting, though.

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