Turn of the Torrent (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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2 words for you: Religious Schism!

He and Luculla might well both be serving Mahathallah...but it might just serve Mahathallah's interests to see which of her servants are the most worthy.


Julian Madriani wrote:

So my players are coming up on the Lucky Bones. However, I've encountered an interesting problem (one of my own making, really).

During book one, one of the characters almost died, but had his soul caught up in the Soul Anchor and made a deal with Mahathallah in order to save his life. He has since taken levels as an Inquisitor of Mahathallah (without the character really understanding how evil she is; she's tempted him with the power to protect his friends).

However, now that they are about to encounter the cult of Mahathallah, I'm curious how this will go down, especially since Lucilla Gens has become somewhat of a confidante for the character. I'm not terribly interested in forcing a PvP situation. Any suggestions?

Luculla, as written, is one bad lady. I mean, at minimum,she's been kidnapping innocent teenagers and ritually murdering them. But I mean, Mahathallah is bad news too. That's probably something you'll have to address at some point.

But as a short term solution, you could replace the cult in the lucky bones with something else. You can't really use anything Barzillai related, and even then the more factions that know about the secret hideout the less appealing it will seem for the PC's.

The other option is force the big reveal that Mahathallah is still a devil deity and have the inquisitor pick a different patron?

In both instances the followers of Mahathallah are presented as either obstacles or very strange bedfellows for the PC's.


One thought is to replace the cultists of Mahathallah with Norgorber (possibly agents of Hei-Fen) reclaiming the site.

The whole three part nature to the Lucky Bones dungeon (cultists, undead, skum) made the place feel crowded.

So you could double down on undead instead.

As a final option, you could tone down the evilness of the cult (assuming your party has some sort of a moral compass) and them team up. It's a stretch, honestly.


Qot1 wrote:

Does anyone else have issues with Ghenemal?

At Cr 7 for a party of 4 level 4's she is already an epic encounter
alongside that she seems to be under Cr'd in the first place

She ended up downing a PC quickly and stalling the PCs' attacks with her gaze and resistances, but she also failed to make her saves, resulting in a successful Create Pit and Color Spray making her attacks difficult to pull off. Her lack of movement abilities meant her stay at the bottom of the pit was filled with holy water, acid flasks, and alchemists' fires.


My party too found her a difficult fight, but managed to drop her in a pit (create pit is their go to control spell) and ran away.

They fought her later at 6th level and killed her in 1 round.


Yeah, this was their first fight at 4th level.


And your party isn't really built for combat anyway.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Did anyone else's player have a really hard time with the Lucky Bones? The first floor was mostly fine, but the lower floor alternated between putting my players to sleep and nearly killing them outright.

For one, I've never met a single player that likes unexpected underwater combat. Sure, with a few party builds it won't be an issue, but the swim checks made the skum fights drag on forever, and my players almost TPKed with the Shell Sentinels. I get making a challenge, but my players almost walked out of the room when their knowledge checks revealed DR/bludgeoning after they explicitly prepared piercing weapons to account for underwater penalties. My players aren't bad in combat, but the smuggler's tunnels had them all checked out until I shifted a few things around and made it slightly easier to drain the tunnels.

It's a little late now, but I'm curious what other people did to make this less of a slog?

Grand Lodge

For the replacement of Mahathallah cult, Folca would work even better than previously proposed solutions.

Folca is an NE Daemon Harbinger of abduction, strangers and sweets, with the net as a favored weapon, so perfect creepy cult as drop-in replacement. Charm, Evil, Travel, Trickery are his domains. You'd have to swap the devil with an advanced Ceustusdaemon for it to really fit.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Memento_Mori wrote:

Did anyone else's player have a really hard time with the Lucky Bones? The first floor was mostly fine, but the lower floor alternated between putting my players to sleep and nearly killing them outright.

For one, I've never met a single player that likes unexpected underwater combat. Sure, with a few party builds it won't be an issue, but the swim checks made the skum fights drag on forever, and my players almost TPKed with the Shell Sentinels. I get making a challenge, but my players almost walked out of the room when their knowledge checks revealed DR/bludgeoning after they explicitly prepared piercing weapons to account for underwater penalties. My players aren't bad in combat, but the smuggler's tunnels had them all checked out until I shifted a few things around and made it slightly easier to drain the tunnels.

It's a little late now, but I'm curious what other people did to make this less of a slog?

You just brought up a really big point of note. I think I am going to remove the DR the Shell sentinels have if my group doesn't want to purchase Freedom of Movement Scrolls. My group is taking their time with the Lucky Bones, that is: after they thought playing Lorelu's game was dumb and forced a combat in which she threw two of them into the lap of Pharasma. I will post a follow up after they move into the LB further.


BornofHate wrote:
Memento_Mori wrote:

Did anyone else's player have a really hard time with the Lucky Bones? The first floor was mostly fine, but the lower floor alternated between putting my players to sleep and nearly killing them outright.

For one, I've never met a single player that likes unexpected underwater combat. Sure, with a few party builds it won't be an issue, but the swim checks made the skum fights drag on forever, and my players almost TPKed with the Shell Sentinels. I get making a challenge, but my players almost walked out of the room when their knowledge checks revealed DR/bludgeoning after they explicitly prepared piercing weapons to account for underwater penalties. My players aren't bad in combat, but the smuggler's tunnels had them all checked out until I shifted a few things around and made it slightly easier to drain the tunnels.

It's a little late now, but I'm curious what other people did to make this less of a slog?

You just brought up a really big point of note. I think I am going to remove the DR the Shell sentinels have if my group doesn't want to purchase Freedom of Movement Scrolls. My group is taking their time with the Lucky Bones, that is: after they thought playing Lorelu's game was dumb and forced a combat in which she threw two of them into the lap of Pharasma. I will post a follow up after they move into the LB further.

Have I misunderstood how magic item purchasing works in kintargo? Doesn’t military law restrict what can be bought ? Or does not apply to scrolls and potione?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Lanathar wrote:
BornofHate wrote:
Memento_Mori wrote:

Did anyone else's player have a really hard time with the Lucky Bones? The first floor was mostly fine, but the lower floor alternated between putting my players to sleep and nearly killing them outright.

For one, I've never met a single player that likes unexpected underwater combat. Sure, with a few party builds it won't be an issue, but the swim checks made the skum fights drag on forever, and my players almost TPKed with the Shell Sentinels. I get making a challenge, but my players almost walked out of the room when their knowledge checks revealed DR/bludgeoning after they explicitly prepared piercing weapons to account for underwater penalties. My players aren't bad in combat, but the smuggler's tunnels had them all checked out until I shifted a few things around and made it slightly easier to drain the tunnels.

It's a little late now, but I'm curious what other people did to make this less of a slog?

You just brought up a really big point of note. I think I am going to remove the DR the Shell sentinels have if my group doesn't want to purchase Freedom of Movement Scrolls. My group is taking their time with the Lucky Bones, that is: after they thought playing Lorelu's game was dumb and forced a combat in which she threw two of them into the lap of Pharasma. I will post a follow up after they move into the LB further.
Have I misunderstood how magic item purchasing works in kintargo? Doesn’t military law restrict what can be bought ? Or does not apply to scrolls and potione?

I was thinking the same thing. Of course my group would have bought Freedom of Movement scrolls if they were available. My group has been asking for a lot of things to be available for purchase, and they would be really suspicious if some things just arrived in stock.


Kintargo is listed in book one as having a purchase limit of 4400 gp, meaning that there's a 75% chance an item costing less than that can be found and, if not, you can reroll next week. This limit does affect scrolls and potions, the vast majority of whom are below that purchase limit.

Here's the rule: "Base Value and Purchase Limit This section lists the community’s base value for available magic items in gp (see Table: Available Magic Items). There is a 75% chance that any item of this value or lower can be found for sale in the community with little effort. If an item is not available, a new check to determine if the item has become available can be made in 1 week. A settlement’s purchase limit is the most money a shop in the settlement can spend to purchase any single item from the PCs. If the PCs wish to sell an item worth more than a settlement’s purchase limit, they’ll either need to settle for a lower price, travel to A larger city, or (with the GM‘s permission) search for a specific buyer in the city with deeper pockets. A settlement’s type sets its purchase limit."


roguerouge wrote:

Kintargo is listed in book one as having a purchase limit of 4400 gp, meaning that there's a 75% chance an item costing less than that can be found and, if not, you can reroll next week. This limit does affect scrolls and potions, the vast majority of whom are below that purchase limit.

Here's the rule: "Base Value and Purchase Limit This section lists the community’s base value for available magic items in gp (see Table: Available Magic Items). There is a 75% chance that any item of this value or lower can be found for sale in the community with little effort. If an item is not available, a new check to determine if the item has become available can be made in 1 week. A settlement’s purchase limit is the most money a shop in the settlement can spend to purchase any single item from the PCs. If the PCs wish to sell an item worth more than a settlement’s purchase limit, they’ll either need to settle for a lower price, travel to A larger city, or (with the GM‘s permission) search for a specific buyer in the city with deeper pockets. A settlement’s type sets its purchase limit."

So are you saying that the specific items listed at the back of book 1 and indeed the number of minor, moderate and major items available only apply to those above the limit?

That is what confused me - the existence of alist of initially available items that has items that come in at less than 4400

I would say this is the initial list of 2d4 minor, 1d4 moderate and 1d2 major - but it doesn’t seem to line up (I will cross check later)


It's possible I'm getting this wrong too--it's my first time using the rule. But I think that there's just an incoherence in the explanation:

"Minor Items/Medium Items/Major Items This line lists the number of magic items above a settlement’s base value that are available for purchase. In some city stat blocks, the actual items are listed in parentheses after the die range of items available—in this case, you can use these pre-rolled resources when the PCs first visit the city as the magic items available for sale on that visit. If the PCs return to that city at a later date, you can roll up new items as you see fit."

So, basically, it shouldn't be listing minor items below the 4400 gp mark, but it is.

Source


I would observe that there are only two items on the list (p. 72 In Hell's Bright Shadow ) that are below 4400 and one of them is a scroll of teleport which is above the city's spell casting limit of 4th level spells. The other is Restoration and it's available at the Shadowsquare, which introduces interesting challenges of its own...

I agree the magic item for sale structure is a bit complicated or hard to intuit, though I think roguerouge has it right. What I've told my players is: there's a chance items less than 4400gp (Core Rulebook Price) are available, but don't assume it's likely. (In other words there isn't a fixed 75% chance whatever they want will be available.) It's a port city with a high water table (based on the water present in various locales under the city) so items having to do with water will be much more likely than items having to do with mountains or dungeons or deserts, etc. So potion or scroll of water breathing? Oh yeah, pretty likely. Scroll of spiderclimb, definite maybe. Etc. I want to encourage the players to explore/consider crafting their own items and the various market manipulation options in the Rebellion rules. I also want to make the players feel the martial law oppressing the city. And if needed, there is an option in the gifts from the Rebellion. If the Silver Raven's Spymaster has been searching for a <stupendous doohicky>, the members of the Rebellion know that and can get it for him as an alternate gift as called for by Rebellion leveling (using the costs of the gifts as a guideline of course.)


Latrecis wrote:

I would observe that there are only two items on the list (p. 72 In Hell's Bright Shadow ) that are below 4400 and one of them is a scroll of teleport which is above the city's spell casting limit of 4th level spells. The other is Restoration and it's available at the Shadowsquare, which introduces interesting challenges of its own...

I agree the magic item for sale structure is a bit complicated or hard to intuit, though I think roguerouge has it right. What I've told my players is: there's a chance items less than 4400gp (Core Rulebook Price) are available, but don't assume it's likely. (In other words there isn't a fixed 75% chance whatever they want will be available.) It's a port city with a high water table (based on the water present in various locales under the city) so items having to do with water will be much more likely than items having to do with mountains or dungeons or deserts, etc. So potion or scroll of water breathing? Oh yeah, pretty likely. Scroll of spiderclimb, definite maybe. Etc. I want to encourage the players to explore/consider crafting their own items and the various market manipulation options in the Rebellion rules. I also want to make the players feel the martial law oppressing the city. And if needed, there is an option in the gifts from the Rebellion. If the Silver Raven's Spymaster has been searching for a <stupendous doohicky>, the members of the Rebellion know that and can get it for him as an alternate gift as called for by Rebellion leveling (using the costs of the gifts as a guideline of course.)

Thanks for helping clarify

I already mentioned that crafting will be a very viable option in this campaign due to the weeks of time that pass. I noted it because I have a player who was upset that wizards lost scribe scroll in PFS

I don't think anyone will take me up on it just yet

A general question on the port city / water thing:

I re-read the guide and noticed that the bloodlines and mysteries mention water/aquatic based choices. There is brief mention of water under favoured terrain and no mention of Swim under skills

Does anyone feel like this comes out of the blue for the players and leaves them woefully under prepared? Or is perhaps the idea that they struggle through the part at the end of Book 2 and then consider investing some abilities in dealing with this for Book 3?

Shadow Lodge

Lanathar wrote:
Or is perhaps the idea that they struggle through the part at the end of Book 2 and then consider investing some abilities in dealing with this for Book 3?

I'm pretty sure that's exactly the idea. It should be said, though, that while not being prepared for all of a plot's curveballs in advance can help immersion, having to muddle through it can also be un-fun for a lot of groups. It can also be a great deal of fun to try to adapt on the fly with nothing but your ingenuity and the dross on your character sheet. Read your group and see what sense you get.


Lanathar wrote:

Does anyone feel like this comes out of the blue for the players and leaves them woefully under prepared? Or is perhaps the idea that they struggle through the part at the end of Book 2 and then consider investing some abilities in dealing with this for Book 3?

Could be "out of the blue" - pending the awareness of the players. I've tried to emphasize that Kintargo is a sea port. Got some help from Thrune's 8th proclamation about sea captains.

The pc's run into bodies of water in the first two "dungeons" - Fair Fortune Livery and under the Coffeehouse. And the latter leads into a larger sewer system - at least that's the implication I took. I put a small rowboat there - but out beyond the Calistria statue - that the pc's (or tengu) couldn't get to until the alligator was dealt with. The rowboat (or something similar) was how Nan (and presumptively Bellflower Network members) came and went from the place. Gave me a chance to have them make simple swim checks to fetch it. They're kind of strength challenged so another chance for them to catch on.

If you look at a map of the Ravounel area there are often only 4 towns depicted - Kintargo, Vyre, Deepmar and Acisazi. Three of them are islands and the fourth (Acisazi) is a village of aquatic elves. I made an effort to point that out too.

In Book 2, when they earn favors from the captain of a Chelish warship, what do they think those favors are going to be good for?

You can lead a horse to water...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Magic Item Economy is definitely weird. I play it as rougerogue described.
75% chance per week that anything under base limit is available. A house rule that I use is that if multiple identical items are searched for, I continue rolling the percentile dice until the result is 76+. At this point the city is out of stock and they can try again the following week.
As far as the magic item availability, their value is above the base limit.


I'm not sure how active this forum is anymore but I hit a situation and I'm not sure the best way to deal with it. Our players found the robe of powerlessness misidentified it and put it on. That put us in a situation where he need a level 11 cleric or similar to cast the heal spell. Now the only cleric I found who might be high enough to cast it is the high priest of Asmodius...which seems like a bit odd of a way out (my party still did that but payed a premium and now the church has the faces of a couple people that can just fork over the cash to cast heal no problem). Are their any more elegant solutions or is it the kind of situation where he gets forced into early retirement?


It depends on how you want to deal with it... either you could have the characters go with the cleric of Asmodeus and have them deal with the consequences, you could pump up an NPC's level, or introduce a new NPC.
Depending on where in the book you are you could have Myrletta be high enough of a level to cast Heal. That would make her dying at Wex's hand have some impact and possibly make the players think she died because of them. (And it would make it so that if you didn't want an NPC that powerful in the game so early that the characters can depend on the problem takes care of itself.)
Zachrin Vhast is another NPC to consider. Have him charge the PCs for the service with the standard increase the church of Shelyn charges. That way the players don't depend on him.
Xerelilah of Cypress Point (see back, inside cover of book 5 - The Kintargo Contract) could be someone the PCs hear about and you could take them out of the city on a side-quest to find her. Maybe you could drop hints of things to come during their search.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Or a side trip to Vyre, where everything is usually for sale. Though dealing with Norgorborites is a task in and of itself. But they'll probably take the cursed cloak as payment so that could work out. Until they get trapped by it again when the Skinsaw comes back into the picture.


Hey, when the PCs clear out the Lucky Bones, they have the option of securing the joint as a new base, adding traps and such. How would you rule on using organization check special actions to get volunteers to help securing the base and crafting traps? Would you give a bonus? Cut 1/4 of the base cost or something?


Well, did the Thrune gift scenario last night. Went rather uneventfully--lots of disguises and contingency planning for escapes, some acting out, but no riots or anything. They accepted their gifts, but diagnosed the trap they represented quiet quickly. They had Captain Sargaeta sell them in Vyre, cashing in a favor. So, with the 10,000 or so GP that they got they... decided to have their allies in the Bank of Abadar open a savings account for everyone in town in the amount of 1 GP. The idea was that a gift to the Silver Ravens is really a gift to all of Kintargo.

Then, of course, the first thing to happen in book three is a tax raise on bridge traffic to 2 gp per crossing!


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roguerouge wrote:
...So, with the 10,000 or so GP that they got they... decided to have their allies in the Bank of Abadar open a savings account for everyone in town in the amount of 1 GP. The idea was that a gift to the Silver Ravens is really a gift to all of Kintargo.

That is beautiful.

roguerouge wrote:
Then, of course, the first thing to happen in book three is a tax raise on bridge traffic to 2 gp per crossing!

That is poetic.


So... Thrune penetrated the magical and physical disguises of three party members at the gift exchange ceremony. One passed by 1 point. (Thrune rolled a 19 and has a good perception in my stat block for him.)

What would Thrune get from this success? Would he just get a description of the two PCs whose identifications he saw through? Would he ID who they are as a result of this check or would that require a Knowledge: Local check and, if so, at what DC?

What would Thrune do with this information of a physical description or who they are? The synchronicity of the bridge tax timed just after the savings account plan is one reaction. Any others? Just wait until the end of the Dance of the Damned for his response?


roguerouge wrote:

So... Thrune penetrated the magical and physical disguises of three party members at the gift exchange ceremony. One passed by 1 point. (Thrune rolled a 19 and has a good perception in my stat block for him.)

What would Thrune get from this success? Would he just get a description of the two PCs whose identifications he saw through? Would he ID who they are as a result of this check or would that require a Knowledge: Local check and, if so, at what DC?

What would Thrune do with this information of a physical description or who they are? The synchronicity of the bridge tax timed just after the savings account plan is one reaction. Any others? Just wait until the end of the Dance of the Damned for his response?

This would work more in my build for Thrune, but you could have him start daily scrying on the members he has seen through the disguises of. Zella has divination abilities and Corinstian has access to the scrying room in the Temple of Asmodeus. With the scrying, he might also be able to learn their names and can use that against them during part 3 and a little bit of part 4.

If the party encounters Cizmekris or another close ally of Thrune's and they have a solid plan to counter the party, it might make them more paranoid. It can also let Thrune learn of the location of their hideout since they sold the gifts he gave them at the end of this book.


They were pretty smart about the gifts: they immediately put them in an extradimensional space and handed it off to Captain Sargaeta to sell in Vyre.


It certainly sets up the Dance of the Damned trap. Now there's good legal reasons for why so many friends and allies get invites to that event.


I would think part of the answer to the question would be driven by - What did he know about them prior to the gifting ceremony? He had to know something to create the gifts. At least if he wanted them to be interesting/valuable enough for them to keep. (Assuming the goal was to create scryability - that is too a word!)

And using Perception to penetrate a disguise is does not provide the benefit of true seeing with divination. He knows they were disguising themselves but it doesn't reveal their names, etc. He might pickup details like that guy has red hair not black, she has a scar she was trying to hide, etc. but it doesn't tell him that Sven the metal worker from Vespam's is really Johan, a pit fighter that lives in Redroof. Unless he's already pretty familiar with Johan. And if he was already familiar with who the leaders of the Silver Ravens are, I would have given him a good bonus on those Perception checks unless the pc's were using magic (and perhaps even then if the pc's were using something like disguise self which only boosts a disguise check.)

One answer, if you're using the rebellion mini-game, is to spike their Notoriety. That is an abstract measure of how much the government, etc. knows about who and what the Silver Ravens are.


Latrecis wrote:
I would think part of the answer to the question would be driven by - What did he know about them prior to the gifting ceremony? He had to know something to create the gifts. At least if he wanted them to be interesting/valuable enough for them to keep. (Assuming the goal was to create scryability - that is too a word!)

He was familiar with their combat capabilities from the results of prior encounters. They knew about two PCs: The Unremarkable Man and The Pink-haired Woman. It was pretty apparent there was a monk, an arcane caster, and two difficult to pigeonhole others.

Latrecis wrote:
And using Perception to penetrate a disguise is does not provide the benefit of true seeing with divination. He knows they were disguising themselves but it doesn't reveal their names, etc. He might pickup details like that guy has red hair not black, she has a scar she was trying to hide, etc. but it doesn't tell him that Sven the metal worker from Vespam's is really Johan, a pit fighter that lives in Redroof. Unless he's already pretty familiar with Johan. And if he was already familiar with who the leaders of the Silver Ravens are, I would have given him a good bonus on those Perception checks unless the pc's were using magic (and perhaps even then if the pc's were using something like disguise self which only boosts a disguise check.)

I think having a face/body/race/gender to the combat profile will add a lot for the purposes of dealing with the pesky SR, but this is good confirmation that the Thrune administration won't simply show up at the door of each PC one morning soon.

Latrecis wrote:
One answer, if you're using the rebellion mini-game, is to spike their Notoriety. That is an abstract measure of how much the government, etc. knows about who and what the Silver Ravens are.

How many points do you think this is worth?


My gut says one per "known" PC.


I just ran my group through the Holding House encounter and a couple quirks or challenging items came up I thought other GM's might not notice until they're in the middle of it.

- the Ravens would do well to use the services of Ruba. Her Linguistics skill is likely higher than any pc could have given they are probably 4th level at this point. With the +8 for the type of forgery and her +15 skill, that's +23 before even rolling. If you let her/them take 10 on the check (rules are unclear as far as I can tell whether you can) that's a DC33 to detect. Even if you don't, a roll of 7 or higher makes it impossible for Sabo with her +9 (+7 skill, +2 bonus for known document type) to spot. It's highly unlikely the forgeries from Ruba will be spotted.

- conversely, the pc's have will have a very difficult time Bluffing their way past her. Her Sense Motive is +14 which is very likely better than any pc's Bluff skill. How many pc's have Bluff as a class skill? The best in the party will have 4 ranks, +3 for class skill, and let's assume an +3 for attribute so +10. Add say deceitful as a bonus feat from the Rebellion and we're at +12. The best bluff in the party has only 40% chance of bluffing her. And the rest of the pc's have a significantly lower chance. Odds are against half the party successfully bluffing her. Heaven forbid they are trying after curfew when she gets another +4 to her check.

- this opens up some other problems. If they fail to bluff her (or they fail a notoriety check) she sends them to get the orders signed by a Dottari Captain. But shouldn't the orders be signed by someone already? Okay, faked signed by someone already? What if the pc's are clever and have the orders signed by someone important in the first place, say the Dottari commander - Vannases Trex? One answer: since it's his proclamation that outlawed them, she tells them the orders will need to be signed by the Lord Mayor. (Which the pc's take back to Ruba to forge.)

- and who does Sabo think the pc's are anyway? The presumed path for the pc's in the AP is: spoof their way into the Holding House, get the Dottari to willingly give up the Torrent armigers without a struggle, find one of the armigers is held by a fiend in the torture chamber, enter chamber and slay the fiend thereby freeing the last armiger, all while the Dottari smile and wave. The kyton is a CR 7 creature, the pc's had better be in their best combat gear to have a chance. Is that what they wear to the Holding House? Do Sabo and the Dottari think they are turning over the armigers to mercenaries? The armiger at the excruciation was escorted by Order of the Rack Hellknights and Dottari, but the Holding House will turn them over to any stranger with a properly filled out order form? These are not run of the mill smugglers or thieves, these are Hellknight armigers of an Order stripped of privilege and declared outlaw by the Lord Mayor within the past few days - they are the very definition of high profile prisoners. Shouldn't the pc's be disguised as Dottari or other official role? Also, as noted in the Ghenemahl write-up (p. 23) the guards won't interfere if the pc's cast preparatory spells before entering the torture chamber!?!? So the people sent for the armigers are spell-casters and no one thinks to ask any questions?

- One of my challenges was getting the players to believe it is as easy to succeed as the AP makes it. With Ruba's forgeries, they can fail the notoriety check and the bluff checks, be sent away for one day, return with more forgeries (which are even harder/impossible for Sabo to detect - additional -4 on second day) and all they have to do is fight the fiend (without any interference from the Dottari) to get all 4 armigers out. But there's really no way for them to know that ahead of time.


Latrecis wrote:
- the Ravens would do well to use the services of Ruba. Her Linguistics skill is likely higher than any pc could have given they are probably 4th level at this point. With the +8 for the type of forgery and her +15 skill, that's +23 before even rolling. If you let her/them take 10 on the check (rules are unclear as far as I can tell whether you can) that's a DC33 to detect. Even if you don't, a roll of 7 or higher makes it impossible for Sabo with her +9 (+7 skill, +2 bonus for known document type) to spot. It's highly unlikely the forgeries from Ruba will be spotted.

Yup. Hopefully they learn an important lesson that they succeed when they make use of their allies.

It's also why I made Ruba a bit of a haggler, in the vein of "You are LITERALLY taking food out of my grandkids mouths! I'll do it for ___." Repeat, with similarly outraged haggling comments.


Latrecis wrote:


- One of my challenges was getting the players to believe it is as easy to succeed as the AP makes it.

I think it's okay for the players to think there's less of a safety net than there is written. I feel like it's there just to make sure DMs don't do TPKs when they don't have to.


Turn of the Torrent wrote:
The scaffold consists of a 30-foot-square wooden platform, at the center of which has been placed a small wooden doghouse-shaped structure, the walls and roof of which have been festooned with nails.

Could someone clarify what is meant when the adventure says “festooned”? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what this means.


KingTreyIII wrote:
Turn of the Torrent wrote:
The scaffold consists of a 30-foot-square wooden platform, at the center of which has been placed a small wooden doghouse-shaped structure, the walls and roof of which have been festooned with nails.
Could someone clarify what is meant when the adventure says “festooned”? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what this means.

There's nails sticking through every available surface of the doghouse (except the floor). That way the prisoner can't lean against the interior walls (making it difficult to get any sleep) and can't climb onto the roof to get away from the dogs.


Warped Savant wrote:
There's nails sticking through every available surface of the doghouse (except the floor). That way the prisoner can't lean against the interior walls (making it difficult to get any sleep) and can't climb onto the roof to get away from the dogs.

I Understand that, but the definition for “festooned” is to be adorned with ribbons or garlands.


Collins dictionary: "If something is festooned with, for example, lights, balloons, or flowers, large numbers of these things are hung from it or wrapped around it, especially in order to decorate it." So it is a synonym for large numbers of things on it.


Okay, that makes a bit more sense, but still a strange word to use considering the context.


Merriam-Webster adds: "Festoon" can also be a verb that is used as a synonym of "decorate" or "adorn"


So I am due to start this soon. What are people’s experiences with this instalment?

From my reading of the book and this thread (plus some others) this one seems to have lots of problems if not the most of all the instalments

So:

- Am I misunderstanding or is the name misleading . Surprisingly little seems to be about the hell knights unless they are counting the historical shenanigans in the lucky bones (i assume they are)

- I failed to introduce setrona and luculla early and feel this could make both their roles difficult. For the former I don’t see why Laria would just say “oh I told her all about you and she is going to help / wants your help”. The latter seems to require a lot of role play to allow the reveal to have impact. I also feel I need to add more non eventful NPCs into the tavern to make so that it isn’t obvious that “if they are named they are either a strong ally or powerful enemy”

- linked to above it is problematic that setrona and Elia nones/the captain just know who the group are. I mean it can be covered by the notoriety mechanic but it is still probably going to weird my players put. Perhaps I should pull the Octavio thing of drawing them into a brawl when Elia is around so she can see their fighting style and confirm who they are that way?

- I have seen it mentioned that there is limited actual acts of rebellion here. Just more support gathering. Did anyone add any in? I am not sure if my group are hankering for that but they might be

- the jump in power of the guards is sudden and unexplained and they now do similar damage to Nox. My group already think the dottari are clowns and so could well risk frontal assaults on things like the excrutiation and the holding house (i am more concerned about the former). I mean it could probably be explained as the excrutiation guards are special as are those who guard the prisoners

Did anyone do any re-statting for hell knights or dottari? They are very similar apart from gear

- I might have missed this from my recent scan and forgotten from my initial read butnwhat is Luculla’s cult actually doing? They have kidnapped children to sacrifice their souls but why? Just to appease the deity? I have seen mentions that most of what is going on doesn’t seem in the MO for this devil

- on a more mechanics point I have a 5 person party (not all the time by a lot of the time) and this book has a lot of solo villains and many of them wouldn’t make sense to have guards or lackeys attacked. Solo villains are pretty ineffectual against 4 let alone 5.

I am thinking off hand of: Varl Wex, Kyton, Skum Enchanter, Drowned Devil and the advanced Bearded Devil
So perhaps the skum can easily just have some allies in with him. But does anyone have any suggestions about the others? Notably Wex?

- on Wex, did anyone change him? I don’t like his build very much at all. I am looking at battle host occultist perhaps with some rogue levels. Then he can summon a spirit host of the professor

If anyone has any thoughts, stories from their game or help then I would appreciate it


Okay, this might get long-winded... I'm not going to quote Lanathar, in part because I'm lazy and in part because I think that will make the answers messier.

Title of the AP: A bit of a technicality but at the very beginning of Book 2, the Order of the Torrent is loyal to Kintargo, Thrune and Cheliax. Of course the first meaningful event of the book is for Barzillai to outlaw them. Over the course of the book, the Silver Ravens rescue the Torrent armigers, ally with the Torrent leader (who becomes a strong ally) and redeem the flawed history of the Torrent at the Lucky Bones. The title is also meant to suggest the tide of events is changing - the Rebellion has become a significant factor in Kintargo affairs and Barzillai no longer stands unopposed. To quote Winston Churchill - "it's not the beginning of the end, but its the end of the beginning."

On Setrona - I introduced her in Book 1 and the pc's were interacting with her on some other matters so it was easy for her to broach the issue about her cousin. I would suggest you have Laria tell the Ravens about an old friend who could use a hand. That trope gets played more than a few times, but it's better than having Setrona just show up where the pc's are. Or pending what the pc's are up to, Setrona could be arranging a rescue of the Armiger at the excruciation and get into trouble - either while the pc's are watching or she and the injured Armiger stumble into the pc's while fleeing the Hellknights, etc.

On Elia Nones, I haven't got there yet (but soon) I have a couple approaches. 1) I'm going to have her searching for the Poison Pen not the Ravens. Essentially the pc's get involved before Sargaeta knows Marquel is being held against his will by his parents. And 2) the rebellion leaders find out about her via Gather Info checks, etc. This way it's the rebellion's intelligence network that finds her, not she knows just where and who they are.

There are some rebellion actions here pending your point of view (not to go all Obi Wan on you.) Breaking the armigers out of the Holding House is an act of rebellion. Breaking an imprisoned noble out of his parent's house (parents who are chumming up with Thrune) is an act of rebellion. Persuading the captain of an Imperial warship to support the Silver Ravens against his duty is an act of rebellion. Doing the Dottari's job (Wex) because they don't care or lack competence is an act of rebellion - anything that makes House Thrune look bad is an act of rebellion in LE Cheliax.

Luculla is quite simply inexplicable as written. What she and her cultists objectives are in Kintargo is not explained at all. Other than being deliberately engineered to be a "gotcha" encounter for the players. Especially incongruent - by the time the pc's encounter her, Barzillai has utterly desecrated one of the most holy places to Mahathallah in Cheliax (if not all of Golarion) and Luculla seems totally oblivious. I completely changed her and the cult. She's in Kintargo to find out what happened to the Soul Anchor and what Barzillai is up to. She has started kidnapping and assaulting Asmodeans and other Thrune supporters. This is causing the Rebellion notoriety to go up because everyone assumes it's them doing it. This will motivate the pc's to find out who, what, etc. And no she's not running a cookie store in Old Kintargo.

The guard's escalation in CR is explainable if needed. Walking the streets is beat duty, assigned to the lowest ranking Dottari. More experienced/higher quality guards are assigned to more important duties like guarding the Holding House.

Not much advice for the 5 character party, though I acknowledge the action economy disadvantage for solo NPC's. I would observe that both Wex and the Kyton are 2+ CR over the pc level when encountered (likely to be encountered.) They could be dangerous. I'm definitely going to have Wex have the evil kukri - the AP set up makes it likely he won't have it when the pc's encounter him. He's much more dangerous with it than without.


Title of the AP: Latrecis has good textual analysis here.

On Setrona: I too had Laria direct the SR to her. An unredeemed hippie was how I played her. She had one scene. Don't over think it.

Elia Nones: As noted elsewhere, I skipped all of this and had Marquel get the word out through his halfling servants. The PCs did the rescue because of the Poison Pen poetry and they wanted that popular propaganda art to go along with their sloganeering and revolutionary graffiti. They show no signs of using Sargaeta or Nones at any point thus far other than a trip to Vyre.

Acts of Rebellion: If you look through this thread or in this forum, you'll find my thoughts on this. I had a Crushing the Counter-revolutionaries arc here, with a student riot introducing a newly organized Queensman organization run by the restless scions of the Sarini family. Led to a good heist of the Sarini mansion where they got to meet Archbaroness Aulamaxa, Corinstian Grivenner and his date Aluceda Zhol, search the bedrooms of the Sarinis, eat a complicated multi-course meal, and see the beginning of a Theater of the Real performance. The jail break is pretty big. And my PCs did a street trial of the serial killer: governments don't typically like that sort of thing.

Guards: I kept the Qs mostly the same level, using the Sarini siblings as the martial threats. I added an adept and a evoker for some variety and caster support bought by Sarini coin. They were basically blockers for the leaders for me. I was just filling in while I waited for the PCs to level enough for the Hellknights to be viable appointments.

Wex got owned by my PCs. Finding him was the hard part. Definitely let him have his kukri


Latrecis wrote:

Okay, this might get long-winded... I'm not going to quote Lanathar, in part because I'm lazy and in part because I think that will make the answers messier.

Title of the AP: A bit of a technicality but at the very beginning of Book 2, the Order of the Torrent is loyal to Kintargo, Thrune and Cheliax. Of course the first meaningful event of the book is for Barzillai to outlaw them. Over the course of the book, the Silver Ravens rescue the Torrent armigers, ally with the Torrent leader (who becomes a strong ally) and redeem the flawed history of the Torrent at the Lucky Bones. The title is also meant to suggest the tide of events is changing - the Rebellion has become a significant factor in Kintargo affairs and Barzillai no longer stands unopposed. To quote Winston Churchill - "it's not the beginning of the end, but its the end of the beginning."

On Setrona - I introduced her in Book 1 and the pc's were interacting with her on some other matters so it was easy for her to broach the issue about her cousin. I would suggest you have Laria tell the Ravens about an old friend who could use a hand. That trope gets played more than a few times, but it's better than having Setrona just show up where the pc's are. Or pending what the pc's are up to, Setrona could be arranging a rescue of the Armiger at the excruciation and get into trouble - either while the pc's are watching or she and the injured Armiger stumble into the pc's while fleeing the Hellknights, etc.

On Elia Nones, I haven't got there yet (but soon) I have a couple approaches. 1) I'm going to have her searching for the Poison Pen not the Ravens. Essentially the pc's get involved before Sargaeta knows Marquel is being held against his will by his parents. And 2) the rebellion leaders find out about her via Gather Info checks, etc. This way it's the rebellion's intelligence network that finds her, not she knows just where and who they are.

There are some rebellion actions here pending your point of view (not to go all Obi Wan on...

Thanks for this. I was thinking about the other use of the term “turn” as in like each player’s turn. Your read makes much more sense

So Luculla seems like she could need a big rewrite. Did you keep her in the lucky bones in terms of where she was torturing people from?

And did she still have her alter ego operating from somewhere ?

It seems like keeping her story as written requires a different deity which removes part of the foreshadowing. That said the PCs are unlikely to know anything about soul anchors for a while even if they do I.D the deity as I assume that is high level knowledge

I did like the idea of a gotcha moment especially as my PCs got TPKd by a surprise disguised evil cleric in a PFS scenario back in February. It would have really struck a point and got them animated! I just don’t trust mine and my player’s ability to create a strong enough connection to have an impact with the gotcha. And as mentioned unless I Potter the place with other NPCs it will just make them suspicious of everyone


roguerouge wrote:

Title of the AP: Latrecis has good textual analysis here.

On Setrona: I too had Laria direct the SR to her. An unredeemed hippie was how I played her. She had one scene. Don't over think it.

Elia Nones: As noted elsewhere, I skipped all of this and had Marquel get the word out through his halfling servants. The PCs did the rescue because of the Poison Pen poetry and they wanted that popular propaganda art to go along with their sloganeering and revolutionary graffiti. They show no signs of using Sargaeta or Nones at any point thus far other than a trip to Vyre.

Acts of Rebellion: If you look through this thread or in this forum, you'll find my thoughts on this. I had a Crushing the Counter-revolutionaries arc here, with a student riot introducing a newly organized Queensman organization run by the restless scions of the Sarini family. Led to a good heist of the Sarini mansion where they got to meet Archbaroness Aulamaxa, Corinstian Grivenner and his date Aluceda Zhol, search the bedrooms of the Sarinis, eat a complicated multi-course meal, and see the beginning of a Theater of the Real performance. The jail break is pretty big. And my PCs did a street trial of the serial killer: governments don't typically like that sort of thing.

Guards: I kept the Qs mostly the same level, using the Sarini siblings as the martial threats. I added an adept and a evoker for some variety and caster support bought by Sarini coin. They were basically blockers for the leaders for me. I was just filling in while I waited for the PCs to level enough for the Hellknights to be viable appointments.

Wex got owned by my PCs. Finding him was the hard part. Definitely let him have his kukri

On Marquel - did they still take him to the captain but just with a change of hook?

On your heist - did you use heist rules? I assume it being a heist is the reason they aren’t squished in a fight with the clerics?
How much detail have you ended up writing about this on here?

E.g. how did they get invited to this dinner party? What was the theatre of the real performance depicting in this case? Did you use influence mechanic or UI as part of dinner conversations for guests to be distracted? Indeed how did they get distracted? I know there is something from council of thieves about a chellish party where it is standard for them to get pretty intoxicated and it allows the group to slip away


Oh, and I put the focus on the murder investigation and skipped Luculla Gens as an ongoing NPC. My players figure out that sort of thing immediately, suspicious bastards.


Marquel: still took him to the captain, he's still the Poison Pen. Just changing the hook.

Heist guidelines more like: I kept the idea of the structure and the complications and the role for everyone in the party. They have a noble's daughter as a PC, so an invite was easy to obtain but enraged her Jhaltero parents. They had to come up with passable disguises, scout, get an excuse for one of them to slip away from the party to search the upper floors (finding the bedrooms of the children, wherein the lockbox of money funding the Qs and their plans were), and survive the alcohol (the PC noble's daughter is 15 and got loaded). Dialogue was not a problem with this one--the noble PC has diplomacy maxxed out. For theater of the real, I just made some delicate references and let the PC make a discrete exit before things got disgusting.

Yup. There's a party after the play in Council of Thieves that I used the mansion and the dinner course.


Lanathar wrote:

So Luculla seems like she could need a big rewrite. Did you keep her in the lucky bones in terms of where she was torturing people from?

And did she still have her alter ego operating from somewhere ?

It seems like keeping her story as written requires a different deity which removes part of the foreshadowing. That said the PCs are unlikely to know anything about soul anchors for a while even if they do I.D the deity as I assume that is high level knowledge

I did like the idea of a gotcha moment especially as my PCs got TPKd by a surprise disguised evil cleric in a PFS scenario back in February. It would have really struck a point and got them animated! I just don’t trust mine and my player’s ability to create a strong enough connection to have an impact with the gotcha. And as mentioned unless I Potter the place with other NPCs it will just make them suspicious of everyone

I was not planning on re-writing her - though I'll probably change her spell memorization (AP choices in this area are often mediocre.) Well, at least no changes game mechanic-wise.

No, she will not have an alter ego in the city. No need for it.

I'm leaving her as a cleric of Mahathallah so I can use her to foreshadow the Soul Anchor. My intention is to play up tension between Mahathallah and Thrune (and perhaps Asmodeus.) In my version, Mahathallah knows something bad has happened at the Soul Anchor but the presence of Anagondun makes it hard for her to know what, so she's sent Luculla to find out what's going on (since Asmodeus isn't answering her questions.) Mahathallah also needs to keep the Soul Anchor away from Azrana's attention (see Book 6, p.68.) so she herself is avoiding more direct intervention. My plan right now is the pc's will find imprisoned Thrunites or Asmodeans, etc. instead of the twins. Which will a) give me a chance to share some info: "She kept screaming at us about something called a Soul Anchor! When we said we didn't know what that was, she started killing us. Thank Asmodeus you got here when you did." And b) give the pc's some angst about rescuing people they have been and are enemies with. Oh, and given the friction with Asmodeus, I'm replacing the bearded devil with a kyton (chain devil version from the Bestiary.) This fits with Luculla's need to torture for information from her victims.

Beyond not finding the "gotcha" nature of the cookie-baking, human-sacrificing, cleric of a Whore Queen of Hell all that interesting, I also didn't think I could make it happen with appropriate engagement of the players/pc's. The comment earlier about needing a lot of notable interaction with non-evil NPC's to make her "blend in" is directly on point.

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