Turn of the Torrent (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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Lanathar wrote:
As an aside 3 got opium addicted.

That reminds me, I need to read over the addiction rules again...


Fireball ought to do the trick.


roguerouge wrote:
Fireball ought to do the trick.

For the mold?

They mused on filling the pit with water but assumed that would disturb the mold

Perhaps I should use a scroll of fireball as an approximate pricing guide for a wood scheme. Trust PCs to come up with crazy solutions


Knowledge dungeoneering or nature should reveal:

yellow mold wrote:
Fire destroys yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant.


roguerouge wrote:
Knowledge dungeoneering or nature should reveal:
yellow mold wrote:
Fire destroys yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant.

Thanks. I missed that last sentence when explaining what the substance was

Shame because they were planning on going to vespams for some kind of physical way of crossing . Could be a good way to bring in Wex (but I would need to outline some other artisans as well to mix it up I think)


So I have a few questions about the aftermath of Varl Wex and Balgorrah

The PCs apparently have several options:

A

- "Sell" Kukri for full price to one of the churches - where it can end up back with the Skinsaw cult
- "Sell" it to the investigator - where it doesn't end up with the skinsaw cult?

B

- Don't take public credit
- Take public credit

(Pick one from the first set of options and one from the second set)

What is not clear:

- How do they find out the the churches and dottari would "buy" the weapon? Is it just a knowledge local. And if I present it to them as one as full price and the other as half they will surely choose the full price option. Is there any hint that can be given that might make this more of a dilemma? Equally I cannot see why they would sell a powerful weapon to people they could potentially for fight for potentially less of a reward (seems backwards)

- The book mentions a significant public relations boost for taking credit. But this isn't explained at the end. The end mentions defeating Wex as one of the criteria for the public ceremony not defeating him and publicly taking responsibility

Is this an error? Or does the ceremony not happen if they don't take credit and miss one of the other things (again this doesn't make sense as the alliances shouldn't be public knowledge either)

I am a little confused

*

Also I mentioned before but it doesn't make sense that rescuing people from doghousing has not real positive but not rescuing them gains 1d6 supporters. Is the idea that if up to 4 people are lost each week and there are some bad rebellion rolls making it several weeks until rank 9 that a chunk of the population gets lost? I still don't see this ever being more than 40 people

*

As another aside the DCs for many event resolution actions and rebellion actions don't scale (only recruit supporters do).

There seem to be lots of things that are very easy if not auto successes once you get to about rank 8. Has anyone else found this?


Lanathar wrote:

So I have a few questions about the aftermath of Varl Wex and Balgorrah

The PCs apparently have several options:

A

- "Sell" Kukri for full price to one of the churches - where it can end up back with the Skinsaw cult
- "Sell" it to the investigator - where it doesn't end up with the skinsaw cult?

More like 3 options: sell (ends up with skinsaw cult), donate for compensation/sell to good-aligned church (melted down), sell to investigator (she ends up with a bunch of credit and hard evidence)

Lanathar wrote:


What is not clear:

- How do they find out the the churches and dottari would "buy" the weapon? Is it just a knowledge local. And if I present it to them as one as full price and the other as half they will surely choose the full price option. Is there any hint that can be given that might make this more of a dilemma? Equally I cannot see why they would sell a powerful weapon to people they could potentially for fight for potentially less of a reward (seems backwards)

Well, gather info would also do the trick, however they would already find buyers. For Dottari, remember that you can "donate" your way out of crimes, so this is not that out of the realm of the possibility. Knowledge religion could be an additional option for which ones would melt it down. You could even have them match the market (as would be fitting for Abadar).

If they take the option of selling it for the most money knowing it possesses its wielder and is evil... well, you should totally have it come back to kill them.

Lanathar wrote:


- The book mentions a significant public relations boost for taking credit. But this isn't explained at the end. The end mentions defeating Wex as one of the criteria for the public ceremony not defeating him and publicly taking responsibility
Is this an error? Or does the ceremony not happen if they don't take credit and miss one of the other things (again this doesn't make sense as the alliances shouldn't be public knowledge either)

My table did a street trial, which required some skill checks, finding appropriate lawyers and judges, then a skill check for testimony. There was an organization check for turnout and they ended up with bonuses I applied to recruiting.

Since I had a secondary plot of Zella using divination to get insight into the next crime so that the dottari could get there first to adjust the scene to frame the Ravens, they did need to make some PR out of catching the killer.


I didn’t read that the churches would melt it down although it would make sense. The implication to me seems to be sell for full price but the churches count as “idle hands”

And then the investigator is half price but it is safe

Selling it to neither would surely get half price only and be more beyond the pale given they know what it does

If you get full price from the church and it doesn’t come back around there is really no obvious negative that I can see to doing that. You get the most gold and the praise at the end for beating Wex

They just don’t seem equal options

(For reference my group killed Wex outright so there will be be no trial)

It seems like if they hand the evidence to Tiora they shouldn’t get the credit. But there isn’t any obvious “credit” that I can see that they don’t qualify for regardless...


Passages of concern:

Presenting Wex’s body and this evidence to the city guard in a public venue is certain to force Barzillai to publicly thank the PCs— something that he would rather not do and that forces a change in his tactics (see Concluding the Adventure). Turning Wex’s body and the evidence (including Balgorrah) over to a neutral party, such as Inspector Tayacet, is perhaps the best solution if the PCs wish to maintain more anonymity, but doing so prevents them from enjoying the significant public relations boost to their cause as detailed at the end of the adventure.

> There is nothing I can see about how handing the body and evidence over to a neutral party preserves anonymity. No notoriety bump and supporter gain for coming out in public as “heroes”. From the concluding section :

“The public climax, though, comes as the PCs finalize the Silver Ravens’ outward persona as a protector and ally of the people. In order to accomplish this goal, the PCs need to accomplish at least three of the following four objectives: gaining the support of the Order of the Torrent (by completing Mission 1), securing an alliance with Captain Sargaeta (by completing Mission 2), defeating the murderer Varl Wex (by completing Mission 3), or by achieving a Notoriety score of 50 or higher.

Once any three of these tasks are fulfilled, Barzillai is forced to publicly acknowledge the fact that the Silver Ravens exist”

This is weird as it seems unlikely that any group won’t have done at least one of these (for the invite part). But this says “deafeating” Wex and nothing about anything public or not / taking credit

Indeed apart from the notoriety part the objectives here should all theoretically be completed without Thrunes knowledge.

And furthermore if we assume they fail with Wex or don’t take credit why he throwing them a reward party for what amounts to :

- being active revolutionaries and likely killing pro government officials in public (notoriety)
- allying (probably in secret) with a navy captain
- rescuing a bunch of “outlaws”

This doesn’t make a lot of sense when you take a step back. I would really like to add the ceremony and put them in front of Barzillai but I am struggling to square this circle in my head
(The reward items will also be a challenge as ABP kind of removes the “no brainer, always wear items” in that price category but that is another matter)

*
On the sale price :

“ Balgorrah is an evil weapon, but the churches of Abadar and Shelyn both issue a bounty for the weapon if the PCs wish to “sell” it to them, rewarding the PCs full gp value for the weapon as a reward. If the PCs turn the blade over to Inspector Tayacet, she gives them a reward for the knife equal to half its value, but such an option still keeps the weapon out of idle hands.”

> This really reads like two options here with implications that is can’t be sold normally (and it only could in Vyre) and that you either get full or half but keep it out of “idle hands”

*

(Do I need to spoiler or remove the parts copied from the text ?)


It's too late now, but your concerns are why I did what someone else suggested somewhere on this board that Tayacet should show up right as the Ravens defeat Wex and therefore can spread the information even if the players wanted to remain completely secret.

Unfortunately, for you, your group started off being so obvious and now it sounds like they realize they shouldn't be known and are therefore remaining really quiet about everything.

But I'm assuming they've still gone around and done the missions in the first two books, which are pretty much all things that help the people of Kintargo and most of them aren't illegal/against Thrune. Those things are valid reasons as to why he would have to acknowledge them. Ignore what the book says. Getting rid of Scarplume, stopping the Tooth Fairies, stopping the unsanctioned exruciation, stopping Wex... These are things that people would be talking about in a positive light no matter what their politics are. (This is why I think it's weird when people complain that the missions aren't about revolution... good PR is a major part of having a positive impact through revolution.) Even if the group hides themselves the whole time keep in mind that Thrune has an ally that can cast Divination every day (Zella Zidlii), and has a Scrying Chamber plus a high priest that can use it (even though it's not listed under his spells, it's something clerics can cast so he does have access to it.)

The positive things they've done, even if they aren't taking credit for it, are still causing a buzz around town and people would be getting excited about these heroes. Thrune has the resources to piece together a few basic things about them and rather than draw attention to the bad things they're doing (because advertising that the Order of the Rack can't stop a few rebels would only encourage others to rise up against him) he's trying to make it look like he supports the Ravens so that people talk about them openly. Rather than "have you heard about this secret group of vigilantes?" it would likely change to "have you heard about these Thrune supported freelancers?" (or something like that).


Warped Savant wrote:

It's too late now, but your concerns are why I did what someone else suggested somewhere on this board that Tayacet should show up right as the Ravens defeat Wex and therefore can spread the information even if the players wanted to remain completely secret.

Unfortunately, for you, your group started off being so obvious and now it sounds like they realize they shouldn't be known and are therefore remaining really quiet about everything.

But I'm assuming they've still gone around and done the missions in the first two books, which are pretty much all things that help the people of Kintargo and most of them aren't illegal/against Thrune. Those things are valid reasons as to why he would have to acknowledge them. Ignore what the book says. Getting rid of Scarplume, stopping the Tooth Fairies, stopping the unsanctioned exruciation, stopping Wex... These are things that people would be talking about in a positive light no matter what their politics are. (This is why I think it's weird when people complain that the missions aren't about revolution... good PR is a major part of having a positive impact through revolution.) Even if the group hides themselves the whole time keep in mind that Thrune has an ally that can cast Divination every day (Zella Zidlii), and has a Scrying Chamber plus a high priest that can use it (even though it's not listed under his spells, it's something clerics can cast so he does have access to it.)

The positive things they've done, even if they aren't taking credit for it, are still causing a buzz around town and people would be getting excited about these heroes. Thrune has the resources to piece together a few basic things about them and rather than draw attention to the bad things they're doing (because advertising that the Order of the Rack can't stop a few rebels would only encourage others to rise up against him) he's trying to make it look like he supports the Ravens so that people talk about them openly. Rather than "have you heard about this secret group of vigilantes?"...

Thanks for the insight.

It is not too late for the investigator to show up as we finished as Wex fell. Would be good too as they already think the investigator is incompetent so having them show having not had the speak with dead clues should help with that

So that could solve the public knowledge thing (or your other suggestions)

My remaining confusion is over the “selling” of the blade. I definitely interpret this as it goes missing if it ends up with Abadar or shelyn and therefore returns in book 6. But as written I guess they will go for the gold
(Perhaps I could give the investigator ally boost early if they give it to them )

*

An aside but as written the will save on the blade is DC7. So unless I misunderstand intelligent weapons it is unlikely to have seized control of Wex as written. I need to re read those rules in case my players pick it up


If you have Tayacet show up right after Wex drops make sure she has some hellknights with her. Use enough that it's obvious fighting isn't a good idea and you'll hopefully have time for the group to realize she's not their to arrest them or anything.
I used her finding them as the excuse for her to start turning against Thrune. She sent the hellknights to check the rest of the building while she could have a short discussion with the PCs. (It mostly came down to her asking what was going on, that she's starting to realize the government isn't always right, and that she'd be in contact when she had the chance.)
They gave her the blade (carefully wrapped in some cloth) and they don't know what happened to it after that. (Which allows me to use it later on in the AP. Your group might hand the body over but keep the blade so you'll have to adjust things as needed. I wouldn't worry about using the blade later on as it's really only in one fight that doesn't matter.)

Yes, the DC against the blades ego is only 7. Keep in mind that Wex is chaotic evil to start with. I don't think it's so much that the blade is possessing him as opposed to he's an evil guy that is allowing the blade to influence him.
Sure, your players should succeed against being possessed by the blade but it might not even come up. (Mine saw that it was a magical, evil knife and they were all afraid to touch it.)


I think the HellKnights will be unnecessary. I have recast her as Thaddeus Crowe an ex dottari captain who was drummed out by the new regime as per some suggestions on the board

I am trying to set him up as a commissioner Gordon type. This plus having the twins in the lucky bones be the kids of a dottari sergeant helps humanise them a little more to discourage any more of the slaughter from the early days!

I think i will try to be a bit more obvious in a hint that he suspected them. So actually perhaps I will have some dottari on the way. I think I will play that by ear . I don’t see my group getting aggressive as they have changed

Depending on how they treat the aftermath the Wex thing may see him reinstated to the dottari

(I didn’t like Tiora’s story of dabbling in so many orders and organisations. )


Looking a little ahead - how did the Grateful City play out for people’s groups?

I have been rereading the separate posts on this and it seems like many people’s players either didn’t or didn’t seem likely to go for this lure.

I can almost justify it in my mind by having it be praise for Wex and thrune just attaching the Ravens name to them as that is the legendary saviours of the city’s name. So not “knowing” that they actually have formed a group doing just that. Certain mission from 1 and 2 are just benevolent acts to help Kintargo and gain support rather than enact rebellion after all

But my other question - is it necessary?
Does Thrune need a vehicle to scry or locate them with (apparently this is not returned to)?
Do they need to see him looking a bit haggered ?

Part of my reason for asking is due to my use of ABP. By level 7 the group have I think 2/3 of actual WBL in the the de facto bonuses (ignoring the suggestion that they should have these plus half WBL). Then there is all the gear from the lucky bones

Awarding them a 4-5k gp “must use” item might be overkill.
Also i argued before that the belts and headbands were nice and generic so didn’t need to foster suspicion as to how much Thrune knows. Anything I pick for this would look strange and make them paranoid (assuming they are not too paranoid to go in the first place)

So a final question. Assuming the scrying part is unnecessary is there another reward I can grant that isn’t XP or treasure? Rebellion boosts seem unnecessary as the DCs seem largely very easy after a certain point (a topic for a separate post). So eliminating those leaves me struggling for ideas...


So I am prepping more of the underwater sections for tomorrow. It had pretty much passed my by that the Skum Wizard is pretty much guaranteed to join the combat after 3-4 rounds.

However Skum are useless and the Reefclaws even worse so they will probably all be dead by the time he shows up.

I do quite like it when monstrous races get spell caster levels as they usually end up with physical stats that casters usually don't have (I am thinking from Rise of the Runelords)

Displacement and Mirror image will make things tricky (although Blood Kineticist Wrack will bypass it all it would seem)

Depending on how the saving throws go against Slow will probably be the difference between a very tough fight and a rather straightforward one

*

Have I missed the notes on the dimensions of the tunnels? It doesn't always say the height of the ceilings. It does in the first room but not all the others

It will be interesting to see how many encounters the group get through

*

I was actually thinking of using slips of paper for monster knowledge when underwater and passing them to the player with the knowledge to avoid meta gaming - as the players can't talk under water as far as I am aware


My players trounced the skum!
I'd suggest either have a few more skum with the wizard in his cave or have the wizard sneak out through the secret door and join up with the drowning devil. (More skum with him makes it so the heroes feel like heroes, joining the drowning devil makes the players have to split their attacks and decide which one to focus on.)


Warped Savant wrote:

My players trounced the skum!

I'd suggest either have a few more skum with the wizard in his cave or have the wizard sneak out through the secret door and join up with the drowning devil. (More skum with him makes it so the heroes feel like heroes, joining the drowning devil makes the players have to split their attacks and decide which one to focus on.)

Adding him to the drowning devil would make that feel like a satisfactory end of book fight. It seems like it would be a real challenge. CR10 is no joke

It would also save me from adding the advanced template to the devil. I feel like doing that even as a single opponent would actually defeat my party. Reach, +17 melee, DC 22 poison on two of the attacks etc

That seems too much. Although a successful slow spell in the room with the Drowned Devil seems like a death sentence

I am adding HD to the Skum (Sometimes that feels more right than the advanced template). I might also give them hide or leather armour as there AC is stupidly low. The HD boot gives them +2 melee due to weapon focus. I am advancing the reefclaws because otherwise they will be a waste of time against a party that all buff it's AC to 20

The other addition I was planning was a Skum ranger with either favoured enemy human (as Skum rangers have this on the SRD) or Elf due to the prisoners. I was thinking elf and it will viciously go after the elf with and or and acaazi they bring (although I think i got the vibe they had turned away from the prison corridor in the shell sentinel room - really odd choice : attacked by obvious guards and then don't investigate what they were guarding

If they do bring the aquatic elves then that is an interesting combat idea of choosing to save allies or go after the wizard (but as mentioned I don't expect it to come up)


For talking underwater: if you're water breathing, you probably can talk--the water functions as air and water does carry sound. If you rule against it, I'd tell players that they can talk if they speak Aquan.

Ceiling heights: D1=15', D5=7', D10="low".

For the skum... I had ten in D1, eight in D8 with an advanced Cordulegaster. The first wave attacked the intruders, sent one to warn D8. D8 provided reinforcements and sent 1 to warn the skum caster. The skum caster buffed up and got there a few rounds later. The skum are blockers and can rip up a caster if they can get access to one. The real dangers are the advanced Cordulegaster and the skum wizard.

Initial combat

Remember: most of the party shouldn't have armor. You sink to the bottom and stay there. Why does that matter? Because if there's a high-ceiling'd cavern, their opponents can simply circle out of reach and pepper them with spells and underwater crossbow bolts. Also? The most likely entrance to the underground is through a ceiling... which means that if they need to retreat, they'd need to wait minutes for the armored PC to take off their armor before they can swim up to the top.

I found this summary helpful:

Underwater combat and movement:
Freedom of movement: everything’s normal
Have swim speed: -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, normal speed
Successful Swim 10 check: -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, ¼ speed per action.
Failed swim check: lose Dex to AC, opponents +2 attacks, no action
Firm footing on floor (16 pounds for Medium creatures): -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, half speed per action

Ranged: -2 attack per 5’
Spell casting underwater: Concentration 15+SL unless you can breathe water
Fire spells: Caster level check DC 20+SL or bubble of steam; in addition to casting at all
Invisibility: Easy to place in square, 20% miss chance


Lanathar wrote:

The other addition I was planning was a Skum ranger with either favoured enemy human (as Skum rangers have this on the SRD) or Elf due to the prisoners. I was thinking elf and it will viciously go after the elf with and or and acaazi they bring (although I think i got the vibe they had turned away from the prison corridor in the shell sentinel room - really odd choice : attacked by obvious guards and then don't investigate what they were guarding

If they do bring the aquatic elves then that is an interesting combat idea of choosing to save allies or go after the wizard (but as mentioned I don't expect it to come up)

The Skum Ranger is probably the one that appears in book 5 as minions so it would make sense for them to hate elves a little more than human, but both make sense.


Warped Savant wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

The other addition I was planning was a Skum ranger with either favoured enemy human (as Skum rangers have this on the SRD) or Elf due to the prisoners. I was thinking elf and it will viciously go after the elf with and or and acaazi they bring (although I think i got the vibe they had turned away from the prison corridor in the shell sentinel room - really odd choice : attacked by obvious guards and then don't investigate what they were guarding

If they do bring the aquatic elves then that is an interesting combat idea of choosing to save allies or go after the wizard (but as mentioned I don't expect it to come up)

The Skum Ranger is probably the one that appears in book 5 as minions so it would make sense for them to hate elves a little more than human, but both make sense.

I was referring to this one : https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/unique-monsters/cr-5/skum-sentry/

Appears to be from carrion crown .
I would probably take away levels . But that was where I got FE Human from. But elves do make more sense in this context


roguerouge wrote:

For talking underwater: if you're water breathing, you probably can talk--the water functions as air and water does carry sound. If you rule against it, I'd tell players that they can talk if they speak Aquan.

Ceiling heights: D1=15', D5=7', D10="low".

For the skum... I had ten in D1, eight in D8 with an advanced Cordulegaster. The first wave attacked the intruders, sent one to warn D8. D8 provided reinforcements and sent 1 to warn the skum caster. The skum caster buffed up and got there a few rounds later. The skum are blockers and can rip up a caster if they can get access to one. The real dangers are the advanced Cordulegaster and the skum wizard.

Initial combat

Remember: most of the party shouldn't have armor. You sink to the bottom and stay there. Why does that matter? Because if there's a high-ceiling'd cavern, their opponents can simply circle out of reach and pepper them with spells and underwater crossbow bolts. Also? The most likely entrance to the underground is through a ceiling... which means that if they need to retreat, they'd need to wait minutes for the armored PC to take off their armor before they can swim up to the top.

I found this summary helpful:

Underwater combat and movement:
Freedom of movement: everything’s normal
Have swim speed: -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, normal speed
Successful Swim 10 check: -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, ¼ speed per action.
Failed swim check: lose Dex to AC, opponents +2 attacks, no action
Firm footing on floor (16 pounds for Medium creatures): -2 attacks half damage w/slashing & bludgeoning weapons, half speed per action

Ranged: -2 attack per 5’
Spell casting underwater: Concentration 15+SL unless you can breathe water
Fire spells: Caster level check DC 20+SL or bubble of steam; in addition to casting at all
Invisibility: Easy to place in square, 20% miss chance

Hang about? Where does the sink to the bottom and stay there come from? Can’t they swim against it? Isn’t it an ACP issue only? Or do they literally sink on any round they don’t move? It would certainly explain why the skum don’t have armour on...

I assume I need to reread buoyancy rules

*

You certainly ramped up the skum numbers. That plus the advanced monster drastically changes that combat difficulty. Did you remove other things ? Or is your group larger?


So this is a buoyancy point? With swiftly sinking they are in the floor and must pass DC20 to either stay there or to move up?

What if they fail? Are they off balance?

And it is not clear how much needs carrying to be swiftly sinking. Would the Kineticist with just a Mithral shirt be swiftly sinking?

I assume the character with the cloak of the manta is fine.

Again it certainly explains the poor AC of the skum

It seems like fully implementing these rules will make things very lethal. However we are using the aquatic adventures part that allows the water Kineticist to take no penalties and do full damage (surprise surprise). Can I confirm all this sinking stuff is AA only? If so I can offer the group a choice - core only with a nerf to the Kineticist or full AA rules which will presumably result in most needing to ditch armour (and therefore be hit almost automatically by the really nasty monsters)

This water stuff is a real can of worms


I got it from somewhere in the rules, but I'll be darned if I can find it. I told the players that this was one of the few times I was going to pay attention to encumbrance, and that anything over light encumbrance would be a problem. I also specifically stated that wearing medium or heavy armor would make you sink like a stone, whatever the encumbrance, and I likened it to the very old sea exploration gear: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_diving_dress. So, some of this might have been Rule 0, to be honest.

The monk in the cloak of the manta ray was fine.

Yes, the lack of armor and shields changes the AC quite a bit... which means that the skum are a bit more likely to hit in melee. Also note how impaired your move rate is swimming underwater without a swim speed.

It was a great, tight battle. They had one useful NPC and one that was less useful. I like having lots of mooks because you can always have their morale condition lead them to run when the balance isn't quite right.

I went through the equipment list for the effects of flippers, air bladders, common buoys, 30 ft of chain, fishing net, glass bottles, a pound of soap, waterproof bag, and waterproof hooded lantern. I can't find that list any more.


What DC did people allow their group to identify that the globster was immune to piercing and bludgeoning weapons? Or did they find out the hard way

I always struggle with how much to give with knowledges and what “a useful piece of information” is. Especially something like the globster that has loads of immunities and resistances. I revealed that it was an ooze and all the ooze immunities for one success. Was that too harsh (I don’t think it is immediately obvious it is an ooze)

They have happly assumed low AC and high HP. Advanced template makes the former unexpectedly higher

Edit: I ask because I have looked at this beast again and without that knowledge a water blast Kineticist, daring champion/mesmerist, cardinal cleric and witch will probably die against it.

Even with the knowledge they probably can’t kill it..,


Be careful with the globster. It's really difficult. My party would have TPK'd if not for creative problem-solving and permissive DMing.


How did they get past?
I let mine back away and take the light with them and since it hadn't attacked I didn't make it follow

It seems impossible being immune or effectively immune to fire, acid, cold, electric, bludgeoning and piercing.

I am letting my group trap it and distract it with something rotten (kinetic barrier)

I think I will let the pump get fixed and clear the water away to make that combat manageable

They were really jittery and scared to get into any of the final three fights (devilfish, globster and devil - which they think is an aboleth)

The devilfish got really luck and hit and damaged the kineticist and survived a coup de grace after a slumber. It was 3 natural 20s in 4 rolls. Then it woke up and used ink cloud and no one could see it. Not sure how you are supposed to clear it away


It is now a situation where next session will be the full 5 party members going in to fight the drowning devil 5 on 1 once fully buffed

They don't know what it is but in the intervening real life days they may remember there is a devil there. I may also have to lessen the binding from the cavern otherwise the fight becomes a waste of time as the kineticist stands outside the room and kills it

Given that they will nova the encounter I feel like a change is needed for this one.

Perhaps I could make it straight forward after to big struggles in the last two fights - skum + wizard (and added skum ranger) and then devilfish. 3 in a row if I count the shells

The only thing I can think of to add is more skum. But they would have to have some levels otherwise that would be a waste.
Using the summon for another drowning devil would be horrendous - but assume a bound one can't do that

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

(The group is expecting a "final encounter of the book" situation it would seem)


Lanathar wrote:

How did they get past?

I let mine back away and take the light with them and since it hadn't attacked I didn't make it follow

It seems impossible being immune or effectively immune to fire, acid, cold, electric, bludgeoning and piercing.

I am letting my group trap it and distract it with something rotten (kinetic barrier)

As I recall, they trapped it and used magic missiles. And I allowed them to weaponize the cleaning use of prestidigitation for 1 point of damage per use.


Lanathar wrote:


They don't know what it is but in the intervening real life days they may remember there is a devil there. I may also have to lessen the binding from the cavern otherwise the fight becomes a waste of time as the kineticist stands outside the room and kills it

Is there any way for them to know that it's stuck in the cavern?


roguerouge wrote:
Lanathar wrote:


They don't know what it is but in the intervening real life days they may remember there is a devil there. I may also have to lessen the binding from the cavern otherwise the fight becomes a waste of time as the kineticist stands outside the room and kills it

Is there any way for them to know that it's stuck in the cavern?

I made a mistake and had it talk to those it could see whilst they were cowering in the corridor. There was a lot of cowering in the last session

I did the book thing of it being angry that the skum had been killed and revealed a little too much

And it didn’t pursue them down the corridor

I think I will just have to make its bound area be a little larger than just the cavern otherwise the whole thing will be pointless. Summoning another one using the sla in the corridor would be a very evil option but would be its only way of getting at ranged people

I don’t think the module assumes as much ranger damage as a Kineticist can pull off consistently . Arcane casters will run out eventually (and are probably supposed to have used some already)

So it is another situation where I will be forced to change things because of character choices so as not to completely invalidate things


I like the summon idea. If they defeat it, they'll then have incentive to close to melee before it does it again the next day.

Of course, if they just dispel it or make it ineffective via protection vs. evil spells... oh well.


Two things that confuse me:

First, how exactly does the dry Smuggler’s Tunnel look like?

D7 wrote:
areas D1–D9 and D12 have breathable air pumped into them. Areas D8 and D9 remain partially flooded, while the dotted line at the western tunnel entrance in D8 shows the western boundary of the area of the caverns that’s still flooded.

So, D1-D7 and D12 get completely drained of water, that’s fine. What doesn’t make sense is exactly how D8 and D9 are still flooded with water, and what that “dotted line” phrase means. It’s very poorly explained.

*

Second, the book says that the Drowning Devil in D13 was bound using a scroll of binding, which makes sense—the devil couldn’t teleport away and the effect could potentially be permanent if not last years—but there’s one thing that’s overlooked: he’s not bound. The adventure makes no reference to him being hindered by the spell by, say, being stuck in a pair of manacles or stuck inside of a cage, so how is the binding still affecting him?

Shadow Lodge

KingTreyIII wrote:

Second, the book says that the Drowning Devil in D13 was bound using a scroll of binding, which makes sense—the devil couldn’t teleport away and the effect could potentially be permanent if not last years—but there’s one thing that’s overlooked: he’s not bound. The adventure makes no reference to him being hindered by the spell by, say, being stuck in a pair of manacles or stuck inside of a cage, so how is the binding still affecting him?

The spell is probably using the "hedged prison" variant, which does not require physical confinement (unlike, say, the "chained" or "minimus containment" variants).


Unrelated to previous parts of this thread, but is it just me or does the encounter "Public Excruciations (CR 9)" have a remarkably high XP payout? Two hounds, four armigers, and four Dottari guards yelds 2(400)+4(800)+4(800) = 6800 XP before the bonus XP for rescuing anyone else. Do fleeing guards not yield XP? Meaning if half of the enemies run away before they participate significantly in combat, do I opt from granting XP as if they were slain?


Yes, it does. But that's because if the PCs manage to pull it off they should be rewarded heavily for being able to take out enemies that are well above a CR that they should be able to take out.

(Read: If the PCs fight them all, all of the PCs are likely to be unconscious and in prison at the end of the fight. It is not a fight they should be able to win and the presence of the hellknights should make that obvious to the PCs. And if it doesn't, perhaps someone, as written, suggests that perhaps it would be easier at night.)


Latrecis wrote:
So they got to Lorelu with Shield Other up? Had they come straight from fighting the Luculla bunch? And why did that kill the cleric? Lorelu only gets one attack a round - the cleric got into the fight with the ghost with Shield Other up with low enough hit points to be killed by taking half the damage from a 7d6 attack - okay maybe it was 10d6 with sneak attack? The original target should have gotten a Fort save to cut it in half and even if that failed that should be 30-40 hp, split in half gets to 20hp of damage. That took the cleric past -CON? And if the cleric survived the first attack through Shield Other - that should have gotten cancelled at the cleric's next action if his hp were so low. Seems strange.

They had just rested after the Mahathallah fight, because…come on! The cleric is a summoner cleric (doesn’t get straight into the fray much if at all) and they took a sneak attack from Lorelu to the face, so their hp was low to start with and they have a whopping 12 Con.!

Latrecis wrote:
Also, the Lucky Bones exploration is not on a timer, especially after the Mahathallah cultists have been dealt with.

Technically there is: the Acisazi scouts.

Latrecis wrote:
There's no crime in hinting or explicitly telling them "Its clear no one has been in these halls for decades." Maybe even: "Hint: you can take your time and handle exploration slowly." And if there is a crime in it, it seems a misdemeanor in comparison to directly changing combat in a way that's obvious to the players. To a level they argue with you against themselves.

Whether the PCs were fully rested or just coming from another combat ultimately made no difference in the fight against the xorn; the wizard and the cleric didn’t dare to go in (especially considering the pit behind them) and the skald and the vigilante had crap AC compared to its attack bonuses.

Latrecis wrote:
I assume the Raise Dead scroll in question was the one they found in Luculla's stuff? That isn't they only Raise Dead they can come up with. If they are running the Rebellion and have Hetamon as an ally, one of the caches he can provide for them (Major) includes a scroll of Raise Dead.

GAH! Both me and my players COMPLETELY forgot about that! Honestly, it’s probably because the idea of setting caches never really sounded like a tempting or wise idea…


My players have "set caches" at their various HQs.


KingTreyIII wrote:
Latrecis wrote:
Also, the Lucky Bones exploration is not on a timer, especially after the Mahathallah cultists have been dealt with.
Technically there is: the Acisazi scouts.

Perhaps a nit, but not at the point it appears your pc's are at. The Acisazi "timer" doesn't start until they get to the water-filled Lower Dungeon.

"The timing of when the elves were captured is left vague—when the PCs first start exploring the level, the elves have been imprisoned here for 1 day. Each day that passes, the elves slowly starve (Core Rulebook 444–445), as the skum aren’t particularly interested in feeding their prisoners. Their eventual plan is to bring the elves back to Menotheguro for enslavement, and if the PCs don’t rescue the elves or defeat the skum within 2 weeks of their first entrance into this level, this becomes the elves’ fate." TotT, p.54-55

Latrecis wrote:
I assume the Raise Dead scroll in question was the one they found in Luculla's stuff? That isn't...

The High Priest of Abadar also has a scroll of raise dead. See the write-up for the House of Golden Veils in IHBS, p. 68. The pc's wouldn't necessarily know that of course but it seems like something a Gather Information effort to find such scrolls or options would discover.


So I think I'm going to have trouble getting my players to go into the lower level of the Lucky Bones. They bit hard for finding the Shellet twins so cleared out the upper level before dealing with Poison Pen and the Slasher. They found the poem with the code and have opened the capstone. They climbed into the well and discovered a chamber (D1) below. They have a summoner in the party and sent a creature down into the chamber when it got attacked by the Skum in D1. Discovering the creature was attacked, they simply closed the capstone and probably feel that the problem is solved. They even started moving the Silver Ravens into the Lucky Bones. I am struggling to come up with a way to draw them down into the smuggler's tunnels. They are currently trying to find clues about Varl Wex but it's only a matter of time before they solve that and deal with him. What is a good way to get the PCs interested in investigating the smuggler's tunnels?


Perhaps another group of aquatic elves come from Acisazi searching for their missing companions? (And I'd totally have the ones in the bottom level already dead when they're found.)

Shadow Lodge

Some NPC could get antsy about their hideout not having a backdoor. The Sacred Order of Archivists made that mistake, and look where it got them. An underwater section will connect to the sewer and the river and so make a possible escape even if you need water breathing to use it.


I was pretty clear with players that the place wouldn't work as a base until it was cleared out, due to NPCs being nervous about what lies beneath.

And seconding the alternate exits POV: they don't know this yet, but there's two down there--one outside city walls and one inside. But they can infer from captured documents that these were smugglers and so there must be a clandestine entrance down there.


efs001 wrote:
So I think I'm going to have trouble getting my players to go into the lower level of the Lucky Bones. They bit hard for finding the Shellet twins so cleared out the upper level before dealing with Poison Pen and the Slasher. They found the poem with the code and have opened the capstone. They climbed into the well and discovered a chamber (D1) below. They have a summoner in the party and sent a creature down into the chamber when it got attacked by the Skum in D1. Discovering the creature was attacked, they simply closed the capstone and probably feel that the problem is solved. They even started moving the Silver Ravens into the Lucky Bones. I am struggling to come up with a way to draw them down into the smuggler's tunnels. They are currently trying to find clues about Varl Wex but it's only a matter of time before they solve that and deal with him. What is a good way to get the PCs interested in investigating the smuggler's tunnels?

Did they speak with Lorelu, the ghost guildmistress? Have they prevented her from rejuvenating? If not, they get a chance to speak with her again. She can easily hint at the treasure hoard of the Guild. Octavio could also refer, perhaps obliquely, to the presence of great wealth - that's why the previous Lictor of the Torrent tried to isolate it off and save it for himself and his cronies. In my experience, it's the rare pc (player) group that can't be motivated with a little greed :)


I totally forgot about the treasure hook! That's the entire reason the place was locked up so tightly in the first place!
The PCs should definitely be aware of it. And if they aren't make them aware via Octavio.


Does the Tooth and Nail show up again in later books?


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DM Livgin wrote:
Does the Tooth and Nail show up again in later books?

Not as a plot hook or hideout explicitly. You could easily use it as potential fodder for one (such as Mangvhune targeting Setrona to get at the PCs).

Sovereign Court

Beyond Shurshogot and the vault trap, I only have a few loose ends to tie up before finishing TotT for my group. Whether the Silver Ravens accept the gifts from Thrune on Signing Day (the Chelish holiday fell perfectly into our in-game calendar) and what to do with Rexus.

According to the introduction, if Rexus is allowed to wallow in his own grief over his parent's fate he attempts to assassinate either Barzillai or Corinstian Grivenner. I alluded to his overwhelming grief about between rescuing the armigers and escorting Marquell Aulorian from the Greens to the Scourge of Belial. Our swash-bard-ler did take a little time to comfort him, but haven't made any efforts to continue since part 2 of the adventure.

In fact the Swash-Bard-ler has attempted to redeem Luculla, who they unmasked as a cultist, but not the HEAD cultist. She is imprisoned beneath the Shrine of Saint Senex due to the Mage's Private sanctum effect. She had 6 remaining cultists in the city, but per the text they have fled leaving her to rot. I'm thinking she attempts to bluff the Swash-bard-ler about her change of heart while in his presence, but spends the rest of her time cursing at the Seers or in a drug-addled meditative state in the Adyton (via the create drug spell).

The attempts to redeem a truly damned soul, especially if the group accepts the gifts from Thrune is more than enough to drive Rexus over the edge. If so he's sentenced to excrutiation by doghousing and the PCs can either use one of their last Rebellion activities to rescue him, or they can do it personally and repeat Public Excrutiations with the addition of Sabo the Spider, who they successfully bluffed their way past in the Holding House.

--We will, we will Vrock you...


So I'm looking at the stats for Balgorrah and I'm trying to figure out if the PCs get saves against its Bleed and Death Knell. If so, how do I determine the save DC for those abilities? The book doesn't specify.

Sovereign Court

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efs001 wrote:
So I'm looking at the stats for Balgorrah and I'm trying to figure out if the PCs get saves against its Bleed and Death Knell. If so, how do I determine the save DC for those abilities? The book doesn't specify.

Both bleed(0 level) and death knell(2nd level) are cleric spells, so I would use Balgorrah's Wisdom score of 14 to determine the save DCs of 12 and 14 respectively.

--School of Vrock


My group wants to lure the globster away instead of fighting it. I want to use a chase scene to reflect this. I'm thinking intimidate/survival to lure it out from a safe distance. Swim/fortitude to out pace to as it pursues. Knowledge local/dungeonering to lead it somewhere safe. And stealth/swim/survival to lose it after they have it somewhere safe.

Any recommendations?

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