Dance of the Damned (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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Lanathar wrote:

There is a pretty furious debate on an old post about the wall of ice thing

The hemisphere is the debate as someone in the middle gets no save but is trapped

Removing that as an invisibility option drastically limits what Ciz can do whilst invisible. I will see how it played out. I would only do it if I can divide people

Not to derail an AP GM thread into a rules discussion but there is no room for a "furious debate." The prohibition on invisibility is if you directly harm someone with your action. So now whether you go visible depends on where and how you cast any wall spell? "Oh there's only one door and your wall blocks the exit - some NPC's are trapped without a save. <Poof> you're visible." Or "You cast arcane lock on that door. The people in the room are trapped now without a save <poof> you're visible." The whole idea of introducing conditional variations in what constitutes breaking invisibility is a blackhole/pandora's box of endless permutations. Keep it simple: did someone have to save? Or take damage? If the answers are No, you're still invisible.

And characters inside the hemispherical wall of ice are not trapped. They are inconvenienced. They can hack their way through. Melt their way through. Dispel Magic their way out. Etc. And the hemisphere form doesn't even do damage when you pass through a breach.


Thanks this was my thoughts as well until I went down the rules rabbit hole the forum can sometimes be. I think when you often get people looking at every letter in isolation to get the answer they want - in this case it was to try and nerf players who wanted to use the combo

*

Consider that derailement over . It was part of a tactics discussion anyway!

Back to Book 3 - is my reading correct that the main room in the opera house is 40ft floor to ceiling ? 20ft for first floor and 10ft every other? Seems lower than I would expect but admittedly I don’t know what makes me say that!


Those dimensions seem exactly right to me. See Ceilings section on p. 41 and the descriptions for D3, D5, E2 and F2 on p.46-47 which state the stage (D5) is 5 feet above the main floor (D3), E2 is 20 feet above D3 and F2 is 30 feet above D3, leaving 10 more feet to the ceiling on the 3rd floor (F level.)


Gratz wrote:
Gratz wrote:

I have just reread all the comments in the thread, hoping to find some answers or inspiration, but the plan behind the ruby masquerade still feels thin. Even though Barzillai has a huge ego and probably a lot of faith in his plan, I still think he would design a more sophisticated plan, in case the PCs fare better than expected against his trap.

So my idea was to have a little contest, where the three (random number) best looking masks a rewarded. So just before the ending ceremony, where Barzillai is supposed to hold his speech, the three winners are called onto the stage (you could even include a PC, if one went through the trouble to craft or purchase a really nice one). The people on stage have to reveal their identities one after another, from third place to winner. The 2nd placed is a member of a noble family or another beloved citizen, who is loyal to Thrune. The winner is a devil disguised as one of the PCs and as he reveals his face, he draws a dagger to kill the Thrune loyalist right next to him. A moment later, fake Barzillai rushes into a staged fight with the disguised Silver Raven devil. All hell breaks loose, people rush out, some get out (maybe handpicked before the events to spread the word what started the whole mess), the Dottari close the doors and the rest happens pretty much like in the book.

This way Barzillai doesn't need to make sure everyone dies, but has spread enough misinformation about what happened that night, so that the rumors do favor his version. Besides, I really think Barzillai would enjoy the dramatic, theatrical version of the ruby masquerade, because he would finally infused Kintargo with some culture.

So I've just ran the Ruby Masquerade, with the little twist I proposed (the head of the house Sarini had to be the pawn sacrifice) and I added additional theatricals to make the PCs look bad in the public eye. Barzillai was trying to split the public opinion on the Silver Ravens and he was successful, as they did quite badly on...

Thank you so much for this idea, I think I might use it.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear as appropriate for your game.

Thanks for this. Do you have stats for Laria?

Shadow Lodge

Warlock8 wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear as appropriate for your game.
Thanks for this. Do you have stats for Laria?

Yeah, I'll get them up in an hour or so, once I'm home.


So I dropped the hammer on my group just now
I left it on a cliffhanger of thrune’s trap being sprung and Nox being revealed

It got the reaction i wanted. They gasped when they realised they were being set up and my brother intends to pursue Nox mercilessly (she isn’t going to last long against a holy glaive). But it is currently in an allies handy haversack

So first round is going to be grim for them as they do some early gambits (probably buffs and glaive retrieving) and more devils are summoned. The Kineticist will Foe Throw a guard into the main doors so that might open an escape route early...(so early Ice wall target)

They were entirely unsuspicious so no buffs are activated so things could get rough

Allies that I told them were invited :

- Laria
- Setrona
- Mialari
- Tayacet (reimagined as a Jim Gordon ex dottari guy)

I will hold Octavio and Rexus in reserve. Rexus potentially to have a glorious death by eating a Thrune full attack to buy a player some time

Given stats it is not looking good for anyone except Octavio

*

Having Nox use a glamer was my idea and a mistake as it has made them guess about glamers on the azatas. Probably obvious anyway but this makes much clearer

They don’t know what the foes are but I imagine will assume devils (a little meta but hey ho )

They have a week to dwell on this

*

Some questions:

Are the 2d6 deaths a round supposed to represent dottari killing people? Or general trampling? Or both?

Do the dottari attempt to fight back against the PCs? I assume they must

What does Ciz’s summoned bone devil do? Go after PCs or the crowd? I would assume the former like it’s summoner does...

*

There was a musing that the set up (including the BBEG being there) suggests they aren’t supposed to fight and just help people get out...

*

What methods have people used to count down the civilian deaths? I’d like to track the count down for the group in the open without doing lots of crossings out on paper...

*

Looking forward to next week...


Fantastic!!

Lanathar wrote:

So first round is going to be grim for them as they do some early gambits (probably buffs and glaive retrieving) and more devils are summoned. The Kineticist will Foe Throw a guard into the main doors so that might open an escape route early...(so early Ice wall target)

They were entirely unsuspicious so no buffs are activated so things could get rough

Do the bad guys know who your PCs are? The basic plan is to kill everyone so targeting the PCs right away seems odd.

Assuming the foes are devils seems logical. Nothing meta about that.

I had described the 2D6 deaths per round as dottari killing people but having it be a combination of dottari and trampling makes sense.

Do the dottari fight back? It would be weird if they just stood there getting attacked by the PCs and did nothing... Do they engage the PCs even if the PCs aren't attacking them? Probably not...
The PCs are going to be focused on the devils and Thrune because they're the biggest threats. If they're spending too much time on the dottari have an NPC show up, attack the dottari and yell for the PCs to get the devils and Thrune.

The summoned Bone Devil does whatever you want it to do. Guarding/fighting alongside Thrune makes sense but I didn't use either bone devils due to realizing it would be a TPK for my group if I used even just one.

Lanathar wrote:
There was a musing that the set up (including the BBEG being there) suggests they aren’t supposed to fight and just help people get out...

Let them think that. Eventually Thrune will either attack the PCs or start killing enough civilians the PCs will attack Thrune.

For the death count, I use digital maps so I had it as text on the screen.
If you're using dry-erase or some form of physical map put it right on the map.
Or a giant piece of paper like they use in board meetings and use a thick, black marker. Crossing it out and writing in the new number is the best part!
The larger and more obvious the better. (And don't let them know what dice you're using for the various things otherwise they'll try to go for the one that's, on average, killing the most. The entire scene is too chaotic. The PCs wouldn't know how many people each thing is killing... having the countdown is meta-knowledge that serves as an awesome way to show the players, not the PCs, how many people are dying.)

Shadow Lodge

Warlock8 wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear as appropriate for your game.
Thanks for this. Do you have stats for Laria?

Laria at the Time of the Ruby Masquerade:

Laria Longroad CR 4
XP 1,200
Female halfling brawler 4/rogue 1
CG Small humanoid (halfling)
Init +2; Senses Perception +4
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 size)
hp 29 (5 HD; 4d10+1d8-1)
Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +4; +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities AC bonus +1
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +7 (1d6+2) or
. . flurry of blows +5/+5 (1d6+2)
Ranged dagger +7 (1d3+2/19-20)
Special Attacks brawler's flurry, knockout 1/day (DC 14), martial flexibility 5/day, sneak attack +1d6
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 8, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +5 (+7 grapple); CMD 18 (20 vs. grapple)
Feats Deceitful, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Step Up, Staggering Fist
Skills Acrobatics +11 (+7 when jumping), Appraise +9, Bluff +3, Climb +10, Diplomacy +9, Disguise +5, Escape Artist +6, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (local) +9, Perception +4, Profession (baker) +12, Sense Motive +6, Stealth +10; Racial Modifiers +2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +2 Perception
Languages Common, Halfling, Shadowtongue
SQ brawler's cunning, maneuver training (grapple +1), martial training, trapfinding +1
Combat Gear oil of silence, potions of cure light wounds (2), potion of gaseous form; Other Gear mwk studded leather armor, daggers (4), climber's kit, disguise kit, keys to the Long Roads Coffeehouse, mwk baking tools, mwk thieves' tools, 37 gp

Change gear as appropriate for your game.


Warped Savant wrote:

Fantastic!!

Lanathar wrote:

So first round is going to be grim for them as they do some early gambits (probably buffs and glaive retrieving) and more devils are summoned. The Kineticist will Foe Throw a guard into the main doors so that might open an escape route early...(so early Ice wall target)

They were entirely unsuspicious so no buffs are activated so things could get rough

Do the bad guys know who your PCs are? The basic plan is to kill everyone so targeting the PCs right away seems odd.

Assuming the foes are devils seems logical. Nothing meta about that.

I had described the 2D6 deaths per round as dottari killing people but having it be a combination of dottari and trampling makes sense.

Do the dottari fight back? It would be weird if they just stood there getting attacked by the PCs and did nothing... Do they engage the PCs even if the PCs aren't attacking them? Probably not...
The PCs are going to be focused on the devils and Thrune because they're the biggest threats. If they're spending too much time on the dottari have an NPC show up, attack the dottari and yell for the PCs to get the devils and Thrune.

The summoned Bone Devil does whatever you want it to do. Guarding/fighting alongside Thrune makes sense but I didn't use either bone devils due to realizing it would be a TPK for my group if I used even just one.

Lanathar wrote:
There was a musing that the set up (including the BBEG being there) suggests they aren’t supposed to fight and just help people get out...

Let them think that. Eventually Thrune will either attack the PCs or start killing enough civilians the PCs will attack Thrune.

For the death count, I use digital maps so I had it as text on the screen.
If you're using dry-erase or some form of physical map put it right on the map.
Or a giant piece of paper like they use in board meetings and use a thick, black marker. Crossing it out and writing in the new number is the best part!
The larger and more obvious the better. (And don't let them...

Thanks for all this.

The tactics say the bearded devils go for the PCs straight away

I assumed this was because of unmasking having happened and notoriety / scrying meaning they know

Or am I supposed to wait for the PCs to do something other than run and scream

(As an aside one of my players exclaimed “oh my god that b* is setting us up - now if I was to take that as in character...:-P )


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Warlock8 wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear as appropriate for your game.
Thanks for this. Do you have stats for Laria?

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear...

Thanks

Ouch I like that yours and JJs stats include rather low HP for these NPCs. Adds a real sense of threat if they start to get involved and let’s them solve the role I would quite like them to (a one or two round block to allow the PCs chance to heal or rally)


I have been thinking that I would be disappointed if I don’t kill at least one PC with this - but perhaps that is an overly antagonistic way of thinking about this

(But 2 raise dead scrolls and a cleric who can now cast it makes me feel less bad)

But this has such red wedding vibes that I want to go all out

That all said I might actually target the crowd with absolute glee and menace - and as Warped Savant mentions - take absolute delight in reducing the number every round. I should make it a mission to kill as much of the crowd as possible

(I will have them at initiative 1 probably)

How much of the crowd did everyone else manage to kill

*

Bone devils with ice walls or against prominent NPCs looks to be a way of using them / waving them so as to reduce a complete TPK


I have just noted - wall of ice does 1d6 + 12 points of cold damage to anyone passing through a breach for seemingly 12 minutes after casting. And one use can block 2 sets of doors it seems

This kills or nearly any common folk who try to get through that way...
Seems like a potential over complication !


Lanathar wrote:
I have been thinking that I would be disappointed if I don’t kill at least one PC with this

That is a terrible way to think. Your goal should be to tell a fun story with your friends. If your aim is to kill any of the characters you'll likely be disappointed and not have fun.

Yes, one PC died 2 (or was it 3?) times throughout my campaign (and another one or two at least once?) but I also knew they'd be back pretty quickly. Yes, you mentioned the fact that they'll be brought back but... I feel the hope to kill one is the problem.
The PC that died a few times were dramatically awesome at the moment and weren't things I could've planned for. (Eg: At the masquerade the PC saw one of the NPCs as a kid brother. Tiarise was going to cast phantasmal killer at the NPC but the PC attacked her for enough and gt her attention so she used it on him instead. My intention was to kill the NPC but the players actions changed that and resulted in him dying instead. It was fantastic and a good, albeit temporary, death for a hero.)

Lanathar wrote:

(I will have them at initiative 1 probably)

How much of the crowd did everyone else manage to kill

I did the same. End of the round, I reduced the numbers because it was easier to do it once at a consistent time then to do it a few times throughout the round.

72 civilians died at my massacre, not including the combatant NPCs that died fighting the bone devil. (And Lady Sarini died as part of Thrune's ruse.)
I have a Facebook page for my gaming group and had a pinned post listing the main characters of the campaign. After the massacre I included names for each of the 72 civilians that fell victim of the Ruby Massacre. (I copied the list of names of NPCs from Dragon's Demand and added a handful because it wasn't quite enough people.) The group seeing that list, first and last names, had a nice impact. (Other people on the full list are the PCs, Allies, Foes, "People of Note" that were not part of the rebellion but useful or people that weren't quite enemies, Missing people, In Memoriam for allies/notable people that had been killed, and Fallen Foes of note.

*****

As for Wall of Ice doing damage: I either ignored that or forgot that it did damage. No one noticed.
Or, if you wanted it to do damage, all of the people at the masquerade have NPC levels so they're able to survive it? Showing the people healing afterwards could be pretty awesome.


Warped Savant wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
I have been thinking that I would be disappointed if I don’t kill at least one PC with this

That is a terrible way to think. Your goal should be to tell a fun story with your friends. If your aim is to kill any of the characters you'll likely be disappointed and not have fun.

Yes, one PC died 2 (or was it 3?) times throughout my campaign (and another one or two at least once?) but I also knew they'd be back pretty quickly. Yes, you mentioned the fact that they'll be brought back but... I feel the hope to kill one is the problem.
The PC that died a few times were dramatically awesome at the moment and weren't things I could've planned for. (Eg: At the masquerade the PC saw one of the NPCs as a kid brother. Tiarise was going to cast phantasmal killer at the NPC but the PC attacked her for enough and gt her attention so she used it on him instead. My intention was to kill the NPC but the players actions changed that and resulted in him dying instead. It was fantastic and a good, albeit temporary, death for a hero.)

Lanathar wrote:

(I will have them at initiative 1 probably)

How much of the crowd did everyone else manage to kill

I did the same. End of the round, I reduced the numbers because it was easier to do it once at a consistent time then to do it a few times throughout the round.

72 civilians died at my massacre, not including the combatant NPCs that died fighting the bone devil. (And Lady Sarini died as part of Thrune's ruse.)
I have a Facebook page for my gaming group and had a pinned post listing the main characters of the campaign. After the massacre I included names for each of the 72 civilians that fell victim of the Ruby Massacre. (I copied the list of names of NPCs from Dragon's Demand and added a handful because it wasn't quite enough people.) The group seeing that list, first and last names, had a nice impact. (Other people on the full list are the PCs, Allies, Foes, "People of Note" that were not part of the rebellion but useful or people that...

I got my grammar a little wrong and meant "had been thinking" that one PC should die here - based primarily on what the encounter is like on paper (because you mention previously that if played as written with efficient tactics it should absolutely be lethal)

Now I have realised that using all the NPC allies as blockers to tell a better story would be far more effective - even if they don't die either (means tracking their negatives !)

I now want to try and work out how to keep the combat going for a long as possible to create anguish of the civilians dying + also keep up the illusion that it is the real Thrune

I also really want to work the Jilia reveal in because that will probably blow their minds

But given the whole Azata and Nox disguises they probably think the whole thing is a big trick (at least OOC). Which of course it is. Ciz not changing back on death should throw them initially

I want to try and recreate the Luculla fight that pushed them to the absolute brink - thinking a TPK was on the cards etc. (Benefit of this fight is they might think that as soon as it is shown that the nasties will attack them and it is not only about escaping)


Wow adding a list of names of people killed is top effort and would be really galling - kind of like when you visit war memorials


Lanathar wrote:


They gasped when they realised they were being set up...
They were entirely unsuspicious...

Really? What did they think was going to happen? The whole idea of a dance put on by Barzillai screams trap to me so curious as to how other groups of players perceived it.

Lanathar wrote:

Having Nox use a glamer was my idea and a mistake as it has made them guess about glamers on the azatas. Probably obvious anyway but this makes much clearer

They don’t know what the foes are but I imagine will assume devils (a little meta but hey ho )

I think the Nox glamer is a great idea. And even without it, it doesn't strike me as all that meta for pc's/players to assume things that look like Azata doing non-Azata things - like attacking innocent civilians - are under an illusion. And guessing they're devils also doesn't seem that much of a leap.

Lanathar wrote:

Are the 2d6 deaths a round supposed to represent dottari killing people? Or general trampling? Or both?

Do the dottari attempt to fight back against the PCs? I assume they must

What does Ciz’s summoned bone devil do? Go after PCs or the crowd? I would assume the former like it’s summoner does...

If the pc's are obviously attacking the Dottari, they should fight back. The mission is to both kill the Silver Ravens and kill civilians; if the former never happens, the latter will not mean nearly as much. You could argue that having the Ravens take out the Dottari is a better choice for saving civilians since the other sources of civilian deaths are (individually) less dice per round. But the Dottari and scattered and harder to take out at once.

Cizmerkis' tactics seem a little off. The write-up suggests he casts spells before the fight but when exactly? And just before the fight he's monologuing. Both divine favor and shield of faith last only a minute or minute per level and shield of faith has a clear visible manifestation - which if present should give pc's a clear tip off that something is up. Those should wait until he goes invisible on round 1 and then get on his list to cast. He could try to summon a bone devil before he begins speaking - if successful it will stick around for an hour (remember he only has a 35% chance of success.) Seems smarter for the undisguised bone devil to attack the pc's - fits the story better.


Lanathar wrote:

The tactics say the bearded devils go for the PCs straight away

I assumed this was because of unmasking having happened and notoriety / scrying meaning they know

Or am I supposed to wait for the PCs to do something other than run and scream

(As an aside one of my players exclaimed “oh my god that b* is setting us up - now if I was to take that as in character...:-P )

The AP assumes that the pc's accepted Barzillai's rewards at the end of Book 2 so he and all of his key minions have a pretty darn good idea what they look like.

Frankly having the bearded devils disguised as Azata and attacking the pc's doesn't make much sense. One or the other seems to fit the story much better. If the pc's have seen the Azata-appearing bearded devils, better to have them attack the civilians (which means you need to increase the dice of lost civilians.) If the Erinyes summons bearded devils, those should attack the pc's.


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:


They gasped when they realised they were being set up...
They were entirely unsuspicious...

Really? What did they think was going to happen? The whole idea of a dance put on by Barzillai screams trap to me so curious as to how other groups of players perceived it.

Lanathar wrote:

Having Nox use a glamer was my idea and a mistake as it has made them guess about glamers on the azatas. Probably obvious anyway but this makes much clearer

They don’t know what the foes are but I imagine will assume devils (a little meta but hey ho )

I think the Nox glamer is a great idea. And even without it, it doesn't strike me as all that meta for pc's/players to assume things that look like Azata doing non-Azata things - like attacking innocent civilians - are under an illusion. And guessing they're devils also doesn't seem that much of a leap.

Lanathar wrote:

Are the 2d6 deaths a round supposed to represent dottari killing people? Or general trampling? Or both?

Do the dottari attempt to fight back against the PCs? I assume they must

What does Ciz’s summoned bone devil do? Go after PCs or the crowd? I would assume the former like it’s summoner does...

If the pc's are obviously attacking the Dottari, they should fight back. The mission is to both kill the Silver Ravens and kill civilians; if the former never happens, the latter will not mean nearly as much. You could argue that having the Ravens take out the Dottari is a better choice for saving civilians since the other sources of civilian deaths are (individually) less dice per round. But the Dottari and scattered and harder to take out at once.

Cizmerkis' tactics seem a little off. The write-up suggests he casts spells before the fight but when exactly? And just before the fight he's monologuing. Both divine favor and shield of faith last only a minute or minute per level and shield of faith has a clear visible manifestation - which if present should give pc's a clear tip off...

They expected some kind of trap but got thrown off a bit when there were pro-Thrune people invited

But mainly what surprised them was that they were going to be set up for the massacre of the attendees. I think due to the mix point they thought the crowd would be fine (one even came out and said as much)

I guess they thought there would be a trap specifically for them

*

I think I will do the buffs whilst invisible to give him something to do.

I passed the summon role for the Bone Devil but can't see where it would be. I assume invisible somewhere - but that seems a really evil thing to do.

I think I would make that Bone Devil's first gambit be to block a door with an ice wall if it can. If it is summoned in advance will it go on Ciz's initiative or it's own? I normally use the summoner's initiative but this one seems different

(I also didn't know Infernal Summons stuck around that long!)


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

The tactics say the bearded devils go for the PCs straight away

I assumed this was because of unmasking having happened and notoriety / scrying meaning they know

Or am I supposed to wait for the PCs to do something other than run and scream

(As an aside one of my players exclaimed “oh my god that b* is setting us up - now if I was to take that as in character...:-P )

The AP assumes that the pc's accepted Barzillai's rewards at the end of Book 2 so he and all of his key minions have a pretty darn good idea what they look like.

Frankly having the bearded devils disguised as Azata and attacking the pc's doesn't make much sense. One or the other seems to fit the story much better. If the pc's have seen the Azata-appearing bearded devils, better to have them attack the civilians (which means you need to increase the dice of lost civilians.) If the Erinyes summons bearded devils, those should attack the pc's.

I have already done the Azata thing now unfortunately

That would mean no one directly attacking the PCs early on if I do have them going for the crowd (except summoned Devils and Nox - although Nox is not getting close very quickly!)

But - perhaps it could make some sense during the confusion as the PCs could just look like normal non Raven crowd members to the others. But to anyone processing it afterward you are right it will not make sense

*

I now need to also decide where to place the support NPCs of:

Mialari
Rexus (who they don't know is there)
Tayacet
Laria
Octavio (they also don't know he is there)

I am reluctant to have them act in the open on round one as I would like some surprises. But putting some one floor up could help

Using the stats Zimmerwald helpfully posted is rather intriguing as 3 of the above would not last long in a sustained fight at all - but that would not be the intention

*

This should all be a lot of fun

Dark Archive

https://hellspathfinder.tumblr.com/post/183834164703/a-taste-of-vengeance

^ Details on how this went for my people. They found the secret entranc, infiltrated the Ruby Masquerade and successfully saved 2/3 of the civilian. They used stone to flesh on Shensen, and used resurrection on Jilia. :O


Lanathar wrote:
Wow adding a list of names of people killed is top effort and would be really galling - kind of like when you visit war memorials

Yeah.... The players all gave pretty great reactions after I put that list up.

As for where the NPCs are: Don't worry about it just yet and use them as you need to. The PCs would've/will lose track of them almost right away as 300 people rush around everywhere.
And be willing to add more on the fly, or have others not join in the fights. (I didn't have any helping the PCs with the main fights. The NPCs were mostly fighting 'off-screen'... either a floor up or "so-and-so are attacking the dottari at the side doors" and I didn't keep track of the hit points of any of the NPCs or dottari guards.


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

The tactics say the bearded devils go for the PCs straight away

I assumed this was because of unmasking having happened and notoriety / scrying meaning they know

Or am I supposed to wait for the PCs to do something other than run and scream

(As an aside one of my players exclaimed “oh my god that b* is setting us up - now if I was to take that as in character...:-P )

The AP assumes that the pc's accepted Barzillai's rewards at the end of Book 2 so he and all of his key minions have a pretty darn good idea what they look like.

Frankly having the bearded devils disguised as Azata and attacking the pc's doesn't make much sense. One or the other seems to fit the story much better. If the pc's have seen the Azata-appearing bearded devils, better to have them attack the civilians (which means you need to increase the dice of lost civilians.) If the Erinyes summons bearded devils, those should attack the pc's.

A chat with my brother reminded me that my group are still wearing these items. I changed them due to ABP so a couple are less obvious (gloves and bracers) but the others are a jacket and breastplate

It was amusing that my group were discussing scrying on the event (and tried Divination but I rolled 90 which meant I didn’t have to go doesn’t that rabbit hole). As part of this they discussed trying to plant unique items for scrying! And they still haven’t put it altogether ...


Faunus wrote:

https://hellspathfinder.tumblr.com/post/183834164703/a-taste-of-vengeance

^ Details on how this went for my people. They found the secret entranc, infiltrated the Ruby Masquerade and successfully saved 2/3 of the civilian. They used stone to flesh on Shensen, and used resurrection on Jilia. :O

So resurrection works on a dead vampire - for some reason I thought it was true resurrection and thought it was what the “elixir of life” potion from the lucky bones is meant for. I have never really had cause to read the description for normal resurrection due to the level of games I have played

My group couldn’t pass the DC35 (I think that is what I worked it out as) spellcraft check and I ruled that Identify didn’t work (as it seemed effectively part of an artifact). Did I get this wrong?


I have the Hero Lab files for this AP and Cizmekris is confusing me.

On Hero Lab the following things happen when you remove the Polymorph:

- +2 Strength, +2 Con, -2 Dex (perhaps this is due to the size change?)
- Gain the summon SLA, Immunity to Fire and Poison, Darkvision and See in Darkness

According to Hero Lab the polymorph effect does not remove:

- DR
- Energy resistances
- Spell Resistance

But does remove the Summon SLA (but not all the others)

Does anyone have any guesses as to how this might be and what the correct answer actually is?

Should physical stats change from polymorph? My reading is that is acts as Alter self which for a medium humanoid gives +2 strength. But that seems to assume a medium creature is casting it.

So where does -2 Strength, -2 Con, +2 Dex come from?

And does he actual retain any of his defensive abilities. I am pretty sure he shouldn't as they are granted by the Bone Devil body

It is rather strange!

*

Question on the glamer from Hat of Disguise. Once the Devils attack a PC does it instantly fail since they will feel being hit by a glaive? Or is being hit still "interacting"

And if they are not attacked I gather that any kind of move or standard action can grant them a save to disbelieve? Therefore any spell cast they get to watch and see if they react as expected?

Is that right? So even something from range like black tentacles or grease would grant the caster a will save for interacting? Or have I got confused by illusion rules?


A bunch of answers/observations:

1. Scrying as in the spell does not rely at all on the target having objects. It relies on the caster having items that belong to the target. It can only target creatures. I think most other scrying spells work similarly. So getting objects into the Opera House won't help them at all.

2. The Resurrection spell description does explain that it works on undead creatures that have been destroyed. This is also described in the Undead creature type write-up. Note: it doesn't work on something still undead, so they can't cast on a sleeping/recovering Jilia in her coffin if she's still a vampire. As an example.

3. I think your Spellcraft DC (of 35) is right for the Elixer of Life. And yes that is hard for pc's to hit at the level they're at when they find it. My pc's also struggled but I let them make a Knowledge Arcana check to figure out what kind of artifacty thing the stuff in the vial might be. I don't remember what DC I used. I think there is a good measure of elbow room in how artifacts work. Having an item hard to figure out is an okay to even interesting puzzle; having an item they can't figure out at all is not fun.

4. The ability score change for Cizmerkis struck me as odd. I did some research/puzzling and I think this is how that came to be. First he is under Polymorph Any Object. Which is said to work like Greater Polymorph which in turn works like Polymorph. -whew, that's a long chain. The write-up on Polymorph spells (see CRB p.212) says that if you are polymorphing creatures that are not Medium or Small, change their ability scores to Medium via an included table (on p.212) and then apply the changes driven by the spell. So the Large to Medium change (which bone devil to human is) calls for -4 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Con. And if you are using Polymorph to change something to humanoid, it works like Alter Self which calls for a +2 modification to Str for Medium creatures. Final mod: -2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Con.

5. The write-up of both forms of Cizmerkis in the AP gives the human form the spell-like abilities but not the SR, DR or energy resistances. And it gives the human form the same fly speed. ??? My read is the AP is mostly right. See this quote from the CRB, p.212: "While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all
extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form." So my interpretation is Cizmerkis is no longer a devil and no longer gets the DR, SR, energy resistances, natural attacks, natural armor bonus and movement of his true form. He gets the equivalent for a Human. He keeps his Spell-like Abilities. I use Hero Lab as well and I see the same mistake. I assume if I'm wrong, better RAW experts than I will chime to explain exactly how :)

6. The Hat of Disguise works just like the Disguise Self spell. Which gives a chance to disbelieve when the character "interacts" with it. Interaction can be ambiguous. I would generally say simply looking at a creature doesn't count as interacting. Except when you are disguised as an Azata and acting in an obviously non-Azata way - like attacking innocent civilians. Or summoning bearded devils. I would also say that engaging in combat with the disguised creature - either it attacks you or you attack it - also counts as interacting. Targeting or affecting disguised creatures with magic would also count as interacting.


Thanks for the detective work on the stat changes

I agree on the loss of abilities and read this a while ago but herolab threw me

On the Hat I was more wondering whether a direct hit from one makes the glamer slip as it would be a glaive hitting them (for example)


So I have been thrown a curve ball prior to the Ruby Massacre session...

I ran the announcement mostly as written except for adding the idea mentioned of a mask contest just before that positions 3 people on stage with a silver raven sympathiser “sending their regards” to a member of House Sarini .

I made the sympathiser actually be the flakey 5th player who wasn’t there and who I had been told no longer wanted to play

(For context he first joined in games with the guys I played about 2 and a half years ago now and still hasn’t fully learnt the rules. Playing a fighter but hasn’t picked any feats for his recent level ups as he got overwhelmed by the choices. Apparently a chief reason he was supposed to be quitting is because the game gets a lot more involved at these kind of levels )

Today I get a response on our scheduling chat about him being available for this next session

Now it was never actually going to be his character there (another bearded devil glamer was my idea)

The group are current in tight “battle formation” at the back of the room close to the doors

So I have to work out (assuming he turns up):

- how to adjust for 5 players (this fighter character is still quite mechanically effective despite lack of player engagement due to help from others)

- where to place this character to make some kind of sense (my thought is one floor up )

It is certainly not ideal as this is not a standard encounter to scale as it is already supposed to be “overwhelming” mitigated by tactics of the enemies

I have been scaling by working out 25% worth of XP and then filling that in. My current thoughts are:

- another Erinyes (an enemy strictly targetting civilians and perhaps any summons she does either being back up or targeting civilians)
- advanced templates on the standard bearded devils

I am pretty sure this adds up appropriately
Adding guards doesn’t achieve anything and adding another bone devil is probably overkill

Other options:

- improving Nox (although she seems to be there for catharsis)
- more standard bearded devils

Has anyone got any thoughts or insight ?
(I am starting to become a bit of a nightmare on this thread with all the questions!)

*

An interesting aside - my groups Kineticist gave up extended range so playing Erinyes tactics as written basically means my group can really get them. I don’t think they have enough ranged spells in the bag! Witch has not taken the fly spell as his focus is self defence buffs, blasts, Rime spell area control and hexes (slumber or buffing)

*

To avoid the obvious question - yes I am trying to have a frank discussion about the flakey player as editing for 5 is a pain especially picking and choosing

And combats are going to become more complex!


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Warlock8 wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear as appropriate for your game.
Thanks for this. Do you have stats for Laria?

** spoiler omitted **

Change gear...

Thank you.


Lanathar wrote:

Thanks for the detective work on the stat changes

I agree on the loss of abilities and read this a while ago but herolab threw me

On the Hat I was more wondering whether a direct hit from one makes the glamer slip as it would be a glaive hitting them (for example)

Not sure what you mean by "glamer slip" - if the pc (or another character) interact with the glamer, the get a Will save to recognize it's an illusion. Nothing stops the glamer and making the Will save doesn't tell the pc what the creature actually is but if he makes the save, he knows it's definitely not an Azata. Disguise Self doesn't change tactile or audible features so the devils neither sound like nor do their weapons or armor feel or sound like whatever armor or weapons they appear to have. The Hat has a CL of 1, so hypothetically the Will save DC is 12 (since to have craft wondrous item you need to be CL of 3 and we can assume the minimum Int bonus there is +1). Not sure on RAW but my view every time the disguised devils attack (or are attacked) successfully should give the Will save chance.

If the pc's want to know what is being disguised they need to get the Hat off, hit it with dispel magic or use illusion piercing magic like True Seeing.


Lanathar wrote:

So I have been thrown a curve ball prior to the Ruby Massacre session...

I ran the announcement mostly as written except for adding the idea mentioned of a mask contest just before that positions 3 people on stage with a silver raven sympathiser “sending their regards” to a member of House Sarini .

I made the sympathiser actually be the flakey 5th player who wasn’t there and who I had been told no longer wanted to play

(For context he first joined in games with the guys I played about 2 and a half years ago now and still hasn’t fully learnt the rules. Playing a fighter but hasn’t picked any feats for his recent level ups as he got overwhelmed by the choices. Apparently a chief reason he was supposed to be quitting is because the game gets a lot more involved at these kind of levels )

Today I get a response on our scheduling chat about him being available for this next session

Now it was never actually going to be his character there (another bearded devil glamer was my idea)

The group are current in tight “battle formation” at the back of the room close to the doors

So I have to work out (assuming he turns up):

- how to adjust for 5 players (this fighter character is still quite mechanically effective despite lack of player engagement due to help from others)

- where to place this character to make some kind of sense (my thought is one floor up )

It is certainly not ideal as this is not a standard encounter to scale as it is already supposed to be “overwhelming” mitigated by tactics of the enemies

I have been scaling by working out 25% worth of XP and then filling that in. My current thoughts are:

- another Erinyes (an enemy strictly targetting civilians and perhaps any summons she does either being back up or targeting civilians)
- advanced templates on the standard bearded devils

I am pretty sure this adds up appropriately
Adding guards doesn’t achieve anything and adding another bone devil is probably overkill

Is it an option to simply put him outside? He shows up late, he has to work his way in. Maybe there are more dottari and devils outside he has to deal with to help the civilians escape.

Barring that, I'd just throw waves of bearded devils and erinyes at them until they kill Cizmerkis. As soon as one set is dealt with, another appears. If the pc's are getting weak, you can just stop. The pc's/players don't know how many devils are in the building/neighborhood.


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

Thanks for the detective work on the stat changes

I agree on the loss of abilities and read this a while ago but herolab threw me

On the Hat I was more wondering whether a direct hit from one makes the glamer slip as it would be a glaive hitting them (for example)

Not sure what you mean by "glamer slip" - if the pc (or another character) interact with the glamer, the get a Will save to recognize it's an illusion. Nothing stops the glamer and making the Will save doesn't tell the pc what the creature actually is but if he makes the save, he knows it's definitely not an Azata. Disguise Self doesn't change tactile or audible features so the devils neither sound like nor do their weapons or armor feel or sound like whatever armor or weapons they appear to have. The Hat has a CL of 1, so hypothetically the Will save DC is 12 (since to have craft wondrous item you need to be CL of 3 and we can assume the minimum Int bonus there is +1). Not sure on RAW but my view every time the disguised devils attack (or are attacked) successfully should give the Will save chance.

If the pc's want to know what is being disguised they need to get the Hat off, hit it with dispel magic or use illusion piercing magic like True Seeing.

I didn’t realise they couldn’t see through regardless - I thought when faced with proof it wasn’t real - such as an infernal glaive wound or a bone devil sting they automatically disbelieved and then saw through it

Seems I got that wrong!

I was just thinking of the circumstance of my players running around with hats of disguise after this book - but it doesn’t matter so much after this book (except perhaps sneaking into the castle?)

Did this come up with anyone ?


Lanathar wrote:
Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

Thanks for the detective work on the stat changes

I agree on the loss of abilities and read this a while ago but herolab threw me

On the Hat I was more wondering whether a direct hit from one makes the glamer slip as it would be a glaive hitting them (for example)

Not sure what you mean by "glamer slip" - if the pc (or another character) interact with the glamer, the get a Will save to recognize it's an illusion. Nothing stops the glamer and making the Will save doesn't tell the pc what the creature actually is but if he makes the save, he knows it's definitely not an Azata. Disguise Self doesn't change tactile or audible features so the devils neither sound like nor do their weapons or armor feel or sound like whatever armor or weapons they appear to have. The Hat has a CL of 1, so hypothetically the Will save DC is 12 (since to have craft wondrous item you need to be CL of 3 and we can assume the minimum Int bonus there is +1). Not sure on RAW but my view every time the disguised devils attack (or are attacked) successfully should give the Will save chance.

If the pc's want to know what is being disguised they need to get the Hat off, hit it with dispel magic or use illusion piercing magic like True Seeing.

I didn’t realise they couldn’t see through regardless - I thought when faced with proof it wasn’t real - such as an infernal glaive wound or a bone devil sting they automatically disbelieved and then saw through it

Seems I got that wrong!

I was just thinking of the circumstance of my players running around with hats of disguise after this book - but it doesn’t matter so much after this book (except perhaps sneaking into the castle?)

Did this come up with anyone ?

I guess I'm not 100% I have it right either. Just how I've always understood it (if I got it wrong a long time ago, I still have it wrong.) I look at it like this: a little science fiction-y... If you realize something is a hologram, it doesn't disappear - you just know it doesn't have physical substance. If someone puts an illusion of a cliff wall over a cave entrance, once you realize its an illusion you can walk through it but you still can't see what's in the cave until you do. And everyone else still sees just a cliff wall, though they probably figure it out when you walk through it.


So before I go into the details of the Ruby Massacre I ran last night - do the players have any realistic way of working out about Fake Barzillai? Polymorph fundamentally changes what they are and I assume detect magic doesn't pick it up technically?


So last night was the Ruby Massacre. The session was a pretty epic one. I think it came to close to 8 hours in the end

For starters it was made much harder than perhaps written by:

- my players not asking any allies along (I added some in anyway)
- my success on both the Bone Devil summon from Ciz and the 2 x Bearded devils from the Erinyes
- my part seemingly incapable of actual dealing with the erinyes flying in the air (which bodes poorly for some things coming up)

Now there is no way I will be able to get everything in because I think it came at 21 rounds.
I stayed my hand a few times - perhaps I shouldn't for some of those but we shall see

*

The players were quickly engaged by bearded devils and the doors blocked with Ice walls. Nox slowly made her way towards the group and "Thrune" had "appeared" close to them. They made no attempts to target him so the illusion was not revealed

The Lillend Bone Devil and Erinyes has free rain for more than 10 rounds to kill civilians as my group couldn't get to them or chose not to target them (in the case of the Erinyes probably a good thing)

Therefore they was also no stopping the release of the Cockatrices (which they still don't know about but I will have had NPCs kill them)

The Bearded devils did not go down as quickly as expected

I trapped the witch in an Ice Hemisphere. He fireballed himself out creating a mist (I kept that mist in the hemisphere radius to avoid an absolute nightmare)

Ciz appeared next to the Kineticist and dropped him with two hits as by this point I think 3 out of 4 PCs had taken Bearded devil strikes. I elected not to hit him the third time whilst prone and unconscious as it was round 4 and he hadn't brought his back up (I really thought he had)

A bearded devil tried to inflict him with Devil chills on the ground and he was still bleeding from the internal wound
(We have been playing that a caster level check is still required for a channel to heal an infernal wound and that had failed)

I think he would have permanently died from bleed on his turn so Laria stepped in, administered a potion and was killed for her efforts

Rexus then appeared as a distraction screaming about murdering his parents. Ciz turned away from the fallen kineticist to drop Rexus

During this time the others were engaged with Nox and the Bearded devils and the summoned bone devil was in reserve

Octavio joined the Nox and bearded devil fight to balance it out and Tayacet came down to assist as well (more as a distraction as the rapier damage was not really going through DR)

A real Brallani Azata had been summoned to help heal the kineticist. I promptly regretted my mercy as he got up and took a bunch of burn and hit me with an Empowered, Maximised Kinetic Blade for something like 111 points of damage. This left the Kineticist 1 above unconsciousness and Ciz 10 or so.

(* I forgot to tell them about the copycat ability and when the player said he would never have done an all or nothing strike if he had known that I let it go through. I promptly forgot it again when he came back. I always forget that ability! I did it with the skinsaw men in Vyre as well!)

I played nice and rather than full attack back in fury before using quicken invisibility I just made him take off to heal and get the vampire (as I wanted to make sure that reveal got in there

Before this happened the Azata was taken down by a crit from the Bearded devil (those crits are awful and luckily my players didn't get hit by one)

Bone devil appeared and made a nuisance of itself. Nox dropped to Devoted Muse but was distracted by Octavio from finishing him in their glaive duel. She was dropped by a kinetic blast (and my players forgot that she could regenerate - but was dropped to the extent that it took at least 6 or 7 rounds for her to strike back)

Bearded devils were still hanging around because the two main damage dealers were distracted by other threats and damage really isn't the way to go as casters it would seem (I have seen this said multiple times)

Thrune reappeared and the Bone devil created a new ice wall that split the cleric, Octavio and Tayacet on the wrong side (with Thrune, Jilia in mist form and the Bone devil)

Devoted Muse did a running high jump over the 10 foot wall (no idea of whether i got the DC correct but he had something like +32 on the roll). Vaulted over and hit thrune for a chunk of damage. Next turn he got a crit, drew a card - Decapitation. Cue - scenes

Jilia hung around for a while as some stat tweaks brought her armour class up and distractions + fast healing meant she was able to heal.

The Devils came from the upstairs when the party was running on fumes. The Erinyes was merrily shooting when they couldn't get her and the Lillend Bone Devil got some amazing rolls to make things look very hairy for a while. With Octavio's help they took down the Bone devil and I re positioned the Erinyes to allow them to hit it (perhaps it should have fled)

*

Final Death toll - Circa 230 citizens + Laria
Brutal (I took great delight in increasing that number)

*

Reflections:

- Passing the summon percentage rolls made a massive difference to the PCs detriment

- They need allies! But I did start to get lost as to whether they were healed or not with all the channeling going on

- No one got anywhere near the trap doors or stage even

- I wish I had tried to bull rush someone down into the hell hounds just for fun

- The cleric used 8 channels in 21 rounds plus I think at least 2 cures. But it still felt like healing was all he could do. Perhaps a design issue whereby he didn't have the options or build to help remove the devils rather than patch the damage

- Extended Blessing of Fervor in round one was a life saver (but in hindsight I feel like he only has a lesser rod so that wouldn't have worked). This + "Beacon of Hope" being like almost constant heroism for everyone due to it being tied to channels were substantial buffs. Without these things would have gone very badly. But I would expect most parties would kick this off with Extended Haste so it is in line with what is expected

- DR can really be a killer

- Remember COPYCAT :-P

- I was benevolent in staying my hand on certain occasions / adding in NPC distractions to avoid killing the PCs (especially early). But the crazy CR15+ set means I felt I had to be because otherwise I could have just made this a ROFL stomp for the bad guys which wouldn't have been fun

*

Players are now super paranoid about killing Thrune so early
They mentioned there is a dragon and on a meta level have discussed the "Hell" part in the name of the AP

But I don't think they will be too surprised with the duplicate shenanigans

They were definitely getting confused about his flying and teleporting and thought he was summoning the gaseous form of Jilia. "I was convinced he was an Inquisitor" was something I heard said

*

Crazy game all in all. They now have an opera house to explore and the vampire to dispatch (at 2am I was not in a place to refresh myself on pathfinder vampire killing rules)


Lanathar wrote:
So before I go into the details of the Ruby Massacre I ran last night - do the players have any realistic way of working out about Fake Barzillai? Polymorph fundamentally changes what they are and I assume detect magic doesn't pick it up technically?

I wasn't certain either until I went to the AP. From DoD, p. 59:

-"...used the scroll to transform into a human of approximately Barzillai’s size. Cizmekris then further augmented the deception with his own skill at disguises, becoming a duplicate of Kintargo’s lord-mayor."

and

"He plays his role as Barzillai to the hilt, and even in death the polymorph any object effect persists. Canny PCs will take note of the fact that his corpse radiates transmutation magic, or that once the physical disguise is removed, the resulting corpse is manifestly not that of Barzillai Thrune."

So if the pc's follow MurderHobo Post-Battle Procedure #1 - Loot the Dead, they should have a good chance of figuring out this Barzillai is fake.


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
So before I go into the details of the Ruby Massacre I ran last night - do the players have any realistic way of working out about Fake Barzillai? Polymorph fundamentally changes what they are and I assume detect magic doesn't pick it up technically?

I wasn't certain either until I went to the AP. From DoD, p. 59:

-"...used the scroll to transform into a human of approximately Barzillai’s size. Cizmekris then further augmented the deception with his own skill at disguises, becoming a duplicate of Kintargo’s lord-mayor."

and

"He plays his role as Barzillai to the hilt, and even in death the polymorph any object effect persists. Canny PCs will take note of the fact that his corpse radiates transmutation magic, or that once the physical disguise is removed, the resulting corpse is manifestly not that of Barzillai Thrune."

So if the pc's follow MurderHobo Post-Battle Procedure #1 - Loot the Dead, they should have a good chance of figuring out this Barzillai is fake.

Thanks. I forgot that part and assumed polymorph would be a bit pointless if an aura was given off. The disguise part is interesting

Fortunately looting the bodies is plan 1. Notably because they currently think they have killed Thrune and are in for a windfall (of course they are just not from his body)

I am expecting them to try and rest or leave rather than search the opera house . So that could make going back interesting. Although I believe the book and book 4 assume is is abandoned...


Through their own recklessness and paranoia, my PCs have never met Thrune. They started the protest riot before his monologue and never accepted his public recognition invitation. Any advice on how they would recognize that Cizmekris is a decoy? Tayacet could point it out but I'm looking for some way to make it a player accomplishment.


I really hope my simulacrum plan will pay off--discovering it's a life model decoy only when it collapses into a pile of snow could be a great payoff.

As for discovering early... perhaps seed some tiny mistakes in the acting and dialogue that conflict with the proclamations?


DM Livgin wrote:
Through their own recklessness and paranoia, my PCs have never met Thrune. They started the protest riot before his monologue and never accepted his public recognition invitation. Any advice on how they would recognize that Cizmekris is a decoy? Tayacet could point it out but I'm looking for some way to make it a player accomplishment.

Are you asking about before or after they defeat him in combat?

Before seems very, very hard. Cizmerkis has +26 to his Disguise checks and a polymorph spell gives him +10 so he's at +36. (Unless the +26 is meant to include the +10 from the polymorph...?) Hard to see a 9th or 10th level character seeing through that with Perception. True Seeing seems the only way there. (Which by the way would be a good tactic for smart pc's. They have a lot of information deficit in this fight.) Arcane Sight might help too.

Afterward, you don't need to know much if anything about Thrune to spot the dead Cizmerkis is a fake - as mentioned previously his corpse radiates transmutation magic and a close (looting) examination reveals he was using Disguise to appear as something different.


Thanks for this.
I was asking for after combat
I am pretty sure the +26 is his normal disguise bonus without the spell

A random question : Jilia’s entry makes reference to “slave of the child-queen”

So i guess Aluceda is the child queen? But why? Have I missed something ?


Lanathar wrote:

Thanks for this.

I was asking for after combat
I am pretty sure the +26 is his normal disguise bonus without the spell

A random question : Jilia’s entry makes reference to “slave of the child-queen”

So i guess Aluceda is the child queen? But why? Have I missed something ?

I had to go back and reread her section, but I'm willing to bet the farm that "slave of the child-queen" refers to Abrogail II, not Aluceda. For one, Aluceda isn't a queen nor a child, whereas Abrogail is both Queen of Cheliax and relatively young.

I think the statement implies that she's 100% done with playing pawn to House Thrune and ready to join the rebellion.

That's my interpretation.

Sovereign Court

So my group managed to Bluff their way into Menador Keep as slavers from House Sarini. The Abadaran monk is a lesser Noble with ranks in Profession (merchant) so they had excellent disguises and quality forged documents. Passing muster even with my upgraded soldiers they convinced Captain Lucian they could provide him halfling slaves on their way back from the newly liberated Kantaria. Lucian walked down into the courtyard to finalize a deal and my group jumped him. Now I had the keep have strict door protocols so they were locked out in the open. Lucian quickly got confused by the mesmerist's stare and was bufuddled for 4 rounds before going down. All the while the group was taking crossbow fire from the stable-side guardrooms and ballista fire from the battlements. The Erinyes came out in R2 and dropped an Unholy Blight, then attempted to entangle the rogue. The monk has wind step and he flew up to her twice to grapple her, eventually dragging her to the ground. A few color sprays from the mesmerist and bombs from the grenadier alchemist took out the crossbowmen. The monk and swashbardler flew/levitated to the battlements and the fighter climbed up causing the ballistae crews into a fighting withdrawal into the Keep and locking the doors. Now the rebels have broken down one door on the upper level and the rogue squeezed into a lower guardroom... To be continued next week!

--Vrockslide

Sovereign Court

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Here's a thought about bringing Allied NPCs with the PCs to the Ruby Masquerade. As I have a larger than normal group (6) with a stronger than normal builds (25pt buy) I'm thinking rather than handing them NPC statblocks for which ever Allies they choose to bring, to instead give them the equivalent of a Pathfinder Society convention special Aid Token. As we don't use experience, the 3 times the players have been able to gain XP bonuses from the Rebellion mechanic have been empty levels so to speak. Instead they have have 2 "Ally Tokens" to use during the Massacre. Here's the options (Tier 7-8)

PFS Aid Token:
Allied Offensive: Octavio Sabinus An NPC ally aids your attack, increasing the damage dealt on one attack by the following amount: 1d8 in Subtiers 1–2 and 3–4, 2d8 in Subtiers 5–6 and 7–8, and 3d8 in Subtier 10–11. In addition, after the attack,
characters attacking the target are considered to be flanking it until the beginning of the attacker’s next turn.
Burst of Healing: Zachrin Vhast An NPC ally heals all of the PCs for 1d6 points of damage in Subtier 1–2 and 3–4, 3d6 points of
damage in Subtier 5–6 and 7–8, and 5d6 points of damage in Subtier 10–11.
Coordinated Maneuvers: Laria Longroad An NPC ally assists a PC in performing a combat maneuver. The PC must choose to use
this Aid Token before rolling; they may roll twice and take the better result.
Provide Spellcasting: ? Gain the benefits of a beneficial spell cast by an ally as listed on the Aid Token (lesser restoration, neutralize poison, remove curse, or remove disease) only these spells may be granted.
Share Knowledge: Rexus Victocora Gain the benefit of a Knowledge check or a Spellcraft check to identify a magical item.
Timely Inspiration: ? An NPC ally provides the effects of a bard’s inspire courage bardic performance for 3 rounds,
with +1 bonus in Subtiers 1–2 and 3–4, a +2 bonus in Subtiers 5–6 and 7–8, and a +3 bonus in Subtier 10–11.


For allied NPCs at the Masquerade the PCs in my game had told everyone to stay away. I picked some that, for various reasons, didn't listen and went anyways. They appeared (mostly) as needed (eg: in case I under-estimated the deadliness and sent too many enemies at the PCs at once, to take out the dottari and free up the PCs to go after the larger threats, once the PCs opened an exit some NPCs heped get people out/went out to protect the citizens in case something dangerous was outside, etc, etc, etc.)

I like the idea of using the Aid Tokens as it gives the players control over what happens. But at the same time, it takes away an easy way to make adjustments if your group is having a had time of things/everyone focuses on different things because everyone thinks everything needs to be attacked right away (which can easily lead to a TPK, as was nearly the case when I ran it.)


I have been thinking about something similar. I'd prefer not to run NPC's, I'm busy enough as it is and I'm not thrilled about having a player run an NPC. Though that could work. And I'm not thrilled about deus ex machina interventions - pc's have hero points for that. But I think that if the pc's attend, they'll have a hard time keeping key allies from wanting to join in. And while I'm not familiar with aid tokens, I was thinking of giving key NPC's a one-time intervention ability. Something like:

Make a lie of Barzillai - Rexus. Dispel/remove the illusions on one set of devils.
Recover lost citizens - healer like Vhast - recover 2d6 citizens lost in the previous round
Disable Dottari - Laria. She poisons (via food) some of the dottari and for 1-2 rounds (when declared) the Dottari are nauseated.
Eliminate Enemy - Tayacet. One enemy(not Cizmerkis, Nox or Jilia) can be eliminated.

If the NPC power is used, there is a % chance they are killed or lost. (Still not sure on that number) so there is risk for using their "ability." Or even having them attend. Of course, the Ravens have to be allied with said NPC to have them attend and function in this role.


Oh God, no. I didn't run the NPCs... Neither did the players. I just randomly decided what happened to which NPC. None of them were involved in the direct fights the PCs were in so the NPCs were either in a different room/on a different floor, too far away to really tell what was going on with them, or things like that.


If I might make a suggestion, perhaps instead of individual NPCs doing some of these token actions, it might be fitting to have generic supporters do them? After all, the PCs have been working with hundreds of people by now. Some will have pre-existing abilities or skills. Most parties will hopefully have been training the rank and file to defend themselves, serve as combat medics, etc.

I think that Allied Offensive, Coordinated Maneuvers, Share Knowledge, Timely Inspiration, and Recover Lost Citizens can all work thematically and are plausible. Mechanically, it helps to explain why Octavio isn't taking on a bigger part of the battle as a mid-level fighter close to the level of the PCs.


Or one of the Silver Raven teams. Those groups are specifically part of the Rebellion, take actions on the Raven's behalf - accepting risk
to themselves to do so, etc.

Could even permit individual NPC's to lead teams in this one instance as the pc's will be too busy to do so.

Sovereign Court

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Well they've already had their spies get a full map of the Opera House, and one PC's backstory involved his parent's being performers. They don't have a team of saboteurs so that's the extent I think the teams themselves should be involved. NPC Allies and the minor named NPC friends/rivals to score masque points are what's left.

I will probably leave the Aid Token options open to be any of the Allies present rather than a specific one per. That way if I have to sacrifice one to save a PC I can choose which for dramatic effect.

--Vrock Opera

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