Dance of the Damned (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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So the group currently thinks that the elderly druid needs to come there to cleanse the place but have no intention of doing that.
So what's there plan to cleanse the place? Because, unless the find the false wall and kill/chase off the aboleth it's not going to work.

How do you want the aboleth to react to them poking around? It might assume that they won't be able to figure anything out and that they might end up to go back to get the elder anyways so it waits until that happens or they figure out the wall is fake, maybe it realizes they're powerful and doesn't come out and attack them all at once and that seems suicidal, maybe it waits until some of the characters have left, maybe it doesn't attack and hopes that only some of them come back later, maybe it only attacks if a PC comes through the wall and doesn't come out therefore the other PCs can only attack if they disbelieve the wall (hopefully most of the PCs makes the check fairly quickly... not all of mine did)... You're the GM, it's up to you as to how everyone but the PCs react.

Grant them a check to realize what isn't the source of the power? It's a cursed place, let the players try to figure out what the curse is from.

I don't remember if it's a rule or not, but I have it so that if a spell is cast on someone they know. (There's probably some mind-effecting spells that I wouldn't apply that to, but Dominate Monster isn't one of them.) Also, the PCs would see and hear the image cast the spell so there could be a spellcraft check involved.

Re: suppressing Dominate Monster
As per the spell, "Second, the subject immediately receives another saving throw (if one was allowed to begin with) against any spells or effects that possess or exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment [charm] effects and enchantment [compulsion] effects, such as charm person, command, and dominate person. This saving throw is made with a +2 morale bonus, using the same DC as the original effect. If successful, such effects are suppressed for the duration of this spell. The effects resume when the duration of this spell expires. While under the effects of this spell, the target is immune to any new attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target."


Lanathar wrote:


I probably need to grant them some kind of check to realise this cannot possibly being the source of the energy

It should be apparent. My party used detect magic when they figured out there was nothing here. That showed part of the wall glowing. They spent three rounds IDing it as an illusion, which gave my aboleth time to prepare.

Lanathar wrote:

So as written the projected Druid would just try to dominate one of them and make them sit out the fight (which given we kick off with this combat would suck for a player unless a PC doesn’t turn up)

And if the elf does that they panic and still don’t know where the enemy is. (Unless they don’t know someone has been dominated)
Can I dominate someone and have them not know and allowed to act normally until they find the Aboleth?

They can know but be ordered not to communicate it. Doing nothing is eventually going to get the other PCs concerned, however, and it's pretty easy to figure it out (precedent of the ranger, detect magic, Sense Motive 15, etc.) They'll be forced to spend actions to negate this, which is good for you.

Also, just hand-wave a failed save if a player shows up. "Your character spent the encounter dominated" is a cool explanation for their absence.

Lanathar wrote:
It comes down to whether I give them time to cast buffs after beating B3. I am not convinced an intelligent Aboleth would but it is not clear

Only if it had important buffs of its own to cast.

Lanathar wrote:
As and aside: if the cleric casts protection from evil on Nerenn or a dominated ally does it auto surpress it? Or do they get a will save?

If cast on someone dominated, it gives a second save at +2 to suppress it for the duration of the Protection vs. Evil spell. If someone is not dominated, it makes them immune for the duration of the Protection vs. Evil spell.


Regarding the banquet: How much information is known to the PCs? (My guesses in brackets)

- Do they know the acceptable price threshold for clothing via Molly? (Book implies “Yes”)
- Do they know the gift price range (“No”)
- Do they know the DCs for the course etiquette and conversation given they have a choice to not partake (“No”)
- Do they know the options in the above circumstances including the required skills to roll for the course identification (“Yes”)
- Do they know about the ovation faux pas (“No”)
- Do they know about the religion faux pas (book I believe clearly states “Yes”)

In general I don’t think they should be pre warned about the potential ways to lose points as that seems too easy. Except for the clothing and armour because that is the one thing stubborn / paranoid PCs may potentially ignore

I don’t think most of these are clearly stated but if they are then it is my mistake for missing them!


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-Price for Clothing (and that it should be new): Yes, have Molly tell them that 'fancy dress' is expected or something and if they want her to come along to help pick things out she can suggest more and more fancy things to get to the required money.

-Price for Gifts: Kind of. Have Molly suggest that anything too extravagant might be taken as a bribe. Appraise, Knowledge Nobility, or suitable Profession (or any other suitable skill) will allow the PC to realize that anything over 500 is too much. Any PC that tries to spend less than 10 deserves to lose the Banquet Point.

-DC for Conversations: No. The conversation starts, they can decide to join in, things get heated/more complex but people would still expect them to participate. The roll shows how well the PC is able to keep up with the conversation and not be offensive.

-DC for Course Etiquette: No. You can describe it as you would like. The players may figure out what kind of check is involved and then they can choose if they want to eat or not.

-Which skills are required: The should be able to make an educated guess as to the kind of skill involved based on the description of the food.

-Ovation Faux Pas: No. If all of the NPCs in the room stand up and clap but your players choose to stubbornly remain seated they deserve to lose the Banquet Points.

-Religion Faux Pas: Molly probably tells them. (But if they make a bad impression on her then she may not...)

I didn't let my players know that there were points being tracked until after. I wanted them to act how they though they should instead of trying to reach a target number.
As for the DCs, it's totally up to you but the above responses are my opinions on them. Think of the banquet as a fight. Do the players know the ACs of the enemies? What about the enemies save bonuses? If the answer is no, then they shouldn't know the DCs of the banquet either.
So long as people aren't trying to make a nuisance of themselves earning enough points is incredibly easy for a 4 person group. Don't stress about it; it's a really fun encounter that the group will be able to easily succeed at without even knowing that you were tracking anything.


Thanks for this.
I think the main thing I was hoping to avoid was them knowing the window for gifts was 10-500gp and then spending 11gp...!


So I have been reading the Ruby Masquerade section to try and get my head around it. It looks like something much larger in scope that anything I have run before - both the final battle and all the preceding parts (including the giant map that is not going to be manageable to a battle map).

So I am about to write a long post of questions about this.

It largely boils down to - how has this gone for people who have run this.

It seems like it could teeter very finely on a line of being a bit of an anti-climax or being overwhelming depending on both the party makeup and various other decisions.

Equally I am not sure if some of these points have already been covered. It has been a little while since I have gone through this entire thread

Questions:

- Did anyone's group use the Sabotage or Spy special actions. I have already noted that the DCs of most rebellion actions really don't seems to scale well at all if any group moderately invests in the rebellion. The benefit of what is almost an auto success on these actions seem outrageously generous.

Notably the saboteur that seems to ruin things considerably - what with revealing that there are devils. I suppose the idea is that they know there are devils but not the disguised Azatas? It still seems like far too much information for far too little effort

Am I wrong here?

(And I know I can alter the impact of the checks but how does this actually pan out as written?)

- Skipping the ball or trying to sneak in seems like it could be a very appealing option for most groups. Skipping it would be a problem because of the aftermath I imagine? But sneaking in either before or during just seems like a better choice. Although it is not apparent how well guarded the place is from the outside

- How much of the Masque Point mechanic is revealed to the players. It seems like they would need to know their total and what the various costs are?

- I believe I saw something about the dimensions on at least one map being wrong and it should be 10ft per square. How have people managed the scale of these maps on a table?

- The text talks about bringing allies but not what the requirements and restrictions are? Is it more just a gamble where anyone they bring has a risk of being killed?

It just seems that if they bring Octavio, Cassius and Elia (plus the Saboteur Rogue and the Investigator's turn) in addition to the main PCs then the whole final fight could become a bit of a non event due to the power of the allied group. And there is seemingly nothing stopping them doing just that

(Although I wouldn't let them have both officers from the navy ship - or at least I'd hold one back in case some bail out is needed)

- Do the PCs know the mechanical impact of the quality of mask? I guess I can do a wordy flavor explanation. And to be honest I don't expect them to go cheap.

Is it said what mask "Barzillai" wearing. Or is he not?

- I seem to have missed what the group are supposed to do about bringing weapons in. Are they supposed to smuggle them in before? Use a bag of holding? Is there searches on the door?

- One of the pages calls for areas "marked as public" - are these the colour differences?

- Who kept the Azata disguise for the devils (lots of talk of changing it). Seems likely to raise questions. Unless I have misread the Azatas are outside most of the time? Or is it just the Bone Devil orchestra conductor and the rest are elsewhere until the Unmasking

- Caches are mentioned. Can the PCs place their own (I assume a very hard check). Or is it referring to those in the Opera House already

- How did exploring the rooms go? There seems to be very little you can do in terms of exploring unless you split the party. And PCs NEVER really do that (perhaps an argument for all the saboteur info)

- I assume the PCs don't know the exact impact of all the Ball actions (otherwise no one would pick "Eat" as an option - not that super paranoid PCs would anyway)

>

- Cizmekris. I have a few points on him / his tactics:

As written he seems incredibly under-powered for his stated CR10 given all the bone devil abilities he loses (AC, DR, Resistances, SR). Or is the bone devil version a very strong CR10?

AC17 is a bad joke at this level. You are looking at auto hit territory. Surely he isn't that cocky / stupid?

What does Nox do when he turns invisible and reappears over the other side of the room in Illusion form. As she is supposed to stand near him but can only see 10ft

Has anyone worked out roughly how many round it would take Ciz and Jillia to get back to the ballroom from underground?

- It is not clear to me what the Dottari actually do post-Unmasking. Just block the exits? It doesn't seem like they kill any citizens or attempt to attack the PCs? Or, again, have I missed something?

>

I think that is all my questions for now. All combined it seems like if they get the information the book suggests from Rebellion actions, bring their powerful allies and Cizmekris sticks to swaggering around in robes alone then the whole thing could be quite easy for my group

I am just musing because this has scope to one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable group any of them have ever been involved with. I don't want a damp squib.

I will caveat as always that I have run one game at this kind of level before ever (book 3 of Reign of Winter) so I may not have the greatest handle on how things work with this level of foes

>

Finally, how much time has this taken people? It seems like a full session will be needed for the fight post Un-Masking (at least). And depending on actions the Masquerade itself 1 or 2?


I've not yet played this, so grain of salt.

Lanathar wrote:
- Skipping the ball or trying to sneak in seems like it could be a very appealing option for most groups. Skipping it would be a problem because of the aftermath I imagine? But sneaking in either before or during just seems like a better choice. Although it is not apparent how well guarded the place is from the outside

There's a lot on this thread and on the DM recap on dealing with players who want to skip. Have Rexus say that if it's a trap and we're not there, what happens to the several hundred attendees?

It would be super-fun if the PCs went in through the secret water entrance to the dungeon first. You'd have to track time. You'd have to hope that they brought every wand, potion, and water-proofed scroll, because going into the battle royale last could stretch them. But, as others have noted, you can always have a core NPC or two in the Masquerade as an ally in disguise if they need it (Octavio would be ironic--nobody recognizes him on sight because he was so frequently in armor!)

Lanathar wrote:
Masque point mechanice

I found the Masque point system to be weird and silly in my readings.I plan on just choosing what happens. Did it work well for DMs who've played it?

Good point about Barzy's mask: I think it's great that he's actually wearing a mask by not wearing a mask, because it's his polymorphed face that's a mask.

Lanathar wrote:
Map

Yes. It's 10' per square. There's a lot of people there. Generally, the best thing to do is to set up several small key area maps for tactical, and then a rough map showing the relationship of all the parts. Maybe have a map for each escape door and the stage?


roguerouge wrote:

I've not yet played this, so grain of salt.

Lanathar wrote:
- Skipping the ball or trying to sneak in seems like it could be a very appealing option for most groups. Skipping it would be a problem because of the aftermath I imagine? But sneaking in either before or during just seems like a better choice. Although it is not apparent how well guarded the place is from the outside

There's a lot on this thread and on the DM recap on dealing with players who want to skip. Have Rexus say that if it's a trap and we're not there, what happens to the several hundred attendees?

It would be super-fun if the PCs went in through the secret water entrance to the dungeon first. You'd have to track time. You'd have to hope that they brought every wand, potion, and water-proofed scroll, because going into the battle royale last could stretch them. But, as others have noted, you can always have a core NPC or two in the Masquerade as an ally in disguise if they need it (Octavio would be ironic--nobody recognizes him on sight because he was so frequently in armor!)

Lanathar wrote:
Masque point mechanice

I found the Masque point system to be weird and silly in my readings.I plan on just choosing what happens. Did it work well for DMs who've played it?

Good point about Barzy's mask: I think it's great that he's actually wearing a mask by not wearing a mask, because it's his polymorphed face that's a mask.

Lanathar wrote:
Map

Yes. It's 10' per square. There's a lot of people there. Generally, the best thing to do is to set up several small key area maps for tactical, and then a rough map showing the relationship of all the parts. Maybe have a map for each escape door and the stage?

Very interesting as it would allow for lots of exploring if they snuck in from underground .

Opens up the bananas prospect of them busting into the masquerade with a revived Jillia


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This is a lot of questions and I ran this portion about 6 months ago now so my memory may be a bit wrong, but here we go:

Being Overwhelming: Yes. If everything used their tactics as written my players would've died. But the players also had pretty bad tactics as they were distracted trying to save everyone and stop the guards more than they were focused on fight Thrune or any of the other enemies. Be careful and be willing to change enemy tactics on the fly.

Sabotage or Spy Actions: Kind of. I didn't use the Rebellion Mechanic but the players had worked at getting some dottari on their side so one or two of the guards were plants. I mostly only used this to let the players know about the cockatrice switch. If you don't want the players to know about the devils don't tell them. Just because the book says someone knows something doesn't mean that you have to stick with it.

Skipping the Ball/Sneaking In = Innocent civilians die. Some of those civilians should be Raven supporters. The outside should be well defended and it would be a heck challenge to get in. If the group did it or if it became a fight to get in, let them do it. The defenses of the place should be designed to prevent people from being able to sneak in but sometimes players find a way. (Defense idea: Invisibility Purge and Alarm, a lot of hellknights as guards, devils not in disguises.)

Masque Point Mechanic: I didn't tell the players at all and allowed them to do what they wanted to. I kept track of things without them even knowing I was tracking things. It worked really well and I told the group after how it worked.

Opera House Dimensions: Yes, each square should be 10". Compare the interior to the exterior of on the map in book #1. Yes, they're not an exact match, but 10' per square is a closer match than 5'. And 10' allows for the amount of people to make sense. As for the map, I use MapTools rather than drawing them out so I don't have a suggestion for you on that one.

Bringing Allies: Why would there be restrictions? They get tickets, they can come. My group told everyone to stay away. Not everyone listened. Most of the allies didn't expose themselves until the fight and then I could add the ones that seemed appropriate. (Main allies that were there: Octavio and his armigers, team of fighters, Rexus, Hetamon [as healing was suddenly needed], Zea, a few Raven supporters that the characters cared about. The hellknights and fighters dealt with the Bone Devil from the basement as it would've been too much for the group and I rolled a D8 or something to see how many of them died. I had Rexus go down after taking out some dottari as well because I liked the idea of it. One of the supporters nearly went down but a PC sacrificed himself to prevent it. Have the allies fight the dottari, getting the civilians out, something other than joining the PCs in their fight.

Mechanic of the Mask: No, my players knew nothing about it but they went pretty all-out with how they wanted to look (or, at least, all-out in ways that made sense of their characters. There was one that it would've been weird to get an expensive one and if they knew the mechanic they would've felt bad about not taking advantage of it.)

Thrune's Mask: I didn't have him wearing one. (At least, I'm pretty sure I didn't have him wearing one. If I did it might've been a very basic, black "Zorro" mask.)

Weapons: Two characters didn't carry any weapons, one hid his easily, the fourth had one of the other characters carry her scimitar because they made it match his outfit and it would've been too obvious if she carried it in. (But things like bags of holding or something is a great way to get them in. Don't make it hard for the players or they will not be able to fight.)

Public Areas: Page 41, first paragraph under "Opera House Features" makes clear which areas are off-limits. (But yes, the yellow rooms are closed to the public.)

Devils in Disguise: Page 43, under "Devils:" it says that they each have a Hat of Disguise. The same paragraph also says that they stay in hiding until Cizmekris gives the order to attack. The individual rooms tell you were they're hiding. (Eg: 3 are in D13).

Caches: They're probably ones that Thrune has hidden as it seems beyond bizarre that the NPCs would be able to hide some. (But maybe if they get someone on the inside you might decide to let them hide a cache or two. Or, of course, if the players come up with another way to get some in there that makes sense.)

Exploring the Opera House: May party today split up! Some were upstairs, others on the main floor. I let them explore and described things as it made sense to do. When they got to the room that had the 3 devils, Thrune, and Nox in it they heard people talking inside, figured out there was at least 4 people in there and thought better of opening the door. They were able to figure out where most of the enemies were (without the enemies spotting them) before the fighting started and were able to jam a door or two closed so the enemies were a little delayed in getting to the fight.

Cizmerkris: Cizmekris is weak unless he exposes his true nature. The rest of the place is deadly enough. Don't worry that the CR doesn't reflect how strong he is. As for his AC... Yeah, it's low. So what? Again, everything else is deadly enough that having him be easy to hit shouldn't really make a difference. Is he cocky/stupid? No. Is he being contractually obligated to do this? Yes.

Nox: Nox does whatever you want her to do. I had her be aware of the plan so she stuck close to the invisible Cizmekris and atack the PCs.

Jilia to the Ballroom: I don't know. 3 rounds once she starts moving? Something like that. Either that or however long it takes to make the largest impact.

Dottari During the Attack: Page 55 tells you that the dottari and blocking the exists and stairs. Each round 2D6 civilians die in addition to the ones killed by the cockatrices or devils. I assume that the dottari are therefore killing most, if not all, of those 2D6 people.

How Many Sessions: I think the session started with the dors opening for the Masquerade and ended with the group victorious and trying to mentally deal with everything that happened. But we usually play for 7 hours or so.

Final Thoughts: Cizmekris will take a couple of rounds to deal with, mostly because Nox and the other devils around him will slow the group down a little bit. But if the group focuses on him right away then civilians are dying (and if the group is ONLY focused on Cizmekris then they haven't opened any of the doors so no one is escaping during those rounds). Cizmekris and Nox aren't killing civilians so it gives the PCs a choice... kill Thrune and Nox or save people?
To really drive home that people are dying I had a counter that the players cold see. It started at 300 and went down each round based on how many people died. Doing this was more effective than saying how many people were dying. The visual tally made it more real. (In the end, after adjustments, it was 72 people.) Sure, Cizmekris can be killed early, but how many civilians die because of that choice?

Make sure you read over pages 40 - 55 and take notes as to what people are doing, how long things take to happen, and what's happening each round so that you have a quick guide to look at during the game. There are a lot of moving pieces. The more familiar you are with it the better. Also, the entire thing is fairly chaotic so if you forget something it's fine. The PCs won't see everything that's happening so if you forget to mention something or if some of the enemies don't do something for a round it's fine. The players likely won't notice.

Try to keep track (and occasionally ask players what their hit points are currently at) of how well your players are doing. If everything attacks at once and too many of them focus on the PCs it can easily become a TPK.


roguerogue wrote:
Yes. It's 10' per square. There's a lot of people there. Generally, the best thing to do is to set up several small key area maps for tactical, and then a rough map showing the relationship of all the parts. Maybe have a map for each escape door and the stage?
Warped Savant wrote:
Opera House Dimensions: Yes, each square should be 10". Compare the interior to the exterior of on the map in book #1. Yes, they're not an exact match, but 10' per square is a closer match than 5'. And 10' allows for the amount of people to make sense. As for the map, I use MapTools rather than drawing them out so I don't have a suggestion for you on that one.

PROCESSING....PROCESSING.... WHAT?!?!

Thank goodness I had it in Roll20 and can just finagle my way into making it work.


KingTreyIII wrote:
PROCESSING....PROCESSING.... WHAT?!?!

Yeah... it was discussed on page 2 of this thread. James Jacobs answers the question HERE


.........How did I miss that.....?


Warped Savant wrote:

This is a lot of questions and I ran this portion about 6 months ago now so my memory may be a bit wrong, but here we go:

Being Overwhelming: Yes. If everything used their tactics as written my players would've died. But the players also had pretty bad tactics as they were distracted trying to save everyone and stop the guards more than they were focused on fight Thrune or any of the other enemies. Be careful and be willing to change enemy tactics on the fly.

Sabotage or Spy Actions: Kind of. I didn't use the Rebellion Mechanic but the players had worked at getting some dottari on their side so one or two of the guards were plants. I mostly only used this to let the players know about the cockatrice switch. If you don't want the players to know about the devils don't tell them. Just because the book says someone knows something doesn't mean that you have to stick with it.

Skipping the Ball/Sneaking In = Innocent civilians die. Some of those civilians should be Raven supporters. The outside should be well defended and it would be a heck challenge to get in. If the group did it or if it became a fight to get in, let them do it. The defenses of the place should be designed to prevent people from being able to sneak in but sometimes players find a way. (Defense idea: Invisibility Purge and Alarm, a lot of hellknights as guards, devils not in disguises.)

Masque Point Mechanic: I didn't tell the players at all and allowed them to do what they wanted to. I kept track of things without them even knowing I was tracking things. It worked really well and I told the group after how it worked.

Opera House Dimensions: Yes, each square should be 10". Compare the interior to the exterior of on the map in book #1. Yes, they're not an exact match, but 10' per square is a closer match than 5'. And 10' allows for the amount of people to make sense. As for the map, I use MapTools rather than drawing them out so I don't have a suggestion for you on that one.

Bringing...

Thanks for this. I appear to have missed at least three things clearly written - there is a lot of information !

What is the maptools reference? Is this for in person or online games

I think like with everything so far my thoughts on some of the challenge is coloured by a Kineticist who will auto hit Ciz for probably half his hit points and by this point no burn (at least on the first strike) with bleed probably added on which would quickly make it a non event. I have to hope that he will waste energy on the illusion. Didn’t work with the Aboleth as he did a standard “low” power blast and saw through the illusion. (Despite what everyone says on the main board about the class I seem forced to heavily alter to even challenge that character)


KingTreyIII wrote:
roguerogue wrote:
Yes. It's 10' per square. There's a lot of people there. Generally, the best thing to do is to set up several small key area maps for tactical, and then a rough map showing the relationship of all the parts. Maybe have a map for each escape door and the stage?
Warped Savant wrote:
Opera House Dimensions: Yes, each square should be 10". Compare the interior to the exterior of on the map in book #1. Yes, they're not an exact match, but 10' per square is a closer match than 5'. And 10' allows for the amount of people to make sense. As for the map, I use MapTools rather than drawing them out so I don't have a suggestion for you on that one.

PROCESSING....PROCESSING.... WHAT?!?!

Thank goodness I had it in Roll20 and can just finagle my way into making it work.

Yes I feel like I am going to have to try and use Roll20 even in person for this

Even then the each square being 10 might be tricky to align!


Lanathar wrote:
What is the maptools reference? Is this for in person or online games

It's a program that sounds similar to Roll20 but not as popular and probably less intuitive.

It can be used for either online or in person. I use it in person, my wife connects to the server with her laptop and connects her laptop to the TV so that everyone can see the map as it gets exposed. Sometimes another player will have a laptop/tablet connected to it as well.


I think I will have to start looking to connecting a virtual map to a tv for some of the larger maps - opera house and temple notably.

My group are probably one session away from heading to the Gap. They are talking like they assume it will be really tough. From everything I have read on here it really isn’t what with much lower leveller soldiers who will struggle to hit and Lucien who is a bit of a wimp and joke as written

I am wondering whether I should make significant tweaks to power it up or let them swagger through and get overconfident for the final part...


I'm using troops for each area of soldiers.

C3 Guardrooms (Troop of 20 in each)
A: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C1, Phalanx troop
B: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C4, troop
C: Phalanx troop
D: troop

C6: Common Room: handful of individual soldiers here

C16: Battlements
1 troop use the pair of ballistae (3d8) to add 2 lines of 3d8 damage

C17: Guard Quarters
1 troop rests here: no armor unless they get 5 minutes before heading out

I have varied the troops a bit, by creating a phalanx troop for C3a/c


I want to put in a pitch for replacing allies as support in the Ruby Masquerade fight with a Silver Ravens mob using the troop mechanic. It would be super-fitting to the revolutionary vibe for the people to rise up and defend themselves. After all, there's hundreds of people in Kintargo who have been attending and participating in revolutionary meetings. Surely they could work as a low-level mob of 12-30 people using the troop mechanic as a crappier troop?

Maybe I'm just posting this because I've always loved the graduation scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


roguerouge wrote:

I'm using troops for each area of soldiers.

C3 Guardrooms (Troop of 20 in each)
A: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C1, Phalanx troop
B: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C4, troop
C: Phalanx troop
D: troop

C6: Common Room: handful of individual soldiers here

C16: Battlements
1 troop use the pair of ballistae (3d8) to add 2 lines of 3d8 damage

C17: Guard Quarters
1 troop rests here: no armor unless they get 5 minutes before heading out

I have varied the troops a bit, by creating a phalanx troop for C3a/c

Are they mainly dottari troop?

How have you created them e.g. the phalanx ones.
There doesn’t seem to be rules anywhere (i wanted a ccg troop as some point )

On your ballista ones is that the 3d8 lines in addition to the normal archery ones ?


Lanathar wrote:
I think I will have to start looking to connecting a virtual map to a tv for some of the larger maps - opera house and temple notably.

I highly suggest it. It's much easier than trying to draw out both of those places and neither fit on a hex map. (Plus, the Opera House has the different floors that the group may split up into so erasing a re-drawing isn't a very good option.)

Lanathar wrote:

My group are probably one session away from heading to the Gap. They are talking like they assume it will be really tough. From everything I have read on here it really isn’t what with much lower leveller soldiers who will struggle to hit and Lucien who is a bit of a wimp and joke as written

I am wondering whether I should make significant tweaks to power it up or let them swagger through and get overconfident for the final part...

My group had a lot of fun feeling like complete bad-asses at the Gap. The erinyes and Lucien gave them a bit of a challenge, mostly due to the tactics the enemies were using.

Lanathar wrote:

How have you created them e.g. the phalanx ones.

There doesn’t seem to be rules anywhere (i wanted a ccg troop as some point )...

The module "The House on Hook Street" has a drug-addled rabble troop that you could use (rename it and possibly change the attack description) or D20PFSRD has various troops and templates that you could use HERE.


I just adapted existing stuff out there for what I wanted. I figured there should be a specialized troop at this station.

Menador Phalanx Troop CR 10 LE Medium humanoid (troop)
Initiative +8 Perception +18

Defense
AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 21 (+9 armor, +4 Dex, +2 shield)
• Close ranks: move action to activate with only 5’ step allowed, must be squarish shape, AC 27/14/23, DR 5/-, 50% miss vs. ranged, lasts 1 round
• CMD 28 (30 vs. trip)
HP 138 (12d8+60+24 phalanx)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +12
Defensive Abilities
• +4 saves vs. mounted attacks
• Not subject to flanking (but otherwise subject sneak attack or critical hits)
• Not subject (unless affects them all) to bull rush, dirty trick, disarm, drag, grapple, reposition, trip.
• Immune to spells with single or multiple targets
• Is subject to spells/effects that target area or non-specific number of creatures
• 150% damage from area effect spells

Offense Speed 20 Space 20 Reach 10
• CMB +14 (+16 trip)
Melee troop (3d6+5 plus trip)
• +2d6 vs. mounted
Ranged Volley 4 lines of sling bullets, 100’, 4d4 (Reflex 20/half)

Statistics Str 20, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 22, Cha 9
Base Atk +9;
Feats Combat Expertise, Deflect Arrows, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Toughness
Skills Intimidate +11, Perception +18, Stealth +16;

Shadow Lodge

roguerouge wrote:
I want to put in a pitch for replacing allies as support in the Ruby Masquerade fight with a Silver Ravens mob using the troop mechanic.

This is hardly any either-or choice. You might have Octavio and his team, or Forvian and his team, form the core of a troop of rank-and-file Ravens.


Lanathar wrote:
I think I will have to start looking to connecting a virtual map to a tv for some of the larger maps - opera house and temple notably.

I highly recommend doing that as well. I’ve been doing it since I started my AP group and it works out surprisingly well (especially since one of my friends moved to Finland when we live in America). It’s also surprisingly helpful with weirdly scaled maps if you know how to manipulate it (including a certain map in Mummy’s Mask that was 1 square equals 30 feet!)


Lanathar wrote:
- Skipping the ball or trying to sneak in seems like it could be a very appealing option for most groups. Skipping it would be a problem because of the aftermath I imagine? But sneaking in either before or during just seems like a better choice. Although it is not apparent how well guarded the place is from the outside

In my mind this is spot on. Specifically: sneaking in ahead of the event and preventing it from taking place at all.

Skipping it entirely seems a poor choice given the leeway it gives Barzillai to seize the narrative and the chance a "stay away" message doesn't reach all supporters. The key battle ground is for "undecideds" - those people that have yet to join the rebellion as supporters. Letting Barzillai have direct, uncontested access to that group seems ill-considered.

I would also observe that if there is a presumption there are significant forces "outside" to prevent the Ravens from sneaking in, what do those forces do once the "festivities" start? Are they above and beyond the forces on the inside when combat starts? Or are they one and the same? In the latter case, the pc's simply start eliminating opposition on the outside, before they go inside.

It has always seemed to me the Ravens have every reason to believe Barzillai will commit another atrocity and it's both immoral and reckless with their own standing in the city for them to play along with it instead of doing everything they can prevent it from happening in the first place.


The issue if the party sneaks in and ends the Masquerade before it starts is that Barzillai can use that for propaganda. "The Silver Ravens are working against creating peace in this city," the Ruby Masquerade was presented as a peace offering between Barzillai and Kintargo. If the PCs prevent that from happening, he can leverage that to his advantage to turn the populace against them.

Allowing the trap to go off will result in lives lost, but you can prevent everyone from dying and get the populace on your side by protecting them from Barzillai's attempt to murder a bunch of people.

There's also the thing of the PCs can easily pick up that a trap is coming through Tayacet, but they don't know the nature of the trap. They have no idea if he's going to filibuster to the population to turn them against the Ravens, or if he's going to stage some form of attack, or straight up murdering the guests.


Warped Savant wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
I think I will have to start looking to connecting a virtual map to a tv for some of the larger maps - opera house and temple notably.

I highly suggest it. It's much easier than trying to draw out both of those places and neither fit on a hex map. (Plus, the Opera House has the different floors that the group may split up into so erasing a re-drawing isn't a very good option.)

Lanathar wrote:

My group are probably one session away from heading to the Gap. They are talking like they assume it will be really tough. From everything I have read on here it really isn’t what with much lower leveller soldiers who will struggle to hit and Lucien who is a bit of a wimp and joke as written

I am wondering whether I should make significant tweaks to power it up or let them swagger through and get overconfident for the final part...

My group had a lot of fun feeling like complete bad-asses at the Gap. The erinyes and Lucien gave them a bit of a challenge, mostly due to the tactics the enemies were using.

Lanathar wrote:

How have you created them e.g. the phalanx ones.

There doesn’t seem to be rules anywhere (i wanted a ccg troop as some point )...
The module "The House on Hook Street" has a drug-addled rabble troop that you could use (rename it and possibly change the attack description) or D20PFSRD has various troops and templates that you could use HERE.

I assume kinetic blast affects a troop normally even though it targets a single target? As it effects swarms normally and troops are effectively swarms of larger enemies...

If not my Kineticist player would really think I was out get him


Latrecis wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
- Skipping the ball or trying to sneak in seems like it could be a very appealing option for most groups. Skipping it would be a problem because of the aftermath I imagine? But sneaking in either before or during just seems like a better choice. Although it is not apparent how well guarded the place is from the outside

In my mind this is spot on. Specifically: sneaking in ahead of the event and preventing it from taking place at all.

Skipping it entirely seems a poor choice given the leeway it gives Barzillai to seize the narrative and the chance a "stay away" message doesn't reach all supporters. The key battle ground is for "undecideds" - those people that have yet to join the rebellion as supporters. Letting Barzillai have direct, uncontested access to that group seems ill-considered.

I would also observe that if there is a presumption there are significant forces "outside" to prevent the Ravens from sneaking in, what do those forces do once the "festivities" start? Are they above and beyond the forces on the inside when combat starts? Or are they one and the same? In the latter case, the pc's simply start eliminating opposition on the outside, before they go inside.

It has always seemed to me the Ravens have every reason to believe Barzillai will commit another atrocity and it's both immoral and reckless with their own standing in the city for them to play along with it instead of doing everything they can prevent it from happening in the first place.

Which opens the question about them getting in if they do go that route. Is it just a case of some dottari on the door that they crush and walk in ?

I understand your point about outside forces - if there were they would kill people who were allowed to escape anyway and no one would get out unless the PCs go then to some kind of separate room which seems impossible due to panic

But if there are no outside forces then it seems too easy to get into. Perhaps just some street patrols ? And I was mainly thinking of it they went say 2 hours early - perhaps there would be more defenders then...


Zipding wrote:

The issue if the party sneaks in and ends the Masquerade before it starts is that Barzillai can use that for propaganda. "The Silver Ravens are working against creating peace in this city," the Ruby Masquerade was presented as a peace offering between Barzillai and Kintargo. If the PCs prevent that from happening, he can leverage that to his advantage to turn the populace against them.

Allowing the trap to go off will result in lives lost, but you can prevent everyone from dying and get the populace on your side by protecting them from Barzillai's attempt to murder a bunch of people.

There's also the thing of the PCs can easily pick up that a trap is coming through Tayacet, but they don't know the nature of the trap. They have no idea if he's going to filibuster to the population to turn them against the Ravens, or if he's going to stage some form of attack, or straight up murdering the guests.

My guess is that they will expect and attack on themselves even if they don’t have official invites.

I would hope they get the shock of their lives when devils start massacring civilians

As to the narrative being made about the Silver Ravens disrupting the peace offering - how does that manifest in game terms? Something to do with the authority points at the start of book 4?


There is an underground entrance: Aria Park Pond submerged entrance leads to G24.


Zipding wrote:

The issue if the party sneaks in and ends the Masquerade before it starts is that Barzillai can use that for propaganda. "The Silver Ravens are working against creating peace in this city," the Ruby Masquerade was presented as a peace offering between Barzillai and Kintargo. If the PCs prevent that from happening, he can leverage that to his advantage to turn the populace against them.

Allowing the trap to go off will result in lives lost, but you can prevent everyone from dying and get the populace on your side by protecting them from Barzillai's attempt to murder a bunch of people.

There's also the thing of the PCs can easily pick up that a trap is coming through Tayacet, but they don't know the nature of the trap. They have no idea if he's going to filibuster to the population to turn them against the Ravens, or if he's going to stage some form of attack, or straight up murdering the guests.

There are a few problems with this line of reasoning (as I see it.)

1. The Ravens have already declared very publicly they are working against peace in the city - they just declared war on Cheliax by destroying the keep at Menador Gap, killing more than 2 dozen Imperial Soldiers (including a member of House Thrune) and completely cutting off the only land-based path between Ravounel and Cheliax. Barzillai doesn't have to make up a story about the Ravens being crazed anarchists, the Ravens just made a public declaration of it.

2. If the Ravens break in ahead of the Masquerade they will have plenty of opportunity to find evidence Barzillai intended to massacre all of the attendees.

3. It seems utterly callous for the Ravens to willingly accept the death of (comparatively) innocent attendees to find out the details of Barzillai's trap just to have evidence he's awful to persuade the people of Kintargo to support them. The Book's author doesn't seem to think everyone is going to survive, indeed it seems the opposite is more likely: "If all 300 citizens fall, award the PCs no additional XP; if all 300 survive (unlikely, but possible if the PCs end the evening with a large number of Masque points) award them 25,600 XP. Otherwise, if more attendees fled than perished, award the PCs 19,200 XP. If more attendees perished than fled (but there were still survivors), instead award the PCs 6,400 XP." DoD, p.56

4. And while technically the Ravens don't know what he has planned (and bizarrely the AP doesn't even consider they might want to find that out ahead of time), they really do know. Or should. Let's review: the city populace (and the Ravens) knows that on the Night of Ashes, Barzillai and his minions destroyed the Thrashing Badger and Silver Star, killed the Victocora family while destroying their estate, and disappeared the leadership of the Cloven Hoof Society. A ruthless, "there's a new sheriff in town" message. But the Ravens know a lot more (so might the citizens pending how things have gone) - Thrune (or his minions) have done some truly awful things:
- sacrificed a tiefling child to trigger a murderous incursion of tooth fairies in the Devil's Nursery
- raised the Victocora's as zombies to guard the site of the complete slaughter of the Sacred Order of Archivists
- outlawed the local order of Hellknights because they were investigating his mistreatment of the previous Lord Mayor (and oh my is that awful too.) And then given the captured armigers over to a torture kyton to flense to death, largely for sport.
- and his Dottari have done nothing to stop murderous rampages by the Red Jills, Chelish Citizens Group and Varl Wex.
- in short, everything Barzillai has done since coming to town can be described with the word "atrocity."

The Ravens have no excuse not to assume that's exactly what he has planned for the Ruby Masquerade.

Shadow Lodge

There are basically two things, as I see it, telling against the PCs infiltrating the Opera House before the night of the Masquerade. First, it should be far more difficult to sneak in beforehand than to enter as guests. As guests, they will have a ready-made excuse for concealing their identities and tickets to make sure they're not questioned too closely. Any other time, they're trying to enter the private residence of Barzillai Thrune, and will be subject to far greater scrutiny. The AP assumes they can sneak a team in disguised as dottari, but this is precisely to incentivize the use of the Rebellion system and to keep the PCs from doing everything themselves (people who do not understand this and wonder why an organization can easily do what powerful characters with class levels find difficult are missing the point). For an in-universe explanation, ordinary folk are more likely to pass for ordinary guards than extraordinary folk, no matter how good the latters' disguise checks get. Team members don't have to deal with Notoriety, and depending on your organization may actually be dottari or have other excuses to be present. If the PCs want to sneak in some unguarded way, they'll have to find one. Rapelling up the walls is not likely to be taken well if discovered, and it should be difficult to find the old Ravens' bolthole from the outside - if anyone even thinks to look in the Aria Park pond.

Even if they do, there's the second obstacle that can deter players: what will they find? As GM, it's trivial to say Rivozair hasn't moved yet, and have her roast the party should they come in from underground. Or to have Julia's vampire do the same. Not that players should or will know exactly what's down there, but come on. It is, again, the private residence of Barzillai Thrune, it's bound to be nasty and overleveled. Far better to go in with backup, and by far the easiest way to arrange backup is by using the Masquerade as cover.

Related to the last point, the players should know they only have one real chance to stop Barzillai's plan. Suppose they do infiltrate the Opera House, and are killed unbeknownst to the rest of society at large (quite likely with some of the ceazy-paranoid groups running around). What is to prevent the Masquerade from just going ahead as planned? With no PCs left to intervene?


zimmerwald1915 wrote:

There are basically two things, as I see it, telling against the PCs infiltrating the Opera House before the night of the Masquerade. First, it should be far more difficult to sneak in beforehand than to enter as guests. As guests, they will have a ready-made excuse for concealing their identities and tickets to make sure they're not questioned too closely. Any other time, they're trying to enter the private residence of Barzillai Thrune, and will be subject to far greater scrutiny. The AP assumes they can sneak a team in disguised as dottari, but this is precisely to incentivize the use of the Rebellion system and to keep the PCs from doing everything themselves (people who do not understand this and wonder why an organization can easily do what powerful characters with class levels find difficult are missing the point). For an in-universe explanation, ordinary folk are more likely to pass for ordinary guards than extraordinary folk, no matter how good the latters' disguise checks get. Team members don't have to deal with Notoriety, and depending on your organization may actually be dottari or have other excuses to be present. If the PCs want to sneak in some unguarded way, they'll have to find one. Rapelling up the walls is not likely to be taken well if discovered, and it should be difficult to find the old Ravens' bolthole from the outside - if anyone even thinks to look in the Aria Park pond.

Even if they do, there's the second obstacle that can deter players: what will they find? As GM, it's trivial to say Rivozair hasn't moved yet, and have her roast the party should they come in from underground. Or to have Julia's vampire do the same. Not that players should or will know exactly what's down there, but come on. It is, again, the private residence of Barzillai Thrune, it's bound to be nasty and overleveled. Far better to go in with backup, and by far the easiest way to arrange backup is by using the Masquerade as cover.

Related to the last point, the players should know they only have one real chance to stop Barzillai's plan. Suppose they do infiltrate the Opera House, and are killed unbeknownst to the rest of society at large (quite likely with some of the ceazy-paranoid groups running around). What is to prevent the Masquerade from just going ahead as planned? With no PCs left to intervene?

I'm sorry but that doesn't seem very logical to me. You seem to be arguing that 1) the Silver Ravens are less effective at disguise and stealth than either their teams or ordinary citizens; 2) that the Opera House is more heavily guarded before the Masquerade than during it and 3) that the Silver Ravens dying before the Masquerade is much worse than them dying during it. And none of those things are likely to be true.

1. The Ravens are 9th level characters. They have access to plenty of abilities that can make entering the Opera House simple, including things like invisibility and dimension door. These are the same people that waltzed into the Holding House with forged orders just a few weeks/months ago. Further there is plenty of conventional cover available - there is no kitchen in the place so all the drinks and food for the party have to come from somewhere as an example.

2. The narrative backdrop known to GMs suggests Barzillai and Rivozair are present before the Dance but not during and that makes the Opera House more dangerous. Okay but a) how are the Ravens supposed to know that - why should they assume anything of the kind? Further, they have to assume Barzillai is there regardless. And b) Rivozair at least had to have left the previous night so the dragon won't be there the day of the Dance. Why shouldn't the Ravens assume attacking the Opera House prior to the Dance isn't better for them - during the Dance, their enemies will be positioned for maximum effectiveness and likely gathered together en masse. Attacking early makes taking them out piecemeal much more likely. And there won't be 300 innocents on the battlefield to be collateral damage, hostages or human sacrifices. Lastly going in early doesn't preclude bringing in backup - Octavio and his armigers should be itching for payback. They're not going to enter by stealth but sure could be a second wave and enter after access has been secured. This is the same group that assaulted an Imperial fort just a few days ago for the flimsiest of reasons - now they should be intimidated by an Opera House?

3. Before, during or after, no matter when the Ravens die, Kintargo is screwed. The question isn't what happens if the Ravens die - the answer is: Very. Bad. Things. The question is what gives the Ravens the best chance of success with the least risk to themselves and 300 citizens who have no place on a battlefield between the Silver Ravens and Barzillai Thrune (and cronies.)

It may seem like I'm ripping on the encounter - it's actually very well written and seems like a logical strategy for Barzillai to adopt. But I'll use its own excellence against it - it quite fairly accounts for the casualties among the civilians - between the devils and blocked doors, 4d6 + 2d4 civilians die every round once fighting starts - that's an average of 19 people a round. Seems to me the Ravens should assume that's exactly the kind of outcome they should expect. It seems particularly craven or callous for the Ravens to assume that's the best they can do.

As Joshua said, "The only winning move is not to play."


roguerouge wrote:

I'm using troops for each area of soldiers.

C3 Guardrooms (Troop of 20 in each)
A: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C1, Phalanx troop
B: winch mechanism controlling and locking gates to C4, troop
C: Phalanx troop
D: troop

C6: Common Room: handful of individual soldiers here

C16: Battlements
1 troop use the pair of ballistae (3d8) to add 2 lines of 3d8 damage

C17: Guard Quarters
1 troop rests here: no armor unless they get 5 minutes before heading out

I have varied the troops a bit, by creating a phalanx troop for C3a/c

How have you managed the space? Did you make the keep bigger? Because the map seems far too small for troops in almost all of those rooms as they are 16 squares

Am I right that as written there are only meant to be 8 guards spread across all 4 of the C3 rooms. Because as level 3 fighters against a level 8 party that is a waste of time unless the writer assumed the party would split (which most never ever do)

The book can be read as 8 in each of the 4 but there isn’t really space (let alone for a troop)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

The beds have the truth of it; there's 8 total, with 2 per room. 22 in all sounds about right if my memory serves.

BUT feel free to adjust that amount as you want during play to adjust the challenge, of course.

From James Jacobs

I think I adjusted up to 28 guards. Some people were saying 40 about a year ago in this thread


xrayregime wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

The beds have the truth of it; there's 8 total, with 2 per room. 22 in all sounds about right if my memory serves.

BUT feel free to adjust that amount as you want during play to adjust the challenge, of course.

From James Jacobs

I think I adjusted up to 28 guards. Some people were saying 40 about a year ago in this thread

I’d like to try and entertain the troop idea even if it means making the Keep bigger .

Because 20+ level 3 fighter guards seems minimal threat, an anti climax and a lot of GM work

I think my players would be surprised if they stormed a keep with only 20-30 people guarding it

It seems like a weird one

Shadow Lodge

Lanathar wrote:

I think my players would be surprised if they stormed a keep with only 20-30 people guarding it

It seems like a weird one

Why? Menador Keep is not a border fort that needs a large garrison to see off invading armies. Nor (unless you change something) is it engaged in suppressing risings by the population, which is concentrated far away on both sides of the pass. It's a tollbooth. Its primary function is to collect fees paid by caravans for use of the Menador Gap. Its secondary function is to give commanders of army columns using the Menador Gap somewhere they can be briefed on the local conditions (importantly, it is not a barracks where transiting columns or caravans can spend the night). Its tertiary function may be to clear snow and rock falls that block the Gap, and to conduct rescues of travelers who might be crushed by the same.


I plan on saying that there's hammocks and that they sleep in shifts. Because as written this is too easy for my table. If you're concerned about space, remember that troops are groups of 12-30 soldiers, so it would be 72-180 soldiers.

Maybe they just cleared some snow?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

At that level attacking the Menador Gap, my group basically had two party faces and two damage dealers. I was missing one of the damage dealers for that session, so when the rogue with +30 disguise and a stacked hat of disguise/stalker's mask decided to help disguise the group as Chelish bureaucrats who wanted to inspect the keep, I allowed it. The troops were told to stay in the stables while they finished the inspection.

When the stealthed rogue saw Lucien walking around the various rooms inside the keep, she used the full round action with the Stalker's Mask to disguise as him and then went and told the guards to leave the keep while he was still in the other building.

I think the point of the guards is to give them some easy combats/encounters before some of the tougher ones inside the keep. If your party is super combat focused, then yeah, it's a slog no matter what. If your group likes tougher combats, you probably are right to make them troops and enlarge the keep size a bit.

It is supposed to be a crappy outpost though, with not a lot of guard presence. If I remember correctly, Lucien is ashamed to have been given that position because of its minor importance in terms of Chelish security.


Minor importance but vital for access to the north...


And they JUST had to retake the town south of the mountains from the Glorious Reclamation, so it makes sense that they'd have more than 20-30 guards. Who knows if the GR will be back soon?

Shadow Lodge

roguerouge wrote:
And they JUST had to retake the town south of the mountains from the Glorious Reclamation, so it makes sense that they'd have more than 20-30 guards. Who knows if the GR will be back soon?

Kantaria isn't actually that close to the Menador Gap. Which is not to say that GR sympathizers wouldn't try to flee through it to presumably-friendly Kintargo, but it does go to show that the forces at Menador Keep are not well-situated to put down renewed risings.

What's the timeline on when Hell's Vengeance takes place, by the way? Typically APs are assumed to start on the Absolom Reckoning equivalent of their release date, but HR and HV give indications that they are meant to be running concurrently. Also, Book 1 of HR takes place over 4-7 weeks, while Book 1 of HV takes place over 4 weeks.

In any event, some of the prisoners in the Menador Keep cells should surely be recognizable GR folk from Kantaria: those whose tactics include flight from combat if your group didn't play [book 2 of] HV before [book 3 of] HR, or those that actually managed to escape if it did.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Re-reading it now, and it seems like there should be 46 guards total. 8 guards in each of the four guardrooms posted at all hours (32 total); 3 in the common room; 6 on the battlements; 5 in the guard quarters sleeping.

So yeah it's definitely well-guarded. Considering the road is the only safe way up the mountain and it's a chokepoint, that sounds like a solid defense. Condensing those into four troops could definitely make sense.


Well, shoot, right you are. It's not particularly close at all.

The loss of Kantaria is written in to Dance of the Damned in the Ongoing Reclamation column.


xrayregime wrote:

Re-reading it now, and it seems like there should be 46 guards total. 8 guards in each of the four guardrooms posted at all hours (32 total); 3 in the common room; 6 on the battlements; 5 in the guard quarters sleeping.

So yeah it's definitely well-guarded. Considering the road is the only safe way up the mountain and it's a chokepoint, that sounds like a solid defense. Condensing those into four troops could definitely make sense.

As Lanathar very recently pointed out, James Jacobs clarified that as it's poorly worded in the book:

James Jacobs wrote:

The beds have the truth of it; there's 8 total, with 2 per room. 22 in all sounds about right if my memory serves.

BUT feel free to adjust that amount as you want during play to adjust the challenge, of course.

That would mean 8 between the four guardrooms (2 per room), 3 in the common room, 6 on the battlements, 5 sleeping.

22 total. (Assuming that the other numbers you out up are correct. I didn't double-check.)


How long does it take to travel to Menador Gap? The text says it is 220 miles. Horses go 40 miles a day in the plains, 30 miles a day in the hills. I'd estimate 1/3 plains, 2/3 hills: so about 2 days in the plains, about 5 days in the hills.

But what if they want to take a river boat down there? (They should have the folding boat by now from book 2.) Rowboats are the fastest form of river locomotion at 15 miles a day... but presumably the trip would be more direct? Would it be 14-15 days for 220 miles or less time due to more direct travel?

Shadow Lodge

roguerouge wrote:

How long does it take to travel to Menador Gap? The text says it is 220 miles. Horses go 40 miles a day in the plains, 30 miles a day in the hills. I'd estimate 1/3 plains, 2/3 hills: so about 2 days in the plains, about 5 days in the hills.

But what if they want to take a river boat down there? (They should have the folding boat by now from book 2.) Rowboats are the fastest form of river locomotion at 15 miles a day... but presumably the trip would be more direct? Would it be 14-15 days for 220 miles or less time due to more direct travel?

It's not working on my computer at the moment, but this tool will let you plot the distance along the Yolubilis River from its mouth to its source.

Shadow Lodge

It's working now. Apparently the Yolubilis is about 190 miles from mouth to source. From mouth to source is against the current, and "Rafts, barges, keelboats, and rowboats. . . can't be rowed against any significant current," which would seem to exclude rowing upriver, but fortunately the folding boat comes with a sail even in its dinghy-sized form. While a rowboat goes 15 miles per day (setting aside current), a "sailing ship" can make 48 miles per day, making the trip from Yolubilis mouth to source in a little less than 4 days.

From there it's about another 40 miles overland to the Menador Gap, so another 2 days on horseback.


Whelp, the players used arcane eye quite a bit to scout Menador Keep. On the second day, they found the wyvern cave entrance because one player asked if there were any beasts in the keep (she thought that was a trope for keeps) and another player insisted on looking at the other side of the keep.

Spamming fly and using the cover of night, they got around to the other side. Two rounds later, one dead wyvern. And one very angry Lucian Thrune.

Next time, they've spider climbed above the keep, gotten on to the overhang, and are going to use ropes attached to the top to swing themselves down into a feather fall onto the battlements.

I don't think they've realized yet they can only cast one of those spells per round, making it a little bit of a "split the party" tactic.


Ok - so I am having a big issue with one of my players that means I am on the brink of my game collapsing

I would like some advice but can't really post in detail on the boards in case he reads it (this has happened once already when I put too much info on the main advice board and he decoded my username)

What would be a good approach getting some insight from fellow GMs?


On a more directly related note - the Menador gap tactics for if a combat breaks out in the courtyard has Lucien turning up and calling the devils if a bunch of defenders are dead (with my group they will be if this has happened)

But how does he call them / them hear him? Have I missed something from the set up ?

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