Dance of the Damned (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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So my players wound clearing Menador Keep last session. They infiltrated the Keep posing as merchants and slaughtered all 22 of the Menador Soldiers alongside Lucian Thrune before he could get to his mount, the wyvern Zailosorn. They went through all 22 soldiers because as a rookie GM, I missed that they were supposed to flee after Lucian went down, but Lucian went down so quick and before so few witnesses the rest of the soldiers didn't get to hear the news of their commander's death.

At any rate, this meant that when they stumbled across Zailosorn in his pen, they had some time to learn a bit about Lucian through his belongings (I tacked on a journal to fill in the bits on how he got a wyvern mount and how he trained Zailosorn). And when they found out about Zailosorn's sad life, they couldn't bring themselves to kill him.

So the paladin and the ranger tried their hands at Diplomacy. The Ranger used her Wild Empathy (yes, I know that it doesn't quite work on Dragons, they are not animals. But the Ranger is a new player and I liked where she was going with her character). The Paladin was the only one who spoke Draconic, so he spoke while the Ranger tried to soothe Zailozorn.

It was then I revealed that Zailosorn barely knew how to speak Draconic. He was hatched by Lucian and raised to be a mount since birth. He was treated like a beast of burden and didn't know how to speak. That was when my players fell in love with the dragon. They really didn't want him to die by that point.

They entertained letting him go, but due to his stunted mental development, they were afraid he would die if left to his own devices. Since I was telling the players how much EXP they were earning as they progressed through the AP, they knew were close to leveling up and wanted to come back if they leveled before they had to destroy the Keep.

And wouldn't you know it? That is exactly what happened. So they came back after they leveled and our Constructed Pugilist Brawler asked if he could take Zailosorn as a mount if he took a level in the Mounted Fury Vigilante Archetype.

I double checked Lucian's stat block, and he had no special Archetype or Feat that allowed him a Wyvern mount. So he got Zailosorn solely through his family connections. With that in mind, I said "If the villain NPC can have this mount without any special features or build, then so can you". And now the party has wyvern mount that they want to rehabilitate.


The villain NPC has it because it is part of the way the combat encounter is balanced. And he is terrible as written anyway

He is a noble - that is how the rules got broken

He has it precisely because he raised it from birth

Giving it to your PCs for free risks making them more powerful than intended - although there are only going to be a handful of places it can easily fit

But realistically the player who uses it should have it as a cohort via leadership

But it is up to you on how unbalancing this addition may be


I think this can work fine as a reward for caring role-play by your players, although I agree you'll want to watch out for balance issues. If it becomes an issue, there's a goodly number of areas in book four where it wouldn't be a suitable mount--most of the dungeon crawls, excepting the main area of the Asmodean temple. It will be a very thematic addition for the dragon fight and useful for the bridge fight, though!


roguerouge wrote:
I think this can work fine as a reward for caring role-play by your players, although I agree you'll want to watch out for balance issues. If it becomes an issue, there's a goodly number of areas in book four where it wouldn't be a suitable mount--most of the dungeon crawls, excepting the main area of the Asmodean temple. It will be a very thematic addition for the dragon fight and useful for the bridge fight, though!

I think that's the problem with a lot of mounts, no? That they don't fit into a majority of dungeons due to the mechanics of mounted combat for a Medium creature on a Large creature. Which is why so many people recommend that if you want a Mount-based class, go for a Small character on a Medium mount. That way the mounted combat works in the tight corners of dungeons.

At any rate, I did give them Zailosorn as a reward for their roleplaying, but Zailosorn isn't fully on their side yet. He's indifferent to them at the moment and still has a lot of issues to overcome before he's a loyal mount. There is going to be a few DC checks for them to overcome in order to fully undo Lucian Thrune's training.


Is all the stuff you mentioned about the wyvern not being fully mentally developed actually in the book? I don't recall that but might have glossed over it


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Lanathar wrote:
Is all the stuff you mentioned about the wyvern not being fully mentally developed actually in the book? I don't recall that but might have glossed over it

It's something I added in. There was no evidence that it would speak before initiating combat, the book only say that he "chirps with excitement" whenever he would see Lucian.

So between being raised from birth to be a mount, Lucian not having Draconic as a bonus language, and the nonverbal response from Zailosorn it seemed like something neat to add in.


My table is another data point that DMs might have to have an argument prepped for why having the sheet music for the Song of Silver isn't enough to perform the ritual. I ended up using Elvis as an example for why it's not all on the page--he's a great due to his performances, not the lyrics he didn't often write, nor the music notations he often didn't make. I also ended up making an analogy to jazz. It was a bit touch and go for a while, especially when they argued that Shelyn would prefer individualized performance rather than rote repetition of a musical formula.

I did end up making it possible for the PCs to try to sing the song on their own. I gave it a Perform song with a DC 40. The player with max ranks and a racial bonus to that skill ended up making it on a natural 20. Had she failed badly, I might have made the resulting difficulties with teleportation affect everyone, not just evil outsiders.


roguerouge wrote:
My table is another data point that DMs might have to have an argument prepped for why having the sheet music for the Song of Silver isn't enough to perform the ritual.

Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but isn't it because they just find the sheet music in the opera house, but not the lyrics? So in the next book, after you free and cure Jackdaw, you'll get the last piece of this two-part puzzle - the lyrics - and then the PCs, or an NPC with Perform, can do the ritual. Away from my books atm but this is how way we played it.


You're right about that, Razcar. Even though it's weird to have sheet music without the lyrics written on it...

(That's why, in my game, they found the lyrics written out instead of the sheet music and Jackdaw was humming the tune. It made more sense to me.)


Yeah, sheet music without lyrics was never going to pass the smell test for the musician and the music journalist at my table.

Shadow Lodge

Warped Savant wrote:
You're right about that, Razcar. Even though it's weird to have sheet music without the lyrics written on it...

Typically scores are not reproduced in their entirety (unless for the conductor), but for specific instruments. So if you do want to preserve separateness of the sheet music and lyrics, perhaps the music is not the singer's part, but, say, the violin part? Or perhaps it's the singer's part, but the lyrics have been redacted?

Sovereign Court

I don't think this was already answered in the threat, but I apologize if it was. What happens to Kintargo as far as the 'Rebellion in Play' rules go when the players are abroad? My group went from Vyre straight to Acisazi, and it's quite likely they've been gone as much as two weeks before they decided to return to Kintargo now. Do you think it makes sense to have xdy supporters leave per week since the PC's presence in Kintargo is lacking? Or perhaps the Silver Ravens' allies (Octavio, Laria, Rexus, etc.) kept the effort up while the PCs were gone? What other effects might there be from the players being away from home base?

Shadow Lodge

GM Red wrote:
I don't think this was already answered in the threat, but I apologize if it was. What happens to Kintargo as far as the 'Rebellion in Play' rules go when the players are abroad? My group went from Vyre straight to Acisazi, and it's quite likely they've been gone as much as two weeks before they decided to return to Kintargo now. Do you think it makes sense to have xdy supporters leave per week since the PC's presence in Kintargo is lacking? Or perhaps the Silver Ravens' allies (Octavio, Laria, Rexus, etc.) kept the effort up while the PCs were gone? What other effects might there be from the players being away from home base?

If the PCs have leadership roles, the rolls those roles affect should lose the PCs' ability score bonuses. If the PCs are managing teams, the rebellion should lose access to the action types to which those teams grant access. The organization as a whole can keep operating, in other words, but potentially at a reduced capacity based on how much they typically rely on the PCs.


GM Red wrote:
I don't think this was already answered in the threat, but I apologize if it was. What happens to Kintargo as far as the 'Rebellion in Play' rules go when the players are abroad? My group went from Vyre straight to Acisazi, and it's quite likely they've been gone as much as two weeks before they decided to return to Kintargo now. Do you think it makes sense to have xdy supporters leave per week since the PC's presence in Kintargo is lacking? Or perhaps the Silver Ravens' allies (Octavio, Laria, Rexus, etc.) kept the effort up while the PCs were gone? What other effects might there be from the players being away from home base?

I never found anything that directed what to do in that case.

If your players took off for two weeks did they consider the rebellion phases?

If they thought about it and decided that the rebellion will be just fine without them, you have free reign to handle it however you wish. everything from mass mayhem, to a silver raven figurine waiting for them at Acisazi with a message from Rexus asking for direction.

If they didn't consider they were leaving for two weeks, why didn't they consider the rebellion phases? If they are not enjoying the rebellion mechanics, harsh consequences may suck the last of the fun out a sub-system they are already not enjoying. If they took off without considering the rebellion phases, is this because the rigid timeline isn't emphasized in your game and they assumed it would just work out? Or are their character a bunch of reckless Chaotic character that struggle with the organization aspect of a rebellion and this is a great chance to role play that disorganization.

This is a great time to grab any subplot that is remotely time sensitive and make it into a 5 alarm fire when they return.

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