A Song of Silver (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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That's cool to know, James. I'm already looking forward to how my players react to meeting Ithanothaur, since he's not your normal umbral dragon. Since they're also the sort that would rather parley with enemies wherever possible, I expect they'll be making an unexpected ally against Nidalese retaliation in the future, preventing Cheliax from fighting a proxy war with Kintargo.


A question for those who have already run this section of the AP.

My players have gotten certainly excited about this section of the adventure, especially with the prospects of taking back the streets from Thrune. However, they recently had the Church of Asmodeus carry out an inquisition against some of their followers and the resulting deaths has made them hellbent on going after all sources of that.

I worry that this makes it look like they want to go straight after Castle Kintargo and the Church of Asmodeus, rather than deal with the smaller side events on the way. Does anybody have some thoughts as how to reframe things in a way that might make them less likely to charge head first to their doom?

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would perhaps stress that there is no certainty that the leadership is in either of those locations. It's not stressed in the adventure but to dissuade my party from going directly after Barzillai I told them that until the rest of the city is taken he is considered to be coordinating things from various hiding spots throughout the city or even from a distance by way of teleport spells.

It's only when he feels that his hold on the city is really threatened (AP 0) that he decides to fall back and stay in the Temple of Asmodeus to make sure that the ritual goes off and the city stays in his control.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So I have some advice to ask of my fellow Hell's Rebels DMs as well.

My group just climbed up the wall and killed the Nessian Warhounds outside special collections.

They are dead set on taking down the Infernal Engines first (good rolls on their covert action) and have just opened the door to the library to face off with the four Erinyes.

To a group who have JUST entered the Temple of Asmodeus how much resistance besides Barzy and Zhol would you send after them?

They are currently under the effect of the Song of Silver so devils teleporting in might have trouble but I'm kind of reluctant to send two so very important NPCs in to face them by themselves.

Any suggestions?

Shadow Lodge

Asurie wrote:
I worry that this makes it look like they want to go straight after Castle Kintargo and the Church of Asmodeus, rather than deal with the smaller side events on the way. Does anybody have some thoughts as how to reframe things in a way that might make them less likely to charge head first to their doom?

You have hotheaded players? Give them every opportunity to make their beef personal. Allow them to identify the specific inquisitors responsible, and that they're under the command of Tiarese Izoni in the Records Hall, or have kidnapped Hetamon Haace (replace Natsiel in this case).


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rkotitan wrote:

So I have some advice to ask of my fellow Hell's Rebels DMs as well.

My group just climbed up the wall and killed the Nessian Warhounds outside special collections.

They are dead set on taking down the Infernal Engines first (good rolls on their covert action) and have just opened the door to the library to face off with the four Erinyes.

To a group who have JUST entered the Temple of Asmodeus how much resistance besides Barzy and Zhol would you send after them?

They are currently under the effect of the Song of Silver so devils teleporting in might have trouble but I'm kind of reluctant to send two so very important NPCs in to face them by themselves.

Any suggestions?

Corinstian has status up on the erinyes devils, so he probably would send some non-ritual people up to look as well once the erinyes devils take damage. Maybe he would send up Zella?

I would maybe just do two waves of the nave complications side bar. Maybe 6 priests show up and Zella in separate rounds. My party had an idea to use cloud kill in the center of the ritual and had one hell of a battle. I think doing the side rooms first should be rewarded, so I would be hesitant to send too many npc's after them.

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What I did to make sure the PCs focused on the right targets is to have the NPCs tell them that their goals were twofold: find Barzillai, and fast. The actions they took in the previous books made sure that Barzillai would not easily be able to find reinforcements, but the populace could not withstand a long period of open warfare, so they had to find him fast. And, in order to do that, I stole a line from The Operative in Serenity: "When your quarry goes to ground, leave him no ground to run to." Taking control of the various districts isn't just about taking them from Barzillai, it's also about making sure he can't use those sections of town to plan the counterinsurgency. If they start saying, "Well, what about the Temple of Asmodeus?", I would reply, "Well, they've closed their doors and aren't letting anyone in. We'll need to deal with them eventually, but these spots are active hotbeds of trouble. We need to deal with them first."

If they're deadset on kicking in the door, well...it's probably their funeral, then.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Misroi wrote:

What I did to make sure the PCs focused on the right targets is to have the NPCs tell them that their goals were twofold: find Barzillai, and fast. The actions they took in the previous books made sure that Barzillai would not easily be able to find reinforcements, but the populace could not withstand a long period of open warfare, so they had to find him fast. And, in order to do that, I stole a line from The Operative in Serenity: "When your quarry goes to ground, leave him no ground to run to." Taking control of the various districts isn't just about taking them from Barzillai, it's also about making sure he can't use those sections of town to plan the counterinsurgency. If they start saying, "Well, what about the Temple of Asmodeus?", I would reply, "Well, they've closed their doors and aren't letting anyone in. We'll need to deal with them eventually, but these spots are active hotbeds of trouble. We need to deal with them first."

If they're deadset on kicking in the door, well...it's probably their funeral, then.

+1

Additionally, if your party is made up of a bunch of do-gooders like mine (probably more likely than not in this AP), try emphasizing that, even if they manage to take on the Church of Asmodeus, that'll leave the rest of Barzillai's agents in the city free to do as they like to the population unless they're stopped first. Sure, you could deal with the others later, but probably not before a lot of casualties occur. I doubt the city would be so keen on the PCs if they seemed to place taking out Barzillai at any cost over the lives of Kintargans.


Tell them: It's not a question of whether you can take the Temple of Asmodeus. It's a question of whether you can hold it after you do so. Taking out the allies first means that you can hold what you take.


Alternatively make those allies personal enemies. I've made the minibosses in the various districts a lot more present throughout the AP (and admittedly replaced a few with people specific to my players characters.) I'm counting on them wanting to take these areas and take down these people before they go to sweep Thrune.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elegos wrote:
Alternatively make those allies personal enemies. I've made the minibosses in the various districts a lot more present throughout the AP (and admittedly replaced a few with people specific to my players characters.) I'm counting on them wanting to take these areas and take down these people before they go to sweep Thrune.

Same here. My party was REALLY gunning for Tiarise from the first book on (they found out she was responsible for the Devil's Nursery stuff, though didn't know her by name at first), and I also had her egging on the cult of Mahathallah in book 2.

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Thanks for the suggestions about to handle the alert in the temple. I remembered that Natsiel got away from the Silver Star so I'm going to include her into the investigation team.


James Jacobs wrote:

Nidal's role was going to be distracting, and as such it was cut from the AP. Maybe I'll talk about it in a few years when Hell's Rebels has had a bit longer to set into the minds of folks as it was intended. I don't really want to distract folks at this point from the plot.

So... ask me again in a year and maybe I'll talk then! ;-P

Any chance that you'll start talking about this soon, Mr. Jacobs?

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
thinksnake wrote:
So there's no official statblock for Mialari Docur? Or did I miss that on first reading

Nope, no stat block for her. She was VERY CLOSE to having a larger role in the first four adventures, but in the end, she always ended up being set aside for wordcount space. I'd hoped to include her in a relatively significant role in Song of Silver, but things just never worked out that way.

Here's the stat block that never saw print. There's not really any flavor text to go along with it, since I never wrote any (I knew she was cut before getting to that point).

** spoiler omitted **...

Do you remember what this larger role was, and two and a half years on, do you feel like sharing?

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thinksnake wrote:
So there's no official statblock for Mialari Docur? Or did I miss that on first reading

Nope, no stat block for her. She was VERY CLOSE to having a larger role in the first four adventures, but in the end, she always ended up being set aside for wordcount space. I'd hoped to include her in a relatively significant role in Song of Silver, but things just never worked out that way.

Here's the stat block that never saw print. There's not really any flavor text to go along with it, since I never wrote any (I knew she was cut before getting to that point).

** spoiler omitted **...

Do you remember what this larger role was, and two and a half years on, do you feel like sharing?

It was going to be something along the lines of having her and her girls being a group the Silver Ravens recruited in the 2nd adventure along with the other groups to aid them in the fight, and Mialari herself being an allied NPC on the same level as characters like Shensen or the like, with an NPC page entry.

But as it turned out, I wasn't able to justify cutting a section of Mike's adventure to put more of her and her school in. Likewise with Rich's adventure. And by the time my adventure rolled around, the ship had pretty much sailed.

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Warped Savant wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Nidal's role was going to be distracting, and as such it was cut from the AP. Maybe I'll talk about it in a few years when Hell's Rebels has had a bit longer to set into the minds of folks as it was intended. I don't really want to distract folks at this point from the plot.

So... ask me again in a year and maybe I'll talk then! ;-P

Any chance that you'll start talking about this soon, Mr. Jacobs?

The original intent was to have Nidal getting more and more concerned about Ravounel's rising power, and that in adventure #5, instead of going to recruit the strix, the PCs would have to go to NIdal to forge an alliance with Nidal to not only appease them that Ravounel had no designs on war with Nidal, but also to recruit Nidal's aid in defending Ravounel against Cheliax. Basically, there was going to be more international stuff between the balance of power of Nidal and Cheliax with Ravounel being a fulcrum of change there.


Meraki wrote:
My party was REALLY gunning for Tiarise from the first book on (they found out she was responsible for the Devil's Nursery stuff, though didn't know her by name at first), and I also had her egging on the cult of Mahathallah in book 2.

How did your players know it was Tiarise that manipulated the Devil's nursery problems in the first book?

(I ran that scene last night. My players took it VERY personally and are out to get whoever did it.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Warped Savant wrote:
Meraki wrote:
My party was REALLY gunning for Tiarise from the first book on (they found out she was responsible for the Devil's Nursery stuff, though didn't know her by name at first), and I also had her egging on the cult of Mahathallah in book 2.

How did your players know it was Tiarise that manipulated the Devil's nursery problems in the first book?

(I ran that scene last night. My players took it VERY personally and are out to get whoever did it.)

They decided to use speak with dead with the kid who was killed to try to find out who did it, so they got her description (basically just "scary witch lady"). They were really mad about the murders in the Nursery, so I decided to drop a couple hints about her throughout the rest of the path. I think they actually identified her by name at some point in book 3, if I remember right.


Meraki wrote:
They decided to use speak with dead with the kid who was killed to try to find out who did it, so they got her description (basically just "scary witch lady"). They were really mad about the murders in the Nursery, so I decided to drop a couple hints about her throughout the rest of the path. I think they actually identified her by name at some point in book 3, if I remember right.

Any chance you remember some of the hints you dropped? Did you use Tiarise for more things than as written?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let's see...I didn't drop TOO many, because I didn't want them to get distracted and go after her early.

If I remember right, after they decided to speak to the dead child and got that description, I dropped some hints that a witch was working for Barzillai into the rumors they found around the city.

In book 2, I left a note in Luculla's quarters that was pretty much a "keep up the good work" note, implying that someone else was egging Luculla and the Mahathallans on, signed "T."

And in book 3, I think I had someone mention her during the Ruby Masquerade. They put two and two together around that point, so they were really excited to go get her during book 4.

Don't remember if I dropped any others; it's been awhile.


That's great! Thanks for the ideas.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as the Temple of Asmodeous goes, I plan to eventually frame it in the light of a good tactical decision best employed last. Foreshadow it by describing it as the place he will eventually run to. Stress that it is the most well defended location and as long as it stands, Barzillai will hold the hope of winning. If sieged too early, he can defend it with the Rack, Tiarese, and all other forces he has spread throughout the city. His regime needs to be whittled down. Hint at these through the voices of NPCs and let them come to the conclusion that hitting the temple last is the best option.

It will be more rewarding for the PCs to execute their plan forcing Barzillai into a corner than it would be to make it appear to just happen that way.

Essentially, it’s not railroading if the PCs think of it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Warped Savant wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Nidal's role was going to be distracting, and as such it was cut from the AP. Maybe I'll talk about it in a few years when Hell's Rebels has had a bit longer to set into the minds of folks as it was intended. I don't really want to distract folks at this point from the plot.

So... ask me again in a year and maybe I'll talk then! ;-P

Any chance that you'll start talking about this soon, Mr. Jacobs?
The original intent was to have Nidal getting more and more concerned about Ravounel's rising power, and that in adventure #5, instead of going to recruit the strix, the PCs would have to go to NIdal to forge an alliance with Nidal to not only appease them that Ravounel had no designs on war with Nidal, but also to recruit Nidal's aid in defending Ravounel against Cheliax. Basically, there was going to be more international stuff between the balance of power of Nidal and Cheliax with Ravounel being a fulcrum of change there.

That...Is a very interesting thought. And one I might ponder about playing with when I eventually rerun this campaign.

If I might ask, was there any plan already in mind for how a mostly CG group of freedom fighters would be able to convince a nation like Nidal to not only ignore, but help them? I must admit even with the possible "enemy of my enemy" angle, it strikes me as a bit of a hard sell. Any chance the upcoming Nidal book could have a bit of insight on that?


A Song of Silver wrote:
Tiarise carries the box’s key. Inside the box can be found several documents, including an infernal contract between Tiarise and an individual named Oughorthan.

Maybe I'm blind but I can't see it listed anywhere as to what this contract does... Can anyone help me figure this out?

Thanks!


Two possibilities - just guessing - 1) it's a contract that binds her to Oughorthan as her witch's patron or 2) it's a contract that provides her information about the Rituals described in the notes found in the same location. See the side bar on p. 18. Or both.


Maybe it's a contract to bind Rivozair to Oughorthan with the devil-binding ritual? Nope, he's bound to a Horned Devil.
When I find/decide what it is I'll need to figure out the details of the contract as my players are currently reading over it to see what it is... I have a week to figure it out :/

Edited to add: Nope, he's bound to a Horned Devil, not the Pit Fiend.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Warped Savant wrote:
A Song of Silver wrote:
Tiarise carries the box’s key. Inside the box can be found several documents, including an infernal contract between Tiarise and an individual named Oughorthan.

Maybe I'm blind but I can't see it listed anywhere as to what this contract does... Can anyone help me figure this out?

Thanks!

This is explained in part 6, but the short version is...

Spoiler:
She performed a ritual called Binding the Soul to the Stone, which required the contract to be signed and allows her to return after death in "Breaking the Bones of Hell" as a nemhain.


James Jacobs wrote:

This is explained in part 6, but the short version is...

** spoiler omitted **

Ah, thank you for clarifying that!

I've just checked through book 6 and it mentions the ritual but there's no indication that she had to get into a contract with Oughorthan in order to learn how to do it.

I'll use this to figure out the KP and clauses before my next session.


Hopefully people here have a suggestion or two!
My group just got into Kintargo Keep, are about to start the fight with the Hellknights there, and that's when they fist heard a dragon roar from somewhere in the city.
So now they're thinking of running out the door to go after the dragon and then come back later for the keep.

If they go with this, what increases/preparations to the defenses would the keep have for when they returned to attack it?
Would the Hellknights have gone out and attacked citizens while the group fights the dragon?
Rather than having the Hellknights sit there, waiting to die, what should I have them do instead?


Warped Savant wrote:

Hopefully people here have a suggestion or two!

My group just got into Kintargo Keep, are about to start the fight with the Hellknights there, and that's when they fist heard a dragon roar from somewhere in the city.
So now they're thinking of running out the door to go after the dragon and then come back later for the keep.

If they go with this, what increases/preparations to the defenses would the keep have for when they returned to attack it?
Would the Hellknights have gone out and attacked citizens while the group fights the dragon?
Rather than having the Hellknights sit there, waiting to die, what should I have them do instead?

I think it would make sense for Kyrre to try and get more troops to guard the keep since they are there to watch over the prisoners within Kintargo Keep and now Thrune knows the party is after someone in there. IIRC, Song of Silver states that Thrune knows Jackdaw is in there, but because of the redactions to that part of history is unaware of who that person actually is. He might put 2 and 2 together and send another troop or two to reinforce the keep the next time the party arrives. Inquisitors would probably work better than regular dottari due to the nature of the prisoners there.


Warped Savant wrote:

Hopefully people here have a suggestion or two!

My group just got into Kintargo Keep, are about to start the fight with the Hellknights there, and that's when they fist heard a dragon roar from somewhere in the city.
So now they're thinking of running out the door to go after the dragon and then come back later for the keep.

If they go with this, what increases/preparations to the defenses would the keep have for when they returned to attack it?
Would the Hellknights have gone out and attacked citizens while the group fights the dragon?
Rather than having the Hellknights sit there, waiting to die, what should I have them do instead?

I think the answer depends on why, in your view, the Hellknights were there in the first place. The AP is pretty confused on this point - Jackdaw's imprisonment is important enough for Barzillai to "monologue" about it in front of both Jilia and Shensen (see p.9 SoS) but somehown neither he nor Kyrre "realizes Jackdaw is a significant figure to the rebellion." (p. 29 SoS) ??? If she's not important, why are these Hellknights in this part of the Keep? Given the city is in the midst of open insurrection - Kyrre and her 6 Hellknights are a significant commitment of resources for little strategic purpose, unless she/Barzillai knows Jackdaw is important. (Though that begs the question - why don't they just get rid of her?)

Did the Hellknights see or otherwise notice the pc's? If so, I suggest they would pursue the rebels into the streets. If you wanted you could do a notoriety check and if it succeeds (lower than the Silver Ravens notoriety) the Hellknights recognize the intruders as important to the rebellion and risk their position to try to take them out.


Latrecis wrote:

The AP is pretty confused on this point - Jackdaw's imprisonment is important enough for Barzillai to "monologue" about it in front of both Jilia and Shensen (see p.9 SoS) but somehown neither he nor Kyrre "realizes Jackdaw is a significant figure to the rebellion." (p. 29 SoS) ???

Did the Hellknights see or otherwise notice the pc's? If so, I suggest they would pursue the rebels into the streets. If you wanted you could do a notoriety check and if it succeeds (lower than the Silver Ravens notoriety) the Hellknights recognize the intruders as important to the rebellion and risk their position to try to take them out.

Yeah... I had noticed that too... the book directly contradicts itself so I removed the monologuing because I found it to be silly. The Hellknights are there as the keep is an important location in the city and therefore it's being defended instead of the castle itself because, well, keeps are designed as a final defensive area.

The players have no idea that Jackdaw is there.

I like the idea of the Hellknights pursuing the group out into the street. Even if they teleport away, I can have a squad go out there to hunt down sympathizers (especially since an Inquisition! event is happening on the same day, so that will feel more connected).

Zipding wrote:
...send another troop or two to reinforce the keep the next time the party arrives. Inquisitors would probably work better than regular dottari due to the nature of the prisoners there.

I'll likely do this as well, depending on how things play out... Having some inquisitors in there make sense (but I learned after the fight with the dottari troops on the bridge that individual enemies last longer than the troop groups).

Thank you, both of you, for your suggestions.


I'd recommend that they substitute in a Hell Knight Signifier. It shows that they adapted to the aborted assault. And it varies the combat significantly by adding spell casting to an all-martial set of defenders. Since they likely don't have many of them, and your PCs probably haven't encountered them yet, it will be a nice surprise when the gal in breastplate armor starts casting!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Signifer, not signifier. :-)


roguerouge wrote:
I'd recommend that they substitute in a Hell Knight Signifier. It shows that they adapted to the aborted assault. And it varies the combat significantly by adding spell casting to an all-martial set of defenders. Since they likely don't have many of them, and your PCs probably haven't encountered them yet, it will be a nice surprise when the gal in breastplate armor starts casting!

OH!!

I like the idea of using them!


Warped Savant wrote:
Latrecis wrote:

The AP is pretty confused on this point - Jackdaw's imprisonment is important enough for Barzillai to "monologue" about it in front of both Jilia and Shensen (see p.9 SoS) but somehown neither he nor Kyrre "realizes Jackdaw is a significant figure to the rebellion." (p. 29 SoS) ???

Did the Hellknights see or otherwise notice the pc's? If so, I suggest they would pursue the rebels into the streets. If you wanted you could do a notoriety check and if it succeeds (lower than the Silver Ravens notoriety) the Hellknights recognize the intruders as important to the rebellion and risk their position to try to take them out.

Yeah... I had noticed that too... the book directly contradicts itself so I removed the monologuing because I found it to be silly. The Hellknights are there as the keep is an important location in the city and therefore it's being defended instead of the castle itself because, well, keeps are designed as a final defensive area.

The players have no idea that Jackdaw is there.

Out of curiosity - why are the pc's attacking the keep if they don't know Jackdaw is there?


Latrecis wrote:
Out of curiosity - why are the pc's attacking the keep if they don't know Jackdaw is there?

Because they know the Hellknights use it as their seat of power.

Kyrre killed a friend of one of the PCs during the prologue and came out at the end of the opening scene of book 1 swinging at peasants.

They've been wanting to get their hands on her for a long time.


Congratulations! That's always rewarding as a DM when PCs feel a grudge.

I plan on having a PC's father and mother be evicted from their family home, with the HKs forcing them out of their home bearing eminent domain documentation signed by Tiarise Izoni. I'm thinking for something suitably egotistical... the new Barzillai Thrune gladiatorial arena with House Thrune museum and cultural center right there on the premises.


My group is roughly halfway through clearing out the temple (but haven't explored the main floor at all and have only explored 2/3rds of the balcony. They went in through the upper door and I've had waves coming to them whenever they start to take too long/get too comfortable rather than having the enemies wait around to be killed.)

I'm trying to figure out who should be moving towards the PCs and who should be waiting in the central nave.
What are everyone's thoughts?

So far I've had the 3 Bone Devils come upstairs as well as the skinsaw cultists and the jorogumo. The Rakshasa has joined the group (even though he's not healed of his level drain) because a player selected to make a Rakshasa-blooded tiefling and why wouldn't his grandfather help in the fight even if he's weakened? (I have the Rakshasa not evil.)
Oh, and Aluceda has already been taken care of.

I figure that Zella and her people will be coming next and possibly the Gardner with the priests that were hanging out in their rooms (E14).
That would clear out all (?) of the mobile enemies in the temple, leaving Corinstian, 5 piriests, 5 devils, Thrune, and the serpent of darkness in the central nave with a few of the rooms to the sides still occupied. With the central nave being the final fight (as I'm fairly certain they'll kill off all of the mobile enemies before going up against the high priest) my thought is that Thrune should be in the central nave so that it feels like the final fight rather than clean up.

Opinions? Other suggestions? Anyone that you can think of that should either run away or flip sides and fight the good fight?
Is there a point when the people in the central nave stop what they're doing and start hunting the group down? I figure they're trusting in the Gardener, Zella, and the others around the perimeter to do and will keep focusing on the ritual.


I want to have an attack on Old Kintargo encounter. (Rationale below) What forces could team Barzillai muster for such an attack? I assume a few troops of dottari? They could have a group of Order of the Rack Hell Knights. Maybe they'd pull the troop of inquisitors from the Hall of Records?

Rationale: It just seems to fit thematically in a Les Miserables kind of way. Plus, it would provide a rationale for why Team Barzillai holes up for much of the rest of the encounters. Their proactive elements are only an attack on the HQ and blockading the bridge.

Also, I plan on cutting Missions 1 and 3.


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roguerouge wrote:

I want to have an attack on Old Kintargo encounter. (Rationale below) What forces could team Barzillai muster for such an attack? I assume a few troops of dottari? They could have a group of Order of the Rack Hell Knights. Maybe they'd pull the troop of inquisitors from the Hall of Records?

Rationale: It just seems to fit thematically in a Les Miserables kind of way. Plus, it would provide a rationale for why Team Barzillai holes up for much of the rest of the encounters. Their proactive elements are only an attack on the HQ and blockading the bridge.

Also, I plan on cutting Missions 1 and 3.

What would probably make the most sense is to have Tombus lead it since he's supposed to raid the Lucky Bones. You could just restructure that encounter to him trying to burn Old Kintargo to the ground.

Tiarise is also just camping in the Records Hall because she's finishing up a ritual to turn her into an undead which will happen in the final part of the adventure.

I see the other major lieutenants such as Kyrre and Corinstian staying in one place because having your generals or lieutenants on the field of battle can very quickly lead to a loss of battlefield control. They're organizing where those forces are being sent and the missions to take them out are attempting to kill the snake by removing the head from the various organizations that support Thrune. Thrune is also ensuring that the places of power he holds are being defended by his strongest soldiers to reduce the chance of losing those holdings to the Silver Ravens, it's why Trex is on Bleakbridge instead of going through the streets.

I have a different random table built in which the party can run across skirmishes in the streets and other elements which would definitely happen during a battle in a city. You could edit the one in the book to include something like that. Other things in my table include encountering a building on fire, a Rivozair flyby, stumbling across a significant ally like Cassius or Octavio, and various patrols from groups of Thrune supporters like the Hellknights.


roguerouge wrote:
I plan on cutting Missions 1 and 3.

Good call! (I left mission 1 in because I liked how Strea was used an a player knew her from before Thrune came to town and I moved mission 3 to book 5 by smashing it together with the Greenbriar Fetters).

As for attacking Old Kintago, I'd use Tombus and his gang attacking a highly frequented place of the group (I had him go after Setrona and the Tooth & Nail instead of having him attack the Lucky Bones), a group of hellknights going after Captain Cassius Sargaeta ship for crimes against the crown (possibly made up, but the government have likely noticed he's not completely on their side anymore... maybe have Thrune attempt to send him away in an earlier book and he refuses? Maybe the captain helps during the end of book 3?). Hellknight Signifer's are a nice and creepy thing to add in... Dottari going after Vespam Artisans if the group connected with the place at all Dottari going through and shutting down inn, pubs, etc as "they're spreading sedition"... Maybe have Thrune try to outlaw alcohol?
Iudeimus Tenement might be a "den of thieves" so the dottari can go after Nurla Botve. (Could be targeted as I assume the family of the twins' that were rescued from the Lucky Bones are very pro-Ravens).


What is the status quo of the temple prior to it being locked up prior to this? What would PCs encounter if they try to access early?

I assume just lots of priests and the column of hellfire in the centre (have I read correctly that you have to fly or teleport to get above the ground floor?)


I'd assume it would be similar to how it is written in book 4 but without the clerics and devils doing an evil ritual.
Column of hellfire is still in the middle (book discusses how to shut that down), there's likely some priests, clerics, and worshipers doing their things, guards or something looking on from the balcony, possibly Thrune working in his little corner, Aluceda is probably around somewhere, same with Corinstain. If you don't want your group going in their and causing havoc I'd suggest having a fairly notable force to dissuade them as soon as they enter/before they start causing problems.
It's written so that you can take what's discussed and use it as you want if the group gets there early. (The entry for the Mercane, for example, talks about what he's selling and his techniques. It's doubtful the group would sneak in and then try to buy things from him so why would they list that, if not to prepare you for if the group infiltrates the place earlier than the start of the ritual.)

There's two sets of stairs to get up to the upper floor but they're behind doors that aren't accessible to the general public.
If your group tries to force their way past then that's when the erinyes' in the special collections library, a couple of hellknights, and at least one of Thrune's higher-ups should get involved.
Oh, and anyone that sees the group should get to roll versus their notoriety... there's a high chance your group would be recognized unless they take great care to conceal who they are.


Here's the likely PC responses to a defend the Old Kintargo fort scenario and my best guess for adjudicating them. You could do a skill challenge or simply a single organizational or skill check to determine success vs. failure.

Preparation montage:
Identify fortifications weak points: Security check, Knowledge engineering, Profession: soldier, Survival
Wall repair: Special Action check, Profession/Craft (stonemasonry), Knowledge: Engineering.
Internal defenses (fallback locations, choke points, traps): Secrecy check, Craft, Diplomacy, Knowledge: Local
Militia Drilling (forming militia troops?): Security check, Intimidate, CMB, Profession: Soldier, Sense Motive, Perform oratory,
Foraging for supplies: Earn Gold action, Survival, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Profession (varies: cook, armorer, weapon smith, etc.)
Logistics and Support training: Influence check, Heal, Knowledge Local
Counter Thrune sabotage: As Traitor event
Sabotage action targets: poison/spoil food, siege weapons, free beast animals and steal war horses, steal/ruin ammo and munitions
Spread disinformation uses: spread false orders

What I'm not certain about is how to adjudicate the bonuses/penalties for such events. What would you do for the impact of succeeding or failing at such actions?


So, random question: What exactly does Tiarise do? Officially, that is. I understand that she's there because she's a powerful ally, but as far as a governmental job, what is her reason for even being a part of Kintargo? Like how Barzillai is Lord-Mayor, Nox is his bodyguard, Kyrre is lictor for the Rack, Grivenner is high priest, and so forth, but Tiarise is just...kinda there...for no reason.

The same could be asked about Zella Zidlii, but she's a worshiper of Asmodeus in the temple to him, so that's kinda self-explanatory.


She is in the records hall. So presumably there was some kind of administrative position there before thrune. It is not clear who it was

If you are asking what such an administrator would do I am not sure. If it involves people’s records it could be anything from taxes to licences (businesses , marriages etc)
Cheliax is supposed to be one hell of a bureaucracy (...i’ll get my coat)


Tiarise has one of the most important jobs for messing with the PCs in my campaign. She can foreclose on their loved ones' houses, having "lost" the mortgage papers. She can determine that there's no record of a safety inspection of their business and fine them. She can determine that they are improperly zoned as a business and close it. She holds the titles for the nobility. (Note that House Thrune has a record of tossing noble families that don't toe the line sufficiently out--let alone Barzillai's record of setting the Victocoras on fire!) I'd argue that the Hall of Records also functions as the IRS in Cheliax. You may pay city hall your taxes, but you file them with the Hall of Records.

So, when my PC monk wanted to start a dojo, he had to get everything in order with the Hall of Records. That led to a nice little scene with Tiarise, who sees things from different dimensions while talking to him calmly about his upcoming tests of fitness and the paperwork for his dojo.


My interpretation is: Tiarise is Barzillai's personal ally, she has no official role in the government. She's his "fixer." So she stirs up trouble in the Devil's Nursery. And she's messing with the Hall of Records. Why is that?

Again, my interpretation: whenever the noble families complain or raise an issue such as with Barzillai's proclamations, he responds by threatening a full investigation into their affairs. And she's also using the Hall to track down the Board of Governors. As the AP explains (TKC, p.5) the most significant threat to Barzillai's plan (as he sees it before the rise of the Silver Ravens) is Abrogail and her ilk - who have no interest in him becoming a proto-demi-god thing residing Cheliax. So the Kintargo Contract is valuable to him for the same reason it's valuable to the Silver Ravens. A properly ratified Lord-Mayor (either himself or perhaps Jilia - isn't it convenient he kept her around?) can tell Abrogail to go pound sand. Her research into the Board of Governors is also something I can tip to the pc's via rumor, etc. to help foreshadow the Kintargo Contract.


Well, the only thing I can find on what Tiarise does from the viewpoint of the public is that she “has taken up the mantle of attendant here [in the Records Hall].” And as far as I can find, the Records Hall is just that: an archive of historical records, so the IRS thing doesn’t really make much sense, especially since I made another faction-ish group within Kintargo that takes care of that stuff. Although, I could make her in charge of the renovation and respective gentrification of many neighborhoods in Kintargo (one of my players is a half-orc skald who had to move to Redroof due to gentrification), the thing is...I only have a very vague grasp on what gentrification actually is...If someone more knowledgeable than I could explain it in simpler terms than Wikipedia does I’d be very appreciative.

*

For any curious: the faction that I was referring to is made up of those redactor monks from Book 1. The Committee for the Revision of Inaccurate Documents to Accurate Chelish History, or CRIDACH. The head of the committee is an aasimar monk named Eurleus who’s an Iroran warrior from Isger (in truth, she’s a worshiper of Geryon, the archdevil of lies, which explains the committee’s real purpose of redacting Kintargo’s history to suit Barzillai’s whims). I made it so that the redactors from Book 1 wouldn’t just be a one-and-done.

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