A Song of Silver (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

201 to 250 of 459 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

KingTreyIII wrote:
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.

Perilous social commentary follows. Gentrification is a conceptual process referring to an influx of wealth and different (often higher social class, middle class, etc.) social norms into a neighborhood. The outcome is both pushing lower class (less wealthy) people and businesses out of the area and remaking its cultural and social structures in favor of the wealthier, "invading" cultural and social norms. It's often triggered by economic expansion and just as often enabled by political/government programs though gentrification is rarely the stated goal of such programs. (Some/many politicians may have it as an unspoken goal. Or may be unconsciously biased toward such goals.) Short version: rich/middle-class people move in, poor people are forced out by cost changes (property and rents go up, etc.) and the nature of the neighborhood changes. Some view the process as destructive or oppressive. Certainly the lower class people forced to move, who may have lived in the area for generations, view it unfavorably.

Perilous game commentary follows. Gentrification is an odd theme to introduce into a role-playing game focused on heroic action since even if there were moral, "in game" demands to oppose it, the mechanisms to do so will be far from the abilities of Pathfinder pc's. And on a timeline that doesn't really fit the adventure motif. Gentrification takes years to accomplish and would take years to reverse or thwart.

Even more perilous game commentary follows. Kintargo is not a good place for a Gentrification narrative given it already has stratified neighborhoods and no evidence of economic expansion that would drive "acquisition" of additional space by middle or upper-class residents. Indeed the city is currently economically depressed due to martial law. There already is a gated community for the upper class "the Greens" and highly educated area "Villegre" on one side of the river and lower class, entertainment districts on the other side, complete with a ghetto for the truly disadvantaged (Devil's Nursery.) And government and religious sectors (Castle and Temple districts) to tightly regulate these areas.


Thanks for that! Guess I’m just gonna have to keep thinking, then.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Once again, I need some advice:

So, anyone remember that half-succubus worshiper of Mestama, Natsiel? Due to the interesting fact that my group already had to do a storyline involving a small sect of Mestama worshipers in the last AP I ran, I felt obligated to change the encounter completely so it wouldn't feel redundant to my players.

Now, I actually remade her into a worshiper of Belial and changed the Green Hags into Sire Devils (which just so happens to have the same CR as an Advanced Fiendish Green Hag) and it actually incorporates into the situation quite well, with one little catch: the ritual.

As written, Natsiel and her coven are performing a ritual to raise their fallen sister as a witchfire (CR 9), but when it comes to my re-write, I'm honestly quite stuck. I'd rather keep the CR numbers the same, so does anyone have any recommendations as to what the ritual would create? I currently have two options:

1) That Natsiel is bringing it back with a +2 CR template
2) Natsiel is essentially playing God by messing around with the sire devil's quintessence in order to transform it into a different kind of outsider (similar to what Pit Fiends do with Lemure devils)


There's not a lot of great options in the devil area. There's a bone devil, with the right CR but which was just featured in the conclusion of book 3. That's not going to panic the party! A barbed devil is CR 11 and I'm not sure that jailer devil really fits what you're looking for, unless you want it to help them mass produce tieflings or something? Advanced Amaimon Devil (interrogator, Tome of Horrors Complete, a 3P source often used by Paizo) could be handy for finding out new people to corrupt.


Are you looking for them to create a super-seducer, or some other theme?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A couple ideas that both simply skip the idea she's trying to raise or uplift a dead minion. My view of the encounter is that the pc's are "expected" to encounter her mid-ceremony so what she's trying to create (as published - a witchfire) doesn't matter too much unless the pc's are foolish. Even if the pc's don't make the knowledge check to recognize exactly what she's doing - leaving a succubus and a couple hags to complete a ritual of some sort in a former temple to Saranrae should be something the Silver Ravens oppose on general and urgent principle.

1. She's trying to consecrate (desecrate?) the entire facility as a Temple to Belial. Pending your campaigns level of darkness, she is going to sacrifice Hetamon as part of the process. If she's successful, Barzillai gets +20 Authority Points and the Silver Ravens cannot take over the respective district without reconsecrating the facility to Saranrae. Or perhaps Milani. Or another good deity your pc's favor. This will take them precious time, time they will not be spending dealing with Barzillai's reprisals or tackling other districts.

2. She's trying to uplift (?) herself. She's sacrificing Hetamon to become more powerful. Some kind of devil or mythic tier or something else truly horrible. If you need an answer tell them she's trying to become a pit fiend. Again the purpose is to get the pc's to react with: Holy Crap! We need to stop her right now! Note: this is a theme in another AP

Spoiler:
Rise of the Runelords.

Or both.


@Latrecis: I'd personally prefer to keep it as a "lifting a dead minion" thing.

roguerouge wrote:
Are you looking for them to create a super-seducer, or some other theme?

Oddly enough, I was thinking about giving the sire devil the Animus Shade template, but considering its corporeal combat-oriented feats and me making Natsiel into a mesmerist, that would work against her.

As for the outsider department, it doesn't necessarily have to be a devil, just something easily minion-able, maybe even backfiring into an outsider that wasn't expected, like a daemon or an asura.


I have a couple of issues regarding Vadoma Gall in the additional NPC section. It says in her tactics that she casts Charm Monster even though it's not on her spell list and is part of her opposition school. Also, I saw someone mention she was in Legacy of Fire, but I can't seem to confirm that.


My PCs defeated Barzillai and he narrowly escaped to Egorian thanks to his ring of teleportation. Right now they're going through the process of shutting down the infernal engines and 'exorcising' the empty temple, so to speak (they haven't been in the belfry yet... surprises await! :) )

How long do they have before the House of Thrune or the rest of Cheliax come knocking?

(disclaimer: haven't read books 5 and 6 yet)


GM PDK wrote:

My PCs defeated Barzillai and he narrowly escaped to Egorian thanks to his ring of teleportation. Right now they're going through the process of shutting down the infernal engines and 'exorcising' the empty temple, so to speak (they haven't been in the belfry yet... surprises await! :) )

How long do they have before the House of Thrune or the rest of Cheliax come knocking?

(disclaimer: haven't read books 5 and 6 yet)

I believe that it's the introduction to book 3 that explains that the Queen is doing an "all hands on deck" situation with the Glorious Reclamation, and is as such unable to lend Barzillai the support of the crown that he likely needs. By the start of Book 3 Barzillai is on his own and can't count on his family to bail him out.

But if you're talking about when Barzillai comes back from Egorian, that's mostly up to the GM but I think the last encounter (where Barzillai would come back) has some recommendations for that.


GM PDK wrote:
How long do they have before the House of Thrune or the rest of Cheliax come knocking?

As King Trey III said, Bazzy comes back and attacks during the Silver Span Celebration.


How do people’s groups usually react to defeating a villain and them teleporting away before they kill them

I would expect a full on rebellion from mine but then again they are not used to high level play when those kind of tactics are common

They weren’t pleased by the book 1 ending but hopefully they lays the expectation. No idea how they will react to be honest

At times it is almost like some players don’t expect villains to be as tactically savvy as they are (but again this is what probably from the viewpoint of people who mostly play at lower levels)

Shadow Lodge

Lanathar wrote:

How do people’s groups usually react to defeating a villain and them teleporting away before they kill them

I would expect a full on rebellion from mine

How fortunate that they've been practicing!

But seriously, they're high enough level to have access to dimensional anchor at this point, and having been frustrated by these tactics before, should think to pick it. If they haven't, drop a hint about it in the leadup to the Temple raid. If they don't pick up on it, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Barzy comes back shortly anyway.


Personally, I wouldn't have a villain teleport away only to show up shortly after to be defeated. (Nox is different as her doing it leads to further story. Barzillai doing it just leads to "Okay, a week later there's a huge celebration, Bazzy crashes the party and, oh look, he's dead now.")
As a player it seems like a let-down, as a GM it seems like a waste of time.


I think it might depend on how the combat goes. I might hold it in reserve. It there is a couple of lucky rolls that makes it look like he will go down in 1 or 2 rounds I might have it kick in

Pathfinder struggled with epic boss battles (solo villain or not) as unlike the movies they are usually over in 30-60 seconds. I am not sure there is a solution to this


I don't think I'll have him come back right away. He will bide his time a little longer.


Don't forget that the PCs can't really do much to progress the story until he's dead.


Warped Savant wrote:

Personally, I wouldn't have a villain teleport away only to show up shortly after to be defeated. (Nox is different as her doing it leads to further story. Barzillai doing it just leads to "Okay, a week later there's a huge celebration, Bazzy crashes the party and, oh look, he's dead now.")

As a player it seems like a let-down, as a GM it seems like a waste of time.

That's my reasoning too. I'd rather save the "recurring villain through teleport"-schtick to where it furthers the story. And seeing as he knows getting killed right there in the temple would still let his plans come into fruition, albeit at an additional, unpleasant, price, he might as well fight until he drops. Him NOT teleporting away, even though he had the means to, would actually serve the story better; as it could make the characters really suspicious... as opposed to how meta-suspicous the players will get by offing the BBEG in book four.

(And if he would teleport away, he shouldn't be returning for another spanking by the PCs. They've defeated him once, they could do it again, especially with all their friends with them. Instead his plan B should consist of scrounging up another polymorph any object, apply it to himself, set up a nice little trust fund and move into a comfortable house in Kintrago. There he could live out the rest of his days in anonymity under Silver Raven protection, until it was time to Genius Loci-up the place. Then again, villains and logic rarely mix in any medium, including APs...)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The issue with having Barzillai live in a house until he becomes a genius loci is that his self-loathing and ego will not let him do it. Him losing Kintargo while still alive would murder any reputation or power he has in Egorian because that would be a public failure and he would definitely be stricken from the Chelish history books. Remember, the main reason for Barzillai wanting to become a genius loci is because he would leave nothing in any Chelish history book and that terrifies him. Barzillai is intelligent, but he is still a very emotional person and his actions can be explained by falling into one of his many flaws.

Teleporting away and coming back is a method for him to regain Kintargo, wipe out all forms of insurgency (there's so many Silver Ravens and supporters at the ceremony), and regain any lost reputation in Egorian. Him dying in the first battle would also mean that he would "live" the rest of his life being tormented in Hell until his apotheosis, which would be an incredibly unpleasant experience. The main reason he begins to change into a genius loci in the last book is because there is a clause in his contract with Mephistopheles which kicks off that apotheosis if Cheliax cedes control of Ravounel, something he cannot guarantee anyone who kills him will do. Losing many of his allies (including Corinstian and Aluceda) is definitely a setback, but with the element of surprise he can get the drop on the people celebrating since they would not be expecting an attack at a celebration like this. Especially because the general populace think he's defeated and won't come back anytime soon. If Rivozair is still alive, this could really lead to the city's leadership falling apart and allowing Barzillai to swoop in and take control again.


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

The word loci is plural. The singular is locus. Just sayin'. :-)


Ed Reppert wrote:
The word loci is plural. The singular is locus. Just sayin'. :-)

In the actual English language that is the case, but with respect to genius loci specifically, it is both the singular and plural.

Breaking the Bones of Hell (pg. 66) wrote:
”Similar to the path of becoming a lich, the route to becoming a genius loci varies...”

Emphasis: mine.

And, frankly, I agree with Razcar. Barzillai is a complex person who wouldn’t dare let anything slip through his grasp. Frankly, the first time the PCs fight him they could very well fight him alone, which is far out of his comfort zone (teamwork feats and solo tactics). However, when he confronts the PCs later, not only does he have time to buff, but he brings a f***ing battalion! The PCs have to play by his rules. This could lead to a vastly different combat where the PCs have to balance between Barzillai, his cohorts, and not harming the populace in the process!

Personally, I did a rewrite that states that, if she dies, Rivozair transforms into a young adult Infernal Dragon with the Degenerate template (but not the devilbound template) and if she dies in that form then her soul is truly damned to Hell—so that she will definitely appear alongside Barzillai in that final battle (because my players are power gamers and I’m an a**hole!).


If Barzillai was willing to live out the rest of his life pretending to be someone else while under the rule of the Silver Ravens (or, more precisely, whoever ends up being elected to be in charge of Ravounel), then the entire AP wouldn't have happened in the first place.
He's an egomaniac. If he wasn't then he wouldn't have taken control of Kintargo and he simply would've moved there and lived out his life in quiet solitude until he died and became a genius loci.


Warped Savant wrote:
He's an egomaniac.

Eh, I'd say it's more accurate to call him a megalomaniac. Barzillai is, deep down, extremely self-critical and insecure (though he would be last to ever admit it), but he more than a little obsessed with power and having it. It's like he hates the pedestal he's on so he lowers everybody else's in order to feel better about himself, but if he loses the power to do so then he has to face what he is: insecure. And he can't handle that. It's a typical Asmodean (and Kuthite) teaching--not that the strong do dominate the weak, but that the strong must dominate the weak.

Whoa...where did that come from...?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The loci in genius loci is the genitive singular of locus, actually, as in "the spirit of the place".


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
KingTreyIII wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
The word loci is a plural. The singular is locus. Just sayin'. :-)

In the actual English language that is the case, but with respect to genius loci specifically, it is both the singular and plural.

Hm. According to Wikipedia, the plural of "genius loci" is "genii loci". My Latin is apparently not good enough, because I can't figure out what's going on with "loci" in this term. <shrug> No matter.


Warped Savant wrote:

If Barzillai was willing to live out the rest of his life pretending to be someone else while under the rule of the Silver Ravens (or, more precisely, whoever ends up being elected to be in charge of Ravounel), then the entire AP wouldn't have happened in the first place.

He's an egomaniac. If he wasn't then he wouldn't have taken control of Kintargo and he simply would've moved there and lived out his life in quiet solitude until he died and became a genius loci.

Yes of course, If villains in our good vs. evil stories had their acts all together they would (usually) succeed. Instead the heroes put up enough of an opposition (or in some, like Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, not much at all really) to let the villains fail themselves, due to their lack of whatever morality/ability the story wants to teach us is good to have.

I buy that and enjoy those kind of stories. But that doesn't mean you can't change up these hollywoodisms a bit (especially when we're in a form where we're not just readers of the story, but we are an actual part of it, as it were). Have the PCs succeed due to their own strengths rather than just having Barzillais' megalomania/egomania and (literal) impotence sink his boat. I don't want to change him, since he's a great villain, just make him a little smarter, a little stronger, or at least not make the PCs win only because his flaws made him stupid, and the story might at least become better suited to my table's particular tastes.

So his plan A is to take over Ravounel and have some fun (read indulge in his sociopathy while imposing his rule) until he can become ingrained into the land itself for eternity, and thus never be forgotten. His plan B should really be removing that first part, since the last part is much more important to him. Otherwise, in my opinion, he just becomes too weak and yielding. I don’t want my players to feel like they were just spectators to the rise and fall of Barzillai Thrune, both by his own making.

Amyway, what Zipding points at here (which I have missed in my readings of the books, I thought the loci-mation was a done deal. Maybe I should spend more time reading the actual story than thinking of how I can change it!) does show that the AP explains his desperation, along with why he just doesn’t slack away until genius loci day:

Zipding wrote:
The main reason he begins to change into a genius loci in the last book is because there is a clause in his contract with Mephistopheles which kicks off that apotheosis if Cheliax cedes control of Ravounel, something he cannot guarantee anyone who kills him will do.

But if you have think about Asmodeus' perspective, as he's the one really behind it all, this can, in my opinion, be fine-tuned a bit. Asmodeus wants to show the Thrunes who's da boss. This he can accomplish in two ways, either Barzi turns Ravounel into hell-on-Golarion, which is nice, or the Silver Ravens turns Ravounel into a CG happy hippie-land, which would probably vex Abrogail even more and (hopefully) be even a better lesson. Asmodeus wants Barzillai to become so powerful that Abrogail can't do anything but eat humble pie, or foster the PCs into becoming similar forces.

So I think I’ll take this clause away, and to explain why B just doesn't live out his days pruning petunias in Villegre, I will change the genius loci ritual to require the caster to have left as big a mark in the region as possible, to be talked about, to be as in/famous and as much in the minds and on the tongues of the populace as possible. The more famous he becomes, the shorter the time he would have spend in hell. This was what I intended to add before Zipding educated me anyway, since I wanted a better explanation for B not just waiting than him just being totally bonkers. This addition/change is also due to me wanting to kill two birds with one stone, as my players are really obsessed with his crazy proclamations (they keep coming back to "but how does this explain the MINT BAN?") and I feel the proclamations need a larger and (IMO) better payoff than Barzi's lack of theraphy for his childhood traumas, seeing how much my players fret over it.


Razcar wrote:
...I will change the genius loci ritual to require the caster to have left as big a mark in the region as possible...

I've made the same change in my game because, yeah, otherwise it becomes a question of why didn't he just do the ritual and then live out his life in Kintargo? (Sure, the answer is because he's crazy and thinks he's all powerful, but that's boring.)

The more powerful the person is in life, the more powerful of a genius loci they are when they first 'ascend' so he'd want as much power as possible while alive.

As for the proclamations, since I'm just about to get to the reasons next session, I've fleshed them out a little so that the PCs will see Thrune doing bad things when they look at the portals but when they pass through them and fail their saves (or take the sin into themselves) they'll see the reasons he's like that. The things that happened to him will be (mostly) common enough (eg: pet having to be put down) but he takes it and twists it into something terrible.

Example:
C1: Hall of Penitents; the PCs will see Barzillai dissecting his sisters cat when they inspect the portal but when they pass through they'll see him being even younger and crying as his dog is put down due to having an illness.

Except for the mint one... I have to change that so that it's something bigger than the reason given. I'm thinking he spilled mint tea on his mother (or perhaps played a prank using mint? Anyone have any ideas?) but as a punishment they forced him to have an excessive amount of mint on everything, especially birthday cakes and the like.


Warped Savant wrote:
Except for the mint one... I have to change that so that it's something bigger than the reason given. I'm thinking he spilled mint tea on his mother (or perhaps played a prank using mint? Anyone have any ideas?) but as a punishment they forced him to have an excessive amount of mint on everything, especially birthday cakes and the like.

I'd say that's more appropriate to answer in the Book 6 GM discussion.

As for the "Why didn't Barzillai do the smart thing and..." argument, I'd say that this is a decent enough plothole that we need the man himself (James Jacobs) to clarify. Sits down, waiting for Jacobs

I feel like he answered this question already (as to why Barzillai didn't just live the rest of his life peacefully as a citizen of Kintargo), but I'm spacing out on where it was. I'll look around the forums and see if I can find it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

KingTreyIII wrote:
As for the "Why didn't Barzillai do the smart thing and..." argument, I'd say that this is a decent enough plothole that we need the man himself (James Jacobs) to clarify. Sits down, waiting for Jacobs

The easiest reason is this: He didn't because his ego wouldn't let him (and because doing so would have resulted in a genius loci that would have been born out of that tradition—a genius loci that would be entirely passive and have no real effect on the world. I doubt he'd even be able to become a genius loci at ALL even if he'd taken this route, or if he did, no one would notice, and thus no adventure path would have happened, and your PCs who would have become heroes as a result would instead live and die as forgotten nobodies. ;-P Which brings me to the practical real-world reason he doesn't just sit around and live a peaceful citizen:

Because that's a pretty boring villain to do a 6-part adventure path about.


...... Checks watch 20 minutes. That was....wow. I didn't actually expect that quick of an answer. Thanks, James!


Warped Savant wrote:


Except for the mint one... I have to change that so that it's something bigger than the reason given. I'm thinking he spilled mint tea on his mother (or perhaps played a prank using mint? Anyone have any ideas?) but as a punishment they forced him to have an excessive amount of mint on everything, especially birthday cakes and the like.

Nothing says you're a star like banning things just because you can. Almost every music star has something like this in their contract. (It's only sometimes slipped into riders as a test to ensure that the venue actually read the contract so that the venue will be safe and fit the actual needs of the performance.)


roguerouge wrote:
Nothing says you're a star like banning things just because you can. Almost every music star has something like this in their contract.

Yeah, but my players have been focused on it since we started the campaign. They used mint in books 3 and 4 as a way to harass Barzillai. I think them learning that he hates it because his parents used it as a way to torment him will have a stronger impact than learning he banned it simply because he could.


James Jacobs wrote:

Which brings me to the practical real-world reason he doesn't just sit around and live a peaceful citizen:

Because that's a pretty boring villain to do a 6-part adventure path about.

In my campaign, he was able to t-port to Egorian *just* after the PCs got him to 5 hp. Rivozair is dead (with the head exploded in a million pieces by the party's psychic...); all major NPCs have survived or have been resurrected; the nobility has been swayed to utter loyalty to the Silver Council by Shensen over in the days that followed the retaking of the city.

Goal: I want to have him strike back after two weeks' time but in a non-suicidal way. I'm looking for general suggestions, for example, he could bring a diversion so as to have a chance against the PCs, etc. No details necessary: just general strategies and I'd fill the blanks. However remember that the PCs, at full strength and after leveling up, will clearly overpower him, but I don't feel like pulling a cheap trick like attack them in their beds, which would be impossible with the Silver Raven army they've accumulated (i.e. not all the goons are sleeping or stupid; especially with the large majority of them being rogues, spies and infiltrators, etc.)


GM PDK wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Which brings me to the practical real-world reason he doesn't just sit around and live a peaceful citizen:

Because that's a pretty boring villain to do a 6-part adventure path about.

In my campaign, he was able to t-port to Egorian *just* after the PCs got him to 5 hp. Rivozair is dead (with the head exploded in a million pieces by the party's psychic...); all major NPCs have survived or have been resurrected; the nobility has been swayed to utter loyalty to the Silver Council by Shensen over in the days that followed the retaking of the city.

Goal: I want to have him strike back after two weeks' time but in a non-suicidal way. I'm looking for general suggestions, for example, he could bring a diversion so as to have a chance against the PCs, etc. No details necessary: just general strategies and I'd fill the blanks. However remember that the PCs, at full strength and after leveling up, will clearly overpower him, but I don't feel like pulling a cheap trick like attack them in their beds, which would be impossible with the Silver Raven army they've accumulated (i.e. not all the goons are sleeping or stupid; especially with the large majority of them being rogues, spies and infiltrators, etc.)

If there are any other major lieutenants still alive (like Aluceda, Corinstian, Tombus, Kyrre, Trex), have them come with Barzy to bolster numbers. You can also have him return with a pile of summoned devils like erinyes, barbed devils, even ice devils teleporting onto the main stage during the celebration. If the Hellknights are still an ally, you can have Barzy come back with a troop of them, or even just troops he took from Egorian. Leading up to the celebration, Thrune could also meet with sympathetic nobles like the Delronge and Sarini households to get their personal guards to help during the attack.

Barzillai's stock in Egorian has certainly dropped because the very thing he was supposed to prevent happened and he lost, but he still might be able to get some minor support from Abrogail just before she turns her attention to retaking Westcrown from the Glorious Reclamation. Although because of the situation, the support he would get is minimal at best and more likely to be nothing. He is fairly charismatic - at least in my build of him - and he might be able to convince some people within Egorian to help him retake Kintargo to provide services such as devil summoning or just being extra bodies.


Great suggestions Zipding, especially the Hellknight one. I was never 100% clear as to why the district encompassing Kintargo Keep can be considered 'retaken' with all those Hellknights back from the streets and regrouped in Castle Kintargo (albeit leaderless due to the PCs defeating their paralictor). The Song of Silver mission into that keep was somewhat of a sneak mission to get a valuable prisoner out if I remember correctly, i.e. not a decimation of all the soldiers in that keep.

Perhaps the Hellknights accompanying Barzillai can be from there? I wonder if I can find a handy mechanism to pit those Hellknight troops vs. the Silver Ravens troops in the backdrop or in juxtaposition with the Barzillai vs. PCs battle...

With Barzilla himself, I plan to bring the First Warden, due to the text at the end of its entry: "First Warden fights until destroyed, trusting that her phylactery will reform a new body a few days after her defeat. She doesn’t quite realize, though, that her phylactery is now stored in a long-forgotten vault deep under her family’s old estate in Egorian"


GM PDK wrote:
I wonder if I can find a handy mechanism to pit those Hellknight troops vs. the Silver Ravens troops in the backdrop or in juxtaposition with the Barzillai vs. PCs battle...

I believe there actually is one already. I think it's something along the lines of a DC 20 Security check every round or have citizens die (I personally am going to raise that DC to something more representative of Barzillai pulling out all of the stops).


Ed Reppert wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
The word loci is a plural. The singular is locus. Just sayin'. :-)

In the actual English language that is the case, but with respect to genius loci specifically, it is both the singular and plural.

Hm. According to Wikipedia, the plural of "genius loci" is "genii loci". My Latin is apparently not good enough, because I can't figure out what's going on with "loci" in this term. <shrug> No matter.

As Zaister mentioned above, loci in genius loci is the genitive singular: 'of a/the place'.

The Wikipedia entry is a bit misleading here, as the term arguably has two plurals. Genii loci has genii in the plural but keeps loci in the genitive singular, so it means 'spirits of (the) place'. You could use this to refer to multiple spirits protecting the same location. You could possibly also use genii loci as a general plural (in a similar way to how English 'spirits of place' can be used to refer to multiple spirits of this type without specifying the number of locations). However, a more precise alternative with both words in the plural is genii locorum, 'spirits of (the) places'.


So, when my party comes to the Temple of Asmodeus raid and going to the Devil's Bells, they're going to have a lot of issues since none of them rolled any arcane casters. Before I go any further, I am adapting this for 5e rather than Pathfinder.

The party is currently an Ancestral Guardian Barbarian, Swashbuckler Rogue, Arcane Cleric, and Hunter Ranger. I've already checked the additional spell list and the Arcane cleric doesn't get fly. Since the belfry is about 200 feet above the centre of the nave, how would this party be able to scale the cathedral to exorcise the bells?


Presumably, with grappling hooks.


tl;dr: Remove the enemies in the belfry and have NPCs deal with exorcising the bells.

Hidden for Length:
Honestly, I'd completely remove the encounter with the bells. (Still include the effects during the infiltration of the temple, but the encounter with the bells is, in my opinion, absolutely terrible.)

The reason I removed them:
The first four books lead up to (what should be) the final fight in the temple. But then the group goes up to the bells and there's a completely new, never before hinted at enemy up there that has done nothing for the previous 4 books.
And a stupidly complex ritual that needs to be done.
That... that seems weird. Why is the final fight the bells instead of everyone else in the temple? It usurps what should be the climax of the book with a challenge that will frustrate your players.

Let's take a look at what's to be done:
First, fight everyone in the temple and gain a major victory.
Second, go up to the bells and fight an unheard of bad guy and 4 cronies.
Figure out (somehow) that you have to cast a specific spell. (Hopefully you have it memorized otherwise you probably have to come back the next day, in which case the bad guy and his 4 cronies are back).
Fourth, know that you have to play a certain song on the bells and succeed at a Perform Percussion check (hopefully someone has it or they may fail and have to cast a specific spell again... which may involve coming back the next day again and, oh, fighting the bad guy and his 4 cronies again...) (NOTE: Shensen COULD'VE been useful here but she doesn't have Perform Percussion.)
Fifth, know to cast Dispel Evil and know that each of the bels need to be touched right away.
Sixth, everyone has 3 rounds to succeed at a group total of 5 different rolls, failing makes success even harder, failing by more than 5 summons 5 enemies that try to stop you from succeeding (hopefully the PCs touch the bells they haven't exorcised yet instead of fighting otherwise the bells reset and you have to start all over again...

If I were a player I'd HATE this entire encounter. As a GM I declined to put my group through this headache.

Now, to answer your question on how the group should deal with the encounter... Get rid of the enemies and the PCs can get their small army of NPCs (which should have clerics, wizards, and other useful people in it) to go up there and take the time to figure out how to exorcise the bells instead of running the players though it.
(But tell the players what's involved just to see the relief on their faces that you didn't make them do it themselves.)


Warped Savant wrote:

tl;dr: Remove the enemies in the belfry and have NPCs deal with exorcising the bells.

** spoiler omitted **...

I honestly like the encounter with Asmoden and the Devil’s Bells—I get that it comes out of left field, but so does the encounter with Natsiel and her hags.

Frankly, I like that it’s a representation of just how difficult it is to desecrate a sacred relic (er—consecrate a profane relic), which is FAR from an easy task!

That said, I can definitely understand if a GM would want to skip that encounter altogether.


KingTreyIII wrote:
...I get that it comes out of left field, but so does the encounter with Natsiel and her hags.

But there's a difference between a first encounter (or even an encounter in the middle) of a book coming out of nowhere and the final encounter in a book coming out of nowhere.

I like the idea of it being a challenge to consecrate the bells but I completely disagree with it being at the end of the book. And, unfortunately, it doesn't make sense to be anywhere else.
(Read: The PCs achieve a goal they've been working towards for a long time and instead of being able to celebrate that fact they have to do one last thing that they weren't expecting to have to do and it feels like a chore rather than a victory.)
If the last fight took place somewhere else (let's say the last 'dungeon' is Kintargo Castle instead of the church) then it wouldn't bother me so much. Let's say that taking out the church was something akin to taking over the Records' Hall or Kintargo Keep... something that they can go in, get rid of the people in the church and get the benefit of that and have the option to exorcise the bells in order to drain some of Thrune's strength I totally would've kept the bells in. That way the players can either do it before moving on or come back to it after celebrating their accomplishments.
But since the bells are in the final 'dungeon' it feels like you haven't really won until they've been dealt with and I strongly feel that finishing off the main fight of the book should feel like you've finally won.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I think it's definitely a little bit weird and it was a pain in the butt to run, but I disagree that there exists a big "last fight" in the temple really. The only two might be the nave, or fighting Barzillai. My group immediately tried to stop the ritual in the middle of the temple once they opened the doors, had an awesome nearly 20-round combat, ran away and came back. Then they came back in, found Barzillai's room, and fought him until he teleported away. Then they still had tons of the side rooms to clear, many of which I just handwaved because they had already had the two signature battles in the temple.

The real last fight of the book is Barzillai attacking the Silver Span during the celebration, which can only be accomplished by cleansing the temple, which certainly could be hand-waved, or altered to be mostly narrative. The main reason I kept Asmoden is because the players really messed around in the room that had his arm, and they were throwing it around and joking about the body parts in the cases. When they saw the one-armed Asmoden, they all had a nice moment of realization.


I would disagree with the assertion the Bell encounter comes out of nowhere. 1) The Bells feature prominently in the pc's encounters throughout the Temple of Asmodeus and 2) the Bells were foreshadowed as early as the player's guide where there is a specific Trait that relates to them (Pattern Seeker.) Rooms within the Temple make clear to the pc's something that should have been known to them anyway - this was once a Temple of Aroden - having undead Aroden priests that have been damned to serving Asmodeus only reinforces how awful the worship of Asmodeus actually is. The Ravens need to not just defeat Barzillai but break the grip of Asmodeus on the Temple (and by subtle implication, the city.) And as xrayregime said, neither the Bells nor a fight with Barzillai in the temple are the last encounter of the book - that happens on the Silver Span. Lastly, the psychic battles with the Bells give the pc's a few more chances to "fight" Barzillai.

I would also disagree with Warped Savant's assessment of the challenge - though there is an element of orchestration needed that calls for some system mastery. I thought about posting a step by step walkthrough with an assessment of difficulty but suspected that would not have a lot of interest. Suffice to say, Warped Savant's description is a worst case scenario. Note: one of the most important details is that it is a DC 35 Knowledge Arcana check to learn the details for defeating the bells and the Temple provides libraries that will give the pc's +14 to the check. Shouldn't be that hard for the Ravens to learn what they need to do.


You two are right. I am fairly hard on the bells because I really don't like how they were handled. They're mentioned in the Player's Guide and... when the PCs are in the temple at the end of book 4. I don't think there's another time they're discussed. I feel like they become one of those things that are easily forgotten and since they ring whenever they decide to they're a disappointing mystery to me.
When I ran the temple there was definitely a last fight. The group went in through the upper floor door, searched half the rooms before being found out, had to flee due to a temporary death in the group, and when they returned shortly after they pretty much headed straight to the center and fought the remaining Asmodeans. But if the group had kicked in the front door and fought everything at once then went around searching the temple then yes, the bells and dealing with them have a much different feel to them.
If the group had joked around with the arm I would've included Asmoden in the final fight. The image of him floating down out of the belfry seems like a pretty cool image.
The fight on the Silver Span is only the last fight of the book if Thrune and some cronies get away. (I'm not a fan of that whole thing either, but that's neither here nor there).
As for the challenge of the bells, I had forgotten/missed that there was something in the book saying how the players could figure out the correct steps in exorcising them. Knowing that makes it not as bad.
Also, my group not having someone that can cast Hallow pretty much guarantees that an NPC is being used to help.
But anyways, if it works for you, great. Use them. I decided not to and I'm happy with my decision.


It's always hard to disagree or suggest there is an alternate interpretation without suggesting someone is doing it wrong. Warped Savant, it sounds like you made a good decision for your table because it's how you saw the story and my contrarian comments weren't meant to imply you should have done it differently.

Also the point about NPC's helping is very important. Maybe I should have posted that detailed walkthrough because it's likely most groups are going to need help and not just the very practical kind zipping's group needs with simply getting to the belfry (on that: the Jann from Menador Gap gives the Ravens a carpet of flying... if they "rescue" him.) Hallow is a very good example: the AP suggests it as a primary action but it's not practical - it has a 24 hour casting time which means the undead rejuvenate before it's finished. Much better from a time perspective is consecrate, a 2nd level spell with a casting time of 1 standard action. But they need 5 of them which probably means two divine casters. Which I suspect most groups will not have. Now there should be plenty of NPC options - Hetamon, Zachrin Vhast (Shelyn) etc. But they'll need to be brought in and put at risk, etc.


It's all good, Latrecis; I didn't take your comments as saying I had done it wrong. Everyone's games are going to be different, and everyone's groups will enjoy different things. The bells are a case of me thinking my group would hate it but I think that's mostly based off of me being kind of a grumpy player (but I love GMing so I do that instead).

The options of spells require your group to have a cleric, oracle, druid, or inquisitor, of which my group had none of those so NPCs were going to be involved.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Oh yeah, absolutely Warped I feel that way too. Your comments have gotten me thinking a lot about my campaign and asking one of the players a lot of questions about her favorite encounters. I am going to run this a second time with a completely different group in a year or so, and a lot of your comments are things that have made me think about how it went the first time. The bells are absolutely something that has the potential to be hand-waved or just handled by NPC's if it will become more of a chore for the players.

I was lucky to have a player playing a warpriest who was also an ex-Asmodean, so he handled a lot of the bell stuff with some scrolls. His parents were also redactors and so some of the bell scenes revolved around them. One of the big things in the campaign for us that I wish I got to involve the players more in was the Song of Silver itself, but no one played a bard. You always need to keep your players in mind first, but I really love the world of Kintargo as fleshed out in the books, and tried to keep a lot of what was already built in the AP.

So far, I haven't had many players in the new campaign share what they will play, but I'm looking forward to a bit more messing around with the world as some of the other posters on these boards have mentioned.


Hi everyone!

Sorry if this has been asked before, but in Dance of the Damned, before the book describe the various noble family, it say :

"The number of noble families the PCs recruit will play a key role in the next adventure to determine the Silver Ravens’ initial strength when the battle for Kintargo begins." (Page 9).

Maybe i'm blind but i find nothing adressing this in A Song of Silver.

Can anyone help?


I don't think there is an explicit mechanical advantage in SoS based on the number of noble families in alliance. This may be a poorly sewn seam between books written by different authors.

However there are benefits within DoD itself. When the Ravens ally with at least 4 noble families they gain XP and an automatic bump in Rebellion rank - both of those things make the pc's and Ravens more effective against Thrune.

More subtly, the noble family leaders can fill the role of personal friend or rival that the pc's can Mingle and Dance with during the Ruby Masquerade. Earning Masque points saves citizens and supporters. And if they have at least 20 Masque points, that reduces Thrune's Authority Points by 5 at the start of SoS.

201 to 250 of 459 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Hell's Rebels / A Song of Silver (GM Reference) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.