Is Nualia dumb?


Rise of the Runelords


So Nualia has been struggling to find a way to release Malfeshnekor. She researches and studies and still just can't find out how to do it.
And then it turns out all it takes is dropping some coins in a slot and then easily find a key to open the cell? And any party worth their salt will be able to do this easily.
Am I missing something? When I ran this campaign with my last group (we got through chapter 3)I found this to be a real irritating plot point. My current players are about to travel to Thistletop and I'm still annoyed by this.
Anyone change this in any way?

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Aaron Gillespie wrote:

So Nualia has been struggling to find a way to release Malfeshnekor. She researches and studies and still just can't find out how to do it.

And then it turns out all it takes is dropping some coins in a slot and then easily find a key to open the cell? And any party worth their salt will be able to do this easily.
Am I missing something? When I ran this campaign with my last group (we got through chapter 3)I found this to be a real irritating plot point. My current players are about to travel to Thistletop and I'm still annoyed by this.
Anyone change this in any way?

As written in the adventure,

Spoiler:
...it's a binding spell that keeps Malfeshnekor bound. Dropping the three coins into the room does nothing more than open the door to the wing of the dungeon Malfeshnekor is trapped in. He can't leave his room (area E10 from the Anneversary Edition), but he CAN attack PCs who go in there.

Any party worth its salt could get rid of that binding spell... if they happen to have access to antimagic field or mage's disjunction, which neither the PCs or Nualia have at this point.

What Nualia is trying to do is figure out a way to get rid of the binding spell that's keeping Malfeshnekor trapped in that room, via the hedged prison variant of the spell, using a ritual or other method that does NOT require magic beyond her capability or resources to use.

No need to change anything, in other words. It's working fine, and Nualia is not dumb.


Oh my. I'm loathe to get into a debate with Mr. Jacobs... the chapter's author... But... Ummm... No.

Spoiler:

Yes, the AE version makes clear that Malfeshnekor is held in the room with a binding spell. And yes, Nualia (and the pc's) lack the ability to disrupt/dispel said spell.

But to assert, as Mr. Jacobs seems to be, that Nualia has already been through the gold coin door and explored e8, e9 and e10 and since retreated to e4 seems highly implausible.

1) The description for e9 provides details like "The ancient skeleton crumbles to dust if touched." This strongly suggests no one has been in the room for a long time. Yet we are to conclude Nualia has fully explored it but was careful not to touch the skeleton?

2) The only way into e10 is with the key in e9 (given the door has an arcane lock cast at 20th level.) The placement information suggests the key is among other tools, so Nualia found it, used it to open e10, discovered the binding and then put it here for what? Safekeeping? Why would she do that? Why would she not keep the only thing that permits her to reach the object of her quest close at hand at all times?

3) For that matter, if she's found Malfeshnekor, why has she setup her gear, etc. in e4? Wouldn't she want to communicate with him regularly? Why would she not want to be behind the even greater security of the secret door? Are we to assume she's kept the door a secret from Lyrie? Seems to me the rooms behind the door are the exact reason she brought the wizard along - they seem to me much more interesting to the failed pathfinder than the room she's assigned (D15.) Even the description for that room creates some confusion: "And since Nualia’s been spending more and more of her time in the observation deck below (areaE4)..." If she has access to e8-10, why the very specific reference to e4, which seems notably less interesting or important?

4) So Lamashtu has quested Nualia to release the barghest and partially transformed her as reward for the relatively trivial effort of burning the bones of her long-dead adopted father but has otherwise provided no guidance on how to actually free the beast? Okay I can see how that would be a totally beotch move for a CE Demon Goddess of Madness and Perversion but hardly a conclusion most GM's should easily reach.

No, I'm with Mr. Gillespie, Nualia appears incompetent as written. As for how I handled it...

In my group's assault on Thistletop, Nualia rallied survivors on dungeon level 1 and died at the end of a pitched battle at the Temple (which seemed a far more logical place for her to choose to make a last stand.) So whether she had actually already found Malfeshnekor wasn't important or even an item of discussion with my group. Which in Mr. Jacob's defense is likely true for most groups - by the time they've defeated Nualia and explore e8-10 the exact detail of whether she or her crew have been back there is moot. I suspect few players will try to reconstruct the timeline - "wait, she's been here for how long and couldn't free this thing? What an idiot."


Latrecis, thank you for beating me to it. These are the points I would make as well. It is very clear to me that Nualia hasn't even discovered the secret rooms behind the columns or there would be clear evidence that she had. The key is the most troubling and obvious.
Honestly, I doubt my players will question it, either, but it bugs the heck out of me.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Now, now.
Nualia isn't *stupid*, not as such. She's simply obsessed. Like any good Bond villain, she can only really focus on her goal, and anything outside that goal gets neglected.
The character who could be accused of stupidity is Lyrie, since it appears to be her *job* to figure things out down there.

Still, players aren't really fazed at all when they discover a novel way of opening a secret door, and behind that door everything is covered in an inch of dust and looks like it hasn't been disturbed in centuries. They are used to musty old dungeons, and doubtless also used to dungeons lacking the basic elements of logical ecosystem design, even if DMs these days go to far greater lengths than in the past to show that their dungeons are logical and viable biotopes.

The whole thing works for me, since Nualia doesn't really need to stand face to face with Mal. She's already getting his dream sending, and she's already beginning her monstrous transformation. The only thing that could make her happier (besides bathing in the blood of innocents) is to realize her plan of taking revenge on the entire town of Sandpoint.

In my home game, exploring the depths of Thistletop was a real challenge. 4 of 5 PCs went howling in fear from the yeth hounds (barbarian, fighter, alchemist and wizard) leaving only the paladin to face Nualia, her goblins and the hounds. The dice carried the poor (female) paladin to a quick death, but I ruled that Nualia stabilized her, fled Thistletop, imprisoned her and got her impregnated by some demonic monstrosity from beyond the pale. Several adventures later, Nualia was beaten and the (now ex-) paladin released from her control, but it made for a great story arc. In the meantime, the remaining PCs had returned to a now mostly empty Thistletop, explored its last secrets and found their way to Mal - who they were in no way up to facing. They barely managed to escape with (most) of their lives. So they just weren't asking too many questions about Nualia's or Lyrie's stupidity at that point. <g>


Its fine if she is dumb about this thing, she is actually crazy.

Maybe she missed it? Have you missed something that seems obvious in retrospect?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my game, Nualia escaped by casting sanctuary and poor rolls on my players' side.
My group never discovered the mechanism of that area. We bypassed the whole area and as Mal has no further rule to play I'm fine with it.

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Nualia isn't stupid. She just has poor luck with Perception checks. ;)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I played things that Nualia had not yet been beyond the golden door. I'm completely going off of memory here, but I think her Perception is, at most, +9, and the DC to find the slots is a DC 30. That means that she mechanically cannot find the slot, which is the biggest initial stumbling block on getting Mal out of the room. Eventually, she'll hit upon spamming guidance to improve her chances, and eventually will find some solution to free Mal, but those eventuallys are covered in the soft time limit the PCs have to defeat Nualia.

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Latrecis wrote:

Oh my. I'm loathe to get into a debate with Mr. Jacobs... the chapter's author... But... Ummm... No.

Spoiler:
Yes, the AE version makes clear that Malfeshnekor is held in the room with a binding spell. And yes, Nualia (and the pc's) lack the ability to disrupt/dispel said spell.
But to assert, as Mr. Jacobs seems to be, that Nualia has already been through the gold coin door and explored e8, e9 and e10 and since retreated to e4 seems highly implausible.

1) The description for e9 provides details like "The ancient skeleton crumbles to dust if touched." This strongly suggests no one has been in the room for a long time. Yet we are to conclude Nualia has fully explored it but was careful not to touch the skeleton?

2) The only way into e10 is with the key in e9 (given the door has an arcane lock cast at 20th level.) The placement information suggests the key is among other tools, so Nualia found it, used it to open e10, discovered the binding and then put it here for what? Safekeeping? Why would she do that? Why would she not keep the only thing that permits her to reach the object of her quest close at hand at all times?

3) For that matter, if she's found Malfeshnekor, why has she setup her gear, etc. in e4? Wouldn't she want to communicate with him regularly? Why would she not want to be behind the even greater security of the secret door? Are we to assume she's kept the door a secret from Lyrie? Seems to me the rooms behind the door are the exact reason she brought the wizard along - they seem to me much more interesting to the failed pathfinder than the room she's assigned (D15.) Even the description for that room creates some confusion: "And since Nualia’s been spending more and more of her time in the observation deck below (areaE4)..." If she has access to e8-10, why the very specific reference to e4, which seems notably less interesting or important?

4) So Lamashtu has quested Nualia to release the barghest and partially transformed her as reward for the relatively trivial effort of burning the bones of her long-dead adopted father but has otherwise provided no guidance on how to actually free the beast? Okay I can see how that would be a totally beotch move for a CE Demon Goddess of Madness and Perversion but hardly a conclusion most GM's should easily reach.

No, I'm with Mr. Gillespie, Nualia appears incompetent as written. As for how I handled it...

In my group's assault on Thistletop, Nualia rallied survivors on dungeon level 1 and died at the end of a pitched battle at the Temple (which seemed a far more logical place for her to choose to make a last stand.) So whether she had actually already found Malfeshnekor wasn't important or even an item of discussion with my group. Which in Mr. Jacob's defense is likely true for most groups - by the time they've defeated Nualia and explore e8-10 the exact detail of whether she or her crew have been back there is moot. I suspect few players will try to reconstruct the timeline - "wait, she's been here for how long and couldn't free this thing? What an idiot."

You seem to have made your mind up, and in that case, feel free to change whatever you need to make it make more sense for your group. It makes sense to me, though. I didn't go into the full details in print because this type of minutiae was, in my opinion, less important than actual adventure content... but here goes, for what it's worth...

Spoiler:
She knows QUITE a lot about the situation in these rooms via the visions she received from her goddess, and being a cleric, she trusts her deity and knows that the visions are accurate. She also knows that there's no need for her to go into the rooms, because her goals don't require her to go in there, and that indeed, going in there can make her ritual more difficult since it makes it easier for invaders to get in and mess with things.

So... no, she's not been in those rooms, nor has she found the secret door, which is a DC 28 Perception check and her Perception is only +5, so even if she "spams with guidance" she won't find it. She suspects it's there, but isn't worried about finding it because when her ritual is done, it will release Malfeshnekor and show the way to the rooms and all that. As a fanatically devoted cultist of Lamashtu, that's good enough reason for her to not do the PC adventurer thing and scour the dungeon. She doesn't NEED to or WANT to do that. It's not stupidity. It's merely a different goal than the PCs might have.

Anyway... if all that's not enough, then do what you need to do to make it make more sense for you, I guess.


That explanation is quite interesting and does explain what's going on. But the AP doesn't even hint at that explanation. I deleted a long, rambling post about how AP paints a very different picture (with text quotes and everything) but that's probably not of much interest to anyone but my argumentative and anal retentive self.

And as I hope was clear in my first post, I agree this is probably not an issue players are going to be aware of since they will have no idea how long Nualia has been there or spend anytime asking themselves why she didn't find Malfeshnekor in the first place. They'll just be happy he's not free yet and happily send him back to hell the hard way.

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For what it's worth, my interpretation of the situation based on the adventure's text more or less matched what James described.

It should be noted that I have the original, not the anniversary edition, so there might be some text changes between the two.


Plus her best rogue (Tsuto: Perc + 11) has been sent (and probably killed) to Sandpoint and various endings applied to him... if he got back to Thistletop it may be that he could find the Coin slots but has he had the time or the direction from the Boss?

Lyrie may be able to figure it out if pointed out to her (Perc+2 is not good enough to spot the lock), given she has Know: Engineering +10

Orik may be able to spot it (Perc + 11?), but he's "hired help", and also has apparently not been down to level 2? ("In the event that Orik is captured instead of killed, it mentions that he has no knowledge of the second level of Thistletop")

Ofc if the heroes go away and come back again for any reason, that just gives Nualia more time to realise she needs a decent spotter back on her side... (or letting Orik know more than "go hit that thing")

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Latrecis wrote:

That explanation is quite interesting and does explain what's going on. But the AP doesn't even hint at that explanation. I deleted a long, rambling post about how AP paints a very different picture (with text quotes and everything) but that's probably not of much interest to anyone but my argumentative and anal retentive self.

And as I hope was clear in my first post, I agree this is probably not an issue players are going to be aware of since they will have no idea how long Nualia has been there or spend anytime asking themselves why she didn't find Malfeshnekor in the first place. They'll just be happy he's not free yet and happily send him back to hell the hard way.

There's always room for more info in ANY adventure, but the truth is that there's a limited number of words in an adventure, and those words need to focus primarily on the actual content of what the PCs interact with. Long details on the history of a setting, or a full exploration of an NPC's personality or actions, often are simply luxuries that there's no room for.

Being able to expand upon elements like this in a forum is super handy, of course, but if you do want more information, it's ALWAYS better to be polite. Starting a thread out with a title like "Is Nualia Dumb?" is a bit antagonistic and gets my hackles up (being the author of said NPC), and for a moment I honestly debated even bothering with an answer since it kinda felt hostile and toxic in the thread. A better thread title would have been something like "Why does Nualia do what she does?" or even better "Question for James: What's up with Nualia's motivation?"

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Doki-Chan wrote:

Plus her best rogue (Tsuto: Perc + 11) has been sent (and probably killed) to Sandpoint and various endings applied to him... if he got back to Thistletop it may be that he could find the Coin slots but has he had the time or the direction from the Boss?

Lyrie may be able to figure it out if pointed out to her (Perc+2 is not good enough to spot the lock), given she has Know: Engineering +10

Orik may be able to spot it (Perc + 11?), but he's "hired help", and also has apparently not been down to level 2? ("In the event that Orik is captured instead of killed, it mentions that he has no knowledge of the second level of Thistletop")

Ofc if the heroes go away and come back again for any reason, that just gives Nualia more time to realise she needs a decent spotter back on her side... (or letting Orik know more than "go hit that thing")

All true (plus Orik is the most likely to betray/chicken out, so from Nualia's viewpoint he's the least trustworthy of them all)...

...but all unnecessary still. Remember, she doesn't NEED to go into those last rooms. Furthermore, in a way, breaking into the rooms and trying another way to release Malfeshnekor OTHER than the ritual vision Lamashtu gave her is close to blasphemy in her eyes. Nualia isn't the type to say "I know how to solve this problem better than my goddess." Few true clerics are, in fact. And of course, Lamashtu is right—breaking in to talk to Malfeshnekor won't accomplish a thing for Nualia.


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Hell, Malfeshnekor might try to eat her. =P


James Jacobs wrote:
Doki-Chan wrote:

Plus her best rogue (Tsuto: Perc + 11) has been sent (and probably killed) to Sandpoint and various endings applied to him... if he got back to Thistletop it may be that he could find the Coin slots but has he had the time or the direction from the Boss?

Lyrie may be able to figure it out if pointed out to her (Perc+2 is not good enough to spot the lock), given she has Know: Engineering +10

Orik may be able to spot it (Perc + 11?), but he's "hired help", and also has apparently not been down to level 2? ("In the event that Orik is captured instead of killed, it mentions that he has no knowledge of the second level of Thistletop")

Ofc if the heroes go away and come back again for any reason, that just gives Nualia more time to realise she needs a decent spotter back on her side... (or letting Orik know more than "go hit that thing")

All true (plus Orik is the most likely to betray/chicken out, so from Nualia's viewpoint he's the least trustworthy of them all)...

...but all unnecessary still. Remember, she doesn't NEED to go into those last rooms. Furthermore, in a way, breaking into the rooms and trying another way to release Malfeshnekor OTHER than the ritual vision Lamashtu gave her is close to blasphemy in her eyes. Nualia isn't the type to say "I know how to solve this problem better than my goddess." Few true clerics are, in fact. And of course, Lamashtu is right—breaking in to talk to Malfeshnekor won't accomplish a thing for Nualia.

Agreed: all I had there was why there may be "reasons" for that room/door only, and no inference to "dumbness", just a "not had chance or inclination to look at that part particularly closely due to other priorities" from the villains.

Also, if she knows the heroes will probably be along eventually, then how better to use them as trap detectors and do some of the dirty work for her, then she could ambush them in the middle of an encounter (i.e. Malfeshnekor, some handy goblins etc.)

If the party are stumbling along without a Thassilonian speaker then she's in a slightly better place than the PCs are, as Lyrie could be finding a lot of info that helps Nualia (in the long run) indirectly, whereas the PCs can be bumbling about setting off all the traps, like you do...


I didn't mean to come across as hostile or toxic. I named the thread the way I did to be intriguing and to catch people's eye a bit better. It's not meant to disparage you or offend you or anything like that and I'm sorry if it did.

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Aaron Gillespie wrote:
I didn't mean to come across as hostile or toxic. I named the thread the way I did to be intriguing and to catch people's eye a bit better. It's not meant to disparage you or offend you or anything like that and I'm sorry if it did.

Thanks for the clarifications! Whew!

But yeah... I guess it's a pretty damning comment on the overall atmosphere of the Internet at large that it's so easy to find offense in posts. It's unfortunate but it's the way it is, and every little bit we can all do to try to swing it back away from an expectation of toxicity helps!

But thanks again for letting me know your intentions. :-)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm a bit curious as to what Naulia's/Malfeshnekor's/Lamashtu's game plan would be post release of Mal.

I've had great fun with Naulia, wrote an extensive set of her journal fragments (which my players devoured) and allowed Naulia to free Mal.

While I have my own plans and ideas in place for what happens afterward and what they are doing, it is interesting that the PCs are, at the start of the campaign killing someone(s) who, in the end, have at least a fair motivation to stop big K from his plans too.

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the Lorax wrote:

I'm a bit curious as to what Naulia's/Malfeshnekor's/Lamashtu's game plan would be post release of Mal.

I've had great fun with Naulia, wrote an extensive set of her journal fragments (which my players devoured) and allowed Naulia to free Mal.

While I have my own plans and ideas in place for what happens afterward and what they are doing, it is interesting that the PCs are, at the start of the campaign killing someone(s) who, in the end, have at least a fair motivation to stop big K from his plans too.

If the ritual goes as she hopes, Malfeshnekor basically ends up being bound to Nualia. He's free, but she's in control of him. She'll likely use him as an assassin and bodyguard and threat to keep her other minions in line and will go on from there to build her power, eventually becoming one of the more powerful clerics in the region.

Her actual long-term plans are in sync with Lamashtu's long-term plans for the Lost Coast, and that's not something Lamashtu has fully revealed to Nualia yet. And not something I've fully revealed to the world yet... I do know what she's up to, and have put hints in here and there (including in the firs several issues of the Pathfinder comic and in Demons Revisited), but what those plans are exactly are not yet ready to be fully unveiled.

All of which basically means what you want her to do in your game is 100% up to you!


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James Jacobs wrote:


All of which basically means what you want her to do in your game is 100% up to you!

Thanks James, its interesting to know how you are looking at the situation. I'm running this in my 30ish year old home brew, so there lots of tinkering for me to do along the way anyway, its actually pretty surprising how well RotRL fit into the backstory of an existing area of my campaign world. My PCs will likely see her again - but perhaps not entirely on opposite sides of the battlefield.

I'd pretty much been looking at it the other way around - that Naulia was going to end up the junior partner once Mal got his footing in the current time. Mal's backstory implies that he was once more powerful then the version that we see, and his strength has ebbed with the passing ages.


Thanks for taking the time out, as usual, James.

That said, I do think that paizo in general should explain villain motivations more- I too was wondering what nualias problem was back in rotrl, and there are a few other question marks in other aps. I think you do an amazing job, mind, but the things that are lost to page/character count are sometimes really important for characterization/explanation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Alas, poor Nualia died in her second encounter with the adventurers - smashed into flinders two rounds after having succeeded in becoming a half-demon. I will admit when I found out Paizo's policy on demons and the like is that they remain dead when killed rather than reforming in the Outer Planes over 100 years in their same for, I was slightly disappointed.

I wanted Nualia to come back yet again. ^^


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The dead make comebacks all the time in pathfinder, so many fun templates to give dead people. :-)

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Freehold DM wrote:

Thanks for taking the time out, as usual, James.

That said, I do think that paizo in general should explain villain motivations more- I too was wondering what nualias problem was back in rotrl, and there are a few other question marks in other aps. I think you do an amazing job, mind, but the things that are lost to page/character count are sometimes really important for characterization/explanation.

It's a damned if we do, damned if we don't choice, frankly. What's potentially super important to one GM is meaningless to another, and so as the writers and developers we try to do our best.

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Having recently started writing for various Pathfinder publishers, I'm learning that wordcount is a cruel, cruel mistress. That's why I'm glad we have all these GM Reference threads, and helpful authors willing to offer insights that were cut out in editing (or earlier). ^_^


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Nualia's such a dork. What kind of moron turns her hand into a claw? HEY DUMMY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU NEED TO USE THAT HAND FOR NORMAL HAND THINGS, LIKE PLAYING CHECKERS OR LIKE PLAYING BACKGAMMON? DUMB-DUMB.


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That Runelord maroon is next. Who goes around with three eyes like some sort of idiot? Hahaha loser.

Oh, is it 2:52? I should...probably not be posting right now.

Grand Lodge

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I think it was explained that after thier barbarian guide got chopped up in the Statue trap with the sliding porticullies that Nualia and her cohorts began to tread more carefully in that section of Thistletop.
Since her current resources were A) a quasit trapped by her own design in the Ctacombs,
B) A halfhearted merc,
C) a foolish research petty wizardess,
D) a horny bugbear,
E) and a millenium mad Barghest sending dreams
it might not be beyond reasoning that thier physical exploration would stop there, until the magical hindrance was dealt with.


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Is Nualia dumb? Not in my campaign.

I re-built her as a Warpriest and the final battle played out thusly:

Bruthazmus, Lyrie and Tsuto awaited the party at the bottom of the stairs on the lowest level (Grease having been cast on the ground at the bottom) and engaged the party while Nualia observed from down the hallway. When the battle turned against her minions, she sent her final Yeth Hound to join the fight - remember the hound can fly so it didn't set off the trap in the hallway. When the PC's emerged victorious, she simply turned and walked down the hallway... of course they raced after her and triggered the trap. While they were dealing with that, she buffed up, including casting an Invisibility to Undead spell that she had prepared for just such an occasion. She awaited the party at the doorway of the room with the Shadows and when they attacked she cast darkness (she has darkvision) and fought them all while the Shadows swarmed in unseen and wrecked their havoc. It was a very, very tough final fight (or fights) and could have easily resulted in a TPK. Knowing that, I had Orik flip sides before they descended down and he probably ended up being that slight tip in the scales they needed.

Afterwards, I made it very easy for the party to miss Mal's prison because I didn't want them engaging him in their weakened state and I had a later plot point for it. The PC's were sought out by a pair of Druids from the Churlwood who hoped to make Thistletop the base of operations for a new Druidic Circle in the area. They had heard of the PC's involvement in driving out the goblins but 'sensed and evil presence resided still within'... the group headed back out to Thistletop and found a pair of harpies had taken residence there. After fighting the Harpies, the Giant Hermit Crab and the Tentamort (both bypassed the first time around), they finally faced Mal with the Druid's help (Druids were 3rd level). Thistletop made for a fantastic dungeon the second time around and the group gained some allies whom will prove useful down the road when Sandpoint is attacked.

Honestly, I always assumed that it was intended for villains, and NPC's in general, to be re-written and used however best seems to fit your campaign. If something about their text doesn't seem right to you, they're hardly bound to it - that's kind of the beauty of tabletop RPG's.

Dark Archive

Key needs to be in that room because if Nualia successfully escapes, players can't get the key and kill Mal :D

Of course from in character perspective it would make much more sense for her to keep it with her in person for that specific reason :P

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I also wouldn't say she's dumb. Broken, obsessed, zealous yes, and while I don't count her as 'genius', I'd say her obsession and such blinds her good logic and common sense.

Silver Crusade

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James Jacobs wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

Thanks for taking the time out, as usual, James.

That said, I do think that paizo in general should explain villain motivations more- I too was wondering what nualias problem was back in rotrl, and there are a few other question marks in other aps. I think you do an amazing job, mind, but the things that are lost to page/character count are sometimes really important for characterization/explanation.

It's a damned if we do, damned if we don't choice, frankly. What's potentially super important to one GM is meaningless to another, and so as the writers and developers we try to do our best.

I'd also point out, there's a lot of time they do, they mention deep detailed stories of the villains of the piece, and provide more information than the pc's could ever possibly know. That normally should be enough to generate head-space for said villain.

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Joseph Davis wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

Thanks for taking the time out, as usual, James.

That said, I do think that paizo in general should explain villain motivations more- I too was wondering what nualias problem was back in rotrl, and there are a few other question marks in other aps. I think you do an amazing job, mind, but the things that are lost to page/character count are sometimes really important for characterization/explanation.

It's a damned if we do, damned if we don't choice, frankly. What's potentially super important to one GM is meaningless to another, and so as the writers and developers we try to do our best.
I'd also point out, there's a lot of time they do, they mention deep detailed stories of the villains of the piece, and provide more information than the pc's could ever possibly know. That normally should be enough to generate head-space for said villain.

Absolutely. And we DO tend to err on the side of overinformation for NPCs for this precise reason (despite the fact that some folks then complain we're "wasting wordcount" on things the PCs will never learn). But every single book is different, and how much room for that information is also different, and the design philosophies we had 5 or 10 or 15 years ago is different than what we have today.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Joseph Davis wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

Thanks for taking the time out, as usual, James.

That said, I do think that paizo in general should explain villain motivations more- I too was wondering what nualias problem was back in rotrl, and there are a few other question marks in other aps. I think you do an amazing job, mind, but the things that are lost to page/character count are sometimes really important for characterization/explanation.

It's a damned if we do, damned if we don't choice, frankly. What's potentially super important to one GM is meaningless to another, and so as the writers and developers we try to do our best.
I'd also point out, there's a lot of time they do, they mention deep detailed stories of the villains of the piece, and provide more information than the pc's could ever possibly know. That normally should be enough to generate head-space for said villain.
Absolutely. And we DO tend to err on the side of overinformation for NPCs for this precise reason (despite the fact that some folks then complain we're "wasting wordcount" on things the PCs will never learn). But every single book is different, and how much room for that information is also different, and the design philosophies we had 5 or 10 or 15 years ago is different than what we have today.

I have found this information super helpful when running a NPC especially if the PCs do something strange and talk to them. =) In addition all that "information" that the PCs never learn I give out in an email to the players after they are past that section of the Story. Its a real treat to the players to get to read that background information after the fact and get to fully understand the "why" of the NPC.


Yeah I'm posting all the characters back stories on obsidian portal and after they face them they can if they choose learn more about the NPCs they face.

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