The Hellfire Compact (GM Reference)


Hell's Vengeance

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The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 1 of the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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I didn't think that Dryads could be male. (Area J11)

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Wes addresses that here.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Samy wrote:
Wes addresses that here.

Makes some sense. It isn't a "man's world" anymore.

Still not sure how I feel about it though.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm not entirely opposed to the concept of a guyyad.

Dark Archive

p. 30 BOLGART CAGGAN

how does he have +6 natural armor in hybrid form, hybrid only gives +2 to existing?
he has none in human form on p. 28


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm somewhat amused by the sordid little beginning, seeing as my group is a bunch of hardcore Asmodean Thrune loyalists from the get-go... it's not THAT much of a stretch, but the initial "job" really seems a little less "lawful" than my guys were planning on.

I may tweak it, make it less of an outright robbery and more of a brutal tax shakedown.

Dark Archive

p. 60 LAZZERO DALVERA

incorrect XP for given CR of 7
XP CR: Computed: 3200 Stat Block: 2400

Dark Archive

Cole Deschain wrote:

I'm somewhat amused by the sordid little beginning, seeing as my group is a bunch of hardcore Asmodean Thrune loyalists from the get-go... it's not THAT much of a stretch, but the initial "job" really seems a little less "lawful" than my guys were planning on.

I may tweak it, make it less of an outright robbery and more of a brutal tax shakedown.

Well, it mentions the idea that they're doing it because the tannery hasn't been paying it's taxes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
tro1984 wrote:
Well, it mentions the idea that they're doing it because the tannery hasn't been paying it's taxes.

Yeah, but as presented, it's still a scuzzy little B&E.

I'll probably tart it up a bit for my guys- they want to play authoritarian bullies, not sneaky gits.


Did the subscribers get the book early or something? How do you know what's in the book?


Yup we subscribers started getting the PDFs Monday, I got mine yesterday (naturally).


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

Ninja'd. Subscribers get a pdf copy when their order ships.


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Ha!
Not often I get to use this non ironically.


Thanks.

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

chopswil wrote:

p. 30 BOLGART CAGGAN

how does he have +6 natural armor in hybrid form, hybrid only gives +2 to existing?
he has none in human form on p. 28

Boars have a natural armor bonus of +4. In hybrid and animal forms, a lycanthrope has the natural armor bonus of the base creature +2, so his total is +6. Lycanthropes in human form don't get any natural armor bonus. Both stat blocks are correct.

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

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SPOILERS! (This is a GM thread, so it shouldn't be a problem, but wanted to throw it out there anyway, just in case.)

Regarding swearing the Hellfire Compact:

Swearing the Hellfire Pact is not mandatory. It's strongly encouraged, but PCs can certainly refuse to do so. If they do, it is legally binding, but not spiritually binding. That means it is illegal break your vow of allegiance to Thrune (something to keep those lawful types in line), but since the PCs pretty much *are* the law in Longacre, that's not much of a problem. And it means that even if they do break their vow, their souls are safe, there's no hidden language. The PCs are simply swearing their allegiance to the Archbaron, the Queen, and Cheliax. There are no repercussions (unless the GM wants to impose his or here own). That's it.

However, even though it is not required, swearing the Hellfire Pact is recommended. First off, we've talked about how important it is for the PCs to be willing to work for (or with) House Thrune. The compact reinforces that. And it's the first step in rising through the Thrune "organization" as Thrune agents with *real* authority.

Secondly, this is a slow way to introduce the PCs to the concept of "signing" contracts to increase their own power. Rest assured, there will be more things to swear, sign, and agree to, including infernal contracts, in the campaign to come. These are also not required, but they do add a lot of additional flavor to a Thrune-themed Cheliax campaign. I just want to ease the PCs into it first.

tl;dr
PCs don't have to swear the Hellfire Compact.
Nothing bad happens.
But it makes it a lot more fun if they do!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This is very helpful to know what to expect, thank you so much.


Even now, I can see some interesting parallels and similarities with Way of the Wicked. Both adventure paths formally begin by having the players sign infernal contracts with a powerful villain who essentially serves as their boss. Also, a LG sun deity serves as the enemy in both of them.

Silver Crusade

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Axial wrote:
Even now, I can see some interesting parallels and similarities with Way of the Wicked. Both adventure paths formally begin by having the players sign infernal contracts with a powerful villain who essentially serves as their boss. Also, a LG sun deity serves as the enemy in both of them.

Iomedae isn't a sun deity.

Sarenrae is, but she's Neutral Good.

Editor-in-Chief

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Lord Fyre wrote:

Makes some sense. It isn't a "man's world" anymore.

Still not sure how I feel about it though.

It was a confusing time for me too when I started having feelings about dryad guys.

I'm here to talk if you want to. :D


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Axial wrote:
Even now, I can see some interesting parallels and similarities with Way of the Wicked. Both adventure paths formally begin by having the players sign infernal contracts with a powerful villain who essentially serves as their boss. Also, a LG sun deity serves as the enemy in both of them.

Iomedae isn't a sun deity.

Sarenrae is, but she's Neutral Good.

Iomedae has Sun as one of her domains.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Axial wrote:
Even now, I can see some interesting parallels and similarities with Way of the Wicked. Both adventure paths formally begin by having the players sign infernal contracts with a powerful villain who essentially serves as their boss. Also, a LG sun deity serves as the enemy in both of them.

Iomedae isn't a sun deity.

Sarenrae is, but she's Neutral Good.

Iomedae has Sun as one of her domains.

This doesn't make her a Sun deity, just like Tsukiyo having Madness domain isn't a god of crazy people or Abadar having Earth domain isn't a god of earth elementals, mole people and crystal oozes.

Silver Crusade

Gorbacz wrote:
Axial wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Axial wrote:
Even now, I can see some interesting parallels and similarities with Way of the Wicked. Both adventure paths formally begin by having the players sign infernal contracts with a powerful villain who essentially serves as their boss. Also, a LG sun deity serves as the enemy in both of them.

Iomedae isn't a sun deity.

Sarenrae is, but she's Neutral Good.

Iomedae has Sun as one of her domains.
This doesn't make her a Sun deity, just like Tsukiyo having Madness domain isn't a god of crazy people or Abadar having Earth domain isn't a god of earth elementals, mole people and crystal oozes.

Also Iomedae isn't the LG God in WotW. Though I do believe Iomedae is a solar deity, don't know where it has been said, but, they do give the deities specific domains for a reason.

Abadar has the Earth domain? Makes me think of him more as Hades now.


In the event that all of the players wish to have their characters begin as retainers and relatives of Archbaron Darellus Fex (which is the case with my own group), would it disrupt the pacing to have the party take missions from the archbaron right from the start, without the middle men of Cimri and Razelago?

It would be strange to have these retainers and relatives of the Archbaron suddenly start working for a shady thief and a shadier businessman and take orders from the archbaron only later on.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The story does not offer the opportunity to *begin* as retainers and relatives -- you work your way up to it.

If you do begin as those, it begs the question of why would you rob the tannery at the beginning when you have authority. You would probably have to adjust that into a mafia debt collector scene threatening (or performing) finger breakings instead of a straight our robbery. You would possibly also have to move swearing the Hellfire Compact to the beginning of the adventure rather than the middle of it, because it takes place when Fex hires them.


Archbaron Darellus Fex presumably does not have all of his grunts swear the Hellfire Compact the moment they are hired; it would not be unreasonable to assume that it is reserved for minions with great potential, hence why he would send out the PCs to perform three jobs to test their worth first.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
In the event that all of the players wish to have their characters begin as retainers and relatives of Archbaron Darellus Fex (which is the case with my own group), would it disrupt the pacing to have the party take missions from the archbaron right from the start, without the middle men of Cimri and Razelago?

Man, you've got even more tweaking to do than I do!

Not gonna lie... I have my ways of making Razelago work for my group (Fex has an intermediary to handle "auditions" for likely pawns without tipping his hand), but Cimri is almost totally surplus to requirements for my merry band of Thrunites. Maybe I can talk my slayer's player into having her be a girlfriend or something...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I've been thinking of how to make Cimri be something other than an extra limb that you have to drag around, too. May have some ideas after a while.

Dark Archive

Samy wrote:
I've been thinking of how to make Cimri be something other than an extra limb that you have to drag around, too. May have some ideas after a while.

Just level her with the party, and don't play her as dumb.


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My problem isn't mechanical... it's that the characters my group will be running are already highly motivated to stamp out rebellion for the glory of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune.

We just don't really need the black sheep of Longacre to get the party unified in skulduggery. Now, if I can work out some personal ties, they could totally agree to lend her a hand in her own ventures for a reasonable share of the take.

I mean, it might tip my hand that she is Important To The AP, but as written, she's pretty clearly there for that role anyhow.

I do think I'll try to work something out where my quartet of Asmodean thugs are able to march up in broad daylight and make their case- with a Cleric and Slayer raised by the Church of Asmodeus in Isger, a going-to-be-Hellknight half-orc appalled by Orcish barbarity, and a Rich Parents (trophy wife) Sorcerer, the appeal of a simple smash and grab is somewhat elusive.

If I turn it into sending a pointed message to the surrounding area, it'll probably work better.


Hopefully the future swearings and the like don't interfere with characters that are part of strict organizations already, like Red Mantis Assassins.


I'll be leveling her with the party (as the book says, she gets one level of rogue when the party gains a level so she'll be the level of the party plus one level of warrior), I'll probably also change her to unchained rogue because not even an evil npc deserves regular rogue. She's also working on a 15 point buy, which is the AP standard, but I'd guess more parties than not have a higher value than that.

Is Cimri supposed to be at a certain "power level" so to speak? The extra warrior level implies as much to me. I'm wondering if I should bring her up to a 25 point buy if that is what my players are doing.


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All right, adjusted for my group a bit, but, thankfully, still at least three months out (I get a break from GMing, dammit!), so any suggestions will be appreciated. Tweaks ended up being fairly minor, once I grabbed five minutes to really kick things around. Making zeal, rather than greed the primary motivator forced some minor tweaks.

While the adventure presumes that, and I quote, "At this point, however, the PCsare little more than amoral mercenaries, common street thugs, conniving con artists, diabolic dabblers, or petty criminals," my diehard Thruneies are a different kettle of fish.

As loyal servants of Cheliax, they know of Longacre's reputation as something of an oubliette for those who wish to disappear. In this time of unthinkable sedition, such places need closer scrutiny. Taking it upon themselves to do their bit for Queen and country, the party (in my case, 75% of whom have pre-existing ties and a rason to travel together) are following a lead floated to them by Cimri (slayer's player said YES, so she's a former partner of his in more ways than one) to ferret out traitors in Longacre, as pointed out to her by her mysterious patron.

And one such traitor owns a tannery. However, it would not do for this treasonous scum to be able to cover his tracks and escape the justice he so richly deserves, so it will behoove them to pretend to be simple thieves, in order to search the tannery for any evidence. Best if the whole thing seems like petty crime at first. Rather than the "100 gold and whateveryou can pry up," for THIS group, the real "reward" is a chance to show their devotion to the proper legal authorities- I may make the 100 gold pieces be more of a letter of credit with the local government for the equivalent value in goods or services. (Basically, move the more nuanced persuasion out of the sidebar and into the main body of motive).

Blah blah blah, heist heist heist, make grabbing the lockbox a diversion from snagging the correspondence out of Louslik's desk, and stick in some letters to local priestess of Iomedae as evidence- evidence which Razelago will cite when offering the second job- and the sermon should allow my players to seamlessly go with what's published from here on in.


When should the GM roll for a random encounter on the table in page 81, and what is the chance for a random encounter to begin with?

It seems strange that a fey monster so iconic to Cheliax's woodland areas as of Cheliax, The Infernal Empire, the hellfire ignis, is missing from these random encounter lists. Which monster in this random encounter table would ideally be replaced by an encounter with a hellfire ignis?


The book says you should be open about recording rebellion points, but says to play it through npc actions. Should it be just npc actions, or should I tell them the number of points? I want to not tell them so they don't know if they are screwing up or not, and want to keep the verisimilitude going. Another part of me feels it might be unfair not to give them the info needed to change behavior if they want.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I plan on using stuff like Angel Knight graffiti and the general demeanor of the townsfolk to give them a rough idea- more and more signs of public unrest as the points rack up.


Who is this Cimri I keep hearing about? There was artwork of her in the most recent blog update, but I'm not sure who she is or what her role in this adventure is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

She's the built-in GM character to get the PCs involved- the point of contact between the player's bunch and the local government.


What should I do as a GM if the party, upon swearing the Hellfire Compact, decides to arrest the Allamars?


Colette Brunel wrote:
What should I do as a GM if the party, upon swearing the Hellfire Compact, decides to arrest the Allamars?

If they want to arrest the kids I'd say let them, there is an encounter for just that purpose so change it to fit. If they want to arrest the cleric I'd make up some rule that prevents them from entering the church for now.


Rob McCreary wrote:

SPOILERS! (This is a GM thread, so it shouldn't be a problem, but wanted to throw it out there anyway, just in case.)

Regarding swearing the Hellfire Compact:

Swearing the Hellfire Pact is not mandatory. It's strongly encouraged, but PCs can certainly refuse to do so. If they do, it is legally binding, but not spiritually binding. That means it is illegal break your vow of allegiance to Thrune (something to keep those lawful types in line), but since the PCs pretty much *are* the law in Longacre, that's not much of a problem. And it means that even if they do break their vow, their souls are safe, there's no hidden language. The PCs are simply swearing their allegiance to the Archbaron, the Queen, and Cheliax. There are no repercussions (unless the GM wants to impose his or here own). That's it.

However, even though it is not required, swearing the Hellfire Pact is recommended. First off, we've talked about how important it is for the PCs to be willing to work for (or with) House Thrune. The compact reinforces that. And it's the first step in rising through the Thrune "organization" as Thrune agents with *real* authority.

Secondly, this is a slow way to introduce the PCs to the concept of "signing" contracts to increase their own power. Rest assured, there will be more things to swear, sign, and agree to, including infernal contracts, in the campaign to come. These are also not required, but they do add a lot of additional flavor to a Thrune-themed Cheliax campaign. I just want to ease the PCs into it first.

tl;dr
PCs don't have to swear the Hellfire Compact.
Nothing bad happens.
But it makes it a lot more fun if they do!

Thanks for clarifying this; it was one of my concerns with the adventure, since "evil" PCs tend to be more independent, and signing on with this compact for no discernible reward seemed like a hard sell.

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

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spectrevk wrote:
Rob McCreary wrote:

SPOILERS! (This is a GM thread, so it shouldn't be a problem, but wanted to throw it out there anyway, just in case.)

Regarding swearing the Hellfire Compact:

Swearing the Hellfire Pact is not mandatory. It's strongly encouraged, but PCs can certainly refuse to do so. If they do, it is legally binding, but not spiritually binding. That means it is illegal break your vow of allegiance to Thrune (something to keep those lawful types in line), but since the PCs pretty much *are* the law in Longacre, that's not much of a problem. And it means that even if they do break their vow, their souls are safe, there's no hidden language. The PCs are simply swearing their allegiance to the Archbaron, the Queen, and Cheliax. There are no repercussions (unless the GM wants to impose his or here own). That's it.

However, even though it is not required, swearing the Hellfire Pact is recommended. First off, we've talked about how important it is for the PCs to be willing to work for (or with) House Thrune. The compact reinforces that. And it's the first step in rising through the Thrune "organization" as Thrune agents with *real* authority.

Secondly, this is a slow way to introduce the PCs to the concept of "signing" contracts to increase their own power. Rest assured, there will be more things to swear, sign, and agree to, including infernal contracts, in the campaign to come. These are also not required, but they do add a lot of additional flavor to a Thrune-themed Cheliax campaign. I just want to ease the PCs into it first.

tl;dr
PCs don't have to swear the Hellfire Compact.
Nothing bad happens.
But it makes it a lot more fun if they do!

Thanks for clarifying this; it was one of my concerns with the adventure, since "evil" PCs tend to be more independent, and signing on with this compact for no discernible reward seemed like a hard sell.

Of course, part of the point of the Hellfire Compact to to curb a little bit of that "independence" so that those characters play through the entire campaign, which assumes that they are working for House Thrune the entire time.


Any suggestion for the date for when the raid on Louslik Tannery begins? Or a date, besides 4715 AR, for when the Glorious Reclamation takes over Citadel Dinyar? Or is it intentionally left vague? I'm okay with vague - I'm going to start running this next week and since I've only got the one volume, don't know if the dates matter much in later books.

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

SerGalahad wrote:

Any suggestion for the date for when the raid on Louslik Tannery begins? Or a date, besides 4715 AR, for when the Glorious Reclamation takes over Citadel Dinyar? Or is it intentionally left vague? I'm okay with vague - I'm going to start running this next week and since I've only got the one volume, don't know if the dates matter much in later books.

It's intentionally left vague, so GMs can set their campaigns whenever they want. Generally speaking, we assume that adventures in the APs begin at about the Golarion equivalent to real-world time. Since "The Hellfire Compact" came out in February 2016, the assumed start date in Golarion of the adventure would be Calistril 4716 AR. However, it's complicated by the fact that Hell's Vengeance takes place at the same time as Hell's Rebels, which could bring the start date back to Arodus 4715 AR.

tl;dr You can set it whenever you want! :)


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Rob McCreary wrote:
SerGalahad wrote:

Any suggestion for the date for when the raid on Louslik Tannery begins? Or a date, besides 4715 AR, for when the Glorious Reclamation takes over Citadel Dinyar? Or is it intentionally left vague? I'm okay with vague - I'm going to start running this next week and since I've only got the one volume, don't know if the dates matter much in later books.

It's intentionally left vague, so GMs can set their campaigns whenever they want. Generally speaking, we assume that adventures in the APs begin at about the Golarion equivalent to real-world time. Since "The Hellfire Compact" came out in February 2016, the assumed start date in Golarion of the adventure would be Calistril 4716 AR. However, it's complicated by the fact that Hell's Vengeance takes place at the same time as Hell's Rebels, which could bring the start date back to Arodus 4715 AR.

tl;dr You can set it whenever you want! :)

Thanks Rob! I appreciate the answer! I'm planning on starting next week and both my players and I are really excited. I thought that I had remembered that the "usual" start date is the corresponding time in Golarion, but I wasn't for sure. Sometimes the Golarion start date is important, sometimes its not.

Now I just need to figure out what late winter/early fall is like in the Longacre region of Cheliax. :)

Great work on this adventure path! My players and I are super excited for this path and it's off to a great start!


Because the burn mark from the Hellfire Compact can only be removed with magical healing, is it fair to say the majority of Chelish citizens onwards will have the mark on their hands?

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

Armenius wrote:
Because the burn mark from the Hellfire Compact can only be removed with magical healing, is it fair to say the majority of Chelish citizens onwards will have the mark on their hands?

The assumption is that only those who serve Thrune directly (like the Archbaron, and therefore the PCs) are "required" to swear the Hellfire Compact; regular citizens don't have to (and would take a lot of manpower by existing Thrune agents to swear them in, when those agents could be better used elsewhere--like against the Glorious Reclamation).

I could see, after a week or so, a non-magical symbol or brand might start turning up on people, as regular citizens adopt the symbol of the Thrune agents' Hellfire Compact as an emblem of their own loyalty. Sort of like a more-extreme version of an armband.

Silver Crusade

Rob McCreary wrote:
Armenius wrote:
Because the burn mark from the Hellfire Compact can only be removed with magical healing, is it fair to say the majority of Chelish citizens onwards will have the mark on their hands?

The assumption is that only those who serve Thrune directly (like the Archbaron, and therefore the PCs) are "required" to swear the Hellfire Compact; regular citizens don't have to (and would take a lot of manpower by existing Thrune agents to swear them in, when those agents could be better used elsewhere--like against the Glorious Reclamation).

I could see, after a week or so, a non-magical symbol or brand might start turning up on people, as regular citizens adopt the symbol of the Thrune agents' Hellfire Compact as an emblem of their own loyalty. Sort of like a more-extreme version of an armband.

Followed by the Thrune Victory Salute?


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Here is a link to My PbP if anyone would like to see parts of this in action. I had a similar issue with the first job as Cole did so I changed it up a bit, but it was really easy for me because I had done a quick one-shot with my group prior to the AP so I just used some of that to motivate them in the right direction.

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