In Search of Sanity (GM Reference)


Strange Aeons

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darrenan wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Wendy and Abigail wrote:
So on Page 27 I think (reading pdf), for room C4 with the bird haunt, the treasure seems.... out of place to put it mildly since it mentions cultists and their gear. I imagine that this is an error and that this will be updated?
I don't understand your question. The gear that you find is on the bodies that are in the room.
Is the Taxidermic Wings acting on initiative zero a typo or intentional? Haunts usually act on initiative 10.

It was intentional otherwise I wouldn't have included the sentence about it manifesting later.

Edit: Oops. Just noticed that this was already answered upthread.

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Stazamos wrote:
Adam, did you have a certain starting date or month in mind for the campaign? I have no problem picking a date myself, but I think it'd be nice to go with what you were working from, since you're in this thread. Thank you!

No date in particular.

(I just spent 10 minutes trying to find the calendar that I marked up, but it's nowhere to be found in or on my desk. So... I can't even recall what month I marked. I was more concerned with timing and pacing rather than specific dates.)


Adam Daigle wrote:
(I just spent 10 minutes trying to find the calendar that I marked up, but it's nowhere to be found in or on my desk. So... I can't even recall what month I marked. I was more concerned with timing and pacing rather than specific dates.)

Thanks for checking! I think mid-to-late spring sounds good, gut feel.


I'm trying to figure out why Doctor Oathsday casts Silent Image of a doppelganger silhouette if she knows the party is coming? Playing injured/dead the party would most likely investigate the shadow and find nothing there. Unless, of course, she is using the spell to distract and ambush the party.

It seems that unless the party sneaks up on her or discovers her true nature that Doctor Oathsday uses her spells/abilities to be escorted to the chapel and then escape?


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Preparing to do a play-by-post game but this could help any GM. I really like that Zandalus had a patient record, and tried to make records similar for other NPC patients.

When the time comes for the players to look over the patient records, I'll likely give them thirty or so patients, including those in the Chapel, Wren, named deceased, and even the players themselves. From there, they can read them at their leisure, and maybe resolve little side quests within them.

Took some liberties with some of the NPCs, and going back to it later, I'll probably try to weave more little story elements in. Not all of them are done or included, but feel free to take this for your own game!

Ulver Zandalus:
Patient Name: Ulver Zandalus

Description: Male of Varisian descent. Suspected age 47.

Home suspeted to be Rozenport, Versex County.

Committed: 2nd of Sarenith, 4685

Attending Doctor: Doctor Losandro

Treatment: Therapy, antipsychotic reginmen, observation

Development: 2/4687 - Patient proves to be a gifted and profilic artist. He has enthusiastically taken to using a charcoal drawing set to create dramatic but fanciful works of art, typically of surreal architecture and skyskapes. Art calms him in the wake of a nightmare. Patient will be afforded basic supplies to continue such therapy.

Development: 11/4702 - A shift has occured in the patient's at. He has repeatable, almost perfectly illustrated one of the ancient standing stone situated in the northwest corner of the asylum grounds. As the isle's shores are off-limits for patients, I do not believe he has ever seen the subject of his work. The significance or coiuncidence of this brooks further study.

Development: 3/4715 - Count Hasterton Lowls has taken an interest in the patient: first the art, now the artist. Lowls has been a repeat visitor, spending hours with my patient, but refuses to explain his interest.

Had fun with Wren. Making the narrative that Dr. Scaen came onto him (had her call him "Wren" in her notes, rather than "patient"), and then later tried to blame him for her advances. Wren is definitely not straight in my mind ("defiant bachelorhood"), seeing his admittance like a thinly veiled conversion therapy.

Wren Elbourne:
Patient Name: Wren Elbourne

Description: Male of Ustalavic descent. 27 years of age.

Home in Ardeal, Soivoda County.

Committed: 22nd of Arodus, 4716

Attending Doctor: Doctor Whitmarsh

Treatment: Therapy, observation.

Development: 8/4716 - Initial psychiatric evaluations reveal that Wren has issues with trust and commitment. Additionally, Wren displays a strong aversion to responsibilities. Daily therapy sessions recommended. - Dr. Scaen

Development: 8/4716 - Patient has been transferred to the care of Doctor Whitmarsh following fraternization the Doctor Scaen. Patient to be prescribed medication to curb sexual desires, and is to continue therapy sessions.

Development:


Baisily Harbour:
Patient Name: Baisily Harbour

Description: Female of Kellish descent. 22 years of age.

Home in Caliphas, Caliphas County.

Committed: 14th of Neth, 4714

Attending Doctor: Doctor Scaen

Treatment: Therapy, Behavior-Calming medications.

Development: 2/4715 - While patient has shown significant improvments these last three months, their sleepwalking problem still persists. Patient no longer has night terrors, though should be monitored closely.

Development: 4/4715 - Patient found inside courtyard at 02:45. Increasing dosage, investigating alternative medecine to halt sleepwalking. A short term paralysis agent administered at night may resolve patient's symptoms.

Development:

Having Bates' notes imply that his mute sister is stealing medication for him.

Yopchick, Bates:
Patient Name: Yopchick, Bates

Description: Male of Varisian descent. 13 years of age.

Committed: 1st of Erastus, 4715

Attending Doctor: Doctor Latchke

Treatment: Medication, Physical therapy

Development: 3/4716 - Patient has been without medication for two months now. Seizures, once thrice a day, now seldom occur! It appears weening the patient off their medication was a radical success!

Development: 5/4716 - Patient was found with medication today, despite being taken off three months prior. It appears they've been medicated this entire time. Checking inventory, I found that small doses have been stolen periodically thoughout the year. I advise stricter monitoring of Mura Yopchick, as his half-sister, her motive is clear.

Development:


Rivercane, Juglan:
Patient Name: Rivercane, Juglan

Description:

Committed:

Attending Doctor:

Treatment:

Development:

Development:

Development:

Poor Likelan brothers. Made the narrative that Brenton was cleared to leave, while his brother Debis would need to stay as he wasn't adjusting well.

Lieklan, Brenton:
Patient Name: Lieklan, Brenton

Description: Male of Varisian descent. 9 years of age.

Orphan.

Committed: 19th of Abadius, 4716

Attending Doctor: Doctor Latchke

Treatment: Observation

Development: 4/4716 - With the exception of slight condition of nyctophobia and hemophobia, the patient has made an admirable recovery. Awaiting sibling's recovery, would prefer for the two of them to leave Briarstone together.

Development: 8/4716 - Patient has been cleared for discharge. I can only hope that fate will reunite him with his brother following Debis' rehabilitation. An agent of an Ardis orphange should arrive in the first week of Rova to find a new family for the patient.

Development:


Lieklan, Debis:
Patient Name: Lieklan, Debis

Description: Male of Varisian descent. 10 years of age.

Orphan.

Committed: 19th of Abadius, 4716

Attending Doctor: Soctor Latchke

Treatment: Medication, Therapy, observation.

Development: 4/4716 - Patient's condition has deteriorated since their admittal. Frequently the patient experiences night terrors, and displays anti-social behavior. Patient is still too young to comfortably medicate.

Development: 8/4716 - Patient's condition has somewhat improved since last development, though re-assimilation to the outside world is not advised. Redacting previous statement, starting patient on half dose of calming agents.

Development:

Foulkes, DaNae:
Patient Name: Foulkes, DaNae

Description: Female of Varisian descent. Fifty-three years of age.

Home in Thrushmoor, Versex County.

Committed: 4th of Gozran, 4715

Attending Doctor: Doctor Oathsday

Treatment: Observation, therapy

Development: 11/4715 - Patient is recovering. As visitors come to her less and less, her condition appears to improve. With Doctor Losandro's approval, the patient has checked out numerous tomes from the Briarstone Library.

Development: 4/4716 - A note to the orderlies: please do not allow the patient to select her own books. While texts on history and local legends are fine, a patient should not be reading texts on the disorders we treat.

Development:


Ulsohen, Loic:
Patient Name: Ulsohen, Loic

Description: Male of Varisian descent. Thirty-eight years of age.

Home in Korvosa, Varisia.

Committed: 9th of Pharast, 4698

Attending Doctor: Doctor Scaen

Treatment: Observation, therapy

Development: 4/4705 - Despite patient's claim that he no longer hears voices, several orderlies have now heard the patient speaking to individuals unseen. Increasing the patient's medication, and alerting all orderlies to keep an ear out for future symptoms.

Development: 5/4710 - Doctor Trice came to examine the patient. Despite his diagnosis that the voice in the patient's head is "benevolent, if not supporting of Loic," we at Briarstone cannot allow an afflicted patient to be discharged. The patient will be under close observation, but as all treatments have failed, we will no longer be medicating the patient.

Development:


Kostenbau, Maeve:
Patient Name: Kostenbau, Maeve

Description: Female of Kellid descent. Nineteen years of age.

Home in Whitethrone, Irrisen

Committed: 29th of Lamashan, 4713

Attending Doctor: Doctor Whitmarsh

Treatment: Observation, therapy

Development: 6/4715 - Patient admitted that she has been making up stories about her childhood trauma in attempts to get attention. Who would believe all those tales about witches and crones. It seems that her isolation therapy had the intended effect.

Development: 2/4716 - Patient was found creating ritual circles with chicken bones. Increasing medication. Such activity may provoke our more erratic patients.

Development:


Yopchick, Mura:
Patient Name: Yopchick, Mura

Description: Female of Varisian descent. Twenty-seven years of age.

Committed: 11th of Desnus, 4704

Attending Doctor:

Treatment:

Development: 10/4710 - Patient seems able to speak, she responds audibly to pain, though for whatever reason refuses to. While this is an instituition of science, I wonder if magical tampering may coerce our patient to talk?

Development: 7/4715 - Patient's father dropped another at our gates today. It seems she has already become protective of her half-brother, despite none of our staff alerting either to their relation. Will investigate further.

Development:


Mears, Jeprin:
Patient Name: Mears, Jeprin

Description: Male of Chelish descent. Twenty-nine years of age.

Committed: See Page 40

Attending Doctor:

Treatment:

Development:

Development:

Development:


Freeling, Vera:
Patient Name: Freeling, Vera

Description: Female of Varisian descent. Sixty-two years of age.

Committed: See Pages 40

Attending Doctor:

Treatment:

Development:

Development:

Development:


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Oh that's pretty neat, I'll borrow that.

Liberty's Edge

so i have a question about something. is there a way for the PCs to get into the barricade with diplomacy tests instead of killing the doppelganagers? for some reason they are very against it (probably because of the scary display downstairs and the fact they are level 1) one of them roll a 29 diplomacy test to convince them.

also when the players go out to do stuff but come back to the chapel how do the guards know that they weren't replaced by doppelgangers?


I would stay firm with the position of the guards on the barricade.

As for the other issue - I agree. Maybe Winter gives them a pass phrase to speak so they know they are "real".

Silver Crusade

Is the Eliege Losandro/Oneirogen supposed to be immobile? The description seems to imply that, but doesn't really spell it out, other than saying she/it acts like a fountain.


Oh what i did to start this one, was to create characters for D&D 5the (only the backgrounds) as a level zero.


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

So the set of stairs directly north of D10 in area E1 would be the stairs up to area F I assume. :-)

Silver Crusade

captain yesterday wrote:
So the set of stairs directly north of D10 in area E1 would be the stairs up to area F I assume. :-)

yes, but only the southern set. The northern set (inside the 'hospital') is blocked by the cave-in you can see on the Ruined Halls map.


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

Yup, got that, thanks for the confirmation. :-)

Silver Crusade

Is The Tatterman supposed to be CR 5 or 6? The stat block on page 56 says 5, but the description of F3 says CR 6, and lists CR 6 XP. Which is correct?

Paizo Employee Developer

The statblock is correct, though he is on the high side of CR 5.


Firstborn wrote:
As for the other issue - I agree. Maybe Winter gives them a pass phrase to speak so they know they are "real".

Dopplegangers can detect thoughts at will, which would potentially render such tactics useless. I've been assuming the survivors know that they can "read minds", thus the requirement of the corpses for entry to the chapel.


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Maligannt wrote:
Firstborn wrote:
As for the other issue - I agree. Maybe Winter gives them a pass phrase to speak so they know they are "real".
Dopplegangers can detect thoughts at will, which would potentially render such tactics useless. I've been assuming the survivors know that they can "read minds", thus the requirement of the corpses for entry to the chapel.

Detect Thoughts:

You detect surface thoughts. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of thoughts.

2nd Round: Number of thinking minds and the Intelligence score of each.

3rd Round: Surface thoughts of any mind in the area.

Not the same as "mind reading", imo.


Started running this last Friday, and my group is really getting into it, definitely one of the more memorable beginnings to an adventure path.

I had a couple of questions about Ulver Zandalus, one of which was mentioned earlier but I'm not sure it was fully addressed. Zandalus has the abomination psychic discipline, so either his CHA and WIS scores should be swapped or he does not have a phrenic pool.

It looks like the dark half ability reflects his low Charisma score correctly, while detect thoughts is not correct and should be DC 14.

Any suggestions? My thought was just to switch his Weapon Finesse feat for Expanded Phrenic Pool. That would reduce his pool by 1 from what is listed in his stat block, but still lets him use overpowering mind once, while only reducing his attack by 1 as well.

Silver Crusade

Firstbourne wrote:
Maligannt wrote:
Firstborn wrote:
As for the other issue - I agree. Maybe Winter gives them a pass phrase to speak so they know they are "real".
Dopplegangers can detect thoughts at will, which would potentially render such tactics useless. I've been assuming the survivors know that they can "read minds", thus the requirement of the corpses for entry to the chapel.

Detect Thoughts:

You detect surface thoughts. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of thoughts.

2nd Round: Number of thinking minds and the Intelligence score of each.

3rd Round: Surface thoughts of any mind in the area.

Not the same as "mind reading", imo.

Not directly from a mechanics point of view, no.

But in-game all the people know is "hey, those things can read our thoughts."


Yeah, and when you suspect someone can read your surface thoughts, you tend to guiltily think about the things you don't want them to know. Just asking "is there a password" will probably get it for you.


Because of the difficulty with the first encounter (CR 3 creature, improvised weapons, etc.) I ratcheted up Scaen's sense of self preservation. Though she knocked out one PC without a lot of effort, she didn't like being surrounded, and being color sprayed freaked her out. As a result, she fled, warning Latchke on her way to Oathsday. She's waiting with Oathsday, which will make that encounter potentially terrifying. But I think that makes sense.

When channeling to heal the party, the cleric let Campre in the radius. I had him remain unconscious, gripped by nightmare, unless awakened, and they party did not try to wake him. He'll become a ghoul, which I'm going to have go after the party, to bump up the party to level 2. (I think there's enough XP there for that.) (-- edit nope, not quite. Still might be interesting for the party to see a vaguely familiar form, transformed.)


the number 46705 is a year?
can´t remember the page, but there are a big error in the year (it was the story of the "baglady", so, the year was 4605, 4705 or 4675?

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, the current year is 4716, so 4605 is out. 4705 is the most likely, meaning her murders were eleven years ago instead of forty-one.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Juda de Kerioth wrote:

the number 46705 is a year?

can´t remember the page, but there are a big error in the year (it was the story of the "baglady", so, the year was 4605, 4705 or 4675?

The text says "Aggra terrorized Rozenport in the 4670s..." The character after the zero is an "s" not a "5." I can see, however, how the font could make it look like a five.


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Hello, I'm three sessions in to running this AP and my players are having a lot of fun! They flew past the first third of it in the first session. Now that they're further in, I've had a couple questions crop up that I wanted to ask here to get some insight and/or suggestions from everyone else.

1) Losandro is found kneeling in a pool of her own blood, but where is she bleeding from? Maybe I missed it, but I couldn't find a specific injury listed, and the book makes it sound like a lot of blood.

2) My players are really interested in curing Losandro. After having them roll some checks (so I could think of something) I told them that they would first need to help sever the Tatterman from coming into the Material Plane, as well as find the specific spell that she originally attempted in order to reverse engineer some kind of cure. Is there anything more specific in the book I might have missed? Did anyone else's players do this?

3) With the grandma in the wheelchair haunt (I've forgotten her name), how do the players learn that she needs her medicine to cure the haunt? I couldn't find any context clues for the players, so I had one of them notice a medical bracelet on her that states she needs her heart medication every day.


For #3 I had one of the PCs have a nightmare about her fate. They've not encountered her yet but hopefully that will tip them off.


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Divissa wrote:


1) Losandro is found kneeling in a pool of her own blood, but where is she bleeding from? Maybe I missed it, but I couldn't find a specific injury listed, and the book makes it sound like a lot of blood.

I said she was bleeding from her pores and mucous membranes. My interpretation was that the planar energies which are hollowing her out are corroding her flesh from the inside, and the residue is just... leaking out where it can.

Divissa wrote:


2) My players are really interested in curing Losandro. After having them roll some checks (so I could think of something) I told them that they would first need to help sever the Tatterman from coming into the Material Plane, as well as find the specific spell that she originally attempted in order to reverse engineer some kind of cure. Is there anything more specific in the book I might have missed? Did anyone else's players do this?

That sounds reasonable.

Divissa wrote:


3) With the grandma in the wheelchair haunt (I've forgotten her name), how do the players learn that she needs her medicine to cure the haunt? I couldn't find any context clues for the players, so I had one of them notice a medical bracelet on her that states she needs her heart medication every day.

She stirred slightly when one of the players mentioned healing or medicine. I thought they needed to be thrown a bone, so that seemed fair.


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Schadenfreude wrote:

I said she was bleeding from her pores and mucous membranes. My interpretation was that the planar energies which are hollowing her out are corroding her flesh from the inside, and the residue is just... leaking out where it can.

Oh man, I really like this! I wish I had thought of that. I told them that it looked like she had been stabbed in the back, I was going to say Zandulus did it after the botched spell, to further get rid of the embarrassing evidence of his stay.


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I am in the process of converting the AP maps from the drawings in the books to VTT-ready maps for my players and I thought I'd make them available to you guys as well, if you like.

You can find them HERE and I will be updating them as I can.


DM Bigrin wrote:

I am in the process of converting the AP maps from the drawings in the books to VTT-ready maps for my players and I thought I'd make them available to you guys as well, if you like.

You can find them HERE and I will be updating them as I can.

Fantastic job! Thanks for sharing!

Silver Crusade

Great job on those maps. I did the same thing in CC3 and it's fun comparing the approach you took compared to mine. I wasn't sure if it was ok from a copyright standpoint to share, so I didn't.


Absolutely brilliant, DM Bigrin!

Can't wait to see what you do with the Thrushmoor Terror maps - I'll be using your versions!


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This is more of a flavor question, but is there a reason that the bag lady is brawler1/rogue 3, instead of just brawler (strangler) 4?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
DM Bigrin wrote:

I am in the process of converting the AP maps from the drawings in the books to VTT-ready maps for my players and I thought I'd make them available to you guys as well, if you like.

You can find them HERE and I will be updating them as I can.

Oh my gosh... thank you so much! Great job on these. I've been having a heck of a time trying to play this over roll20 and using the maps.


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1) What's the light source at the start of the adventure? Doppelgangers have Darkvision, so the "doctor" wouldn't need to have a light on.

(My answer: I'm probably going to add a guttering lamp, almost going out, because the doctor wants her patient to see her. That adds Dim light conditions -- concealment, 20% miss chance, PCs can use Stealth. Of course, some PC will either have darkvision or the ability to spam light-producing cantrips... darkness as a source of fear is hard to maintain in 3.x. But, atmosphere.)

2) Not to overthink it, but how did the PCs and the orderly get in there? Presumably the PCs were brought in before the earthquake closed off easy access, but how'd she wrestle the poor orderly onto that table?

(My answer: I'm going to add a vial with a couple of doses of oil of taggit aka oil of restfulness in the pfsrd. That's an ingested poison, DC 15 Fort save or unconsciousness for 1d3 hours. Gotta figure a medical facility would have lots of that stuff lying around, right?)

3) If the doctor escapes, her only exit route takes her past the barricade. Presumably the guards would comment on this? "We had one just a minute ago, looked like a little crying child..." Actually, that's useful information, so I wouldn't give it to them without a successful face roll of some sort.

4) I've seen a couple of PBPs where the orderly survives. This can create some complications for good-aligned PCs, as keeping a guy with 1 hp alive until they can cross the barricade isn't easy. (One DM solved this by having the poor orderly grab a blade and cut his own throat rather than face what's up there.) If he does survive, any thoughts on how to stat him up and/or run him?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.


DOT.

Liberty's Edge

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I blew up and enhanced the maps for my own personal use. They're scaled properly to print (as always, ymmv) :) I have them available to download here.

Note that the secret door and haunted wall have been filled in (thank you, photoshop!)


DM_DM wrote:
2) Not to overthink it, but how did the PCs and the orderly get in there? Presumably the PCs were brought in before the earthquake closed off easy access, but how'd she wrestle the poor orderly onto that table?

Probably with her 18 Strength...


DM_DM wrote:
1) What's the light source at the start of the adventure? Doppelgangers have Darkvision, so the "doctor" wouldn't need to have a light on.

I think the AP mentions candles. While doppels have darkvision, darkvision doesn't offer the ability to see color, so maybe she has them so she can see blood in vivid detail.

DM DM wrote:
2) Not to overthink it, but how did the PCs and the orderly get in there? Presumably the PCs were brought in before the earthquake closed off easy access, but how'd she wrestle the poor orderly onto that table?

Strength, surprise, maybe. Also, she didn't necessarily do it alone (she could and probably did(?), just saying).

DM DM wrote:
3) If the doctor escapes, her only exit route takes her past the barricade. Presumably the guards would comment on this? "We had one just a minute ago, looked like a little crying child..." Actually, that's useful information, so I wouldn't give it to them without a successful face roll of some sort.

I had her just run on past, and rolled for the guards shooting her. One tagged her, which was good for the PCs, because when she's with another doppelganger, that's a very difficult encounter. But if your PCs are very tough and they don't need such an assist, it's reasonable that she ran past the guards and got into the dark hallway before they could react.

DM DM wrote:
4) I've seen a couple of PBPs where the orderly survives. This can create some complications for good-aligned PCs, as keeping a guy with 1 hp alive until they can cross the barricade isn't easy. (One DM solved this by having the poor orderly grab a blade and cut his own throat rather than face what's up there.) If he does survive, any thoughts on how to stat him up and/or run him?

In my case, Scaen stabbed him, and got him into negatives. He either stabilized himself, or the PCs did it (I don't recall exactly). They healed him (channel) but note that does not automatically wake him. They checked his status, but they did not wake him. They left him there, to return later, and he became a ghoul minutes later. This doesn't answer your question specifically, but I want to illustrate what could happen.

If that didn't transpire, I'd have him provide basic details about the asylum, maybe have him knocked out by falling debris (which could answer question 2), or captured immediately, so that he doesn't know exactly what went on.

EDIT: Regarding his stats, he's a Survivor.

Dark Archive

Any good suggestions on raising the APL for encounters through the adventure for a party of 6 players? Has anyone else had to adjust +1 APL here yet as well? I want things to remain a challenge, but I don't want it to be overkill or just haphazardly apply the advanced template to nearly everything. I noticed that several encounters are solo monsters, so maybe throwing in extra weakened versions of ghouls or doppelgangers may do the job. Any suggestions?


Max HP and/or add minions. Seriously 6v1 puts the party at a massive action economy advantage.


DM Fang Dragon wrote:
Max HP and/or add minions. Seriously 6v1 puts the party at a massive action economy advantage.

That, just don't overdo it when they are still level 1 and keep being careful when they are level 2.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mortagon wrote:

If the Nightgaunt was able to kidnap one of my players I was maybe thinking of having that player come back as a doppleganger later on, allowing the player to play as the doppleganger for a while(just letting him use the stats of his normal character plus the doppleganger abilities) before his real character would be found somewhere in the asylum maybe babbling to himself about the horrors he saw out in the fog. The characters reappearance would be left unexplained.

Okay. I will definitely be lifting this idea to an extent as one of my players fell victim to the nightgaunt.

Specifically, he wandered off by himself when the rest of the party returned to the chapel and entered the courtyard all by himself. He was lifted away, and struggled, but ultimately couldn't break free. Carried up, up, up into the sickly yellow fog. And then I called the game since the timing was just right. He is working on a new character to rejoin the party in the next session.

I'm one of those GMs who doesn't like killing characters. My players get very attached to their characters, and dislike the character creation process outside of brainstorming and creating a personality and backstory. (Yes, I have killed characters before. Brutally, in the case of our Rise of the Runelords game.) If deaths happen, I want them to feel meaningful, or fit within the confines of the narrative. This character disappearing without his companions having a chance of ever knowing what happened is a brilliant way for a character to go; thematically it's perfect.

And yet.

The amnesia angle is a pretty important unifying feature for the party and seeking revenge later on is a strong drive to continue the story, and not having a PC with that link has potential for some interesting inner-party dynamics, but ultimately ruins some of the narrative behind Strange Aeons. Ideally, I'd like to have the original characters stick together until the 4th adventure.

So, I'm thinking of having the nightgaunt drop off the character somewhere else in the asylum, and be found by the players at a later point. If I can manage it, his reveal will be at the end of a session. Afterwards, I will tell the player who originally played him decide if he wants to return to that character, or stick with the new one.


I was thinking maybe Stunning Fist would be a great choice for Aggra's Martial Flexibility class feature. Otherwise maybe something as simple as Power Attack. Anyone else with any other ideas?


My players don't seem to be very good at solving the haunts. They didn't think of the mirror for the door and couldn't figure out how to fix the woman who puts them to sleep when they go near her. They eventually stopped the woman from bleeding after a little hint but I can't figure out ways to write that in every time. How would you guys have handled the first two?


I'm planning on adding an effect to the eyeball that forces them to look away or feel nauseous, and describing the massive urge to NOT LOOK at this thing. I'm hoping that they can figure out that if they have to look away, it will too when confronted with itself.

The woman isn't a haunt, it's a person/monster, so they just gotta kill it. My party will include and archer, so they'll be fine.


Yeah, I don't know why I said it like that. I meant they thought it was a haunt even though it wasn't lol.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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The adventure comes built in with a great way to drop hints--dreaming in briarstone.

Before my players ran into the argus eye, I gave one of my players a dream involving mirrors: they found themselves in a hall filled with monstrous portraits, only to realize after some time the portraits were mirrors and their own face had become monstrous.

Nothing explicitly connecting mirrors to the eye, mind you, just priming them to have mirrors on their mind.

Then, when the time came to deal with the eye, I played up its anguished cry "WHO AM I BECOME!?"

A question demands an answer, so they started trying out responses. When telling it didn't work, they hit on the idea of showing it with a mirror, and BAM!, the player who had the mirror dream was like "Yes! Mirror! It's totally a mirror!"


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Also as a way to drop hints, I edited Losandro's journal page (pages, now) to talk more about other patients and give clues.

Spoilered for length:

Spoiler:

Wealday: It has been nearly seven months since the Lieklan brothers were brought to us after they witnessed the deaths of their parents, and still the authorities have yet to locate any other relatives who can care for the boys. While I applaud their foresight in bringing the obviously traumatized children to us for treatment, what will we do once they recover? Their doctors inform me that Brenton is nearly recovered completely already, though Debis still suffers from the regular night terrors that only the shadow lantern his parents gave him can quell.

Oathday: Another unexpected call from Count Lowls. These have become so common and Lowls’s focus is so singular that they no longer leave me apprehensive. He requested to see me after his visit with Zandalus, though. He claims to have a theoretical solution for the poor man’s condition. I don’t know what the count and my prized patient have been discussing _and Lowls again refused to share_ but I doubt that lordly amateur psychologist has truly hit upon anything of worth. Regardless, I’d be a fool not to humor my liege.

Fireday: Mr. Cerznalo has again suffered a setback in the struggle against his anorexia. There seems to be some component of his condition that hinders treatment that none of our doctors nor Mr. Cerznalo can quite pinpoint. Regardless, the fanciful stories he tells inspired by his dreams of serene forests, silver-voiced dryads, and proud unicorns are something that patients and staff alike enjoy.

Starday: Lowls’s ”solution” was not at all what I expected. I have no clue where he turned it up, but on his most recent visit he brought along a copy of Valhadis’s The Chain of Nights, a near-legendary collection of psycho-arcane studies and treatments focused on dreaming. While I abhor arcane tampering, if there’s a permanent solution to Zandalus’s nightmares, it could be here. Lowls allowed me to study the text for the duration of his visit, but staunchly refused to leave it in my possession.

Sunday: I had to remind a few of our nurses today about the importance of watching what they say around our impressionable patients. While using the phrase “so her heart doesn’t explode” may be innocent metaphor to us, to an old woman suffering from dementia it became far more terrifying. Mrs. Freeling is now convinced that missing a single dose of her medication will literally have that effect! While she was able to be superficially calmed, I fear what long term effects those careless words could have on her fragile psyche.

Moonday: Lowls has made me an offer: his copy of The Chain of Nights. All I must do in return is accept a handful of new patients_former associates of his that have suffered some unprecedented manner of group amnesia. I might accept this as charity on the count’s behalf, but he insists that I keep no record of their committal. The terms make me suspicious, but I can learn more of these curious strangers once they’re in my care. If it means the possibility of a cure for Zandalus and others, I welcome the bargain.

Toilday: The patients I agreed to accept from Lowls have arrived, and are unprecedented indeed. Not only do they all appear to be suffering from a fugue state, but they also exhibit all the signs of anterograde amnesia as well! To have one patient exhibit both conditions would be monumental, but to have an entire group do so I practically unheard of. Luckily Lowls also delivered The Chain of Night as promised, which could yield cures for so many of my patients here.

Wealday: The Chain of Nights is a marvel. It will take years of study to unravel all its possibilities, but already I’ve discovered a process by which chronic dreams might be drawn forth and disposed of like so much psychic gristle. Tomorrow our experiment begins.


'Sani wrote:

I'm planning on adding an effect to the eyeball that forces them to look away or feel nauseous, and describing the massive urge to NOT LOOK at this thing. I'm hoping that they can figure out that if they have to look away, it will too when confronted with itself.

The woman isn't a haunt, it's a person/monster, so they just gotta kill it. My party will include and archer, so they'll be fine.

You really need a group that wants to solve puzzles for this adventure I think. So I ended up having many of the haunts have a way of attacking. The dark room with the little girl was the only one they solved so far but I love the idea of dreaming of the haunts. But here I am at the very end of the Search for INsanity.

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