The Thrushmoor Terror (GM Reference)


Strange Aeons

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Paizo Employee Developer

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Rides Water wrote:
Insane KillMaster wrote:


Star Stelae Questions


  • Does the Star Stelae consist of the steps and pedestal as shown on Page 7?

  • Would walking onto the stairs qualify as touching a Star Stelae for purposes of triggering the telepathic connection? If not, should this touching be much a more deliberate hand-to-pillar kind of thing?

  • Do the symbols of Hastur need to be held in hand, worn, or can they just be anywhere on the person (like stored in a backpack)?

Right now a cleric has six symbols of Hastur tucked into his backpack. He definitely doesn't want to wear one and is totally unlikely to pull them out when near the Star Stelae. I really want to have the PCs learn about the abilities of the Stelae because I think it will be a hook to make them want to discover more and add to the desire to chase down Lowls; however, I don't want to do it in a manner that goes against their intended design.

Perhaps they are only to be understood by characters with a leaning towards the occult and not stumbled upon by someone lucky/unlucky enough to be carrying a symbol of Hastur in the right place?

The intention is that a character has to touch the actual stela, not just its base, and it should be deliberate. I think just having a Yellow Sign on one's person should be enough. You don't necessarily need to be wearing it openly.

It would work best if the PCs tried to actively investigate the Star Stelae, but having them just happen to touch one of these weird monuments and get a flash of insight doesn't hurt.

Paizo Employee Developer

redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?

No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.


I am still unable to deduce several time-line related matters:

How long have the PCs been working for Lowls and terrorizing Thrushmoor before he uses them as dream fodder?
Years are implied but I can't confirm how many.

How much time has passed since The PCs had their memories wiped and then their bodies deposited at Briarstone Asylum?
I'm assuming the Dreamland events were performed at Iris Hill so only a short time had passed.

How long are they residents of Briarstone Asylum before the uprising and earthquake occur?
It was implied they had been down there for more or less a week after the events had triggered, but not how long they resided at the asylum before hand.

I ask all these as it will help me better understand the citizens of Thrushmoor and express them to the players if I understand how long they've interacted, and when was the last the players were active in the town. It will also help the players better rebuild their missing past if I can dole out little comments like "Hrrumph, I thought you left town for good (x) weeks ago..." or "After what you did (months time ago), I'm surprised you'd show your face here again, even with the Count gone." or "Do you have word from the Count? He's been gone (time) and we thought you left with him."

Paizo Employee Developer

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The length of time that the PCs were working for Lowls was left vauge intentionally so that GMs could work in the PCs backstories as various groups saw fit. Assume that they were in his company for 2–5 years; whatever works best for your particular campaign.

Lowls brought the PCs to the asylum pretty much right after he sacrificed their memories (which happened at Iris Hill). The ritual that awoke the Tatterman happened a couple of days after the PCs were brought to the asylum. The ritual and the “earthquake” happened on pretty much the same day. Then about 4–5 days later, the PCs awake in the basement and make their way to the other survivors.


thank you so much Adam

Silver Crusade

Does the Yellow Sign in area G3 trigger the Keeper's Yellow Sign Affinity buff? I'm assuming that's why it's there, but in the description of Yellow Sign Affinity it says the Yellow Sign must have been created by Hastur, or by the Yellow Sign spell which is 9th level.

Silver Crusade

I have the same question about the Yellow Sign in area G11 and the Byakhee.

Paizo Employee Developer

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The Yellow Signs beneath Iris Hill are simply just symbols—Hastur's holy symbol, in fact. They are not magical Yellow Signs, so they do not trigger the keeper's Yellow Sign affinity.


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Adam Daigle wrote:
redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?
No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.

But wait, the section on Star Stelae says you can travel within 200 feet of other Star Stelae:

Quote:
By touching one of the Star Stelae, a user can create a temporary portal on a wall within 200 feet of the stone. The user can then travel to another wall within 200 feet of one of the other two Star Stelae as if via dimension door.

My players grabbed one of the unholy symbols of Hastur, which I presume counted as a Yellow Sign to allow them to understand the Stelae, and made the assumption that there was a third Stelae, based on the shape of the town and the fact that there weren't cultist bases that they could find near the other two stelae.

Was that the wrong call?

Paizo Employee Developer

Oops. That's what I get for a hasty answer. Rereading it, it seems like it would work if they just guessed a direction and distance for the other end of the portal.


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The Imperator wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?
No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.

But wait, the section on Star Stelae says you can travel within 200 feet of other Star Stelae:

Quote:
By touching one of the Star Stelae, a user can create a temporary portal on a wall within 200 feet of the stone. The user can then travel to another wall within 200 feet of one of the other two Star Stelae as if via dimension door.

My players grabbed one of the unholy symbols of Hastur, which I presume counted as a Yellow Sign to allow them to understand the Stelae, and made the assumption that there was a third Stelae, based on the shape of the town and the fact that there weren't cultist bases that they could find near the other two stelae.

Was that the wrong call?

I play on Roll 20, which means everyone in the game can draw on the map. It took less than five minutes after finding the locations of the other two Star Stela for them to have trigonometried out that there was another stela under Iris Hill.


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'Sani wrote:
The Imperator wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?
No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.

But wait, the section on Star Stelae says you can travel within 200 feet of other Star Stelae:

Quote:
By touching one of the Star Stelae, a user can create a temporary portal on a wall within 200 feet of the stone. The user can then travel to another wall within 200 feet of one of the other two Star Stelae as if via dimension door.

My players grabbed one of the unholy symbols of Hastur, which I presume counted as a Yellow Sign to allow them to understand the Stelae, and made the assumption that there was a third Stelae, based on the shape of the town and the fact that there weren't cultist bases that they could find near the other two stelae.

Was that the wrong call?

I play on Roll 20, which means everyone in the game can draw on the map. It took less than five minutes after finding the locations of the other two Star Stela for them to have trigonometried out that there was another stela under Iris Hill.

Mine did the exact same thing but trig'd its location in the other direction after they heard about the glowing witch lights across the lake. Funny how too many clues at once can confuse an investigation.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spastic Puma wrote:
'Sani wrote:
The Imperator wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?
No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.

But wait, the section on Star Stelae says you can travel within 200 feet of other Star Stelae:

Quote:
By touching one of the Star Stelae, a user can create a temporary portal on a wall within 200 feet of the stone. The user can then travel to another wall within 200 feet of one of the other two Star Stelae as if via dimension door.

My players grabbed one of the unholy symbols of Hastur, which I presume counted as a Yellow Sign to allow them to understand the Stelae, and made the assumption that there was a third Stelae, based on the shape of the town and the fact that there weren't cultist bases that they could find near the other two stelae.

Was that the wrong call?

I play on Roll 20, which means everyone in the game can draw on the map. It took less than five minutes after finding the locations of the other two Star Stela for them to have trigonometried out that there was another stela under Iris Hill.
Mine did the exact same thing but trig'd its location in the other direction after they heard about the glowing witch lights across the lake. Funny how too many clues at once can confuse an investigation.

Oooh, that's a good misdirection, Puma. I'll have to remember that when I run this.


To trigonometry the third Stellae they have to learn first that they form a triangle. It could be 3 in a row for example


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Rides Water wrote:
Insane KillMaster wrote:


Star Stelae Questions


  • Does the Star Stelae consist of the steps and pedestal as shown on Page 7?

  • Would walking onto the stairs qualify as touching a Star Stelae for purposes of triggering the telepathic connection? If not, should this touching be much a more deliberate hand-to-pillar kind of thing?

  • Do the symbols of Hastur need to be held in hand, worn, or can they just be anywhere on the person (like stored in a backpack)?

Right now a cleric has six symbols of Hastur tucked into his backpack. He definitely doesn't want to wear one and is totally unlikely to pull them out when near the Star Stelae. I really want to have the PCs learn about the abilities of the Stelae because I think it will be a hook to make them want to discover more and add to the desire to chase down Lowls; however, I don't want to do it in a manner that goes against their intended design.

Perhaps they are only to be understood by characters with a leaning towards the occult and not stumbled upon by someone lucky/unlucky enough to be carrying a symbol of Hastur in the right place?

The intention is that a character has to touch the actual stela, not just its base, and it should be deliberate. I think just having a Yellow Sign on one's person should be enough. You don't necessarily need to be wearing it openly.

It would work best if the PCs tried to actively investigate the Star Stelae, but having them just happen to touch one of these weird monuments and get a flash of insight doesn't hurt.

Another thing to mention is that if the PCs defeat Melisenn and acquire her copy of the Pnakotic Manuscripts, studying the book would likely reveal more insight on the capabilities of the Star Stelae.

"Melisenn got her hands on the copy of the Pnakotic Manuscripts the count owned, where she found confirmation of a primordial connection between the cult of Hastur and the trio of Star Stelae erected in Thrushmoor."


First things first: Thank you for your amazing input and ideas you brought along in this discussion. I´m usually creating my own campaigns, but could not resist to try this one out. I´m thrilled how well the storry is written and composed and how much thoughts and energy is spend on this project.

Got a Question about the Stats of Melisenn. In the Stats Block she´s listet as a CR 7 encounter while in de Adventure she´s at CR6.

What do i miss?


Misroi wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
'Sani wrote:
The Imperator wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
redondo15 wrote:
Hey guys, I have one question. If my players will discover early how to use a Star Stelae, they could teleport inside Iris Hill, if I understood correctly!?
No, for two reasons. First, no two Star Stelae are within range of each other, and secondly, the PCs likely aren't aware of the one under Iris Hill.

But wait, the section on Star Stelae says you can travel within 200 feet of other Star Stelae:

Quote:
By touching one of the Star Stelae, a user can create a temporary portal on a wall within 200 feet of the stone. The user can then travel to another wall within 200 feet of one of the other two Star Stelae as if via dimension door.

My players grabbed one of the unholy symbols of Hastur, which I presume counted as a Yellow Sign to allow them to understand the Stelae, and made the assumption that there was a third Stelae, based on the shape of the town and the fact that there weren't cultist bases that they could find near the other two stelae.

Was that the wrong call?

I play on Roll 20, which means everyone in the game can draw on the map. It took less than five minutes after finding the locations of the other two Star Stela for them to have trigonometried out that there was another stela under Iris Hill.
Mine did the exact same thing but trig'd its location in the other direction after they heard about the glowing witch lights across the lake. Funny how too many clues at once can confuse an investigation.
Oooh, that's a good misdirection, Puma. I'll have to remember that when I run this.

Is there a hint for the players, that there must be a third Stela exept the opinion of the Scholar in Rosenport? I guess i missed that one, too


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I never gave my players any hint that there was a third stela. I did however, give them access to the Thrushmoor map.

They determined, with no prompting, that the distance from Stela A to Stela B was exactly the same as the distance from Stela A to Iris Hill and from Stela B to Iris Hill, which led them to conclusions that A: there was a third stela and B: it was located at Iris Hill.

They also determined there may be something of interest in the center of town at the location where the triangulated lined from the three stela meet, which led them to a very nice pregnant villager who was confused as to why these strangers were knocking on her door. As this was after they had explored the Fort, they expressed some suspicion that she's been laying with fish-monsters.


'Sani wrote:

I never gave my players any hint that there was a third stela. I did however, give them access to the Thrushmoor map.

They determined, with no prompting, that the distance from Stela A to Stela B was exactly the same as the distance from Stela A to Iris Hill and from Stela B to Iris Hill, which led them to conclusions that A: there was a third stela and B: it was located at Iris Hill.

They also determined there may be something of interest in the center of town at the location where the triangulated lined from the three stela meet, which led them to a very nice pregnant villager who was confused as to why these strangers were knocking on her door. As this was after they had explored the Fort, they expressed some suspicion that she's been laying with fish-monsters.

Oh boy - sound´s like you did a nice job in the first adventure, keeping your players twitchy like that :-)

Sovereign Court

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Thattanguy wrote:

I will be starting up TT in 2 weeks. I've been pouring over the story for the last week or so, trying to match up the order of events that lead to the PC's getting locked up in Briarstone, but I'm having a little trouble putting it all together.

I read earlier in the thread that someone was going to put together a timeline and was wondering if anyone actually had yet.

Hi,

I came up with the following timeline based on my interpretation of the first two adventures. Some of those dates are arbitrarily chosen by me, but for the most part, I've tried to stay faithful to what was presented in the books.

Note: my campaign assumes that the campaign begins on Arodus 24th, 4716, and that, five days later, the PC’s arrive in Thrushmoor.

I hope it helps. :)

Moonbeam

======================

~1290 (Adventure 1 p54)
The Chain of Nights is written by the Keleshite doctor and seer Valhadis.

~4000 (Adventure 1 p43)
The first reports of the Briarstone Witch.

4024 (Adventure 2 p63)
Thrushmoor is founded.

4050 (Adventure 1 p5, 43)
The Thrushmoor Vanishing.

4288 (Adventure 2 p65)
Thrushmoor is resettled.

4315 (Adventure 1 p43)
Briarstone was originally intended to be a fort. Its construction began in 4315 and was plagued by accidents. Rumors attributed the tragedy to the Briarstone Witch and claimed that she’d curse or kill any who trespassed upon her home.

4487 (Adventure 2 p7, 34, 66)
Count Pragmus Lowls I builds Iris Hill

4584 (Adventure 1 p5, 43)
Count Haserton Lowls I organizes a cleansing ritual on Briarstone Isle. (Slight discrepancy: On p5, they say it was done in 4596)

4585
Count Haserton Lowls I started the building of Briarstone Asylum on the ruins of an old fort.

~4660 (Adventure 2 p66)
The old chapel in Thrushmoor became cursed due to the actions of the mad priest Causton Creed.

4676 (Adventure 2 p42)
Count Haserton Lowls IV is born

4681 (Adventure 2 p42)
A portrait of young Haserton Lowls IV is taken, with a cat.

4685-06-02 (Adventure 1 p36 )
Ulver Zandalus is committed to Briarstone Asylum

4687 (Adventure 1 p5)
Eliege Losandro begins treating Zandalus.

4696 (Adventure 2 p61)
Death of Count Haserton Lowls 3, Nemira Lowls and Clymes Prett.

4697 (Adventure 2 p33)
The ghost of Clymes Prett begins to materialize in the basement of Fort Hailcourse, and on the anniversary of his execution (Erastus 21st), he can roam the entire fortress.

4697 (Adventure 2 p19 )
The Thrushmoor Ghost (Nemira) begins appearing around town.

4702 (Adventure 1 p36)
Zandalus starts drawing Star Stellae among his drawings.

4711 (Adventure 1 p5, 50)
Lowls buys the PC's from Weiralai in Okeno, as thugs and advisors.

4713-12-29 (Adventure 1 p27)
A PC gets into a fight at the Silver Wagon, then is thrown in prison after failing to pay his tab for too long.

4715-03 (Adventure 1 p5, 36)
Upon visiting a gallery event featuring Zandalus’s dream art—among the works of other patients—Lowls recognized shapes and scenes common to descriptions of the Dreamlands, Carcosa, and, most shockingly, the Star Stelae of his home, Thrushmoor.

4715 (Adventure 1 p5)
In the following months, Count Lowls immersed himself in study of the Dreamlands and began paying visits to Zandalus at Briarstone Asylum. In his observations of the mute’s artistry, Lowls became increasingly convinced that Zandalus explored the Dreamlands each night.

4715-05 (Adventure 2 p5)
A tall hedge appears around Iris Hill Manor overnight.

4715-11 (Adventure 2 p59)
Count Lowls meets Melisenn at the Sincomakti School of Sciences while doing some research.

4716-01 (Adventure 1 p39)
Brenton and Debis Lieklan witnessed their parents being slaughtered by bandits near Hyannis.

4716-04 (Adventure 2 p59)
Melisenn moves into Iris Hill as a servant of Count Lowls. After moving into Iris Hill, she manipulated the obsessed count to more or less give her full run of the estate. She began her service to Lowls posing as a simple assistant and steward, directing the staff in their duties when not taking dictation from the rambling old count

4716-05-20 (Adventure 2 p44 )
Count Lowls gets some alchemical reagents from his friend Miacknian Munn and a letter about the Necronomicon.

4716-06 (Adventure 2 p5)
Lowls fires his staff and nominates Melisenn as his replacement once he's gone.

4716-06-13 (Adventure 2 p5)
First batch of cultists arrive in town, including Risi Nairgon from Absalom.

4716-07-13 (Adventure 2 p19)
For the first time in years, the Thrushmoor Ghost (Nemira) is seen in the streets.

4716-07-24 (Adventure 2 p5)
Magistrate Tillus Padgett becomes very suspicious of Count Lowls and sends a letter to Caliphas, asking for an investigation.

4716-07-29 (Adventure 2 p5)
The second source Melisenn contacted was a group of skum who lived in the waters of Lake Encarthan.

4716-08-08 (Adventure 1 p60)
Winter is ordered to go with Accuser Omari to investigate strange things in Thrushmoor.

4716-08-09 (Adventure 2 p5)
A ship with Weiralai and kuru thugs arrives in town.

4716-08-10 (Adventure 1 p45)
Wren Elbourne is committed to Briarstone Asylum.

4716-08-11 (Adventure 1 p35)
Count Lowls tells administrator Losandro that he has a cure for Zandalus.

4716-08-12 (Adventure 2 p5)
As the cultists, thugs, and monsters arrived, Thrushmoor’s citizens began reporting their fellow townsfolk going missing. Melisenn and her cult were snatching a dozen citizens off the street to be sacrificed to Hastur and power the Star Stelae.

4716-08-13 (Adventure 1 p35, Adventure 2 p5)
Count Lowls shows administrator Losandro the Chain of Nights.
He also made contact with the Mad Poet, who promised to show him the way to the lost city in exchange for the “sacrifice”.

4716-08-14 (Adventure 2 p5)
The Count makes his sacrifice to the Mad Poet.

4716-08-15 (Adventure 1 p35 )
The PC’s are committed to the Asylum.

4716-08-15 (Adventure 2 p5)
Lowls delivered the PCs to Briarstone Asylum before leaving on a ship headed to Cassomir, all before dawn broke.

4716-08-16 (Adventure 1 p60, Adventure 2 p6)
Royal Accuser Omari arrived in town with a small group of investigators—including the Pharasmin cleric Winter Klaczka, intending to keep a low profile until she had a clearer picture of the situation. Instead of visiting New Chapel, the Pharasmin church in town, Omari met with Cesadia Wrentz of the Sleepless Agency and requested that the office be the rally point for her and her investigators. Omari organized the party that left to investigate Briarstone Asylum, and asked for an audience with Melisenn Kororo, a request that received no answer.

4716-08-17
Winter arrives at the Asylum and waits for a longer meeting with the administrator.

4716-08-17 (Adventure 1 p5, 6, 35, 59, 61)
Dr. Losandro performs the ritual which frees Zandalus. The results were almost immediate: Zandalus spoke to Losandro for the first time in their long doctor-patient relationship. Then, all hell breaks loose.

4716-08-17 (Adventure 2 p21)
Melisenn summoned Tilsitari shortly after Lowls's departure.

4716-08-18 (Adventure 2 p5)
Skum infiltrate Fort Hailcourse.

4716-08-18 (Adventure 2 p6)
At the same time, disturbing murals depicting the black skyline of a dark city under a yellow sky began to appear on random walls of Thrushmoor’s buildings.

4716-08-18 (Adventure 2 p11)
Daridella arrives in Thrushmoor, asks to speak to Count Lowls, is initially turned away by his toughs.

4716-08-19 (Adventure 2 p6)
When a delegation of concerned citizens went to Iris Hill to seek support from the count, they found he was gone. Melisenn Kororo, now in charge of the estate, refused to help, advising the citizens to wait for her master’s return.
Instead, the townsfolk went to Fort Hailcourse to see if the magistrate could help protect the town. The townspeople were sent away.
Deprived of their traditional leadership, the population begged the Sleepless Agency to take charge of policing the town. Leader of the agency Cesadia Wrentz took careful notice of the events, and suspected that something big was afoot, but she didn’t have enough agents to take on the challenge.
Warned by Cesadia Wrentz about the shady reputation of Lowls’s minions and the danger that invading Iris Hill might pose, Omari decided to go first to Fort Hailcourse in order to force an inspection and enlist the support of the stubborn Constable Cesyll. When Omari went to the fort, however, her group was ambushed and overwhelmed.

4716-08-20
In Briarstone, Father Setrakian and some of the asylum survivors get slain/captured by the doppelgangers.

4716-08-20
Thrushmoor’s priestess of Pharasma disappears.

4716-08-20 (Adventure 2 p11)
Daridella makes contact with Melisenn.

4716-08-21 (Adventure 2 p37)
Cultists Asa and Daelene (E3) came to Thrushmoor, curious about the scandal that an accuser would cause.

4716-08-22 (Adventure 1 p17 )
The Argus Wall materializes in Briarstone.

4716-08-22 (Adventure 2 p6)
The artist Lelwyn Hasok reported that the priestess hadn’t shown up in the chapel for 2 days, and when he went to her residence to check up on her, no one answered. Lelwyn tried to report this disappearance to the constable, but was turned away after being told the event would be noted and investigated in due time. Since he’s a newcomer and not well liked by the townsfolk, Lelwyn had no one else to turn to, so he reported the missing priest to the Sleepless Agency and returned to his studio to work.

4716-08-24
CAMPAIGN START: The PCs wake up at Briarstone asylum.

4716-08-24 (Adventure 2 p45 )
The Star Vampire arrived at Iris Hill (after the activation of the Star Stelae) and was befriended by Melisenn.

4716-08-25 (Adventure 2 p10 )
Local fisherman Toli Remsatter noticed a glowing light in a small cave a mile out of town. Caught up in the fear sown by Elgrior Nasmeth, the angler began to suspect that the light he saw means the Briarstone Witch has returned to once again take everyone in Thrushmoor into the bay. Later, Toli recounted this theory over drinks and cards at the Stain, spreading the fear to other patrons and thus throughout town.

4716-08-25 (Adventure 2 p41)
Cultist Gorwyn (E14/F1) came to Iris Hill.

4716-08-26 (Adventure 2 p12)
Two farmers are reported missing. (They were captured by Daridella to feed her pets)

4716-08-27 (Adventure 2 p41)
Cultist Gorwyn (E14/F1) became trapped by the Sepia Snake Sigil.

4716-08-29
The PCs arrive in Thrushmoor.

Sovereign Court

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While preparing some handouts for my game, I became a bit confused by two seemingly conflicting pieces of information:
- In F3, a letter from Miacknian Mun mentions the Necronomicon and its location.
- In F10, the last note from Lowls' dream journeys is the big reveal that the information he needs is in the Necronomicon.

To me, those two seem to conflict: I assume that the dream described in F10 is one that Lowls had during one of his very last nights at Iris Hill, possibly even on the fateful night when he made the sacrifice to the Mad Poet. But then, given travel times, how could Miacknian have already known about the Necronomicon weeks or months before?

To try to resolve this, I changed the handouts a bit to represent that Lowls and Mun had known for some time that the book they needed was the Necronomicon. That wasn't the big reveal. The big reveal was where to find it.

I hope that makes sense...

If so, here are the two handouts I wrote (with a bit of player-specific information, because in my game, one of the PCs is Lowls' half-sister (daughter of Nemira Lowls and Clymes Prett).

Sovereign Court

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(F3)

Envelope found in the library at Iris Hill:

Pharast 6th, 4716
Cassomir

Greetings, Haserton,

I trust that you will appreciate this latest shipment. The dosage has been adjusted as per your suggestions. The research is progressing at a steady pace, thanks to the help of my new assistants. There is much lore to be discovered in Cassomir, as well as beneath it.

I wonder whether that Mad Poet you met in your dream journey truly knows where to find the Necronomicon. My own sources indicate that it is written in Necril. If you can find a way to retrieve it and bring it to me, I can certainly help you translate and research it. I look forward to seeing you again, my old friend, and eagerly await the chance to show you the latest addition to my family.

Miacknian Mun

Sovereign Court

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(F10)

This revelatory dream has cost me much…

The sacrifice of the minds of my four companions has put them into a fugue state, but they yet live, unable to remember their lives or react to outside stimuli. Now I must turn them over to the warden of Briarstone Asylum, according to our agreement, never to see them again.

Feyia, you treacherous vixen, your sweet touch will be missed, but your absence will allow me greater focus on my quest.

Quinn and Zabedar, I could have used your counsel and stout arms on this dangerous journey, but surely Biting Lash will be able to provide me with slaves and mercenaries just as potent as you ever were.

Vissiliane, little sister, may our mother forgive me for what I’ve done to you this night. I gave you many chances to join me in this endeavour, but never did you aid me, never did you believe in me. In time, I finally grew tired of your sermons and doubts.

Perhaps you were merely jealous? Did you laugh at me, like they all did, those fools? Perhaps I should never have considered you my kin. After all, it’s because of you that my father died, and that our mother <scratched out>became that hor</scratched out> changed.

It matters not.

I have it in me. I can feel it.

I am the chosen one.

Dark Archive

Useful stuff, I was about to ask if anyone had written some Lowls rambling.

Grand Lodge

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Couple of questions I have that other GMs or Adam may be able to answer for me.

pg 51 (map)G6: I am assuming the grey tear drop image in the SW area of the room is the "cave." If so, how are all of the "creatures" going to fit in that space? There are 8 of them. Other than just making the room itself bigger am I missing something?

pg 82 Byakhee stat block. It lists under Special Attacks blood drain (1D2 Constitution), bloodlust. I get the bloodlust but where is the blood drain coming from? Is this a typo from a copy/paste of the star vampire?

Paizo Employee Developer

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The gray area in that part of the map represents their little den where they live all cramped up together. My intention was that they swarm out of there to fight as the PCs get closer to the well. If that's too cramped for you, you can enlarge the room as you suggested or, if you want to be tricky with your player's assumptions when it come to fighting rats, you could give them the swarming special ability that ratfolk and morlocks have. That might even ramp up the creepy factor.

As for byakhees and their blood drain, that's not an error. Byakhees have been draining blood for years in the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. So, we are just continuing the tradition with their Pathfinder stats.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the reply Adam. So where or how does the blood drain work then? Is it part of the bite attack?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Useplanb wrote:
Thanks for the reply Adam. So where or how does the blood drain work then? Is it part of the bite attack?

Blood drain is a universal monster ability, and as such it's one of those abilities that isn't detailed in a stat block. Check one of the latest bestiaries for details... but the basic is that a creature with blood drain deals its listed blood drain damage at the end of any turn it grapples a foe.

Grand Lodge

Ah. Thanks for that James! I'll recheck the Bestiary(s).

Being not to familiar with the Cthulhu 'verse I am hoping to run this for some friends that are and want do it right. Owning as many AP's as I do this one has really captured my attention and am thoroughly enjoying it. Even have a 2-hour loop of heavy rain to play in the background for sound ambiance to help keep the players in the moment during Book 2. That or it'll have to make them pee.


Is there too much treasure in the adventure?

I was checking, just because I'm going to use a modified version of automatic bonus progression (all the big six as automatic progression, but weapons and armors are used normally), so I have to remove some gold and items from the adventure to balance that and avoid an inflation of magic items.

So I went and counted the gold in the adventure. Not counting mundane gear, like masterwork weapons and such (which adds a bit, there are several Masterwork weapons at 350gp each), and not counting cheap consumable items like potions and elixirs, because the NPC can use and spend them, I found over 25.000 gp in cash, and over 105.000 gp in magic items. That's more than 130.000gp over the course of the adventure from lvl 4 to lvl 7. For a group of 4 adventures, you'll need 70.000 to cover the WBL gap from lvl 4 to lvl 7. Including the price of consumables and mundane masterwork items, you'll get about twice as much.

Is the game assumption that all magic items found are sold at half price (ie: players don't keep any, always sell and then buy what fits them more), and mundane items aren't plundered, even if they are worth money? Or just that the game assumes PC don't do all encounters and/or don't get all the treasure?


gustavo iglesias wrote:

Is there too much treasure in the adventure?

I was checking, just because I'm going to use a modified version of automatic bonus progression (all the big six as automatic progression, but weapons and armors are used normally), so I have to remove some gold and items from the adventure to balance that and avoid an inflation of magic items.

So I went and counted the gold in the adventure. Not counting mundane gear, like masterwork weapons and such (which adds a bit, there are several Masterwork weapons at 350gp each), and not counting cheap consumable items like potions and elixirs, because the NPC can use and spend them, I found over 25.000 gp in cash, and over 105.000 gp in magic items. That's more than 130.000gp over the course of the adventure from lvl 4 to lvl 7. For a group of 4 adventures, you'll need 70.000 to cover the WBL gap from lvl 4 to lvl 7. Including the price of consumables and mundane masterwork items, you'll get about twice as much.

Is the game assumption that all magic items found are sold at half price (ie: players don't keep any, always sell and then buy what fits them more), and mundane items aren't plundered, even if they are worth money? Or just that the game assumes PC don't do all encounters and/or don't get all the treasure?

Some combination of the two, I believe. They'll miss some, sell some, keep some and it'll generally work out about right. I believe they've stated the aim is roughly twice the WBL value.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We generally aim for twice the numbers expected in Wealth By Level, since usually, some of the treasure will go unclaimed by the PCs, or some will need to be sold to pay for expensive recovery spells or for raw gold, and some will be given away or lost or broken, and so on.


I want to add one or more Hags to the adventure. I like to use the cover as a teaser, and I also like the picture of Adrianah flying over cultists in front of the Star Stela.

Obviously, Adrianah herself is not an option. But maybe another Hag?

There's a Green Hag nearby, which can be a random encounter. That's an option, but I feel I'd like it more if it is related to the adventure than just a random encounter. Maybe as an ally of Daridela?

The picture of the hag flying over the Star Stela might work well as a Storm Hag, although it is a tough fight at CR7. Being stronger than Melisenn is a bit weird (unless I re-write part of the adventure to make this hag the overseer of Melisenn)

Maybe adding a Sea Hag with the Skums? That could be tied to Thrushmoor hybrids maybe, which could work well with my group, who played Call of Cthulhu and have read Lovecraft.

Adding the three might work as a Coven, which could explain the weather over Thrushmoor. But then they should be fight one by one,

Also, the adventure already packs a lot of combat encounters, so what could I cut?

Mmmm... I have to think about it. Maybe it's not worth the effort just to use the (great) picture in the cover as a teaser


I liked the picture but just shopped out Ariadnah. You could also just use the picture of Thrushmoor as a teaser, which is less exciting but gives away less.

You could replace Daridela Cornett with a green hag if you really wanted. Hand wave the plant powers and tie it into Winter being a changeling or something. Don't think it adds much, though.


Did not think about Winter's angle. Mmmm worth exploring, maybe


Risi managed to assassinate the gnome bard while he slept in the guesthouse of Iris Hill. The players will be looking for a way to resurrect him. Any thoughts on how to do this considering the priestess is missing/dead?


It depends. Did the professional assassin take any measure against the cheap and affordable raise dead? Like decapitation? If so, I doubt.

If not, there are close towns like Rozenport. Maybe they can buy a scroll of raise dead there


Where can the PC buy restoration within Thrushmoor? Only person able to cast it, the priestess, is dead.

Our alchemist had an unfortunate fight against the specter in The Wailing House.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Thrushmoor is also a port city. Trade ships passing through might have scrolls for sale, if the PCs are persuasive.

Paizo Employee Developer

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You could bump Sentilar Ruoy up to 10th level (and give him the infusion discovery) and he could whip up an extract.


Problem with scrolls of restoration is that they are ussually built with 100gp material component, so they can remove only temporal energy drain.

I thought about bumping Sentilar Ruoy, or even adding a second Pharasma's priest. But, given that the PC with the problem is an alchemist himself, and I'm tying his background to Miackmian Mun as his entry point to Lowlz's service (that's the flashback he has had so far, I'm giving them a small piece of their past each session), thinking about it, I feel this could be a great moment to make a short trip to the nearby Rozenport, visit the Sickomakti School of Science, and discover that his old mentor is no longer there, and did not leave a lot of friends behind.


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All right, so it seems that instead of, hypothetically, grabbing maps from the PDF and subsequently struggling with trying to find a good grid alignment (the grid cells on the PDF maps are of uneven size) after putting the maps into Roll20, I would rather rebuild the maps from scratch and have perfect grid alignment. And, as a bonus, have the chance to add things that are in the descriptions but not on the PDF map, and have a higher res asset.

Some of the buildings of Iris Hill are differently sized than in the PDF, by choice because I wanted the size differences (for example, didn't want the second floor of main bldg too much bigger than the first floor, not having noticed the difference until after finishing the first floor. Otherwise, the room connections should match up logically. There are other weird things you might see because learning curve. I did this with Dungeon Painter Studio (Steam app in early access status), and added effects using Photoshop.

So here are the results of my work: (I'm releasing these under the "MIT" license; Pyromancers, maker of the product, says "you may use your maps without any restrictions" so I take this to mean there is no default license, so I choose MIT)
Iris hill ground floors
Iris hill second floors
Iris hill attic
Under Iris Hill, part 1 -- This was my first go, and it's a bit weird because I drew it so each square is 2.5 ft to make the objects "more realistically sized", which turned out to be a big mistake
Under Iris Hill, part 2 -- includes a blood pool and yellow glow for the Star Stela area. And on my version, I have Hastur runes on the tiles in Melisenn's chamber, and it looks really nice, but I derived the symbol from Paizo art, so I cannot share it.


If you use these, you might want to photoshop in some landings for the stairs -- I was so focused on getting these things done quickly I hadn't noticed. argh!


I think my players believe Old Chapel is key to the adventure.

Might go there nxt week, maybe. Any idea of what could be inside? Haunts? Ghosts? Demons? Anything else?


Hmm. Going from "the mad priest Causton Creed alienated his followers and met a mysterious death at the hands of some demonic entity", I think I have an idea for you, or at least the start of one:

The mad priest was really just possessed by a Shadow Demon. It's CR 7, so about the right level. You'll have to figure a reason for the demon remaining in the chapel. Maybe the old priest managed to have a brief moment of freedom and somehow trapped the demon. Magic Circle against evil? Maybe it's sitting around in a magic jar from some sort of previous attempt by an adventuring party to contain it? The chapel could be a creepy, but largely uneventful, maybe with a haunt and some tough vermin, and the PCs unwittingly crack the seal on whatever is holding this demon at bay.


Warning: Shadow Demons are extremely hard for their CR. In order to keep the adventure focused, I'd move one of the existing monsters over there instead and use it to lead them in the right direction somehow. Perhaps the Keeper of the Yellow Sign, the Penanggalen, or the Star Vampire.


The Shadow Demon sounds great but I agree that moving one of the monsters there make more sense. They want to study that because I moved the mannangalan to New Chapel. They found the priestess, in post traumatic stress disorder, currently looking human, in the road to Old Chapel (she went to investigate rumors of the revenant and found the penanggalen, eho killed her. In the next night, they'll find the lower half of the priestess...). This made then to think the old chapel is important, although it wasn't my intention.

The Yellow Keeper looks visually great as an evil minster in a cursed church. The star vampire makes for the mist lovecraftian option

A problem, tho, is the chapel has been cursed for 60 years. Need a reason to keep those threats closed in the chspel for so long. The shadow demon is the easier to explain, demons can be trapped in magic circles of prot vs evil, as mentioned.

Good optons. Will think about them


negative_energy: Thanks for pointing out the issue with the CR for the shadow demon: I very briefly checked out the fluff on the creature and didn't check out its abilities in any sort of detail.

gustavo iglesias: Ah, that explains the fascination for the old chapel.


thejeff wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

Is there too much treasure in the adventure?

I was checking, just because I'm going to use a modified version of automatic bonus progression (all the big six as automatic progression, but weapons and armors are used normally), so I have to remove some gold and items from the adventure to balance that and avoid an inflation of magic items.

So I went and counted the gold in the adventure. Not counting mundane gear, like masterwork weapons and such (which adds a bit, there are several Masterwork weapons at 350gp each), and not counting cheap consumable items like potions and elixirs, because the NPC can use and spend them, I found over 25.000 gp in cash, and over 105.000 gp in magic items. That's more than 130.000gp over the course of the adventure from lvl 4 to lvl 7. For a group of 4 adventures, you'll need 70.000 to cover the WBL gap from lvl 4 to lvl 7. Including the price of consumables and mundane masterwork items, you'll get about twice as much.

Is the game assumption that all magic items found are sold at half price (ie: players don't keep any, always sell and then buy what fits them more), and mundane items aren't plundered, even if they are worth money? Or just that the game assumes PC don't do all encounters and/or don't get all the treasure?

Some combination of the two, I believe. They'll miss some, sell some, keep some and it'll generally work out about right. I believe they've stated the aim is roughly twice the WBL value.

At least in this campaign, adding more treasure than expected is beneficial due to the way treasure is laid out in the next chapter. Even if there are the crazy cool treasures in the Dreamlands, the extra bit of wealth to spend before entering doesn't hurt considering how difficult the encounters are.


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I was reading this adventure earlier when I came across this section on page 37 regarding the interaction between the two nobles and the PCs:

Spoiler:
"If it seems necessary, Daelene attempts to surreptitiously cast suggestion to magically encourage the PC that seems to be the “leader” to sit down and have a drink, hoping the move will convince the others to join in."

My question is Daelene is going to pull that trick off exactly how? Daelene does not have any means of accomplishing that trick - anyone in the room will automatically notice her spellcasting. While only a successful Spellcraft check would identify the exact spell she cast, she cannot hide the fact that she cast a spell (or is in the process of casting a spell), as per the FAQ on identifying spells (see here!).

At best, all she can do is use Bluff to lie about what spell she used - "Oh, it was just a minor cantrip to chill the wine a bit more. Hah, all of those months of hideously expensive private tutoring and what do I have to show for it to dear old Mum and Dad, who were hoping their only daughter would one day be a mighty wizard? How amazing, I can chill wine. Truly, an astounding feat for the ages, don't you think?"

CB

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