The Whisper Out of Time (GM Reference)


Strange Aeons

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My players entered the soul and had an epic fight with the warden.

After defeating him they had a glance of the forbidden tomes and had a chuckle about some of them.

Beside "The revelations of Asmodeus" they found a "Players Handbook" and a booked called "The room"


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I thought the Hooded Harbinger was too cool to not use, so when the party was asking around to find the dockmaster and get more information on Miacknian, I had some things happen.

When they entered the bar, I put on a playlist of guitar-y folk music and said it was being played by a half-elf on a little stage in the bottom, drinking section. Third in the music queue, I placed "The Pallid Mask" by The Petals and had it play on repeat afterwords. In the middle of talking to the bleachling gnome, a player stopped mid sentence and said "Did the singer just say 'Carcosa'?"

After her set, the investigator and the psychic talked to the singer and they initially bought her story that she had learned the song while on a bohemian sojourn in Osirian, but a detect thoughts dashed that. The bard's sense motive realized that the psychic was focusing on a spell (a house rule that we use for all of the detect thoughts type spells is that concentrating on a spell like that involves an opposed sense motive check per minute of conversation)

In my mind, this was a hastur cultist (of the Yellow King/Decadent Bard mold) who had seen in portents that the stars were almost right and was trying to seed worship of her god.

She made her excuses and disappeared into the crowd, and that night summoned a Hooded Harbinger.

The Harbinger broke into the inn they stayed at that night, and got a brutal surprise round on the psychic who was staying with Skywin (who they've convinced to go with them as a kinda guide to the inner sea/errands cohort)

The psychic failed her save against bloodless touch, and when she screamed for help the whole party basically single-file-lined themselves into view of the symbol of confusion. Almost all of them succeeded, which I expected, but when no one closed the door the sign claimed the inn keeper, his wife, and a guard who had ran in to see what the screaming was about.

It was a quagmire of confusions, staggered casters/npcs who couldn't get out of melee and martial type folks who were busy disarming the npcs that were disemboweling themselves for the Old Gods all in one cramped little inn-room.

When the harbinger was defeated and the investigator unwrapped those bandages, the explosion nearly killed two characters and blinded/deafened a whole heck of them. It really hammered in "the PCs are like magnets to this horrific stuff, and innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire."


neonWitch wrote:

I thought the Hooded Harbinger was too cool to not use, so when the party was asking around to find the dockmaster and get more information on Miacknian, I had some things happen.

When they entered the bar, I put on a playlist of guitar-y folk music and said it was being played by a half-elf on a little stage in the bottom, drinking section. Third in the music queue, I placed "The Pallid Mask" by The Petals and had it play on repeat afterwords. In the middle of talking to the bleachling gnome, a player stopped mid sentence and said "Did the singer just say 'Carcosa'?"

Okay, i guess i need tho check out this song now. Thanks for sharing


Hi, my players will enter the mysterium soon, and I dont really get where to the angel gates lead. I've read the whole part several times but I dont get it.

Could you help me out?


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Shaffi wrote:

Hi, my players will enter the mysterium soon, and I dont really get where to the angel gates lead. I've read the whole part several times but I dont get it.

Could you help me out?

The mysterium is really confusing, but by my best understanding, the gates open up into vertical tunnels that lead to central rooms on the floor below it.

The Level 1 angel statue leads to the + shaped hallway to the right of B11 on Level 2.

The Level 2 statue leads to B17 on Level 3.

The Level 3 statue leads into Level 4, which is just one room.

Level 4 leads into the north end of The Soul

I hope that helps


Thanks you are my hero, my group just entered the mysterium.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My group is getting close to finishing up DYK, and will be moving on to this book soon.

p2nd is releasing, well basically now. Does anyone know of anyone doing any conversions for this AP. We don't want to abandon this story, but i'm not sure myself (gm) or the group is going to be willing to stick with 1e for another year+ to finish off the AP.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Most of the unusual creatures likely won't be converted to 2nd ed in any particular hurry. The Hounds should be fine, but pretty much anything else will require you to convert it over. And that's totally ignoring player characters who, unless they use core classes, likely won't be translatable to 2nd ed core.

My own group will be continuing Strange Aeons in 1e, while we play PFS in 2e. Nothing super unusual there - we were playing Pathfinder when we converted from D&D4e to D&D5e for organised play.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We'll probably stick with 1e for the time being. It's already a fight to get my group of 30-somethings together for three hours every other week as it is. there is zero chance of us running two games in different systems.

I was hoping someone might be doing a conversion on their own.


In the Mysterium, the door to the meditation chamber is described as, "This concealed door is worked in wood painted to look like the stone from which the Mysterium is constructed," yet no DC is provided.

And the description of the nearby ladder is just, "A ladder leans against the wall to provide access to the Mysterium’s meditation chamber," it doesn't say that the ladder leads directly to it.

So how did people deal with letting the PCs find this door?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The ladder is a bit of a giveaway, and by this stage, you probably have some fairly high perception modifiers in the group anyway...be a DM, assign a DC, and move on.

Plus, if your players follow the intended story model, they are TOLD about the meditation chamber, so are likely on the lookout for it.

Silver Crusade

The book doesn't really say how to get out of The Soul. How did others narrate/explain this part? Did you require them to use Fly to get back out, or add some other mechanic?


darrenan wrote:
The book doesn't really say how to get out of The Soul. How did others narrate/explain this part? Did you require them to use Fly to get back out, or add some other mechanic?

In my game there was a teleportation circle they could use after the guardian was defeated.


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Just finished this book, thought I'd share my thoughts:

Miaknian Mun's lab, I ran mostly as-is. It was pretty much a cakewalk, though that might have been more due to my PCs using better tactics than their usual. (It's a party of 6, but pretty unoptimized and disorganized, so I mostly run the books as-is.) The main change I made were having the only hostile hollow one be the one in the skin-room with Twain, since she needed a flank-buddy and fighting a single rogue-type monster is not particularly interesting. The dark young successfully creeped out the party by staying hidden and using SLAs, though once it revealed itself it got smacked down pretty easy.

The Mysterium is where I made the most changes. Most important was putting the building under a sort-of dimensional lock. Each level was isolated, preventing scrying and teleportion magic in and out, but not stopping such effects within the levels themselves. I mostly didn't give it a proper dimensional lock just so that the hounds of tindalos could do their thing. Everyone assumed that Lowls would be trapped in the soul by this effect.

I also made the Mysterium stewards very worried about their reputation since they aren't doing so well financially, and a scandal could destroy the organization. This is why Thyrr was willing to trust a bunch of random adventurers, rather than finding more official help. Thyrr asked each PC in turn to swear on what they hold most dear that they would: a) not reveal what they learned about the mysterium for a year and a day, b) place funeral shrouds enchanted to provide gentle repose on each slain steward they find, and c) not loot the library wholesale, though they had permission to take anything that might be useful.

Other than that, the main change was making some mysterium denizens more talkative. Mun in particular was pretty easy to talk down, and quite cooperative once rescued. He was also clearly unstable, and had alchemically smoked and preserved the corpse of another mysterium guest for food. Still, he was harmless-seeming enough that the party didn't make any attempt to restrain him, and he actually slipped away once the wards were removed.

The soulbound shells got a change, too. Since they're supposed to house fully sentient spirits of former mysterium elders, it didn't make much sense for them to suicide against the party one at a time whenever they messed up a puzzle box. Instead, they were aware that something was horribly wrong in the soul, and wanted to make sure that whoever opened the door was capable enough to deal with it. Being Nethysians, that meant the pcs would either have to prove their knowledge or their power. Meaning on the first failed check, they would use one spell against the party, (cloudkill). The second failed check, two of them would cast spells (dominate person and black tentacles.) The third failure would be three spells (three disintegrates at different targets) and then three spells for any further failures. When a PC complained this was just weakening them for the upcoming fight, they snapped back "If a simple cloudkill weakens you so bad, then you have no business opening that seal!"

The Keeper himself had a whole speech prepared, and one that I was pretty proud of. The PCs entered the soul to find him absentmindedly hacking at his arm with his flaming sword, then using his SLA to heal the wound. While they considered jumping him while he was distracted, he looked up and addressed them.

Spoiler:
"Nine hundred seventy four years and 6 months. That's how long I've stood in this room, watching mortals tamper with knowledge they'd be better off without. Time passes no faster for my kind than it does for yours, but for all those years, I was content. I knew that when the time came, I would be here to destroy these books, destroy that book before it could do real harm. I knew what that fool count was planning the moment I laid eyes on him, and I knew what he meant to do when he slinked back into the Soul alone. So I used my powers to blank out the necronomicon, but it did nothing! I brought up the wards, and he portalled out as if they were nothing!

Nine hundred seventy four years of waiting, just to fail. And now your world is doomed."

When the party mentions something about going after Lowls, he nods solemnly. "Yes, perhaps it is not to late. I saw where the portal led: Okeno, the slaver's city. But first...this place and everyone in it is tainted by the Blot. Everyone here must be purged. The stewards outside, as well. Maybe...maybe the whole neighborhood to be safe. Then I will go after Lowls, and stop any further spread of corruption."

"You have my gratitude for releasing me, and my apologies for how shamefully inadequate your reward must be. But you must die, for the safety of the world. Please do not resist."

Okeno was mostly as written. For the Hyena princess, I used the stats of the First Advisor from the Villians codex, giving her some magical defenses, divinations, and an escape spell to deal with shenanigans. I also restatted Biting Lash and her minions, filling the fort with guns, and making Kisetz more focused on her death attack and hide in plain sight ability. It still wasn't a very secure fort for dealing with high level PCs, but at least they couldn't just fly out of reach and rain death with impunity. Biting lash even killed an overconfident PC with her fancy pepperbox rifle.


The description of Biting Lash's fortress on alert isn't working for me, because in the description for the courtyard (D3) it says there are 8 gnoll trainers and 16 slaves, and the description of the fortress being on alert says, "Exercises are taking place as usual in the courtyard."

Easy enough...

Except in the description of D2 it says that as the PCs enter the courtyard while the fortress is on alert, "A dozen able-bodied slaves are forced into the courtyard to fight, followed by half a dozen gnolls."

So, er, does this mean that it's a total of 14 gnolls (8 trainers and 6 guards) plus 28 slaves, or does it mean that 2 trainers and 4 slaves are just watching the festivities?


My party just completed all of Okeno in an hour.

Met the Hyena Princess. Took the ear and scryed Dahab's location. Teleported in and out (made the % roll easily).

Got Biting Lash's fortress info. Sent in a mind's eye to scout the place. Found Kalkatath. Dimension door in and out.

Boom. Done. Not a single fight. No need.


Okay, so I have a burning question on my mind, and I didn't see it answered on this thread, but how does Lowls actually escape the Mysterium with the Necronomicon? Not only is the Soul is under a dimensional lock effect which would block teleportation, but the Necromomicon itself is supposed to be Teleportation-proof as described in book 5. Unless I missed it somewhere in the book, it doesn't actually explain how he managed to escape despite these barriers. Is this something I should just hand-wave away?


Yeah, I’m not sure why the “No teleporting the Necronomicon” is there—there’s evem a chapter of it that lets the reader cast greater teleport. I handwaved that away. The book’s got a malevolent quasi-sentience, maybe it chooses when/where/if it will be teleported.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

When I encountered this plot hole, I decided Lowls knew about the Necronomicon issue beforehand, and came prepared with a scroll of Gate. Alternatively, you could say he managed to figure out the Necronomicon's own teleportation effect quickly, for some reason, and used that, and that the Neconomicon doesn't block it's own abilities.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And, as it turns out, I asked pretty much exactly this in 2017 (previous page of this thread), and then discovered Adam Daigle had given the official answer over in the What Grows Within thread, here

Silver Crusade

Miacknian Mun’s residence seems like a lot of encounters to run through without a rest - and that doesn’t seem like the kind of place where you can camp out. Did this pose a problem for anybody running it?


My group took several days to get through all of it. However, the house is on the outskirts of Cassomir, so it's not a big deal for them to get back to a safe place in town to rest. In their specific case, the occultist character had Leadership and a group of Nethysians had procured a house for him to stay at.

That said, I did have the place react depending on what they did. On the first floor, it wasn't that big a deal, since there was a good gap between that and the derro upstairs. And the building description makes it plausible that combat on the entry level wouldn't necessarily be heard by creatures above (or in the caverns below).

However, once they got routed on the second floor and fled again, I had the derro alchemist and her partner loot everything that wasn't nailed down and make a run for a different part of Cassomir's underground. So they never fought her (she was smart--it made sense she wouldn't want to stick around once Mun had clearly left and 'thugs' rampaged through his home killing his skin-doubles.)

The party also used Stone Shape to wall off the underground passage to the derros below. Yet another example of them scouting out a threat, thinking "Heck no!" and cordoning it off for some future unlucky person to deal with.

So yeah, it definitely took a few tries to clear out, but it was easy to rest between back in town.


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ADDENDUM: Oh, the one thing I *did* have to improvise on was that they used Scry to try to find Mun. Since they'd never seen him and didn't have specific bits of him for the spell, I gave them a 25% chance of seeing each of the three skin-doubles or Mun himself. They wound up seeing the guy in the attic, sobbing and muttering to himself. So that made an interesting reveal when the more brusque double showed up at the front door, behaving much less bizarrely.

Their expressions when he unraveled were a big payoff for me.


Bit too late for myself, but my party just completed the Mysterium, and I'm puzzled by the Exscinder. Its Change Size ability states it does not change ability scores, yet the Bestiary entry (for a Huge version) is very different to the one presented here. Mainly the change to its Dexterity score, something the Broken Soul template does not change. 19 DEX (bestiary) versus 13 DEX (AP) is a big difference, especially for its Reflex save. Its Charisma also goes up by 2 inexplicably, which is important for its spell-likes and such. Also, while its Strength remains 30 in either form, its damage output is different as well. 2d6+13 at Large, 2d6+15 at Huge.

That thing was a tough cookie to fight. It made my players sweat a lot, so good job on that!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, with the Guardian Mirror, is there any more detailed means of deactivating it besides just breaking it? It says Dispel Magic just shuts it down temporarily, and just hitting it a bunch seems a bit anticlimactic a solution. How did other people handle it?

Silver Crusade

I couldn't find any clarity on that, so I just let them break it.


So it seems like there is a pretty good chance my group will just fly to the top of Biting Lash's fortress and probably won't even think to go down and rescue Kaklatath. So what if they don't?

It seems like in the next adventure, she is the one who warns them about the danger of the Flying Polyps. So if they don't rescue her, they have little incentive to go into the underground to seal it off. So Flying Polyps will begin to conquer Golarion while the rest of the party is off on Carcosa.

Ideas?

Dark Archive

Maybe move her prison location to the roof? You could flavor it in a number of way, she's being interrogated when they strike. There a small shack with manacles inside.

Silver Crusade

I had her sending telepathic messages to the party as they arrived. That was enough to incentivize them to find her, even though they flew to the top and then went down.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Bit too late for myself, but my party just completed the Mysterium, and I'm puzzled by the Exscinder. Its Change Size ability states it does not change ability scores, yet the Bestiary entry (for a Huge version) is very different to the one presented here. Mainly the change to its Dexterity score, something the Broken Soul template does not change. 19 DEX (bestiary) versus 13 DEX (AP) is a big difference, especially for its Reflex save. Its Charisma also goes up by 2 inexplicably, which is important for its spell-likes and such. Also, while its Strength remains 30 in either form, its damage output is different as well. 2d6+13 at Large, 2d6+15 at Huge.
broken soul wrote:
In addition, a broken soul gains a +2 bonus to one ability score of its choice and a –6 penalty to another ability score of its choice (minimum 1), which can apply to the ability scores modified by this template.

Looks like The Keeper got the -6 to Dex from the template.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I'm looking at ship travel from Cassomir to Katheer. On page 20 of the module it says of this trip that "it takes a few months".

But I'm measuring the distance at about 500 miles, mostly by sea with some travel up-river.
If one goes by the [simplistic, I realize] general 48 miles per day Pathfinder rate, one would get there in 10.42 days.

I realize there are many variables and perhaps the section of river travel is slower, but 10.42 days is really far off from "months".
Am I missing something?


If you can go direct, it could be that short. Unless the PCs buy the ship, there are likely more profitable routes for a captain to take to Katheer.

Perhaps there are various towns along the coast and the ship puts in for a few hours (or even a day or two) at each.

Perhaps the route go from Cassomir to Almas or Oppara and then to Absalom before finally arriving in Katheer.

Neither of these would necessarily take months, but perhaps a little over a month.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

That's a solid consideration. Thank you.


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I'm about to come up to this adventure, but I made some big changes to the overall layout. My goals were mainly to reduce the amount of times you "just so happen" to miss Count Lowls (three times in this chapter alone), and to place the Mysterium at the end of the chapter, since I feel it's a far more satisfying and thematic conclusion.
I was mainly wondering if someone could tell me if I made any big mistakes, or tell me things I could improve. And maybe this could help some other GMs who want to make the same changes.

First off, the players do not know the location of the Necronomicon. I could not think of any reason they'd want to visit Miacknian Mun, so I instead had the Mad Poet tell them Mun was going on the expedition with Lowls; therefore he was the only clue they had to the Necronomicon's location.
I gave Mun multiple buildings to his name; his home is in Cassomir, like the chapter describes. But it is a normal house, and doesn't have any encounters. Instead, his laboratory is located in Okeno, where he would frequently buy new slaves to experiment on. His house contains a hidden Teleportation Circle to Okeno to show how he travelled, and to make it easy for the PCs. It will teleport whoever steps in it to a hidden location near Okeno.
Once there, the PCs can find Mun's lab and clear it out, finding the location of the Necronomicon in the process. In the meantime, their close proximity to Kaklatath allows her to more clearly send messages to the PC's minds, hopefully prompting the start of the regular Okeno section of the adventure.
I was thinking of moving Kaklatath to the Mysterium or Mun's lab in Cassomir and skip Okeno entirely, but I have already connected Biting Lash to the backstory of one of the PCs.

Once Kaklatath is freed, the PCs should be ready to get to the Mysterium and find the Necronomicon, Mun, and Lowls. I will probably have Kaklatath retain some spellcasting ability so she can teleport the PCs there (none of them has access to Teleport, Wind Walk, or spells like that).
The Mysterium I will run as is, mostly. Except for the end, where it normally turns out Lowls was long gone already. Instead, I want to use this to foreshadow the time-bending in this adventure, and otherworldly nature of the Necronomicon.
When the PCs arrive in the final room, Lowls will still be there, studying the Necronomicon, halfway through losing his sanity. After a bit of back-and-forth with the PCs (be it combat or diplomacy), he will "teleport", except he makes it clear he is using the Necronomicon to teleport back to the past, and start his expedition with a few weeks headstart. If he happens to get killed, a portal will be opened and a giant fungal hand will appear drag Lowls through it, revitalizing and infecting him in the process.

In the end, I think these changes result in the following:
- The PCs do not keep missing Lowls. Normally they'd first hope to find him in Mun's lab, then at the Mysterium, then Kaklatath baits them to Okeno. Instead, they continue the chase like they did so far, and actually find him at the end.
- Okeno doesn't try and present itself as a chapter-ending finale.
- The relative nature of time gets better foreshadowing.

I do not think I am introducing big problems for the rest of the adventure path, but maybe GMs that have already ran this can see some big holes I'm about to walk into? Or opportunities I am missing?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sounds pretty good to me, though Biting Lash does have some minor influence on the next book depending on if she sends aid with the party or not when they travel to Neruzavin.

Might want to think about how that interaction could play out, particularly if the first time the party met her she didn't know anything about helping Lowls on his expidition (because of the time-travel).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seems like a fair bit of work to go to, but no, it doesn't seem to break anything plotwise to me. Although, how do you account for the player group catching up to Lowls, when he left for Neruzavin the day he locked them up, and they have (presumably) spent some time in the asylum and Thrushmoor? How did they make up the difference in travel time?


In my case, the group didn't spent too much time in the Asylum and Thrushmoor. About 10 days altogether, if I'm generous. The difference can be made up by travel time (Lowls traveled with more cargo or had less favorable winds), Lowls catching up with Mun before setting out, procuring the resources he paid for back in Thrushmoor (and a promise of slaves) before heading into the Mysterium, and spending several days inside studying the Necronomicon, locking himself up and everyone else out.
Securing the provisions and slaves beforehand would make sense from Lowls' point of view, since he doesn't know he'll be able to bend time yet, and he probably does not expect to spend so much time locked inside. This also takes care of Biting Lash knowledge of helping him out (she knows he has an order for slaves lying around, and if the PCs happen to talk to her after meeting Lowls, she can act as if Lowls had taken the slaves earlier, and she told the PCs so. Acting on two different timelines, if you will).

As for Biting Lash's help through the desert, I'll probably figure that out when the time comes. But likely she'll offer the PCs the same help as usual, or I'll replace that part of her role with another NPC.

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