8-05: Ungrounded but Unbroken GM Discussion


GM Discussion

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Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Actually, nothing to ask yet. Just wanted to start the thread so I can let you all know I've added my prep to pfsprep.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

The scenario includes a number of profession (soldier) checks; is it assumed that characters without that trained skill auto-fail such checks (or are unable to attempt them, which is much the same thing)?

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Its trained only, so I would assume you cant use it unless you have ranks in it.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Well that's going to be rough.

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Most Profession(soldier) checks have Perform or Knowledge alternatives. The one time Profession(soldier) is the only available check, it serves as an introduction to basic training.

I like it, actually. Any soldiers have a place to shine (less skilled classes are more likely to take it), and all the softies get worn down by the experience. Just be sure to set the tone, and manage expectations. Failure is expected, the path to success is perseverance.

****

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I'm not thrilled with the Trial of Knowledge. If no PCs have Knowledge (planes) or Profession (soldier), they're doomed to only be able to attempt the DC 10 Knowledge (planes) check untrained. I guess the only thing that saves the PCs in this encounter is the fact that there's no demerit earned for failure.

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If no one at the table has Know(planes) in the Year of Aviation, knowing the party will be going to the Plane of Earth, they deserve a dressing down. Even then, they have a chance of success.

****

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To be fair, the Captain is trying to keep the PCs from succeeding. So, her harsh treatment of them here is just another reason for them to suspect her and search her office.

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I'm so looking forward to be gleefully mean in this scenario, that I am planning to give a content warning before I begin, and a mental health check halfway through.

It will be really easy for players to not have fun for most of this scenario. But with the right setup, that frustration can be channeled into roleplay instead.

****

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One point I'd like a bit of clarification on is the Dark Agate Extract that's used in the Trial by Combat. This is a poison with no frequency listed but it does have a secondary effect. In the scenario, the poison is written like so:

Dusk Agate Extract
75 gp
Save: Fortitude DC 13
Type: poison (contact)
Effect: unconsciousness for 1 minute
Secondary Effect: 1 Wisdom damage
Cure: 1 save

I'm assuming that the intent is that a PC who is hit by one of recruits and fails a DC 13 Fortitude save drops unconscious. Then, on their turn, the unconscious PC makes another DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1 Wisdom damage. After that, no more saves need to be attempted and the PC wakes up after 1 minute. It just looks a bit weird with a secondary effect but no frequency listed.


I had a couple of questions about the scenario.

1. In the map for encounter C, which parts are the bridge and where can the PCs get pushed off? My best guess right now is that the blue portions represent the bridge and the black portions represent lower ground, but this doesn't leave any room for the elementals to earth glide into the walls to climb to the ceiling, which is described in their tactics.

2. In the Development section of the last portion, the scenario states that

Quote:
After the PCs successfully present three pieces of evidence, General Faiza bint Hanif crisply thanks them for their honesty and aims an icy glare at Captain Othis.
However, in the conclusion there is conflicting wording that states
Quote:
If the PCs successfully presented four or more pieces of incriminating evidence to the general, Othis is stripped of her rank and sentenced to a period of imprisonment for her crimes.

I'll go with 3 pieces of evidence because it benefits the players, but some clarification on this would be nice.

Dark Archive *****

@jmclaus : for your question 2 It's 3 pieces of evidence finding a 4th give them 1 success point.


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How long does this one take to run through?

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

About 5 hours!

I had a lot of fun with my group, but it was challenging balancing the roleplay in such a way that

A) Dell mattered
B) Their failures were channeled as a group into hatred of their superior officer rather than a feeling of no agency.
C) That others in the Ungrounded company might be friendly faces including supply clerks and the like. Contrast is good..

I wanted them to really, really get motivated to act. And boy, were they ever motivated to collect dirt on this woman when we were done!

I do think that this one might be one that might be heavily GM-dependent. Good RP can make a lot of difference here.

Hmm

Dark Archive ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

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Played this on Saturday, and it went really well. And that's with none of us having Prof: Soldier.

I was playing my ulfen brawler, Thorval Thorvalson... and while he did not have profession soldier, he will next level, 'cause it makes sense. He went through basic training now!

What was fun, though, was that he was able to use pretty much all of his abilities in this one, from acrobatics, climbing, swimming, and escape artist. It was a thing of beauty!

I really enjoyed this scenario, and am looking forward to getting my R. Lee Ermey on Thurday night when I run it!

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

This was a lot of fun to play with my stone giant-descended Goliath Druid. The odd combination of social class skills and serious combat skills gave me a lot of angles to play in this scenario.

One wrinkle that did develop was that during the practice bout, I was the only one hit with a poisoned weapon before all enemies were defeated in the second round (they had some trouble closing in on a horsechopper-wielding combat reflexes build). I made my save, and there's no rule saying that on a succesful Fort save against poison you notice anything weird.

So this scene ended with us not being any wiser about the poison being used at all, which shut out many avenues of investigation. We did eventually find a bottle of half-used poison during our snooping through the office, but we had no real indication that the poison had been used against us, so there was also no reason to seek testimony from the soldiers.

I think looking back at it, if I'm GMing this I'd give players a Perception check to notice some odd discoloration on enemy's weapons. I don't think passing a saving throw should make an adventure a lot harder.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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I alway give a description of the effect of the poison the PC is shaking off. Muscles stiffening from Dex poison, senses dulling from Wis poison, etc.

Dark Archive ****

I'm kind of curious what turns up with other groups, I had a blast with this scenario on Sunday and I very much want to GM it in the future. But Dell spilled the beans really fast after I Murderous Commanded him in combat and he dropped his buddy in one shot and the rest of the combat went our way pretty fast. Our investigation went pretty fast after that and we kind of went off the rails trying to find a superior we could report to that we could trust. Our GM handled it very well, but in hindsight it seems pretty reasonable for PCs to try and short circuit some things once they catch on.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

I half-prepped this one, but ended up playing instead when someone who was feeling ill mid-week got better. It was a lot of fun!

What was the motivation for making the knowledge:local check to recognize the Aspis banner a 15, though? It seems a bit steep for 1-2 tier, especially given the entire theme of the last season, and not having the skill available (or flubbing the roll) seriously impacts the party's motivation to break into the office.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Fun anecdote: a PC (not mine) had profession: gambler, and uses it for day job rolls. The player decided the casino was going to be where she did all her day jobs from now on. He found the infiltrator, confiscated her loaded dice, and then used them to win an extra 25 gold pieces at the tables he had been protecting just an hour before.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I imagine the banner is stylized and looks different than the ones on the material plane, due to cultural differences.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

It might be different, just to prevent confusion among the assorted interplanar snake cults? All it takes is one stray marilith or xacarba in your embassy...

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

I had a lot of fun GMing it, and Lau was a wonderfull player.
I did not feel a 100% that morning which contributed to the scenario running long. Combined with a short prep time, I feel like I did not give this scenario my best, which it does deserve, as its a really cool story.

The wall in the obstacle course is not locally known as the wall of shame.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The short time-to-table on this one was definitely a handicap. I think after a couple of weeks as after action reports trickle in and help future GMs identify the potential trouble spots, that it'll be a lot easier to pull of a perfect job.

For example, Davor mentioned that the players went looking for a higher-up to report the captain's suspicious behaviour to. We wanted to do the same, including talking to the general at the casino. A GM who's aware that may happen can try to steer the players more subtly to "gather a complete case" before the big confrontation.

One way would be if they try to talk to the general at the casino: "Look, you're new recruits so I'll forgive your ignorance in ignoring the chain of command and bringing this up directly with me. If what you're saying is true you're in a difficult position; if your get caught investigating her you'll probably be punished. Well, unless it turns out you have a rock-solid case against her..."

The vibe you'd want to convey is that the general has taken notice, but if the PCs don't come up with a whole case she'll wash her hands of them, and that the best thing the PCs can do is to gather evidence without making a lot of noise in the meantime.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

That was sort of how I handled the General at the Casino... She was the guest of honor at a small celebration just for her. She was off-duty. But she listened to the PCs complaints and told them point blank that she was a) on vacation and b) that it wasn't the right time. Her. Friends and family were there. She handed them back the evidence that they already gathered and said, "I'll be back in a week. If you have a rock-solid case, come to me then and we'll review this fully." I also pretty much stated what Lau did about chain-of-command.

I gave them some hope for future fair treatment, and motivation to keep digging.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I imagine the banner is stylized and looks different than the ones on the material plane, due to cultural differences.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
It might be different, just to prevent confusion among the assorted interplanar snake cults? All it takes is one stray marilith or xacarba in your embassy...

Quite possible. I meant from a scenario design perspective though, not from a banner design perspective.

There's no real exploration phase written in--even the tour is only given under duress--so the scenario doesn't indicate to players that the barracks is at all explorable. There aren't any perception checks you could make in less risky areas (less risky than breaking into your CO's office) that indicate further exploration is needed.

And if you were hoping to get in good standing with the Empire, why would you break into your CO's office? Drill sergeants have a reputation, deserved or not, as being jerks who act like they want everyone to fail. Grease on a balance beam or a collapsing wall on an obstacle course are just... par for the course for a lot of people. The only two things that suggest an ulterior motive and impugn Othis's legitimacy are a DC 30 Knowledge: Planes check and a DC 15 Knowledge: Local check, and one of those is nearly impossible at low subtier.

Players shouldn't always succeed at everything. But this seems like kind of a crappy way for a party to lose gold to me? Like they're being punished for not doing something the scenario never told them to do. A good GM can work around that, but especially for a 1-5 a good GM isn't something you can count on. And a lot of the ways I can think of to push a party towards that would be stretching the bounds of run-as-written.

The Exchange *****

I've only played this - not read it yet, or prepped it or anything... so these are from the viewpoint of a player. We had 5 players, Levels 3, 3, 3, 2, 1. So we were playing high end Tier 1-2.

1) I had a great time. I think my entire table did. Good judge, nice story, etc. In fact, it was the high-point of my CON this weekend. Any problems that come up in the rest of my post are likely to be caused by either my memory (I am getting old), or my lack of understanding what was happening "behind the judge screen".

2) Having been thru a real Basic Training in my youth, I (the player) tended to put the actions of the BBE off as normal "hazing the fresh meat" - part of the story trying to "get the feel of Basic. This seemed to be picked up by the rest of the players, and as a group we worked with "hazing" as just challenges to be overcome. Grease on the log walk? Cause a distraction while the Bard uses prestidigitation to clear a walk way across it. (Though the Gripply character just "Tree-Frogged" it across the bottom of the log.) Most of the rest of the Training Course went much like that. Heck, my PC was an Ifrit - I figured I was getting off light (and maybe dragging my friends into extra for being with me).

3) The combat was fun. I like the "don't kill anyone" combats. We did have a Barbarian almost "wrap" one target with Non-Lethal (would have been bad) and were ready to stabilize (and take the Demerits for spell casting - "don't want to kill a fellow trooper!"), but we didn't need to after all. And after we dropped all the opponents and the fight was over, we included them in the healing channels to set them up again.

4) This meant that when we came up to the "Trial", it was very much a surprise. We hadn't really collected "evidence", as we didn't really notice that we were being "singled out" in any unusual way. When asked at the trail, we were able to produce a few things (the "Target Picture" for example), but mostly we didn't even have demerits (maybe one?), and weren't real sure what the charges were for. So it was more of a puzzle - "what are we here for again?".

5) We didn't really have a "sneaky type" PC (no one with much stealth), and we never considered braking into the COs office/room/whatever. Heck, she was "the Commander" - so it never even came up. Not sure if we had had a couple Infiltrator types available we might have thought of it... but likely not. We were in the "Military Mindset". And if the judge had hinted at it, we likely would have figured it was a trap and avoided it even more.

6) Our only interaction with the General at the gambling hall was to salute him whenever he went by. He's a General - we're privates. Does he even speak the same language? Don't we need an NCO to translate? Heck, normally he talks - we listen. He says Frog, we jump (we had a gripply in the group, so that's a little frog humor there).

7) It would have been nice to have the option to stay in "the Legion" (early in the scenario we pointed out it was like the Foreign Legion - non-Frenchmen fighting for France). Heck, I could see even having a "PC signs up for a two year hitch, so cannot be played in PFS for two years from xx/xx/xx" clause. Maybe with a note that the PC gains 3 XP, 4 Fame and 3xGold after 2 years of real time. And the Rank of Ungrounded Corporal. Or Private First Class. Oh, and Citizenship. (which is why many people joint the Foreign Legion - French Citizenship).

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Fire Dancer wrote:
6) Our only interaction with the General at the gambling hall was to salute him whenever he went by. He's a General - we're privates. Does he even speak the same language? Don't we need an NCO to translate? Heck, normally he talks - we listen. He says Frog, we jump (we had a gripply in the group, so that's a little frog humor there).

How did you recognize the General in her civvies? Did you show the description to the Boss?

I think that the two points that are supposed to raise suspicions are the poisoned weapons in the brawl and the false description. So it is important for GMs to suggest those go beyond what would be normal hazing.

My biggest piece of advice for GMs is to really characterize the oread recruit that is helping Othis execute her plan. Give some Sense Motive checks for him acting guilty before and after the brawl. Heal checks to notice fading bruises on their stony skin. Give your players a reason to talk to him, or they will miss it easily.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Fire Dancer wrote:
7) It would have been nice to have the option to stay in "the Legion" (early in the scenario we pointed out it was like the Foreign Legion - non-Frenchmen fighting for France). Heck, I could see even having a "PC signs up for a two year hitch, so cannot be played in PFS for two years from xx/xx/xx" clause. Maybe with a note that the PC gains 3 XP, 4 Fame and 3xGold after 2 years of real time. And the Rank of Ungrounded Corporal. Or Private First Class. Oh, and Citizenship. (which is why many people joint the Foreign Legion - French Citizenship).

There were some missed opportunities on the chronicle sheet:

1) Join the Ungrounded
2) Opportunity to buy the Ungrounded cloak pin*
3) Opportunity to buy the Issawa family signet ring*
4) Bonus on day job checks for someone with Profession: Gambler

* I figure enterprising characters can already buy some sort of generic treasure/art object/etc. and say it's the cloak pin or buy a ring or RoP +1 and say it's the signet ring, but it'd be nice if they had some small mechanical effect, rather than just vanishing into the aether like this was a Season 1 scenario.

The Exchange *****

Terminalmancer wrote:
Fire Dancer wrote:
7) It would have been nice to have the option to stay in "the Legion" (early in the scenario we pointed out it was like the Foreign Legion - non-Frenchmen fighting for France). Heck, I could see even having a "PC signs up for a two year hitch, so cannot be played in PFS for two years from xx/xx/xx" clause. Maybe with a note that the PC gains 3 XP, 4 Fame and 3xGold after 2 years of real time. And the Rank of Ungrounded Corporal. Or Private First Class. Oh, and Citizenship. (which is why many people joint the Foreign Legion - French Citizenship).

There were some missed opportunities on the chronicle sheet:

1) Join the Ungrounded
2) Opportunity to buy the Ungrounded cloak pin*
3) Opportunity to buy the Issawa family signet ring*
4) Bonus on day job checks for someone with Profession: Gambler

* I figure enterprising characters can already buy some sort of generic treasure/art object/etc. and say it's the cloak pin or buy a ring or RoP +1 and say it's the signet ring, but it'd be nice if they had some small mechanical effect, rather than just vanishing into the aether like this was a Season 1 scenario.

WOW! Thanks for the idea! I know what, I'll buy a MW tool for Diplomacy, good for any current or former member of the Ungrounded - or anyone associated with them. Nice narrow target, and if it's a cloak pin or a ring I can later get it enchanted too (maybe). Or just count it as part of my jewelry for the courtiers outfit.

and to add to your list...
5) Bonus on day job checks for someone with Profession: Soldier. "Ha! You call the tough? I remember during my time in the Ungrounded..."

The Exchange *****

KingOfAnything wrote:
Fire Dancer wrote:
6) Our only interaction with the General at the gambling hall was to salute him whenever he went by. He's a General - we're privates. Does he even speak the same language? Don't we need an NCO to translate? Heck, normally he talks - we listen. He says Frog, we jump (we had a gripply in the group, so that's a little frog humor there).

How did you recognize the General in her civvies? Did you show the description to the Boss?

I think that the two points that are supposed to raise suspicions are the poisoned weapons in the brawl and the false description. So it is important for GMs to suggest those go beyond what would be normal hazing.

My biggest piece of advice for GMs is to really characterize the oread recruit that is helping Othis execute her plan. Give some Sense Motive checks for him acting guilty before and after the brawl. Heal checks to notice fading bruises on their stony skin. Give your players a reason to talk to him, or they will miss it easily.

During our briefing/meeting with "the Pit Boss", we asked about our target and pulled out our picture/description. He told us who the picture was (and we all had a good laugh over "the joke" the CO was trying to pull on us), and so when he showed up we knew who it was. We had message running, so when our "Spotter" PC saw him come in, everyone in the team was informed "Officer on deck".

** Venture-Agent, Indiana—Lafayette aka Poison Dusk

Fire Dancer wrote:

Spoiler:
I've only played this - not read it yet, or prepped it or anything... so these are from the viewpoint of a player. We had 5 players, Levels 3, 3, 3, 2, 1. So we were playing high end Tier 1-2.

1) I had a great time. I think my entire table did. Good judge, nice story, etc. In fact, it was the high-point of my CON this weekend. Any problems that come up in the rest of my post are likely to be caused by either my memory (I am getting old), or my lack of understanding what was happening "behind the judge screen".

2) Having been thru a real Basic Training in my youth, I (the player) tended to put the actions of the BBE off as normal "hazing the fresh meat" - part of the story trying to "get the feel of Basic. This seemed to be picked up by the rest of the players, and as a group we worked with "hazing" as just challenges to be overcome. Grease on the log walk? Cause a distraction while the Bard uses prestidigitation to clear a walk way across it. (Though the Gripply character just "Tree-Frogged" it across the bottom of the log.) Most of the rest of the Training Course went much like that. Heck, my PC was an Ifrit - I figured I was getting off light (and maybe dragging my friends into extra for being with me).

3) The combat was fun. I like the "don't kill anyone" combats. We did have a Barbarian almost "wrap" one target with Non-Lethal (would have been bad) and were ready to stabilize (and take the Demerits for spell casting - "don't want to kill a fellow trooper!"), but we didn't need to after all. And after we dropped all the opponents and the fight was over, we included them in the healing channels to set them up again.

4) This meant that when we came up to the "Trial", it was very much a surprise. We hadn't really collected "evidence", as we didn't really notice that we were being "singled out" in any unusual way. When asked at the trail, we were able to produce a few things (the "Target Picture" for example), but mostly we didn't even have demerits (maybe one?), and weren't real sure...

See, we had the opposite result. We figured, well guessed, right away that we were being set up, and having spotted the Aspis banner we assumed by them. We then broke into the captain's office, found the evidence, and were unhappy that we had to go back to playing soldier even though we knew she was not going to let us succeed, and she knew we knew. Also, as someone who has also been through the military, I expect basic training to be both basic, and training. The obstacles and quiz was neither.

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Fire Dancer wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Fire Dancer wrote:
6) Our only interaction with the General at the gambling hall was to salute him whenever he went by. He's a General - we're privates. Does he even speak the same language? Don't we need an NCO to translate? Heck, normally he talks - we listen. He says Frog, we jump (we had a gripply in the group, so that's a little frog humor there).

How did you recognize the General in her civvies? Did you show the description to the Boss?

I think that the two points that are supposed to raise suspicions are the poisoned weapons in the brawl and the false description. So it is important for GMs to suggest those go beyond what would be normal hazing.

My biggest piece of advice for GMs is to really characterize the oread recruit that is helping Othis execute her plan. Give some Sense Motive checks for him acting guilty before and after the brawl. Heal checks to notice fading bruises on their stony skin. Give your players a reason to talk to him, or they will miss it easily.

During our briefing/meeting with "the Pit Boss", we asked about our target and pulled out our picture/description. He told us who the picture was (and we all had a good laugh over "the joke" the CO was trying to pull on us), and so when he showed up we knew who it was. We had message running, so when our "Spotter" PC saw him come in, everyone in the team was informed "Officer on deck".

Boss probably wouldn't think it very funny that his hired mercenaries have the wrong description. I would have played him a bit angry at the Captain if you mentioned she gave it to you. That is unprofessional.

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Poison Dusk wrote:
Basic training is anything but

Were you given a full description of your daily activities after your first day? Cleaning floors, caring for equipment, and combat drills for a week before your testing brawl.

*****

KingOfAnything wrote:
If no one at the table has Know(planes) in the Year of Aviation, knowing the party will be going to the Plane of Earth, they deserve a dressing down. Even then, they have a chance of success.

No!

unless you expect EVERY PC to the Kn.Planes then chances are at a convention you will get an unbalanced table.

****

Scarab Sages boon FTW : two goals completed, allowing me to roll Kn. Planes untrained :)

Dark Archive ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

So, question here, on the diplomacy checks in the final encounter. I ask, because it was worded kind of oddly.

S,o there is +2 cumulative bonus on the diplomacy per success. And, here is a bonus on the specific piece of evidence.

So, as I now read it, if you have already gotten two successes and present the poison samples, that is a +7 per the example. With three successes, and the badge and note, hat would be 2*3 +4 = +10, right? In other words the cumulative bonus applies to all rolls, but the evidence bonus only to its roll.

Still going to be hard for a lot of the PCs to make the DC25 check in tier 4-5, since that still needs a 15. Even worse, the first check is going to be DC19-22, depending on the item chosen. They are all pretty hard for the level.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

I think I got Gameday Crud this weekend at the game day so I feel not qualified enough to answer Jack at the moment.

Ungrounded but Unbroken could use some love in the reviews for the scenario. Even if you normally dont write them, you can leave a star review only.

Sovereign Court ***

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tlotig wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
If no one at the table has Know(planes) in the Year of Aviation, knowing the party will be going to the Plane of Earth, they deserve a dressing down. Even then, they have a chance of success.

No!

unless you expect EVERY PC to the Kn.Planes then chances are at a convention you will get an unbalanced table.

If no one at the table has Knowledge(planes), chances are good they will complete the obstacle course. Again, a big part of this scenario is about failing and being frustrated early on, only to be vindicated at the end.

This one will get a lot of 1-star reviews from frustrated players. But, it also gives GMs the opportunity for a 4 or 5 star experience. It takes working with what we're given, but it is there.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Alaska—Anchorage aka 1bent1

I will be running this for a Low tier table this weekend and want to get some insight.

1) What would lead the party to investigate the Captain's office? Would this come about once they are summoned for the Hearing? I can see little motivation to do so before hand and being that half of the listed evidence is found in the office this limits how effective the hearing can be.

2)For the hearing does each player get to/have to make a Diplomacy check for each piece of evidence?

3) Being that players must speak on their own and thus can't Aid Other this could be difficult for players making the initial diplomacy check. Also with the DC potentially increasing by +4 due to demerits and a poor run in with the general in the casino this could be difficult.

4)To assist the players should I tell the players what the bonus is on providing the specific pieces of evidence and let them know the subsequent bonus for presenting the evidence well?

Thanks

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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1) They're supposed to come there quite a few times for conversations with the captain, so that should fix the place in the players' minds. You can also mention that when they come in she hastily puts aside some sheet of paper she was reading.

2) Each piece of evidence needs to be presented by someone, and everyone has to take turns presenting a piece before the general will let the first spokesperson talk again ("no silver tongued rascals") - the non-Face PCs will also have to work on it.

3) Yes, it could be difficult. But, each piece of evidence has a bonus to present that piece of evidence, some of which are big bonuses. Also, for each previous piece that was succesfully presented, each next one gets easier (+2). Finally, you're allowed to award up to a +4 bonus if the players really put in an effort to present the evidence well.

4) Don't tell them the specific bonuses per piece, but do tell them that each succesful presentation will make the rest easier, so that it's good to put your best diplomats first so they can make it easier for the rest.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

After the weapons were poisoned, my players were dying to get into that office and find something on her.

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I had a bad experience with this one, I need to actually read the scenario, but I am very unhappy with the ending.

This does have a lot to with the the fact, that due to poor dice rolls the party missed the fact that the Apis Consortium has a presence in that city.

Of course that didn't matter all that much, the party even joked about the fact that the Aspis Consortium is the reason why their officer didn't like them.... only to learn later that is was true (which honestly was quite disappointing to me).

Sneaking into her office, still seems like a pretty obvious trap option and I would not have expected the scenarios to want us to do this.

Thus we never learned about the connection and the ending was far less satisfying than it could have been.

Also, the scenario felt a bit short, we thought that after the caravan that scenario was getting some sort of traction, but the ending came pretty much out of the blue.

I fear/suspect, that this scenario is a lot like many older scenarios, nice premise but the flaws in the mechanical execution bother me much more than they should, and you really have to put a lot of work into it.

Really still have to read it, but it really didn't work for me.

**

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm going to be GMing this next week, and this will my first GMing experience in a long, long time. Thanks to all for the tips and thoughts. I have some questions that I'd like to ask about others' experiences with this module.

1) How useful or necessary is it to have read Plans of Power in order to know more about the Opaline Vault?

2) Were the PCs wearing full armor and all their equipment when you ran them through the obstacle course?

3) I'm thinking of forcing them all to wear badly fitting basic training overalls that say RECRUIT in big letters on the back. Did anyone do anything like this?

4) How many folks came up with actual questions for the Trial of Knowledge, and if you did, would you be willing to share them?

5) In the casino, did anyone's PCs actually attack the False Inysha/General Faisal bint Hanif? If so, how did you handle this (other than just killing them all in a couple of rounds)?

6) If it comes to combat/chase of Inysha, did you have any miniatures out for the casino's staff and patrons, or did you just use the terrain rules on p.17?

I think that's it for now.

Thanks in advance,

Peter

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

1 - Did not read it. But I am sure it could help with setting the scene.

2 - Yes. They were told they would face numerous efreeti trickery on the battlefield. They would not be unarmored then so they should not be now. They could of course leave their other gear behind. So no potential encumberment from backpacks.

3 - Nope. But adding something to give the feel of hazing could help build atmosphere, as long as the other recruits have to wear it too.

4 - I did not have time to make up any questions. :(

5 - Did not happen with my table.

6 - It did not come to that, but I had a bunch of mini's on standbye to put on the map.

The Exchange *****

answering from the viewpoint of a player who has not read the scenario, only played it.

pjrogers wrote:

I'm going to be GMing this next week, and this will my first GMing experience in a long, long time. Thanks to all for the tips and thoughts. I have some questions that I'd like to ask about others' experiences with this module.

1) How useful or necessary is it to have read Plans of Power in order to know more about the Opaline Vault?

I don't think this was covered in our game, as I don't recognize the term 'Plans of Power'.

pjrogers wrote:


2) Were the PCs wearing full armor and all their equipment when you ran them through the obstacle course?

We were allowed to wear or not wear whatever we felt was needed for our duties... so some of us did the obstacle course without armor... some of us didn't bother to remove it either.

pjrogers wrote:

3) I'm thinking of forcing them all to wear badly fitting basic training overalls that say RECRUIT in big letters on the back. Did anyone do anything like this?
?

We stood out without anything needed ... if anything, you might point out that all the other groups seem to have "uniform" equipment - and the PCs don't. I would think it should be "run as written" - other people playing this will not remember overalls... and someone might be bothered that "my judge didn't run it right"...

pjrogers wrote:

4) How many folks came up with actual questions for the Trial of Knowledge, and if you did, would you be willing to share them?
?

My judge had a set of rapid fire questions. They were great!

(sorry - I don't remember them though)
pjrogers wrote:

5) In the casino, did anyone's PCs actually attack the False Inysha/General Faisal bint Hanif? If so, how did you handle this (other than just killing them all in a couple of rounds)?
?

we recognized the General for who he was and saluted him when he arrived.

pjrogers wrote:

6) If it comes to combat/chase of Inysha, did you have any miniatures out for the casino's staff and patrons, or did you just use the terrain rules on p.17?

?

we had mini's out just for the PCs and Target - but the judge portrayed it so well (in descriptive text) that it felt like we were in a crowd... though he did have the Dragon, and a figure for the Boss on the sidelines...

pjrogers wrote:

I think that's it for now.

Thanks in advance,

Peter

hope that helps!

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Planes of Power is the most recent Campaign Setting book. It doesn't add too much, but can explain the political situation between the Plane of Earth and the Plane of Fire a little more than what is in the scenario.

General Faiza bint Hanif is a woman :)

The Exchange *****

KingOfAnything wrote:

Planes of Power is the most recent Campaign Setting book. It doesn't add too much, but can explain the political situation between the Plane of Earth and the Plane of Fire a little more than what is in the scenario.

General Faiza bint Hanif is a woman :)

(LOL!)

I couldn't get past the "General". Generals are a different species - and I really can't get past that to determine gender. Just salute it and hope it doesn't notice you.

and my PC was an Ifrit - so I was already expecting to get the hazing and just chocked it up to that... and just didn't realize that it was out of the ordinary.

**

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My bad, "Plans of Power" was a typo. It should have been Planes of Power. Thanks for all the ideas. I also discovered this neat set of resources which includes a list of questions for the Trial by Knowledge.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Fooled my players with this one yesterday. They too thought it was just hazing, collected no evidence, missed secondary prestige. Had people complete the obstacle course (if they fail an obstacle completely, are they out?), everyone managed to get at least one question right on the trial of knowledge. They didn't pick up on the poison, or the false info. They were very confused about what charges they needed to prepare for, and I failed to improvise an explanation for then to go off of. Definitely need to work on my delivery next time.

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