8-12 Tyranny of Winds III: Caught in the Eclipse GM Thread


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4/5

Do we have details of the elevation of the different terrain features and the horn on the final map? I can't find them in the scenario.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

RealAlchemy wrote:
Do we have details of the elevation of the different terrain features and the horn on the final map? I can't find them in the scenario.

as far as i can tell given that there's subjective gravity , no up or down, and the objects are not stacked non top of one another from more than 1 axis, you can just represent it with a flat plane and not change anything.

4/5

I was thinking about how far someone has to fall up to reach the horn to retrieve it, and from what altitude the objects grant cover because 3d combat is wierd.

Dark Archive 5/5

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My players all took the hint from the initial knowledge check in the beginning, as well as the explanation on the mechanics of subjective gravity, and made sure they had either potions or scrolls of fly, so fortunately for me I didn't have to worry about it. They did well enough that the clockworks were able to lead them to the horn, so when they got to the junkyard I told them now would be the appropriate time to use resources (before they even knew there would be a combat), or else they would have trouble following their guides to the right area. Of course, I told them the other option was to not use them and make the checks, to which I received a resounding "NO!" (and they knew how important getting the horn was). PCs really hate having to make wisdom checks... :)


aboyd wrote:
they have a +18 to CMB rolls in tier 3-4 (6 normal CMB, +2 charge, +10 Spark Leap

Am I correct that the elementals can get their CMB up to a +21? That's 6 normal CMB, +2 charge, +10 Spark Leap, and +3 Metal Mastery (IF the target is wearing metal armor or metal weapon in hand). That's the low tier. So get a roll of 5 on the die, plus the 21 bonus = 26 vs. CMD of a level 3 or 4 character.

Add to that, elementals can take any form they want, from blobs to person-like shapes. So these elementals could just have wisps for holding stuff.

Seems like a lot of disarms will be happening, and then the weapons caught by the elementals and held. True?


jmclaus wrote:
Are the PCs able to communicate using Common with citizens other than Briel? Sylphs normally have Common as a racial language and nothing is mentioned to contradict that, but that would defeat the purpose of having a translator in the first place

From the module:

page 9 wrote:
Unless the party has someone who speaks Auran, they’ll need a translator to communicate with most inhabitants of Port Eclipse.

That seems to imply that most people speak only Auran. However, let's look at another quote:

page 9 wrote:
Thunder Skyforge is too old to leave his inn and serve as a translator, but he happens to know every semi-permanent resident of Port Eclipse that might serve as a translator. Three such people spring to the dwarf ’s mind.

Thunder knows every person even possibly qualified for a job of speaking Common, and it amounts to a whopping 3 people.

So with that, I'd probably say that everyone else -- everyone else -- has lost speaking fluent Common as a language. I believe the module has 1 other NPC that speaks "a few broken words of Common" or something like that, but it really doesn't amount to much.

Those PCs are gonna need to speak Auran or get a translator, somehow.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

If you fail to change the direction of gravity, what happens? Do you just chill there? Because I saw it ruled yesterday that you flew off in a random direction. The only place I've ever seen that rule was in ToW1. I don't even remember that rule in Maelstrom Rift, and I don't remember seeing it in this one (though, admittedly, my print off this scenario is in my bag at the concierge desk waiting for check in).

Any guidance?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Subjective Directional Gravity:

The strength of gravity on a plane with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and nonsentient creatures. This sort of environment can be very disorienting to the newcomer, but it is common on “weightless” planes.

Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining “down” near their feet. If suspended in midair, a character “flies” by merely choosing a “down” direction and “falling” that way. Under such a procedure, an individual “falls” 150 feet in the first round and 300 feet in each succeeding round. Movement is straight-line only. In order to stop, one has to slow one’s movement by changing the designated “down” direction (again, moving 150 feet in the new direction in the first round and 300 feet per round thereafter).

It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds.

Pretty much says that if you haven't set a gravity you would be just floating there.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

BigNorseWolf wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Pretty much says that if you haven't set a gravity you would be just floating there.

Yeah, ok, that's what I thought. Thanks!

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Yeah, about gravity in the final fight. When we played it, apparently we'd done well enough that we spawned in the middle of the map. But that's a spot with nothing to stand on.

So on the first round of combat we randomly determined the current gravity direction for each character and then tried to redirect that to useful directions. The Oloch pregen that was filling out the table failed however, and continued to fail for a couple more rounds (he still needs to roll a 10+ to make the check) so he basically flew 750ft off the map. If he ever were to come back he'd have to take care not to do it wrong otherwise he'd suffer falling damage; 20d6 is likely to kill a level 4 PC.

Don't do it like this It was stupid and left me scratching my head as to what the author could have been smoking when he wrote it. Reading it, I'm not convinced it should have gone like this.

Since the PCs have been picking their way through the junkyard for a while, it makes sense to let them pick their current direction of gravity at the start of combat.

I do disagree with BNW: your gravity is always pointing somewhere. That's the difference between no-gravity and subjective-gravity planes.

Also important: if you have something reasonably big and solid to stand on, you don't need the roll. So it's easy to stay on the deck of a ship. I'd also be very lenient with letting people grab hold of rigging they fall past.

---

My impression is that the author wanted a sort of orbital fight, where a false move sends you flying off quite fast in the wrong direction. Although in orbit you'd be truly weightless, there's also planetary rotation and stuff to consider: your frame of reference is always flying somewhere so unless you're going in the same direction, you're flying away from it.

TL;DR - don't let PCs fly off the map in round 1, never to be seen again that combat

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I do disagree with BNW: your gravity is always pointing somewhere. That's the difference between no-gravity and subjective-gravity planes.

Except the rules tell you how to stop. And if you can stop, mustn't that mean that for that time, you've eschewed all gravitational entanglements?

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Stephen Wight wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I do disagree with BNW: your gravity is always pointing somewhere. That's the difference between no-gravity and subjective-gravity planes.

Except the rules tell you how to stop. And if you can stop, mustn't that mean that for that time, you've eschewed all gravitational entanglements?

Lau is correct. Your gravity must always be pointing somewhere.

You don't suddenly come to a stop when gravity goes away. Your ability to stop is represented by skillfully changing the direction of gravity to point in the opposite direction, to make you decelerate. Presumably once you do that you set it to be "down" relative to whatever you're standing on.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Stephen Wight wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I do disagree with BNW: your gravity is always pointing somewhere. That's the difference between no-gravity and subjective-gravity planes.

Except the rules tell you how to stop. And if you can stop, mustn't that mean that for that time, you've eschewed all gravitational entanglements?

You "stop" by reversing the direction of your gravity, to create an equal and opposite force against your current motion. However, after you've come to a stop, gravity is still pointing in that new direction, and you start accelerating in that direction.

The only ways to stay in place are to stand on an object that's not moving (like one of the shipwrecks), or two fly/levitate.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

You all realize that there will be no coming back if a character falls unconscious while airborne, right? Port Eclipse has a 1/4mi diameter. That's 1320ft. Even if we assume that's the open sky (not the ground), and if we assume you're dead center, you only have 760ft to fall. That's 2 rounds to fix a mistake (because of the slow down time, changing gravity when you're 10ft away from the top of that tenement building won't help.)

Martials who try to use the gravity rules (if you're not able to stop) are as good as dead. What happens if they get knocked unconscious? What happens if they're knocked unconscious while holding onto a cargo net?

In that environment, the CR has to be at least +2!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I always start the PCs on one of the shipwrecks on the map.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I always start the PCs on one of the shipwrecks on the map.

I concur. I let them pick their shipwreck given the time advantage they had.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Stephen Wight wrote:

You all realize that there will be no coming back if a character falls unconscious while airborne, right? Port Eclipse has a 1/4mi diameter. That's 1320ft. Even if we assume that's the open sky (not the ground), and if we assume you're dead center, you only have 760ft to fall. That's 2 rounds to fix a mistake (because of the slow down time, changing gravity when you're 10ft away from the top of that tenement building won't help.)

Martials who try to use the gravity rules (if you're not able to stop) are as good as dead. What happens if they get knocked unconscious? What happens if they're knocked unconscious while holding onto a cargo net?

In that environment, the CR has to be at least +2!

When I ran this, I expanded the interior size of the space (because otherwise, the math just doesn't work). I did have one player who started flying in one direction and just couldn't make their will save for the life of them. I ended up having one of the local guards catch them and steer them back to the scrapyard.

Turned out to be a good move because I had forgotten that you get a scaling bonus to your will save to change direction the more consecutive times you fail it. He almost certainly should have made one of the intervening saves.

If you feel particularly squeamish about unconscious PCs cratering into buildings, you can always treat them as unattended objects. Unattended objects in an area of subjective directional gravity are treated as if they're in a null gravity plane--no acceleration whatsoever. Wind resistance probably isn't enough to stop them in time, but it's probably good enough to convert lethal to nonlethal if you as GM desire it. It's not explicitly spelled out in the rules how all of these things interact so you have a fair amount of leeway even under the strictest interpretations of the PFS "rules as written" mandate.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Stephen Wight wrote:

You all realize that there will be no coming back if a character falls unconscious while airborne, right? Port Eclipse has a 1/4mi diameter. That's 1320ft. Even if we assume that's the open sky (not the ground), and if we assume you're dead center, you only have 760ft to fall. That's 2 rounds to fix a mistake (because of the slow down time, changing gravity when you're 10ft away from the top of that tenement building won't help.)

Martials who try to use the gravity rules (if you're not able to stop) are as good as dead. What happens if they get knocked unconscious? What happens if they're knocked unconscious while holding onto a cargo net?

In that environment, the CR has to be at least +2!

I hadn't realized the junkyard was on the inside of the asteroid, but the background on the map does suggest that yeah.

Well, I'm of the opinion that was isn't on the map can't kill you, so I guess unconscious PCs will just float away until retrieved by someone.

IMO the subjective gravity rules are not very well-developed. The DC is quite high, making it less than an even chance for most PCs. I would have written it with a lower DC, or have given the PCs strap-on kites that can be used for steering or suchlike.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Terminalmancer wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I always start the PCs on one of the shipwrecks on the map.
I concur. I let them pick their shipwreck given the time advantage they had.

Agreed. I think the encounter is much more "the plane of air is awesome" if the PCs start out on one deck and can try various shenanigans to try to hop to the final spot where the horn is.

For example realigning gravity to fall towards an opposing surface, and then quickly adjusting to its gravity when you get there; I'd let people make Acrobatics checks to reduce falling damage from that.

When I'm gonna run this I'm going to impress on the players that Feather Fall, Levitate and Fly are big friends here.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Terminalmancer wrote:

Turned out to be a good move because I had forgotten that you get a scaling bonus to your will save to change direction the more consecutive times you fail it. He almost certainly should have made one of the intervening saves.

It's not a scaling bonus, and it's not a will save. It's a DC 16 Wisdom check, but if you fail subsequent checks are DC 12 until you succeed.

The first chapter of the trilogy uses a Will save instead of a Wisdom check, but that's something special for that chapter only.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:

Turned out to be a good move because I had forgotten that you get a scaling bonus to your will save to change direction the more consecutive times you fail it. He almost certainly should have made one of the intervening saves.

It's not a scaling bonus, and it's not a will save. It's a DC 16 Wisdom check, but if you fail subsequent checks are DC 12 until you succeed.

The first chapter of the trilogy uses a Will save instead of a Wisdom check, but that's something special for that chapter only.

You're correct. My memory is not so good this morning. Here's the text I was intending to refer to, just so I don't confuse anyone else:

Quote:
It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@Terminalmancer: I'm not sure where you're getting that version from; this is the one I see in the scenario:

Tyranny of Winds 3 page 5 wrote:
Once per round as a free action, an individual can attempt a DC 16 Wisdom check to pick a new direction for gravity. If she succeeds, she begins falling in that direction, moving 150 feet in a straight line on the first round and 300 feet on each succeeding round. If she fails, she can attempt the Wisdom check again the following round. The DC decreases to 12 until she succeeds.

So the DC just remains on DC 12. Those rules are the same as in Through Maelstrom Rift. The rules in Tyranny 1 are different, but that's a room on the prime material plane that merely simulates conditions on the plane of air.

(Although I think making it a Will save was much better design; I would have also been happy with a Fly skill check as an alternative.)

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

@Terminalmancer: I'm not sure where you're getting that version from; this is the one I see in the scenario:

Tyranny of Winds 3 page 5 wrote:
Once per round as a free action, an individual can attempt a DC 16 Wisdom check to pick a new direction for gravity. If she succeeds, she begins falling in that direction, moving 150 feet in a straight line on the first round and 300 feet on each succeeding round. If she fails, she can attempt the Wisdom check again the following round. The DC decreases to 12 until she succeeds.

So the DC just remains on DC 12. Those rules are the same as in Through Maelstrom Rift. The rules in Tyranny 1 are different, but that's a room on the prime material plane that merely simulates conditions on the plane of air.

(Although I think making it a Will save was much better design; I would have also been happy with a Fly skill check as an alternative.)

That's curious. I wonder why they rewrote the basic SDG rules to make the plane more difficult to deal with?

It's from page 185 of the Gamemastery Guide. I didn't realize they'd made a change in their summary, which is a little obnoxious. When there's a short summary of specific rules in a scenario, I tend to run from the complete rules when possible--it doesn't usually cause a problem.

For what it's worth, this is also where we get a more precise description of how stopping works (which clarifies how you change your direction to stop).

GameMastery Guide, page 185:
Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on a plane with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and nonsentient creatures. This sort of environment can be very disorienting to the newcomer, but it is common on “weightless” planes.

Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining “down” near their feet. If suspended in midair, a character “flies” by merely choosing a “down” direction and “falling” that way. Under such a procedure, an individual “falls” 150 feet in the first round and 300 feet in each succeeding round. Movement is straight-line only. In order to stop, one has to slow one’s movement by changing the designated “down” direction (again, moving 150 feet in the new direction in the first round and 300 feet per round thereafter).

It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds.


I just ran this at KublaCon, and had a complication.

From page 8: "Nix points at a squat building half a hemisphere away, indicating it as a good a starting point for their investigation."

My players didn't know what the building was, didn't ask Nix, and they already spoke Auran, so they felt no need to take her advice. Instead, they wanted to go immediately into the city and start investigating. I knew I could intersperse some of the NPCs & rumors at my discretion, so that seemed OK. But then they said this: "Hey, we know we're stuck here for a week, so maybe let's get rooms at an inn first."

OH! I can get them back on track! I say, "Sure, the first attempt to gather information leads you to a place called the Aching Anchor. It's supposedly well-suited for newcomers, and is rumored to have translators available."

They hated that. "We want to talk to the locals, not translators. Is there a place that the locals go to?" And so I give you:

The place the locals go to

Port Eclipse's inn & tavern "for locals" is called Whirling Winds, but lots of locals will simply say, "Let's get drinks at the birdcage." Why? Because it looks like a birdcage. It's a tall building projecting toward the center of the sphere-like city, with a curved dome. And that's how you get in. That is, there are no doors at ground level. It's for locals. You're expected to fly through the curved top, which is open during business hours (99% of always).

I'm thinking of birdcages like this and buildings that look similar, like this. The trick is that the walls must be solid & closed, while the roof, aside from the curved reinforcement bars, is open.

My players were hell-bent on getting into that, but they had no flight. I reminded them that they could will themselves up with a wisdom check. "What happens if we overshoot?" I told them that they could ready to grab on as they went by, but if they missed they would continue sailing away until they hit the other side or could reverse course -- either way they'd probably take falling damage. They did not like that option, and I have to agree. Even if I made the dome bars AC 5 (like the ground) so they were easily targeted & grabbed, a natural 1 would still probably mean 20d6 falling damage. So they decided to have an animal companion fly up, tie a rope, and then drop it for everyone else to come in.

The complication I threw at them: the rope now dangles, coiled, in mid-air. Inanimate objects in this realm just float as if they were in outer space. So with a little more work they pulled the rope down to the others and people started rappelling in, which I found to be a hilarious image. These PCs were so determined to get in with the locals that they made a spectacle of going to a location that everyone else casually flies into. Yes, they were awarded awareness points for this.

But wait! The spectacle doesn't end!

Once inside, I stole an idea from part 2. Remember the library with the floating clouds that held desks & bookshelves on them? I used those clouds for different levels inside the Whirling Winds. No idea how many levels there are, but what I do know is that one level has a stage, about 10' off the cloud floor. The stage is also cloud. One of my players was a halfling bard who was set on performing on that stage. So he stood under the stage and started willing himself to believe that the stage was his gravity point. He tried, and failed, and re-tried. After 5 rounds, he suddenly falls upward, landing on the underside of the stage. He makes an acrobatics check to avoid taking the first 10' of falling damage and is fine. He then calmly walks around the edge of the cloud stage, coming over to the top part. Now standing upright, he make a knowledge planes check to see if he knows some appropriate music, gets a good result with a 21, and begins to play. He gets applause, tries to turn it into his day job, and it doesn't quite get him the cash he wants. Not enough drinks were sold to merit cash payments.

However, the bartender is this gnome with a self-built clockwork seat that keeps him airborne, like a floating disk. He speaks only Gnome & Auran, so he says to the PC that speaks Auran, "Here's a performance you could repeat for us. When do you think you'll be back, trying to re-enter our building without flight?" They say they'll be back in 24 hours. The bartender announces, "All right patrons, be back by 8 tomorrow to see if they can make it back in!"

This was so important to all the players that they cut short an interaction elsewhere the next day. "We have a performance we must keep!" And then they were off to the Whirling Winds, wall-walking their way into a flight-only location. Although we had to wrap up too soon, I'd like to think that if we had time, we would have indeed found a way for them to earn their day-jobs at the birdcage.

Anyway, I release all that silliness to Paizo if they wish to incorporate it, and I release it to all of you if you wish to have a 2nd tavern/inn that the PCs can visit.

If someone could name the gnome bartender, that might be nice too.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@outshyn: that's brilliant!

My first impression when playing part III was that the author was aiming for a Mos Eisley cantina scene but for some reason held back with weird races and so we get elves and dwarves instead.

I think the whole adventure should feel very "over the top" - weird watering holes, weirdoes at the bar, disorienting and highly mobile combat.

I think the much more forgiving subjective directional gravity rules from the Gamemastery Guide would help in that, so thanks Terminalmancer for pointing those out. I think the point of the scenario should be that players want to use it, not to get the door slammed in their face because it's too hard.


Lau Bannenberg wrote:
@outshyn: that's brilliant!

Thanks Lau!

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
My first impression when playing part III was that the author was aiming for a Mos Eisley cantina scene but for some reason held back with weird races and so we get elves and dwarves instead.

Oh no! My tavern just added a gnome to the list. :(

I don't honestly know what race would be good for:


  • The plane of air
  • A bartender/tavernkeeper, interested running a business
  • Non-flying but adapted with weird gear

I'm just not good enough with the newer Bestiary books.

There are multiple levels of my tavern, so I suppose there could be multiple bartenders. I could keep the gnome and add another. Or maybe all the servers could be some weird flying race.

Well, I'll run it again, so thanks for the feedback. I'm sure run #2 will be better.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Your players over-thought it, though it's understandable. They could've just lain down on the ground with their feet against the wall, then imagined that the wall beneath their feet was the ground. The rules suggest that it would be intuitive to do so, but even if not, it's a simple check with no risk just to lay there and keep trying til you got it.

5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If the Horn explodes, does the blower get a save? If not, seems pretty harsh for Tier 3-4.

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