Trail of the Hunted (GM Reference)


Ironfang Invasion

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How do you pronounce chernasardo?


Silver Scarab wrote:
How do you pronounce chernasardo?

It's a trap!

Probably rhymes with "cow"?
Or maybe rhymes with "blow"?

Just like another word I Drow, I mean, know.


Silver Scarab wrote:
How do you pronounce chernasardo?

I pronounce it: "CHAIR - ness - SAR - doe."

With double emphasis on the first and third syllables, it rather rolls off the tongue.


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Anyone else catch the Simpsons reference. :-)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
Anyone else catch the Simpsons reference. :-)

:O Which one?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Lake Platter in the Gazetteer for the Nesmian Plains. :-)


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Silver Scarab wrote:
How do you pronounce chernasardo?

It's spelled 'Chernasardo,' but it's pronounced 'Throat warbler mangrove.'


I'm loving this so far, and am really excited to run it next week. Three questions.

1) Anyone have thoughts on how to best schedule out the various events? I think I'm going to do what I did for the Haunting of Harrowstone and map myself out a calendar. I recognize that it should probably vary depending on desired difficulty and pacing, but I'm curious if anyone has opinions.

2) How do people handle moving your "camp" and generally dealing with direction and distance? Do you try and map out the direction's the party or their followers travel and factor in the map on page 22, or do you just sort of do whatever you want and ignore the map? It is quicker for the party or scouts to move than the entire camp?

3) This adventure is chalk full of wild animals you can charm or wild empathize with or even raise as a baby. I've got a ranger and cavalier in my party, and I think it would make sense if they had the potential to turn these things into mounts or animal companions. Obviously it's easy to figure out how to do that with the wolf cubs and the standard rules. But what about Gashmaw or Fahrak's dire wolf? How would one adjust stats in those cases?


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Jeffzilla wrote:
Silver Scarab wrote:
How do you pronounce chernasardo?
It's spelled 'Chernasardo,' but it's pronounced 'Throat warbler mangrove.'

In our campaign they have become the Chorizo Rangers


Captain Morgan wrote:

I'm loving this so far, and am really excited to run it next week. Three questions.

1) Anyone have thoughts on how to best schedule out the various events? I think I'm going to do what I did for the Haunting of Harrowstone and map myself out a calendar. I recognize that it should probably vary depending on desired difficulty and pacing, but I'm curious if anyone has opinions.

2) How do people handle moving your "camp" and generally dealing with direction and distance? Do you try and map out the direction's the party or their followers travel and factor in the map on page 22, or do you just sort of do whatever you want and ignore the map? It is quicker for the party or scouts to move than the entire camp?

3) This adventure is chalk full of wild animals you can charm or wild empathize with or even raise as a baby. I've got a ranger and cavalier in my party, and I think it would make sense if they had the potential to turn these things into mounts or animal companions. Obviously it's easy to figure out how to do that with the wolf cubs and the standard rules. But what about Gashmaw or Fahrak's dire wolf? How would one adjust stats in those cases?

1. I use events as and when they seemed appropriate

2. I turned all the maps in the first 3 mods into hex maps as at a scale of 2.5 miles wide per hex. Party are mounted (with so far 2 companions) can explore 4 per day normally, and then move the refugees somewhat more slowly
3. yes indeed. So tempted to allow the owlbears in mod 2 to become mounts.


How many refugees from Phaendar are people finishing the book with?


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taks wrote:
Yeah, February in some place Montana-ish would be pretty winter weather intensive. Probably winter-like until the end of May, actually.

Since there are four Market Festivals each year, it made sense to coincide them with the Solstices and Equinoxes. Especially true since the Spring Equinox is a major Erastil celebration. So my dates are:

Starts in 4709
My Prequel adventure starts May 16th
Spring Equinox March 20th (Invasion Day)
Summer Solstice June 21
Fall Equinox Sept 22
Winter Solstice Dec 21


I have a question how far back ago was the Ironfang active and when exactly was the ram-gate massacre.


pixierose wrote:
I have a question how far back ago was the Ironfang active and when exactly was the ram-gate massacre.

Do you have the book?


KM WolfMaw wrote:
pixierose wrote:
I have a question how far back ago was the Ironfang active and when exactly was the ram-gate massacre.
Do you have the book?

I do.

Maybe i just couldnt find the date somewhere. It was late and I was tired.


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Ram Gate massacre was about two years before II start, and a few days or weeks before the Ironfang "just vanished". The Ironfang was active for a few years, exact timing weren't given.


I am currently running ironfang, I should have killed aubrin at the start. Its really jarring to have her around.

with aubrin in the adventure, its a 1/10. If she is deleted, its pretty cool, 8/10 or more


Keep her very very minor. I'm only using her if everyone looks utterly clueless as to what to do next
It hasn't happened yet.
Just make mod 1 and 2 flow into each other


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I noticed a typo (a Freudian slip, perhaps): on the descriptive blurb to the section on the Nesmian Plains, the Fangwood Forest is named 'Fangorn'. Given the name in question, I'm not sure if that's an intentional misspelling or if somebody really likes Tolkien and was trying to slip it in under the noses of the editors.


CWheezy wrote:

I am currently running ironfang, I should have killed aubrin at the start. Its really jarring to have her around.

with aubrin in the adventure, its a 1/10. If she is deleted, its pretty cool, 8/10 or more

Why?


thenovalord wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I'm loving this so far, and am really excited to run it next week. Three questions.

1) Anyone have thoughts on how to best schedule out the various events? I think I'm going to do what I did for the Haunting of Harrowstone and map myself out a calendar. I recognize that it should probably vary depending on desired difficulty and pacing, but I'm curious if anyone has opinions.

2) How do people handle moving your "camp" and generally dealing with direction and distance? Do you try and map out the direction's the party or their followers travel and factor in the map on page 22, or do you just sort of do whatever you want and ignore the map? It is quicker for the party or scouts to move than the entire camp?

3) This adventure is chalk full of wild animals you can charm or wild empathize with or even raise as a baby. I've got a ranger and cavalier in my party, and I think it would make sense if they had the potential to turn these things into mounts or animal companions. Obviously it's easy to figure out how to do that with the wolf cubs and the standard rules. But what about Gashmaw or Fahrak's dire wolf? How would one adjust stats in those cases?

1. I use events as and when they seemed appropriate

2. I turned all the maps in the first 3 mods into hex maps as at a scale of 2.5 miles wide per hex. Party are mounted (with so far 2 companions) can explore 4 per day normally, and then move the refugees somewhat more slowly
3. yes indeed. So tempted to allow the owlbears in mod 2 to become mounts.

I don't suppose you have a digital copy of that map I could use?

As for Aubrin, I'm a big fan. I am pretty cool with her mechanical function, and I like her being heroic but unoptimized. I'm curious if folks have input on roll playing her. Being the life of the party and letting the PCs have the spotlight is a tricky line to walk. I'd like to have her tell some more raunchy or exciting stories like the one in the opening, either just the punch line or telling some tales start to finish. Does anyone have any suggestions or lists I could use for her? I feel like there's got to be a list of fantasy themed dirty tales somewhere, but there's a line to keeping it tasteful as well.

Edit: another nuance is getting her vivaciousness across while the stakes and circumstances are so dire. Hasn't been a ton of room for it so far but they are only on day 1 in the fangwood.


So I just ran my first session. The players found Kinnings shield. And they plan on interrogating her once they get some free time. The gunslinger says she might even shoot her. Does anybody know what the deal with the shield is? Or if it has anything to do with her past? I know the book says she wont talk about it but i fwel if the players succeed high enough on an intimidate check or do something else i should reward them with some info. Or is this really up to me as a dm to decide?


Rune wrote:


Why?

She is a very powerful character who could solo the first book. The rules are horribly mangled with her around.

Trying to downplay her doesnt really work because she is central to phaendar as the local celebrity. She also has a big monlogue in the middle of the book..

Its really sad imo, because of how great the rest of the book is.


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CWheezy wrote:
Rune wrote:


Why?

She is a very powerful character who could solo the first book. The rules are horribly mangled with her around.

Trying to downplay her doesnt really work because she is central to phaendar as the local celebrity. She also has a big monlogue in the middle of the book..

Its really sad imo, because of how great the rest of the book is.

They give her several penalties so all she can really do is heal in the first section and even somewhat into the second section. Not to mention that after the escape from Phaender she pretty muh takes a back seat and guides the refugees while letting the PC's be the hero. She isn't really suppoused to assist in the fights.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Tammy can take the half blind crippled ranger.


As I pointed out in the other thread, she's actually really, really bad at combat. She has a lot of hit points but her stats are otherwise pretty awful before you even factor in her blindness. Seriously, try and solo the first book with her vs letting the PCs do it themselves. Her only real chance is out lasting enemies, but considering her slow speed and Ranged penalties I don't see why she can't get worn down by a couple of mobile archers.

Edit: is it just me, or are promotions incredibly rare? I see you can get some when you fly the Hemlock Banner, and you get 1 when you clear the caves. Am I missing something? I'm currently planning to let my players each promote an NPC when the PCs gain a level, and maybe awarding others as would fit the story.


Hmm Sorry to boost this but does anybody have any advice or info on what to do with the players confront Kining Blondebeard about her shield. My session is coming up soon and I have a few ideas. I'm considering just try and have her avoid the questions and try to redirect their focus on to the hobgoblins. btw this is after everybody escaped into the woods.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

@PixieRose

I would have her say that no one in Phaendar seemed to have a problem with it (her potentially worshipping Droskar, or her history that got her banished from the dwarven community).

other options:

she might be evil (or worship an evil deity), but she's not an active cleric, and thus won't show up on a detect evil.

Also Also, it's not like she's going to betray them to the hobgoblins, or Molthune. she's not a traitor to Nirmathas (or a spy)- she's just trying to make an "honest" living.

When hobgoblins are murdering everyone around you, any ally can be useful- and she's a SMITH; potentially the most important skillset the PCs will need in future.

Good PCs should not murder evil PCs out of hand, I would hope that good PCs would see this as an opportunity to show kindness and potentially convert her away from Droskar (again, she's not a cleric - so redemption does not even require an Atonement).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
pixierose wrote:
Hmm Sorry to boost this but does anybody have any advice or info on what to do with the players confront Kining Blondebeard about her shield. My session is coming up soon and I have a few ideas. I'm considering just try and have her avoid the questions and try to redirect their focus on to the hobgoblins. btw this is after everybody escaped into the woods.

I realized I didn't really answer your question:

What's the Deal with Your Shield:
"It's an item important to me and it's a personal thing. I'd rather not talk about it. Everyone has a past, and I'm not obligated to divulge mine. If you don't trust me or don't want me in your camp, that's your business" - she can also leave it open for other NPCs to come to her defense "we need her" type comments. if the PCs want to kick her out of their camp, the other refugees might get worried "why does she need to be kicked out, what did she do? Will I be kicked out next because I don't make the soup the way you like it, or because my mother was an elf?"

What happened to get you exiled:
- it's not clear from the adventure, presumably she worshipped the wrong god (Droskar), or committed a crime. You may have to invent something.

I'm not a big fan of Intimidate being an auto-win with someone. She can hint at being "wrongfully" (sense motive DC...) convicted of a crime or persecuted for something, and the details are personal.

I also don't think the rest of the NPCs will take kindly to the PCs threatening a fellow refugee. It sets a bad precedent for interaction later on. Are the PCs tyrants? Are they like the hobgoblins or Molthuni?

The Gunslinger Threatens to shoot her:
Killing her over this would be an evil act IMHO. And again, the rest of the NPCs have to now wonder (especially Aubrin) - are these really heroes, or just another vicious bandit gang like the hobgoblins, or tyrants like the molthuni.

If the PCs truly feel they need the NPCs to support them, then they need to deal with this kind of conflict with more understanding. If they go kicking people out for "being different", then the rest of the refugees might decide to leave them - which could create interesting stories later. Chernasardo Rangers might not help the PCs later, after having "taken in" refugees that fled the PCs camp (or were kicked out).


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grandpoobah wrote:
pixierose wrote:
Hmm Sorry to boost this but does anybody have any advice or info on what to do with the players confront Kining Blondebeard about her shield. My session is coming up soon and I have a few ideas. I'm considering just try and have her avoid the questions and try to redirect their focus on to the hobgoblins. btw this is after everybody escaped into the woods.

I realized I didn't really answer your question:

What's the Deal with Your Shield:
"It's an item important to me and it's a personal thing. I'd rather not talk about it. Everyone has a past, and I'm not obligated to divulge mine. If you don't trust me or don't want me in your camp, that's your business" - she can also leave it open for other NPCs to come to her defense "we need her" type comments. if the PCs want to kick her out of their camp, the other refugees might get worried "why does she need to be kicked out, what did she do? Will I be kicked out next because I don't make the soup the way you like it, or because my mother was an elf?"

What happened to get you exiled:
- it's not clear from the adventure, presumably she worshipped the wrong god (Droskar), or committed a crime. You may have to invent something.

I'm not a big fan of Intimidate being an auto-win with someone. She can hint at being "wrongfully" (sense motive DC...) convicted of a crime or persecuted for something, and the details are personal.

I also don't think the rest of the NPCs will take kindly to the PCs threatening a fellow refugee. It sets a bad precedent for interaction later on. Are the PCs tyrants? Are they like the hobgoblins or Molthuni?

The Gunslinger Threatens to shoot her:
Killing her over this would be an evil act IMHO. And again, the rest of the NPCs have to now wonder (especially Aubrin) - are these really heroes, or just another vicious bandit gang like the hobgoblins, or tyrants like the molthuni.

If the PCs truly feel they need the NPCs to support them, then they need to deal with...

Thank you for you answers and advice. I will take them into consideration :) They we're similar ideas that I came up with myself


To tie into a party character's backstory, I made her an exile of Glimmerhold, one of the many dwarves who were cast out by the city's corrupt King Ezelgar. She was a blacksmith and a devout worshipper of Torag, but seeing the corruption overtaking her city she lost her faith and turned bitter.

Seeing Torag as weak and ineffective due to his inaction in the face of what happened, she turned from the ideals of hard, honest work to cheating and profitting from another's work (as personified by Droskar). She had some underpaid apprentices and is famous for overcharging for stuff.

In my campaign I'd love to see what the PCs will do once we do a sidequest from the Clash of the Kingslayers, where Torag basically sends Old Testament-like curses down to the corrupt dwarven kingdom.


This may be in the book and I just missed it but what stops the PCs from trying to take the refugees out of the forest and into a city or town up north? Knowing my players they will not be blocked by a few patrols. Is there a good reason why that large city up north isn't where these people would want to go?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Not sure what large city up north you are referring to, Kelvorn.

The nearest decent city is LongShadow - and getting there is essentially the plot of Book 3.

As the refugees flee into the southern Fangwood, there are only a handful of directions they could march on to:

- East along the road/river towards Tamran. We know this road is heavily patrolled (think CR 8 CR 10 Troops) and intentionally blocked at some point. The patrols near Phaendar should hint at this.

- West along the road/river towards LongShadow (the fastest way to Longshadow) - same problem as above

- NorthWest, cutting through the forest and then the hills towards LongShadow. Again, this is the plot of the first half of Book3. Heading in this direction puts the PCs in the path of Scarvinious' camp (end of Book 1) and the conquered CHernasardo Ranger forts (Book 2) - so they're really just speed-running through the AP at that point.

-Directly north (through the Fangwood). This runs through the entirety of Book 2, and probably Book 5. The heart of the Fangwood is SUPER SCARY, and the NPCs should refuse to go farther, knowing it means certain death.

In addition, during Book1 the refugees are poorly supplied. Their first thought will be to hide in the woods and ride the invasion out (which is typical Nirmathian tactics), until scouts/army/saboteurs from the Chernasardo Rangers or Tamran (capital city) begin a guerilla war to drive the invaders out. The PCs won't know this isn't going to work until Book3, but it makes the campaign arc of Book1 and Book2 make more sense (basically hiding out in the woods, looking for the Rangers and finding a better base to spend the winter in).

Most of Book 1 and Book2 should be building up the resources (supplies, scouting, clearing out nearby threats) to make the journey to Longshadow. During the course of those events - the PCs will learn that heading to Longshadow is not that easy, and most paths of "escape" aren't open.

Point out to the PCs that most of the refugees are level 1-3 NPC classes. That means 5-10 hit points. They cannot survive an encounter with a Hobgoblin Troops (see the section in Book 1) - one of those "lines" of arrows would kill dozens of refugees.

Hope that helps provide some points to stay and build a base in the woods (and maybe train up a militia, if you have the rules for it).


many of the npcs should have 1-4 hp and be children and youths.

They wont survive a 150 mile trek in the open to Tamran


thenovalord wrote:

many of the npcs should have 1-4 hp and be children and youths.

They wont survive a 150 mile trek in the open to Tamran

Never mind the open, even in the wild they would have a very hard time with Animals, Magical Beasts, Aberrations, Plants, Monstrous Humanoids, Feys, Undeads, etc...


So my party wants to block off the tunnel into the Darklands in the Troglodyte den, but I also want to give them the NPC merchant. Any advice on how I can work that in? I have a few ideas, but anything would be helpful!


We all had a brief chat and decided as a group the arrival of an npc merchant was a tad too cheesy so we haven't bothered with it
It's a very nice change not having a magic shop


thenovalord wrote:

We all had a brief chat and decided as a group the arrival of an npc merchant was a tad too cheesy so we haven't bothered with it

It's a very nice change not having a magic shop

More a peddler than a full shop.


KM WolfMaw wrote:
thenovalord wrote:

We all had a brief chat and decided as a group the arrival of an npc merchant was a tad too cheesy so we haven't bothered with it

It's a very nice change not having a magic shop
More a peddler than a full shop.

Yeah. But I meant anywhere. So even the idea that 'Misthome', basically 24 refugees in a cave, becomes a settlement and provides 'items' we have abandoned.


Hmmm interesting, I have a few players who would really like the ability to buy a few magic items. My current plan is to make her not have what they want on her when she shows up, and she'll have to go on an expedition for a few weeks before she gets the goods. When is their next opportunity to purchase items? I didn't really notice one until longshadow, besides the weird militia "black market" rules and stuff. We have an arcanist who can't use like any of the "wizard" loot, so he's complaining a bit, haha.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

From memory the group will meet her again in a later part, so already knowing her is relevant.


Robert Minter 298 wrote:
Hmmm interesting, I have a few players who would really like the ability to buy a few magic items. My current plan is to make her not have what they want on her when she shows up, and she'll have to go on an expedition for a few weeks before she gets the goods. When is their next opportunity to purchase items? I didn't really notice one until longshadow, besides the weird militia "black market" rules and stuff. We have an arcanist who can't use like any of the "wizard" loot, so he's complaining a bit, haha.

I think she shows up every week or month, and does say she could find a few things for the PCs... probably paid upfront.


The players walled off the easternmost door in the basement of the ruins, leaving only the Forge accessible for Kining. What I ended up doing was having Rhysa ask to check out the excavator's body, and while a PC was escorting her they noticed signs of something coming out from the tunnel to the darklands. When they asked Kining she said she heard some yelling in undercommon but wasn't paying attention. Now they at least know something is down there, I think I won't give them the NPC if they keep it completely walled off though. Might have Kining come say something next time, haven't decided.


Brother Fen wrote:
How many refugees from Phaendar are people finishing the book with?

My group left Phaendar with 26 npcs saved from Phaendar. That includes Aubrin, Kining, Jet, Oreld, Rhyna, the 2 merchants but not the 2 hunters. Starting location Taproot. !st location Trading Company, 2nd location both Shrine and Oreld's (they split up). And 3rd location was the Searching Buildings with 1d4 Hobgoblins and 1d6 supplies as they made their way back to Taproot to regroup. And along the way from the Encounter Table, I gave one of the separate groups the Trapped Commoners Encounter as a PC mentioned specifically looking for townsfolk to save.

26 towsnfolk saved plus 5 PCs equals 31 mouths to feed.

PCs include:
Half Elf Cleric
Dwarven Bard (Animal Speaker archetype and multi-class into Slayer)
Gnome Unchained Summoner
Human Hunter (with Velociraptor animal companion)
Human Ranger (not going to be a consistent PC as wife of a PC and she does have a very early start time for work)

The cleric is interested in getting a horse which should be easy enough if they decide to take on the Ironfang Supply Wagon. The hunter is not from the Phaendar area but was traveling through. Hence the dinosaur. I did let him know that replacing the velociraptor with another one could be an issue. Though I do plan on allowing the Hunter and Ranger to choose from any of the befriended animals, ex-animal companions, and mounts for their animal companions.

Cheers!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The only real trouble i am having with is in part 2 of the adventure. I counted and there are about 20 different encounters and events that can happen! There are also a few that can occur during or after part 3. Has anyone found a good way to organize them and the best way to play them out? I wish they were listed by CR so i can just pick them when i want. I keep having to flip back and forth between the pages. The only solution i can think of is to list them all my self.


I've plotted a hex grid on the forest and assigned each encounter to a hex. I'm using the Kingmaker exploration rules, with the caveat that these hexes are about half of those, so a PC explores twice as fast.

I also slap a result of the random encounters table on each blank hex.


Done pretty much what Rune did but my hexes are a quarter size of his, so they can visit about 4-6 per day expect when they have the refugees then its pretty slow going)


I tried using the map, but a lot of the events, like Gristledown and all the Ironfang encounters, can't occur until a certain amount of time has passed. And the latter doesn't seem tied to anywhere on the map, aside from the supply wagon. So I've found a calendar to be a more useful for plotting when the party should encounter stuff. It would be lame for them to miss Gristledown because it happens when they are too far away to see the smoke.

I've found cramming 3-5 events in any given day works well. It keeps you from having to roll the 30+ survival checks more than once a session, which gets old.


I have used most of the encounters but as seemed appropriate rather than what the adventure says!!


Captain Morgan wrote:
I've found cramming 3-5 events in any given day works well. It keeps you from having to roll the 30+ survival checks more than once a session, which gets old.

In my game I've basically used "Take 10" to handle the NPCs' checks to avoid having to roll that many dice.

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