Assault on Longshadow (GM Reference)

Ironfang Invasion

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER-filled zone: do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 3 of the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

  • Trail of the Hunted (Part 1)
  • Fangs of War (Part 2)
  • Assault on Longshadow (Part 3)
  • Siege of Stone (Part 4)
  • Prisoners of the Blight (Part 5)
  • Vault of the Onyx Citadel (Part 6)

  • So... wait. What exactly constitutes a turn in the battle for Longshadow? Because if a single combat round is a turn, then a combat that takes 15 turns is essentially the entire night.

    Starting this one soon! I'm just running part three of the AP for one of my ongoing campaigns. I did pick up the first two books as well for the reference material on the Iron Legion, troop subtypes and gazetteers on Nirmathas.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
    JD Niemand wrote:
    So... wait. What exactly constitutes a turn in the battle for Longshadow? Because if a single combat round is a turn, then a combat that takes 15 turns is essentially the entire night.

    It's a little difficult to understand. There's an explanation on Page44, under Battle of Longshadow Day 1:


    Large-scale battles are slow and violent, taking hours
    or even days. To better emulate this chaos, Kosseruk’s
    attack on Longshadow is measured roughly in turns. A
    turn is an arbitrary unit of time, as short as a few seconds
    or as long as an hour. From the players’ perspective, a
    single combat round is 1 turn, but a turn is also the time
    it takes to move from one part of town to another in
    order to confront a new threat, or to cast several spells
    outside of combat (such as several castings of cure spells
    to recuperate after a grueling fight). In between turns,
    when the PCs aren’t actively engaged in combat, they
    may spend hours in eerie silence, or battling invading
    forces “off stage.” There are 15 turns between the battle’s
    beginning and sunrise

    My understanding is that the authors are trying to balance action time (combat rounds which are 6s each) with the entire battle raging around them (from dusk till dawn - 8-10 hours).

    So "time between major events" counts as 1 turn. PCs can do whatever they want to heal, buff, role play, get info from NPCs.

    Specific events occur during the night; Night 1 has events on Turn 0,1,5,6,8, and 13. However, the PCs could have cancelled the events on Turn 1,5 and can reduce the impacts of Turn 6 & 8 based on previous events in the adventure.

    If the PCs spend 3 combat rounds dealing with the Turn 2 problem, then they have to go immediately deal with the Turn 5 problem (or let it rampage while they spend Turn 5 "healing"). It's kind of wonky, but tries to create a consequence for letting a battle run too long and a benefit for finishing (or cancelling) an encounter early.

    It's important to shut down each of these Turn event, as left unchecked they each deal significant damage to the town. The town always takes 1 point of damage each turn (so it's definitely losing 15 points the first night).

    I intend to let the PCs show up at an Event for free (no time spent travelling, unless they want to buff/heal do something else). So in my example, if the PCs hear about Turn2 event, they show up at the start of Turn2 (unless they want to pre-buff, in which case they show up at the start of Turn3 - but they can buff as much as they want). Then if the combat takes 3 rounds (Turn2,Turn3,Turn4) - on Turn 5 they can either heal/buff or start engaging the Turn5 event.

    Again, it's kind of wonky, but tries to simulate the impact of large scale battle and small scale battle across the course of one night. pathfinder isn't really equipped to deal with that (Combats take place over the course of seconds - most never go beyond 5 rounds or 30 seconds). This is very different than actual large scale combat - where individual engagements last 3-5 minutes, assaults might less half an hour, and major attacks might go on for hours or days.

    I started running this as a stand alone this week. My campaign started with Crypt of the Everflame and continued with The Wounded Wisp, The Confirmation and the Skinsaw Murders. Since my adventure sources are from all over the Paizo catalog, I had to add a bit of connective tissue to get my players back to Nirmathas in time for the war.

    I decided that the events of Fangs of War lead to Ibzariak escaping death at the hands of the PCs and heading north to meet with a battalion of troops that he had sent north as a contingency plan. Reunited with some of his soldiers, Ibzariak would nurse his wounds and begin the search for a new home. I realize that it would make more sense for Ibzariak to head south, but my players are going to start in the north, so I have to get them together somehow.

    Ibazariak is slowly making his way up the Tourondil river with his troops riding make-shift rafts. His course will eventually take him directly to Kassen's Hold upriver.

    The players finished the Skinsaw Murders in Magnimar, so I decided to use Sheila Heidmarch to send the PCs to Nirmathas. Sheila informs them that she has been expecting her husband, Canayvan Heidmarch, to return from his expedition to the Fangwood forest for quite some time. He had traveled to the ancient forest several months ago to study the dwarven wardstones set up throughout the wild woodlands of Nirmathas. Sheila had long since received a raven stating that he would soon return, but he is long since overdue.

    Sheila arranged to have Pathfinder wizard Ezren teleport the PCs to Star Run Falls (see Raging Swan Press Villages) in the middle of the Fangwood forest. She advised them to seek out Canayvan's allies in the Chernasardo Rangers or Irgl's Army (see Inner Sea Conflict groups). The PCs were familiar with Old Man Irgl (see Tal Taval in the NPC Guide), who purportedly has ties with Igrl's Army, from their time in Kassen's Hold on the northern border of Nirmathas.

    Hearing that the Chernasardo Rangers had been decimated by the Ironfang Legion (see the events of Irongfang Invasion book two: Fangs of War), the PCs decide to head north from the elven settlement to Kassen's Hold to reunite with their old mentors and follow up on leads to find Old Man Irgl. The party manages to avoid any random encounters on their way north. They make it to Kassen and begin asking around.

    The party discovers that most of the warriors of Kassen headed south to help in the efforts against the Irongfang Legion months ago. The PCs learn that Old Man Irgl had been through the area several weeks prior claiming to be on a hunting expedition. The party spends a couple days relaxing in the small town, uncertain of the devastation wrought by the Ironfang Legion in the south.

    After a night of carousing, the party gunslinger made his way over to his mentor's home on the edge of town. On his way back to the Seven Silvers Inn, the sky became dark and stormy and lights swirled about him. He looked over to see glowing red eyes housed by a slender black silhouette [of a mothman]. Great red wings billowed around the creature as wild whispering voices raced through the ears of the gunfighter.

    The creature extended its long arm and unfurled a thin finger in the direction of the docks on the Tourondil rivcer. A susurrous of voices surround the man as he struggles to make out the form of the mothman. It warns him to "look to the water."

    A crack of lightning lights the sky and the creature is gone back into the shadows from whence it came. The next day, no one believes the gunslinger's mad ravings. Unsure of when Old Man Irgl might return to the town, they decide to pack up and head south to Longshadow to help with the resistance. They arrange to buy horses and supplies and prepare to head out in the morning.

    That night, the PCs are awakened by the sound of screams coming from the docks. They spill out of their beds and race from the Seven Silvers Inn to see a Hobgoblin Phalanx Troop marching into the town square of Kassen's Hold.

    The party battles their first troop and defeats them with a little help from the town guard. They do some quick healing just in time to turn and see the drooling black dragon leap upon them from above. My players were a little banged up from the troop encounter, so I decided to have Ibzariak attack before they could make it to the docks. I think a water battle with the dragon would have resulted in a possible TPK.

    Ibzariak taunted and terrified the PCs. He ripped through them for several rounds while exhorting them to "flee and spread the curse of his name throughout the Fangwood."

    Eventually, the PCs decide that discretion is the better part of valor and leave on their horses with Izbariak railing to the heavens in the town center while the surrounding buildings go up in flames.

    I felt that since the players missed the explosive beginning of the adventure path in part one, that I would give them their own chance to run from war by having Ibzariak take up residence at their old home of Kassen. The session ended with the party fleeing on horseback into the Fangwood.

    Next time out, we'll pick up with part one of Assault on Longshadow.

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    This week, the party starts the actual adventure path as written. I spent one week getting them into the Fangwood so they could pick up with part one of Assault on Longshadow. The party consists of four PCs: an half-elven bard, gnome druid, human gunslinger and a dwarven barbarian as well as two NPCs, Kyra and the Terrible Tup (see Pathfinder #100: A Song of Silver NPCs).

    We pick up with the survivors fleeing Kassen's Hold as Ibzariak conquers the small town. The party joined Old Man Irgl aka Tal Taval on the outskirts of town where Irgl had gathered a group of survivors from town. Survivors included a merchant, his wife and their four children, Mayor Uptal and one of the town guards.

    Irgl instructed the Pathfinders to guide the survivors to Star Run Falls as the Elven city sits firmly in the middle of the Fangwood (again this is an added element to my Nirmathas). Irgl returned to Kassen to help find more survivors while the party led the refugees to the ancient Elven settlement. Along the way, they had a random encounter with a River Drake (see Kobold Press' Book of Drakes) who decided to charge travelers for the right to cross his river.

    The party tried to deal with the drake diplomatically, but they didn't realize that I put this in as their early fight. Fortunately, the gunslinger got a bit too mouthy with the drake and angered it enough to attack. They were able to keep the refugees out of range while dealing with it.

    They continued on to Star Run Falls where the town guardian agreed to take in the small band of refugees. Irgl had informed the party of the fall of Phaendar, the flight of the refugees and the recent battle to reclaim Fort Verdalay (see Irongfang Invasions books one and two). The Pathfinders decided to go to the fort first to meet with the remnants of the Chernasardo Rangers housed there.

    And herein we begin the actual adventure with part one. I decided to run all of the encounters in the order they are presented in the book in the place of random encounters. The party began working to help clear the southern Fangwood of the remaining Ironfang soldiers and instructed the rangers to begin transplanting the Phaendar refugees over from Misthome to Fort Verdalay.

    The party dealt with the Ironfang defectors and was happy to fight a handful of hobgoblins as opposed to an entire organized troop as in the preceding session. They chopped them down pretty quickly once the hobgoblins were revealed hiding in the trees.

    They almost turned and left, but the gnome druid decided to search around and found the captured Chernasardo Rangers nearby. After freeing the rangers, the Pathfinders were informed of the other group of survivors from the plains nearby.

    As stated, I ran these in the order presented in the book. It didn't take the party long to spot the Wolf-in-sheep's clothing infection and then set about looking for the herbs to affect a cure.

    At this point, the party encounters the Maenad. Since this would be my closing fight for the session, I decided to make it difficult and added an extra Maenad - and this was almost a mistake on my part. Since the party has a couple heavy hitters with the barbarian and the gunslinger, I ran the encounter different than presented and began with the Maenad using her Infectious Dance ability immediately.

    This is where the decision to add a second Maenad almost bit me in the buttocks as the entire party failed their WILL saves vs the Infectious Dance. What happened next was an utter mess as they dealt with the confusion effects while trying to fight the Maenads. At this point, I held the Maenads back and let them dance, while the captive dwarves came between them and the PCs.

    I suddenly found myself facing a potential TPK, so I had to let off the gas a little bit while the party worked their way into the fight. Eventually, the barbarian rolled "act normally" on the confusion table and was able to attack the first Maenad and deal out some serious damage. The NPC Kyra and Tup made their saves so they lead the charge against the Maenads with Tup's magic missle proving quite effective at slowly whittling the ladies down. For some reason, NPC Tup is blessed in that he almost never fails checks against spell resistance and this remained the same here.

    At one point, the dwarven barbarian was surrounded by the captive dwarves, so he lashed out and accidentally killed one with one solid blow. It was only afterward that he realized he just killed a fellow dwarf. I will play on this a little bit and try to make him feel guilty and angsty about it in the coming sessions.

    Since I overdid this encounter, I decided to have the second Maenad flee when she saw her sister taken down. The party of course decides to chase her, so out come the chase cards and they're off through the forest. Now it is worth noting that despite being quite dangerous, Maenads have no acrobatics or other physical skills to aid them in overcoming chase obstacles, so it wasn't long until a ravine held her in place long enough for the others to catch up.

    The party killed the Maenads and freed the dwarves.

    We'll pick up from there at the next session.

    The lesson learned here is "don't add an extra Maenad unless you want a potential TPK." Also, confusion rules can be a bit confusing when the entire party fails their saves. I am reviewing the rules more this week to see where I can improve.

    The players enjoyed the session and really liked the change of pace from their previous adventures in the Skinsaw Murders.

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    Maps used for the previous session include Town Square, Woodlands and Forest flip-mats respectively.

    As part of my continual prep for Assault on Longshadow, I’ve begun working on my map of Longshadow itself as well as sorting pawns and face cards for the adventure. Since the The Ironfang Invasion Map Folio and pawn set have yet to be released at the time of this writing, I have to pull them together from the various sets available to me. I’ve also managed to find face cards for most of the major NPCs and that should help add to player immersion for the NPC interactions, especially the verbal duels.

    Face Cards for Assault on Longshadow:

    Aubrin the Green = Lyrie Akenja/Rise of the Runelords
    Herge the wood giant = Joran Vhane/Wrath of the Righteous
    Solba = Metalla Raugar/Pathfinder Society
    Duggin = Enemies card 49
    Naspen Jarth = Dungeon Dwellers card 47
    Cirieo Thessaddin = Othlo Janke/Shattered Star
    Cobb Greenleaf = Enemies card 53
    Nibbitz = Polina/Reign of Winter
    Mayor Thom Crawbert = Enemies card 42
    Garret Graygallow = Emil Goltineva/Reign of Winter
    Seneka Volstadt = Koriah Asmeren/Shattered Star
    Solomon Zane = Titus Scarnetti/Rise of the Runelords
    Grenta Irontusk = Irabeth Tirabade/Wrath of the Righteous
    Scarvinious = Bruthazmus/Rise of the Runelords
    Gaugaugh = Dungeon Dwellers card 49
    Qa’al = Dungeon Dwellers card 34
    Kosseruk = Inger-Maggor/Wrath of the Righteous

    Since my group of Pathfinders met up with the remnants of the Chernasardo Rangers and the refugees of Misthome in the previous session, I’m going to add the Militia sub-system (see Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of Conflict p.48) to help create that feel of being in the midst of a larger conflict. We weren’t able to start the adventure path with book one, so I’m going to start their militia at rank 7 instead of rank 1. Their treasury is nearly empty at 10gp, so it will be up to the PCs to fund the militia and get them going again.

    The PCs will be able to use the drill militia activity to increase their training rank and advance to rank 8. There are currently 53 rangers at Fort Trevalay and 35 refugees living in Misthome. Since they’re currently rank 7, the players can use up to four teams.

    The teams are comprised of Chernasardo Rangers, Misthome survivors and a mixed group of Herge the wood giant (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 116 p.10) and the friendly Atomies. Following the Using the Militia System sidebars, the managers were chosen from the specialists available in the adventure path such as Aubrin, Cirieo Thessaddin, Cobb Greenleaf and Herge. I’m also adding Lirianne, the iconic gunslinger, as a Pathfinder that was working in the area with Canavyn Heidmarch before he was captured. Seeing as the gunslinger’s an iconic in the adventure, it made sense to include her here.

    Aside from working on the map of Longshadow, I’m also trying to figure out how to make that two-headed owlbear miniature that I’ll need at some point.

    We picked up with Assault on Longshadow this past weekend and included the Militia system for the first time. I like this rules sub-system for this campaign as it adds that extra layer of conflict that is needed for a war time adventure. The players decided to lead Naspen Jarth and his band of survivors back to Fort Trevalay.

    Along the way, the druid and the barbarian easily make the checks to recognize that they’re passing through the territory of Patchy, the dire bear. The party manages to make a few of the stealth and survival checks to sneak through, but because it is such a large group, they take the penalty to their DC and eventually fail the check. Patchy is alerted to their presence and attacks by snatching up a hapless tagalong from Naspen Jarth’s group.

    The party kills Patchy and follows her trail back to her cave. They rescue the cubs with the barbarian deciding that he wants to keep one for himself. In true murder hobo fashion, they loot the hobgoblin bodies and continue on their return trip to the fort.

    Upon their return to Fort Trevalay, Cobb Greenleaf delivers the call to action on page 8 and spurs the PCs into action organizing their militia. The party travels to Misthome to retrieve the last of the refugees and escort them to Fort Trevalay. This is their first chance to talk to Aubrin the Green and Herge the wood giant.

    The Misthome refugees share the information they have on the Ironfang Legion with the party. For the information revealed, I referred to the “Interrogating the Invaders” sidebar (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 115 p. 15).

    One-shot Sub-Plot: The Search for Canavyn Heidmarch:

    Aubrin and Lirianne recount the story of Canavyn’s capture during the final battle with Ibzariak. Lirianne tells the players of the hobgoblin heroes working together to take down Canavyn and capture him for their Ironfang masters. The pathfinder describes the bugbear slayer Scarvinious (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 115 p.62 ), the hobgoblin mystic Gaugaugh and Qa’al the hobgoblin gunslinger (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 116 p.74-76).

    At this point, another subplot involving the party’s gunslinger and Lirianne the iconic gunslinger comes into play as she tries to arrest him. This is a long running thread that I added when my player wanted to start play with a revolver at level one, so I allowed it by reasoning that if he had a revolver; it had to have been stolen from a shieldmarshal at some point. Lirianne is the first shieldmarshal that he’s run into, so she immediately recognizes the revolver and tries to take him into custody.

    A brief gunfight ensues as the gunslinger refuses to surrender his weapon. Lirianne gets the drop on him and with a Nat 20 shoots the gun and holster right off his hip. He still refuses to surrender and goes for his second gun. Lirianne clips him in the shoulder with her second pistol and again demands that he surrender.

    The party’s gunslinger continues to refuse to give up his gun until the rest of the party comes between the two. After a few diplomacy checks and some reassurances from a familiar pathfinder in Kyra, Lirianne agrees to hold off on her arrest for the duration of the conflict with the Ironfang Legion. Needless to say, this adds quite a bit of tension to the group.

    The PCs escort the Misthome survivors to Fort Trevalay and immediately begin organizing their militia. It doesn’t take long to review the basics of the Militia system with my players, as I explained it as being similar to the downtime system, which they had some experience in using. We assign the officer roles and we’re ready to roll our event for the week. “Calm before the storm” comes up, so no event this week. The party drills their militia and successfully earns enough training points to advance to rank 8.

    Duggin (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 117 p.7) approaches the dwarf barbarian and asks for his help in burying poor Margrath. I’m using face cards for Duggin and Solba for maximum guilt effect on my dwarf player. Duggin wants to take Margrath back to the Mindspin Mountains and give him a proper burial in stone. Solba wants the barbarian to help her search for her missing brother in Radya’s Hollow.

    Since the party needs to scout the Hollow Hills, they decide to follow Solba to the mines to search for her brother. The party briefly deliberates on a name for their militia before coming up with the “Fangwood Liberators”. It’s simple, but direct. They are all originally from Kassen’s Hold, so they have a strong connection to the Fangwood, as do the remaining Chernasardo Rangers.

    The first course of action for the Fangwood Liberators is to send their team of conspirators (see Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of Conflict p. 53) to Radya’s Hollow to scout ahead. This just happens to be Lirianne’s team, but she is happy to head out on a mission as opposed to sitting in a muggy fortress.

    The next day, the PCs set out for Radya’s Hollow on horseback. They make good time through the forest, until they come upon the Bulette Ambush. It is worth mentioning that this group is comprised of players that are all very new to D&D, so this is the first time they’ve ever encountered a bulette, much less two!

    The monsters get the drop on them and tear into the barbarian and the gunslinger pretty quickly. It takes the entire team working together to keep healing and shooting the creatures down while maneuvering around the terrain. It was a pretty harrowing encounter, but I ran it by the book. The barbarian was almost reduced to zero hit points and the gunslinger got mauled into the negatives. He actually got within a point of death before the Kyra NPC ran over to heal him and put him back on his feet.

    I learned my lesson from last time with the maenad about changing up encounters too much, so I ran everything by the book this time out. I allow a pretty wide range of third party source books including scaling weapons and companion rules, so I feel that my party leans toward an APL+1 at times. For the most part however, they run according to the book.

    Lirianne’s militia team meets the PCs on their way to Radya’s Hollow and gives them an intelligence report on the area. Lirianne reveals that the Ironfang Legion re-opened the mines, but when the second disaster occurred there, they decided to leave town. Lirianne also makes note that she saw strange machine working in the mine area. She is talking about the Clockwork Excavator (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 117 p.84).

    This, of course, serves to foreshadow the opening random encounter next time out as the party reaches the mines at Radya’s Hollow. The players really enjoyed this session. They like the militia rules and are excited to continue using them. Overall, the entire adventure offers a really nice change of pace from their previous journeys and makes for a good time at the table.

    For some reason Fort Trevalay keeps changing to Fort Verdalay in my head. I blame Seinfeld and Art Vanderlay.

    Brother Fen wrote:

    She advised them to seek out Canayvan's allies in the Chernasardo Rangers or Irgl's Army (see Inner Sea Conflict groups). The PCs were familiar with Old Man Irgl (see Tal Taval in the NPC Guide), who purportedly has ties with Igrl's Army, from their time in Kassen's Hold on the northern border of Nirmathas.

    That should have read Inner Sea Intrigue.

    Maps used in the previous session included Woodlands, Bigger Forest and Ambush Site Map Pack (caves).

    Continuing with my party of four PCs: half-elven bard, gnome druid, human gunslinger and dwarf barbarian with two NPCs: Kyra and the "Terrific Tup" (he's rebranding).

    The party spent some time skinning one of the bulettes in the hopes that the gnome druid can have bulette armor crafted at some point. They throw the two hundred pound bundle of skin on the back of the druid's roc animal companion and continue on to the Hollow Hills and Radya's Hollow.

    The party arrives to find the smoldering remains of Radya's Hollow. They do a cursory inspection of the town and discover the hobgoblin's log inside the assayer's office. Solba leads them over to the mine proper where they arrive just in time to find a clockwork excavator (see Pathfinder Adventure Path 117) bearing down on a small group of NPCs. Said group is comprised of Duggin (the dwarf miner from the Maenad encounter), Tobias the expert (hired to train the barbarian's bear cub) and Baboo (said bear cub).

    The trio had traveled to meet the PCs at the mine so they could properly bury Margrath in the rocky foothills. Unfortunately, they ran afoul of the clockwork excavator which had been set loose with a payload of iron and steel inside to make it seek out any erstwhile adventurers that may try to enter the mine.

    The gnome druid does a number on the clockwork creature by using call lightning to whittle it down. The party reunites with the NPCs and the barbarian finally agrees to bury poor Margrath in the hills nearby. The rest of the party follows Solba's directions to dig up her treasure. They don't mind spending the four hours to do so.

    The party makes their way into the mine and begin exploring. They follow the old blood trail to the eastern tunnel and the cave-in where they hear the tapping emanating from within. They search the area and find the map of the mines inside the office.

    The druid wildshapes into an earth elemental and earth glides through the rocks and discovers the survivors trapped on the other side. She rejoins the party and they decide to continue in to find an alternate route to the two trapped miners.

    **I would like to remind everyone running this module to carefully read the sidebars in this section before running. I made a couple mistakes when they first entered which I won't recount here, but I corrected myself and got back on track before too long. The important thing to remember is that the party should be able to just walk right into the mines without difficulty until they reach the collapsed bridge and then meet the hidden solifugids at the bottom of the cavern. Once your party makes it to area 17 and rescues the two miners, the traps reset in all of the previous rooms. Now, as they make their way out with the miners in tow, they begin setting off the reset traps and running into the gearghosts.**

    The PCs fight off the solifugids and then discover the grate beneath the bridge and open it to find the body inside. Once they detect magic on the corpse, they run in to grab the belt of mighty constitution.

    The timeline for my PCs is a bit off from what is suggested in the book, so my two survivors were trapped in the mine for much longer than normal. I reasoned that they had a pack of rations from somewhere that helped sustain them for a bit, but they were weak and almost comatose when discovered. The party uses the sustaining spoon and the bandages from the help kit discovered in the office to get the dwarf, Voldan, back up on his feet. They make a stretcher to pull the human along as he is too weak to ambulate independently at this time.

    The party begins making their way back through the mine, when they set off the acid jets trap. The party gets blasted and the human miner gets melted in the blast. The PCs are then attacked by the gearghost who begins using create pit to cause trouble in the narrow hallway. The party survives the encounter with Kyra helping blast the quarrygeist with her channels.

    We ended the session here and will continue with the journey out of the mines next week.

    Maps for this session included Hill Country flip mat, Mines Map Pack, Darklands flip mat (for the bridge) and part of the Caverns flip mat.

    As a side note, I will say that I thought about including a haunt or two in this section of the adventure. I did not do so mainly because my players just finished the Skinsaw Murders and any sort of haunts will pale in comparison to the horrors of Foxglove Manor.

    I read one of the reviews complaining that this section should have featured proper haunts rather than the gearghost variants. After running this section, I have to say that I completely disagree with this. The quarrygeists have a unique synergy with the environment of the mine making them quite difficult to deal with in this setting.

    Aside from resetting the traps, the quarrygeist has two major abilities that help them here: telekinesis which allows a variety of combat maneuvers and create pit which when used in the narrow halls of the mine can make things very uncomfortable for the PCs very quickly.

    I should have put more of that behind spoilers to keep this condensed. I'll do that going forward. Update on last week coming soon.

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    I've made a couple mistakes while running this. Normally, I 'd read through the GM thread for whatever I'm running, but I don't have that luxury with Assault on Longshadow, therefor I'm putting down whatever info I can to help those that come behind me.

    I mentioned above that when running the Radya's Hollow Mine, that your players should be able to make it to I5: Caustic Gap and the collapsed bridge without an encounter, but they should actually make it all the way to the survivors in section I7 without trouble. It's only when they start making their way out that they begin encountering the traps reset by the quarrygeists as well as the corresponding creatures.

    Now with that out of the way. Here's what happened this week.

    Section I: Radya's Hollow Mine: Caustic Gap:

    When we left off, my players had just been dowsed with the acid spray resulting in a horrible NPC failed save causing Meslin Mordecai to die. The damage was so extensive that the only thing left was a golden wedding band hidden in his pocket. The engraving read "To my darling Meslin. Yours eternally, Eben."

    The druid gnome wants to find his husband and return Meslin's ring to him, so that little bit of business worked out nicely. Since I ran the encounter with the albino cave solifugids early, I decided to add two more of the same back to the bridge encounter. The PCs reach the gap once more to find the bridge restored by the quarrygeists.

    They make the perception check to spot the weakness in the bridge, so the gunslinger spends a few rounds repairing/reinforcing the bridge with disable device so the party can cross. I wait for the team to be evenly divided on both sides of the bridge before I have the two new solifugids attack.

    Section I3: Collapsing Passageway:
    The players make the PER check to spot the Falling Rocks Trap so the gunslinger sets about disarming it. I decide this is the best time to roll initiative, so the two quarrygeists from section I2 come around the corner and attack. The gunslinger keeps disarming the trap for the next 6 rounds until it is complete, while the rest of the party focuses on the quarrygeists.

    They finish the combat and disarm the trap at the same time. The PCs carry the survivors out of the mine and reunite with their hirelings outside the mine entrance.

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    Leaving the mines, the PCs have discovered the campaign log from the assayers office, recovered one of the trapped miners and found the map to the ridgeline camp. The players decide to rest for the night and then make their way back to Fort Trevalay.

    The party heads off through the hills back to the Fangwood. They hit a random encounter along the way, so I decide to run the griffon encounter.

    Section F: Griffon Kill:

    I tell the players that they spot several large winged half-lions circling in the sky overhead. They want to make a PER check, so I tell them they notice a plume of smoke to the South. This is to set up the destruction of Redburrow for a later encounter.

    The druid is successful with wild empathy and combined with high DIP rolls from the bard, they are able to make friends with the griffons. The party finds the hobgoblin body and all of the sweet loot he carries.

    This is a pretty nice loot drop, so they're all excited to find this as well as to make friends with the griffons. They feed the griffons and manage to entice two of them to come along with them.

    The PCs assign their underlings to guide the griffons back to Fort Trevalay where they will begin the six week process of training them with Handle Animal via the rules in the Bestiary. This particular batch of underlings has been hired by the party to help manage their supplies and tend to the animals.

    For some reason, my players feel guilty about dragging NPCs and commoners along with them, so they prefer to hire them instead.

    The party continues their journey into the Fangwood.

    I used the bridge side of the Battlefield flip mat dotted with a couple wagon map tiles from the Caravan Map Pack for this encounter.

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    The party makes it back to Fort Trevalay and reunites with the rest of their militia, the "Fangwood Liberators". They spend some time running through their militia phases, upkeep and paying for upgrades. Since the players just ranked up their militia, I decided to go ahead and give them the rewards for so doing.

    Militia PC Boons (see Lands of Conflict p.51):

    The PCs are rewarded with their rank 4 boon of official titles as "directors" of the Fangwood Liberators along with being allowed to choose from the corresponding bonus feats. The 8th rank boon consists of a magic wand or piece of armor worth 1200gp. The bard was given a wand of fireballs CL 6th with 5 charges, while the druid received a wand of bull's strength CL 5th with 8 charges.

    The barbarian and gunslinger were gifted with mwk bucklers. The armor may be a bit lower than the boon calls for, but it was the only thing that either one would benefit from given their current armor configurations.

    Militia Activity Phase (see Lands of Conflict p.54-57):

    The Liberators decide to send a team of propagandists to "spread propaganda" in the town of Longshadow. This was a good choice on their part as this will put a team from their militia inside Longshadow. They are going to head over to the Ridgeline Camp next and very well may have to press on to Longshadow directly from the camp, but they don't know this yet.

    During the Event Phase, the militia rolled Calm Before the Storm twice, so this will have interesting repercussions next week. I used this time to work in a couple side plots of my own device.

    Bronze Dragon subplot & Bulette Armor:

    The wood giant Herge informs the bard of a bronze dragon named "Svannost the Just" living in the Mindspin Mountains to the West. Herge recounts the tale of the dragon repelling a group of orc invaders at one point and suggests that the Liberators seek his aid in the coming battle. As a side note, it is worth mentioning that I just scored the sweet Bronze Dragon Pathfinder Battles miniature and I want to get it into play somehow. A dragon subplot was the best I could come up with.

    Duggin, the dwarven miner from C. Forest Party, offers to share the secrets of crafting bulette plate armor with the party (see Dungeon Denizens Revisited p.7). They earned his good favor by previously rescuing him from the Maenad and then burying Margrath after he had been killed in the conflict. Duggin agrees to begin the crafting process for the party.

    I made the very rare decision to only charge the party for the mwk artisan's tools needed to perform this service. They had the bulette hide from the slain creatures and the dwarf had the necessary crafting knowledge to perform the service, so why not go with it?

    Since he has nothing but time on his hands while waiting in Fort Trevalay, Duggin is more than happy to craft armor to help in the reclamation of his home in the Hollow Hills. Using the half price of $7500 for crated bulette plate armor, this means it will take roughly eight days of work to create the first set of bulette armor.

    With their militia business taken care of, the party assembles an assault team to investigate the Ridgeline Camp in the Hollow Hills.

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    The Fangwood Liberators decide to head to Redburrow to see what remains after the Ironfang attack. The party has been making good time through the forest due to being fairly well optimized for the environment and for having purchased combat trained horses before leaving Kassen's Hold.

    They rolled a random encounter on the way to Redburrow, so this time I go with the ogrespider.

    G. Trapdoor Spider:

    The party's point man, the dwarven barbarian, has pretty good perception and trap sense, so he spots the spider's trapdoor right away. They navigate around the trap with their horses by cutting into the woods.

    The ogrespider peeks out and starts trying to use its web ability on some of the PCs. It misses the gunslinger and the bard before the Terrific Tup sets the top of his trap on fire with burning hands. The ogrespider then hides in it's cubby hole, but they are able to fight it enough to draw it out and kill it.

    The players are excited to find the centaur's remains in the pit. The discovery of the official communications between Ironfang Camps works to give them a strong sense of dread at the thought of the size of the opposing forces.

    I used the Forest Flip Mat Classic for this encounter.

    We left off here and will pick up in Redburrow next time.

    If any of the admins want to put those long posts behind spoilers, I'd be eternally grateful. :)

    The party spent this week's session dealing with the encounter in Redburrow. I'll spare you the details, but I will mention that this is definitely the hardest encounter of the first part of the book. Careless groups could easily wind up with some casualties here.

    The Trench Mist is an unholy beast to deal with. The Melee touch +7 (6d6 acid plus 6d6 negative energy) as well as the engluf SQ were quite deadly. I started to wonder if there was an error in the statblock, but maintained my faith in Paizo and ran it as written.

    Maps used for this encounter included the Hamlet flip mat with a few Road Map Pack cards and one or two cards from the Ruined Village Map Pack for the ambiance.

    I've got a player that will be out for a couple months, so we have to put Assault on Longshadow on hold after this weekend. Hopefully, we'll be at the point where the heroes head to Longshadow by the end of the night.

    But first, the ridgeline camp!

    J. Ridgeline Camp

    The PCs decided to approach the camp at night. With the exception of two or three soldiers, they find the entirety of the camp asleep for the night.

    J1. Perimeter Guards:

    I didn't see a height listed for the two watchtowers, so I decided on 50'. This puts the towers high enough to see over most of, but not all of, the surrounding camp buildings on their respective sides. The adventure states the sharpshooters are asleep at night with their owls on patrol, so this was how I ran it.

    The party's bard used a liberal dose of invisibility on the group to get them inside the perimeter of the camp. With this spell in effect, they pretty much strolled right past the owl companions.

    J2. Central Camp:

    The party used their invisibility to sneak around the camp and search for the prisoners. They were moving with impunity until they reached the command post tent containing Dargg, Gruzak and Nibbitz, the gnome prisoner.

    Gruzak's scent detects the invisible bard and he begins growling and snapping at the intruder. This triggered initiative, so I went ahead and rolled for the entire camp. Dargg awakens and begins yelling for the alarm.

    I rolled a 4 to determine the number of rounds until troop formation. Dargg mounted Gruzak and began tracking the invisible PCs. The bard manages to keep him turning with clever uses of a deck of illusions.

    The battle with the Hobgolblin Troop, the Sharpshooters and Dargg all at once was pretty complicated, as it involved various levels of interaction. My recommendation in running this encounter is to use as detailed of a map as you can to avoid confusion about the landscape.

    Ridgeline Camp Maps:

    Mountain Pass Flip-mat
    [2]Basic Terrain Flip-mat
    Perilous Paths Map Pack
    Army Camp Map Pack
    Tournament Map Pack
    Jungle Map Pack
    Campsite Map Pack

    The Mountain Pass flip-mat provided the base of the valley and one of the watchtowers while the Army Map Pack allows placement for the tents inside the camp. Perilous Paths Map Pack makes for a good cliff side to run along the length of the camp. The extra Basic Terrain Flip-mats allow for drawing in the second watchtower on the far side of the camp and the upper cliff with the prisoner cages.

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    Ridgeline Camp maps photo.

    We've finished Fires of Creation and made it back the the Ridgeline Camp this week!

    This thread might be dead, but does anyone know why Dargg is listed as having Weapon Focus (Heavy Flail) despite using a light flail? I though this was a misprint but his attack bonus is calculated correctly (aka without the weapon focus). This is clearly very easy to remedy, just changing his focus, but I was wondering if anyone knew why this would be, or if it was simply a misprint.

    As I built him, Dargg originally used a heavy flail, but they switched him to a light flail at some point during development (maybe the art came in different than they were expecting?).

    It looks like whoever made that adjustment didn't switch his Weapon Focus over as well--probably just a minor mistake. I'd go ahead and swap his feat like you suggested.

    How exactly is the Skelterhide supposed to help Navah with her insanity? I assume you still can't speak or write when using its ability to recover from insanity, so I'm not sure how much that can help her. Basically, without access to the proper spells, the PCs seem not to have a chance to get Navah's aid at all, unless I am missing something.

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    Primarily, it gives them a way to avoid fighting Navah. By bringing her the cloak and convincing her to put it on, they can negate her insanity long enough for the party to communicate their nonhostile intentions and cast recovery spells on her.

    It also serves as a way to help Navah remain in control of her actions while seeking treatment. Bringing Navah back to town without either curing her madness or bringing her the Skelterhide puts both her and the people of Longshadow at risk, should she have a relapse.

    You are correct that, without access to the proper spells, the players can’t really get Navah’s full aid in the coming battle, but she could help the PCs in later adventures once she completes her 12 weeks of treatment.

    Aside from that, you might want to ask Thursty about it. I wrote Navah and pitched the skelterhide, but didn’t get the chance to write up the item before I handed things off, and I’m assuming he’s the one who fleshed the item out and added the “can’t speak or write” element (if not him, then someone in development).

    What reason do the PCs have to explore the Rayda's Hollow Mine? Just looking for Voldan and hoping for gold? I didn't spot any reason the PCs would assume Voldan is there rather than dead or at the Ridgeline Camp.

    It may be that those are the only reasons and PCs can just skip this section, but that seems like a waste. I ask because my PCs have complained enough about feeling forced to explore the Trog Caves.

    I'm skimming ahead a little as I haven't actually reached book 3, so I may have missed it.

    Looking for Voldan is the primary reason to explore the mine (for some groups, curiosity about this seemingly collapsed/uncollapsed mine might also be enough to bring them in). Originally, the only breadcrumb leading to the Ridgeline camp from Radya's Hollow was going to be the map they find in area I7, so by the time they get the idea to go look elsewhere, they're already halfway into the monkey trap.

    If you're worried the PCs might opt to skip the mine altogether, you could alter the handout on page 11 to say something about Dargg deciding to abandon any survivors of the collapse rather than risk more soldiers/morlocks digging them out. Then, when the PCs see that the mine is strangely free of debris, they might decide to check it for Voldan.

    Alternatively, it's completely fine if they tackle the Ridgeline camp before inspecting the mine. When they don't find Voldan there, Nibbitz or even Mahrzan can suggest the possibility of survivors trapped in the mine and encourage them to go back.

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    Cool, that works!

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    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Must post our recent foray into the Chernasardo...

    I drew it up on the back of a 24" hexmap. The hexes are 4 miles each, allowing 3 or 4 hexes each day. I had the Chernasardo rangers tell them to search the forest for stragglers, then led them out into the Hollow Hills after they encountered the dwarves and the Maenad. Throw in the spider and a few of the unplaced encounters along the way and oila! They are at the ridgeline.

    Regarding the Maenad: OMG! That was the closest I've come to a TPK. I killed 3 (2 dying, 1 CON dead) but the ranger and his AC (a large wolf). I didn't push them into combat immediately, rather, she attempted a charm monster first. They stood there and said "let's negotiate!" That was silly. Then she danced like never before, confusing everybody but the magus. They ended up all damaging each other, and the grenadier dropped himself and the archer, severely injuring the ranger and his AC. The magus rolled under a 7 every time except 1 for his next 10 rolls or so (the dwarves weren't a challenge) until she dropped him, too. The ranger finally attacked her and killed her, lucky that his wolf spent most of the fight licking a tree or baying at the sun.

    It was epic. The magus was the only one that ended up CON dead, btw. The others were on fire, but salvageable. When the Maenad finally dropped the magus, he was at 1 HP, and she hit him for 23.

    I do feel that often the worst threat in PF adventures is when PCs whack at each other.
    I absolutely despise this in a game, and see it as a major flaw in PF.

    It was a while ago and I cant quite recall how that fight went

    It's not a flaw just because you don't like it. It's part of the game and made for some memorable encounters in this adventure.

    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I have some questions...

    1) What is the "S" on the map for Kosseruk's encampment? Is this where the tunnel to the town from the ankheg leads?

    2) What would be an appropriate use for the 20k GP they get from the mayor? I hinted that it's not for them directly, but that seems a bit... odd.

    3) What should I do with all of the turns that get mooted by finishing previous entries? The biggest is the catapults (they killed the Nuckalevee). It just seems odd to say "alright, war has begun..." then wait for several turns before anything else. I was thinking they have smaller ones instead, or not as many, and they only inflict half the damage. Another option was to have a pair of regular hobgoblin troops march on the town.

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    taks wrote:

    I have some questions...

    1) What is the "S" on the map for Kosseruk's encampment? Is this where the tunnel to the town from the ankheg leads?

    2) What would be an appropriate use for the 20k GP they get from the mayor? I hinted that it's not for them directly, but that seems a bit... odd.

    3) What should I do with all of the turns that get mooted by finishing previous entries? The biggest is the catapults (they killed the Nuckalevee). It just seems odd to say "alright, war has begun..." then wait for several turns before anything else. I was thinking they have smaller ones instead, or not as many, and they only inflict half the damage. Another option was to have a pair of regular hobgoblin troops march on the town.

    1) You would be correct. S marks the spot from where the tunnel originates inside the camp.

    2) It is up to the PCs on how to use this money. They could buy stuff for themselves, buy services (physical labor maybe), buy supplies (foodstuff, war stuff, building materials), or keep it or some of it as a retainer for their services. You can reward them for creative use of this money (increasing the town's defense) and penalize them for hording it. As the townsfolk could see the PCs as greedy and less caring and the town"s morale could falter, lowering the town's defense.

    3) The town's defense still gets lowered in these turns without scripted scenes. Just because there isn't something special going on in a turn that doesn't mean that nothing is happening. Hordes of attackers are still pushing at the gates, assaulting the walls, and just being a general nuisance. These turns without special actions by the Legion are turns that the PCs can finish up previous turns' encounters or attempt to do something special themselves. See the Unorthodox Tactics sidebar on page 46. I believe the movie Kingdom of Heaven a classic example of a siege of a city by an army that would be equipped fairly typical of Golarion equivalent time frame.

    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Jakkedin wrote:

    3) The town's defense still gets lowered in these turns without scripted scenes. Just because there isn't something special going on in a turn that doesn't mean that nothing is happening. Hordes of attackers are still pushing at the gates, assaulting the walls, and just being a general nuisance. These turns without special actions by the Legion are turns that the PCs can finish up previous turns' encounters or attempt to do something special themselves. See the Unorthodox Tactics sidebar on page 46. I believe the movie Kingdom of Heaven a classic example of a siege of a city by an army that would be equipped fairly typical of Golarion equivalent time frame.

    Yeah, I'm aware of the continued assault, it just seems like the battle is going to be pretty boring from an RP standpoint. If the war takes more than an hour (real-time), I'll be surprised. They have been primed and understand that each of these things is good to eliminate first, however. What I've done is compress it somewhat, removing a few unnecessary turns, and then inserting a few of the tactics on page 46.

    My son and his friend aren't likely to work these things up, but my buddy will (he's already been coming up with ideas, and gets that the 20k isn't really "party" loot). I think they'll get the balance on a win, some of which they spent on "fixing" Navah (2 scrolls of restoration) and some for fully equipped horses for travel. I'll give them an opportunity to spend some more later (only have L, M, and N left).


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    Sounds like you've already got some good ideas on how to tweak the Assault for your group. Filling in those quiet turns with Unorthodox Tactics is a great idea.

    You might also consider getting creative with descriptions of events that fail. Frex, in Turn 1 they could see the Ironfang Legion deploying smaller siege weapons, perhaps scrapped together from pieces of broken catapults, that bounce harmlessly off Longshadow's walls. The point being to reinforce that their previous victories had real and meaningful consequences.

    Aside from that, it looks like there are only three events that are completely eliminated due to PC sabotage--the others are instead weakened or changed. My suggestion would be to shuffle around the other events to fill in those quiet spots, and then hold back a few turns "in reserve" to pad out the battle if it looks like the PC's need a moment to catch their breath.

    As a side note, the rules for the Assault changed a bit in development, so there may be things I missed on my quick readthrough. Other people may have better advice!

    EDIT: Also maybe consider moving "Rallying the Troops" from Turn 0 to Turn 1. Flavor it as the PCs overseeing the initial phase of the battle, keeping the town defenders from breaking under the initial charge and directing their attacks to where they're needed most.

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    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    The first one that goes away is the catapults, but I'm going to throw in the 4 sharpshooters and have them approach the east gate picking off defenders at will. We are reasonably ranged (and the one non-ranged can fly), so this could be an interesting long-distance battle (200-300') that would likely take several rounds and burn more than a few resources. Even the alchemist can throw things 100s of feet without much of a penalty (far shot, bombchucker, bomber's eye or longshot, it gets sick), so it should be fun.

    I'm also going to play at least one or two turns out over 10-15 minutes... just sitting there, quietly. Make it eery, like you describe in the book. Every once in a while I can throw in a few descriptions of what is going on. They're helpless, really, waiting on major concerns (they are the strongest people in the entire valley by this point, so taking part in the drollery of the war would be a waste).

    I wonder, too, if I should have them do some %ile roles on "off" turns, for a stray arrow or something. That'll force them to do something even if it isn't life threatening, e.g., a single d8.

    Sovereign Court

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    In the picture on page 23, it's only now that I noticed (after reading the adventure a few times) what I assume is a doppelganger in the guise of the Swashbuckler, seemingly up to no good. It's a nice touch!

    Just mentioning it in case others hadn't noticed it either. ;)

    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    There were other things in that picture?

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    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    We finished the war last week and Kosseruk's camp yesterday. It was pretty cool. I nearly killed them with the area Q4 disciple and area Q3 phalanx troops. I played the phalanx as turning towards the party as they exited the warbeast pens, and the disciple troop closed from the other side. I nearly killed them.

    Right as they finished the two troops off, Kosseruk and her guardians stepped out, gave her speech, and she began reading her scroll. This was arguably the tactic that cost her the battle (in under 2 rounds). I would rework it because she pretty much announced her intentions to a group that had just started all of their 1 min/level buffs and still had a few 1 rd/level buffs running. Her scroll of fireball was pointless. In hindsight, I'd bump it up to 10d6, or have her drop down (featherfall ring?) into battle with the priests following, maybe even reading her scroll of haste first then running down the stairs before saying anything. In general, she's in a really bad spot tactically for a group that comes up through the tunnel.

    In all, it was a lot of fun, however. I really liked this book, and Siege of Stone is up next though we may not play this coming Sunday.

    I have a question about the troop tactics. Do they get to do their auto-damage AND the standard action 4 line volley?

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    Moonbeam wrote:

    In the picture on page 23, it's only now that I noticed (after reading the adventure a few times) what I assume is a doppelganger in the guise of the Swashbuckler, seemingly up to no good. It's a nice touch!

    Just mentioning it in case others hadn't noticed it either. ;)

    That's cool. I never noticed it was the swashbuckler before. I never looked close because it was so close to the center of the book I use to run the adventure. When I ran the doppelganger encounters, I used extra pawns of two of the players' PCs to act this out. It wound up being a really fun encounter.

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    The PCs finished Navah's tower last night. I changed the motivations for Navah's argument with her mother to be a conflict about how to deal with the encroaching blight spreading through the Fangwood forest. I thought this would be a good opportunity to foreshadow the need to deal with the events of Prisoners of the Blight.

    Navah's tower was a very fun side mission to the main subplot. I really like how the tower encounters are balanced between combats that can or should be avoided versus a couple rather deadly encounters with primal or mindless beasts that can't be avoided. It made for a great mini-adventure against the greater backdrop of the encroaching war.

    very good switch on the Navah idea. My party just reached Kusana in POTB last week, and they are somewhat allied now

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    This week, I decided to combine encounter "N" with the long anticipated ambush from Qa'al, the hobgoblin gunslinger. I replaced the Hobgoblin forerunners with Qa'al and his crew. This changed the encounter with the wyvern scouts to a seek and destroy mission from wyvern mounted assassins.

    Gaugach and Scarvinious were killed but Qa'al managed to almost kill the party's gunslinger before escaping on his Wyvern.

    I plan on having him return in Kosseruk's camp.

    I have 5 PCs. Fortifying Longshadow allows each PC to take 3 actions in a day, but is presumably balanced around having 4 PCs, for a total of 12 actions in a day. Instead of giving my party 15 and trying to readjust, I'm thinking I will give them each 2 actions per day, for a total of 10... and then allow their militia to take an additional 2 actions, bringing the total back up to 12.

    While I am enjoying the militia system, as has been pointed out there aren't really a lot of plot relevant uses for the various actions as written. So I'm going to take some liberties with the actions. "Reduce Danger" can seems like it could be used for making some hit and run skirmish strikes on the legion to boost up the Defense Points, for example, and there's obviously some overlap with Drill Militia and drilling the townsfolk.

    The main thing will be figuring out balancing the 4 or so actions the militia is supposed to get in a week with the 2 a day model I described above. Perhaps just giving the militia its normal number of actions per week will work. After all, as written I think the assumption is the party probably spends a significant chunk of time away from Longshadow sabotaging the Legion and rescuing Navah and such. 8 militia actions over the 12 days probably leaves the party pretty close to where they would have been anyway.

    Book 3 was a blast! It rolls along really well in an open sandbox feel throughout the first 2/3s of the book. With my group, they were back and forth from Longshadow to the Fangwood forest during book 2 and 3. The need to resupply, purchase items, and cure conditions meant that they got involved with the diplomatic efforts involving the town defense long before they were supposed to.

    After a long discussion with the players, we decided to switch out the siege with something that didn't involve the wonky way that the book wanted us to run it. I gave my players three options of handling combats while I also made several pages of city events which would correspond with the timing of the siege.

    Option 1: Full Immersion- Players would operate all ally forces during each combat throughout the siege. This would take much longer than the other choices but would allow the players to feel as if nothing was left to chance in their defense of the city.

    Option 2: Party Only- Players would only control combats where they assigned their characters. Multiple battles may be raging, but all conflict offscreen would be handled based on CR differences to enemy forces they faced. Players would still assign forces based on intel and their judgement but combats at the table would be limited to those their PCs were at.

    Option 3: Cinematic- Players would respond to threats and assign forces where needed. Tactical decisions would quickly be made. Combats results would depend on CR differences with enemy. Combats involving PCs would consume a portion of their resources based on this CR difference when assigning their characters to a conflict. Only epic, crucial combats involving the PCs would be played out at the table.

    The players were swinging between option 2 and 3. Nobody wanted to be bogged down with 8 sessions of combats (which is about what option 1 would amount to). I'd prepared for each scenario (10 battle maps, ally troops, enemy troops and monster groups) but was mostly relieved when they locked in option 3. The great thing is that the party still made important tactical decisions when allocating defenders to each conflict throughout the nights.

    By the end of the second night when enemy reinforcements starting pouring through the gate outside of Longshadow the faces I got from around the table.... Wow. Silence and solemn despair. That day they made an assault on both the enemy catapults and gate. One PC died and another nearly fell. At the end though, mission accomplished!

    The remaining hobgoblins pushed against the city from all sides but intelligence gathered from the command tent gave the city defenders the edge they needed to repel the final advance. By the next morning, the city looked out upon a field of dead enemies. The PCs truly deserved to be called heroes that day as they'd saved Longshadow from total defeat.

    I think I ran the siege as suggested and even playing via online it only took 2 sessions.….the PCs had done all the commando missions before so severely depleting the enemy.

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