Siege of Stone (GM Reference)


Ironfang Invasion

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RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Here's a couple stupid questions:

1. What is Kraggodan's first name?

2. What is the "enthroned king's" name?


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Grumpus wrote:

Here's a couple stupid questions:

1. What is Kraggodan's first name?

2. What is the "enthroned king's" name?

1. Kraggo is the family name, Dan is his own name.

2. Kraggodan's brother, Kraggodave.


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My party used the Gather Information action during their militia turn to scout the Valley of Aloi. Many old miners and prospectors in the Hollow Hills will repeat legends about the riches tucked away in hidden Aloi, though few know it's location and fewer still have laid eyes upon it. Their conspirator team hiked out from Longshadow and managed to discover the high pass into the valley along the old dwarven highway. From saddleback pass, they spotted some large aerial predators (drakes or rocs, they couldn't tell at a distance), and weren't equipped to fend them off. They did note for the PCs that there was a thick bank of fog shrouding the valley for all but a couple hours before dusk.

Soon the PCs will venture to the valley themselves. Hopefully the breadcrumbs from Kosseruk's encampment and the morlock warrens will be enough to take them through the Long Road to Kraggodan.


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Anyone have any ideas on what happened to the 4th escaped trox slave?
Kharazhar is still alive, and the remains of 2 more are in the Khardajeen's rest, but it says one survived and that's the last mention of a trox.
Did you just adjust the number down to 3, add another body somewhere, or leave it as an unexplained loose end?


Trudging through the Valley of Aloi. The rocket tag portion of the adventure begins in earnest. Initiative rolls are really telling now, the rocs rolled low and got dumpstered in 2 rounds, but the rift drakes rolled high and put a PC down in the first round. Left on a mid-combat cliffhanger with only one of the drakes having taken any damage. Flyby attack, power attack, bleed, and the breath weapon are brutal, and blow through 11th level HP pools.

The PCs handled the ogres at the abandoned encampment. After sorting through the treasure left behind, I had Origa and her hunters arrive on scene to confront the PCs. The oni recognized the mark of the kami on our pyrokineticist, and reveals the 15,000gp bounty on the PCs' heads. After a couple rounds of combat, Origa uses her fly and invisibility to escape with a handful of HPs, resolving to go find and throw in her lot with the hobgoblin bounty hunters: Qa'al and Gaugagh. The party knows they are also in the valley somewhere after scrying them.

The plan is to have Qa'al, Gaugagh, and Origa ambush the party just as they defeat the cephalophores at the Water Hall ruins. That scene with the dwarven ruins and the aqueduct in the shadow of the mountain is too damn dramatic and atmospheric not to have a higher stakes mini-boss fight there. A nice set piece battle for the PCs to say goodbye to the surface world and sky for a good bit of time.


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Another question about the escaped trox. Am I missing something obvious or are the contents of the 2nd lockbox never specified?
The first lockbox barely contains enough coin to cover the payment of 2 returned slaves, and it says 4 escaped, and as Rovalda can't possibly know that Kharazhar is the only still living escaped slave, she certainly isn't making deals in good faith.
I would be interested in how others who have gone through this handled the 2nd lockbox. At the moment I'm just going with some honeytongue elixirs plus gems etc., that should be useful in part 3.


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Question on the Tale Telling Tribunal.
Did you let the players know what DCs and which preferred skills to use for each section, and allow take 10 on the checks?
Wondering if giving too much information and/or allowing take 10 for everything spoiled the tension.


The party entered the morlock warrens. They are making their way through the first level. Sadly no one has failed a poison save yet, and so far the creepers are a bit underwhelming. It was funny to have a few of the advanced morlock mooks use their leap attacks on hovering party members just outside the cave entrance. Unfortunately, none made their grapple checks and immediately fell to their deaths, but it was entertaining and perhaps a bit unsettling for the players.


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erucsbo wrote:

Question on the Tale Telling Tribunal.

Did you let the players know what DCs and which preferred skills to use for each section, and allow take 10 on the checks?
Wondering if giving too much information and/or allowing take 10 for everything spoiled the tension.

I definitely wouldn't have allowed Take 10, but to be honest it has been a long time since it was even an option for me what with going to PF2. I guess by RAW the case for not allowing it is that the audience counts as a distraction.

I'd definitely share the skills the player can use, but the DCs are a grey area. Depends on how I inclined you are to increase challenges to match PCs. PF1 skill DCs are a joke to optimized characters.


Okay, so reading through Book 4, I found something curious.

Book 4, Part 1, G17 wrote:
In addition to these treasures, Zanathura’s notes detail an obsidian troglodyte sword she recovered in the Darklands and awarded to Chief Grax when she made the hulking mutant her champion. The same notes also detail the ritual she used to enlarge the weapon to suit the hulking woman’s frame, and with these same notes the PCs can reverse the ritual, transforming the Large-size nine-ring broadsword into a Medium-sized one suitable for their own use—if they can recover it from Chief Grax, of course. The reversing ritual takes 2 hours to perform, requires either a potion of enlarge person or a potion of reduce person as a material component, and only works on obsidian weapons.

Now to me, this looks a lot like a way to bypass the typical restrictions on resizing weapons. My party has an eidolon that shifts size often, and is the party's main weapon user. With access to this esoteric ritual, I'm tempted to allow my party to resize more stuff. I think after making an appropriate arcana or spellcraft check. Gating the ritual behind a crafting feat might make sense too.

Of course one interpretation of the text implies that this will only re-shrink Grax's sword to its original medium size, and shouldn't be used to resize gear at will or at all.

Edit: just read the part about obsidian only. Duh. Still, seems like something an accomplished caster/crafter may be able to adapt to their own purposes.


Continuing the campaign, the Gobstoppers teleport back to Longshadow for some much needed R&R. They pick up a few scrolls and wands, and Navah delivers a handsom gift to the party's summoner. The Breastplate of Command (reskinned as studded leather) embossed with the twin likenesses of Hillmer's owl and bear heads on the pectorals.

After this they teleport back to the silent and empty morlock warrens. They take the passageway to the Long Walk, and after a couple hours on the road, they are ambushed by the slaver party. Flendak Derth opens combat with a surprise round (the duergar are hiding behind a large chunk of rubble) by casting a shadow conjured spiked pit. However the DC is pitfully low and the eidolon and lynx companion easily pass the saves and engage the duergar warriors.

The party easily handles the rest of the encounter, and after some fun negotiations, Kisegar joins the party as a guide. With a successful diplomacy check, they convince her to take a handful of magic items looted from her erstwhile captors as part of her eventual full payment. She jacks up the price due to the presence of a dwarf in the party, but eventually relents and they settle the deal at 7500gp, upfront payment in the form of protective magic items, and a cash sum upon completion of services.

Kisegar has been a real treat to play as GM, and having a dwarf in the party to berate is such a sick pleasure. She even successfully cajoled him into approaching the twilight mushroom hazard with her, and I was able to deploy her "pitiful weakness" dialogue. If the party is sufficiently heroic and impressive over the course of their journey together, Kisegar may even have a change of heart and start to see surface dwellers in a new light.


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getting to the point now in our game that the main melee combatants are rarely hit (AC 32+) except by the named enemies and are making most of their saves as well. The babau demons with +12 to hit are only going to hit on a 20, and even the gugs (+17) will only rarely hit. With flanking it improves things slightly, but once the rogue inflicts (double) debilitation on them it becomes pretty one-sided in trading blows.
I expect book 5 might change things up a bit, but for now it is going to be a bit of a grind for the opposition.


Erucsbo, seems we’ll be chasing each other through the end of this book!
My party is the same; all 32+ AC right now. I have to put the enemies on advanced template, for an additional 2 CR a lot, and 85-95% max rolled health. I’ve had to really dig into the feats to use them; Awesome blow to try and kick the PCs back/prone, an improved bull rush, using grapple and pins, dimension doored the babaus around to at least be problematic, but it was all delaying tactics for the inevitable. :D


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One thing that has always annoyed me with dungeon traps is areas like J7.
Unless designed as per Monty Python's Architect Sketch there should be definite evidence of previous victims, which sort of defeats the logic of hidden traps if there is no clean-up crew or other mechanism to remove the consequences of previous activations.
Anyone else deal with this (specifically J7)?


erucsbo wrote:

One thing that has always annoyed me with dungeon traps is areas like J7.

Unless designed as per Monty Python's Architect Sketch there should be definite evidence of previous victims, which sort of defeats the logic of hidden traps if there is no clean-up crew or other mechanism to remove the consequences of previous activations.
Anyone else deal with this (specifically J7)?

Back in Fangs of War the Hundred Arrows Trap (K9) in Fort Nunder bothered me, because it had no mechanism to reload the 100 arrows. However, just down the hallway was the Bow Guardian (K11) a wood golem that generated its own wooden arrows from its body. I had the bow guardian walk over to the Hundred Arrows Trap and start to reload it. The bow guardian could also have cleaned up any bodies, dumping them by the entrance.

My players have not reached Siege of Stone yet. Glancing at the the Painted Blade Trap, it does not look like it would have an automatic cleanup mechanism. Instead, the caretakers of the reliquary would have taken the bodies way themselves.

Without caretakers maybe vermin such as rats have been eating the bodies, scattering the bones about the hallway so that the location of the trap is obscured. Vermin could be too small to trigger the trap.


With J7, as I had to put it in, Ishy has a ring with comprehend languages, which to me, allowed him to read dwarven, and disable the trap. Any hobgoblins that may have gone this way must have been eaten by other gugs.

That's my explanation.

What I TRULY got annoyed from....where did Azaersi and Co. enter? I've chosen to have them come up the hole beneath the roper. But I feel I've scoured this AP and I cannot find the exact place that they came into this place. Is it there and I missed it? I didn't think so.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Erpa wrote:


What I TRULY got annoyed from....where did Azaersi and Co. enter? I've chosen to have them come up the hole beneath the roper. But I feel I've scoured this AP and I cannot find the exact place that they came into this place. Is it there and I missed it? I didn't think so.

I think they just entered through the main doors. There was almost no security at that time in the lower levels.

On page 35 it says: "...allowed Azaersi’s squad access to the nearby entrance to the Reliquary of Ascension without alerting responders"


Lol thank you there it is!


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yeah - didn't have as much issue with Azaersi's squad, though having the Mothuni spies (that Eustatius was part of) teleport in seems wrong. And how the heck did the Endless Maw get to J10? Folgrit’s Ossuary (J11) is sanctified, and explicitly says it bars the abyssal gugs from entering, so I would expect the same to apply to a fiendish worm (as I expect it would have had to have come up through J15).
Haven't seen anything about the doors to J8, J11, J13, and J19.
I had the party require the use of the sigil of Kraggodan to "unlock" the doors, though again this does not explain how the worm got through from J15 to J10, nor Azaersi's group getting into J8 and J19.

I've apologized multiple times to my group for the inconsistencies that this book throws into the mix - a couple of steps down from books 1-2 imho.


My party has arrived at the Five-Eyed Matron. Any tips on running Rovalda? I've never run a psychic before. Just been reading and re-reading about how these phrenic amplifications all work. My plan is to separate the healer with an ectoplasmic wall. He's usually flying, so I'll put the wall as a sort of "trough" underneath him, then attempt a targeted dispel on the fly spell, with a dispelling pulse via telekinesis.

The duergar guards will enact their enlarge person ability to form a bulwark of protection and go toe to toe with the enlarged eidolon, while the chapel beetle will attempt to trample several PCs if the opportunity arises. The eidolon usually makes quick work of the front-liners, so I'll have limited rounds for Rovalda to put out her spells.


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Billy Buckman wrote:

My party has arrived at the Five-Eyed Matron. Any tips on running Rovalda? I've never run a psychic before. ...

I hadn't either.

The notes say she uses mirror image, then confusion and telekinesis, plus wall of ectoplasm.
I had her go invisible and use wall of ectoplasm as a hemisphere to limit maneuverability and line of sight (for those who could see invisible). Mirror Image was only going to be done after she was invisible so if she appeared after trying an offensive spell, she wouldn't appear as a single target. Unfortunately for her the wizard had permanent See Invisible and dropped her with an Area of Effect spell (so Mirror Image wouldn't have helped).
Confusion on the fighters might be a good option, but if they make their will save then it eats up a round for her. Remember that she will probably see the party approaching so can cast fly, true seeing, heroism, and shield before even getting to negotiations. She can also have detect thoughts going while talking.


Yep, I have her minutes-per-level and longer buffs and spells already running. We did a cliffhanger after some intense negotiations. They refuse her bounty to bring back the trox slaves out of hand (they HATE slavers). Kisegar tries to play diplomat, but once Rovalda sees the dwarf in the party, all negotiations are off. She hovers up from her beetle's saddle and imperiously calls down that she will not suffer upworld weaklings to walk the sacred stones of the Long Walk while she draws breath.


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btw - the effect of Wall of Ectoplasm shrinking when taking damage is cool especially as a hemisphere. Trapping someone inside and having it shrink around them (as either they do damage trying to break out or others outside try to bring it down) makes for a memorable vignette, particularly if you can play up the menacing aura.


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the haunt in J16 has "Weakness surmountable (see below)" but there is nothing below and I can't find anything about what surmountable is supposed to mean wrt haunts.
Anyone have a clue what is going on here?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Perhaps it means this: A PC successfully evading the spectral tentacles is unaffected in later rounds.

So that if you escape/avoid once, you won't get hit by this part of the haunt again.

when my player's encountered it, they made their Perception check to know a haunt was coming, then cast a Heal spell, which neutralized it. And it never had a chance to manifest again with the 1-day reset.


Yeah, if they don't get grappled, they have the ability to run away out of range.


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Erpa wrote:
Yeah, if they don't get grappled, they have the ability to run away out of range.

That's a long way to run! Basically occupies the entire room (since it all falls within the 75' radius) and it is considered difficult terrain, so unless they are near the edge or have dimension door / teleport / etc. they might not make it to safe ground. Plus I'm enforcing vision limitations and as my group is all using darkvision their ability to see where to run too could be limited (except for the rogue who has See in Darkness).


About to run the Even-Handed Synod. Very stoked on the aesthetic of Kraggodan, and I have a good idea for the character of the dwarves.

Has anyone done anything with the especially tantalizing hook of the actual king and heir being down in the final vault. Have anyone's parties asked to go down and meet with King Borom or tried to release Darund from his crystalline prison? The way it's described in the book, it's hard to imagine a party not wanting to investigate this strange mystery, it almost comes across as the main plot.


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Nothing came of it from my group, though they haven't shown much interest in all the side-quest possibilities, background info, or extra role-playing.


Is Origa just boned if the PCs encounter her during the day? She seems to rely pretty heavily on ranged attacks, but the fog prevents her from seeing more than 5 feet away, and even firing blindly she has a 50/50 shot to even hit. The PCs are also hindered by the fog so they're likely to wait until the 2 hours of dusk when the fog lifts (or nighttime), but there's a decent chance they could just blunder into her in the fog. Will probably give her some fogcutting lenses, and I'm sure my archer PC will appreciate not being equally hampered once they kill her.


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norsethunder wrote:
Is Origa just boned if the PCs encounter her during the day? ...

She has a masterwork greatsword but she is also smart enough (Int 14 Wis 18) to play to her strengths.

Her perception is pretty good (+15) and the wolves have scent so may detect the party before they detect her in the fog.

Unless the PCs all have darkvision, she would definitely wait until night unless she thinks she could split the party up and take them out in smaller chunks. She can also cast darkness on herself (which she can see through fine, and as she can do it at will and lasts 9 minutes she could do it on a few stones/coins if she has time before being found and cause all sorts of problems if before sunset but the fog has lifted).

Flying up above the fog to see if anyone chases her (assuming the whole party can't fly) is also on the cards (particularly if she could charm one and send it back). Unfortunately deep slumber is pretty useless at this stage (swapping it for Hold Person might be interesting - especially against someone flying).

If it does come to battle with the ogres in the fog I suspect she would let them engage and alternatively use invisibility and move close, then attack and disappear back into the fog (step away then fly up).


Area 1D (Ruined Excavation) seems really boring to me. 1500 gp is a pretty paltry amount at this point and no one in my party has ranks in craft/profession skills to even try for the double-or-nothing refinement process. Several of my party members and I played in a Strange Aeons campaign a few years ago and enjoyed commiserating over Paizo's love of hard-to-solve haunts, so I felt inspired to add a haunt here, albeit a bit more obvious. Based off this third party haunt from D20PFSRD.

Pit of Despair:

Name: Pit of Despair (CR 12)
NE persistent haunt (an open pit, 15 feet square descending into darkness, a ledge visible 5 feet below the lip)
Caster Level: 10
Notice: Perception DC 24 (to hear quiet ringing of picks on the stone)
HP: 54
Trigger: proximity (peering over the edge of the pit)
Reset:one hour
Effect:Looking into the pit causes the viewer to contemplate the hours of grueling work it must have taken to dig this mine shaft. They become exhausted (no save, as per waves of exhaustion). One round later, the viewer suffers 4d6 damage as if they had been stabbed in the back. This counts as precision damage.

The PCs can find a journal from one of the dwarven miners describing their initial hopefulness at striking it rich in this untapped valley and their growing despair as, night by night, their colleagues are picked off by morlocks. The final entry details this lone survivor's plan to flee into the dwarven ruins for safety, unknowingly taking them straight into the morlock's clutches. I'm going to put a gem of brightness on the ledge inside the pit as the cheese for the trap, partially because it's a big shiny gem and partially because only one of my party members has darkvision and it will probably be useful underground.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

I had the Rift Drakes attack the party at that location.
And when they camped there, I had a Genghryl (from the back of book-3) attack as well. But yes on it's own its pretty boring.


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agreed.
I ran as is and ended up having NPC crafter wizard in Longshadow work with miners from Longshadow to look at re-establish mining operations in the Valley once the PCs had cleared out the major menaces. Was background but gave them a link to the wider world, the widening sphere of influence, and a cut of future profits (with an eye to the beginning of Book 6).
I like the journal idea, and adding the haunt gives some exposure to that mechanic before the end of the book.


I also had the rift drake encounter at the ruined excavation. The open territory gave the drakes plenty of room to maneuver for their breath weapons and flyby attacks, and were actually pretty vicious foe for my party.

I believe I actually combined the ogre encounters. The PCs arrive at Kosseruk's abandoned encampment and engage the 6 brutes. Several round into combat, Origa and the two hunters arrive on scene and join the fray. Origa pops off some of her abilities, but I had her flee when it became clear the ogres were done for. The PCs nearly killed her as well, but I had her fly off and join up with hobgoblin bounty hunters from the back of Book 2, which I developed into a subplot throughout Book 3 and the beginning of Book 4.

Their final confrontation with Gaugagh, Qa'al, and Origa goes down in the atmospheric water hall in the dwarven ruins where the PCs face the cephalophores.

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