PFS 8-08, 8-10, 8-12: The Tyranny of Wind trilogy that isn't really a trilogy. How to fix?


GM Discussion


I'm scheduled to run this trilogy over 1 long day. I'm excited, but there is a problem: they were written by different authors and show it; they feel like unrelated modules that don't even follow their own plot.

As mentioned in a review, there is a job given to the Pathfinders in module 1 that is never resolved in any of the 3 parts. From my impression (maybe wrong), it looks like the authors were completely disconnected and had no idea what was happening in the other parts.

So I have a request or challenge. While I know that we cannot change anything about a module's stat blocks, I have seen leadership post here that immaterial changes -- fluff text, for example -- might be OK to change. It's also possible that there are threads running through the 3 modules to tie them together or foreshadow things which I've missed. So the request is: what are the opportunities to foreshadow, to tie the modules together, to make them feel like they naturally follow one after the other, etc? What common threads have you found between them? Could I have a VC say something, even just a line that makes something make more sense? How can I make the transition from 1 to 2, and from 2 to 3, feel less clumsy and more natural?

Liberty's Edge *****

I'm not sure what you're talking about; the job of I is effectively resolved (in that you have promises of resolution) by the end of II, and fully resolved in III.

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

I think the main point to emphasize is that getting the stolen items back is secondary to finding the culprit. The team is assigned to Jamila, not the items, which only warrant a passing description.

For foreshadowing, the tribe elders are the foreshadowing for the transition to the Plane of Air as well as the Concordance. It requires time for exposition at the end of the scenario, which is the part of the session where time is always at a premium.

The Concordance ***

Pathfinder Card Game, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have Jamila make a callback to Part 1 when they first encounter her in Part 3 as she's unaware of the events of Part 2. If I were ever to be asked why she took the stuff in the first place I'd say something along the lines of the book she took in Part 1 containing references to the book the PC's have to find in Part 2 and that taking the abacus was a red herring.

Liberty's Edge *****

She was teaching her bird how to do arithmetic.

What would have been cool was if there were two alternate versions of Parts II and III. Based on a choice you make in I, you end up either with two adventures on the Plane of Air, or two adventures on the Plane of Earth, both working towards related parts of the same overall goal. That would also have been way too complicated, esp. since people would then play II and III of the path they didn't choose with a different character, or (more likely) have to play II and III with a path inconsistent with their I choice since they aren't playing with the same group. But, still....

Dark Archive ****

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If they had done that they could have changed the scenario name to Tyranny of the Cosmic Captive.

Dark Archive **** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Cincinnati aka Northern Dreamer

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After running 2 parts of this and playing the third, I was able to make a few a connections between the three, but I agree that it was definitely stringy at best. Especially because my players didn't make all of the checks for the information in the first part, and as a result didn't get all of the connections to the concordance as a whole.

However, I think that the biggest thing that connects them is that there were actually 8 of the elemental lords, and not just 4. Though, this is only scene in the first if you investigate the statues, and then only if you connect it back later...

*

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If Team Brain-Trust

Spoiler:
Consisting of three characters that did almost a complete mental dump-stat and two that had knowledge skills and couldn't hit the numbers very well
can make the connections with minimal Knowledge checks and mental capabilities, I'm reasonably confident that average Pathfinder teams can make the connection.

I could be mistaken, of course.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

you should run Murder on the Silken Caravan beforehand, as it's the precursor to the trilogy.

Liberty's Edge *****

Just don't run Murder on the Silken Caravan at low subtier, especially if you have a bunch of level 1s. There's a seriously murderous encounter in the middle of it.


Northern Dreamer wrote:
I think that the biggest thing that connects them is that there were actually 8 of the elemental lords, and not just 4. Though, this is only scene in the first if you investigate the statues, and then only if you connect it back later...
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I'm reasonably confident that average Pathfinder teams can make the connection.

I was in a group of 5 with lots of skills and we didn't make the connection. In fact, we learned nothing of the statues, in part because our GM hinted that it would upset the person working in that location.

As a GM, I've read the modules and still didn't make the connection -- I skimmed that section because it just looked like a puzzle of sorts, not a foreshadowing. I'm very happy to learn of this, so that I can go back and re-read it and have a thread tying the modules together. I don't have the modules in front of me right now, but I am going to hope that I can make it easier for players to want to explore that. I'll be bummed if the module mandates scaring them away from the statues, as my GM did.

Regarding the 2 stolen items that the players are maybe supposed to recover in module 1 (I say "maybe" because you aren't even told about the items unless you take it upon yourself to ask for more details), I've decided to say, "we're still looking into what was stolen, so for now just focus on finding the thief" if the players ask about the items. The reason for that is that the items were dropped from modules 2 & 3, and there appears to be another item with a similar name in the 2nd module, so I'd like to avoid confusing/frustrating the players.

One of the issues I'm working on is the flip-flop in module 3, where the enemy in module 2 becomes an ally. When I played through it, there was almost no explanation aside from a sentence or two in the boxed text. It was just "play it like they're allies now." I found that to be annoying and dumb. So my thought is that at the end of module 2, I'll just simply state that there is a lot of negotiating going on. I'll suggest that a different team of Pathfinders is being given an adventure to go out and smooth over the differences. I just want to make starting module 3 not be as jarring as I experienced.

Shadow Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

Selvaxri wrote:
you should run Murder on the Silken Caravan beforehand, as it's the precursor to the trilogy.

Thanks for that detail - we've just added "Murder on the Silken Caravan" to the schedule for our upcoming convention (which already had two runs of the whole Tyranny of Winds trilogy).

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
John Francis wrote:
Selvaxri wrote:
you should run Murder on the Silken Caravan beforehand, as it's the precursor to the trilogy.

Thanks for that detail - we've just added "Murder on the Silken Caravan" to the schedule for our upcoming convention (which already had two runs of the whole Tyranny of Winds trilogy).

Glad to help. when i played in ToW,p1, after the GM read the opening schpeil, i went "is this tied to Murder on the Silken Caravan?" GM shrugged, "dunno, it doesn't say in the mod."

First School of Spirits is a direct sequel to Black Waters, an early season 0 scenario; now Tyrany of Wind and Murder on the Silken Caravan- another early season 0 scenario.

rknop wrote:
Just don't run Murder on the Silken Caravan at low subtier, especially if you have a bunch of level 1s. There's a seriously murderous encounter in the middle of it.

iirc-

Spoiler:
low tier, one harpy is injured and already used her Song ability, while there's still a healthy second. Upper tier, there are three healthy Harpies.

You also have to consider that prior season 4, there weren't adjustment for 4 players. it would be fun to see a full table of 6 going full derp.

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

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Silken Caravan:
The one harpy has a damaged voice in the low tier and cannot use her song. (Harpies have no limit on their captivating voice normally.)

Murder on the Silken Caravan was my first ever PFS scenario, but despite my fond memories I second the cautioning about running it. You'll also need to beware the temporal shift of running Season 0 followed by Season 8. (School of Spirits suffers the same problem.)

As for Tyranny of Winds, I think our group was somewhat helped by the fact that we had recently played Through Maelstrom Rift, which may have primed us to be thinking that way.


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OK! Thanks to Steven & Northern & Wallbanger. I have a better grasp on this now. Here are the things I'm doing to make sure that the modules tie together:

Part 1


  • The Concordance of Elements is mentioned in part 1, but I never heard it during the game I was in. So play up the Concordance mention at the end.
  • Downplay the stolen items in part 1, as they are completely missing from parts 2 & 3, and part 2 has a confusingly similar item.
  • Northern Dreamer notes: "the biggest thing that connects them is that there were actually 8 of the elemental lords, and not just 4." So for area A5, I have created little "Secret Uncovered" cards to hand to any player who investigates the statues, making clear what the GM text suggests: that the 4 statues of elemental lords are all the world of Golarion knows, and the other 4 are a HUGE surprise to the world. ALSO, careful reading reveals that the elementals & Qiarah are not mad or hostile about the PCs looking at the statues. It's only if they snatch a piece of the statue(s). So I should not need to steer PCs away from investigating the statues.

Part 2


  • For C2 (the showdown), make it clear that Fairuza is acting on valid concerns but will listen to their points. Then play up how agast she is to be lumped in as a traitor when Chalissier shows up. When the fight is over, she should be shell-shocked, like her whole "this is how the world works" idea is coming apart. This should make it more plain that the Concordance might be won over as an ally.
  • Suggest that lengthy negotiations between the Concordance & Pathfinder Society are taking place between modules 2 & 3.
  • Get the names of the new (or should I say, rediscovered) elemental lords to the players. There is a knowledge check and/or questions for some of this. At the very least, make sure the players know that Ranginori and "Duke of Thunder" are the same thing (one is his name, one is his title).
  • Play up all mentions of elemental lord Hshura, as she (or her people) becomes the new enemy for part 3.
  • Give Chalissier some personality or memorable quirk/attitude, as he re-appears in part 3.

Part 3


  • Play up the mentions of Jamila (finally tying up that loose end).
  • Make it easy to recognize that Chalissier is back, now in elemental form, and is a servant of Hshura.

I think if I do these things, the modules at least have some cohesion and appear to have threads running through all of them. None of this would be a big deal, except that when I ran through the modules I picked up on none of this. Everything was disjointed. So hopefully this helps.

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

Outshyn's thoughts are similar to how it's looking to me now (just played III, will start running I on wednesday).

Another thing to play up is that Jamila said some warning things to the elementals back in Osirion, and they got confused and thought the PCs were prophets. Try to convey to the players that they're the "prophets that Jamila told them about!"

I'm still not really clear on just how the relationship of Hsurha is to the other residents on the plane of air, especially the djinn. Djinn are typically chaotic good, and Armun Kelisk is a city of 6 million people; that's a serious center of power. They have their own sultan. Hsurha meanwhile is a neutral evil demigod. What is their relationship? Is there any political structure connecting them?

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Outshyn's thoughts are similar to how it's looking to me now (just played III, will start running I on wednesday).

Another thing to play up is that Jamila said some warning things to the elementals back in Osirion, and they got confused and thought the PCs were prophets. Try to convey to the players that they're the "prophets that Jamila told them about!"

I'm still not really clear on just how the relationship of Hsurha is to the other residents on the plane of air, especially the djinn. Djinn are typically chaotic good, and Armun Kelisk is a city of 6 million people; that's a serious center of power. They have their own sultan. Hsurha meanwhile is a neutral evil demigod. What is their relationship? Is there any political structure connecting them?

From the mission briefing questions:

What can we expect from the inhabitants of Armun Kelisk?
“Armun Kelisk is primarily filled with djinn, but it has a sizeable population of sylphs, gnomes, elementals, and mephits. Sultan Zafer XXXVIII rules from the Sussurran Palace, but the ruthless elemental lord Hshurha commands the entirety of the Plane of Air. Known as the Duchess of All Winds, she rarely interferes with the people of Armun Kelisk. Blessedly, Sultan Zafer himself is far more pleasant a ruler, if a bit epicurean. The city is a metropolis bustling with traders and travelers, so you shouldn’t incur any hostility.”

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

outshyn wrote:
Here are the things I'm doing to make sure that the modules tie together:

BTW: these are scenarios, not modules.

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

After reading Planes of Power and the scenarios a bit more, this is my impression of Hshurha:


  • She's individually quite powerful (a demigod), but that's still not as powerful as a true deity. Most importantly, she's not all-knowing even in the plane of air. She has to rely on servants to stay informed about what's going on.

  • She at least claims to be the ruler of the entire plane; she considers attempts to free Ranginori, or even discussion of the means thereof "treason". She certainly makes some claim of jurisdiction over the Concordance, which is situated partially in the plane of air; which is why Fairuza is accused of "treason" by Chalissier.

  • Even so, the Djinn empire is pretty independent, and actually it looks like most of the plane is pretty autonomous. This is probably because she dislikes associating with visible creatures. (And conceivably, in a direct confrontation with the Djinn empire, she could face quite a challenge; that's a lot of wish-granting people who probably have allies and clerics of other deities.)

Altogether it looks like she doesn't exercise a whole lot of direct authority; she's not providing any kind of government. That's what all the Djinn empire and various mephit/elemental kingdoms do. She just has spies and occasionally has people punished that offend her. She's sort of floating above the normal political structure of the plane.

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