8-17 Refugees of Weary Sky GM Thread


GM Discussion

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka Zoomba

So, I don't think a GM Discussion Thread has been started yet for this, so let's get one going!

Reading the scenario, Deep Sky is a very cool location, with a lot of interesting discoveries going on there. However I have a question about one things I expect could come up

The Elemental Gauge:
What happens if the PCs dissipate the elemental energy in the Gauge before meeting Korj? If the PCs enter A11 for the first time with the Gauge already handled, would the ozimat automatically be friendly with them? Would this change if they dissipated the energy but killed Illaton as well?

I would imagine that as Korj primarily wants the Gauge disabled so that his fellow spirits can be freed he would at least not attack the PCs. But if he's already angry with them for destroying the shaitain and the lead golem(s), would they still be able to count as 'parleying' with him for the purposes of the secondary success condition?

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, New York—Albany

We're running this tomorrow and I anticipate a great deal of trouble with the puzzle on page 8, with most groups either being stopped dead until they figure it out (massive time-waster) or just giving up and hoping they can smash the door down or as truly enterprising PCs sometimes do, cut a path through the wall next to the door. Either way, it has the potential to turn into a big time-sink and will have to be managed carefully, especially as it comes at the very beginning of the scenario when it's harder to gauge how much time spent on something like this is too much time.

Even having read the explanation, it took me a long time to figure out how the author was arriving at the numbers. This puzzle should have had a visual to expedite its solution in real time. They went to the trouble to do a handout, but not one that was actually of much use.

Interesting puzzle, however the execution of it in the scenario is lacking, and as GMs, we'll want to make sure too much game time isn't spent getting past it.

4/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 aka dien

Question re the chronicle sheet: the golem manual says it is basically ordinary stone golem manual but can also do the special, specific, one-time use stuff. However, does this prohibit PCs from using the golem manual in the normal manner (i.e., to make a normal golem that doesn't go away)? Does the rule of crafting not normally being allowed in PFS get overwritten by having access to the manual?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

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Janet Kuhlmann wrote:

We're running this tomorrow and I anticipate a great deal of trouble with the puzzle on page 8, with most groups either being stopped dead until they figure it out (massive time-waster) or just giving up and hoping they can smash the door down or as truly enterprising PCs sometimes do, cut a path through the wall next to the door. Either way, it has the potential to turn into a big time-sink and will have to be managed carefully, especially as it comes at the very beginning of the scenario when it's harder to gauge how much time spent on something like this is too much time.

Even having read the explanation, it took me a long time to figure out how the author was arriving at the numbers. This puzzle should have had a visual to expedite its solution in real time. They went to the trouble to do a handout, but not one that was actually of much use.

Interesting puzzle, however the execution of it in the scenario is lacking, and as GMs, we'll want to make sure too much game time isn't spent getting past it.

Hey Janet,

This might be a little too late, but if the players have trouble solving this challenge, the GM could hold up their own fingers or draw hands showing the numbers as a Visual Aid. Alternatively, the GM could allow something like a successful DC 18 Perform (musical instruments, including [keyboard, sing, string, and wind instruments]) or Knowledge (history) skill check to recall the melody of an ancient Jistkan nursery rhyme to be played. If they fail at this, they may possibly open the door by casting a spell with a sonic descriptor.

Grand Lodge 2/5

I'm pretty sure the intent is not to have PC's with a 14HD construct buddy permanently. As a really big one shot, its fine at high tier. At least it will only break one encounter.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka Zoomba

I'm currently running this on PbP, but I also found providing a visual of how the hands looked to be help the group solve the puzzle.

Of course they then trigger a boat by hitting each strip that number of time (the first strip 4 times, etc), but they solved it on the second try.

A question for the encounter in A5: in the 10-11 tier, the DC for Kalvanon's Lightning Bolt is listed as 17. I believe this should be increased to 19, due to the fact she has Elemental Focus and Greater EF and the bolt is being altered to be cold. Is this correct?

Grand Lodge 2/5

Elemental Focus's bonus DC kicks in when the spell's damage type matches so yes the DC would be 19.

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Credit to the artist, but someone made a nice little visual for the puzzle here: Puzzle

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

Not sure who drew the hands, but that was Quinn Shannon (VL in Pittsburgh) who assembled the visuals. It was quite nice having them for the scenario; it meant it was possible to solve the puzzle.

(So, you know, we could get to the next encounter which would have bene a bloody ugly TPK if we weren't super paranoid, more paranoid than usual in a PFS scenario.)


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The PathfinderWiki product page for Refugees of the Weary Sky has been updated to include all themes referenced in other Paizo publications. Take a look!

Shadow Lodge

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PFWiki Scribe wrote:
The PathfinderWiki product page for Refugees of the Weary Sky has been updated to include all themes referenced in other Paizo publications. Take a look!

Nice work!

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

For those who have run it, is there a method suggested in the scenario for disabling the golems in the entry way non-lethally? I couldn't find one.

When we played this it wound up involving casting acid pit every time we wanted to go through the room... (Between their immunity to acid, their DR, and their ridiculously low reflex saves, they fell in every time, and took almost no damage in the process. They need to roll a 12 to climb 5 feet, or a 17 to climb 10 feet as a move action, so they were not getting out before the duration was up.)

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka Zoomba

My party managed to sneak through using an Invisibility Sphere to sneak past them. Their Perception is...not great.

I was defintiely pleasently surprised. I agree there's no clear method to get around them in the scenario. However, the PCs begin the adventure in a large city, and should defintiely be aware that Golems are likely to be a possible threat before they leave. Half the party picked up Golembane Scarabs, but they may have also gotten Disable Construct scrolls or other anti-construct methods.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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well, a scroll of disable construct won't do them much good. That is at most 3 rounds, and at high tier you have to cast it twice, with a DC 14 save vs a +8 will save (they get +4 for magic immune) and a new save at the end of each turn. But that is definitely a neat spell, and is definitely getting added to my wizard's spell book. (He is paranoid about statues, as over 1/3 of his pathfinder experience has been various creatures disguised as statues attacking him. He was *not* happy being in a place where statues and engravings kept looking at him.)

Arming the whole party with clockwork keys would make things interesting. (assuming good deities.)

Shadow Lodge

My group used Extended Create Pit.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

What height are the platforms at A5?

A5 says they are 200 feet above ground, A2 says if you look out the window you can see the top of A5c and the bottom of A5b and doesn't mention A5a being visible at all, even though that part of the map is more or less symmetrical.

I wonder if they used to be aligned vertically, not horizontally?

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Jared Thaler wrote:

What height are the platforms at A5?

A5 says they are 200 feet above ground, A2 says if you look out the window you can see the top of A5c and the bottom of A5b and doesn't mention A5a being visible at all, even though that part of the map is more or less symmetrical.

I wonder if they used to be aligned vertically, not horizontally?

Hey Jared,

My initial thought was to have the platforms in descending elevation from left to right, so that A5a was around 230 ft. above cavern floor, A5b 220 ft., and then A5c 210 ft. This would leave A6 at 200 ft., allowing players which make it A5a to be able to jump down from one platform to the next and finally make the jump into A6.


How have other GMs ran Illaton? Based on the scenario, he is supposed to be able to parlay with the PCs before combat. However, his tactics say that he melds into stone when he first becomes aware of them, which is likely before the enter the room due to his tremorsense.

Did other GMs simply have him come out of the rock before the PCs approach the elemental gauge and warn them against approaching it? If not, it seems like combat would be pretty much inevitable otherwise.

Also, for those who might miss it, his stat block in the low tier is incorrect. He has Improved Critical in both tiers and therefore threatens on 19 - 20.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Oregon—Portland aka Gornil

Also, Illaton's stone curse ability Save DC should be 21 and not 19, since the DC is Strength-based and Illaton's Strength score is 24 vs. a base Shaitan's 20. Does make for a great tactic to get rid of pesky casters or healers. Even works well to take tanky-types out for a round, allowing Illaton to get to the back row, as it's a full-round Fort. Save action to free oneself from a wall to get back into combat.


As an added bonus, he can substitute a bull rush at full BAB in place of his third iterative attack (which he is unlikely to hit with) in the high tier due to the Knockback rage power.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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jmclaus wrote:

How have other GMs ran Illaton? Based on the scenario, he is supposed to be able to parlay with the PCs before combat. However, his tactics say that he melds into stone when he first becomes aware of them, which is likely before the enter the room due to his tremorsense.

Did other GMs simply have him come out of the rock before the PCs approach the elemental gauge and warn them against approaching it? If not, it seems like combat would be pretty much inevitable otherwise.

Yes, Illaton pops out as the PCs approach the gauge to tell them to stay away from it.

A couple of other notes for this scenario:
*The tactics in area A5 can be quite dangerous. Use your discretion, and consider using less deadly tactics for your group, particularly in the lower subtier.
*Korj's statistics say that he uses Vital Strike on his Dexterity damaging attack. Vital strike cannot enhance touch attacks.

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

We played this yesterday. From the outset we got Mass Fly cast on the party which made everything easier.

Even so, the platform encounter was hefty because our group got split in three because of the teleporting platforms. That's a very dangerous gimmick.

It doesn't really matter that much what particular monster you run into if you split the party in a weird way :P

My impression is that this scenario was written as "well, by this level PCs have a tendency to go off the rails of the scenario, so let's make a scenario where you have to do that to not get ground up".

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

Had a really good time playing this over Memorial Day weekend. Looking forward to running it tonight and reporting afterward.

5/5

I ran this recently at high tier, no adjustment. It was brutal, especially the middle encounter. The group demolished the golems without too much trouble. Their cleric forgot to prebuff life bubble but as soon as the knowledge check was made it went up. A bombing alchemist destroyed them although nearly died in the process due to being too close.

The second encounter was brutal. Multiple incorporeal enemies, terrain they can use to their advantage, high damage incorporeal attacks with vicious tactics. They survived with people dropping and getting channelled back up. I soft-balled a bit by not dropping ice storm on the platform when there was 1 unconscious PC and one in single digit HP but I had an annoying flying monk with a ghost touch amulet of mighty fists to deal with. I did have fun trying to wash everyone off the platform with the ghosts wave school power but they all had communal air walk so she would have been very sad even if it had worked.

I have to say that the low tier encounter, especially with the tactics provided, seems likely to kill a low tier player dead pretty much every round. 6 negative levels a go is ridiculous.

The group met with Korj before Illaton. They failed to diplomacies him and a fight broke out but an anti incorporal shell stymied him. They destroyed his stone golems. He went to sulk in the walls and the group hurried about while hiding in the shell. They negotiated with Illaton, fixed the imbalance, collected the statue (they guessed what it was) and then headed out before the spell went down.

They returned the next day with Occosten who had been revived, released Illaton and tried again to negotiate with Korj but failed again. He railed at them, they had anti incorporeal shell and with all the golems destroyed I decided Korj would abandon the place.

When I played it we had a significantly easier time. We were high with the 4P adjust and we had a dirge bard who nauseated the 1 bhuta for the rest of its existence. The ghost didn't do much. We negotiated with Korj and Illaton and fixed the problems and were home for tea and crumpets. We didn't have life bubble for the first fight but the DC is sufficiently low not to pose much of a hazard and the golems don't do very much damage.

When I ran it I found myself being annoyed by the use of the advanced template on the golems. Given they don't have a con score it does nothing for their HP or their special ability DC's making the CR adjustment not really accurate.

5/5

Also, one thing to note. The platform uses CL7 dimension door which can, at most, take the caster and two others. I assumed the person activating it would count as the caster and picked two people standing on the platform at random. Splitting up the party like this only added to the chaos.

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

andreww wrote:
Also, one thing to note. The platform uses CL7 dimension door which can, at most, take the caster and two others. I assumed the person activating it would count as the caster and picked two people standing on the platform at random. Splitting up the party like this only added to the chaos.

The author splitting the party for us is what nearly killed us. After the first two guys got teleported into combat, it took two rounds for the rest of us to succeed at activating the portal.

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

Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
*Korj's statistics say that he uses Vital Strike on his Dexterity damaging attack. Vital strike cannot enhance touch attacks.

I'm not sure a rule exists that says Vital Strike can't be used on touch attacks. Are you thinking of Deadly Aim

However, I'm also not sure you can use Vital Strike on attacks that deal ability damage.

Vital Strike (Combat)

You make a single attack that deals significantly more damage than normal.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon's damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

Hit point damage is normally understood to be something very different from ability damage. Things that provide a bonus on "damage" don't normally apply to ability damage.

1/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
*Korj's statistics say that he uses Vital Strike on his Dexterity damaging attack. Vital strike cannot enhance touch attacks.

I'm not sure a rule exists that says Vital Strike can't be used on touch attacks. Are you thinking of Deadly Aim

However, I'm also not sure you can use Vital Strike on attacks that deal ability damage.

Vital Strike (Combat)

You make a single attack that deals significantly more damage than normal.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon's damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

Hit point damage is normally understood to be something very different from ability damage. Things that provide a bonus on "damage" don't normally apply to ability damage.

Plus, more specifically... Vital Strike specifies that you double the WEAPON DICE. That ability really doesn't seem like it's a weapon - it's closer to a spell.

Can you use Vital Strike on the touch attack from, say, Shocking Grasp? And that's actual HP damage.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

Am I the only one that thinks the puzzle is wrong?

From The Scenario:

The answer to each strip is the sum of the number of
spaces between the upraised fingers (that is, the gaps between
fingers)
Strip 1: 3 fingers, 3 fingers, 1 finger, 1 finger = 4

Shouldn't the answer to Strip 1 be 2?

Silver Crusade 1/5

There are two gaps when you raise three fingers. Thus for strip 1 the sum is two plus two plus zero plus zero, equals four.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

Oh dammit, I was thinking the difference in numbers. And if you go by that, only the first one is wrong.

Thanks!

4/5

I've tried to search the boards, but find differing opinions. For PFS, if an incorporeal creature casts normal spells (not force spells), do they do normal damage to corporeal creatures or 50% damage?

The "Incorporeal" description does not address this directly, so many conclude it does normal damage. However, examples like the 15th level bloodline power for undead bloodline sorcerers indicates that 50% would be correct.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

As I'm gearing up to run this, I just noticed something that I'm surprised wasn't asked previously.

Area A9, p. 13 wrote:
A successful DC 22 Fortitude saving throw halves this damage and negates the stun effect. In Subtier 10–11, the damage increases to 16d6, and the Reflex save DC to 25.

I'm assuming that the intention was not "Fortitude save at low tier, Reflex save at high tier" of course (and if I'm wrong, please disregard my inquiry)...so I'm curious as to which one it's supposed to be?

Thanks very much in advance!

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