#8-18 Champion's Chalice Part I: Blazing Dangerous Trails GM Thread


GM Discussion

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Grand Lodge 3/5

Nathan Goodrich wrote:

I'm prepping for Paizocon and did a run through of just the pursuit mechanic with another GM. On one of our runs, crafting DCs of 15 were VERY problematic. I had multiple misses of DC 13 & 14. We assumed that the party wouldn't get the gear cache.

The scenario specifically says that you can make lesser quality gear with a lower DC, but says nothing else. Does anyone have an opinion on what that ought to mean? Would they be fragile weapons instead?

You GMing on Saturday Morning? I'm running it Saturday morning, and am hoping for a quick brainstorm session before the table starts.

Nils Janson wrote:

Pesonally i would use the table for the craft skill in the crb as a guideline:

Armor or shield 10 + AC bonus
Longbow, shortbow, or arrows 12
Composite longbow or composite shortbow 15
Composite longbow or composite shortbow with high strength rating 15 + (2 × rating)
Crossbow, or bolts 15
Simple melee or thrown weapon 12
Martial melee or thrown weapon 15
Exotic melee or thrown weapon 18
Very simple item (wooden spoon) 5
Typical item (iron pot) 10
High-quality item (bell) 15
Complex or superior item (lock) 20

Maybe go even lower (like DC 10)for very simple weapons like a spear or a club.

I am still not sure if the PCs are supposed to take the -2 penalty on craft checks for having no tools (unless they build the tools in the first place).

I was thinking the party would only be able to craft simple weapons. crossbows and composite bows require a modicum Knowledge (Engineering) due to their complexity.

I was considering, in comparison to the party comp, a standard DC12 to make suitable weapons and armor, a higher DC to make it "masterwork" and anything lower than 10 give the weapon the fragile trait.

i was going to mock my party with a quote-
A stick is your friend. A pointy stick is your good friend. An army of pointy sticks is your best friend.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Selvaxri wrote:


I was thinking the party would only be able to craft simple weapons. crossbows and composite bows require a modicum Knowledge (Engineering) due to their complexity.

I was considering, in comparison to the party comp, a standard DC12 to make suitable weapons and armor, a higher DC to make it "masterwork" and anything lower than 10 give the weapon the fragile trait.

i was going to mock my party with a quote-
A stick is your friend. A pointy stick is your good friend. An army of pointy sticks is your best friend.

Don't add rules, the craft skills are perfectly sufficient to craft the things they cover, and the scenario does list one way to get items of masterwork quality already.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

I'm not GMing until Sunday morning, Selvaxri. This is as good a place as any to bring up any brainstorming you want to do, though.

Grand Lodge 3/5

Ah well, Nate. I'll see you at the con, maybe- you'll definitely see me as i'm 6'6". :p

Anyway, has it been cleared up how to divvy up the winning reward? or is the GP earned in the scenario what the prize is split between the party?

So, let me get this clear on the race advantage system-
PC's start in Tile X, each take a turn rolling to try for advantage, if they don't meet the progression amount, they do another round for advantage?
When do i have them roll for survival for resting/scavenging?

That's one thing i'm still trying to get my head around...

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond aka Slothsy

This is how I did it. I made notes about each phase. It looked a little like this:

Day 1 - Phase 1
Day 1 - Phase 2
Day 1 - Phase 3 (Forced March)

I then noted advantages, failures (and their consequences), etc. I drew out the map and moved the party mini as they progressed. I also included description of time passing (ie, moving from afternoon to evening).

The survival checks would happen when those things happen in the narrative. Someone says they're getting food? Roll for the scavenge. Day 2 and no one has water? Well, that's time for that check.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond aka Slothsy

Selvaxri wrote:
Anyway, has it been cleared up how to divvy up the winning reward? or is the GP earned in the scenario what the prize is split between the party?

It's already taken into account.

The Scenario wrote:

Treasure: The Pathfinder Society promised to return

most of the race’s prize money to the Sargavan government in exchange for granting them greater access to the chalice. Nevertheless, Finze Bellaugh ensures that the PCs are well rewarded for their performance (largely by placing a few discrete bets on the outcome of the race). If the PCs finish the race in first place, Venture-Captain Bellaugh gives them a bonus of 1,400 gp in Subtier 1–2 (5,000 gp in Subtier 4–5).

If the PCs finish below first place, Bellaugh either uses part of the winnings to broker a deal for access to the chalice or earns too little from his bets to award the PCs as handsomely; both subtiers receive half of this award.

Rewards: If the PCs place second or lower, reduce each PC’s gold earned by the following amount.
Subtier 1–2: Reduce each PC’s gold earned by 117 gp.
Out of Subtier: Reduce each PC’s gold earned by 267 gp
Subtier 4–5: Reduce each PC’s gold earned by 417 gp.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

Here's a sample playthrough the way we were doing it earlier. My team is L4 Valeros, Kyra, Amiri & Seoni (btw, kind of a bad team)

Spoiler:

The party doesn't get either of the bonuses from the starting Knowledge (Nature) check. They don't manage to catch the cheaters either (Seoni was the only one who beat the Perception/Sense Motive DC and she wasn't able to make the Stealth check). Kyra was able to make a successful Diplomacy check to impress the other teams, however, and so their race times are slowed by half a day.

The party starts in Hex 1, which is Hills terrain. They plan to go through hexes 2 through 4 but want to spend the first day mostly gathering supplies. They hope to go faster on following days. Amiri has a personal progress value of 4 and the others have values of 3.

Hill Hex: 4 progress needed, 3 advantages possible, Advantage DC 15 due to high tier.

******

Day 1, Phase 1 (Hex 1)
* Amiri starts by gathering supplies: Survival 23, which gathers 7 units of food & water. This doesn't count as an advantage because gathering supplies never does.
Valeros wants to try to craft a weapon. He doesn't have a high Craft skill, so he's going to go for a simple weapon DC 12 (I've settled on the idea that the Craft skill table is a good place to be, and the text allows for GM modification of the base DC 15). Valeros gets an 18 and makes a heavy mace (1 advantage used). Now he'll try to craft a holy symbol for Kyra: result 3 and a fail.
* Kyra tries to craft a holy symbol as well: results 13 & 9 which both fail.
* Seoni tries to craft a holy symbol: 5 & 16 (2 advantages used).

Because the party's progress value was halved, the party makes 1 progress through hex 1.

******

Day 1, Phase 2 (Hex 2)
* Amiri is going to gather additional supplies: Survival 14, which brings the party total up to 10 food/water units. (0 advantages used)
* Valeros is going to craft another heavy mace: 9 & 15. Success! So Amiri will have a mace now as well. (1 advantage used)
* Kyra wants a weapon too and also tries to craft a heavy mace: Results 6 & 5.
* Seoni will try to craft the last heavy mace: 16! So the whole party is armed. (2 advantages used) Now she will try to craft studded leather armor: 4.

The party makes 1 more progress through hex 1.

******

Day 1, Forced March Phase (Hex 2)
Fortitude checks to start: Valeros 21, Kyra 11, Amiri 25, Seoni 20. No one is fatigued.
The party chooses to use their free hustle for the day here, so their final progress value will be 2 unless something untoward happens.
* Amiri wants to craft a greatsword for herself and notes the supplies of obsidian in the area. The GM allows it at DC 15. Results 8 & 2.
* Valeros is interested in that studded leather armor: Results 3 & 6.
* Kyra is also going to make studded leather armor: Results 5 & 17! So Valeros has studded leather armor now (1 advantage used)
* Seoni will help out: Results 5 & 18. So Amiri has studded leather armor now as well. (2 advantages used)

The party makes 2 more progress through hex 1, completing it. Encounter A will trigger as soon as they enter hex 2, which they haven't done yet.

Fortitude saves: Valeros 11, Kyra 20, Amiri 18, Seoni 15. Valeros takes 5 nonlethal damage. Kyra cures 2 points of it with one channel and he sleeps the remainder off. Since he's both getting 8 hours of rest and is recovering all of his nonlethal damage he's no longer fatigued in two different ways.

End of Day: The party consumes 4 of their 10 food units & has 6 remaining.

******

Day 2, Phase 1 (Hex 2)
Strategy: The party wants to hurry through the mountains today. They choose to hustle on their first phase. Because they are in the hills, Amiri and Valeros will use Climb checks to gain advantages. Seoni will assist Amiri and Kyra will assist Valeros.
Seoni Assist: 13
Kyra Assist: 22
Amiri Climb: 23 (1 advantage used)
Valeros Climb: 22 (1 advantage used)

The party's progress value for this phase is 6. They pass Hex 2 and make 2 progress into Hex 4, which is also hills. They encounter the Amphiteres and we'll assume that they survive the encounter but that Kyra used up some healing resources.

******

Day 2, Phase 2 (Hex 4)
Strategy: Same as last time:
Seoni: 19 assist
Kyra: 4 assist
Amiri Climb: 29 (1 advantage used)
Valeros Climb: 17 (1 advantage used)
Sidenote: I'm realizing now that both Seoni and Kyra should be assisting Valeros. Because Amiri is faster than the rest of the group, if she fails but not by 5 or more (unlikely), she won't slow the party down. The same is not true of Valeros.

The party's progress value for this phase is 5. They pass Hex 4 and make 3 progress into Hex 6. This triggers the encounter with the Trail Hounds. They also trigger the third encounter with the caterpillars (leaving hex 4 and entering hex 6 are the same thing -
that's kind of brutal). Fortunately the party equipped themselves with atlatls and javelins from the Trail Hounds, and they manage to clear this challenge. The party wins, but that they take enough damage and use up enough healing resources that they don't want to risk a Forced March on Day 2. They're getting close!

The party eats 4 of their food units and has two remaining.

******

Day 3, Phase 1 (Hex 6)
Terrain: Jungle - Progress required 8, maximum advantages 8, DC 18
Strategy: The party is concerned about all the fighting from the prior day and decides to take one phase out to gather supplies and craft some shields. Then, they hope to Forced March and clear the race by the end of Day 3.
Tactics: Because the party hasn't fully recovered from their encounter with the caterpillars, Kyra is going to use the Recovery tactic in Phase 1. This means she will take a -5 on all of her advantage checks during this phase. She spends a few healing resources to bring the party up to speed.
Amiri: Survival 18 - This gathers 5 units of food to bring the party total to 7, more than enough for the rest of the journey.
Valeros: Craft DC 12 & 19! He creates two wooden heavy shields for himself and Kyra. (2 advantages used)
Kyra: Since Valeros is already going slow, Kyra decides to make some longspears for the party: Craft 8 & 0 with her -5 penalty
Seoni: More longspears? She doesn't need a spell component pouch so.... Craft DC 7 & 16. She gives the longspear to Amiri. (3 advantages used)

The party makes 1 progress and has 4 progress on the jungle hex.

******

Day 3, Phase 2 (Hex 6)
Strategy: Now that they have recovered somewhat, the party wants to hurry on toward the end. Surely nothing can stop them now! The Jungle Advantage DCs are somewhat high, though, so the party all going to focus on one Perception check to be made by Amiri.
Tactics: Free hustle for the day.
Assist checks: Valeros & Kyra assist the Perception.
Amiri Perception DC 19 - (1 advantage used)

The party makes 5 progress, advances into hex 8 and has one progress remaining there.

******

Day 3, Forced March Phase (Hex 8)
Swamp Terrain: Progress 4, Advantages 3, DC 15
Strategy: the party doesn't need any advantages to reach the end of the swamp tonight, so they won't gather any advantages. They just want to reach the end.
Fortitude Saves: Valeros 21, Kyra 14, Amiri 19, Seoni 6. Seoni takes 5 nonlethal damage and is fatigued.
Tactics: Kyra could use the Recovery tactic to heal Seoni's nonlethal damage, but she already used some spells & channels today and decides to reserve the rest. Fortunately, Seoni's fatigue won't slow the party down. They're going to make it!

The party makes the final three progress and encounters the Zuvembie. They manage to destroy the undead monstrosity and his snakes and cross the finish line a day ahead of the competition!

Fortitude Saves: Valeros 16, Kyra 20, Amiri 8, Seoni 4. Amiri takes 3 nonlethal damage and Seoni takes 3 as well. I note this mostly to point out that I wouldn't put the second set of Fortitude saves until after the combat encounter. Seoni was Fatigued at the beginning of the Zuvembie fight, however.

******

Note one assumption I'm making. The party failed a LOT of Craft checks, badly, without slowing down. I'm presuming that the party's progress value is only reduced if they fail against the DC of a Hex. This would exclude failures on Gathering Supplies and Crafting.

Note: I object to the fact that this party wouldn't get full gold because they never got the cache/ruins. It's a REALLY specific condition to put on gold acquisition that they have to make two specific skill checks in order like this. Not happy about that.

Grand Lodge 3/5

*blinks at Nathan's post* yowza... needlessly complicated much? I'll keep reading up on the scenario, trying to get my head around the mechanics- but hey, at least i have time to prep.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Nathan Goodrich wrote:

Here's a sample playthrough the way we were doing it earlier. My team is L4 Valeros, Kyra, Amiri & Seoni (btw, kind of a bad team)

** spoiler omitted **...

Nice writeup Nathan, that is exactly the kind of the things a scenario/ruleset like this needs (ideally in the scenario).

Not sure if you can combine the hustle and the forced march though since they are both listed under group tactics.

When my group played this( more later) we were really uncertain how to deal with the forced march, since as written is seems like an amazing idea, the chances of getting more damage than what will heal during the night is tiny.

---

Actually, my players asked something, is there a rule that the entire team has to arrive at the goal? This isn't just a theory some of the other teams do lose team members, and at least last year a single survivor won.

Which rather begs the question, what is stopping a flying druid with wild shape could avoid a not of encounters and win the race within record time (and considering the Special movement tactic, a swamp would likely slow that character only as much as a plains tile).

I think that there is a good argument that the group should stay together, did I miss it in the text (other than never split the party)?

EDIT: I agree with you, the party losing gold because they didn't have the setup to get the items feels like double punishment.

Also, we noted that you can craft bows, but it is not clear cut how many arrows you can craft per check (I would suggest 10 per craft check). Which is kinda relevant since, unless I am missing something, the dragons might just choose to stay out of reach and just use their tails.

Limited Flight (Ex) wrote:

Though amphipteres have wings, they can’t

truly fly. Amphipteres usually move by lifting themselves a
few feet off the ground with their great bat-like wings and
pulling themselves along the ground with their claws. This
tactic provides an amphiptere a fly speed of 60 feet and average maneuverability, though they can’t lift themselves
higher than 10 feet off the ground and can’t use their wings
to hover. Additionally, amphipteres can attempt a DC 15 Fly
check to fall safely from any height without taking falling
damage, as if under the effects of feather fall. When falling
safely, an amphiptere can attempt an additional DC 15 Fly
check to glide, allowing it to move 5 feet laterally for every 10
feet it falls.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Oh an another issue, implanted ioun stones can be removed, but there are a number of rather expensive magical tattoos...

5/5 ⦵⦵

I played this last night and am skimming through the scenario now. We went toward the plains at the bottom edge of the map. We literally went tile 1, tile 2 ,and off the tiles on the map. We stuck to the plains moving around the forest hex and came up on tile 8 from the Square directly South of it.

The GM said we won, but looking over the scenario he missed a bunch of the scenario details so I don’t know if we actually played by the rules as written in the scenario.

I felt we got a bit jipped, it ended up we skipped 2 combat encounters. We didn’t know any better we thought going through plains hexes was the fastest route.

The scenario says you must pass through tile 8 to reach the finish line and that would be true coming up on it from tiles 6 or 7. But the route we took we didn’t have to go through tile 6 or 7 we came from the unmarked plains hex to the sough of tile 8.

Am I missing something, is it written somewhere that the race has boundaries where you have to stay in tiles 1 to 8?

It is written in the scenario that you must pass through tile 8 to reach the finish line. If a party moves outside of tiles 1 to 8 should the finish line actually be more toward the middle of tile 8 requiring one more hex to finish?

As a party we grabbed the cache and had a druid so we had little trouble with food water or healing.

Grand Lodge 3/5

roysier wrote:

I played this last night and am skimming through the scenario now. We went toward the plains at the bottom edge of the map. We literally went tile 1, tile 2 ,and off the tiles on the map. We stuck to the plains moving around the forest hex and came up on tile 8 from the Square directly South of it.

Am I missing something, is it written somewhere that the race has boundaries where you have to stay in tiles 1 to 8?

Nope, i do not see anything about a race course, just get from point A [start] to point B [finish] and hope you've accumulated enough progress points to beat out the other teams.

As for the encounters, it's possible to avoid the Trail Hounds trap and the Caterpillar nest [which is considered an optional encounter], but fighting Mirous/Zombie Alchemist is the standard BBEG fight.

5/5 ⦵⦵

The dumbest thing about that is if a party can't make very many of the skill rolls it is by far the fastest route to head off the map. 1 Jungle hex takes 8 progress points and each plain hex takes 2 progress points. Without making rolls it is the same to cross 4 plains hexes as it is 1 jungle hex.

Scarab Sages 4/5

I gamed this one cold (NOT RECOMMENDED), and then later played it. It seems designed to favor monks, sorcerers, psychics, spiritualists, and summoners. Both in the GM and in the playthrough we had knowledge monkeys so most of the checks were easy. Played down both times.

Also, my level three Phantom blade spiritualist King Rickey just summoned his Keyblade I mean Phantom weapon when he was out of sight of the start line and I had a +1 ghost touch scimitar for the scenario.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Nathan Goodrich wrote:

Here's a sample playthrough the way we were doing it earlier. My team is L4 Valeros, Kyra, Amiri & Seoni (btw, kind of a bad team)

** spoiler omitted **...

Nice writeup Nathan, that is exactly the kind of the things a scenario/ruleset like this needs (ideally in the scenario).

Not sure if you can combine the hustle and the forced march though since they are both listed under group tactics.

When my group played this( more later) we were really uncertain how to deal with the forced march, since as written is seems like an amazing idea, the chances of getting more damage than what will heal during the night is tiny.

Thanks.

I'm fairly confident that you can combine hustle and forced march. At the very least, nothing says that you can't. I did realize after I put that post up and went to work, however, that I made at least one mistake: in the hustle phases, the party should be taking a -5 on checks not related to moving (see also: the crafting I was doing and also the Perception in the jungle hex). There are probably other mistakes as well.

At least for the high tier, forced march damage really is pretty trivial. A low tier party could get hammered by it, particularly if they meet an encounter while they still have nonlethal damage on them.

Having a Cleric (or some other character that can channel + cast cure spells) for this scenario is a pretty big deal since it helps you ignore any hustle/forced march damage. The parties that try to skate by with a Ranger using a Wand of Cure Light Wounds instead are taking huge risks in this one.

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

I played the high tier of this scenario with my 4th level Fox Form Kitsune Vexing Dodger, read "Familiar". My party was a pair of Arcane caster gnomes, a paladin, a Flame Dancer Bard and an Agathiel Vigilante (Raptor). Between 7 Magic Aura castings from the Arcane casters, and the party each picking up to one magic item of importance, I carried our magic items out of the city in Fox Form. Nothing too impressive was taken: My Ring of Eloquence, Boots of Striding and Springing, an Eversmoking Bottle, Spell Component Pouches, a Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, a bonded ring, and a couple wands. The one spellbook was stored in the Etheral Plane via the spell Secluded Grimoire. Only the Paladin needed a weapon (other than his snapped off tree branch for a club) crafted, which was easily done after the first encounter. All in all, our group was very well prepared for this challenge.

I will be running this scenario twice at Paizocon, and look forward to seeing how other groups handle the challenges they'll face.

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

Steven G. wrote:

I played the high tier of this scenario with my 4th level Fox Form Kitsune Vexing Dodger, read "Familiar". My party was a pair of Arcane caster gnomes, a paladin, a Flame Dancer Bard and an Agathiel Vigilante (Raptor). Between 7 Magic Aura castings from the Arcane casters, and the party each picking up to one magic item of importance, I carried our magic items out of the city in Fox Form. Nothing too impressive was taken: My Ring of Eloquence, Boots of Striding and Springing, an Eversmoking Bottle, Spell Component Pouches, a Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, a bonded ring, and a couple wands. The one spellbook was stored in the Etheral Plane via the spell Secluded Grimoire. Only the Paladin needed a weapon (other than his snapped off tree branch for a club) crafted, which was easily done after the first encounter. All in all, our group was very well prepared for this challenge.

I will be running this scenario twice at Paizocon, and look forward to seeing how other groups handle the challenges they'll face.

I have to ask - blatantly violating the rules of the competition, with great premeditation, and also against the express instruction of the venture captain - is that really something a paladin should be comfortable with?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Steven G. wrote:

I played the high tier of this scenario with my 4th level Fox Form Kitsune Vexing Dodger, read "Familiar". My party was a pair of Arcane caster gnomes, a paladin, a Flame Dancer Bard and an Agathiel Vigilante (Raptor). Between 7 Magic Aura castings from the Arcane casters, and the party each picking up to one magic item of importance, I carried our magic items out of the city in Fox Form. Nothing too impressive was taken: My Ring of Eloquence, Boots of Striding and Springing, an Eversmoking Bottle, Spell Component Pouches, a Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, a bonded ring, and a couple wands. The one spellbook was stored in the Etheral Plane via the spell Secluded Grimoire. Only the Paladin needed a weapon (other than his snapped off tree branch for a club) crafted, which was easily done after the first encounter. All in all, our group was very well prepared for this challenge.

I will be running this scenario twice at Paizocon, and look forward to seeing how other groups handle the challenges they'll face.

I have to ask - blatantly violating the rules of the competition, with great premeditation, and also against the express instruction of the venture captain - is that really something a paladin should be comfortable with?

While I'm also impressed with the level of cheating PCs engage in when Venture Captains order them not to cheat, please don't turn this into a paladin thread.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Well, the scenario really could have used a "we have this very well respected masked mage from a local university who will cover the race for the public with his trusty crystal ball... "

The damn chest really changes the entire scenario though, I just heard from a table that was run yesterday and the trail rations were sufficient so the party never actually had to search for supplies. However, it is worth noting that the gripply at my table wasn't too happy that there was no small equipment for him.

Steven G. wrote:

I played the high tier of this scenario with my 4th level Fox Form Kitsune Vexing Dodger, read "Familiar". My party was a pair of Arcane caster gnomes, a paladin, a Flame Dancer Bard and an Agathiel Vigilante (Raptor). Between 7 Magic Aura castings from the Arcane casters, and the party each picking up to one magic item of importance, I carried our magic items out of the city in Fox Form. Nothing too impressive was taken: My Ring of Eloquence, Boots of Striding and Springing, an Eversmoking Bottle, Spell Component Pouches, a Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, a bonded ring, and a couple wands. The one spellbook was stored in the Etheral Plane via the spell Secluded Grimoire. Only the Paladin needed a weapon (other than his snapped off tree branch for a club) crafted, which was easily done after the first encounter. All in all, our group was very well prepared for this challenge.

I will be running this scenario twice at Paizocon, and look forward to seeing how other groups handle the challenges they'll face.

Kinda impressed that the group managed so many magic auras, with the briefing beeing on the same day as the race.

Also, Fox Shape works like beast shape two, which means that it is a magical effect that can be detected with detect magic... which the party is subjected to before the race starts. Beast Shape II lasts one minute per level, so depending on your table GM you transform back every couple of minutes.

Grand Lodge 3/5

Okay... let me try to summarize the Pursuit challenge:

  • Movement speed is used as part of the progress through a hex.
  • There are two pursuit phases, with an option Forced March third
  • Hustling increases progress by 1 point, but non-movement advantages take penalty.
  • PC's can gather supplies and/or craft weapons/armor while progressing.

Anything else i should be aware of? How should i deal with a party who's speed is greatly varied- like a Halfling and a monk?

This would suck if the entire party were heavy-armor wearing gnomes/halflings. w00t 1.5 progress per phase?

5/5 ⦵⦵

roysier wrote:

I played this last night and am skimming through the scenario now. We went toward the plains at the bottom edge of the map. We literally went tile 1, tile 2 ,and off the tiles on the map. We stuck to the plains moving around the forest hex and came up on tile 8 from the Square directly South of it.

The GM said we won, but looking over the scenario he missed a bunch of the scenario details so I don’t know if we actually played by the rules as written in the scenario.

I felt we got a bit jipped, it ended up we skipped 2 combat encounters. We didn’t know any better we thought going through plains hexes was the fastest route.

The scenario says you must pass through tile 8 to reach the finish line and that would be true coming up on it from tiles 6 or 7. But the route we took we didn’t have to go through tile 6 or 7 we came from the unmarked plains hex to the sough of tile 8.

Am I missing something, is it written somewhere that the race has boundaries where you have to stay in tiles 1 to 8?

It is written in the scenario that you must pass through tile 8 to reach the finish line. If a party moves outside of tiles 1 to 8 should the finish line actually be more toward the middle of tile 8 requiring one more hex to finish?

As a party we grabbed the cache and had a druid so we had little trouble with food water or healing.

The solution for the southern plains route below the numbered tiles being too easy is despite how the map shows the party needs to go through hex 8 to finish the race. The scenario says this even though it makes no sense if one looks at the map.

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

The VC never specifically says do not cheat. He says "I would caution you again trying to cheat in this matter." He also says "It is imperative that the PFS wins the Chalice this year." If it is imperative that the PFS win, there must be some kind of special reason for it. Those were the arguments that I used to convince the Paladin to leave his boots in the pile.

The guards also don't even have detect magic now that I've prepped it. They only have a Perception modifier.

The Fox Shape feat does not say it is an SLA. It falls under the Shape Change supernatural ability, as it written exactly the same way and references your "other forms". This means it has no duration.

As for the map, I've outlined the 8 boxes the race uses for the player handouts.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Steven G. wrote:

The VC never specifically says do not cheat. He says "I would caution you again trying to cheat in this matter." He also says "It is imperative that the PFS wins the Chalice this year." If it is imperative that the PFS win, there must be some kind of special reason for it. Those were the arguments that I used to convince the Paladin to leave his boots in the pile.

The guards also don't even have detect magic now that I've prepped it. They only have a Perception modifier.

The Fox Shape feat does not say it is an SLA. It falls under the Shape Change supernatural ability, as it written exactly the same way and references your "other forms". This means it has no duration.

As for the map, I've outlined the 8 boxes the race uses for the player handouts.

The guards don't have detect magic, but the players are tested before the race starts:

Page 8 wrote:

A. THE SARGAVA

CHALICE
The race begins the following
morning, shortly after sunrise.
Just before the racers set out, the race
organizers scrutinize each contestant with
detect magic, just to be certain no one is
wearing a cleverly hidden magic item.

Unfortunately, they don't have a listed will save.

Steven G. wrote:


The Fox Shape feat does not say it is an SLA. It falls under the Shape Change supernatural ability, as it written exactly the same way and references your "other forms". This means it has no duration.

Fox Shape (Kitsune) wrote:


You can change into a fox in addition to your other forms.

Prerequisites: Cha 13, base attack bonus +3, kitsune.

Special: A kitsune may select this feat any time she would gain a feat.

Benefit: You can take the form of a fox whose appearance is static and cannot be changed each time you assume this form. Your bite attack’s damage is reduced to 1d3 points of damage on a hit, but you gain a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear as a fox. Changing from kitsune to fox shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as beast shape II, and your ability scores change accordingly.

Just because the writing is similar does not mean, that it is identical to the shape change universal monster ability. There is a good argument here (and frankly the Change Shape FAQ could apply), that it should be treated like it, but it isn't quite as clear as you might assume.

And even with change shape, there is a magic aura involved (it is listed as a polymorph effect), and the race organizers frankly should ask players to drop it just to make sure that they are not doing exactly what you were doing.

---

Of course, this is just a tangent, I expect more than a few groups to use Pathfinder pounces and sleight of hand to smuggle in a couple of essentials or magic items, or just not exclude one party member from the team list, and plan to meet up later during the race.

There are certainly a number of ways for players to cheat, I am pretty sure that we will learn of others, I mentioned it before, that the fact that no one is actually checking during the race, and that they likely could not evacuate the whole region, means that cheating is really not that hard if players really want to.

Pretty much the same applies to wild shape or similar abilities.

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


The guards don't have detect magic, but the players are tested before the race starts:

Page 8 wrote:

A. THE SARGAVA

CHALICE
The race begins the following
morning, shortly after sunrise.
Just before the racers set out, the race
organizers scrutinize each contestant with
detect magic, just to be certain no one is
wearing a cleverly hidden magic item.

Unfortunately, they don't have a listed will save.

I just read through the early portion before the race again, and saw I missed the line about detect magic. As far as them casting that against the items, it still wouldn't detect them and they get no save against Magic Aura without casting Identify.

Dark Archive 2/5

I made up an excel file for my prep that people are welcome to use:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1tTvbF9GrMxU1hCY3FRZTNEX1k?usp=sha ring

It includes some soundtracks for being in the wilderness, a summary table to make counting advantages a little less painful, and a even shorter 1 page summary of the player handout showing possible advantages and what the consequences of rolling are. The excel version was used by everyone and more clear in the end so it helped move everything along.

I would strongly recommend when you GM you play "Chariots of Fire" for the outro sequence as you describe how narrowly they race past the other teams (even if the other teams are days off their race time). I did this and it made for a great session ender.

My players didn't have too much trouble with the scenario because I ended up with 7 PCs (two pet classes), playing down, and so the combat action economy was vastly on their side. The trail hounds ended up dieing in the second encounter as they weren't able to run away due to spell effects. The toughest encounter by far was the BBEG as no one opted to do a knowledge check on him to identify DRs until 4 rounds in. I had to skip the optional forest encounter due to time (explaining the rules and 7 PCs really ate into my session time).

They starting out half a day late due to the arcanist who tried to sneak some spell pages in their body cavity and getting caught by the guards. They ended up finding the cheaters and getting their map, however instead of turning it in or getting their first they opted to plant it on the Trail Hounds. I ended up ruling that instead of being disqualified that the Trail Hounds were also delayed for a phase as there was no concrete proof linking them to the cache other than the map which they argued was planted on them by another cheating team. I had the dirty race official reward the PCs with the location of the ruin citing that thanks to their actions there was no chance he would be caught/fired and he still got paid by the nobles for executing the contract in full.

The team opted to force march the first two days to make up lost ground. I think there should be some changes to the ruleset as even with a forced march that is 12 hours in the day. They can sleep off being fatigued or exhausted in the remaining 12 hours easily. As it is written there is very little downside to forced marches unless you end up in a square for combat during your forced march phase. It would appear more logical to me that the forced march should make you fatigued for the next day if you fail your save, but I didn't run it that way.

Overall I think everyone had fun, though some characters realized that they contributed much better to the game by simply not rolling for advantages, which wasn't the best, but everyone took it in stride.

It was great to see the look on everyone's face when they found out they weren't going to be able to take any items. Many "but is this an item?" inquiries were made. I gave a very explicit warning that people should bring versatile builds and that you could be expected to have a bad time if you bring a narrow focus weapon build.

If it wasn't for PFS I might have customized the weapon cache to the PCS. It would have been nicer if at least 1 longbow was swapped for a shortbow and 1 longsword for a dagger or rapier so more classes could get something out of the cache.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We have run this locally but will do so again, but a question came up.

This is mostly regarding those Plains hexes that were not used in our runs (frankly if the players had been aware of the rules regarding those hexes they might have tried that route. The rules are only in the GM part at the back f the scenario)

Can you succeed at the Craft or Modify Tools (Any) advantage in a Plains tile (the only kind that has maximum advantage limit of 0), Gather Supplies (Any) still works perfectly fine thanks to the last paragraph

Page 26 wrote:

The gather supplies advantage does not count against the

normal limit of advantages allowed for a terrain tile, and it
can be used even in tiles which allow 0 advantages.

It is pretty clear that you can't gain additional progress through advantages (but the hustle tactic should still work, the special movement might not work at all), so is it intentional that the Plains just don't offer good base materials for weapons?

This might make Plains not such an obviously better choice (if/once players learn that you only need two movement to cross them).

EDIT:

This part from page 24 helps the argument that the max limit of advantages only applies to anything that actually increases the movement speed and is made against the tile's Advantage DC:

page 24 wrote:

The number of

advantages is smaller the easier the terrain is to navigate,
as there aren’t many tricks that can speed up travel along a
road, for instance, without using a vehicle or magical means
of conveyance. Each stat block also lists an Advantage DC,
which is the DC a player must meet to increase the group’s
progress value using any advantage in that tile

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

We have run this locally but will do so again, but a question came up.

This is mostly regarding those Plains hexes that were not used in our runs (frankly if the players had been aware of the rules regarding those hexes they might have tried that route. The rules are only in the GM part at the back of the scenario)

Can you succeed at the Craft or Modify Tools (Any) advantage in a Plains tile (the only kind that has maximum advantage limit of 0), Gather Supplies (Any) still works perfectly fine thanks to the last paragraph

Page 26 wrote:

The gather supplies advantage does not count against the

normal limit of advantages allowed for a terrain tile, and it
can be used even in tiles which allow 0 advantages.

It is pretty clear that you can't gain additional progress through advantages (but the hustle tactic should still work, the special movement might not work at all), so is it intentional that the Plains just don't offer good base materials for weapons?

This might make Plains not such an obviously better choice (if/once players learn that you only need two movement to cross them).

EDIT:

This part from page 24 helps the argument that the max limit of advantages only applies to anything that actually increases the movement speed and is made against the tile's Advantage DC:

page 24 wrote:

The number of

advantages is smaller the easier the terrain is to navigate,
as there aren’t many tricks that can speed up travel along a
road, for instance, without using a vehicle or magical means
of conveyance. Each stat block also lists an Advantage DC,
which is the DC a player must meet to increase the group’s
progress value using any advantage in that tile

EDIT2: I am kinda hoping that I am dead wrong, and that the limit really only does apply to gaining more speed. Mostly to avoid certain situations, where once too many people have succeeded at gaining advantages, others can't succeed at crafting.

Grand Lodge 3/5

GM'ing this at PazioCon, my PC's had a good time, even after i forgot one encounter- the Trail Hounds. The PC's had boasted their prowess and were knocking out their advantages. So with their advantages, i just said their got ahead of the trail hounds to avoid the trap.

Anywho-

I may have bent some rules, for RP sake:
My party considered of: a halfling bard/rogue, a wizard, a dwarf barbarian, a couple other martial classes in forgetting- and a gnome cavalier on a roc; and they were playing low tier.
I had them bookmark pages 92/93 of their core books for future consideration.

When i told the party that they'd be running the race with no gear, no items, nothing- there was a murmur of "what are we going to do?" especially with the cavalier and the wizard.

The wizard, while out before the introductory party convinced one of the 'numerous tattoo artists' for psuedo-scribe scroll for a level 1 spell [tattoo would disappear after he cast the spell, if he had the material components for it]; after the party, he charmed the guard assigned to ensure he wasn't cheating and convinced him the bandaged tattoo was a recent wound that hadn't healed and also swallowed his bound item- a ring.
*Myself nor the PC could find anything saying if the bonded item was magical, or even if the tattoo would detect as magic

The gnome cavalier, i had roll diplomacy to convince the judges to give him a mount. He rolled a 19, so i gave him a Riding Dog with the caveat that it would never stray far from the party and it's bite attack wouldn't have it's strength modifier.
If he'd gotten a bad roll, i would have still given him a riding dog- just an old one that a> wouldn't attack, b> would only charge after a handle animal check, c> and would get fatigued after a hustle.

Yes I took pity on the gnome cavalier. I didn't want this PC's character to be completely gimped. Even after i heard that some animal companions were allowed, a ridable Roc in the case wouldn't be allowed as the scenario doesn't say "the PC's must finish the race together." What would stop the cavalier from flying straight the to finish line?

Back on topic- the PC's noticed the nervous official talking to the Ashen Leaves, but failed their sense motive/stealth checks to get the discussion; and afterwards, decided to confront the official using 'diplomatic' terms.
With some good rolls and nice RP'ing, i reward them with the information that there may be loot hidden from past races left uncovered. *They weren't going to find it in A-1, nor would it all be there.

The PC's left, the halfling riding on dwarf barbarian [with Fortitude checks to keep from getting fatigued], and the others crafted weapons and gathered supplied.

The pc's made short work of the dragon, who sadly got a low roll in the initiative pool and after the PC's spent the night crafting some spike/tooth weapons and dragonhide armor; they decided to bury the halfling in a convienent cave that held a chest. Half the supplies, no food, and a few recoverable spells from the spellbook, much to the wizard's glee.

<PC's avoided the Trail Hounds ambush, because i forgot about it.>

They get the edge of the forest and see a game trail with "spider webs" and hear someone screaming in polygot.
Enter the caterpillar fight, where in the cavalier's dog got a mouth full of bristles and 4 Str damage. With that, the dog was more preoccupied with getting the spikes out his mouth than biting the prickly caterpillar again.

After freeing the surviving halflings, they learned that the halfings had been using the hustle and forced march tactics [and making their fort saves, until the encounter] to make good time.

In the swamp, the zombie rolled low in initiative, and was quickly made short work of thanks a critical hit from the PC that accepted the Longsword they found in the cache.

If i calculated their advantages correctly- probably not- they reached the finish line the night of the third day, while the finish line was being set up. They were sipping mimosa's by the time the other racers showed up.

All in all, the PC's enjoyed the scenario. I know i probably did some things wrong, especially the pursuit phases- but hey, as long as you make the scenario enjoyable to PC's, who can fault you if you tried your best?

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Selvaxri wrote:

GM'ing this at PazioCon, my PC's had a good time, even after i forgot one encounter- the Trail Hounds. The PC's had boasted their prowess and were knocking out their advantages. So with their advantages, i just said their got ahead of the trail hounds to avoid the trap.

Anywho-
** spoiler omitted **...

This is not what I would have called bending...

Regarding the spoilered bits:

If the Roc was an animal companion, according the following post from this thread the player could have keept it. Its a bit silly to have a flying mount, but thats the framework we have been given.

Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:

Eidolons, phantoms, familiars, class-granted mounts, animal companions, and other companion creatures are not considered to be possessions, and are all assumed to be able to accompany the PCs. The PCs may not bring purchased animals, which are considered to be possessions.

I recognize that this distinction could introduce a bit of metagaming weirdness. To justify this distinction in-world, the race organizers are able to recognize the bond between the PC and a mount or animal companion because of how naturally the PC can command the creature (as per the companion’s 1st level link ability). Eidolons, phantoms, and familiars have sufficient intelligence to distinguish themselves as participants on the team. As long as there aren’t enough mounts to go around that every PC could perform the race mounted, the organizers are willing to permit a few ride-able creatures. If many PCs bring mounts, use your discretion as a GM to determine how many mounts the organizers will permit (roughly one per 2 PCs is a good guideline).

There is actually an inscribe tattoo feat, and it would likely take far too long to inscribe anything like this. Also this really only works if there is only one guard, and ... once the spell ends that might have repercussions.

Not stating that teams have to arrive as teams really is one of the weak points of the setup.

Letting the group find a changed chest IMO pretty much breaks "run as written" ule of PFS, the scenario has plenty of options for players to craft weapons, a bit of motivation from the GM can help here, but giving them pity loot seems out of bounds.

Low tier really is quite doable.

Here is the answer to the arcane bond question.

Arcane Bond FAQ from the CORE Rulebook FAQs: wrote:

Can you identify an item that is the subject of an arcane bond from a wizard with detect magic or a similar affect, even if the item contains no other enchantments?

Since the arcane bond class feature, when tied to an item, grants a wizard the ability to cast any one spell, it is safe to assume that it does radiate magic when it is the subject of detect magic. The aura power would be directly related to the highest level spell it could be used to cast, but there would be no school associated with the item unless it was further enchanted.

posted June 2011 | back to top

.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

Ran my game on high tier. The party managed to find the Ashen Leaves supply chest, which obviously helps everything out. Even with the chest and a holy symbol tattoo on the cleric, they had some amount of difficulty with the Amphiptere attack. They stuck to the 1-2-4-6-8 path and managed to clear the whole race in two days.

The only real problem they ran into was the blood caterpillars, which were quite nasty. I had to expand out the map to give the party any room to maneuver at all. They failed their Nature checks and the party cleric charged into battle, taking 15 damage from an opportunity attack due to reach and another 1d8+3 plus a poison failure from the bristles, (which I had mentioned in describing the creatures). The fight nearly turned into a rout right there, but a few of the players decided that they had to stay to rescue the cocooned halflings. I stuck to the tactics block & had the caterpillars throw webs unless a target was already webbed or the caterpillar was already in melee reach. Fortunately, I missed on my webs a lot and the party was able to keep them at bay for the most part.

Though I'm sure I had read it earlier, I didn't really pick up on the fact that the Alchemist is full of fail and only has 1d6+1 bombs at the 4-5 tier while I was preparing. It was a sad moment when I found that I couldn't even explode the PCs a little.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

I was at Nathan's table and yeah, we did amazingly well considering the disadvantage this scenario puts you at. If we hadn't found the chest with the (almost exhausted by the end) wand, it would have been a rout. For a divine caster that doesn't have a tattoo the setup can be pretty painful. Really bad for socially-minded characters. Thank Nethys for spell-like abilities.

When I have time I'm going to read through the scenario and work on a player handout for PFS prep. Understanding how attempting to find an advantage works and what that means for your group's progress (success or failure-wise) really isn't clear from the handout. This isn't a knock on Nathan but it wasn't clear to us at first how (if at all) individual and group advantages interacted or if the limits on advantages were group or player-based. Rather than telling us all the mechanics and DCs he was running it in a more narrative fashion - which is what I prefer - but I personally struggled at first with "oh, wait, because those people succeeded on their checks we ran out of advantages and I can't forage for spell components? Where is that on the sheet?" The standard issue - people jump to do what their character is good at without a clear understanding of the group consequences.

Thanks for running Nathan! Despite the pain it was a fun time. Hopefully the call of Pathfinder will bring you back to PaizoCon in the future.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Kevin Willis wrote:

I was at Nathan's table and yeah, we did amazingly well considering the disadvantage this scenario puts you at. If we hadn't found the chest with the (almost exhausted by the end) wand, it would have been a rout. For a divine caster that doesn't have a tattoo the setup can be pretty painful. Really bad for socially-minded characters. Thank Nethys for spell-like abilities.

When I have time I'm going to read through the scenario and work on a player handout for PFS prep. Understanding how attempting to find an advantage works and what that means for your group's progress (success or failure-wise) really isn't clear from the handout. This isn't a knock on Nathan but it wasn't clear to us at first how (if at all) individual and group advantages interacted or if the limits on advantages were group or player-based. Rather than telling us all the mechanics and DCs he was running it in a more narrative fashion - which is what I prefer - but I personally struggled at first with "oh, wait, because those people succeeded on their checks we ran out of advantages and I can't forage for spell components? Where is that on the sheet?" The standard issue - people jump to do what their character is good at without a clear understanding of the group consequences.

Thanks for running Nathan! Despite the pain it was a fun time. Hopefully the call of Pathfinder will bring you back to PaizoCon in the future.

Looking forward to what you cook up for PFS prep, maybe some sort of flowchart ... or something very similar to the test run Nathan did a couple of days ago, might help.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Bongo BigBounce wrote:
Devil's advocate what if they stashed the stuff between the meeting with the VC who tells them they can't bring their stuff and the opening ceremonies when they are stripped. There are at least 1d3 hours available between the two as a Diplomacy to gather info is called for in between.

The PC's don't know the route until the opening ceremony. The VC tells you the start and end point, but doesn't know which is which. There may be enough time to get to one of those points and back but its a coin toss. At minimum I'd call for stealth checks to get to the course unobserved and survival find a good spot to hide stuff. DC based on the progress DC for the terrain type.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Does anyone else get the impression that some players think that they're supposed to cheat?

I mean, you don't have to tell the players that they absolutely must play the competition by the rules, but maybe some players need some reassuring after being told to strip their gear. Reassurance that the scenario writer wasn't crazy; that doing without your standard gear is an interesting challenge; and that the mechanics for playing it straight are actually okay.

Silver Crusade 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Reassurance that the scenario writer wasn't crazy; that doing without your standard gear is an interesting challenge; and that the mechanics for playing it straight are actually okay.

I don't like lying to my players so I can't give them that particular reassurance :-).

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

Paul Jackson wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Reassurance that the scenario writer wasn't crazy; that doing without your standard gear is an interesting challenge; and that the mechanics for playing it straight are actually okay.
I don't like lying to my players so I can't give them that particular reassurance :-).

But it's true.

The scenario isn't telling you to play without tools the whole race; it's telling you that you start the race without them and have to pioneer them yourself.


  • There is a weapons cache you can find, that also supplies wizards with spellbooks.
  • You can just pick up a length of wood and call it a club. Then plunder any NPCs stupid enough to cross your path.
  • There are rules for making your own weapons.
  • There are rules for foraging spell components. Whether those extend towards foraging for alchemical extracts depends on the GM. I would allow it, since the pursuit rules claim that they're not just an exhaustive enumeration of options; they're also basis for adjudicating other things players try that make sense.
  • You're allowed to bring companion creatures. These are a big asset because they're generally designed to not need any gear anyway.
  • You get advance warning, so you can prepare spells without components. Also, even if you don't find the spellbook in the cache, you can pick damage-dealing cantrips.

After being equipped with a masterwork longsword from the hidden cache the Amiri pregen actually became more effective than she was with the stupid oversized bastard sword.

I think you got the party with about the maximally worst set of PCs to begin with, and they wouldn't or couldn't adapt to the circumstances.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:


I think you got the party with about the maximally worst set of PCs to begin with, and they wouldn't or couldn't adapt to the circumstances.

Couldn't, not wouldn't. The gunslinger could NOT adapt to the circumstances. He tried.

And while "crazy" is perhaps an overstatement I honestly believe that this makes the scenario very, very poor.

There are some characters who are well and truly screwed by the conditions of this scenario. For whom it is NOT an interesting challenge.

And getting that cache is hardly automatic (not that it would have helped the gunslinger). When I ran it the players got the clues and decided to go for the cache themselves. But they lost time when the gunslinger got caught trying to actually be useful by trying to smuggle in a small gun.

5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Try being a relic channeler medium. I could not access the major part of my class the entire scenario.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

My players preferred part one over part 2 to a significant extent, the real issue really is that this one needs a disclaimer about the item restriction.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
waltero wrote:
Try being a relic channeler medium. I could not access the major part of my class the entire scenario.

I find it somewhat amusing that with all of the talk that the best "Pathfinder Society" medium would be a relic channeler, in this specific case it would be exactly counter.

I think perhaps the unfortunate miss in this scenario was not placing a broader systems for GMs to customize the cache to reflect the PCs. I get the mechanic of trying to keep things as primitive as possible, but the author/developer had to realize that with the specific types of characters out there that this would be an issue.

Running tomorrow - I suggested (without giving it away) that players that normally don't carry their Ultimate Equipment (for primitive materials) and spell sources with them do so.

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

Well, the cache isn't perfectly personalized, but that's sort of the point. The only classes that are really in trouble that I can see are:


  • Wizard with bonded item. With a small item it might be doable to smuggle it in. A Magic Aura spell could hide a swallowed ring for example.
  • Gunslingers; they can still use slings, bows/crossbows and javelins, but will be considerably less effective. Still, they're proficient with all martial weapons and probably have a decent Dexterity so they can do something.
  • Alchemists/Investigators - depending on whether the GM is willing to extend the rules for foraging spell components to foraging for extract ingredients. I would allow it; it's quite bad enough having to spend time foraging instead of racing so nobody's getting stuff too easily here.
  • Occultists. Those guys are truly screwed, especially with big implements that can't be smuggled.
  • Wizards/magic/alchemists/investigators that don't find the item cache with the spellbook. They'll have to rely on cantrips and/or measure out their prepared spells extremely carefully.

    That's not as crazy as it sounds though; if you don't run into every encounter because you don't visit every tile, the total number of encounters is about equal to a normal single-day adventure.

  • Characters that specialized in a single weapon that can't be replaced, like Heirloom Weapon or Agile Weapon builds. But that's a weakness of the build that you could have known about when planning it...

Meanwhile, so many classes do just fine:


  • Brawler, monk - fight like nothing has changed
  • Most strength-based builds: pick up a length of wood and call it a club
  • Clerics: get your holy symbol tattoo.
  • Oracles: we don't even need holy symbols.
  • Witches: familiars can come along
  • Sorcerers/psychic casters: what spell components? what spellbook?
  • Druids: oooh, these plants will do just fine as divine focus, and besides, Wildshape RAAARRR
  • Dex-rogues: okay, let's spend a bit of time improvising a dagger
  • Any class with a companion creature: the game system is basically balanced around companions not having gear
  • Kineticists: nobody came up with cool gear for us anyway

You really need to do something special to make a party helpless here.

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Occultist really depends on the schools you choose. I'd guess most have Transmutation and boots/belt are allowed through. You find armor in the stash for Abjuration.

5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Battle Host Occultist is in rough shape.

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yeah, the Battle Host loses focus powers and casting, but you sign up for that possibility when you choose that archetype. They have weapon and armor proficiency to get by.

Silver Crusade 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:


Meanwhile, so many classes do just fine:

Sure, many characters are barely affected, some are affected enough to make it an interesting challenge, and some are affected so much that the character shouldn't bother showing up.

You find that acceptable adventure design. I find it absurdly bad, bordering on insanely bad, adventure design.

My opinion is absolutely very strongly influenced by watching 1/4 of my table do pretty much NOTHING for 4 hours due to absolutely no flaw on the player or characters side.

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

Paul Jackson wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:


Meanwhile, so many classes do just fine:

Sure, many characters are barely affected, some are affected enough to make it an interesting challenge, and some are affected so much that the character shouldn't bother showing up.

You find that acceptable adventure design. I find it absurdly bad, bordering on insanely bad, adventure design.

My opinion is absolutely very strongly influenced by watching 1/4 of my table do pretty much NOTHING for 4 hours due to absolutely no flaw on the player or characters side.

Out of about 34 playable classes (depending on how you count unchained variants), two are really crippled (occultist and gunslinger), and three are in trouble (wizard, alchemist and investigator). That's really not so different from any scenario with a lot of mind-immune enemies or not-sneak-attackable ones, or a scenario full of elemental-attack-proof outsiders for an alchemist or blaster sorcerer.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Out of about 34 playable classes (depending on how you count unchained variants), two are really crippled (occultist and gunslinger), and three are in trouble (wizard, alchemist and investigator). That's really not so different from any scenario with a lot of mind-immune enemies or not-sneak-attackable ones, or a scenario full of elemental-attack-proof outsiders for an alchemist or blaster sorcerer.

I'm gonna try hard to shut up after this as I'm mostly repeating myself.

I disagree. When I create characters I do so knowing that the character has weaknesses and will usually try to at least partially address those weaknesses. My enchanter wizard (Core, even) has spells that are useable against undead. At lower levels, she had a wand of magic missiles. My Str 7 swashbuckler carried a crossbow at early levels. My hunter has Carry Companion so he can take his mount places where he isn't supposed to. My Champion of Irori can do enough damage to get by Elemental DR 15/-. Etc.

If the player chooses to build their character so that there is NOTHING they can do in some reasonably common circumstance that is their choice. The player of the Int/Wis/Cha 7 barbarian can't complain when he isn't killing things, I don't get to complain when my bard goes on a dungeon crawl and can't shmooze anything.

But characters are being shut down who did NOTHING wrong except to pick a particular class. I suppose you could make an argument that nobody should dump Str but, lets face it, its a pretty darn weak argument. The player who dumps STR presumably realizes that there are downsides and risks (Greater Shadows :-)). But one of those risks should NOT be to have your character rendered all but useless for a scenario.

If it was for only part of the scenario I wouldn't mind. Every character is useless for some encounters, that is part of the game. But it was the ENTIRE scenario.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

I personally fell into the "crippled" category, but I kind of viewed it as a challenge. "What can I do without access to my major class features?" As long as some of the party is in decent shape you should be able to succeed. Though it may be necessary to remind them that fleeing is an option in some of the fights.

Non-core Wizards, by the way, are no more crippled than any other class that uses spells with material components. Secluded grimoire can even be cast the day before the race.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Kevin Willis wrote:


Non-core Wizards, by the way, are no more crippled than any other class that uses spells with material components. Secluded grimoire can even be cast the day before the race.

That is a really cool spell :-). Not quite sure why Melee Tactics Toolbox was the delivery device for that spell, mind :-).

That is a pretty obscure spell, though. I don't think many players will think of it when suddenly confronted by the "No equipment!!!!" introduction.

I do agree with one person upthread. This scenario should come with a massive disclaimer (and will if it ever runs again at my store). That would solve most of the problems

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So back to a previous question...

It sure would be nice to know what the intent of providing only the "obvious" paths is. It seems very, very short-sighted to list only hexes 1-8, without providing rules that you need to head due south (thought it was East there for a second, damn map makers making North not up...).

Here's why.

The two main routes that the author assumed the party would take equate to 24 movement (Likely, 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 OR 1, 2, 4, 6, 8). At no advantages taken, and no forced march (which is dangerous due to being severely under-equipped), a speed 3 party can move 7 a day. That equates to a trip time of just under 3.5 days, with likely death due to no water.

An equally obvious "direct-ish" route that takes 1, 2, plains, plains, plains, plains, plains, plains adds up to only 18 movement and bypasses the swamp altogether. Taking that route, per the instructions of when encounters occur, would yield only the first encounter. A group that's particularly ballsy and heads to plains, plains, hills, plains, plains, plains, plains, plains would also only incur 18 movement and would bypass all of the encounters altogether.

In those two cases, with only 18 phases, a group following the same exact strategy of the "main path", but adds a scavenging phase once per day for food and water (providing them a total daily move speed of 5) would reach the finish line at exactly the same time as the expected routes. Using the same deadly strategy as outlined previously (perhaps they have create water?), they'll finish in two and a half days.

In either case, only 18 phases, with zero advantages taken, a group that takes their forced march, even with food/water gathering during that phase will easily beat any competition and will avoid every single combat as they never "enter" tile 2 or 3, "leave" tile 3 or 4", or "finish progressing through Tile 8"

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