Questions on The Gauntlet - free PFRPG charity module (spoilers)


Adventures

Grand Lodge

I noted this new addition to the PF module lineup, and thought I might run it as a pickup game at PaizoCon. However, I do have a few questions:

1. Is it intended for four or six 8th level PCs? I assume six, but thought I'd check.

2. Are there plans to do a PFS chronicle sheet for this? It seems a natural fit for one.

3. Area 6 mentions the six areas on the map labeled A-F. However, the map has no such lettering. What's the intended layout? Doing some reverse engineering from the text, I came up with the following:

DE
BF
AC

And the walls start in the vertical position, not horizontal as shown on the map.

4. This is a correction, not a question: the cobras in Area 2 should be CR 3, not CR 7.

Thank you!


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Hi Damien_DM,

Jason Bulman mentioned on the product page comments that they messed up the map. It was originally submitted 90o to how it is currently displayed (hence the horizontal reference made sense); it got turned 90o counter-clockwise. They also missed off the labeling.

The layout should be:

C | F
-----
B | E
-----
A | D

with the PCs entering into room F.

The other thing that threw me for a moment was reference to the bas-relief faces in room 2 being 30 feet below the floor. The other references indicate that this should read 30 feet above the floor (on the same level as area 1)...

Hope that helps.

Grand Lodge

In reference to the question asked before (but not addressed), will this module get a PFS chronicle sheet?

Just curious.

Thanks!

Brilde

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the response, Shadowfane. I ran this on Thursday evening, just before PaizoCon, and when doing my final review and prep I did realize my error and determine the correct layout, as you cited. It turned out to be a pretty anticlimactic room in practice, as the group simply all stayed in the same cell and moved to the next lever, and the energy field never caught up with them.

I ran five players through The Gauntlet, starting around 4:15 p.m. and running until about 11:15 p.m., for 6 hours total. Here's a summary of what happened:

Exterior: The group did not bother scouting out the exterior. I did note that the dimensions in the text are wrong; it mentions the base being 100 x 100 feet, but per the map it's more like 150 x 100, which is what I told them.

Area 1: The group asked all of their questions up front, not considering the possibility of saving some for later (to be fair, Sorrina's speech does mention that they'd answer them now). They did get a few clues for what they would face, including the usefulness of water breathing and that they would face incorporeal undead. I had prepped a checklist sheet to track questions from each PC, which made the encounter run smoothly.

Area 2: This is a large and complicated area. Best moment was when an enlarged PC jumped from the balcony and failed the roll, faceplanting on the acid carpet. The adamantine cobras were annoying, but their attack bonus was too low to pose a significant threat. Essentially they were a time-waster.

I don't remember seeing any climb DCs for the walls, so set it at 20 or 25. None of the PCs tried entering the green column until after they had closed all the eyes. I caught one or two with the eye blasts, but the damage was not enough at this level to be much more than an annoyance. Surprisingly, no one used flying magic.

Area 3: The party eventually figured out that only the top layer of liquid was acid; they were impressed when I later told them that the scenario did take into account water displacement as a solution. Rather than creating water, they used the bodies of the adamantine cobras, plus the rolled up carpet from Area 1, and dumped those into the pool; I decided that they had enough volume to displace the acid. The tojanida did not pose much of a threat, and were dispatched in about 3 rounds. Again, their attacks and damage were pretty low.

Area 4: This is the first area that really challenged the PCs. The trap has a high attack bonus and does a lot of damage, and I caught a number of PCs when they moved away from its initial 5-foot reach. I think one PC actually dropped below 0 hit points from the damage. However, they soon figured out what they needed to do and deactivated the trap. Much healing ensued.

Area 5: I managed to petrify two characters with the basilisk, to my surprise, leaving 3 PCs and an animal companion to move on to Area 6. Once they had resolved the puzzle there, the group had no problem dealing with the basilisk, and I hand-waved the combat (the party included a barbarian with Lunge plus another ability increasing their reach, so they could reach across the pit and attack it using Blind-Fight, and it had nowhere to run to). They used the blood to unpetrify their comrades and moved on.

Area 6: As mentioned above, this was actually a pretty easy and straightforward area to resolve, and no one was in danger of being shocked.

Area 7: The PCs included someone with a high Bluff who convinced them a scroll of align weapon was worth at least 5000 gp. Note that the creatures can talk but have Int 4, and no Appraise, detect/read magic, Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, or Sense Motive, so to my mind they are really easy to bluff. The party thus concluded their deal quickly and moved on without fighting.

Area 8: There are no stats for the trap or DC for the oil, so I made it similar to the grease spell, with anyone entering having to make a Reflex save, and set the DC at 18. I got a few of them, but the party was easily able to frighten off or harm the pugs with Bluff and minor spellcasting. The gnoll did not pose much of a challenge. One pugwampi did survive, and I decided that since the PCs killed their "goddess," they treated the killing PC as its new god, and wanted to follow them around worshipping them. The party did not have the heart to kill it, but drove it off instead. It returned once, to be driven off again without being killed.

Area 9: The party did not feel the need to rest, so did not tarry here.

Area 10: I decided that the black tar allowed the undead to effectively take 20 on their Stealth checks, and none of the PCs spotted them. The kurobozu did not initially attack since the PCs headed south to Area 11. However, when the PCs returned and moved toward area A12, they did strike. After a surprise round and winning initiative, they nearly dropped the party mesmerist, but the tide of battle quickly turned against them, with one being forced to flee, and the other being slain.

Area 11: Two PCs studied the writing, and actually made the 20% chance of gaining forbidden knowledge. A total of three entered the room and became sickened (no one failed a Will save). Ultimately however, they chose to remove the sickened condition and lose the bonus.

Area 12: The daemon was scary at first, and did some damage, but the PCs managed to shut it down fairly quickly. One PC did wander too close to the orb, however, and rolled a 1 on their Will save, thus grabbing and pocketing the orb.

Area 13: This is as far as the group got in 6 hours--just enough time for me to read the room description, but they did not enter.

At the conclusion of our time, the possibility of meeting again to conclude the scenario was discussed, but a new time has not yet been coordinated. If I do manage to have them get together to complete the adventure, I'll post the results here.

Conclusion: The players largely enjoyed the challenges of the Gauntlet, particularly the environmental difficulties (poison gas, 30-foot drop to floor, water navigation, etc.). They blew through the combats pretty easily, with only a trap and some bad saves causing them significant issues. It's worth noting that, while not completely broken characters, the characters did largely rank high on the power curve. Still, I think a few of the combat encounters (notably in Areas 2 and 3) could have been toughened a little, and another editorial pass made to catch things like the missing trap details in Area 8. (In Area 2 I would rather have had a tough creature with a high hit chance but low damage, to consistently do minor damage until they dealt with it, rather than creatures that end up being a time sink. In Area 3 I'd have probably used something like a giant octopus that could grapple PCs and threaten them with drowning.)

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