#8–99: The Solstice Scar (GM Discussion)


GM Discussion

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1/5

...but the House only benefits from the success if BOTH are done?

Just making sure.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

For those running Version C (Part 5), please note that there's a correction to the encounter in area O, detailed in the product discussion thread. Please apply this change, particularly if you are running this adventure before we can adjust the PDF and re-release it.

Feel free to discuss the change here rather than in the product discussion thread.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

And the difficult terrain affects the spiders too, thus preventing trample?

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

I think the perception check and chance to act in surprise should mitigate that. I'm not sure how people were losing initiative and getting trampled, since it's a full round action. My team entangled both of them and bugged out.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I think the perception check and chance to act in surprise should mitigate that. I'm not sure how people were losing initiative and getting trampled, since it's a full round action. My team entangled both of them and bugged out.

Two of my players readied actions to hit them (and then hit them again with the AoO's). I don't remember what the other 4 did. This resulted in the first dying before it could get through the entire party. But the second went through with no interference. Second turn it got most of the party in a web, paralyzing half of them. At which point the (paralyzed) witch threw out her only Slumber of the night. It stuck, and then there was just dealing with the poison.

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

I suppose having experienced Elven Entanglement colored our tactical choices.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I suppose having experienced Elven Entanglement colored our tactical choices.

Entangling because of Entanglement? ;)

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Agent, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

James Anderson wrote:
And the difficult terrain affects the spiders too, thus preventing trample?

I must be overlooking something obvious, but how does the difficult terrain mean that the spiders can’t trample the PCs?

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

Janice Piette wrote:
James Anderson wrote:
And the difficult terrain affects the spiders too, thus preventing trample?
I must be overlooking something obvious, but how does the difficult terrain mean that the spiders can’t trample the PCs?

People tend to make the logical leap that trampling is like charging. But it's not. You can trample in a non-straight line and across difficult terrain; but you can't double back to do extra damage to people you've already driven over before.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

Difficult terrain and trample:
The difficult terrain wouldn't affect the trample ability overly much, especially because these creatures explicitly ignore the local hazards. That said, the increased starting distance should provide groups a lot more flexibility in scattering to avoid the effect and maneuvering to avoid being pinned down inside one or more spiders' threatened areas. There might still be trampling, but with that starting distance, the spiders are unlikely to trample too many targets on the opening round.

Again, the idea's to avoid the PCs suddenly being surrounded by—and in the threatened range of—immense spiders with little chance to maneuver or escape. Some groups didn't have any problem here, but that immediate proximity was utterly brutal for others.

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Agent, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

Thanks John and Lau for confirming that the spider trample maneuver is ok. I can see how the original starting positions could be a death trap for the PCs.

Tactics Discussion: Encounter O (10-11):
I’m going to be running this encounter in a couple weeks and plan to open with a trample and web if I get the chance.

Hopefully they make the perception check to see the 8 legs of terror zeroing in on their location. I aim for maximum fear! (Even though they will probably go down quickly if the PCs keep a level head. I want to enjoy the looks of horror when I plunk two 6x6 spider “minis” on the map. :) )

Tactics Discussion: Encounter N (10-11):

Speaking of tactics: Any tips from others on how to maximize the PCs fear in encounter N? (Horralydax). Assuming he is aware of the approaching PCs, I was thinking to have him waiting in his freezing fog when the PCs enter so they think “oh it’s just two kobolds, -Shaw.” Until the dragon breathes on them once he gets a turn. Not sure what to do if Horralydax gets a second turn. Full attack anyone who comes near? Make flyby bite attack and head up into the tunnels?

Anyone have better suggestions?

To clarify, I am not looking for sneaky ways to slaughter PCs. Just competent tactics for creatures I don’t run often. My goal is to have “my guys” survive a couple rounds and challenge the PCs to make the encounters feel dangerous.

5/5

John Compton wrote:

For those running Version C (Part 5), please note that there's a correction to the encounter in area O, detailed in the product discussion thread. Please apply this change, particularly if you are running this adventure before we can adjust the PDF and re-release it.

Feel free to discuss the change here rather than in the product discussion thread.

We played Tier 10-11 Solstice Scar Part C at UK Gamesexpo on Saturday night with the amended encounter. Tonya asked us to provide some feedback following these changes given the events at Paizocon.

We had a 5 person table with:

1. Dual wielding melee samurai, very much a glass cannon with mid 20's AC but around 120-150 damage per full attack depending on the number of threats.

2. Dex based shocking grasp magus, similar damage, more durable with higher AC and mirror image and very much benefitting from the multiple rests provided by the scenario.

3. A taxi cleric with a giant wasp companion and the travel domain, lots of dimension doors, dimensional hop and support buffs.

4. A wizard with more dimension doors, buffs, and a smattering of different types of control .

5. My bard/oracle, covering all skills, inspire at 3/3, good hope, beacon of luck, freedom of movement masterpiece, jesters jaunt and thundercall for some direct damage.

Part 1:
We tore apart the first encounter faster than I have ever seen it done. The bodak was lost to a hungry pit, the devourer died when the magus and samurai were dimension doored into melee, the rage wights got a couple of hits in before being melee'd to death. Negative levels were easily removed.

The ritual encounter was similarly dispatched. Freedom of movement masterpiece went up, everyone got dimension doored into the circle, the tentacle thing was ignored and the archers were focused fired down very fast.

We convinced the tribal elders to help and then time was called on the section.

Pary 2:
This went much like the first part.. The initial encounter saw the drakes stunned and plummet to their death, the magus took a couple of lucky hits through his mage armour, the kobold barbarians didn't last long enough to do much else.

We spoke to the fey rulers and got their support and barely reached the first encounter of the next bit before being moved onto the dragon. That seems to be fairly typical.

The dragon had people dumped into his face with ddoor and breathed once before dying to excessive melee damage after being hit by three separate dispel magics

Part 3:
This was new to all of us. We had all played part A and several had played part B. The travel through the woods was a little annoying, the scenario didn't seem to account for use of things like find the path or freedom of movement.

We made the hard DC to spot the spiders so they started some distance away and they were identified fairly easily. Even recognising that they had trample we didn't spread out much, mostly we took to the air hoping that they couldn't reach us to trample, although we couldn't get out of their melee reach due to the canopy cover. Three of us were persistently flying, I have a carpet, the wizard has overland flight and the cleric was riding his wasp. The magus took flight hex on round 1 and the samurai had air walk dropped on him. By the time the spiders acted we were all 40' up, they were some distance away and could only move closer on round 1. Round two we relocated the melee onto one and it died. I failed to stun the second and it trampled us through the tree branches for 40 or so damage. The following round it died as melee people were again relocated.

We were a bit confused about the talking tree section as was our GM.

We completed the last encounter three times before time was called, each time being able to teleport or dimension door people into melee, each time with global freedom of movement. The shambling mounds simply never came into it and the heart thing never got to act a single time, routinely taking 250+ damage in a single round. The orc shaman never acted, being trapped in a resilient sphere the first time and ignored subsequently when we realised we only needed to kill the heart.

Our experience is possibly not typical for the tier for various reasons.

1. While we only had 5 players we had four extremely experienced players. Our 5th was the GM's son (playing the samurai) and while he knew what he was doing he is quite young and we had him getting help throughout the game to do the maths quickly.

2. We had a mass of resources, buffs and answers to issues. With two full prepared casters, many buffs, massive knowledge checks to understand what was going on and far better manuverability than the enemy we were able to take advantage of any weaknesses and place pressure where it needed to be.

3. We were organised. Knowing that we only had 5 we went in knowing we needed to work together to survive. We had a fairly lengthy discussion before we started about what we did, what we could cover and how we could complement each other.

4. We had a very organised GM who kept things moving quickly and we did the same. Lots of times I see people in high levels games suffering analysis paralysis and dithering for ages before deciding what to do. We knew we couldn't do that and it made a huge difference. When I played Part A at 10-11 we were lucky to get to round 2 of any encounter before being moved on. Here we finished Part A well before anyone else and had a longer break. We were the first group to report a success on Part C.

Overall Part C has probably been my favourite version to play. I can certainly see how the new encounter in the fangwood could be very dangerous, especially as I understand the original version ha them starting very close. I can see groups with more melee and less spellcasting support might well struggle but when you have equivalent or better movement than the enemy lives becomes much easier.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

Andrew Hoskins wrote:

A table can use (gain the benefit of) up to 1 aid token per encounter. When they use it in this way they immediately pass it.

A table can forgo the benefits of an aid token and attempt to boost it. After they attempt, they immediately pass it.

They do not get the opportunity to use it and boost it.

Essentially, if your table receives an aid token and doesn't really need the benefits. Instead of just sitting on it for the rest of the scenario, they're encouraged to try and boost it and pass it to the next table, who may desperately need it. For smaller venues, they might even ask what sort of benefit another table needs and try and boost that aspect.

This directly contradicts the text on the aid token. If this is how it should function, I would suggest altering the text on the aid token for future versions to reflect the intent.

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

I think the description of the aid token in the scenario, and the aid token itself, do not 100% agree on everything.

Seems to be the best solution would be to redesign the aid token so that it is the only description of what it does, and that it is complete.

5/5

James Anderson wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I think the perception check and chance to act in surprise should mitigate that. I'm not sure how people were losing initiative and getting trampled, since it's a full round action. My team entangled both of them and bugged out.
Two of my players readied actions to hit them (and then hit them again with the AoO's). I don't remember what the other 4 did. This resulted in the first dying before it could get through the entire party. But the second went through with no interference. Second turn it got most of the party in a web, paralyzing half of them. At which point the (paralyzed) witch threw out her only Slumber of the night. It stuck, and then there was just dealing with the poison.

Aren't they some form of giant spiders and therefore immune to slumber as vermin? I have only played it, not run, so I haven't seen the statblock but that was certainly what they looked like to us.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

GreySector wrote:
Andrew Hoskins wrote:

A table can use (gain the benefit of) up to 1 aid token per encounter. When they use it in this way they immediately pass it.

A table can forgo the benefits of an aid token and attempt to boost it. After they attempt, they immediately pass it.

They do not get the opportunity to use it and boost it.

Essentially, if your table receives an aid token and doesn't really need the benefits. Instead of just sitting on it for the rest of the scenario, they're encouraged to try and boost it and pass it to the next table, who may desperately need it. For smaller venues, they might even ask what sort of benefit another table needs and try and boost that aspect.

This directly contradicts the text on the aid token. If this is how it should function, I would suggest altering the text on the aid token for future versions to reflect the intent.

I don't have the aid token, only what was written for A and B and the intent of the mechanic. It's possible that this changed in development at some point in time. Can you post what you're seeing with the aid token? Is the text on the token taken directly from the scenario or was this provided by the overseer GM?

There are many variables at play here that I cannot anticipate nor comment on without more information.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

andreww wrote:
James Anderson wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I think the perception check and chance to act in surprise should mitigate that. I'm not sure how people were losing initiative and getting trampled, since it's a full round action. My team entangled both of them and bugged out.
Two of my players readied actions to hit them (and then hit them again with the AoO's). I don't remember what the other 4 did. This resulted in the first dying before it could get through the entire party. But the second went through with no interference. Second turn it got most of the party in a web, paralyzing half of them. At which point the (paralyzed) witch threw out her only Slumber of the night. It stuck, and then there was just dealing with the poison.
Aren't they some form of giant spiders and therefore immune to slumber as vermin? I have only played it, not run, so I haven't seen the statblock but that was certainly what they looked like to us.

You're totally right about that. Oh well.

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

Vermin are immune to mind-affecting, but the hex is not called out as such an effect as far as I can tell. Either way, not a big deal.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

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I think Slumber counts as "enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]" because it's based on the sleep spell. But yeah, I wouldn't worry about it. There are no 100% perfect runs as a GM.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I think the perception check and chance to act in surprise should mitigate that. I'm not sure how people were losing initiative and getting trampled, since it's a full round action. My team entangled both of them and bugged out.

When I ran it, I did not even give a surprise round. The spiders rolled high, and the party low. In hind sight, I should have rolled the spiders initiatives separately. But, they did get the chance to trample, or at least one did.

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Has part 1 changed from version A to B? same question on Part 3 from A to B to C? I've already run version A, running version B this weekend and running version C at GenCon, so just want to know if I need to re-print or if I can save a few dozen sheets of paper and some toner and use the one I already have.

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

To my knowledge there were no updates between versions.

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
To my knowledge there were no updates between versions.

Thanks!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island aka Daneel

This post references page numbers from version B; I ran vB as overseer GM at my local store and Iammars was one of my table GMs. We had a mild disagreement about counting successes.

In the "Chaos at the Museum" successes section [p9], special success (Failing Wards) doesn't appear to add to the successes necessary for determining which condition is in effect when area "C" opens; but Andrew Hoskins corrected that up-thread (special successes do apply). In "Winter Solstice" [p21], although diplomatic successes do affect base successes, special successes (Portal Closed) again do not appear to. In "Ivvora's Fate", [p32] base successes (Scattered Kobolds) very specifically doesn't include special or fey successes, and Surprised Dragons appears not to as well.

But Iammars pointed out that with most encounters in "Ivvora's Fate" taking an average of a half-hour to complete, if Fey Successes don't apply towards getting Surprised Dragons, we'd never get the 2.5 encounters-per-table needed to trigger Surprised Dragons within the 60-minute limit.

Obviously, in "Ivvora's Fate" and "Blighted Battleground" (version C), special successes can't add to base successes, since those areas don't open up until enough normal successes are accrued. But am I reading it right? (Since "Chaos at the Museum" is gone), barring diplomatic successes in "Winter Solstice" do special/fey successes never apply to base successes? And the same appears to go for not adding spirit successes to base successes in "Blighted Battleground". Were all the tables at my store just slowpokes? Or should I be adding all these successes to the base successes except where specifically barred from doing so?

-Daneel

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

Everett D Mitola wrote:

This post references page numbers from version B; I ran vB as overseer GM at my local store and Iammars was one of my table GMs. We had a mild disagreement about counting successes.

In the "Chaos at the Museum" successes section [p9], special success (Failing Wards) doesn't appear to add to the successes necessary for determining which condition is in effect when area "C" opens; but Andrew Hoskins corrected that up-thread (special successes do apply). In "Winter Solstice" [p21], although diplomatic successes do affect base successes, special successes (Portal Closed) again do not appear to. In "Ivvora's Fate", [p32] base successes (Scattered Kobolds) very specifically doesn't include special or fey successes, and Surprised Dragons appears not to as well.

But Iammars pointed out that with most encounters in "Ivvora's Fate" taking an average of a half-hour to complete, if Fey Successes don't apply towards getting Surprised Dragons, we'd never get the 2.5 encounters-per-table needed to trigger Surprised Dragons within the 60-minute limit.

Obviously, in "Ivvora's Fate" and "Blighted Battleground" (version C), special successes can't add to base successes, since those areas don't open up until enough normal successes are accrued. But am I reading it right? (Since "Chaos at the Museum" is gone), barring diplomatic successes in "Winter Solstice" do special/fey successes never apply to base successes? And the same appears to go for not adding spirit successes to base successes in "Blighted Battleground". Were all the tables at my store just slowpokes? Or should I be adding all these successes to the base successes except where specifically barred from doing so?

-Daneel

Unless a member of the PFS team wants to override this, here is my intention:

Version A
A3. Magical Wards - Awards a special success; this also counts as a regular success
F. The High Ground - Doesn't list that it grants a success, but it counts as a regular success
G. Orc Leadership - Awards a special success; this also counts as a regular success
I. Seeking Aid - Awards either one or two diplomatic successes; if the PCs earn at least one diplomatic success, this counts as a regular success.
J. Voice of the Shadow - Awards a special success; this also counts as a regular success

Version B
K. Leaf and Scale - Report one success (it's buried at the end of Development; they're missing a hard return before "Reporting:")
K. The Fey's Favor - Awards a fey success; this also counts as a regular success.
N. Dragon's Lair - Awards a special success; this also counts as a regular success.

Version C
I don't have a copy of this, but due to the number of successes you need to have any positive outcome: all "encounters" should at least count for a success. If you get some other type of success, it also counts as a regular success.
Worst case scenario? PCs get slightly more in-scenario rewards and have more fun. Nothing lost.

Be generous. Have fun.

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