The Lost Outpost (GM Reference)


Ruins of Azlant

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My group would get into it.

Yeah any perk should be minor at best - probably a small amount of bonus gear as a welcome package.

I have the interview process prepared, It wouldn't be too difficult to work it up into an encounter with a handful of checks and a bit of RP.

I'm still collecting data and thinking things over for this as I'm doing quite a bit of adjusting.


So my party believed Eliza and is now escorting her and Rayland, hands tied and weapons confiscated, back to Talmandor's Bounty. They're being cautious though given that Eliza declared that she's not confident that her and Rayland's minds are their own.


the Lorax wrote:

My group would get into it.

Yeah any perk should be minor at best - probably a small amount of bonus gear as a welcome package.

I have the interview process prepared, It wouldn't be too difficult to work it up into an encounter with a handful of checks and a bit of RP.

I'm still collecting data and thinking things over for this as I'm doing quite a bit of adjusting.

About interviews as a prologue (if that's still relevant for you), I did that, presenting it to the players as a way for us to make sure the characters made sense and for me to get to know their characters and skills so I could add a couple fun things related to that. I sprinkled in a couple skill checks based on the way the roleplaying went (diplomacy, bluff, sense motive, knowledge local) and didn't give specific rewards. The players mostly got a sense of what was expected of them from that.

Maybe I should have added some small reward, as it had very variable results. For some players, it led to some very convincing rp and the players figuring out things about their characters that they had not yet thought about. Others seemed to view it as kind of a chore, and they happened to be the ones who had characters that were slightly harder to justify (though still acceptable) or couldn't really find answers to my questions.

In terms of questions, I asked these:
-Where are you from?
-What do you do for a living there?
-Is anyone else coming with you? (I gave the players a chance to create a few npcs.)
-Why do you want to participate in this endeavor?
-What can you bring to the colony?
-Are you willing to participate in construction and farming efforts?
-In case of danger, such as wild animals attacking, can you defend yourself?
-How do you usually solve conflicts?
-How would you react in the event that you meet some other civilization near the colony?


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JackieLane wrote:


About interviews as a prologue (if that's still relevant for you), I did that, presenting it to the players as a way for us to make sure the characters made sense and for me to get to know their characters and skills so I could add a couple fun things related to that. I sprinkled in a couple skill checks based on the way the roleplaying went (diplomacy, bluff, sense motive, knowledge local) and didn't give specific rewards. The players mostly got a sense of what was expected of them from that.

Totally relevant - I'm still playing around with the re-theme, I've probably got 9+ months before I have to worry about starting the campaign.

And that's exactly the type of thing I have in mind.
I hadn't really thought about using it intentionally to push the players into deeper discovery of who their character is, but that's a great idea actually.


I think I agree, I've found the best RP/character development is done through at table action with some good pre-work to direct conversations. I now deeply regret not doing this with the PC's but maybe I'll add it in as some RP once the colonists settle into the colony. Have it as a sort of "ok, now that we're settled and the danger is past, who are you?"


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My reading between the lines of history seems to indicate a huge financial incentive behind the Roanoke colony, and its continued existence - I want to play a bit more with that idea and try to let at least some of that bleed through into the campaign. The idea that the colonists are being used for financial gain - that there are bigger movers and shakers that may not have their best interests at heart.

I also want to build Buy In from the players and a bit of character development in the direction of why they WANT to be colonist, and to let that be a guiding idea during character creation and initial development.


Yeah I see that first point too, definitely they aren't funding this colonization effort for fun. Someone is expecting to make a profit here, and I expect they're looking to see it materialize sooner rather than later.

I'm currently looking at developing Harcourt from disenfranchised extra son to colonial powerhouse, perhaps being manipulated by the powers that expect to profit from the colony (though I need to figure out where the Andoran government fits in).


With my group, the financial incentive in this expedition was always very openly present. The characters know that there are two reasons to this expedition. One is to further the influence of Andoran abroad, so as to make new allies and spread democracy. The other is to gather more resources and eventually make contacts for trade with other civilizations, mainly in Arcadia. The characters are fully aware of this and have some financial incentive themselves: once the colony is financially viable, they will be awarded a plot of land to use as they wish. I'd be wary of making the people behind the colony too uncaring and unlikable, as there are already a lot of opposing forces in this adventure. Of course, the characters should hopefully care enough about the other colonists to want to protect them, but I'd avoid giving incentive to just abandon the colony. Just my opinion, though, and if the players end up not trusting the higher-ups back in Andoran, I'll probably go with it. XD

My group has reached the end of level 1 a little while ago. I figured I should share my experience.

I won't give all the details, but I've increased the difficulty of some encounters (monkey goblins, ankhegs and blood maize) because there are five players. I did not want to increase the number of encounters, and I'm glad about that, since at the end, the players seemed to feel like checking every house and finding all those monsters was getting slightly tedious, despite some really fun encounters. Most encounters were fairly easy, with the barbarian often killing enemies in a single blow. The monkey goblins, who were more numerous, were a real threat and forced the characters to rest a little early on their first day, but the rest went well.

They are somewhat suffering from their lack of Spellcraft and Disable Device. I've let them trap the clockwork spy, but they have yet to disable it. Since they have not truly manipulated it or ever damaged it (they grappled it, then put it in a box and tied that up), I've let it not selfdestruct. Perhaps they'll get back to it later. As for spellcraft, they are running around with quite a few unidentified items.

The big highlight of the level for our group was the poltergeist, and I'd like to explain what I did with it and what the players did. When they first entered the chapel, the players were somewhat low on health, having rested after the goblins, but lacking some healing magic. They got in, the poltergeist used its frightener ability, and three of the characters, including all the front-liners, failed their saves, so it was time to regroup outside. I had described the piles of ash and some silver objects inside as they walked in, so they really wanted to go back for the loot. So here they were, buffing the barbarian's speed and having him rush in, the dwarven warpriest following for backup, but staying close to the door since he couldn't run away fast, and the Menhir Savant druid using his ability to detect undead by looking through the window and letting the others know where the poltergeist was, just in case it would be dangerous. As the barbarian and warpriest were being pelted with bigger and bigger objects, they ran around, grabbed everything and ran out, very low on health once again. Around the end of the level, once they had the magic sword, magic bow and the warpriest had prepared appropriate spells, they went back, this time to rid the chapel of the undead. The druid was still spending every round detecting the poltergeist and pointing him out to the others. It wasn't easy, but they made it. Now comes the part I took some liberties with : the haunt.

Instead of waiting for the players to engage with the ghost and asking for a linguistics check, I created a sort of code (a sequence, really) that the haunt repeats over and over and which contains hints as to what happened. First, they heard quiet thumps going from the door to the altar, I asked for a Perception DC 10 to hear it, then Sense Motive DC 15 to notice it somehow sounded nervous, like someone walking on tiptoes. Then, there was a louder bang on the altar, followed by heartbeat-like thumps in the altar, slower and slower (DC 15 Sense motive (which I approximated to how you feel like a music piece is sad), to notice a sort of despair). Then, there were loud thuds on the statue of Talmandor and on the bench closest to the altar. (DC 15 Knowledge Society to remember that Talmandor, on top of being a sort of patron of Andoran, is often associated with the Steel Falcons. They failed that one. Also DC 15 K religion/society to tell that the front-most bench in these chapels is often reserved for influential people, leaders in a community.) Just with that, the players understood that something had happened between the undead (unidentified for now) and Arkley, though they have a lot of different hypothesis. They also have an inkling that Silas might have hidden there on his own and bled out, though they are a little indecisive. We shall see how it goes, but the players seemed to really enjoy trying to put the clues together and solve the mystery, so I thought I'd share.


JackieLane wrote:

My group has reached the end of level 1 a little while ago. I figured I should share my experience.

Nicely done, Jackie. Sounds like you dialed up the challenge perfectly to account for five players. I especially like how you handled the haunt and not have Silas communicate directly with the PCs. My main group semi-resolved the poltergeist/Arkley situation at the beginning of book 2 (and at level 4) - they wont have full closure until the end of book 2, so this has been a long-running thread for them. The clockwork spy is also such a great mystery, so I'm glad to hear you didn't self-destruct it.

Both of my groups going through this AP have the opposite problem that yours is facing, as mine have all magic and no tanks - squishy as hell and are having to beg, bribe or payout precious loot to some of the tankier npc's in the colony to "accompany" them on each of their outings. I think they are slightly embarrassed at having to rely on others for this. Hopefully your party will find an npc with suitable spellcraft skills to help them out (for a price?) - maybe give Perrell Beys wizard levels rather than rogue or expert levels.

Looking forward to reading how your group navigates the next chapter!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
JackieLane wrote:
With my group, the financial incentive in this expedition was always very openly present.

You make some nice points, "incentive to just abandon the colony" isn't really going to be much of a threat or option given my re-theme plans, but I don't want to make the players feel TOO trapped in the situation.

Regarding the Haunt - I like your alterations. In reading through the AP, every time I read through that part I keep thinking "How am I going to run this in a way that the players will be interested in rather than frustrated with?"

Thanks for sharing!


we had a similar experience with the haunt but our Paladin of Erastil was heavily motivated to deal with it on the spot. They uncovered the body and buried it so I'm looking forward to having it return as a haunt since they haven't done any "avenging" yet. I like your idea as well of it not communicating with them directly and may use that to play up the sense of mystery.

My party is actually fast approaching level 3, they've cleared shellcracker cave and are currently just mopping up colony encounters. Unfortunately the way they played it I had no choice but to allow the clockwork spy to explode but I've had a player approach Peryl attempting to coerce her via courtship into tinkering with it so I may use her to reveal some of that mystery, maybe a fragment of the recording she's salvaged.

I've had to do similar things Jackie as I'm also running a 5pc party, though our party mostly lacks front liners as opposed to casters. We've got a wizard, a rogue, a paladin, and a druid (lost our 5th member recently. Using him now as an NPC to great effect). I think I've found a replacement however so hopefully someone can step up as a substitute for our bloodrager.

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