Beyond the Veiled Past (GM Reference)


Ruins of Azlant


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 6 of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Dark Archive

So something I'm confused about:

How the heck antipaladin in this adventure has their powers if their demon lord patron is already dead? ._.

Also, while the book has stats for Auberon's artifact phylactery(and its stated its in Ochymua's person even though its not written in its gear), it never actually states what happens in practice if Auberon was slain. I mean, yeah, it states Ochymua's plan was trying to trap the lich, but it also states Ochymua wasn't aware of real powers of the artifact(so dunno if that means the hourly con drain or that if it con drains then it takes 1d10 hours for Auberon to come back). So if Auberon was killed, what happens? Does he come back and have epic duel with Ochymua? Does he just retreat with his artifact phylactery being his only gear being stuck in the place until PCs arrive? Does Ochymua realize phylactery is draining it and just destroy it? Does Ochymua actually succeed in trapping the lich even with con drain risk?

Grand Lodge

I have a very savvy player, with a character with very high Knowledge checks. As of the end of The Lost Outpost, he'd convinced Ramona to have the party run detect magic/evil scans of the colonists (there is an inquisitor in the party). At the start of Into the Shattered Continent, he noticed the initial group of faceless stalkers trying to avoid the party and caught them... remembering that they can't eat solid food. So now Talmandor's Bounty is guarding against infiltrators by detecting magic on new arrivals, while offering them a snack and watching until they eat something.

I would find it quite surprising if the guard is dropped by the time the Mainland Reinforcements arrive. I'm debating whether I should instead declare the supply ship "lost at sea" or simply have the party arrive during an open attack from Ochymua's forces. Or should I deem that the brilliant veiled master somehow never learns of these precautions and the reinforcements are locked in a barracks until their enchantment runs out?

I suppose it might be interesting to run it as a battle between the Peregrine's dominated officers and the reinforcements on one side, and the colonists on the other, with the party arriving at the conflict's height.

Grand Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:

So something I'm confused about:

How the heck antipaladin in this adventure has their powers if their demon lord patron is already dead? ._.

The easiest workaround is to pick a new patron for the anitpaladin. Dagon and Nergal are the most obvious, at least to me.

Starfinder Society Developer

Posted this in a PM to CorvusMask before I saw this thread, but...

For Rashimos, she's not really had to use her abilities as she's waited in seclusion for ages. So, much like a cleric who memorized spells prior to his/her god's death, Rashimos's abilities are still available for her encounter with the PCs. If somehow the PCs figured this out and decided to hit/run her over the course of days, then I'd probably just state that there's another demonic deity who took on a patron role, while still pretending to be Ibdurengian.

As for the phylactery, that's something that's entirely up to the GM. The phylactery's presence in this adventure is left in more as a closer for the previous adventure. Heck, I didn't even have the phylactery in my final turnover—it's one of the many plot items the developer smoothed over between adventures. I would probably suggest that Auberon could revive and help the PCs, if he was anywhere near an ally in the previous adventure. Overall, I'd probably keep the phylactery's role as something to explore past the end of the final adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The stats for Ochymua on page 62 list him as having Mage Armor as a constant spell-like ability, but he has no armor bonus to his AC. Adding that in would increase his AC to 36/21 touch/28 flat before adding another +4 for his Shield spell per his tactics. I suspect this is just a typo. The question is, which part is the typo: the Mage Armor or the listed AC?

On an unrelated note, how did Ochymua get into the Doomsday Stores with his minions? The PCs have to run all over the facility collecting ioun stones to get in. He must have bypassed that somehow? The adventure just says he "made his way in", which is ... vague.

Grand Lodge

I agree that was disappointingly vague... maybe we should give Ochymua an identical set of ioun stones which it also had to sneakily collect from the various wings? (Leaving the harder-to-collect ones for the PCs, naturally)...though I am also puzzled as to how Ochymua and the aboleth engineers bypassed Jazradan.

I'd think Jazradan's ghost, primarily characterized by his hatred for alghollthus, would be spending a lot of time trying to wear the Ochymua and its minions down, and then having to Rejuvenate before the helpful PCs arrive.

Although I suppose that could be why Ochymua isn't able to activate the Device before the PCs reach it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's an idea -- Gardener had a partner, another wyrwood named Custodian. Gardener was charged with grounds maintenance outside the facility and became a druid; Custodian was in charge of maintenance inside the facility, and became an wizard (or similar).

Custodian thus had a unique ioun stone heart that granted it full access to everything, including the Doomsday stores. When Ochymua showed up, he encountered Custodian. One dead wyrwood later, Ochymua had access to everything.

As for how he bypassed Jazradan, that's easy. Maze. Undead aren't immune to it, there's no save, and although SR does apply, Jazradan's SR is only 18, and Ochymua passes that caster level check on a natural 1.

So Ochymua showed up, Jazradan assaulted him, and Ochymua said "Go away" and mazed him. Jazradan has a +8 on the INT check to get out, so he needs to roll a 12 up, giving him a 45% chance of getting out each round; but for the sake of drama, we as GMs can put our thumbs firmly on the scales of probability and say Jazradan was so flabbergasted to be removed so easily that it took him a couple of minutes to recover and get out. Meanwhile Ochymua waltzed straight in.

The adventure is a little vague on how free Jazradan is to move around the facility, but I don't think he should be able to just show up anywhere inside. Ochymua is the tangible presence of an enemy he fought tirelessly in life, and that kept his soul bound here for ten millennia. If Jazradan had free reign to go anywhere in the facility, there is nothing in heaven or on earth that would stop him from assaulting Ochymua over and over until he killed him. That would be a fight that Ochymua can only win by fleeing, because Jazradan cannot be permanently destroyed.

Therefore, I think for the sake of consistency, it makes sense to say that he can appear in any room that has a functional projection pad. Once he's in the room, he can stay even if the pad gets disabled, but he can't come back if the pad isn't working. The chamber in the Doomsday Stores would need to have one, but he hasn't been able to access it all this time. Initially that was because it got disabled by the security lockdown. Later, when Ochymua arrived, he pulled the power cable (or arcane equivalent), so it's not currently active.

Jazradan should ask the PCs to turn it back on so he can help fight Ochymua. If they fail to do so, he's locked out, and that means he can't operate the Synchrony Device -- which would hugely affect that end conditions of the adventure! It could avoid the fight with Jazradan altogether.

That might be the best, honestly, because otherwise the party is going to have to sit there and destroy Jazradan every 2d4 days forever, or until they manage to track down and destroy every single remaining projection pad in the whole of Azlant. In between fighting him at unpredictable intervals.

Lastly, I'd like to note that it is awesome that in this AP saving the world comes down to a Disable Device check. Rogues everywhere should feel vindicated.

EDIT: just after posting this, it occurred to me that if the facility had Custodian, and also Jazradan, why didn't Jazradan get Custodian to open the vaults millennia ago so he could enact his vengeance? Nuts. Back to the drawing board on how Ochymua got in ...

Grand Lodge

I suppose it's possible Ochymua simply teleported in. But as he's stated to have moved through the upper floors to conduct his research, that he would be able to consistently land in the proper portion of the facility seems... awfully convenient.

And if the lower hub isn't warded against teleportation, I can see a lot of groups skipping most of the Compass.

As for Jazradan, it seems to me that, as written, the Compass projection pad is his actual location, where the others are only extra sensors. As he's not actually working through the projection pad, and he's incorporeal, he's been unable to reprogram the Compass's clockworks (either to enact his vengeance or to clear the way for his dupes, were he inclined to do so). But his fly range appears to cover the entire facility... not that he'd do anything to risk the PCs learning of this.

Grand Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:
Also, while the book has stats for Auberon's artifact phylactery(and its stated its in Ochymua's person even though its not written in its gear), it never actually states what happens in practice if Auberon was slain. I mean, yeah, it states Ochymua's plan was trying to trap the lich, but it also states Ochymua wasn't aware of real powers of the artifact(so dunno if that means the hourly con drain or that if it con drains then it takes 1d10 hours for Auberon to come back). So if Auberon was killed, what happens? Does he come back and have epic duel with Ochymua? Does he just retreat with his artifact phylactery being his only gear being stuck in the place until PCs arrive? Does Ochymua realize phylactery is draining it and just destroy it? Does Ochymua actually succeed in trapping the lich even with con drain risk?

I would deem that if the PCs destroy Auberon's body in Tower of the Drowned Dead, Ochymua takes 1d6 Con drain from the phylactery before it figures out what's happening to it, and manages to divest itself of the ioun stone. At that point, given that it is supposed to have 21 Wis, I expect Ochymua would reconsider the idea of trying to imprison a powerful caster who apparently reforms with all his spells ready, and hates aquatic intelligences and, as an undead, is immune to all mind-affecting magic. Ochymua would then destroy the reforming body, the phylactery, and with its 27 Int deducing the PCs are hot on its trail erect some additional defenses.

Although destroying it would be more difficult for an alghollothu, as they religiously avoid divine association, and thus would not have easy access to consecrate.

Althernately the lich is easily trapped by Ochymua, with no spellbooks and only the spells he hadn't used up on the day his body was destroyed, and knowing better to take on the PCs again in his weakened state.


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It says one place Ochymua has the device set to central Avistan and the Plane of Water, another that it's set to Absalom and the Plane of Air?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Velarys wrote:
As he's not actually working through the projection pad, and he's incorporeal, he's been unable to reprogram the Compass's clockworks (either to enact his vengeance or to clear the way for his dupes, were he inclined to do so).

He's got Mage Hand prepped. I once wrote a scenario involving a bored ghost who had several centuries and mage hand. She delicately engraved elaborate geometric designs into the stone walls of her tomb using a rock, just so she'd have something to do.

Anyway, Jazradan! Mage Hand has some weight restrictions, of course, but how hard is it to push buttons on a doomsday device? And even if it requires more weight than can be exerted by the spell, he could always change the conditions: stack up small objects until they exert enough pressure, say. Or nudge a spellbook off the shelf in the library so he can flip through to the page that has Telekinesis on it, after which everything gets way easier.

Grand Lodge

I assume he only has access to spells because his spellbooks are part of his Ghostly Trappings (though they weren't detailed). And I assume that the doomsday device controls require a combination of strength and delicacy (or Dex if you prefer). The controls also appear more complicated than just "buttons." But we were looking for reasons he -hasn't- set the doomsday device off yet, not more ways he could.

Maybe one of the safety precautions was making the doomsday device unresponsive to inputs that do not come from living flesh? I'm sure they could have come up with magic for that.

Grand Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:

So something I'm confused about:

How the heck antipaladin in this adventure has their powers if their demon lord patron is already dead? ._.

Much like Paladins, Antipaladins don't actually need a deity for any of their powers. Check out the class write ups, nothing requires them to worship a deity. Even with the demon lord she worshiped being dead, she would still be able to prep spells and use all her other antipaladin abilities.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Besides, the fact that your patron is dead does not mean that somebody else didn't take his or her place ... even without you knowing that. There were several NPCs over the years who were convinced that their powers come from entity X ... while in fact, it was entity Y.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Veiled masters really, really need nondetection. Best if it's constant. Otherwise true seeing ruins everything and even detect evil is a problem. (Luckily pierce disguise will not work as it only counters lower level disguises, and both polymorph and veil are too high.)

It is hard to imagine that Ochymua's captors never thought of true seeing.

The infiltration and domination plans in Module 6 aren't really going to work--they are too easy for high level PCs to spot--but I can live with that. Ochymua itself, though, needs some help, because an unveiled Veiled Master is a sorry sight.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think that it would be acceptable (in home campaigns) to house-rule that veiled masters have constant non-detection. Does anyone think that such a change would be un-balanced?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

So I am wondering, would it be heavy handed for Ochymua to activate the Synchrony Device if the PCs spend too much time for crafting or downtime? I believe that most groups of PCs will get the idea that they should address the rising armies of Ochymua and the threat of a dooms day weapon as soon as possible but I am preparing for a possibility that the PCs take too much time.

Liberty's Edge

First, a really big thank you to everyone who has posted lists, forensic accountings of colonists, additional mini-maps and alternative plot rationales, etc. on these sites for books 1-6 of RoA. However, I still have some issues with the underlying plot of the AP:

i) So, there’s this island (now called Ancorato) which has peeked out of the Arcadian Ocean for 10,000 years the whole time entertaining Spindlelock - the prison of the big bad O.

ii) It has been well discussed in these threads already (for Book 5) but there’s this incredibly powerful (and genocidal) Lich Auberon who has managed to exert his influence out to a whole 25 mile radius from his base in all that time. He has amassed a huge amount of intelligence on much of Golarion though. But no, he never came across Spindlelock only 150 miles away. I mean, these islands are the last bits of Azlant sticking out of the sea but Auberon (or subordinate) never managed to visit them - or if they did, they missed Spindlelock.

iii) Sometime before AR 4317 (400+ years ago), the Pathfinder Durvin Gest explored the islands and found a number of the interesting places for the party to visit in Book 2 – but he missed Spindlelock.

iv) Decades ago the Hag Helekhterie came to the island and “has consolidated her power base on Ancorato” since – but she missed Spindlelock.

v) Three years ago (AR 4715?), the islands were surveyed by Captain Ancorato and crew who “discovered an island with fresh water, thick forests with plenty of animals to hunt and plants to forage, and an easy landing.” Everything that the party runs across in Books 1 and 2 they missed – most especially Spindlelock, and the Hag plus her forces.

Spindlelock is completely protected against scrying I concede, but it is a perfectly preserved tower on a relatively elevated area that a group of 3rd level characters have no trouble finding. So how does the big O remain undiscovered for 10,000 years?

Here’s my predicament. In a few weeks I am going to be running this for a very experienced group – and I’m not going to be able to impart a plot to them that I don’t get myself. In addition I know they want to play everything as a sandbox, no railroading:

1) Once they realise that the colony is empty and that there are bad things in it (Goblins, swarm, whatever) they’ll go back to the ship and insist they colonists disembark and clear out the place. That’s 60 people including a number of NPCs of higher level than the party. Makes much more sense than entrusting the entire task to 6 x 1st level characters. I am not going to be able sell sailing up the coast to the beta site with a full ship.

2) Then they’ll want to sail round the islands in the Peregrine checking for the missing colonists (oops, that’s Books 3 and 6).

3) And when it comes to exploring Ancorato they’ll just dust off Ultimate Campaign which says the maximum time it will take, assuming the most difficult terrain, is 4 days. So that’s every “fixed” encounter of Books 1 and 2 in 4 days – plus added time for burials of course.

Deep respect to everyone who has refashioned this AP into their own campaigns – but I am not in a position to do so. So how has everyone who has run this (and hasn’t rewritten it):

a) explained the epic failures of previous surveys / NPCs to find Spindlelock.

b) compartmentalised the events of the 6 Books without blatantly laying down the tracks for the players to follow?

I’ve run Mummy’s Mask before, which seems straightforward compared to this. Is this one only for really experienced (even game author level) GMs?


I can't yet comment on book 6, but regarding your other points:

It probably doesn't hurt to declare that one of the magical protections of the Spindlelock Facility prevents it from being found unless directed to it. Both Eliza and the players get that information from the Constructs, so they are covered.

As for other explanations:

ii) I intent to use the idea from the previous books thread to make Auberon basically a couch potato. In my version his plane allows him to see misfortune that happened all over the world and he has so much fun watching others suffer that he doesn't really care adding to it. This has the added benefit that his plane can be used as another opportunity to give the group some details about the Earthfall they may have missed before (like some HD pictures of Amazmen dying after absorbing its magic, which Auberon finds hillarious). It is a bit goofy, but should be a good fit for my group.

iii) Durvin Gest found a lot of interesting stuff, give this guy a break. Revealing Wayfinders and Decumvirate Helmets probably kept him occupied. If anything it is a bit strange there weren't other experienced exploration teams following his footsteps.

iv) Helekhterie isn't interested in azlanti ruins unless they help her with the ritual, so even if she knew about the Spindlelock Facility she probably didn't care.

v) Captain Ancorato wouldn't really want to travel too far from the coast and isn't interested in archeological finds either.

About the PCs actions in book 1:

1) They are not the leaders of the colony and they can't simply tell everyone what to do. The settlers are mostly noncombatants and Ramona is afraid they will immediately try to get away from the island if they see something too gruesome. If this happens the whole expedition is basically over. This is why she needs the PCs to explore and secure the area first.

2) They also can't force the ship to sail around the island, because the captain is only paid to bring the settlers to the island and his crew is already frightened after the ship stopped moving and stuff. He wont risk his life, his crew and his ship (and the money he would make by returning right away) for some people he doesn't know. This is why the world needs heroes like the players.

3) They aren't tasked to race from one end to the other, they are tasked to map out the area and find valuable ressources. I don't possess Ultimate Campaign, but if it claims all this can be done in 4 days on an overgrown remote island of that size, then Ultimate Campaign is the book you want to change.
Keep in mind some areas are even magical in nature, such as the vampire forest.

Liberty's Edge

Many thanks, that's very helpful. New Lich Archetype (Couch Potato), cool.

Will put in some "clues" (red herrings) regarding the Hag into Part 1. Nothing too explicit, just so the party has an idea of something big and powerful in the hinterland. Hopefully that will focus them on just the first island, and be cautious about the exploration. And, of course, blame the disappearance of the colonists on it...


Elsbeth Maison d'Argent wrote:


Here’s my predicament. In a few weeks I am going to be running this for a very experienced...

I'm looking forward to reading how your party fared and how you handled the challenges you outlined. I've run two groups through RoA Book 1 now - one group of inexperienced players and another very experienced. I was worried about much of what you bring up, but so far, as we move into Book 2, its all playing out nicely.

Fear and mystery of the unexplored island interior are your friends, here. Once the PCs are dropped off at Talmandor's Bounty, they are on their own and the world outside the palisade walls needs to be a really scary place. I'm using an occasional distant bellow and faraway snapping of trees to dissuade my group from wandering too far too fast (see the smoke monster from Lost).

In both groups, leaving the colony to find the Peregrine at the beta site was terrifying for them. Later, when they followed the clockwork spy up to the harbinger's dais, they wanted to take half the colony with them for safety. They practically did, too.

The PCs will be 1st-3rd level for most of this and there are plenty of random encounters in Book 1 alone to keep them close to home. The second night after the beta colonists had settled in, I had a flock of enchanter herons land, mesmerize of few colonists, swallow a few goats, and then fly off into the night. The presence of chokers, monkey goblins and adult(or advanced) boars can keep them from wandering too far. The river drake encounter and any or all of the encounters with the named mobs (Grelvix, Vegelror and Arghelnar) will also help to curtail too much exploration. I even described a near-shore battle between a bunyip and seacat which kept the PCs from from swimming around much.

A couple of other things. I added a 1-mile hex overlay to the Ancorato map and reduced the amount of ground they can explore to a 1 mile hex per day as long as they are using machetes because the vegetation is so thick. Remember, too, that Ramona is in charge and she can also be a factor in controlling how far and when the PCs explore the island.

Between the dangers of the island interior and the difficult terrain, I don't think any of my PCs will question Durvin Gest's proclivity for limiting his exploration to the beach areas and not discovering Spindlelock. In addition, I made sure that Ramona told the PCs at some point that Captain Ancorato made only a few cursory stops ashore and did most of his scouting from the safety of his ship.

Maybe one other thing that might help is to emphasize there are a lot of Azlanti ruins in these islands, Spindlelock is just one of them and Auberon, perhaps, had no reason to care about it. Ochymua was in stasis and would not have necessarily drawn attention to itself from scrying or other arcane means of discovery.

At any rate, have fun with this AP! Watch Lost, if you haven't already, and steal/borrow mightily from that source. I've currently got Anya Sandstrider playing the role of John Locke - she ranges out into the jungle alone, sometimes for days and seems to know something about the island that the PCs don't. They don't really trust her, but often feel like they need to. :)

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