Half way through boar hunt a player remembered he had played SOME of the story

Rise of the Runelords

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*Might contain spoilers*

Here's what happened yesterday. This was our third session for 5 players (all have played only the Beginner box) and we got to the Board Hunt (yes, it took us so long). After that, our Druid said out of character that Foxglove name sounded familiar.

What happened - he had joined an on-line group previously to replace a player. First thing he remembers is that they were looking for clues at the sawmill, a lot of ghouls had appeared at the city, then went to the farm and eventually found "a lady who was afraid of mirrors at the Foxglove Manor, we helped her and she ran down. We did not follow". Last thing was they visited the sanatorium and killed GRAYST SEVILLA who gave them some info.

Now I am not sure what to make of this and how to proceed and really, really am looking for an advice. He suggested he does not take part in decision making process with the party, but I am not sure this is a good idea. Not that I underestimate my group, but I think it is really hard not to (think it is the right word) metagame and know what you character does not know.

This is my 2nd experience as GM (first one was the beginners box) and I feel like I have ran into a complication yet to overcome..

Thanks in advance

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Seems like this person only played the first half of book two. If you trust them it should work out, but if not maybe ask that player to sit out the few sessions that would cover areas they're already played.

Maybe their druid is off communing with nature or something.



Yes, I see you, there. Right now. Yes. Also, you need more milk.

Also, also, no, you may not read this post.

This also applies to you, Mort! And you, Lady Firedove! Also, Firedove, we really, really do need more milk...


sorry, had to address the fact that sometimes my players read my posts

So! Wibs!


Welcome to Pathfinder!

I know you've already played the Beginner's Box, but you're still new enough to welcome!

Also: welcome to the forums!

First thing's first: you'll need to know you will git a lot of advice, some of it contradictory, and the only advice that is valid is what works for you and your group. Anything else is just guesswork by a bunch of (well-meaning) strangers!

Generally speaking, I agree with Fumarole - if you trust them, it should work out, but if not, the player could sit the sessions out.

That said...

"Trust" doesn't necessarily mean (in my use) "trust not to metagame."

Metagaming (yes, you used the word correctly!) is not the bad thing it may seem at times.

It can lead to characters making decisions based on player knowledge, but this isn't always bad. In fact, metagaming is important if you'r going to play games with characters that could be contentious: if you play (or have a player playing) a character who might not agree or get along with the group, for the vast majority of tables, you're going to need (that character/player) to metagame, at least a little - it is important for the player to make a decision that works well with the group, and only then justify it in-character. In this way, you allow people to play together and have a good time instead of fight each other and lose their characters and the game.

The important thing is this: will the play experience be enhanced for the rest of the party or hindered? And... why do you think that might be?

Do you have any investigative specialist characters? If not, it may help if, during the later book, the PCs hire an NPC expert to aid in their investigations. If so, you could have the druid player work with the investigator.

For now, though, you're just in a boar hunt. There shouldn't be so much character interaction that something goes too terribly wrong. Even if the PC suspects - strongly! - that something goes wrong with Foxglove, later, there's nothing really wrong with that. In my run-through, I had a player who was very much so certain - certain! - that they would "never see him again... alive." (her words) and even suspected the whole thing. And that's really quite fine.

If you want the druid to be justified in going off, have him feel a call toward contemplating the mysteries of, say, the Green Faith (a faith built around the concept of balance of the four elements, among other things - something that is possible to be mentioned, a bit, in the battle against <spoiler>* or the aftermath, if there's discussion there.

Or maybe he's getting an animal companion or any host of other possible things.

In any event, you should consider awarding him part of the group experience points and moving your group upward together - the player shouldn't be punished for something that was, effectively, beyond his control.

Another or alternate fun thing you can do while the player "sits out" is have them not sit out... by allowing them to make an NPC - probably hag (or, more likely, Changeling) witch cartomancer/harrower who makes some sort of vague and dire prophecy about something vague and mysterious. Who is she? Why is she in the forest? Because she's crazy and weird. She doesn't do anything threatening, she just hangs around and cackles and mentions vague and ominous hints (pre-written by the two of you) on occasions, as they seem appropriate; anything to make her seem crazy... but harmless. Stuff like,

- "See how their wrath skewers the pig! See how their wrath skewers the pig! SEE HOW THEIR WRATH SKEWERS THE PIG~! ... a pig hunt, now, but a fox hunt, later, mayhap. Would anyone like licorice?"

- "I see a dark future for you all. For you aaaaaalllll~!" *cue rumble of thunder* "Yep, it's gonna rain tonight, alright. Ain't no stars shinin' through that puppy. Anyone want cookies?"

- *cough, hack, wheeze, spit* "Ew, that's just nasty. Disease sucks. Hungry for a forest pastry?"

- "A great victory is in your near future. A greeeeaaaat victory... but one life - one right here - will be lost forever in the claiming!" *cue boar charging* get it, because the prophecy refers to the boar "... bacon?"

- "I see a beautiful maiden," *vaguely gestures at a lovely female PC* "who will soon descend deep into the depths of despair; a mirror is her unseen foe!" as it turns out, this nonsense is true: the PC steps in a hole onto some mirror shards "Ooh. Ouch. So... cupcake?"

- "There once was a hog who would snog on a log but got lost in a fog and weren't no hidden prince in that frog leaving you all a-gog! Poetry fee is twelve copper. Chestnuts?"

- "There is a house - the grayest of hues! - of madness of pain and an end long overdue~!" The PCs come across the actual witch's house. "Ah, hullnuts. Uh... piiiiiieeeeee?"

If you think the PCs would hate her and kill her too early, you can magic her up the wazoo, or even have her be a kind of ghostly diviner (an oracle would work for this kind of thing, too) who just sort of haunts people every once in a rare while, and can't rest until she gives a true prediction that isn't terribly close in time to when she gives it. Of course, she's just given several long-term predictions, but the PCs don't know that - and her prediction of "only something true once she's given it as true long-term" may well seem to them just another stupid self-fullfilling condition...

Anyway, hope that helps!


The goblin druid, Gogmurt, in the prickly nettles

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It sounds to me like that PC has had a prophetic vision of some sort. Maybe from Lamashtu....

I say roll with it. It's a snippet of a chapter and it's incomplete at that.


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Skeld wrote:

It sounds to me like that PC has had a prophetic vision of some sort. Maybe from Lamashtu....

I say roll with it. It's a snippet of a chapter and it's incomplete at that.



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First off, one question: did the player share all that he knows with the entire table or just yourself? If they've all heard it trusting not to meta-game is probably a stretch.

I suggest that you let the player know what he knows and just make some subtle changes to the story that invalidates what he knows.


Example: Aldern isn't the ghoul creature. Iesha is. She falls victim to Xanesha's wiles in Magnimar and takes on the mission to harvest material from under Misgivings. She kills Aldern in a fit of jealous rage because he can't stop talking about the heroes he met in Sandpoint and he discovers her efforts . Aldern rises as the revenant. Iesha hates the pc's and tries to frame them for her crimes and bait them to the Misgivings so she can turn them to ghouls.

Or: (this takes more work)
Aldern balks at helping Xanesha (but not until he kills Iesha) and the lamia sends skinsaw cultists to Sandpoint to start harvesting people's greed as well as the poison. They keep Aldern prisoner in Misgivings. Maybe they try out some of their poison on him and he rises as a ghoul. Then they put him to work in the farmlands as a distraction while they sacrifice more Sandpoint citizens. No obsession with the pc's, no incriminating notes, just dead greed-harvested victims. Maybe Grayst isn't ghoul infected, he's just hiding out at the sanatorium after surviving the first attack. He knows Habe or Caizarlu from previous criminal enterprises and he knows the Skinsaw cultists are going to kill him if they ever find him.

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Thank you all for great replies.

We have a deserter Figheter who fixes boats, a Druid with Charisma of 7, a Bard, a Linguist Barbarian and a Cleric of Calistria with us.

Our Fighter, was so eager to go to the boar hunt because "it looks like a major quest line - if we do not follow him, we might not learn something". Not much role play - but I am thinking of adding some easy useless side quests - maybe they will understand not to follow everything. Luckily, the Barbarian talks to much and he scared Aldern from the woods saying they are looking for stolen bodies, zombies, ghouls, walking sceletons. Aldern was so scared that he ran to home to Magnimar.

The Druid told that he had been in another group to everyone, but only I know the details. I have not yet confirmed that this is the same advanture, but based on my questions, I think he is pretty sure :D

I will talk to him about metagaming and most likely will think about visions/trance state like the ones Tacticslion mentioned - not sure the reason for this (as this has to be played through the campaing). He is the most emm.. experienced with RPG (watches a lot of sessions online) and I trust him to play out well. As far as I understand, he does not know Aldern is the Skinsaw man, which is a big relief. Changing him to, say, Iesha will not solve the problem that he knows the Haunts in the Manor and what to ask in the Sanatorium.

Oddly enough, he is a sensetive person and always hectic, so I realy don't want him to sit out those sessions. I have some time until we get to Book 2, luckily.

The important thing is this: will the play experience be enhanced for the rest of the party or hindered? And... why do you think that might be?

I do not think it will hinder that much the play of other party. I currently trust the Druid to play out well, I am more worried that the someone might keep asking him in-game questions "about the future". Or that this will make it hard for the Druid to play along. Also, if the druid is out, I am not sure what to do with XP. Right now I am just deviding the normal one between the 5 of them. THis means they will not the the suggested level once they reach, say, Misgivings and they lack a player for action economy.

The Exchange

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I wasn't around until you called my name! I swear! I don't understand what you meant by you need more milk..? But again I'm not too familiar with internet slang and all that?

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I wish I could give you advice no one else gave you, but in broad strokes everything that could be said seems to have been said.

I started RotRL after our last RotRL group disbanded since the GM of that last group decided to move to another RPG system at the end of book 1. So I took the players who were interested in continuing (3 out of the 6 players that are now in my group) and started from scratch, which naturally meant all through book 1 they've been there before (and very recently). meta gaming was always an option. but all of those three players understood that metagaming at a certain level would spoil it for the three new players on the table and I tried to make the book feel fresh for them by adding storybeats that the former GM left out, changing a couple of scenes around, having a stronger focus on a handful of NPCs that related to the character's backstories and so on.

They appreciated the few changes I made to make it feel new to them and even though they knew where to look to progress the story forward, they left that to the new players while either looking at a different direction or focusing more on Sandpoint politics (and I gave them enough chances to do so)

They had fun through book 1 even though the knew what was coming, even fell into the same traps as the first time round ("just because I know it is there, my characer doesn't").

I don't think having one player on the table who played parts of it before is that much a problem if you as a GM know it and have plans at hand to keep it fresh. which you certainly do anyway since no two GMs have the exact same style of GMing.

Change the name of Grayst Sevilla to Madrid Black and he is a new character your Druid has never encountered before, if you also come up with a different way the group encounters him, sligthly adjust the circumstances than it is fresh, new and exciting even for the Druid.

Foxglove Manor I wouldn't waste sleep over. The way the haunts are handled differ from gaming table to gaming table. I GMed that part of book 2 for 4 different groups as Helloween one-shots over the years and it was always a very, very different experience (I GMed it even before I joined the group of our former GM as a player, because, erm, I've played RotRL before in 2009/2010 and was very excited to experience it again) So if the Druid has been there before? I can guarantee you it will feel different for him this time anyhow. (and if you really want to surprise him, slightly alter a haunt here and there)

Just a Mort wrote:
I wasn't around until you called my name! I swear! I don't understand what you meant by you need more milk..? But again I'm not too familiar with internet slang and all that?

It's not any form of internet slang.

I'm literally telling you that you're in need of more milk in your home, so that you (and/or I) can drink it.

That said, it's a bit of a three-fold joke, though some references are more obscure:

- it refers to the very real and very common, "Hey, we ran out of milk; we need more milk." conversation that Americans (and many others) go stereo-typically hold with other members of their family;

- it refers to a very old Paizo meme that arose from an old thread when one poster visited someone else's home and accidentally drank the last of their milk and used curse words around their child after specifically being asked not to (and then questioning if they did anything wrong),

- and finally it is intentionally subtly implying that I've somehow been able to see into and/or be in your houses and/or have been drinking your milk (which, given that I have not yet figured out how to teleport to the best of my knowledge, seems exceptionally unlikely... except, of course, for the Lady Firedove thing, because, you know, I'm married to her and we live in the same house ;D).

The Exchange

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Strangely I have no milk in my house since we generally are lactose intolerant. You'd have to use milk powder.

I know. I'm powder-intolerant. Hence, you need more milk.

This is still a joke. Pretty much every word. XD

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I'm just going to sit on your couch and go through the old photo albums you tried to hide until you have to kick me out.

We don't hide any photo albums...

I'm not sure the milk discussion is helpful

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I added some midnight milk-related subplots to my RotRL campaign. It was helpful.

Milk is always helpful...!

You brought this on yourself!

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I've got a player who's played through the card game. Meaning that while many story beats haven't necessarily been spoiled, the identity of the major villains is. We're about halfway through book 3 and it hasn't been a problem yet.

I would talk to the player and ask him if he's okay with replaying things he's already done (though this time around he'll actually have context for those things) and not spoiling things for the rest of the group. If he's onboard, just proceed as if you didn't know he's played through this before. If not, then some of the alterations suggested above should make things workable for everyone. (I'd strongly suggest against forcing a player to sit out most of Chapter 2.)

Shadow Lodge

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For the card player, just change names. That's easy enough.

For the player that played through part of Skinsaw, make subtle story changes as Latrecis suggests.

switching rolls:

You can make Aldern the crazy guy a the sanitarium instead of Silva. Then when players go to see him there, they will really feel some sympathy. Especially if one of the players developed a relationship with him.

Make Ironbriar a victim of the Skinsaw Murders and replace him as a cultist with anybody else you like.

Flip the Clocktower and the Sawmill as encounter locations.

Lots of things you can easily do to make the story fresh for all the players.

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