#9-05 Call of the Copper Gate


GM Discussion

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

The chronicle sheet gives access to an elixir of monstrous form that:

Call of the Copper Gate wrote:
gives the benefits of monstrous form to its drinker but expires 1 minute after opening; Ultimate Magic 229

.

Monstrous form isn't a spell (and it isn't italicized on the chronicle sheet), is this supposed to be monstrous physique?

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Michael Eshleman wrote:

The chronicle sheet gives access to an elixir of monstrous form that:

Call of the Copper Gate wrote:
gives the benefits of monstrous form to its drinker but expires 1 minute after opening; Ultimate Magic 229

.

Monstrous form isn't a spell (and it isn't italicized on the chronicle sheet), is this supposed to be monstrous physique?

Yes, it looks like the item name and spell name got a little jumbled. Sorry about that!

The elixir provides the benefit of the monstrous physique I spell for one minute.

Scarab Sages 4/5 ⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Imrizade Blakros found the Gate of Beyond 28 years before the scenario, which is half of 56. Does that matter somehow?

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

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RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Imrizade Blakros found the Gate of Beyond 28 years before the scenario, which is half of 56. Does that matter somehow?

Occult Mysteries has an entire section discussing the Aucturn Enigma.

Occult Mysteries p. 6 wrote:
The numbers 11 and 56 figure prominently in everything related to the Four Pharaohs and the Aucturn Enigma.

Cosmic Captive:
The Untouchable Opal, which contains the Duke of Thunder Ranginori, has remained sealed deep below ground in several different realms over the eons, yet the catastrophic failure of the demiplane that had housed it for millennia recently forced Ayrzul’s servants to seek a new vault. Believing the vacuum of space would be the best defense against any agents of air that might seek Ranginori’s release, these servants deposited the Untouchable Opal within the asteroid known as Aucturn’s Tear, whose eccentric orbit hurtles it through Golarion’s solar system once every 56 years.

Ancients' Anguish:
Tahonikepsu looks toward the ceiling as if watching something beyond. “This coincides with the appearance of a strange visitor in our skies, and I must attend to it and confirm its intentions.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Fyzilka, low tier:

How exactly does this individual manage to conjure magic missiles? I see the wand, but it's not on his list, and he doesn't have any umd.

Because plot?

Hmm, i see that the high tier version has it as a spell known. Curiouser and curiouser...

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

Stephen Wight wrote:

Fyzilka, low tier:

How exactly does this individual manage to conjure magic missiles? I see the wand, but it's not on his list, and he doesn't have any umd.

Because plot?

Hmm, i see that the high tier version has it as a spell known. Curiouser and curiouser...

It's on the psychic spell list.

That said, it looks like d20pfsrd isn't listing it on the Magic Missile page. Nethys has it listed correctly and d20pfsrd has it included correctly on the Psychic spell list.

5/5

Stephen Wight wrote:

Fyzilka, low tier:

How exactly does this individual manage to conjure magic missiles? I see the wand, but it's not on his list, and he doesn't have any umd.

Because plot?

Hmm, i see that the high tier version has it as a spell known. Curiouser and curiouser...

Magic Missile is on the psychic spell list.

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

Just played this one this afternoon, pretty neat adventure.

For the confrontation in the museum though, my guess is that the idea is that the PCs are sort of hopping from crate to crate trying to stay above the gas?

When we came into the room we didn't see the BBEG, and very quickly moved to recover Imrizade. Then got Black Tentacles cast on us, with her in the area of effect. It makes sense from the perspective of the BBEG to bomb the PCs when he gets a nice shot. But it's really disheartening for players if you get hosed like that - trying to protect someone by standing in front of her, and that just means the girl gets targeted too.

I think what would work better is if you try to angle the drop zone of the tentacles to provide maximum obstruction. Don't include Imrizade in the AoE if at all possible, but place the tentacles to delay the PCs long enough for the gas to rise. This is still good tactics for the BBEG because he's not in danger from the gas. Let the games of leaping from crate to crate begin!

Also, the final room is begging for some 3D terrain.

5/5

I have played this and am not prepping to run it and it seems that we are lacking some important information.

Given the amount of confusion being thrown around this scenario really needs more stat block information for the NPC's. Maren Fuln in particular arguably should have been the target of our of the PCs when I played it but we had no way really of resolving that. He probably counts as an ally at that point for confusion. The same could be said for Imrizade if she is conscious.

We are given Imrizades current negative HP total at the start but given the tactics at high tier we really also need to know her con score as she is quite likely to die. She could also become a target if roused back to consciousness.

In encounter A the plant poisons have an onset time of 1 minute and a frequency of 1 minute. I am not seeing how this really increases the CR of the encounter much at all as its likely to be over by the time anyone needs to make a save to take any actual damage.

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Thanks for the feedback! I'm checking in to provide help where possible.

andreww wrote:

Given the amount of confusion being thrown around this scenario really needs more stat block information for the NPC's. Maren Fuln in particular arguably should have been the target of our of the PCs when I played it but we had no way really of resolving that. He probably counts as an ally at that point for confusion. The same could be said for Imrizade if she is conscious.

We are given Imrizades current negative HP total at the start but given the tactics at high tier we really also need to know her con score as she is quite likely to die. She could also become a target if roused back to consciousness.

Imrizade had a Con score of 12 when she first appeared in Voice in the Void, so use that as her Con score in the event that death becomes a threat. As Lau mentioned above, the BBEG is more interested in keeping anyone from disarming the beacon than kicking people while they're down, so the scenario will play better if you try to place the tentacles so that they're an obstacle rather than a direct attack on Imrizade. Naturally initiative and PC actions will influence where the tentacles go, but do keep that tactic in mind.

The NPCs are designed to add flavor and some minor mechanical benefits to PCs who ask for help, but not to overshadow or interfere with the PCs' actions in any given encounter. If confusion causes unavoidable combat between PCs and NPCs, GMs can fudge Maren's numbers remembering he's a 6th-level human wizard with no offensive spells or weapons; stats from the NPC Codex would work fine if the GM has to eyeball something. Imrizade can use her listed attack stats, an AC of 22 (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +4 shield), and saves of Fort +5, Ref +9, and Will +8 in a pinch, given her stats from Voice in the Void.

That being said, nothing pertaining to the NPCs should add additional stress to the GM or take attention away from the PCs. Monsters should always target PCs instead of NPCs, and if the NPC's interaction with confusion or a similar effect gunks up the flow of combat in a way that is frustrating to GMs or PCs, the GM has carte blanche to sideline the NPC from the encounter in a way that makes narrative sense, such as knocking themselves unconscious in their confusion or simply fleeing or cowering away from the action if injured. With the one exception of Imrizade's potential death as collateral damage from the gas or a stray black tentacles spell, the PCs shouldn't really have to spend their efforts keeping the NPCs safe; GMs can communicate this by depicting each NPC as a visibly competent professional capable of handling him- or herself under duress (yes, including Maren).

andreww wrote:
In encounter A the plant poisons have an onset time of 1 minute and a frequency of 1 minute. I am not seeing how this really increases the CR of the encounter much at all as its likely to be over by the time anyone needs to make a save to take any actual damage.

The long-term damage probably won't affect the PCs in the span of this encounter, but it may gradually cause problems en route to the other locations that last into subsequent encounters. Being in a city, they may stop by a temple or apothecary to treat the poison (assuming they find out that's what the problem is), but the GM may rule that such a sidetrack affects the setup of Encounter B in a similar way to being delayed by Arcanamirium staff.

5/5

Christopher Wasko wrote:
Imrizade had a Con score of 12 when she first appeared in Voice in the Void, so use that as her Con score in the event that death becomes a threat. As Lau mentioned above, the BBEG is more interested in keeping anyone from disarming the beacon than kicking people while they're down, so the scenario will play better if you try to place the tentacles so that they're an obstacle rather than a direct attack on Imrizade. Naturally initiative and PC actions will influence where the tentacles go, but do keep that tactic in mind.

Thanks for this. I think the issue here is that Imrizade is pretty much directly between the PC's and the bad guy, making her spot the natural place to drop the tentacles to slow down their advance.

4/5 ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

andreww wrote:
Christopher Wasko wrote:
Imrizade had a Con score of 12 when she first appeared in Voice in the Void, so use that as her Con score in the event that death becomes a threat. As Lau mentioned above, the BBEG is more interested in keeping anyone from disarming the beacon than kicking people while they're down, so the scenario will play better if you try to place the tentacles so that they're an obstacle rather than a direct attack on Imrizade. Naturally initiative and PC actions will influence where the tentacles go, but do keep that tactic in mind.
Thanks for this. I think the issue here is that Imrizade is pretty much directly between the PC's and the bad guy, making her spot the natural place to drop the tentacles to slow down their advance.

Very true, and if that's the most tactically sound option for the BBEG, then that's what he should do, and the PCs will just have to figure something out. That being said, he's a pretty smart villain with lots of options in both his tactics text and his stat block, and his starting point offers him plenty of breathing room (especially if he gets fly off before the encounter begins), so GMs should definitely consider all angles. If he can't catch a bunch of PCs in one casting of black tentacles, or if there isn't an obvious place to put it to stop their approach (such as on some of the boxes or other platforms that they might use to actually reach him or avoid the gas), he might decide he's better off hitting an archer with an uber-boosted mind thrust IV or readying a magic missile to harass a spellcaster as his opening gambit, giving the PCs a round or two to get Imrizade out of the line of fire.

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

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One thing I'm a bit sour on: was it really necessary to give the boss immunity to mind-affecting effects?

There's a trend of psychic caster enemies showing up, all immune to mind-affecting stuff. So they can hit you with Mind Thrust, but you can't return the favor. The adventure has a lot of "occult" flavor, but half the occult spell list is mind-affecting, and almost every monster in this scenario is immune to mind-affecting stuff.

This is getting to be kind of a trend;

To Judge A Soul:
The boss monsters in part 1 are immune to mind-affecting stuff, and the boss of part 2 is an undead mesmerist.

Ancients' Anguish:
The ultimate boss is a lich psychic, who loves his Mind Thrust 6.

House on Hook Street:
So many plants, undead, constructs, troops...

And then in this adventure the first and second encounter have mind-immune monsters, the third encounter has mind-immune monsters at low tier, and the boss is also mind-immune.

It's looking a lot like for any occult adventure, don't bring an occult character.

And what annoys me most is that this guy has the Dark Half power. He's already immune to fear, so he already had protection against being taken out cheaply with Intimidate.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
One thing I'm a bit sour on: was it really necessary to give the boss immunity to mind-affecting effects?

Yeah, I sympathize with your frustration. I can't speak for the authors of the other adventures you cited, but for me part of designing an encounter with a main villain (especially one with high Intelligence) is to consider A) in-game what threats would a BBEG know to protect himself against or realistically have immunities to, and B) meta-game what spells or effects stand the greatest risk of instantly derailing the boss encounter? In the case of a mutant psychic touched by an Outer God and isolated in contemplation about the maddening influences of the Dark Tapestry, in a subtier where many PCs will have access to deep slumber, fear, suggestion, and other major save-or-sucks, immunity to mind-affecting effects made a lot of sense. In some respects even thematically the best defense against an occult character is another occult character; more "pedestrian creatures" (including the grioths in this adventure) are easy fodder for characters that control or manipulate minds, but someone who uses such tricks himself is more likely to steel himself against such tactics.

I tried to give occult characters or other mind-reader types some opportunities to shine in other parts of the adventure (specifically calling out use of such abilities when interacting with Nggilth-Tsa, and leaving the BBEG's big beefy grioths susceptible to suggestions that might stymie their quadruple-18-20-crit-threat-with-bonus-damage full attacks), but for an Intelligence-based final boss I wanted to cover as many easy outs as I could. PC psychics can very realistically rule the field in combat against more conventional enemies (I've seen several powerful foes one-shotted by a mind thrust tripped out with phrenic amplifications and build specializations), but against a boss like this one I wanted an archer or highly mobile melee fighter to get more mileage (especially since they typically have less to offer in more skill-based encounters), and even then for the boss to have some contingency plans in case they showed up.

As for the other encounters, the first one was constructs (not much to be done about that), and Nggilth-Tsa is mind-immune in high tier, but beyond them and the boss I don't think any of the other critters are mind-immune (although divining a cerebric fungus's mind in low-tier might cause headaches).

I know it's probably not what you want to hear, since it doesn't change the fact that this is still one more in a seemingly growing list of occult-flavored adventures where occult-themed classes find themselves somewhat cut off at the knees, but that was my logic when designing the encounter.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Terminalmancer wrote:
Stephen Wight wrote:

Fyzilka, low tier:

How exactly does this individual manage to conjure magic missiles? I see the wand, but it's not on his list, and he doesn't have any umd.

Because plot?

Hmm, i see that the high tier version has it as a spell known. Curiouser and curiouser...

It's on the psychic spell list.

That said, it looks like d20pfsrd isn't listing it on the Magic Missile page. Nethys has it listed correctly and d20pfsrd has it included correctly on the Psychic spell list.

Heh, right you are.

I didn't look in the right places.

Dark Archive 3/5 Venture-Agent, Mexico—Monterrey aka GM Héctor

Why, hello.

Just curious: for roleplay reasons, what "performance" should Zarta use to inspire the PCs? Just words? A short dance? A whip?

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

I left it as sultry singing, but I'm sure creative descriptions will fit right in with her character.

Ran this last night for a party that was NOT appropriate for the tier. 4 of the 5 characters failed versus the psychic blast, making for a cluster of an encounter at the Arcanamirium. I also ended up burning the 4th level ninja's brain out with a horrific Mind Thrust.

The story and NPC mechanic was wonderful, but I'll have to see how it runs with a fully in-tier party to judge the combats.

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

Yeah, after my L4 psychic got caught in the high-tier Black Tentacles... this is not a good adventure to play up in. Some adventures you can get by through hanging to the back of the party, but this one has area attacks.

Dark Archive 4/5

We were wizard heavy playing up with the 4 player adjustment. There were definitely some very harrowing moments. I wouldn't say this one is brutal or anything, but we were definitely pushed. We got terrible initiative and Black Tentacled right away, which very quickly could have turned into a TPK, but we had just enough tricks to survive and get our Mesmerist into Blistering Invective range, at which point he was completely shut down. I agree that the flavor was great. It was even funnier when I commented in the first encounter how Voice in the Void it was...

5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

I left it as sultry singing, but I'm sure creative descriptions will fit right in with her character.

Ran this last night for a party that was NOT appropriate for the tier. 4 of the 5 characters failed versus the psychic blast, making for a cluster of an encounter at the Arcanamirium. I also ended up burning the 4th level ninja's brain out with a horrific Mind Thrust.

The story and NPC mechanic was wonderful, but I'll have to see how it runs with a fully in-tier party to judge the combats.

I had a similar experience running it. A level 5 and 3 6's so playing up with the 4 player adjust. Three of the four succumbed to the confusion, they ended up pretty much knocking each other out. They got lucky when the cleric managed to get his ape companion out from a carry companion on a round where he could act normally and it tanked the thing for a little bit before it died. The gunslinger got feared and cowered in the corner until just near the end. I ended up going easy on the group having the critter feed on various grappled people several times before the gunslinger finally managed to be able to act and blew it away.

The last encounter was similarly difficult with several people grappled for the majority of it. The overcame the boss and tried tying him up (triggering the amulet) and eventually his fast healing brought him around long enough to drop another tentacles on the group. They killed him (they hadn't wanted to, two were dark archives) and I ruled that Nigel turned up and dispelled the tentacles.

Overall I enjoyed both running and playing this one but you don't want to be playing up in this or go with a marginal party.

5/5

Davor Firetusk wrote:
We were wizard heavy playing up with the 4 player adjustment. There were definitely some very harrowing moments. I wouldn't say this one is brutal or anything, but we were definitely pushed. We got terrible initiative and Black Tentacled right away, which very quickly could have turned into a TPK, but we had just enough tricks to survive and get our Mesmerist into Blistering Invective range, at which point he was completely shut down. I agree that the flavor was great. It was even funnier when I commented in the first encounter how Voice in the Void it was...

Just as a note, the boss is immune to both fear and mind affecting effects, blistering invective might set him on fire but in no way does it prevent him from casting spells.

5/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Yeah, after my L4 psychic got caught in the high-tier Black Tentacles... this is not a good adventure to play up in. Some adventures you can get by through hanging to the back of the party, but this one has area attacks.

This is why most of my characters carry lesser talismans of freedom. Ironic, in the circumstances.

5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I also ended up burning the 4th level ninja's brain out with a horrific Mind Thrust.

I reduced the ape companion to about -10HP from full health with a mind thrust, it is surprisingly deadly.

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

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I left it as sultry singing, but I'm sure creative descriptions will fit right in with her character.

I had her singing lines from classic Chelish opera myself. Not far off from your approach.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

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Terminalmancer wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I left it as sultry singing, but I'm sure creative descriptions will fit right in with her character.
I had her singing lines from classic Chelish opera myself. Not far off from your approach.

I will likely go Perform (Comedy) with puns, given her statement in Overflow Archives.

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

This scenario was very frustrating for me as a player, especially when I found out we wouldn't be getting our secondary success prestige. Now reading through it as I prep to GM it this weekend, it seems like part of that was on the GM, but a lot of it is on those secondary-success conditions being non-obvious. I want to make sure that the players at my table don't have the same experience I did, and to that end I would like to hear how you all presented two of the three in particular:

- Healing Imrizade "before the end of the encounter". This seemed very counter-intuitive as a player. You find yourself in a room with some winged aberrations (assuming someone made the perception check to spot them, as they did in my party), a flying psychic, and some encroaching gas, and instead of fighting them off first you're supposed to spend your time healing Imrizade? If you wait until after the battle, oops, too bad, no second prestige for you. How are the players supposed to know they have to heal her first? Did anyone prompt players to stop and heal her? Or come up with a good way to present it that might hint they should do that before fighting?

- Asking the right questions. Our GM gave us no prompting on what questions to ask the thing in Fuln's office, and thus we did not ask the correct ones. I don't want to tell the players what to ask, but again this was frustrating as a player at the end when not having asked the right questions cost us a prestige point. Any suggestions?

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Dennis Muldoon wrote:


- Healing Imrizade "before the end of the encounter". This seemed very counter-intuitive as a player. You find yourself in a room with some winged aberrations (assuming someone made the perception check to spot them, as they did in my party), a flying psychic, and some encroaching gas, and instead of fighting them off first you're supposed to spend your time healing Imrizade? If you wait until after the battle, oops, too bad, no second prestige for you. How are the players supposed to know they have to heal her first? Did anyone prompt players to stop and heal her? Or come up with a good way to present it that might hint they should do that before fighting?

Tell them that the gas looks poisonous — like the other stuff associated with the orbs has been. Imrazade is down and Niles should have stressed that they needed to go make sure she is alright.

You can even make it clearer by saying the poisonous gass is spreading along the floor and soon will cover her.

Quote:
- Asking the right questions. Our GM gave us no prompting on what questions to ask the thing in Fuln's office, and thus we did not ask the correct ones. I don't want to tell the players what to ask, but again this was frustrating as a player at the end when not having asked the right questions cost us a prestige point. Any suggestions?

If they don’t have ideas, have the NPC suggest one of the questions. They still need to make the rolls for interpreting the information.


BretI wrote:
Dennis Muldoon wrote:


- Healing Imrizade "before the end of the encounter". This seemed very counter-intuitive as a player. You find yourself in a room with some winged aberrations (assuming someone made the perception check to spot them, as they did in my party), a flying psychic, and some encroaching gas, and instead of fighting them off first you're supposed to spend your time healing Imrizade? If you wait until after the battle, oops, too bad, no second prestige for you. How are the players supposed to know they have to heal her first? Did anyone prompt players to stop and heal her? Or come up with a good way to present it that might hint they should do that before fighting?

Tell them that the gas looks poisonous — like the other stuff associated with the orbs has been. Imrazade is down and Niles should have stressed that they needed to go make sure she is alright.

You can even make it clearer by saying the poisonous gass is spreading along the floor and soon will cover her.

Quote:
- Asking the right questions. Our GM gave us no prompting on what questions to ask the thing in Fuln's office, and thus we did not ask the correct ones. I don't want to tell the players what to ask, but again this was frustrating as a player at the end when not having asked the right questions cost us a prestige point. Any suggestions?
If they don’t have ideas, have the NPC suggest one of the questions. They still need to make the rolls for interpreting the information.

Maybe it's the way that last part was introduced?

Our party's first priority was saving her. Nigel had been quite distraught about her situation. The Barbarian moved up and repositioned her to block enemies as soon as possible and the healer following soon after having been told our NPC ally needs healing. And if he hadn't, my PC was poised to. (And we were both 3rd level, playing up, so it was with much risk.) Heroes have to heal her, for exactly the reasons given: she too is surrounded by enemies with a caster nearby. And an AoE is to be expected. (Thankfully the caster focused on the Barbarian, as we weren't very threatening and the other PCs were going after the thugs.)
I'd be truly bummed to miss out on the Prestige Point if somebody had Dim Doored her out on round 1, but just hadn't healed her. In that sense, I think it's not obvious that healing is the key vs. excellent rescue. (Arguably Nigel could heal her if you're out of harm's way.)
Then again, the issue may be a matter of party composition. We had enough people to engage the baddies while us underlings moved to rescue the NPC.

As for the questions, I don't know the questions required, but we asked fairly standard ones to gather info. Well, not "we", as my PC was quite afraid of touching minds with such an obvious blight on reality so stayed out in the hall. Not sure why questions would have to be made obvious.

I have a friend that I think played with you, Dennis (we were at the same Con with you, perhaps?). He loved the scenario so much he intends to run it ASAP for our friends. I don't think he felt bummed about the lost PP.

4/5 ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Dennis Muldoon wrote:

This scenario was very frustrating for me as a player, especially when I found out we wouldn't be getting our secondary success prestige. Now reading through it as I prep to GM it this weekend, it seems like part of that was on the GM, but a lot of it is on those secondary-success conditions being non-obvious. I want to make sure that the players at my table don't have the same experience I did, and to that end I would like to hear how you all presented two of the three in particular:

- Healing Imrizade "before the end of the encounter". This seemed very counter-intuitive as a player. You find yourself in a room with some winged aberrations (assuming someone made the perception check to spot them, as they did in my party), a flying psychic, and some encroaching gas, and instead of fighting them off first you're supposed to spend your time healing Imrizade? If you wait until after the battle, oops, too bad, no second prestige for you. How are the players supposed to know they have to heal her first? Did anyone prompt players to stop and heal her? Or come up with a good way to present it that might hint they should do that before fighting?

- Asking the right questions. Our GM gave us no prompting on what questions to ask the thing in Fuln's office, and thus we did not ask the correct ones. I don't want to tell the players what to ask, but again this was frustrating as a player at the end when not having asked the right questions cost us a prestige point. Any suggestions?

Sorry to hear you had a negative experience with 9-05. In response to your questions about the two caveats for full prestige, BretI provides some great ideas. The more you can describe the gas a dangerous-looking and rapidly approaching Imrizade—and the more you can use Nigel to frame the importance of her safety—the more likely it is that players will get the hint that they need to get her out of harm’s way. The PP is contingent upon Imrizade having firsthand evidence that the PCs bailed her out of a real jam.

For your second question, given Nggilth-Tsa’s mental probing, the PCs don’t have to ask the “right questions” per se, but rather just ask any questions at all and make the corollary skill checks (which can be prompted by the GM). If they don’t ask the questions listed, Nggilth-Tsa still gives the closest response after a successful skill check, which may make the answer seem a tad odd if provided out of context (which is fitting for such a weird critter). It sounds like your GM didn’t give much guidance on that section of the adventure, which is a pity.

Hope this helps!

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

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In our case the black tentacles dropped on Imrizade in round one of the combat nearly killed her, and we did some emergency healing to keep her alive, but never got around to healing her to consciousness.

I think this PP condition may have been written too technical and with not enough focus on the intent behind it. Someone swooping in, DimDooring her out before anything can go wrong and Nigel telling her afterwards that the party put her safety above other concerns - shouldn't that also make a good impression?

4/5 ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

In our case the black tentacles dropped on Imrizade in round one of the combat nearly killed her, and we did some emergency healing to keep her alive, but never got around to healing her to consciousness.

I think this PP condition may have been written too technical and with not enough focus on the intent behind it. Someone swooping in, DimDooring her out before anything can go wrong and Nigel telling her afterwards that the party put her safety above other concerns - shouldn't that also make a good impression?

I would say so, yes. The intent and end result (keeping her alive) is there even if the healing is not.

Sovereign Court 2/5 Venture-Agent, Alaska—Anchorage aka 1bent1

I need some help reading the map in area D.
I am assuming areas where G1, G3 and F are the the replicas Irespan walkways, correct? If so are either or both ends of the walk way conceted to the floor?

Sovereign Court 2/5 Venture-Agent, Alaska—Anchorage aka 1bent1

I ran the this this weekend and the group had a blast, I ran this high tier. Group consisted of a lv 7 Swashbuckler, lv 5 psychic bloodline sorcerer, lv 5 dwavern reach fighter/skald, lv 6 arcane bloodline sorcerer and a lv 7 witch pregen.

The first encounter was difficult do to the spellcaster heavy party vs golem swarms with DR.

The second encounter was similar with having to overcome SR and fighting in a confined space.

The third saw all but the dwarf trapped in a Black Tentacle. the swashbuckler was confused much of the final fight and was stuck on the floor either doing nothing or babbling due to the poison.

The game ran long, about a hair over 5 hours do to:
1 The limited party contribution to the first encounter.2 The numerous confusions and grabbles that happened in the final two encounters. 3 The majority of NPCs where immune to mind affecting abilities and the first encounter was immune to magic.
Combined this party make-up was suited to deal with the encounters swiftly.

Many of the fights had the party on edge and worrying but they did well and everyone had a good time.

4/5 ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

@1bent1: I'm glad your players had a good time! Yes, the creatures you listed begin on the Irespan walkways, which are 15 ft. high. One thing the map doesn't really depict well is that the Irespan walkway in the NW corner is actually a stairway, with the end facing the door at ground level and the end facing the copper gate being 15 ft. high like the other walkways. I appreciate the feedback!

Sovereign Court 2/5 Venture-Agent, Alaska—Anchorage aka 1bent1

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Thanks for the response.

The party was fearful of this scenario but not in a resentful way, more in a way that said "We have to put on our big boy pants". More than once someone mentioned "What if we just run and leave this encounter alone? What is the loss of gold and prestige?" They were really taking a look at their capabilities as a group.

I joked at the end once the party was sure they were going to survive (I was never concerned)that if they kept surviving I was never going to earn progress toward my GM boon for killing players. This caused more then a few to gasp and to ask if I was for real. I assured them I was joking and no such thing existed.

It was a good game.


Dennis Muldoon wrote:
This scenario was very frustrating for me as a player, especially when I found out we wouldn't be getting our secondary success prestige. Now reading through it as I prep to GM it this weekend, it seems like part of that was on the GM, but a lot of it is on those secondary-success conditions being non-obvious.

Guys, help me out. Aren't secondary-success conditions supposed to be non-obvious? Like, deliberately obscure so that you struggle to reach them and sometimes fail to guess the correct course of action?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

outshyn wrote:
Guys, help me out. Aren't secondary-success conditions supposed to be non-obvious? Like, deliberately obscure so that you struggle to reach them and sometimes fail to guess the correct course of action?

I don't disagree. The party managing to grab the second PP is great but otherwise I can live without. I'm more worried about the impact on the future metaplot if this is not made. It should be more difficult than the primary mission, otherwise it would make no sense.

In the #9-05 specific case, the GM can make this more difficult than it should be, but the hazard is meant to push the players to make a choice. Do they focus on defeating Fyzilka and the grioths and not caring a single bit about Imrizade, or healing/usher her in security but losing one or two rounds which the mutant can use to control the party ?

It clearly makes the fight more difficult, but frankly, if he doesn't succeed to pin the group at bay on the first three rounds, it's game over for him. That said the PC still must have a decent Will save otherwise the mind thrust is properly nerve-wracking. For my own case, if I had corrently guessed his elemental immunity, I could have two-shotted him with a fireball. It was easier than against the yangethe (probably party composition).

I enjoyed there was a little bit of everything, not only RP, knowledge rolls or combats.

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

There are multiple opinions about secondary success. On the one hand there's the old statement that probably dates back to the days of individual faction prestige, which says that about 1.5 prestige per scenario is expected. Similar to the 4PP you get from a 3XP module.

On the other hand, in the vast majority of scenarios the secondary condition is obvious enough, and achievable, as long as you follow the following approach:


  • Protect the good name of the Society. If we're being slandered, try to remedy that. Don't do things that make us look bad.
  • Make new friends for the Society if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Rescue people.
  • Defeat the monster even if it's not strictly necessary to obtain the MacGuffin that you're here for.
  • If there's an opportunity for a heroic or good deed, might be your second PP.
  • If there's extra knowledge to be gained, historical artifacts to be found, or suchlike, do eeeeet.
  • Tick all the boxes, investigate all the leads, take physical (player) notes of stuff.
  • If there's checks to be made for progress, make them. Often this is about "if the party gets there within X hours" things. Other times there's a remedial encounter for if the party can't make their primary train layover on the plot route. But it costs you.
  • Don't use excessive force. Bring people in for trials instead of slaughtering them. Especially if they may be just misguided or possessed, rather than truly evil; don't kill them.


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I just finally played through this as a player (high tier) and read the module afterwards, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it! However, it has a problem that is similar to 9-03 Border of War. That is, TONS of status effects. Confusion? Yes. Poisons? Yes. Ability damage? Yes. Smoke & Black Tentacles combo effects? Yes.

I think it made for a LOT of fun, but it's also a lot to juggle if you're the GM.

I loved the terrain & environmental challenges. I'd urge GMs to be very familiar with ceiling heights, box/barrel heights, rules for difficult terrain, etc. Know the maps!

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

Was I the only GM disheartened by the lack of information in this scenario?

In Encounter A we're told to open up our CRB to find out the poisons do. This seems like the kind of thing that should be included in the appendix… even if it's just CRB stuff.

Further, I had never before encountered the Psychic Magic Universal Monster Rule. It seems to be assumed all GMs know what the abbreviation "PE" means in a statblock, and how it works. This is far more egregious than the encounter A issue; this rule should absolutely be included in the appendix.

The scenario is pretty complex and potentially deadly — GMs should be given the tools to succeed.

Editorially, this scenario feels like a step backwards, as important components seem to be missing.

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