S9-04 Unseen Inclusion


GM Discussion

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Twin Cities Metro South

Running this last night, Jack Brown and I thought this was a pretty good scenario.

I would warn GMs - it does seem to expect a bit more improv with the interactions than normal - and there's some really important information not in the red text... such as the first paragraph of the conclusion...

Conclusion:

The red test starts with: Amenopheus catches his breath before walking over to wrap the thrown jewel in a thick cloth. “Unfortunately, this confirms my earlier theory......

but right before that... in black: When Amenopheus attempts to communicate with his ancient colleague’s memories within the sage jewel, it flares angrily, and he casts it across the room instinctively.

Like i said - a solid experience overall from my point of view. The Tier 4-5 DCs not being in every check location was different. I am not one to normally take a highlighter to my scenarios before running but this one i would next time.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

BEWARE!! This is a GM forum thread. Spoilers are not hidden.

Just finished prepping this one for tomorrow.

Not a fan of the 'hidden' DCs for T4-5. Ended-up making a bunch of margin notes for this one. Way more than usual.

This one suffers from an especially egregious let's-hide-the-4-player-adjustment. There's an adjustment block right next to A5, for A6. A5's is two pages earlier.

Overall, I like the scenario. Should be interesting running it tomorrow for a table of newbs. I'll need to keep the GMT reveal quiet from the other tables that will understand it's significance.

Now some notes/questions.

The southern door to B10 isn't explicitly noted as locked like the others. I'm proceeding under the assumption that it has the same DC as the other doors.

Similarly, there is no key for B9 listed anywhere and it's pretty important to SS-faction members. That DC 30 is rough at T1-2. I'm gonna assume the key works here too. If I ever run 3-4, I might make it need unlocked, but that seems cruel.

The Necropolis doesn't seem to be well hinted-at to me. Did I miss something?

How long is Seeking the Dungeons supposed to take, in-game? Obahar is at the dig and fine when they go in/out. When they find him later, he's been driven mad and rambling for an indeterminate time and the div has had long enough to turn all the cultists on themselves and nearly wipe them out.

Is A7 supposed to count as a sense discovery for SS-faction? Is it a freebie if they explore the room?

This one has at least three different progress meters to keep track of. Discovery Points, Clues, Sense Discoveries. This is one of those places where Paizo's preference for a narrative style hurts scenario quality. Some simple charts/bullet-point descriptions of this sort of thing combined with a typographical notation in-text when they happen would go a long way in simplifying prep. Similarly, some sort of typographical notation for the DCs that need adjusted for T4-5. Even as simple as a superscript 4-5 to each DC would be great.

To reiterate, excellent story. Well-written scenario. Looking forward to running it tomorrow. Couple editing issues. Some layout/typographical changes would be a big boon to GMs.

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

Brief skim has shown this to be very strong in story and setup. Looking forward to prepping and running later this week.

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

Ran a slot zero for one of my GMs and our regular play group last night. The story came through wonderfully, with the party cringing at the memories stored in the horns. 4 player adjustment really nerfed the fights, but that was not a huge issue since they were 1-2 anyway.

My GM was running his ninja and felt much the same as Gino about the lock DC. He was just barely able to make it with Take 20, but that definitely meant the cultists were ready. I also had a difficult time deciding if Veshtalz would become visible with his psychic tactics. In the future, I will have it be so, as the party dealt with the cultists and never saw the div as he jetted out of there.

The return of Zurnzal and the infamous GMT got exactly the reaction I hoped for, and the discussion of whether or not to accept the offer despite having all the evidence needed to find the dungeon was quite satisfying.

I erred on the side of the party for the sense checks, as Obahar red herrings the PCs about not tasting anything, and it is very much a 'read the GMs mind' kind of thing.

Overall, damn fine scenario and wonderful build on the Jeweled Sages arc.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston aka Dalzarin

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Gino Melone wrote:

BEWARE!!The southern door to B10 isn't explicitly noted as locked like the others. I'm proceeding under the assumption that it has the same DC as the other doors.

Similarly, there is no key for B9 listed anywhere and it's pretty important to SS-faction members. That DC 30 is rough at T1-2. I'm gonna assume the key works here too. If I ever run 3-4, I might make it need unlocked, but that seems cruel.

The Necropolis doesn't seem to be well hinted-at to me. Did I miss something?

How long is Seeking the Dungeons supposed to take, in-game? Obahar is at the dig and fine when they go in/out. When they find him later, he's been driven mad and rambling for an indeterminate time and the div has had long enough to turn all the cultists on themselves and nearly wipe them out.

Is A7 supposed to count as a sense discovery for SS-faction? Is it a freebie if they explore the room?

Going to run this on Sunday, and overall, I agree with the commentary about the formatting making it a little bit annoying to find relevant information, but that it looks like a really fun scenario. But I do think I can answer a couple questions here:

Doors to B10: in the description, it does say the doors to B10 are locked, even though the B8 description does not say so, which means I assume it is locked. However, in B8, the crazy cultist has a key. In area B9's description, it says the cultist leader in B10 has a key which leads to me to believe there are different keys: Key 1 has two copies, one held by the crazy cultist in B8 and one held by the cultist leader in B10. Key 1 opens the doors to B10. Key 2 is held ONLY by the cultist leader in B10, and opens the doors to B9. So, without the DC 30 disable device check, you have to get through B8 to B10 and then to B9.

The mention of the Necropolis was not well highlighted: in the development after finishing all of area A, when the party talks to Obahar, he is supposed to suggest the Necropolis. That is the only place I can find where players could find out about that lead, though they ought to do so -- as long as the GM doesn't miss that point.

Seeking the Dungeons is, I guess, supposed to be Speed Of Plot. I presume Veshtahz has been flitting back and forth, so he's gotten a head start on driving cultists nuts, but he really kicks it up after the PCs find Obahar. But I think the cultist bodies are probably quite recent in area B.

Regarding A7: I would read "Collectively, though, they provide enough additional information to contribute to these faction PCs’ investigations in this ruin." as saying that yes, documenting the finds counts as 1 point toward the faction goal.

Obviously, I haven't actually run it yet, and all interpretations are my own, but that's how I plan to run this game in two days!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Glad you all are enjoying running the scenario. I still need to take a thorough look at the final (developed and edited) version myself, but I'll do my best to answer any questions as they come up.

There shouldn't be any locked rooms with no keys to be found, as far as I recall, but I'll double check the text. As always, though, defer to the developers!

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

Mike Kimmel wrote:

Glad you all are enjoying running the scenario. I still need to take a thorough look at the final (developed and edited) version myself, but I'll do my best to answer any questions as they come up.

There shouldn't be any locked rooms with no keys to be found, as far as I recall, but I'll double check the text. As always, though, defer to the developers!

Location of key:
The PCs can find a copy of the key in area B8.
Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston aka Dalzarin

All right, just finished running. We wound up with a four person party (rogue 2, alchemist 5, bard 3, cleric 4) who more or less crushed the adventure. Having a lot of good roll available definitely helped them back it through.

Adventure recap

Cut for potential teal deer:

The opening briefing went well -- the group had some questions which were relevant, some of which I could answer reasonably; without any provided back and forth discussion, it's important to be well prepared to answer questions like "how long ago did this happen" and "what do you know about divs?" The questions I got were mostly not too hard, having read through it.

One point I will mention: the briefing throws a fair amount of info at the players and it's important to make sure Diya emphasizes that they are to go to the dig site first, do the interviews and then clear the site, and only after that go chasing down the leads. There was a little confusion about that, which I found not terribly surprising, as the first time I read through the adventure, I got the end of site A then went: "Wait, what's supposed to prompt the players to go after these things again?" The answer was the briefing, but I had to go back and review it, so be alert for players having the same question after an hour and a half of questioning miners and playing around in creepy places.

This group, being fairly rich in skill points, had little trouble finding discoveries. They ended with 6/7 possible, failing to beat one DC by quite enough, though only just missing it because of the 4-5 adjustment. They also were quite good about asking for sensory data (3/4 were scarab sages.) One even tasted the crumbling non-gem stones. That was the last tasting.

Before they even ran knowledge (religion), the alchemist already wanted to pour holy water on the skeletons to dispel the restless spirits; I let them roll religion to do so properly, and so they benefited from that +1 sacred bonus to AC (and actually caused a miss!)

I was encouraged that when the subject of Pharasma came up (as they made a religion check) one of the players asked me if there was a temple of Pharasma in Merab. I was happy to explain that yes, there's necropolis, and it was relieving to have the lead generated so spontaneously from the party without Obahar having to drop it on them.

The battle with the skeletons was fairly simple; with an alchemist, making things fall down is not usually too hard. They did have a problem with the skeletons, who won initiative, crowding the door. The bard got flanked and nearly got dropped after a bad round, but that was as bad as it got. A third skeleton (dropped for four player adjustment) might have caused them some real problems, but then again, between channel and explosive bombs, maybe not much more.

Two damaged caryatid columns turned out to be a little bit on the easy side for them. The second barely got to go before it got destroyed. My vicious side was a little sad I didn't get to shatter any weapons, and I think it made the encounter a little bit too easy, to be honest -- but with four players, shattering a couple weapons could cripple a party, so I can see why one might avoid it. If I could suggest: I would have removed the shatter and magic immunity, but left it's hit points at 36 instead of 20. Then again -- it might just have been tedious at that point.

After mostly cruising to an excellent success, the group met with Obahar and was happy to take his advice to rest, and then pursue their leads. This part of the investigation actually went a lot more quickly than I thought it would, though there was some good opportunity for the party to roleplay. In fact, the group was definitely ready and interested in roleplaying in each location well past where they'd gotten any actually relevant information. I'm going to call this a plus for good hooks.

Then they went back to Obahar, found him chewing on a scroll, and met Zurnzal. They were pretty close to considering an attack on sight for him, but decided to pass. Instead, they heard him out, and might have gone for his offer had I not (as the text instructed) informed them that they probably have enough information without him. It was still 3-to-1, with the rogue (I think) really wanting to see what would happen. So they passed, and avoided incurring a debt.

We skipped the optional encounter, since they had enough info, and it was over three hours into our slot (including a leisurely start to see if anyone else would arrive, and a little bathroom/snack break. I'd estimate two and a half hours actual game play at that point.)

Before we headed for final encounters the group rolled for knowledge on doru divs, since they had learned enough from a variety of sources to put together what this creature must be. This was one of perhaps their most important decisions, as among the many questions they were in a position to ask (with lots of planes among them) was about their spell-like abilities, and I gave them what I considered to be probably the best known: invisibility at will. As such, they went it in loaded for bear with see invisible and glitterdust.

Then the group showed up at the Dungeons. They easily heard the chanting and immediately went to the locked central door. And the rogue rolled a natural twenty to unlock the door, which still only succeeded by one, with him playing out of tier.

Again, the doorway proved a very effective choke point. The cultist held the door while the cabalist started call lighting. The doru through temporary HP (10 on 2d12) to the meleeing cleric. The cleric started up invisibility purge. Channel negative energy was definitely the most effective ability they actually used, though the doru didn't like it much.

In any case, they held on for a while, until the alchemist bombed them out of existence because they didn't have resist fire up, thanks to their immediate entry. Veshtahz tried to get away and the alchemist CRUSHED an acid bomb for 22 points of damage; ER 10/acid is nice, but it's hardly infinite. They kept the cultist leader and the doru alive, as well as the crazy cultist, and all managed to impress Veshtaz; I allowed them all to try different knowledge types on him if their first roll didn't succeed. Not sure if I should have, but I don't think a doru kept in a box would stop listening -- he was, after all, a captive audience.

Wrapping up the rest of the base, then, I did rather quickly, since there weren't any threats, and the adventure was running a little late and the wrap up RP on this one is significant.

It started at noon in theory, but I actually waited a good fifteen to twenty minutes to see if there would be stragglers. We stopped for 10-15 minutes for snacks and map flipping. I was finished handing out chronicle sheets around 4:50. The other table that was running with more players in the low tier was still going. So, be prepared for the potential to go a little bit long, if you can.

Conclusions

Overall, a fun adventure with a lot of flavor and roleplay potential.

Be careful to be sure the party knows the rails the plot intends in briefing.

Difficulties seemed not too hard; this group could have handled more, but an alchemist will do that to a group.

Decision posed by Zurzal's arrival was fun. Would have been a lot more suspenseful if they hadn't nailed all through clues easily before visiting Obahar's place.

Having a way to deal with invisibility is a huge dividing line in this scenario. I made Veshtahz scream when he affected the cultists, which he did every round until they were dead, just because I wanted to be sure any party would know, oh yeah, he's really present. It would be near impossible to find him if he did his standard action to grant temporary HP then moved while still invisible -- I didn't have his invisibility break. I'm not sure how a tier 1-2 would cope.

Group was rather chagrinned at not having closed the door behind them when they entered the room and Veshtahz ran. Fortunately, the alchemist got in one really good shot at his back with acid.

Prepared cards with the visions written out in advance to hand to the people who first touched the horns; highly recommend. Prompts the PCs to describe the vision through their character voice. I also ruled that the horn bits would give their visions once a day, since there's only three. The group actually got Mauta to touch one after calming her down, after which she went hysterical again.

I would be happy to play or GM this one again -- this was a very good RP oriented session. I have to admit, I think the lower tier might be harder, due to the div itself being such a pain in the backside without tools like see invisible, invisibility purge and glitterdust.


Just finished running this and my players loved it. They argued with the Doru at the end after locking the door behind them. They couldn't find him, but he couldn't get out. In the end, he agreed to let them serve as his minions. I've always found it weird, though, when 1-5s give you things like level 7 familiars or 50k items.

I did have one question: what happens when the players confront him with his horns? When they explain they have his memories? Can they reattach them? Does he want them back? It seemed odd that there wasn't mention of that. I had him demand the horns but be completely unable to use them (or even pick them up!) which led to some comical role play. Despite him being a literal being of destruction one of the players spent the entire night feeling bad for him and trying to help.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

I've now run this one three times. All low-tier.

It was as fun as I anticipated, and the reveal got the response I was hoping for. Well, except for the table of brand-new players who had no idea what any of the references meant. :-) All three tables chose "A".

The non-scaling lock DCs are impossible at 1-2 without a dedicated 'rogue'. Even then, the level-one UC Rogue could only make it on a take-20 after we scoured his sheet and found another couple points of bonus he had missed.

The role-play opportunities are HUGE. Seriously, huge. This could have easily been a two-parter. If my count is right, there are 41 numbered locations on the maps. Not counting the seven or so social 'encounters'.

I ruled that the psychic powers didn't break invisibility. As a result, the one party that came in the front door allowed Veshtahz to escape. For the other two parties, I had someone roll a fifty/fifty for each door he'd need to go through to see if it was open. I also ruled that he was having difficulty opening doors. One group befriended him. One slaughtered him.

If he became visible during the psychic tricks, he'd be dead every time. No doubts.

I really enjoyed running this and it has been added to my I'll-run-this-anytime box.

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

I have run this twice, now... both times at low tier.

Both times they had a blast!

However, neither time did they get the chance to see Veshtahz. The first time, they were "clever", and opened three doors up at the same time. He had the choice of doors to flee through.

The second time, they only opened the back door... but they had a path out of him. I gave the only character standing in the back room still a perception check to hear him fly past, but a low perception skill coupled with a low roll meant that he heard nothing.

They were getting frustrated with the high-DC doors (and no rogue). They tried a spell (handy grapnel)that could have worked to for opening, but they couldn't manage to roll high enough to make it happen.

It was kind of interesting to watch them getting annoyed about finding no way into the locked doors (until they found the guy with the key).

The two runs went completely differently, in that the first group had very little combat effectiveness, which caused all the fights to go long (and there were some near-deaths). The second finished fights in a round or two.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I love reading all the recaps of your sessions. Thanks everyone! I'm wishing now that I'd included something about when/why Veshtahz might become visible in the final encounter, because he has art and everything and it's a shame if he stays invisible for the entire fight. Not sure if there will be an official ruling on whether his variant actions count as "attacks," but I'd assume they don't.

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

I ran this yesterday for a group of 5; Paladin 1, Rogue 2 (Sacrab Sage), Brawler 1, Barbarian 2, Shaman 1 (Sacrab Sage).

The encounter with the Skeletal Champoin had the party worried as it was doing a ton of damage and was not being hit. No one went down but there was worry from a few players.

The players did well uncovering the discovers and all the sense information associated with them.

I miss read the portion dealing with Zurnzal and let the decision to accpet his offer up to the Scarb Sage Faction players. They decided to accept GMT's offer of help.

In the final encounter I had Veshtahz be visible but the party had already recieved the information it could go invisible at will. Once they defeated the cultist and were speaking with Veshtahz, some of the party was suspcious with dealing with an evil outsider that caused so much chaos and decided to kill it. It was able to Go invisible and escape.

Funny aside they party kept referring to the Doru as a Baboon and that was played up with them asking people if they ahd seen a Baboon, good times!

Lantern Lodge 4/5

I ran this on Sunday 11/5 for a group of five:
Kitsune rogue 2
Sylph cleric 2 (scarab sages)
Ifrit? paladin 1
Ratfolk rogue 1
Ratfolk witch 1

The group rocked all seven discoveries in the first dungeon. During that portion, the witch tasted the substance from the spitballs on the ceiling. This resulted in (aside from the module recommendations) her hearing whispered voices, which only got louder as the group approached the chest with the horns. She consequently touched all the horns. Since she worshipped a goddess of whispers, it allowed for some amusing role-playing. The skeleton fight was a little rough, with multiple cleave attacks hitting, and one crit. (remember – low level guys). The column fight wasn’t too bad – it was just long (lots of hit points to get through with DR).

The group only got one of the three clues from searching the rest of the town. They even made the knowledge (arcana) check with the shopkeeper...and yet, they didn’t press him any further.

When the ½ orc shows up and makes the offer, I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth when the ratfolk rogue said, “OK, it’s a deal.” One or two players knew who Torch was, but it didn’t change their opinion of making the deal (other than not being sure they could speak for the Society as a whole). After reassuring them that they could, then went ahead with it.

In the cultist hideout, after finding the first cultist pinned with the magical dagger, they kept searching the other bodies. They just KNEW there were more magical weapons just laying about, since apparently this place was just ROLLING in magical weapons, that could be so casually left inside a dead body. Needless to say, they got a little excited when they came upon the armory…

The last fight got rough because they bottle-necked at one of the side passages. They saw the head flying around in the back of the room in the distance (I had it appear when it used its influence powers), but they couldn’t get to it, and had more important things to worry about – like a 3rd level cleric channeling repeatedly. The head stayed in the back of the room for a bit, wanting to stay out of the AoE of the cleric, but once that was over, it was a simple matter to escape over the PCs’ heads invisibly.

One amusing moment – the former Pharasma neophyte they couldn’t talk into coming clean about what happened. The most he would say was, “...I don’t know...Maybe I’m just not feeling it. I don’t know about this whole worship thing. I mean, you Pathfinders dig up bodies, right? What’s the big deal, really?” Long story short, they got the guy out of his ‘penance room’, and brought him to the lodge to start his career as a newly-minted Pathfinder!

My final opinion - it's a fun scenario with a lot of RPing potential. There are a lot of NPC names and identities to keep track of, which can be a bit tricky...and figuring out that the 7 discoveries in the first dungeon have nothing to do with the 3 clues that you need to find in the later city-based portion took a bit to work out when prepping the scenario. Based on just the one running, the fights seem reasonable.

Grand Lodge

I am running this on Monday night. I think I am missing something. Why do the PCs go to the Wayward Alchemist? Seems important, but I can't find the hook.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Olmac wrote:
I am running this on Monday night. I think I am missing something. Why do the PCs go to the Wayward Alchemist? Seems important, but I can't find the hook.

It is listed on the handout 2, so the players should have it after the briefing.

Grand Lodge

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Olmac wrote:
I am running this on Monday night. I think I am missing something. Why do the PCs go to the Wayward Alchemist? Seems important, but I can't find the hook.
It is listed on the handout 2, so the players should have it after the briefing.

Thank you, have no idea how I missed that.

2/5

The bit with Zurnzal was utterly baffling to my group of newbie players, who had no idea who he was, who Grandmaster Torch was, why he should be interested in what they were doing, what Zurnzal wanted them to agree to, or whether they had the authority to agree to anything on behalf of the society. I don't think that missing out the whole episode would detract from the scenario for those players.

Also, you will need to softball the final encounter with a group of 1st or 2nd level characters, and use the suboptimal tactics presented in the statblocks. Three priests each channelling negative energy to harm, thus throwing 3d6 damage per round at the PCs, will drop the entire party in one round on some unfortunate rolls.

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

If those clerics start channeling, they’re going to damage each other as well as the party.

2/5

They're priests with pretty good will saves.

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

So they’re playing Irriseni Roulette with each other. There is a reason the lead priest waits until the other two are failing or down before switching to his 2d6 channel.

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

Every time in a scenario when an NPC calls upon the low-level PCs to make a decision or promise on behalf of the whole Society, I cringe a bit and then ask the GM "do we have any idea if we're allowed to make such commitments?"

Sure, in this case I'd say "Amenopheus generally likes being known for keeping his word, so yeah, if you promise stuff he's going to own up to it. And he's pretty worried about the Sage Jewels so if you think you need to make that promise to succeed, he'd understand."

But it's always a bit jarring if the players have to break the flow of RP to consult with the GM to find out what their characters would know that the players don't, before continuing with the talk.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm scheduled to run this in a few weeks, and have a few questions if I may?

How dangerous/awkward are people finding the caryatid column's shatter weapons ability? I very much doubt the majority of players will know the hardness and hit points of all their weapons, so I'm probably going to have to produce a general list for myself in advance.

When the PCs leave the Halls of the Forgotten Obahar "suggests they rest before proceeding". I'm guessing that this is meant to be giving them a heavy, "get a night's rest...", rather than "have lunch".

And, finally, for now, is there anywhere I can find a potted history of 'Torch, for when I get a whole table that say, "who"?

Thanks.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Every time in a scenario when an NPC calls upon the low-level PCs to make a decision or promise on behalf of the whole Society, I cringe a bit and then ask the GM "do we have any idea if we're allowed to make such commitments?"

Sure, in this case I'd say "Amenopheus generally likes being known for keeping his word, so yeah, if you promise stuff he's going to own up to it. And he's pretty worried about the Sage Jewels so if you think you need to make that promise to succeed, he'd understand."

But it's always a bit jarring if the players have to break the flow of RP to consult with the GM to find out what their characters would know that the players don't, before continuing with the talk.

You can use Zurnzal in-character to respond to these questions, reassuring them that GMT knows how things work in the Society, and that Amenopheus will honor deals his agents make. He can even provide a bit of backstory of who GMT is, if the players have no clue.

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

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:


And, finally, for now, is there anywhere I can find a potted history of 'Torch, for when I get a whole table that say, "who"?

Ok, I'll give that a go in broad strokes. I suppose it's got spoilers to Players, but all of this should be fairly common knowledge to any Agent.

Torch, the Shadow Lodge, and the Sage Jewels:
Grandmaster Torch is a former pathfinder who left the society over what he felt was their callous disregard for the agents. He became an information broker who provided the society with information in exchange for favors. He is cursed with never-healing burns and is typically found in a bath with servents ladeling water onto him while burly guards stand around.

Meanwhile, he was formenting a large group within the society that was likewise unhappy with their management. Calling themselves the shadow lodge, they began a conspiracy to replace the Decimverate. Unfortunately, they suffered their own splintering - some followed Torch and his long term, relatively bloddless plan. Others followed (spoiler) leaders in more immediate and violent plans.

Once the society dealt with the violent splinter, they recognized that the rest of the shadow lodge did have some valid complaints and accepted them as a (playable) faction within the society with Torch as the faction head. This lasted a few years before one of the most contentious scenarios happened. Spoilers abound, but he made an abrubt exit from being a faction head. The remains of the Shadow Lodge were folded back into the other factions. The Grand Lodge faction has evolved since then and now covers much of their portfolio in actions but not in name. Many of the agents who were around at the time passionately hate Torch for what happened there, while others remain loyal to his ideals and are convinced that others have misinterpreted events.

Meanwhile, Torch was back to being an information broker. Amenopheous had the party work with him to track down other Sage Gems. They were successful, but he wound up with the Emerald jewel himself and went back into hiding. He is technically the Emerald Sage and pops up every once in a while to help for a price.

Quite recently though, things got more awkward. There was a huge assault on the city of Absalom, and the is reason to believe that he had at least some involvement in it.

1/5

James Anderson wrote:
Darrell Impey UK wrote:


And, finally, for now, is there anywhere I can find a potted history of 'Torch, for when I get a whole table that say, "who"?

Ok, I'll give that a go in broad strokes. I suppose it's got spoilers to Players, but all of this should be fairly common knowledge to any Agent.

** spoiler omitted **...

With regards to the last line of the spoiler, what evidence is there? I didn't see anything there, but it might be a function of the tier I played or the approach we chose.

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

Torch's Involvement:
The Scarab Sage faction mission involves agents claiming to be under orders from Torch, and the background states that he assisted in planning and coordinating the attack.

1/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
What were they actually doing? All I know about that path is that GOLGAMODH STANDS READY.

Meanwhile, the Sovereign Court was busy saving nobles that forgot they didn't know how to swim.

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

It's also in the box text speech that someone (Ambrus?) says at the end of the scenario. Evidence or not, it's what agents as a whole were told.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Brilliant; thanks James.

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

The Unseen Inclusion p. 8 wrote:
A sprawling message in red symbols covers the floor.

Am I missing something? In what language is this message written? They are later referred to as "magic symbols".

If the red symbols aren't a message that can be deciphered, then they shouldn't be referred to as such in box text as there is no way to determine their meaning. The scenario should say something like, "A sprawling collection of red symbols covers the floor." with an accompanying note that they can't be deciphered.

Grand Lodge

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Mike Kimmel wrote:
I love reading all the recaps of your sessions. Thanks everyone! I'm wishing now that I'd included something about when/why Veshtahz might become visible in the final encounter, because he has art and everything and it's a shame if he stays invisible for the entire fight. Not sure if there will be an official ruling on whether his variant actions count as "attacks," but I'd assume they don't.

I enjoy The Unseen Inclusion very much! Wonderfully written. Very engrossing. I love that Zurnzal was in the story!

There was only one tiny question that I had about it. In the Third Vision on page 11, why does Tahari refer to Veshtahz as a traitor? I was trying to figure out how he had betrayed her.

2/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—London aka waynemarkstubbs

Enoch Abulliar wrote:


There was only one tiny question that I had about it. In the Third Vision on page 11, why does Tahari refer to Veshtahz as a traitor? I was trying to figure out how he had betrayed her.

There are several references to Veshtahz as an unwilling servitor and contemptuous of his mistress, being compelled to serve. So presumably he did something to her bad enough to trigger her wrath, and make her remove his horns and seal him in the underground complex. Betray her to the Song Pharoah, perhaps?

Grand Lodge

Wayne Stubbs wrote:
Enoch Abulliar wrote:


There was only one tiny question that I had about it. In the Third Vision on page 11, why does Tahari refer to Veshtahz as a traitor? I was trying to figure out how he had betrayed her.
There are several references to Veshtahz as an unwilling servitor and contemptuous of his mistress, being compelled to serve. So presumably he did something to her bad enough to trigger her wrath, and make her remove his horns and seal him in the underground complex. Betray her to the Song Pharoah, perhaps?

Yes, they definitely seemed to have an extremely contentious relationship. I agree with you that it seemed that Veshtahz must have done something especially egregious to warrant not only being labeled a traitor, but to also merit being mutilated and sealed in the complex. I also wondered if it had something to do with the Pharoah.

On the other hand: The memories she stole from him and stored in the box of banished memories were memories, in which she let slip clues about her experiments, labs, etc. Maybe Veshtahz wasn’t a “traitor” because of a single act he committed, but because he knew her secrets and could, in theory, expose her at any time.

3/5

The Doru being invisible and the tactics requiring him to use only non-offensive actions makes it very unlikely that he will be found. I'll have to figure something out -- either deviate from the tactics as stated, or give the party lots of free Perception checks to notice him.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Louisville aka Thes Hunter

What I realized when I was running this was: The Doru has no hands. So if the PC’s don’t leave a door open, he can’t escape. I would have been more mindful of that and played up my attention to doors earlier in the scenario. Like at the alchemist shop. Maybe the alchemist saying “you weren’t born in a barn! Close the door.” When the Pc’s come in, so the next door they come to I can make a joke about the alchemist, and find out if they intend to shut the door or leave it open.

So even if he only does things that keep him invisible, there are mechanisms to keep him from totally floating off in the night with the party completely unaware.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

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If the party didn't say, I just rolled a fifty-fifty chance that they closed each door as Doru approached it. Every party considered it fair.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Capturing or killing the doru is certainly intended to be difficult, but I like what a few of you have said about the little hints and tactics you've provided for players so that they have a better chance of success.

I'd personally lean on Knowledge checks when the PCs learn about the doru. "You know that it's likely to flee direct combat, and it can turn invisible. You'll need to find some way to keep a floating head from getting away..."

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