# 9 - 07 Salvation of the Sages


GM Discussion

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Recently played this, and will be running at convention at the end of the month. I'm skeerd.

On our play-through, the rule was 'you free the Sage, you get the Sage' for mechanical purposes, with the only outlier being someone who had freed two Sages handing one off to the player whose character was deaded by the the last fight... and they used the NPC (who would have been ineffective against the BBEG) to remove said dead character from the area of further death/necromancy effects.

Even as it was, this thing looks to take a lot of time, and the idea of using the Sages to regulate said time use seems an appropriate means of resource.

What other pitfalls have other folks seen running this?

****

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In a time-constrained setting, I might consider displaying a timer at the table for the slot. I might even run it in special-like fashion, with the encounter being called on certain time stamps to facilitate movement. In a 5 hour slot, that might look like this:

30 minutes: Briefing and introductions
60 minutes: Area A
60-90 minutes: Area B (you have in-game justification of this having a cutoff, tailor to the party)
105-135 minutes: Area C
15 minutes: Chronicles

I would also enforce a rule of "if you don't begin your action within 5 seconds of your name being called, you are auto-delayed until you have an action ready."

The worst possible outcome of the scenario is perma-death because the PCs didn't do the things necessary to cure the disease, but the next worst is failing to complete Area C to wrap up the story. Your best case is that the players blaze through Area A (we had a very powerful reach fighter at my table that facilitated that quite well) and use the remaining time on the Area B investigation.

*** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Paul Jackson wrote:


Some groups aren't going to have any chance. The all martial group fails. No chance at all really. Mediocre skills are just not going to cut it.

Actually, looking at the scenario again it depends on the martial characters. Paladins are amply capable of doing most of the checks though I do build out my character to be really good at the skills she's capable of doing.

***** Venture-Captain, Georgia—Savannah

Zyraen wrote:
Played at High Tier, so here was how it went in some detail. I was fortunate that the GM is a good friend of mine and he provided more detail.

I just dropped in to say a big THANK YOU for this awesome round-by-round combat breakdown. I'm in my final prep phase to run this in less than 48 hours and your breakdown answered every lingering question I even thought about having! I wish more folks did these kinds of breakdowns! Thanks again!

Shadow Lodge *****

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I suddenly want to have my paladin purchase a +1 gauntlet for this scenario.

Spoiler:
And when he activates his divine bond for disruptive say "This hand of mine glows with an awesome POWER! Its burning grip tells me to defeat you!"

***** Venture-Captain, Georgia—Savannah

William Donald wrote:
(An especially dick move: Ermias could attempt to take control of Sinuhotep with his Undead Mastery.)

That might actually be good for the players, since it would be a waste of action economy. Undead Mastery requires a save, and one of the Handouts (number 6, I think) says that all the Sages automatically succeed on all saves while in combat. So unless Ermias was somehow able to act outside of combat, Sinuhotep is immune to Undead Mastery. :-)

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

However, it could also be an 'out' for the party for one action, while making them sweat before realizing...

Liberty's Edge ***

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In The paragraph of box text just before the first encounter, the players are told to "disable the device" and that one of the Sages would help them. This seems deliberately misleading, as "disable the device " means send in the rogue, not make a dc 30ish knowledge arcana or religion.
So of course, the trap goes off.
Is this bait and switch tactic going to become the new norm? I 1 starred this adventure just on that deceptive tactic alone.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Is this bait and switch tactic going to become the new norm?

A one time incident is not a pattern.

Shadow Lodge *****

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And there are so many better reasons to rate this scenario poorly than a single instance of casual language confusion. How else would you tell someone to deal with it in common speech? Plus, the trap itself has a Disable Device DC and a DC5 Perception DC. While a rogue cannot disable the monolith to end the encounter, he can disable the trap to allow a character with the appropriate knowledge to approach.

***

I ran this last night for a high tier group, and it took much longer than even I had imagined it would (we started at 6 pm and finished around 4 am). As a suggestion (that I have seen posted above) this module required a metric forktonne of prep. I can't even imagine trying to run this module cold, and I have a decent amount of skill for doing so.

Let me start by saying, F the map for the final encounter. It took me over an hour to draw by hand. No offense to the mod writer, but man I was upset about that one.

My group: Fighter, Barbarian/Alchemist, Summoner, Skald (the one with the archetype that gives out weapon bonuses instead of rage song), Bloodrager, rogue/fighter. There were 2 level 8s in the group, but everyone else was solidly in tier. None of the PCs were scarab sages.

Having reread the module, I realized that even with about a weeks prep I missed a couple of things when I ran it:

1) I missed that it was a free action and not a full-round action to enter the gems.

2) I completely missed the timeframe at the location, even though I read the boxed text with it in it (it was 4 am by the time we finished, so I think I can forgive myself this one); this means that the PCs had time to craft the cure after the ritual (which I realized they shouldn't have; although they did end up spending money to teleport to Absalom then purchase scrolls to have the ability to make the checks *crafter's fortune scrolls*)

3) I accidentally left in the 3rd group of ghasts at the high tier.

Okay, so here's my breakdown of the module:

The PCs receive the mission, and surprisingly no one at the table had a problem with letting Torch come along.

PCs arrive at the site thanks to dragonride (can cross that off the bucketlist!) and shenanigans happen. During the fight, most pcs use either spells or magic items to fly, except the poor barbarian/alchemist, who got paralyzed and pretty much stayed that way the entire time. The players chose Tahanikepsu for their sage, who provided useful flanking for the bloodrager and breath weapons which allowed her to destroy or mop up a group of ghasts. Gashadokuro did grapple the bloodrager but it died before the bloodrager could be swallowed.

Exploring the complex: Went mostly as could be expected, but I will note that in the alchemy lab, there's a mention of an everdripping broken vial that I couldn't find rules for anywhere. I just described it as being a malfunctioning magic item. Did have one player open a vial to identify it and he managed to give himself blinding sickness (not that he mattered really, as it has an onset time of days).

The players explored the mindscape for longer than I thought they would, but some of them did not appreciate the fact that there was little in the way they could do to identify a good from bad memory (which I might have missed in the description at the time, but I don't remember seeing anywhere). The Skald player almost automatically made the hard DC for Sense motive to see through the Div's lies, so that was less helpful.

the trap on the bridge was easily dealt with, and the PCs wondered about the wand selection there (after the module, I explained and the ones paying attention got it).

Final fight: As for Tahanikepsu being in human form as someone mentioned above, the map shows her in dragon form so that's what I used.

I read Aminephas' instructions on not using magic during the ritual, and they followed instructions. the characters split into two teams of three and with aids managed to successfully succeed on three checks.

Fight then started. I described the light of the gems as flowing into her form, which I also used when she took over someone's body, as the light was still flowing to her.

This fight took me about three hours to run, as she is a powerful caster who also have possession and draining touch abilities.

I mainly either cast spells or possessed people, although I did hand out con drain a few times.

as far as the "paladin" of Osiris went, the fighter and the blinded (the barbarian/alchemist spent all 12 rounds blinded from Tahari's quickened glitterdust) plus Tahanikepsu (once she was freed) dealt with him. I had him calling out instructions and when he came into the room (since I didn't see him on the map anywhere, I assumed that he entered the room from the hallway at the start of the combat) he began begging to the group in common for them to set him free. During the fight, he would critique missed attacks on him and make suggestions on how to overcome his defenses. I mainly had him attack, but he did do his acid cone once and corrupting touch attack on the fighter (who ate the staggered condition).

I did have some issues with players who got a bit cranky during the module as it was long, but I specifically stayed away from using her circle of death spell cause I didn't want to kill the level 8 characters who were playing up.

Using her possession ability, I managed to possess everyone but the Skald (who made his save on the nose). There were several moments where only one PC was available for her to possess and so at one point I suffocated the bloodrager and then entered his body (although when he failed the second suffocation save, he died when his rage dropped due to not having raging vitality, but Torch produced a scroll of breath of life and that was used by the rogue to save his life). I dropped most of the group by using possession, including the bloodrager, rogue and barbarian/alchemist and then using them as a bag of temporary HP.

The sages were helpful for dealing with possessed PCs, as they were a source of autodamage (the PCs freed Tahankepsu, Torch, and Sinohotep) and the Skald really helped them by handing out ghost touch and energy damage to their attacks.

Suggestions for the final combat to other GMS:

I would probably focus on doing something like having Tahari cast a spell and then attempt either corrupting touch or draining touch enemies. I think I overused her possession ability somewhat, and on reflection I think it might have added to the frustration level of the party (although dropping 13d6 damage on someone is nothing to sneeze at either).

The Shiva div had an interesting fate, as Sinohotep using his paralyzing touch on it and it rolled a 1 on the save.

Overall, I feel like it was a well written module, but PREP PREP PREP!

**** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 aka Matt Duval

I'm sad to hear you had a bad experience, ScrollMasterRob. It was not intended to be a bait and switch. I'm glad you posted as I was concerned what the issue might have been after reading your review.

I'm curious what the preference would be for mapping. I deferred from making a custom map for this adventure primarily because I wanted to avoid making GMs work to draw and used in print flip-mats for that reason. What would be the ideal?

The div in the memory extractor mindscape always tells lies. Once the PCs figure that out they can use him as a reverse detector of the bad rooms. It's not explicitly spelled out in the text to use him that way, but it does say he always calls the safe rooms dangerous and the dangerous rooms safe. Even if they can't Sense Motive or make the Knowledge check, the hope is the PCs will identify the pattern after a memory or two. Of course I've also seen a paladin decide his save bonuses were high enough that puzzle-solving was for chumps and just powered through them all. ;-)

It's a never-ending calibration to improve at writing these. I'm grateful to everyone for sharing their experiences :-)

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Okay.

I've read through this sucker three times and I've played it.

What's the *best* way to streamline while maintaining the spirit of the scenario in the event of Player/GM fatigue?

I'm running this at a convention next weekend, and I want to have options available to keep things moving (and not have an eight hour run if it can be avoided).

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I think the recommendation to do theater of the mind for the exploration of area B is one of the top ones. Cut out the minis and tactical movement and talk it out. (Knowing your background, I think you should have that in the bag.) Most of what can affect the party is based on character actions rather than placement.

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The clean-room does need tactical movement, but yes, on the play-through having the minis out really complicated the mindscape.

Maybe I can bring a map of a town to use to indicate buildings to enter (even though a mindscape is fluid) just to give a 'feel' (and to keep better track of things...

Will have to think about that one.

**

Matt Duval wrote:

I'm sad to hear you had a bad experience, ScrollMasterRob. It was not intended to be a bait and switch. I'm glad you posted as I was concerned what the issue might have been after reading your review.

I'm curious what the preference would be for mapping. I deferred from making a custom map for this adventure primarily because I wanted to avoid making GMs work to draw and used in print flip-mats for that reason. What would be the ideal?

The div in the memory extractor mindscape always tells lies. Once the PCs figure that out they can use him as a reverse detector of the bad rooms. It's not explicitly spelled out in the text to use him that way, but it does say he always calls the safe rooms dangerous and the dangerous rooms safe. Even if they can't Sense Motive or make the Knowledge check, the hope is the PCs will identify the pattern after a memory or two. Of course I've also seen a paladin decide his save bonuses were high enough that puzzle-solving was for chumps and just powered through them all. ;-)

It's a never-ending calibration to improve at writing these. I'm grateful to everyone for sharing their experiences :-)

That's funny because my PC figured that out, but since the Div is so smart, we figured since he knew that we knew that then he could lie or tell the truth as needed to best deceive us. There's nothing about Divs (that I know of) that locks them into such speech patterns.

That said, we sent the lich through. :)

**** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 aka Matt Duval

Sepid divs are particularly bad about this:

"Sepids delight in twisting the truth, but while all divs are liars, sepids make themselves predictable by always doing the opposite of what they claim, and wise opponents turn this knowledge to their own advantage."

Scarab Sages ****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As for players wishing to get the amazing boon for Scarab Sage characters...I really don't think it's the intention to have a faction ending scenario be a benefit to those players that want to hop factions so they can get all the cool stuff on one character. Narratively, a person with 10 goals filled has been with the faction for some time, and should rightly be considered for that boon. Someone who just started this season (in August) really doesn't have the history with the organization.

It's a bit like people who wanted to switch factions twice in season 4 to get the cool boons.

With that being said, if you have the faction cards, the statement has been made that they aren't completely removing the faction, so that you can continue to get goals completed.

The Exchange *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have to say that I liked the scenario, liked the history, liked the atmosphere, ect. The first combat was unexpectedly tough right out the gate but we managed to overcome and I got The Mummy movie vibe right away, cool! Only had one negative lvl on one PC, made like 7 vials of cure and things seemed to be going great for the first almost 4 hours till we got to the ritual.

I have read through the scenario, read through this thread and its seems that Mr. Duval intended the 5d6 damage from the checks that failed by 5 or more to be cumulative per failed check.

Am I reading, understanding this right?

Well that is what our GM understood and that is what gave me the most awful PFS game experience of my whole time playing! We admittedly didn't have skill monkeys, but we didn't use ANY magic before or during the ritual ether. The way the txt is written in the scenario I don't believe the damage should have been cumulative. IF it had been spelled out that way then I think our GM would have used one of the Sages to warn us that we were making matters worse and to quit our inept attempts at assisting.

It didn't and he didn't believing he was running as written, which resulted in a TPK of 6 characters from 160 hp of damage from the magical backlash of the ritual!

160 HP OF DAMAGE WITH NO SAVE OR CHANCE OF EVASION! From trying to COOPERATE with and help the Sages when they asked us for assistance. I and several others at the table felt VERY strongly like we were duped and it was a REALLY crappy way to lose a lvl 10 character. Yes I had the prestige to raise him, yes I know its just a game, ect.
However, if I or the others had fallen in battle to the BBEG from a missed save, bad tactical choice or any of the myriad of other things that can happen in a scenario I think we could have stomached it much better than the way it happened. I felt it was just a FU players you suck at skill checks so here is 160 point of damage you can't save for half from or evade in anyway! Have a nice death!

Sad that such a cool, thought out scenario had to end like that for my -1. Since it was the last game of the Con, instead of being a Capstone and ending on a high note it really soured myself and a lot of us at the table. Just my 2 cents, YMMV.

**** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 aka Matt Duval

@Marc Waschle
I'm very sad to hear you had a bad experience. I would certainly encourage anyone running it to warn players once they start negatively impacting the ritual and having the NPCs issue strong discouragement against anyone trying to assist who isn't highly skilled at the chosen check. It's not the intent for that initial ritual prep to be the make or break for the scenario or to kill the PCs by surprise. I would encourage GMs being very clear about what's going on and any accumulating results of PC actions while the PCs still have time to adjust.

****

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If the GM did not make it clear that the "assist the ritual" part was optional on a per-character basis, or if the GM failed to present the danger of the situation when botching checks, I would consider that to be a failure on the GM's part.

Even so, I suppose that 6 botches could be pretty significant, let alone 12.

30d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 6, 5, 3, 3, 5, 2, 1, 2, 4, 6, 2, 1, 6, 6, 5, 2, 5, 4, 5, 6, 2, 5, 5, 3, 5, 5, 5, 6) = 119

The Exchange *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks Matt for your response. I somewhat agree with Serisan, but as written the text for how many 5d6 damages to apply is ambiguous at best. I believe if it wasn't the intent for the ritual prep to make or break the scenario or to kill the PCs by surprise then it should have been spelled out that way.

Either they take 5d6 for failing by more than 5 once and if they don't have enough successes to get the benefits of the successes then that would be fine, so be it. I/we could have lived with that, literally! I would even have been fine with imposing another 5d6 of damage on any/each attempt at using magic after we had been cautioned not to. That would have been fair because we choose to ignore the Sages warning and the consequences would have been on us.

I believe the GM was running the scenario as written, in fact he asked another experienced GM that was at the next table and even went to the front table where our area and regional VCs were and he was told he was reading it correctly.

Therefore, I believe the text should be changed to make it more clear what the author's intent was and exactly how the damage should be applied to keep this from happening in the future. It would have been much more enjoyable if we could have made it to the final battle even if we died, instead of the way it did.

Thanks again for your response to my concerns and allowing me to vent!

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Marc Waschle wrote:


I have read through the scenario, read through this thread and its seems that Mr. Duval intended the 5d6 damage from the checks that failed by 5 or more to be cumulative per failed check.

Am I reading, understanding this right?

I believe it is supposed to be 1 per failure, but it is also an hour long ritual, and the types of actions described it seems unreasonable that *all* of the hits would come at once. I would space them out over the in game hour.

Marc Waschle wrote:


IF it had been spelled out that way then I think our GM would have used one of the Sages to warn us that we were making matters worse and to quit our inept attempts at assisting.

I actually did have Amenopheus point out that this was a *very* difficult and complicated ritual, and that while help would be appreciated, clumsiness could weaken the ritual, not strengthen it.

***

Does anyone else have an ominous feeling about the wording in the Torch's Respect boon?

"If you would die while fighting Grandmaster Torch or his agents..."

Why would Torch himself be fighting me? Why?!?! What do you know that I don't know yet!!? Tell me!! :-P

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Have you played Assault on Absalom?

Liberty's Edge ***

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You did not leave an option to report total failure. Total failure being TPK, gems all taken by the ghost, and helpless Sages killed by ghost, divs, anti Paladin minion, and etc.
A fine end to the Scarab Sages indeed.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

That would be reported via 0PP and dead characters. But don't worry. The successes will outweigh the failures.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
That would be reported via 0PP and dead characters. But don't worry. The successes will outweigh the failures.

you only report permadead characters and presumably anyone walking into this has 21 pp on tap for a spatula and raise

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Nonetheless, a TPK likely ends up with 0PP.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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The caster can also concoct a cure that grants a +10 to saves against it, and can craft a draught that grants total immunity to the disease.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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I never actually got any negative levels off on any of the characters. Fort saves were too high.

Liberty's Edge ***

And the reporting question wasn't answered. The bad guy has all the gems and she wouldn't leave the Sages alive. It's not in her nature to leave a helpless opponent alive.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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0PP for failing the mission is a pretty clear indicator. And with the inactivation of the faction at GenCon, I don't know how relevant that reporting will be.

Liberty's Edge ***

Did You have good aligned arcane casters at your tables? Are they roll players or role Players? Did those chaotic neutral arcane casters dump charisma down to 7 and leave strength and wisdom at 10?

Liberty's Edge ***

How Many GMs ran this adventure just to claim max benefits for their Scarab Sage characters?

Liberty's Edge ***

I know that Starfinder is a beta test platform for 2e Pathfinder. 5e DnD has been out playing PFS at NEAR every convention I've Been too. Adventures like this may be the reason.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Wild speculation is not something I am going to entertain. Pathfinder is already 2.0 thanks to things like Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic, Advanced Players and Class Guides.

*****

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I never actually got any negative levels off on any of the characters. Fort saves were too high.

We started off having some idea of what we were going to face, everyone in our group used antiplagues and life bubble negates at least one if not more incidences of the disease.

Our GM did keep trying and infect my bard with the uncurable version of the disease but the bosses touch attack bonus is rubbish. We didn't take the time to make the cure either as we were concerned about the ticking clock.

****

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A couple notes on the Contagion and the disease:

1. Only the initial saves are using the spell DC. Subsequent saves use the disease save. For that combat, it should be the listed disease save -5 because of the templates she adds to the disease.

2. Prior to the fight against Tahari, you have a test available via the Cleansing Room (B3) near the entrance.

3. You are given ample opportunity to figure out some aspects of the disease from Handout 7 in B4, including the option for a cure with the search of B6.

4. You are able to craft Blood of Nethys during the scenario to make some characters immune to the disease. There is more than enough time to do so before the fight with Tahari.

5. If nobody can identify a casting of Contagion in this subtier, we've identified the real problem.

Silver Crusade ***

My party figured out the disease problem pretty quickly, because the oracle happened to have a scroll of Diagnose Disease with them. (She did take a negative level when casting the scroll). After that, I didn't manage to infect anyone, and they figured out the cleansing room pretty quickly (thanks to it being a trap), and made the cure pretty much perfectly.

However, the party was really light on casters, especially arcane ones, so this could have gone very differently for a party of wizards and witches or something.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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ScrollMasterRob wrote:
I know that Starfinder is a beta test platform for 2e Pathfinder

Apparently you KNOW something that no one else does

***

andreww wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I never actually got any negative levels off on any of the characters. Fort saves were too high.
Our GM did keep trying and infect my bard with the uncurable version of the disease but the bosses touch attack bonus is rubbish. We didn't take the time to make the cure either as we were concerned about the ticking clock.

Using either the malevolence or the contagion ability of Tahari in the first rounds are rubbish tactics, as it requires tahari to use an attack action. She is way more effective casting three spells per round. Even adjacent to an enemy, her defense cast allows her to tap up to 5th level spells, and only needs a 3 for 6.

The emerald gem pops the DC of disease and curse spells by 5. So thats a DC29 x 2. DC 31 effectively if you're good. DC 33 if you're also within the aura of the paladin. The save of the disease template (-5) doesn't kick in except for subsequent saves.

The length of the ritual (1 hr) expires antiplague bonuses.

**** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 aka Matt Duval

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"Amenopheus warns them that the ritual’s nature means
casting spells, activating items, or even consuming magical
draughts could have dangerous side effects"

It doesn't restrict mundane alchemical items, since they're not 'magical draughts', so I believe you're free to refresh your antiplague.

***

A few things that are easy to overlook

1. Desecrate.
The wording of Emmias states
Ermias constantly exudes an aura of negative energy and overwhelming evil in a 30-foot radius. This aura functions as the spell desecrate and uses his armor as an altar of sorts to double the effects granted. Ermias constantly gains the benefits of this effect (including the
bonus hit points).

Often missed is that Tahari also gets the benefits of the desecrate, including the bonus hit points, the pluses to hit.

2. An Anti Paladin is a plague Bearer. (Class feature) He died of the disease, and his body is infected. Sadly, no rules are given for game mechanics. Surely, each contact with the paladin would require disease saves. And since it is an airborn disease, probably anything within 10'r.

3. Sacriligeous Aura: DC 19 concentration checks for any positive energy effects.
a). Remember negative levels imparted by the disease.
b). Good casters are sickened (-2 to saves, ability checks etc)

4. The DC's for the negative energy effects are substantially boosted.
So the DC's for the paladins neg channel effects are
19 + 6 (desecrate) = DC 27.
Additionally, good players are sickened -2, the well applies a -2
If they are within the paladins aura taken an additional -2. Effectively DC 31.

5. Besides the sickened condition, the well applies an additional -2 penalty to evil spells and curses.

6. Conflicting rules on immunity.
The disease states: "disease can affect creatures that have Constitution scores and are normally immune to disease"
While I would rule that the cure supersedes it is certainly subject to table variation.

7. Well of evil. applies a -2 to saves vs evil, curse spells.
8. Negative levels apply -1 per level.
9. DC 15 will save to enter the area of the well at all.
10. Shiras will auto conceal on a hit; waves of fatigue, and are not summoned and hence can use their summon paraika.
11. Anti Paladin can use fiendish boon to add vicious, flaming.

***

Matthew Duval wrote:

"Amenopheus warns them that the ritual’s nature means

casting spells, activating items, or even consuming magical
draughts could have dangerous side effects"

It doesn't restrict mundane alchemical items, since they're not 'magical draughts', so I believe you're free to refresh your antiplague.

How is a GM to know that?

First - "or similar effects"

This kind of wording is very difficult. Are you going to rule that an alchemist in the room can cast freely (since technically his extracts aren't spells?

If a caster casts a spell that gives a +4 to saves vs disease - that is clearly going to trigger the damage provision on the ritual.

An alchemical item giving a +5 to saves vs disease is clearly a similar effect.

Secondly, the wording is that the PCS are participating in the ritual....

While I get that you are trying to hose casters (and casters only) there is no rule subset that permits your interpretation.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Alchemist extracts are the definition of magical draughts. Alchemical items are not. They function in an antimagic field.

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