#9-10 Signs in Senghor


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Would the time spent "Locating the Aspis in Boali" - which is one hour per skill check attempt - be added to the time taken to reach and rescue Gideon Wren? The text only references the time spent crossing the Bay of Senghor.

Also, I can envision players that end up being fatigued by the journey across the bay deciding to rest before venturing into the city because there is no indication of a time element to their mission. If that happens, I assume the hours spent resting will also count against the timeline to rescue Gideon ?


The intention is that the entire adventure runs on a sort of "clock", rewarding you for performing well, and hindering you if you take too long, especially when it comes to Gideon Wren. The time crossing the bay introduces the "clock", and any time spent afterwards within Boali progresses it forward.

There is a cap on the number of debilitating wounds Gideon can suffer for that reason, just in case your group hits the squall, tries every method of finding the Aspis in Boali, continually fails in their freeing of Gideon, and even chooses to recuperate from their travels along the way. This way it can only be so hard, regardless of how long the journey, or how bad the dice may be.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I've looked through that section several times and I'm not finding mention of a cap on the number of debilitating wounds Gideon can suffer - where is that found?

4/5

As always is the question with chases, do animal companions/familiars/eidolons/phantoms get a check? Barring a response, I'm inclined to say "no" as it specifically says "PCs," although I may be amendable to letting their companion do the check instead if they wished.


Sorry, I was only referring to the freeing of Gideon Wren for the cap on debilitating wounds, which is 4. The difficulty in freeing him could result in dozens of debilitating wounds otherwise. The number of debilitating wounds for the chase could realistically be as high as 14 if your group likes to rest and has dismal failure throughout the adventure.


Andrew Roberts wrote:
As always is the question with chases, do animal companions/familiars/eidolons/phantoms get a check? Barring a response, I'm inclined to say "no" as it specifically says "PCs," although I may be amendable to letting their companion do the check instead if they wished.

It specific PCs, so definitely not.

That being said, if it didn't then it would be up to GM interpretation. As a general rule of thumb at my table, if it is a class feature, feat, or item that belongs to your PC, they can use it/him/her to make the check instead, but not both at the same time.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Some questions, hoping leadership or author might chime in:

1) How much should the “clock” be clear to PCs. I don’t really see anything in the set-up to suggest this to them, and wondering if it should just be left alone or if they should be told.

2) Location of the deep water on the first map – assuming northwest despite text saying northeast, based on the coloring? (p.9)

3) Any advice on the boggards ambush? Don’t see why PCs would go close – I guess play up the statue and try to get them to investigate it?

4) Boggards say “No one steals from the Great Queen!” but they only speak Boggard, right? So PCs are highly unlikely to know what they are saying. Or do these speak Common?

5) How would you include the PCs obtaining one or two of the tablets during the chase given that you don’t know how many they get until the end and you know how many successes they have. In general worried about this degrading into a series of skill checks, where as I’d like to make it as cinematic as possible. Guess that’s just on me as GM.

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

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Can the Muleback Cords of Resistsnce be enhanced more then +2?

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

Bristor Gwin wrote:
1) How much should the “clock” be clear to PCs. I don’t really see anything in the set-up to suggest this to them, and wondering if it should just be left alone or if they should be told.

If you want to hint to the players that time matters, you could say every couple of checks "it's about X O'clock as you move to...", and take notes. Players with a bit of genre savvy will realize there's a clock.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5

1bent1 wrote:
Can the Muleback Cords of Resistsnce be enhanced more then +2?

Dotting this so I can come back later.

Since the chronicle sheet seems to only indicate the +1 & +2 versions of this item, my guess would be that 'No' is the answer.
I'd be happy to be proved wrong though.

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

Joe Jungers wrote:
1bent1 wrote:
Can the Muleback Cords of Resistsnce be enhanced more then +2?

Dotting this so I can come back later.

Since the chronicle sheet seems to only indicate the +1 & +2 versions of this item, my guess would be that 'No' is the answer.
I'd be happy to be proved wrong though.

Yeah, it's a nonstandard/named magic item, there's no upgrade path beyond +2. Sadly, because now I'm not sure I'd get it.

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

This scenario would become very popular for Str dumping builds otherwise.

Nice to see item oddities now and again though.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Having just run this one, the Boggards ambush was pretty easy - I played up the statue like you said and hinted that there might be some kind of inscription hinting at what it was depicting if they could get close to the base.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Bristor Gwin wrote:
1) How much should the “clock” be clear to PCs. I don’t really see anything in the set-up to suggest this to them, and wondering if it should just be left alone or if they should be told.
If you want to hint to the players that time matters, you could say every couple of checks "it's about X O'clock as you move to...", and take notes. Players with a bit of genre savvy will realize there's a clock.

I must admit that I HATE it when Paizo puts a ticking clock into a scenario that the PCs have absolutely no reason to know about.

Its actively punishing the players if they do NOT metagame. If the players are roleplaying their characters logically of COURSE they're in no hurry. Its been however long getting here. They KNOW that time isn't really an issue.

While I completely sympathize with GMs wanting to be fair to their players (and I've done it myself from time to time) hints at the player level make it even worse. "Oh, the GM is actively recording time on a constant basis. Better hurry then."

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

Paul Jackson wrote:
I must admit that I HATE it when Paizo puts a ticking clock into a scenario that the PCs have absolutely no reason to know about.

Agree very much

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

page 12 freeing Gideon wrote:
The methods outlined below assume that the PCs took 25 hours to cross the Bay of Senghor, meaning Gideon has been in peril for 12 hours. The DCs decrease by 1 for every 2 hours earlier the PCs arrived and increase by 1 for every hour later.

So the DCs assume a model travel time where the PCs exactly make the Sailor check but don't overshoot it. However, after that they still need to spend at least one hour looking for him (likely no more than that, the DCs are moderate). How does that factor in?

Should we assume the PCs spend 25 hours on the boat and 1 hour at the coast, and then use the baseline DCs?

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

scenario p. 12 wrote:
If the PCs free Gideon in 12 hours or fewer, he starts the encounter with 1 debilitating wound.

To even get to him in 12 hours the PCs need to excel at the Sailor check (not easy for a trained-only skill and no sense of urgency). But he still starts with one wound. Okay.

Was this supposed to be "if the PCs freed him in 12 hours or more"?

scenario p. 12 wrote:
Each debilitating wound represents some kind of injury that he can heal only with a regenerate spell or with weeks or months of natural healing, such as a crushed hand or broken bone.

Doesn't seem like there's any realistic way for the PCs to do this before the chase.

scenario p. 13 wrote:
Gideon Wren can aid the PCs in this way only if he currently suffers no debilitating wounds; otherwise each such wound instead increases the DC to overcome each obstacle by 1.

How could Gideon not have debilitating wounds? And even if he did, what are his stats?

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

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Reading through this now. Man, I'm with you guys. The editing on the clock is kind of borked. I wish I knew what the intent was. I'm running into the same problems everyone else has where it looks like someone rewrote the clock text to make wordcount and forgot some stuff.

I'm trying to work out the problems with this in my head so I know how to address them when I build my inevitable timing handout for GMing this sucker. Pasting here in case it helps someone else.

Problems:

  • We know when one clock is starting (when the PCs get on the boat), but then we have a second clock to synchronize up with the known clock (how long Wren has been trapped) and besides being ridiculously unnecessarily complicated, it means we absolutely need to know how to synchronize those two clocks. If there's a mistake in writing/development/editing/whatever, it blows up the entire clock mechanic, and that's what's happened here.
  • The text on how to acquire debilitating wounds is inconsistent at best. Is it 12+ hours on the second clock where Wren starts with one injury? Is it greater than 12? This looks like an error to everyone, me included.
  • The text on when those wounds are acquired forgets about one of the encounters and means we don't know how to synchronize those two clocks. Are we meant to incorporate the time spent on the forgotten encounter in the best-case scenario? I'd argue yes; if I had to guess, the "search-for-the-Aspis" portion of the adventure was added after this text was edited. But my guesses are very often wrong...
  • The text for Gideon Wren losing a hand says that he loses a hand due to "failed checks," in close association with the disable device (etc) DCs. With a plain reading, it doesn't have a cap on any other debilitating injuries, so as written the party will always find him in some sort of condition to be saved. (In other words, the trap will never kill him. They could meander around Kaava for a few decades and he might die of starvation but the trap will never claim him.) Is he supposed to die after 12 hours of delays if the party hasn't found him by then? And are these injuries four total debilitating injuries or four additional injuries? It seems like they should be additional if he always starts with 1, but total if he starts with one after 12+ hours.
  • The penalty for four debilitating injuries also specifically has Wren drop to -5 hp. What's his constitution? Can he stabilize himself or no? Does he have a chance to stabilize if the party is late? If we go by CRB rules then yes, but it gets complicated* fast for the poor GM whose party takes days to get there.

    * by complicated, I mean that if you actually try to represent this the way the CRB says it happens, you get into a portion of the rules that I wager almost nobody has ever used--recovering from being in negative HP without help. Instead of digging through your CRB to find those rules, if your party is 36 hours late, Wren should probably just save you all the trouble and die.

  • How I'm going to try to deal with things:

  • Ditch the secondary clock. We know when the primary clock starts so let's stick with it. I still don't understand why they created the secondary clock. It just makes things so much worse. That means we'll be on the 25+ hour clock instead.
  • Include 1 hour for searching for the Aspis explorers. If we don't do this, it means that low-subtier 4-player tables get Wren without injuries (if they make their search checks and rely on the NPC sailor) but nobody else who relies on the NPC sailor does. That's not incredibly weird to me, but it's a little weird. Let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It's a 1-5.
  • The above decision means that Wren takes his first injury after 27 hours.
  • Gideon Wren should then take additional debilitating wounds at 30, 33, and 36 hours.
  • The rules for 4 debilitating wounds apply to all wounds from all sources, not just from screwing up when trying to disable the trap, and do include the first debilitating wound he would receive.
  • Wren can no longer resist his destiny after 36 hours. If he takes the final debilitating wound, he gets smushed by a rusty trap, GM fiat rules he fails to stabilize, and he dies. Being pinned under a trap is sort of like ongoing damage, right?
  • The 36 hour clock is a nice round number. 1.5 days. I'm not going to overthink this too much more. Unless a Paizo-ite comes along and tells us otherwise, anyway.
  • Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

    Regarding Gideon's stats, a mea culpa here since I also asked what his constitution score was.

    Page 12 wrote:
    If statistics for Gideon are necessary, use the statistics for the subtier-appropriate Aspis agent in B3 (see page 17).

    In both cases, his Con would be 13.

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

    Terminalmancer wrote:

    Reading through this now. Man, I'm with you guys. The editing on the clock is kind of borked. I wish I knew what the intent was. I'm running into the same problems everyone else has where it looks like someone rewrote the clock text to make wordcount and forgot some stuff.

    I'm trying to work out the problems with this in my head so I know how to address them when I build my inevitable timing handout for GMing this sucker. Pasting here in case it helps someone else.

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    My own timing handout is nearly done except for the questions I asked.

    I'm also putting the chase description and checks onto a single page. I'm running on Saturday so I'll upload before then.

    Terminalmancer wrote:
    We know when one clock is starting (when the PCs get on the boat), but then we have a second clock to synchronize up with the known clock (how long Wren has been trapped) and besides being ridiculously unnecessarily complicated, it means we absolutely need to know how to synchronize those two clocks. If there's a mistake in writing/development/editing/whatever, it blows up the entire clock mechanic, and that's what's happened here.

    It's less complicated than it looks. Just look at how much more or less than 25 hours it took the PCs to get there and apply that to his situation. Each 5+ they get to the Sailor check lowers the difficulty by 1, and if they fail each hour of failure is +1 DC.

    Terminalmancer wrote:
    The text on how to acquire debilitating wounds is inconsistent at best. Is it 12+ hours on the second clock where Wren starts with one injury? Is it greater than 12? This looks like an error to everyone, me included.

    Unless I hear otherwise I'm going to go with 12+ instead of 12-. It's the only way that the "no wounds" situation can even occur.

    Terminalmancer wrote:
    The text on when those wounds are acquired forgets about one of the encounters and means we don't know how to synchronize those two clocks. Are we meant to incorporate the time spent on the forgotten encounter in the best-case scenario? I'd argue yes; if I had to guess, the "search-for-the-Aspis" portion of the adventure was added after this text was edited. But my guesses are very often wrong...

    I'm going to count that one hour. Meaning that if the PCs sail at normal speed (like when they let the NPC sail since Profession is trained-only), they get there at 26 hours and he has 1 wound. Having a single wound sounds to me like the standard assumption for the scenario.

    Terminalmancer wrote:

    The text for Gideon Wren losing a hand says that he loses a hand due to "failed checks," in close association with the disable device (etc) DCs. With a plain reading, it doesn't have a cap on any other debilitating injuries, so as written the party will always find him in some sort of condition to be saved. (In other words, the trap will never kill him. They could meander around Kaava for a few decades and he might die of starvation but the trap will never claim him.) Is he supposed to die after 12 hours of delays if the party hasn't found him by then? And are these injuries four total debilitating injuries or four additional injuries? It seems like they should be additional if he always starts with 1, but total if he starts with one after 12+ hours.

    The penalty for four debilitating injuries also specifically has Wren drop to -5 hp. What's his constitution? Can he stabilize himself or no? Does he have a chance to stabilize if the party is late? If we go by CRB rules then yes, but it gets complicated* fast for the poor GM whose party takes days to get there.

    As I read it, he can only lose his hand and go to -5 from the trap specifically. And I assume since it "sets off the trap", that it forcibly resolves the trap part of the challenge. Think of it as a solution for a party that can't do the checks to free him from the trap; that doesn't stop the scenario. (Everyone can eventually chisel him out.)

    Since he can only drop to -5 with the PCs next to him, it's their problem to stabilize him.

    How he would fare if the PCs never go there doesn't matter. He'll probably be taken by the boggards and fed to the Queen Mother.

    Grand Lodge 2/5

    Thanks to all for helping sort through this. Someone (Lau?) has uploaded two very useful cheat sheets to manage this on the shared prep site.

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

    Bristor Gwin wrote:
    Thanks to all for helping sort through this. Someone (Lau?) has uploaded two very useful cheat sheets to manage this on the shared prep site.

    You can see the usernames of the people who uploaded them in the second column. One of those is mine. :)

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

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:

    Reading through this now. Man, I'm with you guys. The editing on the clock is kind of borked. I wish I knew what the intent was. I'm running into the same problems everyone else has where it looks like someone rewrote the clock text to make wordcount and forgot some stuff.

    I'm trying to work out the problems with this in my head so I know how to address them when I build my inevitable timing handout for GMing this sucker. Pasting here in case it helps someone else.

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    My own timing handout is nearly done except for the questions I asked.

    I'm also putting the chase description and checks onto a single page. I'm running on Saturday so I'll upload before then.

    Awesome! Sounds like you have the same idea I did.

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:
    We know when one clock is starting (when the PCs get on the boat), but then we have a second clock to synchronize up with the known clock (how long Wren has been trapped) and besides being ridiculously unnecessarily complicated, it means we absolutely need to know how to synchronize those two clocks. If there's a mistake in writing/development/editing/whatever, it blows up the entire clock mechanic, and that's what's happened here.
    It's less complicated than it looks. Just look at how much more or less than 25 hours it took the PCs to get there and apply that to his situation. Each 5+ they get to the Sailor check lowers the difficulty by 1, and if they fail each hour of failure is +1 DC.

    If it were simpler, maybe you wouldn't have gotten the time "wrong" in your own explanation of how simple the clock is to keep track of... you say below you're going to include the hour from searching for the Aspis. As you explained, that makes the first wound happen at 26 hours, not 25. :)

    I'm teasing, but I'm also trying to point out how minor usability problems can still be problems. There was no mechanical or cognitive benefit to the players or GMs by adding and then referencing the second clock, so why add the complication? And now there's been a mistake and the start of the clock is in doubt. It didn't need to be.

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:
    The text on how to acquire debilitating wounds is inconsistent at best. Is it 12+ hours on the second clock where Wren starts with one injury? Is it greater than 12? This looks like an error to everyone, me included.
    Unless I hear otherwise I'm going to go with 12+ instead of 12-. It's the only way that the "no wounds" situation can even occur.

    That's not exactly true. My educated guess is that the "12 or fewer" line was going to be one of several cases describing how many injuries Gideon was supposed to take (For example "12 or fewer hours: 0 wounds. 13-15 hours: 1 wound. 16-18 hours: 2 wounds." Etc.) and in editing, the team replaced the "switch/case" approach to tracking injuries with the simple 3 hours = 1 injury approach--but someone forgot to rewrite the surviving case. This makes the most sense to me based on the wording--that kind of mistake is difficult to make when you're writing it the first time, but if you're repurposing text, it's quite an easy error to forget to update text that's already been vetted.

    So, in my opinion, the wound was intended to happen at the start of the 27th hour--and that's another approach that lets the "no wounds" condition come into play, besides the two approaches you mentioned.

    Supplemental evidence: if he gets the wound at the start of the 26th hour, it's not exactly his default setting. Four-player parties playing in low subtier get to find him with zero debilitating wounds that way because the 4-player adjustment gets White-Toothed Wallace to beat the DC by 5, and they arrive 2 hours early. Rather than treating one combination of subtier and player count that much better, it seems more likely to me that the author/developers intended 0 wounds to be the default where nobody screws up. It's still an advantage, but it's not as huge of one. The 0-injuries case is still reachable for all parties.

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:
    The text on when those wounds are acquired forgets about one of the encounters and means we don't know how to synchronize those two clocks. Are we meant to incorporate the time spent on the forgotten encounter in the best-case scenario? I'd argue yes; if I had to guess, the "search-for-the-Aspis" portion of the adventure was added after this text was edited. But my guesses are very often wrong...

    I'm going to count that one hour. Meaning that if the PCs sail at normal speed (like when they let the NPC sail since Profession is trained-only), they get there at 26 hours and he has 1 wound. Having a single wound sounds to me like the standard assumption for the scenario.

    I agree with you here.

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:

    The text for Gideon Wren losing a hand says that he loses a hand due to "failed checks," in close association with the disable device (etc) DCs. With a plain reading, it doesn't have a cap on any other debilitating injuries, so as written the party will always find him in some sort of condition to be saved. (In other words, the trap will never kill him. They could meander around Kaava for a few decades and he might die of starvation but the trap will never claim him.) Is he supposed to die after 12 hours of delays if the party hasn't found him by then? And are these injuries four total debilitating injuries or four additional injuries? It seems like they should be additional if he always starts with 1, but total if he starts with one after 12+ hours.

    The penalty for four debilitating injuries also specifically has Wren drop to -5 hp. What's his constitution? Can he stabilize himself or no? Does he have a chance to stabilize if the party is late? If we go by CRB rules then yes, but it gets complicated* fast for the poor GM whose party takes days to get there.

    As I read it, he can only lose his hand and go to -5 from the trap specifically. And I assume since it "sets off the trap", that it forcibly resolves the trap part of the challenge. Think of it as a solution for a party that can't do the checks to free him from the trap; that doesn't stop the scenario. (Everyone can eventually chisel him out.)

    Since he can only drop to -5 with the PCs next to him, it's their problem to stabilize him.

    How he would fare if the PCs never go there doesn't matter. He'll probably be taken by the boggards and fed to the Queen Mother.

    So you're thinking that he would take an indefinite number of debilitating injuries for the poor party who flub the boat ride and can't find the Aspis to save their (or his) life? I agree with infinite injuries once he's freed, but the scenario strongly hints that he can't hold out forever. The 4-injury limit answers the question "how long can he last?" quite nicely. He's still subject to the trap in that time so the penalty is still quite viable. Just my two cents.

    ===========

    I can see where you're coming from on a lot of these points, even if we disagree on how to interpret things. It's kind of a shame it wasn't clearer. Even so, I'm looking forward to running the scenario! It should be a fun one.

    Dark Archive 4/5

    I ran this scenario last Saturday for a party of four on high tier: lvl 3 monk, lvl 4 ninja, lvl 4 swashbuckler and a lvl 3 witch (apl 3.5, they chose high tier, which is doable). Although the final encounter brought them close to total defeat (walking into an ambush you know is there can be cool, but is unwise...), they managed to complete the scenario with full rewards. The high point was the role-play on the end, trying to convince the various people to see things their way (those four didn't have much of a described personality, so I made them a happy noble, a flighty priest, a no-nonsense merchant, and an apathetic military guy).

    As for the discussion/questions on this thread, this is what I did (and why):
    * I started the timer of doom the moment they entered the market of Senghor (so before they decide to go boating). It made sense for me to start the clock there, as there is a chance that they go and gather information with diplomacy (which lasts 1d4 hours). I mean, Gideon gets trapped at a certain moment of the day, and I assumed that the timing of his problematic position is not delayed because the PC's lingered on the market for a bit longer (I mean, he get trapped. He doesn't have a lot to say about the timing of that).

    * As far as I can find in the scenario, no matter how fast you sail and how quick you are to find Gideon, he always starts with a single debilitating wound. Which makes sense, as he is trying to stop the trap from killing him with his bare hands (I described it as his hand being perforated by several spikes, with the bleeding being very slow because the spikes were still in). I think the part in the scenario about the need of regenerate to make him an asset during the chase, is a case of future-proofing the scenario (in case someone, somehow, gets access to such healing on such a low tier).

    * The chase. I always try to make these things more scenic than they are. I never physically use the chase scheme (I mean, I follow it, but never show my players). I made a overflight map of the area, with the boggard fight map being the lower left corner of it. I drew out a route they run through based on the descriptions of the scenario, and filled it up further with some random ruins and terrain. This way, the PC's and the GM can place miniatures on the map, allowing them further immersion on what is happening during the chase. My players really liked it, but it might not be for everyone to do it like this.

    * Retrieving the rites during the chase. This one was a bit difficult. I started providing them later in the chase (scene 6-8), so I could predict how many they would retrieve. In the end, my party retrieved 1 of them, taken from the tongue of the Great Queen when it tried to "retrieve" Gideon. During the chase, the Queen had eaten several Aspis, so I said one of those slabs was stuck to the tongue when it tried to eat Gideon (a simple "I grab the stone" was enough for me to grant them the stone; no check needed, no lost check to help Gideon).

    * I skipped the optional encounter, and in a way I'm kinda glad I did. Although the creatures are indeed deep entwined with the story, for the players they come out of nowhere. Yes, there are clues to who the presence is, but they are vague in order to not spoil the other scenario. And if the players haven't played said scenario (as did mine), they cannot connect the vague dots to figure out who is responsible (and even if would have, it is still difficult to connect those dots). So to most players, it is a sudden "haha, because I'm random evil guy!" moment.

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

    Terminalmancer wrote:

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    Terminalmancer wrote:
    We know when one clock is starting (when the PCs get on the boat), but then we have a second clock to synchronize up with the known clock (how long Wren has been trapped) and besides being ridiculously unnecessarily complicated, it means we absolutely need to know how to synchronize those two clocks. If there's a mistake in writing/development/editing/whatever, it blows up the entire clock mechanic, and that's what's happened here.
    It's less complicated than it looks. Just look at how much more or less than 25 hours it took the PCs to get there and apply that to his situation. Each 5+ they get to the Sailor check lowers the difficulty by 1, and if they fail each hour of failure is +1 DC.
    If it were simpler, maybe you wouldn't have gotten the time "wrong" in your own explanation of how simple the clock is to keep track of... you say below you're going to include the hour from searching for the Aspis. As you explained, that makes the first wound happen at 26 hours, not 25. :)

    That's actually exactly what I'm aiming at. I think the default case is that they let Wallace do the sailing (trained only) and it takes 25 hours. Then they succeed on the first attempt to search for Aspis because the whole party is doing Perception and someone makes 18/22. So they run into Gideon just too late to prevent his first wound.

    The only realistic ways to prevent the wounds are if they're either doing 4-player adjustment (which tends to compensate very hard for 4-player parties with few skills between them) or if PCs have Profession Sailor. Which I'm considering making a staple because it's a common one and sucks if you don't have it when it's asked for.

    ---

    You make an issue out of Gideon "not dying unless the PCs mess up the trap". My take is that that's all offscreen and the mechanics don't matter at all. Besides, eventually the boggards would get bored and feed him to the mobogo.

    The penalty for players being slow is a harder chase.

    Also, I get the impression he's got a gauntleted first stuck in the (poorly described!) trap, but has to keep holding it at an awkward angle.

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:


    The penalty for players being slow is a harder chase.

    I think this is my biggest beef, actually.

    Its a lot of ambiguous words, a lot of bookkeeping, a very questionable GMing tactic (putting in a clock that the players have no way of knowing about relying primarily on an obscure skill) and the end result is some fairly minor penalties in the chase scene.

    It seems far more work than is warranted.

    At least at our tier (6 characters, low tier, no skill monkeys) we blew away the DCs in the chase. 6 people rolling means that SOMEBODY rolls well on just about every roll :-)

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I tried to write a review and Paizo decided to eat it. Don't want to lose it so I'll post it here :-)

    This was a pretty decent scenario (not great, but a solid 3-4 star scenario) except for one Glaring Flaw.

    There was a fair bit of roleplaying, some exploration, some interesting encounters, a new place to go. All good things.

    Minor spoiler:

    The Chase scene was fun but definitely inferior to a very similar scene done in an earlier scenario

    Some of the roleplaying was more or less impossible unless the characters spoke a quite obscure language. Low level characters very rarely have a way of getting past the language barrier (comprehend languages was not enough). It made PERFECT sense that this barrier existed, though, so I'm fine with this. World making sense is about equivalent value to a lost fairly minor roleplaying opportunity.

    And then we come to the

    Glaring Flaw:

    Paizo decided to insert a ticking clock that the characters have absolutely NO way to know about. A badly and confusingly written ticking clock (See GM thread for details). Giving the timing involved it is a coincidence of the highest order that there was any kind of time limit. And the characters knew that. Why on earth would they be expected to act as if there was a time limit absent GM hints at the meta level?

    Grand Lodge 2/5

    Thanks to Terminalmancer for the handy GM prep. I started making something similar but yours are MUCH better.

    Mr. Bonkers, thanks for the suggestions regarding the chase. I like the idea of having a map that represents the path over the box to box chase summary provided, and will help me with the storytelling aspect, functioning like an outline. And I agree about no additional checks to get the tablets. I like the stuck to the tongue idea, and was thinking a second one could be in a pack that lands at a PC's feet after an Aspis dies or trips.

    Another question: what is the prior scenario that gets referenced? I know there is no mechanical connection, but I'd like to point it out after the session to some of the regulars for whom it might be fun to know.

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

    "Lau Bannenberg wrote:

    That's actually exactly what I'm aiming at. I think the default case is that they let Wallace do the sailing (trained only) and it takes 25 hours. Then they succeed on the first attempt to search for Aspis because the whole party is doing Perception and someone makes 18/22. So they run into Gideon just too late to prevent his first wound.

    The only realistic ways to prevent the wounds are if they're either doing 4-player adjustment (which tends to compensate very hard for 4-player parties with few skills between them) or if PCs have Profession Sailor.

    That's certainly one way to do it. It all comes down to how you synchronize those two clocks.

    "Lau Bannenberg wrote:

    You make an issue out of Gideon "not dying unless the PCs mess up the trap". My take is that that's all offscreen and the mechanics don't matter at all. Besides, eventually the boggards would get bored and feed him to the mobogo.

    The penalty for players being slow is a harder chase.

    Also, I get the impression he's got a gauntleted first stuck in the (poorly described!) trap, but has to keep holding it at an awkward angle.

    I honestly don't care how he dies so much as when. I'm sure the boggards would clean up whatever was left before the PCs got there. The problem is that there's pretty clearly supposed to be a failure condition where his strength gives out:

    Page 11 wrote:
    If not for the aged gears of the device, it would have slain him; however, the delayed speed of the trap allowed him to jam his gauntleted hands into the device’s inner workings, rendering it temporarily inoperable. Unfortunately, this solution only delays his inevitable demise, as it requires all his strength to hold his hands in place, which only diminishes with each passing hour.

    Every other time I've seen a clock in a PFS scenario, there's been a hard cutoff--a failure condition--where past this point, you've screwed up too much and you lost whatever you were trying to get to. This scenario seems to expect a failure condition just like the others based on the above quote. In this case, the only viable failure condition potentially tied into the clock is the trap.

    Gideon accumulates injuries due to the trap when you're late. He accumulates injuries due to the trap when you screw up the trap. It seems reasonable to me that the same penalty for too many injuries would apply in both cases. More reasonable than assuming he'll just slowly pick up injuries for a potentially infinite period of time.

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

    Bristor Gwin wrote:
    Thanks to Terminalmancer for the handy GM prep. I started making something similar but yours are MUCH better.

    Thanks!

    Bristor Gwin wrote:
    Another question: what is the prior scenario that gets referenced? I know there is no mechanical connection, but I'd like to point it out after the session to some of the regulars for whom it might be fun to know.

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

    Ran it today. So in practice it runs fairly easily. AAR will follow later when I'm rested.

    5/5 5/55/55/5

    Doing a quick read of this for a run

    Calling for a profession sailor check as an almost required plot point is not cool. Its a trained only skill and one of 30+ possible professions. There's no way to expect a party to have this.

    How do the boggards see if the party is trying to save giddeon? they're outside in the swamp, the party is behind 10 foot high walls. Do they follow the party over in the unlikely even they're not outright murderhoboed?

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

    @BNW: the closer you read the description, the more you see that there was some sort of editing error somewhere in the clock / time portion. There are multiple possible interpretations. I don't know if Lau ever got his handout up on PFS prep, but I've got mine up there. Might help you there.

    My take on it is that the prof (sailor) check is helpful but not having it does not necessarily torpedo the party's chances, so you might be more amenable to that interpretation.

    ------------

    The boggards also got a little mixed up, I think, but yes.

    They're supposed to ambush the party but the scenario includes a provision for talking them down, which would be tough if they simply attack from surprise. But they appear to be returning with snakes, poison frogs, and other annoyances to throw at your Aspis buddy, so if they somehow survive (say, truce?) they would actually want to go watch Gideon struggle.

    Do with that as you will?

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

    If you don't have the Profession Sailor, you'll get a +1 or so difficulty hike in the chase - not the end of the world really. But it does seem to me like the author hadn't remembered it's Trained Only - and this isn't the first scenario where Sailor is a thing.

    5/5 5/55/55/5

    It looks more like a +3 and you risk the guy dying. There's a countdown going but the players have no way of knowing/acting on that.

    I've never seen it be 1) the only option (usually there's another more common skill like survival at a higher dc and 2) really the only thing. You can't even cut off more time by having knowledge local instead of chatting up people with diplomacy.

    Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

    BigNorseWolf wrote:

    It looks more like a +3 and you risk the guy dying. There's a countdown going but the players have no way of knowing/acting on that.

    I've never seen it be 1) the only option (usually there's another more common skill like survival at a higher dc and 2) really the only thing. You can't even cut off more time by having knowledge local instead of chatting up people with diplomacy.

    The captain tells you to meet her at midday after arriving in the morning giving the players plenty of time to do what they want in the city before then, so they shouldn't have any reason to not head out then. The scenario provides you with a guy that gets you there in 25 hours. Then you land and spend an hour and 2 of the options there aren't sailor checks. That puts the dude at 1 injury. Then you don't bother with the fishing boat and ride the aspis boat back requiring no sailor checks.

    And now you're done with sailing.
    Like there's a countdown, but the players should be fine with it just following the flow of the scenario.

    5/5

    OK, I am prepping this at the moment and trying to work out how many injuries Gideon is likely to start with. This becomes important as it affects the chase DC's which are already very high.

    The way I think it works is this:

    Assuming the PC's take 25 hours to cross the bay Giedeon has been in danger for 12 hours. This seems to be the important bit for timing.

    The PCs take a minimum of 1 hour to find him.

    If they free him in 12 hours or less (possible with a good sailor check) he has 1 wound.

    For every three hours beyond that he starts with another wound.

    This is not at all clear from the scenario itself so it would be helpful to have some sort of official clarification but its the best I can come up with. I initially read it as counting the full 25 hours of travel for the wound clock but that cannot be right.

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

    andreww, ignore the "12 hour" thing, it's a red herring. Instead just give him 1 wound, and another one at 28, 31, 34 etc.

    Shadow Lodge 3/5

    Just ran this last night, party consisted of one 1st level Lem, three brand-new 1st levels and one 2nd. They did fine up till Shinri came in and punched the four 1st levels to death, luckily the one with the most to lose (2nd) was able to run away.

    Anyone play with a party that low, if so how'd it go? I think the issue was she went first in initiative and with her movement she just ran up and pretty much one-shotted everyone (granted I did roll well). :-/

    Scarab Sages 4/5 5/5

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    Couple of minor fixes for the scenario that I came up with: (I’m going to run it later today)

    1) Allow knowledge-nature, knowledge-geography, or survival to AID (but not be the primary) with the sailor check. This way there’s a better chance for the PCs to not just sit there like lumps while the NPC does all the work.

    2)At the briefing, have the venture captain say something like: “We don’t want locals catching wind of us on Boali either, or we’ll be in just as much trouble as the Aspis. Try to get in-and-out as quickly as possible.” This’ll introduce the clock but is also a reasonable request from the venture captain.

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

    Shinri is a beast. When I ran it the party planned to have a few people bluff their way in through the office and have the rest enter through the cargo doors, but they didn't anticipate that they couldn't open the cargo doors. So the party got split and they started out with two people unconscious from first-round sneak attacks.

    And then when they'd sort of stabilized their situation and dropped 2/4 guards Shinri came in and started punching people's lights out. In the end it took a 5-star GM reroll by one of two remaining conscious PCs to land a hit and drop her with sneak attack damage.

    5/5

    I ran this today, 5 players, 2, 3, 3, 3 and a 4 so high tier with the four player adjust. We had a witch, two swashbucklers, a melee battle oracle and oloch.

    They had no-one with profession sailor so they used the aid. They bought him some nautical charts combined with the four player adjust meant that they arrived early. They did have a couple of people fatigued and no-one had lesser restoration.

    They had quite a bit of trouble with the boggards. They were ambushed and they opened with croak, several people failed one of the other but no-one failed both so no-one was frightened. I had them come out of the deep water and they started smashing faces. They are quite dangerous to levl 3 characters, often hitting for near half the health for most of them. The level 2 could have been knocked out from a single blow. They worked well together and managed to take them down although they did leave an opening for him to jump back into the deep water and they had to fight him with improved cover.

    The chase they managed well due to some good rolls. They only faiiled two checks so the 4 player adjust bumped them up to the best result. They took the aspis ship home and raided the warehouse. The mooks were largely terrible, two went down to ripostes. Shinri wasn't much better, suffering monk flurry of fail although she did manage to stun and disarm the oracle. Oloch is a bit of a beast at that level and they finished her off.

    They managed to tranlsate some of her journals and headed to the council chamber. I didnt run the optional as frankly it looks pointless. They aced the convince section as they had +10 from evidence and -3DC from the four player adjust. Both swashbucklers were at about +12 diplomacy.

    Unfortunately the Exchange players missed out on their boon as the first check you have to make with the Iron Lady is really quite challening.

    Overall I really enjoyed running this scenario. The reverse chase is obviously a call back ti Sharrowsmith part 2 and works well although the DC's on it looked really quite high. My group managed because they got their quickly and released Gideon in hardly any time at all meaning he only had 1 wound. I could see groups with only 4 actual players struggling more.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

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    Shinri was a complete pushover for my party. The bluffed their way through the big doors, took out the mooks in a round or two, took out the office mook with readied actions as he came around the corner.

    The problem for her is doors. First round, she can 5' step to the door, open it, and cast. Second round move to next door, and then two options. First is open it, and take a full round of getting shot by muskets and bombs. Second is wait till next turn so open it and move in to the party, in which case they get a round of beating on her in melee.

    Either way, she's dead before she actually gets to take a swing.

    2/5 5/5

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    andreww wrote:

    OK, I am prepping this at the moment and trying to work out how many injuries Gideon is likely to start with. This becomes important as it affects the chase DC's which are already very high.

    The way I think it works is this:

    Assuming the PC's take 25 hours to cross the bay Giedeon has been in danger for 12 hours. This seems to be the important bit for timing.

    The PCs take a minimum of 1 hour to find him.

    If they free him in 12 hours or less (possible with a good sailor check) he has 1 wound.

    For every three hours beyond that he starts with another wound.

    This is not at all clear from the scenario itself so it would be helpful to have some sort of official clarification but its the best I can come up with. I initially read it as counting the full 25 hours of travel for the wound clock but that cannot be right.

    Just going to put this here for reference since it's been asked a bunch if times:

    You can ignore the 12 hour comment. It's just background information. Do all your calculations off of the base 25 hour mark.

    The scenario functionally says that at the PCs 25 hour mark, Gideon has been in danger for 12 hours. Gideon didn't step in the trap (Gideon's clock 0) until the PCs had been sailing for 13 hours (PC clock 13).

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

    Ok, I have a question about the Primary Success Condition.

    On Page 24, in the first paragraph under 'Vying for Senghor's Support' it says:
    "Without the support of three of the four faction representatives, the alliance fails."

    However the Primary Success Condition states:
    "If the PCs manage to convince the representatives from each
    of Senghor’s ruling factions
    to lend their support to the
    Pathfinder Society against the Aspis Consortium, they fulfill
    their primary objective and earn 1 Prestige Point."

    Which suggests to me, the PC's could succeed at convincing the council to support the Pathfinder's, but not actually gain the Prestige point for doing so. Since they only convinced 3 of the 4.

    How did you all run it when you ran it?

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

    I went with 3/4 being enough. But if the party heads to the council at the end of the adventure, you get a lot of bonuses and 4/4 is quite doable.

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

    Thank you for responding Lau.

    Oh yes, I understand that 4 out of 4 is doable, I am just trying to understand what happens in the edge cases. (Because if there is an edge case, we tend to find it.)

    I just don't think it's very fair to tell a party they succeeded but not well enough to get the prestige point... unless that is what the intention was.

    1/5 5/5

    It'd be a rather perverse set-up to have the team succeed at the mission objective, but fail to get *any* prestige from the scenario (becaue they missed the Secondary, too).

    Would it be possible to get a clarification on this?

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

    GM Wageslave wrote:


    It'd be a rather perverse set-up to have the team succeed at the mission objective, but fail to get *any* prestige from the scenario (becaue they missed the Secondary, too).

    Would it be possible to get a clarification on this?

    I'm not sure what you mean?

    Primary: sway the council.

    Secondary: beat Shinri and take her 2+ tablets.

    It's easy for players to get them mixed up. When an Aspis boss enters the picture players might focus on her and the council becomes an afterthought - but that shouldn't happen. Take a moment during the mission briefing to make sure the players understand that their primary mission is to help set up the much bigger Society efforts for the Bloodcove Blockade scenario.

    You could ignore Shinri entirely and still get the primary objective.

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

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    I'm with Lau on this--I decided that 3/4 was good enough for the primary success condition. But if a GM decided that it was 4/4, it wouldn't be the worst bit of table variation ever.

    A formal clarification would be nice to have, though. There's a lot of editing bugs in this one.

    Oh, for the record, my table got 4/4 nobles.

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