Looking for advice for running Laori Vaus in Escape from Old Korvosa? [SPOILERS]

Curse of the Crimson Throne

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Preface: I'm using the old adventure path issues, not the revised Anniversary Edition, but if there are relevant changes in the Anniversary Edition that could help me, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Also I'm a DM looking for advice from other DMs, so the following includes **SPOILERS** for players of Curse of the Crimson Throne. I'm also running the AP in D&D 5e.

I'm a bit at a loss regarding how to run Laori Vaus in Escape from Old Korvosa. She's an intriguing NPC and though I haven't read past Chapter 3 I know she comes up later in the AP. I gather she's pretty popular here, but it just seems likely that my players will completely distrust her and write her off. In fact, I'm worried that my players will not want to deal with her at all, may fight her, and if the encounter devolves into combat, the party may have a hard time following leads to continue to the following step in the investigation.

Here's what I see when I look at her intro in Chapter 3: she probably aids the players in the Otyugh encounter outside Salvator Scream's house, which probably earns some trust. But when they talk to her, she's probably open about the fact that she's a devotee of Zon-Kuthon, and it's probably apparent to players who make the right knowledge checks. Laori isn't hiding that. The notes say she won't mention her cult, but on the other hand my players (who are mostly good) will be confronted with a woman devoted to an evil god talking to a bunch of skulls who says she "just wants to talk" to Salvator.

How did this initial encounter go in your games?

Do you have advice on playing Laori that 1) gives good-aligned parties reasons to deal with her and 2) gives Laori a solid chance to return later in the campaign?

The stakes for the encounter, as I see them, are this: Laori wants the players to bring Salvator back to talk with her. If the party agrees, she will guide them to where Salvator is being held, and will give them the clue about the Seneschal.

The problem: The players will probably see a chirpy cleric of a clearly evil god and presume that it is a bad bet to turn Salvator over to her, especially given the collection of skulls she's got. If they totally distrust Laori, as I suspect they will if I play her mostly as written, how to get them that information? How to retain her as a recurring character?

Salvatore has the information they need anyways, so if your party decides to not take Laori's help, things should be fine. Also, it's super easy for her to bug out using a preset word of recall, so that enables her to be recurring as well.

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How do they get to Salvator if not steered there by Laori, though?

The adventure suggests it's "through conversation with Laori, magical
divination, or DC 20 Gather Information checks."

If they don't make a deal with Laori, they're more likely to be really at a loss. I can try and suggest creative thinking, and they might have some solutions I'm not thinking of, but as written, if they don't like Laori, the investigation is at a dead end.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Grand Lodge

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If you have access to Pathfinder Legends they play Laori awesome. You cannot help but love her...love to hate her...whatever. They made her funny in a dark and menacing way. She was my favourite character int he CDs.

When I played through this the GM downplayed her which was disappointing after listening to the CDs. I plan on have more fun with her.

Silver Crusade

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My players accepted her because they felt like she was being honest with them. She didn't hide the face that she was a follower of Zon-Kuthon. When she talked about ZK, she focused on his aspect of loss. "Everyone experiences loss. By following Zon-Kuthon, I seek to understand loss, and how to best deal with it." Her upbeat demeanor likely added to her appeal, and confused the party a bit. The party also cast divination spells to see if letter her join would help the party. A later part involves needing a follower of ZK to avoid a trap in a tower, so the divination result was positive.

Silver Crusade

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The talking skulls did initially bother the party, but if I recall, Laori didn't kill those people. She was just using them, with her magic, to find Salvatore. "I'm just using forensic necromancy - using these skulls in a good way, to help find Salvatore, so we can save him." In my game, she also told the party that she wanted to save and protect Salvatore, as his paintings had a lot to do with Zon-Kuthon. She talked about Salvatore with respect and near reverence, as if she was a huge fan, and he was important to her religious beliefs.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Two Words: Perky Goth

Her original art, while inaccurate (and physically impossible), portrayed her personality better.

I successfully just finished running this campaign with my group, and Laori became an integral part of the group, they loved her so much. She was so upbeat and fun, and I played her absolutely bubbling over with happiness and enthusiasm, that every time in the story where she was given an out to leave the group, they asked her to stay. Over the course of the adventure, she finally had friends, real friends, and that spurred her conversion from Zon Kuthon to Pharasma, which was fun to play out. My group has already said if I reconvene this group of pcs for a higher level adventure, they want Laori to join them.

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