3 - The Twilight Child (GM Reference)


War for the Crown


The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 3 of the War for the Crown Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Paizo Employee Developer

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*waits in the tall grasses, ready to pounce.*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, I guess I need to ask. Where's area N?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:
So, I guess I need to ask. Where's area N?

Check the map on page 12. N is the southern gate on the top left map of Yandass, and is detailed on the bottom right map ("Xan strikes").


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, and found it on page 21 as well. Thanks, since the entirety of area L was detailed later on, I didn't think to check back so far into the book.


Really dig this one, but I feel like the titular Twilight Child would be better off as a genuine surprise. Making him the title of the book makes it clear to the PC's that the cult is the true threat when the rest of the adventure feels like its written assuming the PC's won't take the cult seriously until the big reveal.

If/when I run this, I would just have Martella mention there's a new cult in town that's possibly benign, but there isn't any clear information. Then when the PC's go to watch the cult's service they get the shocking reveal of the Twilight Child's identity!

Also, why is the (assumed) final conflict with Xan in the middle of the book instead of the end? Not really a problem, just confused about this choice for the layout of the adventure.

Dark Archive

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Conflict with Xan is the final event and list of events is in the book before rest of the dungeons and such in the book.


CorvusMask wrote:
Conflict with Xan is the final event and list of events is in the book before rest of the dungeons and such in the book.

Ah okay, that makes sense.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have two quick questions or criticisms about plot related things.
1) Wouldn't it be a better hook if the PC's didn't know about Carrius from the beginning? It may also not make the cult angle such an appealing first mission. (which is odd how this AP doesn't balance the first three choices)
2) I know APs leave clues in letters all the time but how would the note on pg 28 read? Who would refer to themselves as their alias and their real name in the same letter? This seems very odd to me, unless I'm misreading something.
3) The other notes are also odd. What would you tell your underlings that would enable others to know where the money comes from?


Paizo Superscriber

Regarding #2, maybe it's a mix of different letters, some signed with his name, others signed with the alias, but all in the same handwriting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

From what we know so far, isn't Xan right about Carrius being resurrected outside the natural process? Would Xan know about the extra souls coming back with him? It seems like he should.

This could be a bit early but are there contingencies for what happens if the prince doesn't make it? I could easily see PCs turning him over, or Xan killing him, or defeating the PCs considering they could fight him at 7th or 8th level.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Cintra Bristol wrote:
Regarding #2, maybe it's a mix of different letters, some signed with his name, others signed with the alias, but all in the same handwriting.

Yes, "correspondence," in this case, being plural. I imagine several letters by Earl Merkondus, and a couple in which he drops the "Gray Kingmaker" name. They don't prove anything by themselves; Merkondus didn't think that Soraya or Jaliessa Staubel would ever "compare notes."

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Seannoss wrote:

From what we know so far, isn't Xan right about Carrius being resurrected outside the natural process? Would Xan know about the extra souls coming back with him? It seems like he should.

This could be a bit early but are there contingencies for what happens if the prince doesn't make it? I could easily see PCs turning him over, or Xan killing him, or defeating the PCs considering they could fight him at 7th or 8th level.

Xan knows something strange has occurred with Prince Carrius, but he doesn't know about extra souls; he's going off half-cocked in his investigation, and overreaching in what he assumes to be Pharasma's will. (Pharasma doesn't want Carrius killed, but only studied to see what happened and whether it's a larger danger; see the sidebar on page 22.)

The need for the contingencies you mention should be small; the PCs heard right at the beginning that they should bring Carrius back to the Palace of Birdsong for more investigation, and Xan wants him dead, dead, dead. I have a hard time seeing the PCs siding with an aggressive and bloodthirsty outsider over their patron for the last several adventures. It wouldn't be much of a situation if Xan were some other type of outsider--a demon, say; the PCs would more naturally oppose him. But because he's a purportedly neutral agent of death, it's important to frame his as an antagonist throughout the adventure, and there should be enough interaction with Xan before the fight for the PCs to get this.

Also, Xan doesn't just murder Carrius if the PCs are around; he specifically targets the PCs first, to get them out of the way--but, from a narrative perspective, it's so they have an opportunity to defend the prince.

The last point you mention is a good one: the PCs know something is up with the Cult of the Twilight Child, so they might just make a beeline for the Encircling Bower, nab the prince, and jet out of Yanmass. That would trigger the confrontation with Xan while they're still a lower-than-expected level. The GM has several tools to discourage this path.

First, the Mercantile Council plainly considers the cult to be a lesser priority over the disturbing dreams and disappearance of the Taldan Horse. Except for the Chief Enumerator--who's worried about his church's reputation being harmed--the leaders in town all want the PCs to tackle the first two items first. Since the PCs' primary goal is to sway the Mercantile Council, these other activities should probably come first.

Second, most investigation of the Encircling Bower is sloooow. The PCs probably want to ask around town about the cult (which takes some time to gather information), and probably want to attend a service (which is only at dusk) and maybe plan an insertion during a later service or at a later time. All these things present a great opportunity for the PCs to investigate the other troubles at the same time, and some of those investigations have more concrete leads that the PCs can follow. In particular, the locations of Sanguine Brothers and Tallgrasses have several encounters and are likely to grant the PCs XP and treasure useful to fight Xan.

Xan is intended to be the final encounter of the adventure; that might not work out to be the case, but the GM has a lot of tools to make it so.

But let's circle back to the question: what if Carrius is killed? That would require a little bit of work to get the adventure path back on track. Some actor other than the PCs need to bring him back. Perhaps the Immaculate Circle installed a "spiritual contingency" that restores Carrius to life fairly quickly; or perhaps Pharasma does so, as part of her investigation into why the prince is unique. Whether that requires extra legwork or complications for the PCs would be up to the GM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hi Ron. First of all, in case I forget, thank you for your very long and in depth response.

I think I read a bit too much into Xan's history and thought those mutilations in the Astral plane have something to do with the extra souls. Or I thought Xan might know that and use that information to try to convince the PCs that he's right. Especially since removing the prince here seems like it cuts out the final two chapters.

I also know that one of my PCs is heavily looking at an inquisitor of Abadar as a character which is going to throw more importance on the cult. My PCs are classically known for having a singular focus so I'm concerned about them latching onto this and not letting go.

Thanks again, you've given me plenty of ideas to work with on this part.

Sovereign Court

The Grassling on page 86.
Do they have a language?


They're fey, and have an INT of 10 with no points in linguistics, so they should just speak sylvan.


So Aresphena tries to trick PCs into looking horrified for her tableau, while also keeping up her innocent facade.

...How would one go about doing that? Any ideas?

So far all I've got is "She tells you her story, which involves such brutal and horrifically triggering things having happened to her that I don't want to repeat them".


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There are two separate stat blocks in this book that reference Bestiary 7. I couldn't find any news about a new bestiary. Is this a typo, twice? Thanks.


That's Bestiary 1, page 7. The aasimar.

Scarab Sages

Getting ready to start Book 3, and I was wondering how other GM's first few games in book 3 went? Any unusual detours that the PC's took or rabbit holes you didn't expect? Did they immediately go after the plot hook with the Twilight Child, or did they work against Yandass and the Imperialist's plot/issues?

Just asking on how it went for others, as I know my group loves the open-endedness of this AP so far...and I have this bad feeling they will find a rabbit hole I didn't expect. This way I can hopefully see how it went for others, and maybe won't be blind sighted (as bad) by my group.


Waldergrave wrote:

Getting ready to start Book 3, and I was wondering how other GM's first few games in book 3 went? Any unusual detours that the PC's took or rabbit holes you didn't expect? Did they immediately go after the plot hook with the Twilight Child, or did they work against Yandass and the Imperialist's plot/issues?

Just asking on how it went for others, as I know my group loves the open-endedness of this AP so far...and I have this bad feeling they will find a rabbit hole I didn't expect. This way I can hopefully see how it went for others, and maybe won't be blind sighted (as bad) by my group.

My group has almost finished Book 3 (they're just about to head to the Encircling Bower to free 'Carrius'). I also had similar worries when we started. I thought they would immediately go after Carrius, but they have actually ended up following all the Parts in the right order. I have a paladin in my group and I think if I had told them about Carrius when Martella gave them the mission that he would have charged off after this potential 'undead'. I decided that Martella/Sir Meir didn't know about Carrius being the centre of the cult, and they slowly found that out instead once they got to Yanmass and started investigating. When I roleplayed the councillors I also had them make fun of Abrun for being so concerned about the cult and really made the other four concerned about the other issues plagueing Yanmass. My group of heroes made a 'priority list' or problems to tackle and the cult ended up falling to the bottom since it just didn't seem the most pressing (this is also after they attended a ceremony to check in out and met Xan). However, I would suggest that you have a backup plan IF they do decide to go off the rails and charge to Part 4 at level 8.

Also, the nightmares are a huge issue. You should definitely make your players (or all of them) have nightmares and spend the day fatigued. That will kick their butts into gear to find the pairakas and start them along the right path. I just made all the other problems seem more urgent whereas the cult is "benign" as the book says. They're only helping people feel safe in these uncertain times, after all.

I've written summaries of our sessions if you want to give them a read through to see how it played out for us: https://wordpress.com/post/d20tabletalk.wordpress.com/158


Minor question.

Argentus (in Savories) is supposed to be using his wand of charm person and his Suggestion spell to make the PCs more agreeable to him. How is he... doing this?

I assume he's not walking up to their table with drink refills and shouting HOCUS POCUS to cast Suggestion on literally just one person, but he doesn't seem to have any way to do it more subtly.

Scarab Sages

Gotta love the flavor text that writers use on attempting to use items "creatively".

Prefacing this with I haven't gotten to here yet in running, and when I do things will likely be upscaled in NPC and Ice golem (since I have 6 players at the table instead of 4). So Argentus will likely be 1-2 levels higher, and the ice golem might be either advanced, or be given more hp than the average the bestiary gives.

I liked how Argentus uses charm person and suggestion to make diners like his food and give him good reviews...especially since I plan on playing him up as a semi-sleazy sczarni type of person. How he gets the PC's under it might require a bit more gentle hand. Especially since you as a GM saying, "Give me a will save" would immediately make them suspicious.

With that....

On how he uses the wand and spells on others....I would assume that since there are just 4 tables (E map only has 4 tables), that maybe there is a way that Argentus can get a line of sight on anybody in any of the tables from the west side behind the last set of tables. LOS would allow the charm person or suggestion to be cast less obviously. Maybe a opposed bluff vs. sense motive, or perception.

Additionally, you can look up and see if there are any reagents that would allow a negative in will saves for charm or compulsion spells. Brain Mold Fungus would add to duration, but maybe Argentus spikes the food or drink with mild sedatives and such to make people more suggestible.

So with that, I would be rolling the will saves in private, or at least knowing the players saves. That way I could just ask the players "Let's see how well you thought of the meal, go ahead and roll a d20 and let me look at a chart real quick...." when in reality they are rolling the will save, though still look at a piece of paper or a screen or something.

Last...honestly, the whole encounter E felt that it was supposed to fall apart and the PC's were to confront Argentus....so hopefully you will get 1-2 PC's thinking it is the best meal ever, 1 maybe confused on why everybody else is thinking that, and 1 would likely find this all suspicious and start the encounter.

Sovereign Court

Xan's write-up seems a little off.
It states he has a Caster Level of 9, which not only is LOWER than a standard of his race (CL 10) but is insufficient to get the quicken spell-like ability feat.
I'm knocking it up to 14 (his HD) which will also have an affect on some of his other SLA, but not to any huge extent.


I am actually ascribing the PC’s knowledge of the Cult to Parthena’s cousin. She has been going on about Yanmass fashion imports for a good half of book two, so it’s looking quite harmless as an addition.


The Yanmass Operations "Canny Investment" and "Watch Yander Merkondus" are missing their corresponding Operation DCs. What do you think would make for appropriate DCs?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This may seem like a fairly boneheaded and obvious thing but if your party sets off the swarm of insects trap in Tallgrasses maybe send 1 swarm (maybe 2) and not the 4 that creeping doom specifies. My group had to sacrifice Grimtusk and two Taldan Horse to BARELY survive that trap. I should have realized that it would be bad before they set off the trap.


So I'm trying to work out where exactly Tallgrasses is. The entry says it's "about 15 miles west of Taldor on the Whistling Plains." I'm assuming that's a typo, since the Whistling plains are on the Eastern Side of Taldor (and 15 miles West of Taldor puts it in Andoran), so my question is: 15 miles WEST of the Qadiran Border, or 15 miles EAST of Taldor? Or is it just 15 miles EAST of Yanmass? Since 15 miles west of Yanmass puts it on the other side of Brokenbridge River, in the Northern Tandak Prefecture. So I think the most reasonable conclusion is that it's 15 miles East of Yanmass, or am I totally off base?

Paizo Employee Developer

Blue Eyed Devil wrote:
So I'm trying to work out where exactly Tallgrasses is. The entry says it's "about 15 miles west of Taldor on the Whistling Plains." I'm assuming that's a typo, since the Whistling plains are on the Eastern Side of Taldor (and 15 miles West of Taldor puts it in Andoran), so my question is: 15 miles WEST of the Qadiran Border, or 15 miles EAST of Taldor? Or is it just 15 miles EAST of Yanmass? Since 15 miles west of Yanmass puts it on the other side of Brokenbridge River, in the Northern Tandak Prefecture. So I think the most reasonable conclusion is that it's 15 miles East of Yanmass, or am I totally off base?

It's 15 miles east of Yanmass. It's a typo. (15 miles west of Taldor is called "Andoran.")

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