2 - It Came from Hollow Mountain (GM Reference)


Return of the Runelords

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This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for GMs running the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path, specifically for the second adventure, "It Came from Hollow Mountain."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Night and the Dance, said she
And I'll lead you all to wherever you should be
and I'll lead you all in the dance, said she


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excellent module. Can't wait for the next one.

Shisumo -- love the lyrics in your version of the song. I'm sure the my next PC Bard/Cleric will be of Ashava due to this stanza.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Great adventure! my group is going to love the mix of roleplay in the beginning and dungeon crawling in the latter half. I did have a question, in the dream council Sorshen ask the PC's to seek at Thybidos for more information but when they confront him he doesn't really do much more than attack or pass on quietly. Sorshen already mentions that Alaznist is no longer in Hollow Mountain and Thybidos mentions it briefly. I'm wondering if I missed out on something or if it was omitted on accident any suggestions on some lore that we can add to the final encounter?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Sadnerd wrote:
Great adventure! my group is going to love the mix of roleplay in the beginning and dungeon crawling in the latter half.

"You're stuck on a ship with a colorful cast of NPCs!" is pretty much the briar patch I want to be thrown into.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Sadnerd wrote:
Great adventure! my group is going to love the mix of roleplay in the beginning and dungeon crawling in the latter half. I did have a question, in the dream council Sorshen ask the PC's to seek at Thybidos for more information but when they confront him he doesn't really do much more than attack or pass on quietly. Sorshen already mentions that Alaznist is no longer in Hollow Mountain and Thybidos mentions it briefly. I'm wondering if I missed out on something or if it was omitted on accident any suggestions on some lore that we can add to the final encounter?

It's all the information that the PC should learn about events unfolding that Sorshen hopes they learn about, as well as hoping they learn more information on the way on their own, rather than specific stuff Thybidos is to reveal to them. A lot of it is perhaps contextual lore that won't pay off for several adventures to come in various fun and minor ways.


Ok, is it me, or have the years not been kind to ol' Sheila?

Page 19 - Yikes...


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Apologies if this comes off as snarky. It is not meant to be, but I am confused.

Looking over the other threads, especially where JJ has responded, I expected more interaction with the Sihedron Heroes in Chapter 2. I understand they are off somewhere and trapped in Crystilan, but am kind of disappointed in the lack of interaction with them.

Will the PCs eventually meet the Sihedron Heroes, or at least have some interaction with them?

-- david

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Papa-DRB wrote:

Apologies if this comes off as snarky. It is not meant to be, but I am confused.

Looking over the other threads, especially where JJ has responded, I expected more interaction with the Sihedron Heroes in Chapter 2. I understand they are off somewhere and trapped in Crystilan, but am kind of disappointed in the lack of interaction with them.

Will the PCs eventually meet the Sihedron Heroes, or at least have some interaction with them?

-- david

Spoiler:
Yes, they'll meet them eventually, but not until much later. The Sihedron Heroes are at about 17th level, and having them show up early would rob the lower level PCs of the need to adventure.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I was thinking about holding off the reveal of it being Sorshen contacting them. Like perhaps she appears to them as an ancient armored knight with an echoing voice. I'd really like for them to see the reveal that their "patron" is truly Sorshen in person. To reference my favorite guilty pleasure Batman and Robin, much like the scene where Ivy is in the gorilla costume into a dramatic reveal. What do you folks think?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any insight into how Sorshen reacts to a character with the "accidental clone" campaign trait? Which is an amazingly flavorful trait by the way, my PC's loved the idea!

Not knowing how much of a part she plays in the rest of the AP I'm wondering how much or how little drama I should attempt to milk from this initial interaction? Is there some conflict I could foreshadow here? Does she completely ignore the clone? Is she amused?


Sadnerd wrote:
I was thinking about holding off the reveal of it being Sorshen contacting them. Like perhaps she appears to them as an ancient armored knight with an echoing voice. I'd really like for them to see the reveal that their "patron" is truly Sorshen in person. To reference my favorite guilty pleasure Batman and Robin, much like the scene where Ivy is in the gorilla costume into a dramatic reveal. What do you folks think?

I have to agree, seems a bit early in the game for Sorshen to be so forthright in her reveal.

For the Runelord of Lust (Enchantment) NOT working through an intermediary at first seems rather counter-intuitive. I mean, the first thing the party needs to do after that reveal is let EVERYONE know that there is more than one Runelord on the loose now - and one of the most dangerous of them all is ACTIVE.


Darth Krzysztof wrote:
Sadnerd wrote:
Great adventure! my group is going to love the mix of roleplay in the beginning and dungeon crawling in the latter half.
"You're stuck on a ship with a colorful cast of NPCs!" is pretty much the briar patch I want to be thrown into.

It's not quite 'Gilligan's Island' that your heading to...but that's what got stuck in my mind after reading this...LOL


Crivens wrote:

Any insight into how Sorshen reacts to a character with the "accidental clone" campaign trait? Which is an amazingly flavorful trait by the way, my PC's loved the idea!

Not knowing how much of a part she plays in the rest of the AP I'm wondering how much or how little drama I should attempt to milk from this initial interaction? Is there some conflict I could foreshadow here? Does she completely ignore the clone? Is she amused?

Spoiler:
The Clone PC is the target for scrying, and has a -10 penalty to the Will save due to the link between her body and Sorshen's. I'm not sure how much chance a level 6/7 PC has in making an effective DC 42 Will save.
Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Crivens wrote:

Any insight into how Sorshen reacts to a character with the "accidental clone" campaign trait? Which is an amazingly flavorful trait by the way, my PC's loved the idea!

Not knowing how much of a part she plays in the rest of the AP I'm wondering how much or how little drama I should attempt to milk from this initial interaction? Is there some conflict I could foreshadow here? Does she completely ignore the clone? Is she amused?

Sorshen is a key player for the rest of the campaign. She should be amused by the clone for now, though. More info will be in part 3.


Will we be getting stat blocks for the other runelords? I know we've got Karzoug, Alderpash, and Krune, but what about the others? I'm sure we'll get Alaznist for the final fight of course. Possibly Xanderghul later on as well?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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OmegaZ wrote:
Will we be getting stat blocks for the other runelords? I know we've got Karzoug, Alderpash, and Krune, but what about the others? I'm sure we'll get Alaznist for the final fight of course. Possibly Xanderghul later on as well?

There's stats for several, yes. Not gonna spoil which ones... but there'll be at LEAST one in each part going forward.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

After reading page 18, it seems a bit cruel that Hira would choose to hide a secret message using a voice-activated device, then deliver said device to a hireling who is pseudo-famous for being a self-inflicted mute. Having said that, I have verified that it is indeed possible to say that particular command word without the use of one's tongue, although I don't recommend trying it in public, unless you want to get some strange looks.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm in the process of running Beyond the Doomsday Door. Any thoughts on how I should be foreshadowing this adventure given all of Ardathanatus's adventures inside Hollow Mountain?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

For example, what’s the deal with the sinspawn? He brought at least thirty of them with him to Windsong Abbey from Hollow Mountain, and between them they had (at least) 100 +1 human bane arrows, 100 regular arrows, 10 potions of cure moderate wounds, 10 suits of +1 chainmail, and +1 composite longbows (of the appropriate Strength rating), and 10 masterwork halberds. Were these provided to the sinspawn by Alaznist and are thus over ten millennia old? Did Ardathanatus stop in Riddleport to go shopping? It seems unlikely he’d be able to find all this in stock.

So where in Hollow Mountain did he find thirty sinspawn (possibly a third of whom were fully equipped) free for the taking?

(This isn't by any means a criticism of the writing. This is an attempt to make cool tie-ins between the adventures.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Hollow Mountain is MUCH larger than what's in this adventure, and the sinspawn, being hand-crafted infinatry stormtrooper type soldiers, have had plenty of time over the past 10,000 or so years to craft gear, to have gear crafted for them by others in the mountain, or to scavenging their gear. The equipment owned by the sinspawn in Beyond the Doomsday Door is their belongings from before they were recruited by Ardathanatus.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Thank-you for the quick response. That seems pretty definitively against a tie-in, so I'll just run them by the book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just translated all the flavor text for this module to German. Oof, Mike Shel certainly has a faible for complicated descriptions. ^^

I was about to ask a question about Sursha Antefalle using a katana as her weapon of choice, but I just noticed that this is perfectly legal with Swashbuckler's Finesse and Slashing Grace. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This question seems dumb.

So, where, exactly, does Sorshen's dream council image lead the PCs to, if they do "in following this urge implanted by the area, they can arrive at the location with ease.." ?

I've pored over the gauntlet of fury and looked and maybe it's just the cold I'm dealing with and that I'm tired, but I can't figure out where the PCs end up if they say "okay, we go there then."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zapranoth wrote:

This question seems dumb.

So, where, exactly, does Sorshen's dream council image lead the PCs to, if they do "in following this urge implanted by the area, they can arrive at the location with ease.." ?

I've pored over the gauntlet of fury and looked and maybe it's just the cold I'm dealing with and that I'm tired, but I can't figure out where the PCs end up if they say "okay, we go there then."

It's covered in the next adventure, but the short version is "Korvosa."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Zapranoth wrote:

This question seems dumb.

So, where, exactly, does Sorshen's dream council image lead the PCs to, if they do "in following this urge implanted by the area, they can arrive at the location with ease.." ?

I've pored over the gauntlet of fury and looked and maybe it's just the cold I'm dealing with and that I'm tired, but I can't figure out where the PCs end up if they say "okay, we go there then."

It's covered in the next adventure, but the short version is "Korvosa."

Thank you for answering questions on a Sunday! And, this is probably my favorite AP of them so far. My players' favorite, perhaps, as well! :)

I took some tylenol and afrin and had another look, and found the reference I was looking for -- it's on page 48, talks about the "overgrown archway depicting two weeping dragons" that leads into area E1. It's just a small enough reference that I missed it at first.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zapranoth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Zapranoth wrote:

This question seems dumb.

So, where, exactly, does Sorshen's dream council image lead the PCs to, if they do "in following this urge implanted by the area, they can arrive at the location with ease.." ?

I've pored over the gauntlet of fury and looked and maybe it's just the cold I'm dealing with and that I'm tired, but I can't figure out where the PCs end up if they say "okay, we go there then."

It's covered in the next adventure, but the short version is "Korvosa."

Thank you for answering questions on a Sunday! And, this is probably my favorite AP of them so far. My players' favorite, perhaps, as well! :)

I took some tylenol and afrin and had another look, and found the reference I was looking for -- it's on page 48, talks about the "overgrown archway depicting two weeping dragons" that leads into area E1. It's just a small enough reference that I missed it at first.

OH! Glad you figured it out. I misread your question entirely. Sorry about that!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Degradation of Thybidos!

Give me some ideas about *what* the insults on the wall say (the stoneworked insults in Thassilonian, etched on every inch of the exposed walls inside the area). Let's have it in the form that Alaznist would have actually had written down.

I'll read the best ones to my PC when they reach that area, next session. Be inventive! Go. :)


After the PCs help Audrahni complete her prayer/ritual in Magnimar, the AP mentions that she should be back to a full Cleric by book 3.

Is there any mention of her after that? Is she assumed to be traveling with and helping the PCs? Or that she remains in Magnimar and becomes a full time worshiper of Ashava again?


I think it's up to you. If one of your PCs takes Leadership, she becomes a pretty good choice for a cohort, I think. Otherwise, if you think your group needs the clerical help, she could travel with them, or she could remain in Magnimar and serve as a point of contact for them, being a full time worshiper of Ashava.


Phntm888 wrote:
I think it's up to you. If one of your PCs takes Leadership, she becomes a pretty good choice for a cohort, I think. Otherwise, if you think your group needs the clerical help, she could travel with them, or she could remain in Magnimar and serve as a point of contact for them, being a full time worshiper of Ashava.

Thanks for the input.

I had planned to have her remain in Magnimar for now, as a new Cleric of Ashava. She could be called on for help if necessary.
I had read through the remaining chapters of the AP, and couldn't find any other mention of her (beyond the campaign trait that ties a PC to her), and I was afraid I was missing something.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Audrahni's story after the 2nd adventure is no longer hard-coded into the plot of the campaign, and what role she plays going forward is pretty much 100% open for each table to use as makes sense in their game.

Dark Archive

Curious about the chains that hold Thybidos. With the chains appearing to be self-healing, a character has to do 40 points of damage to destroy a chain (hardness 10, 30 hp) to free him, or destroy all the 6 chains individually? Does a successful Disable Device release all chains or only 1 chain?

I'm sure I could run it how I want, but I'm wondering how James intended the mechanics of the events. Should make it 6 attempts to be absolutely sure the party wants to free Thybidos? I'm fairly certain they'll be in for a surprise if they release him because they were lead to believe Thybidos will help them after the dream from Sorshen.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

ckdragons wrote:

Curious about the chains that hold Thybidos. With the chains appearing to be self-healing, a character has to do 40 points of damage to destroy a chain (hardness 10, 30 hp) to free him, or destroy all the 6 chains individually? Does a successful Disable Device release all chains or only 1 chain?

I'm sure I could run it how I want, but I'm wondering how James intended the mechanics of the events. Should make it 6 attempts to be absolutely sure the party wants to free Thybidos? I'm fairly certain they'll be in for a surprise if they release him because they were lead to believe Thybidos will help them after the dream from Sorshen.

The "immediately repairs itself an instant later" healing applies to Thybidos's remains, not to other things in the room like the chains holding him (remains, in this case, means his body, not his gear or the chains or anything like that). The intent here is to make the confrontation with Thybidos something different than just "Roll for initiative and then start stabbing." The encounter should give Disable Device a chance to play and to give the players a chance to have some roleplaying stuff—I do try everything I can to inject roleplaying opportunities like this into large dungeon adventures to keep things varied and interesting.

The point is that you have to get rid of the chains before you can actually start fighting him. The most important thing for him to impart to the PCs is confirmation that Alaznist is out and about and doing her thing—if the PCs already learned this somehow else, then that's not as important, but this is their chance if they haven't (remember that the PCs knowing this as fact is different than players knowing it as fact!). You can, of course, also use him to give the PCs other hints and clues. Think of Thybidos as "plot insurance" at this point to help you give the PCS clues and information that they may have missed at this point but SHOULD have learned.

Scarab Sages

So, prepping the first two books for running this shortly, and I have a question: the 20,000 GP items that the council hands out, is that ONLY if the PCs hand over Baraket? If they got it stolen the council gives them nothing? I mean, I am aware of Story rewards, but at the same time, yesh, getting rid of 80,000 GP worth of stuff (Assuming a 4 player party) is ROUGH for failing 1 will save vs a mesmerist. Can they get those items at level 8 after they presumably stab the opera singer and retrieve Baraket on the island?

It Came From Hollow Mountain p.20 wrote:


Treasure: Before the meeting adjourns, Sheila thanks the PCs again for delivering the Sword of Pride, and notes that such a task should not go unrewarded. She informs the PCs that each may claim an item from the council’s significant treasure vaults as their personal reward. In game terms, you should work with each player to determine a magic item reward of approximately 20,000 gp in value. The simplest solution is to just allow your players to pick an item from Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment, but feel free to truncate that “shopping list”


Hmmm...I actually hadn't thought about this one.

You could certainly give it to them after level 8, once they retrieve Baraket. I don't see any issue doing that, and it gives them some reward for doing so, as well.

You could also give it to them before Hollow Mountain, but instead Sheila could say that if they accept, they agree to deliver Baraket to the Council after they retrieve it. That way they get the items before going to Hollow Mountain, but still have to had over Baraket. They should honestly be desperate to, given the penalties imposed for carrying and using it.

Scarab Sages

So in preparation for this game, I was really looking forward to the part gives the council gives the players a 20,000 GP item because it lets me, as the GM, have some fun. In that vein I have custom built some items for my PCs instead of just letting them choose, though these are hardly ‘core’ items. Tell me what you think:

PC1: A Dwarven Vigilante who uses a heavy Pick. His father was a Dwarven priest of Torag that is on the Sihedron Council. His father saw some truly terrifying things in his time, and didn’t want that for his son, so now his son has to dress like a vigilante to adventure like he yearns to do.

Item: A father’s protection.
This weapon acts as a +1 heavy pick for anyone but a dwarf. In the hands of a dwarf becomes a +2 courageous heavy pick that can cast shield twice per day for a minute each time. No matter who swipes it, is also counts as a masterwork tool for profession-mining.
Breakdown:
Mwk Military pick 308
+3 weapon (+2 courageous) 18000
+2 bonus to a skill: 400(x1.5, additional ability) =600
Lvl 1 spell, CL 1, (2x per day)(1800x1x1)/(5/2)=720(x1.5, additional ability)=1080
Total=19,988

PC 2: A Thassalonian Arcanist scholar
Item: Field Scholar’s Aegis
+4 silken ceremonial armor. Also acts as a first level runestone of power and gives a +2 competence bonus to knowledge-history checks
Breakdown
Mwk silken ceremonial armor: 180
+4 armor: 16000
Lvl 1 runestone of power: 2000(x1.5, additional ability)=3000
+2 to a skill: 400(x1.5, additional ability)=600
Total: 19780

PC3: Ifrit Rogue/magus/Arcane Trickster
Item: The thief’s escape.
This armor acts as Celestial armor with the exception that it only acts as +2 chainmail, and it can, as a swift action, disassemble the sleeves to provide a set of marvelous lockpicks which provide a +4 bonus to disable device. Another swift action returns the armor to normal. While the lockpicks are out, the suits provides one less armor than normal.
Breakdown:
Celestial armor but +2 22,400(-5000, conservative estimate)=17,400
+4 to disable device 1600(x1.5, additional ability)=2400
Total: 19800

PC 4: A half Orc Bone Shaman, strength based.
Item: The strength of the grave
This counts as a set of +1 Horn Lamellar armor unless worn why a divine spellcaster, then it becomes a set of +3 horn lamellar armor that grants the wearer a +2 enhancement bonus to strength. It also grants a +2 competence bonus to knowledge-Religion checks, and the ability to cast unbreakable heart 1/day as a fifth level caster.
Breakdown:
Mwk Horn Lammelar: 250
+3 armor 9000
+2 enhancement bonus to stat 4000(x1.5, additional ability)=6000
+2 to skill: 400(x1.5, additional ability)=600
Lvl 1 spell CL5 1/day (1800x1x5)/(5)=1800(x1.5, additional ability)=2700
Total 18550

Tell me what you guys think!

Dark Archive

I believe it's meant to be a single item valued up to 20k. Providing multiple items totaling 20k may provide the PCs with a bit too much balanced power. IMO


They are single items, ckdragons, but they are unique magic items as opposed to standard magic items. Kind of like the armors on this page.

I like the idea. Tailoring your PCs' items to their characters should make them feel more unique.

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