3 - Runeplague (GM Reference)


Return of the Runelords

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Kiniticyst wrote:
Dark-Jedi wrote:
im bit confused about "the lying cup", i dont see any DC check about step 5. anyone can help me ?
As discussed earlier in this thread, The Lying Cup doesn't really make sense at all. You'd be better off trying to make up your own similar game than attempting to get it to work as written.

I had the same question. Was thinking DC 10 dex worked fine, since they'll have a -5 frequently. Maybe DC 15 or 20 for sleight of hand, as PC could easier be auto20 by this level.

I think the game works out pretty well as is.

Drink, Question, Answer, Judge Impression, then extra details to be convincing (whether truth or lie).

The player's game is to figure out truth or lie, the PC's game is to back that up with sense motive.

Judge: "Have you really eaten a dragon for breakfast like you said earlier?"
Drinker:" Yes, I have."
Judge: *squint* " You're lying! "
Drinker: "Well, they might have still been polymorphed from the night before." *wink*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The title of this book is pretty catchy, but I'm secretly glad the game sessions aren't titled with the names of the books because the polymorph plague feels small and insignificant compared to some of the other action going on.

After the fun my group had back in CotCT's Seven Days to the Grave, I'm tempted to make Runeplague more, well, plaguey. Also runey.

Anyone think I'd derail things too much if I let that first section stretch longer in the background and seem more widespread? Like maybe more and more people have runes appearing on their bodies (like the sores from Blood Veil) but the Yamasoth cultists are instead focused on a widespread trigger to 'activate' it and cause the horrific transformations we've seen in the module, and that's what the PCs are going to eventually focus on?

I'd definitely make sure to save the 'party' in Korvosa for after, almost so it can feel like a reward after stopping the plague. But there's no reason the showdown at Zincher's can't happen while the plague is spreading... After all, the auction seems the most date-specific of everything.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The title "Runeplague" isn't meant to solely point at an actual sickness or illness like the polymorph plague, but to metaphorically refer to the fact that runelords are rising with unprecedented speed. In other words, Varisia (and thus Golarion) is sick with "Runelord Rising" syndrome.

Also, given the fact that we're now in the middle of a global pandemic, any sort of adventure that doubles down on plagues could be problematic for some players. While some folks will be empowered and eagerly welcome the idea of being able to fight against a plague, others might not find that so much fun, or could well be put into uncomfortable places if their real-world experiences with the pandemic aren't things they're interested in dealing with in the game as well.

As always for potentially triggering or problematic elements in games, know your players before you present such topics to your table. It's a good thing to let the players know that there's some potentially upsetting content—it's not a spoiler if you're asking for consent from your players to explore a fraught topic, it's responsible GMing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh! I like thinking of it as a plague of Runelords, especially since this is the book where suddenly multiple Runelords are potentially a threat all at once. I really didn't get that at all originally, I think since it opens with mentions of the Polymorph Plague.

Thank you for the thoughts on triggering topics. It'll probably be another year before we get this far, and plenty could develop if people don't even want to think about actual plague events anymore.

Sczarni

.
stickler for stats integrity here...

blood simulacrum of sorshen ability scores inconsistency that i cannot seem to validate:

- 25-pt buy base stats*: 7, 13, 13, 18, 10, 17
- 4th level: (+1 int) 7, 13, 13, 19, 10, 17
- 8th level: (+1 cha) 7, 13, 13, 19, 10, 18
- dance of seven veil: (+2 int, cha) 7, 13, 13, 21, 10, 20
- human enchanter is cr 9

question -- according to book's stat block, how is she getting?
- additional +2 to str
- additional +4 to dex and con
- additional +1* to cr to make her cr 11

what am i missing?

(did stats forget to include something like a belt of physical perfection +4, but that would make her str at 11?)

* from "exceptional stats" special ability


wyld wrote:

.

stickler for stats integrity here...

blood simulacrum of sorshen ability scores inconsistency that i cannot seem to validate:

- 25-pt buy base stats*: 7, 13, 13, 18, 10, 17
- 4th level: (+1 int) 7, 13, 13, 19, 10, 17
- 8th level: (+1 cha) 7, 13, 13, 19, 10, 18
- dance of seven veil: (+2 int, cha) 7, 13, 13, 21, 10, 20
- human enchanter is cr 9

question -- according to book's stat block, how is she getting?
- additional +2 to str
- additional +4 to dex and con
- additional +1* to cr to make her cr 11

what am i missing?

(did stats forget to include something like a belt of physical perfection +4, but that would make her str at 11?)

* from "exceptional stats" special ability

If you set stats at 7, 15, 15, 16, 8, 15 for the point buy then it works out.

Azlanti, Pure-blooded: 9, 17, 17, 18, 10, 17
4th level: 9, 17, 17, 19, 10, 17
8th level: 9, 17, 17, 19, 10, 18
dance of seven veil: 9, 17, 17, 21, 10, 20

Meanwhile cr requires using a rules element from Ruins of Azlant which says to treat Pure-Blooded Azlanti as CR+1 higher than other NPC's which gets you to CR 11 (9 base + 1 stats + 1 azlanti)

Sczarni

.
nice thx for pointing these out.

one more thing: where does this rule appear in the ap?

Dryad Knotwood wrote:
...treat Pure-Blooded Azlanti as CR+1 higher than other NPCs...


wyld wrote:

.

nice thx for pointing these out.

one more thing: where does this rule appear in the ap?

Dryad Knotwood wrote:
...treat Pure-Blooded Azlanti as CR+1 higher than other NPCs...

It's not in Return of the Runelords, but the last book of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path in a section detailing how to use Pure-Blooded Azlanti. Yeah... Paizo probably could have placed that somewhere easier to find...


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In regards to the Time Flayer creature, is there any reason why it lost the "Unmaking" special attack when taken from Tome of Horrors? I noticed it's missing that entry.

I understand the game mechanical reasoning, at the same time I think it was a nice homage to the truly lethal dangers that was reminiscent of D&D 1e and 2e creatures that PCs battled.

I'm assuming maybe a higher HD Time Flayer may gain it as an ability? Possibly a Time Flayer Lord type of foe?


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I was a bit disappointed there as well, having run these in Slumbering Tsar. But I simply described the temporal displacement ability as 'cutting someone out of time' and the group (one of whom knows the original) was appropriately terrified. No one ever failed the save. I do think the displacement should last longer - pretty wasted as a standard action for a single combatant - by the time you displace the whole party, they're back. I went with 2d6 rounds based on a temporal displacement spell from 3.5.


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Since our party didn't participate in the AP which is presumed to have defeated Krune before Return of the Runelords begins, I needed something to give a little exposition about that.

The AP says that

AP wrote:

Amid the scattered notes on the polymorph plague are three other noteworthy pieces of information…

The third is a copy of a report from Pathfinder Society agents ripped from a volume of the Pathfinder Chronicles that details the results of a dangerous mission undertaken to defeat the return of Runelord Krune. Near the section that details the death of a newly arisen Runelord Krune, Leptonia has penned a disturbing gloss: “Dead for now, but if we can return him to life, a thankful Runelord of Sloth may just give us the support needed to bring the polymorph plague to the breath of every city it touches!”

As I made up the props for the other items mentioned there I decided to go ahead and write up what I imagined was on that journal excerpt. (Of course this is all invented since we never played that adventure.) Since it is ripped out of a larger volume, it begins mid-sentence.

Hidden here due to length:
Pathfinder Chronicles excerpt wrote:

pass that then, finally, we were there: his innermost sanctum, after passing so many Glyphs, Runes, guardians, and finally Lashmistress Vandiana herself. We encountered her mid-ritual, illuminated by the firelight coming from the broad stone altar. Unfortunately as we took in the scene, her ritual was finished and she rested, laughing at our arrival. “It is done! Even now he awakens from his long slumber!”

Looking past her, beyond the altar, we saw four thick chains attached to the walls, suspending between them a heavy stone sarcophagus several feet above the ground.

We knew the moment his soul left its crystal container and reunited with his body as we heard the thumping inside the sarcophagus followed seconds later by his bodily appearance in the room.

We were momentarily held in that time-stopping feeling of abject awe and terror that only one who comes face to face with a Runelord can truly understand. Nothing Venture-Captain Heidmarch told us ahead of our mission could have prepared us adequately for this moment.

Runelord Krune surveyed the room. His smug expression turned to a frown as he saw us, obviously not acting like the cowering subordinates he was expecting. In Thassilonian his voice boomed out to us, “Who are you who dare to stand there so insolently before your Lord and Ruler? Prostrate yourselves before me this instant and identify yourselves! Cast aside your weapons in surrender to my guards and my fury!”

In his youthful enthusiasm, Teodorin spoke back, somewhat over-confidently, “Krune, your rule ended 10,000 years ago. You are one with the dust of history and we’re about to put you back there!”

The Runelord scoffed at this, an expression that looked just a little bit like amusement on his heavily-tattooed face. “You poor fool. Do not think I will spare you the consequences of your lack of reverence simply because you are a weak-brained idiot spouting nonsense about history. You see my loyal servant has awakened me now that the great calamity I predicted has come and passed. I still rule Haruka, you pathetic moron.”

With a wave of his hand and the flash of a patch of runes tattooed into his skin, a great salamander appeared next to Teodorin. It was over before we could react. After our mission was over, I took it upon myself to visit his family to tell them of his brave death.

But now the battle of our lives was afoot. It was a bitter struggle which nearly cost us most of our lives, but with most of our spells expended, most of our health spent, time wasted following his teleporting ass from one end of his sanctuary to the other, we defeated Krune once and for all.

The world is yet again safe from the return of the Runelords of Ancient Thassalon. As his last breath escaped his mouth, his sarcophagus and soul gem disintegrated. It is over for good.


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I am very confused how the Reborn Brothers in area D10 are able to fo a full Flurry of Blows and then also get their natural attacks all in one full attack.

I expect to convert the Ex-Monk 5 to Ex-Unchained Monk 5, but I just know some of my players will be very curious how this is happening...


My player decided to read the Bone Grimoire. Should anything else happen to him besides what's written in the book? It seemed like Erigantus was swayed by Zutha's spirit and wanted to know if something similar would happen to a PC that took the week to read it


You can certainly play a lot at Zutha beginning to inhabit him. Read the novel "Lord of Runes" by Dave Gross for a great depiction (though it was a different section I believe, so different effects).

Grand Lodge

Zifnab the Overly Verbose wrote:
As I made up the props for the other items mentioned there I decided to go ahead and write up what I imagined was on that journal excerpt.

I decided to have a quick look-through this thread before setting out to make these exact things as handouts. Are you still around Zifnab? I would love to take a look at what you created for handouts, given it seems like one of the best instances in the AP for the party to review multiple documents and make their own inferences.

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