The vault in Red Flags [spoilers]


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I am confused about what is supposed to happen inside the vault in Red Flags. Page 83 says:

Quote:
The true danger within the room, though, is a kraken that Free Captain Whark spared no expense in capturing and binding into the chamber as his vault’s guardian. The magical effect was placed by a powerful spellcaster to bind the kraken to this room and also compel it to guard the treasure. This is a 9th-level mental enchantment spell. If this effect is dispelled or otherwise removed, the kraken immediately abandons the chamber, swimming to freedom through a long submerged tunnel. Otherwise, the kraken surges up out of the water to attack intruders as soon as they enter the area, fighting to the death.

What is supposed to happen here? Is the kraken really supposed to pop out and attack the characters as they approach the vault, while Necerion hides using disappearance? How is the party supposed to survive this scuffle with an 18th-level creature?


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I wandered this as well - The Kraken would make more sense as a part of the Vault-Destroying trap, but he seems to be a largely unavoidable Encounter as is. I guess the idea is that the Players get rid of the enchantment? They are at -10, as their highest Level countermagic is 7 at Level 14 vs the Level 9 spell, wich has a DC of - I don't know. A Level 9 Spell is at Minimum at 28, so it will be tough noogies to get rid of that enchantment. Probably still a better Chance than killing that Kraken with a non combat oriented Party (as the Character Creation rules for the chapter propose)


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Huh. Um. This whole set-up seems designed to TPK the group at a very unsatisfying point in the adventure. I only gave it a quick read this morning but I didn't see anything written in to equip the players to deal with this. This is pretty brutal to throw at a non-combat party - not only is the Kraken an "extreme-threat solo boss", the terrain is in it's favor. Sorry, you don't catch the villain or steal the treasure...you die to a unreasonably brutal monster literally steps from your goal.

Maybe I'm missing something... There was that contract for Evil Wish earlier but the costs are extremely high and even then the GM was directed to twist it to the devil's benefit. Even if the group successfully won Whark over and are aware of the Kraken...still not sure how they'd actually deal with it.


'Otherwise, the kraken surges up out of the water to attack intruders as soon as they enter the area, fighting to the death.'

Is there a liberal interpretation of 'the area', such as 'the water he is in' that would make this module reasonable?


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Lyee wrote:

'Otherwise, the kraken surges up out of the water to attack intruders as soon as they enter the area, fighting to the death.'

Is there a liberal interpretation of 'the area', such as 'the water he is in' that would make this module reasonable?

Under such an interpretation of "the area," what use would the kraken actually have as a vault guardian?


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The party would be wise to not engage the kraken. Their best option would be to fall back into the tunnel where the kraken cannot go and then use magic or stealth to get to the vault.


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Stealth seems difficult when the kraken has Perception +30, and when the vault itself is specifically warded against magical intrusion.


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How is the party even supposed to determine that the kraken is under a mental binding enchantment to begin with?

And yeah, its Perception is insane. Even assuming the party is stealthing into the vault, it will still detect them. ESPECIALLY if the entire party has to roll, per RAW, instead of just the person with the highest modifier, because SOMEONE will roll low or roll a 1 - the eternal fatal flaw of group Stealth checks.

There is also basically no way the party can beat its +30 (DC 40) Stealth to detect it as they enter, especially with circumstance bonus for it being underwater.


I guess I would rule that if you win over Whark, she can give you the Password or actually whatever he uses to keep the Kraken from attacking her. That would be in line with her giving out the Password, etc. But the Adventure does not really hint about anything like this.
To be honest, if I read it right, they actually don't Need to enter the Vault at all if they convince Whark that Necerion is going behind her back.
"On a success, Whark asks the PCs to stay quiet and let Necerion enter
the inner sanctum before they follow him inside."

"If the PCs secure Whark’s cooperation, she gladly
allows them to take The Last Theorem as their prize and
promises to cooperate more with the Esoteric Order in
the future."

Tat could mean that you actually don't need to break into the vault, you only need to catch Necerion and Whark will give you the Last Theorem. I admit that's a lot of ifs ...


DerNils wrote:
I guess I would rule that if you win over Whark, she can give you the Password or actually whatever he uses to keep the Kraken from attacking her. That would be in line with her giving out the Password, etc. But the Adventure does not really hint about anything like this.

That would be reasonable but there's nothing supporting it as written. :( Even if a GM decided to run it this way I pity the party that rolls a 1 on that check. Seems unreasonably brutal.


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What happens if and when the PCs ultimately do get tentacle-crushed by the kraken, thus losing the mission?


It's actually written out in "Concluding the Chapter". Your choice on how the Order get's the last Theorem instead, and you can reuse Necerion if he survived and you want to. Could give your Players some satisfactionto kick his ass with their Level 18 Main Chars.
Even though, if everything goes according to Necerions Plan, they never interact with him at all. They get their asses kicked by the Kraken, he dispels the enchantment on the Kraken and then - I don't know, uses Kasbeels "Evil Wish" to open the Vault? Or leaves it there, happy that the Order has failed and his Nemesis got krakened?

Now that I write this down, this could be one of the few RP interactions imaginable - just when the big K is about to munch down on his Nemesis, Necerion Comes out of Disappearance all "Nobody kills my Nemesis but me!" and dispels the Krakens enchantment (he has 2 Level 8 Dispels available, after all), turning this into a feasible endfight.


It is doubtful that the players will have their 17th-level characters ready by then, and if the 14th-level characters have already been devoured by a kraken or arrested by Whark, then it is unlikely that they can go on to retrieve the Last Theorem themselves.

Your idea for Necerion intervening against the kraken is interesting, but I do not think it has much basis in how the adventure is spelled out.


Sorry, you misunderstood me - for this Adventure, after your characters haven been eaten by the Kraken, it ends. With a failure.
The other stuff is more or less explaining "Why does the campaign not fail here?"
Reusing Necerion is in the frame of the next adventure, as advised in "Concluding the Chapter"


And what I am asking is, how is the kraken supposed to be helpful to this facet of the playtest in any way, shape, or form?


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Colette Brunel wrote:
And what I am asking is, how is the kraken supposed to be helpful to this facet of the playtest in any way, shape, or form?

I think it's suppose to be an impossible encounter that the players avoid by using clever out of combat methods. I'm imagining a survey that asks 9) Did you fight the Kraken? which they then reference back to 2) Did you win over Whark and 4) Did you acquire X and so on. Etc, etc.

However - as written there aren't any clever out of combat ways to avoid the Kraken. Evil Wish is the only thing that comes close and that's hardly explicit. I've re-read Red Flags a few times since this topic was first posted and there's nothing aside from extreme luck (rolling really well on that stealth check) or GM fiat (spinning what's written to be much more favorable) that would prevent a TPK. There are always exceptions of course but the vast majority of parties would TPK at this point.

Even winning over Whark with Diplomacy doesn't give the group a command word for the Kraken or, as written, skip journeying down to the vault. It says that Whark will let the party take what's in the vault...not that she'll go and get it for them.

Unless I'm missing something, this is a example of bad adventure/encounter design.

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