Firebombers of Shrieking Peak

Pathfinder Society Scenario Feedback

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In which a minotaur is reduced to a broken shell of a man.

Well, I had hoped to get Raiders run in a single session, but my players... move at the pace they move. :) In any case, this is my retrospective on the first session.

Party consisted of everyone except Amiri.

Upon arriving in the town, my players were surprisingly efficient and split up. Kyra and Fumbus decided to try to find information about the safe house, since Fumbus has Pathfinder Society Lore (apparently the goblin is the only one with this skill...). Meanwhile Valeros and Shion (Seoni's player was male and wanted to do a gender-swap) went looking for information about the caravan.

Merisiel's player wanted to use her Lore (Underworld) to see if anything matching the description of the clasp had shown up on the black market, which I allowed, setting a DC the same as the Pathfinder Society Lore to get some useful information. Made the DC exactly and I told her that a caravan with a mysterious package was seen leaving by the east gate.

Shion then natural 20'd. When the party regrouped, Merisiel proudly told the party what she had learned... only for Shion to completely describe the caravan's entire route. :P

In any case, Fumbus rolled well on his Recall Knowledge and they easily found the safehouse after that. Kyra rolled well on Medicine to tend to the wounded caravaneers, and then for good measure did a Heal burst with a Focus point for 35 healing, much impressing the medic (and the party, for that matter).

There was some debate about whether to rest the night or not. However, Valeros had some smart questions for the medic and figured out that the caravan couldn't have been attacked more than a few hours ride away based on the timing of events, so he convinced the party to set off immediately. As a result, the minotaur encounter became a night encounter.

Oh boy, the minotaur encounter.

Having spotted the wagon from some distance (I ruled it was a clear, moonlit night), Merisiel decided to sneak up and investigate. After a moment's thought, Shion turned invisible and followed.

In an absolute hilarious sequence, the three minotaur's Stealth rolls were 1, 2, 19. Two of the minotaurs had apparently decided to hide behind a bush that was much, much too small for them; the weak minotaur was the one with the lucky roll. Easily spotting what he thought was the entire ambush, Shion snuck around behind them, deciding to try to turn the tide on them with a heightened Fear spell.

This was when the players discovered the lack of surprise rounds, which made things... interesting. The sequence of events went like this:

Merisiel rolled incredibly high Stealth, going first and staying hidden from the minotaurs. She held, since they had no reason to suspect trouble.

The minotaurs rolled pretty high Perception (the only time the dice liked them all night), and all three of them went next. However, the only other creature close enough for them to see was invisible. I ruled that they were on edge (I assume creatures have a "sixth sense" for when they are suddenly in combat time and don't know why) but at the moment they had no targets, so they held their actions.

Valeros went next, pulled out his bow, and readied an action to shoot the first thing he could clearly see to shoot; he was about 100 feet distant from the minotaurs at this point.

Kyra, standing next to Valeros, wanted to ready a fireball. At this point I made a ruling that I'm not sure was legal or not, but seemed logical. The rules for spellcasting say that the spell actions must be sequential and in the same round. Based on that, I allowed Kyra to take one of the spellcasting actions and then ready the second. Like I said, not sure if legal, but seemed logical.

Fumbus went next and held, being too far away to contribute.

Shion went last. Shion's player was not happy that he initiated combat from invisiblity but still had to wait for everyone else to act. However, mechanically speaking, since everyone else readied or held due to not being able to see any active combatants, he did admit it was basically like getting a surprise round.

That said, there was a bit of a... communication issue.

The plan in Shion's mind: "I'm gonna sneak up there, hit 'em with fear and an Intimidate check, and they'll piss themselves and run away without ever knowing who is attacking. Then we can follow them back to their base."

What Shion told the party: "Wait here, guys, I have a plan."

The plan in the party's mind: "Shion's gonna surprise attack 'em; we'll wait for our chance then hit them with everything we've got!"

So Shion uses Ancestral Surge and casts heightened Fear. Both minotaurs that he knows about fail their save. It becomes their turn. They stand up from hiding in fright... triggering two readied actions. Before they can move from their spot, an arrow catches one in the shoulder, and then a fireball slams into them.

It turns out that frightened and/or weak minotaurs who can't roll above a 5 on the die are good fireball targets. Three crit failures later and they are all down 40 health, little more for the guy with the arrow (remember Arrow Guy. He's important later).

The bush is incinerated, so the party now knows about the third minotaur. However, the minotaurs just got hit with fear, an arrow, and then a fireball, and all they can see is the one caster. They are terrified, so they spend their turn running directly away from Shion... which happens to be directly towards the party.

Merisiel takes her held action, making a Quick Leap to come down on the weak minotaur with her rapier... it's a crit, that one is dead.

Fumbus takes his held action, hurling an alchemist's fire and an acid flask (with Focus on the acid flask) at the second minotaur, hitting both times, leaving the minotaur with 7 hit points left.

Shion could have taken an action at this point, but he's 100 feet away from the party, and his plan is in shambles... by which we mean working far, far better than he intended it to. So he holds.

The minotaur that got bombed rolls something like 11 persistant damage and dissolves into sizzling flesh.

Only Arrow Guy is left, and his buddies were just slaughtered. He's still frightened, and over half dead from a fireball and an arrow. He grabs his holy symbol, drops to his knees, and starts reciting scripture (Our Father, who Art in a maze, unhallowed be thy name...). The party pokes at him a bit, but due to the language barrier they end up just kinda... leaving him be.

Total damage taken by the party: Zero. Other than Shion's pride. He's still bitter about the lack of surprise rounds and the party "ruining" his plan.

They investigate the bodies and the wagon, finding the stash. Merisiel becomes possibly the first person in PF2e history not remotely bothered by lockpicking taking three actions.

Meanwhile, something is unfolding with Arrow Guy. By now, Shion has cast comprehend languages. Additionally, Arrow Guy has realized something is up. These people tied him up and didn't kill him, which means they aren't slaves of the harpy. When Shion comes over to look him in the eye, Arrow Guy states as much in Jotun, not realizing that Shion can understand him.

When Shion indicates that he understands, Arrow Guy decides to boast to the little man, who really doesn't seem that scary after all. "Here to avenge the caravan? Fool! You should flee! My clan will-"

Shion's player interrupts. "I cast Command, forcing him to stand." One failed will save later and the minotaur is standing, looking very confused.

He rallies. "You should flee while you still-"

"I cast Command, forcing him back to his knees." Failed save.

Less certain of himself. "You should flee-"

"I cast Command, forcing him to stand. Then I cast heightened Fear. Then I make an Intimidate check." Failed save, failed save, 19 on the die. At this point, after everything that's happened, the minotaur simply cracks.

Collapsing back to the ground, he starts bawling his eyes out. "The High Priestess is gonna... gonna... rally... my cl-clan... H-H-H-Hundreds of... of... hundreds of... waaaahhhh!!! It not fa-ah-ah-air!" At the top of his lungs, the minotaur cries about how his clan has been slaughtered by the servants of the harpy, and everything they stole from the caravan was stolen from them by said harpy.

Satisfied by the information - and seeing that minotaur had devolved to senseless blubbering - Shion consoled the minotaur with a couple pats on the head.

And then finished it off with a point-blank lightning bolt, to the stunned stares of the rest of the party.

"What? It's not like he wouldn't have killed us."

We ended there.

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I like that guy.

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Playtest survey for "Raiders of Shrieking Peak" Question #11:

"Did your Sorcerer use several spells to reduce a minotaur to insanity before killing it?"

Paizo Employee Developer

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I love this! It sounds like a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to hear how the party handles the rest of the scenario.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Wow, didn't expect the scenario writer to show up here! :D

Now I have to convince my players to finish it this weekend so I can give the follow up report. :)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Session Two hit tonight! In which skeet shooting saves(?) the day.

Picking up where they left off, the PCs decided that even though they knew that the harpy most likely had the Clasp, it still made sense to go check out the minotaur camp in case there was valuable information there. Unfortunately, Fumbus got distracted by shinies on the way and wandered off (his player couldn't make it).

Shion and Merisiel managed to spot the minotaur tracks, and Kyra found Inisa's tracks as well, correctly guessing who they belonged to. When Inisa's trail diverged, Merisiel decided to scout ahead and try to find her... followed by a natural 20 stealth check in which she scared the daylights out of the poor Pathfinder.

After trading information with Inisa, the party decided to try to negotiate with the minotaurs. So, how best to approach the camp of very jumpy minotaurs?

Valeros had a plan. It was a drunk plan, because Valeros had been drinking basically the whole adventure (his player really played up the Cayden Cailean angle), but it was the best the party had. You see, he couldn't speak Jotun, but he did vaguely remember what the captured minotaur had been chanting... he thought (Merisiel rolled a Nat 20 Int check to remember more accurately and correct his pronunciation).

So Valeros rode into the minotaur camp drunk, holding high a holy symbol of Baphomet, and repeatedly reciting a minotaur death prayer.

The camp sentries were... shall we say, unsure of what to do about this.

So that at least got him an audience with Mildora.

What followed was some fantastic roleplay and some really lucky rolls from Valeros - he exactly hit both the Diplomacy and Intimidate DCs as he drunkenly rambled from sweet-talking Mildora about their shared enemy to insulting her cowardice for not taking the fight to the harpy.

Since the roleplay was so good, both rolls succeeded, and I knew session might run long anyway, I decided to cut out the minotaur fight; the party had already fought some minotaurs, anyway. Mildora offered to let the party rest there for the night. She also offered Valeros some of her special "brave warrior" booze, which... Well, nat 1 Fort save and he toppled over to sleep it off on the cold hard ground. :P

The next day, the party set out to deal with the harpy. They almost got ambushed by the ghouls, but Kyra managed to beat their Stealth by 1 and go first. She considered fireballing them, but decided to save her only fireball (a decision she would greatly appreciate later) and channel energy instead... and then the dice again decided to love my players. The ghasts rolled 2, 3, 19 on their saves. Combined with a high damage roll from Kyra, two of them were down to single digit hit points right out the gate.

The unharmed ghast dropped down to attack Shion, scoring a nasty bite, but Valeros closed in and chopped off 2/3rds of its health with a crit. A second ghast attacked him, but couldn't get through his crazy high AC.

The third ghast dropped down and bit Kyra. Thanks to the -1 from being sick due to stench, she failed the paralysis save by one. Seeing she was incapacitated, the ghast decided to switch targets and go after Merisiel.

This turned out to be a mistake, as on her turn Merisiel killed that ghast, walked over to flank the other critically wounded one with Valeros, and killed it too.

Shion whiffed badly with a shocking grasp and then GTFO'd away from the ghast attacking him. That ghast attempted to follow, but Valeros deployed the fighter superpower and killed it with an Attack of Opportunity.

And then of course despite no longer being sick AND getting a +1 on the save, Kyra failed her save against paralysis by 1, again. XD

But all's well that ends well, and the party took a grand total of 18 damage that fight, which Kyra washed away with a single channel. Of course, unknown to them, both Shion and Kyra were infected with ghoul fever, but that didn't come into play during the adventure.

The party reaches Ryolle's hideout, spotting the two guards. Not realizing they are charmed, Shion decides to step out to negotiate with them... resulting in the guards announcing the intruders and moving to draw weapons.

Shion wins initiative and, guessing blindly, throws a dispel magic at one of the guards. He succeeds on the counteract check, freeing that guard (a note here: dispel magic on page 216 of the rulebook tells players to refer to the rules on dispel checks on page 197... which then say nothing meaningful except to tell players to refer to the rules for counteract checks on page 319. This is bad, and whoever wrote it should feel bad. :P ).

Kyra, who goes next, catches on, throwing dispel magic at the other guard and freeing him as well. Since the guards haven't acted yet, when their turn comes up they both ready actions to shoot Ryolle when he comes out of the cave. Meanwhile, Valeros runs up to climb the unoccupied watchtower, and Merisiel sneaks over to the cave entrance.

Ryolle's turn comes up, and he starts his song... to which everyone except one of the guards save. He emerges from the cave, only to be pummeled by a critical hit from the guard with the readied action.

Shion, seeing the staff and assuming he is a caster, hurls a dispel magic at him. Meanwhile, Kyra hits him with a fire ray, rolling really well on damage but more importantly applying that sweet, sweet 3d6 persistent fire damage.

Enraged, Ryolle goes after Kyra, clocking her pretty badly with his morningstar. Valeros clips him in the wing with an arrow, then decides to taunt him with Intimidate... natural 1. "I'm coming for you, you... stupid... chicken... face!"

Meanwhile, Merisiel has decided that the party has "probably" got this, and decides to sneak into the cave and start looting it.

Back at the plot, a bunch of missed attacks have led to not much more damage on Ryolle, but the persistent fire damage rolls 1 short of max to make up for it. He decides to fly up a bit to get a little distance and try to put himself out; unfortunately he fails.

Shion hurls a tanglefoot spell at him, connects, then decides to go for Intimate himself. Natural 20. "You know, harpy-boy. We can do this the easy way... Or my favorite way."

On fire, entangled, and scared for his life, Ryolle takes off flying as fast as he can... which is pretty fast, even entangled, putting almost 200 feet between himself and the party and showing no sign of slowing down. Valeros misses three consecutive shots against him. "He's getting away! Does anyone have anything that can hit him at that range?!"

Kyra smirks, remembering what she didn't use against the ghasts. Sarenrae always lights the way.

Ryolle glides out of the fireball with 1 hit point left... still suffering 3d6 persistent fire damage.

With a long-suffering sign, Shion sets off to find the corpse.

Meanwhile, Merisiel has finished stealing reclaiming the treasure in the cave, including the clasp. Mission accomplished, the party heads home.

Shion rejoins them, munching on what appears to be a chicken wing. "What? It was already cooked!"

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In our party Kyra identified the minotaur symbols as belonging to the demon lord Baphomet. After that since she has an anathema to fail to strike down evil, the minotaur negotiations went like this:

Minotaur High Priestess of Baphomet, "Stop fighting, I can't lose any more of my warriors."

Kyra. "Will you renounce your evil god?"

High Priestess of Baphomet, "No."

Kyra, " OK, well I can't not strike down a bunch of chaotic-evil, demon worshiping minotaurs who are attacking friendly caravans."

End of negotiation.

I'm not really sure how there is supposed to be any other outcome here.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh, I left out a bit, because it happened mostly off screen - the party actually convinced the minotaurs to launch a frontal assault on the harpy.

Because I didn't want to bog down the final encounters or make things any easier than they already were, I just said the minotaurs were attacking the harpy's enthralled minions off screen on another part of the mountain, thus explaining why he had so few forces protecting himself.

Kyra figured that getting the minotaurs killed fighting another evil force (at the time they didn't realize that the harpy's minions weren't working with him willingly) was just as good as dealing with it herself and/or was something vaguely resembling "redemption". :P

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MaxAstro wrote:
Kyra, standing next to Valeros, wanted to ready a fireball. At this point I made a ruling that I'm not sure was legal or not, but seemed logical. The rules for spellcasting say that the spell actions must be sequential and in the same round. Based on that, I allowed Kyra to take one of the spellcasting actions and then ready the second. Like I said, not sure if legal, but seemed logical.

This is quite a nice reading of the rules. While probably nor RAI, it is RAW, and I think it is a good rule.

MaxAstro wrote:
They investigate the bodies and the wagon, finding the stash. Merisiel becomes possibly the first person in PF2e history not remotely bothered by lockpicking taking three actions.

This gave me a good laugh!

To be fair to Merisiel, lockpicking used to take multiple rounds, and can now be done in one.
Sure, the failure rate is higher, but overall it works out even, and gets faster the easier the lock is.

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