Red Flags


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I think this may be my least favorite part of the adventure so far. I was quite looking forward to a social/skill adventure, but this is sort of a mess.

For reference, my players were:
An Elf Bard
A Half-Elf Rogue, multiclassed Bard
An Elf Cleric of Cayden Cailean, multiclassed Fighter (this character had the highest Stealth and Deception scores)

First off, my players didn't bite on the "K" lead, cutting out a lot of adventure content, since it's focused heavily on laying red herrings for "K" and assuming that the players are investigating this.

My players spent the 3 days leading up to the gala laying their own plans, rather than investigating. The Bard succeeded in gathering information about the gala, but no-one asked about Necerion, "K", or the Kelpie's Wrath.

The Rogue initially tried to find information on the guards in the fortress, but since the adventure doesn't mention this being relevant at all, it was pretty much fruitless.

Two of the party members (the Bard and Rogue) decided to put on a performance, with the Rogue disguised as Necerion going around ruining all of the pirates' fun, and the Bard heroically stopping the villain. A critical success on the part of our "hero" made him an instant celebrity.

The Cleric decided to steal the flag from the Blackguard's Revenge, which Besmara cursed her for, and spread a rumor that bringing the flag to the Kelpie's Wrath on the night of the gala would grant a blessing from Besmara. (To make a distraction.)

At the gala, my players were initially interested in Kadhibat, since he had gathered a crowd, but quickly decided that there was nothing to be gained by talking to him, since they didn't really care who "K" was.

Necerion was in disguise, since he had been publicly embarrassed by the party impersonating him, recognized his rival, tipped off Kasbeel, and snuck off without the party beating his Disguise roll.

The Rogue cast Detect Magic early on and then spent most of the rest of the session complaining about the Faerie Fire effect.

The Bard brought a gift to Whark, but didn't talk to her any further, since it seemed an inopportune time. Nobody seemed to think of warning her that The Last Theorem was going to be stolen.

After Necerion pointed out the party, Kasbeel talked to the Rogue, dropping hints that Necerion had seen them, and inviting them to join her in the next procession. None of the characters were suicidal enough to enter an infernal pact with a contract devil. (The Bard did go "Oh! This is 'K'!" after the contract devil introduced herself, though.)

The party decided to stick around for the procession, to see what was up, and the Cleric and Bard used the distraction to enter the kitchens. The PCs discovered that the kitchens and servants' quarters are not part of the gala, and spells can be cast in this area.

Nothing much happened after this, since there are only 3 NPCs in the entire gala.

The party waited for the next procession, and started their fabricated distraction, shooting the flag of the Blackguard's Revenge into the cliff above the fortress with a Beacon Arrow. They buffed up in the kitchen, including the Bard dispelling the Faerie Fire, then snuck into Whark's room, disabled the trap, and found the secret door.

The portal trap in the next room confused the players, and the Rogue complained about the DC of the Arcana check to figure out the trap. They tried each door once and then pretty much gave up on it. The Cleric used Stone Tell to get the answer.

Necerion got noticed by the Rogue's Sense the Unseen shortly after this, and then got absolutely rolled by the party. He just didn't have the action economy to compete.

We stopped here after a 4-hour session. The party is about to enter the mirror room.

Overall, I'm a bit confused by the scenario. It's supposed to be a social/skill scenario, but the gala seems to be nothing more than a short setup for the dungeon crawl, and there are only 3 NPCs to interact with. There's not any meaningful interaction with the gala, and not enough for me to extrapolate off of to deal with the PC's doing something creative. The skill DC's in this chapter were outrageous, and even the PCs optimized for skill use were consistently failing them. I'm sure you'll hear a bit from the Rogue's player on the Faerie Fire curse, but I'm inclined to go easier on that part (this is a fairly high-magic setting, the PCs were warned not to use magic, and there is a place to safely cast spells).


Thebazilly wrote:
Overall, I'm a bit confused by the scenario. It's supposed to be a social/skill scenario, but the gala seems to be nothing more than a short setup for the dungeon crawl, and there are only 3 NPCs to interact with. There's not any meaningful interaction with the gala, and not enough for me to extrapolate off of to deal with the PC's doing something creative.

YES. You know what would have been better than the several paragraphs of mostly useless background for those 3 NPCs? One paragraph of background and then several useful pieces of information each NPC had that the PCs might want. Or useful things they would actually do to help the group. Instead they got one NPC who knew one thing (and they didn't try to ask her for anything) and another NPC who only really tells them anything if they crit succeed diplomacy (which they didn't).

My players ended up not really doing anything before the gala except looking into K (and critically failing). At the party, they briefly tried to get into a private discussion with Kad and mostly tried to get Whark to help. But of course, Whark doesn't actually do much/anything to help and they didn't roll high enough to crit succeed on any of their diplomacies anyway, so I played off her reaction to being told that Necerion would rob the vault as a mix of disbelief (I mean, their evidence is kinda shoddy...) and confidence that her defenses (AKA kraken) will take care of any intruders.

Meanwhile, it seems like everybody who I've seen post has had a rogue with Sense the Unseen, which apparently basically totally negates Necerion's 8th level Disappearance spell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Yeh, the pre-gala and gala fell pretty flat for my party as well.

They talked to Whark, and only learned the password for the first trap.

They decided to jump ahead in front of Necerion, and we got through the mirror room in our 4 hours before cutting it off to finish it the next week (still pending). I still don't know how I am going to run the vault at this point because of how ambiguous how the PC's ,Necerion, and the Kraken interact.

Anon, you really hit the nail on the head on useless background. I was hoping for more of a Bid for Alabastrine type scenario, but when I read it, I could tell this was gonna be a mini dungeon crawl.

There could really be more firm mechanics as to talk to the NPC, and what you can learn from them that could help you. Additionally, because all the scenario talks about is what Necerion does if he goes first, all I am having him do is follow behind the PC's until the vault because I have no other guidance.

This certainly feels like the weakest part of Doomsday Dawn


I never really internalized it at the time, but I must agree that the roleplaying-oriented segment of Red Flags was terribly underwhelming and fell flat. The information-gathering was mostly useless, talking to Kadhibat was also superfluous, there was no need at all to talk to Kasbeel, and the party already stumbled onto the most viable solution possible simply by snitching to Whark. Almost all of the background lore of the NPCs was useless.

It was all over very quickly.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Agree that this is the weakest of the Scenarios. And my players basically walked through it for two reasons. Logic and Assurance. Basically, the players knew going in that they needed to be skill focused, and they took me at my word. Two of them had Assurance with 4 skills and the other two had two skills at Assurance. When you pass EVERY skill check without ever rolling a die; it kind of makes a skill based adventure pointless. It might as well been a book I read to them, as there was no random element of failure at all.

The only iffy part was the Kraken, who no one could hit, so they circumvented it (and Necerion) with invisibility. It was fun for them for one game; but it would get old for them pretty quick, and it was not really fun for me as the GM.

Assurance needs to be limited somehow. Maybe you can only use it 3/day or only have it for two skills max?

I also agree, that the party wasn't much of a sandbox. Only 4 NPC's of note, 3 of them in a basically restricted area; to interact with. And my party walked through the portal room, the water room and the mirror room (which I worried was a tpk, but most folks know better than walking in front of a mirror in a room full of them) with nary a sweat.

Especially after the greatness that was "Heroes of Undarin," this was pretty much a let down.

Oh well, one more scenario to go, and then my 3 campaigns that are on hold can start again. This was a fun diversion; but it is looking like I am going to be sticking with original PF and SF for the forseeable future.

I love Paizo, but the first edition is still perfection for me.


How does Assurance cause the party to automatically pass skill checks when it sets the final result to 10, 15, 20, or 25? No, not the natural die result, but the final result.

As for invisibility, while Sneak grants automatic natural 20s to invisible creatures, Seek has no such safety net. The weak kraken could very well find at least one character with Seek actions and then attack said character.


Assurance does not work. Not only does it give you a flat result to which you do not get to add any modifiers, but the DCs in the adventure (especially post errata) are beyond what Assurance can reach.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You know, we've been doing Assurance wrong this entire playtest (slaps hand on forehead). I've been letting them add their bonus in (like the old take 10 or 20 rule). Major eureka moment; unfortunately too late in the process to go back and fix, and only one scenario left. LOL.

In the case of invisibility, yes, the Kraken could use the Seek action, but between losing actions while moving and then another action to seek; usually was out of actions before it could attack. And then, the invisible character got another turn and could move again. One of the characters was a monk with a speed of 55ft. The kraken was going back and forth, and not getting much of a chance to hit anything.

Now I see why other folks are screaming the Assurance is too WEAK. Without adding your modifier; it would be silly to have at higher levels.

Grrrrr.


My group has the same experience with "Rose Street Revenge". We were teased with a mystery, but instead got something very combat heavy. Ironically, "Affair at Sombrefell Hall" (the meatgrinder adventure) gave us the best mystery: the party could actually question people and investigate for clues.

Anon A Mouse wrote:
Meanwhile, it seems like everybody who I've seen post has had a rogue with Sense the Unseen, which apparently basically totally negates Necerion's 8th level Disappearance spell.

It's interesting. The adventure encourages the players to focus on infilitration over combat, but nearly all of the class feats available are combat related! Maybe some of the caster ones can be used for non-violent means, for virtue of them being used for non-combat spells, but it's really hard to build a PC for "Red Flags" that has no or few combat tricks.

So anyone earnestly trying to follow the advice given, and builds a lvl 14 Rogue, is probably going to choose this feat, and Necerion is going to be sensed.

Shadow Lodge

Our GM ruled that Sense the Unseen took an action to use, making it an active thing instead of passive. Thus, we were not allowed to automatically find him. It went bad.


thistledown wrote:
Our GM ruled that Sense the Unseen took an action to use, making it an active thing instead of passive. Thus, we were not allowed to automatically find him. It went bad.

I went and looked this up, since I was relying on what my Rogue player told me about the feat (he warned me that he had it before the session began).

It does take an action, actually. An action and a Reaction, since the feat itself is a Reaction triggered when the character Seeks. That said, there's not really a reason not to use it when you're just exploring and looking around. I wonder if this is meant to be used in Exploration Mode? Presumably you can Seek in Exploration Mode (the searching tactic), but can you use reactions?

Ah well. It wouldn't have really made a difference in how the fight with Necerion went, anyway.


Another thing to keep in mind is that the Seek action is either a 15ft burst or a 30ft cone. So depending on positioning, they might not find him. Doesn't make much of a difference in the portal room because it's small, but it reduced their ability to find Necerion when he ambushed them in the vault room.


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Thebazilly wrote:

I went and looked this up, since I was relying on what my Rogue player told me about the feat (he warned me that he had it before the session began).

It does take an action, actually. An action and a Reaction, since the feat itself is a Reaction triggered when the character Seeks. That said, there's not really a reason not to use it when you're just exploring and looking around. I wonder if this is meant to be used in Exploration Mode? Presumably you can Seek in Exploration Mode (the searching tactic), but can you use reactions?

Usually for exploring a room I have my players in a non-combat Encounter mode rather than Exploration mode. The players pick whatever order they want to go in and they each get three actions before it becomes the next player's turn. And since they could take no actions on their turn or delay their turn, it ends up that the initiative order makes no difference whatsoever - other than if one player is dominating the encounter or if one player is sitting out of the encounter too much.

And since they are in Encounter mode, they don't have to worry about picking a tactic and either getting fatigue from it or being limited in what they are wanting to do.


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Well. The rest of the adventure went more or less how I was expecting.

The mirror room got bypassed without incident due to the Rogue's evasion.

The party wasn't stealthing into the vault room, and was attacked by the kraken. I have a 3-player party, but the kraken was already Weak per the errata, and there weren't any appropriate lower-level creatures to replace it with, so I ran it as a Weak kraken. It was a massacre.

My players had prepared non-combat characters as instructed, and none of them had useful spells to use for this encounter. The Rogue didn't even bring a ranged weapon. The kraken grappled the Bard and Rogue in the first round of combat, and it's inflated Athletics score meant that they had no chance of escape. From there, it was a grinding hit point race, with the kraken constricting and biting, and the characters only able to hit it about once per round (sometimes less). The Cleric was the only one able to do damage consistently, using the Triple Shot Fighter feat.

The Bard went down first, while trying to escape the grapple with Gaseous Form. (The fact that you can still be hit in Gaseous Form and it debuffs your AC makes it... very dangerous.) He was healed by the Cleric back up to a respectable level. The Rogue was the first to die, went straight to Dying 2 due to a crit, and then got munched with the kraken's remaining actions. The Bard made a brave last stand not long after, getting knocked back down to dying 2 (from being wounded), took another bite (going to dying 3), then failed his death save and died the same round that the Cleric crit with Triple Shot and finally put down the horrible beastie.

The mood at the table was a bit grim, so the Cleric rushed through opening the vault. She made two Thievery checks before a crit fail and activated the safety switch. Thankfully, she had enough time to finish opening the lock, retrieved The Last Theorem, and escaped with Ethereal Jaunt before the timer ran out.

I wasn't actually expecting my players to be able to get the book with that kraken encounter in the way, so that was a pleasant surprise. We got through the rest of this in about an hour and a half, so we spent some time preparing for When the Stars Go Dark (players leveling up their PCs, me copying down monster stats).


I am surprised that your cleric was managing to do so well with Triple Shot. Considering the -4 attack penalty, how was the cleric managing to land consistent hits on the weak kraken's very high AC? A weak kraken has AC 37.

Assuming that the cleric prioritized Dexterity, they probably had Dexterity 20. Suppose they had expert longbow proficiency from somewhere as well. Their attack bonus would be 14 level + 5 Dexterity modifier + 1 expert + 3 item bonus - 4 Triple Shot = +19.

The cleric would need a natural 18+ just to hit the kraken with any of those shots... and even then, the weak kraken had 330 hit points.

How was the cleric landing hits with any reliability at all? They must have been exceedingly lucky.


Hm. I think my player was using Triple Shot incorrectly, then, (probably at a -2 instead of -4), because he was also only using two actions on it.

Not all of the shots hit. Usually about 1 per round. The Rogue was able to get some successful Intimidates in a few times, which helped a little. The final round did indeed involve an incredible roll (the other players donated their d20's for this roll to avenge them), and all three shots hit, with one a natural 20.


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Getting three attacks out of two actions at only a -2 penalty seems like a major improvement to Triple Shot, which takes three actions for a -4 penalty. You yourself said that it was a linchpin to winning the combat, so it sounds to me like the fight was won due to a gross misreading of Triple Shot.


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Depends, was he firing three shots or two? Cause triple shot also allows you to just fire two shots at a single target at the -2 penalty and for only two actions. Since it enhances double shot so you can target 1 creature with both shots but if you wanted to fire three shots it's an extra action and the -4 penalty


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Thebazilly wrote:
The party wasn't stealthing into the vault room, and was attacked by the kraken. I have a 3-player party, but the kraken was already Weak per the errata, and there weren't any appropriate lower-level creatures to replace it with, so I ran it as a Weak kraken. It was a massacre.

I also ran for 3 players. I just applied the weak template twice. It was a close battle that the players probably would have lost if they hadn't successfully confused the kraken, which I took to mean it would use less-intelligent tactics when it could attack. This typically meant not using the ability that would have let it attack twice and not maintaining grapples if that wasn't the player it was supposed to attack.


Is there anything that stipulates that a confused creature, when entitled to attack normally, is obligated to use less optimal tactics? Is that result on the confusion roll not supposed to represent a moment of clarity?


If they had rolled the "Act normally" confusion result then I would have used better tactics. But most often it was actually the "Someone attacked the kraken last round, so attack them" rule. Since the double attack ability, I believe, specifies attacking two different people, I didn't have the kraken use that or maintain a grapple on anybody who wasn't its target. I don't think confusion specifies less optimal tactics, but I thought it made sense in this case.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sounds like the failed save versus Confusion was a very big part of their survival.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Sounds like the failed save versus Confusion was a very big part of their survival.

Pretty much. And with the +25 (27 - 4 double weak template + 2 mental) vs DC 31 Will save, they were very lucky it failed.


Good to hear some guys making it through - will be interesting to hear the actual statistics on Death by Kraken ;)

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