“Split Up to Cover More Ground”: Affair at Sombrefell Hall (session 3) blow-by-blow report, 1.5 rules.


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This is continuing from session 2.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to English as I wrote notes on what happened.

== Characters ==

The characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Elise, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.
The characters were played by two players, each playing two characters. All characters had Darkvision, Fleet and Nimble.

== Introduction ==

We played this session just after update 1.6 had dropped, so we started this session by discussing whether we should convert the characters to that update in the middle of the scenario. After some arguing back and forth, the GM decided he wanted us to stick with the 1.5 update, not change in the middle without giving us opportunity to change memorised spells.

After that, we made a recap of our defensive situation:
* Two sanctified ground were running, one versus Undead, one versus Aberrations.
* Rather than barricades, we had difficult terrain rubble strewn over the hall, with some caltrops at strategic squares. We wanted to lure the opponents in while slowing them, not keep them out.
* We had made dummies from left-over clothes and bedded them down in the upper bedrooms.
* The windows in the dining room and in the study were broken after fighting off the wights who tried to enter those ways.
* The remains of the chandelier added to the rubble just inside the front door.
* The front door had not been repaired again, and was broken at the moment.

== A Brief Calm ==

We started the session proper by splitting up the party so that we had a watcher in each direction. As the bard and the rogue had 40 speed, and the clerics 35 speed, we expected to be able to reinforce each other when trouble came, especially as looking out the windows with darkvision would give us advance warning.
* Arami went north, looking out over the lake from the recreation room.
* Keyt went south, trying to repair the front door while keeping a lookout in that direction.
* Deena went east, looking out through the broken study room windows.
* Elise went west, looking out the dining room windows.

Here we ran into problems with the Exploration rules as written (again!). How *do* you keep active lookout using them in a way that rewards us actually taking precautions, rather than just rolling the usual initiatives as soon as the monsters appear? Sigh.

Our GM allowed us to squeeze in some minor activities while we waited for the next attack.

The Professor spilled the beans to Elise: He had secretly suffered memory loss, dissociation and other possession-like stuff. The episodes usually happened after midnight (quick time-check with the GM - no, we were not at midnight yet). When asked about the vampires being able to enter, he sheepishly agreed that he might have given them permission during an episode.

Elise also asked about what the Professor thought about the undeads' behaviour. He thought they looked controlled. Could there be a master vampire controlling them?

Keyt rolled 20 on her repair of the front door, and it regained two dents.

Arami, with Lucvi's assistance, piled a pair of sofas on top of each other, to make it easier to jump up to and down from the balcony in the centre room.
GM: "Are you trained in Crafting?"
Arami: "Um, no..."
GM: "I'll let you roll for it when you actually use them in a hurry..." (evil grin)

Returning to her post, now one floor up at the centre top floor bedroom window, Arami got to roll a perception: 17. This was actually a critical success versus the six zombies crawling out of the lake. The GM ruled that the crit meant that they were approximately a minute away.

As Arami had line-of-sight to Keyt, she waved her over. Keyt came running and jumped up. The sofas held.

The GM rolled a secret roll for Arami: Nothing.
The GM rolled a secret roll for Keyt: "Something is strange with the shadows".

Arami got a new perception roll, open this time: 20. Nothing.

Keyt dragged Arami out of the room by her neck, and both jumped down from the balcony. The sofas held again.

With plenty of warning, we did set up for a fight: The NPCs hid in the kitchen, while the PCs retreated to the Consecrated Ground in the hall, two at each side of the doorway to the library.

GM: "Once again you have the used the exceptional tactic of looking out the windows, which the scenario is totally unprepared for."

We heard window glass shatter, as the zombies entered the bottom floor windows.

== Fourth Fight ==

Initiatives:
Elise: Perception 33
Arami: Perception 25
Keyt: Perception 21
Deena: Perception 17
Shadows: 23
Zombies: 13

-- Round 1 --

Elise: Know Religion: 28 - The shadows were Greater Shadows; Incorporeal, immune to precision damage (Rogue: awww), don't like light. This info made Elise cast a Light cantrip at the top of the bookshelves in the Library, spreading light over the choke point where we expected to fight.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Seek: Perception 18 - nothing. Seek: Perception 13 - nothing.

Shadows: (something secret only the GM knew)

Keyt: Delay

Deena: Delay

Zombies 1-6: Moved through their different bottom floor bedrooms and opened the doors in to the library.

-- Round 2 --

Keyt: Draw shortbow. Shoot Zombie 2 with a sneak attack 26: 13 damage - bloodied.

Elise: Delay

Arami: Delay

Shadows: (something secret)

Elise: Level 4 Summon Monster: Animated Armor. This lead to a *lot* of rules lookup to figure out how it worked, especially: could it act immediately it was summoned or not? We finally decided that it was not, so it had to stay where it was summoned until Elise could spend a concentration action on it.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Cast Haste on Keyt.

Zombie 1-6: Move + Move, barely reaching the PCs.

-- Round 3 --

Keyt: Haste move to Deena. Reposition to place her in the center; Lots of argument if you could reposition an ally or not. The GM finally let Keyt roll for it. Athletics 25 - Keyt moved Deena two steps. After this, Keyt shot Zombie 2: 27 - crit. Killed.

Deena, now in the center in front of all the bottlenecked Zombies: 3-action Heal 4: 24 damage.
Zombie 1: Crit fail - dead.
Zombie 3: fail - dead.
Zombie 4: fail - dead.
Zombie 5: fail - dead.
Zombie 6: fail . dead.

Shadow 1, peeking out of the ceiling above us: Cast Shadow. Time for rules lookup again. Apparently, the heightened level of the Light cantrip in place made the shadow spell fail to penetrate. Retreat out through the ceiling: Hide - fail against all PCs perception. So, we know it was there, on the other side of the ceiling, but we could not reach it.

Shadow 2: (something secret)

Elise: Delay

Arami: Fearing the hidden Shadows were doing something nefarious to the professor, Arami rolled a series of Know Occult rolls to analyse their behaviour: 18, 19, 14 - nothing.

-- Round 4 --

Keyt: Know Occult 20 - nothing. Know Occult 21: Believed the Shadows were focused on us first, and not going for the Professor. Draw shortbow.

Deena: Half-cast, half-ready Disrupt Undead. (Yes, I know, readying the second action of a spell is under some discussion on the forum, but with incorporeal undead that can use their three actions to move out of a wall, attack, and then move back in again, it would be a *very* slow and boring fight without the ability to ready something.)

Elise: Concentrate on the summon. Half-cast, half-ready Disrupt Undead.

Shadow 2: Sneak 28 - success. Shadow Hand vs Arami: 28 - hit, 9 damage. Deena's Disrupt Undead triggered: 13 damage. Shadow saved for half damage. Shadow Steal vs Arami: enfeebled 1.

Shadow 1: Move out of ceiling. Elise's Disrupt Undead triggered: Damage 7, save fail. Look around. Regular attack vs Elise: 24 - hit, 12 damage.

Arami: (Gave up concentrating on Haste.) Dirge of Doom. Move. Trip Shadow 2 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll, thanks to Dirge of Doom.

-- Round 5 --

Keyt: Move. Attack Shadow 2: nat 1 - miss. Attack Shadow 2: 17 - miss.

Deena: Cast Searing Light on Shadow 2: 31 - crit, 84 damage.

Elise: (Gave up concentrating on summon) Cast 3-action Heal: 17 damage. Elise's and Arami's HP damage cured. Shadow 2 save: fail, killed. Shadow 1 save: success.

Shadow 1: Shadow Hand vs Arami: 24 - hit, 6 damage. Enfeebled 2. Regular attack vs Arami: 11 damage.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Move. Trip Shadow 1 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll.

-- Round 6 --

Keyt: Move into flank vs Shadow 1. Attack: 39 - crit, 20 damage, 12 goes through. Attack: 26 - hit, 12 damage, 4 goes through.

Deena: Casts Searing Light versus Shadow 1: 17 - miss. Hero Point reroll: 15 - still miss. Double Sigh. Intimidate: 24 - success.

Shadow 1: Rise. Shadow Hand vs Elise: 25 - hit: damage 16. Enfeebled.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Trip Shadow 1 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll. Strike: 16 - miss.

-- Round 7 --

Keyt: Strike x 3 - all misses.

Deena: 2-action level 4 Heal with Healing Hands vs Shadow 1: 47 damage. Save: 16 - fail.

Elise: Staff of Healing: 1-charge 2-action Heal: crit save - no damage. Staff of Healing: 1-charge 1-action Heal: miss.

Shadow 1: Rise. Strike vs Elise - miss. Strike vs Elise - miss.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Strike with ghost touch whip: 24 - hit, 5 damage. Automatic trip as above.

-- Round 8 --

Keyt: Strike vs Shadow 1: 22 - hit, 15 damage: killed!

Fight finally over!

== Cleanup ==

Arami cast Soothe 3 on Elise for 18 HP, and a Soothe 3 on herself for 26 HP, which took care of their HP damage.

Deena started casting Restoration on Arami.

Elise started casting Restoration on herself.

Keyt cleaned up after the zombies.

To our relief, the GM announced that we would have time to finish our Restoration spells.

== Session End ==

Time spent: 2h 42 minutes.
Hero points spent: 2 on a reroll.
Death Saves: 0.
Total damage Taken: 54 HP.
Consumables used: 0.
Resonance used on anything other than daily investments: 2 for the healing staff charges.
Spell Points used: 0


Quick GM notes, its after midnight here.

The zombies were supposed to enter on the upper floor. I missed this in the hurry. I suppose the reason is the picture of falling zombies. This ought to also inflict 10 damage on each zombie (15 ft. fall), which is quite a blow to them. Some of them would likely have been distracted by the false bedding, spreading them out over time. Aw well, it doesn't really matter, as they went down so fast. As expected.

Shadows have LOTS of stealth abilities, that they barely got any mileage out of. Even with Light spell running, they can use incorporealness to hide behind walls and such. But they have no Stealth-dependent attacks, and against a party with 2 clerics (the rogue with Master Perception actually had the LOWEST Perception bonus in the party), their attempts at Stealth mostly failed. The shadows proved better tanks than stalkers, being immune to Sneak Attack and the clerics starting to conserve Channel Energy for the boss fight, those 105 Hp felt like a lot. But in actuality, it was only 4 rounds of spamming attacks. Pretty boring fight.

In the next fight, I lost a bit of cool. Ilvoersh should have entered with Greater invisibility and Mirror Image up, instead of only Mirror Image. He wasted the first round casting a spell to little effect. One cleric had Fairy Fire prepared, so Invisibility would have been negated. Other GMs have had him fly up to the ceiling, but everybody had range so I don't think it would have worked better. Spell attacks are a bad tactic even for monsters. In toto, the end boss felt much more frail than the 2 shadows, likely because the rogue is such a large part of this party's damage potential.


Starfox wrote:
The shadows proved better tanks than stalkers, being immune to Sneak Attack and the clerics starting to conserve Channel Energy for the boss fight

Note: We did not know then that there would be only one more fight, so yes, we tried to be conservative.

Starfox wrote:
Ilvoersh should have entered with Greater invisibility and Mirror Image up

If you yourself are invisible, are your images visible? How much do they reflect your current state?


I agree with Starfox: the second-to-last encounter was tougher than the last encounter, since it didn't have the usual undead immunities.


Starfox wrote:
Ilvoersh should have entered with Greater invisibility and Mirror Image up

If you yourself are invisible, are your images visible? How much do they reflect your current state?

Of course the images become invisible, but someone is likely to see through invisibility - and thus see the images. :)

EberronHoward wrote:
I agree with Starfox: the second-to-last encounter was tougher than the last encounter, since it didn't have the usual undead immunities.

We didn't have much issue with undead immunities. Their weakness to healing easily outclassed their resistances. In PF2 undead don't have the resistances they had in PF1. For example, they can be intimidated now. Its only the incorporeal ones ones that were problematic.

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