Questions about the absolute chaos at my gaming table (Zantus dead, Foxglove homes captured, Turandarok academy raided)


Rise of the Runelords


So I'd like to spitball with some other GMs and see if there are sensible outcomes to the crazy things happening in my game.

The players have been obsessed about finding the Sandpoint Devil. I put together a HUGE multi-map location on the Devil's Platter for them to explore, and eventually fight/capture the Sandpoint Devil.

To find the Sandpoint Devil, they began asking around town, and heard the rumor that Ilsoari at Turandarok Academy kept the devil in his basement. They came into the academy and asked the orphans, "Who here is keeping the Sandpoint Devil in their basement?" Ilsoari ran, trying to get to the basement & lock the door. The players assumed it meant he was guilty of something, so they chased, broke down the door, and one player, Zed, beat the crap out of Ilsoari. They eventually learned that there was no Sandpoint Devil there; it was a rumor to keep the orphans in line.

They gave him 5 or 10 gold for the trouble, and then walked out past a bunch of cowering orphans, and left.

They eventually found the Sandpoint Devil's lair, but had to fight through a bunch of derro that lived in the cave system. Eventually the derro realized they were going to lose and they ditched their lair, went to Sandpoint, and killed as many citizens as possible before being put down. They chanted, "You raid us, we raid you! You kill us, we kill you!"

The players remained in the derro lair, scoping out the entire layout, scanning for magic items. They were given hints that the derro were headed to town (lots of evidence of last-minute fleeing, hints that an exit in the direction of town was recently used, and so on), but they didn't get the best result on their skill checks and I couldn't really hit them over the head with it.

We did random rolls for a few NPCs to die defending the town in the raid, and poor Father Zantus got his number rolled on a chart of about 60 major NPCs. That was a bummer but it made sense. Of course he'd be the good guy running out to save people, and get caught in the fray.

I think Koya Mvashti (also a cleric of Desna) will take over his position. So first question is, does that sound reasonable to you guys? I was thinking about fleshing out all the other clerics at the mega-church. Has anyone done that already?

When the gang got back to town, and saw the destruction and bodies everywhere, the Zed character ran up to the derro corpses and looted them until a citizen stopped him. Another player went around town saying, "Wow, who could have provoked this? We were busy doing other things. Surely we will help the townsfolk to get revenge!" Unfortunately that character has like a -5 to bluff, and ended up with a total of 8 to bluff checks. I don't know what the fallout of that is, but I did roll and a bunch of citizens saw right through it. How would you handle that?

Before much of that could be resolved, the gang left for Magnimar and took over the Foxglove townhouse. However, it was WEIRD. I used this battlemap for the encounter:

https://www.deviantart.com/hero339/art/Foxglove-Estate-First-Floor-59859409 9

...and I liberally sprinkled citizen NPCs near the surrounding houses. Yet the players just opened the front door of the townhouse and started killing the dudes inside. One of them, the fake Iesha, ran outside calling for the guards. A nearby citizen tried to give fake Iesha sanctuary in her home. The PCs ran out after Iesha, killed her in the street, and then our aggressive player, Zed, went after the citizens for giving Iesha sanctuary. I had the citizens lock themselves in their homes, but the PC ran up and began banging on the door, weapon in hand. I didn't know what to do with that. People were screaming; I eventually had some guards arrive. The citizens lived.

The PCs had to bluff like crazy to not be accused of a murderous rampage. It helped that fake Iesha and fake Foxglove turned back into faceless stalkers. (Right? When a faceless stalker dies, its face goes back to its natural blank state, yeah?) They ALSO had a Hat of Disguise, and one of the players assumed the form of Foxglove. They even had Foxglove's repaired noble's outfit. So that player claimed to be the person living there and claimed to have been attacked by the 2 faceless stalkers. The citizens would say otherwise, but damn, having Foxglove himself assert ownership really helped to bluff the guards.

So after searching the townhouse, they found the deed to Foxglove's haunted manor, but it appears that Foxglove's townhouse in Magnimar does not have a deed. They have forged one, and just a day after nearly killing the people next door, they have assumed ownership. The neighbors are FREAKED OUT.

First, is that right? Is it possible for them to forge a deed and assume ownership that quickly/easily? I called the game at that time, as I did not know the correct handling of this. So I am free to come back to the next game with different outcomes. I thought to myself, "If the bluff/story of the PCs is that Foxglove came home after a long absence to find 2 squatters in his house impersonating him, and if Foxglove had some thugs hired to deal with it, then that can make sense to the guards. However, if Foxglove then signs the deed over to the thugs he hired, wouldn't the town officials balk at that? It doesn't seem to make sense. Foxglove hired dudes to reclaim his home, and then immediately gave away his home. Weird?"

Second, does player Zed need an alignment change? What alignment is threatening to beat up or actually beating up multiple citizens but not actually killing them?


Okay...wow...yeah, this, uh...this is an interesting situation, I'll grant that.

So, starting with the situation in Sandpoint, I think you're handling things well enough to start. Unfortunately, you're in a tough situation with regards to the PCs. By having the derro attack Sandpoint because the PCs went after the Sandpoint Devil, they are indirectly responsible for the attack. However, you don't want to punish them too badly, since you were the one who decided the derro would go raid Sandpoint. They might feel you're being unfair and putting them in no-win situations. When they return to Sandpoint, if they're still alive, I would have the Mayor and Sheriff Hemlock talk to the PCs about what they did and how they need to be more careful when adventuring, showing some restraint and making sure they don't send vicious creatures towards Sandpoint. This situation could come back up in Book 4, when they're trying to warn everyone about the Stone Giant attack - a lot of citizens could blame the party for riling up the stone giants, even though they've done no such thing.

I would also revoke any "Heroes of Sandpoint" discount they had, and depending on which NPCs died, maybe even require them to pay higher prices or some shops even being barred to them (How is their relationship with Ven Vinder, anyway?). They should also get no loot from derro killed in Sandpoint, since it's going to cover the costs of damages and to the families of those killed.

As for the questions regarding Magnimar:

1) While the PCs may have convinced the guards that Foxglove discovered the two faceless stalkers squatting in his home and hired some thugs to deal with them, he's definitely acted as thought warranting suspicion. Why didn't he just get the guards to clear out the squatters, and instead go outside the law? Is he hiding something there he doesn't want the lawful authorities to know about? If the PCs continue using the townhouse as a base of operations, they should sometimes notice people lurking outside, keeping an eye on it - undercover guards. The neighbors will also likely want to move out of the area, resulting in more abandoned buildings with unsavory types living in them.

2) Allow them to forge the deed, sure, but they should have to do more than that. They have to file the legal transaction with the court systems and Foxglove will have to appear before a magistrate and swear that he is, in fact, authorizing the sale of the house. In addition to the forgery, now they have to commit perjury that, if ever discovered, will result in the loss of the property and warrants for their arrest being issued in Magnimar, plus areas Magnimar has influence in - like Sandpoint. The magistrate, by the way, should be Justice Ironbriar, so he can take steps to arrange for their crime to be discovered.

As an alternative, you could make it so Foxglove doesn't actually own the townhouse - he rents it. That's why there was no deed. Now they're trying to have Foxglove sign over ownership of a property he doesn't actually own - quite fraudulent.

3) Zed needs more than an alignment change - he needs a talking to out of character. That kind of aggression will disrupt the table, and it will make later challenges more difficult for them. Zed needs to tone it down.

Hope that helps.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It doesn’t sound like they care about Sandpoint, Varisia, or anything more than killing folks and taking their stuff. They’re murderhobos in the worst way. I’d just abandon the AP and let them wander. Why waste a good plot on them?


Adding to what Phntm888 has said, and as an alternative to what Jhaeman suggested, I wouldn't abandon the AP entirely. I would keep it running in the background, and let the PCs follow their own course, and bring them back into the AP at a dramatically appropriate point before too much time passes. For instance, while avoiding the Magnimarian authorities, maybe they hear about this really cool gambling boat near Turtleback Ferry and go to try their hand at a few games. Or maybe have them come across the invasionary force in Book 4, which they are definitely not ready for if they haven't been paying attention to the story and just going around causing random mayhem.... but it might almost be enough to snap them back into being heroes.


Thanks!

Phntm888 wrote:
How is their relationship with Ven Vinder, anyway?

Weirdly, really good, considering he's dead. They completely thwarted the initial encounter with Ven, because Shayliss seduced a female PC. The player of that PC then did some amazing bluffs to suggest to Ven that he was weird/creepy for stalking his daughter's "innocent" friendships. I sorta had Ven recoil from this and while he may suspect something gay, he certainly doesn't want any women of Sandpoint flagging him as a creep. So he's decided to stay far away from interfering with the relationship.

Then Katrine was murdered, and Ven couldn't console Shayliss. So the player retired her PC so that she could be in a full-time relationship with Shayliss and give her emotional support.

Then Ven was killed in the random rolls when the derro attacked town. So now Shayliss is desperately clinging to the retired PC as her only stable relationship left.

Ven never got to be a bad guy in my campaign.

Phntm888 wrote:
If the PCs continue using the townhouse as a base of operations, they should sometimes notice people lurking outside, keeping an eye on it - undercover guards. The neighbors will also likely want to move out of the area, resulting in more abandoned buildings with unsavory types living in them.

I like all of this. Thanks!

Phntm888 wrote:
The magistrate, by the way, should be Justice Ironbriar, so he can take steps to arrange for their crime to be discovered.

:)

Ironbriar isn't in my campaign. I mean, he exists, but almost all references to him have been dropped. The PCs got into a huge fight in the Fatman's Feedbag, and ended up murder-hoboing a few of the crime bosses in Sandpoint, without even knowing that they were crime bosses. They just did it for fun. The Scarnetti family has been after them ever since. So everything in module 2 that points to Magnimar is just a lure to get the PCs into the Seven's Sawmill, where all the bad guys are the surviving crime bosses from Sandpoint, including Titus Scarnetti.

The players may inadvertently clear Sandpoint of all crime, without even realizing it. Or the PCs may be ambushed and die. Not sure how that'll go yet.

(A side-note about this. The players have exhibited NO curiosity about what's happening in regards to the saw mills or the Scarnettis. For example, when they killed the two faceless stalkers, I had a moment where the faceless stalker saw the fake PC Foxglove... and the stalker was confused -- not like "what the hell is going on" but more like "Hey Aldern why are you attacking us when you're in on the plan?" AND THE STALKER SAID AS MUCH, mid-combat. The players? "Huh. Guess we'll never know what that's about. We kill him." They could have stopped combat and bluffed, "Yeah, I'm the real Aldern Foxglove. Remind me about the plan and who's in charge?" But nope. Oh well. The revenge moment in the mill may be completely lost on them, or totally take them by surprise. We'll see.)

Phntm888 wrote:
Zed needs more than an alignment change - he needs a talking to out of character. That kind of aggression will disrupt the table, and it will make later challenges more difficult for them. Zed needs to tone it down.

Thanks! I've decided that after the guards take statements from all the witnesses, they are going to believe the PC impersonating Foxglove, BUT they are going to flag Zed as a thug and demand that Foxglove turn him in. If the PCs refuse, then I'll handwave a huge guard battle that ends with their expulsion from the city. If the PCs comply, then only Zed will be banished, which essentially forces the character and player out of the next couple of game days. I'd imagine that the player will just roll up something new, but who knows? If the players try anything diplomatic, the guards will note that situations like this are sometimes also resolved by paying a ransom. So I'll take a little bit of funds from them and let Zed stay, which might change behavior a little bit, but I cannot say for sure.

I think I'll give Zed the option of chaotic neutral or chaotic evil for his new alignment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ransom? Surely you mean a fine or something like that? (Bail might be required if they appear before a judge.)

Will Ironbriar still be in the Seven's Sawmill? I'm asking because his office there contains the only links to X (and the rest of the AP) as far as I recall. Or will Titus Scarnetti be the one that X has influenced instead?

Is this party even capable of following the messenger birds back to X?

All in all, it sounds as if you have your work cut out for you as GM for this group. Either they have to pull up their hero socks, or you'll be re-writing most of the AP (which for many GMs would defeat the purpose of APs, which is to reduce prep time).


Bellona wrote:
Ransom? Surely you mean a fine or something like that?

I think I used the correct word. There used to be a process whereby a criminal could be held for ransom instead of killed. The idea was that some criminals were special or powerful somehow, and someone might want them back safely. So if a messenger for a lord was found in another city doing something criminal, the guards may not hack his/her hand off, or behead the criminal, or anything like that. Instead, they would put word out to the lord in that other location, saying, "Your guy is getting put down, unless you have some way to restore his/her honor."

I do not remember what that system was actually called (there is a word for it), but that sounds a lot like holding someone for ransom, so it's the best word I've got until I can recall or find the original article that talked about this system.

Bellona wrote:
Will Ironbriar still be in the Seven's Sawmill?

Yeah, he's there in the sense that mechanically everything works the same, but I just crossed out his name and put "Titus" in its place.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Regarding the terminology, I do recall there being something like what you described in feudal Europe. It usually applied to knights, lords, etc. who had been captured (usually during a battle in a war).

Obviously I don't know if your players' PCs have the social status required to qualify for that kind of treatment. (Or if your game's version of Magnimar's government does that sort of thing.)


Call it whatever you like, but be aware that your players might hang some unwanted meanings on a term that has a different historical and contemporary meaning. That's the long and short of the warning your getting from the board. You might want to explain the context of whatever term you ultimately decide to use before you use it.


outhsyn wrote:


Ironbriar isn't in my campaign. I mean, he exists, but almost all references to him have been dropped. The PCs got into a huge fight in the Fatman's Feedbag, and ended up murder-hoboing a few of the crime bosses in Sandpoint, without even knowing that they were crime bosses. They just did it for fun. The Scarnetti family has been after them ever since. So everything in module 2 that points to Magnimar is just a lure to get the PCs into the Seven's Sawmill, where all the bad guys are the surviving crime bosses from Sandpoint, including Titus Scarnetti.

Nice way to handle that. However, the Scarnetti family does have a (small) role to play in the beginning of book 4, Fortress of the Stone Giants, so you might not want to kill off all of them or make the PCs too biased against the family.


outshyn wrote:
Bellona wrote:
Ransom? Surely you mean a fine or something like that?

I think I used the correct word. There used to be a process whereby a criminal could be held for ransom instead of killed. The idea was that some criminals were special or powerful somehow, and someone might want them back safely. So if a messenger for a lord was found in another city doing something criminal, the guards may not hack his/her hand off, or behead the criminal, or anything like that. Instead, they would put word out to the lord in that other location, saying, "Your guy is getting put down, unless you have some way to restore his/her honor."

I do not remember what that system was actually called (there is a word for it), but that sounds a lot like holding someone for ransom, so it's the best word I've got until I can recall or find the original article that talked about this system.

Bellona wrote:
Will Ironbriar still be in the Seven's Sawmill?
Yeah, he's there in the sense that mechanically everything works the same, but I just crossed out his name and put "Titus" in its place.

Weregild, I think, might be what you are looking for...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weregild


Dear OP: I don't see a lot of "consequences related to our actions" happening here. No wonder you have chaos at the table.

The party definitely seems to be inclined towards murder-hoboism to say the least, and you as GM are doing next to nothing to discourage it.

Let's just focus on one example - breaking into the Academy, beating up Ilsoari and then tossing him 5-10 gp "for his troubles"? Are you kidding me? No consequences from the Sheriff/town guard? Ilsoari did what? Eat his lumps and not even lodge a complaint? Not even remotely realistic.

Eventually, your plucky band of psychos are likely to completely muck up the AP/Storyline on you. It seems to be progressing through the Fatman's Feedbag dust up, then onto Magnimar, etc.

I'd string up the worst offenders (or throw them into The Hells in Magnimar) and suggest the PLAYERS start acting a little less like undisciplined CE nutjobs. Bring down the hammer, or let chaos continue unabated...sounds like the group needs a 'learning moment' that actions DO have consequences. And that you aren't afraid to kill off the worst offenders.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm kinda with Dracovar here, especially about Ilsoari. He's a well known and liked character who many townsfolk probably remember as their favorite teacher, nobody likes the idea of their favorite teacher getting roughed up for no reason by thugs.

Is it the players or the characters who are the murderhobos?

Players?
Go with Jhaeman's plan, get them out into the wilderness and start rolling on the wandering monster charts, let them kill stuff and take loot, let them build a fort and retire. For some players this is the kind of game that they want to play.

Characters?
I like John Wass's plan, let them do their stuff, and keep dropping links back into the campaign. Maybe get Shayliss AND the retired PC killed when Sandpoint gets invaded. Make sure there is puppy kicking involved.

Good luck!


Dracovar wrote:
Let's just focus on one example - breaking into the Academy, beating up Ilsoari and then tossing him 5-10 gp "for his troubles"? Are you kidding me? No consequences from the Sheriff/town guard? Ilsoari did what? Eat his lumps and not even lodge a complaint? Not even remotely realistic.

LOL. None of what you're describing happened. It didn't occur to you that I'd gloss over the details of an encounter to keep my 14 paragraphs from billowing up to 25 paragraphs?

There were plenty of consequences. I didn't go over them because I wasn't posting to get a review of that. I had other questions, so I asked the other questions.

And thankfully, some other people were considerate enough to actually answer them. So thanks everyone else, for that.


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@outshyn I wouldn't be so quick to come down harshly on Dracovar. Dracovar, theLorax, and everybody else here, is only working with the info you provided. If they down't see any info provided about the world's reactions or consequences that came into play, it's a perfecly valid and reasonable conclusion that there were none.

We can't help based on what we don't know, is what I'm trying to say. As for whether we need the info or not, it'd help to get a sense of what consequences you'ved tried so far, how the players reacted/dealt with them, and then we can probably get ideas on ways to up the stakes as it were.

Again, we can only help if we're on the same page as you, or at least in the same chapter of the book.

P.S.: While I agree with keeping post length manageable, it is possible to minimize things inside spoiler tags, which you can use from below by taking out the space I insert:

[spoiler=caption ]Whatever is in the spoiler.[/ spoiler]


Fair Strides wrote:

@outshyn I wouldn't be so quick to come down harshly on Dracovar. Dracovar, theLorax, and everybody else here, is only working with the info you provided. If they down't see any info provided about the world's reactions or consequences that came into play, it's a perfecly valid and reasonable conclusion that there were none.

We can't help based on what we don't know, is what I'm trying to say. As for whether we need the info or not, it'd help to get a sense of what consequences you'ved tried so far, how the players reacted/dealt with them, and then we can probably get ideas on ways to up the stakes as it were.

Again, we can only help if we're on the same page as you, or at least in the same chapter of the book.

P.S.: While I agree with keeping post length manageable, it is possible to minimize things inside spoiler tags, which you can use from below by taking out the space I insert:

[spoiler=caption ]Whatever is in the spoiler.[/ spoiler]

Thanks Fair Strides - you pretty much summed it up - we only go with what information is provided.

And I stand by my comments - OP has some serious murder-hobo issues to deal with in the party.

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