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Or: The tale of a cultist, an oil, a tuna and a colossal chainmail sock
Our group had time to playtest parts 1, 2, 4 and 7 of Doomsday Dawn, and we provided feedback through the surveys. One weekend, when several of our group were away, we played a rewritten version of part 6 that was designed to be completed in one evening and focused almost entirely on social interaction and investigation. There were far too many changes for us to respond to the standard surveys for part 6, so I’m posting this report in the hope that it contains a data point or two that will be useful (or at least of some interest).
The player of the elven rogue commented that she particularly enjoyed playing this character.
Results of some skill checks:
A comment on a couple of feats:
Glad-Hand and Lengthy Diversion were both used in effective ways during the adventure. The players of the bard and rogue seemed to enjoy having access to a range of social feats.
Results of some spells:
The PCs interrupted Necerion as he was just starting to implement his plan for getting past the kraken. He was about to set a contraption (consisting of an enormous oily sheet of chainmail connected to a complex spring mechanism encasing a whole tuna) swinging above the water near the vault. (He commissioned this from a master trap-maker visiting Plumetown.) The idea is that the kraken grabs the tuna, triggering the springs that wrap the chainmail around one of the kraken’s tentacles. The chainmail is coated with antimagic oil, which makes the kraken immune to the enchantment that was cast on it, allowing it to escape. (Should this scheme work? Does a creature being encased in chainmail due to a trap count as “wearing” the chainmail? Yes, it works! I’m the GM!)
The most fun part to GM:
The PCs stayed at the best (and third worst) inn in Plumetown and found that they were in the room next door to a polite contract devil. They shared a breakfast of white wine and muffins with her on the terrace. The genteel conversation began with pleasantries about the weather but quickly progressed to hints that Kasbeel might not be entirely committed to the success of the Night Heralds’ plans, and then to offers of wishes in exchange for something unspecified. (No souls were sold in the course of this adventure.)
Setting DCs for the various checks seemed straightforward.
GMing this session had a somewhat different feel to it from other Pathfinder games our group has played. In our previous Pathfinder games, there are typically a few PCs with high Diplomacy, and all the other PCs tend to avoid interacting with NPCs if there’s any risk of negative outcomes - in these cases, a diplomacy-focused part of an adventure can be lots of fun to GM but there’s always pressure to move on because some PCs aren’t letting themselves get involved. In this session, all the PCs had high enough Diplomacy to engage with the investigation.
The results of the various skill checks were a reminder that sequences of random numbers will often have more “clumping” than most people intuitively expect - there were several cases in this session where all three players got similar results for the same check. (This may have a particular impact on adventure design if DCs are set high enough that there’s a significant risk of failure even for PCs with high modifiers for the relevant skill.)
After I decided that Necerion would not want to risk casting dispel magic while in range of the kraken’s tentacles, it was a bit challenging to work out if there were any feasible alternative approaches - this is probably inevitable given my unfamiliarly with the rules. The oil-coated tuna-baited chainmail trap was the best* option I could think of.
* the use of the word ‘best’ is not intended to imply ‘good’. :-)
Kasbeel (not seriously): “This background music reminds me of home.”
Goblin bard PC: “Sounds great!”
Elven rogue PC: “No, you get sent to a part that’s full of elves. Singing dirges. That each last for thousands of years.”