Occultist Object Reading and the Scroll


Legacy of Fire


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am currently running LoF for some friends updated to PF rules. They just started House if the Beast and are about to start delving underneath. However one of my players is playing an occultist and has pretty much using the object reader ability for every magical item they pick up to learn its properties and activation. My concern is when they finally find the scroll and he uses it on it what I should tell him. Best I can tell object reading does not specify it would not work on an artifact. A big part of getting the PCs to Katapesh city is the drive to see if they found an artifact (it's clear if nothing else they have found a very powerful magical item). What do you recommend I reveal to the players when this inevitability come to pass? Does object reading not work? Does it reveal that this is absolutely the Scroll of Kakishon? Recommendation on the inevitable question on how to activate it since technically the object reading power gives that? Just looking for thoughts and advice on this.


Artifacts are one of the few things in Pathfinder that explicitly tell GMs to use and abuse arbitrary fiats.
In my opinion, the reading would not give any information about the activation method, but it would make the occultist aware that the Scroll is an ancient and powerful artifact.
If you feel that this would not be rewarding enough for the player, you can give him a few extra bits of info that wouldn't derail the plot, such as :
- this artifact was made by one of the greatest wizards ever (you can name Nex straight away or lock the name behind an easy knowledge check)
- this artifact has been damaged and might respond in unpredictable ways if activated
- this artifact has had many owners (you give the player information about the gnoll priestess Shirak, Andrathi or any previous owner(s) through the ages)

Despite your best efforts, know that the Jackal's Price is extremely hard to keep "on the rails" as a GM, since it makes many wild assumptions about the PC's decisions.
Several users have posted fixes and solutions on these boards. I can share mine if you are interested.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sekket wrote:

Artifacts are one of the few things in Pathfinder that explicitly tell GMs to use and abuse arbitrary fiats.

In my opinion, the reading would not give any information about the activation method, but it would make the occultist aware that the Scroll is an ancient and powerful artifact.
If you feel that this would not be rewarding enough for the player, you can give him a few extra bits of info that wouldn't derail the plot, such as :
- this artifact was made by one of the greatest wizards ever (you can name Nex straight away or lock the name behind an easy knowledge check)
- this artifact has been damaged and might respond in unpredictable ways if activated
- this artifact has had many owners (you give the player information about the gnoll priestess Shirak, Andrathi or any previous owner(s) through the ages)

Despite your best efforts, know that the Jackal's Price is extremely hard to keep "on the rails" as a GM, since it makes many wild assumptions about the PC's decisions.
Several users have posted fixes and solutions on these boards. I can share mine if you are interested.

I would love to hear some of your thoughts. I am also adding a few things to the Jackle's Price myself (the top part dungeon of Broken Chains is being added in as a bit of filler due to PC backstory for one of my characters) was going to add in both the society and consortium as interested parties for the map and was going to have made the wizards they go to meet about the map an ex pathfinder as a result, and use the society as a back up means if the desire to sell the map is not there or my paranoid moldspeaker does not want it to go to wrong hands ("we would love to take and store it somewhere safe, but let us verify it is what it is and we will pay you and make you pathfinders if you explore it for us should this truelly be Kakishon" sort of thing)


The adventure begins with the party setting off for Katapesh city from Kelmarane.
During the first adventure, Howl of the Carrion King, my players showed a lot of interest in Haleen's past. She had stayed with the party as backup during the whole battle market part. They wanted to know more about her mysterious debt that led her to fight as a gladiator in the battle market, and they wanted to help her solve her problems. Therefore I inserted a sidequest at the beginning of the Jackal's Price. Haleen's home village was not too far off the way to Katapesh, and the short quest served as a link to introduce the set piece "Hell of Eternal Thirst". This one gave them a lot of trouble, and they still remember it to this day (they are in the middle of the 5th adventure, the Impossible Eye).

I added the encounter with Pazhvann on the way to Katapesh, as designed by the author of the conversion thread :
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2kwu3&page=2?My-Legacy-of-Fire-Conversions #59
I think this was really useful, and even necessary. They really needed to be filled in about Nefeshti, the Templars, etc. The clues at the monastery were sparse, and they had forgotten all about them during the long exploration of the House of the Beast.

As suggested in another thread, I did away almost entirely with Father Jackal and his dungeon. I kept the adventure pretty much as it was until the part where Rayhan is abducted. The Pactmasters made their ultimatum, but also confiscated the scroll for safekeeping in their secret vault until the sale is complete. Rescuing Rayhan at the warehouse was their only contact with the One Source : after that, I did all I could to steer them away from Father Jacakal, making him a mere pawn of the captain of the Sunset Ship and insisting (through Rayhan) on the fact that the captain only kidnapped Rayhan to goad the Pactmasters into confiscating the scroll.
PLOT TWIST : the Captain, instead of a denizen of Leng, is actually a

spoiler:
Witchwyrd
, like the Pactmasters, and turns out to be the sixth of them, who broke away from them to trade across the planes on his magical ship. He knows the way to the vault, so the confiscation makes it easy for him to steal it.
Then it became a heist mission to get to the vault before the captain of the Sunset Ship. I based the rest on the adventure on a module called "the Pact Stone Pyramid". I located it under the Red Pyramid of Katapesh, and made it the secret vault of the Pactmasters. It ended with a Mexican standoff between Davashuum, Pazhvann (temporarily allied with the PCs), and the sixth Pactmaster. During the battle, Davashuum opens the scroll, triggering the next adventure. Jhavhul grabs Davashuum on his way out of Kakishon, preventing him to be sucked in.

The "Mission:impossible"-like heist quest was a lot easier to keep on tracks than the original adventure, which needs painful railroading.

EDIT : The standoff was a perfect opportunity to have Davashuum and Pazhvann talk about their differences, allowing me to make the campaign plot a tad clearer to the PCs, and making Davashuum a longer-running villain. I also had him kill Pazhvann during the ensuing battle. That way, when the PCs meet him again in the final adventure, he will be a meaningful enemy!

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