1 - The Dead Roads (GM Reference)


Tyrant's Grasp

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Cori Marie wrote:

From this passage in Planar Adventures, I'd infer that there are indeed copies of every tomb and graveyard:

Graveyard of Souls
The area immediately surrounding Pharasma’s Court
is a seemingly endless graveyard filled with crypts,
gravestones, mausoleums, and monuments from nearly
every race and culture within the mortal realms.

Oh hoho! Completely missed that in my read-through of Planar Adventures. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't know if it's every tomb and graveyard. It might just simply be that a lot of them get copied there. The Material Plane is infinite, after all, and even a fraction of infinity is still infinite.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KingTreyIII wrote:

The Boneyard does indeed have its own native ecosystem (after all, look at the bonewrought willow in the bestiary), and while it is the metaphysical "mouth" of the River of Souls, the souls themselves do not "populate" the plane—they come, get judged, then leave. Only a fraction of those souls are judged to remain on the Boneyard (those truly neutral-aligned, true worshipers of Pharasma or the psychopomp ushers, etc.).

And while the Boneyard does indeed host extraplanar entities (my favorite being when a soul is bound for Abaddon then it is always given a choice by a representative demon and devil to instead go to the Abyss or Hell), they mostly do not stay there permanently.

To be clear, when a soul is judged and becomes a petitioner to a plane, then it’s infused with the quintessence (the material that makes up everything in the Outer Sphere IIRC) and become a native of that plane—so while it’s technically correct to say that the Boneyard is populated by entities from the Material Plane, it’s not completely accurate because all extraplanar outsiders have souls that were once mortals upon the Material Plane, so by that logic every plane is populated by “entities that have arrived from elsewhere.” Once a soul dies then it is no longer “a denizen of the Material Plane,” it just…is until it is judged, then its new home become its appropriate plane.

Sorry, I tend to go off on weird tangents when I get into Golarion lore.

As for the copies of tombs: Shrugs I honestly don’t know. It’s not a detail I’ve seen in other books talking about the Boneyard—perhaps Ron could provide slight clarification?

.....

Does that mean if someone casts Banishment on the PC's that in theory... they'd be sent back to the Boneyard after being 'reborn' in the plane of the dead?


I'd say no, because of the weirdness of how the obols function. And I will remind you that the PCs haven't been judged yet, thus they are not yet outsiders native to a new plane, but they also died, meaning that they are not truly denizens of the Material Plane anymore either, they just are, hence why the party has to go through the process of the Dead Roads instead of one of the psychopomps just getting a scroll of Banishment to send them back.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KingTreyIII wrote:
I'd say no, because of the weirdness of how the obols function. And I will remind you that the PCs haven't been judged yet, thus they are not yet outsiders native to a new plane, but they also died, meaning that they are not truly denizens of the Material Plane anymore either, they just are, hence why the party has to go through the process of the Dead Roads instead of one of the psychopomps just getting a scroll of Banishment to send them back.

So, the PC's would be native to nowhere anymore? the question is a rather interesting one for later on if someone does cast Banishment on them as a means of attack/Defense

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They don't get the extraplanar subtype as they didn't arrive via conjuration, and would be not subject to dismissal or banishment. They effectively function as (native) in the Boneyard while they're there. Now it does beg the question on whether their new bodies are Outsider (native) on the material plane (still not dissmissable), but I would assume they're still humanoids for spell effects.


Okay, thanks to King Trey and Cori for clarifying things. I still find it pretty weird, but at least I have a better sense of how it works.

So, has anyone actually run this book yet? I was intrigued by the concept of the Dead Roads themselves, but I'm afraid I'm underwhelmed by the journey itself. I feel like this has a lot of spooky potential, but the tooth fairies...I mean, the *tooth fairies*. It's just not working for me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
archmagi1 wrote:
They don't get the extraplanar subtype as they didn't arrive via conjuration, and would be not subject to dismissal or banishment. They effectively function as (native) in the Boneyard while they're there. Now it does beg the question on whether their new bodies are Outsider (native) on the material plane (still not dissmissable), but I would assume they're still humanoids for spell effects.

Hadn't even considered that possibility, Favored Enemies might need to be modified if they are Outsider (native) now.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have to admit, I'm less than thrilled that the fourth episode of Geek & Sundry's Relics and Rarities uses the exact same puzzle as one in Nine-Eaves. (sigh) I learned this while watching the episode with one of my players, so yeah - busted.

Of course, he figured out the puzzle literally within two seconds of it appearing in the episode, so I rather doubt it would have proven much more of a challenge in the game.


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I'd bet you're talking about the mirrored numbers puzzle. I've seen that one multiple times in puzzle games.


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J. A. wrote:

Okay, thanks to King Trey and Cori for clarifying things. I still find it pretty weird, but at least I have a better sense of how it works.

So, has anyone actually run this book yet? I was intrigued by the concept of the Dead Roads themselves, but I'm afraid I'm underwhelmed by the journey itself. I feel like this has a lot of spooky potential, but the tooth fairies...I mean, the *tooth fairies*. It's just not working for me.

I'm gearing up to run it.

I wouldn't focus on 'spooky' as the defining feature -- its just one part. You have a generally 'spooky' setting, but the complete lack of undead (on purpose). You have things that look undead, but aren't. You have a near-Vogon bureaucracy -- you need to get stamped, but we don't really care who runs/owns the stamps. The intent to me is make it obvious in many, many ways that the normal rules don't apply here. The PCs should be overwhelmed in the emotional/mental sense, nothing quite makes sense.


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I'm gonna have to watch Beetlejuice before I run this adventure.

Paizo Employee Developer

Gwaihir Scout wrote:
I'd bet you're talking about the mirrored numbers puzzle. I've seen that one multiple times in puzzle games.

People with a broad familiarity with a lot of different puzzles are likely to have seen similar puzzles that make these seem easy. That's not too much of a bad thing, when it makes them feel smart for "getting it" quickly.

Paizo Employee Developer

Michael Talley 759 wrote:
archmagi1 wrote:
They don't get the extraplanar subtype as they didn't arrive via conjuration, and would be not subject to dismissal or banishment. They effectively function as (native) in the Boneyard while they're there. Now it does beg the question on whether their new bodies are Outsider (native) on the material plane (still not dissmissable), but I would assume they're still humanoids for spell effects.
Hadn't even considered that possibility, Favored Enemies might need to be modified if they are Outsider (native) now.

The PCs each retain their usual type (humanoid, in most cases) despite the strange things that have happened to them.


Is there any explanation for the many holy symbols on Pedipalp, and do they have anything to do with the many holy symbols in Nine Eaves? Just seems like two very odd throwaway things that have nothing to do with each other. Is there some piece of lore about Psychopomps hoarding holy symbols that I missed?


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Personally, I'm going to change the wig to a moustache, partially because that gets repeatedly mentioned, and for the opportunity to say, "Then the statue's moustache flies off and tries to kill you."

Oh god, you made me laugh so hard, now I want to use the moustache as well xD

I have a hard time imagining how Nine-Eaves would look like... I get the multiple windows and other things, but not the "eaves".

First off, so that I have the correct translation (English is not my native language so I'm not sure about what we're talking about) : "eaves" are those bits of the roof protruding from the walls, right ?

Then, if that's the case, does this mean there are 9 walls on the exterior of Nine-Eaves, thus the roof would have 9 eaves protruding from the walls but be part of a single roof ? Or are these 9 eaves protruding from random places on the walls ?

Paizo Employee Developer

Almarane wrote:

I have a hard time imagining how Nine-Eaves would look like... I get the multiple windows and other things, but not the "eaves".

Any description of a big, Gothic manor house will do fine!

Paizo Employee Developer

Mrs. Pedipalp isn't a psychopomp, but your question remains valid.

Having lots of holy symbols seems, to me, to show an interest in all sorts of religions. Both characters have that in common, but there isn't otherwise a connection. If you're concerned your players might read in a connection that isn't there, just omit one or both "stashes" of holy symbols.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just finished the Palace of Teeth this weekend with my group, and yikes!

GMs only:
Multiple CR 4 and 5 encounters with level 2 PCs? I had to fudge to keep anyone from dying in C12 or C14. It's mean!


My group just got there, tripped the teeth trap and just survived the "ambush" it created.

Next session this Saturday so curious to see how my crew handles it.

Tom

PS

The way I started this I used a backstory person noted in each my my player characters backstory to "gift/quest them" some type of "metal" was all they knew that might help with X threat (again going from each players backstory) that has to get to The Double Rose Inn at Roslar's Coffer.

Worked fairly well as it gave them a chance to figure out their character a bit better and RP and note stuff out and inside of town before the long/short boomflash goodnite :)

PC's are

Human Shaman
Human Bloodrager
Human Wizard
Human Cleric
Human Unchained Monk

Tom


Shisumo wrote:

Just finished the Palace of Teeth this weekend with my group, and yikes!

** spoiler omitted **

Don't mess with tooth fairies. They will mess. You. Up!

My group laughs at tooth fairies because they're, like, the perfect low-level mooks to bash and their abilities are hilarious (and I agree with them on those fronts), but seeing the Palace of Teeth has made these mooks stupid-scary to me! (I know a number of the nasty combats were from the esobok psychopomps, but still).


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Hey all, just finished running this book tonight. A couple notes for the crowd based on the experience of my 3 player gestalt PCs (Slayer/Hunter, Paladin/Swashbuckler, Ranger/Psychic):

  • Planar traits are not clearly addressed in this book and are really important to consider whether you want to use them as you prepare. If the party has no healer at first level, you can reasonably expect them to die horribly due to no natural healing when using the planar traits. If you don't use them, you run into questions about rations and food. The hunter had CLW and they had to rest 3 straight days to restore spells while in Roslar's Tomb just to heal up after a couple gnarly encounters. This also has significant impacts on monsters - tooth fairies are more dangerous because the dex damage doesn't heal naturally, but creatures with disease and poison (Sali's Scriptorium and Nine Eaves) are significantly less threatening.

  • Nine Eaves is DANGEROUS. Sakhils are from Book of the Damned and Bestiary 5, which sorta threw balance out the window when it came to CRs. I encouraged the party to run it last and leveled them to 4 before it, but Farf still nearly killed them.

  • There's a lot of DR in this book. Given that the Slayer/Hunter is archery-based and the Paladin/Swash is using Fencing Grace, the party lacked damage for a large number of the encounters, so they really leaned on the Ranger/Psychic using the greatsword to its maximum effect. Encourage your players to play weapon-agnostic builds during character creation unless you want to replace a lot of loot. For reference, there are also no arrows or replacement bows until you meet Reedreaper in the final section of this book, so arrow tracking is mandatory.

  • Encumbrance is a major concern to PCs and they will throw away loot as needed to balance that. It's ok, it's not like they can shop until book 3 anyway. It's worth considering the idea of encouraging your players to select replacement animal companions in book 2 that allow for carrying capacity. Side note, those dead animal companions as the AP starts are a nice touch to the introduction to the dead version of Roslar's Coffer to explain the idea of accepting death as an important thing the PCs can help with.

    I don't have much feedback about Deathbower beyond the gardeners being absolute garbage and I was not convinced there was a need to duplicate the opening fight with different terrain. The party was very diplomatic with Aydie and Reedreaper, so they were able to pull off the incredibly difficult diplomatic option with Mictena. Two of the players identified The Passage and were quite impressed both in character and out of character that they were meeting a such a powerful creature as they finished the book.

    Very excited to start book 2 next week. Should be awesome.


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    Serisan wrote:


  • Planar traits are not clearly addressed in this book and are really important to consider whether you want to use them as you prepare. If the party has no healer at first level, you can reasonably expect them to die horribly due to no natural healing when using the planar traits. If you don't use them, you run into questions about rations and food. The hunter had CLW and they had to rest 3 straight days to restore spells while in Roslar's Tomb just to heal up after a couple gnarly encounters. This also has significant impacts on monsters - tooth fairies are more dangerous because the dex damage doesn't heal naturally, but creatures with disease and poison (Sali's Scriptorium and Nine Eaves) are significantly less threatening.
  • Doh. Totally forgot to lookup planar traits. And it would appear fairly necessary given the lack of food. The group I'm running through just finished Teeth. The way the planar traits is written for Purgatory is interesting:

    "Age, hunger, thirst, afflictions (such as diseases, curses, and poisons), and natural healing don’t function in Purgatory, though they resume functioning when the traveler leaves Purgatory."

    Does that mean:

    1) A character can not catch a disease (or other affliction) while in purgatory
    2) Or that they can catch a disease, but it does not progress. But when they leave the plane will start progressing.

    Opinions?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I would say that, as it says they "don't function," then there is no way to catch a disease (it can't be communicable if it can't function), but if you come with one then it goes into abeyance (basically, suspended animation) until you leave. Life just...kinda freezes, and leaves the same way it entered.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Keep in mind that the diseases and poisons can be handwaved. While The Passage gives a Resto, you can easily flavor that to be more powerful for the sake of the PCs not immediately dying upon re-entry to the Material Plane. It's in the best interest of your campaign to assume The Passage does a bit more than what Resto covers.

    Otherwise, you're left with this: "The
    danger of a timeless plane is that once an individual leaves
    such a plane for one where time flows normally, conditions
    such as hunger and aging apply retroactively."

    Say you're out in the Boneyard for a year. When you return to Material or another plane without Timeless, you immediately age a year. Similarly, if you caught a disease, you'd immediately need to make a year's worth of saves against it, until you've successfully cured yourself. Then just think of the hunger/thirst piling on.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I am planning on running this AP sometime in the future and I have a couple thoughts I want to ask about.

    1. If I wound up with only having access to a group of 3 players to run for, would gestalt be a reasonable compromise? If so, what BP would be recommended? My concern is that a lot of good gestalt builds get absolutely brutal at mid-high levels and later books might not be able to keep up with them.

    2. One player has talked about playing an Evil Dhampir Warpriest. This sort of topic has been discussed a lot here, but knowing his build, he would take the Life-Dominant feat specifically so he can benefit from Positive And Negative Energy, and making the Obol resistance apply to Positive Energy feels to me like it would just rob him of a feat. (I really don't want to tell him about the Obols' protections until they come up in game if I don't have to, and making him change his build "because Macguffin" feels...wrong.) My current thoughts on a workaround are this: Inflict's cast by Friendlies to heal bypass SR and resistance, personal uses of Channel Negative Energy (And Fervor etc.) meant to heal bypass resistance on oneself (Not others), all other sources of Negative Energy/Necromancy are resisted as normal. Thoughts?

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