1 - The Dead Roads (GM Reference)


Tyrant's Grasp

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for GMs running the Tyrant's Grasp Adventure Path, specifically for the first adventure, "The Dead Roads."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Minor errata note: per Ron Lundeen's post here, the DC to locate the hidden door in room D5 is 22, not 16.


Do the pcs wake up in their birthday suits or just bedtime clothes. Also spell components or armor .

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would say they are in whatever gear they had on when they were nuked.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Per the adventure:

"The PCs are equipped with all their usual gear, so long as it fits within the sarcophagi (each of which is large enough to hold a PC lying down while still allowing for a few inches of space on each side, including above the character)."

So weapons, armor, and spell pouch, yes.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Does it make sense to rule that the obols also render the possessors immune to most of the negative effects of the Boneyard's planar traits? The Boneyard's effects on the PCs have no role to play in the adventure as written, but if someone brings a paladin to the party there could be some real pain as a result of the Boneyard's strongly neutral-aligned trait...

On the other hand, the PCs might not have much in the way of rations, and it's the Boneyard's timeless trait that would keep them from needing to eat.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with. Was it in some museum or on display in the town hall? The way I understand it, there has to be a piece of the shield that Tar-Baphon "overloads" in order to detonate, right? To blow up Roslar's Coffer, there had to be a piece there. Am I misunderstanding? But I also think I remember reading that he sent emissaries to collect them all, so maybe it was planted in Roslar's Coffer for the test?

I thought I'd have the party hired by the people of Roslar's Coffer to recover their shard that was stolen from its display case in the town hall by orcs or thieves. It would have to be a fake piece (since they were all collected) stolen then replaced by a real one for the party to return - the theft was a set-up. They could then return to Roslar's Coffer too late at night to deliver it so they take it to the inn with them to rest. It detonates that night before they can return it, explaining why they were close enough to have the obols stuck in their hearts.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd have to read it again, but I think it would be easy enough for the Way to steal or otherwise obtain a shard and then send a zombie in with it in it's body, ready to be a ground 0. TB is probably in communication with whatever minions are deploying the nukes so that he can best redirect his mythic positive energy death ray into the correct resonant shard. Roslars Coffee also offers a great strategic point in that it brings Lastwall's eyes toward it's southern reaches instead of focused on Virlych.


Wildebob wrote:
I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with.

The simplest answer might be some thief planting it on the PCs.

Also, if it happens overnight, would the PCs be in their sleeping attire? So, that could be a problem.. sleeping in armor in a room at the inn or in your homes?


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Wildebob wrote:
I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with. Was it in some museum or on display in the town hall?

It was kept in the capital of Lastwall, Vigil. The fate of one of the stolen shards (that one of the thieves ended up taking for themselves and eventually hocking in Rahadoum) is detailed in PFS scenario 10-10, The Shattered Shield. It doesn't have much to say on the actual stealing, other than

"After the war and the establishment of the nation of
Lastwall, the shards of the shield were moved to Vigil, where
they became a ceremonial object used by the Watcher-Lord
during the swearing of great oaths, and where they have
remained to this day."

and

"Unbeknownst to the Society or virtually anyone else,
Tar-Baphon telepathically commanded his servant, the
winterwight Gildais, to travel to Vigil 2 years ago and recruit a
crew of expert thieves, the Six Wise Crows, to steal the Shattered
Shield of Arnisant and replace all but one of its fragments with
expert fakes. Led by a gnome thief and poisoner, Kilibrandt
Erstwhile, the gang successfully purloined all of the shards
and replaced them with replicas (or so most of crew thought).

Though Kilibrandt gave what she believed were all of the real
shards to the Whispering Way by handing them to Gildais’s
appointed steward and death priest Usundra, another
member of the Six Wise Crows, Jasaxi, coerced the same smith
the Crows used to produce the fake fragments into creating
an extra fabrication of one of the shards, ensuring that the
extra replica went to Kilibrandt (and by proxy, the Whispering
Way)—all while keeping the authentic shard for himself"

I hope this helps, and I'm planning on running my players through the PFS scenario before I run this AP :)


Zi Mishkal wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with.

The simplest answer might be some thief planting it on the PCs.

Also, if it happens overnight, would the PCs be in their sleeping attire? So, that could be a problem.. sleeping in armor in a room at the inn or in your homes?

My players tend to create fairly optimized, frontloaded characters, so I'm actually taking this in stride and am gonna have each player roll 1d4+2 and have them choose that number of items that their characters have used enough or have a connection to. I'll play it as those items having enough of a psychic connection to the pcs (think occultist implements) that they come with them to the other side, and have them find them placed in canopic jars or positioned like they were "buried" with the PCs. I'm hoping this will increase difficulty, and play up the "survival" aspect.

If anything is too important to their classes, i'll probably scatter a little extra loot around. Nothing makes an alchemist player happier than finding a masterwork portable alchemy set in loot when they didn't have one


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I was kind of put off by the mites in the tomb. Mites? It just seems to not fit in the Boneyard or the campaign. It was a weird choice to me and I immediately began thinking what I'd do instead. I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.

I also thought it would be thematic and cool to work in a devil recruiting petitioners to Hell. Have the devil come along and tempt them with an impossible moral choice, bet, contract, or something. Maybe even have a gnarlier daemon be chasing them and the devil saves them, squashing the daemon? Then they'd "owe" him. I might even work this in instead of the tooth fairies. That whole thing didn't grab me at all either. The devil could own the palace instead and he'd put them through his twisted gauntlet of terrible choices or make them recruit a number of petitioners in his stead in order to earn his stamp. This might be a little too similar to Kishokish's games though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wildebob wrote:
I was kind of put off by the mites in the tomb. Mites? It just seems to not fit in the Boneyard or the campaign. It was a weird choice to me and I immediately began thinking what I'd do instead. I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.

Well, it talks about this under one of the way stations how when she messed with the gate (saghide or something like that) opened up a way for fey to travel here and plague various places. The tooth fairies and mites I assume would be those. Also, Cacodaemons are Daemons from Abbadon. How did they get there and not get destroyed by the Psychopomps?

To everyone elses questions about what they have, it specifically says they have all their normal gear.

The PCs are equipped with all their usual gear, so long as it fits within the sarcophagi (each of which is large enough to hold a PC lying down while still allowing for a few inches of space on each side, including above the character).

You could interpret that as a earthbreaker or a reach weapon would not fit, but, depriving a character of their weapons/armor/gear may just be guaranteeing character death or TPK. When it comes to the final encounter if you have run the numbers and tactics of a witch catrina... Even a well optimized Party may very well die to her without even coming close to challenging her.

A Catrina psychopomp is powerful. 5/adamantine, SR 16 and resistances on top. And most importantly, she is not undead. I figure several players will specialize in undead slaying but that sadly wont come into play here. You add in 4 levels of witch with web, levitate, flight, at will invis, and the powerful catrina ability to do her condemn and kiss of death? Archers will be useless, Spellcasters will have a huge problem moving or getting spells into her. And fighters who have been deprived of a big heavy weapon will have a hard time with her adamantine, if she does not just destroy them with her DC 17 will save quick deaths. Not to mention aura calm emotions also DC 17. She is just made to DC spell save the party to death. And with web its terribly dangerous.

Also, She is listed as the wrong CR. A catrina is a CR 5. A level 4 witch is CR 3. She should be a cr 8. +4 levels above the party which is expected to be level 4 when facing her. True that can be offset if you get the two allies. But, that requires a decent diplomacy and no mistakes by the party (like a barbarian raging, or someone not trusting her right away). And if you fail the diplomacy or a member makes a mistake then the second companion is pretty much impossible to get also.

Its my responsibility to make it fun for my players while challenging them. If I take any gear that encounter wont be fun. It wont be doable. I may have to make them level 5 before the encounter. I try not to force my players to optimize a ton, but that encounter is crazy. Even the bug thing with the staff requires the party to figure out the clue to defeating it or risk dieing.

*edit to fix DC and talk about calm emotions aura


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
neonWitch wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with.

My thought on this is we probably find out in the second book where they arive in whats left of the town. My guess is a sacraficial agent worked alone to smuggle it in. And when it blew the granules of the shard lodged in the PC's hearts (and maybe others like replacement PC's) It will probably be somewhere like a church for theme. Or maybe the fortified cathedral that seems to be there in book 2's description (at the end of book 1 pg91. Website does not mention it) The cathedral is full of the cultists that will hold the key to what happened.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So I finally sat down and read the back end of the book (instead of my initial skim), and does anyone else get the 24: Golarion feel from the AP outline over the "Survival Horror" theme?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Alenvire wrote:
To everyone elses questions about what they have, it specifically says they have all their normal gear.

My interpretation of this is "even if that gear was not anywhere near them when the bomb went off". In fact, I'm going to specifically tell my PCs that they wake up wearing outfits that they were not wearing when they went to sleep - outfits that they aren't sure they even own, but look like something they would wear.

Keep in mind that the PCs that wake up in the tomb are not, strictly speaking, the PCs that die in the town. The books calls them out as "warped versions" of the PCs. My interpretation is that their equipment basically came into existence at the same time they did, as a sort of metaphysical "this version of the PCs was formed with the gear that they think of themselves as having".

I suspect that book 2 is going to have the PCs find their own bodies back on the Material Plane, but if not I'm certainly going to include that.

Alenvire wrote:
Also, She is listed as the wrong CR. A catrina is a CR 5. A level 4 witch is CR 3. She should be a cr 8.

This is not how monster CR works. When you add class levels to a monster, you need to decide if it is a "key" class for the monster or not. For example, for a physical brawler, levels of Barbarian would be key. Each level of a key class adds +1 to CR. For classes that aren't key, each two levels adds 1 CR until you have as many levels as the monster's original CR, at which point it becomes 1 level per CR.

Spellcaster classes like witch are never key unless they stack with spellcasting the monster already possesses, so 4 levels of witch only add 2 CR to the CR 5 catrina psychopomp, making her listed CR of 7 correct.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

MaxAstro I agree with you on how the gear is, and that they are warped versions of themselves. If you Read the section on obols page 75 It reads that the shards stitched their souls to their bodies.

Honestly the more I think on that, I feel like they are not a whole lot more then zombies. They are dead. They died. But, the artifact is keeping the souls and bodies connected giving them life and not undeath but in a perverted sort of way. In the deeper discussion on the same page it mentions that the secondary effect of the obol is that it was infused with negative energy to the point that it will wither and decay the soul till there is nothing left to pass on to the afterlife.

On your second point I did not know thats how the CR's work. However, I would still argue that she is way too much for a normal party if you play her at all like she should be played. The additional witch levels are why I consider her so OP and a +3cr. If they had added levels of fighter or any non caster I would have found her easier to handle. But, between her aura of calm and a web without the group ever seeing her due to her invis above the gazebo using major image... She is just gonna sit just out of 30 ft range above them and drop a web before descending close enough to kill them off one by one. By your description I would say her casting abilities as a witch increases her natural abilities well beyond the threat she was meant to be.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Alenvire wrote:
Well, it talks about this under one of the way stations how when she messed with the gate (saghide or something like that) opened up a way for fey to travel here and plague various places. The tooth fairies and mites I assume would be those. Also, Cacodaemons are Daemons from Abbadon. How did they get there and not get destroyed by the Psychopomps?

Same way rats get into restaurants and thieves get into museums - by being sneaky. There are gates to Abaddon for the NE souls and "recruiters" from Abaddon coming and going in the Boneyard. Some "vermin" will undoubtedly slip through. And it's way more thematically tied to the Boneyard experience than some random fey. I just think it's a cooler story for a place like the Boneyard and for a "survival horror" campaign. But that's just my opinion.


Wildebob wrote:
I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.

That's a really cool idea, but wouldn't that kinda ruin the big reveal when they step out and see Groetus hanging in the sky and realize that they're in The Boneyard?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
neonWitch wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.
That's a really cool idea, but wouldn't that kinda ruin the big reveal when they step out and see Groetus hanging in the sky and realize that they're in The Boneyard?

Good point! I guess I'd say that it doesn't have to be clear that the petitioners aren't just people at that point and the cacodaemons aren't just bizarre monsters. Knowledge (planes) won't be real high that early. But I'll have to think about that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wildebob wrote:
Alenvire wrote:
Well, it talks about this under one of the way stations how when she messed with the gate (saghide or something like that) opened up a way for fey to travel here and plague various places. The tooth fairies and mites I assume would be those. Also, Cacodaemons are Daemons from Abbadon. How did they get there and not get destroyed by the Psychopomps?
Same way rats get into restaurants and thieves get into museums - by being sneaky. There are gates to Abaddon for the NE souls and "recruiters" from Abaddon coming and going in the Boneyard. Some "vermin" will undoubtedly slip through. And it's way more thematically tied to the Boneyard experience than some random fey. I just think it's a cooler story for a place like the Boneyard and for a "survival horror" campaign. But that's just my opinion.

I completely agree that it seems weird that there is fey around, if not just completely unlikely I would find Daemons more unlikely. The description for daemons alone is 'Notorious for their hatred of the living, daemons are the things of dark dreams and fearful tales, as their ultimate ambitions include extinguishing every individual mortal life—and the more violent or terrible the end, the better.' Sure, they devour souls and even use them for trade or magic of their own, they have plenty of that on abbadon. The hatred of the living speaks to me more. Admittedly a cacodaemon seems pretty perfect for going to the Boneyard except they can only devour the soul of the recent dead. Like, within a minute of death. Although with a bit of GM Fiat you could claim these are free game since maybe the minute is before the soul departs the material plane. Otherwise the boneyard would be pretty bereft of soul lock targets for them.

Daemons are Something I really enjoy. My favorite character was a Warpriest of Apollyon who took on souldrinker for the evil adventure path with a conductive weapon.


(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Wildebob wrote:
neonWitch wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.
That's a really cool idea, but wouldn't that kinda ruin the big reveal when they step out and see Groetus hanging in the sky and realize that they're in The Boneyard?
Good point! I guess I'd say that it doesn't have to be clear that the petitioners aren't just people at that point and the cacodaemons aren't just bizarre monsters. Knowledge (planes) won't be real high that early. But I'll have to think about that.

Um...aren't petitioners the most obvious things ever? In the Boneyard they appear as non-undead skeletons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
KingTreyIII wrote:

(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Maybe they mean that since its not their own SR but SR projected from a half positive half negative artifact lodged in them that its flawed and will stop your necromancy spells cast on yourself too? For... flavor? Honestly you bring up a good point.


One of my players has informed me that they wish to play a dhampir, and the obols seem like they could make what would normally be a very campaign and region appropriate race very difficult. Not only does it leach off any spells cast on them that could heal them, it also gives SR against all of the inflict spells.

Now, because the obols are described as "part negative energy, part positive energy" i'm tempted to have it leave negative energy alone on the dhampir, and have it reduce positive energy damage, but I'm still not sure they can survive proccing SR for every negative energy spell. I could just disallow the race, but I'd like to allow it, seeing how well it matches the themes of the campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
neonWitch wrote:

One of my players has informed me that they wish to play a dhampir, and the obols seem like they could make what would normally be a very campaign and region appropriate race very difficult. Not only does it leach off any spells cast on them that could heal them, it also gives SR against all of the inflict spells.

Now, because the obols are described as "part negative energy, part positive energy" i'm tempted to have it leave negative energy alone on the dhampir, and have it reduce positive energy damage, but I'm still not sure they can survive proccing SR for every negative energy spell. I could just disallow the race, but I'd like to allow it, seeing how well it matches the themes of the campaign.

Thats a tough one. I had a player consider playing one and I just told him the difficulties. Several campaigns have unique quirks and I just find it easier to let them know without spoiling the why till its revealed in game. SR16 and negative energy damage reduction. And I pointed out in previous campaigns that quirks like these have evolved as the game went. It made them more interested in something that worked with the obol instead of fighting it.

I feel Dhampir are going to be a common enemy in the upcoming AP's. I also suspect the negative energy DR is going to be important because of a large number of enemies who will use it as attacks. Having someone who gains the benefits but not the negatives may make him more of a power house then those that don't have attunement to negative energy.


neonWitch wrote:
One of my players has informed me that they wish to play a dhampir, and the obols seem like they could make what would normally be a very campaign and region appropriate race very difficult. Not only does it leach off any spells cast on them that could heal them, it also gives SR against all of the inflict spells.

At least with the SR, I would just rule that inflict spells bypass it. There's a general trend where abilities will be written asymmetrically where positive and negative energy are involved. For example, most things can benefit from positive energy, so paladins can use lay on hands on themselves as a swift action. But most things that can get class levels are harmed by negative energy, so by RAW, even if they're a dhampir or juju zombie, an antipaladin can't use touch of corruption on themselves as a swift action.

SR only kicks in on Cure Wounds when you'd take damage, so at a minimum, dhampirs in other campaigns should be allowed to bypass SR with Inflict Wounds. But especially given that Cure Wounds is only allowed past the obol SR because 3.5 and PF1e decided healing should be conjuration, as opposed to every other edition of D&D and PF2e making it necromancy, I'd just give the dhampir a break and not apply SR to Inflict.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
RazarTuk wrote:
neonWitch wrote:
One of my players has informed me that they wish to play a dhampir, and the obols seem like they could make what would normally be a very campaign and region appropriate race very difficult. Not only does it leach off any spells cast on them that could heal them, it also gives SR against all of the inflict spells.

At least with the SR, I would just rule that inflict spells bypass it. There's a general trend where abilities will be written asymmetrically where positive and negative energy are involved. For example, most things can benefit from positive energy, so paladins can use lay on hands on themselves as a swift action. But most things that can get class levels are harmed by negative energy, so by RAW, even if they're a dhampir or juju zombie, an antipaladin can't use touch of corruption on themselves as a swift action.

SR only kicks in on Cure Wounds when you'd take damage, so at a minimum, dhampirs in other campaigns should be allowed to bypass SR with Inflict Wounds. But especially given that Cure Wounds is only allowed past the obol SR because 3.5 and PF1e decided healing should be conjuration, as opposed to every other edition of D&D and PF2e making it necromancy, I'd just give the dhampir a break and not apply SR to Inflict.

I deleted my whole post cause I realized you just meant they could not do it as a swift action but that they could still heal themselves with touch of corruption. lol

I do still think they only added this rule on the obol to help the players in the campaign and encourage players not to have negative energy afinity. There is going to be a lot of level drain, a lot of negative energy. Have a player that completely ignores both is gonna be strong. Just tell him to be the Big Dumb Fighter and he is set. All the negative energy spells heal him or do nothing, Level drain is nothing unless he takes so much that it exceeds his HD. Detect undead of the dhampir does not really matter since you can get that other places easily. Its not the end all be all but I know some of the tougher enemies paizo has sent at my parties are the ones that like to spam channel negative energy and I expect a lot of that.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Yay, the GM Reference thread lives!

Wildebob wrote:

I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with. Was it in some museum or on display in the town hall? The way I understand it, there has to be a piece of the shield that Tar-Baphon "overloads" in order to detonate, right? To blow up Roslar's Coffer, there had to be a piece there. Am I misunderstanding? But I also think I remember reading that he sent emissaries to collect them all, so maybe it was planted in Roslar's Coffer for the test?

The Whispering Way snuck one of the shards into town, unbeknownst to anyone there, just for the test. The fate of those who brought it into town isn't spelled out, or even particularly relevant (but if they remained in town, the outlook isn't good for them!).

More important, to the Whispering Way, is that they had another group come in just *after* the explosion to check out the aftereffects. That group serves as the primary antagonists in the next adventure.

We don't ever say where each and every shard is (we ultimately account for, I want to say, six of them); some GMs might want to play with the "spares" that the Whispering Way has.

Paizo Employee Developer

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MaxAstro wrote:
I suspect that book 2 is going to have the PCs find their own bodies back on the Material Plane, but if not I'm certainly going to include that.

Oh, gosh, there is a scene in book 2 you're gonna LOVE!

Paizo Employee Developer

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Alenvire wrote:
The PCs are equipped with all their usual gear, so long as it fits within the sarcophagi (each of which is large enough to hold a PC lying down while still allowing for a few inches of space on each side, including above the character). You could interpret that as a earthbreaker or a reach weapon would not fit, but, depriving a character of their weapons/armor/gear may just be guaranteeing character death or TPK.

I wear a couple of hats with this adventure, both as author and as developer for the rest of the adventure path (Crystal Frasier developed my adventure before leaving us).

From an author standpoint, I intended even glaives and earthbreakers and such to be included in the sarcophagus.

Alenvire wrote:
When it comes to the final encounter if you have run the numbers and tactics of a witch catrina... Even a well optimized Party may very well die to her without even coming close to challenging her. A Catrina psychopomp is powerful. 5/adamantine, SR 16 and resistances on top. And most importantly, she is not undead. I figure several players will specialize in undead slaying but that sadly wont come into play here. You add in 4 levels of witch with web, levitate, flight, at will invis, and the powerful catrina ability to do her condemn and kiss of death? Archers will be useless, Spellcasters will have a huge problem moving or getting spells into her. And fighters who have been deprived of a big heavy weapon will have a hard time with her adamantine, if she does not just destroy them with her DC 17 will save quick deaths. Not to mention aura calm emotions also DC 17. She is just made to DC spell save the party to death. And with web its terribly dangerous.

She's powerful, that's for sure. That's why I made sure the PCs meet tons of people who know her very well; the GM can let the PCs know as much as she wants about how Mictena fights, what magic she relies on, and so forth. They know from very early in the adventure that Mictena is likely to be their greatest obstacle in getting out of the Boneyard, so asking around about her seems likely. Salighara doesn't like Mictena and is likely well-disposed to warn the PCs about her tactics. Aydie might be helping the PCs as well. Heck, Reedreaper knows enough to practically give the PCs her stat block. They can be as ready for Mictena's many tricks as the GM wants.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Alenvire wrote:
I figure several players will specialize in undead slaying but that sadly wont come into play here.

There is not a single undead foe in this entire adventure, despite having some very undead-looking foes. They are so antithetical to the psychopomps of the Boneyard--who drive a lot of the action here--that I wanted to omit them entirely; I worked hard to create a gloomy death-themed adventure without even one undead creature.

But any undead-focused PC is going to get an awful lot of mileage out of their abilities throughout the rest of the adventure path.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, that's just cruel. Ramp up my anticipation and make me wait weeks for book 2.

I think a cool hook for a character who's unsure of why they're in Roslar's Coffer would be for them to be a courier delivering a package with an unassuming shard inside to someone in the town. Maybe Lady Grive, or someone else. The viability of this idea might hinge on book 2, however.

Scarab Sages

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Sarkile wrote:

Oh, that's just cruel. Ramp up my anticipation and make me wait weeks for book 2.

I think a cool hook for a character who's unsure of why they're in Roslar's Coffer would be for them to be a courier delivering a package with an unassuming shard inside to someone in the town. Maybe Lady Grive, or someone else. The viability of this idea might hinge on book 2, however.

Oh this is just insane and brilliant. The PC's were hired by the thief's guild to deliver this shard to a "buyer" in Roslar's coffer. They literally are holding the box when it explodes.


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Alenvire wrote:
I deleted my whole post cause I realized you just meant they could not do it as a swift action but that they could still heal themselves with touch of corruption. lol

Yep. Lay on hands? People will want to use that, so you can use it on yourself as a swift. Touch of corruption? What sort of masochist would use it on themself? I mean, you can, but it's still a standard action. Cure Wounds? It'd be annoying to have to deal with SR for healing, so SR only applies if you're attacking the undead with it. Inflict Wounds? I mean, it's a semi-useful combat spell used by evil clerics, so you always deal with SR. Cure Wounds? I mean, I know you're manipulating life energy, but necromancy sounds too evil. Let's just move healing to a conjuration subschool. Inflict Wounds? Evil. Totally evil. Necromancy is fine.

Except those last two questions don't apply to D&D 5e or PF 2e, because they move healing back to necromancy like in AD&D. So if you blindly converted this to one of those systems, you'd encounter SR for any healing whatsoever.

Barring a designer saying it being important that it wards against negative energy, I would just take a more fluid, common-sense approach. The obol wards against whichever type of energy hurts you, and SR doesn't kick in against Inflict spells used to heal, like how Cure spells only have SR when used to damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
She's powerful, that's for sure. That's why I made sure the PCs meet tons of people who know her very well; the GM can let the PCs know as much as she wants about how Mictena fights, what magic she relies on, and so forth. They know from very early in the adventure that Mictena is likely to be their...

I don't know why I did not think of that. I think I can use what you suggest to help the party prepare a bit. No reason they cant know even the type of tactics she might employ. With limited resources and no place to purchase them it could still be a terribly lethal encounter. Maybe I will have a toothfairy black market dealer who has a few baubles that characters might need. Maybe a Adamantine weapon blanch (or 2 if they kill or steal from the merchant) for sale. Give them something to spend a little of the valuables they find in the adventure.

I want to add if you read this post Ron, I had already told my group that I consider this one of the best APs already. There was a lot of thought put into it and a lot of unique experiences and concepts that I found amazing. It stands out more then I expected from a Big evil undead apocalypse vs the heroes. Just the concept of the Obol risking their eternal souls draws me in let alone all the other stuff you guys put in this AP. My wife and I were very interested just from reading the players guide Traits before I even got my hands on the first book.


KingTreyIII wrote:

(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Bump Now that I know that Ron is actually checking this thread I would like a bit of insight from the Dev on this weird situation.

KingTreyIII wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
neonWitch wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I think instead I'll have a few frantic, mauled petitioners hiding in the tomb from a pack of cacodaemons.
That's a really cool idea, but wouldn't that kinda ruin the big reveal when they step out and see Groetus hanging in the sky and realize that they're in The Boneyard?
Good point! I guess I'd say that it doesn't have to be clear that the petitioners aren't just people at that point and the cacodaemons aren't just bizarre monsters. Knowledge (planes) won't be real high that early. But I'll have to think about that.
Um...aren't petitioners the most obvious things ever? In the Boneyard they appear as non-undead skeletons.

Actually got around to reading the adventure—the citizens of Roslar’s Coffer ARE petitioners, but since they haven’t accepted their transition to death yet then they still appear as themselves rather than skeletons (like other Boneyard petitioners).

*

Also, REALLY out-of-nowhere, but am I the only one who imagines Mictena as having a Mexican accent—she’s based on Calavera iconography for Día de los Muertos, so it kinda makes sense...

Paizo Employee Developer

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KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:

(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Bump Now that I know that Ron is actually checking this thread I would like a bit of insight from the Dev on this weird situation.

Yes, false life is probably a bad example. Better to use, say, death ward.

KingTreyIII wrote:
Also, REALLY out-of-nowhere, but am I the only one who imagines Mictena as having a Mexican accent—she’s based on Calavera iconography for Día de los Muertos, so it kinda makes sense...

Not at all. Just wait until the AP gets to Arcadia!


KingTreyIII wrote:
Also, REALLY out-of-nowhere, but am I the only one who imagines Mictena as having a Mexican accent—she’s based on Calavera iconography for Día de los Muertos, so it kinda makes sense...

Considering I'd be planning on making her personality similar to Mamá Imelda... No, no you aren't.

Also, the name's supposed to just be Día de Muertos, no "los", or at least that's the page name on the Spanish Wikipedia. See, Spanish is fine with using an adjective directly as a noun. English isn't, and the equivalent of a plural adjective meaning "those who are X" is "the X". Hence, "of the dead" not "of deads". The version with "los" is technically just a backformation that mimics the English translation.

Ron Lundeen wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:

(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Bump Now that I know that Ron is actually checking this thread I would like a bit of insight from the Dev on this weird situation.
Yes, false life is probably a bad example. Better to use, say, death ward.

What about dhampir and Inflict Wounds? It seems unfair that they should be the only ones who have to deal with SR on healing spells, especially since the only reason every other playable race doesn't have to deal with the obols interfering with healing is that 3.5 and PF 1e (as opposed to AD&D, D&D 5e, and PF 2e) decided healing should be a conjuration subschool, instead of necromancy.

EDIT: Especially considering how fitting dhampir are for another Whispering Way AP.


RazarTuk wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
Also, REALLY out-of-nowhere, but am I the only one who imagines Mictena as having a Mexican accent—she’s based on Calavera iconography for Día de los Muertos, so it kinda makes sense...

Considering I'd be planning on making her personality similar to Mamá Imelda... No, no you aren't.

Also, the name's supposed to just be Día de Muertos, no "los", or at least that's the page name on the Spanish Wikipedia. See, Spanish is fine with using an adjective directly as a noun. English isn't, and the equivalent of a plural adjective meaning "those who are X" is "the X". Hence, "of the dead" not "of deads". The version with "los" is technically just a backformation that mimics the English translation.

Hey, I’m a young Caucasian male trying to describe Mexican culture; I’m just glad I got it grammatically correct from a literal translation instead of causing a cultural appropriation firefight. I’m still going to count that as a win for me.

Ron Lundeen wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:

(I've read literally everything in Book 1 EXCEPT the actual adventure itself, so take what I say with a grain of salt)

I noticed a weird thing: It says that the obols give SR against necromancy, but it also gives false life (a personal-only spell) as an example of the SR being detrimental to the players, but anyone who knows anything about SR knows that an individual's SR isn't applied against that person's own spells on themselves (e.g. a faerie dragon wouldn't inherently need to roll against its own SR when casting a scroll of false life). Thoughts?

Bump Now that I know that Ron is actually checking this thread I would like a bit of insight from the Dev on this weird situation.
Yes, false life is probably a bad example. Better to use, say, death ward.

So, just to be clear, the SR from the obols work just like any other SR? A person casting false life wouldn’t have to make a caster level check against their own SR?

Paizo Employee Developer

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RazarTuk wrote:
What about dhampir and Inflict Wounds?

Casting an inflict spell on a dhampir with an obol would indeed require a check to overcome SR. If you have a player anxious to play a dhampir, I'd work out an alternative to that. Several good ones have been proposed in this very thread!

Paizo Employee Developer

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KingTreyIII wrote:
So, just to be clear, the SR from the obols work just like any other SR? A person casting false life wouldn’t have to make a caster level check against their own SR?

Speaking as someone reading the plain text of this, rather than with the gravitas of formal authority, the only deviations from "normal" SR are that (i) it only applies to necromancy spells, and (ii) it can't be voluntarily lowered. There isn't an exception to the rule you can bypass your own SR with your own spells, so I'd say you could indeed cast false life on yourself freely.


So to summarize, the official rules are:

* Spells targeting yourself always bypass SR

* Someone else casting a spell on you from the necromancy school proper needs to overcome SR

* Someone else casting a biomancy spell, referring to that subset of AD&D/5e/PF2e's necromancy school that briefly became conjuration [healing] in 3.5 and PF1e, only needs to deal with SR if the spell says they need to

* Dhampir and other things with negative energy affiliation have to deal with the obol limiting their healing

And as two common sense houserules, but houserules nonetheless:

* The obols ward against whichever of positive and negative energy harms you

* Inflict spells used to heal always bypass SR

So overall, a dhampir would still be a bit more difficult by RAW, but at least if you're the one playing healer, it shouldn't be as bad.


KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:


Um...aren't petitioners the most obvious things ever? In the Boneyard they appear as non-undead skeletons.

Actually got around to reading the adventure—the citizens of Roslar’s Coffer ARE petitioners, but since they haven’t accepted their transition to death yet then they still appear as themselves rather than skeletons (like other Boneyard petitioners).

They haven't been judged yet, so they should be spirits of the dead (that can't be touched or harmed) rather than petitioners. Only after they're judged and sent to their home plane will they become a petitioner appropriate to their destination. It's highly unlikely that many of them will end up on the Boneyard as skeleton petitioners.


Xenocrat wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:


Um...aren't petitioners the most obvious things ever? In the Boneyard they appear as non-undead skeletons.

Actually got around to reading the adventure—the citizens of Roslar’s Coffer ARE petitioners, but since they haven’t accepted their transition to death yet then they still appear as themselves rather than skeletons (like other Boneyard petitioners).

They haven't been judged yet, so they should be spirits of the dead (that can't be touched or harmed) rather than petitioners. Only after they're judged and sent to their home plane will they become a petitioner appropriate to their destination. It's highly unlikely that many of them will end up on the Boneyard as skeleton petitioners.

COMPLETELY forgot about that! Thanks! But I must mention that the adventure specifically says that the former residents of Roslar's Coffer are petitioners.


KingTreyIII wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:


Um...aren't petitioners the most obvious things ever? In the Boneyard they appear as non-undead skeletons.

Actually got around to reading the adventure—the citizens of Roslar’s Coffer ARE petitioners, but since they haven’t accepted their transition to death yet then they still appear as themselves rather than skeletons (like other Boneyard petitioners).

They haven't been judged yet, so they should be spirits of the dead (that can't be touched or harmed) rather than petitioners. Only after they're judged and sent to their home plane will they become a petitioner appropriate to their destination. It's highly unlikely that many of them will end up on the Boneyard as skeleton petitioners.
COMPLETELY forgot about that! Thanks! But I must mention that the adventure specifically says that the former residents of Roslar's Coffer are petitioners.

Not the first time an AP overlooked some rule or setting background.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
RazarTuk wrote:

So to summarize, the official rules are:

* Spells targeting yourself always bypass SR

* Someone else casting a spell on you from the necromancy school proper needs to overcome SR

* Someone else casting a biomancy spell, referring to that subset of AD&D/5e/PF2e's necromancy school that briefly became conjuration [healing] in 3.5 and PF1e, only needs to deal with SR if the spell says they need to

* Dhampir and other things with negative energy affiliation have to deal with the obol limiting their healing

And as two common sense houserules, but houserules nonetheless:

* The obols ward against whichever of positive and negative energy harms you

* Inflict spells used to heal always bypass SR

So overall, a dhampir would still be a bit more difficult by RAW, but at least if you're the one playing healer, it shouldn't be as bad.

Razar,

I decided to give my players who want to play a dhampir the racial feat "Life-dominant soul" for free. Granted they only get half the worth of healing, but it negates the issues that are brought up by obol.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So... I've been trying to prepare for this & I'm a bit stumped on one element...

What if a character dies? How can you introduce a new PC?

I can't see any reasonable way to introduce another character into the mix in this book... and the Obols make me worried it won't get easier in later books? Have I missed something, or has anyone come up with any ideas around this?

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tim Schneider 908 wrote:

So... I've been trying to prepare for this & I'm a bit stumped on one element...

What if a character dies? How can you introduce a new PC?

I can't see any reasonable way to introduce another character into the mix in this book... and the Obols make me worried it won't get easier in later books? Have I missed something, or has anyone come up with any ideas around this?

The PCs need not be the only ones with obols; a replacement PC might have awoken elsewhere in the Boneyard. Umble and Thoot would be sure to get all the "erroneo-connected ones" together.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Tim Schneider 908 wrote:

So... I've been trying to prepare for this & I'm a bit stumped on one element...

What if a character dies? How can you introduce a new PC?

I can't see any reasonable way to introduce another character into the mix in this book... and the Obols make me worried it won't get easier in later books? Have I missed something, or has anyone come up with any ideas around this?

The PCs need not be the only ones with obols; a replacement PC might have awoken elsewhere in the Boneyard. Umble and Thoot would be sure to get all the "erroneo-connected ones" together.

Thats how I described it to my players when they asked. If such a time as another character is needed, an appropriate one will have 'survived' in the same circumstances as the starting characters, just in a different way.

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