6 - Midwives to Death (GM Reference)


Tyrant's Grasp

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Also, gathering the other shards doesn't do anything; they're artifacts, the PCs have no way to destroy them.
It's not specified whether the shards are themselves artifacts and still that difficult to destroy, or whether they have a specific means of destruction. As I said, the AP simply doesn't address this possibility.

The AP doesn't address the possibility, but the RPG has done so. Per Artifacts & Legends, pg 47, the remaining shards are still artifacts and have a specified means of destruction: "the supposedly invulnerable shards left by its destruction can be utterly destroyed if they are consumed by a chaotic neutral being at least as powerful as a demigod."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
The AP doesn't address the possibility, but the RPG has done so. Per Artifacts & Legends, pg 47, the remaining shards are still artifacts and have a specified means of destruction: "the supposedly invulnerable shards left by its destruction can be utterly destroyed if they are consumed by a chaotic neutral being at least as powerful as a demigod."

Well then, the PC's either need to find a Protean or Fey creature of demigod level power to take it off their hands or else go the Disjunction route.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Also, gathering the other shards doesn't do anything; they're artifacts, the PCs have no way to destroy them.
It's not specified whether the shards are themselves artifacts and still that difficult to destroy, or whether they have a specific means of destruction. As I said, the AP simply doesn't address this possibility.

In Artifacts & Legends the entry for the Shield of Aroden says "The Shield of Aroden is meant to be destroyed, but the supposedly invulnerable shards left by its destruction can be utterly destroyed if they are consumed by chaotic neutral being at least as powerful as a demigod, such as the proteans' Speakers of the Depths or the Eldest known as Count Ranalc."

Anyway, that was published in 2012, so I have no idea how up to date it is.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kasoh wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Also, gathering the other shards doesn't do anything; they're artifacts, the PCs have no way to destroy them.
It's not specified whether the shards are themselves artifacts and still that difficult to destroy, or whether they have a specific means of destruction. As I said, the AP simply doesn't address this possibility.

In Artifacts & Legends the entry for the Shield of Aroden says "The Shield of Aroden is meant to be destroyed, but the supposedly invulnerable shards left by its destruction can be utterly destroyed if they are consumed by chaotic neutral being at least as powerful as a demigod, such as the proteans' Speakers of the Depths or the Eldest known as Count Ranalc."

Anyway, that was published in 2012, so I have no idea how up to date it is.

Within 1e’s lifetime, so up to date unless a later source contradicts it.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

Question. I've realized ... a solution to the conundrum regarding the Pcs fate, and i've noticed it's not been proposed yet.

Basically, to get a good ending you just need to ...

** spoiler omitted **

Isn't the shard in his hand metaphysically stuck to him just like the PCs' obols? So if you destroy him by conventional means, he reforms next to his phylactery with the shard still in his hand?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Uqbarian wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

Question. I've realized ... a solution to the conundrum regarding the Pcs fate, and i've noticed it's not been proposed yet.

Basically, to get a good ending you just need to ...

** spoiler omitted **

Isn't the shard in his hand metaphysically stuck to him just like the PCs' obols? So if you destroy him by conventional means, he reforms next to his phylactery with the shard still in his hand?

Yes, exactly.

Or, more completely, hi everyone, I'm back from GenCon! I wanted to jump in and address some of the points recently raised in this thread.

Yes, recovering each of the remaining shards is one method we thought about here. There are several reasons we didn't. First, questing after each and destroying it would be an entire adventure of its own, as they are (as mentioned here) artifacts; so that route seemed particularly long. Furthermore, we already tackled the "hunt down each piece of an artifact" in the Shattered Star Adventure Path. Finally, having a few of these shards left unknown is a great plot point that GMs might want to run with in their own campaign (or in the future; we intentionally left the locations of several shards unknown at the end of this AP). We like seeding adventure opportunities in our world this way.

The Whispering Tyrant is as bound to the shard in his hand as the PCs are bound to the obols that stitch their souls and bodies together--those remain with the PCs even through death (in the Whispering Tyrant's case, remains with him even if killed and reformed next to his phylactery). So Uqbarian has it right. Magic like antimagic field and even mage's disjunction can't affect the shard in the Whispering Tyrant's hand for similar reasons (technically, mage's disjunction has a small chance to do so, but with serious repercussions that causes even the Whispering Tyrant to hesitate). Think about it another way: Tar-Baphon doesn't want the shard in his hand. He's had 900 years and all his powerful magic to figure out how to get it out, and he couldn't. Ultimately, he realized he was stuck with it and needed to learn how to "live" with it--and that line of thinking is what caused him to invent the Radiant Fire in the first place. If it were as easy as "I'll just cut my hand off and regenerate it shard-free," then Tar-Baphon probably would have done so 899 years ago.

Finally, teleporting away doesn't stop the resonance between the PCs' obols and the shard in the Whispering Tyrant's hand; once that resonance kicks in, the explosion is the result--with all its concomitant effects.

Finally, to echo James Jacobs earlier, I want to thank everyone who's thought deeply about what this kind of an ending to an AP entails. It's not something we've done before and, as he says, something we're unlikely to do in the near future. The sacrifice isn't for all groups, which is why we alerted GMs to it an entire AP volume ahead of time and provided alternates for GMs who know their groups won't like it. The fact that this sacrifice engenders such strong feelings in people--both people who like it and people who don't--makes me appreciate just how invested people are in the stories we tell, and that's inspiring. Thank you.

Dark Archive

Wait, if its stuck to his soul, shouldn't destroying it shred his soul as well?

I guess Tar-Baphon might still feel the pain in 2e :D


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So in my game where the PCs are mythic as well, the cost to saving their souls is to trap some of their essence in the kumaru tree. That costs them at least one mythic tier to do so - permanently reducing their tier as well as their potential maximum tier.

With the WT, I'm going to have it work the same way.. if he survives, he will lose at least one and probably several mythic tiers. As such, he will have to lay low for quite some time before threatening the world so directly. That is, once he reforms, which itself could take a considerable amount of time due to the nature of the damage.

Shadow Lodge

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I'm fine with sacrifice. I'm not fine with him coming back despite it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thistledown wrote:
I'm fine with sacrifice. I'm not fine with him coming back despite it.

Especially since the Tyrant canonically has so many untapped armies of undead stashed in so many places (Ever heard of the Cenotaph?) that when he revives he'll be back to being a threat to the world in a matter of months at the absolute longest. And since his Phylactery is all but unlocatable And indestructible, he can't be put down permanently and he won't stop. Ever. Locking him down like the Last Crusade did is really the only feasible option, but that was a bit of a total fluke and he's unlikely to let such a thing happen again.

As written, the heroes have only really delayed and inconvenienced his world domination, not stopped it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nakteo wrote:
As written, the heroes have only really delayed and inconvenienced his world domination, not stopped it.

Delayed for a long while, as the fact that the next AP after Tyrant’s Grasp isn’t about stopping him and we have the Lost Omens World Guide to go lay everything out.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Nakteo wrote:
As written, the heroes have only really delayed and inconvenienced his world domination, not stopped it.
Delayed for a long while, as the fact that the next AP after Tyrant’s Grasp isn’t about stopping him and we have the Lost Omens World Guide to go lay everything out.

Considering he spent nearly a thousand years in gallowspire even if he were delayed by a decade thats a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things which is why for a lot of people the noble sacrifice part dosent work or would have worked a lot better if he had been actually destroyed.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kevin Mack wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Nakteo wrote:
As written, the heroes have only really delayed and inconvenienced his world domination, not stopped it.
Delayed for a long while, as the fact that the next AP after Tyrant’s Grasp isn’t about stopping him and we have the Lost Omens World Guide to go lay everything out.
Considering he spent nearly a thousand years in gallowspire even if he were delayed by a decade thats a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things which is why for a lot of people the noble sacrifice part dosent work or would have worked a lot better if he had been actually destroyed.

So in 10 years for the final AP of 2e we can permanently kill him then.

Aka 10 years may be a drop in “the grand scheme of things” but that’s still 10 years to us.


Greetings. I've noticed something new regarding this book. I'll express myself in 2 topics. First, if we look back at book 1, in the page which shows the "key players" of the adventure path, we find a few familiar faces, and also get namedropped a few other npcs.

Two of those are the Demilich Geir of Ghasterhall (who even gets artwork) and the vampire general Malyas from castle Khonquist (first presented in book 6 of cc). I also recall the sighting of the marilith Kaltestrua between the forces which are present in the nation of lastwall. Yet, none of these named npcs take part in what should be considered the "main battle" for the Whispering tyrant.

We get a demilich, but he's not Geir; we also get the premise to "assassinate baphon's generals", but ignoring those present in the castle, no other "names" are present in the battle, and what we get is "standard monster hunting" against not named adversaries.

While i can see Malyas needing time to reach the location of Hammer Rock with his forces - though, until now Tar Baphon has been quite liberal with his "mass teleportation effects" -, and i can see even reason for him to "refuse" the first calling of Baphon (due to Urgathoa's displeasure over him), I see no reason for a Marilith general to not take part in the battle for Absalom (fighting her would also offer a bit of variation between the waves of undead).


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Another observation came from the pagecount of this book. The first part of this adventure is around 8-9 pages. The second part is 39 pages, and the third part - and the final of this adventure, is just six. Moreover, the first and the third part almost lack of any maps, except for the pyramid near which the last stand takes place.

My problem is now that, after a second reading, part 1 of book 6 is a big "wait sign". While mechanically interesting, it forces the pcs to pass through a new formed forest which, following the rules of the explosion of the radiant fire, should be no more than 3 mile wide, and offers no mechanic reasons to be traversed except to "look for the bodies of the precedent shout team".

I find this section could well be entirely skipped by flying above it (a feat quite possible for 16th level characters). Also, since the forest as been recently traversed by an horde of thousands of undead guided by a trigger happy lich, there should be a wide path of destruction to follow to reach Hammer Rock, a "whispering way of unlive" whose general area should not be able to sprout life of any kind.

But most damning/amazing of all: Radiant fire explosions cause, apparently, the "spontaneous birth of small dinosaurs and tapirs"... Best nuke ever!

Jokes aside, To justify this exploration, i would well make so that this forest "cannot be skipped" since, due to a mythic wish made by Baphon, this lands now belongs to the feywild, controlled by some higher being of which the blight is a manifestation, and that by gaining this foothold in the material basically shields any magical invasion of Hammer rock, making it some kind of "Nightmare realms" or something, which can be traversed only by it's makers and those made by it. If you fly over it, you find yourself over a "spooky" forest which end at the other side of the ring, never reaching Hammer rock! By befriending the wild hunts, the Pcs gets the unique chance to understand the rules of this place, and then, by killing the blight, the entire forest returns completely into the material (goodbye fey tapirs).

Without this kind of justification, i cannot see why devolve 9 pages for a challenge that could be completely avoided, which also doesn't move the story much. The first team only use for the pcs, except be rescued and entombed, it's a generic information on maybe 2 traps active in Hammer Rock, whose effects can be easily avoided or countered by a party of level 16 characters. What I see - maybe a bit biased - is 9 pages of thematic variation that weight heavily over the ending of the book, with find itself at the short part of the stick, and not at the "climax" of the story.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

“it's a generic information on maybe 2 traps active in Hammer Rock” the PCs don’t know the extent of the knowledge, just that they need to find the team.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Where is the Marilith mentioned?


Rysky wrote:
Where is the Marilith mentioned?

A powerful marilith is mentioned in book 4, which is probably the same that killed the gold dragon that appears in book4.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Where is the Marilith mentioned?
A powerful marilith is mentioned in book 4, which is probably the same that killed the gold dragon that appears in book4.

Hmm, reading over that section I didn't get the impression that she's really an ally of Tar-Baphon, but possibly just one of the "extraplanar horrors" trapped there when tar-Baphon claimed the school.


Has anyone run this combat against mythic TB with level 18 PCs? I'm curious how it went.

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