Death, rebirth and corruption? A way around the PCs unique nature? SPOILERS!


Tyrant's Grasp

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

So the obols in the PCs help to stitch soul and flesh. They’ve also upset to some degree the beaurocracy of the dead roads and boneyard. If they die during the game what then? I’m now in book two and while there have been no deaths, it’s been close once or twice.

I’ve decided to try something but I’m uncertain how it will go of the obols play a bigger role in later books. When the PCs returned from the dead roads they found themselves in possession of a coin, one face the comet symbol of pharasma, the he other the moon of Groetus. If (when?) they is they will NOT renter the river of souls but instead be subject to athe corrupting influence of the Obols - accelerating their inevitable effect.

How? Well when killed they reawaken shortly after (at 0 HP) and the mortal wound mysteriously closes. Disintegrated? Destruction? They die but the power of the obol prevents their body from being destroyed - that will certainly confuse them. By the way I have no intention of letting them know of the obols real nature until the AP demands it.

The penalty? Horror adventures Corruptions. Each time they die they increase manofestor level by 1. Toss the magic coin, Pharasma = no further effect, Groetus = increase corruption level (better find a way to lower that again.

Is this feasible over the AP? I suppose that’s a question for you Mr Lundeen.

What do people think?

Paizo Employee Developer

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I really like the idea of using the Corruptions rules from Horror Adventures in this AP. We didn't want to include those rules, but they make a great thematic addition.

Yes, the obols play an important part in this AP, particularly in the last two adventures.


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I think this is a great idea ! :D

Which corruption(s) do you plan to use ? I'd suggest the Accursed to reflect the hateful magic that was used to create the obols, and the "curse" of not being able to die properly. Lich could be fun too regarding... well... who's magic is pulsating in the obol in your heart, and because you are dead without being fully dead.

Will you tell your players about this, or will you keep it a secret ?


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Cat-thulhu wrote:
Is this feasible over the AP? I suppose that’s a question for you Mr Lundeen. What do people think?

It's an interesting idea. I would point out a few complications with it.

1) Each corruption requires, as written, some kind of "tug of war" between the character and some kind of impulse from the corruption source. It's not just "when you die, the corruption can spread". Such moments should be integrated in the campaign with a lot of care, and such forces defined.

2) The stages of corruption are also a problem: Most of those basically say "Your character becomes "EVIL"", and then "It becomes an npc, roll a new one". You should get rid of that, and identify a different kind of situation based around both the character and the corruption. - example: instead of simply becoming evil, a character may be subtly forced to accomplish certain goals or develop urges which highly penalize him.

3) Looking at the most common and thematic corruptions, a lot of those do not offer significant bonuses, and the strain cost heavily lessened any gain. Corruption comes by with an heavy cost, and since this adventure it's already a survival horror one, if not well handled any strain would feel like a "punch in the gut".

4) Also, you should have clear in mind how much it's your players, and your player characters, are aware of their corruptions. Can you players decide which effect they gain? Do your character know the effects of their powers or the consequences of them?

Now, regarding the corruptions themselves, none of the undead corruptions seem worth their heavy cost, with the exception of vampirism, which seems thematic and offer good role-play options.

Of the others, i see accursed, possessed and shadowbound as the best corruptions, with the most role-play potential, to express what kind of influence is actually playing over your pcs, from the ethereal, the feylands or beyond the veil itself.

Shadow Lodge

I wonder if you could make it work like in that PFS season: fiddle with the corruption so that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but make it semi-obvious that it'll give Tar-Baphon an easier time of mind-controlling you, or doing a swift-action Explode Head once he locks on to those obols. Sure, you'll be better at killing people... but not the one guy you've been trying to stop this whole time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Interesting idea... I had one close call so far and was actually wondering, what DOES happen if a PC dies. There a bit about the Obels in the first book, but I'm hoping books 5/6 provide some additional info.

The corruptions are an interesting idea and very theme appropriate.


Answering this very question came to mind yesterday for me as well. I fell asleep considering the implications. But lets start with what we know...

The PCs have already died... once. The AP starts off with that. And what happens - they travel, body and soul to the boneyard. So, the answer could be just that simple.

If that is the case, then on the prime, the PC disappears. In my campaign, the PCs appeared without any of their gear in the Boneyard - but that's a homebrew rule. If you want to resurrect the PCs, you need true resurrection as all the lesser versions require some portion of the body remaining. Ow. That's expensive!

But maybe that's only what happened the first time, because of the Radiant Fire. (In my campaign, the PCs are special because they were in the possession of the "Grace of the Last Azlanti" when they were killed in Roslar's Coffer. It had a shard of the Shattered Shield and semi-protected the PCs.). Maybe the exact opposite happens and the PC's soul doesn't go anywhere. If that is the case, then there is no soul to retrieve and all the raise dead spells fail. In this case, I would argue that Breath of Life is the go-to spell. If Breath of Life is cast within the appropriate time then the PCs are up and running as if nothing happened. If, however, the PCs died some time ago - hours or days, then I like the Horror rules addition.

Btw, again in my campaign, the interaction between the Grace of the Last Azlanti and the Radiant Fire have resulted in the PCs gaining a mythic level. Moreover, if they are ever exposed to another blast or the death of a mythic character, I am going to grant them another mythic level. So I see them being something like Mythic 4 by the end. I do plan on kicking up the CRs to reflect that. Essentially, the obols are gathering power. Oh, and rather than hijack this thread, I'll start another explaining my premise if people Favorite this post.


Oh wait, I forgot that the PCs are zombies at the end of book 2.

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