1 - Hellknight Hill (GM Reference)


Age of Ashes

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
William Lane 245 wrote:
I decided to tally up the treasures from Chapters 1 & 2 (Level 1) of Hellknight Hill, and came up with ~200 gp of items and money, which is slightly greater than the 175 gp recommended in the CRB. (I'm guessing this is another asynchronous development between the CRB and the AP.)

In P1e, total possible treasure in an AP was always stayed more than Wealth By Level, in case the party missed a Perception check to find treasure, defeated an encounter through Diplomacy (thus letting the other side keep their stuff), skipped an encounter entirely by going a different way, etc.

I don't know that this necessarily means that the rewards are per PC (The 50 sp for helping rescue the townsfolk is specifically called out as "each," while the other monetary rewards aren't), but in the past Paizo has always provided more available treasure than necessary, so it's not a contradiction between the AP and the CRB.

(I'll point out that there seem to be more encounters in this book specifically set up to point toward the possibility of settling them with Diplomacy in this book than in others I've read. If Paizo hopes that the PCs won't just kill everything they meet, they'd have to include extra treasure other than what can be looted off dead bodies.)


Joana wrote:
William Lane 245 wrote:
I decided to tally up the treasures from Chapters 1 & 2 (Level 1) of Hellknight Hill, and came up with ~200 gp of items and money, which is slightly greater than the 175 gp recommended in the CRB. (I'm guessing this is another asynchronous development between the CRB and the AP.)

In P1e, total possible treasure in an AP was always stayed more than Wealth By Level, in case the party missed a Perception check to find treasure, defeated an encounter through Diplomacy (thus letting the other side keep their stuff), skipped an encounter entirely by going a different way, etc.

I don't know that this necessarily means that the rewards are per PC (The 50 sp for helping rescue the townsfolk is specifically called out as "each," while the other monetary rewards aren't), but in the past Paizo has always provided more available treasure than necessary, so it's not a contradiction between the AP and the CRB.

(I'll point out that there seem to be more encounters in this book specifically set up to point toward the possibility of settling them with Diplomacy in this book than in others I've read. If Paizo hopes that the PCs won't just kill everything they meet, they'd have to include extra treasure other than what can be looted off dead bodies.)

That makes sense. Thanks!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Our lodge has two tables both starting the same AP at the same time. They will be split between myself and another GM... But I wonder if there's any advantage to having them all meet at the same time for chapter 1 since the book references other adventurers in the town hall meeting. It'd mean a table of 9, but I'm sure we could adjust it slightly. Maybe have the fire spread a little more in round 2...or let the PCs help form the bucket brigades faster.

Level 1 survival check could probably remind a pc that a bucket brigade exists, if they appear to be clearly trying to consider a solution.


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

Our lodge has two tables both starting the same AP at the same time. They will be split between myself and another GM... But I wonder if there's any advantage to having them all meet at the same time for chapter 1 since the book references other adventurers in the town hall meeting. It'd mean a table of 9, but I'm sure we could adjust it slightly. Maybe have the fire spread a little more in round 2...or let the PCs help form the bucket brigades faster.

Level 1 survival check could probably remind a pc that a bucket brigade exists, if they appear to be clearly trying to consider a solution.

You could probably make it work just by adding more Mephits and villagers, but the AP does mention that the PC's are the only Adventurer's that have shown up this month for the call.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
What happens to the Reliant Book Company after the adventure is over? With both Voz and Calmont arrested and/or dead, who inherits the company?
It becomes held by the town itself, and someone could purchase the deed from them. If you want the town to give the store to a PC as a reward, that's kinda cool though!

Or the GM could say the vacant building means that Breachill gets its first magic shop so that PCs can buy and sell common items there. Especially if they set up shop rebuild the castle, rumor of "Adventurers are in town" will attract a wizard merchant-entrepreneur with connections in a larger city for stock that can be ordered if he doesn't have it or can't make it..


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


That's 1st edition thinking. In 2nd edition, NPCs aren't the same as PCs. In this case, none of the Order figured the portals out—either because that was beyond their skill, not really of interest to them, or the like. One of the biggest attractions to me (and in time, I suspect, to any GM who writes an adventure) is this fact—that PCs can do things NPCs cannot.

I know that being in the dumps about the new edition is not much fun for everyone who's enthusiastic, so I will bow out of the discussion after this, but I just had to say...

Not everyone feels this way. Despite not enjoying the playtest, I had hopes that I would enjoy Second. But this thread plus reading the first two modules has destroyed all of my hopes. It's very heavily slanted to a highly cinematic, world-as-stage-set style in which I have no interest. The lack of coherent rules for what NPCs can do makes the kinds of games I like to run impossible.

My goal is to "have fun" too, but the fun for me is in the sense of the setting as a real thing, opposing the PCs (and sometimes the GM as well, that's part of the bargain). This gives us the joy of figuring stuff out, of finding plans that actually work--not because the GM decides by fiat that they work, but because we understand what's going on well enough to *see* that they work.

I am a GM who writes adventures; not for publication, but I've been writing adventures since the Blue Book (first release of D&D) sometime in the 1970's. It's just not a universal truth that all of us have been yearning to run a gameworld where the NPCs are basically props and their abilities change at whim to support storytelling.

I wish you the best of luck, but this is somewhere I just don't want to go. I'm really, really sad right now.


So my group is halfway through this and we had a hell of a time during the fire scene. My PCs wanted to put out the fire rather than helping the people, so with cape in hand they went to beat the fire out. I had no clue what the DC to put out a fire with a cape was (saw the small section about this but no dc) so I gave it a basic dc 10 athletics for 1 square and 2 squares on a crit success for one action. Even with 4 people doing this they weren't able to put out the fire by round 8 and almost TPK'ed themselves. The bucket brigade didn't seem like a real option as you needed 15 people to get a bucket each PCs turn but at the bottom end of the room. Can anyone explain how that encounter was supposed to go?

Sorry if this is easy, we are just getting started and don't have the rules 100% down.


James Jacobs wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
The emperor birds in the vaultway are supposed to be sentries. They have no darkvision. The room is pitch black. How is this supposed to work out?

For ease of use, just give them darkvision this time.

If someone ever uses emperor birds in a homebrew adventure, I'd say make sure they have at least dim light to see by without having to rely on the party's light cantrip.

And again, consider this from the original intent that was to give characters with darkvision a chance to enjoy their advantage.

In most cases, the PCs need light too, and they'll be bringing light with them, and thus the birds will be fine.

In cases where no PC needs light, or a PC with darkvision sneaks ahead... this encounter gives that party or that PC a fun reward for a character choice and lets them use something to their advantage. That's a nice change of pace now and then for players to encounter, and makes them feel like the world isn't always perfectly poised to defeat them. Sometimes the bad guys make mistakes too.

Is this the intent with the half-orcs in Guardians Way as well? As I noted in my earlier post, my group all had Darkvision and we showed up at night prepared to be stealthy. But our new DM was at a loss at how to handle surprise or coup de grace/knockouts of sleeping enemies.


The Bloody Blades are half-orcs. Voz Lirayne is a half-elf. Are they supposed to have low-light vision?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mary Yamato wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


That's 1st edition thinking. In 2nd edition, NPCs aren't the same as PCs. In this case, none of the Order figured the portals out—either because that was beyond their skill, not really of interest to them, or the like. One of the biggest attractions to me (and in time, I suspect, to any GM who writes an adventure) is this fact—that PCs can do things NPCs cannot.

I know that being in the dumps about the new edition is not much fun for everyone who's enthusiastic, so I will bow out of the discussion after this, but I just had to say...

Not everyone feels this way. Despite not enjoying the playtest, I had hopes that I would enjoy Second. But this thread plus reading the first two modules has destroyed all of my hopes. It's very heavily slanted to a highly cinematic, world-as-stage-set style in which I have no interest. The lack of coherent rules for what NPCs can do makes the kinds of games I like to run impossible.

My goal is to "have fun" too, but the fun for me is in the sense of the setting as a real thing, opposing the PCs (and sometimes the GM as well, that's part of the bargain). This gives us the joy of figuring stuff out, of finding plans that actually work--not because the GM decides by fiat that they work, but because we understand what's going on well enough to *see* that they work.

I am a GM who writes adventures; not for publication, but I've been writing adventures since the Blue Book (first release of D&D) sometime in the 1970's. It's just not a universal truth that all of us have been yearning to run a gameworld where the NPCs are basically props and their abilities change at whim to support storytelling.

I wish you the best of luck, but this is somewhere I just don't want to go. I'm really, really sad right now.

I'd say that's a little over dramatic a reaction to an answer im not fond of myself, a lictor or reasonably leveled signifer should very much be able to do anything a level 2-3 pc can do and more. I can understand for the sake of combat that pcs and npcs could pull some tricks the other cant but having a high level npc not able to make an arcana check that a level 2-3 PC can as a plot point seems very wonky.

I just wrote it up as they had a look at it, saw that it was completely inert and wasnt willing to spend the resources into figuring out ancient elven magics.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Darkbridger wrote:

Is this the intent with the half-orcs in Guardians Way as well? As I noted in my earlier post, my group all had Darkvision and we showed up at night prepared to be stealthy. But our new DM was at a loss at how to handle surprise or coup de grace/knockouts of sleeping enemies.

Attacking the guards at night is a good and viable option, and is intended to be, yes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Colette Brunel wrote:
The Bloody Blades are half-orcs. Voz Lirayne is a half-elf. Are they supposed to have low-light vision?

They absolutely should, come to think of it. So sneaking up at night might not be such a great idea if your PCs can't all see...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mary Yamato wrote:

...It's very heavily slanted to a highly cinematic, world-as-stage-set style in which I have no interest. The lack of coherent rules for what NPCs can do makes the kinds of games I like to run impossible.

am a GM who writes adventures; not for publication, but I've been writing adventures since the Blue Book (first release of D&D) sometime in the 1970's. It's just not a universal truth that all of us have been yearning to run a gameworld where the NPCs are basically props and their abilities change at whim to support storytelling.

Davido1000 wrote:

I'd say that's a little over dramatic a reaction to an answer im not fond of myself, a lictor or reasonably leveled signifer should very much be able to do anything a level 2-3 pc can do and more. I can understand for the sake of combat that pcs and npcs could pull some tricks the other cant but having a high level npc not able to make an arcana check that a level 2-3 PC can as a plot point seems very wonky.

I just wrote it up as they had a look at it, saw that it was completely inert and wasnt willing to spend the resources into figuring out ancient elven magics.

While I do sympathize with the loss of tight simulation detail on NPCs, monsters/villains not being built by what appears to be logical rules. However They always were just manipulated for the numbers of the game, custom feats, spells, innate abilities, and magic items can be slapped on to make them work how you want. Now those things can be less defined without all the hoops of making those adjustment features that help a encounter/scene/plot point without constant worry of how it effects the entire balance of the game to introduce it as PC options.

Despite all the solid reasons to the change in focus I do still kinda feel it's lose. (and really only D&D 3rd followed those rules, gaming since the 70s means they should have started in a time when just making stuff up was standard).

However I find it just simply becomes more up to the GM to decide they want to tell a game/story with the same level of worldly consistence as you desire. (And really it always has).

However with all that said, it's over 10,000 year old portal, that survived an apocalyptic, terrain altering event who knows where the keys are? if the keys are still around, or if the portals were even still viable (end points could all be buried death traps). I don't see a reason why the hellknights wouldn't find it useless even if they discovered it's true purpose. (Also I think it was super dead/inactive/no lingering magic until it was reactivated and used by the Cultists)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mary Yamato wrote:

I am a GM who writes adventures; not for publication, but I've been writing adventures since the Blue Book (first release of D&D) sometime in the 1970's. It's just not a universal truth that all of us have been yearning to run a gameworld where the NPCs are basically props and their abilities change at whim to support storytelling.

I wish you the best of luck, but this is somewhere I just don't want to go. I'm really, really sad right now.

And I do understand that some folks aren't going to enjoy the direction of the new game. That DOES suck. I only hope that you come back in a year or so to see where things fianlly shake out. Once the Gamemastery Guide is out, the growing pains of no GM being able to build things for their home games will be over (I really REALLY wish we'd have been able to include all those rules int he core... but doing so would have required us to cut entire character classes to make room—something that I was ready to do but that other people noted would probably be bad for the game's overall health).

I don't mean to imply in any of my statements above that NPC abilities will change every time. You can ABSOLUTELY build NPCs as if they were PCs, but that'll take a lot longer. And if you build a level 3 Hellknight armiger, he/she/they should have similar or identical abilities for adventure 1 as they would in adventure 101. In the same way a giant scorpion's basic abilities or a goblin dog's basic abilities or a sinspawn's basic abilities should be the same. With every book we publish, those baselines will grow.

I've been writing adventures not QUITE as long as the Blue Book (I started GMing and writing with the Erol Otus covered Basic D&D box, but started playing the game with the Blue Book as a player), and having written and worked on adventures for all editions in-between, I feel like Pathfinder's adventure writing tools and monster/NPC creation tools are a breath of fresh air. To me, the new system encourages NPCs to be unique characters and even less of a "prop" than they were in 1st edition Pathfinder, where you couldn't customize things much at all and had to give an NPC a pile of magic items and stat boosters just to make them viable encounters.

SO yeah... my suggestion for folks like Mary who are frustrated with the lack of support for how to build NPCs and monsters is to please be patient and check out the Gamemastery Guide when it comes out. I'm hoping we'll have these monster/NPC rules up for free at some point before then, so keep an eye on the blog as well.


Is the 6.5-mile stretch of the Goblinblood Caves regular terrain, or difficult terrain (half travel speed), for the purposes of exploration mode travel speed?


In my game, an earthquake preceded the re-activation of the Huntergate underneath Citadel Altaerein.

Spoiler:

The idea being that the Hellknights therein have been committed to destroying "savagery" in rebellion of House Thrune by not cleansing the local indigenous populations but by hunting down a slave trading organization that steals the best and brightest people from all over the world-- the Scarlet Triad. They discovered the Triad were using a portal network to do this and were able to pin down the central hub-- Alseta's Ring-- and took it from the slavers.

They didn't know how to use it, but they also knew the slavers were using it every so often to avoid capture. So they just sealed all of the doors as best they could. They built their citadel atop it in order to guard it from those who might discover it and use to to ill ends...

8 years after they were forced to abandon it due to the decline of Cheliax, the Triad is ready to reclaim the ring and begin the next phase of their plan. They force open Huntergate and the full fury of Dahak waiting in there for 50 years bursts out-- on both sides-- wrecking part of the citadel and causing an earthquake that opens up a cavern behind the Guardian's Way to the Ring.

Voz, of course, was sent by the Triad to watch the Ring until the Triad could claim it. But the earthquake and subsequent fire in town set off her alarm bells and she stayed home. Calmont is Voz's assistant, the son of a pair of halflings who found the ring and she subsequently murdered. Addled by years of being put under charm spells, Calmont wants to claim the ring his parents died to find, and when he hears about Alak's father's ring in passing, he loses his mind when he thinks his parents' treasured "ring" is being stolen out from under him.

The cultists immediately begin to open up the gates for travel, as was their mission, but unfortunately for them the new owners of the Citadel are hot on their heels, and after Dahak's fury spilled out, the Huntergate is damaged and they have no way home...


3Doubloons wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
I do find it funny that this is an "adventurers town" and yet there isn't a huge industry involved in keeping adventurers here. It's more akin to the MMORPG starting towns.

Ah, but Breachill is being very clever by doing that. See, if they built an industry around retaining adventurers of ever increasing level, all that would accomplish is that the town would be constantly threatened by ever increasing threats; the kind that can eat half the population for dinner, then come back for seconds. By instead focusing on a constant supply of starting adventurers that then leave town for higher level pastures, the Breachill Council all but guarantees that the only problems that would ever plague the town are low-threat first level menaces, to be dealt with by the month's current batch of wannabe heroes.

Brilliant, and while obviously meant TIC, given the founding of the town it is entirely possible that the suggestion to do just that was left in everyone who is born here. In fact, I'd say that is more likely then much of the rest of the backstory!


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Just to be clear, the last post wasn't a criticism of the back-story, but only saying once you've accepted a gold-dragon that can erase memory then adding a persistent suggestion doesn't take any additional suspension of disbelief.

Also, as to the distance between the Citadel and town, there is no reason it can't be both 1 mile and 10 miles. If you've ever hiked in mountainous terrain before, it is entirely common for something to be only 1 mile away geographically, but 10 miles away via road/trail.

I plan on make the Citadel on a sheer very high bluff a mile outside out town. But the road has to go to a pass at the end of a ridge and then switch-back it's way up the mountainside to the front entrance.

So the secret door is a great advantage once discovered, as it allows the PCs fast access to town while still making it a distance for visitors to travel.


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The deed to Citadel Altaerein "grants legal rights and ownership of the citadel to the deed’s possessor, by local, national, and Hellknight law."

Does the deed to Citadel Altaerein grant actual titles of nobility in Isger? If so, then I take it that the nobility would have to be split up, in a way, between the PCs. Is it considered hereditary nobility?

Silver Crusade

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

Hellknights aren't nobles so no, it's doesn't grant nay titles.


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The deed separates "local, national, and Hellknight law." What would be the case under Isgeri law, then?

Breachill seems oddly sequestered from Isger at large, for that matter.


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Colette Brunel wrote:

The deed separates "local, national, and Hellknight law." What would be the case under Isgeri law, then?

Breachill seems oddly sequestered from Isger at large, for that matter.

Doesn't "national" = "Isgeri"?

I do agree that Breachill seems quite sequestered from Isger. I've thought a bit about that. At first it bothered me, as Breachill seems very out of place. But...Breachill was created by a very powerful creature who undoubtedly still planned that the town be as perfect as the flawed creatures who inhabited it could allow.

So, I reason, he intentionally created it to be separate from Isger. It adds to the general creepiness about the town stemming from its founding. Things are just a bit too good here to be natural.

And I'm toying with the idea that the water towers (which nicely foreshadow the ring) are somehow part of a larger ritual cast by the town's founder during the construction. Why else create a ring of six water towers that mirror a nearby magical construct if you aren't using them for some purpose? Perhaps the ritual serves to protect the town from both the attention of hostiles (goblin-blood wars) and to keep the town isolated from the general despair in Isger. The ritual might even explain why the Hellknights (a lawful group) was attracted to the locale in the first place. I think I'm going to say he had the statue created before he left as the capstone on the ritual (those creatures are very vain, after all.)


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
The deed separates "local, national, and Hellknight law." What would be the case under Isgeri law, then?

It just means that Breachill, Isger, and the Hellknights all recognize possession of the deed as ownership of the citadel, so the PCs aren't going to get hassled by anyone about occupying it and fixing it up.


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

While it would be, I think, common in feudal states for the Crown to authorize nobles to build castles (or keeps), I don't think it works the other way —— possession of a castle would not confer nobility. It would be more likely to confer outlawry. However, the wording of the deed would seem to preclude that. Also, I'm not at all sure that Isger is a feudal nation.


fevian wrote:
So, after much preparation and a couple of play-day cancellations, I finally ran my first session of this AP. I as well have performed some rewrites...

I like it, Fevian! I'm looking to rewrite the intro a bit as well, probably stealing a bit from you and a bit from Olliebird. I'd love to hear more and how it is working out!


Does anybody think it wouldn't be a bad idea for the PCs to share joint ownership of the deed to the Citadel with the Bumblebrasher tribe?


TL;DR
Topic: Breachill and the Six Watertowers
Question: Any big plans for these, or are they open for us to exploit after the opening scene?

-----

SPOILERS GALORE BELOW:

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I've noticed the nice foreshadowing/symmetry between the water towers and Alseta's Ring. Since the town's founder had those towers created (you have to believe it was very early in the town's founding), it can't be a coincidence that they mirror the ring below.

I plan on using the towers to explain why Breachill is so different from the rest of Isger, and to provide clues back to the town's creation while enhancing the sense of mystery.

(a lot more info in this reddit post..it's very long.)

The gist of it is that Mengkare used the towers as part of a ritual to help the town succeed, but consistent with his slightly insane yet brilliant and logical mind, he imbued them with powers that subtly change the people who drink water from them.

As the characters activate the gates the backlog of magical power is lowered in each one, lessening the effect of the towers that had tapped into that gate for power. So as the characters take over the citadel and each time they activate a gate, Breachill benefits less and less from the magical waters. The town slowly goes from idyllic to problematic (which is normal for a town in Isger) and the PC's should be curious why...


Simple question if anyone knows or has a suspicion...do the water towers play a role in the AP beyond their use in the opening act?


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Voltron64 wrote:
Does anybody think it wouldn't be a bad idea for the PCs to share joint ownership of the deed to the Citadel with the Bumblebrasher tribe?

Interesting idea and the answer to the question is, I'd say, very campaign/player/GM dependant.

It should work if:
- Your players/characters are likely to buy into the 'goblins have rights too' line of thinking. If they think they are still monsters then it changes the tone of everything...you might want that, but be sure that is what you are signing up for.
- You can find a way that having them as joint-owners can create dramatic tension or provide color to make the world come to life.

It might not work if:
- Your players would feel slighted by not being "Kings of the own domains", so to speak. One of the premises of this AP is that they get a base of ops all their own. If they've always wanted a castle, then sharing it with a bunch of gobs might be a let-down.
- It just complicates the story without adding to it meaningfully.

It needs a purpose. Find a great purpose and you have your answer.

If the primary reason you'd like to do it is to say the gobs have rights equal to the colonizer-analog players (that some have assigned them), then perhaps you should let the players negotiate with the gobs for something in exchange to buy them out. Maybe a future favor that you can turn into an awesome hook that is way more expensive than the players bargained for (a reverse Louisian Purchase, as-it-were. "Oh, you'll let us have the deed for just these beads and us killing some 'Lizard King' for you...sure, we can take out a trog camp in exchange for a castle!:) Then go prep your dragon sub-plot.

Or maybe the goblins don't want a castle, they really just want to live in town. And the players' job is to get them accepted in Breachill as full citizens...


Dogan, those are all fantastic ideas to what I thought of as a way to acquire a cheap and eager labor force to rebuild the castle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dogan. wrote:

TL;DR

Topic: Breachill and the Six Watertowers
Question: Any big plans for these, or are they open for us to exploit after the opening scene?

-----
** spoiler omitted **
Simple question if anyone knows or has a suspicion...do the water towers play a role in the AP beyond their use in the opening act?

no, at least not so far in book 2 they aren't even mentioned past the opening scene afaik.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Spoiler for later...

Spoiler:
The watertowers play a role in the last adventure, where the PCs end up having to defend them from something bad.


James Jacobs wrote:

Spoiler for later...

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks James.

Spoiler:
I was guessing something like that would be true. I'll keep planning on that little bit of made-up backstory but not make the connection to the players until I get to read book 6.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Spoiler for later...

** spoiler omitted **

I'm very glad to hear it

Spoiler:
This will very likely be the perfect time for Pip (a tiny halfling child who idolises the very big barbarian in my group) to become a Giant Instinct Barbarian with all the size increase feats


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I know it was kind of beat to death on the first page of this thread, and obviously we're all free to make whatever changes, but the whole 1 mile to the castle thing is a little silly, even if it makes tunneling more "viable" and travel easier on the party. 1 mile is a 20 minute walk. It takes about the same time to walk to the citadel from the town as it does to walk from Paizo HQ to Mac & Jack's Brewery. In Cleveland, from Tower City to the Cleveland State University. In Indianapolis, from the Lucas Oil Stadium parking lot to where you picked up your badge for GenCon (give or take a twisting line). 10 miles is a 4 hour walk including some breaks, I think splitting the difference to make it 5 is fine. It's not a walk through wilderness, overgrown as it may have become over a few decades, there had to have been a road from the town to the castle. This is a problem with every published adventure, though, I think. No one writing ever seems to realize how short a walk a mile is.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
SO yeah... my suggestion for folks like Mary who are frustrated with the lack of support for how to build NPCs and monsters is to please be patient and check out the Gamemastery Guide when it comes out. I'm hoping we'll have these monster/NPC rules up for free at some point before then, so keep an eye on the blog as well.

Lack of support for NPCs and monsters is a definite problem, but there is also a question of attitude and tone. Neither episode 1 nor episode 2 sold me in any way on the gameworld being a real place. This reaches its nadir in the encounter in #2 where, if the PCs inconveniently kill an NPC, the GM is told to have their identical twin brother show up so that nothing will change. But that's far from the only example. In #1 I find it incredible that the young Hellknight would not react to desecration of his parents' graves; in #2, the PCs are asked to intervene in a very private situation for no apparent reason, just because they are PCs; in #2, the ritual capabilities of the villain are shockingly out of proportion with anything PCs might expect to do at that level; and it goes on.

Maybe this will change over time. I'll check back in after a year and see. But reading the two Age of Ashes modules so far, they do not feel like they are set anywhere real or solid. The tone strongly pushes treating the NPCs as disposable (and interchangable!) props. Maybe this wasn't the intent, but it's what the material, and your commentary here, communicate to me.


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ofMars wrote:
I know it was kind of beat to death on the first page of this thread, and obviously we're all free to make whatever changes, but the whole 1 mile to the castle thing is a little silly, even if it makes tunneling more "viable" and travel easier on the party. 1 mile is a 20 minute walk. It takes about the same time to walk to the citadel from the town as it does to walk from Paizo HQ to Mac & Jack's Brewery. In Cleveland, from Tower City to the Cleveland State University. In Indianapolis, from the Lucas Oil Stadium parking lot to where you picked up your badge for GenCon (give or take a twisting line). 10 miles is a 4 hour walk including some breaks, I think splitting the difference to make it 5 is fine. It's not a walk through wilderness, overgrown as it may have become over a few decades, there had to have been a road from the town to the castle. This is a problem with every published adventure, though, I think. No one writing ever seems to realize how short a walk a mile is.

Yeah, my favorite creative response which solves this is to describe it this way

From the city you can see the Citadel a mile away as the crow flies. But while travelling up the hill the path winds up steeply and may even go circular around the hill taking about 10 miles as the cart moves, or however long of a distance we want. This also solves for the

Travel Spoiler:
underground passage, as that would only be a mile and becomes a very useful tool for adventurers instead of having to travel 10 miles along the path and makes the citadel that much more defensible


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

I used to live in Albuquerque, which is bordered on the east by the Sandia Mountains. Sandia Crest is a mile above the city. There's a switchback trail, eight miles of it, that climbs the west face of the Crest, which is nearly vertical. My then girlfriend and I started walking up that trail about eight o'clock one morning. About nine, we were passed by a jogger headed up. A bit after noon, we were passed by the same jogger heading down. We were less than halfway up. When we got to the top, we took the tram back down. :-)


Yoshua wrote:


Yeah, my favorite creative response which solves this is to describe it this way

From the city you can see the Citadel a mile away as the crow flies. But while travelling up the hill the path winds up steeply and may even go circular around the hill taking about 10 miles as the cart moves, or however long of a distance we want. This also solves for the

** spoiler omitted **

I saw this, at first I didn't like it, but after Ed's trail story, I think it's kind of perfect as a physical training for a regiment of hell knights to go up and own a winding switchback trail


So I've come up with another way to make Calmont less incompetent. It's sort of scattered right now, but I've been trying to reconcile the actions of the Cinderclaws with Voz's role with the Scarlet Triad. The Cinderclaws are working for the triad to gather gold as presented in cult of cinders, but their momentary activation of hunter gate at the start of the adventure is against the interest of the Scarlet Triad to not activate any gates until all the locations can be secured. Voz instructs Calmont to set the fire in order to guarantee the adventurers explore the citadel, with the idea that they will come into contact with the cultists, who in the eyes of the triad have jumped the gun, as it were. Calmont is to shadow them, and finish off whoever survives that conflict. He's captured by the goblins, however. This reverses the hostage situation, and can sort of present a difficult situation for the PCs, as I'm keeping Warbal but not waiting a month. The goblins are still good guys, but they're presented in the story as more of a red herring to Calmont. Depending on how that role play goes, Calmont either attacks there, or escapes to harry the heroes later, or even hides among them to be an greater danger at an inopportune moment. I like the Silver Blades storyline presented earlier, too, and I'll work that into the start.


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So my players reached the risen skeletons in the catacombs last session and i've noticed that the skeletal hellknight doesn't have the usual resistances every skeleton has.
Is this intended?

Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.


itaitai wrote:


Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

It would be nice if the abilities indicated what stat they were based on like in pf1, and they might be somewhere that I can't find, but here's my guess based on comparing math on the dragons' breath weapons and what they say about proficiency in the bestiary:

a Creature's proficiency bonus is based on it's level, just like a PC, so a skeletal champion's proficiency modifier would be +4 for trained or +6 for expert, though I don't think you could be an expert in save DC's this early. A save against the explosion would be 14 or 16 + whatever ability modifier. I think constitution makes the most sense, but you could probably make the case for strength.

After all that, assuming Trained proficiency, The DC is PROBABLY 15 for a skeletal champion (17 for the adjusted stats of the skeletal hell knight) and 11 for a Skeletal Guard.


itaitai wrote:

So my players reached the risen skeletons in the catacombs last session and i've noticed that the skeletal hellknight doesn't have the usual resistances every skeleton has.

Is this intended?

Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

I'd guess that DR was removed because the skeleton is wearing full plate, meaning the force of a sword or spear is getting channeled through their entire body through that rather than just skittering off a loose rib.


Captain Morgan wrote:
itaitai wrote:

So my players reached the risen skeletons in the catacombs last session and i've noticed that the skeletal hellknight doesn't have the usual resistances every skeleton has.

Is this intended?

Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

I'd guess that DR was removed because the skeleton is wearing full plate, meaning the force of a sword or spear is getting channeled through their entire body through that rather than just skittering off a loose rib.

Don't think this is the case since skeletal giant also wears half plate and it keeps the resistances.

Silver Crusade

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

Aren’t they really old? That might be why.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ofMars wrote:
itaitai wrote:


Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

It would be nice if the abilities indicated what stat they were based on like in pf1, and they might be somewhere that I can't find, but here's my guess based on comparing math on the dragons' breath weapons and what they say about proficiency in the bestiary:

a Creature's proficiency bonus is based on it's level, just like a PC, so a skeletal champion's proficiency modifier would be +4 for trained or +6 for expert, though I don't think you could be an expert in save DC's this early. A save against the explosion would be 14 or 16 + whatever ability modifier. I think constitution makes the most sense, but you could probably make the case for strength.

After all that, assuming Trained proficiency, The DC is PROBABLY 15 for a skeletal champion (17 for the adjusted stats of the skeletal hell knight) and 11 for a Skeletal Guard.

I would guess this is going about it backwards; instead, you should probably use the standard DC for the creature's level - adjusted up or down based on how nasty the creature is.

"Do a bunch of math to figure out what the bonus would be if the monster was a PC" is explicitly not how it works anymore.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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itaitai wrote:

So my players reached the risen skeletons in the catacombs last session and i've noticed that the skeletal hellknight doesn't have the usual resistances every skeleton has.

Is this intended?

Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

The lack of usual skeleton resistances is an error.

All saving throws are precalculated on the table on page 503 of the Core Rulebook. So if you have a level 3 creature with an ability that needs a save, the typical DC would be 18. Page 504 has some adjustment options, but for the most part, going with the DC by level works great.

You COULD build up the monster DCs using the math under the hood, but we did all that math for you so you don't have to.


James Jacobs wrote:
itaitai wrote:

So my players reached the risen skeletons in the catacombs last session and i've noticed that the skeletal hellknight doesn't have the usual resistances every skeleton has.

Is this intended?

Also, while we are on the skeleton subject, if i give my skeletons the explosive death, what is the DC for the basic reflex save? it isn't written anywhere.

The lack of usual skeleton resistances is an error.

All saving throws are precalculated on the table on page 503 of the Core Rulebook. So if you have a level 3 creature with an ability that needs a save, the typical DC would be 18. Page 504 has some adjustment options, but for the most part, going with the DC by level works great.

You COULD build up the monster DCs using the math under the hood, but we did all that math for you so you don't have to.

I thought of that at first, but there's no mention of saves, it's all skills, so I wasn't sure if it would be balanced the same way.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mary Yamato wrote:


Lack of support for NPCs and monsters is a definite problem, but there is also a question of attitude and tone. Neither episode 1 nor episode 2 sold me in any way on the gameworld being a real place. This reaches its nadir in the encounter in #2 where, if the PCs inconveniently kill an NPC, the GM is told to have their identical twin brother show up so that nothing will change

Also as someone who knows a few identical twins it's also pretty offensive as well (Have a player in my group who is/has an identical twin and this is the angriest I have ever seen him get about a Paizo product)

Dark Archive

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Wait, the goofy evil Taldan explorer having identical less successful, but equally evil twin is offensive?

They aren't even only example of identical twins in that book <_<;

I mean, I'm sorry that they were offended, but I need more context to understand why this case specifically in cult of cinder would be offensive? The players wouldn't even know its case of "In case villain died first time around" scenario unless GM tells them so, so is it just them being goofy bad guys or what?


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Yeah, I don't understand anyone being upset with Gerhard/Erhard. I loved the character as soon as I read him. He's hilarious. And I don't see anything wrong with adding a little comedy into a campaign. I'm really looking forward to running him in my game. My players are going to think he's great too.

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