2 - Cult of Cinders (GM Reference)


Age of Ashes

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That still does not explain the discrepancy in travel speed between what the core rulebook stipulates and what the adventure advises.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
So how is it possible that the adventure prescribes moving through 2 hexes in one day, or 1 hex per day with Investigate or Search? This seems to be an error; either the listed times should be doubled, or the terrain is not actually difficult at all.

If I was going to justify the mechanics of the exploration, I would simply assume that with the difficult terrain and moving slowly to investigate (or search) doesn't produce a speed of quarter, but rather that the difficulty of the terrain averages out to half speed when all is said and done because investigating (or searching) can produce shortcuts or other efficiencies.


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That would not explain moving through 2 hexes in one day with no exploration activity, then.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
That would not explain moving through 2 hexes in one day with no exploration activity, then.

Meh, one is probably a mistake, specific > general rules, so I'd use the ones provided in the adventure.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Voltron64 wrote:
Do you have a personal recommendation over which rooms of the citadel should house which upgrades?

Nope. That's intentionally left 100% up to the players.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
That would not explain moving through 2 hexes in one day with no exploration activity, then.

If they travel through one hex in one day with exploration activities, then by forgoing them, they move twice as fast, since in both cases the party is hampered by the same difficult terrain.


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That is not possible. If there is difficult terrain, then a speed 25 party is moving at 10 miles per day, as per the core rulebook. If a hex is 10 miles across, then it should not be possible to move at 2 hexes per day at all.

How is this actually supposed to work?

Silver Crusade

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

Simple.

"If the party does nothing but travel, or use no exploration activities that place no limit on their travel speed, they can move through 2 hexes in a day, but they will not come across any encounters in the hexes they pass through unless the encounter specifically indicate in its description that it cannot be missed."

This is an exception that is brought up after the mention of the difficult terrain and the distance.


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But it is impossible for them to move 2 hexes in a day. There is difficult terrain halving their speed. Thus, a speed 25 party would normally be able to travel 20 miles per day, but halved speed from difficult terrain cuts that down to only 10 miles per day, which means only one hex per day.

If they Investigate or Search, they further go down to 5 miles per day, which means exploring only half a hex per day.

I still cannot see how this is genuinely supposed to work.

Also:

Quote:
The hunt itself takes 3 hours to complete, so any PC involved in the hunt won’t be able to participate in any other events that PCs take part in back in Akrivel. If more than one PC joins the hunt, a PC decides whether to roll or help another PC with their roll. If multiple PCs roll, use the worst roll to determine the result of the activity. Any PC who chooses to help instead rolls against the same DC, using the Aid action.

Why would the players ever have multiple PCs roll if it will simply sabotage the party's efforts? Also, what events in Akrivel are mutually exclusive with the three-hour hunt?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:

But it is impossible for them to move 2 hexes in a day. There is difficult terrain halving their speed. Thus, a speed 25 party would normally be able to travel 20 miles per day, but halved speed from difficult terrain cuts that down to only 10 miles per day, which means only one hex per day.

If they Investigate or Search, they further go down to 5 miles per day, which means exploring only half a hex per day.

I still cannot see how this is genuinely supposed to work.

Also:

Quote:
The hunt itself takes 3 hours to complete, so any PC involved in the hunt won’t be able to participate in any other events that PCs take part in back in Akrivel. If more than one PC joins the hunt, a PC decides whether to roll or help another PC with their roll. If multiple PCs roll, use the worst roll to determine the result of the activity. Any PC who chooses to help instead rolls against the same DC, using the Aid action.
Why would the players ever have multiple PCs roll if it will simply sabotage the party's efforts? Also, what events in Akrivel are mutually exclusive with the three-hour hunt?

I'm not sure what you're confused about, pg 27 says how many hexes the players can move through, you quoted it?

Maybe the PC's want to compete over who's the better hunter?

Presumably any event that occurs before the feast that the hunt is providing food for.


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Pages 26-27 say how many hexes the players can move through, but they also direct the player to the core rulebook's rules on exploration mode, which stipulate that even traveling at full speed and with no exploration activities, difficult terrain means that a Speed 25 party gets to move only 10 miles per day.

The two books are in disagreement. Which is correct?

As for the hunt, if the PCs want to compete, they are sabotaging themselves, because they take the worse roll.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
The two books are in disagreement. Which is correct?

Whichever one you want, I suppose. I'd go with the adventure myself, but that's just me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The adventure describes the way it was intended most likely in terms of days, with either an error in simple math or minor design mistake or confusion (I herd mention parts of the book was being written while the rulebook wa). So if need be I would just drop the hexes down to 5 mile hexes.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you could ever just travel one hex at a time, it would get long fast. I think it's just an adjustment to have better Quality of Life for the players.

And I know lot of people that would choose the competition KNOWING that. Just to say they're better than the others.
Note: I don't play with those anymore.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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When in doubt, default to what's more fun for your players at your table.


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I am just curious as to what was actually intended from the adventure book, because this looks like a discrepancy between two sources to me. There are some parts of the adventure I would like to run reasonably by-the-book, and this is one of them; this is what I believe will be most entertaining for those at the table.

Also:

Quote:
Taking a raft upriver or downriver allows the PCs to move east and west more quickly

Does the river help in no way when traveling north or south? The river does have a north-south branch.


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Cult of Cinders' hexcrawl segment is really confusing me. First there is the discrepancy between the adventure's stipulated travel times and the core rulebook's stipulated travel times, and the adventure specifically directs the GM to the travel speeds in the core rulebook while simultaneously contradicting them. (Halved speed due to difficult terrain and 10-mile hexes means that there is no way to cross two hexes in a day with Speed 25, even with no exploration activities.)

Taking the river is also fuzzy, because it says that the PCs can move east and west more quickly, when the river also has a north-south branch, and there is no provision given for how the the second and separate river on the southern side of map works. The river also says, "Traveling on a raft allows the PCs to move at their normal travel speed (twice as quickly as they can through the jungle itself)," which means that characters are now moving through four 20-mile hexes per day (80 miles) if they do nothing but travel.

I just do not get how this is supposed to work. I was initially excited for Cult of Cinders, because it was looking to be a major step up from Hellknight Hill, but then my usual hesitation over the nitty-gritty of wilderness exploration hexcrawls and the inconsistent rules usually associated with them started to creep up.


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Actually nothing difficult in hexcrawl. Just use whatever is more fun for players. Want slow hexploration? Use 5 miles/day. Want faster? Use 2 hexes/day. You can change the size of hexes, it doesn't matter lot.
I will not even give them the map and will ask them to draw one themselves so they will have the "we are lost in jungles" feeling.
For players it doesn't matter how many hexes they crawl in a day, it only matters what is in the hex as per my experience.


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I am trying to keep track of days in the adventure, and I am trying to handle the hexcrawl in a by-the-book fashion; that is what I consider most entertaining for those at the table.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Colette, if you don't have a problem with turning NPCs in touhou anime girls because that's how anime you want your game to be, you shouldn't have a problem adjusting hexploration. Your eagerness to throw some aspects of published material upside down while at the same time refusing to accept the "suit to your likes" advice regarding others is ... weird.


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There are some things I would like to handle in a by-the-book fashion. The wilderness exploration hexcrawl is one of them; I would like to keep accurate track of the passage of days during this hexcrawl, and precisely how long it takes for them to move, particularly when the adventure stipulates that there are four separate patrols each trying to track down the PCs.

The adventure stipulates one thing, and refers the GM to the core rulebook for more detail. However, the adventure's listed travel speeds contradict what the core rulebook would actually allow. Given that, again, the book is referring the GM to the core rulebook's exploration mode rules, I do not know what the adventure book's actual intent for travel speed is.

Also, speaking of the patrols, I am worried about the part where this adventure contains a sequence involving four repeated iterations of the exact same fight.


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The Ekujae elves are first encountered in the temple of Ketephys, which, as per this hex map, is within 50 miles of the Cinderclaw fortress. As per page 27 of Cult of Cinders, "Any Ekujae (including a half-elf of Ekujae descent) who comes within 50 miles of the Fortress of Sorrow (area A13) is immediately blinded. When a blinded Ekujae leaves the area, their vision returns after 24 hours, but this effectively renders the elves unable to directly oppose the Cinderclaws." So how are the Ekujae elves not blind in the temple of Ketephys?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
The Ekujae elves are first encountered in the temple of Ketephys, which, as per this hex map, is within 50 miles of the Cinderclaw fortress. As per page 27 of Cult of Cinders, "Any Ekujae (including a half-elf of Ekujae descent) who comes within 50 miles of the Fortress of Sorrow (area A13) is immediately blinded. When a blinded Ekujae leaves the area, their vision returns after 24 hours, but this effectively renders the elves unable to directly oppose the Cinderclaws." So how are the Ekujae elves not blind in the temple of Ketephys?

Per the info on page 27, hexes are 10miles, the fortress of sorrow is 6 hexes away, they're not within 50miles.

But I'm sure you'll find some other issue with the adventure to quibble about.


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Simply reduce the radius to 40 miles. It's worthwhile that you're pointing out possible errors for other GMs and the authors to look out for, but the way you're going about it is bizarre. This really isn't that difficult.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Fumarole wrote:
Simply reduce the radius to 40 miles. It's worthwhile that you're pointing out possible errors for other GMs and the authors to look out for, but the way you're going about it is bizarre. This really isn't that difficult.

they're already 50+miles away though!


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A2, the temple of Ketephys, is 5 hexes away from A13, the Fortress of Sorrows. Therefore, it is 50 miles away, within the blindness radius.

What is this picture, if not A2 being 5 hexes away from A13?


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Colette Brunel wrote:

A2, the temple of Ketephys, is 5 hexes away from A13, the Fortress of Sorrows. Therefore, it is 50 miles away, within the blindness radius.

What is this picture, if not A2 being 5 hexes away from A13?

Each hex is 10 miles, are you under the impression that the Temple and the Fortress of Sorrows both have a 10mile radius and occupy the entire hex?

There is more than enough space for them to not be within 50miles of each other with the map as it is. It's a non-issue.


Colette Brunel wrote:

A2, the temple of Ketephys, is 5 hexes away from A13, the Fortress of Sorrows. Therefore, it is 50 miles away, within the blindness radius.

What is this picture, if not A2 being 5 hexes away from A13?

Actually, all the rest of us got a message from Paizo stating that the Cult of Cinders secretly use the metric system. Apparently, the reason that Dahak is so furious that he wants to destroy the world is that he cannot abide by what he sees as non-rational systems and he gets overly obsessed with meaningless details.

So while it appears to you that it is within the range as stated, those of us in the know realize that the range is only 50 km, and therefore only 31.067 miles.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:

There are some things I would like to handle in a by-the-book fashion. The wilderness exploration hexcrawl is one of them; I would like to keep accurate track of the passage of days during this hexcrawl, and precisely how long it takes for them to move, particularly when the adventure stipulates that there are four separate patrols each trying to track down the PCs.

The adventure stipulates one thing, and refers the GM to the core rulebook for more detail. However, the adventure's listed travel speeds contradict what the core rulebook would actually allow. Given that, again, the book is referring the GM to the core rulebook's exploration mode rules, I do not know what the adventure book's actual intent for travel speed is.

Again it's fairly obvious the adventure's expectations revolve around the day count directly reference within it's self, and not the rules it got wrong referenced in the core rulebook (for w/e reason) either half all distances, or say it's not thick enough for difficult terrain and be done with it.


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Vlorax wrote:
Each hex is 10 miles, are you under the impression that the Temple and the Fortress of Sorrows both have a 10mile radius and occupy the entire hex?

That is not how hex maps work. If the hex scale is 10 miles per hex, and two hexes are adjacent to one another, then something in one hex is generally understood to be 10 miles away from something in the adjacent hex.

The only way this would work is if the temple of Ketephys was at the very northwestern edge of its hex, while the Fortress of Sorrow was at the very southeastern edge of its hex.

I am still not getting the travel times, the river mechanics, or the encounters that "cannot be missed," either.

Also, on another topic entirely, disabling a dragon pillar takes "Athletics DC 26 (expert) to push the pillar over, or Thievery DC 26 (expert) on the pillar to erase the magic runes that power it, or dispel magic (4th level; counteract DC 22) to dispel the pillar’s magic." Do the Athletics and Thievery checks take two free hands? One free hand? This is very important in determining just how difficult the dragon pillar encounter fights. The Shove action, for reference, takes one free hand, but this dragon pillar might require two hands, or even none at all.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
Also, on another topic entirely, disabling a dragon pillar takes "Athletics DC 26 (expert) to push the pillar over, or Thievery DC 26 (expert) on the pillar to erase the magic runes that power it, or dispel magic (4th level; counteract DC 22) to dispel the pillar’s magic." Do the Athletics and Thievery checks take two free hands? One free hand? This is very important in determining just how difficult the dragon pillar encounter fights. The Shove action, for reference, takes one free hand, but this dragon pillar might require two hands, or even none at all.

If the people I play with are any indication, I'd expect it to be "no hands, I'm going to kick it over."

From the description in the book, I'd assume pushing with athletics is a two hand activity, but if the Athletics character purports to be strong, I'd let them do it one handed.

Similarly, I assume Thievery is also two hands because that requires tools.

Silver Crusade

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Kasoh wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
The two books are in disagreement. Which is correct?
Whichever one you want, I suppose. I'd go with the adventure myself, but that's just me.

The books aren't in disagreement.

It points you to the rules in the corebook, then after that passage lays out an exception that's specific to this adventure.


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The exception does not seem particularly well-explained; it inexplicably doubles the PCs' rate of travel throughout hexes with no justification given. Also, there is still the confusing bit about encounters that cannot be missed; I can find no references to such encounters in the adventure.

Also, how can the indigo pillar mind control four gripplis, if the indigo pillar explicitly notes that it can mind control only three creatures at a time?


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Colette Brunel wrote:
Also, there is still the confusing bit about encounters that cannot be missed; I can find no references to such encounters in the adventure.

These are encounter areas detailed in the book. The impossible to miss portion of the text simply means the PCs will encounter them even if they're trying to move through the hex without exploring it. I would rule that A10, A13 and A14 cannot be missed due to their sheer size/location/noise/importance.

Cult of Cinders p. 29 wrote:
The map of the Leopard Clan’s territory in the Mwangi Jungle is marked with several set encounters, each described in detail on the following pages. Most of these encounters can be discovered automatically if at least one PC uses an appropriate exploration activity (as noted on page 27), but a few are impossible to miss. Feel free to adjust or even relocate these encounters as you wish to fit your group’s travels and adventures.


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Page 27 says, "they will not come across any encounters in the hexes they pass through unless the encounter specifically indicates in its description that it cannot be missed," but I can find no references in the text to encounters that cannot be missed.


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The dance-off mechanics in Cult of Cinders are rather weird. The competitors are trying to touch anklets affixed to their opponent, which is resolved as unarmed attacks against AC at a penalty, with some Acrobatics or Performance checks. This means that, say, a fighter multiclassing into champion (perhaps to pick up Ranged Retribution and Champion's Reaction on a flickmace build) can enter the dance-off enjoying the high AC of their full plate, making their anklet harder to touch for some reason, and can likewise use Strength to touch the anklet on their opponent. Maybe this would have been better handled with Thievery checks against Reflex DC, rather than with unarmed attacks against AC.

Silver Crusade

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High AC being a +1 over everyone else.

And it works as unarmed attacks since that lets anyone play.


Just wanted to pop in and tell James Jacobs that I personally like this adventure and the pace and the subsystems and hex crawl it uses. How you guys do more of these.

On the issue of maps and the quality of them. They aren’t terrible but one thing that is somewhat bothersome is having map that is wider than 48” when printed out. I know you guys can’t always make things fit perfectly for printing and using at scale but I have a 8x4 gaming table which i couldn’t even fit the one map on width wise but only by 5 inches or so. Not a big deal and I trimmed some but would be awesome if possible to consider most people with the bigger tables can’t use a map physically if wider than 4 feet.

To further talk about quality the maps in this book aren’t terrible but they aren’t near the quality I would expect from you guys. Swamp and forest maps are fine but mine is pretty bad in some spots where the map just feels empty and underutilized.

Overall I’d give the Book 4.2/5 and am very happy with the direction 2E is going. Players are loving it.


Just wanted to pop in and tell James Jacobs that I personally like this adventure and the pace and the subsystems and hex crawl it uses. How you guys do more of these.

On the issue of maps and the quality of them. They aren’t terrible but one thing that is somewhat bothersome is having map that is wider than 48” when printed out. I know you guys can’t always make things fit perfectly for printing and using at scale but I have a 8x4 gaming table which i couldn’t even fit the one map on width wise but only by 5 inches or so. Not a big deal and I trimmed some but would be awesome if possible to consider most people with the bigger tables can’t use a map physically if wider than 4 feet.

To further talk about quality the maps in this book aren’t terrible but they aren’t near the quality I would expect from you guys. Swamp and forest maps are fine but mine is pretty bad in some spots where the map just feels empty and underutilized.

Overall I’d give the Book 4.2/5 and am very happy with the direction 2E is going. Players are loving it.


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How many days does it take to excavate the collapsed section of the Goblinblood Caves that leads to the hidden lair of Mengkare? Presumably, some players might be interested in clearing out the collapse.


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Centre point to centre point of two neighbouring hexes is 10 miles.

The centre point to something just slightly further away than the centre point in the neighbouring hex is more than ten miles.

The maximum distance between two locations in neighbouring hexes (that are ten miles across) is twenty miles. This is because if from the origin location I have to cross the entirety of the first and second hex to get to the destination hex, then I have crossed two hexes that are ten miles accross.

Similarly the maximum distance between two locations that are in 10-mile hexes with four hexes separating them from each other is 60 miles - because getting from one to the other would require crossing the entirety of six hexes.

Ten miles can be used as an approximation to the distances between locations in neighbouring ten-mile hexes. Because that is the average distance, and generally speaking exact distances are not needed.

To you problems with speed of travel, remember first that even the best edited books often still have errors. This book was produced at the same time as the rules were being written, and as a result errors and discrepancies between the two should be expected. The advice to make the choice that is most fun for your party is serious advice, and has been given to you by a Paizo employee.

That said the applicable rule of thumb is that the specific overrules the general. In this case the general rule is the CRB, and the specific rule is the adventure path. Perhaps fudging it, by providing the party or your npc ally with a magical item or ability that allows them to travel faster in exploration mode through the Mwangi. Might allow you to reconcile the two without breaking the crb ruling on speed of travel, and the way you feel the adventure was supposed to play?

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Where in the Mwangi Expanse are we? I don't see Akrivel in Heart of the Jungle. I assume in the Kaava lands next to the Mbaiki Ruins?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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crognus wrote:
Where in the Mwangi Expanse are we? I don't see Akrivel in Heart of the Jungle. I assume in the Kaava lands next to the Mbaiki Ruins?

In the northwestern reaches of the jungle, east of the Sodden Lands, north of the Magambya, west of the old stomping grounds of the Gorilla King. Akrivel is a new location invented for this adventure; there's no previous mention of it and thus it's never appeared on a regional map.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
crognus wrote:
Where in the Mwangi Expanse are we? I don't see Akrivel in Heart of the Jungle. I assume in the Kaava lands next to the Mbaiki Ruins?
In the northwestern reaches of the jungle, east of the Sodden Lands, north of the Magambya, west of the old stomping grounds of the Gorilla King. Akrivel is a new location invented for this adventure; there's no previous mention of it and thus it's never appeared on a regional map.

Ah, so close to (the presumably fallen) Nightfall Station? Maybe I can have the PCs defend Akrivel from Mynafee Gorse/Kelim Esteban and a retaliatory Aspis Consortium.


Nkethiah informs the PCs to travel to the elephant people’s hex where they can find out about the cinderclaws from them. The one man there only speaks Mwangi and has nothing written into encounter for what he would know or share with the PCs. Personally I can handle making stuff up and running with it but this is very bad writing for leaving a dead end like this with a NPC that speaks in language PCs could not even speak possibly.

Dark Archive

ograx wrote:
Nkethiah informs the PCs to travel to the elephant people’s hex where they can find out about the cinderclaws from them. The one man there only speaks Mwangi and has nothing written into encounter for what he would know or share with the PCs. Personally I can handle making stuff up and running with it but this is very bad writing for leaving a dead end like this with a NPC that speaks in language PCs could not even speak possibly.

Isn't one of the Ekujae following at party at that point or am I misremembering?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

crognus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
crognus wrote:
Where in the Mwangi Expanse are we? I don't see Akrivel in Heart of the Jungle. I assume in the Kaava lands next to the Mbaiki Ruins?
In the northwestern reaches of the jungle, east of the Sodden Lands, north of the Magambya, west of the old stomping grounds of the Gorilla King. Akrivel is a new location invented for this adventure; there's no previous mention of it and thus it's never appeared on a regional map.
Ah, so close to (the presumably fallen) Nightfall Station? Maybe I can have the PCs defend Akrivel from Mynafee Gorse/Kelim Esteban and a retaliatory Aspis Consortium.

Remote enough that all the content in the adventure is self-contained. We deliberately chose to avoid talking much about "off the map borders" stuff because the adventure's plot isn't helped by expanding out too far.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ograx wrote:
Nkethiah informs the PCs to travel to the elephant people’s hex where they can find out about the cinderclaws from them. The one man there only speaks Mwangi and has nothing written into encounter for what he would know or share with the PCs. Personally I can handle making stuff up and running with it but this is very bad writing for leaving a dead end like this with a NPC that speaks in language PCs could not even speak possibly.

It's not so much "bad writing" as it is an attempt to reward players who do speak Mwangi, as the player's guide suggests at least one player character does so. If no PC speaks Mwangi, the intent is that Renali or another translator will accompany the PCs to help this factor.

If you know no player in your group can speak the language and your group isn't interested in having a translator along, you should adjust things as needed for your game, of course, but it's not bad writing.


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Sorry James to clarify my issue with the bad writing is that Nketiah directs the PCs to this hex with the intent of them learning about Cinderclaw cult but nowhere in the area info is there anything about what this NPC should inform them of or what knowledge of the cult he has. It is essentially a dead end if players were to follow this tidbit. I know sometimes as GMs the info is left to us to determine and that’s fine but this is 1 instance where it probably should be spelled out what this NPC has for info. I’m going to correct myself as well because “bad writing” isn’t right to say either. Incomplete writing of how the NPC and quest moves forward with the direction being given by Nketiah to visit the elephant people. I can’t find anything about what this man knows.

Thanks


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It seems to me that Nketiah doesn't know the Elephant People have mostly fled and that one of them presumably could communicate with the party had they remained.

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