4 - Fires of the Haunted City (GM Reference)


Age of Ashes


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for GMs running the Age of Ashes Adventure Path, specifically for the fourth adventure, "Fires of the Haunted City."


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Haven't had a chance to read it yet but wanted to remark on the magnificent art throughout this Chapter. I've not been the biggest fan of AoA's previous chapters but the art in this one, beat-after-beat, is unparalleled. Tremendous drama captured in its bigger pieces!


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I really like this book. 4th books in APs, just after the middle, are often underwhelming. This is not-- this is great! Just an excellent adventure start to finish.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really like the efficient capture ability that most Scarlet Triad characters have. It gives them an iconic ability that players can prepare for.


Quick question about Illsrah Embermead: Hammer the Chained special action, since she is still drawing her light hammer from her belt, would that provoke an attack of opportunity?


Hell's Messenger wrote:
Quick question about Illsrah Embermead: Hammer the Chained special action, since she is still drawing her light hammer from her belt, would that provoke an attack of opportunity?

I don't have my book in front of me, so I can't confirm, but if Hammer the Chained has the Manipulate tag, then yes it would. Drawing the hammer would just be a part of the action, meaning it shares all the benefits and downsides of the action.


Ruzza wrote:
Hell's Messenger wrote:
Quick question about Illsrah Embermead: Hammer the Chained special action, since she is still drawing her light hammer from her belt, would that provoke an attack of opportunity?
I don't have my book in front of me, so I can't confirm, but if Hammer the Chained has the Manipulate tag, then yes it would. Drawing the hammer would just be a part of the action, meaning it shares all the benefits and downsides of the action.

There are no tags, hence my confusion.


Hell's Messenger wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Hell's Messenger wrote:
Quick question about Illsrah Embermead: Hammer the Chained special action, since she is still drawing her light hammer from her belt, would that provoke an attack of opportunity?
I don't have my book in front of me, so I can't confirm, but if Hammer the Chained has the Manipulate tag, then yes it would. Drawing the hammer would just be a part of the action, meaning it shares all the benefits and downsides of the action.
There are no tags, hence my confusion.

I've got my book here with me now and, since there are no tags, I would definitely rule that it doesn't provoke any attacks of opportunity. Ilssrah isn't using "a manipulate action or a move action, making a ranged attack, or leaving a square during a move action it’s using." Just above Hammer the Chained is Efficient Capture which DOES have the Manipulate trait, so it's not like they were unaware of tags.

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There are no tags by design. This specific ability possessed by this specific character does not provoke attacks of opportunity. That's one of the benefits she gets for being high level. It's MUCH easier to simply use (manipulate) or leave it off rather than write out multiple sentences describing something—it's a much more efficient way to get rules out there.

It's certainly POSSIBLE for us to forget a tag, in which case it's an error... but errors are not the norm (despite what some folks might claim). In this case, though, it's not an error.

She doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity when she uses Hammer the Chained. If she just drew her light hammer as a normal Interact action to grab a stored object, of course, she would. But when she uses Hammer the Chained, it uses its own rules.

You'll see this sort of thing happening a lot with NPCs. In order to make encounters with named NPCs more dynamic, interesting, and to a certain extent surprising or unexpected for veteran players, we'll be giving NPCs thematic powers that they've developed for their own use. I could see some of these abilities, if they gain traction and attention, some day being translated and reworked to be presented as player options, but that'd be for a separate book.

Usually.

We COULD have, for example, had a Rare "Hammer the Chained" class feat or something like that be a reward the PCs could earn int his adventure; after defeating Ilssrah, for example, we could have put in her journals as a treasure containing the formula for how to learn a version of Hammer the Chained, and then would have put a PC version of the ability in that volume's Adventure Toolbox.


James Jacobs wrote:

There are no tags by design. This specific ability possessed by this specific character does not provoke attacks of opportunity. That's one of the benefits she gets for being high level. It's MUCH easier to simply use (manipulate) or leave it off rather than write out multiple sentences describing something—it's a much more efficient way to get rules out there.

It's certainly POSSIBLE for us to forget a tag, in which case it's an error... but errors are not the norm (despite what some folks might claim). In this case, though, it's not an error.

She doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity when she uses Hammer the Chained. If she just drew her light hammer as a normal Interact action to grab a stored object, of course, she would. But when she uses Hammer the Chained, it uses its own rules.

You'll see this sort of thing happening a lot with NPCs. In order to make encounters with named NPCs more dynamic, interesting, and to a certain extent surprising or unexpected for veteran players, we'll be giving NPCs thematic powers that they've developed for their own use. I could see some of these abilities, if they gain traction and attention, some day being translated and reworked to be presented as player options, but that'd be for a separate book.

Usually.

We COULD have, for example, had a Rare "Hammer the Chained" class feat or something like that be a reward the PCs could earn int his adventure; after defeating Ilssrah, for example, we could have put in her journals as a treasure containing the formula for how to learn a version of Hammer the Chained, and then would have put a PC version of the ability in that volume's Adventure Toolbox.

Cool, that’s interesting info, and I like the fact that higher level enemies have access to abilities that players can’t necessarily have, making them more unique.


Another question, about Ancient Magma Dragons:

Magma Tomb Once per day, the dragon can spit a molten boulder at a target within 120 feet. This deals 10d6 fire damage and 4d12 bludgeoning damage, with a DC 42 basic Reflex save. If the creature fails its save, it’s encased in magma that instantly cools and has Hardness 10, HP 40, and BT 20. The encased creature can’t breathe and is restrained.

This is a really cool ability...but one thing I am unsure about, and I apologize if I’m missing something here.... how does the Broken Threshold come into play? I know for instance with a broken shield, it can no longer impart an AC bonus, but say, if you reduce the Magma Tomb to 18 HP, which is under the BT, would the character still be trapped inside? Would there be any other penalty to the Tomb, like lowered Hardness for instance?

Thanks for the clarification.


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

I would say that in an unbroken magma tomb, a character can't breathe because there's no way for air to get into it. If it's broken, air gets in and at least he won't suffocate (unless he already has). As for "restrained" well, I'd leave that to GM discretion. Does he become unrestrained only when the tomb is reduced to zero hit points, or is there some other threshold for that? What about partial restraint? Like I said, GM discretion.


So a couple of questions for those who have this volume.

A) Does this book have a settlement statblock?

B) Any good higher level Duegar NPCs to use?

The book looks like it might be relevant to other campaigns I'm running, but I'd like to confirm it has those before I buy it.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:

So a couple of questions for those who have this volume.

A) Does this book have a settlement statblock?

Yes, there is a statblock in the gazeteer for the dwarven city of Kovlar.

Captain Morgan wrote:
B) Any good higher level Duegar NPCs to use?

There are two duergar statted up: one Creature 14 and one Creature 13.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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I'm somewhat confused by the geometry of the Temple of All Gods.

The text seems to indicate that both H12 and H7-11 are above the main floor of the temple. But I feel like that would have the ramp to H12 passing straight through H11.

It seems like it would make more sense for H7-11 to below the main floor (as there in some mention of the prison being below).

Thoughts?


So how can characters break free of manacles if they get slapped on? I know manacles list thievery DCs but what's the DC and number of successes needed for an Escape action? Is it the Thievery DC of the person applying the manacles?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
So how can characters break free of manacles if they get slapped on? I know manacles list thievery DCs but what's the DC and number of successes needed for an Escape action? Is it the Thievery DC of the person applying the manacles?

According to Archives of Nethys:

Quote:
Freeing a creature from poor manacles requires two successful DC 17 Thievery checks, simple manacles requires three successes at DC 22, average manacles require four successes at DC 27, good manacles require five successes at DC 32, and superior manacles require six successes at DC 42.


Joana wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
So how can characters break free of manacles if they get slapped on? I know manacles list thievery DCs but what's the DC and number of successes needed for an Escape action? Is it the Thievery DC of the person applying the manacles?

According to Archives of Nethys:

Quote:
Freeing a creature from poor manacles requires two successful DC 17 Thievery checks, simple manacles requires three successes at DC 22, average manacles require four successes at DC 27, good manacles require five successes at DC 32, and superior manacles require six successes at DC 42.

Yes, I know, but are those same rules needed for just getting out of them with the Escape action? Because I don't think it would make a ton of sense if that was the case.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rules as written, you would just make a single Escape check against the Thievery DC.

It does make a thievery check to remove manacles a bit impractical in combat compared to the other options.


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Yeah, that was my best guess. It doesn't make a ton of sense to me, though. Tying someone up with rope is one thing, but you'd think once a manacles is on you're just going against the decide itself.

Also, the penalty for having manacles applied seem rather low. It doesn't have many impediments to fighting, just to movement or manipulate actions. I dunno, can anyone picture this actually being used on a PC as written? Maybe it isn't intended to be and is more for reinforcing their flavor of capturing weaker slaves?


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BobROE wrote:

I'm somewhat confused by the geometry of the Temple of All Gods.

The text seems to indicate that both H12 and H7-11 are above the main floor of the temple. But I feel like that would have the ramp to H12 passing straight through H11.

It seems like it would make more sense for H7-11 to below the main floor (as there in some mention of the prison being below).

Thoughts?

Same here. I've spent some time trying to wrap my head around it but it just doesn't make sense as written and with the given maps.

I think the best way to go about it is have H2-6 be the top floor, have H7-11 be the middle floor (same level as H1 & street level) and have H12 be underground. However, this setup means you basically have to ignore the 20' ramp/tunnel from H5 to H12. This makes the stairs from H11 the only way to get to H12.

The opening text after this section, The Dragon's Domain, seems to indicate that the party needs to keep going down to get to the dragon, so it makes sense that H12 is the lowest part of the temple and the dragon is lower still.


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Is anyone else having trouble understanding the whole Chiselrock conspiracy? I'm reading the book intermittently so I could be missing something. But it is mentioned that there is damning evidence about him in his prison warehouse. I don't know what that evidence is, or what exactly he was doing to undermine the town. I know he was weakening one of the walls, but it feels like there is more I'm missing.

But with the Hidden Forge clues not being specifically defined, it occurs to me that the whole conspiracy might have been left vague.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:

Is anyone else having trouble understanding the whole Chiselrock conspiracy? I'm reading the book intermittently so I could be missing something. But it is mentioned that there is damning evidence about him in his prison warehouse. I don't know what that evidence is, or what exactly he was doing to undermine the town. I know he was weakening one of the walls, but it feels like there is more I'm missing.

But with the Hidden Forge clues not being specifically defined, it occurs to me that the whole conspiracy might have been left vague.

Isn't he selling citizens of the town as slaves to the Scarlet Triad?

I do wish the clues were more defined though. Get X clues to find the prison without explaining what the clues are or how you got them is kind of annoying as a GM.


Mechalibur wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

Is anyone else having trouble understanding the whole Chiselrock conspiracy? I'm reading the book intermittently so I could be missing something. But it is mentioned that there is damning evidence about him in his prison warehouse. I don't know what that evidence is, or what exactly he was doing to undermine the town. I know he was weakening one of the walls, but it feels like there is more I'm missing.

But with the Hidden Forge clues not being specifically defined, it occurs to me that the whole conspiracy might have been left vague.

Isn't he selling citizens of the town as slaves to the Scarlet Triad?

I do wish the clues were more defined though. Get X clues to find the prison without explaining what the clues are or how you got them is kind of annoying as a GM.

Well one would assume slavery is involved in the business, yes, but it seems like no citizens of Kolvar were sold into slavery-- the only missing citizen is Algret and she's just being held at the prison. (Zamak is from out of town.) And the slaves seem to just be being worked for the sake of working them in the hidden forge as far as I can tell. Which itself seems to be an offering to Droskar, but it doesn't help my feeling that I'm missing something.

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