So the Weathered Wail fight looks incredibly fun and terrifying for the PCs except for one thing: as written, Ride the Wind doesn't work. Air Walk is a ten minute cast time spell, and doesn't work at all in encounter mode. For anyone running the fight (or any fight with a Wendigo, because they all have the same problem), I recommend changing the Wendigos spells to one or two actions rather than the ten minutes they normally take to cast, along with letting its Wind Walk work fine in encounter mode (maybe give it resistance to physical if anyone wants to attack it).
Reading the entire encounter further, it's worth noting that the party may well have to fight two Dust Wendigos rather than one, if they take too long and Eloisil transforms, especially if they aren't able to make the DC 41 check to diagnose what's wrong with him.
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Not the best. Feels like a low level Pathfinder Society adventure at it's heart, which is good and bad. Good because some low level Pathfinder Society adventures is where it's at, but bad because this adventure ends at level 17-- and the PCs with 9th level spells-- doing things that feel very, very 10th level.
Compared to some of the other AP volumes that end at 17, the stakes, enemies and locations fall kind of flat. The PCs just came out of an undead dwarven city after fighting a lava dragon in a volcano and now they're up against a horde of humans who are inexplicably more powerful than that dragon... stuffed in a cramped pyramid.
That the final fight is just the leader and his buddy cowering in a library is really lame.
Some of the set pieces are cool. The 13 pages of subsystems that Part 2 opens with is mind-melting, but the events described are awesome-- just really hard to not glaze over and scroll until you stop seeing activities.
Yeah, the section of politics and activities is... crunchy. I actually look forward to running that entire chapter (the arena, the camel, and the heist are standouts), but it's going to take some serious prep to get there.
I think one thing to keep in mind with the 'horde of humans' point of view is that this is an extremely entrenched merchants guild headed by the product of three generations of eugenic experimentation backed by the power of years of massive mercantile and criminal success, as well as the tacit support of an ancient gold dragon in control of an entire nation state (not that he actually knows what they're up to).
The challenge here is going to be communicating the scale of the conspiracy, and connecting the dots of all the previous events that the PCs have had to deal with, to the players. Hopefully they'll feel like they're finally unraveling this awful scheme as they go along, but if the GM isn't careful or your players aren't invested enough at this point I could easily see it falling flat. Hopefully the plethora of roleplaying heavy segments of previous adventures help anchor this, as well as all the previously seeded encounters with the Triads agents.
One thing I'll try to do with the final encounter is try to sell it more of as a final stand/rearguard on the part of the Triad leader. Sure, he's stuck and can't escape, but at least he's bought time for some skeleton of his organization to escape (slightly more in character due to his sister being the other leader still in Promise, and if you add a now-empty wing behind the library that has been cleared out by whatever agents escaped).
One last thing I love is the several encounters against rather powerful good aligned creatures, that are none the less as likely to end in fights as not. The simurgh I plan on playing as cranky, contrary, and adverse to the idea of anyone taming his beloved camel. The phoenix is admittedly bound, but still a great opportunity to fight something the players would normally have as an ally.
A couple things that can spice up the pyramid is adding any Triad (or allied) NPCs who escaped the party, back for revenge. Voz from book 1, the gnoll from book 3, etc, all leveled up appropriately and with a grudge to settle. Bonus points if you put them all in the same room.
Finally, as I keep looking back over the book while reflecting on above comments and apparently can't stop adding new notes here, are we looking at the same pyramid encounters? Sure, there's a lot of extremely powerful humans to fight, but there's also a ton of fiends, an angry phoenix, a demilich... There's some really nasty and very level appropriate and epic encounters that outnumber the 'here's a couple more Triad mages/bosses, have fun' fights.
Remember, those fiends are all in rooms almost too small to fit them-- one is in a room where he can only occupy one set of 4 squares without smashing the desk next to him unless he wants to trigger his trap. The marilith appears by accident. The astradaemons are somehow completely unaware that the Triad are under attack/are too dumb to figure out everyone shredding the paperwork and dipping out means the jig is up and there are no slaves for sale. The demilich that they just like left there in a room without disturbing and also without boarding up the door or anything?
The adamantine golem is not really a fight. It's so gotcha that I can't even imagine liking it. It's a pop quiz to see if your fighter read the bestiary and knows he needs one of those to kill adamantine golems.
The phoenix is really cool though. And yeah, the simurgh part is neat. I just can't thematically get behind a lawful evil organization mostly summoning in demons and daemons-- and none of them are given names or personalities...
It's just a small letdown. The last adventure was a hard one to follow!
I get where you're coming from, I think, but I managed to come to the opposite conclusions.
The Cornugon likely benefits from the small space, as it allows it to blast the party with it's spells before they're able to close the distance (by walking through the trap). The rest of the fiends seem to have plenty of room? Keep in mind that the fifteen foot ceilings allow them to fly and prevent flanks as well, and possibly avoid the trap in C6 (although that one is up to interpretation). Not to mention it can dimension door right out if it wants a better spot to fight from.
The Astradaemons I read as less not knowing the pyramid is under attack, and more not actually caring and seeing if they can still get something out of the deal. I might also play them up as opportunistically having already stolen the souls of a few Triad members who were unlucky enough to get caught alone. Daemons seem like the type to be bemused by the whole idea more than anything else, being nihilistic bastards.
With the demilich, I feel like opening the door, looking in, and noping the hell out is probably the best option for the Triad. And let's be honest, as long as you don't go in the room, it isn't precisely dangerous (not that this will stop the players, but it seems like a perfectly reasonable response from the Triad to me).
As for the golem, keep in mind that you can always cast Dispel Magic to kill it, too. And I feel like that would probably be the most important thing you could learn from a Recall Knowledge check, which if you don't try to make after it starts rebuilding yourself if not at the start of the encounter, you probably have bigger issues.
Finally, for the thematics of summoning, my general thought is that half of them were summoned by the demilich in the first place; and despite being Lawful, the Triad is a bunch of opportunistic slavers who would happily sell to the highest bidder (in the case of the daemons), or summon disposable thralls to use in battle (in the case of, well, just about anything else).
As I said, I get where you're coming from, I just feel like we had an alternate reading of the same material. :) And hooray for another wall of text because I'm bored while waiting for a meeting!
I'm coming around to it thanks to you talking me through it actually haha. Maybe I'm a bit too critical but I was hoping for something really out there-- demiplanes, crazy locations, etc. but this is... fine.
The Adamantine Golem is still really dumb-- he's just the biggest gotcha encounter I can think of.
The golem requires a 9th level dispel magic is the big weird thing-- or disjunction, we'll get into that. Dispel Magic doesn't have a benefit for heightening so... why would you prep one at 9th level?
Similarly, disjunction turns off magic items, but enemies in Pathfinder 2 don't really benefit per se from magic items. They just have an AC and attack bonus = to what their CR says. Like Uri for example has 3 more strength, 2 levels and +1 more on his magic weapon in his stat block than the Scarlet Triad Boss creature, but the difference is only +3-- it's what the bonus to hit going from CR 17 to 19 demands. It doesn't change what they use for damage either since their damage dice are just CR dependant-- Uri has 4 dice for his greater striking sword, or 4 dice for his regular striking dagger, for example. So I don't imagine preparing this spell would do anything at all... unless you knew you were going to be fighting an Adamantine Golem.
If the demilich is on the Triad's side it probably would be much better. Uri can probably solo kill her if he lets someone cast Deafness on him so it's weird he wouldn't do that. It makes sense if he did and then the demilich surrendered and they struck a bargain-- would play to his arrogance if the demilich was "enslaved" by him, looking for a way to break free, and the PCs could try to use that to their advantage.
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Dispel Magic doesn't have a benefit for heightening so... why would you prep one at 9th level?
This isn't correct. The counteract level for Dispel Magic is always based on its spell level. It thus receives massive bonuses from Heightening and should basically always be prepared in your highest slot if you intend to ever use it on on-level threats.
Similarly, disjunction turns off magic items, but enemies in Pathfinder 2 don't really benefit per se from magic items. They just have an AC and attack bonus = to what their CR says.
If one of my players successfully used disjunction on a foe with a +2 weapon in their stat block I'd reduce that foe's attack bonus by 2 when using that weapon. To do otherwise is taking tools out of the party's toolbox, and why would a GM want to do that?
|Loki the Poisoner|
I just can't thematically get behind a lawful evil organization mostly summoning in demons and daemons-- and none of them are given names or personalities...
If I remember correctly, Devils themselves don't hate Daemons or Demons any more than they hate anything else. They simply consider them tools to be used. Maybe it's a similar situation.
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I am kinda sad that the maps in the PDF are of low resolution. It is pixilized if you zoom to it. Dear Paizo, if you read this please make the maps more user-friendly. I can't even think of why it must be this way.
I agree 100% with you...Dear paizo, the maps on this book are horrible (except the dusk station)
What has Happened ?
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Well I already had to say to my players that the module is ok but the maps are a downside from what we had in 5e modules where I could at least download the HI-RES versions of the maps from the artist directly for additional price. Here I don't even have this option.
IMHO the first module of the Pathfinder 2 system MUST have the coolest maps and art from all the modules as a lot of players from other RPGs are trying PF for the first time, but somehow I see the opposite - the art and maps from previous APs seem much cooler (((.
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Well, I just comparing the art of. for example, NPCs from the "Against the Scarlet Triad" and from the "Mummy's Mask" and it seems that it was more detailed and artistic earlier. The art of the head of the Scarlet Triad is somehow not inspiring at all against what I saw in other APs.
LVL 19 BBEG guy looks like he is lvl 1-3 fighter TBH, which is "not cool" and I think is an art design flaw. He is on the power level of a dragon and is stronger than this super-mega-cool Magma Dragon from the previous chapter (gorgeous art for him). I wish this would be reflected in how he looks, but it is not like that (. Lady Embermead looks more dangerous.
I don't say the AP is not cool, but the quality of the art seems a bit behind vs what I see in previous APs. Maybe it's just my taste. Some art is great, btw, e.g. the face art of books. I think I will have to look for other art in Pinterest for the BBEG, which I already did for the 2nd chapter's elves (Jhasi had almost no gold on his art!) and was the right decision.
Though art is up to taste, maps are of a not the top quality stil anyway (.
The maps in the adventure are fine and of a quality comparable to previous books, but the maps in the interactive maps file are of much lower quality than in previous installments. It immediately jumped out at me when I opened the file up. Hopefully it is something that can be corrected easily and a new file will be made available.
Page 39: there”s a missing fragment of text in the Speaking with Mekrem.
One paragraph starts “from the PCs to get Mekrem to admit his suspicions“. Presumably, this is missing something like “It doesn’t require much prompting”