Disappointed with book 6? Spoilers ahead, fair warning.


Tyrant's Grasp

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Val'bryn2 wrote:
Probably. I think the main 2 things keeping him in power are his enormous personal power and the fact that, as long as he created the undead, they are bound to him. They probably don't like it, but they are not given any choice.

True, but such bound undead aren't required to be enthusiastic or display initiative and flexibility in the facing of changing circumstances.

Also, it seem that there are a significant number of TB's higher ranking undead who created themselves and would thus not be inherently bound to him. Two of the three major figures in Fallowdeep, Klrau and Moloum, are described as becoming undead through their own efforts.


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Regarding this Book, I've noticed something new which is strange. The adventure explains how, if the Pcs work to sabotage the teleportation circle, they might even get the WT to come there to fix those instruments ... since he needs reinforces.

It's a short line, which opens an interesting possibility, and also lots of problems:

1) While i love the idea of Tar getting angry, having a "I'm surrounded by idiots" moment, and quick teleporting to Fallowdeep to "do the plumbing", I refuse to believe he's not got around enough liches or mages with engineering skills that can fix the problem for him. Having him to show up would be problematic, just like having

2) Why Baphon needs reinforcements it's also unclear to me. He's an ungodly necromancer, capable to create entire legions by the use of quick spawn undead such as wights. I'm unfamiliar with the island of Kortos but, by rules, he just need to visit the near town of Diobel with a dozen wights 1 night ... and the next morning, he's got another 4k army ... It's atrocious, but it's also what the Whispering Tyrant can do and will do to quickly capture Absalom.

Also, remember the Fetoring Maw from book 2? Since Baphon is apparently it's creator, and "the whispering way owns several of these artifacts", one does wonder why he didn't smuggle a few of those in Absalom to, again horrifyingly, gas the entire population. Just a thought ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, per the new world guide-

Baphy's armies are downright lively, but he himself is apparently lying low.

He made overtures to the orcs of Belkzen to work for him again- most of them told him to <insert obscene act here>.

Lake Encarnathan is a lot less secure these days thanks to the prevalence of undead, and the Isle of Terror periodically bleeds over with the Negative Energy Plane.

It sounds like armies and environmental conditions are doing the heavy lifting at present, with everyone else wondering just when Baphy's gonna turn up again.

One could presume that he took a lot more damage than a standard death and phylactery return would engender. Or one could presume that having had his plans literally blow up in his face, he's back to full power but working out a Plan B. Or maybe he's absolutely fine and just taking a nap after his recent walkabout. Answer unclear. Try again later.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

2) Why Baphon needs reinforcements it's also unclear to me. He's an ungodly necromancer, capable to create entire legions by the use of quick spawn undead such as wights. I'm unfamiliar with the island of Kortos but, by rules, he just need to visit the near town of Diobel with a dozen wights 1 night ... and the next morning, he's got another 4k army ... It's atrocious, but it's also what the Whispering Tyrant can do and will do to quickly capture Absalom.

I think there is a significant difference between creating a lot of undead and then organizing these undead as an effective army. As I understand it, TB doesn't have some sort of mass telepathy that allows him to control his undead as if they were robots. He has to give orders to powerful intelligent undead "officers" who then have to give orders to their undead "NCOs" who then have to control the actual undead frontliners. Getting this all organized can take some time, and we've seen that TB doesn't always inspire loyalty and enthusiasm from his subordinates.


pjrogers wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
2) Why Baphon needs reinforcements it's also unclear to me...
I think there is a significant difference between creating a lot of undead and then organizing these undead as an effective army. As I understand it, TB doesn't have some sort of mass telepathy that allows him to control his undead as if they were robots. He has to give orders to powerful intelligent undead "officers" who then have to give orders to their undead "NCOs" who then have to control the actual undead frontliners. Getting this all organized can take some time, and we've seen that TB doesn't always inspire loyalty and enthusiasm from his subordinates.

I believe Baphon can control any undead he creates at will, and surely he can spam spells like whispering wind or message if those beings are far away from him.

However, What I meant is that Baphon's cannot be in short of troops since he can, with little to no effort, attack at night a sleeping community of 5000 people with himself and a dozen wights and (by how the rules work) make a 5000 wight "army" in about 1 hour.

Said army will be just of wretched beings with no weapons, driven only by hate and hunger for the living, unable to fight even 1 flying opponent ... but that's just perfect if you need a distraction, or simply to keep your enemies divided.

Again, in story, we are given no reason why Baphon didn't just started to "wraith storm" Absalom or did not gate an army of quick spawning undead in the middle of Absalom poorest district. In truth, he doesn't even set a foot into Absalom.

From a meta prospective, that's probably because Absalom is too important for PFS and therefore cannot be touched without being forced to write a whole book on Absalom post WT invasion.

But from a story prospective the absence of such location should be investigated, since the story enemy should be able to directly teleport in front of his main objective, Starstone Cathedral, with or without his troops. I'll try to propose a satisfactory explanation in my overview of Book 6 when i get to the WT character.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

Again, in story, we are given no reason why Baphon didn't just started to "wraith storm" Absalom or did not gate an army of quick spawning undead in the middle of Absalom poorest district. In truth, he doesn't even set a foot into Absalom.

From a meta prospective, that's probably because Absalom is too important for PFS and therefore cannot be touched without being forced to write a whole book on Absalom post WT invasion.

But from a story prospective the absence of such location should be investigated, since the story enemy should be able to directly teleport in front of his main objective, Starstone Cathedral, with or without his troops. I'll try to...

Spoiler:
In the PFS scenario #10-23: Passing the Torch 2, a party of high-level Pathfinders (virtually the only ones not up at Gallowspire) prevent an antipaladin follower of TB from creating a large force of undead inside the city.

pjrogers wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
Again, in story, we are given no reason why Baphon didn't just started to "wraith storm" Absalom or did not gate an army of quick spawning undead in the middle of Absalom poorest district. In truth, he doesn't even set a foot into Absalom.
** spoiler omitted **

I'm aware of that plot, and that is good. That's exactly what the pcs should try to prevent in the first place!

My problem is that, the moment plot A don't grant results, if you are a pissed lich like Baphon is, inclined to take things on a personal matter, you should immediately start with plot B: "Operation Wraithstorm" ... or have teleport a group of 5 Wight wizards in the poorest district and declare a game of "tag, you are dead".

To "fix this", we should have gotten a few lines from First Guard Rothos. I propose the following dialogue:

"Absalom is facing his greatest crisis! We just stopped what could have meant the complete ruin for the city, and jet at every hour we get news how undead attacks and the appearances of outsiders. The walls can stop the army, but a few among the Lich's forces found ways to cross them, by craftiness, stealth or blasted high magic. One of the city district what for 20 minutes under a fetid cloud, and dozen died, while hundreds are ill. We don't have enough healers, not while much of them are with the army. We were forced to decapitate and cremate our dead every day before the sun sets, or they may rise as the same monsters that killed them ... we can fight, but we cannot endure this for another week ... either we broke his army, and can use our forces to decimate any trace of undead in the city, or Absalom will fall ill and wither"

We need to have the Pc feel dread and despair for a city they may not even ever seen!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Removed a lot of posts. Lets try stay on topic please. The bickering got smoother over, which is good. Let's try to avoid it happening again.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That was actually a very good discussion on Sorshen. You couldn't have put that into one of two proper threads on the Return of the Runelords forum, instead of outright permanently deleting several pages of pretty constructive conversation? That's like taking a chainsaw to a porcelain shop. :-/

Shadow Lodge

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Just sticking my head in to mention something that may not have been outright stated here before: a likely reason why Tar-Baphon didn't do the sensible thing and persevere in the face of accidental self-nukage?

Humiliation.

He finally broke out of his prison. Finally marshalled all his disparate forces. Managed to kill Arazni - again! - and possibly killed her so hard that it even broke her phylactery (incidentally, is there any mention on that happening? If so, it can also make it more plausible that a similar thing happened to TB). He was ready to launch his attack on Absalom, when a bunch of random nobodies showed up, made fun of him, goaded him into using the ultimate weapon he wanted to start using less often and it literally blew up in his face.

The AP mentions, repeatedly, that he is a man of monstrous, bloated ego. It detailed his reaction at being locked in Gallowspire. If he shows up a week later, his forces in disarray, getting mopped up, his Urgathoan help rescinded, his very undead body permanently mutilated, he - he - the being who had successfully tricked Aroden himself, destroyed by some people whose presence he was almost wholly unaware and not even Mythical... I could accept it if he gave up right then and there and went Mythic Demilich in a fit of sour grapes.


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The Shifty Mongoose wrote:

Just sticking my head in to mention something that may not have been outright stated here before: a likely reason why Tar-Baphon didn't do the sensible thing and persevere in the face of accidental self-nukage?

Humiliation.

He finally broke out of his prison. Finally marshalled all his disparate forces. Managed to kill Arazni - again! - and possibly killed her so hard that it even broke her phylactery (incidentally, is there any mention on that happening? If so, it can also make it more plausible that a similar thing happened to TB). He was ready to launch his attack on Absalom, when a bunch of random nobodies showed up, made fun of him, goaded him into using the ultimate weapon he wanted to start using less often and it literally blew up in his face.

The AP mentions, repeatedly, that he is a man of monstrous, bloated ego. It detailed his reaction at being locked in Gallowspire. If he shows up a week later, his forces in disarray, getting mopped up, his Urgathoan help rescinded, his very undead body permanently mutilated, he - he - the being who had successfully tricked Aroden himself, destroyed by some people whose presence he was almost wholly unaware and not even Mythical... I could accept it if he gave up right then and there and went Mythic Demilich in a fit of sour grapes.

Sweet mother of Sarenrae...

That makes so much sense.


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I concur that the Whispering Tyrant may actually be hit quite hard by this failure on a psychological level.

That's what may have made a greater impact on the campaign if it was actually stated somewhere. Undead in this campaign are being treated, for maybe the first time, as being that can reasonably be affected by this kind of emotions and self doubts, whereas in the past we very rarely saw it occur (i remember a certain demilich in Shattered Star, while the main antagonist of book 6 could not be reasoned with ).

Problem is, the pcs are not "nobodies": they are the heroes of their generation, as much as Arnisant was the paragon of his age. Just because they are not at the head of an army doesn't mean they are not a worthy treat by themselves.

Also, more so than all his previous enemies, they are intrinsically bound with the WT destiny since they are, "for the first time in this creation" (as said by a certain giant raven) in the same condition of Tar Baphon. The WT is personally targeting them because he perceive them as a menace, and - to me at least - he should have tried to target their obols to make them explode as soon as he became aware of their condition.

Yet, Baphon is somehow unable to understand what makes the pcs "special" when they are literally in front of him. There is not time for a "I see you" moment, or to cement any kind of connection between those who'll defeat him, truly, for the first time in millennia.

However, more than humiliation ... For how much Baphon's scary as death itself, i wonder if, after barely surviving completely soul annihilation from obols detonation, he's simply got a good scare. Fear can be a terrible weakness, especially for a being that was unable to experience it for millennia.

I'm quite sure that, if it was written somewhere that Baphon stopped his attack at Absalom because, after barely surviving the destruction of his own soul, he has known fear at a level so vast he cannot control it, that reasoning would have make many players smile without diminishing their pcs sacrificed or the menace that the WT represent.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, something like that would have eased a lot of my problems with the ending, because instead of any type of closure, we're left with, basically, "yeah, the Whispering Tyrant is still kicking, he just isn't seeking to continue for reasons you don't need to know". Instead of actual closure, we're given a little adventure that seems to be meant for the heroes, with the purpose of showing what life's like in a nation that's about to be destroyed, when they're supposed to be kinda on the clock to, you know, stop a freaking invasion.

Shadow Lodge

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"Who gets him? Who kills Tar-Baphon? At the end, is it Arazni? Who?"

"No one. No one kills him. He un-lives."

"ARODEN'S BEARD, GRAMPA, why'd you read me this!?"

Shadow Lodge

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The Shifty Mongoose wrote:

"Who gets him? Who kills Tar-Baphon? At the end, is it Arazni? Who?"

"No one. No one kills him. He un-lives."

"ARODEN'S BEARD, GRAMPA, why'd you read me this!?"

I could have sworn Aroden had a fu manchu, but nope, Van D#&$ with a little braid on the chin. Mandela effect's a b~@~&.


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Had a weird thought, but what about doing PC(s) who are in fact into the whole 'We are witnesses to fate/Instruments of fate'? Do things like The Belgariad from Eddings and Destiny of the Endless. The PCs were chosen by Pharesma way long ago to witness the events and arrange things for the big names to play their parts. Kind of like roadies working backstage for the big rockstars who then vanish after their roles are done.
So clerics of Pharesma and other fated kinds who are perfect for their roles because they have been separated from their previous lives by the obols.

Shadow Lodge

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Actually, that's slightly what I had in mind for a PC if I ever played in this. Though it'd be more like, two former Whispering Wayers who ended up becoming spiritualist & phantom, discovering the truth, and deciding, "We have to stop this right now." Pharasma's lenience could be because of their realization that they were taking solace in evil this whole time.

...Though things might get tricky if, at the end of Book 1, they willingly agree with and submit to the primary antagonist, and the other PCs just stand back and watch.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The way I'm currently planning on handling it is to have the npc who informs the group tell them that in addition to dying that their spirits wont be moving on to the boneyard. This will hit hard as those who lived from the onset will remember having to leave behind loved ones there. However, allowing themselves to be destroyed will severely weaken Tarry Baphs. Basically all the obols and shard will become synced and the spirits of the heros will gain a connection to his phylactery. Taking a cue from Cole's suggestion early in the thread the second he reforms at his phylactery five kids are born with obols representing each of the heros. Due to his connection to them he loses a Mythic tier per obol now connected to him. He would then need to go on the defensive as his phylactery is no longer an artifact and he is far weaker. The whispering way would go from finding a way to free him to finding a way to capture these hidden individuals (as killing them just causes them to reborn) so he can find a way to magically seperate himself from the heroes souls which now essentially stand eternal vigil over him.

I may even in a later campaign spring the fact that one of the pcs has an obol on them or reveal that a close acquaintance has one. Throw in a whispering way capture squad or something.


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I do wonder if flipping the negative energy protection to positive healing empowerment is better since at those levels, anything other than a full Heal is almost a waste of time. While say, 20 SR against negative energy and damage reduction will probably be very helpful.

I did have an idea for a PC who was a life-long resident of Rosslar's Coffer who falls into despair because their life wish is no more. I forget the exact words that appeared in the old book 'Lord of Chaos' (Part of the Troll's Grindstone series) but it was about 'Their wish is to have deep roots in the community and travel the paths of their father and bear the dust of their ancestors on their boots'. So they have both their past and future wiped out due to their impending destruction.

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