[Fall of Plaguestone, Spoilers] Changing up the ending?


My group is getting towards the end of Fall of Plaguestone, but I'm thinking that I might need to change up the ending a bit.

The potential issues I can see with the current ending:

* The PCs have had to stop several times inside Spite's Cradle, usually to heal up to lose the Wounded condition. It will look extremely plot-fudgey for Vilree to have sent her Drudge an hour or so before the PCs arrive at the final location when the PCs have potentially been there for more than a day.

* If Vilree has managed to load the Plaguestone with disease reagents without being noticed, why would her final plan involve sending a relatively weak, obvious alchemical monster with an irreplacable family heirloom to touch it? Even if we're tossing Vilree the idiot ball, the fact that the Drudge doesn't respond to being attacked unless it's blocked presumably means that Noala could have easily feathered it full of arrows on the way. Worst of all, though, is that we end up with an "Indy did nothing" problem - if the PCs had just stayed in Etran's Folly, then they would have been right there to stop the Drudge.

* The adventure assumes that if the Vilree makes her threat to the PCs while she is on half HP, then they will continue to fight her before chasing the Drudge, but this is OK because the Drudge's progress towards the village is not affected by the length of the fight. This makes for good narrative flow, but it is difficult to argue that the PCs would know that. There seems to be a heavy risk of the players interpreting the threat as meaning they must leave the fight Vialee to pursue the Drudge, potentially resulting a downer ending as the Drudge may be stopped but Vialee presumably escapes into the woods to threaten the village again in the future.

So, there is the option of just doing away with the final chase completely but it does leave a nice conclusion, so does anyone have any suggestions for tying these up? The obvious way to resolve the last one is for Vilree to only make her threat as she dies, not before, but the others seem a bit more problematic.

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

For the second problem I like to imagine that the Alchemical Drudge was not her initial plan. It is something she improvised because her home is being invaded by the pcs and she wants to be as certain as possible that everybody in Etran's Folly dies.

Given that she doesn't want to die to her own plague her initial plan might have been to let Hallod trigger it since he wouldn't be suspicious. Sure he would probably die from it too but that would just clean up her loose ends.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
hyphz wrote:
* The PCs have had to stop several times inside Spite's Cradle, usually to heal up to lose the Wounded condition. It will look extremely plot-fudgey for Vilree to have sent her Drudge an hour or so before the PCs arrive at the final location when the PCs have potentially been there for more than a day.

Seems like your only real option may be to let the fudge happen, or send scouts against them every time they try to rest, hopefully giving them the idea that it's probably not a good idea to sit around an enemy fortress hoping no one will notice the sudden departure of many of its inhabitants.

You can also bypass the final fight, have her come to them herself, thanking them for being so lax about their duties. She can still give the same "...don't bother saving the town, they're jerks..." speech, and if they don't just walk away, she can still tell them, well, they're probably too late anyway, since she sent the minion on ahead over an hour ago. Basically, stop her or save the town. If they try to fight her, have her lead them back through all the areas to her lab they haven't been to yet, fighting everything along the way. If you really want to be mean about it, have her at the top of the escape vines when they finally make their way into her final chamber, thanking them for helping to ensure the destruction of Plaguestone. She leaves, they give chase, big monster is still there to fight them.

Sure, it's lose-lose for the characters, but if they ignored an obvious time constraint, consequences happen.

Not so much ignoring a time constraint as getting bad fights. None of them have specced to deal with flying creatures at low level, so the Zephyr Hawks tore the party a new one, even when I didn't have them focus their targets. If the players hadn't stopped to Treat Wounds they would have death spiralled and died, so it wasn't really a fault of theirs if they took longer than expected.

Shadow Lodge

Imagine if we take the whole mini-drudge and Silwyth's ring touching the Plaguestone off the table.

Let's say this is the super-sized mother of alchemical drudges and it has the Viridium inside it. Maybe the superdrudge could be fashioned to be eerily similar to Silwyth. It's instruction is to go to the Plaguestone and "explode". As such, she sent it on it's way earlier but it travels very slowly. Perhaps it even has a bodyguard with it to protect it from attack.

The whole point of her telling the PCs all of this is to save herself. Perhaps a smart thinking PC could say something that would make her want to return to Plaguestone herself. Something such as saying, "you thought Father Bolgrist was dead didn't you. Well guess what, he fooled everyone. He's been rotting pox-ridden in an underground shrine under the Feedmill - Etran's best kept secret! You're going to kill everyone when he's the one you want. And he'll escape your plan now." In that way, she is there at the end after the PCs have disabled the drudge and killed the bodyguard. Realising she has been tricked, she looks to kill the PCs for destroying her plan.

Or perhaps rather than running away, the PCs work out that Vilree will look to recover the disabled drudge and its contents giving the PCs an opportunity to finish her off.

[I'm actually planning for Bolgrist's survival to be true by the way in my campaign. I think Father Bolgrist is too interesting a character to just die to the plague as suggested. He has convinced a cabal of the older townsfolk that he has to be kept alive at all costs. He has hoodwinked everyone.]

I dont see the 1 hour thing as an issue. I just see it as an hour prior to finding her, val decides the pc's are a threat to her plans so she sends the one minion currently with her to carry our the plan. I see it as more like the pc's have rushed her robbing her of any opportunity to taunt the village before destroying it. By that idea, it dosen't matter how long the pc's have been there.

K ray

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