[GM] Harrowstone - Worried about a TPK

Carrion Crown

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Hello all from France.

First things first : SPOILERS ! This is a GM Thread !

I'm running the Carrion Crown Adventure Path, and my players are about to face the Lopper and the Splatter Man. Both these guys are no joke, but I worry that they could spell a death sentence for my group.

They are all 3d level, 20 point build, they have found the cache in the Crypt and have already explored most of the prison. They found the "Furious Five" items, but they feel they are too dangerous to be used and so they left them to the good care of the Pharasma Temple.

The PCs are :
- a human paladin of Iomedae
- a human inquisitor of Sarenrae
- a half-elf witch

There was also a halfling rogue (no news from the player for months) and a dwarf cleric of Abadar (who is unfortunately unavailable until a month or two).

We are using Core and APG only (it's my first Pathfinder campaign and I try to avoid "bloat").

My problem is thus :
- Right now, they have no magic weapon (except a handful of arrows), thus no easy way to damage incorporeal foes with weapons
- They wasted some of the magic arrows on a haunt, including Ghost Touch ones
- None of them has the "Shield" spell to protect them from the Splatter Man's Magic Missiles
- The witch spells are really terrible against most of the foes found in Harrowstone, and these two bad guys are no exception
- They don't have much in the way of spells/abilites that can damage incorporeal foes (Burning Hands for the Witch, Fire Bolt/Disrupt Undead for the Inquisitor, Lay on Hands for the Paladins), but for paltry damage...

I don't really see how they are gonna be able to do any significant damage to The Lopper or SM, or even survive one of these encounters... Am I understimating them ?

What could I do to give them a fighting chance ? (I might tone down those bad guys, but I don't want them to feel I go too easy on them).
Maybe they could stumble upon a Ghost Dirge Scroll ? (even with that the victory is far from certain, given the saves of the foes).

Any ideas ?

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber


there's a podcast called HIDEOUS LAUGHTER which faced a similar problem.

the DM came up with an innovative solution

he used the corruption rules in Horror Adventures to essentially possess one of his PCs with 'the Lopper'.

maybe if one of your PCs goes down to one of these cruel ghosts, they occupy the body of the PC, vanishing from the combat. Now you have a fun mechanic to use for your PC, the player gets some fun new toys, and your party is further enmeshed in the evils of Harrowstone

just a thought.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Toss in oils of magic weapon in the loot, perhaps even in the ghostbusting kit in the fake crypt.

There is a magic sword in the lopper's gibbet pit that the paladin will be all over. +1 keen I think.

Make the animated scythe up in the grounds magical from being haunted for 50 years. It'll be a much better reward than the 170gp they'll get selling the MW Scythe.

Maybe toss in a weapon made from Cryptstone (Tyrant's Grasp, book 1) somewhere. Or maybe have enough Cryptstone in the fake crypt for one of the townies to craft a single light weapon with.

Thanks for the answers.

The scythe idea would actually be nice, but they are mortally afraid of it since they encountered it at first level and were forced too flee ;)

They still have at least one hidden place to find with magic ammunition, i'll probably toss in an oil of magic weapon too. Once they beat the Lopper they'll have one more magic weapon (the +1 Heavy Mace) and they will be all set to meet the Splatter Man :) (or so I hope).

I would suggest a simple, yet effective solution: holy weapon balm.
It's only 30 gp, and grants a neat pletora of effects which utterly nullify the defenses of any incorporeal ghost. Moreover, neats a medium +5 damage per 1 for 1 minute, which is more than usable.

https://www.aonprd.com/EquipmentMiscDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Holy%20weapon%20b alm

I got a new player to replace the rogue, and they fought the Lopper last week-end.

I had given them a "Ghostbane Dirge" scroll and I allowed them to use a hero point to have the Lopper reroll the save. They took some time to figure out they needed to avoid bleeding as much as possible to win the fight, but they finally prevailed without any PC knocked out.

With this fight, they figured out what worked and what didn't against incorporeal and I'm confident they'll at least give the Splatter Man a run for his money (that is, if I don't play him too harshly) next time. They also got a magic weapon wich will make things easier for them.

The Holy Balm is a neat item I didn't know about. Thanks !

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