PFS(2) 1-09 Star-Crossed Voyages


GM Discussion

Grand Lodge 5/5

We had a very enjoyable evening yesterday when I ran this the first time. But I had a few questions how to run certain situations. The most crucial one that would benefit from a clarification is encounter D.

Encounter A: The sea devils target lightly armoured foes first and fight to the death. That one is clear. Also it should be clear where the PCs are - just let them move to wherever they want to be.

But this makes positioning of the sea devils / their tactics crucial. Do you start with them 10/20 feet away - using their spears? How many do they have? Do you start with them climbing up the ship and boarding it / already on board as this is what they just did ahead of initiative?
The ship is 120 feet long. So it makes a huge difference where you start with the sea devils - especially if some players are in front of the ship and some in the back.

Encounter B: The sod hounds go for the closest enemy - preferring enemies with metal weapons / metal armour. Positioning at the start of initiative again makes a difference - but less so as in encounter B. The map looks like difficult terrain - but it isn't mentioned and this is the village - so I assume it isn't difficult terrain. I allowed one of the sod hounds to burrow - more for roleplay / show they can do it.

Encounter C: Check if the group has anyone who understands Mwangi or Iruxi as a language. If not then Lumki will only be able to gesture / point to the group. My group actually enjoyed it. I described her pointing in direction a, shake her head, make faces, wave etc. So there was never a problem to get lost if they followed her / went into the direction she pointed to - but keep this in mind ahead of the encounter. The boggards do speak common - so the group has no problems to chat with them. This encounter was straight forward - they first gave food but then chased them away (intimidate).

Encounter D: The group never got the clues from Lumki when she pointed towards the log and the other side of the river to use it as a bridge that can be moved. They (and me) also missed the option to use a feather token ladder as alternative to the log.

Jumping the river clearly is not intended. That leads to issues going deep into how jump works. It is autofail if you don't have a 10 foot stride (remember difficult terrain - making distance/speed an issue). But failure on a jump check means you still Leap normally. So even from standing start this is a 10 foot leap? What about landing in this case? An 'auto success through failure' on a jump seems to cheapen the whole encounter and seems to go against the intention of the writer.
Neither the landing square nor the square you start is 100% land - but how to you deal with a 80% land / 20% water square? This really would benefit from a clarification / from a discussion how to handle this fairly across groups. Keep in mind the group also gets penalized jumping as they likely never spot the 2 treasure bundles.

Arriving at the guidepost with Lumki:
Do you allow players who use search or detect magic while with Lumki to discover the satchel with potions (Detect Magic) and the Hidden Door (Search). It feels wrong to penalize the group not allowing these if they are with Lumki. See also Encounter E why this is of importance.
This seems less of an issue now as I realized you don't miss a treasure bundle (just some potions) and that likely just the double doors are locked. In a quick read you find treasure and assume it must be a bundle ...

Encounter Area E:
There is also a door (window?) on the East side that isn't mentioned. Should this be a window? I have to admit I must have misinterpreted the sentence 'The doors remain resolutely shut despite attempts to open them;'. I applied it to ALL doors leading into the observatory as it uses the plural doors not door and appears straight after describing all entrances. Reading it again I feel it seems only to mean the double doors and the plural doesn't cover the small doors in the North and South. This part had me puzzled as I couldn't find any unblocked entrance apart of the tunnel - which you possibly can't find if you are with Lumki.

So running it again I will rule you can come from the South or North through small doors - break down the double doors (difficult / noisy) and the East is a window climb needed - or you get in via the tunnel - you need someone to search while coming from the guide post. Lumki will suggest not to use the tunnel - but will follow part decision.

Everything else in E is pretty standard dungeon crawl / fights.

I still can't judge how difficult it is to take down Paravaax. My group couldn't scratch Paravaax in the first round but then the rogue did two crits while flanking to take off half the HP and the ranger critted in the end with his hunters shot that also added deadly - making all the difference between a hit absorbed by the damage reduction and doing considerable damage to take him down.

Paravaax could be a real problem if a group gets just bumped up to next tier. I played him after round one as gloating - you can't hit me - don't you want to reconsider and hand over the juicy Iruxi before you are dead as well?

I will reread the scenario to see if there is anything I missed. As always - having played it before GMing or GMing it a second time always helps.

2/5 5/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

For the log/river challenge, is it intended that after crossing to the center island and moving the log, that's it's automatic to cross, or do we repeat the balance challenge? Seems like repeating makes sense, but isn't called out, and might be repetitive.

(Of course the jump question from the OP looks important too)

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

Do wayfinders count as magnetic compases or is there magic keeping them accurate?

The Exchange 5/5

James Anderson wrote:
Do wayfinders count as magnetic compases or is there magic keeping them accurate?

Yes, wayfinders count as magnetic compasses. However, you need a compass in order to make a Sense Direction check without penalty (i.e. without a compass you suffer a -2 penalty.) That said, I would give a wayfinder user a +1 item bonus for the Sense Direction check similar to a lensatic compass. The GP cost of a wayfinder is more than that of a lensatic compass which grants a similar bonus, but a lensatic compass is a higher level item, so YMMV.

Grand Lodge 5/5

NielsenE wrote:

For the log/river challenge, is it intended that after crossing to the center island and moving the log, that's it's automatic to cross, or do we repeat the balance challenge? Seems like repeating makes sense, but isn't called out, and might be repetitive.

(Of course the jump question from the OP looks important too)

Very good question. I did impose another check. My group never got the idea of using a rope. Instead one spell caster used prestidigitation to clean off the moss.

There is one alternative in the scenario to get across without a check: trek down until you reach the bottom of the waterfall. So a group not wanting to risk (and without any ideas) could be nudged to look for an alternative (at the cost of 2 treasure bundles of course).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Thod wrote:
using their spears? How many do they have?

See the word 'spear' in the Items line of the stat block. This means each Sea Devil Scout only has one throwing spear (in addition to their melee longspear).

For a contrasting example where multiples of a throwing weapon are available, see the Boggard Warrior stat block where the Items line says 'javelin (3)'.

1/5 Venture-Agent, Online—PbP aka numbat1

Does anyone else find it odd that the lower sub-tier receives lesser healing potions and the higher sub-tier receives lesser elixirs of life?

This happens twice during the scenario.

I noticed it the first time I ran it and thought it odd. Now I am preparing to run it again and came here to check if there was anything about it.

2/5

numbat1 wrote:

Does anyone else find it odd that the lower sub-tier receives lesser healing potions and the higher sub-tier receives lesser elixirs of life?

This happens twice during the scenario.

I noticed it the first time I ran it and thought it odd. Now I am preparing to run it again and came here to check if there was anything about it.

That seems to be correct. The lesser healing potion is listed as a level 3 consumable in the CRB, while the lesser elixir of life is a level 5 consumable, which perfectly aligns with the lower ends of the respective tiers of the adventure-

2/5

I GMed this adventure today in high tier for a group of 6 (5/5/5/5/5/4, so 23 CP), comprising of three fighters, one cleric of Nethys, one rogue and one druid. While preparing / playing, I noticed quite a few issues. Some have already been listed here, others not, so I will just post the complete list, as copied from me review:

First of all, there is mention of Parvaaxes influence making the compasses go haywire. Is that the same as his aura? If so, do the penalties (Clumsy 2) apply for the whole adventure? The dude can extend his aura to up to 100 miles. Did he do that? Or did he just leave it at 30 feet?

Then, while we are at the aura, what does "wearing metal" mean? Are only people in metal armor affected? Or anyone wearing any kind of metal on their body?

OK, back to the beginning of the adventure: What happens if the players go into the water to fight the Sea Devils? Animal Form and Waterwalk were both available in my group, but there is no mention if the damage the ship takes is from the sea devils and could be prevented (thus possibly completely missing the adventure) or if the have sharks with them, etc.

Then they come to shore and have to talk to the Iruxi. All good and well, but the languages listed are Iruxi and Mwangi. Is Mwangi the same as Polyglot? The Core Rulebook lists Mwangi as a language, the player basics list Polyglot. Probably the same language, but we missed that while playing and so the ship's Iruxi was needed to translate. It struck us as strange that he could not be taking along as a translator later as well, making the interactions with Lumki fun and weird on the one hand, but very limited on the other. A lot of things in the observatory just weren't understood by the characters since Lumki couldn't tell them about it. And that was a missed opportunity in some cases.

Then there was the second encounter. The sod hounds. On a giant map, that shows neither a village, nor a shore. And no indication as to where players and creatures should be positioned. Weird for a map of that size. And weird map, by the way. That doesn't look like a natural jungle to me. But back to the encounter itself:
For high tier, there are conflicting numbers: 3 are listed on page 8, 4 on page 28. Which one is correct? The encounter is listed as moderate, which would indicate 2, which doesn't fit either number. Also, the Creatures are listed as level 4 on page 8, with a perception of +11 and level 5 with perception of +12 on page 28. Furthermore, page 8 says one can find them on page 27, not 28. There seems to have been some serious editing mistakes here!

Since we tend to run long, I skipped the optional encounter. But looking at the stats, it would have been a walk in the park anyways and wouldn't have offered any interesting texture to the adventure, either.

The skill challenge in Area D was another thing that is absolutely baffling - there is nothing to prevent the players from just using the basic action "leap" to reach the island and then continue to the other shore. Also, there wouldn't even be enough room on the island for 6 characters plus Lumki, so the suggested tactic of the adventure wouldn't even work!
We decided that the map actually shows 10' squares, which solved both issues at once, and continued with the challenge as it was probably intended.

Reaching the observatory included another weird thing: The adventure states that if you have Lumki with you, you just get there. So, do the players miss the chance to find the potions and the trap door? Or does Lumki just prevent them from having to pass the survival check?

Now we were finally at the observatory and the first encounter were some Mephits. Straight forward fight, but why do they have fast healing listed there? That was the point were I realised that Parvaaxes aura probably is extended at least somewhat and decided, that the observatory was completely under the influence of the aura. But I have no idea if that is correct or if the aura should have affected the characters all along (see above).

The players proceeded to the Summoning Pool. None of them had the earth trait, so it wasn't possible to activate the pool there. But there is no guarantee that players at some point won't have access to that trait and then might be able to activate it. Yet the adventure does just state that the summoned creature is not under the control of the summoner, not what it would do. Or for simplicities sake just state that it was already used that day, completely circumventing the issue.

Finally, the players reached the main chamber and Parvaax was roused from his slumber. He delivered his offer to just eat Lumki and leave. And I have several issues with that offer:

1. The adventure states that Lumki is shocked by that offer. But she and the Gargoyle don't share any language. So how could she have understood it in the first place?
2. Why does the adventure waste so much space on what happens if the players actually take that offer? Who would ever do that? They would gain Infamy, and thus would have to be warned about getting Infamy according to the rules of PFS. Which group would then still go ahead and take the offer? That just baffles me!

Oh, and last and probably least: Did I say finally above? Yes I did, and the fight with Parvaax SHOULD be the final encounter. But regardless of the way you took in, there is still a room with mephits left to kill. And if you took the normal way, not the secret door, there are even treasure bundles yet to be found. There shouldn't be any minor fights to fight after the climactic battle. That just felt off!

Wow, that was a bit more than I wanted to write, but the adventure had so many things that just felt wrong or weird, that I had to put that frustration somewhere...

1/5 5/55/5

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

I had a player a offer to have their 3rd level character eaten in the Iruxi's place, bargaining with the gargoyle. I figure that should not gain the infamy or Iruxi Bane boon.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The high tier appendix lists the encounter with the greater sod metallic hounds as 4 level 5 creatures, whereas the main scenario text lists it as 3 level 4 creatures.

Since it's listed as a Moderate encounter, 3x L4 seems appropriate. The statblock looks a lot like a level 5 creature though (note the to-hit and damage, AC, perception; but lower HP than the Bestiary L5 "living landslide").

3x L4 or 4x L5 seems like a big difference!

2/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Quote:

The high tier appendix lists the encounter with the greater sod metallic hounds as 4 level 5 creatures, whereas the main scenario text lists it as 3 level 4 creatures.

Since it's listed as a Moderate encounter, 3x L4 seems appropriate. The statblock looks a lot like a level 5 creature though (note the to-hit and damage, AC, perception; but lower HP than the Bestiary L5 "living landslide").

3x L4 or 4x L5 seems like a big difference!

And it indeed is. I noticed that during the encounter and had one of the sod hounds leave, so ended up somewhere between the two. With the additional hound, a TPK or at least character deaths would have been likely, since at the end of the fight, many people were dying or at wounded 2+

2/5

HammerJack wrote:
I had a player a offer to have their 3rd level character eaten in the Iruxi's place, bargaining with the gargoyle. I figure that should not gain the infamy or Iruxi Bane boon.

Did the group go through with this? And no, infamy would not apply here since it was the decision of the character itself that would get him killed, not any kind of sacrifice by the others.

Also, the condition to get one or the other boon is wether Lumki was sacrificed, so sacrificing someone else doesn't matter for that.

1/5 5/55/5

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

Other players did interfere.

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