Ashpeak revision v3 (GS Book 5: Anvil of Fire)


Giantslayer

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To make up for the rambling nature of my past two threads and as an apology for making a third (and final) thread on the topic, behold- a Google Doc with all my thoughts on the topic collected:

Ashpeak Revision v3

Beware, for this document is poorly formatted, infested with typos and mistakes, and hideously wordy. Not to mention very obviously incomplete.

Troper, you've been warned.

Previous threads on this very topic include my misguided first attempt and ill advised second try.

Anyway, feedback (including typos and mistakes) is encouraged. And who knows, maybe *5 posters* will read and comment on it!

crosses fingers

In all seriousness if there's interest I may finish the doc.


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Read it? I'm even going to like it! ;)

There's a lot of good work you put into this, man!


Erpa wrote:

Read it? I'm even going to like it! ;)

There's a lot of good work you put into this, man!

*Tips hat*

Your feedback has been a huge help, kind sir or madam.


Dear sir, I must say that your effort are commendable. I concur that your ideas are very interesting for this book five.
You did a very good job.

Too good, in fact.
I cannot say now that the "storm king" is a greater menace that the fire giant king, since the control of a few red dragons (aka fighter jets) cannot be compared to the ability to teleports squads of giants around the world by the use of hellmouths.

The storm king and it's puny castle risks to be quite overshadowed by our fiery, oracolar king, unless you buff the capacities of the flying castle with some kind of "thunderous death ray" or similar devices.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

Dear sir, I must say that your effort are commendable. I concur that your ideas are very interesting for this book five.

You did a very good job.

Too good, in fact.
I cannot say now that the "storm king" is a greater menace that the fire giant king, since the control of a few red dragons (aka fighter jets) cannot be compared to the ability to teleports squads of giants around the world by the use of hellmouths.

The storm king and it's puny castle risks to be quite overshadowed by our fiery, oracolar king, unless you buff the capacities of the flying castle with some kind of "thunderous death ray" or similar devices.

Why thank you! I guess?

That's a very good point. As written, King Tytarian poses a real contender for the crown currently held by the Storm Tyrant. In the book, it's made clear that the giants of Ashpeak have that very ambition.

You'd also note that a certain Ice Giant Queen had massive undead creating capabilities, and even a certain Stone Giant Inquisitor had the direct backing of a not-so-dead deity. Both also sought to take the throne as it were.

I haven't quite come to a decision yet, if I rewrote Giantslayer Book 6, I'd certain be upping the ante for our beloved storm giant overlord. Perhaps he has ambitions to rule over all dragonkind, breaking them to his will. Or maybe he has a "thunderous death ray" as you said.

But honestly, being the ruler of massive armies of giants, whilst on a nigh invulnerable flying castle isn't bad. And those teleport shenanigans won't work on his lair, either.

I dunno, I'm open to ideas. Also for rebuilding Stormy so he's not such a pushover...


Thought: make Volstus a 13th level dragonic or stormsoul bloodline sorcerer. Gives him a reason to have a high charisma, and some nifty spells to back up his brawn. Obviously, he won't be a match for a full caster at 17th~ level, but it gives him options. I'd throw in two levels of antipaladin (tyrant) for CR21 and a truly epic fight, but that's just me.

What's not to love about a shocking burst thundering falcata?

Probably go with medium armor, arcane armor mastery and just live with the fact that he'll probably be burning his swift/immediate actions any round he wants to cast (and quicken won't be an option for him).

I haven't actually seen Volstus in combat, but I expect high level parties to obliterate him unless he can catch them off guard with double breathe weapons or get into melee while mounted very quickly.


Artofregicide wrote:
Thought: make Volstus a 13th level dragonic or stormsoul bloodline sorcerer.

I would advise to keep him as a melee powerhouse. He could be fighting on a gargantuan red dragon, who should more than enough buck up arcane might.

Between the mobility of a flying opponent and that location, getting more damage should not be a problem form him. However, he lacks recovery. Maybe a shield other effect forced on his mount my mitigate the situation a bit.

Regarding your answer to my topic, I'm still convinced the Fire King's resources make him the bigger player among those two.

In this scenario, the Pc's objective could simply be infiltrate his kingdom and explore the place until they discover how to do it. This could be done by, fox example, assassinate the only people who can operate it, namely the Royal bloodline.

I suggest this because I really like the idea of a "political marriage" proposed by the king to the storm tyrant, since they are basically equal in resources, and i would suggest to have a npc related to the Storm King past present inside Ashpeak (either as a prisoner or a guest, thought i would suggest the first), and move the Fire Princess inside the Flying castle, having her actively proselytize her god's will.

In this way, not only you got someone thematically relevant from book 5 that acts in book 6, but you can keep the treat of Ashpeak somewhat active, by having this lady able to re-activate the Anvil unless the Pcs don't get her too.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
stuff

I would advise to keep him as a melee powerhouse. He could be fighting on a gargantuan red dragon, who should more than enough buck up arcane might.

Between the mobility of a flying opponent and that location, getting more damage should not be a problem form him. However, he lacks recovery. Maybe a shield other effect forced on his mount my mitigate the situation a bit.

Regarding your answer to my topic, I'm still convinced the Fire King's resources make him the bigger player among those two.

In this scenario, the Pc's objective could simply be infiltrate his kingdom and explore the place until they discover how to do it. This could be done by, fox example, assassinate the only people who can operate it, namely the Royal bloodline.

I suggest this because I really like the idea of a "political marriage" proposed by the king to the storm tyrant, since they are basically equal in resources, and i would suggest to have a npc related to the Storm King past present inside Ashpeak (either as a prisoner or a guest, thought i would suggest the first), and move the Fire Princess inside the Flying castle, having her actively proselytize her god's will.

In this way, not only you got someone thematically relevant from book 5 that acts in book 6, but you can keep the treat of Ashpeak somewhat active, by having this lady able to re-activate the Anvil unless the Pcs don't get her too.

With a sorcerer rebuild, he'd actually keep most of his melee ability, but also have spellcasting. I think he would mostly buff and wade into combat in melee. But there's far too many things PCs could do to dismount or seperate him from his mount (maze spell anyone?) to assume that he'd get to fight alongside dragon-buddy.

Recovery is also an issue, but a bigger problem is the PCs can just keep teleporting away, healing, and teleporting back while he just sits there waiting to die.

Regardless, I rather like your suggestion of a political marriage, and it contrasts well with the Hill Giant's Pledge. That said, would Volstus really marry under his station, even to secure such critical allies? That sounds like drama, drama the PCs could exploit. :)


I believe that sun a marriage would not be from someone "under his station", considering the half fiend fire giant princess is immortal.

Regarding his weakness to some certain spells, my philosophy is that our tyrant is probably not going to fight alone, if given that chance. Having possibly an allied caster could solve that problem.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

I believe that sun a marriage would not be from someone "under his station", considering the half fiend fire giant princess is immortal.

Regarding his weakness to some certain spells, my philosophy is that our tyrant is probably not going to fight alone, if given that chance. Having possibly an allied caster could solve that problem.

If I remember correctly, giants are very particular about marrying outside their kind (especially before), and the Storm Tyrant is particularly so. He's also not a follower of Zursvaater, so the religious aspect doesn't do much for him.

This being said, I love the idea, especially if Volstus is basically being pressured into a union he loathes but cannot refuse.

In regards to the actual fight with Volstus, a large part of the clearing of the Cloud Castle rewards removing allies who would rally to his side. I don't want to foil that by guaranteeing that a caster would manage to stay by his side.

Also, generally, the resources he has at his disposal (and especially the tactics) are unlikely to make for a challenging capstone fight. He's got basically a ton of melee damage potential, mobility (if mounted) and a handful of Dex save AoE damage spells and abilities, all of which are rendered moot by protection from energy and resist energy.


Artofregicide wrote:


Also, generally, the resources he has at his disposal (and especially the tactics) are unlikely to make for a challenging capstone fight. He's got basically a ton of melee damage potential, mobility (if mounted) and a handful of Dex save AoE damage spells and abilities, all of which are rendered moot by protection from energy and resist energy.

If you wanna be brutal, just have him be under some kind of antimagic effect. Being an artifact, the Orb's power are not suppressed by it. At that point, it's to your pcs to get creative, collect equally powerful artifact-like weapons or similar thing.

Maybe you can make, to make book 6 this completely unfair and broken, that any creature that is in the flying castle and that has not giant blood can be targeted, in certain areas, by a greater dispel magic or a antimagic effect.
That would make the book very troublesome, but at least would keep the challenges as they are, not forcing you to greatly rewrite many encounters to accomodate a magic heavy party.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:


Also, generally, the resources he has at his disposal (and especially the tactics) are unlikely to make for a challenging capstone fight. He's got basically a ton of melee damage potential, mobility (if mounted) and a handful of Dex save AoE damage spells and abilities, all of which are rendered moot by protection from energy and resist energy.

If you wanna be brutal, just have him be under some kind of antimagic effect. Being an artifact, the Orb's power are not suppressed by it. At that point, it's to your pcs to get creative, collect equally powerful artifact-like weapons or similar thing.

Maybe you can make, to make book 6 this completely unfair and broken, that any creature that is in the flying castle and that has not giant blood can be targeted, in certain areas, by a greater dispel magic or a antimagic effect.
That would make the book very troublesome, but at least would keep the challenges as they are, not forcing you to greatly rewrite many encounters to accomodate a magic heavy party.

Hmm, those are good ideas but concern me as too punitive (probably worse for martials than casters, tbh). I'm worried it would just get annoying more than anything else. Drag things out as the PCs get debuffed, cast buffs, continue.

That said, Zephyr Hall does feel more like a huge dungeon full of unrelated monsters than an actual, organized fortress.

Some means of reprisal by the defenders other than rallying to the Storm King would be nice. Technically a handful of denizens harass the PCs, particularly the naga lady, but I just can't see the Giants not taking the PCs as a serious threat after them killing so many of their ranks...


I think I'm more or less done with writing out statblocks. They're in desperate need of proof-reading and formatting, but that's been true since day one.

I still feel like I have too many giants. The constructs, undead, outsiders, and hags help but the enemies still feel monotonous.

They also still suffer from many same weaknesses but with more diversity.

Suggestions are as always welcome.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Art, could you enable commenting/suggestions in your v3 document? That way interested folks can provide comments directly on the parts that could use them.

A few general comments:

  • I think you've commented on this previously, but the biggest problem with meddling with numerical difficulty in higher level APs in 1E is that there's an absolutely massive potential variation in the degree of optimization players will bring to the AP. Your current revision significantly increases the *statistical* potency of a few encounters, and is more appropriate for a more optimized party.
  • You should create stat blocks for your templated fire giants, just so its clear what their resultant capabilities are.
  • As it currently stands, I agree you probably still have too many beefy giants sitting around in rooms. Your "Ashpeak Encounters Outline" lists off all the same blank-slate rooms that the book currently has and populates them with more varied encounters, but it doesn't change the fact that the PCs are just moving room to room and fighting. I think the key here is replacing some combat encounters entirely with non-combat stuff, be it puzzles, traps, hazards, or social situations.
  • Have you considered redrawing the map / redesigning the structure?


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    Cellion wrote:

    Art, could you enable commenting/suggestions in your v3 document? That way interested folks can provide comments directly on the parts that could use them.

    A few general comments:

  • I think you've commented on this previously, but the biggest problem with meddling with numerical difficulty in higher level APs in 1E is that there's an absolutely massive potential variation in the degree of optimization players will bring to the AP. Your current revision significantly increases the *statistical* potency of a few encounters, and is more appropriate for a more optimized party.
  • You should create stat blocks for your templated fire giants, just so its clear what their resultant capabilities are.
  • As it currently stands, I agree you probably still have too many beefy giants sitting around in rooms. Your "Ashpeak Encounters Outline" lists off all the same blank-slate rooms that the book currently has and populates them with more varied encounters, but it doesn't change the fact that the PCs are just moving room to room and fighting. I think the key here is replacing some combat encounters entirely with non-combat stuff, be it puzzles, traps, hazards, or social situations.
  • Have you considered redrawing the map / redesigning the structure?
  • Comments are enabled! I thought I'd already done that, but apparently not. Let me know if it doesn't work.

    I think the biggest problem is that a lot of the encounters are slightly more difficult and a handful are significantly harder (Tytarian especially). Feedback is welcome.

    Steel blessed fire giant is up.

    I do intend to rewrite the rooms like I did first the first part, but I definitely have significant rewrites planned. That's Phase 2.

    Redrawing the map is less my thought than adding features to the existing maps, but I'm open to ideas.


    Also: adding the outsiders helped, but I really need something else to replace the genetic giants and lieutenants with.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Maybe not the best place for it, but reading this thread reminded me that I'd put together a rebuilt Fire Giant stat block based on our discussion in one of your previous threads. I'd gone through using the Pathfinder Unchained Simple Monster Creation rules, ignoring whether all the math lines up and instead working to better hit benchmarks for CR10.

    You can find my resultant "Flame Giant" design at this link.

    This design does a lot of the same things yours ended up doing, but is a bit more conservative (no See in Darkness, for example). OTOH, it does more to patch the most critical weaknesses, such as buffing up touch AC and Reflex saves so that they're merely weak spots rather than laughable. I also ended up writing a variant of rock throwing that creates small-radius AoEs instead of granting ranged attacks.


    Artofregicide wrote:
    Also: adding the outsiders helped, but I really need something else to replace the genetic giants and lieutenants with.

    A possibility could be involve a bit of Oni.

    They are, however, by Giant lore, evil spirits that steal the giant's bodies. Since you put the steel blessed template, i could see that either the fire giant god got a few oni that are of his faith, or we could have the Oni as a third party that is trying to invade the domain of the fire giant king, which could potentially work as an interesting allied force for the Pcs, but that could - at book 6 - try to double cross them, by possessing the bodies of the giants killed by the Pcs.


    Cellion wrote:

    Maybe not the best place for it, but reading this thread reminded me that I'd put together a rebuilt Fire Giant stat block based on our discussion in one of your previous threads. I'd gone through using the Pathfinder Unchained Simple Monster Creation rules, ignoring whether all the math lines up and instead working to better hit benchmarks for CR10.

    You can find my resultant "Flame Giant" design at this link.

    This design does a lot of the same things yours ended up doing, but is a bit more conservative (no See in Darkness, for example). OTOH, it does more to patch the most critical weaknesses, such as buffing up touch AC and Reflex saves so that they're merely weak spots rather than laughable. I also ended up writing a variant of rock throwing that creates small-radius AoEs instead of granting ranged attacks.

    Yeah, I took your idea under advisement but ended up preferring my own. See in darkness fits the fiendish boon and allows use of deeper darkness offensively.

    Still it's a very decent rebuild and you could totally replace my steel-blessed giants with yours.


    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    Artofregicide wrote:
    Also: adding the outsiders helped, but I really need something else to replace the genetic giants and lieutenants with.

    A possibility could be involve a bit of Oni.

    They are, however, by Giant lore, evil spirits that steal the giant's bodies. Since you put the steel blessed template, i could see that either the fire giant god got a few oni that are of his faith, or we could have the Oni as a third party that is trying to invade the domain of the fire giant king, which could potentially work as an interesting allied force for the Pcs, but that could - at book 6 - try to double cross them, by possessing the bodies of the giants killed by the Pcs.

    I did include a single Fire Yai, but theoretically could include more. As outsiders, they fit the theme but have their own unique abilities. I may revise again and involve more Oni, we'll see. Good suggestion.

    Not sure about involving another faction. May be a good idea need to think about it.


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    So ideas for additional monsters that aren't giants:

    -Giant Pit Hag (3pp but has already been used in another Paizo AP)
    -Oni (numerous good options here)
    -Templated Hellwasp Swarm (or a Hellwasp Swarm that Walks)?
    -Templated Goliath Stag Beetle
    (Don't want to go too vermin crazy due to the scorpions in early book 6)
    -Fire Vampire Ooze
    -Magma (brimstone) Ooze
    -Plasma Ooze (a little on the high CR at 16)

    Mind you, I don't want to axe all the giant encounters, or even the majority, just break up the monotony a bit.

    Other suggestions would be highly appreciated.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Some other neat enemies that have different strengths and weaknesses than your usual Book 5 crowd:
    - Scarlet Walkers (CR12)
    - Banshees (CR13)
    - Cauchemar Nightmares as mounts (CR11)
    - Dread Wraiths (CR13)
    - Demiliches (CR14)
    - Handmaiden Devils (CR14)


    Cellion wrote:

    Some other neat enemies that have different strengths and weaknesses than your usual Book 5 crowd:

    - Scarlet Walkers (CR12)
    - Banshees (CR13)
    - Cauchemar Nightmares as mounts (CR11)
    - Dread Wraiths (CR13)
    - Demiliches (CR14)
    - Handmaiden Devils (CR14)

    These are excellent suggestions.

    Scarlet walkers have a connection to Thassilon but that doesn't mean that's the only faction that might summon them.

    Banshee would be fun, though generally they're created from elves. But I'm not above bending the bestiary a bit as well probably already know.

    My Maidens of Hyrrfellhame can summon Cauchemar Nightmares, so that's covered.

    I don't want go too undead heavy, in light of the previous book, but there's good possibilities with both the demilich and dread wraith. It's more where to put them/how to justify them...

    Due to Zursvaater's inclinations, I don't think devils are very welcome in Hyrrfellhame...


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    I've updated the encounters, mostly adding the new encounters to patrols. I'll probably revisit and even things out, but I'm actually fairly happy with the balance.


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    Huzzah! I've launched my first PbP playtest of my rewrite, here.

    Obviously, if you (maybe 1 person?) have extensively read my Google Doc, this probably isn't a good campaign to join...


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    Hello non-audience! So after some deliberation I've decided to add another area to this already massive dungeon crawl.

    I'm adding a dungeon for the prisoners of Ashpeak to be held, surprisingly close to the top actually. After all, prisoners are a valuable commodity. These are in contrast to slaves who are basically chattel.


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    Ashpeak dungeon is complete, added some very nasty denizens (couldn't help myself with creating the fire giant graveknight) and hazards. The planeshift trap is also a potential character death, but this is high level play.

    I don't have a map, will probably borrow from another AP. Suggestions are desired from all 1? folks reading this.

    As I continue to refine, I may spread them out through the mountain, we'll see.


    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.


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    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.

    Excellent suggestion, however, I don't have that book. It sounds like an awesome read though!


    Artofregicide wrote:
    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.
    Excellent suggestion, however, I don't have that book. It sounds like an awesome read though!

    Heart of Hellfire Mountain, Dungeon Magazine 140.


    Matrix Sorcica wrote:
    Artofregicide wrote:
    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.
    Excellent suggestion, however, I don't have that book. It sounds like an awesome read though!
    Heart of Hellfire Mountain, Dungeon Magazine 140.

    Thanks kindly!

    This really is perfect. Though I'm not sure how or if I can remove the numbers from the map.


    Artofregicide wrote:
    Matrix Sorcica wrote:
    Artofregicide wrote:
    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.
    Excellent suggestion, however, I don't have that book. It sounds like an awesome read though!
    Heart of Hellfire Mountain, Dungeon Magazine 140.

    Thanks kindly!

    This really is perfect. Though I'm not sure how or if I can remove the numbers from the map.

    Photoshop? GIMP? Paint?


    Matrix Sorcica wrote:
    Artofregicide wrote:
    Matrix Sorcica wrote:
    Artofregicide wrote:
    Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
    There was a dungeon in a dungeon magazine book that detailed a fire giant cult of Mephistopheles inside an active vulcano. You may take a few maps from there.
    Excellent suggestion, however, I don't have that book. It sounds like an awesome read though!
    Heart of Hellfire Mountain, Dungeon Magazine 140.

    Thanks kindly!

    This really is perfect. Though I'm not sure how or if I can remove the numbers from the map.

    Photoshop? GIMP? Paint?

    I have GIMP and paint, but I assume there aren't layers to remove. So it'll have to be manual... which I can do but it'll suck.

    The suggestion is still great.


    Eureka! I have it!

    So Zephyr Hall is not merely an impenetrable cloud keep fortress, but also the Storm Tyrant's engineers have modified the arcane machinery that protects the constant storm around the flying castle to effect weather in a 250 mile radius around the keep. Thus Voltus can bring drought, withering hail, violent storms and catastrophic flooding on a large scale against those who oppose him. He can conversely bring fair weather to his allies, or hide their movements in thick fog.

    It's more interesting than a death laser, anyway. And larger scale than the Anvil of Fire...

    Additional thought: the Storm Tyrant and Co. most likely immediately know that the PCs are on them and thus have reason to make an emergency launch due to being ejected from Hyrrfellhame, even if the Branderiks aren't dead.


    Love. It.

    When my players get to this book in 2023, I'll be sure to reference this! Lol


    I like this alot. Any idea on an alternate way to maybe disable or destroy the anvil that the players are likely to be able to accomplish though? I like its destruction condition, but that's not the kind of thing PCs will be able to do most likely


    Apologies on the extreme lateness of my replies on this thread. I honestly thought it was quite dead. I'm very pleased to see that folks are still reading this- I am still updating the Google Docs document as well as running a PbP of the revision on these very forums. So this project remains ongoing, especially now that I have a great deal more time on my hands due to the apocalypse and everything.

    Erpa wrote:

    Love. It.

    When my players get to this book in 2023, I'll be sure to reference this! Lol

    *bows*

    I'm glad that folks are still playing Giantslayer, it's a hugely underrated Adventure Path but it truly does need a little love. The point of my rewrite more than replacing the book as written is to offer some alternate ideas. I'm glad you've found the reading insightful.

    E Rank Luck wrote:
    I like this alot. Any idea on an alternate way to maybe disable or destroy the anvil that the players are likely to be able to accomplish though? I like its destruction condition, but that's not the kind of thing PCs will be able to do most likely

    So the point of the anvil (a mythic artifact) is that it should be extremely difficult, if not impossible for the PCs to destroy. It can also talk, and is willing to do so- the encounter should be social, not combat- which I'd imagine would come as a huge surprise to most parties. Their goal should be revoking Zursvaater's favor from Tytarian and his clan, not obliterating Ashpeak to pebbles. Though I guess that would do it too. I may not have made this clear enough in the document- if I haven't, I'll have to go back and amend that.

    If you want to make the anvil destructible, that's totally fine. Door-kicking, dragon-punching parties will probably just get annoyed that they can't kill the thing so adjust to your table.

    That said, as written, if they do kill it, Zursvaater reacts in a way that could potentially derail the campaign, though I left it open-ended enough to let GM's interpret as they wished. Honestly, most of this is fluff text unless you've got a mythic party (in which case, the gods help you for I cannot).


    Yeah Giantslayer isnt the most popular AP, this entire forum is pretty damn dead it feels like. Personally i dont really think they would need to destroy it so much as render it inert (Like Minderhal's Forge in Book 3) or something so that the next would be tyrant who gains Zursvaater's favor cant start doing what is currently happening again. Course I half expect my own party to just try and collapse Ashpeak somehow. High level casters can probably manage that.

    Unless ive missed a recent update or dont have the most recent version of your Doc, how did you intend for the social encounter to play out? To deprive the Tytarian of his God's favor and ability to use the Anvil?


    E Rank Luck wrote:

    Yeah Giantslayer isnt the most popular AP, this entire forum is pretty damn dead it feels like. Personally i dont really think they would need to destroy it so much as render it inert (Like Minderhal's Forge in Book 3) or something so that the next would be tyrant who gains Zursvaater's favor cant start doing what is currently happening again. Course I half expect my own party to just try and collapse Ashpeak somehow. High level casters can probably manage that.

    Unless ive missed a recent update or dont have the most recent version of your Doc, how did you intend for the social encounter to play out? To deprive the Tytarian of his God's favor and ability to use the Anvil?

    Keep in mind that a) the Anvil is more of an entity than an item- it is intelligent after all and that b) this current state of affairs is completely unprecedented and out of character for the Steel Prince. He's basically an isolationist except in regards to the affairs of fire giants, who are noticeably fractured.

    I don't think I've written this out, at least in the doc. Possibly on the forums somewhere, but that's helpful to neither of us.

    Basically, much like Queen Quivixia the Anvil can be persuaded by the defeat of King Tytarian in honorable combat. Particularly persuasive or clever PCs (the check DC will be pretty darn high- 40 or higher probably) can persuade the Anvil to remove favor even before they face Tytarian, though such a confrontation is probably inevitable regardless.

    A couple of things happen if the Zursvaater removes his favor. Ashpeak returns to the material plane, and all fire giants immediately lose the benefits of the Steel-blessed template. It's a pretty considerable loss. Plus the fiery storm goes away, so they can go right for the Storm Tyrant if they wish. Also, the herald of Zursvaater won't interfere with the PCs if they intend to face the Branderik's (or just Tytarian) in honorable battle.

    Honorable battle would either be the King and his retinue (or similar arrangement) vs. the entire party, or the King vs. a single PC.

    If you want to create a way of the PCs to be able to disable or combat the Anvil itself, that's totally cool. Adjust to your group. But I like the idea of having some encounters that they can't just throw spells and steel at to solve. By talking to the Anvil, you're really just talking to Zursvaater himself, which is pretty cool stuff for a non-mythic lvl 15 party.

    But let's say that you want the PCs to be able to disable the Anvil itself:

    First of all, make Zursvaater's revenge more of a slow burn (maybe send the Forge-Keeper in immediately for a fun fight, but otherwise don't bombard them with servitors). At some point the Jotunblooded antipaladin should make an appearance (as in the Fang of Zursvaater item description), because she's an awesome character.

    Secondly, I'd say that anointing the Anvil with the blood of a royal fire giant and then using the forge to craft a low quality item of base metals will allow it to be damaged, and then you have to do a heck of a lot of damage before it's divine "shields" go back up. Even then, this just deactivates the Anvil for say a century or something.

    Note: I'll be adding all this mess to the Doc and reformatting it later. Or never, who knows.


    I know GS gets a lot of flak for being 'go here and kill the next higher CR-rated giant as you continue to level to get ready to kill the next higher CR-rated giant', especially with lots of good feats, traits, and other ways to really bring quick and heavy damage to a giant, never minding the Will saving throw spells that totally favor the PCs.

    But I like the AP!

    I enjoy the bit about hunting down the Vault of Thorns and Nargym's tomb, as well as the Anvil, and possibly using Agrimmosh for that. The AP stacks itself with a lot of 'old lore' that can turn a group into ancient treasure hunters to find the secrets of yesteryear to succeed today. I've actually added more old giantslayer tombs, (and giant tombs!) that the group is trying to find before other giants find them first.

    Discovering the haunts and curse of Red Lake Keep is just as important, to me, as repelling the giants, ogres, and orcs from it. Return a non-cursed huge keep back to operation for the forces of good against Volstus forces? Sounds cool to me!

    And sometimes...it's just fun to steamroll giants and feel damned powerful doing it. :D


    Erpa wrote:

    I know GS gets a lot of flak for being 'go here and kill the next higher CR-rated giant as you continue to level to get ready to kill the next higher CR-rated giant', especially with lots of good feats, traits, and other ways to really bring quick and heavy damage to a giant, never minding the Will saving throw spells that totally favor the PCs.

    But I like the AP!

    I enjoy the bit about hunting down the Vault of Thorns and Nargym's tomb, as well as the Anvil, and possibly using Agrimmosh for that. The AP stacks itself with a lot of 'old lore' that can turn a group into ancient treasure hunters to find the secrets of yesteryear to succeed today. I've actually added more old giantslayer tombs, (and giant tombs!) that the group is trying to find before other giants find them first.

    Discovering the haunts and curse of Red Lake Keep is just as important, to me, as repelling the giants, ogres, and orcs from it. Return a non-cursed huge keep back to operation for the forces of good against Volstus forces? Sounds cool to me!

    And sometimes...it's just fun to steamroll giants and feel damned powerful doing it. :D

    All the things you've pointed out are things I love about the AP. I'll admit more tomb-hunting would be fun, even better fleshing out book 3 to be less random giant and drake encounters and more delving if that's your party's thing.

    I definitely want to keep the giant-bashing in the game, I just don't want it to be all giant-bashing. Plus, even the giants should vary up their tactics from time to time, even if they still wind up defeated in the end.

    For instance, tossing ceramic pots full of ooze at their enemies via rock-throwing? That's pretty awesome, but unlikely to stop a high level party.

    I think the idea of a repetitive, monotonous steamroll gets boring. I've found this to be the case listening to the GCP, to the point where I'm relieved when they finally fight something new, even if it goes down just as easily...


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    To avoid monotony, I will for sure use all the feats and different alchemical thrown weapons for the giants from the index in GS 1. Also, I really enjoy goblin fire bomb, so that may be around to use again and again and again. :D


    Erpa wrote:
    To avoid monotony, I will for sure use all the feats and different alchemical thrown weapons for the giants from the index in GS 1. Also, I really enjoy goblin fire bomb, so that may be around to use again and again and again. :D

    Strongly approve!

    Also, for my sake, use oozes in ceramic jars. It brings joy to my shriveled, blackened, and disembodied heart.


    If for some reason you find yourself looking for access to my Google Doc, send me a PM. Too many spam bots were commenting on it so I made it private.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I've updated the Doc a bit, changing permissions to view only with the link. PM if you want to comment.

    Oh, and I added a really big fire crab!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Wow. This is FANTASTIC. Thanks for doing this.

    Would love to see your breakdown of the “declaration of war” section of the AP... would that mean another of these for book 4? ;)

    Really though, thanks for this.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    OctopusMacbeth wrote:

    Wow. This is FANTASTIC. Thanks for doing this.

    Would love to see your breakdown of the “declaration of war” section of the AP... would that mean another of these for book 4? ;)

    Really though, thanks for this.

    Super, incredibly late - I'm not on the Paizo forums much anymore.

    But thanks, you're very kind!

    I actually only rewrote book 5, but if I ran the whole AP I'd write a schedule for what the Giant War looked like, and what the actions of the PCs would do in slowing it. I have thoughts on how I'd run the entire AP, but I've only written out Book 5 (which needs the most) and a little of Book 6 (which doesn't need a lot).


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    Artofregicide wrote:
    OctopusMacbeth wrote:

    Wow. This is FANTASTIC. Thanks for doing this.

    Would love to see your breakdown of the “declaration of war” section of the AP... would that mean another of these for book 4? ;)

    Really though, thanks for this.

    Super, incredibly late - I'm not on the Paizo forums much anymore.

    But thanks, you're very kind!

    I actually only rewrote book 5, but if I ran the whole AP I'd write a schedule for what the Giant War looked like, and what the actions of the PCs would do in slowing it. I have thoughts on how I'd run the entire AP, but I've only written out Book 5 (which needs the most) and a little of Book 6 (which doesn't need a lot).

    Necro much?


    Good to has some free Ashpeak revisions stuff for Giantslayer PF1e out there, Artofregicide, and, erm, enjoys your free complimentary Necro guild membership too. ;)


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    Here4daFreeSwag wrote:
    Good to has some free Ashpeak revisions stuff for Giantslayer PF1e out there, Artofregicide, and, erm, enjoys your free complimentary Necro guild membership too. ;)

    I will give the warning - my rewrite is in severe need of editing and revision that may never come. It's mostly cool ideas I've had, but even in my own playtest games I've had to adjust and adapt like any good GM does. But feel free to steal any or all for your home game, just give me some kind of credit (to that weirdo on the internets).

    I'm actually a founding member of the Thread Necromancer's Guild.

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