3 - Life's Long Shadows (GM Reference)


Extinction Curse

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Silver Crusade

This is a spoiler filled resource thread for part three of the Extinction Curse Adventure Path, Life's Long Shadows by Greg A Vaughan.

Other GM reference threads for Extinction Curse:

Part one, The Show Must Go On

Part two, Legacy of the Lost God

Part four, Siege of the Dinosaurs

Part five, Lord of the Black Sands

Part six, The Apocalypse Prophet


I'm kind of curious if Shoony will be put in a non-AP book. I'm also hoping whoever thought of the Blunt Snout racial ability gets a raise. I actually adore this new race, especially the art.

Silver Crusade

Ye!


The new race is AWESOME! I know what I'm saving my PFS achievement points for now.


I'm liking that new Golem Grafter archetype from the book. I'm wondering how a PC would likely acquire it? In the past APs the archetypes added in that volume say where the PCs could gain access to it (for example the Turpin Rowe thrower they can get from members of that circus).


I think they are supposed to grab Golem Grafter from the room with the dwarf ghosts, or at the very least from interacting with that tower.

Developer

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The Painted Oryx wrote:
I'm liking that new Golem Grafter archetype from the book. I'm wondering how a PC would likely acquire it? In the past APs the archetypes added in that volume say where the PCs could gain access to it (for example the Turpin Rowe thrower they can get from members of that circus).

From the tablets in area D4.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Ho tall are the platforms outside the towers? i.e. area D3 or area C3/C4? It wasn't clear from the description

Developer

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grandpoobah wrote:

Ho tall are the platforms outside the towers? i.e. area D3 or area C3/C4? It wasn't clear from the description

Pages 5 and 6 have the descriptions and heights for all the aeon towers. The lower platforms (D2, C3, C4) are 30 feet off of the ground. The upper terraces (like D3) are 120 feet higher than those, so 150 feet above the ground.

The full-page illustration on page 2 shows each of the aeon towers in this adventure, and should give your players (and you!) a good visual sense of their layout.


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Figured this would be a good (and spoiler-safe) place to discuss this:

As you might be aware, there's been discussion re: the fact that the circus can't pay for its own expenses regarding purchasing advertisements to raise Anticipation (each Anticipation point yields 1 gp while costing potentially dozens of gp in adverts), and that there aren't yet any reason for heroes to jack up the Anticipation. (though Paizo has promised there will be)

Now it's clear installment #4, Siege of the Dinosaurs, does not feature any story-based reasons to increase Anticipation either. This means that any such story mechanics won't show up until level 15 at the earliest. For many of you this might come off as too little too late, essentially meaning there's no point in striving for ever-higher Anticipation. And at double-digits, it feels... off... to have the heroes' circus still putter about with Anticipation 20 or thereabouts.

Which is why I want to highlight the following suggestion for this installment*, Life's Long Shadows :-)

If you're concerned about heroes minmaxing their circus income by sticking to zero advertisements as long as they can, you could probably say that the first Show in the Swardlands starts with a minimum Anticipation requirement of 25, adding five points for each subsequent Show, and they need to hold a Show in each settlement.

If the heroes fail to meet the minimum requirement when the Show is about to begin (I would guess most shows start in the late afternoon), the Show is simply cancelled, counting as a failure. Not enough people show up, so the spectators that do simply leave or even demand their money back. Purchasing "Beer" (the temporary upgrade) should be allowed, as a last desperate resort to fill the tent.

Essentially, the heroes need to put money up front with no assurance of ever getting it back. They do get (some of it) back, but don't tell them that. In order for this not to bleed heroes dry, you need to insert additional loot to the adventure.

Here are my suggestions:

First performance: Anticipation 25 (+250 gp loot; level ~8)
Second performance: Anticipation 30 (+500 gp loot; level ~9)
Third performance: Anticipation 35 (+800 gp loot; level ~10)
Fourth performance: Anticipation 40 (+1,200 gp loot; level ~11)

At least this way, the circus rules (and advertisement costs) makes more sense to me. It remains to be seen what, if any, Anticipation requirements installment #5 will impose on the heroes.

Zapp

PS. Do be aware that adding Anticipation demands does offer a way for Charismatic characters skilled in Society to save a nice chunk of cash through the Promote the Circus activity.

*) The next installment, Siege of the Dinosaurs, offers only a single, truncated, circus performance, so the Swardlands would be the best - and only - place to insert "earlier Anticipation demands" into the campaign.


Chapter 4's treasure includes a vial of mnemonic acid (pg 54). I can't find this anywhere, in the books or in Nethys. Is this going to be released later, or was it just a typo?

Developer

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IcedMik wrote:
Chapter 4's treasure includes a vial of mnemonic acid (pg 54). I can't find this anywhere, in the books or in Nethys. Is this going to be released later, or was it just a typo?

I believe we cut that when we were squeezing recalcitrant words into the toolbox, but I can check.


As I'm slowly preparing the adventure for my players I ran into a little bit of confusion regarding The Wellspring Tower map. Where do the players come from?

And also, how do the players get to area C5 on the Second Tier? From the stairs on C4?

Developer

Peenicks wrote:
As I'm slowly preparing the adventure for my players I ran into a little bit of confusion regarding The Wellspring Tower map. Where do the players come from?

Probably from the north; see the map on page 58 for how they'll probably get there.

Peenicks wrote:
And also, how do the players get to area C5 on the Second Tier? From the stairs on C4?

Yes. Those stairs go up and switch back, as the illustration on page 2 shows (the Wellspring Tower is the upper right one).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

So, what are some ways your players have made it up the liferoot tower to get the resonance?

Radiant Oath

Has anyone else had issues with getting the map of Oppar Vandy's house to work in VTT? I've spent over an hour trying to line up the grid, and at this point I am absolutely convinced that the map images in both the AP pdf and the Map pdf have variably sized squares. I even trimmed one down and resized the whole thing to have a width and height of 50px per square and it still didn't line up.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Evilgm wrote:
Has anyone else had issues with getting the map of Oppar Vandy's house to work in VTT? I've spent over an hour trying to line up the grid, and at this point I am absolutely convinced that the map images in both the AP pdf and the Map pdf have variably sized squares. I even trimmed one down and resized the whole thing to have a width and height of 50px per square and it still didn't line up.

to front this with: I love paizo APs, I am running this one starting sunday, I've run 3 previously.

I just finished up a Strange Aeons Campeign that ended up transitioning to roll20... i don;t know if it has to do with the paizo maps or the way roll20 imports the image, but every map from strange aeons i tried to import had varying sized grid squares across the map. I suspect maybe they aren't designed with directly importing the maps into a VTT in mind and the QA on the grid spacing for the art isn't held to that sort of standard.

Contributor

Every map I’ve ever pulled from an AP hasn’t lived up perfectly. Eventually I just made the roll20 grid transparent and we all made peace with tokens being varying degrees of off-center on the map grid. It’s a bit frustrating on big maps but overall we don’t mind.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

From what I've been able to determine the maps in the books are very, very rarely grid perfect.

Mostly due to getting them to fit on the page from what I gather and being relatively small (compared to what one would see on a VTT).


Evilgm wrote:
Has anyone else had issues with getting the map of Oppar Vandy's house to work in VTT? I've spent over an hour trying to line up the grid, and at this point I am absolutely convinced that the map images in both the AP pdf and the Map pdf have variably sized squares. I even trimmed one down and resized the whole thing to have a width and height of 50px per square and it still didn't line up.

I just set up that map.

You are right, the image has the wrong proportions. In order to make it right, I have to compress it's "hight" value. I can't tell you how much, because I was doing by trial and error... But if you are using FoundryVTT, I can tell you the numbers I used.


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I really enjoyed this module. The night hag haunting was fun to build up. I had her kill a member of the circus. She was this dark presence over the land. The random encounters were easy to work into the narrative and locations. The towers were fun providing some encounters to let AoE casters flex their power. It was a good mix of encounters that allowed casters and martials to both shine.

I'm not a big fan of the circus portion of this AP, so I've kept the circus in the background. It's not terribly done, but circuses are not my cup of tea. The narrative doesn't require the circus too much to be enjoyable. This story is much better connected than Age of Ashes. And xulgaths are interesting with unique powers and abilities.

Contributor

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Glad you liked the variant xulgaths! They were a lot of fun to come up with :)


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On page 8 it says "their circus’s Prestige can’t exceed 16 in this adventure." then page 55 says "their Prestige cannot rise above 13 during this adventure" Any idea which is correct?

Developer

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Moloch1066 wrote:
On page 8 it says "their circus’s Prestige can’t exceed 16 in this adventure." then page 55 says "their Prestige cannot rise above 13 during this adventure" Any idea which is correct?

Use 16. Note that it's the last limit, as starting in book 4 the circus doesn't have a Prestige limit.


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Tanessa Fleer has some very low stats for a level 9 NPC and shares AC and saves with the mooks she is in encounter with, is this a typo for her stats?


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I second Ograx's comment about Tanessas oddly low AC and saving throws, and I think there might be something wrong with Ginjana Mindkeepers saving throws as well (her AC is fine).

Right now Ginjanas highest save is +18 Reflex, which for a lvl 11 creature is in the "low" category according to the building creatures rules, and her other saves being below "terrible". As her dex modifier is +7 (con and wis +3 each), her current saving throws seem more fitting if she was a lvl 7 creature. :)


Personally I'm not worried for Tanessa, since that encounter is clearly meant to showcase how powerful the PCs have become. (The bandits are clearly outclassed regardless of any tweaks to Tanessa's stats)

Ginjana is a more straightforward combat encounter, which makes her stats more worthwhile to discuss.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Headless Xulgath has the Choke Slam ability that lists a Fortitude save the target has to make but it doesn't list what happens as a result of that save.

It seems like it's probably the same as the Xulgath Spinesnapper in book 2, but I'm curious if there's supposed to be a different set of outcomes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And the same thing for the Resin-Seep Xulgaths, they have Xulgath Bile which is an ability on the Xulgath Bilebearers from book 1.

Dark Archive

The text for confronting Thessekka in area F9 is confusing.

pg. 53 wrote:

If the fight occurs at the Old Forest Tower, the xulgaths at area F8 emerge to defend her as soon as combat begins; three

xulgath arrive at the beginning of the second round, with three more emerging each round thereafter.

Does this mean all the xulgath in F8 emerge in the first round and then three more the second, three more each round after? There's only 5 xulgath in area F8. Do I pull xulgath from elsewhere in the tower? This would be pretty brutal given the ones running around the interior.

Developer

bdk86 wrote:

The text for confronting Thessekka in area F9 is confusing.

pg. 53 wrote:

If the fight occurs at the Old Forest Tower, the xulgaths at area F8 emerge to defend her as soon as combat begins; three

xulgath arrive at the beginning of the second round, with three more emerging each round thereafter.
Does this mean all the xulgath in F8 emerge in the first round and then three more the second, three more each round after? There's only 5 xulgath in area F8. Do I pull xulgath from elsewhere in the tower? This would be pretty brutal given the ones running around the interior.

She's already a Severe encounter, so that would be kind of mean. Maybe send in 2 xulgath skirmishers at the beginning of the second round, with 1 arriving each round thereafter, and Krarkgekkiss arriving last (or not at all, if the heroes are totally on the ropes).

Dark Archive

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Ron Lundeen wrote:
bdk86 wrote:

The text for confronting Thessekka in area F9 is confusing.

pg. 53 wrote:

If the fight occurs at the Old Forest Tower, the xulgaths at area F8 emerge to defend her as soon as combat begins; three

xulgath arrive at the beginning of the second round, with three more emerging each round thereafter.
Does this mean all the xulgath in F8 emerge in the first round and then three more the second, three more each round after? There's only 5 xulgath in area F8. Do I pull xulgath from elsewhere in the tower? This would be pretty brutal given the ones running around the interior.
She's already a Severe encounter, so that would be kind of mean. Maybe send in 2 xulgath skirmishers at the beginning of the second round, with 1 arriving each round thereafter, and Krarkgekkiss arriving last (or not at all, if the heroes are totally on the ropes).

I did 2 Xulgath skirmishers round 2, another pair in round 3, and then Karkgekkiss in round 4 and it worked really well to add weight to the encounter without overwhelming them.


As I read through Life's Long Shadows, I'm wondering if I'm missing something. Are the players meant to use the map on the gazetteer as they explore the surrounding areas of Kerrick? I can't quite figure out if it contains too much information, or the right amount of information for the area.

Developer

Grivenger wrote:
As I read through Life's Long Shadows, I'm wondering if I'm missing something. Are the players meant to use the map on the gazetteer as they explore the surrounding areas of Kerrick? I can't quite figure out if it contains too much information, or the right amount of information for the area.

It wasn't meant as a player handout, but I think it's probably safe to give to them once they've asked locals about what's around.


Thanks! That'll help me figure out how I can run the exploration bit.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Has anyone added any custom info for the shoonys? Especially for Ferny. My players are suffering from exhaustion and want to spend a day there. Its easy enough to hand wave the day, but i was looking for something that would liven things up.

The PCs are
goblin rogue-sorcerer
halfling cleric-medic dedication
gnome giant barbarian
leshy druid-juggler archetype


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Would there be any major repercussions to just discarding the whole hag plotline? The idea of a sandbox adventure through bumblefudge nowhere to uncover the mystery of one dude's outstanding debt fills me with boredom.


My players wanted to stop the nightmares, as well as to take revenge because that girl that died.

If your players aren't invested and you don't mind, there is no repercussion whatsoever. Just remember to remove those things that mentions the Hag.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

This is not a big deal, but my players were confused by the fact that Dingo Dray seems to be wearing a baseball cap in the illustration at the beginning of chapter 4. Kind of looks like blue jeans, too. Is he a time traveler?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Warren wrote:
This is not a big deal, but my players were confused by the fact that Dingo Dray seems to be wearing a baseball cap in the illustration at the beginning of chapter 4. Kind of looks like blue jeans, too. Is he a time traveler?

Golarion isn't earth and might have developed jeans/baseball caps at some point over its massive history that might conflict with the order of how they were invented in our world. I'd say he's probably not a time traveler and is instead a fan because they help complete his lumberjack look.

Also that might be a different lumberjack in the festival than Dingo Dray, the rest of his named pictures have a pretty consistent look that's different from the chapter opening picture.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
thewastedwalrus wrote:
Golarion isn't earth and might have developed jeans/baseball caps at some point over its massive history that might conflict with the order of how they were invented in our world.

Well, that's a good point. Still feels odd to me to see a baseball cap in a fantasy RPG, but it seems like these days people care less and less about that kind of thing.

thewastedwalrus wrote:
Also that might be a different lumberjack in the festival than Dingo Dray, the rest of his named pictures have a pretty consistent look that's different from the chapter opening picture.

Hmmm... I guess that's possible. The lumberjack in the other two pictures also has a beard, a red flannel shirt and suspenders, but a different hat. Dingo's hair is redder than the guy in the chapter opening illustration. I still think it's supposed to be him though. :-)


I'll likely soon start this adventure. I skimmed the book and I have a question about levelling up. According to the advancement track, PCs reach level 10 while exploring aeon towers, 11 before confronting Thessekka, and 12 by end of adventure. I was using story-based levelling until now, but seeing this book is pretty sandbox, I think I might switch to experience based levelling for this portion of the adventure.

Q1: Is it possible to do story-based levelling in this book? If you did, when did you have PCs level up?

Q2: In the case of experience-based levelling, what advancement speed does Extinction Curse use?


Story based leveling works fine.

The Wellspring Tower is balanced to level 9.
Both the Liferoot Stone and the Old Forest Tower are balanced to level 10.
Thessekka fight is specifically balanced for level 11, as is the Skarja fight.

I recommend just leveling them up after each time the party finishes a tower, when they get their resonant reflections. It's not a big deal if they do the towers "out of order", since being underleveled by 1 level or overleveled by 1 level for one chapter won't change the fun of the campaign. Besides, Thessekka always appears in whichever tower the party does last, so they'll always be 11 for that fight.


BoscoDM wrote:
Would there be any major repercussions to just discarding the whole hag plotline? The idea of a sandbox adventure through bumblefudge nowhere to uncover the mystery of one dude's outstanding debt fills me with boredom.

To be honest, if you're filled with boredom, there aren't really any major repercussions to just dropping the entire Adventure Path, and instead go play a game you actually enjoy.


What is the travel speed for the circus? As a party I know their travel speed on foot or maybe if they hired some mounts, but I'm not sure as a whole how fast everything goes with them. I assume it's slower than an average party. I can just say it's 15 feet and use the provided conversions in the handbook but wanted to check.


I ran the circus as travelling 10 miles per day in my home games. It doesn't matter too much, though, because there's no time limit for the PCs.

Question regarding the Shuln: How did this encounter go for your games?
Am I correct to assume that PC steel armor has 18 break threshold, 36 HP as per this table? From a cursory glance, it seems somewhat likely for PCs to lose their armor.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yep, pretty dangerously costly. Though there is the chance for the party to recoup any losses by harvesting the teeth of the shuln, adamantine is quite valuable.


Really loving these towers. Our group started the Old Forest Tower backwards, by climbing up the outside between patrols and going down through the shaft at the top. We got badly mauled by the three hook-limbed xulgath in Thessekka's sanctum, and before we had the chance to lick our wounds and fix any wounded conditions, we heard the headless xulgath climbing up the shaft to reach us from the floor below. After discovering the hook-limbs' grab-an-edge reaction in the previous battle, the monk had intentionally strode adjacent to the lizards or performed a manipulate action like honking their noses, in order to draw their attack of opportunity and burn their reaction, then grapple and throw them down the shaft one at a time. While the landing at the bottom ate a huge chunk of their respective HP, it apparently got the attention of the four-armed behemoth, and he was on the verge of arriving once the fight had concluded.

Assisting each other to perform a single group action each round, the party barely managed to shove the stone alter in the room across the floor and into the shaft. It fell atop the beast inside and like a stone plunger, broke his grip and shoved him back down the shaft to the floor 150 feet below, whereupon he was sandwiched between the falling alter and the sharp crystal monolith at the center of the room, cleaving him in half.

Good times.


I'm in Book 2 Chapter 4 and feel like I'm missing why the players will go to Kerrick. My players know the next Aeon Towers are on Starstone isle, but have no clue where (they found various hints in Book 2). To me, the logical thing to do would be going to Absalom - the biggest city, where they could find out more information.

Have I skipped some crucial hint or missed something that would steer them in the right direction? Or is this a "the gm should probably think of a reason for them to go there" type situation?


It is more of a GM think of a reason, in my case i had them being contacted by someone (representing Vandy) looking for a travelling circus for a tour in the Swardlands

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