PFS2 1-12 Burden of Envy


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Envoy's Alliance 1/5 ***** Venture-Agent, Oklahoma—Oklahoma City

What is the incentive to save the stone giant, Seddothrum? He offers no payment, and trying to smuggle out a giant seems like it jeopardizes the entire mission. Maybe giants are super common travelers in and out of Xin-Edasseril so he wouldn't seem like an extraordinary companion? As for incentive I suppose he could blackmail the PCs by threatening to report them to the authorities. But I'm curious what other GMs are thinking.

The PCs are told to take some refugees to a ship in the middle of Shard Cove on the fourth day. And then later there’s info about how to build a raft out of a barrel, and the scenario rather assumes the PCs **are** dragging a raft through the sewers. But honestly, what player is going to be milling around the basement of Rockfish Inn and think, “I’ve got all this time on my hands. I think I’ll spend 8 hours making a raft out of a wine cask that I will then carry around town for the next 4 days." It seems like a large leap, and there are no info checks to learn about the cove, whether there might boats, whether it can be accessed from any route other than the sewers. So I'm just a bit stumped how these dots should get connected beyond billboard-sized hints from me.

And _if_ they build a raft, it's almost certainly a 4 person raft given the Crafting DC, which seems like a disaster. I can foresee 2 PCs and 2 NPCs on a raft being attacked by the reefclaws and sharks. How fast does the raft move? Can NPCs propel it while the PCs fight monsters? Can they build like 6 rafts? Running into a shard can very easily break a raft (not to mention a shark attacking it) so now what? It can't move? It moves at half speed? Everyone falls in the water? Why don't the PCs just bribe a fisherman to transfer all the refugees to Rolanna's Prayer? It seems the most likely plan unless I hit them over the head with the raft idea.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

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Timingila wrote:
What is the incentive to save the stone giant, Seddothrum?

The intended incentive is compassion, probably. I would play him so as to appeal to the PCs' better nature. This is a Radiant Oath mission, after all.

Timingila wrote:
Maybe giants are super common travelers in and out of Xin-Edasseril so he wouldn't seem like an extraordinary companion?

Stone giants have a historic (and unhappy) association with the Thassilonian empire so they would certainly not be as uncommon in Xin-Edasseril as elsewhere in the modern world.

Timingila wrote:

The PCs are told to take some refugees to a ship in the middle of Shard Cove on the fourth day. And then later there’s info about how to build a raft out of a barrel, and the scenario rather assumes the PCs **are** dragging a raft through the sewers. But honestly, what player is going to be milling around the basement of Rockfish Inn and think, “I’ve got all this time on my hands. I think I’ll spend 8 hours making a raft out of a wine cask that I will then carry around town for the next 4 days." It seems like a large leap, and there are no info checks to learn about the cove, whether there might boats, whether it can be accessed from any route other than the sewers. So I'm just a bit stumped how these dots should get connected beyond billboard-sized hints from me.

Yuleg might quite naturally question how people are going to get to the ship from Shard Cove, and after a bit of discussion, he might offer the PCs whatever materials are available in the inn (such as the wine barrels) to build a raft.

Timingila wrote:

And _if_ they build a raft, it's almost certainly a 4 person raft given the Crafting DC, which seems like a disaster. I can foresee 2 PCs and 2 NPCs on a raft being attacked by the reefclaws and sharks. How fast does the raft move? Can NPCs propel it while the PCs fight monsters? Can they build like 6 rafts?

Running into a shard can very easily break a raft (not to mention a shark attacking it) so now what? It can't move? It moves at half speed? Everyone falls in the water?

If multiple PCs were Crafting, I don't see why they couldn't build multiple rafts in the same 8 hours. In the absence of any rafting speed statistics, I would probably say the raft moves at 30 ft (the speed of a rowboat in PF1) when paddled, and an NPC could propel it. If the raft breaks (Break Threshold exceeded), it could no longer be paddled, and if it's Destroyed (0 HP) it no longer holds together enough to even provide basic flotation, so everyone falls in. As the water is specified to be calm, no Athletics checks are needed to swim.

Timingila wrote:
Why don't the PCs just bribe a fisherman to transfer all the refugees to Rolanna's Prayer? It seems the most likely plan unless I hit them over the head with the raft idea.

Sure, if they want to do that, why not? Ask for a Diplomacy check (instead of the Crafting to make a raft) to convince the fisherman to do this very dangerous task of picking refugees up from the sewer tunnel to ferry to the waiting ship through shard- and shark-infested waters. Encounter B3 then proceeds exactly the same way as normal.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

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Unrelated to the above, I like the new scaling approach for low-level parties that would previously have had to play up due to number of players. [I'm referring to the 16-18 CP (5+ players) entry in the "Scaling Encounter" sidebars.]

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

logsig wrote:
Unrelated to the above, I like the new scaling approach for low-level parties that would previously have had to play up due to number of players. [I'm referring to the 16-18 CP (5+ players) entry in the "Scaling Encounter" sidebars.]

Oh - I missed this gem. I instead ensured we had another player to avoid the 16 point issue. Good to know.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
logsig wrote:
Unrelated to the above, I like the new scaling approach for low-level parties that would previously have had to play up due to number of players. [I'm referring to the 16-18 CP (5+ players) entry in the "Scaling Encounter" sidebars.]

I absolutely agree. Even though I cannot find it specifically mentioned anywhere, it would appear that they are moving toward a system where the difficulty adjustments for parties at 16-18 CP now depend on party size: a large low-level party will play low-tier with several extra low-level monsters, while a small high-level party will play high-tier as before.

So far, that's just my assumption based on the scaling boxes, but I think it's a very reasonable one. Has something along these lines been stated outright anywhere?

Edit: as it currently stands, going by the GM basics section in the guide, when you're at say 17 CP, you might assume high-tier and not even look at the low-tier stat blocks to even notice the possibility.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

Timingila wrote:
What is the incentive to save the stone giant, Seddothrum?

As Logsig said - purely compassion. Saving him is optional. Guaril for sure wouldn't save him as he is a pain to save. Valais on the other hand certainly would try her best.

The getting started scene sets this up nicely.

To get the Radiant Oath 2 extra fame needs 4 out of 5 success - one of them the Giant. As such it is nearly necessary to rescue him for the reward from the Radiant Oath - which makes a lot of sense.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

Ok - here are my experiences encounter by encounter (GMed it twice - online, tier 3-4)

Overall - a great adventure with lots of options. But one that needs above average preparation time.

Secret knowledge checks:
This scenario is the motherload of secret knowledge checks. roll20 offers both great options for secret checks (I showed some macros to do that on my blog drthod.com) but also means a lot of preparation as you can't just copy&paste due to line breaks and text that needs adjustment.

In meatspace - ensure you work out a good way to deal with secret rolls ahead - and also how you tell players. In online space - you can make macros to run it efficiently - or maybe let roll everyone who wants openly and then hand out all information (correct and wrong one) together as otherwise players know what is wrong / a red herring - what is actually correct.

Pacing / Sandbox
The challenges can be done in any order. There are some benefits doing certain ones earlier (finding Vurna especially can avoid chasing down Fitch and gives extra time for healing her disease) - but in the end these are minor benefits / drawbacks. Ensure to move the party on if they take too long to discuss. Some roleplay is great - but watch the time.

Both groups managed well. One really had problems with Astrid (nobody noticed the dropped paper, the book was taken away, they assumed she might be a spy etc.). But in the end both groups gathered everyone.

Rolanna's Prayer vs Merry Mayflair: Lots of discussions here who should go where. In the end I had the academic family and the giant on the Prayer and everyone else on the Mayflair. Keep a tap on discussion time here and move on if they can't decide. Yes - I nudged them kids might be safer to go on first boat and Giant also seems weird / difficult to hide. But mechanically only Vurna makes a difference in the last Obstacle Course.

Warehouse Ambush: A straightforward fight. My second group nearly struggled as I opened with 2 critical strikes. My dice were hot ...

Shard Cove:
This one has written table variance written all over it. The battle map is just 24 by 30 water. We know where the predator is, we know where the shards are. But this is where it stops to be clear how to handle it:

The group has to bring 5 people to the ship. Can these swim? How many rafts (if any) has the group build. And the really important one - where do the characters start and where do they have to get to?

There is a huge difference in number of shards to possibly trigger if you go North/South / East/West or even from one corner to the opposite corner.

I ruled the groups start somewhere in the Norths and need to reach the edge of the map in the South to be safe.

Group 1: 3 rafts - one a critical with space for 6 for a total of 14 places. Enough for the family, the giant and the players who spread across the rafts. Fight very straightforward.

Group 2: 1 raft (they did dismally when trying to build more). They place the family on the raft, the giant swam behind, the players did swim next to it - steering it.

It is calm water - so I ruled no checks needed to move (CRB p.243). Speed is 10 feet (5 + 5 feet per 20 movement).

Improvements for the future: I should check if someone has only 15 foot movement (likely via heavy armour) - he swims at only 5 feet. The swim action does allow +5 feet on a critical. Trained is DC15 - so I might give characters who swim the option to either swim 10 or to try a swim check (DC 15). On a critical they move 15 (and there is a chance to fail).

Be familiar with the aquatic combat rules - p.478. The most important once - flat footed if you swim without a swim check. The -2 damage to slashing/bludgeoning might be debatable - you are not under water but swim on the surface. So circumstancial if it applies (is the shark on the surface as well to attack) or is he mainly submerged and only his fin sticks out.

Obstacles / the plan:
I ran into time pressure in both my games. This part deserves a little bit of time / roleplay. Allow players to prepare (have a plan). Allow players creativity / alternate skills with a DC 4 higher.

In the end - be relaxed about this one. It can be very hard to get 6 success conditions without the right skills / preparation. PCs might run out of heropoints very early.

In the end all it costs are treasure bundles. So they might not end up with all 10 - tough. Players need to get used that 10 bundles isn't a default or they become meaningless.

I was too scared of their failure myself in the first group and only relaxed afterwards when I realized all that happened was 9 instead of 10 treasure bundles.

Let me know what I did wrong / other bits to look out for.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is the high sub-tier encounter scaling for area B2 really intended to add hungry blade recruits (the low-tier mob) for higher CPs, or is that a typo/copy-paste error and the side bar is really supposed to say hungry blade apprentices (the high-tier mob)?

Normally, if recruits were intended, the appendix for that encounter would list their stat block with a (0) added, which is missing here.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

albadeon wrote:

Is the high sub-tier encounter scaling for area B2 really intended to add hungry blade recruits (the low-tier mob) for higher CPs, or is that a typo/copy-paste error and the side bar is really supposed to say hungry blade apprentices (the high-tier mob)?

Normally, if recruits were intended, the appendix for that encounter would list their stat block with a (0) added, which is missing here.

Yeah, I assume that's a typo.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

I forgot one serious issue:

Helping Vurna to overcome the disease. The game mentioned taking care for her (8 hours) - but that only gives a bonus to the check (as does alchemical help).

But there isn't a fortitude save value that I could find. Please let me know if you spotted one or if I misinterpret the rules here.

The alternative is to use the Cure Disease scroll. But this leads to the question - do you get less treasure bundles if you use the bundles. In the last obstacle you have to bribe your way out with treasure bundles if you failed any of the obstacles.

It therefore is to question - do you lose any treasure bundles if you use them up before this point.

In the past consumable items could be used while gold / silver found couldn't be used - would come out of your share. In this case the scroll is exactly 1 treasure bundle.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

Thod wrote:
But there isn't a fortitude save value that I could find. Please let me know if you spotted one or if I misinterpret the rules here.

The scenario specifies DC 15 Fortitude (DC 18 in high subtier). Page 10, in the paragraph starting "Filth Fever".

The Remove Disease scroll requires a counteract check so you need the disease DC in any case.

Scarab Sages 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Oregon—Portland

Thod wrote:

I forgot one serious issue:

Helping Vurna to overcome the disease. The game mentioned taking care for her (8 hours) - but that only gives a bonus to the check (as does alchemical help).

But there isn't a fortitude save value that I could find. Please let me know if you spotted one or if I misinterpret the rules here.

“Scenario” wrote:
Vurna must be Stage 2 or better (or cured) before Yuleg and Vurna will agree to travel with the PCs. Otherwise, the two remain in the city. A PC can spend 8 hours attempt a Medicine check to Treat Disease to help Vurna get better by helping her reduce the stage of her filth fever. If a PC succeeds at the Medicine check, they help her enough that she succeeds on her saving throw.

I almost missed it too, Thod.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

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Maps note: in the scenario, the map for B3 is incorrectly labeled Warehouse. If you are looking for an all-water flip-mat, use the back side of Ship.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

logsig wrote:
Thod wrote:
But there isn't a fortitude save value that I could find. Please let me know if you spotted one or if I misinterpret the rules here.

The scenario specifies DC 15 Fortitude (DC 18 in high subtier). Page 10, in the paragraph starting "Filth Fever".

The Remove Disease scroll requires a counteract check so you need the disease DC in any case.

What I mean is - if you don't use the scroll.

Saving throw for Vurna is her Fort save + bonus from antiplaque + bonus from 8 hours treatment / medical help.

Antiplaque gives you a +2 item bonus
Treat disease gives +2 for success and +4 for critical success

Vurna is a dwarf ranger. As such I would assume she is at least +6 (4 for expert fort from ranger, +1 level, +1 constitution being a dwarf and assuming now flaw was used).

But there is no stat block / Fort save for Vurna in the book.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ****

The maps note of Losig reminds me of another issue: The where on Golarion Map shows Xin Edasseril where Xin Shalast (Rise of the Runelords) is.

Xin Edasseril should be on an island in the steaming sea / Ironbound Archipelago. It should be just on the western edge of the map directly unter the letter T.

I got asked - why is it on an island (Knowledge checks) and couldn't answer that question.

Interestingly there seem alternate locations on a 6000 year old map in Shattered Star and a newer lost Omens. But either is an island west of the coastline the continent.

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

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Thod wrote:
logsig wrote:
Thod wrote:
But there isn't a fortitude save value that I could find. Please let me know if you spotted one or if I misinterpret the rules here.

The scenario specifies DC 15 Fortitude (DC 18 in high subtier). Page 10, in the paragraph starting "Filth Fever".

The Remove Disease scroll requires a counteract check so you need the disease DC in any case.

What I mean is - if you don't use the scroll.

Saving throw for Vurna is her Fort save + bonus from antiplaque + bonus from 8 hours treatment / medical help.

Antiplaque gives you a +2 item bonus
Treat disease gives +2 for success and +4 for critical success

Vurna is a dwarf ranger. As such I would assume she is at least +6 (4 for expert fort from ranger, +1 level, +1 constitution being a dwarf and assuming now flaw was used).

But there is no stat block / Fort save for Vurna in the book.

You don't need her fort save for the treat disease case - the scenario explicitly says (as Matthew pointed out above) she makes it if your party succeeds in their medicine check to treat disease. If the party does something else helpful, just treat that as a bonus to the medicine check.

As for the location of the city, the map on page 109 of LOWG is canonical for the present day, i.e after the events of the Return of the Runelords AP and the creation of New Thassilon.

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston

Two questions that I have after prepping this (and reviewing this thread)

1) If the PCs fail to befriend/recruit any of the people who have 'safe houses' for after curfew, what are their options?
a) Can they return to their ship each day to rest/plan?
b) Do they need to rent a room at an inn?
c) (I think the warehouse and the Rockfish are the two provided safe houses. Can they stay at Fitch's hide out, or the families house?)

2) How much care needs to be taken when getting rafts to the sewers? Feels like that would be a suspicious activity in the town, but nothing is called out. Basically hand-wave it, but try to encourage some planning?

5/55/55/55/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle

NielsenE wrote:

Two questions that I have after prepping this (and reviewing this thread)

1) If the PCs fail to befriend/recruit any of the people who have 'safe houses' for after curfew, what are their options?
a) Can they return to their ship each day to rest/plan?
b) Do they need to rent a room at an inn?
c) (I think the warehouse and the Rockfish are the two provided safe houses. Can they stay at Fitch's hide out, or the families house?)

I don't think returning to the ship each day is expected behavior and if you want to discourage it you could point out that the guards stationed at the docks would be seeing a lot of going back and forth and might get curious.

I don't see a problem with the party renting a room at another random inn (paying standard rates just like actual merchants would). It might be a bit conspicuous to use a random inn as a staging area if they want a bunch of the refugees to meet up there though. It seems reasonable to allow them to use the other locations you mentioned, if they somehow didn't get access to the warehouse or the Rockfish.

NielsenE wrote:

2) How much care needs to be taken when getting rafts to the sewers? Feels like that would be a suspicious activity in the town, but nothing is called out. Basically hand-wave it, but try to encourage some planning?

Definitely smells handwavy, but as long as they say they're being careful, scouting ahead to avoid guards, etc. That assumes they actually go with the raft option, of course. The table I ran stole, er, borrowed a fisherman's boat for that purpose, and used the barrels for a different crafting project.

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston

Just back from running it, when my PCs asked, I gave them the option to return to the ship every night, but told them its going to cost them the 2 hours of transit time (each direction) so they quickly decided it was the last resort. And told them that while the guards might not frown on it, it would let the guards become more familiar with their appearance/mannerisms.

My group didn't go with a raft at all, so my question two was a moot point, but I'll be running it again soon. (My group never thought to ask about the extraction plan, and was too afraid to tell any of escapees the plan (so I couldn't have any of them express concern) -- they intentionally didn't want to tell the two people who knew about the cove the plan, since they weren't part of that extraction). So they get to the cove and had to improvise. The had the giant do a slow backstroke with the family riding on his stomach.... They barely made it.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Hagerstown

logsig wrote:
Unrelated to the above, I like the new scaling approach for low-level parties that would previously have had to play up due to number of players. [I'm referring to the 16-18 CP (5+ players) entry in the "Scaling Encounter" sidebars.]

I guess they are trying to do what they did in PFS 1.

Guide to Organized Play-PFS 1 wrote:
In the fringe case where there are no PCs that are high enough level to have reached the subtier level (such as a party of six 3rd-level characters), the group can decide to play the lower subtier

Wish they would update the PFS guide or call it out in the scenario though. I totally missed it in my first read through.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Hagerstown

So, I have read over B1: Meeting Themolin a few times. Am i missing the Make Impression DC. I am thinking about just making it DC 15 (DC 18 high tier).

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Great Lakes

So, my group never thought to try to build the raft (also almost left the accountant behind due to some of the characters not wanting to deal with a beurocrate [and not caring about getting Gurrila his money]). That being said, when they got to the shore they purposely asked to find driftwood and fashion something from that. Also, since they only had the one raft, they sent the five plus one party member out. When they spotted the shark, the first person in initiative used their actions to step into the water, cut their hand, and start having the blood rush into the water, which attracted the shark. This made for a much different fight and allowed the part to get the refugees out.

Also, as an aside - the party had just recently played Tarnbreaker's Trail, with its race of 200 miles in 4 days. They had a hard time wrapping their head around 2 hours to move a few hundred feet after they had just "flown" through that race.

5/5 *****

The weapons of the hungry blade recruits and apprentices are missing any weapon traits such as deadly. Is it intended that we ignore the fact that they arre using weapons with these traits?

Shadow Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Columbus

Ivis Flanagan wrote:


Also, as an aside - the party had just recently played Tarnbreaker's Trail, with its race of 200 miles in 4 days. They had a hard time wrapping their head around 2 hours to move a few hundred feet after they had just "flown" through that race.

I sold the travel time as the characters having to go out of their way to use the gates in the walls that enclose the various sections of the city. Of course, being North Korea Lite, there were guards checking papers at every gate, causing delays and a line of people waiting to pass through. Trying to get to the Ministry of Tithes? Wow, looks like another long line of People queueing at the gate... gonna take at least an hour and a half to get through. Took my players until “Day 2” to catch on. Then we all had a bit of a joke about it.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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I have just prepared to run it tomorrow and honestly, one of the smoothes preps I have had in PFS2 thus far.

Most things are well explained and there are some really good ideas in there as far as presentation and reprinting of CRB rules are concerned.

Shard cove feels like it is missing a bit of information, like how many of the refugees can swim, or dare to do so and in which direction you swim. I would not be surprised to see players swimming ahead to clear the area first.

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

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We kept the refugees on the raft, held on to it with one hand just to not have to bother with swimming actions, and used the other hand to punch sharks in the face. Very satisfying mental image.

3/5 *** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I have just prepared to run it tomorrow and honestly, one of the smoothes preps I have had in PFS2 thus far.

Most things are well explained and there are some really good ideas in there as far as presentation and reprinting of CRB rules are concerned.

Shard cove feels like it is missing a bit of information, like how many of the refugees can swim, or dare to do so and in which direction you swim. I would not be surprised to see players swimming ahead to clear the area first.

Yeah. Everyone can swim. No checks need to be made. I remember reading the rules. And then after the encounter profusely apologised as swimming only eats an action.

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

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I had 3 druids, and as it turned out there was zero raft building and a lot of "how many water breathing spells can we have prepared between us?" and nonviolent negotiations with the sharks.

Radiant Oath 4/5

HammerJack wrote:
I had 3 druids, and as it turned out there was zero raft building and a lot of "how many water breathing spells can we have prepared between us?" and nonviolent negotiations with the sharks.

I tried using Glimpse of Redemption to convince the sharks not to bite, but they just took the enfeebled condition and kept trying to attack anyway.

Sovereign Court Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Tampa

What if the pcs fail at the checkpoint and decide to fight the guards there are only 2? There doesnt seem to be any provision for this.

Scarab Sages 1/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Virginia—Richmond

Bill McVey wrote:
What if the pcs fail at the checkpoint and decide to fight the guards there are only 2? There doesnt seem to be any provision for this.

They are imprisoned and need to pay Reputation to escape. Also, the refugees with them are captured, so the PCs might fail the Secondary Objective and receive fewer Treasure Bundles.

It's always a better idea to just bribe the guards, and the Scenario encourages that.

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

The easiest narrative transition is probably that their ship doesn't make it out of the harbor, and is boarded by 60 guards. Because they did a stupid thing, even after all of your telegraphing of how they shouldn't be trying to fight through the guards, and endangering the entire operation.

5/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Raleigh

Do players avoid all "Refugee based" obstacles if they has already transfered all of the refugees to the Prayer?

3/5 **

If the players are leaving five people behind, they wouldn't encounter the refugee-based obstacles. Otherwise, only the obstacles with notes about bypassing them would be avoided.

The Prayer can only accommodate five of the ten possible refugees.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

So, here's a question that has come up in a game I am running... maybe I missed it, but why isn't the Rolanna’s Prayer coming to shore (other than to have that encounter, that is)? And how are the PCs to know this ahead of time.

Sovereign Court 1/5 *

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The cove is full of very shallow areas of the coral reef, shallow enough to be hazards during the fight. It's as close to the cave in that alcove that's safe.

Remember, ships don't go to shore anyways unless they intend to beach themselves. They either use a dock that comes out far enough into the water, or they use launches to ferry people back and forth.

So they're anchored in the cove as safe as they can be until the tide starts to turn waiting for you to get the people out to them.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

No, I do get that, but there is nothing in the information given to the players that states this. One of my players assumed the ship would send out launches, for example.

I really don’t want this to be a “gotcha” for them.

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

I think you can just say that in the mission briefing then, or whenever the players seem to be making a plan based on the ship coming to them say "you remember now that they told you..."

Let's assume that the missing information is because the author forgot to be sufficiently detailed, not because the Society is intentionally making things harder. That was early-season 1E :P

5/5 *****

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The last time my group scoped out the cove in advance and I made it clear there was no way the ship was getting into the cove and they would need to work out how to get to the ship.

1/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—PbP

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Jack Brown wrote:
So, here's a question that has come up in a game I am running... maybe I missed it, but why isn't the Rolanna’s Prayer coming to shore (other than to have that encounter, that is)? And how are the PCs to know this ahead of time.

Very good question.

Jack Brown wrote:
I really don’t want this to be a “gotcha” for them.

Good instincts. It shouldn't be a "gotcha". Guaril, in particular, put too much planning into this operation (and has too many profits riding on it) for him to allow for such an oversight. Likewise, Valais cares too much for the PCs and the success of the mission to withhold crucial information from them.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Let's assume that the missing information is because the author forgot to be sufficiently detailed, not because the Society is intentionally making things harder. That was early-season 1E :P

Simply telling the truth is an option. And, let's be honest, it would have been helpful if the author had been more sufficiently detailed. Those who have already posted throughout this thread have had great advise for addressing a number of various situations that were not addressed by the author.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I think you can just say that in the mission briefing then, or whenever the players seem to be making a plan based on the ship coming to them say "you remember now that they told you..."

This is certainly a viable way to impart the information. It makes sense and players are understanding.

Both Guaril and Valais were in on many of the logistics of the plan (at least the original one). Also, in response to questioning, Valais concedes that it was difficult just to get Captain Remmith of Rolanna's Prayer just to enter the cove, so it is certainly conceivable that she would have mentioned that Remmith was unwilling to take a great risk by sending out launches and risk having crew captured (or worse).

Another possible option is to have the necessary information come from Flitch. He could inform the PCs that they will need to figure out how to get to the ship.

But, how then do we explain that Flitch would have this information?

Here, we can use the lack of information provided by the author to the GM's (and party's) advantage! The author provides few details in the scenario about how much Flitch knows with regard to the original operation. Therefore, what he knows (and how smart he is) are details that are entirely left up to the GM.

One could gather from Guaril's List (the Handout) that Flitch must have had some working knowledge of the original plan. He was trusted with finding/knowing the way to Shard Cove. Also, he brought the note he received from "Garla" to Guaril. It is reasonable, then, to assume that Flitch knows in advance of the need to figure out a way to the ship. Perhaps, one might even assume that Guaril had entrusted Flitch with the very task of figuring out how to get the "clients" to the ship. Indeed, Guaril may have even put Flitch in charge of obtaining some rafts for that very purpose and instructed his nephew to have them waiting in the tunnels.

However, one may also gather from Guaril's List that Flitch isn't the sharpest of thieves. Guaril suggests that, if Fltch was "a better thief", then Flitch wouldn't need his help. Guaril also states that, if Flitch were "smart", he'd be "laying low in his flat". Yet, when the PCs investigate the flat, Flitch isn't there laying low! Instead, Flitch has fled to the sewers (along with a bunch of poorly forged documents)!

It may be, in your game, that Flitch failed to obtain any rafts before Guaril left town, despite Guaril having told him to do so. Or maybe Guaril made sure that Flitch had rafts stowed away, but then, once word got about the price on Guaril's head, Flitch hastily destroyed the rafts out of fear of getting caught with "evidence". One might even imagine Flitch burning scraps of wooden rafts as a way to warm his sewer hideout at the time the PCs first find him.

Now, its possible that I am drawing too many inferences about Flitch's lack of competence. However, one detail that was included in the scenario is that Flitch, not Guaril, was approached about the smuggling operation by "Garla"--who, it turns out is a member of the Emerald Guard! And, then, of course, there is the obvious question (which the author fails to provide) as to just how Guaril got the price on his head in the first place (which is the very reason why the PCs end up becoming involved!) Guaril having partnered with a not-entirely-competent thief might be one plausible explanation.

Vurna might also be able to provide information about having to find a way about ship(assuming she is well enough) as might Yuleg. Clearly, Vurna has been thinking about escape. Before falling ill, one could imagine her heading out to Shard Cove everyday, imagining that the ship had arrived early or dreaming of how she and Flitch might one day sail away on their own. One could imagine her asking Flitch to provide her with details about their future and that she may well have listened carefully to each and every word that Flitch may have said to impress her or that he simply let slip. The scenario does mention that Guaril and Flitch had discussed escape with Yuleg. When Vurna offered her knowledge of the tunnels, the issue of how to get to the ship when it arrives may well have come up then to.

The above are just a few ideas of how to handle delivering the missing information, but as the GM it is your scenario and how you choose to do it is entirely up to you. Feel free to use these ideas or come up with even better ones!

I absolutely love hearing and reading about how different GMs and players have handled the various NPCs and encounters differently. As a scenario author, it is always exciting to see how people take a few words put on a pdf and give them full form and life in ways that I had never imagined. I am always awed by the thoughtful insights and inspiring creativity that is so abundant within this community!

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

So, that's all cool.
I've incorporated many of the suggestions into my current PBP run, as well as the VTT table I ran at Paizo Con Online.

I do love how the author (Lysle Kapp) calls himself out. I hope you haven't taken any of this in any light other than helpful criticism. I would not be running this if I disliked the scenario!

So, I have come up with an interesting situation. In my PBP, my players were thinking about buying a boat. I cannot see any reason why they couldn't...

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Answer... vehicles are all in the GMG, so unavailable for purchase

1/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—PbP

Jack Brown wrote:
I hope you haven't taken any of this in any light other than helpful criticism.

If my comments suggested otherwise, then my apologies. I appreciate the feedback. Also, I've run the scenario a few times myself, including for players familiar with the scenario from GMing, and I try to keep on the lookout for ideas on how to keep it fresh and engaging.

Jack Brown wrote:
In my PBP, my players were thinking about buying a boat. I cannot see any reason why they couldn't...

As a GM, I generally try to say "yes" to whatever the PCs are planning as long as it seems reasonable under the circumstances. Purchasing small boats make sense.

Time permitting, I might have the boat shop keep ask some probing questions about why they are buying the boat (to increase the tension and reinforce the concern of getting caught). I would limit them to purchasing small, light craft as they need to be hauled through the sewers. The same checks for Squeezing or Pushing (and potential consequences or failure) called for in the scenario would apply to the boats.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Yeah, I want to allow it, too. Just comes down to what's legal for PFS.

There is a rowboat (holds 2 passengers + 1 rower) for 15gp, but I don't think they need to buy that.

An expert hireling would be 5sp per day. Animals are about 1/20 of their purchase cost to rent. So, charging between 5sp and 1gp per day, per boat, would probably work.

Just not 100% comfortable with this as there are no PFS legal rules around purchasing or leasing vehicles.

On the other hand, there is nothing against them hiring out services, so I think this would be fair.

I will base the rate on how well they do on a deception/diplomacy/intimidation check. The latter for sure would end up causing them more problems, though.

I do like the idea of RPing it out...

Thanks, Lysle.

5/5 *****

I think the bigger issue with using boats is getting them to the cove through the sewer tunnels.

Dark Archive **

Does anyone want to take a guess as to what Barralbus's counteract modifier should be for his Counterspell ability?

In low tier he is level 3, INT +4, spell DC 20, spell attack +12.

It's either +9(level 3, trained, +4 INT), +10(spell DC20), or +12(spell attack +12).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CRB p.259 wrote:
For spells, the counteract check modifier is your spellcasting ability modifier plus your spellcasting proficiency bonus, plus any bonuses and penalties that specifically apply to counteract checks.

Since there are no specific bonuses/penalties qualifying for the last part, +9 is right.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

What is the Stealth DC to Avoid Notice during curfew? The guards don't have statistics, and I don't see it mentioned in the scenario.

I'm imagining I should just instill the idea that it's dangerous, have them roll Stealth, and theatre of the mind their results?

I don't want to create encounters or have them pay bribes that aren't written into the scenario.

1/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—PbP

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Nefreet wrote:

What is the Stealth DC to Avoid Notice during curfew? The guards don't have statistics, and I don't see it mentioned in the scenario.

I'm imagining I should just instill the idea that it's dangerous, have them roll Stealth, and theatre of the mind their results?

I don't want to create encounters or have them pay bribes that aren't written into the scenario.

When I've run the scenario, I try to play up the atmosphere of oppression and an ever-looming presence of overwhelming force to indicate that breaking curfew is a likely doomed to failure. If a player insists on having a PC sneak out, I remind them of the warning against doing such in the briefing.

I have not had a table where any PC break curfew.

However, if a player at one of my tables persisted, then I would absolutely let them go for it!

A scenario provides a framework, but once you start running a table of PFS, the game belongs to you and the players--its now your collaboration.

COLLABORATION DURING PLAY on page 483 of Core Rulebook wrote:
When players throw out suggestions or come up with specific theories about the events of the campaign, they are telling you what they'd like to see in the game.

If a player wants to throw out Stealth as a suggestion (even if it is not expressly contemplated in the scenario), then collaboratively work with them on a resolution.

Now, since Stealth to Avoid Notice is a secret roll, I'd be tempted to just roll a die behind my screen and then announce to the PC, "Realizing that the Venture-Captain must have recognized that your particular skill set was just what was needed for this mission, you venture out into the well-patrolled streets. You calculate an inconspicuous route and artfully meld into shadows, moving so silently your passing is more like that of a wraith than a corporeal being. Even then, you manage only narrowly to escape detection from the patrolling guards, one which--a group of six--included a mage, casting detect magic at regular intervals. Fortunately, he just happened to be looking in the opposite direction as you snuck past his location." I'd make this announcement regardless of the actual roll. The rules lawyer in me says that this is technically still running the scenario rules as written as it does not contradict any rules written in the scenario.

However, if I were to forego such temptation, I think it fair and reasonable to warn the PCs that avoiding notice of the patrols after curfew will be "very hard" and, if they wish to proceed, call for a Stealth check with the DC set at the level of the Subtier with an added "Very Hard" adjustment, using Tables 10-5 and 10-6 on pages 503 and 504 of the Core Rulebook. If you think adding the "Very Hard" adjustment is too harsh, particularly for a low-level adventure, you'd be well within your rights to simply set the DC at the level of the Subtier.

The VC briefing expressly warns against going out during curfew and the first encounter with the guards highlights their capabilities and access to magical means to perform their duties. Therefore, I think the "Very Hard" adjustment is justified.

ADJUDICATING THE RULES on page 484 of Core Rulebook wrote:
If you're not sure how difficult a significant challenge should be, use the DC for the party's level.

Based on this, I think setting the DC at the level of the Subtier is also justified.

Of course, if you leave the resolution to a skill check, there is always the chance for failure. The possibility of failure is built into the mechanics of the game. The risks and rewards of the game are a large part of what makes the game fun.

The Core Rulebook, and I believe organized play, leaves the choice of consequence up to the GM, but suggest that the resolution should be "negative", but allow the PC to "fail forward".

RUNNING A SESSION on page 483 of Core Rulebook wrote:
You'll also determine when PCs and foes need to attempt checks, as well as the consequences of those rolls.
ADJUDICATING THE RULES on page 484 of Core Rulebook wrote:
When the PCs fails a task, look for a way they might fail forward, meaning the story moves forward with a negative consequence rather than the failure halting progress entirely.
Creative Solutions in Pathfinder Society (Second Edition) Guide to Organized Play wrote:
Rewarding the creative use of skills and roleplaying not only make Society games more fun for the players, but it also gives the GM a level of flexibility in ensuring players receive the rewards they are due.

Imprisonment is a logical consequence of a foreigner being caught breaking the law in Xin-Edasseril as established in canon (so is death, but just because the Runelord is ruthless and harsh doesn't mean the GM must be and death removes any options of "failing forward"). It is also an expressly contemplated outcome of the scenario on page 19.

I think it perfectly reasonable, if a PC were caught breaking curfew, to have the PC detained and to have Ellvard lead the guards that detained the PC. Then, one need just follow the scenario's outline of how to resolve the issue of detaining.

The scenario presents ways a PC can avoid or get free of imprisonment/detention on page 18.

To get free, the caught PC or another (surely word of an ally getting caught would make it back to the PCs, who are presumably looking for a lost agent) would either have to 1) pay a bribe to get the caught PC freed or present their own leverage to Ellvard to convince him to let the PCs go free. I think losing a single Treasure Bundle (which I would only note on the caught PC's chronicle) is a fair consequence and even that could be avoided if the PCs have already uncovered leverage against Ellvard to use.

The mechanics of this "encounter" are identical to a written encounter in the scenario, so it shouldn't be too difficult to insert and, the "roleplay' aspect could even be waved. Just mark off that the PC lost a Treasure Bundle and move along.

Under those circumstances, having the detained PC get a "reward" by like receiving some new, useful information while being detained, perhaps overhearing that Ellvard is "looking for an affidavit at the Ministry of Tithes for some reason" or that he "is rumored to have scammed the Runelord herself" or maybe, "That scammer, Fitch, is such a lousy forger--if I hadn't trusted his so-called 'craftsmanship', I'd be well on my way to Korvosa by now", provides a bit more "failing forward" and may offset any distaste over losing a Treasure Bundle or giving up some bribery material.

If one doesn't want to be as punitive or to have a PC pay any bribes, I think it perfectly reasonable, if a PC were caught breaking curfew, to have the PC and/or the party, detained through the night and for two additional hours of the following day. Time is a factor in the scenario, so the loss of time is a negative consequence, but not an insurmountable one. I wouldn't impose the two hour penalty if such a detention would detain a PC past dawn on the fourth day for reasons that should be clear in the scenario.

Yet, another perfectly reasonable alternative, if a PC were caught breaking curfew (and the table is particularly pressed for time, whether for the PCs in game or for the players meatspace), is to have Astrid "Garrla" Kallade lead the guards that detained the PC. Then, you have a number of viable options, depending upon time and roleplaying potential.

Kallade could "inexplicably" let the PC go without explanation (adding some mystery).

Kallade could "somewhat explicably" let the PC go with a suggestion that, if they wanted to improve their stealth, they could get some training with the Emerald Guard, who just so happen to be recruiting.

Kallade could "more explicably" let the PC go, handing them a note when she releases them, which states only "Ready to Join".

Kallade could, instead, get the PC alone in a cell to "interrogate" them, probing them about plans to get people out of the city, stressing the "time" and "place". This provides the most opportunity for roleplay and should really make the PCs sweat a bit. Then, you can have the captured PC Sense Motive, using the mechanics from the encounter.

If you are pressed for time, just convert the "interrogation" whole cloth into the encounter at the Emerald Guardhouse, moving the encounter from the recruitment area to the prisoner processing area.

This is failing forward at its forwardest and could then could play out something like this:

A lone guardswoman, having ordered the PC(s) placed in solitary confinement after their detention, enters the cell and states, “It is a good time for processing prisoners.”

She then leaves the cell.
Insert the skill check and results from Encounter on Burden of Envy page 12.

Proceed with the encounter as written, but replacing "recruitment area" with "processing area" and "recruits" with "detainees".

The PCs wait in the processing line behind other offenders caught for various offenses that evening, Garrla announces that those caught breaking curfew should remain at the back of the line.

Once the PCs make it to the front of the line, Garrla points at her uniform and says something like: "I bet you weren't expecting to see a uniform like this when you decided to head out after curfew began. You might try to avoid the eye of the Emerald Guard, but I think there is a very good chance that you will see this uniform again one day soon. In fact, I am certain that I will be seeing you law-breakers again. What I don't know is the time and the place.

Garrla continues to make talk tough, giving the PC a lecture, while emphasizing the words “time” and “place” until the PC provides some acknowledgment that she is their client.

Proceed through the encounter as written.

After Garrla hands the notebook to the PC, she could say something like the following:

"Now, I am letting you off with a warning (or, if that seems too unbelievable: with a modest fine of 1 Treasure Bundle). Don't get yourself caught breaking the law again.” she says (after collecting any fine).

Have Garrla state her last line and proceed through the encounter as written.

If the PC fails the skill check, consider giving them a negative consequence and failing forward. One way of handling it could be to have Garrla punch the PC who is stopped, who then takes 1d6 points of damage (or, if that seems to violent: wags her finger at the PC), claiming the PC is a "poor criminal" before she releases them the following morning (or two or four hours later).

Given all of the potential variations and the fact that the suitably of each is likely being dependent on additional variables, such as which PC was caught, what day of the scenario's storyline the PC was caught, the skills of the PC that was caught, the GM's willingness/ability to improvise, the preferences of the players, or how time remains in the scenario, it is not easy to come up with a single set of "catch-all" rules for how to resolve a PC caught breaking curfew.

As it currently stands, the scenario provides many different ways for a GM and players to collaborate on handling the curfew issue. In my opinion, this makes the scenario more fun to run and more interesting to replay. One of the great things about PFS scenarios is that once a written scenario is "out in the wild" it really becomes a product of the table and the collaborative storytelling and creativity of those around it.

Undoubtedly, the above is far more lengthy than your post seemed to have asked for, but I do help that you (and others) will find some of it helpful.

1/5 *

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

Is the number of people that can fit on Rolanna's Prayer irrespective of size? So kids count for 1 and Seddothrum does also?

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