3 - All or Nothing (GM Reference)


Agents of Edgewatch

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One of our party is a Lizardfolk from Droon. So I'm planning on briging "Oggy" in early, once per book, as a recurring NPC. I like the "Pontiac Bandit" in Brooklyn 99, who recurs once per season for one episode, then leaves so the PCs can carry on with other quests. It's a good formula.

This is what I have so far:

Book 1: A lizardfolk warrior-princess arrives in town, demanding an escort from the PC and his "minions". Disgusted at the weakness that is displayed (which includes a patrol shift in the Miss Absalom Beauty contest at the Radiant Festival), she leaves to explore the festival on her own, returnining with Oggy as her new boyfriend, saying he will win the Irorium for her. Oggy will cause some minor issue for the PCs and immediately become disliked by them.

-- Book 1 / Book 2 downtime interlude ---
Oggy wins the Irorium as promised

Book 2: ???

Book 3: ???.

Book 3 finale: As written. Ie, it is revealed that Oggy isn't just a douchebag, but actually a terrorist.

Any suggestions for missing appearances for Oggy, preferably with said warrior-princess? Generally escalating the stakes, in both drama and his douchbag-ness, without requiring an actual fight to the death.

One other thing to note, is that Oggy is "just under twice the height of a lizardfolk". Lizardfolk are 6'-7', making Oggy 12' tall. He is totally massive! There is a picture of Sajan (the iconic monk) fighting him, where Sajan looks just a bit smaller, but in reality Sajan wouldn't even reach up to Oggy's waistband. Oggy is intelligence = 8 though so he's not clever, but he's not a monster. Just a REALLY big dude.

I think if Oggy is to be wandering around the city, and not locked in a cage like a monster, the two lizardfolk accompanying him will probably need to look after him. Perhaps one of them is his lawyer, and the other his manager.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Maybe, having won in the Irorium, Oggvurm and his girlfriend become part of the parade in book 2?

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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
Maybe, having won in the Irorium, Oggvurm and his girlfriend become part of the parade in book 2?

Yeah, I think working them into the parade is a good idea.

I'm closing the Radiant Festival at the end of book 1. It doesn't make sense to compress the whole campaign into a few weeks, better instead to make it over at least a year or so. (And I've never yet met a player who wants a compressed timeline - people LIKE downtime). Other than the parade in book 2, the Radiant Festival doesn't really play any part in the story anyway.

So I'm moving book 2 to be a "Christmas Movie" and the parade to be a midwinter festival parade. (Cf Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Home Alone, Batman Returns, and many others - there is long history of crime related Xmas movies).

Not sure what I'll do with Oggy there, but seems like he could be involved in that somehow.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I think that’s a fun idea, and I love the Christmas Movie angle!

That said, I think the Radiant Festival is meant to last several months, not several weeks—the Chicago World’s Fair, which they were riffing on with Book 1, lasted from the beginning of May to the end of October.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Yep. Plenty of time for Radient Festival to finish during the downtime though.

Nothing wrong with months of Downtime.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Evil Paul wrote:

Yep. Plenty of time for Radient Festival to finish during the downtime though.

Nothing wrong with months of Downtime.

Yep, nothing at all.

I think I'm going to keep the festival going through book 6, because I think the Graveraker attack will make for a cooler set piece if the Precipice District is still full of tourists and exhibits and whatnot.


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I think that i would make Wynsal cancel the festival after the end of book 3 and maybe making the twilight four (three?) a threath to national security so the different guard districts will need to work together or something like that.

Maybe is a little offtopic, but what are some things that the players can do with months of downtime on Absalom?


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I don't like the heist for police officers. Seems like a campaign for a Suicide Squad group of adventurers. Cops should be able to talk to the gambling hall owner and push through given all the evidence.

I'm going to let the party secure one or both of the gang leaders, have them bring the evidence to Gage with the key. He's going to let them open the box. He has no wish to see the city blown up or infected. I'll work in the fights in the vault and the attempt on Gage's life.

These are 9th level cops that are part of a major city watch. They have no reason to make a deal with gang leaders they can capture and force them to capitulate. That's how I'm going to play it.

The gangs have no leverage on the Agents. I'm going to let the players take them down hard and show them who really runs the city.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I don't like the heist for police officers. Seems like a campaign for a Suicide Squad group of adventurers. Cops should be able to talk to the gambling hall owner and push through given all the evidence.

I'm going to let the party secure one or both of the gang leaders, have them bring the evidence to Gage with the key. He's going to let them open the box. He has no wish to see the city blown up or infected. I'll work in the fights in the vault and the attempt on Gage's life.

These are 9th level cops that are part of a major city watch. They have no reason to make a deal with gang leaders they can capture and force them to capitulate. That's how I'm going to play it.

The gangs have no leverage on the Agents. I'm going to let the players take them down hard and show them who really runs the city.

Yeah I agree this part felt a lot railroads, especially for my mostly lawful party.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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I agree that the heist is a bit railroady, but I like that it gets the PCs hands a little dirty, and sets up some of the themes that return in book 5--namely, Miogimo's plotline.

I ran Gage as essentially a mob banker, with the idea that he caters his vault services specifically to criminals and other ne'er-do-wells, with the understanding that his connections on the Grand Council can keep the watch out of his business and keep your ill-gotten goods safe.

IIRC, the PCs don't actually know what the bomb is when they go to heist it, only that its a dangerous item, so I think that gives Gage enough deniability to tell the PCs "come back with a warrant".

If anything, I think he'd probably try to solve the issue himself, without involving the watch.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

I agree that the heist is a bit railroady, but I like that it gets the PCs hands a little dirty, and sets up some of the themes that return in book 5--namely, Miogimo's plotline.

I ran Gage as essentially a mob banker, with the idea that he caters his vault services specifically to criminals and other ne'er-do-wells, with the understanding that his connections on the Grand Council can keep the watch out of his business and keep your ill-gotten goods safe.

IIRC, the PCs don't actually know what the bomb is when they go to heist it, only that its a dangerous item, so I think that gives Gage enough deniability to tell the PCs "come back with a warrant".

If anything, I think he'd probably try to solve the issue himself, without involving the watch.

A dangerous item stored by a Cult of Nogorber that murders people.

Even with the mob banker idea, Organized Crime doesn't like serial killers or randomly murderous people. Bad for business. You even see this in a film like Goodfellas when Tommy was shot by his own crew for stepping out of line too often.

A serial killer cult storing something in a mob bank that murders a bunch of people and Gage's name coming in as not helping stop that gonna be real, real bad for his business. I can't see that being good for any of his connections.

That's the kind of stuff that doesn't make sense to me. Pratchett's Murder Hotel was a nasty place. Yet The Skinner's Cult Sanctum makes Hendrid's murder hotel look like a pale child's version of a serial killer. You have so many dead people, flayed and drained of blood there that it's going to take probably months to years to figure them all out.

I can't see a guy like Gage being ok with storing an item from someone that vile and dangerous to the city. I can't see his contacts that keep his business safe liking that too much either.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Sure, but like I said, if the PCs go to Gage with the info, my sense is he'd brush them off and deal with the issue himself.

If he cooperates, leads the PCs down to the vault, and they find a dangerous cult thing, that definitively links him with the cult. That's bad for him, and his business.

If he tells them to kick rocks without a warrant, he can destroy/offload the bomb himself, clean up the evidence, and solve his problem without getting his name in the papers.

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I think making Gage a mobster is a good idea - Gage needs to be a bad guy rather than just a neutral. Otherwise it's just the state interfering with private citizens.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Sure, but like I said, if the PCs go to Gage with the info, my sense is he'd brush them off and deal with the issue himself.

If he cooperates, leads the PCs down to the vault, and they find a dangerous cult thing, that definitively links him with the cult. That's bad for him, and his business.

If he tells them to kick rocks without a warrant, he can destroy/offload the bomb himself, clean up the evidence, and solve his problem without getting his name in the papers.

Gage is neutral. I don't see why he would want to hand off a mass murder bomb to anyone. Gage would be far better off letting the law handle Nogorber Cults as he doesn't want that fight as far as I see it, mobster or no.

There is a long history of The Mob helping the cops in situations like this when dealing outside of their organization. Nogorber cults are definitely outside The Mobs purview.

And as far as I see it if he tells some level 10 plus cops to kick rocks, he's going to find out these cops aren't easily told to kick rocks. If he wants real trouble with high level cops, he's gonna get it.

I don't like playing lvl 10 plus cops as some soft cops who have to sneak in to take care of things. They are city muscle. FBI plus level cops. You don't mess with them when dealing with a city wide terrorist situation. Gage messes with them, they gonna mess back with him. He's not going to like it.


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Evil Paul wrote:
I think making Gage a mobster is a good idea - Gage needs to be a bad guy rather than just a neutral. Otherwise it's just the state interfering with private citizens.

Gage's Chief of Security is a Lawful Good dwarf. There is no way you can justify a Lawful Good dwarf blocking the legal authorities from doing their job in a situation with a deadly bomb and a murder cult.

That's why I am taking it in a different direction. As it is written given the NPCs involved, I just can't see why they would block the legal authorities from doing their job stopping a murder cult from an act of mass murder.

It doesn't make sense to me.

It doesn't even make sense to me if Gage is a mobster unless you worked in that his guys get murdered trying to take on a powerful murder cult. Then he has to come to you anyway.

I'm going with a scenario that makes appeals better to how I want to tell this story.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Gage is neutral. I don't see why he would want to hand off a mass murder bomb to anyone. Gage would be far better off letting the law handle Nogorber Cults as he doesn't want that fight as far as I see it, mobster or no.

There is a long history of The Mob helping the cops in situations like this when dealing outside of their organization. Nogorber cults are definitely outside The Mobs purview.

And as far as I see it if he tells some level 10 plus cops to kick rocks, he's going to find out these cops aren't easily told to kick rocks. If he wants real trouble with high level cops, he's gonna get it.

I don't like playing lvl 10 plus cops as some soft cops who have to sneak in to take care of things. They are city muscle. FBI plus level cops. You don't mess with them when dealing with a city wide terrorist situation. Gage messes with them, they gonna mess back with him. He's not going to like it.

I said Destroy/Offload because I was writing from the perspective that Gage doesn’t know what the thing is. Ultimately, he never knows what the thing is, because it’s already gone by the time the PCs come calling. You can’t appeal to him on the grounds that it’s a terrorist bomb, because the PCs don’t know that. Hell, Gage has to take their word for it that the item has anything to do with the Norgorberites at all.

It’s safer for his business and his reputation if he just makes this whole problem disappear. He doesn’t have to fight the cult, he just has erase their connection with him.

And the fact that they’re level 10+ cops isn’t that convincing. Gage is 11th level. His lead staff are almost all in the 10+ range. His ex-employee Franca is 13th. He’s got a hefty number of 8th level dudes on the payroll. Sure, he’s probably not going to literally tell the PCs to kick rocks, but if he says “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to come back with a warrant before I allow you into the vault—I have to ensure the privacy of my customers” what are the PCs going to do about it? Murder hobo their way through a few extreme encounters worth of bouncers?

That’s all just my perspective though. I’m not here to backseat GM for you. I think the heist itself is very fun, and I might encourage you to think about adapting it rather than ditching it entirely, but if you want to have Gage cooperate with the PCs in your game that’s also a totally valid approach.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

Gage is neutral. I don't see why he would want to hand off a mass murder bomb to anyone. Gage would be far better off letting the law handle Nogorber Cults as he doesn't want that fight as far as I see it, mobster or no.

There is a long history of The Mob helping the cops in situations like this when dealing outside of their organization. Nogorber cults are definitely outside The Mobs purview.

And as far as I see it if he tells some level 10 plus cops to kick rocks, he's going to find out these cops aren't easily told to kick rocks. If he wants real trouble with high level cops, he's gonna get it.

I don't like playing lvl 10 plus cops as some soft cops who have to sneak in to take care of things. They are city muscle. FBI plus level cops. You don't mess with them when dealing with a city wide terrorist situation. Gage messes with them, they gonna mess back with him. He's not going to like it.

I said Destroy/Offload because I was writing from the perspective that Gage doesn’t know what the thing is. Ultimately, he never knows what the thing is, because it’s already gone by the time the PCs come calling. You can’t appeal to him on the grounds that it’s a terrorist bomb, because the PCs don’t know that. Hell, Gage has to take their word for it that the item has anything to do with the Norgorberites at all.

It’s safer for his business and his reputation if he just makes this whole problem disappear. He doesn’t have to fight the cult, he just has erase their connection with him.

And the fact that they’re level 10+ cops isn’t that convincing. Gage is 11th level. His lead staff are almost all in the 10+ range. His ex-employee Franca is 13th. He’s got a hefty number of 8th level dudes on the payroll. Sure, he’s probably not going to literally tell the PCs to kick rocks, but if he says “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to come back with a warrant before I allow you into the vault—I have to ensure the privacy of my customers” what are the PCs going to...

Your argument isn't convincing. The heist is bad storytelling in my opinion for cops of a major city watching investigating a murder cult.

I intend to have the Agents secure a gang leader who will tell Gage who paid them to store the item and show them the key. The entire "These gangs are banned" from this place scenario will not matter as the gang leader will be in the officers' custody.

Gage has no idea Franca is lvl 13. That is DM metagame information created to challenge the PCs.

Within the context of the game world, the Agents are highly respected Agents of a big city Watch in a city prominent in the world. They are the equivalent of the F.B.I., not just the local police at this point.

The basis for the heist is some Ocean's 11 type of material and those guys were all criminals. Not cops doing a serious job.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one as my feeling is the following:

1. Cops should be cops. The heist is a criminal act. Why are cops being forced to commit an elaborate crime in the city they have jurisdiction in? Makes no sense.

2. These guys have earned their status. The Agents are no longer standard agents. They have caught two serial killers, broken up a murder cult, and rescued members of other watches, taken out a smuggler's ring, and a variety of other activities.

It makes no sense to me why prestigious Agents would have to engage in a criminal enterprise to execute their duties.

3. It's a murder cult. This isn't some smuggling ring storing some contraband at Gage's place. The Agents will be able to bring evidence that a murder cult who kidnaps, murders, and flays people sacrificing them to Nogorber and building skinstitches and other terrible undead creatures forced a thieves' guild to store some dangerous item at Gage's place.

I don't see why Gage or his right hand head of security (a lawful good dwarf) would impede this investigation.

We don't see this the same way. That's fine. I don't need the cops to be criminals. They shouldn't and won't be involved in a heist. They are the legitimate legal authority of this city and are investigating a serious, serious crime that endangers the city. I want that emphasized, not turned into some heist that builds them up as some powerless group of cops who are stonewalled by a casino owner when lives are on the line.

That's how I plan to play it. I want The Agents to feel empowered and powerful. Even The Mob didn't want F.B.I attention. I want it so criminals in this city do not want the attention of The Watch, especially these agents. My particular group is definitely willing to play hardball to makes sure criminals know they are in charge, not the criminals.

I'll leave it there as this is getting redundant.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Let me be clear-- when I say I think the heist itself is very fun, I mean that mechanically. It's an interesting switchup from the typical combat grind, and the infiltration rules are solid, IMO.

When I say think about adapting the heist, what I mean is, use the mechanical elements of the heist for something that fits the story you're telling.

For example, maybe Gage asks the PCs to help run security for the Gala.

Aside from that, I'm happy to agree to disagree.


While I kinda agree with Deriven Firelion's objections about the heist, both plot-wise and thematically, I think it can be made to work, or at the very least be an attractive option for the PCs (but not the only one). In order to make it more palatable, here's some thoughts: What if Gage relies economically on shady rich people trusting him to keep their secret and possibly illegal stuff safe? If word gets out that he let the guards take a look without even a warrant, that would ruin his reputation for that part of his clientèle. Think about modern-day tax havens as an example: they will do everything in their power, including standing up to or paying off the politicians of much bigger and wealthier countries before giving the impression they are betraying the trust of their clients.

My suggestion would be to let the PCs get a warrant (not a simple matter since there might be political pressure to not issue it from politicians that Gage is on good terms with, you'd have to invent some more obstacles and role-playing to fill in the gaps here, it should be approximately as involved as the infiltration it is replacing) which will lead to them getting to the vault too late to prevent the theft. Or they can do the heist which will lead to different consequences later on as it's highly illegal and unusual but also might have some upsides in the short term: get the contents before Franca or maybe catch Franca in the act and have a chance to stop her or gain additional clues because the theft happened more recently which will allow them to track her down more easily.

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I agree with all of Deriven Firelion's points. I'd also like to add what other people have said in that completing the heist to get "The Princess is in another castle..." as the reward I think is a terrible payoff. All that work without material award.

Yet the heist is cool. It could be a fun roleplaying activity. It just needs editing.

I've got tons of homebrewed side-quests in my campaign. As well as the murder plot, there are slave gangs, and drug gangs, and watch corruption, and simple thievery jobs. So I'm happy moving the heist into a side-quest with a different reason and different macguffin to get.

Any suggestions on what that could be:
1 - What reasons would the watch have to go undercover when they could get a simple warrant?
2- What else could be in the box?
3- What other villany could Gage be into?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The chapter intro describes why this is the course of action suggested in a fair amount of detail, basically that there's:
- Incredible danger presented by the "doomsday device" means that this has to be taken care of as quickly as possible
- Gage 'might' purposefully or accidentally screw up the recovery if they ask for cooperation. They don't know his alignment or what he and his staff truly want for sure, or if they might be involved further
- The casino clearly has connections higher up in the government based on the Captain's prior experience that could delay a warrant being given out or more likely alert the criminals storing the device causing it to be moved or activated early
- Their evidence to secure a search warrant for the device isn't strong enough to be expedited through the bureaucratic pipeline

These seem like fair enough points, and the only downside to sneaking in without a warrant is that they probably couldn't charge Gage/others for what they find in the process. The Starwatch's concern here is recovering the device before civilians get hurt.


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thewastedwalrus wrote:

The chapter intro describes why this is the course of action suggested in a fair amount of detail, basically that there's:

- Incredible danger presented by the "doomsday device" means that this has to be taken care of as quickly as possible

An elaborate heist that might fail is not what I consider a faster way to get this done.

Quote:
- Gage 'might' purposefully or accidentally screw up the recovery if they ask for cooperation. They don't know his alignment or what he and his staff truly want for sure, or if they might be involved further

They will show up with a gang leader in custody with a key to one of his boxes with a clear admission that it was stored for a murder cult these very agents very publicly defeated that murdered in excess of 40 people.

Quote:
- The casino clearly has connections higher up in the government based on the Captain's prior experience that could delay a warrant being given out or more likely alert the criminals storing the device causing it to be moved or activated early

These are agents with clear probable cause that a murder cult is storing an item intended for bad results that they forced a violent street gang to store in Gage's Vault. Not sure why any higher ups would impede that unless they want to invite serious heat on themselves.

Quote:
- Their evidence to secure a search warrant for the device isn't strong enough to be expedited through the bureaucratic pipeline

Which as I see it does not fit their capabilities. One of the characters in our group is a high charisma, master intimidate Shadow Sorcerer who can obtain the necessary mental spell he needs to extract information from a gang leader as needed.

Maybe I could see this if it were a group of martials with no face man who wasn't able to secure the gang leaders and force them to speak if necessary, but this particular group is more than capable.

But really by this 3rd module, The Agents are pretty famous. Their fame should bring some kind of credibility that a man like Gage and his bodyguard should respect. I really dislike set ups that push the agents back down to neophytes or nobodies after accomplishing feats that would place them on the front page of most national newspapers in a big city.

Quote:
These seem like fair enough points, and the only downside to sneaking in without a warrant is that they probably couldn't charge Gage/others for what they find in the process. The Starwatch's concern here is recovering the device before civilians get hurt.

Exactly. Which is why a heist would make for huge PR issues. Can you imagine the papers if a group of cops broke into a Vegas casino to steal something without a warrant or authorization? Then ended up in a fight and possibly killed or hurt some of the citizens or employees of the casino? Way higher risk of major PR and legal issues doing this heist than doing their job properly.

I could see it plastered all over the papers, "Elite Law Enforcement unit breaks into casino to steal from vault." Then they couldn't give any explanation as to why without tipping off they know about the bomb. And they could be branded as thieves. It would be terrible.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To be fair, papers titled "Hundreds Dead at Irorium, Culprits Still at Large!" would be much worse. Obviously it would be unfortunate if the Agents screw up the heist, but there's evidence of more at stake than bad PR/a lawsuit.

That being said, the whole thing is pretty freeform by design. If it makes sense for your party, they can try these alternate routes and you could make different challenges (or even just let it work) related to pushing the correct higher-ups and possibly convincing Gage.


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Lord Shark wrote:
Speaking of spoilers ... does anyone else think "Rumormonger" is a bit too obvious an alias for Reginald Vancaskerkin? I'd think it would be a big red arrow pointing at the NPC the players know who runs a gossipy tabloid newspaper.

YES.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
thewastedwalrus wrote:

The chapter intro describes why this is the course of action suggested in a fair amount of detail, basically that there's:

- Incredible danger presented by the "doomsday device" means that this has to be taken care of as quickly as possible

An elaborate heist that might fail is not what I consider a faster way to get this done.

Quote:
- Gage 'might' purposefully or accidentally screw up the recovery if they ask for cooperation. They don't know his alignment or what he and his staff truly want for sure, or if they might be involved further

They will show up with a gang leader in custody with a key to one of his boxes with a clear admission that it was stored for a murder cult these very agents very publicly defeated that murdered in excess of 40 people.

Quote:
- The casino clearly has connections higher up in the government based on the Captain's prior experience that could delay a warrant being given out or more likely alert the criminals storing the device causing it to be moved or activated early

These are agents with clear probable cause that a murder cult is storing an item intended for bad results that they forced a violent street gang to store in Gage's Vault. Not sure why any higher ups would impede that unless they want to invite serious heat on themselves.

Quote:
- Their evidence to secure a search warrant for the device isn't strong enough to be expedited through the bureaucratic pipeline

Which as I see it does not fit their capabilities. One of the characters in our group is a high charisma, master intimidate Shadow Sorcerer who can obtain the necessary mental spell he needs to extract information from a gang leader as needed.

Maybe I could see this if it were a group of martials with no face man who wasn't able to secure the gang leaders and force them to speak if necessary, but this particular group is more than capable.

But really by this 3rd module, The Agents are pretty famous. Their fame should bring...

This is Gospel. Thanks for putting just my thoughts into words.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Zandu the Devourer wrote:
Lord Shark wrote:
Speaking of spoilers ... does anyone else think "Rumormonger" is a bit too obvious an alias for Reginald Vancaskerkin? I'd think it would be a big red arrow pointing at the NPC the players know who runs a gossipy tabloid newspaper.

YES.

I changed it to "The Reaper" for my game.


thewastedwalrus wrote:

To be fair, papers titled "Hundreds Dead at Irorium, Culprits Still at Large!" would be much worse. Obviously it would be unfortunate if the Agents screw up the heist, but there's evidence of more at stake than bad PR/a lawsuit.

That being said, the whole thing is pretty freeform by design. If it makes sense for your party, they can try these alternate routes and you could make different challenges (or even just let it work) related to pushing the correct higher-ups and possibly convincing Gage.

Yes, much worse for Gage as it could be tied to him not assisting the officers investigating the death cult planning this.

"Casino Owner Gage impedes investigation into death cult that hid a bomb in his establishment that killed hundreds at the Irorium. Culprits still at large!"

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Honestly, the heist would be a much better fit in book 5, after the PCs lose their badges.

You'd have to rework the plotline pretty significantly, but I think there's some fun potential there.


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For those that day that rumormonger is too obvious, I think you're coming from a bias of knowledge.

For around 4 campaigns now I've been leaving subtle clues that I was always afraid the players would pick up on.

Across different players, some of them incredibly smart and attentive to details, and they almost neveeeer pick it up.

Rumormonger is fine, and if they do suspect vancaskerkin, have them try to prove it.

And then have vancaskerkin use their attempts to crucify them in the papers.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

That's a valid approach, but my concern is: do you actually give them a chance to prove it?

Or do you shut them down and say "Sorry, come back in X levels, this guy is a book 5 villain. "

One requires going way off book (which sounds like a lot of fun, but sort of negates the convenience of running a pre-written adventure). The other just seems really unsatisfying as a player.

Personally, I'm OK with my party not making the connection between The Reaper and Vancaskerkin ahead of time; it made the betrayal at the end of book 4 sting more. The important part is, it makes sense in hindsight--they knew The Reaper was a reference to the blackmail and rumormongering aspect of Norgorber, and in retrospect the newspaper man was an obvious suspect.


Their lead suspect for the rumormonger was the primarch.

Reggie was praising them in his newspaper the whole time, they never suspected him even a little.


I changed his name to the Whisperer and my players still singled him out.


EdwinM wrote:
I changed his name to the Whisperer and my players still singled him out.

Reggie would still be savy enough to try to paint himself as the red herring and redirect the attention to someone else.

Perhaps Gage Carlisle ? Perhaps Lavarsus?

There's room for a cat and mouse game if you have time :)


How did they expect you to fight the Meladaemon on the dock while chasing Giord at lvl 9? The Meladaemon is tough as hell. It's lvl 11 so a 5th level banish doesn't have a great chance of getting rid of it. It's AC is 31 and it has great saves. It can fly 50 feet a move while launching a 2 action 5th level magic missile for 6 missiles a round. It has great physical attacks for melee. No decent party of law enforcement officers are going to chase the kid and let that thing rip apart the area.

The Meladaemon killed the rogue, brought him to nothing in 1 round. Every time he got up, it put him down again. Then it spent it's time hammering the rest of the party, flew up, and started launching magic missiles.

Finally started synesthesia on it and hammering it down. That kid Giord ran and the party was more concerned with their dead rogue than the running kid.

Nasty encounter.


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Ideas for modifying the Chapter 2 Heist for those interested:

Heist Chapter Modifications:
I wanted the cop PCs in my campaign to stay on the right side of the law. So I changed the heist chapter as follows:

1. The party visited The Lucky Nimbus to see why gangs were banned before going after the gangs. I had Franca Laurentz spot them after being alerted by The Infector.

If the PCs don't do this in your group, have whoever got screwed over by the PCs pursuing the gangs send word the PCs are coming to take what is in the box.

Franca has already taken the bomb as the Infector's sources in the police force have alerted him the cops are scouring the docks looking for information on The Twilight Four.

2. The Infector made a deal with the Velstrac Interlocuter to kill whoever opened the lockbox to eliminate any witnesses or pursuers.

3. Use the investigation parts of the heist to have the PCs detect and follow the chemical smell.

Gage assists them in looking at the employee records as he doesn't like velstracs and possible chemical bombs in his establishment.

Gage gives them Franca Laurentz's address as he has it on file to ensure he knows where all his people come from.

4. The Infector and Franca have paid Scathka and her Svartalfar thugs to kill the PCs at Franca's apartment.

The Infector has rigged the bomb with Scathka having a deadman switch on her. If she is killed, the acid bomb goes off to start destroying the evidence and hopefully harm the PCs.

Gage can act as a contact later on if needed as can Maurissa.

As far as how my actual campaign went, the PCs made a deal with Berleth gaining the key after agreeing to the deal with Maurissa. Gage refused to give the PCs access to the box unless Maurissa was present to give permission. The PCs tracked Maurissa down, almost took a beating for betraying her to Berleth, and they captured her and took her to Gage to give him the truth about what was being hidden in her vault box.

Gage did not take kindly to Maurissa hiding some strange device given to her by a Cult of Nogorber led by a mass murderer like The Skinner. He assisted the PCs and kept it discrete.

I wanted to provide some alternative ideas to the chapter as written for those whose cop PCs want to stay on the right side of the law while doing the job.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

After taking down the Skinner in book 2 I told my lizardfolk fighter about the existence of the Irorium to establish it as a popular location, and said that they were running a game of Melee Mountain if he was interested. He then proceeded to roll incredibly well and managed to win the competition alone with the rest of the party watching from the stands. It was a great time and I would recommend the start of this chapter as a good point to let the agents take some downtime to unwind with some less life-and-death uses of their abilities like this.

Anyways, I'm very excited to see what the party does when they return at the end of the book and hopefully save the day. I had been playing up the popularity of the lizardfolk in the foreign quarter after spending multiple days resting on the line in book 2, as well as then taking down the Copper Hand gang leader at the front door when she tried to escape. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the Rumormonger attempts to discredit the agents, perhaps some support may remain where they left incredibly strong impressions.


Svartalfar Killers tougher than their challenge level. Unlimited round to round Spellstrike is pretty ridiculous. Spell-Imbued Blade is pretty ridiculous.


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I'm changing the Vault Heist because I have a few lawful neutral players who would never, ever do it. I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure if they really work:

-Someone earlier suggested Gage has them work the Gala as a favor. While a possibility, I'm not sure if it's a fun one.
-Hostage situation: The PCs show up at the Gala and Gage takes them aside. He's just been told someone has gotten into the vaults and will blow up the casino unless if he gives into their demands. The demands, however, involve him publicly killing his friend Edrer Gutsking during the gala. He needs them to get to the vaults without alerting any of the patrons.
-Unknown assassins: Gage got a strange note threatening his life and believes it's from a current worker. He needs the PCs to work with Edrer to find the possible assassin and quietly arrest them.
-Fun & Games: Gage decides to make a bet with the PC's: if they can get the key off of him, he will not pursue them.

Thoughts? Ideas?


Zombkat wrote:

I'm changing the Vault Heist because I have a few lawful neutral players who would never, ever do it. I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure if they really work:

-Someone earlier suggested Gage has them work the Gala as a favor. While a possibility, I'm not sure if it's a fun one.
-Hostage situation: The PCs show up at the Gala and Gage takes them aside. He's just been told someone has gotten into the vaults and will blow up the casino unless if he gives into their demands. The demands, however, involve him publicly killing his friend Edrer Gutsking during the gala. He needs them to get to the vaults without alerting any of the patrons.
-Unknown assassins: Gage got a strange note threatening his life and believes it's from a current worker. He needs the PCs to work with Edrer to find the possible assassin and quietly arrest them.
-Fun & Games: Gage decides to make a bet with the PC's: if they can get the key off of him, he will not pursue them.

Thoughts? Ideas?

I like the hostage situation. I think you can do something interesting and fun with that.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Quote:
Creatures such as a two-headed rukh from Osirion, a miniature barometz raised by druids in Kyonin, and a particularly ornery peluda from the River Kingdoms are featured on the bill.
Quote:

Neither a rukh or a barometz exist on AoN in 2E … though I see both from 1E (and D&D), after searching.

Seems a bit weird, for something this far into PF2E's existence.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Zombkat wrote:

I'm changing the Vault Heist because I have a few lawful neutral players who would never, ever do it. I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure if they really work:

-Someone earlier suggested Gage has them work the Gala as a favor. While a possibility, I'm not sure if it's a fun one.
-Hostage situation: The PCs show up at the Gala and Gage takes them aside. He's just been told someone has gotten into the vaults and will blow up the casino unless if he gives into their demands. The demands, however, involve him publicly killing his friend Edrer Gutsking during the gala. He needs them to get to the vaults without alerting any of the patrons.
-Unknown assassins: Gage got a strange note threatening his life and believes it's from a current worker. He needs the PCs to work with Edrer to find the possible assassin and quietly arrest them.
-Fun & Games: Gage decides to make a bet with the PC's: if they can get the key off of him, he will not pursue them.

Thoughts? Ideas?

I like the hostage situation. I think you can do something interesting and fun with that.

I was planning on something similar. Gage wants to cooperate with the agents, but is concerned about retribution from the Twilight Four, which he only understands as some shadowy cabal. Gage's cooperation is contingent that on it appearing that he did not assist the agents in any way, nor can his staff know as they might alert this group he is so frightened of.

This gives the agents some opportunity to fail forward with Gage running interference for them as best he can and the heist requiring very little adjusting.


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Tyler Oren wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Zombkat wrote:

I'm changing the Vault Heist because I have a few lawful neutral players who would never, ever do it. I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure if they really work:

-Someone earlier suggested Gage has them work the Gala as a favor. While a possibility, I'm not sure if it's a fun one.
-Hostage situation: The PCs show up at the Gala and Gage takes them aside. He's just been told someone has gotten into the vaults and will blow up the casino unless if he gives into their demands. The demands, however, involve him publicly killing his friend Edrer Gutsking during the gala. He needs them to get to the vaults without alerting any of the patrons.
-Unknown assassins: Gage got a strange note threatening his life and believes it's from a current worker. He needs the PCs to work with Edrer to find the possible assassin and quietly arrest them.
-Fun & Games: Gage decides to make a bet with the PC's: if they can get the key off of him, he will not pursue them.

Thoughts? Ideas?

I like the hostage situation. I think you can do something interesting and fun with that.

I was planning on something similar. Gage wants to cooperate with the agents, but is concerned about retribution from the Twilight Four, which he only understands as some shadowy cabal. Gage's cooperation is contingent that on it appearing that he did not assist the agents in any way, nor can his staff know as they might alert this group he is so frightened of.

This gives the agents some opportunity to fail forward with Gage running interference for them as best he can and the heist requiring very little adjusting.

I like that as well! I'm also not happy with the "object they're going after already being stolen" bit. It feels like a "gotcha" moment. Saving someone might make it less bad.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Svartalfar Killers tougher than their challenge level. Unlimited round to round Spellstrike is pretty ridiculous. Spell-Imbued Blade is pretty ridiculous.

I ran that fight and they really weren't challenging.

They just missed the paladin all the time. If they didn't attack the paladin, retributive strike made them wish they did.


AlastarOG wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Svartalfar Killers tougher than their challenge level. Unlimited round to round Spellstrike is pretty ridiculous. Spell-Imbued Blade is pretty ridiculous.

I ran that fight and they really weren't challenging.

They just missed the paladin all the time. If they didn't attack the paladin, retributive strike made them wish they did.

I should put list some context. I changed the encounter.

I made it so the svart killers were a hit team led by the shadow mage at the terrorist's apartment. When the PCs showed up, they were hiding inside and alpha striked the fighter when he went in with shocking grasp.

I upped the number to 6 svart killers (lowered from the 8 I originally put there) and had the mage there too.

I would have reduced it to 4 I think if I knew their alpha strike ability was as strong as it was.


Ah well that's another thing entirely then ;-)

But yeah some monsters have some jacked up spell strike ability.


Last encounter againt Oggvurm was pretty fun. It was a tough battle, but they put him down. It took some pain to get that bomb stopped. Would have been nice in that instance to have a disintegrate, but they had to pound it the tanks shut to stop it while covered in poison while the crowd was being evacuated and the watches tried to control the situation. A very heroic end encounter.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
EdwinM wrote:
I changed his name to the Whisperer and my players still singled him out.

I went with the name "The Preacher" which so far seems to have misled them to think more along the lines of an evil cleric.


My players are now (jokingly?) talking about using Wall of Stone to just seal up the Lucky Nimbus Casino entirely, like some Rollercoaster Tycoon level nonsense. Bad guys can't get The Item if *no one* can get the item, right?

I love this so much.


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Ok so my players succeeded in my altered casino heist. Here's how it went down:

-Instead of the heist automatically failing because Franca Laurentz beat them to it without any chance for success, I had Franca trying to rob the casino at the same time as the Agents. Franca also has connections to the Champion of Milani in the party, both having escaped slavery together, so its personal.

-Franca's plan was to sneak in through underground tunnels that connect the Iorium to the elevator shaft in the basement of the Lucky Nimbus. She brought a Vaultbreaker Ooze with her (my party didn't end up fighting one in book 2) and had learned the basics she needed to pull this off while working in disguise as a guard at the Lucky Nimbus. While she's robbing the place, Sathka and the svartalfar would try to kill Gage Carlyle upstairs as vengeance and distraction.

-The Agents did some wonderful prep-work for the heist, scoring 7 Edge Points by the time they began. They had learned secrets about NPCs, they had jobs working for the casino, the sorcerer had stored an item in the vault and used Prying Eyes to get the layout, it was *perfect*. They had also acquired a Insistent Door Knocker so they could just open a new door into the vault, completely bypassing the vault door itself (I had added a trap to the vault door that would go off if Gage's Key was used incorrectly or if the lock was picked and got a Critical Failure).

-On top of that, they also were able to pick Gage's Key out of his pocked with a mixture of distraction and good spellwork, which they didn't end up needing!

-Just after the Agents get the clockwork poison bomb (stored safely away with a Chest Feather token), Franca and the Vaultbreaker Ooze broke into the basement and knocked out the bouncer left in the basement (the others having run upstairs to fight the shadowy elves). The Agents had already gotten the bomb, so she chased them down and fought our rogue and monk.

-Rogue, monk, and the oracle were able to stop Franca and take her into custody, while also protecting the casino guests and Gage himself!

I'm not sure how the interrogation of Franca will go, nor am I sure what to do with Oggvurm and the other iruxi at the Irorium, but I'm excited to see what happens! Maybe Scathka will work with the lizardfolk to acquire the bomb and complete the gassing of the crowd? If Franca had acquired the bomb she was going to slip it down into the sewers as the Agents chased her through the Undercity to the Irorium.


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Quote:
Instead of the heist automatically failing because Franca Laurentz beat them to it without any chance for success, I had Franca trying to rob the casino at the same time as the Agents. Franca also has connections to the Champion of Milani in the party, both having escaped slavery together, so its personal.

I really like the idea of giving players a chance to stop Franca. But I think it should be really hard to achieve, i.e. they should only be able to do so if they think outside the box and outsmart her. In my campaign Franca is also acquainted to one of the PCs and depending on how they handle it she might learn of their heist plan and execute her own plan one day in advance. The PCs might or might not realise this by her demeanour or whatever.

On a totally unrelated note, I think I noticed a secret story connection: It's heavily implied that Gage got his fortune by aid of a djinni vizier. RAW the djinni is dead when the players get in the vault. There's also some info on Gage that says he really desires to be part of Absalom's upper class but the other rich and nobles aren't accepting him. Now here's where it gets interesting. The Bestiary entry for djinn viziers says

Quote:
Djinni viziers prefer to manifest wishes in physical, often gaudy displays, but cut corners in quality. Wished-for gold, for example, might only be gold plated

So... add two and two together: Gage wished to be part of the upper class and he got his wish: he's outwardly rich yet the upper class won't accept him as one of their own. His wish got monkey pawed, he got the "gold plated" version of being in the upper class.

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