Help With Fort Rannick, Please and Thank You! (Spoilers!!)

Rise of the Runelords

So my players are dead set on waiting for troops from Magnimar before assaulting Fort Rannick. Help!

Jakardros is no fan of the Magnimarian army and has told the party that they're an untested bunch and will be slaughtered in minutes. Nevertheless the party is too afraid to try to take the fort themselves so they want to wait.

So. . . I'm having Magnimar send a number of troops (30? 50?). I plan on having a number of them lost en route. While they wait, I'll get the party to head into the Shimmerglens to engage Myriana and I'll probably have them deal with Black Magga in Turtleback.

Questions. . . how do I run mass combat for Rannick if it becomes necessary? Secondly, how do I keep the time crunch on the party while they wait for the troops and maybe even get them to realize that they've got to attack Rannick alone or all will be lost?

Many thanks in advance for any help!

Liberty's Edge

IIRC the PCs will be rewarded if they solve the problem on their own. If they wait for reinforcements, they can say bye bye to the reward as well as any loot that could be found in Fort Rannick.

Also, Magnimar might be short on available troops to send at the moment. And the PCs will hear that the current occupants of Fort Rannick are expecting their own reinforcements to arrive within a few days. So waiting will make things worse rather than easier.

Thanks for the reply, The Raven Black. Yep, all good points. If the PC's are unwilling to do reconnaissance inside the fort, any thoughts on how I could get the information to them about reinforcements coming from Hook Mountain and the surrounding areas?

I was also thinking of their coming across giant tracks in the area but I worry that that might make them want to wait to attack all the more.

I'm not sure that they'll care much about xp our the loot (they're an unusual bunch).

Thanks for any further thoughts!

Liberty's Edge

What motivates the PCs? If they are in it for the glory, waiting for reinforcements makes them look like cowards. Which deities do they follow? Is waiting agreeable for all of them?

As for getting them the info, Shalelu might have struck out on her own to do some reconnaissance and overheard ogres on patrol talking about being currently too few and thankful that reinforcements should arrive in a few days.

Or a badly wounded prisoner managed to escape the ogres and reach the PCs in time to tell them the same. And then the prisoner dies.

Obviously, unless you wish otherwise, the reinforcements will never arrive after the PCs win. Maybe they caught whiff of the PCs' victory and decided to go back for new orders. Or maybe they were never sent after all.

This is all fantastic, thanks so much, The Raven Black. I'm a relatively new DM so coming up with motivating story elements without taking the AP off the rails is still something that I'm learning to balance. This is really helpful!

If reinforcements do ever turn up, they'll be led by some arrogant and overbearing noble who will get the PCs to do the dirty work while he takes all the glory. And after the march, the troops will need to rest in Turtleback Ferry for a while, probably causing trouble and making themselves (and by proxy, the PCs) unpopular. This activity will obviously be noticed by Lucrecia who will put the ogres on alert. Given time, she might get the Sihedron rune on a few of them and might organise an ambush to wipe half of them out on the way to Fort Rannick if the PCs don't do something about it.

Bear in mind that most of these soldiers will be 1st or 2nd level warriors with mediocre kit, and they'll go down like ninepins if made to fight the ogres hand to hand. In practice they'll run away.

That's perfect, Mudfoot, thanks! Will definitely implement these ideas if they wind up going down this path. Much appreciated.

The chapter says you don't need to do the different parts in order. While the PCs wait for reinforcements, they can go to Myriana as you said, they can encounter the flooding and Black Magga in TF, and they can then be pushed to investigate the Dam. From there, maybe you could even push them to Hook Mountain somehow (have the ogres say something about it maybe), and then they don't even need to do anything with Fort Rannick: they'll (hopefully) want to save Sandpoint. It's fine if they skip things, the adventure is long enough.

For example, my players did go to and conquered Fort Rannick, but never went into the Shimmerglens or to Hook Mountain. They mistook a lot of hints and thought there was something fishy going on in Riddleport, so they went all the way there and found clues about an attack on Sandpoint there after a sidequest I made up. Only after returning to Sandpoint fighting giants and while travelling to Jorgenfist did they go to Hook Mountain to see what's going on there.

Thanks for the thoughts, Lawrencelot! Yeah, that's probably my most difficult challenge with an AP this long. I get concerned that if I skip something or forget the smallest detail, I'll derail a plot point two chapters down the line.

I don't have time to constantly reread the AP and so I forget the details of what's upcoming. Because of that, I can get a little railroad-y because I don't want them to miss any part of a chapter for fear of that leading them someplace completely off the rails without my being able to get them back.

Anyway, thanks again for the input, very much appreciated!

So things have changed and they no longer want to wait for troops lol. They're going to draw a number of ogres out somehow and then set up traps all over the surrounding area to try to thin the herd a bit. Then will probably set fire to the old barracks.

Question now becomes. . . anybody know of a way to make fighting ogres over and over again interesting? I'll be using terrain, some tactical positioning during fights, etc. But at the end of the day, they're basically a big sack of hp that hit hard. Trying to come up with ways to make the fights somewhat varied but a little stumped.

Thanks as ever for any thoughts!

Grand Lodge

Hey there Pasoguava:

I tried giving the ogres a little more variety (although my PCs end up skipping Fort Rannick entirely) to make them more tactically interesting to engage with.

Standard Ogre: Ogre Fighter 1
Ogre Scout: Ogre Rogue 5
Kreeg Ogre: Ogre Fighter 5
Possessed Kreeg: Oni Ogre Mage

The limitations the ogres have is relevent, but I like to make the advantages the Kreegs have over other, more typical ogres, as obvious as possible. They have more sophisticated training, magical and masterwork weapons, access to potions, and a few among their number are oni, noted by their beautiful armor and viscous swords.

All that said, if they're mostly dealing with the stock-standard ogres, they should be little more than bags of hit points that hit hard. Tactically unsophisticated but nonetheless dangerous is the whole impression you want to leave your party with, to highlight how more clever parties (Lucretia, Barl, the hags) put them to such brutal use.

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Straightforward and easily implemented ideas to create a little variation, Askar Avari, thanks for the input. That said, I think you convinced me to keep them as they are with your point about their characteristics being the point. Their given nature and stats will make stumbling upon the boss ogres more surprising and will also make a great counter to the Lucrecia fight.

Thanks again!

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