How will you be starting the AP?

Abomination Vaults

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There was a little bit of discussion about this in the product page for book 1, but I wanted to see what other GMs have done or are going to be doing when starting the AP.

My players are finalizing their characters now and we'll be starting the campaign in a couple days. They know that they are friendly with Wrin (from the Player's Guide) but I'm not sure I want to jump straight into the Ruins.

That said, I'm considering something like a flashback: start off in the Ruins as suggested, then after a short while, go back to the party's last meeting with Wrin as she explains her concerns with the Gauntlight. My concern with this is (knowing my players) there will still be some "um, why are we here, what are we looking for" at the very beginning, and I'd rather not just TELL them out-of-game if I can help it.

This kind of beginning is valid if you don't release tension. Like if you start in a fight, a chase or any action phase.
But if they start in front of the Gauntlight without tension or pressure, they will just ask you what they are doing here and wait for your answer before proceding. So, I think they will ask you the question you don't want to answer.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I started off with down time actually in Otari, with Wrin asking to meet the PCs at a special spot in a couple days time to read the stars with them. I am running the campaign in a Play by Post Format, so I knew it could be a long time before they get back to town and I wanted them to feel connected to Otari before dropping them in the dungeon.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My current plan is to have the PCs as new Pathfinders that have been sent to Otari as a favor to the retired agents that live there. Things have been busy in the town of late (see Beginner Box/Troubles In Otari), and when they get reports of weirdness at the Gauntlight, they respond by sending some green recruits to respond. They arrive in Otari, meet a few people, learn the situation, and eventually head off to Gauntlight.

Eventually, this will lead into the Ruby Phoenix Tournament AP, as the Pathfinders have to defend their title against those who wish to claim it, and since the Otari heroes have impressed the Decemvirate, they're the ones that get chosen to represent the Society.

[Spoilers below]
I was thinking about this as I read the (excellent) book. If I run this (which I very well might, since I don't want to run AoE without the Absolom book, which I have given up on) I was thinking to make all my PCs descendants of the Roseguard four. If it works with the backstories I'll have one PC be a Menhemes, and the rest will be unknowing descendants. They will all have experienced dreams and nightmares that, while growing stronger and more livid, points them to Otari and Wrin's shop. Of course they won't (initially) know for what reason, or what their connection to the town is.

If the other books contain additional Roseguard ghosts that's great, otherwise I'll add one or two myself. It's a bit of a trope but might become a fun twist, with the PCs being the only ones able to stop Belcorra due to their ancestry and by using their ancestor's belongings.

I gave my PCs free choice on this and all 5 unanimously voted to start in town. So far none of the PCs have a connection to Otari other than knowing Wrin. They are going to land in town around noon with the goal of meeting with Wrin and finding accommodation.

I'll personally start the AP with a "PFS vibe". The characters will start at Wrin's and immediately start speaking about the mission. And I expect them to immediately take off for the Gauntlight. At most half an hour before bashing monsters.

But it's a bit special as I'll certainly handle all about the town outside game sessions. I want game sessions to be focused around dungeon delving, as some of my players don't care about roleplay opportunities in Otari.

Liberty's Edge

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I plan to start with the scene set just two weeks after the mysterious collapse and fire at The Thirsty Alpaca -- with the PCs and half the town gathered at the Commons Market for a Fair Day.

It's a local pie contest and as many are preparing to tuck into some tasty pastry and coffee, Vandy Banderdash is reading out the nominees for Mayor in the forthcoming election: Oseph Menhemes, Carman Rajani and Pete "four-fingers" Newhook. There will be much guffawing and laughter at the later two candidates.

Following that, I'll be starting with a somewhat modified take on Menace Under Otari.

And yes, the forthcoming election needs to be underscored. Rajani's place in all of this needs to be dealt with... well, in a more elegant and less ham-fisted manner.

Suffice to say, I prefer a more organic approach.

And yes, I plan to weave in all of Menace Under Otari and a good third of Troubles in Otari into Abomination Vaults, too.

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love the idea of starting off with a festival and announcing the new nominees for mayor. I've started with the Beginner's box and I'm planning to throw in stuff from Trouble in Otari as well (assuming the Beginner's box peeps want to keep playing).

The festival is perfect for making that connection to Wrin, though, and then having her ask them to deal with the Abomination Vaults.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Depends on whether the roll20 releases this at all ;P

Joking aside, probably depending on whether players in zero session are more enthusiastic about in media res or not, but probably with Wrin encouraging them to go check it out

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I ran the beginners box straight into AV, moving the encounter that starts chapter 2 to the beginning as a bridge. Somone suggested that on the product page; while JJ had a point that the town probably wouldn't turn to 1st level PCs to handle...anything really, the heroes who found the dragon are a different story.

Wrin, who foresaw the attack, aided the heroes and pointed them towards the lighthouse.

They're all brand new to pathfinder, and I don't know most of them well (they're friends of my boyfriend), so the extra level is a good safety cushion for them.

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I like the idea of the festival to build that connection to Otari, but I don't want to bore my action oriented characters right off the bat. Inspired by Rise of The Runelords, I'm considering starting things off in a similar fashion with an attack on the town by mitflits in the middle of the festival. I think this could ratchet up the tension right off the bat, and give the party another reason to investigate Gauntlight (someone sees the retreating remnants of the mites heading there).

Liberty's Edge

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dracul104 wrote:

I like the idea of the festival to build that connection to Otari, but I don't want to bore my action oriented characters right off the bat. Inspired by Rise of The Runelords, I'm considering starting things off in a similar fashion with an attack on the town by mitflits in the middle of the festival. I think this could ratchet up the tension right off the bat, and give the party another reason to investigate Gauntlight (someone sees the retreating remnants of the mites heading there).

The reason I used something as light-hearted as a pie festival was to provide an excuse for introducing the Mayor, Carman Rajani -- and the fact there is an election for mayor now commencing. Show, don't tell.

The current mayor provides a diplomatic response as a judge of the "best pie". Oseph attempts to include all and alienate as few as possible even when picking a winner for "best pie". He's a politician - and a skilled one.

FAR more importantly, the pie festival allowed me to introduce Carman Rajani -- who is not provided an opportunity to be presented to the PCs otherwise. When he is finally introduced at the beginning of Book 2 - it is far too quickly, conveniently, and does not have the ring of truth. At all.

Put simply, as written, Carman Rajani is ... well... a failure as a NPC foil as written. There's no point dodging the obvious: he sucks. Rajani becomes an instant maguffin; a mere plot device summoned when needed and disposed of just as quickly. The moral quandary posed later in Volume 2 has no teeth; there is no air of reality to it -- because Rajani is not even a pretend person. Rajani needs work.

His role as oft-failed mayoral candidate - throwing his hat in the ring yet again - underscores that; the pie-judging bit (rude, brusque and demeaning) provides the GM to show the players what kind of man he is -- rather than simply tell the PCs.

And yes, I have changed where the sword is, too. I am putting that in the Rajani family tomb -- sealed for centuries and the priests of Pharasma will not let Rajani into it.

The Gauntlight's activation in the cemetery causes some of the dead within the Rajani tomb to come to life - burst open the Rajani Vault and attack the PCs. The PCs don't immediately recognize this, but they will hear about it later. This breaking of the seal provides Rajani with the excuse to go into the tomb -- the seal has been broken now but not by him, so the Pharasmite law no longer applies -- and to retrieve the Cooperative Blade of Vol Rajani. No fire, no theft - his blade by birthright. No hiding in any Smuggler's cave. It's Carman's sword, fair and square. I'll move another heirloom to the abandoned fish camp in ToI, up the severity of the encounter and let the PCs fight there instead. (I have the flip-mat for ToI).

The PCs will have a choice in Vol 2: prevail upon Rajani to join them in the Gauntlight to help open the seal by using the sword -- or to steal it from him. I'll roll with either choice.

If they persuade Rajani to help them, Rajani will in turn steal the PCs thunder in Otari and cast himself as the hero. He will sway the people away from Mayor Oseph - who can't campaign or even take minor steps to interact with the citizens of Otari during the election - as he is at home looking after a very sick Dorianna (she's possessed, right?).

[That's the other problem with Vol 2: the possession has no payoff. It's a clever bit of inside the dungeon/outside the dungeon plot-line that doesn't seem to have a plot consequence or go anywhere. It's poorly developed. It clearly needs more. The election provides that context.

So I have it so that if the PCs "do the right thing" and let Rajani help -- and don't manage to solve Dorianna's possession, Rajani is going to win the election. And make no mistake, he's a selfish jerk who will make a terrible mayor. He's not evil though, just an a$$.

This will, in turn, present the PCs with a choice to condemn him with Urevian as a way out to fix that. An interesting moral choice. Or they can choose to do the right thing again -- and resist Urevian's demands, leading to more chaos and unpleasantness in Otari under Mayor Rajani's awful administration as matters come to a head in Vol 3.

tl:dr: In short, I started with the pie festival not because Vol 1 of AV needs that revision, but because Vol 2 very much does.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I mean Carman Rajan is the proprietor of the weapon shop in town. There are lots of other opportunities to introduce him to the party over the course of the first book. If the PCs get into making connections with people about town he’s going to get involved sooner or later.

For my start, I gave my PCs a couple of days of downtime before Erin sends them off to investigate the light house and encouraged them to read the player’s guide gazetteer and pick NPCs to get to know. One of them works for Rajan and finds him a pretentious and demanding boss, but one who is fine not asking questions about the things he wants to work on in his spare time or things he brings into the shop to sell. When the party gets to book two, they are going to really get into the intrigue, all based off of material that they are developing on their own. This is an AP that some folks might be inclined to rush and have their parties basically set up camp over the dungeon, but it has played a lot more fun for us to find every excuse to get them back to town as often as possible.

Radiant Oath

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Steel_Wind wrote:

Put simply, as written, Carman Rajani is ... well... a failure as a NPC foil as written. There's no point dodging the obvious: he sucks. Rajani becomes an instant maguffin; a mere plot device summoned when needed and disposed of just as quickly. The moral quandary posed later in Volume 2 has no teeth; there is no air of reality to it -- because Rajani is not even a pretend person. Rajani needs work.

One of the core assumptions for the entire AP is that the party will spend time in Otari and get to know its citizens. You aren't supposed to wait until the start of Book 2 to introduce the character, and this entire rant seems completely over the top.

I personally agree both with Steel Wind and with the way things are in the AP.
This is a megadungeon, and I clearly assume when reading a megadungeon that roleplay opportunities in the nearby town are optional. As such, I understand why there's not much about Vol, about the Denizen's possession and such. A party who just wants to crush heads won't have to go much into roleplay/investigation to solve these issues. They are straightforward with nearly no need to think.
On the other hand, if you really want to give roleplay opportunities inside Otari, if you want your players to interact with the town outside selling/buying equipment, then these story elements are disappointing. The possession serves no purpose (as Steel Wind, I'm trying to find a point in it and if I don't manage I'll just remove it from the AP as it's useless) and Rajani is uninteresting. I'm also completely reviewing the character to create a real debate during the election (and not the good mayor against the crazy guy no one would ever vote for).

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Evilgm wrote:
One of the core assumptions for the entire AP is that the party will spend time in Otari and get to know its citizens. You aren't supposed to wait until the start of Book 2 to introduce the character, and this entire rant seems completely over the top.

I disagree about your "rant" dismissal. Steel_Winds post gave me several really good ideas how to adjust and improve this AP, and that is the sole reason I visit the Paizo forums.

As for the late introduction of major NPCs, I agree, and that is a major wrinkle of Paizo's AP magazine format that you IMO always should keep in mind and always adjust for yourself. Razcar's Golden AP Rule 1 - introduce major NPCs before the books that feature them do (unless their sudden appearance is a twist). Do not have to be in person, just somehow.

(Joke aside, I wish Paizo would make a sort of best practices list of how to approach their Adventure Paths, because you have to tackle them in a different way as a GM than you would an "all-in-one" book - a format that GMs are usually more familiar with. But I guess that could be seen as criticizing their own formula.)

Is the pie festival in one of the other Otari adventures?

I think it's a neat idea to introduce Carman earlier, and I'm going to steal Steelwind's idea.

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

For the beginning of the campaign, I plan to build upon Steel_Wind’s suggestions and use a never-seen-before idea: let’s have a festival to start the adventure! (Everybody knows that, in Golarion, festivals always end well!) Other sources of inspiration include the “Otari Gazetteer” by James Jacobs, the “Shroud of Four Silences” novella by Liane Merciel and the various blog posts by Ron Lundeen.
Long spoiler to come…


Before the adventure. Wrin regularly studies the stars and seeks to get glimpses of the future through her readings. Recently, she saw the signs of a looming danger over Otari, a danger both far and near, in space as well as in time (near in space: Gauntlight ; far in space: Nhimbaloth the Outer gods ; near in time: soon to come ; and far in time: echoes of events that took place 500 years ago).

All this is quite vague, and the only other information her readings gave her was that things should start to get in motion later, during a clear night that happens to coincide with the Festival of the Founders (Desnus 3). In order to prepare for this day, she sends invitations to people she knows (the PCs), asking them to come visit her for the Festival, and makes sure that local PCs will also attend the Festival.

Festival of the Founders. It’s a celebration mostly of the first creation of Otari 477 years ago (in 4244) by the Roseguard, but also of its “second founding” by Maklanni Menhemes 398 years ago. The PCs gather with Wrin, who tells them that she would like to have them all join her for the evening meal at the Otari Market but that, in the meantime, they should feel free to visit the city and enjoy the various events set up for the Festival.

The main goal here is to get the players to learn about Otari and some of its key NPCs.

Festival Events. Many booths have been set in the streets near and around the Market (which serves as the central spot for the Festival). PCs can buy various kinds of food (mostly root vegetables and products from the sea), drinks and other specialties from Otari (wooden figurines, wooden objects…) or take part in some activities. A few of them are described below.

Festival Event #1. Morlibint set up a small open tent where children and young adults gather to hear him read stories from various books. He also uses prestidigitation to enhance his reading with minor effects: characters and monsters jumping out of the pages of the book, light effects and ghostly screams…

Alymora Inkholtz is also present there, with the children she teaches to (I wanted to introduce her early since, in my campaign, the dead thief in A15 is actually a never-do-well young son of a noble family from Absalom sent to Alymora to get “a good education” – he has a letter of introduction on him but decided to go get some easy money from Gauntlight instead of going directly to Inkholtz Manor).

The PCs can also meet Dorianna Menhennes here (and I intend to have her touch one of the PCs then tell them something about their past that she shouldn’t know, like “Oh, I’m terribly sorry for your sister. I am sure she was a nice person.”, as a hint of her latent psychic powers).

Festival Event #2. Magiloy of the Crow’s Casks has a booth where visitors can taste her creations, like her spiced pumpkin rum and sour blackberry ale.

Festival Event #3. Klore Hangus set up a hatchet throwing contest with a few sharp hatchets made by Blades for Glade’s owner Carman Rajani (a sponsor of that event) as prizes for the winners. If a PC impresses him, he might suggest that they can visit him later if they want to get a job patrolling the flume.

Festival Event #4. Wrab Chertel set up a “caber toss” competition (the goal being to carry then throw a large tree trunk as far as possible) with a small prize (coins) for the winner. His main goal is to use this competition to find new recruits, strong recruits, that he thinks might help him with the many problems of his lumber organization, Chertel Timber.

Festival Event #5. Vandy Banderdash set up a cooking contest, with the final round happening between two contestants: Brelda Venkervale of the Rowdy Rockfish and the (unnamed) cook from Crook’s Nook. They both had to make some sort of salmon pie for the contest. Brelda’s is nicely spiced and harmoniously mixes many subtly different tastes (from various vegetables), while the cook’s pie is good and very nourishing but a bit bland, and decorated with the small fish-shaped smaller pastries for which the Crook’s Nook is famous (similar to those found in A17).

The contest is to be judged by Oseph Menhemes (who is going to give his vote in a very diplomatic way, as a practiced politician) and Carman Rajani (who is going to give his in a much more crude and direct way) and a third judge to be selected randomly amongst the attendants (I expect that the third judge would be a PC).

The goal here is to introduce Oseph and Carman and hint at the fact that they were chosen to be judges because they are the most likely candidates for the next mayor election (see Steel_Wind’s posts for more on this idea).

Festival Event #6. A few organizations of Otari worked together to set up a treasure hunt through Otari. The participants are given four hints that should lead them to 4 locations in Otari, where they will get 4 pieces of information that, once put together, will lead them to the location of the treasure. The goal here is to introduce the Roseguard, some of the merchants the PCs might want to visit later, the history of Otari, and have a few situations where the PCs might have to make some skill checks (Perception, Recall Knowledge, Acrobatics…) during this first session that should mostly be roleplay (and no combat).

The main document each participant gets:

“Each Founder sent an agent to Otari. Each agent carries a message and is waiting for you somewhere in Otari. The following indications should allow you to get those four messages, which will lead you to the spot where the treasure is hidden!

(1) The exiled warrior-queen rests in a high place. Behind her white stone sanctuary, up high, her agent left a message for you. (Please do not take more than one copy of the message.)

(2) The priestess asked her agent to wait for you near the shrine to her god. But it is the shrine that sits where those who feed the community gather, not the one near the library.

(3) The wizard became wise and well learned by travelling much and sharing knowledge. Maybe that’s why he chose to send his agent to the place where the couriers meet and plan their journeys.

(4) The one in honor of who the city was founded sent his agent at the end of the street that shares his name, near the place where it meets the misleading light of the swamp, right next to the bird that runs. (Please do not take more than one copy of the message.)”

(1) points to the cemetery, and more precisely to the Rajani crypt (made of white marble in my campaign) ; a few trees grow right behind the crypt, and several copies of the first message are left in a leather satchel hidden in the branches of the one of the trees (Perception and Athlectics checks). (2) points to the Farmer’s Guild : Jala Highstepper can be found next to the altar to Erastil there, and she has several copies of the second message for the participants. (3) points to Gallentine Deliveries, where Oloria Gallentine gives a copy of the third message to those who come to her. And finally (4) leads to the western end of Ilvashti Street, where it meets Wisp Street, near the bridge over the Osprey river (the bird that runs) ; a leather satchel with several copies of the fourth message is hidden under the western part of the bridge there.

Each message contains an ad for one of the sponsoring shops as well as a piece of the final puzzle (this part is inspired by a handout I found on Reddit “Otari Weekly” – I can’t find the post anymore, and I forgot the name of the author though :/) : (1) has an ad for Blades for Glade (“Blade for Glade – forge ; Carman Rajani, heir to Founder Vol Rajani, crafts tools, weapons and armor of high quality ; 50 Ilvashti street) ; (2) has an ad for the Market (Otari Market, providing the community with General Dry Goods and Basic Necessities for Town Living ; Open-Air Market (weather permitting) ; Open every day, dawn ‘til Dusk ; 80 Menhemes Street) ; (3) has an add for Gallentine Deliveries (Local deliveries done within 24 hours ; Deliveries from/to Absalom/Diobel within a week (within 48 hours if you choose the express option) ; 120 , Roseguard Street) ; and (4) has an add for Wrin’s Wonders (Visit Wrin’s Wonders and explore your destiny in the stars! Trinkets and baubles! Magic and wonderment! 60, Osprey street).

The puzzle I plan to use is in French, but it should be possible to recreate it in English. In the French version, the 4 message gives the following information: (1) a sequence of letters (PUBASHJWSECTXTUBEVQISEPQKUKXSUB. XLCHELXABCPXVHEUKISABQTAUVICHDXVXUNABITUVXE.) ; (2) has “… with MORUE” [morue means cod, though it doesn’t matter here] ; (3) has “Then, replace KQVWX …” ; and (4) has “First, remove all the letters from BUCHE” [bûche means log, though it doesn’t matter]. If you remove the letters B, U, C, H and E from the sequence of letters, then replace K with M, Q with O, V with R, W with U and X with E, you get a text that means “Not small. It allowed Otari to come back to life”.

This final message points to the Giant’s Wheel, which was key in allowing Otari to flourish after its second colonization (thanks to Maklanni Menhemes). If the PCs go to the Giant’s Wheel, they find “the treasure”: a chest with a small wooden sculpture of the Giant Wheel and a message saying that, by showing this trophy to Keeleno Lathenar in the Otari Market, they will get a voucher worth 50 sp that they can use in any shop in Otari.

Evening of the Festival. Once the sun has set and the stars appear very clearly in the sky, the PCs gather with Wrin, Morlibint, his spouse, and many other locals and visitors who attended the Festival in order to share an evening meal (barbecued fish maybe?). At some point during the evening, Wrin looks at the sky and seems concerned. She stands and, without a word, walks away from the lights of the Festival (to better see the sky). Morlibint notices this and suggests that the PCs and he should go check on her. After all, she has seemed quite preoccupied the last few days.

Wrin is observing the northern sky, and pointing to something in that direction. “I wasn’t sure before… but, with such a clear sky, there is no doubt anymore. There is some sort of glow coming from that direction.” Morlibint and the PCs do not see anything, and Wrin posits that her tiefling eyes might let her see more than them.

Wrin tells them about her previous readings, the danger over Otari and the reason why she invited the PCs. Morlibint does not really take this very seriously: “Oh, sure… like in the childish song? Belcorra coming back to eat the foolish children maybe? Ha ha… I might not be as learned as Vandy about the history of Otari but… Gauntlight has been destroyed what? 400 or 500 years ago? There might have been Stonescale kobolds and other kinds of pests over there at some point, but nothing that could endanger Otari.”

Nevertheless, Wrin remains serious and concerned and asks the PCs to go there and investigate the place after a good night’s rest, even though she doesn’t have much to offer them. Morlibint continues to doubt her but, since he is a good guy and a friend of Wrin’s, he wants to help convince the PCs. He tells them that, if they make the journey to the swamp and they see any creature related to the dangerous will-o’-wisps, he’s interested in hearing their experience with them and that he’s ready to give them a few coins for this information. He also warns them that they should be cautious and not follow them, lest they lead them to danger.

And then the campaign can begin as written in the books. Morlibint’s quest is also there to tell the players that they should come back regularly to Otari and visit the NPCs who might be interested in what they are going to find during their venture through the Abomination Vaults.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We started last 3/19/21 at the front door of the keep. However we all crafted characters and backstory over a week leading up to it. Premise being we are asked by a mutual friend and introduced to one another prior to the start to go do just that. So far I am loving it. Delightful romp.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had an industrious night and worked up Dalvyn's puzzle for English audiences. Check out the spoiler for the translation.



Clue 2 is "...with timber."

Clue 3 is "Then, replace jkqvxz..."

Clue 4 is "First, remove flume."

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Misroi wrote:

I had an industrious night and worked up Dalvyn's puzzle for English audiences. Check out the spoiler for the translation.

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for converting the puzzle to English, Misroi! And bonus points for sticking with words related to the theme of the town! :)

I think you might have a small typo in your Clue #3: since the "V"s need to remain in the message, maybe use "Then, replace jkqwxz" (w instead of v) instead?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's probably true, Dalvyn. I went back and forth so many times on how to reword the puzzles and clues so many times that errors were bound to creep in. Thanks for the catch!

I’m thinking of having things open at a raucous and drunken after-hours party at the Otari fishery. The adventurers are strangers (or not) who in their revelry, gather around the nomadic and bohemian Wrin Sivinxi, for what they think will be a lighthearted parlor trick—an astrology reading under the night sky. As they look up at the stars together, they notice a sinister blue glow atop the distant Gauntlight. Sivinxi relates how she recently had a vision of this same eerie light accompanied by an all-consuming evil and claims fate has brought them together to find out what it means.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will begin this campaign pantsless.


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I love the set ups (here) that I might just use them as well. I was wondering how to start the adventure and this thread delivers.
Great ideas. Thank you!

I started right at the gates just like the adventure suggests.

I am likely going to start the campaign with some of the missions/quests from the module 'troubles in Otari' and have the players get started there interacting with folks in Otari. I will also likely use Steelwinds 'festival pie' event as a lead off.

Depending on how things go, if the players reach 2nd level, I may just fire up the lighthouse and that would be a definite 'hook' to get them to go investigate the area and discover the locations below.

So much of Otari is well fleshed out in both the Troubles and beginner box its a shame not to utilize it.

Thanks for this thread!

larsenex wrote:

I am likely going to start the campaign with some of the missions/quests from the module 'troubles in Otari' and have the players get started there interacting with folks in Otari. I will also likely use Steelwinds 'festival pie' event as a lead-off.

Thanks for this thread!

I am also stealing all the great ideas. I switched up the first chapter of Troubles in Otari so that the Fish Camp is an Inheritance for one of the players, and they come to town to collect it. The former owner of the Fish Camp was a descendent of Vol (who I gender-switched to male "Val" for plot purposes later) who was a fisherman. He is a distant cousin of one of the PCs. He has been at odds with Carmen, who has claimed to be the only true inheritor from Val. So the character's distant cousin paid Tamily to make sure _anyone_but_Carmen_ got his Inheritance. So she found the PC in Absalom and his buddies came along to get out of town during the Radiant Festival and for the lols. That puts them instantly at odds with Carmen, which will pay off later...

They clear the Fish Camp and then go to town for Founders Day. I have a bunch of activities that will intro all the crucial NPCs including side-quest people like the Leadbuster Lads. That happens during a wheel-barrow race sponsored by the Fishers and Farmers Guild in which the Leadbusters cheat. There's a Pie Contest (thanks!), a bunch of Logging events like Hatchet throw and Caber Toss. A log-rolling event. Lot's a fun ways to intro different NPCs.

The PCs will win the treasure hunt (I have a different puzzle version if anyone wants it) and that will get them a seat at the Mayor's table with Wrin. She actually sponsored the hunt to find someone who might be able to figure out what is going on at the old lighthouse, at which point the Inheritor will notice that they, too, can see the glow. And what the Inheritor actually inherited is not an old run down fish camp, but instead a special sword...but it will be a while until they figure that out. There's already been a lot of ribbing about how the PC inherited such a fine estate! :)

Thanks all for the great ideas. I've stolen a lot. And let me know if you want to see the barrow race rules. I'm particularly proud of them :)

Dogan. wrote:
Thanks all for the great ideas. I've stolen a lot. And let me know if you want to see the barrow race rules. I'm particularly proud of them :)

I wouldn't mind seeing those race rules, or anything else you've got for the Founder's Day activities that you're willing to share.

I'll be starting it like a TV show, with a long narration that gets us right to the door of the keep. The players will know that Wrin has brought them all together to investigate the Gauntlight, and once they decide on their characters, I'll frame quick flashbacks to a key backstory moment for each hero as the 'camera' moves through Fogfen, like this:

We open on mist. A slowly shifting fog bank, hanging over the rotting vegetation of a swamp, muffling the distant calls of frogs and the steady hum of mosquitos. The fog seems almost sullen, oppressive, as stagnant as the marshland itself, stubbornly clinging near the muddy earth and murky waters and refusing to dissipate.

As the camera moves through the thick blanket of fog, off to the left, almost out of the corner of the viewer's eye, a beam of faint, eerie blue light glints off the curling mist, illuminating a scene that seems to play out through a blurred pane of glass.


We move past this tableau, further into the fog, and again, as we move, we notice off to the right, another ray of that strange pale blueish light casting into sharp relief another scene. Blurred figures move into focus…

We shift up and over this still-moving vignette, higher into the mist, and above our heads, that sickly blue light catches the edge of yet another hazy window into yet another time and place. [INSERT SCENE + TAROT CARD]

The camera suddenly tilts down and rushes towards the ground, stopping merely a few inches away from a still pool of brackish water. A pale blue gleam reflects on the mirror-like surface, turning it opaque, and we see a final scene. An elegant yet eccentrically dressed tiefling, with pupilless white eyes, sitting cross-legged on a silken tapestry laid out on the grass by the banks of a rushing river, lit only by glittering starlight that catches her iridescent white hair. On the tapestry in front of her, there's a partially complete Tarot reading. Three equidistant cards form a wide triangle: the same three cards we've seen before. Wrin Sivenxi delicately riffles the deck through her graceful hands, and draws a final card. Without looking at it, she lays it face up in the empty space between the three cards. It's the Tower, the sign of disaster, destruction, upheaval, trauma, sudden change, and chaos. She ponders it for a moment, then her eyes go wide, and she turns her head quickly to the northwest, narrowing her eyes as she strains to see something. We follow her gaze, and the camera zooms in to something only supernaturally acute eyes would notice from this distance - a faint, eerie blue light, glowing from atop a towering inland lighthouse that is just visible far on the horizon beyond a towering forest. Back to Wrin, now frowning with worry and a little bit of fear, who with one swift movement of a wide sleeve, whisks the cards away...and as that movement rushes across the camera, we're back in the marsh, alongside three familiar-looking figures making their way through the fog.

They're heading towards a sprawling, collapsed ruin of stone and wood that squats atop an overgrown island ahead, marked by a strange sight: a colossal inland lighthouse looms above the rubble, untouched by the corrosive swamp air and the passage of time.

So this is my first foray as a GM.

I was able to convince the group (as Paizo has sort of led this charge anyway with the adventure paths) that rather than worry about Xp, we will level up at the speed of plot. Hopefully, if I do a good enough job keeping things fun, they won't notice that they're Level 2 and 3 for a while.

So as a lead in I set up a storm for the town so rather than work they were all in the Rowdy Rockfish when Tamily came in and let them into the Beginner Box content. We're doing the beginner box first and as they came out from the Menace Under Otari for their first visit, the town is under attack by sea devils.

This week will be our third session and we SHOULD finish Menace. This will lead to them going around the town to help out the many NPC's and get to know them as they try to help recover from the storm and the raid to repair damage, etc.

This all will lead in to them sitting down at night with Wrin and she'll tell them about the Gauntlight. I plan to have Tamily there to offer up her old fishery to the crew as a base of operations, and they'll get to decide to head towards the Gauntlight or set up their base first.

I realize this isn't all that original, but I'm very excited that Paizo gave us such a robust little area to pull multiple bits of material from while also taking people through the AP. There's plenty for them to worry about, relationships to build that will matter (one of the player chars is a dwarf so Brelda has already expressed interest!)

But yeah, having Troubles in Otari, the Beginner Box -and- this robust AP to play with made the start simple, with the ability to throw in other things if the AP ever starts to feel stale or too on rails. Ideally by the time they hit level five, they'll be so invested in the vaults and the menace they pose that they won't need any more fluff to start.

Excited to have all of this to work with my first time out of the chute as the GM.

Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Looking at the map (in various copies) of the environs of Otari, where is this fish camp?

Ed Reppert wrote:
Looking at the map (in various copies) of the environs of Otari, where is this fish camp?

Troubles in Otari lists it as six miles from the city / fishery. I plan to put it to the east as that's where one of my players has a farm. Pretty sure you can choose east or west from the Otari fishery to choose from.

Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I would have chosen east as well, given there's a road heading east along the coast from Otari, and no road heading west. But...

In the second adventure of Abomination Vaults, there is talk of a Smuggler's Cave, which is either stated to be, or from the maps in that AP appears to be, west of Otari. And there is mention that the cave and the fish camp are near each other.

I'll have to check ToI again, but I remember it as "5 or 6 hours travel", presumably walking, from Otari.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm considering lightijg up the graveyard as the inciting incident. We already played through Menace and part of Trouble and having a more active presentation of danger seems appealing. Also I don't love the implication that the PC poking around triggered the incident in the first place.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I am planning on starting with the funeral for Lasda Venkervale. He has been missing for more than a year, and is assumed dead. Beforehand, the PCs were each approached by Wrin, who has been reading the stars, and asked them to attend with all of their gear. A small number of kobolds (the last of the Stonescale kobolds displaced by the mitflits) will have been sheltering in the cemetery. Based on my players' conduct in the past, this will likely result in violence, which they will be the only ones equipped to handle. After the kobolds are dealt with, Wrin will gasp in horror and point to the Gauntlight in the distance, which will be clearly lit. Panic will ensue, and Mayor Menhemes (who will be attending the funeral) will ask for volunteers to investigate.

Kind of a mixture of Rise of the Runelords and Carrion Crown.

Grand Lodge

I ran as contract that Wryn put on job post board in Absalon. Group met her at her shop and talked more details of the contract. Group went there to investigate light from Gauntlet Keep and its tower of why is omitting light.

I saw Dalvyns post regarding events so I might use that so group knows more about NPC's but we are already past graveyard incident soo it might not be ideal.

Scarab Sages

I used the pie festival to introduce the town NPCs to great success. I had all the PCs get called up to participate in the contest (Wrin bends fate to get them chosen), and even gave them a coupon book for participation. Things like, 20% off one purchase of 20g or less, 1 week free lodging at crook's nook, 2 free deliveries from absalom by gallantine delivery, one free rune transfer from Blades for Glades. The grand prize was a 10g golden pie trophy and a blessing from the Cooperation Blade (gave a persistent hero point). Then the group 'earned' a free fortune telling from Wrin.

Also got to show that Rejani was kinda an ass, and just get some connection to Otari. Was a great start for my group since once they're on dungeon crawl mode there's really no reason to go back and interact with most NPCs.

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