Forced Goodness (Trail of the Hunted)

Ironfang Invasion

Spoilers for the first part of the Ironfang Invasion AP!

So my group just finished getting through the troglodyte caves, clearing them out so that the refugees of Phaendar can move in.

After the game, as I always do, I asked the party for questions/comments/concerns which opened up a dialogue regarding the troglodytes.

The players felt it was very clumsy writing to have the PCs go invade and take over someone elses home, the very thing that kicks off the AP for them.

Even the fact that the troglodytes sacrifice others for their beliefs was considered justification for the take over so that there's not even a hint of grey morality to the situation.

I do agree that the situation seems a bit forced, but I don't think too much of it in the grand scheme of the AP.

I'm curious to know what other folks that have run or played through this portion feel.

When I read Trail of the Hunted I foresaw two problems with Part 3, Cradled in Stone. First, the party would not find the evidence that the xulgaths (I converted the adventure path to Pathfinder 2nd Edition, so the troglodytes were renamed xulgaths) were evil elf-sacrificing cultist until after they had killed five xulgaths. Second, the Ironfang Legion was sending a representative Fahrak to the Misthome cave, which meant that they knew about the cave and would eventually search it for the refugees from Phaendar.

To solve the second problem, I dropped Fahrak from the module. The Ironfang Legion did not know about the xulgath cultists and caves later called Misthome.

To solve the first problem, I added Gahreestrohmeister, a 3rd-level deep-gnome rogue (PF1 calls them svirfneblin). Twenty years ago, duergar had conquered Gahree's home in the Darklands. The deep gnome tribe retreated to the lower level of Misthome, but the xulgath had already moved into the upper level. Ighiz made a deal with the gnomes: if they fixed up the rundown caves, then the two tribes would split the cave: upper level for the xulgath and lower level for the gnomes. So the gnomes cleared out and fixed up the entire place. Though they were not finished, they received their reward a year later. Ighiz and his cultists turned on the gnomes, killing some and capturing others as sacrifices. Gahree was among the gnomes that escaped.

The surviving deep gnomes found another underground home that no-one wanted because it had no water supply. The gnomes trade for water. But Gahree preferred to sneak into Misthome and steal water from the xulgaths. It is his way of humiliating them as revenge.

However, on his most recent trip to Misthome, the xulgath successfully cut off his retreat back to the Darklands. Therefore, he escaped to the surface to hide for a few days until he could catch the xulgath off guard to sneak back through their cave to the Darklands. Instead, he spotted the party and the party spotted him, and they gave a chase to the gray-skinned gnome spying on them and talked to him. No-one in the party spoke Undercommon, but the two gnomes in our party could speak Gnomish with him. They learned the bloodthirsty history of the xulgath cultists and decided that this menace needed to be eliminated. And it would give the Phaendar refugees a hiding place with some deep gnome allies.

Afterwards, Gahree made a trip back to the deep gnomes and returned with Novvi, a gnome trader who provided the party their first chance to spend money since they escaped the invasion of Phaendar. Of course, Novvi was already in the module, but her introduction via Gahree felt more natural.

Amusingly, Novvi returned in Siege of Stone, on page 26 during the Long Walk in the Darklands. That little war I imagined between the deep gnomes and the duergar fit right into Siege of Stone, where the party had to be cautious about the hostility of the duergar. The party did not simply have a chance encounter with Novvi as the module laid out. Instead, they had contacted her by Sending spell and arranged for her to guide the party on the Long Walk. She showed up with the caligni caravan and Arkus, our playtest inventor. That meetup was a month ago real time and I have not yet finished writing the chronicles of their meeting.

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Opuk0 wrote:
I'm curious to know what other folks that have run or played through this portion feel.

My group is more beer & pretzels style than concerned with morality. If the opponent is identified as evil then that is normally good enough.

Nevertheless, I made sure encounter G3 occurred and showcased trog cruelty so that when the party got to part 3 they saw the trogs as a threat to the refugees, not a peaceful tribe that wanted to be left alone.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My party spared the trogs who attacked their camp and used that mercy to set up a parley. Long story short, they recruited the Children of Stone as allies and used their help to attack Camp Redjaw. Stone Call is a broken spell and was especially useful.

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