2 - Graveclaw (GM Reference)


Blood Lords


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for the second volume of the Blood Lords AP, Graveclaw by Jason Tondro.


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Book 2 seems very promising from what I’ve read so far. Each chapter is a trip to a different area of Geb, and while the purpose of each trip is to hunt down a different hag, the methods by which the PCs do so varies considerably.

In terms of spot checking, it looks like one of the new spells, Web of Influence doesn’t list what traditions it’s available to. I would probably lean toward it being arcane and occult.


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willfromamerica wrote:

Book 2 seems very promising from what I’ve read so far. Each chapter is a trip to a different area of Geb, and while the purpose of each trip is to hunt down a different hag, the methods by which the PCs do so varies considerably.

In terms of spot checking, it looks like one of the new spells, Web of Influence doesn’t list what traditions it’s available to. I would probably lean toward it being arcane and occult.

How viable, in your eyes, would a Changeling PC related to one of the hags be?


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keftiu wrote:
willfromamerica wrote:

Book 2 seems very promising from what I’ve read so far. Each chapter is a trip to a different area of Geb, and while the purpose of each trip is to hunt down a different hag, the methods by which the PCs do so varies considerably.

In terms of spot checking, it looks like one of the new spells, Web of Influence doesn’t list what traditions it’s available to. I would probably lean toward it being arcane and occult.

How viable, in your eyes, would a Changeling PC related to one of the hags be?

If the GM was willing to do the teensiest bit of work, very viable, as long as matricide is something ok at your table…these characters are pretty much as antagonistic to the PCs aims as imaginable.

Scarab Sages

There aren't lineage feats for rust hag or grave hag, are there?


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:

There aren't lineage feats for rust hag or grave hag, are there?

There is a lot of stuff in the toolbox for expanding hags and covens, but no they don't have new heritages or feats for changeling characters.


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I will say, this second book makes me want to wait to run Bloodlords until the impossible lands LO book has come out. There is a lot of downtime, travel and location visiting that feel like they will be a little "movie set"-like, where all the depth is just painted backdrops that can't be probed too far yet.

Some of these locations will be brought back and further explored in the later AP chapters too. Running it now is fine for tables that like a more rail-roady adventure I think, but if you like to let your players roam, it looks like you want to at least wait until book 6 is out...but that is almost always true with APs.


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I completely agree, having Lost Omens: Impossible Lands is going to be a must. I was initially planning on running this right away, but we decided to go with War for the Crown first, which we’ll probably be finishing up right around the time the last book of Blood Lords comes out. I learned my lesson with Strength of Thousands anyway that sometimes there are major plot developments in the later books that should really be foreshadowed more heavily.


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keftiu wrote:
willfromamerica wrote:

Book 2 seems very promising from what I’ve read so far. Each chapter is a trip to a different area of Geb, and while the purpose of each trip is to hunt down a different hag, the methods by which the PCs do so varies considerably.

In terms of spot checking, it looks like one of the new spells, Web of Influence doesn’t list what traditions it’s available to. I would probably lean toward it being arcane and occult.

How viable, in your eyes, would a Changeling PC related to one of the hags be?

Very viable. My group is getting ready to start book 2 and has a Changeling PC that is related to Sahni and doesn't know it yet.


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I agree that it’s very easy to have a changeling PC who turns out to be a child of one of the hags, and I’ll also add that Iron Taviah (the annis hag) and Sahni (the sea hag) are more fleshed out as characters than the other two. The grave hag gets a bit of detail, and the rust hag barely gets any characterization.


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So, Jason Tondro has a nasty habit in AP's he works on that is starting to grate on me:
If he doesn't like negative penalties for players prior authors have imposed, he'll nerf them.

He did it with Frozen Flame part 3 and he's done it here again on page 6 of the Second AP by introducing a hand-wavey ritual to give everyone negative healing that lasts in-game for a year.

"Wow!", you might say. "That's a pretty unbalanced ritual to introduce to the world! I wonder how it works!"

Well, he doesn't elaborate.

I like the idea, I just wish they had bothered to give it a ritual entry or otherwise something more elaborate than "Berline Haldoli leads you into the next room and hand-waves you negative healing, congrats. Yes I agree this is game-breaking stuff that could potentially ruin entire AP's worth of content like Abomination Vaults. No I will not go into detail about why this ritual isn't ubiquitous across the Inner Sea."

I'd strongly suggest making up some rules about a very high 1000+ gold cost in case a player inquires about doing it themselves.

Also there's a continuity error: Remember Glorinsa, the LE female human corpse tender from Book 1 on page 10?
She's a skeleton now apparently. This is not commented on at all in the book. I found this odd since the logical assumption by a party would be that she was recently made into undead, which would've been a great opportunity to show what a stone-cold ***** Haldoli is, but no it just comes off more as a continuity error.

Dark Archive

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There are other minor errors which makes me think editors were busy. Like there is typo that one of monsters is referring to "Bestiary 6, page 49" (its trying to refer to page that has elite template)

Anyway, the plot ritual is bit weird in that since its not taught to players and not given stats, but text does imply its either rare or unique as it has apparently been passed to Berline in particular. Considering lack of mechanics, it does sound like something that should be in sidebar as "optional suggestion for GMs who don't want their party to deal with unusual campaign mechanics" though since otherwise the player's guide might as well have said that pcs will get that(or rather it might s well have been in first book if campaign doesn't really want players to deal with positive healing being illegal for that long period)

Ritual also lasting for year has bit of problem of that unless ap takes place over course of very long time, it will last for entire campaign too which makes me wonder whether rest of ap writers took it in account?

(I'm neutral on it but I do think paizo aps have kind of trend of not wanting to put any special mechanics that make "normal" party's life harder, like outlaws of alkenstar handwaving spellcasting difficulties, I think those kind of things should be presented as campaign option rather than in built to campaign.)

I'm bit confused though, was there really such thing in quest for frozen flame?


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Quote:

I'm bit confused though, was there really such thing in quest for frozen flame?

I don't want to get off-topic but in Frozen Flame there was a crippling curse that affected players who lost the macguffin and because in part 3 he had a plot that involved you potentially losing the macguffin he said in a sidebar "if the party loses the macguffin consider reducing the severity of the curse" -- because otherwise you incur clumsy/enfeebled/stupefied 4 & fatigued, basically incapacitating whomever the curse affects.


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About Glorinsa: Although it’s not explained in the text, I think the subtext that Berline had her killed and brought back as skeleton because she wasn’t cutting it as a corpse tender is a nice subtle clue for why Berline’s people are so terrified of her, which is pointed out in the 1st book.


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Leon Aquilla wrote:

So, Jason Tondro has a nasty habit in AP's he works on that is starting to grate on me:

If he doesn't like negative penalties for players prior authors have imposed, he'll nerf them.

He announced in February that’s he’s left the company to work for WotC under a contract that doesn’t allow freelancing, so… at least it shouldn’t happen in another AP?

Dark Archive

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Sorry ^_^; I think I started the off topic tangent, but I feel like I have to clarify this since I found the thing ye were referring to. The exact quote is "go easy on the player whose character suffers the brunt of the artifact’s curse in its absence. The mechanical effects of this curse are extreme, to say the least."

Which is reasonable, it would be mean to be like "Ah yes, your character now has extremely bad penalty that makes you borderline useless, now all enemies will consider you a priority target". I don't think its same situation as here at all. They aren't really saying that you should ignore the curse's effect, they are saying that that in itself is enough punishment and you shouldn't punish them extra.

This case on otherhand is basically "So after a book prepping players to mindset that in this campaign positive healing is illegal and you need to plan around it, suddenly you get handwave mechanic that you never need to think about it ever again"


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keftiu wrote:
Leon Aquilla wrote:

So, Jason Tondro has a nasty habit in AP's he works on that is starting to grate on me:

If he doesn't like negative penalties for players prior authors have imposed, he'll nerf them.
He announced in February that’s he’s left the company to work for WotC under a contract that doesn’t allow freelancing, so… at least it shouldn’t happen in another AP?

I’m not even sure it falls at Tondro’s feet anyway? I would assume that type of big picture mechanical decision would be made by the AP developer, but I could be wrong.


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Should "Heat Metal" work on Iron Taviah's claws?


Nathnelma’s Office:
The map is huge, 45’x90’. It seems odd that a professor’s office would be so big, backed up by the description that calls it small, in a small building.
I am considering using a different map, but wondering if it was intentionally changed after play-testing because of the haunts? Are they too much to deal with in a smaller room?


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Leon Aquilla wrote:
Should "Heat Metal" work on Iron Taviah's claws?

RAW I don't believe it can as her nails are not "objects" and do not make up a significant portion of her body enough to say she's primarily made of metal.

However, its a niche enough spell to prepare (especially when travelling through the woods) that I would reward a cast of it on her by allowing it to treat her nails as objects. Taviah could "release" them as described in the spell by ripping out her nails as a free action (very hag like). This would remove the cold iron trait from her iron claws attack and cause it to deal bludgeoning instead of slashing for the rest of the fight.


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I felt like I would have looked like an ***hole if I had told the wizard "No, that niche spell you had packed away isn't useful here, sorry" and let them get away with it. Only wound up doing 6 damage anyways so didn't feel too bad about it.

Another note:

The book assumes that when you arrive at Sallowshore you're interested in currying favor with all the representatives of political factions. Uh, no? I'm here to kill a hag! A hag who I already know is guilty because I found a journal saying she was in Iron Taviah's cottage!

To learn that all of them are connected to Sahni you have to make inquiry rolls which require a skill check, but that requires the players be interested in making the skill check to begin with.

It was kind of annoying because I had to break everyone's immersion by suggesting to them what their characters might be motivated in doing. Very frustrating -- because currently as far as I can tell, there ISN'T really any perk to gaining reputation as of book 2. I'm sure that it will be useful later, but at the moment unless you're playing a hob-nobbing noble this is going to sail past people and they could wind up skipping a lot of content. So I had to kind of force in "Hey maybe you should talk to these 3 people?"

I'd suggest to anyone else maybe having some of the town big-wigs soliciting the party when they arrive. Like "Oh hey, visitors from Greydirge, and I heard you're up and comers. Lets meet?"


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How the heck does Nathnelma get a pint of blood from one of the characters for the Portrait of Spite ritual?
The one idea I have so far is if someone gets injured in her office or another earlier encounter, can assume she managed to scrape up enough blood from the floor or something.


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Down in Sahni Bride-of-the-Sea lair there's a CR 4 Brood Leech swarm which it turns out is......weakness to salt 5. In a salt water environment.

Also if my summoner had a nickel for every time that speaking Jotun has come in handy, she'd have 2 nickels. Which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it's happened twice.


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Leon Aquilla wrote:

Down in Sahni Bride-of-the-Sea lair there's a CR 4 Brood Leech swarm which it turns out is......weakness to salt 5. In a salt water environment.

Also if my summoner had a nickel for every time that speaking Jotun has come in handy, she'd have 2 nickels. Which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it's happened twice.

The brood leach swarm starts in a water proof jar. There should have been a statement about how they will react to being released into salt water, but I think it kinda makes for a more interesting encounter since bludgeoning under water is difficult. Also, the players might realize they can just slow it down and the environment will finish it off.


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Quote:

How the heck does Nathnelma get a pint of blood from one of the characters for the Portrait of Spite ritual?

Having completed the AP last night, I still have no freaking idea.

The Vampire Pub Crawl was great though.


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I feel that there is low information on the property of the Gingerbread house

(Especially Size, nothing other than "spacious and comfortable two-story cottage with a fenced yard")

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