Monday, 27 July 2009

Divine Domains for Golarion Gods

With Divine Power having just come out this month, I had been considering that the domain options would be a good bit of conversion work to help tailor the 4E rules to the Golarion setting. However, with only one player having anything from the divine power source, and that player leaning more towards the warlock half of the hybrid, DP didn't seem like such an essential purchase just at present. Scott at Tales from the Rusty Dragon has put in some excellent work on this very subject in his post over here; I heartily recommend checking it out if you are running 4E in the Pathfinder campaign setting.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

A2. Chapel

The chapel is an excellent set up for 4E combat: a large area on two levels with a number of interesting features. There are features that I found slightly confusing, namely the positioning of the rafters in the upper works. As there are no climb skill details for access to the beams, it seems to indicate that they are the same level as the broken remains of the balcony, but it seems slightly unusual that the beams are shown over the balcony on the map. As there is some mention of the balcony having been used as seating during services, it also seems a little odd in that the beams would seem to have potentially obscured views of the pulpit.

After a little consideration, I decided to go with the beams running just under the balcony remains and remove the seating from the balcony area, but you should feel free to make adjustments as you see fit. One thing to remember if you chose to set the rafters higher than the balcony: you will be increasing the distance of any potential falls from being 2d10 to 3d10 or more.

One thing that did amuse me in the description: the skull cluster hanging from the roof is described as "boulder sized"... just what size is a boulder?

The combat is presented as two encounters: depending on how your players are faring, you may chose to blend these two encounters, or permit them a short rest to break off and gather their strength before taking on King Mokknokk and his retinue.

Going to the Chapel
Encounter Level 2 (700 XP)

1 Pugwampi Jinx
3 Pugwampi Snivellers
4 Pugwampi Whelps

A number of pugwampi spend much of their time lazing around in the chapel. Unless the party have been taking care to be stealthy (versus the pugwampi passive perception check of 13) they will be aware of the PCs approaching.

Perception Check
DC 13:
The party notice movement in the "nest" as though tiny feet were making their way across the fabric.

A few of the pugwampi may elect to stay hidden for as long as possible and utilise their unluck ability, but most will consider themselves receiving enough protection from positions on the balcony and rafters to let loose with their bows, particularly the pugwampi whelps, who have no unluck ability to use.

The pugwampi will be quick to release the boulder if any PCs enter the range of the trap provided that none of the party have climbed to the balcony. If any PCs do climb to the balcony, particularly melee focused characters, the pugwampi will scamper out on to the rafters and attempt to taunt the PC in to sliding out after them.

Features of the Area
Illumination: Plenty of light shines through the broken windows and crumbling roof during the day time.
Roof and balcony: The roof of the chapel is 30 feet high around the perimeter, rising to close to 40 feet at the center. The rafters and remainders of the balcony are all 20 feet high.
Walls: The walls of the chapel are man-made and, despite the ill-state of repair, still smooth. It requires a DC 25 Athletics check to climb the chapel walls.
Ladder: A ladder on the western side of the chapel allows access to the balcony. It does not require any check to climb the ladder, but any PC doing so notices a number of pins and nails, knots of string, and small holes adorning the two runners of the ladder. These are adjustments made by the pugwampi to allow the tiny creatures to utilise the ladder more easily.
Benches: Benches line both sides of the chapel and where whole do not impede movement parallel to their length. Attempting to move perpendicular (i.e. climbing over the rows) costs one extra square of movement. The benches can be overturned as a standard action with a DC 15 Strength check, while one can be hoisted into position (providing a ramp to access the balcony, for example) with a DC 21 Strength check and two standard actions.
Broken benches: The broken benches on the western half of the hall count as difficult terrain.
Skull boulder: A large cluster of skulls, roughly 10 feet in diameter, hangs from a rope attached at A3a. The rope has AC 10, Reflex 8, Fort 8; 5 hp or can be untied as a standard action. If the rope is cut or untied, the boulder falls, attacking as per it's stat block here.
Skull Boulder; Level 1 Lurker
Trap; XP 100
The boulder of skulls and bones crashes into the ground, sending fist sized chucks and bone shard splinters flying in all directions.
Trap: The boulder lands and attacks a burst 2 area beneath it.
No check is necessary to notice the skull boulder.
The trap attacks when the supporting rope is untied or cut.
Immediate Reaction; Close burst 2
Creatures in the burst.
Attack: +5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d6 damage
Miss: Half damage
Treasure: The uncut garnet in the skull cluster is now worth 170 GP (treasure parcel 8 from level 2).

Tools of the "Trade": Asmor's Monster Maker

Recent news of Wizards of the Coast monster design tool being in development made me realise that I never properly credited Asmor for the Monster Maker application which I used for the creation of the stat blocks in the bestiary entries of this blog. With the anouncement of the D&DI application, Asmor has decided to discontinue updates to the software; we can only hope that WotC manage to craft a tool that is halfway as intuitive, well-designed, and well-implemented as this piece of software. Despite no updates being likely in future, I highly recommend the tool as it currently stands for DMs eager to create their own creatures.

Asmor's own blog, Encounter-a-Day, is also a valuable resource of ideas and mechanics, while the site has many other programs, scripts, and utilities that can help out with the task of DMing.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

A1. Ruined Nave

One of the statues in this area has an inscription with a date on it: this is likely to prompt groups that otherwise wouldn't have given any consideration to the calendar at all to ask the question "What year is it now?" If you'd rather not overly concern yourself with such matters you may want to remove the inscription, or at least the date portion, from the statue in area A1b. Otherwise, you decide upon a date--or at the least, a year--at which the campaign starts. Suggestions over on the Paizo forums suggest setting this around 4709, but if you have run other campaigns in the setting, you may wish to adjust this accordingly to where you wish to fit the adventure path in your time-line.

As far as skill checks for this area go: -

A DC 10 History, Nature, or Streetwise identifies Pale Mountain in the bas-relief.
A DC 15 Religion identifies the manner of depiction is similar to the depiction of saints.
A DC 22 Religion identifies Vardishal.

A DC 16 Perception check locates the secret door to A11. Opening the door without clearing the foliage from behind it requires a DC 14 Strength check.

Part Two: The Old Monastery

Almah is eager to find a new base of operations from which to launch the liberation of Kelmarane and the old monastery seems perfectly situated. Naturally it falls to the party to check it for wildlife or other menaces before moving the caravan in.

Unlike many encounter maps in Pathfinder adventure paths, the scale of the map as presented is not too inappropriate to 4th Edition. The chapel area in particular is well suited in scale for 4E combat, and while it is advisable to merge A15, A16, and A18 into one encounter and letting them spill out into A13 is probably enough without having to use the frequent "trick" of doubling up the squares.

One thing that has been changed is the number of pugwampis present in the monastery: in addition to King Mokknock, there are 3 pugwampi jinx, 8 pugwampi snivellers, and 6 pugwampi whelps in total within the monestary.

The chapel does provide a nice "capstone" encounter for clearing out the main floor of the monastery and quite possibly the point at which the party will hit 2nd level. While not necessarily required, you may consider drawing the party's attention towards areas A15-A18 with sounds of the pugwampis in the kitchen which may well prompt the group to sweep anti-clockwise around the building, ending with the chapel.