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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Wrath of the Righteous: Worldwound Incursion- Improving the module [SPOILERS!]

    Spoilers alert: If you're going to play in the PF adventure path mentioned in the title, then know that this ENTIRE thread is jut one big spoiler! Please, do not continue! If you are however going to DM it, then maybe some things might be of use to you.

    My gaming group is going to start the Wrath of the Righteous campaign soon. As a DM I've read the first module- The Worldwound Incursion, and though it has some good stuff in it, there is also quite a bit that I believe can be made better.

    In this thread I intend to present the major issues I have with the module, and present some ideas for solutions (Not all at once, I don't have them yet). I'd also like it to (hopefully) be a sort of a community project where other people also contribute their ideas for the module (Or even the AP?)

    Before I continue with my "list of complaints", I'd like to say that I think many things in the module are quite nicely done. This thread is about improving the module, not just bashing it.

    Ok, My main issues are as follows:
    1) Meaningless encounters: There is a great deal of encounters that don't any substance to the story other than just "XP quota". They start out fighting maggots? cockroaches? In a campaign that is supposed to be Epic? There are more such encounters throughout the module. Not a whole lot, but enough to be time consuming and somewhat pointless. This is aggrevated by...
    2) Overly simplified encounters: Nearly all of the encounters (Certainly over 80%) are without any interesting terrain, conditions, and with but one type of opponent facing the party. I feel encounters can be more interesting by far.
    Potential Solution for 1 & 2: reducing the overall number of encounters, but making the remaining ones more engaging and challenging- a mix of foes, a hazardous terrain, traps and so on. I think the XP bundle can be gathered up and redistributed possibly. The encounters created should have a stronger link to the story, have a more emotional and plot importance to them than just "oh, another monster to kill". The module provides enough flavor and background info to enable this I believe.

    3) Time sensitive undertakings: I feel that the underground voyage and the attack on the Gray Fort are very time sensitive. In the underground the party has just witnessed a massive scale attack on their city. There is no way a party would just stop to rest for 8 hours (or clear the Torag's temple) or such! Their home is invaded by demons! We must get there, no matter the cost! And yet the journey there spans 2 whole levels! A party that roleplays to their character will either run down all of it's resources and barely make it, or won't make it, most likely the latter.

    As to the Gray Fort: It holds the key component of the entire invasion of the demon host, and they are just going to let people attack it, retreat, attack it again while waiting in position? Yes, I know there are the escalation waves, but simple logic would decreed that after even ONE failed attack the demonic forces would pull everything, including a few of the major demons into protecting the place.

    Also, I don't see a party having the time to clean up Iomedae's temples and such while attacking the fort. Not if it's supposed to not run like a computer game.

    Possible solution: Either make the travel through these two places considerably shorter and more doable in one attempt (But then what do you do about XP? ) Or give the party some sort of tool/ magic, that enables them to "rest/ recharge" faster. One idea I had (not that great, needs work), That instead of Terendelev's scales giving some sort of a spell like power per day (I'll get to that soon), they will grant the ability to recharge after 1 or 5 minutes of activation. 1 use each scale before it cracks up and dries (thinking 3-5 scales). Not perfect, but might do.

    4) Too much "Outside help": The party feels as if it is sheltered and granted lots from outside influence. This may be nice once, twice, but it starts losing appeal when it happens so much (To my tastes at least). The first such incidence is Terendelev's scales at the start. A reward for doing... what exactly? (And a powerful reward at this level!) At the end there are the devotion mechanics, and then the power burst from the exploding wardstone. True, this is the Mythic moment, but I feel it gives just Too much to the players, it makes their winning cheap. My players like to EARN their prizes, not having them given out to them so freely.

    Possible solution: This is quite simple- nerf the "super cool power bonuses" down a bit. Not sure to what degree yet (Except for my example of the scales above). Needs work

    5) End battle too easy: I'm talking about two parts- first the one with the oracle, and the second with the Babau assassins. I think that BOTH should be made harder. Destroying the WardStone should be more difficult than touching it with the cancellation rods (Which ends that encounter), and Areelu's revenge should come much closer to killing the party. You want to give the infernal witch some respect, show that the powers of the demonic horde is still something to fear, and last of all- give the party a deserving "hang by the edge of your seats" battle.

    Possible Soultions: I'm no expert in PF, but other than adding enemeis for the oracle fight, and making the wardstone much harder to destroy, I'll need to learn the system better.

    As to Areelu's revenge, I was thinking of something like the following: The Ward stone may give some final boost to the party (Like a final recharge to their powers? Since this battle is supposed to lift them a whole new level?) Areelu makes shifting moving gaps to the abyss in the walls around the party, out of which come demons. First weak, than stronger, than stronger, coming from many directions (Perhaps even buffed by some of Areelu's buffing spells?). The party needs to withstand some of the waves of The Abyss before the gaps fall out.

    Yeah, not perfect, but perhaps it could work? I'd welcome ideas.

    6) The Gray Garrison: It looks TINY to me, and with barely any room to maneuver, and almost no interesting terrain. It's measurements are unrealisitc to say the least.

    Possible solution: Each 5 ft square now becomes a 10 foot square, and add strange "demonic influences" in the building, make the Worldwound's power really be felt here- nauseating effects, perhaps fear effects, maybe some walls have burning blood on them and more... Make it like a trip to a "mini-hell". I think it would make the end chapter much more flavorful.

    7) Radiance: This is an epic level sword! It shouldn't be encountered such randomly! I think It deserves a more fitting fight, a more epic moment where it is found. Something more... Befitting. Plus, There is Irabeth's sword later on, obviously two weapons meant mainly for paladins/ cavaliers and such (More so if they worship Iomedae). Perhaps it should be a different weapon?

    Possible Solution: Find Radiance later, possibly at the Tower of Estrod or with the alchemist in the Gray Garison? It seems a much more fitting target to be corrupted than Irabeth's sword.

    8) The accompanying NPCs: I'm not sure, but even blind the Rift Warden's power seems way exaggerated for this group- level 3 spells at his disposal? I think he might overshadow everyone. I'm not certain about this though, I haven't quite taken into account all of the affects of his blindness.

    Possible solutions: Possibly a nerf to say... 4th level? Not sure. Advice welcomed.

    9) Bargaining with Neathholme: As the adventure puts it, there is NO WAY that the party can't seal a deal with chief sull! He even suggests the idea to help the "uplanders!". However, this gives both XP and substabtial help later on (1 NPC follower per PC for the gray garrsion), So this needs to be harder. Success should not be automatic. (Besides, what would Horus and the Riftwarden's influence matter if it didn't?)

    Possible solution: Make Sll more ambiguous, or put ANOTHER mongrelperson who has different views. The module mentions a 3rd level witch caster in the tribe, probably some sort of a wise woman/ shaman? I think putting her in as an opposing voice ("What did they ever do to us?", "Their witch hunters come down and kill us!", "Face demons? we can barely survive the tunnels!") this will give the party some interesting social challenge hopefully.
    ------------------------------------------------

    So these are my thoughts, feel free to add more, discuss, add or whatever. Hopefully this can be useful to many DMs trying the module.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Wrath of the Righteous: Worldwound Incursion- Improving the module [SPOILERS!]

    Hello! I can't believe this thread went so long slipping past my attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    1) Meaningless encounters: There is a great deal of encounters that don't any substance to the story other than just "XP quota". They start out fighting maggots? cockroaches? In a campaign that is supposed to be Epic? There are more such encounters throughout the module. Not a whole lot, but enough to be time consuming and somewhat pointless. This is aggrevated by...
    This is a problem with all the Paizo APs, honestly: Word of James Jacobs is Thou's Campaigns Must Always Start At Level 1, and the APs all follow this philosophy. Problem is there's not much you can actually do with adventuring at level 1 without putting the PCs in serious danger, so we wind up with meaningless trash encounters that serve no purpose except to push the PCs along to level 3 or 4 so that they can actually start doing meaningful stuff. Some of them (*cough Council of Thieves cough*) keep the filler going until even later!

    2) Overly simplified encounters: Nearly all of the encounters (Certainly over 80%) are without any interesting terrain, conditions, and with but one type of opponent facing the party. I feel encounters can be more interesting by far.
    Potential Solution for 1 & 2: reducing the overall number of encounters, but making the remaining ones more engaging and challenging- a mix of foes, a hazardous terrain, traps and so on. I think the XP bundle can be gathered up and redistributed possibly. The encounters created should have a stronger link to the story, have a more emotional and plot importance to them than just "oh, another monster to kill". The module provides enough flavor and background info to enable this I believe.
    Definitely, but a further suggestion: There's wonderful opportunities for building atmosphere in the tunnels. It's dark, cramped, and nobody really knows what's down there, or what to expect around the next corner. The players should expect to be jumped by something nasty at any moment, even if that moment never actually comes. Enhance the tunnels with the *threat* of danger moreso than actual danger (though the danger level should definitely be stepped up a couple notches).

    Once the PCs emerge into the city, there's even more opportunity for atmosphere: Kenabres has essentially fallen behind enemy lines and has become a lovely little slice of hell (well, the abyss technically, but...). Ever play Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor? Think of Kenabres as Tokyo on the final day of the lockdown, the entire city in panic and chaos. The PC's first priority will probably be making sure their loved ones are safe and sound, assuming they're natives of the city. Hint: They probably won't be. In the case that they are, a heartfelt reunion scene at Defender's heart is a golden roleplaying opportunity.

    Also, don't be afraid to bump up the story award XP packets to make up for the lack of encounter XP, depending on how much you cut the combats back.

    3) Time sensitive undertakings: I feel that the underground voyage and the attack on the Gray Fort are very time sensitive. In the underground the party has just witnessed a massive scale attack on their city. There is no way a party would just stop to rest for 8 hours (or clear the Torag's temple) or such! Their home is invaded by demons! We must get there, no matter the cost! And yet the journey there spans 2 whole levels! A party that roleplays to their character will either run down all of it's resources and barely make it, or won't make it, most likely the latter.

    As to the Gray Fort: It holds the key component of the entire invasion of the demon host, and they are just going to let people attack it, retreat, attack it again while waiting in position? Yes, I know there are the escalation waves, but simple logic would decreed that after even ONE failed attack the demonic forces would pull everything, including a few of the major demons into protecting the place.

    Also, I don't see a party having the time to clean up Iomedae's temples and such while attacking the fort. Not if it's supposed to not run like a computer game.

    Possible solution: Either make the travel through these two places considerably shorter and more doable in one attempt (But then what do you do about XP? ) Or give the party some sort of tool/ magic, that enables them to "rest/ recharge" faster. One idea I had (not that great, needs work), That instead of Terendelev's scales giving some sort of a spell like power per day (I'll get to that soon), they will grant the ability to recharge after 1 or 5 minutes of activation. 1 use each scale before it cracks up and dries (thinking 3-5 scales). Not perfect, but might do.
    1. As I said before, the threat of danger is much more potent than actual danger. If the PCs get through within a few (in-world) hours and feel like they just barely made it, great!

    2. Reduce the time on reconsecrating Torag's shrine, for sure. It should take maybe a half-hour, tops.

    3. As for the Gray Garrison, one approach I think might work really well is to not treat it like a standard dungeon crawl: The monsters inside are way above the PC's ability to handle. Their only choice of victory is to get in and destroy the wardstone while getting into as few fights as possible, ideally without being seen at all. This reinforces that the party is taking an opportunistic blow at the weak point of an enemy much bigger than them, rather than the bad guys just being idiots who leave low-level cultists to guard the keystone to their entire strategy for winning the war.

    4. Personally, I'd just give the PCs the full 10-point devotion reward for free. There's no way to make the devotion point system make sense in this context without sacrificing the larger themes you're trying to establish. Furthermore the reward for free makes sense because the players are set up as the Chosen Ones of Iomedae whether they succeed at earning devotion points or not. Of course, don't *tell* them they're getting it for free, make them think that it's a reward for something awesome they did (even though they'd have gotten the rewards no matter what). Unless your PCs have been chaotic evil types, it'll work just fine. (And if they are acting like CE maniacs, you're gonna have problems with this campaign no matter what.)

    4) Too much "Outside help": The party feels as if it is sheltered and granted lots from outside influence. This may be nice once, twice, but it starts losing appeal when it happens so much (To my tastes at least). The first such incidence is Terendelev's scales at the start. A reward for doing... what exactly? (And a powerful reward at this level!) At the end there are the devotion mechanics, and then the power burst from the exploding wardstone. True, this is the Mythic moment, but I feel it gives just Too much to the players, it makes their winning cheap. My players like to EARN their prizes, not having them given out to them so freely.

    Possible solution: This is quite simple- nerf the "super cool power bonuses" down a bit. Not sure to what degree yet (Except for my example of the scales above). Needs work
    This is a symptom of a larger problem: The PCs are treated as if they were Special before it makes any sense for them to be treated that way. Terendelev? Lucky coincidence, or Destiny Says So if you want to really stretch it. Iomedae? Well the campaign trait backstories (except Child of the Crusades) really do make the PCs Special, even if they don't know it yet, but Iomedae has every reason to know and to treat them accordingly.

    Everybody else has no excuse. The NPCs trapped down in the tunnels with the party treats the PCs as the leaders by default... why? Irabeth selects the PCs to destroy the wardstone fragment while everybody else distracts the enemy... why? (Sword of Valor has similar problems. Queen Galfrey decides the PCs would be the perfect military commanders to lead an army to retake Drezen... why?)

    There are metagame answers to these questions but they're just that: Metagame answers. The writers of the AP so desperately want the players to be the stars of the show that they're willing to create gaping plot holes to do so.

    5) End battle too easy: I'm talking about two parts- first the one with the oracle, and the second with the Babau assassins. I think that BOTH should be made harder. Destroying the WardStone should be more difficult than touching it with the cancellation rods (Which ends that encounter), and Areelu's revenge should come much closer to killing the party. You want to give the infernal witch some respect, show that the powers of the demonic horde is still something to fear, and last of all- give the party a deserving "hang by the edge of your seats" battle.

    Possible Soultions: I'm no expert in PF, but other than adding enemeis for the oracle fight, and making the wardstone much harder to destroy, I'll need to learn the system better.

    As to Areelu's revenge, I was thinking of something like the following: The Ward stone may give some final boost to the party (Like a final recharge to their powers? Since this battle is supposed to lift them a whole new level?) Areelu makes shifting moving gaps to the abyss in the walls around the party, out of which come demons. First weak, than stronger, than stronger, coming from many directions (Perhaps even buffed by some of Areelu's buffing spells?). The party needs to withstand some of the waves of The Abyss before the gaps fall out.

    Yeah, not perfect, but perhaps it could work? I'd welcome ideas.
    You've already read my advice on Areelu's Revenge: Skip it. You don't miss out on anything by doing so (and actually improve the ending sequence quite a bit). You could change some stuff to make it a more meaningful and effective sequence, but IMO you have much to lose and little to gain.

    As for the oracle fight, this one has a pretty easy answer: You see that cage around the wardstone fragment in the picture? The holes are too small for the rod of cancellation to fit through. They have to spend a round or two getting the cage open instead of just charging past the boss and tapping the fragment. Combine that with bumping the encounter up to a full APL+5 CR, and you're good to go.

    6) The Gray Garrison: It looks TINY to me, and with barely any room to maneuver, and almost no interesting terrain. It's measurements are unrealisitc to say the least.

    Possible solution: Each 5 ft square now becomes a 10 foot square, and add strange "demonic influences" in the building, make the Worldwound's power really be felt here- nauseating effects, perhaps fear effects, maybe some walls have burning blood on them and more... Make it like a trip to a "mini-hell". I think it would make the end chapter much more flavorful.
    Oooh, this is a nice thought. I like it.

    7) Radiance: This is an epic level sword! It shouldn't be encountered such randomly! I think It deserves a more fitting fight, a more epic moment where it is found. Something more... Befitting. Plus, There is Irabeth's sword later on, obviously two weapons meant mainly for paladins/ cavaliers and such (More so if they worship Iomedae). Perhaps it should be a different weapon?

    Possible Solution: Find Radiance later, possibly at the Tower of Estrod or with the alchemist in the Gray Garison? It seems a much more fitting target to be corrupted than Irabeth's sword.
    I actually completely forgot about Radiance because it's completely worthless to a party without any paladins (and still useless to a party with a pally who goes for archery instead). There are actually several treasures with this problem, WotR wants your PCs to play Paladins so badly it hurts.

    8) The accompanying NPCs: I'm not sure, but even blind the Rift Warden's power seems way exaggerated for this group- level 3 spells at his disposal? I think he might overshadow everyone. I'm not certain about this though, I haven't quite taken into account all of the affects of his blindness.

    Possible solutions: Possibly a nerf to say... 4th level? Not sure. Advice welcomed.
    Paizo's APs always have an early DMPC (always at level 6) to help the party along during the low levels (once again undermining the entire point of low-level play IMO, but James Jacobs Hath Spoken). That you get two this time is kinda excessive, crippled though they may be. Anevia's main problem is she's low on arrows (easily fixed by an archer PC lending her some). Aravashinal's problem is, well... he's a Riftwarden. I mean really, might as well have taken levels in Commoner.

    I'd take an alternate approach from just nerfing them though: Instead, play up the fact that these NPCs are more liabilities than allies. That might give the party the temptation to leave them behind, but:

    - WotR assumes the PCs are Good-aligned. If they're roleplaying properly I'd say that leaving a defenseless person behind to die in a dark and dangerous place is something a Good character would not do lightly.

    - These NPCs are actually capable of providing the PCs significant boons later on (for example, Horgus Gwerm gives the PCs a massive amount of food and water so their time limit on the march to Drezen is not nearly as strict). Not taking an effort to save them means the PCs miss out on those benefits.

    9) Bargaining with Neathholme: As the adventure puts it, there is NO WAY that the party can't seal a deal with chief sull! He even suggests the idea to help the "uplanders!". However, this gives both XP and substabtial help later on (1 NPC follower per PC for the gray garrsion), So this needs to be harder. Success should not be automatic. (Besides, what would Horus and the Riftwarden's influence matter if it didn't?)

    Possible solution: Make Sll more ambiguous, or put ANOTHER mongrelperson who has different views. The module mentions a 3rd level witch caster in the tribe, probably some sort of a wise woman/ shaman? I think putting her in as an opposing voice ("What did they ever do to us?", "Their witch hunters come down and kill us!", "Face demons? we can barely survive the tunnels!") this will give the party some interesting social challenge hopefully.
    Don't have anything really to add here, I think your idea is good as-is.
    Last edited by Craft (Cheese); 2013-11-12 at 10:08 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Wrath of the Righteous: Worldwound Incursion- Improving the module [SPOILERS!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Problem is there's not much you can actually do with adventuring at level 1 without putting the PCs in serious danger
    I don't quite agree here. My group started a few games at early levels (usually 2) and we were able to make those levels feel important and not just a filler. But I see what you mean. The entire underground journey is a sort of a filler you say?

    There's wonderful opportunities for building atmosphere in the tunnels. It's dark, cramped, and nobody really knows what's down there, or what to expect around the next corner. The players should expect to be jumped by something nasty at any moment, even if that moment never actually comes. Enhance the tunnels with the *threat* of danger moreso than actual danger (though the danger level should definitely be stepped up a couple notches).
    How would you enthance the threat of danger exactly? For my players atleast descriptions and such are not enough, there need to be an actual reasonably possible failure or conseqeunce at hand. We can roleplay them feeling more scared, alerted at the darkness, noises and such. But if nothing actually comes to threaten them, then it gets old and the players lose interest.

    I was thinking of another venue actually. The entire campaign is about fighting hordes of demons and the monstrosity of the worldwound, right? I was thinking that Maybe I could scrap most of the start of the scenario, and actually have the players fight in the city, above, in the arena with some of the invading demons (maybe summoned by the Storm King or other major demons). The idea is to give the initial sense of panic, things going bad, and have the party get a first taste of the actual demon fighting. This goes on for a short while (Making the fight with the silver dragon a bit more prolonged, before the party falls into darkness.

    This idea needs working out, But I think it could be a better start than some of the tunnels. we use the XP quota for that for some of the foes they fight, and leave most of the part with nethholme and the bad mongrelmen tribe pretty much intact. This shortens the underground travel considerably as well.

    Problems:
    1) In the utter chaos of the upper battlefield, the characters can get pulverized real fast.
    2) I need some better goals than just "fight everybody!". I think there might be some crusaders sergent or something telling them to protect someone, lead people somewhere or such... Not sure.
    3) I need to choose very low level demons for this (Though it's fine if they feel overpowered, just not too much over powered). Something up to CR 3 or 4 at most I think... Problem is there are brely any such creatures. A possible solution is to have cultists amongst the crowd, in on the attack and have the party fight them as well. Who is friend, who is enemy? This can also add to the confusion and feeling of betrayel.


    Once the PCs emerge into the city, there's even more opportunity for atmosphere: Kenabres has essentially fallen behind enemy lines and has become a lovely little slice of hell (well, the abyss technically, but...). Ever play Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor? Think of Kenabres as Tokyo on the final day of the lockdown, the entire city in panic and chaos. The PC's first priority will probably be making sure their loved ones are safe and sound, assuming they're natives of the city. Hint: They probably won't be. In the case that they are, a heartfelt reunion scene at Defender's heart is a golden roleplaying opportunity.
    I like the idea of making the city feel even more like a hellish war zone of horror! The AP gives suggestions to random encounters (As well as some "special encounters", which adds quite a bit to the atmosphere!). But I want more. I'm thinking of basically 3 types of encounters:
    1) some influence of the worldwound taking place, like some sort of a bizarre terrain, or some area with special mental effects or such. This needs works.
    2) Encounters showing the radical change in life in the city- what people come to do now that their world has been ruined- some despair, some rise to the challenge, most just try to survive and such.
    3) Battle encounters, but more interesting than an XdY number of creatures. I've discussed this allready.

    3. As for the Gray Garrison, one approach I think might work really well is to not treat it like a standard dungeon crawl: The monsters inside are way above the PC's ability to handle. Their only choice of victory is to get in and destroy the wardstone while getting into as few fights as possible, ideally without being seen at all. This reinforces that the party is taking an opportunistic blow at the weak point of an enemy much bigger than them, rather than the bad guys just being idiots who leave low-level cultists to guard the keystone to their entire strategy for winning the war.
    Hmmm... I like the idea of this being a desperate attack against much greater odds with the need to avoid most of them. My players really like these kind of scenarios where they have to use their heads. It may need changing the Gray Garrison a bit, allowing more potential routes (More opportuinites for the PCs, some easier, some harder) to attack than the straight forward Dungeon crawl. This needs some thought. Stealth missions are not well supported in D&D like games, and can often end in disaster.

    4. Personally, I'd just give the PCs the full 10-point devotion reward for free. There's no way to make the devotion point system make sense in this context without sacrificing the larger themes you're trying to establish. Furthermore the reward for free makes sense because the players are set up as the Chosen Ones of Iomedae whether they succeed at earning devotion points or not. Of course, don't *tell* them they're getting it for free, make them think that it's a reward for something awesome they did (even though they'd have gotten the rewards no matter what). Unless your PCs have been chaotic evil types, it'll work just fine. (And if they are acting like CE maniacs, you're gonna have problems with this campaign no matter what.)
    I was thinking of perhaps changing some of the potential deeds needed for the devotion? Or perhaps spread them around the entire adventure, rather than just the gray garrison? I need to think about it. I still don't know how tough the rest of the adventures are, and how much they need this boost.

    There are metagame answers to these questions but they're just that: Metagame answers. The writers of the AP so desperately want the players to be the stars of the show that they're willing to create gaping plot holes to do so.
    I find most such decisions while not that spectaculr, ones that I could live with. I dunno.

    You've already read my advice on Areelu's Revenge: Skip it. You don't miss out on anything by doing so (and actually improve the ending sequence quite a bit). You could change some stuff to make it a more meaningful and effective sequence, but IMO you have much to lose and little to gain.
    I need to think about that. The main reason I'm thinking of keeping some altered version of Areelu's revenge is to keep some sort of fear, awe, and intimidation by the demon horde. If I understand right the party goes next to conquer Drezen? I want there to be SOME sort of a retaliation attempt between here and there. (Perhaps keep it for a later assassination attempt? You've read the Sword of Valor, any suggestion as to where? I'll be starting reading it soon)
    As for the oracle fight, this one has a pretty easy answer: You see that cage around the wardstone fragment in the picture? The holes are too small for the rod of cancellation to fit through. They have to spend a round or two getting the cage open instead of just charging past the boss and tapping the fragment. Combine that with bumping the encounter up to a full APL+5 CR, and you're good to go.
    That sounds like a good idea! Thanks! Now hope the party CAN open the cage

    I actually completely forgot about Radiance because it's completely worthless to a party without any paladins (and still useless to a party with a pally who goes for archery instead). There are actually several treasures with this problem, WotR wants your PCs to play Paladins so badly it hurts.
    Well, yes, the campaign does call out for the paladin role specifically, and it's one of the times where it gets to shine instead of annoying everyone (If played wrongly). Since I hope this can prove useful to more people than just myself, I want to consider how to make this a cool aspect of the game. I always thought the holy avenger can be immensely awesome, if built right, and WotR may have a good way of doing it! Waiting to see how it develops in future modules.

    Oh, and one of my players will most likely play an Aasimar paladin of Iomedae.

    I'd take an alternate approach from just nerfing them though: Instead, play up the fact that these NPCs are more liabilities than allies. That might give the party the temptation to leave them behind, but:
    Oh, I intend to play them as liabilities, but I also just realized something else- The Riftwarden is blind, he can't learn new spells from his spellbook... This means the spells he has, are the spells he'll ever has (Until he gets healed). This means he'll be very reluctant to use spells, and will have great difficulty aiming them. So that might be a good balancing factor, no?
    -------------------------------------
    Thanks for the advice Craft (Cheese). Quite a bit to think about and work out. Much appreciated!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Wrath of the Righteous: Worldwound Incursion- Improving the module [SPOILERS!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    I don't quite agree here. My group started a few games at early levels (usually 2) and we were able to make those levels feel important and not just a filler. But I see what you mean. The entire underground journey is a sort of a filler you say?
    Sort of, in that you could completely remove it (and start the adventure as late as when the PCs arrive at Defender's Heart) and the plot would not have to change in any way. It's just flavor; That's not to say that flavor isn't worthwhile (it most certainly is) but Paizo AP beginnings usually skip out on the flavor and just have the PCs doing something generic and boring.

    How would you enthance the threat of danger exactly? For my players atleast descriptions and such are not enough, there need to be an actual reasonably possible failure or conseqeunce at hand. We can roleplay them feeling more scared, alerted at the darkness, noises and such. But if nothing actually comes to threaten them, then it gets old and the players lose interest.
    You don't "roleplay being scared" you mess with the player's heads. Strange sounds from unseen sources. Shadows moving around just out the corner of your eye that disappear as soon as you turn your head to look. Have them randomly make perception checks and roll saving throws for no reason.

    The trick is that so long as the players are freaking out and paranoid about everything trying to kill them they don't actually need to be in any danger. You don't introduce the actual danger on them until they think they're safe; That's when it'll shock them the most.

    That said here are some miscellaneous ideas:

    - The caves have odorless, colorless hallucinogenic gas deposits that occasionally leak out and affect the players, causing them to see things that aren't actually there. After a few "encounters" with hallucinatory monsters they won't be able to trust their senses. The first time they ignore a "monster" by dismissing it as another hallucination, it turns out to be real and gets a free surprise round.

    - Introduce more survivors. When the PCs aren't looking, one of them disappears. The PCs themselves and Aravashinal, Anevia, and Horgus are safe, but don't let them know that. Just once, when a survivor disappears, the PCs find their mutilated body later. Make it the one the PCs got the most attached to before they vanished.

    I was thinking of another venue actually. The entire campaign is about fighting hordes of demons and the monstrosity of the worldwound, right? I was thinking that Maybe I could scrap most of the start of the scenario, and actually have the players fight in the city, above, in the arena with some of the invading demons (maybe summoned by the Storm King or other major demons). The idea is to give the initial sense of panic, things going bad, and have the party get a first taste of the actual demon fighting. This goes on for a short while (Making the fight with the silver dragon a bit more prolonged, before the party falls into darkness.

    This idea needs working out, But I think it could be a better start than some of the tunnels. we use the XP quota for that for some of the foes they fight, and leave most of the part with nethholme and the bad mongrelmen tribe pretty much intact. This shortens the underground travel considerably as well.

    Problems:
    1) In the utter chaos of the upper battlefield, the characters can get pulverized real fast.
    2) I need some better goals than just "fight everybody!". I think there might be some crusaders sergent or something telling them to protect someone, lead people somewhere or such... Not sure.
    3) I need to choose very low level demons for this (Though it's fine if they feel overpowered, just not too much over powered). Something up to CR 3 or 4 at most I think... Problem is there are brely any such creatures. A possible solution is to have cultists amongst the crowd, in on the attack and have the party fight them as well. Who is friend, who is enemy? This can also add to the confusion and feeling of betrayel.
    Making the initial invasion interactive is a fantastic idea. Some suggestions:

    - The PCs are attending a ceremony when the invasion starts, and most of the attendants of the ceremony are civilians. It's perfectly plausible their friends and families would be there with them as well.

    - Let the players decide their own goals, since so long as they don't escape from where the ceremony is it doesn't really matter what they were doing all that much, they'll still get swallowed up into the rift.

    - Demons loooove to slaughter helpless civilians, just for fun. Have the powerful demons off killing random crowdspeople somewhere else: The PCs just happen to be in a spot the demons aren't focusing their slaughter on. That way the PCs won't be in danger unless they specifically try to run over and fight the demons themselves (in which case the demons should be far enough away that the PCs get swallowed up by the rift before they can reach them, especially pushing through the fleeing, panicking crowds to get there).

    - Cultists hidden amongst the crowd for the players to fight is gold. Make sure at least one of those friends and loved ones I suggested turns out to be a cultist too. This reinforces that at this point the most potent weapon the demons (and the players) have is subterfuge.

    I like the idea of making the city feel even more like a hellish war zone of horror! The AP gives suggestions to random encounters (As well as some "special encounters", which adds quite a bit to the atmosphere!). But I want more. I'm thinking of basically 3 types of encounters:
    1) some influence of the worldwound taking place, like some sort of a bizarre terrain, or some area with special mental effects or such. This needs works.
    2) Encounters showing the radical change in life in the city- what people come to do now that their world has been ruined- some despair, some rise to the challenge, most just try to survive and such.
    3) Battle encounters, but more interesting than an XdY number of creatures. I've discussed this allready.
    The thing is Kenabres after the fall isn't even a war zone; It's a slaughterhouse. Aside from the small number of soldiers holed up in Defender's Heart, the spine of Kenabres has been broken. Now the demons are just running around having their way with the city. Read up on some infamous massacres in real-world history (Ninjing especially) to get ideas for the kinds of things that are going on. Play it up to the point of your players' comfort level (but don't exceed it. You want to freak out the players and fill them with immense dread and sadness, not awkward silence).

    Hmmm... I like the idea of this being a desperate attack against much greater odds with the need to avoid most of them. My players really like these kind of scenarios where they have to use their heads. It may need changing the Gray Garrison a bit, allowing more potential routes (More opportuinites for the PCs, some easier, some harder) to attack than the straight forward Dungeon crawl. This needs some thought. Stealth missions are not well supported in D&D like games, and can often end in disaster.
    Yeah, and that's the place where I sadly have fewer ideas. Perhaps justify it with the wardstone fragment itself? Its holy power is so great that demons have trouble getting near it without getting zapped to death. Extend the range on that capability to explain why the guards closest to the fragment are all human/tiefling cultists instead of high-level demons: The more powerful creatures are out guarding the periphery and are distracted by the crusader's suicidal assault.

    Also, don't be afraid to let the players just fail: Concluding the Adventure has a section on what could happen if the players **** up and the wardstones are corrupted.

    I was thinking of perhaps changing some of the potential deeds needed for the devotion? Or perhaps spread them around the entire adventure, rather than just the gray garrison? I need to think about it. I still don't know how tough the rest of the adventures are, and how much they need this boost.
    Not tough at all, really. WotR likes to throw big APL+2 through APL+4 boss fights at the players, but the monsters are so under-optimized that any decently-constructed party will go through them like wet tissue paper. I argue to keep the reward though for reasons of principle: I'd rather boost up the power of the enemy than take away the players' stuff.

    I need to think about that. The main reason I'm thinking of keeping some altered version of Areelu's revenge is to keep some sort of fear, awe, and intimidation by the demon horde. If I understand right the party goes next to conquer Drezen? I want there to be SOME sort of a retaliation attempt between here and there. (Perhaps keep it for a later assassination attempt? You've read the Sword of Valor, any suggestion as to where? I'll be starting reading it soon)
    There actually is already a point in SoV where the players are attacked by a demonic assassin (an Incubus with a few Rogue levels IIRC, I'd have to grab my copy and look it up) while their army is camped for the night. You could potentially modify this encounter to have Areelu's Revenge (or something like it) take place here.

    There's a second point where Staunton Vhane sends out a Mythic Chimera to attack the party during the seige of drezen. You could replace the Chimera with some demons and have them sent by Areelu instead (but make sure this counts as a mythic trial just like the chimera is supposed to). The chimera is a total wimp anyway so you won't lose much.

    Well, yes, the campaign does call out for the paladin role specifically, and it's one of the times where it gets to shine instead of annoying everyone (If played wrongly). Since I hope this can prove useful to more people than just myself, I want to consider how to make this a cool aspect of the game. I always thought the holy avenger can be immensely awesome, if built right, and WotR may have a good way of doing it! Waiting to see how it develops in future modules.

    Oh, and one of my players will most likely play an Aasimar paladin of Iomedae.
    There are actually so many Paladin-only goodies in the AP that a single character can't use them all: Either you'll have multiple pallies or some of them will be sold off. If you're gonna have a Pally in your party who can use them anyway that's fine, but I'd remove the Paladin-only restrictions on at least some of them.

    Oh, I intend to play them as liabilities, but I also just realized something else- The Riftwarden is blind, he can't learn new spells from his spellbook... This means the spells he has, are the spells he'll ever has (Until he gets healed). This means he'll be very reluctant to use spells, and will have great difficulty aiming them. So that might be a good balancing factor, no?
    Pretty sure this was the intention, actually, though it would have been nice if they pointed this out instead of leaving the DM to infer that themselves (like the issue of fitting the Rod of Cancellation through the bars around the fragment).

    Thanks for the advice Craft (Cheese). Quite a bit to think about and work out. Much appreciated!
    Not a problem!


    Oh, by the way, what are you planning to do with the campaign traits?
    Last edited by Craft (Cheese); 2013-11-13 at 04:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Wrath of the Righteous: Worldwound Incursion- Improving the module [SPOILERS!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Oh, by the way, what are you planning to do with the campaign traits?
    SO far I haven't seen them coming up... I assume in later adventures? My only concern is with the "Riftwarden orphan" (Or whatever it's called). Might the blind Riftwarden (I don't remember his name currently) be able to identify the character?

    So far my group is fairly classic:
    - Aasimar paladin of Iomede (Chilf of the crusades)
    - Human oracle of ancerstor mystery and haunted curse (He plays it as a focus for the restless spirits of the crusades, some beneficial, some malignant) Probably "chosen by divinity"
    - Human invoker, blasty blasty type. "Riftwarden Orphan"
    - Human Ninja, follower of Desna. "Chance encounter"
    - Unknown character, of a brand new player to D&D like games.
    They are starting to build backgrounds.

    I'm currently trying to think and build the initial encounter at the arena, amidst the chaos.
    I'm also thinking of making Anovia a ranger instead, and Irabeth a crusader (No need for two paladins). I started reading Sword of Valor (Haven't reached Drezen yet, I'll need to read the UC mass combat rules for this... Grrr...) I think those roles will fit the two characters nicely.

    Once I have something a bit more in place, I'll post it.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

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