ZEITGEIST Keepers of Cheshimox

As written an attack by these guys on the rail camp would be an interesting fight as the pc's have to defend the defenseless and avoid the use of AOE against a swarm of fairly weak opponents. However next session my pc's launch a pre-emptive strike and without the workers to complicate things it's going to be a curbstomp. My options are
1) let it stand
2) Rush kills of their leader to spark the attack so I could add him in, but if a 10th level figher can solo him he cannot be a huge add best case is a 8th-10th sorceror but he will get focus fired into death quickly as his minions are not a good enough distraction
3) Completely upgrade them to make this an epic battle

Any suggestions or ideas?
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
In our own game, we performed a preemptive strike on the Cheshimox ghouls. Our DM's reasoning was that their leader could not possibly have been that strong if Rush Munchausen could assassinate said leader, so our DM simply added in a level 14 standard monster (the exact same power level as Rush Munchausen himself) from the D&D 4e Compendium and let us fight all of the ghouls at once in their own base. It helped that we used a bardic veil power to disguise ourselves as ghouls and sneak right in.

Arkwright, our DM, can probably speak more on the topic, and on their attempt at salvaging the "Cry out, for at the end of time, I rise" plot thread, which the adventure path wound up dropping.
 
Adslahnit, did you not think the Voice of Rot trying to end the world with Komanov as a cultist and the Vsadni as heralds fulfilled the 'end of time' teases?

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Andrew, I'd start with the baseline assumption that the Ob is better at stealth than the PCs, so just because Rush was able to reconnoiter the place and sneak in doesn't mean the PCs will be able to. I'd have undead totem lookouts (akin to what shows up in adventure 7 at the glacial rift) warn the ghouls so they're ready for a fight when the PCs arrive.

Also, has the group faced Rush yet? If not, maybe he's watching for his chance to provoke the ghouls, and when he sees the PCs he waits for someone to be vulnerable, sprints up while invisible and cloaked with a few layers of nondetection magics, and tries to sucker punch somebody without revealing his identity. Or just set the battle somewhere with a bit of perilous terrain, and have Rush discreetly try to shove people off ledges?

Maybe their base has some more static defenses that they couldn't bring along on a raid of the railroad.
 
Perhaps some Golems or something made by Cherminox before his demise. The totems would also be a nasty shock for Manuel having his sneaking fail would be an interesting suprise

They have met Rush and were not so impressed by him he had to escape into the Bleak gate after only 2 rounds and rolle dbadly before that. No reason Rush could not have had some Ob assassins with him, who could go after the pc's

Flesh or stone golems with orders to defend the lair so they can't be elsewhere a Sorceror lizard man boss who can hide behind the golems and a couple of Ob assassins for backstabbing could make it an interesting fight
 

arkwright

Explorer
Ranger, I would go even further and that, and say that the tease is fulfilled by the Voice crouching on Reida and preparing to destroy the world; IE sitting on the plane of Time in order to create the End of Time.

But I consider it a 'remnant scene' because there is little to no reason given for why the messages turn up in the places they do.

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Andrew, here is the map I used for the Chesimox encounter, it might help you out.

If you want to add an enemy, perhaps you could have the ghouls animate a bunch of ice to serve as a body for Cheshimox's skull, and the PCs get to fight a cut-price dragon.
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
I do not consider the remnant "Cry out, for at the end of time, I rise" all that good foreshadowing, because there is nothing actually linking Cheshimox's skull to the Voice of Rot, or the rise of the Vsadni. The only flimsy connection they have is all being undead.

Since Andrew Moreton is using Pathfinder 1e, there are all sorts of weird and wacky undead available. A heavily optimized party with the right protections could go up against a CR 15 dybbuk, Mother's Maw, nemhain or crone queen. More modest parties could face a CR 14 chained spirit, chronogeist, danse macabre, death coach, indarugant, or nightwing. In the CR 13 range, you could send in a banshee, dread wraith, gashadokuro, or obambo. And on the "mere" CR 12 end, there is the possibility of an aoandon (not actually undead, but close enough), cruciarius, demonic mohrg, nachzehrer, nightskitter, ossumental, sayona, shenzuzhou, voidstick zombie, or yurei.
 
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In the Player's Guide it's mentioned that the dwarves who ruled Drakr before the Demonocracy swept in defeated the local undead titans. You eventually find one of VoR's eyes up there, and Cheshimox's head makes it down south, so I was trying to show that a few of the undead titans fled, similar to how the Dragon tyrants avoided all dying in Ber. I just figured there were doomsday cultists up in Drakr ever since, not really in any sort of organized plotting fashion, but more or less all a bit crazy, sensing the inevitability of the Voice of Rot being present at the end of time. At some point, one of them carved some prophecy on some bones, and Kvarti Gorbatiy got one and made a wicked rifle stock out of it.
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
The undead titans plot thread is never quite explored. I had reviewed the book #11 take on the Voice of Rot, and for the life of me, I still cannot piece together the actual authorial intent on how the Voice of Rot went from being Drakran undead titan to Risuri fey titan.

There is not enough information for the DM to make the connection with the ongoing "Cry out, for at the end of time, I rise" series of lines, let alone for the players to draw a link. You explicitly mention this being a dropped plot thread that went by the wayside. For that matter, the eschatologist hideout in book #5 goes so far as to mention the Voice of Rot and the Gyre, with seemingly no explanation. Do recall that Kvarti Gorbatiy inexplicably got his rifle, carved with that "Cry out" line, from the frozen lich, which does not quite add up.

The Voice of Rot is on the underbaked side as a villain, in my opinion, particularly given how the adventure path seems to hope that the players will forget that the Voice of Rot even exists.
 
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Thanks for the map. Not something I can produce myself so it will be useful. The idea for the pseudo-dragon is interesting I'll see if I can think of a clever way to fit something like that in.

There are so many weird undead , I;ll have a look at those and see if any inspire me. I probably need to be careful with incorporeal undead as the pc's are not well set up for those but anything with a low touch AC is over rated against massed guns and touch attack lightning melee.
 
Unfortunately I neglected to print off the map but I did add a trio of dangerous opponents and the fight became more interesting, although as I suspected the basic force of undead stood no chance without a bunch of workers to hide behind
 

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