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Pathfinder 1E Little Shop of Horrors: The Blatant Ripoff Edition

TracerBullet42

First Post
Greetings! I'm going to be running a one-shot this weekend and have a fun idea (in my opinion) for an adventure, but I could use a little help bolstering it.

Here's the basic premise: A "find familiar" ritual has gone horribly awry, and the familar has taken the wizard on as its familiar instead of the other way around. (Think "Little Shop of Horrors," where Audrey the plant bosses Seymour around).

Now, because I am strange, I was thinking about how goats eat just about anything...and so I want to use a goat as the familiar who takes over in this scenario. I may even go ahead and call the goat Audrey, because...why not? Anyway, following in the vein of "Little Shop of Horrors," I think Audrey will feed on spellbooks and scrolls, much like the plant in the famous story fed on blood. So there will be this poor wizard (probably named Seymour) who is now enslaved to Audrey, and he's running around stealing spellbooks and scrolls for Audrey's consumption. I'm imagining a final showdown in a barn, where the goat sits on an throne of straw. :)

Here's where you guys come in...how do I build to that conclusion? What sort of encounters might make sense in such a scenario?

I'm planning on running this as for 5 sixth level PCs. (A druid, a paladin, a rogue, a wizard, and a barbarian)

Thoughts? How can I fill out this scenario?
 

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Celebrim

Legend
What powers and abilities does the goat have independent of its human servant? Can it for example command creatures of its own kind? Is it actually a fiend in animal form, and so might have lesser fiends as servants? What is its sincere motivation? Is it just hungry or does it actually hate knowledge and magic and with to destroy that as an institution? Has Seymour the ability to Charm creatures or persons to aid with his problems? Might the Goat Thing managed to create the inner core of its own little cult of fearful goat worshipers - some more loyal and fanatical than others? If there a farmer or farm hand somewhere that Goat Thing is using as an enforcer against Seymour? How much control does the Goat Thing have over Seymour? Can he force Seymour to do things like leave behind magical traps or make magical items for the goat? If pressed to the last result, can the Goat Thing relinquish his control over Seymour in order to assume his true more fiendish form? What would Seymour do in that case? What might the cultists (if any) do in that case?

For the most part, I'm seeing the PC's as being over leveled for this sort of challenge. Seymour hardly sounds like an expert wizard, I'm thinking more like 7th level or so. The Goat Things followers are probably largely in the CR 1-3 range, and probably don't number more than a few dozen or so. The complexities as far as a high level party are concerned might be 'protect the innocent', 'mistaken identities', and so forth. For example, angry wizards blaming someone other than the real culprit, and Seymour throwing red herrings in the way. There is the potential for a lot of social problem solving and investigation here. The only real challenge might be the boss encounter of Goat Thing in Dire Goat form, followed by a transformation to some sort of custom CR 9ish fiend after it loses a certain percentage of hit points - I'd have Seymour assist the party in most cases if still alive at that point.
 
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TracerBullet42

First Post
That's a pretty good start. At this point, pretty much anything is fair game, but I will probably try to keep the game a little more "light and silly," rather than "dark and gritty."
 

Celebrim

Legend
That's a pretty good start. At this point, pretty much anything is fair game, but I will probably try to keep the game a little more "light and silly," rather than "dark and gritty."

I recognize that, and I'm going to have a hard time helping you. I do "dark and gritty" really well. I do "light and silly" so badly, even my game of Paranoia ended up being dark, scary, and serious. Sometimes a GM just has to know his limitations.

Anyway, Seymour is a 7th level wizard. He lives on the outskirts of a mid-size town (pop. 5000) in a rural farming area in a dilapidated tower. The victims include the 3 local hedge wizards (5th-7th level each), the town sage (7th level wizard), a priest of a god of magic (possibly an evil one, and 4th level cleric), and the owner of a book shop (4th level expert). Initially, only Seymour and two of the other hedge wizards have come forward as victims. One of the local hedge wizards has an intense rivalry with another one, whom he believes to be a secret necromancer, and is convinced that the culprit is his rival - who is destroying spellbooks in order to gain a monopoly in the town and drive his business rivals out of business. He and the two other victims have a agreed to pool their resources (because replacing the books have left them impoverished), if the PC's will catch the rival. They have some evidence that it's villainous necromancer. First, he hasn't been victimized. Secondly, he's been acting suspiciously lately. And third, some item that may have belonged to the necromancer was discovered at the scene of the latest crime - this last bit was planted by Seymour.

If the PC's break into the Necromancer's shop, they discover the Necromancer has been murdered, and his undead creations are now running amuck! They also discover some goat dung and some scraps of chewed paper.

This should continue, with the other suspects being eliminated as they are victimized in various ways by Seymour. Eventually, the PC's should get direct evidence of Seymour's involvement either by staking out one of the potential suspects/victims (don't make it too obvious who these are, make them gather information) and catching him in the act or piecing together clues from the scenes of the crime and/or visiting Seymour. The after math of crime scenes can involve fights with Imps, Dretches, Mephits, and rabid dire goats that have remained behind and are wrecking havoc (the first of the Goat Things new offspring), as well as what is left of each establishments magical defenses.

Seymour has also charmed the local constable, and is secretly encouraging him to not get involved ("Don't meddle in the affairs of wizards is my motto!"). But he may try to use this resource to frame suspicion on the PC's if he can.

Currently the Goat Thing is busy creating it's own cult of followers to supply its needs, including its desire to breed fiendish dire evil goats and thereby conquer the world! The center of the cult is an inbred extended family of goatherds that are Seymour's nearest neighbors whom have been promised fatter goats, more milk, and goatly magical power. One who always wears a wide-brimmed hat, and big boots, has been secretly reincarnated as a satyr. Not all members of the family are happy with this state of affairs, and some might reveal information if they can be carefully separated from their family and their safety assured. The family has also recruited a few other members from the surrounding farms, giving them a total force of about 12 ruffians. The cult also includes a sadistic barber from the nearby town (rog5), a local witch currently serving as high priestess (favorite arcane class 5), and her crazy illegitimate son who serves as the cults enforcer (bar5). As the PC's close in on the truth, the cult will move to thwart them. The cult is shaky though, and some of the ruffians can be persuaded out of it's service, as they are motivated by fear of the goat only. The cult is currently trying to procure a virginal sacrifice, which if offered up on the upcoming new moon, will assure the Goat Things ascendance to greater power.

Eventually, the Goat Thing will be tracked down - queue climatic boss fight.
 

TracerBullet42

First Post
I like the "rival magic shop owners" angle...I think I will work with that for sure. Thanks for the ideas!

Any more out there?

Here's my rough outline so far:
-Group escorts caravan to town to deliver...something. Giants attack along the way. (This is the "learn how combat works" encounter)
-Arrival in town, deliver goods. Perhaps they observe that certain things (spellbooks/scrolls) are in short supply.
-Evidence points to thieve's guild stealing items.
-Infiltration of thieve's guild finds "Seymour" as leader.
-Confrontation with "Seymour" at his manor leads to discovery that he is a patsy for "Audrey" (goat monster)
-Confrontation with many dire animals on the way to the barn to face "Audrey"
-Showdown with "Audrey" in epic, barn-demolishing battle.
 

Celebrim

Legend
-Group escorts caravan to town to deliver...something. Giants attack along the way. (This is the "learn how combat works" encounter)

Personally, I'd revise that to something like 8 2nd level orc barbarians, orc warleader, orc shaman, and a couple of ogres. Even a single Hill Giant, CR 7, threatens to not only pulp a single 6th level character on a lucky roll, but outshine your future BBEG. Once you go up to two Hill Giants (EL 9), this is a more serious fight than one I'd use as an introduction. Conversely, single brute foes tend to be rather binary, and they can be totally beat down in the action economy by a skilled party. You don't want your first fight to be - "Hold Person", "Coup de Grace", "What else do you got?" Besides, orcs are a more classic introductory encounter.

And particularly if these are novices, I'd suggest having a quest giver. Novices are going to have a very hard time being proactive. You want a nice trail of breadcrumbs, beginning with a guy with a nice bright exclamation mark over his head.
 

TracerBullet42

First Post
Personally, I'd revise that to something like 8 2nd level orc barbarians, orc warleader, orc shaman, and a couple of ogres. Even a single Hill Giant, CR 7, threatens to not only pulp a single 6th level character on a lucky roll, but outshine your future BBEG. Once you go up to two Hill Giants (EL 9), this is a more serious fight than one I'd use as an introduction. Conversely, single brute foes tend to be rather binary, and they can be totally beat down in the action economy by a skilled party. You don't want your first fight to be - "Hold Person", "Coup de Grace", "What else do you got?" Besides, orcs are a more classic introductory encounter.

And particularly if these are novices, I'd suggest having a quest giver. Novices are going to have a very hard time being proactive. You want a nice trail of breadcrumbs, beginning with a guy with a nice bright exclamation mark over his head.

Good point. I will switch to some leveled orcs.

The group is somewhat mixed, as far as experience goes. One guy has played for many, many years. Another guy has played a lot of D&D, but only online. The other three are the first guy's kids, ages 11-17, and they're relatively new to gaming. (Hence my desire to keep the game "light and silly.")

I think that's some really good advice, though, regarding the first encounter. I haven't really fleshed out any specifics so far. I didn't realize that giants were so powerful! Basically, I want the first encounter to give them a chance to learn about their characters capabilites and present a clear, obvious threat.
 


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