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ZEITGEIST The affirmative action racial recruitment team of the RHC

Yeah. High level Pathfinder, man.

I ran a party of 17th level paladins vs something that was basically CR 30, and despite me trying to design something strong enough for what I'd seen them do, they wrecked it with only a few close scrapes.

I hope they're at least having fun.
 

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Actually they feel threatened and in danger , I can manage to keep High level pathfinder dangerous . All of the major npc's at the palace have been rebuilt and optimised with better equipment so they are a real threat, I would like to kill the king but the pc's are pulling out the stops to keep him going.
I was hoping when he grapped the dragon I could kill him as that would have been awesome, I may have to escalate the mad professors creations, I am thinking some kind of Giant Wight maybe a Storm Giant wight left over from the ancients civilisation to really make them sweat.
While the look undamaged they have burnt off quite a few high level powers and spells so they should have more trouble next week and if they don't Stansfield gets upgraded.

I did run Wrath of the Righteous and Mythic +High level pc's broke me. I had to give the final boss 16000 hp and he died in 4 rounds, but it was ridiculous Glass cannons I could easily kill the party but not give them a challange.
 

I wonder what high-level PF2 looks like. I only played at 1st and 5th level in the playtest, and my group didn't like how the system felt, so I haven't gone back to it. I hope they've designed it with an eye for remaining balanced and quick at high level.
 

PF2 Did not impress me, I only glanced at it but every change I saw was one I did not like, but I don't like 5th edition either. On the other hand I have a huge pile of PF1 Stuff I can still use and more ideas for games in other systems than I will ever have time to run
 

I have to say Stansfield is probably the most complicated single NPC i have ever rebuilt, no one else has needed 7 character sheets (I have not rebuilt the technologist but I may still do so which will make it 8). He should be a challange to the pc's
 


This session we saw the players struggling very hard to protect King Aodhan from the massed forces of the Ob. Almost the entire session was consumed by the fight , , in total about 2 minutes of game time took most of two sessions. Fortunatly we enjoy complicated fights as long as they have some meaning, good job as I expect most of the next 2 sessions to be combat heavy.

The fight started with the group heading towards the South West Lantern with Asraby, Kind Aodhan, Harkover, and Dame Jillian they noticed that to the South-East there were 2 squads of soldiers, a Golem and a horde of Wraiths. Guarding the SW Lantern was another force the same strength and more importantly the full strength force of the Elites. Romana, Professor Jon Bugge (Necromantic cleric Lich), Cula Rajanavi, a Storm Giant chieftan transformed into a wight and Proffessor Bugges PHD Students transformed into Wights, , evidence suggested than many of the wraiths were the undergraduates who had failed the professors applied Necromancy course.

For pretty much the Wraiths and Wights achieved nothing the pc's had undeath ward spells up on Harkover and Nevla and not one of the Wights or Wraiths made their saving throws to break the wards.
In the first round Cula turned invisible and circled around behind the group to attack, William channelled clerical power and damaged the wraith hordes before the group realised they posed little threat. The Giant charged in and smacked the King for a lot of damage before coming under attack from Asraby, Padme , and the King.. Romana then hit the king with a Suffocate spell and William with a Dominate spell both failed, but came close to being a disaster, Ulvar then retaliated with his own suffocation effect pulling all the air from Romana's lungs and incapicating her on 0 hp, she was then 'accidentally' shot several times by Amielle Latimer.
Random fire from the infantry squads injured several people and cannon fire from the Gole, however ms hit the king leaving him badly injured. Harkover took out 2 squads with a blast from his breath weapon and also a Wraith squad the rest of the infantry ran off. Manuel Nock Gunned the Giant leaving it close to dead.

In the second round Cula stabbed the King and critted him with a Shocking grasp, his protection from electical damage spell absorbed most of that but he was badly hurt, Ulvaar took out the Giant Wight, Padme, William, Harkover and Asraby attacked Cula hurting her, before the King used the Six Loa Saber to disarm her before retreating behind Harkover. The Professor hit the King with a Destruction spell and a quickened slay living leaving him really badly injured before the Golems shot him as well. Dame Jillian charged and attacked the professor.

Round three Cula retreated from mellee and hit the king with three Gloomblind bolts killing him however Nevla stepped in with a Breath of Life spell bringing him up to positive hp then Ulvaar healed him and William dimension doored Harkover and the King back into the palace, Manuel shot the proffessor with a cannon and he was attacked by everyone else.

Inside the Palace the Assasination squad was suprised when the King teleported into the room with them and they shot him 8 times with Human Bane revolvers killing him (At last!). I ended the fight there with Cula and the Professor fleeing into the Bleak gate while the party took the golems, wraiths, and other undead apart.

The party briefly spoke with Latimer asking why she had helped them , she explained she had changed her mind about the Obs project over the years but told them not to tell her anything and emphasised they needed to stop Stansfield. Troops rushed into the palace as the Lanterns were destroyed lead by Price-Hill. All were saddened to see the King dead but following the Kings wishes Nevla was named his successor and the rest of the Constables Dukes of the Realm, Manuel being most definetly the first Goblin Duke of Risur. There was no time for either Celebrations or Mourning for the King. Instead a quick ceremony swore Hevla in as the throne. The group readied itself with magical weapons from the Royal armoutym and new technologies from Odd cog while checking reports from Gale by wind , and radio reports from the Battallion Academy and surviving units of the fleet by radio. This gave them an accurate picture of the situation in Flint and they decided to take the Great Hunts help in getting there. They debated trying to get She Who Writhes to awaken and destroy the Danoran fleet but then noticed the reports of mass fish stranding and immediatly realised that must mean she was coming. They sent out an urgent radio order for all fleet units to return to harbout to wait out her wrath or wait until Nevla could deal with her.

We finished with the Queen and her companions riding for Flint to bring down Stansfield , then deal with She Who Writhes and gather the fleet for an attack in Axis island
 

Before they set off for Flint the group discussed plans and strategies. They decided they could not tell people in Flint what they were doing except Gale by messanger wind as Sending did not work and Stansfield had a radio and their codes. They did decide to tell Flint they were coming on the Impossible and landing on the edge of Flint their theory being that it may pull some Danoran warships away from the Harbour, they also asked for an evacuation of the area around Cauldron Hill and the coast with preperations for a refugee camp in the Cloudwoods, they did not mind the Danorans knowing about that as they figured Lya would be happy to allow none combatants to evacuate from a combat zone.
I had Livia Hatsfield approach them with a suggestion that the forcefield they were hearing about could be linked to some of Romana's studies of the powers of the Monarch and could be drawing from either Stansfield or some other captured royal officer. Nevla immediatly signed a document sacking Stansfield and then they had another idea, if the forcefield was not in Risur anymore a link to the royal power would be weaker, they discussed this for a while and then decided to make Governors Island in Flint the official Eladrin embassy to Risur , Nevla signed a document for this and got the Eladrin ambassador to sign it and technically Governors Island was no longer Risuri soil. They figured they could persuade the Eladrin to give i back later and anyway an Eladrin outpost in Flint was acceptable.

Then they set off for Flint with an accompaniment of Ride of the Valkyries, Manuel made a note he needed a sound system for his Steam suit, to go along with all the other gadgets he and Tinker had attached.
Manuel know has a Nock Gun, a Rifle, a 6 Pounder Breechloading cannon, a Salvo grenade launcher, a Mortar and a Maxim gun on his steam suit along with the Expresso machine and Mithril Waffle Iron. The Maxim gun uses magical dodginess and a Ring of X-ray vision to shoot through up to a foot of stone, The Cannon and Mortar have anti-magic rounds prepared with bits of Methia.

They stopped in the Cloudwood when they reached Flint and met Gale who updated them on the situation, they decided that the situation at Cauldorn hill with no contact from Captain Dale sounded bad so they sent Asraby and Dame Jillian to evacuate him and make sure that people were evacuating. They then worried about a Bleak Gate Titan appearing and were relieved to hear no such thing had ever been seen. Moving onwards they headed for RHC headquarters to meet up with the local military and check to see if they could find evidence of what Drelft was up to.

At the RHC building they met up with some officers and the B-Team who gave them the latest update on the Danoran deployments , during the course of later discussions Beshala arrived and told them She Who Writhes was coming, Nevla asked if they could book an appointment as they were busy at the moment and was glad to hear she who writhes would stay at sea and not eat the islands. The only ships at sea in the area were the Danorans so they decided She Who Writhes could wait. The Coaltongues designer turned up and explained why the Coaltongue could not raise steam and produced the bits he had removed, he briefed Manuel on how to put them back. They also learned the shield had flickered at about the same time that Nevla had made it the Eladrin embassy, they deduced this meant it was weaker, Harkover believed that he could breach the shield with a great effort giving them an alternative to the Coaltongue. Examining Delfts office revealed he had got much worse at filling in the paperwork in the last few days so they decided that he had probably been dopplegangered, as they could not believe he was a Danoran or Ob agent because if he was they would have been totally screwed earlier as he had know their plans for the Symposium.

Then Manuel had a cunning plan. Harkover is a Blue dragon , they have a burrow speed so he could tunnel to the edge of the shield carrying along the Queen and her fellow constables protected by Ulvaar's life bubble then he would breach the shield before burrowing again while the pc's rushed in. In the meantime the B-team would lead an assualt to seize the Coaltongue it would be nice if they succeeded but it would also be a diversion drawing the attention of the Danoran warships from the minute or so Harkover would be exposed. With a plan in place Gale helped Nevla address the people of Flint. The player had some rough notes on the speech , which covered the high points of
1) The Ob and Danorans murdered the King , I am his successor
2) I am here to defend my home, this city and its people adopted me and now I will drive out the Danorans and their allies
3) Everyone should evacuate Cauldron Hill and the coastal areas, community leaders and soldiers will help coordinate that using the subways
4) Any information the Queen needs to know about the Danorans please tell the community leaders

Gale volunteered to move between the various community groups and coordinate the evacuation, and everyone was relieved that AA guns were not a feature of current ship designs. Then they began their attacks as they did so they noticed the stars begginning to fall from the sky and saw a tentacled way enter the bay and be annoyed by the mines before it started to sink Danoran ships. They noted that the Danorans did not have Depth charges either , yet.

Harkover was indeed able to breach the shield and the pc's rushed in. Once inside they encountered a manifestation of Stansfield who tried to keep them talking, they did not trust him and quickly managed to grapple him and stuff him in the Absurdist web.
The assault on the keep took advantage of a ripple in the planar fabric and dimension doored inside (Translation the GM Forgot momentarily that like all fortresses in this world teleporation is blocked by gold wire, I remembered half way through the fight and was not going to retcon)
On arrival Nevla started to address the Risuri Marines to try and avoid fighting them, Padme moved to stab to death the nearest Stansfield, Ulvaar and William moved towards Stansfields as well while Manuel ran up the main staircase....... He ended up knee deep in Mimic with no freedom of movement effect and no way to break the adhesive grapple. Until the next round when the players realised that a Collossal 42 HD Mimic attacking the royal party has made a dire mistake, Nevla empowed by the rites of rulership picked up Manuel pulled him out of the steam suit and put him down. The 10th level stansfield clones proved able to put up little resistance and got rapidly crushed , the Dopple-drelft went down and the soldiers were persuaded to lay down their arms, the Mimic did some damage before being killed by a lot of attacks. The group prepared to Dimension door to the roof but Nevla insisted on checking out the building with the column of light coming from it , there they found the real Drelft and with a lot of effort managed to break the ritual. The Lightning Weasel could manage Knowledge religion, Manuel could just about manage Knowledge arcane (the weasel could have done it better ), William managed knowledge nature and the combined efforts of Nevla, Padme and Ulvaar combined with several spells to give rerolls barely managed the Heal check. Drelft was saved and they prepared for the final assault
 

Modified rites or Rulership , to make them more useful for casters
Constant effects
+5 saves vs fear, Charm, Poison
Fast Healing 10
While wearing the crown free action to give someone a reroll on save vs fear, charm or poison. Once per person per day

Swift action to move up to 4 5 foot cubes of earth stone or folriage 5 ft
If you know someones actual name can forbid a creature from entering Risur via teleportation or Planar traval. (William Millar/Nicodemus is getting banned I suspect)

When engaged with a group or individual contesting the territory or rule of Risur
Bonus to AC, Attack Rolls, Saving throws, Spell penetration , and Spell DC equal to difference in Hit dice between you and strongest enemy. Next session this is a +3 Bonus

dexterity, constitution and strength based check get+5 + hlaf difference in HD (+7) this adds to CMB and CMD

Extra fast healing equal to difference in HD (3)

Temporary hp equal to difference in HD * Level (48 hp next session)

Counts as the same size as the challanger when this is a benefit
 



After a late start and further interruptions caused by major network failures on the service provider it turns out all of us use we got slightly less far than I had hoped and rushed the end a bit.

The group began in combat with Stansfield, the fight was complicated and messy . Padme was first to act and rushed to engage the wizard Padme hoping to interrupt his spellcasting, then Stansfield Prime cast enegy drain at Nevla and roled a 1 , he did managed to flamestrike several of the group with a quickened flame strike, William using True seeing then charged over and killed the politician stansfield before he could act (no great loss as the party was using particulate form which makes sneak attack impossible), the Wizard then cast Maze on Padme and tried to kill Ulvaar with a quickened spell but he made the save, Manuel then fired a smoke bomb covering the technologist and several lanterns, the technologist then dropped a train onto Manuel it did not do much damage but Manuel decided he wanted a gadget which did that, the Holy warrior stepped forward and hit Ulvaar which hurt, finally Nevla hit the Holy Warrior with a maze spell.

Round 2 Padme made her int roll and returned from the Maze, Stansfield Prime tried to energy drain Nevla again and missed again as her Queenly powers boosted her defences (anf he rolled a 2) another quickened spell achieved very little. The Holy warrior then emerged from the maze spell, William goes for the wizard and kills him after he gets of a prismatic spray which achieves nothing, the technologst shoots Nevla as he comes out of the snoke and Ulvaar heads for Stansfield Prime, Nevla hits the tecnhologist with a destruction spell obliterating him. Manuel covers another 2 lanterns and stansfield prime in smoke

Round 3 Lya swoops in on her clockwork dragon with the dragon going for Padme and William, while she goes for Nevla unfortunatly Nevla had a ward against undead up and Lya fails to get close to her. Padme and William take the dragon down between them. The Holy warrior hits Ulvaar again, Stansfield Prime finally hits Nevla with an energy drain , Nevla manages to land a curse spell on the Holy warrior causing him to miss his next action. Manuel shoots the Holy Warrior with a cannon Ulvaar lays into the Holy warrior damaging him

My notes on the fight get confused at this point, in the end Stansfield is cut down when his prime gets caught between William, Padme and Ulvaar and takes a flurry of blows which cut him down, Lya retreats as Stansfield goes down to organise the withdrawal of the fleet and because we were getting low on time .

As Stansfield dies the last star falls from the sky striking the building and doing damage to a couple of pc's and finsishing off the dieing Stansfield. Then as the group gathers themself Stansfield rises form the rubble transformed into a Rakshasa , Ulvaar hits him with a lot of lightning and that does nothing, at that point the pc's decide that the only thing that can hurt him based on their identification of the falling star is the Sword of Ssramma , and after a few more attacks Nevla stabs him with the sword , resulting in flames consuming him .

They observe the retreat of the Danoran fleet about half of which gets destroyed by She Who Writhes. Then they begin to assess the aftermath , they see and hear the explosion from Axis island , observe the rising stars and identify the planes . They come to the conclusion that the Ob had not messed up as badly as they expected , although the inability to cast spells annoys them. Then the Gyre rises as they see the grinding gears so similar to the ones Nevla channels they look at her and ask if this is anything to do with her. She expresses her confusion she has no idea why she does not channel the energy expected of a cleric.

They then start to discuss future plans and are joined by Harkover, Gale and Asraby. Asraby wonders off to find something to stab and they meet the halfling medium and discover Eladrin are Ghost Touch. Harkover raises the issue of replacing Stansfield and makes some suggestions. They discuss ,Manuel and William are very much in favor of Gale , Nevla finally agree's with Nevla as Governor and Captain Dale as head of the police they think that Gale may well reform the city as they would prefer. Nevla does warn her that things will have to move slowly as the workers need jobs and Risur still needs their protection. We wrapped up with that and the group was preparing to use radio to check in on the rest of Risur, they also wondered if they could contact Pemberton by Radio as he may be a useful ally.
 

Overall I think Book 9 and all of act 2 worked. My players are enjoying and getting into the plot, they were happy enought that they did not manage to get to Axis Island so that worked out. They expect to have to deal with the woken Fey titans and are considering trying to recruit them to defend Risur, they are also considering trying to negotiate with some of the Ob , although that may be complicated when they discover that the world is being drawn into the Gyre and noone expects to be able to reason with Nic
 

This episode more cheese than Wallace and Gromit , and how to defeat a Fey Titan with the Absurdist Web.

In Flint just after the first Gyre rise, it is suggested that Gail may want to create heavy rain over the city to keep crowds indoors while proclamations are prepared to try and keep people calm about the new world. Fourmyle Jaunting is discovered, and acclaimed by the group as very useful, it is suggested that Queen Nevla may want to claim all of Risur to keep it under control, but sadly propertly ownership laws mean that won't work.
Overall with rushing to the scene of crowd gatherings things are kept under control, radio instructions are sent out to the other cities who hopefully will also keep things under control.

The next morning radio from the other cities has come in and no major crises have struck, it is confirmed that She Who Writhes can now teleport as she has been seen off the coast of the Elfaivar colonies who need to import food stores for the Eladrin refugee's. People bagin learning to cast spells and news of the incident of the bakers comes in. Investigation and discussion reveals the start of the Hive mind phenomenon and they quickly realise it is the fault of the new Ob planes, they are considering efforts to investigate and control this when the decision by a factory owner to lock in the workforce is announced , immediatly Gale and Ulvaar fly the team to the site . Gale orders the arrest of the factory owner, while Queen Nevla addresses the crowd and William tries to get the police under control. Nevla is able to calm the crowd somewhat but as William moves to open the factory the Hive mind bursts out, it is subdued by None lethal cannon fire and stabbing leaving the participants dazed and a few dead.

Concern about this phenomena is raised, there are two concerns the probles directly caused by the hive minds and the similarities to the Ghidim combined with the lack of Nem in the planar alignment means they are very concerned that this may be a beacon to bring the Ghidim back. Manuel advocates careful study including the controlled formation of small gestalts at the University to see if any benefits are possible and to work out the best ways to prevent uncontrolled hive minds forming, eventually this is agreed as these things are going to form anyway. Until then a degree of Social Distancing is recomended......
although with added care to try and keep groups from focusing on one activity. Gale is left to work out how to keep the vital industries running while trying to prevent hive minds, she also is left to start reforming industrial relations laws.

News by radio comes in that the Titans are active near Bole, it is decided to wait 7 days before confronting them so Nevla will have her full magic back. William and Ulvaar depart for Bole to carry out recon, Manuel and Padme remain in Flint with the Univerisity and speaking with Morgan Cipriano, which confirms no contact with Crisilyr , gives tacit approval for him to continue running organised crime as long as he stays out of violence , they warn him the Ob probably controls the clergy in Crisillyr now and he ackmowledges and says that is not quite the same as controlling the family. Nevla with the help of the Wild Hunt visits the major cities and tries to address as many of the people as possible warning of hive minds and reassurring people that things will be alright. She is a charismatic speaker and does indeed calm down many of the fears of the citizens. She is also approached by Skyseers who warn that the world is being drawn into the Gyre , and that Av will be drawn in within months. This reminds them of an earlier vision and they try to find Rock he is not to be found though. They now anticipate needing a flying ship and departing from Av to the Gyre , as they also learn of mutiple planar energies inside it and realise they will need this to fix the Obs ritual. First though sort out the Fey Titans and protect Risur. Tinker is tasked with building a flying ship he starts immediatly mutterring in glee.
New from the outside world is limited the embassies in Danor, Crissilyr and Drakr destroyed their radios during the planar shift as they felt they could not maintian their security. Ber is still in contact and reports the situation is stable with the Bruse making a good point about the people of Ber inheriting the new world of darkness. Elfaivar is not critical the refugees are organised and the situation is stable but more food will be needed once the seas are open.

In Bole William wins over the local RHC chied despite her initial suspicions he is after all a member of the unseen court and the Queen is known to be a fey sympthiser, they discuss Opera and dsicover they have found someone who is not a Rock Fan. She suggests meeting with the Head of Fey affairs who is quickly discovered as an agent of the Voice of Rot as William and the lightning weasel spit his symbols are the woring way around and he cannot lie in the face of people who are good at sense motive, he is arrested and the signs turned the right way around.

Nevla and the rest of the team arrive in Bole and plan to deal with the Fey titans. They are briefed on the state of each of them and research their powers. They consider that it is possible to kill a Titan but that it will be replaced , although they can influence or even become its replacement. Granny Allswell and the Voice of Rot are considered good candidates to eliminate, they remember their converstions with Athrylla and work out that she thinks that William may end up replacing the Voice and Ulvaar Granny. William does not want swamps and is not convinced that calling them wetlands makes it sound any better. Ulvaar does not object to mountains.

The Father of Thunder goes on top of the list as he is easy to find and they want to cut a deal, they decide that that means hitting him until he is willing to deal. Then William has the cheesiest plan I have seen for a long time. First they move a huge amount of alchemically refined(by Manuel) Whisky to the middle of the River , to slow down the Father, then William takes the spirit of one of the archmage kings and casts named Bullet and Greater named Bullet many times on Manuels cannon shells, these shells are placed into the absurdist web and so go into stasis stretching out their duration......
Then as the Marshall William and Manuel hide in a hunting blind overlooking the whiskey, the rest of the team mounts up ready to ride in if needed. The father of Thunder arrives and boosted by William Manuel drops him with 3 powerful cannon shots (each doing about 56d +50 damage......) it is a perfect ambush. The GM Vows to make sure this plan will not works so well again, the players expect sudden spell resistance on future Fey Titans.
Father Thunder says sorry didn't notice you there, sorry I meant to talk to the Queen anyway. lets deal.
They deal, They accept all of hsi terms with the proviso that the spiritual mating will take place when the sun comes up again as Nevla prefers not to be pregant while saving the world . Ulvaar recieves unmatched virility and a Beard suitable for a Dwarven God! They conclude if he does replace Granny the mountians will become known as Ulvaar's beard so impressive is it. It occures to me know that the lightning weasel should also have gained impresive body hair I will think on this.

Next the plan to go after the Ash Wolf, talking to locals reveals the fire is centered on a Ziggurat which they instantly link to the fire and believe is probably the cause, unfortunatly they decide they have to deal with the town threatened by the fires first and rescue everyone. Which will be next session.

The Father of Thunder was dealt with so much faster than I expected, I thought that would be a session per Titan it took less than an hour to beat him. Excellent rules abuse.
 


And a few days ago I was editing the 5E setting book for ZEITGEIST, and got to the section on hiveminds and other egregoric phenomena. It was a slight relief that at least coronavirus isn't causing people to merge into the monster from Akira.
 

That's a pretty solid bit of munchkinism.
Yes. Well thought out and very cheesy. Will not work again, their set up to fight the Ash Wolf is much worse. William will be setup as a mage and be using almost all his spells for evacuation , Manuel does not do well against hit and run attacks , and the rest will have problems with the Ash Wolf's mobility.
Granny Allswell will be intefering with guns working within 200 feet of her making cannon fire difficult , She Who Writhes cannot be sniped as she is underwater and the Voice is getting spell resistance and more buffs so it can fight the whole party better
 


It will be a spiritual not physical event, this was checked during the negotiations :)

The selling point was the crop fertility, with no sun they were worried about starvation, and the boost of temprary hp for anyone who eats the crops was also useful as they expect a war
 

This week two of our heroes realise that they have been falling in love with each other ever since they first met and declare their possibly eternal love before the Ash Wolf can reveal it.
Also lots of Salamanders get stabbed
 

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