An evocative environment is just as much a part of a compelling adventure as motivated villains and heroic action. This article sets forth several considerations for bringing wintry themes into your Pathfinder Roleyplaying Game and Dungeons and Dragons adventures. Primarily for DMs and GMs, this advice is broken up into four key areas: communicating the environment to players, advantages of winter-themed adventures, on-the-fly rules to support cold-based adventures, and guidance regarding adventure conversion.
We regret to inform our avid readers that the AaWBlog is being retired (sans Tales from the Tabletop). We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the entire AaWBlog team: Mike Myler, Justin Andrew Mason, Rory Toma, Lance Kepner, Tim Snow, Stefanos Patelis, Brian Wiborg, Jonathan Ely, and the rest of our fantastic contributors.
AAW Games would like to thank Mike Myler for all his hard work managing the AaWBlog and contributing to many Adventureaweek.com projects including the Aventyr Campaign Setting. Going forward Mike Myler will no longer be working with AAW Games but will continue to be a driving force in the roleplaying game industry, AAW Games wishes him well in his future ventures.
Fret not! Our brand new Adventurer’s Chronicle magazine will release its first issue in Spring 2016. This magazine will be free and have a plethora of content for both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and 5th Edition. In issue #1 we will have a fantastic guest article by Wolfgang Baur (Kobold Press, Tyranny of Dragons) and an in-person candid interview with actress and fellow gamer Jen Page!
Read more about the brand new FREE Adventurer’s Chronicle magazine below and make sure you sign up for our newsletter so you can be notified when it has been released (don’t worry, we won’t spam you).
Mouse Trap CR 11
Type mechanical; Perception DC 28; Disable Device DC 29
Trigger location; Reset repair
Effect 15d6 damage and gain the pinned condition, DC 28 Reflex Save negates. If pinned, a DC 28 Strength or Escape Artist check is required
Common items which are harmless to normal sized characters become downright deadly when the characters are very small. This mouse trap was discarded in the woods and set. The cheese was long ago removed, and the vegetation has made this trap very hard to spot, even for small characters.
[Submitted by Rory Toma!]
This 1-inch polished emerald marble is translucent green and flawlessly crafted. Not a single nick, scratch or scuff marks its surface.
This enchanted shooter marble was created to give its user an edge when playing a popular game of marbles known as “Mohkba Mamba” which is played by wealthy children who live in its namesake city. The magic shooter marble provides its user with a +5 bonus to skill checks related to playing the game.
When used by a Minuscule or Infinitesimal creature, the marble instead functions as a portable ram granting the user a +2 circumstance bonus on Strength checks made to attempts to batter objects and break open doors (or door-like objects such as grates, shutters or lids). If a second person helps, this bonus is automatically increased by +2. The magic shooter marble can be rolled at a distance towards any target within 10 ft. of the user and will still function as a portable ram.
If the magic shooter marble is within 10 ft. of its user when a command word is spoken it gently returns to its user. When returning it rolls upon the ground and around or over any obstacles that do not completely block its path. If the only viable path to return to the user would result in damaging the marble, it instead waits for another viable path to become available before continuing.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, a solid emerald shooter marble worth 500 gp, mage hand; Cost 2,500 gp
[When using this adversary in the second encounter of the Mohkba Mania adventure apply the special size rules from Meta Thursday: Little Characters, Big Adventures! —MM]
P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Operative CR 11
Female elf arcanist 12
NE Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +7
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+1 deflection, +4 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 mage armor)
hp 80 (12d6+36)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +9
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 elven curve blade +6 (1d10, Crit 18-20/x2)
Ranged acid jet +10 ranged touch (6d6+4 acid, Range 30 ft., Fort DC 20 or sickened 1d4 rounds)
Special Attacks arcane reservoir (9/day, max 15), consume spells
Arcanist Spells Prepared (CL 12th; concentration +16)
5th—dominate person (2)
4th—bestow curse, charm monster, dimension door, improved invisibility
3rd—blink, fireball, fly, major image, suggestion
2nd—blindness/deafness, detect thoughts, invisibility, mad hallucination, touch of idiocy, twisted space
1st—charm person, disguise self, liberating command, mage armor, magic missile, shield
0th—acid splash, bleed, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, spark
Before Combat A PRANKSTER Operative uses Silent Spell and Still Spell with her enchantments, attempting to keep any disruption of her cover to a minimum.
During Combat A PRANKSTER Operative casts improved invisibility and then uses bestow curse, dominate person, and blindness/deafness to incapacitate foes before she dispatches them with her elven curve blade.
Morale PRANKSTER Operatives are highly valued by the cabal but avoid capture at all costs, fighting to the death if they cannot flee when reduced to 12 hit points or less.
Str 8, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 18
Base Atk +6; CMB +5; CMD 21
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, Still Spell, Toughness
Skills Bluff +12, Disguise +12, Knowledge (all) +6, Linguistics +6, Perception +7, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +14, Use Magic Device +11; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven
SQ arcanist exploits (acid jet, arcane barrier, counterspell, dimensional slide, greater counterspell, spell resistance), cantrips, elven magic, keen senses, weapon familiarity
Combat Gear potion of cure serious wounds; Other Gear +1 elven curve blade, belt of dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, glove of storing, periapt of charisma +2, ring of protection +1
When the tactful force of a PRANKSTER Agent is unnecessary or an even more subtle hand is needed, the cabal dispatches a PRANKSTER Operative to infiltrate, reconnoiter, and more often than not, sabotage.
Use the statistics for a Mage but replace shield with disguise self and add Bluff +6, Disguise +6, and Stealth +6 to skills.
[This sidequest uses the special size rules from Meta Thursday: Little Characters, Big Adventures! —MM]
After the PCs arrive in Mohkba (inside the Red Palace’s hunting dog den), a DC 16 Knowledge (geography) check confirms they are in the Carpenter’s District. Though they are unfortunately still vastly reduced in size from the partially suppressed teleport that brought them into the city, the magics of the Sanctioned Arcane Practitioners did do the adventurers a boon—this is very near the location of the last P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. shipment from the Scorched Lands.
When the royal canines have been dealt with it seems like the party is no longer in danger, but 1d4 minutes after the encounter ends a storm of hail begins raining down on the city—at their reduced size, the weather may be a deadly hazard for the PCs! Taking cover in the nearest building brings the PCs to a large common hall for palace workers, a 40 ft. by 60 ft. hall with a large table surrounded by tree-stump stools and supplies lining the far wall.
A cursory search of the barrels and crates with a DC 14 Perception check reveals that one of the containers is a contraband cypher, a sure sign that the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. are nearby! Any PC that exceeds a check result of 25 also finds a piercing needle stuck in the crease between the floorboards and the wall. Though the adventurers might want to immediately track down the nearest criminal agent, a DC 12 Intelligence check deduces a few reasons not to; with their reduced mobility the adventurers won’t be able to search very quickly or effectively and moreover, at their reduced stature, the chances of being overwhelmed by the ne’er-do-wells are much greater than normal.
1d4 hours after finding this room, a servant appears with bowls, cups, and spoons in hand, setting the huge table for a meal attended by eight palace workers. A DC 20 Sense Motive check notices that one of the individuals—a woman named Vesra, a menial laborer in the Red Palace—is acting slightly out of sorts. If the PCs fail this check there’s a 50% chance she accidentally drops a PRANKSTERS coin onto the floor for a few seconds; while it is unlikely any regular-sized folks see its face, the party instantly recognizes the criminal token for what it is.
Today happens to be Vesra’s turn to clean up after the meal and after the rest of the workers file out of the room, she makes several trips with used dishes before approaching the contraband cypher. The party has ample time to try and block the doorways out of the chamber and with no means of escape, a criminal they can interrogate to learn more of the cabal’s plans in Mohkba—provided they can subdue the prattling PRANKSTER! [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday, folks! —MM]
A DC 13 Intelligence (Geography) check confirms the party’s location in Mohkba.
A DC 11 Wisdom (Perception) check notes the presence of a contraband cypher.
A DC 9 Intelligence check deduces that waiting for a moment to strike may be a better tactic.
A DC 16 Wisdom (Insight) check notices Vesra’s out-of-place demeanor.