Thursday, November 12, 2015

Designing in Public: The Rituals of Choice Part I, A Witch's Choice (PFRPG conversion) post #2

You can find Post #1 HERE!

Illustration by Ryan Barger

Act I: And So It Begins

Our story begins with the characters sleeping: Ask each player what his character is likely to be dreaming about, then guide each with a giant harpy eagle to the common dream location of Zewthra‘s balcony. 
As you move toward the object of your desire, it morphs into an enigmatic giant harpy eagle and flies down a hole that suddenly appears in the ground.
If the character does not follow:
Abruptly the aperture becomes a gigantic sinkhole and you fall landing next to your companions in a strange wondrous location.

Cartography by Jonathan Roberts
Full Map HERE! 

Location # 1: The Glass Balcony (EL 3)

With a feeling of instant vertigo, you are unexpectedly in the center of an open-air sheer glass balcony entirely lacking protective railing. It is half-shrouded in mist created by two waterfalls spilling into the basin far below. A brilliant rainbow arches through the balcony. The glass pane appears to connect to the brown stone door of a lovely multilevel red house with a number of similar glass balconies. Floating point down just out of reach over the basin is a brilliant crystal-woven golden longsword.

The albino harpy eagle flies up and observes all the PCs but does not speak to them or answer questions they may have. (The balcony is 30’ wide at the base, narrowing to 5’, and extends 20’ out over the falls at its farthest point.)
Let the players look about, talk to each other, discuss why they are all having the same dream. At an appropriate point, perhaps when they go to open the door or make an attempt at the floating longsword, Zewthra will open the door.

You see a dwarfish woman with red-wine colored skin, her eyes purple within black. Her long hair stands straight out like long black pine needles, her face contorted in a painfully blank expression. Her garb is a patchwork of different colored fabrics, a different pattern on each piece (polka-dots, stripes, swirls, splotches, and silhouettes) and makes her look like some macabre doll.

Let the PCs react to her appearance. She is completely unresponsive to the PCs, until at an appropriately dramatic moment.

A whisper issues forth from the strange woman: “Help me.” Then the crystal-woven golden blade disappears over the falls and appears in her hand, and she raises it as if preparing to attack. In total contrast to her actions, her face remains void of expression.


TERRAIN: If a character moves their full speed, they take the chance of falling and sliding, possibly off the edge (Acrobatics DC 10, failure results in falling prone and sliding to the limit of the character’s speed in a random direction. If they collide with an object, they bounce off and move half their remaining speed).
Characters can make a Climb check to grab hold of the edge if they slide over (DC 20). A failed check results in the character taking 2d6 points of nonlethal damage (see below).

DAMAGE: All attacks in the dream appear to deal lethal damage, but in reality are only dealing nonlethal damage. A character reduced to zero or fewer hit points leaves the dream world and wakes for a moment in the real world before falling unconscious again, but gets a glimpse of Vethkar’s house along with a crazed looking Zewthra. 

1st Round: The giant harpy eagle takes the hardest blow from her phantasmal killer spell and it disappears. Throughout the fight Zewthra will attack, though her demeanor is very strange,

·       “I am sorry” she will say,
·       a tear drop will appear on her face,
·       she will scream in terror,
·       she will even make the hand sign for a ritual of greeting;

2nd Round: Zewthra attacks with her luckblade this round and each round afterwards.
3rd Round:  A 5’ section of the balcony cracks like a spider web.
4th Round:  The cracked section falls away and the cracks spread to the next 10’ section. 
5th Round: This pattern will repeat until there is nothing of the balcony left.

The best way to win this fight is to push Zewthra over the edge. She is substantially more powerful than the PCs but her Acrobatics check is poor. If they do this, the giant harpy eagle reappears and each character hears a voice in their mind.

 The choirs of heaven sings to me of a profound wrong endangering all. This wrong has caught Zewthra in its snare, help her.

The giant harpy eagle then disappears and the PCs awaken in Plunging Steam Manor.

Zewthra         CR 3 (9, cured)

XP 6,400
Female verrik witch (circle warden, see The Secrets of Adventuring) 10
CG Medium humanoid (verrik)
Init +2; Senses Perception +9
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 37 (10d6)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +8
Special Defenses Aegis of protection.
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 longsword +4 (1d8+1/19-20)
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +13)
5thbreak enchantment
4thblessing of fervorAPG, cure serious woundsphantasmal killer (DC 18), 
3rdaccept afflictionblood biographyAPGheroism, rain of frogsUM
2ndaidcure moderate wounds, hold person (DC 17), soothing word, vomit spidersAPG
1stbeguiling gift (DC 15), shield of faithcommand (DC 15), cure light woundsill-omenAPG
0 (at will)detect magicmessage, read magic, stabilize
Patron portents
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 15
Feats  Combat Casting, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Magical Aptitude, Mobility
Skills Diplomacy +6, Fly +11, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (nature) +15, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +21, Swim +3, Use Magic Device +19
Languages Common, Verrik, Giant, Draconic, Dwarven.
SQ astral union, hexes (channel, fortune, good luck talisman), token of fellowship (luckblade), white hexes
Special Abilities
Token of Fellowship: A circle warden witch does not form a bond with a familiar; instead, she creates a special link with a fellowship. Symbolizing this fellowship is an object of great personal value, a fetish made with components bearing great significance to the fellowship, or the representation of an association (her luck blade).
The circle warden witch must commune with her token to prepare her spells. During the communion, the circle witch may link her fetish's spiritual energies to any number of willing, sentient creatures that she wishes to take upon her protection, including herself. A witch may attune additional creatures during the day by taking one hour to meditate, and draw talismans on the creatures she wishes to ward. A token of fellowship otherwise works as a familiar.
Aegis of Protection (Su): Zewthra may protect allies within the area of her wreath of community. As a move action, she may draw eldritch patterns that provide to all attuned allies within her wreath of community the properties of a protection from evil (alignment chosen during the move action) spell. The circle warden may instead provide them with a resist energy 10 (energy chosen during the move action).
By spending a full-round action instead, Zewthra creates a powerful sanctuary for any living being she wishes to protect inside her wreath of community; this ability works as normal, except that instead of protection from evil it reproduces the effects of a magic circle against evil (alignment chosen during the full-round action), and a creature needs not to be attuned to her fellowship to benefit from her protection. These effects last until the beginning of her next turn. This ability can only provide each creature with one attempt per day to suppress effects that are controlling them.
Astral Union (Su): Zewthra can leave her body as a standard action to bind her soul to one of her allies within the area of her wreath of community. This works as per the magic jar spell, except that the circle warden does not need a gem and her soul does not trap the ally's soul, nor overtakes his body. While mindless, her body is not lifeless, and it can do a move action each round. The physical and the astral body still share their actions on each round.
While bound to an ally, Zewthra may cast spells on him that are normally restricted to a range of touch or personal and use hexes that normally affect her to affect him instead. Thanks to the insight the circle warden can provide to him, the bound ally also gains the benefits of the shield of faith spell (caster level equal to the witch's level), plus the effects of a continuous Fortune hex.
If her body is slain or the ally leaves her wreath of community, her soul stays with her bound ally for 10 days after which she dies; or until the ally returns into the area of her wreath of community or her body is brought back to life, at which point she goes back into her body. During this time, her ally still gains the benefits of the astral union but her senses are limited to what her bound ally can perceive; she may also not cast spells onto any other creature than the bonded ally, nor use her wreath of community without a body.
Channel (Su): Zewthra can use a hex to channel positive energy like a 10th level cleric. Whether or not the creature makes a successful save, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day.
Good Luck Talisman (Su): By spending one hour to write a mystic charm on a creature, Zewthra can ward a creature, as per the Ward hex. She can have 4 active good luck talismans at the same time equal to her Intelligence modifier.
Gyre of the Eldritch (Su): Zewthra may use a hex on two attuned creatures as a standard action, as per the Split Hex feat. This hex lasts one less round than usual (minimum 1) and may target two creatures anywhere on the circle warden's wreath of community.
4/day, Zewthra may also cast any spell with a range of touch on any attuned creature within the aura of her wreath of community, as if the spell was prepared with the Reach Spell metamagic feat.
White Hexes: Zewthra’s hexes are made to protect and ward. She cannot target unwilling targets with her hexes.
Wreath of Community (Su): Zewthra emits a 10-foot aura of abjuration. Once per round whenever an ally attuned to the Zewthra's fellowship is standing within the wreath of community's area, he may create a shield other effect in relation to any other attuned ally within the wreath of communitiy's area as a free action spell-like ability. The spell's caster level 10 (though the person activating the ability is consider the caster for all other purposes).

Zewthra is autistic. Her actions are always extreme, and her facial expressions, mannerisms, and speech are usually in direct opposition to those actions. She was a gifted gambler and prankster in her youth before the autism imprisoned her. Now she can perform only the most basic tasks, and when in an extremely agitated state her powers lash out at random. Around her father, witches, faen, humans, and other verrik, she is normally very compliant. She has manic attacks if confronted by non-witch litorians and generally ignores almost all other creatures, unless they cause her harm. Zewthra values her father and the feeling of safety he has created around her. She fears her own power and within her mind she longs to be normal again. Though unable to express it, Zewthra understands her father’s finances even better than he does. She also still has friends at court. If cured she could become a powerful ally of the PCs.

History: (Diplomacy (gather information), or Knowledge (local) DC 15) All of Zewthra’s needs have been cared for by her father, ever since the accident. Fearing his government would put her in the Damned Depository, her father fled with her to Far-Rough.

Secret: (Diplomacy (gather information), or Knowledge (noblity) DC 25) Zewthra killed a young minotaur in a prank gone wrong; he was the only son of a clan leader, and a runechild (A being favored by Our Sovereigns in Heaven). Racked with guilt she chose to suppress her power rather than risk harming someone again. This has caused unusual random changes in her thought patterns, however, ultimately resulting in her autism.


  1. Is this the chosen method of release for the Pathfinder conversion of this adventure, through blog entries in several parts? Or are these blog entries considered 'previews'?

  2. Is this the chosen method of release for the Pathfinder conversion of this adventure, ie through blog entries? Or are these blog entries just "previews"?

  3. I will eventually compile it into a PDF and print product and sell it.