Level 5: Runewall
21,500xp / Max15,050gp (3.5 - 4.5 hours)
Runewall is clearly brimming with magical energies. It is made entirely of black and shining obsidian, and every square inch of the level is carved with complex runes that glow brightly purple.
There are large, 5 foot thick obsidian walls throughout Runewall. These walls are 20 feet tall and are marked in purple on the map. It is possible and sometimes necessary to climb up on top of these walls, and the runes give the walls a Climb DC of 10.
The character who touches a rune crystal is also teleported.
All character should quickly make a DC 20 Spellcraft check. If any character makes the check, he can warn the group to focus on his earliest or most important memory. This will grant a +2 to all subsequent Mindswitch Will saves.
Each character (just characters, not eidolons, animal companions, minions and the like) should make a DC 21 Will Save . If a character fails, he feels his mind being ripped from him. The player should pass his character sheet to the next player who failed the check on his left, and receive a new character sheet from the next player who failed the check on his right. The character’s mind, including all his memories, personality, and beliefs, has just transferred to the body of a new character. He has gained all new skills, attributes, abilities, feats, spells, and abilities scores and understands immediately how to use them. He will be shocked to learn that he no longer remembers how to do some things that were basic to his old body, but suddenly understands new and wondrous ideas. Alignment restrictions to classes are temporarily removed.
If a character dies, it is the character controlling the body who suffers the consequences. The mind that controlled the dead body move on to the afterlife. The dead body is brought back to life at the end of the level, ready for its original owner to return. The body of the dead mind dies at the end of the level and does not advance to the next level. Spells such as resurrection may bring the dead character back to life. Additionally, any permanent damage dealt to any body, such as loss of fingers or ability drain, is healed. The player should be told this rule as a consequence of the mind-switch.
Whenever any character touches a Rune Crystal, Mindswitch occurs again. Each character should make a DC 21 Will save or switch bodies. Mindswitch ends when the level ends.
If only one member of the party fails the save, his mind has nowhere to go and stays put.
Note that players can voluntarily fail any of these saves, which they may want to do to get their character back.
Important Note: Runewall functions just fine without the Mindswitch mechanic. GM's should carefully consider if their players will enjoy the chaos of passing character sheets around and playing somebody else. If your players are more freeform and into roleplaying, they will likely enjoy it. If your players are more into the mechanical side of things and looking forward to flexing their muscles, they may not. Choose wisely, and ask your players if you are unsure.
Protector of the Walls
When the Flame Drake is killed, he will plummet to Runewall. Where he falls, his corpse will smolder and smoke for days, dealing d6 fire damage a round to any in contact with it. Upon his defeat, players may make a DC 10 Knowledge (Arcana) check to reveal that a Flame Drake’s heart is very valuable. A character may spend a turn in contact with the corpse to attempt a DC 15 Knowledge (Arcana) check to retrieve the Drake heart, which can be sold for 1,000gp. This check may be retried, but each attempt deals d6 fire damage to the player.
The first time somebody climbs the walls, he gains view of most of the level. This includes the Crystals in Room 2, The Chemosit statue in Room 4, and the various monsters in Room 7.
Room 1: Central Crystal
When a player activates a rune-crystal, he transported to a random square on the level as if he had just fallen through one of the holes in the floor. Additionally, all characters undergo another DC 21 will save to avoid Mindswitch.
Once all eight rune-crystals are activated, the central obsidian center square opens and a crystal shard will rise out of it. When this shard is touched, the final boss will appear.
1b: To the northwest of the center room is a locked box with a complex linguistic cipher. A DC 14 Linguistics check reveals the passcode, and speaking this word will cause the chest to open. However, failing the linguistics check three times will cause the box to lock permanently. There appears to be no lock or key, so the box cannot be opened with a Disable Device attempt. Inside the chest is a Wand of Charm Animal (CL1), a Potion of Fly (CL5), a Potion of Heroism (CL5), and a Hand of the Mage.
1c: To the northeast of the room is a small wooden chest. Although the chest is unlocked, it is trapped with insanity mist. Inside the chest are five sleep arrows and a +1 Longbow.
1d: To the southeast of the room is a large box made of small iron bars and glass. Inside the box is a fragile and expensive looking Fabergé egg. However, the box itself is poorly made, and there are a few bars blocking the egg. Three beams will have to be carefully removed to access the egg. The character should make three consecutive DC 10 Knowledge (Engineering) checks to remove non-structural beams. If he fails any one of these the box collapses, crushing both the egg and his hand for d6 damage. If he succeeds he retrieves the Faberge egg, worth a tidy sum of 1,000gp. Alternatively, a DC 22 Sleight of Hand check will access the egg, though failure means the box collapses.
1e: To the southwest of this room is a locked chest. It requires a DC 30 Disable Device check to unlock, though our heroes may make as many attempts as they like. Inside are three bear traps, a magnifying glass, masterwork manacles, a magical vial of incense, and one dose of Dark Reaver Powder. A DC 21 Spellcraft check will reveal the incense to be Incense of Meditation. However, a DC 31 Spellcraft check will reveal the item's true identity, the cursed Incense of Obsession.
Room 2: The Shiniest Crystal
If a player fails the check, he touches one of the seven incorrect crystals. The crystal immediately explodes, dealing 2d6+1 damage to all within a 10 foot radius of it. A DC 18 Reflex check halves this damage. The DC of the Appraise check decreases by 2 for each destroyed crystal.
If he succeeds in the check, the character touches the most valuable crystal and it activates as a rune-crystal. At this point, the remaining crystals will melt into piles of gold worth 250gp each.
Room 3: Gauntlet Legends
Each portal has hardness 5, 20 hit points, and a break DC of 25. They are medium sized objects with an AC of 3, and, if brought down to 0 hit points, they stop producing enemies.
The portal at the western edge of the room is a hodgepodge of junk – broken weapons, sharpened sticks, and animal bones, all tied together with fraying rope. The portal has an initiative modifier of +6, and each turn it spawns one Goblin. If any PCs are on the walls, the Goblins will draw their short bows and focus on them. Three small fireworks attached to the arch send off a stream of sparklers from whenever the arch spawns a Goblin.
The center portal is made up of nothing but human bones, primarily femurs and skulls. The portal has an initiative modifier of +6, and each turn it spawns one medium humanoid Skeleton. Each time a Skeleton spawns, the bones of the portal shake with a horrifying clacking sound.
The eastern portal looks to be the entrance of a sewer. It is an arch of grey-green stone dripping a foul smelling liquid. An iron grate covers most of the portal except for a 2 foot hole gnawed in the bottom. The portal has an initiative modifier of +3, and each turn a Dire Rat shoots forth in a cloud of putrid green mist.
Once all three portals are destroyed, a rune-crystal will rise from the ground (3d).
Room 4: The Stone Ape
Atop the feral hulk is a stone crown with a rune-crystal set in the center. If this crystal is touched without touching the Chemosit, then the rune-crystal activates and our heroes can proceed on their way. However, if the Chemosit is touched it will immediately come to life and attack our players. The creature will, whenever possible, attempt to bull rush his opponents off the platform and into the holes in the ground.
During combat with the Chemosit, our heroes may attempt to touch and activate the rune-crystal. Doing so requires a combat maneuver check against the Chemosit's CMD of 26. If the maneuver is successful, then the rune-crystal activates and the Chemosit turns back into stone.
Room 5: Dodging the Waves
At the end of the tunnel is a rune-crystal, which can only be activated by standing on the final square (5a). Every turn, the rune-crystal sends out a yellow horizontal bar at a random height, which speeds down the tunnel and dissipates at its exit. Characters within the tunnel must make a DC 18 Acrobatics check, or be dealt 2d6 sonic damage and forced four squares backwards.
Once the rune-crystal is touched, it activates and the shockwaves cease.
Room 6: Four Questions
As our heroes enter this room and see the first gemstone, they will hear a voice in their head, speaking in their native language. “Order matters,” it will say in a gravely tone, “Listen to the stones.” When a gemstone is touched it will glow slightly, but dim and reset after all four have been touched. If the gemstones are touched in the correct order, then the center platform will open revealing a crystal.
However, if the gemstones are touched in the incorrect order, the player touching the final stone will be afflicted with horrible pain to the tune of 3d6+3 damage, DC 20 Will save halves. This pain occurs after the fourth gemstone is touched, and there is no indication of which part of the sequence was incorrect. Each time the gemstones are touched incorrectly, one of the gemstones transmits which number it is.
In the southeast corner of the room a blue gemstone floats. As our heroes approach, it will ask “How many rulers of Taldor have been named Grand Prince Stavian?” A DC 13 Knowledge (Nobility) check will reveal that the current ruler is Grand Prince Stavian III, so there have been three rulers. This is the third gemstone that must be touched.
In the northeast corner of the room a black gemstone floats. As our heroes approach, it will ask “How many nostrils does a Fen Witch have?” A DC 13 Knowledge (Nature) check will reveal that the answer is one, and this is the first gemstone that must be touched.
In the northwest of the room a white gemstone floats. As our heroes approach, it will ask “Excepting the Okaiyo Ocean, how many oceans are on Golarion?” A DC 13 Knowledge (Geography) check will reveal that there are five oceans total on Golarion, four excepting Okaiyo. This is the fourth gemstone that must be touched.
In the southwest corner of the room a green gemstone floats. As our heroes approach, it will ask “How many gods, known as the ‘First,’ were born from the ‘Seal?’” A DC 13 Knowledge (Religion) check will reveal that the answer is two, Ihys and Asmodeus, and this is the second gemstone that must be touched.
Once all four gemstones are touched in the correct order, a rune-crystal appears at 6d.
Room 7: Monsters on the Walls
On the farthest wall stands a single Ceratioidi with a pile of ten spears beside him (7b). The Ceratioidi will throw spears and use his lure ability on the PCs. A rune-crystal is on the same platform as the Ceratioidi (7c).
The area above the outer wall is protected by a permanent wind wall (7d) which will block any projectiles heading through it. The enemies in this area will watch but not attack the PCs unless they are attacked first or a PC breaches the wind wall. However, if the enemies are attacked they will leave their area to fight the agressors.
Room 8: A Face in the Wall
Our heroes will have three chances to make a DC 18 Perform check to gain access to the crystal. If they get a 23 on the check, the face will be so amused he will throw in one of his eyes, worth 600gp. If they get a 28 on the check, he will throw in both of his eyes, each worth 600gp.
If our heroes fail all three DC 18 perform checks, the face will be annoyed and demand 1,000gp in exchange for his crystal. If the money is fed into his mouth, or an items worth at least 2,000gp, he will produce the crystal.
However, the face is a coward. He should flinch if any character draws a weapon of makes any move that could be interpreted as menacing. He can be persuaded into giving up his crystal with a DC 21 Intimidate check. A 26 will intimidate the face into giving up one of his eyes as well, worth 600gp, and a 31 will intimidate the face into giving up both of his eyes, worth 600gp each. Our heroes will only have one chance to make this intimidate check - otherwise, he will demand the gold.
Alternatively, our heroes can attempt to forcefully remove each eye with a DC 20 strength check. After each failure, the player must make a DC 16 Reflex check or be dealt d12 damage from the eyelid coming down. If both eyes are removed, the face will trade the crystal to get them back.
Once he has been persuaded one way or another, the face will open up his mouth, revealing the rune-crystal inside.
Room 9: Spitting Plants
When our heroes enter room 9, it appears to be completely empty. However, the first time a hero crosses the checkerboard pattern, two Calathgars drop suddenly from the sky (9a) and combat begins. One turn later, a rune-crystal drops from the sky and lands softly on the ground (9b).
Final Boss: The Glass Golem
Once all eight crystals throughout the level have been activated, a larger crystal appears from the ground at 1b. Once this is touched, every character is teleported to a random square on the map. Simultaneously, a Glass Golem appears on 1a and begins to attack. This fight can be very challenging, so remove the golem's listed DR entirely.
Once the Golem is defeated, the entire level disappears beneath their feet, and our heroes find themselves once more hurtling through the abyss.
If our heroes are playing only in Jacob's Tower and ranking up to Level 6, then distribute 8,400 gold amongst them evenly.
Sleeping in Runewall
Level 6: Gauntlet
I've just discovered your Jacob's tower adventure and have been reading through them. I hope to run them with some friends in the near future. I have two questions about the unique mechanics of Level 5.ReplyDelete
1) When teleporting, is it intended that it is more likely for a PC to end up near the center more often (do to odds on the dice)?
2) For Mindswitch, what happens if only one PC fails the Will Save?
Great, and let me know how it goes! Yes, it is intended that PC's will be more likely to end up near the center. However, plopping them near the center is more dangerous and, if you want that, use D20s.ReplyDelete
Hmm, I suppose if only one PC fail, he gets a get out of jail free card, and there is no ill effect! However, the save is fairly high, so that may not be likely.
So, if a character's mind is in another player's body and dies, the mind dies. At the end of the level, the body is revived and the original mind reenters the body. The mind that was controlling the body that died is gone forever? Are the players able to somehow return the lost mind to the original body, or are traditional resurrections spells ineffective?ReplyDelete
Good point, and I've clarified that. Resurrection and the like are effective in bringing the mind back to the body.Delete
Are the black squares in room nine holes, or are they just colored black?ReplyDelete
Big old holes. Every black square leads directly to the black abyss.Delete
whats the thing with this glass golem ?! we played the tower ... everything was very n1 ... but this thing is close to unkillable ... dr 5 ... so with bows/xbows it will take an hour to kill it and meele will kill you (att +16 => he always hits you ... and 2 - 4 hits will knock you out) ...ReplyDelete
He is a boss, and thus intentionally difficult. He deals on average 14 damage on a hit, and has an 85% chance to hit an AC 20, pretty standard for this level. You probably have around 40hp, so that's about 3-4 hits for him to take down one person. With a party of 4 people, thats 16 rounds, assuming you aren't healing the fallen and are unable to do anything.Delete
If you just have bows, then it will certainly take a while to kill him. So it's time to adjust your strategy. Summon some creatures, go into melee, throw some bombs, put him in a pit. DR is a huge thing in later levels, so if you are finding that you are not dealing enough damage with longbows, this is a great time to adjust your strategy.
Did you guys survive?
My group and I are playing Jacobs Tower with the Armor as Damage Reduction variant rules - until now there were no real problems.Delete
on Sunday we will play this level.
I am really worried this might end in a TPK 18 DR and Magic Immunity - holy hell!
But I think as this level is set in an abstract void a TPK is easily explained as a bad dream.
I am really anxious for this encounter.
Thank you for this great dungeon campaign and keep the good work.
I've never used Armor as DR rules, but DR 18 seems a biiiit extreme. You may want to lower that to 10 or so.Delete
Good luck! Have fun and I'm glad you are enjoying the dungeon!
Having only 2 Characters which could do actual damage but a cleric worthy of his profession it took the golem 8 rounds to bring the first character below 0 HP only to have him stand up the round thereafter and finally slaying the beast the next round.Delete
Let's see how they will handle the tarantula on the next stage.
Wow! I hope the fight was as long as it was fun. It sounds like the Cleric felt useful, which is awesome.Delete
Excited to hear about Gauntlet.
And now for this week's. Couldn't manage the mindswap mechanic, but it didn't hurt the level. Apparently my group has decided sleeping before activating the final trap/boss/what have you is 'cheating,' so they have made a pact not to do so. Welp. We'll see how that goes in the future. For now though...ReplyDelete
Started out pretty simple. They saw the 8 crystals to the left, completely failed all their appraisal checks and teleport ed right where they started (seriously, some landed on each other, it was great).
They spent too many resources trying to deal with the portals...but only because they seemed to overestimate the CR 1/3 creatures. This crystal caused a teleport that really hurt them though. 3 people landed around the starting point, one fell into a hole and saw the hidden armor and buckler, one landed on the bottom right wall...and the summoner landed right on top of the ape statue. Cue both the Flame Drake and Chemosit aggroing at the same time and tearing through people. Nobody died, but a lot of healing was spent recovering afterwards.
They solved the four little treasures easily, as well as the four questions. The wall was amusing, since it was only after they (barely) made a perform check that they considered stealing its eyes. Cue neutral good eidolin and summoner leaving the hall, while the inquisitor fails to steal an eye. The oracle managed a fairly high intimidate check though, so they got it in the end.
The creatures on the wall didn't slow them down too much, neither did the plants (burning hands works wonders). I think my favorite part was their reaction to the gear underneath the level. "What do you mean, this stuff's ALSO made for a small character?!" They appear to believe the creator really wanted a party of haflings.
As for the glass golem, well, it nearly killed three people before a lucky arrow struck it down (being on 25% health and having no spells at all will do that). The group enjoyed it all quite a bit!
Glad they enjoyed it! Yup, the level is entirely playable without mindswitch.Delete
By all means, encourage them to sleep if they need to! There are mechanics in each level to make it a dangerous trade off (though generally worth it once).
Yeah, flame drake and Chemosit is a rough combo, particularly right after a teleport. Happens to a few groups.
There's not THAT much stuff for small characters ... is there? I think it's about a third?
Have fun in gauntlet!
We made it in time (nearly)!ReplyDelete
This time, having only 4 players, it only took us 5 hours.
Human Fighter (Greatsword)
Ratfolk Ranger (Man of the day!)
Halforc Alchemist (now with Alchemical Allocation and Elixir of Dragons Breath)
After equipping with some new stuff the party visited Runewall. First thing to happen was the Ranger to climb up the wall and being struck be the Drakes fireball. A nice climatic fight started, where 5 fireballs and a couple of fly-by-attacks struck the group and only the ranger was able to do some damage. He made about 75% of the damage, before the Drake came close enough for the Alchemist to throw a frost-bomb. But the Drake had 2 HP left - I thought about letting it flee, but I didn't want the group to miss a dragon-slaying. It gave the Ranger the chance to hit again and shine for the first time.
I chose to play without mindswitch - not because I didn't like it, but I wasn't feeling well and I was sure to save at least one hour of playtime not using it.
After that fight they answered the four questions, surprisingly succesful even without the bard.
Right after that they opened the trapped chest, everyone standing inside the cloud. But only the Ranger and Wolfcompanion were effected.
The Alchemist climbed up to the 8 crystals and rolled 30 Appraise on the first try - nice little bump of wealth for the party. Right after that he triggered the portals and they fought against about 5 of every critter. One portal was struck by a 7d6 dragons breath from the alchemist, the other two were one-hitted by the fighter.
The Ranger had his second glorious moment here - he used wild empathy on 3 of the dire rats. I know it shouldn't work this way, but I liked the idea and this ability is usualy pretty useless. My inner GM didn't want to allow it, even more when he used them to touch the crystals. But since his character is otherwise the weakest in the group, I granted him this little victory.
The Chemosit had noch chance. It was cautiously surrounded before the Fighter tried to climb up. It managed to hit the Fighter 2 or 3 times, making some damage but didn't beat his CMD for bullrush.
Now they went to "dodging the waves", where first the Alchemist tried and retreated, then the Ranger needed about 10 rounds and nearly died.
The face in the wall followed, but without the bard they had to pay the gold to get the crystal.
The Ranger and his new pet-rats climbed the wall to the calthagars, while the rest of the group approached over the chessboard. The calthagars got struck by two bombs, killing them. Now the Ranger sent his two remaining rats for the crystal, but they were subdued by the brown mold. He jumped down himself and touched it.
The next fight was against the creatures on the wall, but they couldn't get through the AC of the party, so the fight was quite easy.
Now the Ranger wanted to rescue the two unconcious rats, without telling the others. He didn't really realise the danger of the brown mold, slowly being damaged and finally falling unconcious. After 3 more rounds of damage (not subdual anymore) I sent his Wolf in to rescue him, because I didn't want him to die like this - especially since he is a new player without any RPG experience.
The fight against the glass golem was quite nice. The Fighter took a ton of damage, nearly hitting the ground, before they could turn the tide. But in the end a greatsword and frost-bombs worked pretty good against this boss.
Another great level that was enjoyed by everybody at the table.
PS: Looking forward for Gauntlet - it was the level that made me buy this adventure.
PPS: The Alchemist is using your Guide - his print even contains the little Jacobs Tower Disclaimer on the right side. I'm so happy he didn't realize that yet. At least I hope so!
Things are faster with four people, right?Delete
I really love it when GMs say "I know it doesn't work this way, but it would make the game better." Adjusting things on the fly is the mark of a great GM, so I'm sure your players are going to have a good time no matter what you run!
Sounds like there were a ton of close calls - that's the kind of stuff that I love, and it seems like your players like it too.
P.S. Gauntlet is a blast!
P.P.S. Watch out for that Alchemist when he hits level 8! Fast bombs become unbalancing really quickly.
Hey, so I just ran the runewall and it was a pretty good time, though it was pretty intense also. Resulted in my first character death. The game starts out and everyone succeeds their save, not swapping bodies. They start out going to the bottom left and do the portal fight. It was a bit of a slog, and they ended up having to kill like 20 enemies total, but it was fun. They finally have the first body swapping experience when the witch touches the crystal. She ends up on the wall and is mugged by the flame drake before she launches herself off to get away from it. The first couple times they encounter it they flee, before eventually realizing they have to do something and decide to fight it, and once they actually commit it's pretty easy. the bard archer downs the potion of fly the the witch paragon surges for the flight hex, so they can sidestep some of the mechanics, rising above the wind wall to shoot the creatures in the top right (at the point I just had them leave their posts and attack everyone), not have to care about the climb checks, and stay out of range of the plant creatures. The witch blinds one of the dire corbies and cuts a deal with him to serve her for the level and if her survives he can go free. They breeze through the rest of the level while taking only slight losses of hp, and enter the golem fight without even having rested. The monk sorcerer (controlled by the bard) ends up teleporting in range of the golem, and everyone else is far away (the paladin ends up getting bad luck and falling for a couple rounds as she teleport to holes. the monk is immediately critically hit and almost goes down, and has to five foot step off a ledge to get away, except she doesn't and ends up close to the golem. Having no other option, they instruct the corby to throw himself off the edge, and in an extremity hype fluke he ends up even closer to the golem than the sorcermonk. The golem takes his turn killing the croby, letting the monk flee to get healed, but this takes a while since the witch used her first turns running away, convinced she couldn't do anything this fight due to the golem's spell immunity and immunity to her hexes. While this happens, the golem engages the paladin and quickly sets her HP really low. The monk gets back in and manages to deal cold damage to stagger the golem (suli racial), and the witch entangles it in adhesive spittle and the bard manages to trip it with grease, but the golem crits another attack and kills the monk outright. The paladin is just barely able to kill the golem before she dies by getting super lucky and landing 3 crits, ending at like 5 hp. It was a fun fight imo, but the bard felt like it was pretty cheap that his bard died without him even getting a chance to play him, and honestly I kinda agree with that. But hey, RNG also played a huge role and sometimes the boss just crits you twice. They did also think the fight was way too hard, and I can see the argument for that: if the paladin died they probably would have TPKed. but on the bright side it made for a super close battle. Now the bard is rolling up a summoner. Update over, we are gonna be running level 6 in a couple days and I'll tell you how that goes.ReplyDelete
Also in my opinion the provided map was... lacking. So I made my own! feel free to use it. https://i.ibb.co/T4cT88j/Annotation-2019-11-18-235645.pngDelete
Yeah, this is another situation where the pdf version is superior.Delete
In the PDF, I can more easily massage the stat blocks of creatures, where on the blog I just link to them.
In the PDF, the golem doesn't have DR/5 Adamantium, and has 2 less Strength (lowering his attack modifier and damage by a little bit). Still a tough fight, but the golem will go down way easier.
I'll add a note in the online version to remove the DR though. The golem has killed enough PCs!
That's a crazy amount of crits at the end there! No wonder it felt swingy, and the bard wasn't too pleased.
Looking forward to Gauntlet (I think the final boss there is massaged in the pdf version as well)!
Oh lol, I do have the PDF but I actually managed to miss that the DR was missing. Oh well, whoops, I guess I just assumed it was the same creature since everything else appears to be the same. Also, just so you are aware, the version of the PDF I got still has the golem at having 20 str. I am also looking forward to the gauntlet, I looked through all the levels initially and it's always been my favorite that I've looked forward to running the most. Mildly worried about that phantasmal killer though, I gave the party a "dream journal of the palid seer" as loot a while back solely because I didn't want to feel as bad about phantasmal killing them once this lvl came up.Delete
Yeah, I wish that phantasmal killer wasn't in the game actually. Feel free to run the encounter without it!Delete