Wednesday, November 19, 2008

E10 (Malfeshnekor's Prison)

Here it is: the final showdown between the valiant adventurers and the big, bad monster at the bottom of the dungeon. I won't lie - Malfeshnekor is one hell of an adversary. The rough structure of his stat block is based on the young red dragon. He can tear an unskilled or overconfident party apart. This is by design. Malfeshnekor was created as an above-and-beyond encounter in the original adventure. After the PCs have dealt with Nualia, Sandpoint can be considered safe from attack for the time being. Malfeshnekor is relatively powerless to affect the outside world. If your party has a tough time of it, gently remind them of the open door at their backs. They can deal with the barghest at their leisure.

Play Malfeshnekor mercilessly. If he can afford to focus entirely on a single character, have him spend an action point and use insane rage coupled with two separate rip and tear volleys to completely decimate that character. If this is the party defender he is taking down, all the better. I won't advocate this often, since I'm not a fan of effectively removing a player from the game for the remainder of the evening, but if you get the chance kill PCs. The adventure is effectively over and the party will have a great deal of downtime over the next in-game month to recuperate, so don't worry too much about forcing them to spend money bringing their companions back to life (they should have plenty of spare gold at this point). I suggest the following encounter for a party of five adventurers:

Total: 1,500 xp (Level 7 Encounter)

One of the hidden side rooms does contain a silver coffer worth 110 gold pieces (treasure parcel 10 from level 5). Within it is treasure parcel 1 from level 4.

Stat block:


zilvar said...

How did your party fare with this fight, or did they bypass it?

Scott said...

They did fairly well, actually, thanks to a handful of lucky critical hits at the beginning of the encounter. One PC nearly died, and a couple others were having a rough time, but they came up with a few smart ways to hamper Malfeshnekor (the Barbarian spent a lot of the time trying to push him into one of the fire pits, for instance). I think it turned out to be an appropriately challenging boss fight.

I did re-do a couple of Malfeshnekor's abilities after I ran my game. I changed feed so that it is now a free action triggered when a creature dies. The previous incarnation was an immediate reaction, which made it impossible to use most of the time, since Malfeshnekor stands the best chance of killing a PC on his turn, and immediate reactions can't be used during your own turn. I also added the I've been saving this for millennia! ability to give him some extra staying power.

tadkil said...

Very nice adaptation Scott.

BenTheFerg said...

Great work Scott. I am using your work in my running of the RotRL game in 4e.

Are you planning on continuing your work? I hope you do - I don't have the mental space to do what you're doing (work is too manic for me at the moment).

Fingers crossed you somehow manage to keep up the energy and enthusiasm.

We had a great fight the other day in Ripnugget's room using the Kobold-esque pikers etc - it worked a treat - was a very tense fight.

Am looking forward to the lower level encounters you have devised.

Thanks again


Scott said...

I very much am planning on continuing the conversions; in fact, part of The Skinsaw Murders is already complete (everything up to The Misgivings). I haven't published it yet because I only ran it for my group last week and haven't had time to properly edit and construct everything for my online format, but it will go up soon. Thanks for following along, and I'm glad to hear your game is running well.

BenTheFerg said...

GREAT! That is fantastic news.

We are all loving 4e. Have set up the game so that 75% of the group are tied into the setting plus I have moved Sandpoint to Fallcrest - to make it feel more at home in the 4e 'world'. That was fun - and enabled me to make the town a little bigger.

One of the pcs was a goblin from the area - orphaned when the Scarnettis massacred his family 20 years back to claim their land for mining. Their survivors eventually through their poverty joined up with the Thistletop mob - they are the refugees outside Thistletop. Thus we didn't do any fighting outside Thistletop on the far side of the bridge -instead a tearful reunion of gobber with gobber. That story arc is partly resolved now. This angle gave a more understandable reason as to why did the gobbers all band together?... I like stories of people's hubris causing future problems which come back and strike others/ them.... kinda like Karma, but it is usually others who pay the price - Karma is where the pcs come in and settle the score. ;)

I have also been using the Harrow Deck - Madame Mvashti came to them all in a dream. I did it online to speed up game time (we game once/ fortnight) - and this helped fortell aspects of the near future.

Back at Fallcrest, Scarnetti has organised a wolf hunt. Lord Markelhay is a werewolf, and he wants him dead - and is brazenly wieldling his power in town. We're gonna have a side-quest narrative ala 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' with the bad mercs in town after blood-money, with the pcs protecting the lord, and trying to get revenge on Scarnetti in a manner that doesn't lead them to the gallows. Once that it resolved, I'll start Skinsaw.

Which again I am going to change slightly!

I have moved Pixies Kitten out of Fallcrest into the countryside upriver. Think Twin Peaks and you are there. ;) I am gonna make sure there is some dark delving into the seedy under-belly of Fallcrest before the denouement at Foxglove's manor. Seeds will be sown to eventually get the players to explore Thunderkeep Mountain - on the trail of people-traffickers linked to the brothel. all very topical I guess for us here in the UK. ;)

It's all going well!

Thanks for your work.

Can't wait to see what you have done to the Skinsaw Murders and how I can use them into my twisted, fevered dreamings. :)

Anonymous said...


Is there a way for me to download these conversion notes in a compiled form? I don't usually play with my laptop handy and it would be good if I could just print all this stuff out and have it in front of me at the table.

Scott said...

That's something I certainly want to do eventually. I don't quite have everything smoothed out the way I want it for the Burnt Offerings conversion, but when I feel it's complete I'm definitely going to publish it in a more natural format online.

For right now I'm afraid there isn't a really convenient way to get everything into a printable format.

Brian said...


I'm curious about the composition of the party. What races and classes are your players playing? Did you have any difficulty in integrating Dragonborn, Tieflings, and Eladrin into the Pathfinder world?


BenTheFerg said...

Hi Brian

I am also running this as a 4e game. As mentioned, I have shifted the game to the 4e setting in the dmg of 'Fallcrest' and have moved it inland a little from where Sandpoint is, and a little further north.

Given that I am the only one with the Golarion hardcover, and I am running it as a classic 'Points of Light' game - all from the start, I have managed to set it up so that these issues of race etc are not an issue. I have decided what is/ isn't true from the official pathfinder setting - thus solving some possible big conflicts (eg races etc!!)

To this end, I created a new players guide - with a guide to fallcrest and the Nentir Vale, as well as Varisia and its peoples and lands, and those beyond, using 4e gods for the main cults (and the pathfinder ones for the whackier deities) - so that it is not a headache creating new feats etc etc for divinity powers.

I have given hints of a bigger story back in Cheliax, and 1 pc is an ex-gladiator from there, and another is from riddleport - so the background setting fluff has been great in the players guide for helping form pc backgrounds.

it is a labour of love when you start blending settings with issues of rule conflicts staring you in the face.

I am keen to play 4e with no tweeks at all - and thus play it out of the tin so to speak.

So far putting the game in Fallcrest has been excellent. All very 4e and lots of possible conflicts in a larger town.


Scott said...

None of my party is playing a Tiefling or Dragonborn at the moment, though I do not foresee them being an issue if one of my players decided to create one. I have a couple Eladrin. Races are phenomenally easy to integrate into the setting, especially if the players are not intimately familiar with Golarion. Treat them as you would treat those races in the generic Points of Light style setting that 4th Edition contains. You can feel free to deal with any fluff conflicts as they arise, though personal experience indicates that they do not tend to.

I am not in the practice of restricting my players' choices when allowing them involves a small bit of reflavoring at most. My players have access to all races, classes, paths & destinies, feats, powers, equipment and rituals published in all official supplements (including D&D Insider material, which I have access to - I strongly encourage subscribing).

My party consists of:

- An Eladrin Rogue
- A Githzerai Cleric
- A Gnoll Barbarian
- An Eladrin Wizard
- A Dwarf Fighter
- A Half-elf Warlock
- An Elf Paladin

Inevitably a couple of players fail to show up at each session for whatever reason, so the game averages roughly five or six players at a time, which makes it an excellent test bed for the conversion. I'm pleased with the spread of classes and races. All characters are currently level 5.

Scott said...

Also, I apologize for the Skinsaw Murders kick-off taking so long. I'm in the middle of finals week right now, but my game will be on hiatus until the first week of January so I have plenty of time to catch the blog up while I'm on winter break.

Bailey said...

I just wanted to let you know that I think you're doing an awesome job. I'm currently running Curse of the Crimson Throne in 4e, but after that I may use your ideas for RotRL.

Scott said...

Glad to hear it! Thanks for following along.

BenTheFerg said...

Happy Christmas everyone!

sorry to nag you Scott- any ideas when you're gonna start posting up the Skinsaw Man material? :) I need it - since we finish Thistletop tomorrow!!


Scott said...

Haha, alright, alright. I've been putting it off simply because I have another week or so before my next game, but I suppose it's getting close enough to the deadline that I ought to get some work done. I've been updating a few of the earlier posts (some small edits and adding maps and tactical info to encounters that lacked them), but tomorrow I'll try to post the Skinsaw conversions I've done so far.

BenTheFerg said...

great news!! Keep up the good work - the Skinsaw Man is a great narrative.

Are you going to allow pcs to 'save' Foxglove from his condition - rather than simply kill him - as in once he is bloodied/ reduced to say 10 hps, to intimidate him into giving up and then finding a cure?

Scott said...

The players have the option of, at the DM's discretion, making intimidate checks against a bloodied opponent to force it to surrender (the DC is typically the target's Will defense + 10). While it may be possible to convince Aldern's currently dominant personality - the Skinsaw Man, at the point in the fight where he is bloodied (I'll explain when this conversion reaches that point) - to surrender, "curing" Aldern is another matter entirely. He is quite undead at this point, and while there is a way to return him to the living man he once was, convincing him to surrender is not really the best way to go about it.

If the party finds themselves wishing to return Aldern to life, they first need to destroy the corporeal undead he has become. After the destruction of the Skinsaw Man, they can then perform a Raise Dead ritual (with the proper reagents for a heroic-tier creature) in order to return him to life. This carries with it its own set of dilemmas. Aldern is a murderer, as the party may have discovered, even from back before he turned into a ghast. His obsession with one of the party, though no longer fueled by his undying hunger, remains strong. And his psychosis may or may not disappear with his return to life (though a Remove Affliction ritual could fix that). It could certainly make for an interesting twist and would provide a number of opportunities for stretching the first part of the adventure (and I could certainly imagine wanting to redeem him as a player). Ultimately, it's up to you as a DM and your players if that's something you want to explore as a possibility.

BenTheFerg said...

We had a party of 4 players (cleric, Fighter, Ramger, Rogue) at 4th level - and I beefed up Malfeshnekor by 20hps extra. He needed them!

The fire pit was possibly the 'pitfall' for the poor critter in the room - the fighter used Tide of Iron and footwork lure to manouvre the beast into the pit - for extra damage!

He just managed to hang-around long enough to kill a pc and devour their soul, so to speak - great fun!

Looking forward to the Skinsaw Man. :)