Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Black Arrows in Fort Rannick

Regardless of which way the party chooses to approach the infiltration of the keep, the remaining Black Arrows and Shalelu take a different route. Their goal is to end up at the front entrance to the keep itself, keeping a watch on the ogre activity on the outside while the PCs head inside to take on the ogre leadership. No matter which approach they use, the Black Arrows are skilled in the art of stealth and know the layout of the keep like no one else does. They do not attract attention to themselves, and arrive at the main entrance to the keep without incident. They wait for the party there, expecting them to make their presence known either once they reach the keep, or after they've dealt with the ogre threat within.

They will assist the party if a confrontation breaks out in the keep's courtyard after they've made it inside the fort's walls. If they participate in combat, add their numbers to the effective party size when calculating the amount of experience each party member receives.


tadkil said...

We are going to run the fight with the Shelalu and the Black Arrows along for the ride. Each of my players will use a version of the stat blocks you developed and we are going to run a big, Black Company style brawl.

I am aggressively tweaking my designs as a result. My current rule of thumb is to to treat the NPCs as 3/4 players as I design the fights, and depend on encounter pacing if I run to hot or soft in the challenge. Any thoughts on this?

Scott said...

Good luck. Keep an eye on party resources, not to mention the health of the NPCs. There were a few reasons I decided against using the NPCs in an active role in the assault on Rannick. First, they almost double the number of creatures on the PCs' side, which itself is going to significantly increase the real-time length of each combat round. Second, they will eventually have to fall behind the PCs anyway, unless they remain out of reach of the monsters the whole time, if only because they lack the healing surges to trudge through fight after fight.

Come up with ways to allow short rests during the assault at reasonable intervals. In terms of how much an NPC is worth compared to a PC, 2/3rds to 3/4ths sounds about right. Let me know how it goes.

tadkil said...

I am giving your NPCs healing surges commensurate with your design. Likewise, I tweaked Vale and made him a warlord, giving hem a slightly deeper bench for healing. My had a nice "metagame" conversation and the players were excited at the prospect of running a more free form assault with "safeties off" and a little outside of the encounter design structure of 4.0. What will be key for me is managing pacing and challenge level.

I am running this next Saturday and I'll post the results here and on Paizo.

As a second note, I have engineered many of the Ogres differently than you have. Would you like to have me email them directly to you, or post them here.

Great work on this blog Scott. I am a picky consumer and take a good 50% of your stuff whole cloth for my conversion.

Thank you.

Scott said...

E-mail them to me in whatever form you'd like. You can reach me at I'll take a look at it.

I'll be looking forward to reading about how the assault goes for you!