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Something’s Burning!

Encounter Level 2 (125xp)

Adapted from the Pathfinder Adventure Path: Legacy of Fire Part 1: Howl of the Carrion King.

The first “encounter” in this adventure path pits the PCs against a fire raging in a desert camp. This presents how I ran it for my 4E version of the game. For those with access to the adventure this should provide an example of how a set of 3E skill checks can be combined together to make a 4E style skill challenge (regardless of if you use this for 3E or 4E :))

Read or Paraphrase:

The central flap of an elaborate tent flies open and a regal woman who can only be Almah steps out into the firelit night.

“Douse that flame!” she shouts to the men surrounding the wagon before turning in your direction. “Ah, Garavel!” she says. “And just a moment later than the nick of time, as usual.” Looking specifically past her major domo and directly at the you, Almah barks out a simple order before running off toward the fire: “Find some way to help!”

Almah’s Orders – Skill Challenge

Level: 2
Complexity: 1 (4 Successes before 3 Failures)
Special: This skill challenge comprises of 4 tasks, of which only Putting Out the Fire and Moving the Wagon need to be successfully completed to complete the challenge, however allow the PCs the opportunity to gain a successwith each task even if they have finished the actual challenge. (See Success and Failure.)

  • Move the Closest Wagon (Primary Task)
    Athletics: (2 successes max) DC17 (Aid Another Possible)
    Endurance: (required to earn a second success with Athletics, no successes) (DC10)
    Four burly mercenaries struggle with an enclosed wooden wagon within feet of the burning wagon, hoping to move it to safety before an errant spark causes it too to burst into flame. It takes 2 success to move it completely to safety.
  • Put Out the Fire (Primary Task)
    Acrobatics or Theivery: (2 successes max) DC 12
    Endurance: (required to earn a second success with Acrobatics or Thievery, no successes) (DC10)
    Special: Prestidigation can be used in place of the Endurance.
    Almah, Garavel, and four soldiers dressed in the distinctive red chitin-plate armor of the Pactmaster Guard run back and forth between the burning fortune teller’s wagon and an uncovered wagon about 20 feet away. The latter contains a huge barrel holding enough drinking water to serve the entire campsite for a week.
  • Heal Wounded Firefighters (SecondaryTask)
    Heal: DC15 (1 Success)
    Special: Any power that grants healing can be used in place of the Heal check to gain 1 success.
    A red-headed halfling cleric, Father Zastoran, kneels next to two severely burned mercenaries who tried to enter the burning wagon. Father Zastoran is tending to a badly wounded mercenary called Trevvis, but he is unable to focus on his second patient, a female sworder named Kallien, who lies near death from terrible burns and smoke inhalation.
  • Deal with Frightened Animals (SecondaryTask)
    Nature: DC 12 (1 Success)
    A modest collection of pigs, goats, and sheep accompanies Almah’s party on the journey to Kelmarane. The flaming wagon has unsettled these creatures, which somehow escaped from their pen in the confusion surrounding the fire’s outbreak. The middleaged human camel driver and his wife do their best to wrangle the panicking animals, but their efforts are quickly being overrun by the chaos of the situation.

Success:

  • Primary success is in putting out the fire and ensuring it does not spread to the other wagon. Achieving these goals are all that is required to impress Almah and Garavel the two most important figures in the caravan. If the characters achieve success with these two tasks they gain a +2 circumstance bonus for social skill checks with Almah and Garavel until the end of the next encounter.
  • Secondary success if the characters also heal the mercenary and round up the animals they impress the other members of the camp as well. If they healed the mercenary they gain a +2 bonus for social checks when dealing with them until the end of the next encounter, and similarly if they rounded up the animals they get a +2 bonus for dealing with the other commoners.

Failure:

  • Total Failure: the PCs gain no success before 3 failures. The Fire burns out of control and much of the caravans resources are damaged, and the party is banished for the incompetence leaving them at the mercy of the pugwumpis.
  • Primary Failure Only: The PCs are unable to save the second wagon and so are not trusted to investigate the fire. However the most likely suspect comes to them and begs them to investigate the pugwumpis and prove him innocent. Doing so is their only chance at redemption in the eyes of Almah (and thus Garavel).
  • Secondary Failure Only: While Almah and Garavel are pleased with the PCs the other members of the expedition no longer trust them. They suffer a -2 to all social  checks with the mercenaries and commoners until they can prove their worth to the mercenaries and commoners.

Ending the Encounter

The Encounter ends once the PCs have achieved three failures or all the possible successes (or they decide they no longer want to help!). It is possible for the PCs to have varying degrees of success in this encounter and playing up that will make it easier for the next encounter – the Fire Investigation Skill Challenge (which I need to create).

Categories: Heroic Tier
  1. Sam
    April 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Nice. I’m looking forward to the Fire Investigation skill challenge.

    I think fun and interesting combat encounters are easier to come-up with. I really appreciate any and all skill challenges you post on the blog.

    Thanks!

  2. April 21, 2010 at 6:24 am

    No. But now i will. Thanks for that.

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