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Rise of a Regent Campaign Thread

Game Master Illydth

A prince sent into exile returns to his homeland to take back his throne, save the region, and maybe even the world.

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F Human Rogue 5

I'm back

Wanted to quickly call this out to an off line discussion.

There's been a suggestion made to "upgrade" from beta to a final rule set.

Frankly, given I can get a hold of the PDF for $10, I'm not overly adverse to this concept. I don't, however, want to leave anyone in a "lurch" over this.

Is there anyone here who would not continue to be able to play if we upgraded to the "final" Pathfinder rules and/or have objections to upgrading?

If you'd prefer not to answer in thread, that too is ok, just shoot me an e-mail at douglasw at wagnerweb dot org and I'd be happy to count your information.

Male Human Fighter 5

My preference is to stay with the rule set we've been playing with.

However, if the group decides to move to the prod version I will follow.

Liberty's Edge

I think the rules are just fine.

I really can't see the advantage of changing it. What is there in the new rules that can improve our campaing?

I have played Marvel, Star Wars, Vampire, D&D, AD&D, Gurps and to be very honest the rules did't make the difference. The storytelling on the other hand is what makes the experience good or bad.

I think the storytelling in this game is very good at this point, very rich in details. The only thing that I think that could be improved is the response times and the interaction between players. Sometimes you write something waiting for someone to complement your idea or action and nothing happens.

But in general I think the campaing is doing just fine.

Male Daytona 500 DM / 12
Mird Suttons wrote:

I think the rules are just fine.

I really can't see the advantage of changing it. What is there in the new rules that can improve our campaing?

I have played Marvel, Star Wars, Vampire, D&D, AD&D, Gurps and to be very honest the rules did't make the difference. The storytelling on the other hand is what makes the experience good or bad.

I think the storytelling in this game is very good at this point, very rich in details. The only thing that I think that could be improved is the response times and the interaction between players. Sometimes you write something waiting for someone to complement your idea or action and nothing happens.

But in general I think the campaign is doing just fine.

Nothing is wrong with the rules...but they were a Beta test for players to give feedback on them. The new rules have quite a few rule changes, and balance out some of the classes. The Beta has some unbalanced things, that if you're not meta-gaming won't make a difference, but can be a little ridiculous if taken advantage of mechanic wise. We had a Barbarian in our test, running Rise of the Runelords that was dishing out 75+ points of damage every hit, and often topped 120. Many other things are clarified and reformatted so that they make more sense. In a nutshell, if the final rules are the result of trying the Beta and fixing what was wrong, they should be considered better rules. If one built their character min/max with Beta they will probably be dissatisfied with Pathfinder, but if built with concept in mind there is not an issue.

My request was simply for convenience...All my other games use final rules...and there will be no future development for Beta. If one doesn't have the money to upgrade, I don't have any problems playing the Beta rules, just don't like them as much as the final version.

I don't have a strong opinion when it comes to the rules that we are using, but I am the type that always likes to use the latest and greatest thing. I am happy to go with the groups decision on which rules to use.

I also feel that the rate of the posts is far below what I had hoped for in a Play by Post campaign.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

I'd be fine with the switch. Or without.

Regarding the pace of play.

I understand that several of you are probably, we'll say, "disconcerted" over the pace of the campaign. I take this responsibility upon myself as 90% of the holdup (weekends, etc.) is mine.

I understand the frustration of having to wait a day for a post to come in on an action that would take 10 - 20 seconds, the timeline seems to DRAG forward.

Unfortunately, as I think I told Dirk at one point, I am overextended. I have a wife and 2 kids at home, I administrate over 100 Unix servers at work in 7 different timezones (my job ends up 24/7 as I have servers in every major timezone across the world that I often have to touch). In my spare time I am the chief developer and designer on as well as leading a semi-raid guild on my World of Warcraft server. Any other time I tend to get is spent creating Pokemon card decks for my son to play competitively on a weekly basis.

My point, obviously, is that my time is limited. I will do what I can to try to prioritize this campaign higher on my list, but I have to admit that this will be hard to do.

I don't know a whole lot more to say other than to apologize and hope that this slow pace isn't completely ruining your enjoyment of what I hope to be a very engaging story.

Male Human Fighter 5

I'm now in possession of the production version of Pathfinder rules (thanks to a Christmas gift from my Sister :)) and so I wanted to revisit this topic.

I've only taken a cursory glance at the book on the whole but have hit a few keys areas more carefully in an interest to see what moving over to the prod version might entail.

I have to say upfront that I like Mird's sentiment about the story telling being at the heart of a good game, and I agree with him that our DM (and the characters as well) is crafting a nice one. But a comment from our DM made me reconsider our rule selection (comment discussed lower in post). Not that I've done a 180, but I did want to give fair thought to the suggestion of switching to the prod rule set.

So, it seems the reason I wanted to return to this topic is actually two-fold. First, I now have the rules, so I can comment with some degree of fairness to both sets. And Secondly, the comment from the DM.

As I sit here about to type my thoughts I find that I have too much to say (already a long post) and so I'm forcing myself to keep it as brief as possible. So here we go. The down side to switching over is that many things have changed. For example, Feats have been removed and added. This alone doesn't seem all THAT bad, but, in fact, could mean redesigning our characters. Ability requirements, etc. would have to be taken into account for new feat trees. Case in point, over-hand chop is now gone from the game (in the prod version). That is Dirks main attack. So if we moved over to the prod version, Dirk would definitely need an overhaul. I'm not opposed to it, I'm just stating my findings and observations.

On the other hand, my most powerful motivation for wanting to understand the new rules was due to the DM's comment that he was changing game content, to some degree, because of a couple of characters being able to do a large amount of damage. (Coupled with Scranfords(Fyird) comment about his experience with Barbarians being over-powered.) Dirk (and Lash) was used as part of the DM's example and I would hate for a single character's attributes or abilities to 'take-away' from other players gaming experience. So I wanted to give this some thought. If the DM has to make a monster so tough for Dirk that other players can't even scratch it, that's concerning. And possibly a reason to switch to the prod rules.

I paused in my writing of this post to meet with our DM for lunch. I expressed my "over-powered" concerns and we had a conversation about it. (Yes, we talked about Pathfinder in a public location... and yes we got some sidelong glances. Ha! "What are you looking at!? Never seen a grown man worried that his RPG character has an overpowered, over-hand chop?!! Sheesh!") Anyway... he and I both came to the conclusion that melee classes are almost always stronger in early game and, so far, it has not hindered the game play of other characters. It was his opinion that the changes he made to the story-line were changes he would have made with or without prod rules due to the fact that the campaign he's using as his base is from the late 70's! The game has changed a bit since then.

In the end, I felt better about continuing to use the beta rule-set. If any of us decide that some aspect of the rules is hindering game play we can always consider changes. And the DM can speak for himself, but I felt he was of the same opinion.

So, now I have the prod rules and I will use them for future games, but for this campaign, I'm ok sticking with beta. I would still move over, without argument, especially since I have the rule book. But for now, I feel better about Dirk on either ruleset... and that was my main concern.

A long post to get me right back where I started... it helped to type it out though.

I'll go ahead and comment here.

Generally, it's been my experience that melee characters, particularly warriors, start out VERY strong in the early levels of the game. Why is this? They don't have "abilities" they're relying upon to produce damage, in essence their damage comes from their weapon, and a choice, such as a two handed weapon, produces a high level of damage.

Look at it this way, your weapon does 1d10 damage. Even with no feats and no pluses to hit, nor even a strength bonus (which a warrior would undoubtedly get regardless of what roll system we used) a warrior will end up doing up to 10 damage in a strike. Given that most L1 monsters have a single Hit Die (generally d8) the most basic, underpowered, first level warrior you could think of still has the potential in a single strike to one shot an evenly matched opponent. This isn't a flaw in character creation or a problem with the game system. There are no "rules" that will change this. 1d10 = 1d10, the only possible change to hinder this would be to nurf a 2 handed sword to 1d6 damage. This is a D&D game system flaw, not a class flaw. Some year someone creating a game system will understand that damage doesn't JUST come from the size of the weapon but from the experience of the user and will create a sliding damage scale that ramps up with character level (big weapons start at 1d6, medium weapons at 1d4 small weapons at 1d2 and increases with level much as a monk's "open hand" damage does.)

However, lets skip ahead to level 5. Thantos, currentaly attacking with a 1d6 crossbow gets Lightning bolt: 3d6 damage to a line of mobs...or fireball, 3d6 damage to every mob in an area. What is Dirk still doing? Somewhere around 1d10 (including bonuses for feats and multiple attacks obviously). Melee start out high on the scale but don't ramp up nearly as quickly as some of the other classes do.

As I told Dirk over lunch. If there's a mechanic that I find is causing problems in the campaign I will talk with the user about the issue and see what we can do, together, to solve the problem. Until that happens, however, I give everyone the same advice I gave Dirk: Being overpowered or underpowered for a specific campaign is not so much your concern as it is mine. Play your characters how you wish to play them, and don't worry too much on whether or not your overpowered for the encounters you're facing. If it becomes a problem, I'll speak up.

The other thing I will mention is that, while you are seeing combat (and I hope you're enjoying it there will be much more to come through out the campaign) this isn't a dungeon crawl campaign, you'll be using some of your intangible skills (like, your brains) more than you will be your weapons. If the combats are a little easier than expected, consider them the "easy" part. :)

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

If we go from Beta to final rules, I'll feel a little less useful, since my heavenly fire will then have a limited number of uses per day. Granted, I have never used it more than 5 times a day to this point, and I don't think I'm going to unless we are involved with a long day-long battle. I am working on ways to expand my healing repertoire, but for now the heavenly fire is it. I think I came up with something recently about putting sorcerous charges into a wand, but that's a bit further from now.

Now I know what you're thinking. "You're an arcane caster, why do you want to heal?" I don't know, that's just the way its happened. You know, visions of angels, feathers, wings. A celestial bloodline. I guess its in the blood. But its one of the reasons I've been looking up every arcane spell I can research (even if I can't cast them yet) that heals or provides some divine-like benefit. I feel almost like a cleric, but with a decidedly sorcerous feel.

Maybe I'm not playing the sorcerer class correctly, but I thought it sounded exotic and otherworldly.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1
Selena Devanholme wrote:

If we go from Beta to final rules, I'll feel a little less useful, since my heavenly fire will then have a limited number of uses per day. Granted, I have never used it more than 5 times a day to this point, and I don't think I'm going to unless we are involved with a long day-long battle. I am working on ways to expand my healing repertoire, but for now the heavenly fire is it. I think I came up with something recently about putting sorcerous charges into a wand, but that's a bit further from now.

Now I know what you're thinking. "You're an arcane caster, why do you want to heal?" I don't know, that's just the way its happened. You know, visions of angels, feathers, wings. A celestial bloodline. I guess its in the blood. But its one of the reasons I've been looking up every arcane spell I can research (even if I can't cast them yet) that heals or provides some divine-like benefit. I feel almost like a cleric, but with a decidedly sorcerous feel.

Maybe I'm not playing the sorcerer class correctly, but I thought it sounded exotic and otherworldly.

Not to mention the various other changes in rules. The heavenly fire would be reduced to 1d4+1/2 lvls dmg/healing, and I would have to switch out appraise for spellcraft.

F Human Rogue 5

Honestly I'm fine with eiter version. But I'd rather not have to have us all redefine the characters.

This is a re-introduction of the Rule upgrade discussion.

For at least one of our players, staying on the beta rules is causing some problems, and there are some significant rules changes that affects the class that would make play much better for them.

That said, I also don't want everyone to have to modify/manage/upgrade their characters all to hell either. The observation that with rules changes might have to come a complete re-definition of character (feat progression changes somewhat significantly between beta vs. production from what I understand) is certainly valid as well.

Since, as I'm sure most of you have seen, I tend to play a bit loose with the rules anyway, here's how I'm going to handle this.

For each of you, you are allowed to select either the beta or the production rules set for your characters. If you like how your character plays better in the beta rules or production rules, select that set. You will be allowed to play your character class along those rules sets. I am assuming everyone is staying with the beta rules until informed otherwise.

I will allow a TOTAL of 2 rules switches during the campaign. You are all playing the beta rules now. If you would like to switch to the production rules please let me know. If you find you do not like the production rules I will allow a switch back to the beta rule set. Beyond these two switches you will have to have a REALLY good reason for the change.

The "general" rule set I will maintain for the moment is the beta rule set for game play. Things like combat rules, travel, general stuff, etc. I will maintain beta for now. In a few days I'll be looking over the production rule set and may or may not decide to switch the "base" rule set for the campaign to production. Either way, you can maintain your characters on the beta rules for as long as you want and switch to and or back from the production rule set if you wish (once each).

If we run into a situation where a character rule in one rule set interfears with a general rule in the rule set I have selected for the campaign, normally I will tend to be fairly lenient and use the rules that are most beneficial to the players at large...that said once we apply a rule one way or the other we'll continue to do so.

I will also require a character to play COMPLETELY by the beta or produciton rule set. If you opt to switch your character to production and you currently have a feat available only in the beta rules, you will not be allowed the feat if you change to the production rule set.

I do not need you each to post publicly what rule set you are using if you don't choose to. An e-mail and a new copy of the character updated for the rule set you choose will be enough.

As we're in a "conversation" piece right now before the next outting, this is a perfect time to make the switch to prod rules IF YOU WISH. Just let me know you're interested in switching and get me a copy of the updated character.

If anyone has objections to this, please let me know. Since I'm allowing this for one character I felt it would be good to allow all of you the option if you wished to take it.


Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

To be honest, I have not been paying very close attention to the Beta rules other than character class information, since that is more favorable towards my class. I'll just keep focused on the character and the story since I'm a little uncertain what's Beta and what's not. I've never been much of a rules lawyer. So long as the game is flowing and everyone is having fun I'm generally okay with whatever. :P

FYI I went ahead and picked up the HeroLab software with Pathfinder rules so if you happen to be using the herolab software and want to send me your profile, that will be good. If not, I still accept the spreadsheet of course.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Okay, I'm ashamed to be asking a probably obvious question. How does stone weight convert to pounds? I'm trying to update my Hero Lab character sheet.

Regarding the Play-style of the Campaign: Do I need to "re-think" things?

So this is NOT a commentary on the pace of play or anything like this, please don't take it as such. This IS my intent to ensure that the puzzles and challenges I'm presenting you within the campaign match your interest levels.

As I think we all see, pace of play tends to decrease substantially when we're outside of a canned "adventure area". When choices increase pace of play tends to decrease.

The campaign is sort of designed rather cyclically.

We start with an open ended section where the players are given leeway to explore the larger plot in whatever way they so choose. Typically this exploration leads to the next challenge they will be presented. Consider this like a mini-prologue to a story.

From the Open section we move into a somewhat more specific part of the campaign which is very goal oriented. A task is identified, and the group must figure out how to reach the goal at the end of the task. We'll consider this the story body.

The ending of the goal typically cycles us through a third part of the campaign which is sort of like an epilogue, a recap of the larger story and generally an identification of how the part you just played fits into the larger story as a whole.

The campaign, then, is designed to pass us through many of these prologue/body/epilogue segments till the wider story is fleshed which point the party will progress down the main path toward the final conclusion.

What I'm finding with this group is that the prologue section of the campaign tends to wain quite a bit. This could be my poor telling (95% of the prolog fits into my larger story which is not a pre-written module), or it could be my insistence of fitting a square peg into a round hole.

This story is designed for your entertainment. Some players (I've found over the years I've done this) are more interested in the Mysteries and intricacies of the plot while others are more interested in accomplishing and tackling specific goals. This group seems to be a bit more goal oriented...there's no problem with this AT ALL, its just where I put the campaign emphasis.

Specifically, right now, I'm asking for a lot of "generic" information from the party...this section of the module is designed so that part of it's challenge is the logistics of how to siege a castle and take down an entrenched entity. There are A LOT of ways to handle this and a lot of factors to consider.

I fully understand how daunting this can be. I am asking players who may not be "logistically" minded to solve logistical problems. And too, the medium we're all playing over doesn't facilitate some of the "table talk" that is typically used to solve logistics problems in tabletop campaigns.

I don't want to make things easy for the party by providing all the answers, yet I also don't want to require my players to slog through sections of this game that they're completely uninterested in dealing with.

How can I help make this campaign better for everyone involved? What information do you feel like you're missing and/or what sections of the campaign are you unable to "get into" and why?

I'm happy to re-tool how this runs a bit, I just need more feedback.

Liberty's Edge

Well I had typed something long that got deleted when I went to post it....

I am loving the play style right now. The mysteries have been fun, even if the backstory was so convoluted and detailed that Selena could not intellectually keep up with it. She seems to have an intuitive grasp of the situation.

Her main role right now seems to keep the party together and focused on the main issues. That is why I want Selena to multiclass with the Devout which should bring a few unique abilities that accentuate this particular role.

Male Daytona 500 DM / 12

I think we can get the momentum rolling again, maybe we just need some event to pull the party back together. Since the posting slowdown, everybody kind of drifted off on their own to do things, and we're a little slow getting back into the swing of things.

I understand your frustration at getting the tactics down for the party, however I agree that the more "woodsy" characters should make these decisions for the party. This is the kind of thing that is easily taken care of in a Tabletop game, but can be difficult to achieve in a PbP. It might be easier if nobody comes up with a plan soon, to just craft one yourself, type it in, and if nobody has a problem with it or wants to change things then go with it. You could also just keep this to yourself since no one spoke up, and if we flub, it's nobody's fault but our own.

The details are what make tabletop gaming fun, but with the slow reacting Pbp environment, it might be better to handwave some of the details.

Liberty's Edge

Throw a few orcs at us.... lol. That'll spark something.

Heh, my inner eye is speaking to me...It's blurry...but I your future! :) Don't worry, the action isn't too far off here, it's just I need to get some details for plans to figure out just how often you find action.

I have no problems with pushing through details or having Armand "solve" it (so long as it doesn't happen too often) I just don't want this to turn out to be me reading a book to you, you all need your opportunity to interact and change the course of events.

Thanks for the input!

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, if you throw a few orcs at us when we're not as prepared, though... I'm pretty sure it'll get us thinking about how to set up our defenses.

So as we all know Fyird's player has decided to pursue other gaming opportunities. As always best of luck to him in his future endeavors.

This, again, leaves us a party PC Companion without a player. The question I have, then, is whether or not to replace this PC's player or simply let Fyird fade from the campaign.

Admittedly, the party is largish, with 6 PC's and a DMPC in the mix, which makes encounters probably a little more trivial than they should be, or then again, maybe not.

I think the Fyird character has/had a lot to bring to the table with party buffs and diplomatic ability, but admittedly he's the least connected with the ongoing story (at this point anyway).

So I pose the question to the group at large:

1) Do we run without Fyird?
2) Do we replace Fyird's Player?
3) Do we hold on making the decision and see how the campaign plays without a 6th PC in place?

Opinions folks?


Male Human Fighter 5

I think the campaign will be fine either way. If it is cumbersome from a DM perspective I think you can let him go, we have enough players to keep things interesting. However, if he has some interesting ties to the story line, having Fyird along, from a player perspective has been fine.

Maybe I'm not much help with making that decision. But! If we would like Fyird to continue with us, I believe I have a replacement for him. Let me know what you'd like to do.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Okay, so the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: How was the butterbeer?

Completely OT: The wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Yes, we did hit the wizarding world of harry potter...and let me tell you the place really is awesome. :) Being part of a somewhat obsessed harry potter household (all of us were REALLY interested in getting to the place) I've got to say the whole thing is VERY well done.

The most unfortunate part of the entire place is the number of people, it's got to be FAR and AWAY the most popular attraction at the place, at ALL hours of the day (from open to close) the place is thoroughly packed to the point where you are constantly weaving in and out of people.

Other than the crowdedness of the place the whole thing is done to GREAT effect. It's setup very much like your imagination of Diagon Alley would be (for those who have read the books or watched the movie), but it contains "elements" from both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

They have Zonkos Joke Shop (where you can buy things such as Extendable Ears, various of the "joke" candies from the books and even a pigmey puff), The Candy Shop from the first book (I forget the name off the top of my head) which is, in fact, a real candy shop with just about anything you could want.

Dervish & Banges was also there carrying all sorts of Harry Potter merchandise from Robes (REALLY high quality exact replicas of what were used in the movies but at $100 a piece), to quiddich items (bludgers and bats, quaffles, and even "golden snitches" that have fluttering wings), to fake brooms (replicas of the various brooms in the book/movies like the Nimbus 2000 and the Firebolt). My son got a House Griffindor Pillow and Blanket set that looks REALLY good and wasn't TOO expensive.

Of course Ollavander's is there. You can either go through the Dervish & Banges store to get directly into the wand shop, or you can stand in line (took us about 30 - 45 minutes to get through) to see the "presentation". This goes through the "Ollavander's Scene" (mostly from the movie) as they "play out" a student getting his first wand. They select one kid from the crowd (only about 15 - 20 people let in at a time so you have a pretty good shot at having your kid son didn't get picked however). They bring the kid up to the counter and he "tries out" several wands, obviously with special effects of things popping off shelves, ladders falling over, etc. as he tries each wand that doesn't work for him. Then on the third shot (like in the book) they push a gust of wind out and highlight with a glow and it becomes "his wand"...a really neat little "event" even if you know what's coming. Fun part is, the kid who's selected gets their wand (obviously not the wand of his or her choice however) for free. And that's pretty significant given that the wands are $31 each...though VERY high quality. You move from there into the shop itself (Very small and VERY Crowded) where they have boxes of wands on the various shelves. They only sell like 8 types of wands (they are NOT replicas of what you see in the movie so you aren't picking "harry's wand" (You can get this at a different shop)...but your own "personal" choice...kinda nice.

They have people dressed up that will "help" you select your wand. My son had his heart set on a "Redwood wand with dragon heartstring" and she graciously "helped" him find daughter chose willow with unicorn hair...and amazingly enough she found one of those too. :)

Out front is a replica of the Train and the conductor (at least in the morning) stands out front and takes pictures with the we have a picture of my son and daughter getting ready to board the hogwarts express.

The hogs head and three broomsticks is there also. We ate at the three broomsticks (Some of the BEST fish and chips I have EVER had, including authentic stuff while I was in London) but VERY pricey (4 people for lunch = $70). The hogs head is setup like a bar and does actually serve alcoholic drinks.

Now to the butter beer. Yes, in fact, there is such a drink.:) You have two options: You can get it in a standard plastic cup or in a plastic "authentic" mug (which of course we all decided we HAD to have, even though it costs about $10 each).

[ Side Note: The mugs are actually good to be re-filled with Coke products anywhere in the Universal park for $0.85 which is about $2 cheaper than the normal cost for a coke of that size. WE PROBABLY paid for the extra $5 each for the souviner cups in the drinks we got for the rest of the day. ]

You can get the butter beer pretty much anywhere in the Harry Potter area. There are big "beer barrel" trucks in 3 locations around the area plus any of the restaurants (hogs head or three broomsticks) will serve it also. The drink is non-alcoholic despite it's name. It comes in two types: A Slushy Type and a straight liquid type...which does, in fact, have a slightly different taste (I got to try both since my kids went with the non-slushy and my wife and I went for the Slushy type). It's base is Ginger-ale (I think) so that becomes where the taste starts. There are recipes that are at least somewhat close online so you can get at least some idea, though the exact recipe is not released.

The link below is a pretty good writeup and a pretty good description, and I believe has got to be fairly close in the recipe.

Butterbeer "Recipe" (Non Authentic)

The slushy version tastes quite a bit like a cream soda slushy but MUCH sweeter...both versions of the drink are VERY sweet and have a hint of something "harder" though I'm not sure "rum" is it. Many people I heard complain that it was TOO sweet, and even my kids weren't craving it after about 1/4 of the glass. The regular version of the drink is less cream soda and more root beerish but again much sweeter without any bite. IMO: I had no problem with it and finished both mine and about half of my Son's drink (course, it was HOT out that day and anything cold was great). The foamy topping is fairly indescribable, sort of like a whipped topping version of the meringue on a lemon meringue pie without the meringue flavor. It's like a VERY fluffy/airy whipped cream with a hint of the butter beer flavor...a good complement to the drink itself.

Once you wind your way through the shops and "town" below you head up a long hill to castle hogwarts itself. This is EXTREMELY well done and looks fairly authentic. I'll get into the castle and it's ride in a couple seconds.

On the way up there is a "side stage" where they put on a couple shows periodically (I'd say once every hour or so). There are two different shows, one featuring hogwarts students carrying musical instruments and mechanical frogs that assumeably croak during the show. The concept is a group of students being given a "classical" musical lesson by a very "upityish" teacher. The students do everything in their power to turn around and break into a modern dance mix to the dismay of the conductor/teacher who does everything in her power to bring the music back around to a more classical style...the two are blended together perfectly to create a very charming song. In the process you have some wand waving and threatening by both sides and some "macical effects" to get things back in order.

The second show features the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang (casted and dressed in costumes that are DAMN GOOD for the two schools...looks almost RIGHT out of the 4th movie) putting on a presentation about the Tri-wizard cup. I didn't get to see much of this show so I don't know a whole lot about it other than there are plenty of magical "effects" during the show and it drew a pretty huge crowd.

On the way up to the castle you come across the first two of the 3 rides in the area. The first is called "the dragon's challenge" and is a standard "outdoor" adult roller coaster. I know it goes through a lot of twists and turns and it MAY do a loop-to-loop or two as well, though I never got a good look at it (no one wanted to ride it). The second is what I'll call a "middle of the road" roller coaster. Not quite a kiddie coaster, its like a smaller version of a real roller coaster without a lot of the big coaster scares. It's obviously built for the younger crowd but it does go quite fast and has quite a significant number of turns and banks to make it at least somewhat entertaining for older riders. "Griffon Training" I believe is what they term this.

From here you get up to the castle itself and this is, by and large, the single best ride in the Universal park, bar nothing (unless you like the big 6 flags style roller coasters in which case I would guess "The Hulk" ride would probably outstrip this one). You start by winding your way through Hogwarts castle. In the process you go through the hall of paintings and get to listen to several of the paintings banter at each other. This begins the story you experience and are a part of. Hogwarts has been opened to Muggles and you are some of it's first guests. From the hall of paintings you wind through the rest of the castle including Dumbledore's Office (where you are warned about dragons and spiders and such), through the defense against the dark art's classroom (where Harry, Ron and Hermione manage to convince you that you to follow them...and make it SNOW in the classroom in the process...I kid you not it really does look like it's snowing), and out into the main ride area of the castle.

The ride itself is an indoor/dark roller coaster. Lots of twists and turns and even a couple upside-down moments. The thing about it, however, is you are clamped into your seat with a large VR Screen in front of you. As you are going along the ride, you are also following the Trio of Harry and Co on an "Adventure" and come across things like a fire breathing dragon (as the dragon breathes on you hot steam is blown at you creating a DEFINATE heat effect that scares the crap out of you) a dementor who gets close enough to practically perform the dementor's kiss (and, yes, they chill the area as you go through so you feel the true cold of the dementors), and big spiders from the second movie (which unknown to you actually drip "venom" on you (water) again not an effect you expect at the time and really creeps you out) plus several other really neat effects.

It's not so much the ride as the "experience" that is created that makes this SUCH a cool ride. For anyone who's been to the Universal park in the past it's pretty much the Spiderman Ride...but better. My 9 year old while he was screaching his head off at times LOVED IT.

You exit the ride into yet another Harry Potter gift shop, this one selling many more specialty items. From a copy of the Marauder's map ($60...really? For a piece of paper?), to a full fledged Wizard's Chess Set ($400, stone pieces, metal and plexiglass playing board, with pieces as exact replicas of the "Final Challenge" chess board from the end of the first book), or any of the house chess sets (I think those are around $300). THIS is also where you can get the replica wands. If you want "harry's" or "dumbledore's" or "voldermort's" wands, you can buy them here (obviously they're more expensive, I believe they run about $50-60 each but I think they also come with a stand).

From a PURE authenticity perspective, you can find a lot wrong with the place if you want to nit-pick (But Dervish and Banges shouldn't be behind Olivanders!), but if you accept that the intent was to provide most of what you'd want to see in an experience that is akin to what you want if not exactly, you won't be disappointed.

We were, unfortunately, with another group of people who weren't huge harry potter fans. They ended up having to pretty much stand around all morning while we wondered and ooh'ed and awed at the HP area, so the afternoon was spent outside of HP at the other places they wanted to go (cartoon land, super heros area, cat in the hat, etc.) The entire time my wife and I were looking at each other going "Yea, this is neat and all but I'd much prefer to be back in HP world scouring every detail."

Of all the parks we hit (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, MGM/Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios) this was probably the most interesting, and definitely the best "experience".

High recommendations to see if you are ever in the area.


Note: They also sold pumpkin juice in various places. I am chagrined to say we never got a chance to try any. It was on my list to at least pick up a bottle on the way out, but it never happened.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Thanks, I read an article in the local paper about how the park people actually brought a long list of foods (along with chefs or whatever you call people that engineer food these days) and got the perfect taste for each thing down from J.K. Rowling over quite a few days. Not I want butterbeer and pumpkin juice.

As to Olevander's, I wonder if its the Alivans store thas been an actual wand store since the first book came out, though they do most of their work online. I'm sure they were excited to get a shop in the park too. They've been sponsors of the real life Quidditch matches since 2001.

Most of the expensive replicas you saw might have been from the Granbury Mint, or whatever it is called. They did official expensive replicas from Lord of the Rings too. Amazing quality stuff.

Upcoming Rules Changes/Clarifications:
This is some quick documentation for my own purposes on rules that I'd like to change be more closely aligned with the rules in the Pathfinder system. Obviously, this isn't just my campaign, and if anyone has serious objections to any of the below please let me know either privately or here in the thread and we'll discuss the objections.

As I come across more situations over the next week or two that I've been running more "home brew" than pathfinder, I'll consider adding them to this list also.

* Production Rule Set - I believe with the official pathfinder rules now being out for somewhere close to a year it's probably time I bring the campaign forward to the real/release rules instead of continuing to apply both the Beta rules and Production rule sets based upon player choice.

* Initiative and Held Actions - At the moment holding action or delaying action has actually moved you in the initiative order. Specifically in the case of holding action, it has moved you to the top of the initiative order for the rest of the combat. This is a bit powerful and definitely doesn't match the pathfinder rule set. From here out, holding action will allow you to act first in the NEXT ROUND only and delaying action will allow you to act last in the CURRENT round, same as described in the pathfinder rules.

* Crit Rules - This is just a reminder as I think over the last year and a half I've flip flopped on this a couple times. From here out, the following are the critical rules:
* Confirm all Crits that are NOT a natural 20.
* Roll all Dice, Do not multiply one die by critical multiplier.
* See Below for Further Discussion

* Lethal/Subdual Damage: So far I've been applying half damage from non-weapons (fists, etc.) as lethal and half damage as subdual. I forget what ruleset that came from (I've played since Red Boxed Set in the early 80's) but that's obviously not how it works now. From here out damage will be applied 100% either Lethal or Subdual as specified within the Pathfinder rules.

I know I've lost one player due to my critical rules so I wanted, in between Acts in the campaign, to find out if the critical rules are working for everyone or if anyone else has objections to how they're being run.

One change I am considering to what I've posted above is requiring weapons that crit on a natural 20 only to require a confirmation roll instead of auto-criting. I stand behind weapons that do not require a nat 20 to crit to auto-crit on a 20, however, I wonder if auto-crit on a 20 when it would normally require a 20 + Confirmation roll isn't taking value away from the weapons that do not require a 20 crit.

So here's the question I pose, I'd like to hear comments on any/each of the three options if you have opinions on any of the below:

* Require confirmation on all crits as per pathfinder rules.
* Require all weapons that crit ONLY on a natural 20 to require a confirmation roll. Weapons that have a crit range larger than JUST 20 still Automatically critical hit (no confirmation needed) on a natural 20 roll. (Modified House Rule)
* Allow all weapons to Auto-Crit on a Natural 20. (Current House Rule).

Baring comments I am SLIGHTLY leaning toward modifying the house rule, but as I said I am not firm on that.

Anyway, I"m happy to take comments on any of the above OR any other rules that I've been running that have not conformed to Pathfinder standards if you would prefer a more true game.

Remember, this campaign is nothing if you are not having fun as a player character. If any of the rules I'm using cause you heartache, please let me know.

F Human Rogue 5

I think allowing all weapons to autocrit on a 20 is better, otherwise people are actually more penalized for having a standard crit weapon than they are already.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

going out of town for thanksgiving... back on saturday.

F Human Rogue 5

Ok, figured this is the best place to divide loot and figure how we want to test these.

Plate Mail (Ilyana's)
Plate Mail (Blackmaer's)
Heavy Steel Shield (Ilyana's)
Two Handed Sword (Blackmaer's)
A Small Sack (Blackmaer's)
Long Sword (Ilyana's)
Staff (Blackmaer's)
Chain Mail (Bernal's)
Gold Ring (Bernal's)
2 Potions of Healing
Dagger (Treasure)
Long Sword (Treasure)
Short Sword (Treasure)
Bracers (Treasure)
Scroll with: Magic Missile, Levitate, Web, Fireball
Gold Signet Ring (Blackmaer's)
Gold Bracelet (Blackmaer's)
2 Candlestick Holders (Bernal's)
200 GP (Gems)
1270 PP (Coin)
7000 GP (Coin)
2000 SP (Coin)
2000 CP (Coin)
Furs and Silken Sheets (Ilyana)
Silk and Cloth Robes (Ilyana)
Perfumes, Ornaments and Brushes (Ilyana)

F Human Rogue 5

The short sword, bracers and mayber Bernal's ring may be the only things of interest to Lash, (other than monetary value ;)) Rogues can wear chain shirts but not chainmail.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

I may look at Blackmaer's Staff, but it may not be the best thing for me. Like everyone else, I'm interested in the jewelry, just to see if its magical. Scrolls generally go to wizards anyway. Wands to wizards, but other magical devices often go to sorcerers, who (with their high charisma) can usually force them to work. :P But I'm not being greedy. Everyone else get what you want and I'll look over what's left.

Really fast announcement.

At the moment for this campaign I use HeroLabs a great deal to manage all of your characters, NPCs and keep track of all of the various pieces of information I can on this software.

The producer of HeroLabs has some new software coming out called "Realm Works" which is going into the first round of beta testing somewhere closer to the end of the year.

Realm Works looks to be campaign management software built around GMs (with some interesting twists for players as well) and campaign planning. With the ream of notes I have on this campaign and my natural disorganization, were this software released, I'd probably pick it up today.

I'd like to submit this campaign and campaign group for initial beta testing of this software.

From a player perspective, the only questions that pertain are what type of computer (PC/Mac), what operating system (Windows and Version, or Mac OS and Version) do you all typically use to "play" in this campaign, and what "other" devices (Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone: iPhone/iPad, Android or Other) do/would you use to support your play in this campaign.

Presumably they'll be inviting both the GM and players to the beta for the testing of the software.

If anyone has objections to me submitting this group for a beta test (I don't think you're "required" to do anything, even if selected). Please let me know. For anyone curious about what I'm talking about you can visit the following URL: Realmworks Beta Information

Otherwise if everyone could do me a favor and let me know what kind of computer you use, what OS version, and whether or not you use other devices and which they are, I would appreciate it.


F Human Rogue 5

Laptop PC using Windows 7

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Laptop with Vista

Male Human Fighter 5

Desktop Windows 7, Laptop Vista, Android cell

Male Human Fighter 5

Is Blackmaers "small sack" unopened? If so, Lash might be the best person to give it the once over and then open it.

I'll restate this:
Dirk is most interested in Blackmear's plate mail and the two-handed sword. If Blackmear's ring and bracelet have properties that would aid the cause by his wearing them, then he would do so.

Dirk has been around many weapons and sets of armor, so he will inspect both the sword and armor by tapping into his long experience with them; lifting them, feeling their heft, testing their flex, balance and edge, etc.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 18
Appraise: 1d20 ⇒ 11

The ring and bracelet will be more difficult for Dirk to determine their properties, he'll enlist the aid of Thantos if possible.

Moving the discussion of the weapons and armor back over to the production thread, you guys have to let me know what you're doing with the jewelry. Keep in mind that simply slipping a magical bracelet or ring on your finger will immediately "identify" them, the only catch is if they happen to be cursed (it's up to you guys to determine the likelyhood of a cursed item in a level 4 treasure hoard) you will activate the curse at the same time.

From the list above I am going to determine that Dirk/Armand will be "identifying" the following items based upon Dirk's Post:

Plate Mail (Ilyana's)
Plate Mail (Blackmaer's)
Heavy Steel Shield (Ilyana's)
Two Handed Sword (Blackmaer's)
Dagger (Treasure)
Long Sword (Treasure)
Short Sword (Treasure)

F Human Rogue 5

Trust the rogue to be a fan of decadence.

F Human Rogue 5

I'm glad Selena didn't pick diplomacy, if she did Lash would have totally ruined it, but dealing with orcs, killing a guy just to make a point is pretty on par for intimidation.

F Human Rogue 5

Is what necessary Dirk?

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Sorry. I'm a little upset in another pbp game I'm in, where the lawful anal paladin is destroying everything I set up. Lash, I think Dirk felt that my out of character comment on the failure of my intimidation check (and a waste of a natural 20 for that matter) because some people wanted to fight rather than just get home and get this over with wasn't necessary, and might cause derision in the ranks. So I apologize. Mea culpa.

F Human Rogue 5

Hey it happens. A group of people under stress, someone starts intimidating, someome else says screw this ad blood starts flowing, happens in real life and makes things more real.Nothing to be sorry about.

BTW Mird that last comment just made me realize that serial killer is a Ranger Archetype. ;)

Sorry Selena, this "combat" was never actually meant to be for much. It's setup to introduce you to your "way back to the keep" and back into the story portion of the campaign.

The combat was to last only long enough for a lowly 13 HP "orc commander" and complete traitor to your group lived. I figured, between you and Dirk and Mird that'd be MAYBE an entire round...again, it was never meant to be a combat.

As to the intimidation check, again, I have to apologize but he'd have been FORCED to have ignore it...his death was eminent as he knew he was being followed into the area by Garelson, Christoph, and his larger contingent of more competent men. The only motivation that half orc had was:

1) Kill Armand and fulfill his contract with the Brotherhood
2) Get past you and into the dungeons to HOPEFULLY escape slaughter at the hands of the Kirin's Keep force.

None of the orcs really had a choice to do anything BUT attack...I'm afraid that your intimidate would have done nothing more than paused them for a few moments more before they came to the conclusion that death at your hands wasn't nearly as eminent as death at the hands of the invading force behind them.

Apologies for the "abreviated" combat scenario there and making you all roll out initiative and such, I didn't see a point in continuing for another day or two with a 8 man combat with level 1 and 2's against, for all intents and purposes, level 5's. The events were really a foregone conclusion and mostly there to allow the party the satisfaction of a traitor being killed and a way to introduce the party back to the Kiren's Keep folks and as a way to make your way back to Kiren's Keep, where the last of this Act will take place.

As to the OOC comment and the frustration levels, I understand your feelings on other games getting to you. The "gut reaction" of "kill it" has, in the past gotten to me also, however I, myself, felt the comment a bit out of sorts with you and was going to say something. Thanks for the explanation!

One of the greatest things about playing a PBP online is being able to get to know people you've never met before. One of the hardest is when those people don't always do things you expect them to do. :)

(I'm only saying this last part due to the issues we ran into with Fyird quitting a while back)

Hopefully no one has any lasting issues at this point? If so, I'll point out that there's a graceful place to exit the campaign coming up very soon at the end of the Act. While I've gotten NO indication of this, if anyone is displeased with me or the other players, I'd ask everyone to hang in there for a couple days while we finish this act up.

Bad days happen.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

Thank you for understanding my moment of snidery. I'll try not to let it happen again.

As for the intimidation check, it would have been unlike Selena to jump into combat unless it was obvious that their lives were in jeopardy. Considering how easily they were beaten, it almost seems like those poor orcs died for little purpose. As a Blessed Mage, Selena will always attempt to find nonviolent means to progress, and only use violence when necessary or when facing hideously dark evil.

Now, the big question is... What is our experience at? And I guess we should start dividing out the loot. If we have a wagon or another means to carry it back down to civilization, I'd say take all the coin. Otherwise, probably only the gold and platinum.

You have a bag of holding that's capable of carrying up to 250 LBS of stuff and weighing only 15 lbs, Lash has it.

I expect you have the ability to haul out everything you got in the loot list above. I'm not sure it's going to be important that we know who's carrying what. Lets get through the rest of the Act and we'll figure it out from there. Between the bag and the rest of your carrying capacity, I am ruling you have everything I've listed above.

Obviously you will need to sell the non-liquid materials at some point, but again, we'll take care of that in a bit.

Female Human Sorcerer (favored) 4 / Witch 1

I just realized Ilyana had some silk robes I'd like to get a good look at if we have the time. I might find something that suits me. (I'm assuming these are like noble's outfits?)

They are some of the finest garments you'll least in this backwoods area of the country. They would definitely be of exceptional material and very finely made, however Ilyana was significantly larger than you so most of the robes and materials would not fit you without tailoring...still, it's a great start.

I don't have much more than costs as the items are meant to be sales faudder for the campaign, but if you're interested in something specific I'm happy to talk details. Keep in mind that none of the clothing would be worth more than 100G at most and likely no more than about 50g each.

Still, 50g for a single outfit isn't bad.

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