One of the first quest-books I was exposed to when I started roelplaying twenty-three years ago was the AD&D Pharoah. My Dad has cadged a load of modules from an oppo at his work for me to look through, so I could see how other people did it. (I started my roleplaying career in large isolation - AD&D was not only not my fiest, but a distant third...!)
It stuck with me ever since. I bought the module in hard-cover one day when I saw it at local gaming store, and later bought the Desert of Desolation pdf that combined the whole campaign. For years it has sat, awiting conversion and running.
Now, as I start finally running my first AP and have become a full-fledged fan of Golarion, I am now debating as convert it, rather than to me own psuedo-Egyptian country (which would have required a lot more monster replacement, since my own homebrew world tossed aside the entire 3.x bestiary and re-imaged from scratch). Further, with the Great Golem Sale, I picked up Emtombed with the Pharoahs and Pact Stone Pyramid. And, as I was cataloguing my modules - largely due to the twelve Dungeon issues that I recently bought Age of Worms with - I discovered I also had the PF society module The third Riddle.
Thought occured that I nearly have enough to be making my own psuedo-AP... or perhaps to drastically expand Mummy's Mask (which I will be getting as soon as it comes out!) into some sort of uber-AP!
So, then, the question is, are there any other PF society modules, regular modulles etc etc that are set in Osirion (or close enough!) Third-party modules would be exceptable if they could be comfortably hammered into Osirion. (Given the nature of the mutant hybird rules I play, edition - and perhaps even rules - is irrelevant, since both 3.5 and PF requrie conversion work - and would in the base-case scenarios anywya, since I run for eight characters!)
I run my games via my own hideous mutant hybrid edition of 3.x/PF (I term it 3.Aotrs). I'm just - finally - starting to run the APs (it's taken us about four years to start RotRL - basically, I had two groups that ended up folding together and finishing the two AD&D=>3.Aotrs camapigns first). Shackled City is next on my list (since at one point, RotRL was slated fro one group, Shackled City for the other (since there was at least one player common to both!)
One of the first things I ditched in 3.0 was their stat generation - both rolling and their point buy. (Never understood why a linear distribution needs a non-linear advancement, personally.) I have now consistently used base 8, 30 points point-for-point (and have since upped that to 36, since it makes the PCs no stronger, but gives them a little more play room, especially for the MAD classes). The former equates roughly to 18,16,14,12,10,8, the latter to more like 18,18,16,14,10,8. (As opposed to 3.x 25-point buy/elite array which is, what, 15,14,13,12,10,8?) I am thus aware of the conversion to 3.x points buy in broad terms. But Pathfinder's 15/20 point buy is a bit of a mystery. It's becoming something I need to address as I look at the more recent advanture paths I've now got (e.g. Jade Regent) which are PF and not 3.x, at least as a first order of magnitude analysis.
So I was wondering if someone could enlighten me with some examples of what base stats 15 and 20 point buy work out to in Pathfinder, so if I feel the need, I could adjust my monsters and NPCs accordingly.
I am looking at starting convert Shackled City to Golarion, in preparation for our next campaign. (We won't be running Pathfinder, but a horrible hybrid mutant set of rules the like of which Man Was Not Meant To Know, which comprises mostly 3.5 plus elements of PF and my own extensive house rules.)
I had already done quite a lot of ground work - at once point, I was going to be running SCAP for one group and RotRL for another, but circumstances have since changed such that the two groups amalgamated due to lack of numbers. Ironically, since then, we've picked up new players, so the party size now stands at eight.
This means I've got to go back through my work and beef everything up a bit (something I have to do with regular AP anyway - I'd thought I was going to get away with it with SCAP, since it was set for the six characters we had intended at the time...!)
Anyhow, as a result of starting Runelords, and during the background research, thus causing me to look closely at Golarion and release how fantastic a campaign world it is, however, while I'm at it, I want to shift to over from Greyhawk to Golarion.
I have already glacned through threads on the subject, but they mostly deal with location. (I have already come to the conclusion is will in Sargava, particular location not especially important.)
I started out beginning the proces, but before I'd literally looked at the first encounter, I realised I need first to sort the deity conversion out.
* * * *
It's been a while since I've looked at the book and I'd rather not read it all the way through again before actually doing the conversion work (which I will perforce be doing from start to finish). So, without re-reading everything, I can immediately identify I need to replace St Cuthbert, Kord and Wee Jas. Yes?
If there are any others of plot-critical importance (aside from Mr A himself, obviously!), I would appreciate a reminder! (Monster gods are less important, since I can fudge or just ignore them altogether if need be, as the PCs are not likely to care much about them.)
At the moment, my only source for Golarion deities is the Inner Sea Guide.
There is, for better or for worse, no obviously direct analogues, either thematically or mechanically, though there are some reasonable paralellels.
Cuthbert could be replaced by either Abadar or Iomedae: both are normally worshipped in Sargava anyway. I'm rally not sure as to which would be best suited.
Kord's closest approximation would appear to be Cayden Cailean, or at least the same alignment and jovial-y sort of beer-guzzling-y-ness anyway.
Wee Jas could either be Nethys or Pharasma - I'm leaning towards the latter, on the basis that they are the same gender and Death + knowledge is not that far away from death + magic.
I would welcome any suggestions, especially of any other gods from other books, which as I've really just started getting into Golarion I wouldn't know about. (I have some time, so if I need end up buying some more books in the end, it wouldn't matter too much.)
* * * *
Aside from the obvious chance of location, which I'm largely going to gloss over aside from the cosmetic changes (since SCAP is nicely self-contained) and the dieties, can anyone think of any other elements that are particularly in need of alterning?
Jzadirune, perhaps, instead of being Gnomish... What might be a good replacement? Obviously really ancient Ghol-Gan is out of the question due to the size issues, and it's a bit far for Thassiloian. Any ideas?
As the PDF sale is on, and I am carefully totting up what I can get (thus far, Age of Worms from the Dungeon magazines, because I've heard good things about it and it's long!) I wondered about Jade Regent. We are about ten weeks in Rise of the Rune Lords (and I have two whole other adventure paths to run!).
So, my idle musing is whether Jade Regent would stand as a sequel to Runelords, in the distant future.
On the one hand, yes, this would require a significant upgrade of the enemies and challenges, yes (though it's not the first time - my 3.Aotrs conversion of the AD&D Dragon Mountain started at 16th and ended in Epic!) - but as I'm running for eight players, I have to go through and add/amend anyway even if I run adventure paths at their intended levels. (On top of the fact I play 3.Aotrs, which lies somewhere on the 3.5 side of a hidious mutant hybrid of 3.5, Pathfinder and houserules...)
Do those of you who are familar with it, then, think the story would be a good sequel? The scope certain seems like it would be big enough. The journey aspects I would perhaps have to fudge, a bit, one way or another (but my players are a little used to that, since I'm a terrible stickler for "journey"-type adventures...!)
And we started the campaign today. After about fur years of it being in the offing (it really took us that long to work through Night Below, though in that time we've also combined groups (which required finishing another campaign)and played through two other campaigns, so it was on-and-off), finally getting started is something of a relief.
This will be sort of an informal (and possibly infrequent) journal of events, because I do like to brag, I mean discuss the highlights of my games on occasion...
The rules in use is technically 3.Aotrs. Basically, 3.5, but with massive amounts of house-rules and modifications, and a reasonable amount of ideas cribbed out of PF too. (I didn't adpt PF wholesale on the basis I felt their house rules were not better than my houserules and that PF had rather missed the point with some of the balance issues. Still didn't stop me nicking all the really good ideas though!) Skill system is mostly PF, though I folded my skills slightly differently. Most of the weaker classes have recieved boosts; notably fighter get a feat every level, for example, which makes them quite competative at the paradigm I play at even at top level. (We are using the PF Bard more-or-less wholesale, as it was a boost, with only the fact we still have 0th level spells as a thing, 3.5 style.)
The party is eight characters - and nine players two of the players are sharing a character. One very rarely makes it down anymore. They've got this little idea that he's got multiple personalities (which means it doesn't matter when he'd played by one or the other and acts different). This was supposed to be a secret, but one of the other player made a flip comment about it (which is of course true), so we just laughed and went with it, though I don't think the other PCs twigged that it's actually for serious...!
The PCs also started out with good stats: base 8, 36 points, point-for-point. (I don't hold with 3.5 or PF's non-linear progression of a linear bonus; if the PC want 18s, they can have an 18s, and they'll need it, because I'll expect them to have 18s!)
The enemies have been modified, by the addition of a) max hit points (mind you, the players are getting that too now) and b) increased numbers and additions of new enemies (often classed enemies) to the mix. (I only award half XP for non "boss" fights anyway; keeps the progression nice and steady.
Boss fights are usually supplemented by my Defiant template: of work of genius, even if I do say so myself, inspired by 4E's Solo monsters. Basically, a Defiant creature gets (pe increment of the template, and there are several that get up to three) a full extra block of hit points. They get one reroll on save (but that effectively gives them a -1 to everything), and they can expend a full undamaged block of hits as a swift action at the end of their turn to get rid of a condition (like Iron Heart Surge should have worked). In addition, if they get hit by any effect that would kill them outright (or stun/paralysed or otherwise spell combat over), they can expend a full undamaged block of hit points to not be affected immediately as a reaction.
This works amazingly well. Really, it's astonishingly great. You can add it on the fly if you need, and it makes boss battles fun. The boss battles actually LAST (because it takes the PCs a while to whittle them down) without having to cripple the boss' offense so as to not TPK. And it means Save or dies are not drama-killers but also NOT useless. (If anything, there is now a good argument for them to be saved as finishers.) I have used it in the last several campaigns and games I've won and it's abolutely top-notch.
I did my usual with backgrounds - the PCs supply as little or as much as they like (so long as I get a few basics) and I will write up/amend and/or add place names and locations to fit the world, and provide them with Reasons Yu Are Now In Sandpoint. (Generally the more they write, the less I have to do!)
So we have:
Kaddo(k) Jawquvenh-Iignotia: Human male Bard, Shouanti but later brought up by Varisians after his village (camp/whatever) was wiped ut bu hobgoblins. Kaddok is his birth name, Kaddo is his adopted name and his surmnaes are Shouanti and Varisian respectively.
Gavril Nyd: Human male bard, Chelish Korvosan
(Yes, two bards. Kaddo is at least going Thundercaller, and is looking at squeezing in a level of Dragon Shaman, which I have said he needs to get Dragonfire Inspiration so that further down the line, they aren't stepping on each other's toes.)
Kethon Marlek Trat-Bonthewson (Ket; Street name Kevkas The Wary): Human rogue, Chelish Korvosan
Galmard Bugail: Human male Shoaunti Druid. Both Shounti are from the same quah, Shriikirri-Quah (same as Garridan).
Abbondio Heniol: Human male cleric of Desna. As he's 35 and his background was of the "born and lived in Sandpoint whole life" he pretty much knows everyone there. (Naturally, of course he's the least experienced player, but was game enough to have the biggest background, mostly exposition dump!) He knew Nualia passingly well (daughter of the boss), though there is obviously a big age gap.
Thrôllgar, thirdson of Kriegardt Orc Smasher: Dwarf Barbarian. He's from up near the Iron Wolf mountains, from a tribe of Dwarves from a small valley. It used to be a trading post from Janderhoff to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings until is that basically was isolated by the emergance of Irrisen. (Quite proud of that little bit of world-fitting!)
Regis Normun: Human male warblade (and the multiple personaliy guy). And Sandpoint native, he's just come back from his apprenticeship at 16. He went off early with his uncle to appentice during the Chopper attacks (on the night of the third murder, before anyone realised it was a sequence, he went out to a friend's and came back. He thought he heard something and hid, terrified in the alley until morning (he swears is was Chopper). Credible reason for psychological trauma? I think as credible as any!
And finally, Ruamaini Heliarni: Human male Wizard, Varisian.
(I'm mentally calling them the testosterone brigade - not a single female character among them. The Night Below party we've just finished had overwhelmingly more females than males (five to three) (though partly because two of the PCs were NPCs rescued and promoed to PC as we got new players in for the first time in donkey's years.)
My initial set up was to have the PCs in groups; some in one inn, some in the other and the natves in their own homes and then say "right, you get up. What are you wearing, what are you taking with you to the festival, what are you doing, in that order."
I put Kaddo, Gulmard and Thrôllgar in the White Deer and Gavril, Kevkas and Ruamaini in the Rusty Dragon. Abbondio, as a priest of Desna, was assigned as being the butterfly-releasing guy (who has his own house - or possibly lives with his parents). Regis has come home to his family. I told the players to pick two houses without names on and say, "right, that's my house." They decided to be next-door-but-one neighbours and that as such knew each other well enough to meet up. Which was conveniant.
Then I just sat back and made them meet each other and provided some light expository duties (through Ameiko, Quint and Mvashti, the latter two being name-dropped into some of the PCs backgrounds as persons of interest).
By the time our first (roughly two-hour) session was done, I had actually gotten as far as reading the opening speech. (As provided by the community source material - you guys are awesome!)
Victory for roleplaying, I think!
The PCs have formed three loose cliques, based on their starting locations; they've met in the street (bit of finagling on my part, but not really all that much, since I just asked them where they were going and they wandered past). The Sandpoint pair got into a bit of a snit wih Gavril (who didn't trust the directions that they provided to the Sage's house, despite being a worshipper of Desna) and Kevkas (who was asking questions about Chopper, having been given a precie of the events from Ameiko). The barbarian trio - who have really hit it off, by all accounts, first half of evening, I didn't even have to NPC Garridan to talk to them, they were so busy talking amongst themselves - wandered past and Kaddo was unusual enough cause Ruamaini to have a quick chat, before wandering off to see Mvashti.
So, excellent session: with a bit of luck, I can spin out the festival to encompass next week's session (to buy more time for my big order of models to come through, including some RotRL ones - bit bothered about that, it's been nearly two weeks and it doesn't appear to have shipped yet - before starting the goblin attack.
Such a complete change of pace from the endless monster-hacking that characterised the latter two books of Night Below.
Got a few Sin points - I'm being really vicious with assigning them, on the basis that I'd rather have too many than not enough, and the more I assign, the bigger a pattern I build. Sadly, they are all pretty much on the Sandpoint pair (Greed - though I think that actually should be gluttony, lust (talking about the brothel)...
Actually, what do we reckon anti-foreigner sentiment ought to fall under: that's got to be one, surely...! Pride maybe? (No, I don't know why the players decided to go there, but there you go...!)
Several of the characters have come to Sandpoint looking for work (for advanturing really). Any ideas (aside from actual adventuring) I could throw at them for the week or so after the festival before the midden hits the windmill in anger?
Okay, so I've have reached the point of doing the background write-ups for the PCs pre-advanture. Their brief was to give me as little or as much as they wanted and I would adapt and fill in the blanks as necessary and basically fit into the world (names, places etc), which is my usual drill for these sorts of things.
Problem. I encouraged one of the newer players to be native to Sandpoint (I wanted at least one character to be a local...!) As and as I came to write up his background, which was going to be a simple transposition/polish from his source material(see end of post) plus a near copy-paste of the Late Unpleasantness from the Sandpoint guide.
And then I finally put it all together and realised that he was a cleric.
Who has been born and raised in Sandpoint.
And who is 35. In a town only 42 years old.
So, not only is he going to be largely "exposition guy" from the perspective of the other PCs, but at that age, also going to be fairly well known in town and is going to have known Nualia personally, as well as all the current and former priests, and Tsuto too, yes? It's kinda going to put him front and centre. While great in some regards - personal connection and all that, it does sort of put me in a position with regard to what to tell the player and how much. (Considering he's the least experienced player, pretty much. If it was one of the more veteran players, I'd just dump the exposition on them and call it a day!)
Oh and just to compound the problem, the player's going to be away for a few months because he's got a course on a few weeks into the session, (but I suppose he really can be DM's Exposition Man then...) So it's also likely he might even miss the Nualia encounter altogether...!
Suggestions on what to do and how to handle this would appreciated. E.g, what you think I should tell him, how much etc etc.
(Also, I noticed he's not got a second name, and one of my other friends noted that he might well be the child of some of the first founders... What can we do with that?)
I'm going to talk to the player about this tonight and see if he's happy with what is going to be a fair chunk of exposition being dumped on his lap and whathave you anyway, but I would really appreciate some help!
(Source provided by player: "Abbondio is a human cleric and he was born in Sandpoint.
Since he was a child he was encouraged by his parents in being a cleric. Their main argument was that being a cleric was a job with good perspective, generally safe and quiet, therefore suitable for a person like Abbondio, who never wanted a life too risky and full of changes.
He enjoyed the life in the temple for some years but now he is thinking that maybe he wants to see a bit more of the world.")
Ho, Paizo boards!
It's been quite a while since I was last here, partly because I've mostly stuck to my own houserules which arguably should be called 3.Aotrs by now (with a lot of the better ideas of PF pulled in), but mostly because we've been playing converted AD&D modules that took an AGE to finish. (We're just coming up completing Night Below after about four years...!)
(I'm quite impressed how active this subforum is, actually...!)
Anyway, our next advanture will finally start us down an adventure path RotRL(the first of three, Runelord, Shackled City and I can't even remember the name of the other one off hand aside it was one of the non-Egyptian sort of ones...)
I am at the stage of getting the PCs to write me some background so I can set them in place for the start of the adventure (and also so I can get some ideas about sins and whatnot for later!) It's a big party - our group, after years of struggling with four-five players (and down to three-four in the last few) has swelled up to eight. I'd already done some modifications for my preferred party size of six, so I just upped again for the rest. Anyhow, the party is going to consist of a Bard, a Bard (yes, I know, but what can you do...*), a Cleric, a Wizard, a Druid (the latter two in the hands of expereinced players and the former, who is less familar with the system, will be heavily advised on optimal spells from both sides of the screen!) a rogue, a barbarian and a Warblade.
Anyway, enough of the endless preamble.
My first question is one loosely related to RotRL, but here seemed as good a place to ask it as any.
The first bard - the newest player, ironically (though not new to roleplaying in general) - has determined he is from a Shoanti tribe (or subtribe, we're still not hugely clear on how big a tribe is) that was wiped out bu Hobgoblins and he was basically adopted and raised by the Varisian tribe that found him. (All fair enough.)
So, how big are the Shoanti tribes (if it's ever specified)?
We have some sample tribe names for the Shoanti tribes, anyway, but there aren't any one I could immediately find for the Varisian tribes. Could anyone a little more familar with Golorin than I provide some suggestions (or failing that, point me to any mention of same anywhere in the adventure path.)
Secondly, I seeded a few ideas (as for backgrounds, I usually add a little section as to why the PC is where they are specifically with an eye to the specifics of the game) for the bard's reasons to be at Sandpoint (the festival, the theatre, the Virisian seer and the Shoant Innkeeper.) This last was in the hope that the bard might go and talk to him and find ut what he was doing there (and also as a not-so-subtle prompt on which inn to put the Bard at as much as anything else). The player is now asking if he can be from the same tribe as Garridan and whether they would know each other or if he would know why Garridan left and so on and so on. (The massecre of the bard's tribe happened 9-10 years ago, my player tells me; I have no idea how that fits into Garridan's timeline, or even if one is ever given. (The inn description mentioned a wife and children, but I didn't see them named or given ages, though I could have just missed it!)
Suggestions on how to handle this would be welcome. The new player seems a bit more into the roleplaying end than we generally deal with (we do fall more into the fight-y end, mostly being wargamers at heart...) and this is getting a bit more complicated than I was really looking at in the "it's just a dungeon dressing!" sort of way...!
(While it is novel to have so much enthusiam, it is also something I am unused to, since I (and the group in general) tend to focus much more on the "what" the party is doing than the "who" that is doing it, if that makes sense...)
Finally, then, are there any things that I should be especially aware of that might not be too obvious? Or resources of particular note (I know there was loads of extra stuff for Shackled City that I cribbed from these forums a while back when we had two groups and I was expecting one to be doing RotRL and the other SC)?
*I have *strongly* suggested that one or other takes Dragonfire Inspiration before many levels elapse, so they don't step on each other's toes. At bottom level, they'll have sufficently few uses that they'll be taking turns each combat anyway.
Okay, got a bit of a bind. Our group is having one of our one-off games a week on Saturday. Problem is, last night, the guy who was supposed to be running it had his motherboard die on him, and he doesn't have the time/money to repair it *and* finish writing the adventure in time.
Which puts it down to me. Again. (Guess I won't be doing anything other than DMing until, like Easter then... *sigh*)
I don't have time to write a game inside a week, obviously (at least not to our level) - I've also got to start prep for a Rolemaster game at Christmas (and I'm DMing the current weekly game as well...)
Now, I have a couple of back-up modules, which I thought might serve... Problem is, from the looks of things they are all the wrong length. A full module is, obviously, way too long for a day game. The Pathfinder Society modules (specifically, the Third Riddle) look too short (as, from what I recall from the one I played at the one convention I went to, you run two a day).
So, what I'm looking for is something in between, that I can run in about six to eight hours (or thereabouts). For example, two linked Society modules would probably do it, if such a thing exists or could be reasonably cobbled together hastily.
Edition/rules set is largely immaterial (thought D20-based is preferred) (as I'll either cough loudly over the differences and/or adjust/enhance the combat encounters either way).
Does anyone have any suggestions? Of any type?
Just a quick query, folks, regarding treasure. Specifically, should I be giving out anything not stated in the adventure; i.e. should the goblins in, say the first encounters, have any treasure (e.g. cash) on them if it doesn't specifically say so on their stats? As I'm not sure whether such creature should have treasure as their MM entries unless it tells me otherwise or not.
My thoughts are probably no, they shouldn't, but I'm not that familiar with how treasure is doled out in modules. (Since most of the modules I've played/converted up until now have been AD&D...Runelords/Shackled City will probably be the first actual 3.x modules I've run!)
I'm converting up for a slightly larger number of PCs, so I'm curious as to what treasure numbers I should increase by 50%. It'll make it a darn sight easier to do just stuff that's actually stated in the module, but it wouldn't hurt to know if Paizo as a rule counts treasure as suggested by the MM/bestiary in entries that are stated as being as [reference] or whether the module discounts it. I'm not fussy either way, really, but it'd be nice to know what ball-park I'm shooting at!
As I continue to pick my way through SCAP, totting up the XP, I reached chapter 9. Now, even giving out full XP for everything, the total falls short (to the tune of 8k XP apiece) of the projected 15th level. (Up until now, it's been about right.) In fact, the projected total for this chapter only just takes the PCs to 15th level when they've whomped Hookface.
(Let alone the half XP total...)
I think I may have to add some story-based XP awards in somewhere. (Since everyone is going to be sick and tired of random encounters; spicing up the encounters in Occipitus stretched me to the limit, never mind those one the way to and from Karren-Kural!)
Mostly, though, I'm concerned about the endurance needed for this chapter. There's a lot of encounters to deal with without a pause (forteen in fact) and several of them modest combats, plus two arguably 'boss' fights (to say nothing of resources used in non-combat encounters). Possibly more if they have to do the combat encounters more than once if they screw up the others. It seems an awful lot to do on one rest (even at the chapter's specified 15th level and not 12 or 14, where you have access to potentially 8th level magic).
So, folks who have played the module, how well did your parties handle it? Did they manage, or did Hookface pulverise the at the end of the chapter?
Okay, I've got now down as far as plotting chapter 6. By 'eck, there aren't half a lot of random encounters (in the end, I used my spread sheet to save rolling for every ruddy hour the PCs are outside on the plane (even with an upper limit of one encounter per day!) Anyway, there's a bit of a disconnect between the end of chapter 6 and the start of 7, that nobody seems to make a big deal of. So either I'm missed something or everyone just fudges it a bit...
How do the PCs escape Occipitus? Nothing is mentioned, they just pop back into Cauldron at the start of chapter 7. I mean, the obvious answer is plane shift, but having just done several buckets of random encounters, I really don't fancy making up a mean 250-mile journey - and I'm fairly sure the PCs will be sick of 'em too, by that point!
How does everyone else handle this (especially if you have a party sans cleric or handy scrolls of Plane Shift)?
Thanks to WotC's star maneuver with the PDFs, I have been able to start picking up the Rise of the Runelords months ahead of what I'd initially planned.
Right, so herein lies the problem. My standard party size is six, not four. This hasn't been a problem with Shackled City, since that was diesgned for six, but it might be with the Pathfinder modules and paths.
Now, I ran WotC's Lost Caverns 3.5 version relatively recently. [Aside]Which utterly failed to ever make me want to get any more PDF adventures from them - among their other sins, the bloody map was light grey on light blue - and when i printed it out in black and white as the cheap bastard I am, it was grey on slightly different grey. Neither was easy to trace for the PCs;I had to hold the ruddy thing up to the light in order to get anywhere...[/Aside]
That was a bit of a travesty. I increased all the numbers of monsters by +50%, as well as all the treasure (and added in +50% extra kit to make up the value). Any 'boss' monsters or creature encountered alone, I maxed out the hit points of. I also gave the party a choice of being 10th level, with high stats (basically 18,16,14,12,10,8 roughly) or 11th level and slightly lower stats. They opted for the former. Both my groups are allowed full access to the entire of 3.5 (at least as far as class, spells and feats go PrC are a bit more variable.) I gave them level appropriate gear.
And they completely minced the campaign. For various reasons, though notable the Crusader could have soled it, breaking the game she did by having level appropriate armour and a shield.
Anyway, while I blame this mainly on the fact Tsojcanth was full of crap, moribund low-level encounters pulverised by three martial adepts, the adventure was still indicative.
So, what is going to be the best way to bump the difficulty for six characters? This is mostly a minimum effort job, since if I wanted to go from scratch, I'd be using the pre-3.x modules I've got for this purpose (and that takes bloody ages...) Also given the fact that in both groups the players work well together; especially my Monday group who work in a Horrifically Flawless Team of Doom most of the time.
I reckon there's nothing wrong with the theory of increasing the number of monsters that come in two or more by 50% (argueably with my crazy-ass players, maxing the hits out too!) Also, I've knocked up a conversion package for my own house rules (basically, things like for Fighters, whom I give a feat every level, knocking up a list of what non-core feats extra they have). So, theyre not really the problem
It's the 'boss' monsters if you will, that cause me the problems. While a single enemy character might be a challenge to four players, the extra firepower from six is usually going to vastly swing things the PCs way. Maxing out the hit points is a given, but's it's nowhere near enough.
As I see it at the moment, I can see four options:
1) Add extra levels to those NPCs.
2) Add an extra lower-level henchdude
3) If dealing with a monster, not a character, just have two or them not one
4) Apply my own Solo template to them (which basically gives 'em twice the hit points and some free get-out-of-SoD rerolls provided there's not too many minions about).
So, folks, has anybody got any better or different ideas?
Has anybody yet tried doing a 3.5 version of 4E's Solo (or Minion) templates? It's one of the few ideas in 4E that I could see having some merit (and I will force some use out of the damn thing if it kills me. Again!) I posted this up on WotC but the boards are now pretty dead, so I figured I'd try here. (The only response I got there was being told, "it won't work don't do it" without a good reason why.)
My initial thoughts - to be concreted out are as follows:
I figure the trick to Solos is to downgrade the effect of SoD without negating them. Nominally, I'd guess you do something lie say, double (and probably max out) a solo monster's hitpoints.
As to Save or die, my starter for ten would be to give the Solo some sort of, for the sake of argument, let's call 'em 'fate points' which would allow it to reroll failed saving throws for effects (say, death, paralysation, polymorph maybe ability damage or stun but not hit point damage) a number of times per encounter. (A second failed save could be either and 'hard cheese dude' or let you spend more 'fate points' to try again.) The clever bit would be that if it chooses to use this power, even if it makes the save the second (or subsequent?) time, it gets some sort of negative effect. By initial thought would be a bit like a negative energy level (only that effects anyone!) That way, SoDs would continue to make some difference in a solo monster, but the chance of them ending the fight would be much less (though possible). Of course the number of 'reroll to not die' is an open question?
Anybody have any thoughts? (Or a link to anyone else's attempt at this?)
I've just bought the hardcover Shackled City. I've not read it through yet (I've started, but most of my time is running on converting Night Below to 3.5 for another group).
I primarily picked up Shackled City because our groups are having a bit of a quest crisis (over both groups there's really only three of us that run anything). We've ended up using more modules than I'd like because (in theory) it's quicker to convert a module than write one myself. Night Below is actually the first one that might actually meet that requirement; by previous two conversions Vecna Lives/Vecna Reborn/Die Vecna Die and Dragon Mountain (the latter boosted to levels 14-21 for the same party that did the Vecna quest!) actually were stupidly huge...Dragon Mountain topped out at 150 pages-equivilent of stats, which is nearly as much as the whole damn module...
Anyway, getting to my actual point, what's the XP progression in Shackled City like? I.e. am I going to have to add any sidequests and whatnot outside the main adventure to keep the PCs the right level? Typically in my own games, I award half combat XP for anything I don't consider a BBEG fight and add more story awards. I can work round this easily enough, but it would help to know if the standard progression is sufficent to use as my basis.
Sometime ago, I picked up Night Below in PDF format (from Paizo, natch), with the intention of eventually using it (actually, converting it to 3.x!) However, to my great annoyance, the scan seemed to have been done by someone (to be excruciatingly polite) of questionable competance; since the maps at the end helpfully are missing large chunks at the borders where they join. This is frustrating in the least.
From a quick google search, it seems like it's a problem endemic to all the Night Below PDFs and not Paizo's fault; hardly suprisingly really, since I wouldn't expect them to commit such a arse-up (or more correctly, not fix it if they actually did arse it up!)
The most annoying thing, of course, is that That Which Cannot Be Named In Polite Company (meaning the scan-monkey - and I can only assume that literally, not figuratively!) managed to keep the fracking pointless page borders. One assumes they has some barely sentient office junior who only scanned the four corners and didn't bother to check...
But I digress, however..
So before I succumb to desperation completely, I thought I'd ask if anyone out there knows of anywhere I could get a clean scan (or fresh map or whatever), short of buying the actual boxed set (which kind of defeats the object of getting cheap PDFs to convert in the first place!). Heck, even a low-res piccy would do, since at least I'd have some idea of what the shape of the missing parts are.
If anyone can help, I'd be very grateful!
Kerpiquan is a land filled with ancient secrets hidden in crumbling ruins. At least a dozen mighty civilisations once claimed their home here, stretching back thousands of years in succession. Some were human; some were humanoid; others were aberrations not easily envisaged. Each of them inexplicably and abruptly came to grief, one after another. They left only unanswered questions, deserted cities, forgotten temples and mysterious monuments. The only clues point to the very oldest ruins, about which legends of later civilisations speak, in hushed whispers, of an ancient war fought before time, between shadowy, monstrous beings of terrible power from beyond the stars...
Description: Kerpiquan comprises a dense archipelago of islets surrounding the island mainland of Piquan. The territory covers an area of approximately 115,000 square miles. Piquan itself is about 350 miles long and slightly under 300 miles wide. The region is covered by a blanket of subtropical evergreen forests and teeming mangrove swamps on the coasts. In central Piquan, the land rises into spectacular mountains, beyond which lies a chilly highland desert plateau. The climate is placid; it is noticeably colder in winter than in summer but otherwise mild.
The only exception to the clement weather are the infrequent, terrifying supernatural storms. One is preceded by a build up of high altitude, towering thunderhead clouds in strange, slowly roiling shapes over the course of several days. They appear over the highland desert and in otherwise clear skies. When the storm breaks, the sky is stained a shade of dull purple and red lightning dances amid the clouds, rarely striking the land but crackling so loudly that it can be heard from the ground. While there is often a hot gale, there is only rarely thunder and no precipitation falls.
Natural resources are in particular abundance, ranging from mineral to plant to animal, making Kerpiquan mostly self-sufficient. Disease is uncommon; despite the proximity of the swamps, mosquitoes are almost unheard of. This natural bounty explains why the region has been settled so often. Some scholars say Kerpiquan seems too hospitable to be natural. But whether it was created by an older civilisation, the hand of some forgotten god or something even more mysterious is a matter for conjecture.
The current proprietors of the land are the Quanites, from which Kerpiquan takes it’s present name. Despite being nearly self-sufficient, Kerpiquan does a brisk sea trade with other nations, exporting it’s own resources. Kerpiquan has existed as a nation for three hundred years, when settlers arrived there after being driven from their old home. The Quanite civilisation is concentrated mainly in the south of Piquan around the river Caluus where the land is most fertile. Kerpiquan has a population of about three million, mostly dark-skinned humans. A fifth of the population are resettled immigrants, mainly other humans. Port cities like Yahzivij and Kidana or the capital, Qazasu, are much more cosmopolitan, with representatives of all the major races in some numbers. Kerpiquan has a considerable bureaucratic network which manages their extensive legal, taxation and voting systems.
Quanite society is polite and formal, but egalitarian with regard to race, gender and sexuality. The men tend to shave their heads and are usually clean shaven. Women either have their hair very short or very long and braided into elaborate designs. Clothing is usually light-weight and colourful for both genders. Though fashion varies wildly, sarongs are popular. Men wear brightly-coloured cloth caps, and women wear similarly vibrant headscarves.
Piquan is littered with ruins from the fallen civilisations, both on the surface and underground. These ruins are dangerous places full of treasure, traps, vestiges of the past and the unquiet dead; few Quanites dare approach them. Over the years, bands of adventurers and explorers have braved their depths to bring out knowledge and treasure. This has resulted in the level of technology Kerpiquan possesses being quite advanced; high-quality roads, the use of concrete in some buildings and extensive plumbing. Despite this, the Quanites are fearful of befalling the unknown fate of their predecessors and this most obviously manifests as a distrust of the supernatural. Magic, while tolerated, is viewed as a highly dangerous practise and it’s excessive use frightens them. Races with obviously magical ancestry (notably Planetouched) are regarded with suspicion or outright fear. Quanites are mostly agnostic for the same reasons (though they do not persecute religion).
There are a number of tribes of primitive Hobgoblins living in the wild areas. Some are peaceful and even trade with Kerpiquan while others are savage raiders. Kerpiquan thus maintains a small standing army and navy who double as law-enforcement and city guards. Judicial punishment is handed out by trial, followed by imprisonment or rarely, execution.
Kerpiquan operates a tax farming system where landowners tax whoever lives on their land, which is then collected by the state. Local officials tax communal places like cities. While it mints it’s own coin, Kerpiquan uses the typical gold/silver/copper standard.
Quanites speak Isquana and common.
DM Secrets: Viceroy Oroubeyn is growing concerned that more and more strange events have begun occurring. He has been investigating them quietly but is afraid of a public panic if it becomes common knowledge.
The Hobgoblin tribes are the remnants of the prior civilisation to occupy this area, though they are largely unaware of this.
Magic occasionally goes terribly astray, especially during storms.
The truth behind the mysteries is left for individual DMs to determine or they can be left enticingly unsolved. Ancient gods, outsiders and/or aberrations are the most thematically appropriate antagonists. Kerpiquan is an ideal place for DMs to introduce new spells, monsters, artifacts or variant magic rules.
Talisman of Whispering Souls
This amulet is made of rune-carved bone with two inset rubies like eyes on a fine silver chain. The amulet grants the wearer a +1 bonus on Turn or Rebuke checks. While worn, the talisman may be activated as a standard action three times per day for ten minutes each time. When activated, the user is surrounded by motes of spectral mist which circle constantly and a continuous sound like the whispering of many indistinguishable voices just on the edge of hearing is audible. While the amulet is active, the user gains the following powers: they can communicate magically with any intelligent Undead regardless of language, even if the Undead creature cannot normally communicate. The wearer is invisible to mindless Undead, but this effect ends if the user attacks any Undead creature. The wearer can see any incorporeal or ethereal Undead within 120’, even through walls or solid objects, as they are silhouetted as if with blue faerie fire visible only to the wearer (as the spell, but the effect is not blocked by magical darkness).
Moderate Divination and Necromancy; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, Detect Undead, Speak With Dead, True Seeing; Price 50,000 gp