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Wax Golem

Aubrey the Malformed's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 8,152 posts (22,453 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 14 aliases.


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The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Don't worry, it is a mistake that is quite natural. Looking back, I suspect I hadn't decided at the time that Oula wasn't the poisondusk back at the prospectors camp. But as the game developed it didn't make sense for that poisondusk to be the one at Pooma's village and the one who you ended up fighting with, since his power level, scaling against yours, wouldn't really be appropriate for also being capable of calling up some massive legendary beast from its slumbers. So don't worry about it, you won't learn much from looking back. That's the joy of a developing storyline, continuity problems and all.

The Exchange

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I'm back, but busy at work and not feeling well. I will post tomorrow.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

I'm back, but busy at work and not feeling well. I will post tomorrow.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

I'm back, but busy at work and not feeling well. I will post tomorrow.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

I'm back, but busy at work and not feeling well. I will post tomorrow.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

I'm back, but busy at work and not feeling well. I will post tomorrow.

The Exchange

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

To be honest Jiggy, there is nothing wrong with the basic outline. Most campaigns are along the lines of "Go to this place, kill the baddies there, gain plot item, repeat". And the benefit of long campaigns in PbP is that is gives you plenty of time to think through the details of what the individual "scenarios" and set-pieces will be in your campaign. And when I say plenty of time, I'm talking years. There is a lot of people going on about how they completed this or that AP in two weeks by PbB, but that is incredibly rare (and, to be honest, I wonder slightly about what sort of experience that would be) - any PbP that aspires to be more than a one-shot will most likely take years. That actually takes a lot of pressure off the DM, as they don't need to churn out ideas on a weekly to fortnightly basis as with a regular face-to-face game. PbP is, in that way, somewhat less intimidating and you also get time to do it right rather than in a rush.

That said, if you aren't feeling the concept, it's best to end it (like I have done with a couple of PbPs) since you don't want to be dragging the whole thing out for an extended period of time while not really enjoying yourself. But there are lots of things you can do to bring a bit of colour and additional plot lines into the basic idea. As ElterAgo suggests, there's nothing like antagonists to wind up players. Also, plotlines revolving around the PCs are also good (and players love them). This adds elements to the campaign that are not directly related to the actual overarching plot, but which nevertheless anchor them in the world and invest the players in their characters. And also engage in foreshadowing, dropping hints about what is to come next.

An interesting bit of campaign advice I read came out of the old Call of Cthulhu game, where they referred to plotting as being like the layers in an onion. As the characters progress they peel back the layers of the onion, only to discover what lies underneath is more layers. It's quite important not to reveal to the players what is immediately around the next corner. Then part of the pleasure of playing the game is the gradually revealed information about what is going on. For example, in the above plot you mention (and I don't know how you presented it, so this contains assumptions and please forgive me if I assume wrongly) rather than having them know from the outset that the campaign will involve them obtaining a series of artifact fragments, this should maybe be something which is gradually revealed to them. For example:

Weird stuff starts happening. No one knows why, but it needs to be stopped. The PCs are asked by someone (motives unknown) to retrieve an item to stop weird stuff. They do so (after some monster related difficulties). But what is the impact on the weird stuff - does it get better, does it get worse, does it change in some other way? The PCs now have the item - what is it, what does it do? Whose attention have they attracted through garnering this item, what are their motivations, and how do they react? What are the motivations of the PCs' patron - is he a goodie, baddie or somewhere in between? What does he/she/it do now they have the item? And so on... These questions will then give you ideas about how matters will develop, and provide ideas for conflicts (combat and RP) which can drive the action on. You can go on like this for levels.

As part of this, it's quite good to NOT have a NPC lay down a load of exposition - it's good to have the players make the discoveries and decisions rather than have it delivered on a plate as it makes them feel clever. You also need to consider what will motivate the PCs to continue with the quest and lay down hooks to grab them and move them forward through the plot. This is normally quite easy, since most players are interested in the development of the plot - cryptic comments, journal entries, the results of skill checks are all fine for this.

Oh, and don't forget the issue of travel. At lower levels, a journey to get to where the PCs are going can be an adventure in itself. That can be a few levels. And relatively fresh PCs can also handle set-piece battles quite a lot more powerful than normal, which also helps generate xp and push the experience levels up. Contrasting adventures in civilized areas with others in more out-of-the-way places will also provide contrasts. All of these will help fill up a campaign and help keep it fresh.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Bwahaha! - a whole week to stew while you wait for what is in store for you.

The Exchange

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Keswick in the Lake District. So not gut-wrenchingly exciting but it should be a nice week of (relative - we have our son after all) peace.

The Exchange

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Just a reminder, from tonight I'll be out of contact until next Sunday.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just a reminder, from tonight I'll be out of contact until next Sunday.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just a reminder, from tonight I'll be out of contact until next Sunday.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just a reminder, from tonight I'll be out of contact until next Sunday.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just a reminder, from tonight I'll be out of contact until next Sunday.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

There are worse things to be addicted to. This is a healthy hobby, by and large. If you are managing your personal relationships OK, I seriously wouldn't worry about it.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Sure. I certainly don't want to discourage a character thinking about stuff.

The Exchange

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The mercenaries thought bubble was the one that made me comment. I wouldn't necessarily see that as having no consequences. Thing is, these games go on for years, and memory will blur as to what was revealed between characters talking and what was "revealed" through a thought bubble. Right now it might not have consequences, but it might later on.

If Otto had in fact blurted, "Mercenaries!" it would have led to a potential discussion among the PCs - and actually that might have been quite an interesting bit of RP. But everyone "knows" that is what he thinks, even though no one actually knows. As time goes on, that distinction may not be so clear.

And by internalizing everything, people can't respond. There will be no discussion on how mercenary the other characters are (some may be more than other, and actually that may not be so clear to the other PCs either) because the other PCs don't know about it.

I also don't really consider PbP to be as close to being novelistic as all that. It is nice if it is well-written so you can go back and enjoy it afterwards (and I have no concerns in that regard). But in the end this is a game where the primary readers are also the players, acting on information given out by the DM and also the other players. So there is a feedback loop between the players, and I'm quite keen to make sure that this doesn't get confused. I'm also quite keen on "show, don't tell". I generally try to ensure that what I post is what the players would actually perceive. And I deliberately withhold information, of course, as DM.

In the end, we are probably all experienced enough to cope with this. And it's a fine line - when describing a character actions and saying "He looks concerned" (for example) you are basically expressing what that character is thinking, albeit in a way that characters can react to more, and it would be a boring character who seemed to have no thoughts or feelings on anything. But I just wanted to make the point that there may be consequences which weren't immediately apparent.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Yes, not Paizo's decision at all.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

The APs I'd really like to see in hardback - Age of Worms and Savage Tide - are likewise impossible.

The Exchange

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So "adjunct" is academic jargon for "needs a second job"? Still, it's a foot in the door and will doubtless lead to better things.

The Exchange

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So did you get the job, Vatters? I noticed you have updated your LinkedIn profile.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

While they aren't fantasy movies, and aren't underrated either, the Kurosawa samurai movies are nevertheless good stuff for someone who likes "films with swords". Throne of Blood is the one with the most overtly fantastical elements, being a samurai remake of Macbeth. But the absolute classic is probably Seven Samurai. Of the ones in colour, I'd highly rate Ran (though it's not exactly a cheerful experience, being a version of King Lear) and then Kagemusha. Both Throne of Blood and Ran have a couple of seriously evil female characters in too.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to give advance warning, I will be on holiday for a week from the coming Saturday. I won't have any meaningful internet connectivity in this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to give advance warning, I will be on holiday for a week from the coming Saturday. I won't have any meaningful internet connectivity in this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to give advance warning, I will be on holiday for a week from the coming Saturday. I won't have any meaningful internet connectivity in this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to give advance warning, I will be on holiday for a week from the coming Saturday. I won't have any meaningful internet connectivity in this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to give advance warning, I will be on holiday for a week from the coming Saturday. I won't have any meaningful internet connectivity in this time.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Never forget the machine-crossbow, for example.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

Paizo have previously expressed reservations about part time and/or temporary staff. A heavier reliance on freelancers is possible, I guess. However, the main point is not one of resources, nor demand for the product. This is why crowdfunding isn't a solution - as gorbacz mentioned, it solves problems paizo doesn't have.

The main issue arising from making compilations more common than "once in a blue moon....maybe" is paizo's business model (heavily subscription based) and the fact that providing incentive to stop subscribing is a risk to that model.

We can all theorise about how the benefits would "definitely" outweigh the costs - but we're not responsible for the ongoing employment of dozens of people, nor the financial viability of an extremely successful company. I actually suspect that the powers that be also believe that semi regular hardcover compilations wouldn't be too deleterious to their business overall. Risk mitigation is about more than belief though - things are going very well for paizo and tinkering with a core part of that success should be a last resort.

As mentioned above, there are two approaches:

- do something that's now otherwise out-of-print or unontainable
- fix or build out something

I'm personally much less interested in the first one. Just because something is out of print doesn't necessarily mean lots of people want it. I've got CotCT and would be unlikely to buy a hardback version (same as I didn't buy the RotRL one). I might be interested if they did Second Darkness but fixed the problems with it, or a Kingmaker but integrated the different parts of it better (with foreshadowing and so on, rather than finding out of the blue that the BBEG is this fey queen and that there's this guy in Pitax who doesn't like me none mentioned before).

But generally, I wonder how much demand there really is for all this. Paizo bring out two APs a year - do we really need them to go back and reissue the old ones that much? Isn't that more than enough for most gaming groups?

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

From a tactical perspective it doesn't make a whole lot of sense Ala'a stepping off to the north-west since she can be attacked on all sides. Gbaji has just vacated Q10 and Ala'a can step there - which was sort of what he was trying to convey above. It might be too late to change it but, if you can, you might reconsider.

Botting Valsavis, based on the comments above.

Feeling his wounds burn, Valsavis adopted a guarded stance to avoid as many claws as possible. As Gbaji shifted position, he took the opportunity to strike out at a distracted 'kreen.

Fighting defensively, two attacks. First attack on the 'kreen in Q11, which should benefit from flanking due to Gbaji's shift. If it goes down, he'll shift into Q11 so he'll be back-to-back with Gbaji. If he has an attack left over after all that, he'll attack the 'kreen in R10 (with the benefit if flanking from Barega) if it still stands, otherwise he'll just attack the nearest 'kreen that looks badly wounded (probably without the benefit of flanking, so -2 to hit and no sneak attack damage).
Attack 1 1d20 + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 = 30 to hit, damage 1d4 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 5 + 2 = 9 plus 2d6 ⇒ (6, 3) = 9 damage - CRIT!
Attack 1 critical confirmation 1d20 + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 = 13 to hit, damage 1d4 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 5 + 2 = 11 extra damage
Attack 2 1d20 + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 9 + 2 + 1 - 4 + 2 = 15 to hit, damage 1d4 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 2 + 1 = 5 plus 2d6 ⇒ (5, 6) = 11 damage

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Someone mentioned Dragonslayer above. A fine movie that didn't do so well at the time. The stop-motion dragon is very cool.

The Exchange

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No problem. I'm around for the whole Easter weekend.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Jason and the Argonauts, also a Harryhausen classic, probably my favorite of his. Although the Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a close second, with Martin Shaw as Sinbad's first mate, Tom Baker as the villain (immediately pre-Dr Who) and the delectable Caroline Munro as the heroine - plus the immortal line "Trust in Allah - but tie up your camel".

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

For one campaign (a Dark Sun PbP I'm running here) the inspiration was very visual - a political cartoon about the (potential) collapse of the euro, which happened round about the same time as that meteorite hit Russia. So it was a picture of the euro crashing to earth in a ball of flame and people running in terror. Nothing happened immediately, but suddenly I had a brainwave about meteors as doomsday weapons. That then slotted in with something I'd been reading in the Creature Catalogue, and the campaign was born.

Of course, I say I had a brainwave but I realised afterwards my idea had a lot in common with the Second Darkness AP. Whether I was thinking in parallel or unconsciously drew upon it, I may never know.

Another one is related to a lot of the war stuff going on in the media - Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and so on and so on - coupled with a reading of the Five Nations book for Eberron. Proxy wars, war criminals, more doomsday weapons (of a different kind), and so on. Another idea I've been toying with relates to the Andoran banking system and our own recent financial crisis, based on my background working in finance. So I'd say a lot of ideas come from a mixture of reading sourcebooks and what is going on in the news.

That said, I don't write much down, as I prefer to develop the details as I go along. But I certainly have an outline in mind.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to let everyone know, I am on holiday from this Saturday until Monday and will not have IT access during this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to let everyone know, I am on holiday from this Saturday until Monday and will not have IT access during this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to let everyone know, I am on holiday from this Saturday until Monday and will not have IT access during this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to let everyone know, I am on holiday from this Saturday until Monday and will not have IT access during this time.

The Exchange

No peeking, please Rarely Accountant 2/Auditor 4/Waster 30

Just to let everyone know, I am on holiday from this Saturday until Monday and will not have IT access during this time.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I flirted with the idea of having the giants attack Turtleback Ferry. In RotRL Sandpoint seems to be the navel of the world - everything that happens, happens there. I guess that isn't an option given the letter your PCs have seen.

In the end we ended up playing a whole new section that isn't in the books where the PCs travelled to Magnimar and beyond, having a few minor adventures on the way, until they wound up in Sandpoint. However, they didn't know about the imminent attack so it was a fairly relaxed affair. In fact, as I recall, they freed Fort Rannick and then headed off, only to come back to Hook Mountain after the attack on Sandpoint.

I would suggest you make it clear they probably have time to get to Sandpoint before the giants do. After all, the giants have got to get there too from Jorgenfist. It can be an interesting situation where you can get them to determine the route they want to take to fulfil whatever objectives they want to address before getting there - getting there as fast as they can, getting reinforcements, organising defences, and so on. This would be a good point to have useful NPCs provide advice to shape their journey and narrow down the options (so you can prepare for the eventualities).

Then you can throw some other stuff their way on the journey which might hold them up, increasing the tension. The journey from Turtleback Ferry was a lot of fun in our game because it was entirely down to me as DM, and involved me researching the various places they would wind up along the way from the Varisia gazeteer. Rather than see it as a problem, see it as an opportunity to add something of your own to the campaign. And teleporting is just soooo lazy.

The Exchange

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Where is Cole's extra +1hp point coming from?

The Exchange

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Just to clarify, Otto gets to level up too.

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Correct - 5hp.

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If I was open recruiting for a new game, chances are you would get in. First-come first-served doesn't necessarily mean instant recruitment. A lot of people will truck up to a recruitment thread and will posit an idea, like "How about a dwarf ranger?". That's not going to get you in. Yet very many people don't get past that stage. What gets you in is positing an idea for a character that has both a bit of crunch and a bit of fluff, and being able to translate that into a more-or-less realised character sheet in a day or three. Even people who get past the initial stage often fall down due to other commitments, a lack of follow-through, or whatever. I will also input to the character creation process to make something that will mesh better with the overall campaign and, in particular, the campaign opening. Creating the characters at the start of a campaign usually takes at least a week, which ought to be plenty of time. That, effectively, is my recruitment process. If enough people get to the end of that, we have a game.

But on the other hand, if someone takes a long time to even come up with a viable concept I have to think to myself: is that person is actually going to be able to drive the action forward. It's well and good agonizing about the character's relationship with his maternal great-uncle, but in the end what a game needs from players is a bit of drive and the ability to make decisions, otherwise the game will bog down, and the ability to post very regularly. If indecision makes it hard to do that - as evidenced by an inability to sling six stats together and come up with a character idea that can articulated in a paragraph - then it will count against you. And it should. Creating a wonderful, fully-realized character at the start of a campaign isn't all there is to being a player, you have to be able to play it too on an ongoing basis. In PbP, that's basically a commitment of years (in my games, anyway). A lot of the character development can, and should, happen in-game and doesn't have to be part of the character creation process.

The Exchange

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Yeah, we know...

The Exchange

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That's not really my experience. People don't generally come with pre-made characters and I would discourage them from doing that anyway a lot of the time (though I did have one recent experience of that in one of my Eberron games and it didn't go well). People may have been having a few ideas but often they come with a couple of ideas and very frequently change in midstream from their initial idea to a different one. But that's not really the point - the character idea isn't hugely important. I've got one player who has changed character a couple of times, but he's still in the games, just with different characters. Characters come and go but getting a good player is probably more important. Also, if you are filling a gap that has arisen, first-come first-serve fills it the quickest and in any case the player is often restricted about what role they are filling.

Not that it's guaranteed of course - there have been a few players where things haven't really worked out. But I suspect that happens with any game and any recruitment method.

The Exchange

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It's still my method, and to be honest I find it works well for me. Someone who is motivated enough to post up a decent character in a jiffy is likely to be excited by the game and motivated to keep on posting. In six years it's always been a trusty way to recruit, I've found. Plus I don't really like sitting in judgement on people's ideas like a beauty contest, nor do I consider that aspect terribly important. Someone who wants to play is the best thing.

The Exchange

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First-come first-served for what - recruitment?

The Exchange

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No probs, thanks for letting us know and good luck.

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Feel free to abuse me.

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