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Currently use vertical because they are fill-in/replaceable screens and I also need it for a d100 chart (easier to format than horizontal panels). I am beta testing a game right now and the rules change frequently and I am not 100% in my memory.
Side note: best part of making your own game is when you read a rule and say "who wrote this crap"?
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Like those who have posted here outraged at the potential presence of accurately-depicted mental illnesses, the recourse of these victims is to play an RPG with a different focus, or play a Pathfinder campaign that depicts violence more realistically as a temporary solution rather than as The solution.
So your advice to people who suffered from RL violence, or just offended by it is to play and RPG with a different focus ...why again wouldn't this apply to people who have or are sensitive to mental illness issues?
Why is the latter group more exclusive or need to be accommodated with a change or revision?
EDIT: This gem needed attention
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
There are far fewer misconceptions about violence than there are about mental illness—save for the misconception that mentally ill people are inherently violent, naturally. Please cite specific cases if you wish to draw parallels between use of deceptive interpretations of actual mental disorders and the tendency of this game to feature violence against demons and gibbering mouthers as the sole solution.
How naive.Because PCs never kill humanoids or other humans or in turn have violence visited upon them by the same NPCs? Riiight!
What about actual physical effects of violence vs. deceptive gamist application and handling of violence of RPGS? Violence isn't being falsely framed or depicted? Sanitized for mass consumption?
Also, if you don't know who I am, why are you making assumptions about me? It's insulting.
You should take your own advice. You are making assumptions about me and who I am or what challenges I face in relation to this issue. Don't do it.
Just because I hold the opinion that it's a non-issue in RPGs that doesn't mean that I am not close to the issue or that it doesn't play a role in my daily life.
No, false equivalancy and poor comparison.
RPGs for purchase with potentially disagreeable content =/= yelling at a child on the street.
Get your priorities straight.
In the street!
Ok, going back to fake ignore.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
No, games are just that - games. I am currently designing a game, I am not an artist - I am an amateur (until I publish) game designer. That's it.Is gaming a form of communication, yes - so it qualifies as media. The thing I vehemently disagree with you on is that media = art. A McDonald's commercial advertising the new and improved McRibb is just that, it's a form of media - specifically a commercial advertising food. Let me graph it for you: McRibb Commercial = media =/= art.
Racist first person shooters are not made by large game companies but by extremest to spread the word of hate and to find kindered spirits. Something like Ethnic Cleansing put out by the National Alliance - also a form of media because it's propaganda, but that crap is not art.
RPG Games = Media =/= Art
Not saying that rpgs cannot be perceived as art (by an individual) or be artistic in nature and style - but an rpg, a functional rpg - is first and foremost a game or it isn't an rpg and is something else.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
stuff about mental illness in movies and TV
I think you are being bit oversensitive and looking for bogymen/windmills/crusade like the tumblr writer of that terrible article that you cited.Mental illness in movies/tv - aka "he was crazy" is just lazy writing. On top of all of that most mental illnesses portrayed by villains are either criminal sociopath-personality disorders or someone who has become obsessed/fixated on a specific goal/person that they commit a crime. That's it.
They don't say it because of: ignorance, lazy, too much detail for a show that runs 48 minutes. Most all mental illnesses depicted in modern crime/investigation shows sociopathic behavior. Not anxiety disorders, not depression (psychotic or otherwise) or OCD or anything else most people struggle with on a day-to-day basis.
Some of the more serious shows do bring up more varied mental illnesses in a more accurate or at least debatable accurate way (L&O:SVU) so they steer away from the "he was insane" simple explanation because the show's function to depict more realistic examples of mental illness.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Either do it right or don't do it. It's not "just a game", "just a book", or "just a movie". It's all still media. And all media, including, believe it or not, tabletop RPGs, does carry influence.
No, they are just games - if they hold greater value to you then that's your responsibility/problem/POV.
If rpg content offends you you need to either: not buy it/support it or "buck up".
And where is your outrage at the media format of RPGs in general and how they promote so much violence?
Violence and more violence - products that help you play a character with more and more tools to kill your foes? When your run your games KC, how many creatures die?
Hypocrisy - you're worried how rpgs handle a corner case (but rw subject) like mental illness when the premise of most games is kill your opponents and take their stuff while gaining more power.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
This is not something we should brush off as "a non-issue", or "looking for windmills". This is something that needs to be carefully discussed.
No, this is just a SJW looking to make inroads in gaming to gain a foothold and influence. Same old same old. Telling people to feel bad, what they are doing wrong, etc.If rpgs (as you state) are a form of art - shouldn't they be above social influence/pressure/conventions?
I think that accurately written mental illness in a game works if it works for the game. That's it. I don't think that a rush to make changes to current games should be made or that older systems should be shamed because they don't fall in line with the SJW outrage du jur.
TBH, my first exposure to various mental illnesses was when I was a little kid reading the 1st ed DMG. This subject was not taught in school, and it helped my interest on the matter - even if the content and implementation was not accurate and very gamist. I'm glad that list existed, even if it was flawed.
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Well, without someone at least attempting a devils advocate this thread just becomes another liberal circle jerk...and we can't have that.
You guys really like reading each clones posts that much?
Wait, don't answer that.
I did this with a drive-by alias.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Odds are better than average that this book was some D&D supplement. The 70's-80's book refers she refers to is the 1st ed DMG.
...quickly spread to more or less every RPG out there, largely unchanged
My big gripes with this poorly written and researched tumblr entry (not worthy of being called an article):
I stand by my initial assessment - poorly written and researched.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
No, I don't care about the content or even the source - it took me 5 seconds to find an article with names.Checked the names - they are connected to both Greenpeace and IPCC (Rajendra Pachauri, Richard Klein).
I don't care about this fight...but before someone makes a politically dismissive statement at least make an effort to verify.
Poorly Researched Tumblr Rant wrote:
Historically incorrect and looking for windmills to tilt.Painful read.
Question for GMs who are having disappointing sessions:
How much prep work are you putting into your sessions?
To clarify: Prior to your actual sessions how much time do you go through walk-throughs, self questions about "this is how I am going to run this part" or "this is how I am going to describe this monster"?
The reason why I ask is this. I sort of ran an experiment recently with my own created Post Holocaust game. Prior to running any of the sessions I already had a module around half-way written. 16 typed pages of encounters, new creatures, npcs....pretty good PA exploration material.
While I have been running the game I am simultaneously writing out the rest of the module (I am following my own outline) but I am also running into the issue of writing and re-writing the core game system we are using and testing. The current page count in small font is 26 pages. At close it should be around 36 or 42 pages long.
The game writing has taken up so much time that I am barely ahead of my players in detailed module write-up and I hardly spend any time going through the nights potential encounters and staging them in my GM mind's eye like a director setting the stage.
And its suffered. The players are having a blast - but IDK, something is off. There are not as many detailed encounters with interesting descriptions because I am spending more time on rules writing and system testing than I am on the test scenario. My players know that the core game is more important than the scenario since I want to eventually publish the system, so they are being good sports when I eat up an hour pre-game spending going over the rules ideas, changes to skills, mutations, etc. I still want a good adventure though, and for the most part I have delivered - I have just noticed a correlation between me putting less attention on the adventure in the more recent sessions.
In the past when would I read and then re-read a module (published) or went over one of my modules in a sort of pre-session prep - the outcome in quality of GMing, play and increase in player enjoyment was noticeable.
I don't know how many other GMs do the exercise a day or two before actual game day.
Nice preview - I will have to pick this up...somehow.
To me when I think of the Blight (using the beautiful Styes as a point of mood reference) I think of Lustmord, Godflesh (Pure II - the last track), and Samhain's "The Hungry End" in particular. Just to name a few.
I would implore that Mr. Pett go too far vs. not far enough. This is going to one for the rpg history books.
1st Gamma World 3rd ed (1985)
I have a very strong affinity for Chill, but tbh - the research I put into writing the material (cults, RL murders, conspiracies, etc) is just too much, I can only do it a little at a time or it starts to get to me.
My go to fantasy game is AD&D 2nd ed. PF is currently not a consideration for me to run.
I don't really think niche protection is the way to go.
There isn't a singular problem - hence my comment about it being "too much work". Niche protection (or that lack thereof) is part of the problem. When you can sub out core class abilities with secondary magic items and spells - its a big system problem.
It isn't one problem, it's several. Currently the DC system (as a tool vs. threats) is primarily a Caster tool. That's a major problem.
If anything, I would like to add a social level track to all classes that was interchangeable, further blending classes into modular combat and social pools.
And adding something like that isn't exclusive to adding in class related system tracks (for martials, revised invested skill system, etc). So having other system changes doesn't mean you can't add in a social level track with some other function - they are not mutually exclusive.
Another very unpopular change I would advocate - and this goes to the problem of Martials/Skill based classes not being able to do enough - is that the caster classes can do too much.
Scaling back spell function and power is very unpopular around here when presented as a fix, unfortunately that is probably the biggest change (and the mutable DC system) that need to be changed. Once you touch that or try to - out come the torches.
Again, nice for people to try an make the changes to fix the problem. For me the amount of work needed to be put in it isn't worth it. I just wanted to chime back in because I feel that the micro approach (+X to this, or +Y skill points) is a band aid on a system that doesn't work well for anyone but casters.
Balancing fundamental qualities of the dnd math is important, no doubt, but the class features still have to have relative parity at the end of the day. Otherwise your just choosing one kind of disparity over another.
You're not (and most everyone posting in this thread) getting the bigger picture. Not trying to disparage you or any other posters, just an observation on this thread and the solutions presented.
It isn't simple a math change that's required but a total design change. No matter how many bonuses you give to Rogues to do their tricks, their tricks (skill system) become invalidated as the game assumes mid and higher levels. This has nothing to do with adding in +X to skills or saves.
D20 is a binary system (success/fail) with the ability for some classes to affect change to that system far easier than others or inversely raise the difficulty (DCs of spells) and affect character success. These flaws (yes, they are flaws) go beyond adding in a few extra points on saves for a fix - it doesn't make a difference when the premise of some classes usefulness lies on a system that gets jettisoned once you reach mid levels in the game.
Just as an example.
A path to consider - if one were to really pursue this - a new Class Skill feature system (which rewards class skills and skill points vs. +X in skill derived from item A, spell B, circumstance C). Class feature protectionism. So a move away from d20/+X and a move towards you need Y number of ranks in this class skill to try this or this.
Second - combat needs to be reworked in a fashion that benefits those with high BAB and attack rolls. A change to attacks that have a high BAB with hits that have detrimental/specialized (and free for the attacker - no Feat Tax or Feat Law) effect.
These two things I mention above are examples of exclusive systems (casters - Stay Out) that run parallel to existing salvageable systems. The above are just placeholder ideas as an example to illustrate that a possible fix should not focus on math but extra, supplemental or replacement systems attached to character tropes (sneaky guy, fighting guy, etc).
Currently, multiple systems in 3/X need an overhaul/rewrite and maybe a few added in so each role type has its own (protected) system of game interaction and operation.
Personally I don't think it's salvageable/worth the time or effort and should just be torn down and rebuilt from scratch - my opinion of course. On top of adding in parallel systems, the DC manipulation and "all items are spells" (lazy/boring) systems need to be addressed.
Too much work for this GM.
I love when we get to the part where people get mad at me for insinuating that biology as a humanly constructed field of science has human social influences, and then also argue what words mean with dictionary definitions.
Who is getting mad at you? At what point did you think that I or anyone else who has been responding to you is angry or may at you?
Also this might help: When you listed your 1st bullet point you should have made a distinction between Physical Biology and the study or science of Biology.
Because if a given society could by their own action (will, rituals, chants or even....sacrifices) change physical biology - point them out to me so I can....investigate them.
1 No, physical biology is not socially influenced. Though the scientific method can and has been influenced by beliefs or society.
2 This is a numbers game, not a conspiracy. People shift towards "normal" descriptors to have an idea about a common, or a control - to contrast variances vs. that common or control.
3 Prevalent - widespread in a particular area at a particular time. Synonymous with Common. Normal is more loaded than common, but these again are based on demographics and frequency and less on a conspiracy or social construct designed to marginalize. Marginalization occurs as a bi-product of a Majority/Minority paradigm and happens in almost any power struggle or Us vs. Them scenarios. Welcome to the world.
4 This a social construct that you are dealing with.
But these things are comprised by people...people who are part of (institutionally) or believe in this a valued societal norms (an a willing part of that society that holds those values).
Let me know how smashing all those people works out for you.
The common enemy is rich white guys and unchecked capitalism btw.
That's funny, usually the evil secret conspiracy isn't revealed until the third act?
So once your common enemy is eliminated, who becomes the new enemy?
Middle class white guys?
What is the stack ranking for those with the most privilege and down to the sorriest SOB?
This sounds like an interesting project for the Ahnenerbe (Aka the OG stack rankers).
Speaking from experience - those hurt.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Because when life is kicking you in the head - or someone is you know, actually physically kicking you in the head... and then someone from a lofty perceptive perch yells out to you -"hey, at least you are still white (or X)" it doesn't help.
It doesn't help at all.
It's not an attack on you. It's not an accusation. That's a good part of the reason "privilege" is better to talk about than "discrimination", because privilege is just something that happens to you and around you without you doing anything to cause it, while discrimination is something active. Discrimination actually is an accusation, while privilege really isn't. Or at least doesn't have to be.
No, it is an accusation. It is a valuation and assessment of an individual on face value. How are you making an assessment that someone has privilege in the first place. How? Why? Their perceived race, their perceived gender? Or how it appears to the one calling privilege?
This is bias and prejudice dressed up in another word.
Edit: I got to get back to Shark Island, I have a module to work on for tonight's game.
And would likely question where Anne's father was in all this, since he should be deciding such matters - with proper ceremonies and arrangements for the care of the inevitable children.
I don't think its very fair of you to bring up Anne's father who is situated on another moral quandary/metric test called Shark Island.
Right now they are currently debating if he should cut off part of his left hand, use his son's (Joe) leg or Anne's dead mother's body (Mabel) as bait to throw in the water for the sharks while other swims out to the adjoining island to use the pay phone that is located right in the middle of the island (surrounded by palm trees).
Personally I think their whole stupid family should invest in some tools and learn how to build a damn boat.
That's probably just my privilege speaking..er typing.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Its obvious that it isn't universal, that's the point of the exercise.For me though being told to inflict physical violence and acting out that violence =/= breaking off a relationship on the morality metric.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I think the violence part.One guy breaks off his relations with his GF(?), the other guy comes and beats him up for it. There is nothing here that warrants violence. If Bob beat up Ann then he should rightly get trounced Eric.
That isn't what happened though.
* and I wouldn't say Eric was universally reviled, I had him ranked second best after Dave who wasn't a real character (vaporNPC). He's just a tool that beat someone up because someone else told him to do so.
As an exercise it would probably would be best to not read anything extra into the puzzle/problem.
Am I the only person who sees this? I can't believe that, yet, nobody else is complaining.
You are not the only one who sees this, though bringing it up won't get you any invites to the cool kids club.
I stopped buying APs some time back due to the declining quality in writing, overall challenge of the adventures combined with the increasing message push, but I got suckered back in with Iron Gods (Faux Expedition to the Barrier Peaks - was not even a homage to S3). I should have known better - live and learn. I didn't buy into Giantslayer because I learned my lesson with the bait and switch homage routine they pulled with IG and that was enough for me.
From the snippets I hear from other GMs it does seem like things have gotten worse, not only in the messaging department but "the world they want to game in" mantra looks like it has finally caught up to them. The uber fantasy in response to the modern world with no ugliness, consequence, or bias coupled with the lack of understanding when it comes to writing in basic emotions/behavior - hate, fear, lust, greed or even something as simple as rage makes for some limited content. The whole is unraveling and fraying at the ends.
The only thing you really can do is communicate your concerns to other gamers and to vote with your wallet. The staff at Paizo will tell you the same because truth be told - they really don't care what you think (and have said so on numerous occasions).
IMO a big part of the reason this keeps happening with this company (and others) is that they are not challenged to do better. A blind, unquestioning loyalty from the fan base doesn't help the matter,...I mean, even you have nine subs with these guys - you helped make this happen. Maybe if they had to earn trust on a regular basis instead of people handing over money to them every month things might change? IDK.
I find it kind of hard to believe that you are just picking up on all this now?
Sounds like more of an issue with your players than your game design Terquem. If I was playing in your game I would ask questions and investigate - your examples sound like fun. I would still investigate even if the scenario was a fast paced run and gun adventure - because finding clues/information > brawn or firepower.
My current crop of players are a mixed bunch, but most of which come from an older crowd they know that information is as important if not more so than powering through encounters.
Then again, sometimes players like to turn off their brains and turn everything into bash=reward, that's OK sometimes - if it was that way all the time I would find new players or just quit gaming. It would just seem boring to me as a GM.
Mark Hoover wrote:
There are a few issues with some of the encounters in Barakus (the first few are actually the most obvious). I swapped some of the locations around to make the whole seem a bit more plausible, because while LCoB is trying for an old-school feel (B2 - Keep on the Borderlands) my older, "must make sense" mindset is in conflict with that style of design. You are experiencing "retro shock". Your expectations and experiences don't line up because you feel that (for you) verisimilitude is part of a good gaming experience, whereas FGG style product focuses more on varied challenges and difficulty level for good gaming experiences - neither approach is wrong but they are at odds with each other.
The focus of their dungeons (NG and subsequently FGG) is primarily to present difficult challenges and puzzles and they don't dwell as much on the "how" of the specific encounters. That is IMO what people are buying when they seek FGG modules are modules that do not fall into fair, CR-neat little boxes.
With that being said, that style of product would need some re-working to make them "internally consistent" since that isn't the focus of their products. For me, adding in an explanation, detail or switching which encounter is in which cave is worth it, because I then get the best of both worlds. I get a dungeon with an internally consistent ecology/pecking order and I get a challenging and memorable gaming experience for my players (who love difficult adventures).
I myself am trying to make some connections between some of the wilderness sites to create sub-stories in the area. I'm also modifying settlement of the area saying that the "empty plains" of the interior to the west are open steppe, moors, and grasslands as well as tiny forests so small as to not be recorded on the overland map. This area then is sparsely inhabited by settlements no larger than a Small Town under the protectorate of Endholme. Finally I'm alluding to larger groups of humanoids in the hills from which the ones in the dungeon spring and establishing that these monsters sometimes barter and purchase from one another or greater monsters - there is a sort of "monster economy" at work somehow.
Hoover, I think your attitude towards the map (small features, thorps, family holds) is 100% spot on and would be in the spirit of FGG design. They are sort of the "anti-Forgotten Realms" - no major named NPC good guys, and plenty of empty hexes for the GM to develop (or leave blank) as they see fit for their game. (This isn't a Realms bash, personally I like FG, it's just an observation).
As to the earlier issue of monster location, resupplying and replenishing and need for coin I will go back to a much earlier module to show you what I did to "make it work for me" as a GM.
I will use B2 as an example since it's the definition of old-school encounter design.
B2 - The Keep on the Borderlands:
The Keep on the Borderlands is very much a "wth" kind of dungeon with old-school monster layout. My approach was to look at the whole as sort of a criminal organization, with the different races taking up different slots within said organization. Some of the weaker denizens often get pushed around or even lose a member to a higher tiered group - but the reality (and I use that term loosely) is that a tribe of kobolds conducting profitable raids on their own would end in their destruction. Kobolds that live in the shadow of Goblins, Orcs, a minotaur and an evil cult will do much better. Even if they have to occasionally pay a tribute to live or a "tax" to pass through parts of their own lair. Often times each individual tribe has a different origin/home base and the Caves served as a sort of forward base to launch forays into human lands. Aspects of the 3/X class rules actually improves the old-school monster hotel layout with humanoids being able to now take class levels:
Imagine - a group of orcs conducting a raid on a settlement would be very - Orcish. Now imagine a raid of Orc fighters, Goblin rangers and Kobold rogues - backed up by Ogre barbarians and all held together by firm hand of evil priests who supplement those forces with undead?
A few other things I did for B2:
As to your original question, yes - it has to make sense for me to run it. In my current Post Apocalyptic game I am designing, the encounters take a long time for me to write. Why? Because they have to make sense. It actually holds me up and makes the process take much longer than it should but internal consistency is important to me. That internal consistency, once I get the ball rolling - actually helps me create more content, since it feeds upon itself with more and more tangents. The ball needs to get rolling though, or you get trapped by your own standards and end up spending valuable time staring at a blank word document.
Also Hoover - if you are having any problems with ideas, questions, reworkings or fixes you having a standing invite to PM me with any questions.
In the past I have run multiple varying rules systems for different groups - and once the players grasp the new system (from whatever core game system they are used to) it usually isn't a problem. Primarily because the systems themselves were very different from each other but also because the system were also genre specific - AD&D or 3/X vs. Chill 2nd edition (Horror) vs. Gamma World (Post Apocalyptic/sci fi/fantasy).
It helped to generate interest in other games and also offered options if a few players wanted to change up systems due to burnout. So it helps to have other options in rotation than just 3/X based games (which I am PERMANENTLY burned out on).
I don't run different systems simultaneously for same reason I am guessing Terquem doesn't - I'm older and time to game isn't what it used to be.
For me the problem wasn't the varying systems or confusion it may cause for either me or my players, for me the issue was content. I write all my own modules for the most part so it's difficult to run a Gamma World game - with a module I wrote, while then planning to switch to a Chill game (Horror) in a few months with a module I have yet to write. On top of the sheer volume of writing I need to do - it seems harder for me to shift gears on the creative side. Running two or three different systems at the same time isn't the problem, writing though - being creative - is tough. I have to be in a Chill mood/mindset to write a Chill scenario, same with any of my games.
A good fallback for me (if I need a break) is AD&D - because there is a wealth of good gaming content in there. So I can focus on writing other content while running a published AD&D scenario or module and not getting too caught up in the system or creative demands of that system.
Having a few different systems available has never been a negative for me or my group - it just gave us more options and the exposure to varied systems has made me a better GM and helped my players get a better grasp of game design, theory and goal.
Q:Martial / Caster disparity: What are you going to do about it?
A:Tried fixing it and then deciding not running PF or 3/X derivatives has been the best fix so far.
Otherwise, a complete game re-write of the:
- Skill system (and manipulation)
Just too much work for me to do to enjoy the game.
My opinion and view on the matter, I'm sure that others will disagree.
No, it has.See the thread about the GM who is afraid to modify a creatures DR because it isn't currently in the rule set as an option. This is the typical mindset of RAW GM or Player, something that was fostered by the 3.X/d20/OGL movement.
The more codification and expectation that "there needs to be a rule for that" the less wiggle room you have as both a player or GM to create something that comes from your imagination - it has to comply with the current gaming toolset.
This is an aspect/side-effect of hypercodification/MtG of the D&D rules that occurred in 2000 and 2003 and onward with every other 3.X clone (PF included). Aka "you need a rule for that" or "is it in the rulebook"? This is also the primary reason why a "Build Your Own Monster" book using a codified, game-legal toolkit has not been made in 15 years. Even the game's creators and those that followed can't figure out how to codify such wide ranging and subjective data - so they don't/can't put it out because it would cause the hypercod gaming community to go into apoplectic seizures.
So I will place a suggestion here, even though you expanded upon this in the GM Experience thread.
Instead of just rolling or picking through CR appropriate encounters maybe another method would be to focus on core ideas and themes and write/fit the encounters around those themes or ideas (and motivations).
So in your goblin write up the theme would be: Hunters.
So if you dropped one into your game you could either run it as the PCs meeting the Goblins first, or maybe they can meet the Fey (as it fits the environment) first who thinks its being stalked by creatures trying to catch it or kill it, then shortly followed by using the Goblin hunters encounter.
A method (just an idea really) is to start with a series of basic words/themes. Then see if you can randomly roll or just pick a creature that fits the word/theme to create an encounter. Some you can combine - then let them swirl around in your head. Some combined will not make sense, those are usually the most fun to try to put together.
Some sample words/themes:
BTW, I stole a few words from Cal's post to add to my sample list.
Had a funny "go with it" situation arise in my last Gamma World playtest game night. The characters are low level, armed with crap (xbows, short bows, spears, etc) so they are always on the look out for better weapons or even ancient tech gear while they are on their quest.
So they are exploring a small ruined town, checking some rubble of what's left of a few houses and some businesses. In one of the buildings they find the skeletal remains of an expired mutant (killed by some rubble spiders) - on the body they find some keys and the rest of his gear. No big deal. They fight the rubble spiders in an insane battle for a low level fight with players falling into walls (and almost through them) with a constant threat of the building collapsing (made their luck checks).
Another house over they find a very well hidden cache of survival gear and small locked strong box (they rolled the highest difficulty while searching). Now there are no potions in GW, but there are plenty of fragile items - so they are trying to figure out how to get it open or pick it without damaging the contents. When I wrote the building/loot up, I put the lock in as a challenge - did anyone get lockpicking, is there another way to open it without destroying the contents, etc. Basically a reward for those who invested the right skills or creative problem solving.
One of the players says - "why don't we check the keys we found on that skeleton?"
So I think to myself - "damn, I should have wrote that into the module".
Sometimes the players string together good ideas because they see things from their pov - which is always a nice thing to have when writing (and then re-writing) adventures.
It just comes and goes Hoover - that being said, if the stuff doesn't fit into your "simple encounter" project SAVE IT FOR LATER!
As far as 30 days of 30 simple encounters - start with a guideline and layout. Focus on the basics - the creature(s), a hook, the terrain, the time of day/night - and then confine your encounters to "sort of" fit those parameters.
If you come up with something deeper, set it aside (still work on it though) and focus on generating encounters for the project. Even though its simple in scope and by contrast detailed encounters are great, there's something to be said for sticking by your own rules on a project.
The modules are in you though - if generating encounters serves as a tool for creating bigger things then by all means use it! Even if they just become notes that get set aside.
That was my understanding also - no more subs, but more due to the time pressures and obligations (plus the potential of being late). I think their concern was more of a method of purchase and delivery - aka - the subscription model.
That being said - they still can come out with an Expansion II, III, (Un)Living Rappan Athuk (Campaign guide, plots), Rappan Athuk - The Lost Levels, etc - without putting themselves on the spot or a forced time table that a subscription would require.
I know that FGG wants to expand their Lost Lands Campaign world and that is what gamers want and GMs need to run a long term game, but to me RA is a gold mine of potential material that needs be revisited time to time. I think those opining for it in this thread are going on the information that RA would still be getting some product.
RA is the Lost Lands Castle Greyhawk and Temple of Elemental Evil (combined). It was one of the supplements/mods that hooked people back in the NG days (along with Bard's Gate, Lost City of Barakus, Vault of Larin Karr) and much like Orcus and Tsathoggua it is an iconic dungeon that people remember. To me it would make sense to keep RA in the minds of Lost Lands GMs and players as an important locale of the Lost Lands (much like Tsar).
I suspect the Yellow King plot thread might be one and done for this season. My guess would be next season we will get some thing else with nods to cosmic horror but not specifically the Yellow King. Lots of other material to draw inspiration from.
Paizo.com devoured my post, bleah..
I think this is going to be tied to a sex-cult, possibly mythos related. Possibly Shub-Niggurath. Soon there will be whispers around the water cooler about who or what is the Dark Goat of the Wood with a Thousand Young, just like they did with the Yellow King....maybe not, but possibly. Lemme esplain...
This thing reads like a Delta Green op, but instead of federal agents we have a city cop (the city is supposed to be much like the City of Vernon near LA), Sheriff and CHP and an underworld criminal - so they have all the research points covered.
So my theory on the Shub-Niggurath cult angle -
The crime and the icon plus some peripheral players (the Russians) made me think of the Skoptsi -as written up for Delta Green but could be based off of the real thing, and then the black idol in the car with Caspere made me again think of the Skoptsi and their black icons (and their search for them/importance). So Caspere may have been part of this cult and had his bits and pieces removed because in some way he offended the cult or put a resource at risk. Maybe a track of land? Maybe he found an icon?
Santa Muerte can also be considered an avatar of the Dark Goat - all those found bodies in the field with markers in the opening shot. Missing women, and no doubt they may play up missing children/adoptions from Russia. So this can go a 100 ways. Or maybe a 1000 - Young.
The monk's name who started the Skoptsi - Semyon. Maybe a coincidence with our underworld character in TD2, but the whole thing seems suspect.
Skoptsi/Shub-Niggurath FTW. I'm sticking with that theory until at least the next episode.
So.....how much xp do I get for cracking this thing wide open?
This pretty much right here. I would not write off the quirky Goblins of the keeps so quickly. I think if you added some levels, added in some extra support you may come to like the setup.
I actually have an expansion of the Castle (Beyond Castle Calaelen - original, isn't it) that adds a small secret dungeon and a few entrances throughout the complex (primary one is in the sealed library).
The reason for me is that I always use slow track xp, I tallied up the xp for the entire complex and felt that I still had a budget to work with to add a few more encounters. Going through my written notes in my little blue notebook (have not converted it to word yet) I have added:
Added to Roster:
- A Fiendish Orgekin-Gnoll cleric of Crocutus (level 2, but that's assuming the original mod) - with Fragile and Oversized Maw as features.
Unbreached Crypt (not yet accessed by goblins, entrance is in sealed library):
- Petrified Zombies and Skeletons (increased AC +4, flat DR 5/-, Resist Fire , but move slower). Regenerate 1 point per minute.
- Bat Swarm (Fiendish Bats) I call "Strip Bats" - fly around like a bat swarm at first, then start attacking PCs trying to strip flesh from bone.
- Animated Gibbet (I have a full write up and history of this monster if I ever get the courage to post it).
Advancing the story: Since becoming a cleric of Orcus, Jedra has been given visions of undead by her demon god. She has started to dig around the complex (and is looking for slaves to do the work) to find and free the Petrified Dead. While they are particularly slow monsters, nothing would prevent her from controlling them, rounding them up in a wagon and deploying them on an unsuspecting camp..or town. Somewhere strategically where their slow speed wouldn't be a problem and escape would be difficult.
Lead ins/hooks: Missing farmers or traders in or around Zelkors Ferry are being used as slaves to dig out the Castle or being used as sacrifices by Jedra to give her more "visions" and guidance.
I loved Mr. Clatworthy's original module, my only regret was that it was not longer. So I made it longer.
silverhair (or anyone else interested) PM me if you need ideas on expansion or some of the stat blocks for any of the these additions.