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Yep I would agree with Brute, if the party doesn't want to go out of their way to undo the curse they don't need to. That and there's plenty of castle, dungeon stuff in Crown of Fangs. So skipping out on some might be a good thing. As for the XP thing well I would just bump em up to where you want them for CoF (unless you want to throw some other encounters at them)
Kudos to the party for managing so well. My group had a tough time of it in Scarwall, Still it was fun when they went directly to Mithrodar (they fell for the hag's ruse) and realized they hadn't a snowball's chance in hell.
Brett Hubbard wrote:
Well the thread say's spoilers... Just ran this last week so what I decided was:
1. I just described it as running from floor to ceiling, an amorphous floating mass in the centre of the chamber. For some reason I imagined it as somewhat funnel like.
2. I didn't really conceive it as an obstacle though no one in the party wanted to go near it. You couldn't see through it so it could interrupt line of sight (Gives somewhere for Ileosa or a party member to go). It didn't come up, but I suppose someone within two squares of the edge might have 50 percent concealment. Anything beyond that would probably be out of sight.
But its pretty up to GM interpretation.
yep, which is why in hindsight I would recommend making her a sorcerer still focused on charm, enchantment but with a wider assortment of offensive spells. A party with a good amount of casters capable of casting (and recasting) protection from evil will box her in.
or the other possibility would be to houserule protection from evil nerfing it (maybe a +4 to saves. vs compulsion). Seriously, its a horrible spell for 2nd level.
Some overall thoughts on the campaign:
-the first half is solid, gritty and was very memorable. Myself and the players really digged Korvosa, its details, the feel of the city. The first two adventures were fantastic stuff particularly Seven Days.
-the second half after leaving Korvosa is good but just too long. I had been tempted to change things a bit more but was too busy so stuck to the book but shortened as much as I could. I know this was a common complaint. After the first three adventures I was looking forward to a few adventures outside of the city but after playing through them I realized the same thing.
-Serithtial. Yep, the whole get the magic sword to kill the baddie is a fine plot device but I felt that it might've put too much emphasis on the character who has it as then it becomes about supporting that character so he can get the swing in against the Queen. I think it would've been better to have found another device to defeat the Queen (one that encompasses more of an active group effort) and reduce the sword's role.
-The Harrow Deck of Many Things is a lot of fun!
-This was the second time I've ran a campaign to the higher levels (the other was Savage Tide). Its just not that fun. Lvl 10-12 seems to be the cap. A high level political campaign could work but a slog of high level battles is just draining.
-I think I'm done with APs for a long time, that and D&D. Its far too rules intensive. I'm curious to try out Savage Worlds or well anymore rules-lite RPG. I like Pathfinder but really anything d20 right now does seem to appeal.
Finished running Crown of Fangs yesterday and brought Curse of the Crimson Throne to its end.
So first, the battle with Ileosa. I used the Queen's stats as is, added two more simulacrums and another Dread Wraith. The minions were an effective screen and the wraiths brought down one of the party members halfway through the battle (which gave him the opportunity to play the summoned paladin, a reborn Mandraivus courtesy of the harrow deck). The cleric and the fighter wielding Serithtial courtesy of fly made a beeline to the Queen. Most of the battle stuck to this pattern as the rest of the party dealt with minions, healing, buffing, recasting dispelled spells etc. and the fighter, cleric and later the paladin going toe to toe against Ileosa.
Overall the battle was big, and epic enough that I think most of the players got what they wanted from the showdown. That said, it felt a bit weak that the Queen was essentially undone by this overpowered 2nd level spell. I was aware that protection from evil would be one of the things that Ileosa would have to look out for but I thought with her number of greater dispels she'd be able to knock the party off balance for a greater period of time than she did. Her defenses are great and she can't be overwhelmed but all of her offensive abiltiy lies in compulsions.
Christopher Paul Carey wrote:
Thanks for the reply and the tip. Would definitely look forward to seeing more of her work but have enjoyed the line and the chance to discover some old authors. Planet Stories certainly resparked my interest in delving more into the 'classic' SF, fantasy. Hopefully after I finish my stint at being a student again I'll restart my sub. Thanks for the good work!
Well the other day I happened to be walking by a used bookstore sadly closing up so like a vulture I descended into the stacks. Picked up quite a bit including one or two books by Brackett. Just finished The Big Jump which was quite enjoyable and started to wonder if there might be any plans to publish further Planet Stories featuring her work. Failing that anyone know any good sources to locate more of her stuff?
Yep the trick is to strike that balance. Some groups are quite easy to reach that point while others not so much or a few holdouts amidst the players. A bit off topic but I feel for a campaign a GM needs to pitch a campaign concept (e.g. low magic, realistic middle ages murder mystery a la Cadfael or crazy powerful viking sons of gods vs. vampires from outer space) and then its up to the players (after willingly saying yeah I'll go for that) to concoct a character that has a reason to be there. They have a choice (and no one should feel they have to play the ____) but with some liberal guidelines. I still regret allowing a player to play a ninja in my CoCT campaign. Not for any power issues it just feels really stupid to have an elven ninja in Korvosa.And yes, a party can be fine without a cleric and a DM should modify to some extent accordingly.
Meh..., if you let the players know in advance this is how I roll as a GM (and your methods still keep the game fun) and they agree then all's well I'd say. A GM forcing players to kow-tow can and often is just as intolerable as the GM giving all the options and always saying yes to everything.
One thing I've done is port in reserve points from Iron Heroes. Essentially each character has RPs equal to their max HP. Outside of combat they can spend 1 minute of rest to convert one RP to a HP (essentially they spend this time first aid, reset the joint or just gritting their teeth and pushing on). Off hand I can't recall how quickly they recover them (it might be level + Con score per 8 hours rest). Either way, handy for the party without the cleric and even with the cleric. Combats remain just as challenging, deadly and if needed they can still gulp down a potion of cure mod.
Otherwise in response to the original question, clerics aren't necessary but they do make things a lot easier.
I would suggest Savage Worlds would be a good fit to run Rifts. For my next campaign I may very well be doing a rifts-esque setting with this system. Additionally, there are a few supplements for Savage that do the post-apocalpytic and sci-fi thing quite well. Also Day After Ragnarok (Atomic Overmind Press) is totally worth checking out. Its not Rifts but it operates at that level of delicious lunacy.
Yep that's the case in a targeted dispel the scenario I was querying about was just the area dispel. So yep, the villain has to cast each time for each PC if they want to take down the protection from evil. Fair enough I suppose. Still think protection from evil is way too powerful for its level.
Also since Protection would be up on each one of them, a targeted dispel at just that spell would only bring it down on the one he targets with it.
Yep, thats why I was looking at the area dispel. But after hearing other people's take on it, yep it seems that short of disjunction or an anti-magic field there is no way to specifically target protection from evil.
The disjunction was a good idea and would be nasty in the right circumstances but given where the final encounter needs to happen that spell would also put an end to the villain's machinations.
The villian can select the effect that is blocking his spell, if he knows something is blocking his effects. But then it only targets that spell and doesn't automatically hit lower level stuff.
I'm not sure if I completely get what you're saying. First, while I would like the villain to be able to select the effect that is blocking the spell (i.e. ignore higher buffs such as stoneskin and select for protection from evil) I don't see anything in the spell description that would allow for that. The second sentence about hitting lower level stuff I'm not certain what you mean. Once an effect is dispelled on a target in the area its used up for that person.
Ah what the heck posting in an OTD thread...
Re the platform, sounds like a bunch of hypocrites worried that someone somewhere might be having the type of fun that they probably secretly wish they were having. And yes its not the official Republican party's platform and hopefully isn't shared by too many of them.
I'm still not sure why these threads always devolve into what they usually become...
As for Canada, houstonderek, while our system of social programs is certainly not without its flaws, I'm pretty confident in stating that we've avoided the excesses of many of the European countries cradle to grave systems but nor have we adopted the American model. Its pretty middle of the road and all things considered running reasonably. Arguably, Canada has weathered the recent economic slump with the least amount of issues amongst the G-20 nations. The sky isn't falling up here. I'm not saying its perfect but it isn't all that bad either.
Oh and regardless of one's political stripes, Edmund Burke had a lot to say worth listening to.
Neuromancer is a great read. Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive, eh not so much.
Virtual Light again another good one. Don't bother with the two other books that follow.
Spook Country. While not blow me away good also stands out.
Gibson's short stories (collected in Burning Chrome) are probably his best stuff.
There are quite a few but ones that standout.
Escape - Fungal guardians at the entrance to the Arkona dungeon. No one died but it was by the skin of their teeth for everyone.
Vimanda while not deadly her own was able to draw the party into numerous traps in the labyrinth.
The party got the prisoners and left the Arkonas alone. I imagine any party setting out to exterminate the Arkonas could easily bite off more than they could chew.
Ashes - Don't get me wrong the battle at the end is deadly especially as the party has to keep going. By the time they get to the Mantis leader they'll be vulnerable. Granted I added a dragon just for kicks so hard to gauge as written.
Scarwall - This is a serious meatgrinder. The encounter with Nihil was probably the deadliest on its own but Kleestad is no push over (unless the party is rested and ready.) I skipped over the demilich.
Crown of Fangs - Mavrokeras put half the party out of commision for awhile. Togomor if used differently as presented in the book is also vicious particularly with Sermignatto.
Icetitan, consider you note heeded. In the final analysis I'll run the encounter so that while challenging, and epic its the players having fun that matters. This has probably been the highest body count D&D campaign that I've ran but no TPKs. Once or twice during this campaign they teetered on TPK but I've been pretty good about working things in so that they have a way out. Well thanks for the tips!
All right so my party is coming up to the confrontation with the final villain in the campaign. Many of this villain's powers are rooted in enchantment compulsion, mind-affecting stuff. The party is more than likely going to have protection from evil up on each of them in addition to other buffs.
So my question is, the way the rules are written can the villain select for Protection From Evil to be the effect dispelled or does it need to start with the highest level buffs (say stoneskin or the like)?
Wow, thanks IceTitan for a very thorough review, well laid out. It sounds much deadlier than the writeup for tactics given. I suppose some more close reading of her spells is in order. I think its fair to say even with 7 good guys they should be hard pressed even with their protections.
Well we'll see how it goes hopefully there'll be a balance between incapacitating players but still giving them ways to react/solve. It still feels like it may well be a very swingy battle.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I think you're taking that statement a little too literally. Lovecraft is pretty clearly riffing off the connotations that voodoo inspire (and yes he is being stereotypical).
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I'm just going to chalk this one up to an issue around suspension of disbelief. While I admit that today the premise of scientists completely missing such widespread evidence of pre-human inhabitation of the Earth is perhaps a bit harder to swallow, in the 1920s this would've been more credible to Lovecraft's audience. At the same point Lovecraft was writing for the pulps. Strict verisimilitude wasn't what they were known for.However, I would add, on these grounds then you might as well chuck out Verne, Wells, Poe's sci-fi, a good amount of Bradbury, Asimov and well the list goes on. I'm sure that fifty years from now SF being written today will hold similar issues.
For my two cp, are Lovecraft's ideas and stories gripping on their own? If you say yes, then just enjoy the ride.
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Well I enjoyed the series so far, until the nagging feeling arose that Martin has no idea how to resolve this series. I could be wrong but the huge wait for the next book(s) seems to indicate he may have realized that. Granted it might just be my growing annoyance with overly long fantasy series (seriously do you really need 8 books to tell your story?!)
Hartnell: Well obviously there's the Daleks. The Edge of Destruction was an interesting one. As far as I know the only episode set entirely in the TARDIS.
Troughton: Pretty limited selection but Tomb of the Cybermen
Pertwee: Like Baker there's a lot to pick from here. For now, I'd say the Time Warrior, gave us Sarah Jane and the Sonatarans.
Baker: A lot of them have already been mentioned. I'd add Robot was a solid story introducing a new Doctor.
Davison: Caves of Androzani was probably his best but Enlightenment was another fun and imaginative episode from the era.
Colin Baker: ... sorry nothing really memorable. Definitely the low point of the series. While Baker wasn't the problem he wasn't helping either. Maybe the Dalek episode for the Alexi Sayle cameo?
McCoy: Ghostlight was a fun one even if it has its weak points.
Hey all, so my group is perhaps two sessions away from the final showdown with Ileosa. They're still in the castle and have yet to face Togomor and Sermignatto. I changed things around a little bit allowing them the opportunity to find Venster's body and retrieve the Harrow Deck of Many Things. It seemed a good way to end the last session.
Luckily, no campaign shattering things came up. Quite the contrary I now have 4 evil clones of the party's thief running about unbeknownst to them.
However, one card did come up: the paladin (Which basically gives the party member a holy avenger that they can use once to summon a paladin 2 levels higher then themselves to aid them in one encoutner).
While I'm not going to change anything I am somewhat concerned about the last battle with Ileosa. Its already a six person party. While not all characters are crazy tough, a few are, particularly the fighter (two-handed weapon specialist, power attack and a few other feats like Leap Attack). The fighter single handedly mows through encounters with Serithtial. Which is fine at this level that is what they're supposed to do and I can usually still give them challenging encounters.
However, with now 7 characters on the good guys side that last encounter is not looking so good. My thought is to save Sermignatto until this battle. Though I wonder if that might be compensating too much? Fo folks who ran the final battle how deadly, challenging is it?
I've actually wracked up a fair amount of PC kills in this campaign.
Seven Days to the Grave
History of Ashes
Skeletons of Scarwall
Who: Varisian Bard. Bellshallam's breath weapon. Not quite able to get negotiations with the cursed dragon off to a good start...
Who: Shoanti Cleric.
Now finally starting the last book so we'll see how much more PC death is to come...
That would fit Bahor's personality and goals. I've been toying with the idea that Glorio makes a public thing of leaving Korvosa vowing his return. He leaves the palace defended by magical wards and the like to deter any unwelcome guests. Secretly, Bahor and his rakshasa relatives take up residence in the Cerulean Society guildhall. This way they're no longer targets for Ileosa to pick off.
I think there will be more than enough elements in play until after Ileosa's defeat. I might have Bahor tip the party of about the surprise waiting for them in Harse but that would be the extent of his active involvement. If the group is interested in dealing with the aftermath I could have the Cerulean Society invovled in picking off nobles and targeting the PCs until Glorio is ready to return to Korvosa to pick up the pieces. Either that or the rakshasa puts the hooks into one of the houses so as to be a puppetmaster rather than rule openly. Lots of possibilities.
Has anyone done what roguerouge is proposing?
My group is approaching the endgame of the AP as well and I have been thinking about how to restructure Crown of Fangs so as to avoid the dungeon-fatigue/doing the same schtick twice.
I have a few things that my players have provided to help me. Firstly, one of the character's father was sent to Magnimar at the end of Seven Days to try to raise a force against Ileosa. Secondly, the party has gone out of their way to recruit Varisians and Shoanti to their side (even promising the Shoanti a return to the lowlands). Also, the Daughter of Urgathoa and a ressurected Rolth are still in play. That and Bahor. (yep lots of loose ends)
So what I've sketched out are a few things:
-Aware of the party's actions and the Shoanti threat Ileosa ordered the Gray Maidens to establish a garrison at Harse to protect Korvosa from an attack. In order to get the Shoanti army and clutch of Varisian sorcerors within striking distance to invade the city this outpost must be taken. However, aside from some Mantis assassins the Maidens also brought a secret weapon with them. Some very nasty creature. Something like a pit fiend but maybe not quite as high CR. The party doesn't know this but they will pick up some clues that something very nasty is waiting for their army. Investigate and defeat the pit fiend before it wipes out most of their force.
-Renedevous at the Boneyard; sneaking into the city to make contact with Cressida and the resistance. Arrive in time for a secret meeting with a priest of Asmodeus who opposes the Queen. Rather than forced blood donations I'm thinking that the 'cure' to Blood-veil was somehow tampered with so the Queen can use it as a sympathetic focus for the ritual. So basically everyone who received the inoculation is going to become an unwitting sacrifice. Additionally, the attack force in Magnimar was also inoculated with the Blood-veil vaccine. To complicate matters the priest brings another brother of his Church but this brother is actually under the control of the Daughter of Urgathoa. The Daughter (advanced to make her deadlier) teleports in with minions.
-Potential side-quest: Rolth (probably now a lich of some kind) was sent to Magnimar to ensure the army received the tampered Blood-veil vaccine. The party may go to Magnimar to root him out.
-Infiltrate the castle: The party will still infiltrate the castle but I'll cut it down quite a bit. Focus mainly on the party finding Togomor, discovering the false Ileosa and the location of the Sunken Pyramid (which I may just put as a dungeon complex underneath the Mastaba, not sure)
So the only other thing floating around is what to do with Bahor but the group is still in Scarwall so have a bit of time to figure that out. So that's my rough plan thus far. Thoughts, comments appreciated.
Thanks for the suggestions. The party has a cleric that sometimes does the summon monster thing but removing that ability wouldn't cripple her. I'm inclined to do the total effect just to be consistent.
Oddly enough my party basically did the walk out and teleport without realizing it. They returned to the orc encampment where they left a small cache of loot they were planning on selling. Next session they're planning on teleporting back in.. Maybe they end up in the moat? Cue evil GM laughter...
A quick question as my group is likely to face one of the anchors next session, how does dispel evil work to free the anchor (i.e. is it automatic or does it need a dispel check, if so against what CL?) Any thoughts appreciated.
Also, does the dimensional anchor effect on the castle make summoning monsters impossible?
Paul McCarthy wrote:
I've been meaning to start Lions of Al-Rassan, Werthead, but wasn't a huge fan of Tigana so I kind of put Kay on the backburner. I found Tigana a bit of a chore, not exactly brimming with action and certainly a huge read. How was Lions in relation to Tigana before I endeavor on another massive tome of his?
I would unhesitatingly recommend Al-Rassan. IMO its one of Kay's best (next to the Sarantium Series). Al-Rassan I think has quite a bit more action and a lot of good character conflicts/tension to keep it going. Granted I liked Tigana but I can see your point about it not the most action-y read. Well them's my two cp.
Re the statues
I was scratching my head (single) for most of the episode over that. How do they not realize? However, the Doctor does mention quickly the oversight was a result of a perception filter
Hey all a question for those who ran/played thru Scarwall. My group of six is on the cusp of wrapping up Ashes but I am a bit concerned about adding Laori, Sial and his Asyra to the party creating a group of nine. High level combat is already becoming somewhat of a headache as we go around the table.
Any other ideas?
They're not truly essential but my group is almost done History of Ashes and they've certainly enjoyed them and it helps give Zellara a more definite role throughout the campaign. Curious what is the difficulty your having with the rules for the readings? I generally do the spread and unless I know what the prescribed reading is for that card from the Harrow book I just wing off the picture, concept and somehow link it back to the adventure. As a GM for an AP its pretty easy as you know what's coming as opposed to a more free-form wandering campaign.
Still if it feels like it won't be fun than don't worry about it.
Good job on the proposal. I actually quite liked the ziggurat and really dig what I see here. Out of the four this has my vote. The vibrant use of setting, Indian vibe got my attention right off the bat. Thuggee cultists, naga, garuda, wereleopards. Would love to see this in print and run it. Though the name and the whole ebon thing definitely needs a change! Good luck.
Re Shackled City. It is set in Greyhawk and was the very first AP that Paizo did, it was originally published in Dungeon Mag. So technically its not part of the Pathfinder (but certainly if you liked it it could be ported in easily) setting/adventures etc. But sounds like you're looking exclusively for Golarion APs which are Pathfinder.
Re the earlier APs (rise of the runelords, curse of the crimson throne) you shouldn't find any problems between the adventures and what is written in the campaign setting book. RotRL and CoCT are set in the Varisia region. Neither of them deal much with the Inner Sea area (Cheliax, Taldor etc.) Regardless, both should be a lot of fun to run/play. I am currently running a group through Crimson Throne and they've had a blast in exploring Korvosa and are now just on their way to the Cinderlands.
Also something to bear in mind if you're just starting out there are also individual pathfinder modules (stand alone adventures rather than larger campaigns). Crypt of the Everflame seems like a solid intro to the setting and the game.
Well I'd have to disagree about the other authors in the "Lovecraft Circle." August Derleth was really the only one who gave the mythos that good vs. evil spin. Granted he was one of the most prolific of that bunch (he was also the guy who though coined the term the Cthulhu mythos but wanted to originally call it the Mythology of Hastur, after one of his own creations.)
I'd also suggest checking out Tides of Dread from STAP. I ran it and I still think it was the highpoint of the AP for my group. The party was able to create defenses that added to their 'victory points' and then carrying out specific tasks/encounters during the battle wrack up further points indicating the result of the greater battle.
Splintering off from the evil campaign discussions in the general forums I'm wondering what elements would make for a working "Evil" campaign? What type of stories do you think should be presented? What elements do you think should be included to help keep an campaign on track? Should vices be included as elements to portray reality or should they be just window dressing that aren't really addressed (such as drug use)? Anything else that might be added to an evil campaign?
This is one of those things I'd be curious to see if it could work beyond just an amusing one-shot. I have some memories of what were pretty silly 'evil parties' from when I first started gaming and yeah it was mostly over the top and devolved into un-fun backstabbing.
But how could it work? The one thought I have right now would be something akin to the Godfather, so more in the LE, NE territory than CE. A party working together to hold up their faction in some underworld conflict, maybe ultimately taking over the family business? The family would be almost certainly involved in some perfidious schemes ranging from fairly tame things such as blackmail, extortion to of course murder, slave trade, political corruption etc. In this setup the party would while certainly be 'bad guys' could still draw the line at some things (kind of like Corleone not willing to get in on the drug racket). I could see that working with the right group and there's lots of film, literature to serve as a template.
Tides of Dread was certainly the most memorable of the adventures in the AP for my group. They had a lot invested in Farshore and the adventure did well to draw many of the features of the Isle of Dread together. In fact the two adventures the followed almost suffered as they didn't feel for my group as 'epic' (particularly the Lightless Depths).
As for Vanthus second appearance, he definitely will need buffing up. I don't recall what I did exactly but as written he is very weak for such a high level party. The shadow demons help but if you don't want Vanthus obliterated in 2 rounds give him a bit more.
Hired Sword wrote:
Not having access to the magic Walmart was a nice thing about the campaign actually. The party was still picking up treasure from encounters (often altered it to suit the party more) and I did fudge somethings like the Olman bequeathing additional items to the party in exchange for their aid. Going back and forth to Sasserine would definitely take the wind out of the sails (and ruin the whole remote corner of the world idea). But yeah depends on the group and how needy they are about magic trinkets.
Good luck with STAP. My group had a lot of fun with it. It is still my favorite of the Dungeon APs. I also had a three person group occasionally augmented with various rotating guest stars that I gave a player to control most of the time. As for cutting stuff from the adventures the first half as written I found was good. I excised filler encounters here and there but nothing much more. I even added in side treks during Sea Wyvern's Wake.
Once you get past the Isle of Dread part then I started cutting or folding things in together. I actually had the campaign end with a significantly revised Serpents of Scuttlecove that included elements of Into the Maw, and some of the other abyssal adventures. The campaign was fun but I didn't think the group was too eager for high level play. The abyssal adventures were well done but they are also the easiest to jettison.
Also agree Moon was a great low-key, mature SF with some solid storytelling, emotional core but also big ideas. No big explosions, crazy robot monsters etc. Had a good sort of Ray Bradbury vibe too it. Highly recommended. Rockwell gives a fantastic performance. I liked District 9 a lot but this would take my vote for best SF film of 2009. As for Sunshine worth the watch, but in the not-bad but not great category.