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Bookkeeper's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 176 posts (263 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 4 aliases.

Liberty's Edge

NOTE UP FRONT: I am a player in this campaign, so please avoid spoiler-y analysis.

Our party has just completed The Varnhold Vanishing and I am left with a moral conundrum: a good chunk of the treasure of this book is bound up in the items that belong to the Varnlings we just went to hell and back to rescue. On the one hand, I get moral complexity. On the other hand, future AP writers are using a CR system that builds in presumptions about our level of equipment. Kingmaker has had its share of treasure designed to make the PCs' lives onerous (I'm looking at you, statues in the Dancing Lady's Tower), but this may be the first time that I cannot envision a way for a good-aligned party to take recompense out of what they have found.

What sort of reactions have other parties drawn to the way in which treasure is handed out, or not handed out, over the course of the adventure?

Liberty's Edge

It has been almost a year since my Rise of the Runelords campaign came to a bloody conclusion in the depths of Runeforge. I took some time off to run some other games, try out some Pathfinder Society, and let my batteries recharge. When I saw the advertisements for Way of the Wicked, I was intrigued, but only a little bit – I’ve played in two “evil” campaigns in my gaming career (Begun in 1980). One of them was amazing: we were agents of the Zhentarim and I was playing a cleric of Bane. We worked together to enslave the Moonsea and beat the unholy hell out of Semmemon. The other was…well, it was bad. PvP combat was practically the rule and we never really got anywhere or accomplished anything. So I approached WotW with some hesitation. Gary McBride responded by not only dispelling my fears, but making me hungry to run a game once more.

Now, as much as I like Talingarde and the church of Mithra, my players want world they are familiar with. I considered setting the game in Golarion, but it felt like Golarion had enough troubles and the potent and righteous kingdoms waiting to be demolished were few and far between. However, I had been a Forgotten Realms player from way way back. My wife’s very first D&D campaign (1999) was in the Realms. One of my biggest complaints about Faerun was that villains seemed to have a pretty hard time of it. If you didn’t live in the Moonsea, there were Chosen of Mystra, Harpers, and a whole armada of good churches waiting to fall on your poor evil head. One the questions a Realms DM always has to answer is, “Why hasn’t (Insert mighty NPC name here, usually Elminster) solved this problem yet?” Bad guys get a raw deal in Faerun. It’s time for some payback.

So my Way of the Wicked campaign will see the PCs lay waste to the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr. They’ll do battle with Purple Dragon Knights and the Church of Torm (any god that refers to himself as the “True” God in a pantheon should be held suspect). In the coming months, I’ll make some posts about the conversions I’ve made to Cormyr and to the Church of Torm in order to bring so much of what I loved about Gary’s writing into the campaign. The campaign will not actually kick off until the New Year, but I've got a lot of work to do in the meantime!

It’s time for the champions of truth and justice to bend the knee.

Liberty's Edge

This is something I put together for our local Kingmaker game. We have a number of folks playing gambling types and I wanted to add some real-world card games alongside Towers or the occasional round of Three-Dragon Ante.

Thus, I offer up for general consumption Golden Eagles Poker.


Liberty's Edge

My beloved bride is running Kingmaker (the set and an offer to run were last year's Christmas gift - I am a lucky man!). We're chronicling the game over at Obsidian Portal

Within the adventure logs, you'll also find some "behind the scenes" material from our mighty DM, as she breaks down her own experiences with putting the campaign together. The forums also include a semi-lengthy debate of letters on the shape of the new government.

Come for the political debates, stay for the Bearowl!

Liberty's Edge

My players have currently planted themselves in the heart of Jorgenfist and are trying to figure out how to deal with Mokmurian. On my 2nd reading of books five and six, I've hit upon an idea for a somewhat radical change for ol' Karzoug.

The second half of this campaign involves a tremendous number of spellcasters in the role of BBEG. Barl Breakbones, then Mokmurian, then the many and varied wizards of Runeforge, finishing up with the the big Transmuter-of-Doom at the end. While themes can be good, it feels like two big problems could erupt:

1) The players develop a sense of tedium: One more spellcaster, one more battle with loads of annoying spells combined with the occasional explosion that ruins everyone's day.

2) As the players develop anti-spellcaster tactics, the possibility of them giving the arch-villain of the campaign a righteous pasting becomes more and more likely. The couple of threads I've seen noting games in which he was wiped from the field in a big hurry have reinforced this concern.

So I did some thinking about Karzoug's nature: As the Runelord of Greed, he's incredibly old, fantastically greedy, and highly intelligent. While a ten thousand-year-old wizard certainly fits the bill, I think there's something else that might fit as well, if not better.

I'm thinking of making him a Dragon.

Now the party will face two dragons en route - Freezemaw and Ghlorofaex, but there has been a surprising dearth of dragons in this particular campaign. It's also worth noting that I have a very simple reason I would like to make this change - that Colossal Red Dragon "miniature" sitting on my bookshelf. Making Karzoug into a Great Wyrm Red Dragon changes up a couple of things about the final encounter:

1) It makes combat a lot more visceral - the Burning Glaive notwithstanding, Karzoug as written will spend most of his time slinging high-powered magic at the party. While this presents interesting tactical challenges, the melee folks are at the mercy of necessary fly-items to get them to grips with the Wizard. While a dragon of such age and power would hardly need to engage in hand-to-hand, a mighty Red is the kind of dude to get his talons bloody.

2) It's a surprise for the players - Presuming that Karzoug dealt with his minions and fellow Runelords in a shapeshifted-human form, the players are expecting a mighty wizard. When said wizard transforms into a Colossal Dragon...well, I get a little evil giggle from imagining the looks on their faces.

I might have to redesign the Eye of Avarice a bit, though it's certainly a large enough space. It makes changes it altitude a bit trickier, as his flying ability will lack the precision of the spell. There's also the fact that his spellcasting will diminish significantly (though I may adjust that to make his spellcasting sufficient to the task of being a Runelord, even if it's not 20th-level Transmuter kind of power).

Is it a good idea? Will I end up TPK-ing the party? Am I letting my love of one big mini overwhelm good sense? Are there other changes I should be looking at? What do ya'll think?

Liberty's Edge

So, did your wife get you all 6 episodes of Kingmaker for your birthday?

Did she then offer to run it for you?

I am a blessed and lucky man. That is all.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks to my new job, I am confident that I will not have time to take part in National Novel Writing Month this year. This makes the second year I will not be participating; however, this year I am responding not with surrender, but with a different plan.

I am going to write an adventure.

I’ve been out of the adventure-writing business for about six years and it’s time to challenge myself again. According to the phenomenal Pathfinder podcast by d20 radio, your average Pathfinder 32-page adventure is somewhere from 25,000-30,000 words. So I’m going to give it my best shot.

Inspired by my time-sink-of-the-moment, Dragon Age, I want to write an adventure that provides players with choices that bear consequences. Not bad consequences, necessarily, but ones that are pretty much irrevocable. I also wanted to get away, at least in the larger story, from a very clear-cut bad guy. The story has one, to be sure, but he (or it might be “she” by Thanksgiving) doesn’t show up until the very end.

As befits a NaNoWriMo-esque project, I invented the plot on my hour commute home. I need it to be self-contained, but to hold parallel storylines depending on how the party makes its decisions. What I came up with is this:

A human outpost is the site of a negotiation in the process of breaking down. An Elven and a Dwarven settlement have already spilt blood and are simply finalizing the excuses they will use before erupting into a real fight. It’s a fight no one wants and that no one can really win but honor will not allow them to back away. Then the party arrives. Suddenly, both sides see a way to convince the other side that attacking would carry too high a price. Negotiations ensue, bribes are offered, threats are made – in the end the party must choose a side (and they will have to choose – to stand aside invites disaster). Once their choice is made, a series of events erupt: battles with scouts, prisoner rescues, dealing with mercenaries brought in by the other side. Eventually, the side that did not win the party’s support invokes a terrible weapon to try and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Should the PCs stop this last, desperate maneuver, they force a return to negotiations, though now with one side in a clear position of strength. The new honesty reveals a third party has been manipulating events. The party must deal with this manipulator and prevent doom from falling on this frontier region.

That’s the essence of it and it could very well change as the month progresses. Because NaNoWriMo is all about artificial deadlines to create impetus, the following deadlines have been imposed:
Week 1 (1-7 November): Plot Outline & Town
Week 2 (8-14 November): Siding with the Dwarves
Week 3 (15-21 November): Siding with the Elves
Week 4 (22-30 November): Dealing with the BBEG and wrap-up

It is my intention to post regular updates as I progress on this adventure. I want to create 3-5 encounters for each “Week”, along with the plot to thread all the events together.

It’s a ridiculous notion, which is why I’m sharing it with anyone who cares to hear: One is more likely to indulge in the ridiculous if one has proclaimed it to the world. Avanti!

Liberty's Edge

What? That old saw? Yep. Sandpoint, having fallen through a Star Trekkian wormhole must be saved all over again the way everyone else already did...everyone but you.

I need 2-3 more players to round out our party. We're likely to play on Saturdays, also likely to play monthly. 18+ only, please.

I've started a campaign hub over at Obsidian Portal: RotR VA. It's small but it's mine and I love it. As we get closer to a full crew, there will be more data to share.


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