I have a question on Knight's Challenge - Order of the Sword for the Cavalier class.
Is this an extra challenge per day, or is it a modification to one of the challenges you already have?
((Noticed the post about the Rules Forum above and cross-posted this there))
This is my reading: We Jas might not be good, but she is lawful. And it is in her role as a lawful protector of the people that she led Sasserine to, well, Sasserine. She has a vested interest in her supporters. In the original Greyhawk her followers were most likely Suel fleeing their Oerdian enemies (these are both human peoples). Sasserine proved to be a far-enough-away place of refuge.
I don't know Nyx very much, but she seems somewhat sociapathic from your description. If saving her followers from persecution is not enough of a goal to her, maybe she's not such a good match and she should be replaced by some more lawful diety?
1) Animals, even if badly treated, rarely run away from a steady source of food.
2) Just this happened IMC - Gobblegut ate the shark in the end and is now a contact of the party "druid". Why didn't it happen before - well, animals are territorial and it took a lot of blood to lure the shark into the pond.
Respectfully disagree - after running the AP, I found that is started out great and basically got less and less great. Of course, it was still great at the end, so its a bit of nit-picking. An I must admit we are not Greyhawk veterans. Some of the "legendary evils" were a bit of a anticlimax, like St Kargoth the Destroyer, who went down from 2 critical Heal spells. Of course, it is good for then players to sometimes get a resounding success.
For my group, the defense of Farshore was the climax of the campaign.
E6 Savage Tide would be very interesting until Farshore. Some of the later challenges would naturally become much harder, but up until Farshore I think it could be possible without major change. Thereafter, however, the later part would become deadly horror - possibly playable as a kin d of call-of-cuthulu, play the demons off against each other game.
Erevis Cale wrote:
The simple way to balance this it to let the players be a level (or possibly more) ahead of expected levels. Just add in some filler now and then, or give extra xp/loot. I had the opposite problem - my players were generally above the power curve - which made me play the scenarios about a level early. Very easy to do.
If IMC a LE goddess realized a queen of succubi had an agent in a party involved in something that seems this important to the blood war, I think her first reaction would be to plant an agent of her own - either infiltrating the party with an agent or seducing one of the team members. And not necessarily sexually - a dream visit and an offer of cool, cold, painful powers could work just as well.
Of course, this depends on how you play Loviatar - is she more of an evil amazon warrior, a sorceress, or a schemer?
In Sasserine, the Noble District seems to be for minor nobility and gentry. The most important families have compounds in the districts where they have their base of power.
Each city quarter has one or a few a few large noble compounds; presumably for the leading families/organizations of that quarter. There are three in Merchant's IIR - one is the harbormaster's family compound, one is the Vanderboren compound, and IIR the last is where the Kellani's are staying (all of this from memory).
This makes the Vanderborens of Sasserine rich to the level of true nobility, not just gentry.
It is mentioned in Savage Tide that Lavinaia and Vantus have (again IIR) an uncle who seems to be living on a country estate somewhere. Presumably Lavinia's father could have more siblings, one of whom is the father of Todd. Or Todd might even be a younger uncle, depending on how you set up the timelines of the two campaigns.
I think Pazio deliberately left this open to make the timelines as flexible as possible. I can't be sure, however, as I've not read Shackled City - actually I am currently a player in it.
Going back to the initial suggestion of using Fey, I would not go that way. What you did end up with seems much better.
Fey (at least the standard MM fare) don't really belong on the Isle of Dread. The place should be strange and foreign - a nymph is too European in feel. Of course, if you reskin the nymph as some kind of aztec seductive spirit, perhaps even keeping all the abilities but changing it's style, could work.
Another possibility (too late now I suppose) is a Coatl affected by the savage tide.
I recently (about 2 weeks ago) finished up two major D&D campaigns. What a rush! Two such project ending in the very same week! It took me some time to gather my wits for some kind of resume.
This took 3.5 years and was played in 3.5, using quite a lot of house rules, such as recharge magic. It was based on Pazio's Savage Tide adventure path, one of the best series of adventures ever published IMO. One player got ill halfway and we decided to take a break for him to recover; we used that break for a spin-off police story set in Sasserine. Thus, this was two campaigns in one. The main arc was level 1-20 using the adventure path, the other was set in Sasserine and level 1 to 13, centered on the Chimes of Midnight arc. Both used a lot of filler adventures from Dragon.
This took 1.5 years to play and was played in 4E using some house rules, but generally much closer to canon than Savage Tide. Unlike the other campaign I did not use a lot of filler, tough I did insert "Seven Swords of Sin" in the middle. It’s a much more linear adventure path than Savage Tide, and not quite as good IMO, less bristling with opportunities for interesting roleplay, but still exiting and compelling in its own right.
Judging the Edition Wars?
I should be in a perfect position to judge the edition wars, just having finished two such great projects in the two competing systems? Not really. First, my answer to which system is best only applies to me, my group, and our tastes. Secondly, we only used a tiny part of the 4E rules (the classes my players choose to use), and my version of 3.5 was heavily house ruled.
Comparing 3.5 (heavily modified) to 4.0 and thinking on what system to use in the future, I settled on neither. My next project, to tentatively start this weekend will be using homebrew rules loosely based on the Feng Shui rpg. If I had to choose between 3.5 and 4-0, I think I’d choose 3.5, but not by any great margin.
The problem with 3.5 is mainly the prep time. I really don’t want to spend that much time and effort preparing for play, and I don’t have any really good electronic tools to help me either. This means I am more or less bound to using published scenarios as written. The humongous stat blocks are also hard to read and use in play – 4E really improved the DMs side of the screen. The player’s side of the screen works much better. My players were mostly happy with the rules, thinking they were versatile, not that hard to use, and gave a great variety of options in and out of combat.
The problems with 4E are the mechanics. They are slow and cumbersome, and the structure with encounter/daily powers did not sit well with the group. Combat is not swingy enough for our tastes, which makes it seem grindy and unexciting. We tried half hit points for a while, but that meant fights felt like they finished before you had time to use your encounter powers. Basically, the gamism is at fault because it didn’t mesh with out play style and expectations. In 4E, the problems are mainly on the player’s side of the screen. That said, the group was heavily divided, with some liking 4E quite a lot and others hating it.
But the major problem is actually common to both systems, even if 4E had them to a greater degree. And this problem is classes, builds, and the linear probability distribution of the d20. 4E in particular is very centered on the classes and the various pre-prepared builds. If what you want to play falls just a little outside the given builds, it’s very hard to realize. And some builds are missing – in 4E there is no such thing as a Dex-based leader or an Int-based arcane melee striker, both of which were in demand IMC. This problem is less pronounced in 3.5, but once you notice it the issues carry over; the level 20 druid IMC was pretty happy with her (house ruled) class package deal, but not perfectly happy. The same is true for the 20th level ranger. And the two prestige/multi class builds sure worked, but had lots of little oddities and were very dependent on specific prestige classes – and there is not a prestige class for every role you might want to play. Some game values – such as saving throws and non-armor-class defenses – end up way out of sync with what the game expects. On top of this comes the very concept of a “build” – that you have to plan ahead in order to purchase every feat and option in the right order so that they all add up. All too gamey for me, I want to concentrate on role, not build - I can do builds in MMOs. I also find I dislike the linear probability distribution of the d20, where a modifier has such a different effect depending on which part of the probability scale you are in – I’ve come to appreciate the pyramidal probability distribution of 2d6. That’s why I’m going to try out a non-DnD, non-class system using 1d6 -1d6 for a while.
So, what were the high moments of each campaign? For me personally, a great moment in Savage Tide was at the very end, when Iggliv disintegrated the wall of stone blocking entrance to the room where the players were fighting Demogorgon, stepped out of the mist, and used the Flask of Turney the Mad to capture Demogorgon’s soul.
A lovely recurring theme was crocodiles – one player had to use a fate point to survive a crocodile encounter at level 2, and crocodiles continued to plague the players for much of the arc, cumulating with the great crock in the lake of Tamoachan. That one made for a great pair of crocodile boots!
From Rise of the Runelords, the scene from The Skinsaw Murders where the players pursued a ghost through an entire haunted house, tough a secret door they had failed to notice earlier, trough ghoul warrens, and into a confrontation with the main villain - who was lusting after one of the PCs and the brother of another, and those two were the only ones who got by all the monsters on the way down to see the climactic scene – the others arrived pell-mell as they could.
And again, the final fight (that I had to re-script completely), an airborne conflict in a great empty room, with mages on the ground acting as Flak guns and players having to hitch fly boosts from each other.
In toto, I am very happy with both these campaigns, and as I said I am up and at it again this Saturday – even if that campaign proper will not start until the end of summer I want to thank all the wonderful players who participated,. I also want to thank these boards that gave me a lot of ideas, particularly for the 4E game, and Scott Betts and the Rusty Dragon blog that helped me trough the early levels. Finally, a big thank you to Pazio and the crew there that made it all possible as well as WotC and the game designers behind both editions of DnD.
Just add levels.
Seriously, if a scenario is written for an optimized party of four at level 5, you can play it with a sub-optimized party of three at, say , level 8. That, and allow them to rest at the drop of a hat.
And paladin should work very well in Savage Tide - not many things in there that are not evil. Of course, he will want to rest after every fight as the number of smites the paladin gets are a laugh.
Initiate of the Bow + Ranger should be good but not stellar.
IMC, I have a Druid and a Ranger, no multi-classing at all, at level 20 just going into the final adventure. It works, the ranger gets an incredible number of small useful features, but still feels a fair bit weaker than the others. The druid, of course, is quite all right. The two others is a swashbuckler/sorcerer/bladesinger/eldrich knight (we made swashbuckler and bladesinger cha-based instead of Int-based as elves in this game are sorcerers, not wizards) and a variant pixie sorcerer/dance mage (?) (From Magic of Faerun), and these three feel pretty well matched in powers.
IMC I had a break of one year between Kala's defeat and Lavina's kidnapping.
If your players are so busy by themselves, there is no particular reason why the demogorgon plot has to be resolved quickly. It makes little difference to the plot if it takes one year or fifty.
I'm not playing D as an idiot, merely as very confident. He knows the PCs are out to get him - he just thinks they can never succeed.
Not that it really matters if D gets wind of them at this point. He is busy preparing his ritual. Anything he throws at them is unlikely to be stronger than the generals they are already facing - maybe the circumstances of those confrontations will change, but not much else.
My players could not stand by and watch as Crimson was slowly torn to bits by Malcaeneth's court. M's agent assumed responsibility for Crimson and they took her aboard the Sea Wyvern.
So, now is the question; what kind of plots should this lead to? Crimson is depressed now, and the players thought they saw a glimmer of redemption in her - which is fairly much projection, as my party is a bunch of very Good people. Still, I don't want to hose them because they want to be nice.
I need some crux and plots to develop the situation. I depicted Crimson as very goth, very much about drama, and incredibly self-centered. Basically, if she could not get Malcaenet's attention in some other way, she was ok with being torn to shreds in order to satisfy her own egotism.
I am planning to have Iggliv somewhat amused and the rest of the "people" they will meet during the AP pretty much ignore Crimson. What I'm mainly looking for is some interesting developments with Crimson herself.
If they players do figure it out, let them - its not like it ruins the plot. Make them sweat over whether to reveal what they know. When the moment comes when they confront The Manipulator, they can either be vengeful, proud, or devious and smug enough to play along. Even if the manipulator knows that they know, both sides might still hold on to the pretense! :)
Seems like your group might enjoy this kind of thing.
Tides of Dreat is the high point for the first half of the campaign. I think that's why people feel its so good. It can actually make a good ending if you want to run a lower-level game.
To me, the adventure itself was not so great. Oh, I did love the sandbox, but that was by no means unique to Tides of Dread - there are many more things players can do or not at their option before its "all aboard for the railroad to the Abyss".
Not that the railroad in the later parts is so bad - Enemy of my Enemy in particular is very open-ended and has room for a lot of expansion.
I have no idea how additional information could be added to that index, but we could collect it here in this thread.
Since I have access to all the issues of dungeon, its just a matter of compiling it and putting it into the table. The problem is that a shared google document cannot be sorted except by contributors, so I have to publish it anew to get any new data in.
If you really want to contribute, write me a line and I can share the document as a collaboration.
Hm this is intriguing. My players like to avoid battle when possible, trying to resolve things with stealth and diplomacy when possible. Maybe they will aim for a sneaky solution, which I might let them get away with as I also enjoy this playstyle. On the other hand, Demogorgon is kind of a hobgoblin to them (the idiom not the monster) and I expect them to want to defeat him directly.
On Enemy of My Enemy now, but I keep expanding it and my players keep coming up with new possible allies, so it will be a while before we get to the end.
My players specifically scouted a spot halfway between Sasserine and Farshore as a relay point for teleport. I used that as an adventure hook for the scenario Dragon Hunters (Dungeon #104), which gave them their first dinosaur encounter. They also ended up taking Prince Henri and his people along to Farshore. Having eaten about 1/3 of the food they brought, there was now both room and food to spare for them. The added military might came in handily later, but also created a problem in the relationship between Farshore and Fort Henri as Henri and crew made their own plantation-style settlement in the center of Tamute. Which in turn gave the players someplace to put the prisoners from the pirate raid... And so on and so forth. Good times were had!
Three stars = recommended. There used to be rating on most of the adventures, but since almost all of them had two stars and some I really liked had one star, I took out all but the three-star ratings.
I said I'd not maintain this, but having it has inspired me to read my old Dungeon again, and when I do I'm continually updating it. It might take some time, but in time I should get all the authors and page numbers.
I also did an error on the levels. I wanted only one number for level, to make sorting easier. On the 0W-2E stuff, I set the level to the minimum range noted for the scenario. Considering how 1E was generally lower level than later editions, I should have used the maximum level range. Not sure if I can repair this.
Take it easy and give them time. With fewer players, they'll need the higher levels, so don't skimp on them. If things start to get too easy on them, cut things out and advance the story at the expense of some fluff encounters, thus making things a little harder (those fluff encounters have much of the xp and loot).
And miss getting eaten by the crocodile? =D
One of the characters around here is still crocodile-o-phobic!
This went off with a blast! The adventure finished with a dance-off between Kassiel Iylmrain and the PC bard, after which he was shamed enough to leave town.
Note that he was 12th level and the party 21st level (4E), so this was not really a challenge, it was part of a downtime session. But it was great fun.
My take on that encounter was nostalgia. The couatl was part of the now defunct spirit world of the civilized Olman. It is merely a shadow of its former self, and it being a little lame fits with this theme.
Not saying this is how you should play it, only that the encounter as written fit in my game.
Thanks for the index.
Based on earlier work by Jay A. Hafner and others I made a Google document Index for Dungeon Issue 1-150 with the scenario list in table form . It has some points that are not of general interest (if I played the scenario or not, and in what campaign I am planning to use it), but I can still share it.
Since others can't sort the document, I made several pages, sorting by issue, level, and scenario name (and hiding the personal notes).
I also included the scenarios that used to be on Wizard's Webiste into this list (Issue listed as File instead of a number). Last I looked, they were still available on the Wizards of the Coast Website.
Hey! I noticed there were some "new" scenarios on that link that I didn't have! These obviously are not included.
Recently entered this as my vote for best D&D adventure ever, only then noticed this thread here. It is a lovely piece of work! And it basically works as a set-up for any campaign, because of how it ends.
My play was in Sasserine, in the spin-off campaign from Savage Tide. We just didn't feel like we were done with the burg.
In Rise of the Runelords I, Cyrdak Drokkus is a homosexual theater owner exiled to the small town of Sandpoint from the nearby city of Magnimaar. I am now running the 5th part of the adventure path, and my players have asked for an interlude where they stage a play one of them has written.
I thought it would be a nice part of this interlude to have the players redeem Cyrdak Drokkus and restore him to the good graces of the good people of Magnimaar. But I must admit I am bereft of ideas. The players will be lvl 21 (4E, equivalent to around lvl 14 in 3E), and even if the task is not really expected to be a challenge for them, I want it to be meaningful. And the fact that they are not fighting an evil mastermind, but rather public opinion, makes it doubly hard.
I've been thinking of adding some kind of sinister shadow presence for them to cross, but I really don't have much of a lead for it, so I decided to ask here.
David Fryer wrote:
They will also be introducing hybrid characters, which are more like 3.5 multiclassing than anything. Basically you mash together two classes and make one class out of them.
I'd say class hybrids are more like 1E/2E multiclassing and distunctly unlike 3E multiclassing. The (old) multiclassing in 4E is much more like 3E.
Well, the big assault on Farshore was delayed by snow and illness. Next week, hopefully!
I was thinking a druid in your party must have gone really wild to create snow in Farshore when I first read this.
The undead campaigning idea is really neat. I would let it work - Avner would of course deny it, but still lose a few votes. But there are others watching. The Olman death-cultists would hear of this and realize who the real necromancer was and contact him for a possible alliance - after all, undead strong-arm tactics in an election seems right up their alley. This could go all the way to the hidden leader of the Cult of the Dead - never detailed, but presumably a lawful lich. Tough mostly a bystander in the Savage Tide, this lich presumably wants the Olman to continue to live as they do now and dislikes modernity and foreign influence and could try and use the spelltheif to achieve these goals - ether through alliance or blackmail.
This seems like a pretty easy conversion; the pulp feeling of Savage Tide is all over Star Wars already. The issue is the later parts of the story; what to do with the planar elements?
The demons could be a darkside-aligned race of superbeings, perhaps from another dimension or living in hyperspace. This is the closest to the original STAP, and could lend elements from Space Hulk. The later chapters would explore the worlds and ships of these aliens.
The demons could be an intrigue of darkside force-users. This would probably work best in the Old Republic or a similar era where Sith are common. The Shadow Pearls become darkside-releasing bombs, turning people into sith monsters, effectively weak sith without the control.
The demons could be some kind of war droids, using nanotech inside the Shadow Pearls to turn people into techno-monsters. The last chapters would have many elements in common with Battlestar Galactica (the new series), much of the action happening on space stations crewed entirely by droids.
A variant of technological threat, but more-Matrix-like. Much of the later chapters actually takes place in virtual reality.