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Charlie Brooks's page

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Society Member. 518 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Milo v3 wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:

Indeed, there's a lot of reading intent going on here...

Could the Pathfinder rules be tidied up? Sure.

Could that be done while maintaining backwards compatibility with published material, which is one of the stated reasons why Pathfinder has its own rulebook in the first place? Far more challenging.

One thing I do find interesting with PFRPG right now is that, they are trying to tidy up stuff without a second edition.

For example;

  • Pathfinder unchained is a book that is 99% attempts to fix bugs in the system.
  • Occult adventures fixed and revised the possession rules.
  • Horror adventures having revised mechanics for insanity.
  • Horror adventures having alternate rules for vampires and werewolves.
  • Another way to look at it is the possibility that the developers are experimenting with what would work in a new edition...which would be a good idea, in my opinion. It's a lot easier to put out a new monk and see how people like it as opposed to radically changing the monk in a new edition and hoping it doesn't become one of the big complaints of the new edition.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Cole Deschain wrote:
    Could that be done while maintaining backwards compatibility with published material, which is one of the stated reasons why Pathfinder has its own rulebook in the first place? Far more challenging.

    I think it depends on what you're trying to clean up.

    Are you going to be able to turn fighters into a class that dwarfs wizards in terms of power? Probably not. But if you want to add the stamina pool from Pathfinder Unchained to fighters, that can be done without wrecking previous adventures. A 5th-level fighter in the old edition would still be about the same as a new 5th-level fighter; you'd just have to figure out what the character's stamina pool is when running it in a new game.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    My take on backwards compatibility is thus:

    Not too long ago, I ran the AD&D 2nd edition Night Below campaign as a Pathfinder game. I was able to keep the same story and swap out monsters when they had a Bestiary equivalent, but I wouldn't consider it to be backwards compatible. For any major villain or unique monster, I had to rewrite the stats in order to make them fit in the game.

    By contrast, I can run the original Rise of the Runelords, a D&D 3rd edition campaign, with very little problem in the Pathfinder system. Some of the numbers are different than they would have been if it was written in Pathfinder, but the language is pretty much the same. Looking at the stat block for an ogre fighter, for example, tells me what the critical multiplier on its weapon is, that it has the Power Attack feat, that its composite longbow has a +7 Strength bonus, and so on. Sure, I have to do a bit of conversion to find its Combat Maneuver Bonus and I have to remember that its Listen skill is now Perception, but that takes 30 seconds tops.

    My preference for future editions of Pathfinder would be to make it more like the 3.5 --> Pathfinder model rather than the AD&D ---> D&D 3rd edition model. You can change what individual parts of the system, such as what certain feats, spells, and abilities do, while still keeping the scale and the language roughly the same.

    If it gets to the point that I have to do lots of work to convert old adventures over, then I don't consider that backwards compatible and the old material starts to lose value to me. I ran a very successful Night Below campaign, but it took extra work above and beyond what I normally do for a game and I'm less likely to use AD&D modules in the future unless they're really good. By contrast, the entire vast library of 3.0 and 3.5 material still remains something that I can use with little to no extra work, even though certain mechanics have gone through 15 years of changes and improvements.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    JoelF847 wrote:

    I realized something that has been bugging me about the movie yesterday (in addition to the things I've previously listed). One of the big reasons that the threat of Kylo Ren seems diminished is that he was beaten pretty handily at multiple points in the movie. Ren turned his force mind probe back at him, Chewbaca bowcasts him, and then he's beaten in the climactic lightsaber duel and is only saved by GM fiat (crevasse opening between him and Rey).

    In comparison, Darth Vader is never beaten until the end of RotJ, and every time he appears the good guys are in serious trouble. Even when his TIE fighter is hit at the end of ANH, he's sent off away from the battle, but he's clearly out there and not injured or beaten.

    They've said that Kylo Ren will grow into a more serious villian, but at the same time, Rey and company will be growing in skill and experience as well.

    While he's on the Dark Side and wear a mask, I wouldn't put Kylo Ren on the same level of Vader. He's presented as a more sympathetic character right in the first movie, and I don't think he'll be as much of a big bad as the series goes on.

    Vader was a guy firmly on the Dark Side who had a tiny spark of light in him. Kylo is much more conflicted and seems to be more of a hostage of the Dark Side than anything else. I think that will play a big role in future movies, and I welcome the shift - it would be a shame just to copy the story beats of the first trilogy, after all.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    memorax wrote:
    That's the catch 22 that Paizo faces. Release a rehashed edition and possibly face a lose in sales. Do the same with a new edition and the same happens. Though out of the two the second gives fans a incentive to reinvest the first not so much. At the very least if they do go with a rehash it needs to be decently priced imo.

    That's kind of the situation they face with any release. Any book takes a lot of investment (granted, with even more risk when a new edition comes out). Unlike us, though, Paizo has comprehensive sales data and measurables they can look at.

    That information isn't always accurate, but it gives them a chance to make an educated assessment of the risks and rewards of any release. We fans really have nothing to go on but our gut feelings.

    memorax wrote:
    Well when the core is about 90-95% rehash with 5-10% new material it's a rehash. Of a rpg that was already rehashed. To me at least a core needs 50%+ new material to be consider a new product. I still enjoy playing and running it.

    I don't really think I agree with that assessment. True, in terms of word count Pathfinder is probably not 50% new material. However, when I switched my games over I noticed an immediate change in the way it played. In my opinion, the game became much more fun. If a 2nd edition only changes 10% of the actual text but manages to make the game markedly more fun than before, I would consider it a smashing success.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    I dunno...I mean, I guess the incredible Hulk has a supernatural shapeshifting ability and the ability to see creatures in the ethereal plane, but I always imagined him as some sort of variant barbarian whose rage powers grew more potent with anger.

    I guess you could argue that Bruce Banner is a spellcasters whose magic is reflavored as technology - I mean, the guy did once trap Mephisto in what was basically a bag of holding. Still, I would probably make him an expert with a bunch of technology crafting feats.

    Also, I don't think that guys like Thor and the Juggernaut count as low-level mooks. However, Wolverine always did kinda strike me as a PC who looked good on paper but who only manages to make meaningful contributions because the GM bends over backwards to accommodate him.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    How did I miss this announcement?

    Welcome back, Monsters Revisited. I've missed you so very much.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    BigDTBone wrote:

    Rules light =/= Options light.

    You can still have a deep an immersive game with tons and tons of mechanically meaningful character options but still be rules light.

    I agree with this. There are a ton of rules and corner cases that could be simplified and clarified in a new edition. Streamlining the rules can happen without stripping out the number of options in the game.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Barachiel Shina wrote:

    Why is it the only reason for a new edition is because of splat books?

    That's a terrible reason.

    Why?

    Because splat books and other "extras" are just that...OPTIONAL!

    If the core system works fine, and you're having fun, what exactly is so wrong with it that you have to go to a NEW edition?

    If you stick to core only, you're fine.

    If the game, after a few years, needs some more "fire" as we'll call it, then add in "Advanced Player's Guide." and maybe one other splat to help (like a Player Companion or two).

    If, after a few years, it begins to get dry again, add Advanced Class Guide or maybe run an Occult themed or Mythic style campaign.

    Seriously, the whole "There's too much material time to reset!" is utter garbage and nonsensical. Come up with a much better reason.

    To play devil's advocate, since I'm not really gunning for a new edition at the moment, there is a degree to which the splat books could clean things up and make for a better game if they were included in the core.

    Pathfinder Unchained would be an example, as it introduces a number of oft-requested fixes. Given more time and playtesting (the best kind, through actual play), the most popular changes introduced in that book could make for a more enjoyable game as a whole.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    JiCi wrote:
    MMCJawa wrote:
    JiCi wrote:
    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    Prestige classes have a role to play in D&D/Pathfinder (of letting you build upon achievements to set yourself apart from those who just go single-classed), although unfortunately they haven't been kept within this role very well.

    Well, if that's the case, they need to be brought by the drawing board. Sure, not every PrC would work as an archetype, but a lot would...

    The problem is that the prestige aspect, as you stated, got either deluded or outright forgotten...

    The prestige aspect seems hard to do in a setting neutral book. Things like Aldori Swordlord or Hellknight make sense as prestige classes, because they are built into the setting and imply membership of organizations.

    It's pretty much why prestige classes have been restricted to campaign setting books of late, and not the rules line.

    I wouldn't call PrCs "campaign exclusive". If lore/connections can't be established, mecanics can be worked with. A Swordlord is a swashbuckler archetype and a Hell Knight is a cavalier/paladin archetype. The Red Mantis Assassin got a "variant archetype" as the Mantis Zealot archetype for warpriests.

    I do get your point though. However, in this case, prestige classes should be reserved for organizations only, which in this case, many PrCs should be turned into archetypes due to the lack of connections. Technically, if the PrC doesn't have a requirement related to being part of the organization, then it should be worked into an archetype.

    I like prestige classes as their own thing because they allow for organic character growth as a campaign progresses. A PC who wants to have an archetype has to pick it up in the first few levels, but a 10th level character who suddenly learns about a secret society (or who suddenly discovers that he has draconic ancestry, et cetera) he wants to become part of can shift over to a prestige class. It's another option in a game filled with options, and I like that there are enough choices for people to pick and choose what works best for them.

    That said, I do think I'd leave them out of the core books if I were deciding what stays and what goes in a 2nd edition. Then again, I'd probably leave archetypes out of the core books, too.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    How much backstory do these characters have? If there isn't a lot, you can make up a foe from the past that has come back ("You defeated the Crimson Ravager ten years ago, but now he's back and seeking revenge.") This would give you a chance to utilize flashbacks and fill in descriptions of previous adventures as you go.

    You could also dive into the rules from Mythic Adventures. Slap a few mythic tiers on the tarrasque and suddenly the 20th-level group needs to go looking for help or find a maguffin that can put them on an even playing field.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    JGray wrote:
    3. I do see D&D in a lot more locations than I see PF. Is it because it is new? Or because Hasbro has the sort of distribution reach that a small company like Paizo (and it IS small) can't hope to match? Or is there another component here at work? Paizo is digitally friendly. WotC is not. I can buy PDFs of Paizo products. I can't of most 5e stuff, I believe. WotC's online store is, frankly, horribly organized. The core rules aren't even at the top of the results. Meanwhile, Paizo offers subscriptions. I'm not sure. This next year will be very telling, I think.

    By all reports, D&D is selling like mad, so it's hardly any wonder that it would be more available than Pathfinder, since it's regained its status as the top seller in the industry. However, I'm not sure that D&D's success has any major negative effect on Pathfinder, be it in terms of sales or audience.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    Paulicus wrote:

    Pathfinder is getting pretty clunky. More options are nice and can be ignored, but puts more onus on home groups to ban/allow/houserule things they don't want to deal with.

    Do many gaming groups do a ban/allow list, though? I personally run using the Core Rulebook and add in options as an adventure calls for it ("Man, I'd really like an intelligent human-looking construct...oh, here's the soulbound mannequin in Bestiary 4) or add new player options if the players ask for them ("Hey, can I play an inquisitor?" *thirty seconds of glancing over the PRD* "Sure.").

    A given campaign needs options for about 4-6 PCs. It always seems to me like it's easier to allow/disallow something as a player asks for it rather than combing through many options and guessing at what should be added or removed.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    I imagine that a new edition will come when sales of the current edition start to slow and Paizo decides that a revision of the game will kick things back into gear.

    We already know that the GenCon release for 2016 is a new supplement focused on horror adventures, so that means any new edition probably won't happen until 2017 at the earliest.

    While I would buy the heck out of a second edition, I'm also pretty happy waiting. The large amount of rules is mitigated by the fact that just about everything is accessible online. This means it's fairly easy for me to run a game of Core Rulebook + whatever addition stuff fits the campaign (all accessible from a few links on my tablet or phone) rather than carting a dozen different rulebooks to games like I did back in my AD&D days.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    I don't think saying something technically true would avoid a Sense Motive roll, but it would be a good way to dodge certain magic, like discern lies or zone of truth.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    For what it's worth, my interpretation of the situation based on the adventure's text more or less matched what James described.

    It should be noted that I have the original, not the anniversary edition, so there might be some text changes between the two.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    Seems that the costume designer on the film has dropped a spoiler about the desert scene and...

    Spoiler:
    it was all just a dream.

    Link

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Aberzombie wrote:
    Hama wrote:
    I kinda do. At least he's better then previous Luthors.
    I always thought Kevin Spacey would have been much better if he'd had a better script to work with. And the dude from Smallville was a pretty decent Lex.

    I think Superman Returns had a great cast that almost saved the movie. The problem was that Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey were asked to be Christopher Reeve's Clark/Superman and Gene Hackman's Luthor. They nailed those parts perfectly, but giving Spacey a chance to make the character his own would have provided a much better result.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Lass wrote:
    I think they're a bit too long indeed. I'm finding myself cutting all kinds of encounters from Giantslayer as a means to bring things to a faster close. Often encounters feel like they are just there as experience point balloons to be popped. So I'm doing away with much of that to move the story along.

    While I think the adventure paths are pretty well-paced, I do think that there's usually room to cut encounters if you want a tighter plot. Switching to the fast XP track and removing some non-plot-relevant encounters would be pretty easy for most of them.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    thejeff wrote:
    Imbicatus wrote:
    Hama wrote:
    If this is actually in the movie like this. I'm not paying money to see it.

    This. The Batman costume was hideous. Was he wearing a duster? And I don't care if he was chained and hanging upside down and naked, Batman would never look so freaking terrified as he does in that clip.

    I was willing to give this a go, but this clip is a big disappointment.

    Speculation is that it's a nightmare sequence.

    I'm not really buying Superman looking that mean and with goons kneeling to him either.

    The costume reminds me of what future Damian wore as Batman.

    A lot of the preview stuff seems to indicate an evil clone or mind-controlled Superman as a baddie. Then again, I'm pretty terrible at guessing how these movies go.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Seannoss wrote:
    I'll second the idea that Wrath doesn't need any of the artifacts in it. Would be very playable without them.

    I'm in Book 3 of Wrath of the Righteous right now, and I'm pretty sure I've taken out the artifact(s) that were slated to pop up in the modules, so I can confirm that at least the first half works fine without them.

    Then again, my campaign still has artifacts, since the PCs have enough mythic tiers to create their own now.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Zhangar wrote:

    Council of Thieves would be my guess for a "no artifact" AP (or at least no artifacts that the PCs get to use), since CoT's at a lower power level than the rest of the APs.

    But I've never read it, so I could easily be wrong.

    Council of Thieves very definitely has artifacts in them.

    Personally, I really like artifacts in long campaigns because they provide PCs with something unique and lasting from their adventures that differentiates that adventure from any other. Non-artifact magic items can always be recreated or (in some campaigns) bought, but gaining an artifact is usually unique to a specific adventure and often becomes an iconic part of the character's story.

    The same holds true of intelligent items as well, but I imagine folks who have objections to artifacts would find intelligent items to hit on most of those same problems.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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    I think adventure paths are too long if you want a campaign that is laser-focused on one plot thread with little deviation.

    Most adventure paths seem to have some padding or filler that branches away from the plot, but I think this is important to give some variety and show that there's other stuff going on in the setting.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Milo v3 wrote:
    Um.... who doesn't know that Energy Resistance Fire 5 and Damage Reduction 5 are different things.....?

    You'd be surprised. I'm often the only one at my table with a really solid grasp on the rules, and I've had to clarify the difference between DR and energy resistance at least a few times.

    In my experience, the problem often comes when a PC gets DR (eg, with enough barbarian levels) and tries to apply that to all damage instead of just weapon damage.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    In my games, it's something that almost always gets broken out when characters make skill checks. It very rarely gets used in combat, I think because players would rather use their characters' cool abilities than spend an action giving somebody a +2 at something.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    DM_Blake wrote:
    Ross Byers wrote:
    My point is that swarms are not fun.

    I disagree.

    I see swarms in the same light that I see golems - they get tossed in when I want one particular character type to get a moment of glory or a special challenge. I like that Pathfinder has a lot of different options and that sometimes your normal attacks won't be effective. It requires more work on the GM's part to make sure that the challenges don't become boring or frustrating, but I think it makes for a more entertaining game.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Congratulations Nick!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Congratulations Nick! A well-deserved win, and I'm looking forward to checking out your finished module!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    I love Damage Control and ideas like the She-Hulk's law firm (just take the recent 12-issue run and use that as a springboard). Stuff that focuses on how superheroes impact the fictional world makes the setting that much more fascinating to me.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Icy Turbo wrote:

    More of a curious question then anything else, but how many of you utilize or are in games with Houserules?

    If so, what are these houserules? Do you see a common houserule mutliple times?

    Comment below, let your houserules be known. As an example for myself, characters that have multiple attacks can use their swift action to make that second attack.

    It depends on what you mean by house rules. In terms of structural stuff that's always in place, I have a handful designed to either promote the low magic, high PC survivability type of games I tend to run (reroll hit die results under 1/2 the die's maximum, level-based defense and save bonuses) or get the setting in line with what I see as making more sense (prepared casters select a pool of spells and cast spontaneously from that instead of firing and forgetting).

    I also house rule like mad in a session, usually as a result of me forgetting a rule. My general policy is that if I can't find a rule after 60 seconds of flipping through the book, I make something up and look up the actual rule later. Sometimes those made up rules stick around, while other times they disappear and get replaced by the actual rule in later sessions.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Having not seen the pilot but being interested in the show...

    Is Supergirl as insecure as the commercials made it seem? All the previews gave me the feeling that the early parts of the show were going to be basically about our heroine needing other people to prop her up and give her some self-confidence.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Oh my, that's a shame. I guess I'll have to wait for the new Baldur's Gate expansion to get my fix of good single-player D&D video games in.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

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    Dangers of the Drowned Garden

    When the constant rain within the Sodden Lands mixes with burning acid, the villagers of Jula face death from above. A search for answers leads to the ruins known as the Drowned Garden of Yamasa. Can the adventurers learn the secrets within and end the acid storms, or will they fall to the dangers of the Drowned Garden?

    Dangers of the Drowned Garden is an adventure for 5th-level characters. PCs who successfully complete the adventure will reach 8th level by its conclusion.

    Background

    When the gnomes Sarkun and Trela came to the land of Yamasa, they fell in love with what they saw as an idyllic agrarian culture. They spent decades building the Sanctified Garden of Yamasa, a structure intended to celebrate the land’s history and culture with a display of crops, vegetation, and wildlife native to the region. Unfortunately, the Eye of Abendego struck the area not long after the structure’s completion. The Sanctified Garden sunk into the newly formed swampland, becoming the Drowned Garden. The gnomes perished in the halls of their great work and were quickly forgotten.

    The Drowned Garden eventually drew the attention of a shoggti qlippoth named Xzeraren. Accidentally summoned to Golarion by a foolish mage who soon learned the error of his ways, Xzeraren saw the Eye of Abendego as but a start – while it killed thousands, the land remained habitable to the hardy and stubborn. Through careful planning and the manipulation of dozens of spellcasters over the years, the qlippoth began experimenting with a ritual that could alter the region around the Drowned Garden, creating a deadly acid rain. This would leave the land barren and all but uninhabitable – a small victory, given the size of Golarion, but a victory nonetheless.

    Xzeraren has gained powerful allies over the years, most significantly a tribe of marsh giants led by the cleric Graldar. Claiming an eons-old connection to Dagon, Xzeraren gained Graldar’s favor and manipulated the clan into procuring the final piece needed to complete the ritual – a living black dragon. Now captured and bound, this dragon’s constantly flowing blood has infused the soil and the very clouds with an acidic essence. Caught in the midst of these storms, the village of Jula is but one settlement that now risks total devastation.

    Part I: The Burning Storm

    The adventure begins in the mountaintop village of Jula. The PCs may be locals, bodyguards hired to aid a traveler through the Sodden Lands, or treasure seekers exploring the area’s ruins. As they go about their business, driving rain approaches Jula from the northeast. Villagers shout a warning about “another burning storm” and run for shelter. Smoke rises from the mountainside wherever the rain falls.

    Anybody out in the open during the storm takes acid damage in addition to the effects of severe weather. However, the PCs’ access to healing magic and energy resistance makes them uniquely equipped to help others find shelter if they so wish.

    Following the storm, the village leader Father Heveril (LN male human fallen paladin 4) asks the PCs for aid, offering a reward if they can discover the source of the storms and end them.

    The storms seem to come from the hunting grounds of the dragon Kaladryx. If he wants tribute, we’ll give him that – we don’t have a choice. But we need somebody who can make him the offer and live long enough to run away if they need to.

    The journey to the dragon’s lair includes many perils, including extreme weather, natural hazards, and more.

    Disciples of the Sar-Gorog: A group of cannibals called the Disciples of the Sar-Gorog see the storms as an omen and have ritually scarred themselves with the acid, giving their skin the appearance of rotting flesh. As the PCs explore the swamp, the cannibals target them as their next meal, utilizing snares and poisoned weapons. Their leader, Kellyl Lathyr (CE female dhampir oracle 7), possesses a potentially useful item known as the shield of storm changing.

    Shield of Storm Changing

    Spoiler:
    This +1 heavy wooden shield is emblazoned with a storm cloud motif. Three times per day, it can become surrounded by an aura of crackling lightning that grants the wielder electricity resistance 10 for one minute. While this resistance is active, the shield converts any form of energy damage done to the wielder to electricity damage.

    The Raging Render: Not far from the dragon’s lair, the PCs come across a heartbroken gray render. The render survived the most recent burning storm, but its giant frog “pets” weren’t so lucky. It now rages through the swamp, smashing everything in its way. PCs can fight the render or calm it down and help put its pets to rest. If one of the PCs speaks Giant and speaks with the gray render, they learn that a battle recently occurred at Kaladryx’s lair.

    The Empty Lair: Kaladryx’s lair shows signs of battle everywhere. The dragon and the majority of his hoard are gone, as Graldar’s tribe carried away the fallen dragon, their own dead (to serve as meals at a feast), and as much treasure as possible. Even an unskilled tracker can pick up the trail, and it leads to the Drowned Garden.

    Part II: Into the Drowned Garden

    Despite their small size, the creators of the Drowned Garden dreamed big, creating spacious displays and wide halls that unfortunately made it easy for the giants to claim it. The three-story building has an open air top level and a pair of observation towers. Due to its damaged and sunken foundation, the entire building is on a slant and the walls and floor are unstable.

    The ground floor entrances are collapsed and submerged, leaving the open top level as the best means of entrance. The giants have created a makeshift ramp to allow them access, but that entrance is carefully guarded. PCs can fight their way across this bridge or seek to avoid sentries through climbing, flight, and stealth.

    The Mossrock Gang: Once on the thick, acid-scarred floors of the top level, the PCs must contend with carnivorous plants, mud elementals, and a trio of merrow siblings known collectively as the Mossrock Gang. Having migrated to the Sodden Lands only to find themselves pressed into Graldar’s service, they are eager to distinguish themselves. The gang consists of Kurgott (NE freshwater merrow barbarian 2), Yerra (NE freshwater merrow ranger 2), and Tregat (NE freshwater merrow druid 4). More cunning that average merrows, the gang attempts to hunt the PCs, using their knowledge of the level’s hazards to their advantage. When they are ready for battle, Kurgott charges in while Yerra tries to maintain a ranged advantage and Tregat summons monsters as assistance.

    The Separated Spirits: The middle level of the garden houses the marsh giants and their slaves. A history of Yamasa is carved into friezes, though knowledgeable PCs can recognize it as extremely idealized. The ghost of Trela (CG gnome ghost druid 5) lingers here and offers the PCs assistance and healing in exchange for a favor: save her husband, who is trapped in a decades-long delusion created by a klefnim.

    Klefnim (CR 7)

    Spoiler:
    These small fey have thin limbs and tiny heads that swell dramatically as they feed. Klefnims exist to share in happy thoughts and memories, gaining symbiotic sustenance from simply being around them. Possessing a captivating aura that calms those nearby into a state of inaction as well as spell-like abilities that include detect thoughts, invisibility, major image, and hallucinatory terrain, they seek out happy thoughts in humanoids and use their illusions to bring them to life so they can feed.

    Sarkun (CG gnome ghost abjurer 5) is hidden in a secret chamber, where he spends his days staring out illusory windows at a land that is no more while the klefnim feeds on the ghost’s happiness. While now immune to the klefnim’s captivating aura, the fey’s ability to create convincing illusions of the Yamasa that was has led him to become locked in a delusion even in death.

    Breaking Sarkun out of his delusion requires delicate negotiation. Those who show knowledge of Yamasa’s history, either independently or gleaned from the walls of the garden, have the best chance of getting him to accept reality. The klefnim does his best to counter the PCs, creating increasingly pleasant illusions to lure Sarkun back into his fantasy.

    If the PCs get Sarkun to accept that Yamasa is gone but not forgotten, he passes on to the Great Beyond. Trela remains behind to aid the PCs as she can, but will not venture beyond this level for fear of falling under Graldar’s control. Once the threat is dealt with, she passes on to the Great Beyond to be with her husband at last.

    Part III: On the Shores of the Acid Pool

    Defeating the bulk of Graldar’s forces gives the PCs access to what was once the garden’s ground floor. Now well under the earth, this level holds several flooded chambers. Acid pools and nauseating fumes abound here, as do the PCs’ final challenges.

    The Qlippoth’s Pet: Xzeraren doesn’t wait idly for the PCs to find him. Instead, he lays an ambush for them with his “pet,” a brineborn marsh giant named Greygill. Greygill has been subjected to repeated charm monster spells and soothing lies from the qlippoth, as Xzeraren planned on using him as a defender should the rest of the marsh giants ever turn against him.

    Xzeraren plans his attack where he cut the PCs off from reaching the ritual chamber. He sends Greygill in first and attacks spellcasters with his braincloud ability and spells. If Greygill looks likely to fall, the qlippoth opens flooded chambers, relying on his acid resistance and hoping that the rush of water will drown or dissolve the PCs.

    Beneath the Vivisected Dragon: The central chamber of the sunken level once displayed everything from farm equipment to rare seeds to crop patterns used by the Yamasans. Now it serves as a ritual chamber, where Graldar uses his magic to put Xzeraren’s plot in motion.

    Six run-colored obselisks circle a bubbling black pool. Chains run from the top of each pillar, holding up a huge black dragon that hangs a dozen feet above the pool. The dragon has been cut open from the base of his throat to his belly, and each drop of blood that drips into the pool causes the obelisks to shiver and the runes to glow red. Impossibly, the creature still breathes.

    Kaladryx (CE old black dragon) still lives, kept from death through healing magic but constantly cut and bled by the giants to feed the ritual pool. Graldar (CE marsh giant cleric 6) has no plans to let the PCs change that. Having already cast protection from energy as a failsafe, he repeatedly dives into acidic sinkholes within the room, coming up through the weakened floor to try to grapple and submerge unsuspecting victims.

    Killing Kaladryx:

    Spoiler:
    Kaladryx is already near death, and PCs who finish the job stop the acid storm from becoming permanent. However, doing so invokes the wrath of Graldar, and the giant focuses all his fury on the adventurer who strikes the killing blow.

    Freeing Kaladryx:

    Spoiler:
    PCs who heal the dragon to at least 40 hp and release him from his chains earn a powerful ally as Kaladryx enters the fight with a fury. However, if the dragon still lives after Graldar falls, PCs may have to negotiate themselves out of a tight spot. Playing on Kaladryx’s pride will help and might even get some gratitude from the dragon.

    Conclusion

    Defeating Xzeraren and Graldar or releasing Kaladryx (via freedom or death) prevents the ritual from becoming permanent. The acid storms end within a matter of days and the adventurers are hailed as heroes upon their return upon their return to Jula. Whether the PCs choose to remain in the area or move on, word spreads about the adventurers who overcame the dangers of the Drowned Garden.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    So clicking on the submission tool and getting a notice saying the round has closed gave me a minor heart attack. Thankfully I checked this board and my email. Now I just pray that my email doesn't get caught by a spam filter or lost somewhere in the Interwebs.

    This has been a great experience that has helped me improve a lot as a designer. Thank you very much to all the judges, everybody who provided feedback, and all the other contestants who inspired and intimidated me with their excellent work!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    In terms of quality, does the campaign at least approach the Neverwinter Nights original campaign? That's pretty much the bare minimum in terms of quality that will still leave me satisfied.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Crystal Malarsky wrote:
    To those who didn't advance, I say it again - you're all superstars and I mean that with all sincerity. You guys are so incredibly talented and inspiring. I have no doubt you all have a bright future ahead of you in game design. Every single participant of this contest, be it contestant, voter, or judge helps foster imagination and community within the gaming world. You guys have taught and inspired me so much. Thank you.

    This. There's an amazing amount of talent that has gone through the various stages of the RPG Superstar contest, to the point where each round feels intimidating because of the number of really good ideas that get presented.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    The Raven Black wrote:
    No such things as non-combat encounters when PCs and/or GM are determined enough

    Too true.

    I recently ran a trial session that turned into a melee. I wonder if the battle would have happened if I had laid out a battle mat with all the guards and nobles assembled there so the PCs would have seen how outnumbered they were.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    If we're allowed to deviate from standard household pets, I want to make my preference a sloth. I was happier than a rational person should be when I found out that it's possible to have a sloth familiar in Pathfinder.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    I almost never use maps and minis at my table, but if I did I would be very tempted to run a session where the battle mat was out for everything, even the non-combat encounters.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

    As long as it's just as good as the last series I won't quibble about continuity, however nice that would be.

    I'm just afraid it will be more like Teen Titans Go or the Green Lantern animated series than JL/JLU.

    From what I saw of the Green Lantern animated series, it seemed pretty good. Doesn't hurt that Kilowog played a big part, or that he was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

    That said, my preference would be a return to the DCAU of old, although I imagine that ship has sailed.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Monica Marlowe wrote:

    Incoming non sequitur-

    I have had to resort to using Cold Turkey to avoid distractions while I write. But I can't put Paizo on the list because I need access to the PRD. Then I remembered there's this contest going on. So now I'm over here wasting time. This freelance and working a full time job thing is just not working very well. I'm going to have to quit my day job so I have more time to play on the forums and still write.

    I'm lucky(?) enough to have an hour-long bus ride before and after work most days. Of course, I'm betting that a lot of people would find writing on a bus more of a hindrance than a help.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    I don't get the hate for Hudson Hawk. It's one of my favorite comedies.

    In terms of movies I didn't get the first time but now absolutely love, Army of Darkness and The Rocky Horror Picture Show top my list.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Another night where I spent a long, long time hovering over the Submit button before finally summoning up the courage to press it.

    Somebody should do an encounter focused around the pressing of that darned button. The suspense alone is a killer.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    So...to make sure I'm clear on the rules here...

    The entire encounter needs to be CR 6, 7, 8, or 9. So does that mean that everything on the map should total no more than 6,400 XP in rewards (i.e., one CR 9 encounter)?

    So, for example, a CR 8 trap in one part of the map and a CR 8 monster in another part would disqualify the entry, since that would make it a CR 10 encounter?

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    The worst part about the submission process is clicking that little "Submit" button and realizing you can't run back and change anything.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Hm...if the no outsiders speculation is the case, would that also preclude the use of fey? Do they count as Golarion natives or First World natives?

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Man, there are a lot of really good maps here.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

    Excuse the late introduction, but I'm on vacation and have limited Internet access.

    I'm a cat person, although my current cat may convert me to being a dog lover forever.

    I've played RPGs since the 90s and jumped over to Pathfinder as soon as it came out. I have other publishing credits in places like Dragon and Shadis magazine (anybody remember that?).

    In terms of current RPG-related material, I write a weekly blog called "Beer and Pretzels" over at Sidekickcast.com, where I talk about old RPGs, D&D weirdness, and reviews of the Pathfinder comic series.

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Short answer: yes. Pathfinder is my favorite game, and second place is pretty distant.

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

    Aside from the Joker and Harley Quinn, my only real reservation about this movie is Will Smith as Deadshot.

    Smith is a great actor who can pull off a lot of roles, but Deadshot is about as unsympathetic as they come and it seems likely to me that he'll add a bit too much charm and humanity to the role.

    The trailer already has hints that he's not quite the lunatic he was in the comics, and if they decide to soften up his character I think they'll need to pull in something great to offset that dynamic.

    (Well, that and I'm still a little bitter that they didn't have Smith grow a porn stache for the part.)

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