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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.
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.
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.
Icy Turbo wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Raven Black wrote:
No such things as non-combat encounters when PCs and/or GM are determined enough
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.
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
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.
Monica Marlowe wrote:
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.
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?
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.
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.)
Alex Martin wrote:
You might need to clear your cache for the site to appear properly.
The trailer doesn't have a whole lot to it, but it was pretty cool to hear Minsc's voice again.
Council of Thieves is not a good path for downtime. It is pretty fast paced. When my group played we barely had time to shop for magic items, let alone make them! It's pretty high pressure to go from one event to the next. (You do get to go to the theatre, which is great fun, but not at all relaxing.)
This runs counter to my experience. The majority of the books allow for a lot of downtime in between adventures if desired. Some even mention that you can have a break of months or years.
How true to complete 2nd edition is it? My favorite 2 nd edition class was ranger/cleric with the fighting monk kit. Is that available? Do spiked gloves work? Are specialty clerics available?
The Baldur's Gate series is core 2nd edition with some of the option books added. Each class has a handful of kits you can choose from (although multi-class characters don't get kits), and you can take proficiencies in fighting styles (i.e., single weapon, sword and shield, two-weapon, and so on).
I don't recall any spiked gloves in the game. There are specialty clerics, but only one for each alignment (I think).
There's some 3rd edition content mixed in, since Baldur's Gate II came out just prior to the release of 3e. The Enhanced Editions expanded that content further by adding the shadowdancer, dwarven defender, dragon disciple, and blackguard as kits.
There might be some additional content added in the new game, but it will definitely still use the 2nd edition system, since the option to import your character from Baldur's Gate to this new game and then into Baldur's Gate II has been confirmed by one of the developers.
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Yep. Baldur's Gate is a 2e franchise. There are some 3e-isms, such as a sorcerer class and shadowdancer kit.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
The original Baldur's Gate series happened around 1368 DR, and I think it's up to around 1489 DR now in Faerun. Maybe this could be a sequel featuring the kid/grandkid of the BG protagonist (or one of the numerous Bhaalspawn antagonists) and using the 5e mechanics?
That would step on the toes of Murder in Baldur's Gate, which was a loose follow-up to the video games (with a very unsatisfying end for the Baldur's Gate protagonist thrown in).
This is an in-between adventure for the Baldur's Gate series - 2nd edition rules, following the story of the protagonist from the first game, and telling the tale of how he went from being the hero of Baldur's Gate to getting tortured by an evil wizard in some dungeon in Amn.
Anyone know what happened to the Baldur's Gate comic that was supposed to come out? I didn't pay attention because it involved Minsc, but I think it should have been out by now.
It was a fun comic that lasted five issues and which can now be found on Comixology.
If you don't mind spoilery reviews, I have breakdowns of all five issues over at this blog.
This countdown is for a midquel that takes place between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II. It's been referred to by the company as "Adventure Y" and has something to do with Dragonspear Castle and the Underdark.
Based on comments made by the folks making this game, it brings back a lot of the old voice actors, such as Jim Cummings as Minsc and David Warner as Jon Irenicus (presumably in a role that foreshadows him as the villain of Baldur's Gate II).
Should be a lot of fun.
I'd work on eliminating the rules that are basically one-off tangents to the system.
Example: arcane spell failure. It exists only in the situation that a wizard or sorcerer decides to cast spells while in armor. It's a rule that handles what amounts to a corner case in play and which doesn't have any other application elsewhere. Seems to me that it could be cut entirely and replaced with something like a caster needing to make a concentration check if casting in armor he isn't proficient with.
I'd like to see a few things polished up and some of the rules that nobody uses tossed by the wayside. (For example, do many people keep track of how many pages a wizard has in a spellbook? If not, do we need that rule?)
I'd like to see fewer situational modifiers. (For example, a dwarf gets +2 to Appraise when pricing nonmagical metals and gemstones - could that be changed to a +2 on Appraise? Or, going back to my previous point, do many people use Appraise or can we ditch it entirely?)
Other than polishing things here and there, the only major change I'd like to see is a reworking of monster math so certain magic items aren't always assumed. For example, cloaks of resistance could be removed from the game entirely if high-level saving throw DCs got knocked down a few points.
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
For starters, they could always take a page from their comics and turn Wonder Dog into a hellhound that kills one of the Wonder Twins, cripples another, and then gets put down by the Teen Titans.
While this may be true, it is worth mentioning that the opening of the classes chapter states that the revised classes don't necessarily need to subsume the existing classes. For example, if somebody wanted to play the standard barbarian instead of the Unchained version, they could if their GM allowed it.
With that in mind, it seems that a game could feature two types of monks - the standard monk that can be used with archetypes and the Unchained monk for those who don't want to use an archetype.
The Joker there seems to be pulling a lot of inspiration from Grant Morrison's revamped Joker in "Batman RIP" (sans the missing lips and split tongue).
Also worth remembering that the Internet flipped when they saw the first picture of Heath Ledger's Joker.
That said, I'm still trying to figure out why you would want to introduce this new Joker in a movie that doesn't have Batman in it. The Joker typically doesn't work very well from a storytelling standpoint if he doesn't have a straight man (i.e., Batman) to play off of.
As to the Will Smith casting, I think he's got the acting chops to pull of Deadshot. I think the problem is that he almost always plays a likeable guy whereas Deadshot is a total psychopath.
Rogar Valertis wrote:
Every other class can do what the fighter can. Yes you get more feats, but that's really all there is to it: more feats. Nothing is unique about the fighter, and adding new mechanics that everyone can use does not solve the problem at all.
For those who feel that way, there is an option to add new mechanics that nobody but the fighter can get.
Seems to me like a barbarian rage that doesn't modify ability scores is a good test-bed that could eventually be applied to stuff like bull's strength. If the new barbarian goes well and doesn't have unforeseen side effects, I'd be more inclined to change bull's strength et al to, "grants +2 to hit, damage rolls, and Strength checks."
In future revisions of the game, I think it would be beneficial to reduce the number of things that change an ability score. However, I'm glad there will be a book like this that allows groups to see how that works in play without there being a unilateral change whose side effects haven't been fully explored.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
This sounds cool, but the rogue getting Dex to damage is probably going to rile up some swashbuckler fans, especially considering that Slashing Grace is so restricted.
I wouldn't really mind seeing the rogue revised so it can be a swashbuckler or ninja without the need for extra classes to fill those niches.
The mutant prejudice doesn't make a lot of sense in the Marvel Universe, but it is what made the X-books so popular.
Personally, I think they'd work better if they were shunted into their own universe where other supers didn't exist, but that would mean no more Wolverine publicity for the rest of Marvel's lineup.