What are your thoughts? Can the party make it with only three players? Should I run an opening adventure to give them a little extra xp? Will the absence of either a divine or arcane spellcaster mean disaster?
Having a blast with this AP so far - sure you'll love it!
If you're running it as is, then the loss of a caster won't be too bad; the loss of a thief will hurt more. Things will need scaling back as you're running with less players, but there is some good advice in the hardback to help you with this.
You could run an adventure before chapter 01, that's what we did and the extra XP was welcome with a smaller party. It is pretty easy to insert a "travelling through the wilderness" adventure, with the heroes heading to Cauldron, as a "Chapter Zero" opening. You might want to shy-away from the encounter tables in the book though - most of them will eat a freshly generated party, no trouble.
Don't forget to post here and tell us all how it is going!
DoD - Kev
Just wanted to make a quick post about Skie's Treasury. The hardback has some info on running the "Ye Olde Magic Item Shoppe", and it seemed like good advice up until now (Flood Season). However, now it seems to be that with the escalating costs of the higher-level items, Skie ends up with a lot fewer items in stock than at lower levels.
I don't have any magic formula or solution to this, other than to say you might need to add a few more items to the inventory in order to meet player expectations of stock levels.
DoD - Kev
I like to think of an adventure "field" rather than a "path". I like to draw a map, put points of interest on it, and let the story flow. Perhaps the PCs jump into a path in the middle, or take a detour from one path to another, or perhaps the storylines from multiple paths merge into one story.
This is good advice.
I'm currently running SCAP and we tried to stick to the adventures as set up, but it just didn't work out. So, we have switched to a less ordered and less strict approach to the story and things are working out much better, with the players driving the story forward, rather than me, and the book, pushing them where they don't necessarily want to go. For example there was one dungeon we never finished (Jzadriune), but there is another (Drakthar's Way) that the party is currently on their third trip around!
I guess the writers have no way of knowing what your players will latch on to, so they just try to pack each path with as much as awesome as possible. Then it is up to the individual DMs to know their groups and stick to what they'll enjoy. You're not cheating if you deviate from what's written.
RE: length, you can always wrap things up whenever you want to. You could easily pick out some of the key scenes from each module and zip through those to the end. Alternately, you could just jump to the last module and fill the empty space with a sort section you wrote yourself, designed to bridge the gap.
Also, you can stop whenever you like. If things aren't working out, wrap it up and have the "dum dum dum" ending, with greater evil still lurking out there. It won't be as satisfying as finishing a path, sure, but finishing it is not going to be satisfying if the modules are turning into a chore.
DoD - Kev
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
So I'm getting a PSP 3000 in August. My first game is going to be Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. I love Castlevania SOTN on my PS and to be able to take it with whenever I go on long trips will be pretty sweet.
Great choice - Dracula X is my favourite PSP game. If you have friends to play with, you should check out Monster Hunter (Freedom Unite is the latest version, available from the PSN). For side scrolling you should check out the Genesis Collection, Taito Collection and the Metal Slug Collection. The EA Collection is pretty sweet too - Syndicate, Desert Storm and Road Rash. Finally, I've really enjoyed the Final Fantasy re-issues. FFII, if you're into it, is awesome.
But then again, I'm a sucker for the "oldies". ;p As long as your expectations aren't too high, there is a lot of fun to be had with D&D Tactics. Star Wars Renegade Squadron is also a lot of fun.
Edit: Just got to add that you can get a lot of free demo games for your PSP. Make the most of this and you can save a fortune on games. Both because you will know if you like them before buying them, and because there are many hours of free gaming to be had. Dungeon Explorer has an ace free demo, with up to four players and more than one stage. Also, as a gamer, you'll probably get a good laugh out of the Undead Knights demo - make zombies out of people, use them as weapons etc. Also, get enough and make a bridge to cross the castle moat, lol!
There are a lot of good PSP games. However, the movie UMDs aren't all that great. They are very cheap, and the quality is top-notch, at least as good as a DVD, but it can be tough to squint at the screen for two hours. I'd say the episodes of something UMDs are the best value, then. Also cartoons are good as they're a little easier on the eye (Simpsons, Family Guy, Anime, etc.).
RE: Accessories, you should be okay with a sturdy case and a decent sized memory card (or two smaller ones). The battery goes for about 3 hours (depending on what you're doing - spinning the UMD eats it up fast, so if you're playing games from the disc or watching movies, you might want a spare battery or a car-charger or something.
Hope that helps! Hope you get as much out of your PSP as I do!
DoD - Kev
I jumped in at the 250 level because we were offered something that money normally couldnt buy, an iconic character based on you. I would have to wait and see what the plan is for the next step before i committed to that much money again.
Although, I'm probably still going to be in this, no matter what. I really want to see a new D20 Modern.
And, yeah, I'm on the Yahoo group.
DoD - Kev
So we had another game yesterday, wrapping up Drakthar's Way. There were a lot of changes made to adventure, but it has nicely set up some future events:
How it all went down:
Drakthar was actually an aquatic Elf from the Blue age, having survived into the present due to becoming a vampire.
She surrounded herself with Gith - it was the Gith her named her "Drakthar", she had a traditional Elven name: Auriel
Deep below Drakthar's Way, the PCs found out that she was not involved in the creeping madness surrounding Cauldron, but was aware of it and suggested she might have to act against it in the future.
Drakthar had discovered/was using as her coffin, one of the Githzerai's psionic-nukes from before the apocalypse. The Gith were worshiping it/her like something out of Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
The bomb was floated down a river of magma to under Red Gorge, where it was moved to the Bath House (which was changed to mud baths), complete with dominated Dwarf owner.
The PCs didn't figure this out, but Drakthar was planning to use the weapon against the Dragon Queen in an effort to take the region for herself.
The PCs won the day, destroying Drakthar by smashing down a section of wall and exposing her to the Athasian sun. Does she have another coffin hidden away? Could she come back?
The Queen's Templars took the bomb and informed the PCs that it wasn't a bomb, Men In Black style. Also it was revealed they were headhunting one of the PCs.
Now, with a little RPing to go, it'll be on to Flood Season!
DoD - Kev'
Good to see my wife made #1 on the list. :)
Mine too. *we're so lucky*
I totally called Morgan Ironwolf - I knew she would be on that list. And I knew there would be comments about her awesome hair and how her nips were visible through her chainmail. That's impressive/weird/scary/hawt. Hmm.
I ran this out of the magazines so I am not familiar with the details of Drakthar's Way.
It's actually a pretty cool adventure. It doesn't really "fit" into the ongoing events, but as a stand-alone-adventure it works well. Most of the changes I've made to it have been to tie it in with everything else.
The easiest way to do this is:
to make Drakthar a player in the events going on around Cauldron, e.g. a part of the Blue Duke's army, or even a Cagewright himself, etc.
The best bit of Drakthar's Way is:
the throne. It's a construct that comes to life and aids him in battle. Haven't got to this bit yet, but am looking forward to it. As I've changed Drakthar to an Aquatic Elf, I'm going to change the throne to help fit a bit more. I'm thinking of making it a stone-construct, with sea-carvings, as opposed to an undead one.
I'm interested to know what happens when the 'flood season' rolls around.
I imagine the next session will wrap up Drakthar's Way, although we might have a new player joining us, so that could slow things down. One or two sessions, either way. Then we'll have about two months of down-time to roleplay through, as the characters wanted to set off for the Flood Festival well in advance, in case they got lost/attacked in the desert. As they got there without too much hassle, they've got some time to kill. Looking forward to all the roleplaying - one of the PCs set up Cpt. Skellerang with her mother! That's going to be fun to watch....
DoD - Kev'
I remember the spell in 2E, but IIRC, it never had a 3E counterpart. It appeared in the old Spell Compendiums I believe, although, that'd not likely be it's original source.
I just did a quick search - and found this thread. Not much on the internet, although there is a 4E Ritual that was worked on, on the WotC boards. I guess because they are replaceable and their powers are based on their master's level, there isn't a real drive to make such a spell exist. As a DM, I'd let you do it for the same cost as the usual familiar replacement process. Any DM that wouldn't let you pretend that it was the same familiar would just be being mean.
DoD - Kev'
I wish that the books were actually 3-hole punched.
Got to say a big no-no on this one. See, here in the UK, 3-hole punched isn't that common (generally we use two holes). For the products I have had that have been punched, they just fall apart because they are designed to be separated, but I have nowhere to store them. Of course, you can get three-holes binders, but is just isn't common and doesn't look right (to me). Sure puts me off buying a product.
Plus most of the Paizo bindings are really good.
DoD - Kev'
Last weekend we played another game. We're currently at a mixture between Drakthar's Way, and somewhere the designers never intended (I love my group).
The PCs had their first encounter with Drakthar, who has been very much changed to fit in with Athas a bit more. She's now an aquatic Elf who survived from the previous age because she was a vampire. "Drakthar" isn't her actual name, but the name the Gith she has surrounded herself with gave her.
We had an awesome scene, right out of a Lovecraft story, with her awakening in a cavern full of drumming Gith. It scared me just running it!
One of the PCs was dominated by her, swimming in Cauldron's lake so she could experience it. That was as far as things got, though. She became very jealous when said PC walked arm-in-arm with Jenya, leading the Lurk and NPC priest to "counterspell by stealth" Drakthar's hold on him. The last thing he heard was her screaming in his head - heck hath no fury like a woman scorned!
Interestingly, through the domination, the PCs learned that Drakthar opposes those responsible for the maddening dreams and threatened she might be forced to act against them. I did this to tie Drakthar to the plot a bit more - although that's all I'm saying for now in-case one of my players stops by here.
DoD - Kev'
had used Sleep spells on their children so many times as infants that by the time they reached adulthood, the constant interaction of the Sleep spells with the elves' inherent magical nature had rendered them immune to the effect.
LMFAO - brilliant! If I was drinking anything, I'm sure it would have come out of my nose!
DoD - Kev'
I just happened to send him a copy of your "take" on it yesterday to assist.
Thanks - pass it around, spread the love. I seriously love psionics and am continually horrified at the lack of good press/supplements it receives.
Same thing as suggested in the Beta, which was a conversion to GP. I can't find the formula in my Beta at the moment, but, IIRC, it was XP x 5 = in GP. Just treat the GP cost as a material component as you would with any arcane spell. It's not 100% elegant, but it works.
Personally, my group likes XP costs - it is fun when you can spend your XP on something other than leveling up (e.g. Training Schools in Dragonstar, Mutations in Oathbound, etc.). I would have preferred to see more XP spending options rather than the removal of the mechanic. Perhaps even a new way to multiclass; buying bonuses with XP would be nice. Ah well. :D
have you updated your docs since?
Not in any official capacity, no. I'm about 60% or so of the way through collecting everything together so our group can get our house rules printed bound at Lulu or similar. Also, I've done a lot of work for Dance of Dice (which is why I'm now using the alias), some of it psionic, but we're currently stuck in development-heck. :(
DoD - Kev'
Question - are you the same tfad that released his own take on Pathfinder Psionics?
Yeah, that was me. Although it was less "my own take" and more "updated to match what was in the Beta".
I'm a real psionics fan and we use a lot of it in my group. We needed something to work with along side the new Beta versions of the classes in order to participate in the playtests. Thus the update was born and I figured, hey, why not release it. "My own take" is a little different, mostly regarding the Psion (we have an undisciplined option to match our fluff on how psionics works), but the others are pretty close - but we didn't think it was right to playtest something next to house ruled classes unless it was done in the same way as what was presented in the Beta.
Short answer - yes, that was me. ;)
DoD - Kev'
here's to hoping that there's an alternative plan in the works if this doesn't pan out.
Yeah, I hope so. I was also hoping that those of us who got iconics would be offered first refusal on the equivalent for any new project (assuming this one didn't go ahead).