I had no intention of changing until one day I decided to have a go at using the NPC rules to create a 4E version of a BBEG from the 3.5E game I was running.
The BBEG was a 22nd-level fallen paladin/blackguard. It was going to take me a good 3-4 hours to properly create using 3.5E rules so I grabbed the 4E DMG and built it from scratch, teaching myself as I went along, in about 90 minutes.
I would create that NPC now in 4E in about 20 minutes because of the Monster Builder. It was that huge reduction in prep time that convinced me to switch to 4E. Sure, there are lots (and lots) of things I don't like about 4E and/or I prefer about 3.5E but the reduction in prep time won me over completely.
It reads like an "F". But then, using a lame generic dungeon tile with water would be enough of an "F" for me, so I just might be a harsh person in general.
It's barely a Dark Sun adventure. An F really would have been an appropriate grade.
What particularly sad is to see the once-great module author Bruce R. Cordell fall so far. He not only hasn't written anything good in years, he's fallen so far as to be not unreasonably labeled an incompetent. How embarrassing for him.
I have to agree with you.
It's hard to believe that the same guy who wrote Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Gates of Firestorm Peak and The Shattered Circle (a seriously underrated gem of an adventure) has been turning out the dreck he has since 3E. He's become the Ben Affleck of adventures: his name on the cover guarantees it's not going to be good (and his novel writing is even worse).
He really has lost his mojo. I hope someone has a good long chat with him.
There are some great ideas here: thanks for posting.
Penser: great ideas about Lissala.
Stewart: I must admit I was also thinking of Xin as the master of divination but I like the direction your ideas are going in better.
Robert: your campaign sounds very interesting. I particularly like your revised history for Xanderghul.
Twowlves: yeah, it ties in nicely with Penser's idea of Lissala as the main villain.
Another intriguing reference in the AP is the reference to Lissala the goddess of Runes, now dead. From my POV if I was to consider running a sequel to RotRL (with the same characters ie (3.5) 16th+) it would revolve around the idea of this deity potentially returning to life. (snip)
I was thinking along the same lines. Perhaps Xin was her construct and the concept of the Runelords was her idea as part of her plan to become the supreme deity of Golarion. (I'm thinking of what Vecna was doing in a couple of 2E adventures for inspiration.)
Actually I was thinking about having the Runelord of Gluttony, a necromancer, be responsible for awakening and animating the other Runelords thus reducing them to mummies or similar. Actually, the Runelord of Gluttony would make for an interesting devourer when he returns.
Anyway, this would reduce the other Runelords to powerful monsters but nothing compared to Karzoug, the Runelord of Gluttony or Xin. While that reduces some of the story potential from the other Runelords it does allow them to be included without having to craft major arcs around each one.
It also allows for the Runelords to serve the same purpose as a multi-part McGuffin. Maybe the potential of Xin's return is revealed so each of the other Runelords must be found and confronted to end Xin's scheme.
Anyway, I realise that sounds a bit weak now but it does have potential for expansion using the original six adventures as a framework. (Hmmm, what if Mammy Graul is a servant of the Runelord of Lust?)
I'm running 4E so I'm wanting to run my Rise of the Runelords campaign up to 30th-level. However, that has no effect on this thread: this is talking about how to expand RotR to include all the other Runelords and to take the campaign into Epic levels without reference to the edition being played.
What I'm thinking is that Xin's disappearance as mentioned in Pathfinder 1 is sufficiently mysterious as to warrant as an adventure hook. This is what is says:
After ruling 110 years, Xin’s magic consumed him in a conflagration of scarlet fl ames that destroyed much of the imperial palace, and left no remains of the First King.
Careless of their emperor’s mysterious end, the runelords seized their domains for themselves, subjugating Xin’s most powerful generals and viziers and leaving his eldest son a puppet emperor in the city of Xin—a small mountain prison where he could be controlled.
What if the subsequent rise of the other Runelords was actually engineered by the First King?
What if, and I recognise it for the blatant [i]Lord of the Rings[/] rip-off that it is, Xin was working on, for lack of a better term, a Master Rune to control all other aspects of Rune Magic?
What locations and events would you add to the existing RotR campaign to include this expansion of the storyline which would then conclude with a battle against the resurrected First King who may be a lich or a golem or something more mysterious?
Are there are any other threads that I have missed throwing these sorts of ideas around?
Thanks, Jeremy. You are right: this is not about 4th edition, per se, but about expanding the adventure path itself. Having read up on what I can about the Runelords this weekend I would now like to run a campaign involving all seven of them... plus Xin, the First King, who engineered his disappearance and the rise of the Runelords and is now engineering their return as part of his scheme for apotheosis and an Eternal Empire of Thassilon.
Jeremy & Scott, I am sorry, I really should have made mention of Scott's work in my post.
I can see, Scott, where your conversion is going. I think, too, that Xin-Shalast is the perfect place to end the campaign and, Jeremy is right, 12 pages is not enough for such a great location. edit I would love to have the final battle involve all seven Runelords with the party being assailed by all seven sins.
I love the idea of including yakfolk as inhabitants of Xin-Shalast and having them manipulate things during the course of the campaign.
Are there any other sites or adventures that you would include in an expanded RotR?
Do you know where I can find information about the other Runelords? If I do this I would also like to include their machinations as part of an expanded adventure path.
I'm still enjoying running D&D4E but the sheer quality of Paizo's products for Golarion (and WotC's inability to produce adventures or adventure paths that do not suck) means that I am really wanting to start a campaign set in Golarion --BUT-- I want to set the campaign up to run from 1st to 30th level.
How would you do this?
Starting with Rise of the Runelords as a base, what things would you include (such as the other six runelords) in order to expand RotR into a larger campaign?
What would you use as the final adventure? (I often find thinking about the final adventure can help shape the preceding adventures. YMMV.)
I'm not looking for stat blocks, maps or any of those "crunchy" sort of things, more ideas for adventures and for building the heroic, paragon and epic tier arcs. I hope some others are interested and want to throw some ideas into the mix.
Thanks in advance!
I haven't run it yet but I have completely stolen the whole concept for my 4E FR campaign.
When I first read this I thought it was one of the best ideas for an adventure site of all time. Sleeping, petrified aboleth plus a choice between the lesser of two evils: what's not to like?
It's on of my favourite Dungeon adventures of all time. Props to the author.
Hell if the dollar gets weak enough, people can outsource to us!
I recently saw the average salary in the US and, as an Australian, thoughts like this actually entered my mind (US average salary is USD32K; average Aussie salary is about AUD63K.. or about USD59K as the USD approaches its true value).
I live in two different countries, neither of which is the United States, so a subscription makes no sense for me and the postage costs are prohibitively expensive.
I buy every product as a PDF even though I play 4E (at the moment...;)) and was wondering if I could subscribe for PDF products only? I'm not so much looking to save money as to have things as they are released (they're good to read on planes!).
Is there enough demand for this? Would you like to start with me as a test customer?
Pat o' the Ninth Power wrote:
(snip) OpenDesign's Wrath of the River King is in delve format, and is extremely rich in design and detail and rp opportunities.
The difference though is that Wolf Baur is a good adventure designer. IMO, WotC has only two good adventure designers on staff: Rich Baker (who, coincidentally, is the only WotC employee who is a also a good author) and Chris Perkins (who hasn't had an adventure with his name on it as author since 3/5E's Sons of Gruumsh). Bruce Cordell used to be good but the Far Realm seems to be a reality for him: his latest stuff simply isn't good enough (and, sad to say, he may be the worst FR author of all time).
2E's Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff was an excellent skeleton for a sandbox campaign at the same time as paying homage, as it were, to the originals.
If I was running WotC I would have made Revenge of the Giants something like that and then next year released an Epic homage to D1-D3 (just in time for Lolth's official publication for the MMIII). The fact is these two products would have sold well and possibly kept the "grognards" happy as well. And as plot is, IMO, a weakness for the current crop of WotC designers, it wouldn't have mattered because the plot has already been worked out for them.
I did the same recently with a hill giant that I wanted a 2nd-level party to encounter. I basically wanted an uncoordinated sack of hit points so I went with a 4th-level solo brute. It was just right.
The other option is to use a higher level minion version of the same creature. Defences and hit points, IMO, are simply two sides of the same coin (which I why I never agreed with solos getting defence bumps when their hit points are a multiple of standard or elite creatures). So if you have a high level minion with high defences, chances are it can take quite a few attacks by a lower level party before that single hit point is removed.
The other advantage of the high level minion is that even if it hangs around for a few rounds longer than expected, it won't be dishing out too much damage. That said, it could be a bit boring but may be worth a try in certain circumstances.
Yep... it's another dud 4E adventure by WotC.
Seriously, why can't the staff writers put something decent together? I love the 4E rules, the 4E game, but the story guys at WotC have no idea (IMO).
I don't know why they don't just hire the Paizo guys to write the adventures for them without the stats then have the WotC guys go back and add in the crunchy bits.
Seriously, again using that word, WotC needs to realise that it has a quality problem with the adventures it has published. With very few exceptions (and Rich Baker's name is the only one that basically guarantees there will be quality) the adventures that are being published are simply not up to scratch, and certainly not comparable to Paizo's offerings either now or in the "dead tree" Dungeon era.
I think Bill Slavicsek needs to stop writing Ampersand columns informing the world about how important he is and get down to the basic business of making sure that adventure products his team (and he loves to remind us that they are "his") produces are great products. Rich Baker can't be expected to write everything, can he?
Does anyone else have this?
I've avoided WotC adventures for a quite a while now unless they have Rich Baker's name on them (and I would also make an exception for Chris Perkins if he ever writes an adventure again).
I'm really wondering if this is the usual WotC style (grab random monsters of the right role and level and plonk them down together in an encounter without considering why the different types are co-operating) or most Paizo-ish (you know, where it actually has a plot).
Edit: I'm lost as a customer. There is time travel. I don't do time travel.
I'm running in the new timeline primarily because I like the DDi tools so much I just want to stick to canon as represented in the character builder etc....
I use older products, particularly the maps, as inspiration. It's very easy to convert an old 3.5E (or earlier edition) site into a post-Spellplague dungeon/ruin and the earlier edition descriptions can help spark ideas for the site.
Frex, I have a campaign centred around Silverymoon. I wanted a simple dungeon to run as an introductory adventure and looked at the map from 3E's Silver Marches product. I saw Rauvinwatch Keep about 20 or so miles west of Silverymoon and decided to make that a ruin touched by the Spellplague.
It's cool because I can use the earlier description to give some underlying logic and backstory to the dungeon and any lore-nazi (and I don't have any) would be able to find the easter egg that this represents.
My only real complaint about the 4E version of the Realms is that the maps are just so appallingly bad. They would have to be the worstmaps that I think WotC have ever published. I don't think I am being guilty of hyperbole for saying that.
I would almost argue that you -need- Paizo adventures if you're going to run 4E (unless you make your own). The 4E adventures by Wizards, IMO, just don't cut it. Sure, they've got some interesting encounters but they sorely lack anything resembling story and that's where the Paizo products have them beat.
Look at Scales of War: I'm not sure how a collection of semi-random monsters in unlinked adventures becomes an adventure path simply by virtue of having a common logo! Perhaps an exaggeration on my part, but it's certainly not an adventure path as we have seen from Paizo. It's not even up to the standards of Paizo's first effort, Shackled City!
While I'm not a big fan of the new cosmology, I was playing an Eladrin in my friend's campaign, and I really enjoyed the information on the Feywild in the book. I was actually a bit surprised at the level of detail they put into that particular plane.
I seem to recall that the Feywild part of the book was written by Jon Rogers who, inter alia, was the screenwriter of the Transformers movie.
Here are some of my suggestions for managing/dealing with depression.
Regular exercise has to be one of the absolute keys to banishing depression. Keep the weight off and radically change your eating (and drinking) habits. And then exercise some more.
2. Invest part of your life in others and not just for show.
3. Do good. Be good. Keep your conscience clean. A clean conscience is vital for dealing with depression.
4. Make your bed everyday. Some may read this and laugh but part of controlling depression is making sure you don't break off normal disciplines simply because you're feeling depressed. When you break those disciplines you feel guilty... which leads to further depression... which leads to a breaking of disciplines etc.... So, really, make your bed everyday. Ideally, try and keep your bedroom really tidy.
5. Exercise some more. Endorphins are better than drugs.
Disclaimer: For months I hated the new Realms. Until now I don't really see them as the -real- Forgotten Realms but I have grown to appreciate the setting.
This is what I like about the new Realms:
- It really is a clean slate. The overwhelming nature of the Spellplague really gives a DM, especially a new DM, licence to make the Realms their own without any need to have researched the minutiae of Realms history. And some DMs need that explicit licence.
- The Player's Guide is the first time that there has actually been a Player's Guide to the Realms. Other products may have had the name but they also served other purposes.
- I am addicted to WotC's online tools and their character generator as are my players. That's actually what forced my hand, as it were, to convert over to the new Realms.
- You can still use a lot of the older products for inspiration, particularly for sites for what are now ruins and dungeons! ;)
- Each country or region in the Campaign Guide gives you enough hooks and ideas to spark quite a few adventure and campaign ideas. Sure, there are only 2 or 3 pages but they're generally quite well written (and I love the consistency with the information in the Player's Guide).
This is what I don't like about the new Realms:
- The maps suck beyond all suckage. I don't know how else to express that. They suck beyond belief. I accept that a conscious decision was made to limit the amount of detail but the maps are appalling. Terrible. Waste of time. And too damn difficult to edit to add in interesting stuff... and even if or when you do the maps still suck.
- A lot of the canon explanations for what has happened suck. Suck beyond all suckage. Check out the "bizarre love triangle" involving Tyr, Helm and Sune (IIRC). Someone spends too much time watching soap operas for inspiration.
The Cormyr backdrop article had a wonderful map of Cormyr. I don't care if we never see a backdrop article again but I honestly hope that we will see more maps of that calibre.
On balance, I do recommend the new Realms if someone is looking for a 4E setting.
PS: Sorry about the overuse of "suck/suckage". I just didn't know how else to explicitly state how much the maps, um, suck.
I really like the basic idea behind this NPC and I expect I will use him in one of my games. However, that name has to die a rapid death. "Paradigm" is bad enough (unless you are Bruce Cordell and you're having trouble remembering whether your novel is 2001: A Space Odyssey or something set in the Forgotten Realms) but teamed with the pseudo-Latin "Theoguard" it has become an evil abomination that needs a very powerful smite evil attack to blast it out of existence.
But I do like the concept a lot. If you have access to 2nd edition Dungeon magazines you might find The Knight of the Scarlet Sword adventure interesting as a slightly different take on something similar.
Vic Wertz wrote:
(snip) You got all them little countries that durn't even add up as big as Texas! And what the heck do you call them big fishy things over there, if you already done used Whales as a country name? (Fixed.)
Think how we Aussies feel: we have cattle properties (aka "ranches") bigger than Texas let alone a few little countries in Europe.... ;)
This is possibly one of the worst products ever published for any edition of D&D. I bought it thinking it might make a good gift for my best friend's son who has joined our games but it's trash.
Crap. I can't believe Chris Perkins, the writer of some of D&D's best adventures when he used to regularly contribute to Dungeon magazine, would sully his reputation with this rubbish.