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Have to say, Gary McBride's article on reskinning Council of Thieves as a drow campaign was really cool. I'm really hoping AP Reskin-by-Wayfinder-Issue-Theme becomes a regular thing alongside Weal And Woe.
Hey thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the article. I am unwilling to commit to this being "a regular thing". As long as I keep having worthy ideas for how to fit the theme, I keep this train rolling.
What you can count on is that I will try to submit something to every Wayfinder from now on. It's too cool a 'zine not to support.
At Paizocon, I'll be running a panel Saturday 4:00-5:00 pm in Evergreen G called "The View from the Fire Mountain".
In addition to talking about all our current projects, we'll be devoting a portion of that panel to talking about our future as yet undecided projects. We'll be previewing a couple of possible candidates for upcoming adventure paths, taking suggestions from the audiences and then holding a small straw vote on which path you would prefer.
This sort of straight-from-the-fans data is very important to us. It represents a chance for you to have a real impact upon our future products. And of course we're not promising that any of those projects will be our next AP, but we are certain that at this panel we'll be listening.
So be heard and get a glimpse from a the top of the Fire Mountain. I look forward to meeting you all.
First, I wouldn't call Bellinda a Mary Sue. I am definitely not living vicariously through a twenty something princess via my writing. Uh, no. Dude, that would be seriously creepy.
Instead, Bellinda is the straightforward good guy to oppose the utter wickedness of the PCs.
Almost every other major good guy NPC has his/her flaws. The commander of Balentyne is overwhelmed with melancholy and sorrow for his lost love. The dragons Antharia Regina and Erimanthus are standoffish and distant. The Church though ultimately well-meaning is riddled with zealotry, indifference and corruption. The paladin very likely gives into despair and become an anti-paladin if the PCs don't just kill him. Even Ara Mathra, though he weeps with grief, is unwilling to abandon his precious sacred flame to more directly help the people of Talingarde. Good guys all but all with their problems and failings.
But not Bellinda. She is the shining "big-good" of the adventure path. I thought we needed at least one.
However, if this does not sit well with you and you want her to be more complex, I think its fixable. When she flees Talingarde and spends three years away, right now the adventure path portrays her as spending that time constantly working towards her return. Instead, you could portray the princess as turning her back on her home. With her father dead and her title taken from her, the princess seeks at first to make another life far away from poor, doomed Talingarde.
And then finally, she receives word of some atrocity your villains have done during their reign. Finally it is too much. Even the Princess can no longer stand by and do nothing. She's going back. She marshals what forces she can and begins the long journey home.
Anyways, hope that helps.
1) AoM is correct. Physical messengers are sent to the horn.
2) Dismissal, instead of actually banishing them, probably just rips them apart and still trapped at the Horn, they reform a month later just as if they had been killed. Having their true name amulets just means they'll do what you say instead of what they think is best for the defense of the Horn.
3) I would say the same effect that stops Plane Shift also stops them from using dispel magic in this way.
Also, don't be afraid of making the magic of the Horn a little capricious and hard to figure it out. After all, its the magic of a decade old holy curse interacting with the lingering aura of a place of unspeakable evil. The fact that the magic sometimes "fights with itself" should come as no surprise and makes the magic seem ... well, a little more magical.
Hope that helps,
Regarding Bergill Mott and Captain Mott, they could be related. One side of the family went bad while the other went legit. Could be a nice angle to play up in certain campaigns.
But is this an intentional plot point? No.
Book Seven will consist of several parts...
Yes, it will have three one one-shot adventures called "MinionQuest" intended to serve as humorous interludes in the adventure path.
But it will also contain several full length side-quests and expansions to the main "Way of the Wicked" plotline.
It will also consist of a large section of high-quality player handouts and all new art.
In short, while completely optional, it is 100-pages designed to enhance your villainous campaign.
Having just finished the writing for this project, I have to say I've quickly become a huge fan of the Way of the Wicked AP and can't wait to run it. If I can somehow manage to swing Paizocon this year, I may run the first part of Knot of Thorns with the AP iconics.
Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked".
If you do run "Knot" at PaizoCon, let me know and I'll provide some prize support.
I totally let that question slip through my fingers. Elves do not play a major role in Way of the Wicked, its true. There are only 650 elves in Ghastenhall, for example, a city of more than 80,000. And I believe no major NPC is an elf. I personally always envisioned Talingarde being a predominantly human and dwarven land.
A few civilized elves in Talingarde. Elves live in the Caer Bryr and the Savage North in small tribes. And elves doubtless live in the rest of the world in much more normal concentrations.
But Talingarde is a very lawful good sort of place and I largely visualize elves as being predominantly chaotic good. They don't find the dominion of the House of Darius very welcoming.
Really, its as simple as that.
Glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked" and thanks for recommending us!
Aha! Surprised you. The unnamed white dots are the other watchtowers of the Watch Wall of which only Balentyne, Hamarhall and Lorringsgate get names. The other nine are irrelevant to the plot and probably largely abandoned after the fall of Balentyne and Sakkarot's invasion.
Balentyne is the watch wall which was originally the name of the old dwarven bridge (Balin's span; tine between the dwarven word for span) which preceded the tower.
Aldencross (named for an old trading post at a crossroads founded by a frontier merchant named Zeth Alden) is the town that grew up to support the garrison at Balentyne.
Jim Groves wrote:
First, thanks to everyone who has backed us so far. $7000 in less than 24 hours and rising fast. Woohoo!
Jim, I agree that it is ludicrously overdue that a proper dwarven campaign see the light of print. "Throne of Night" is definitely my effort to write a campaign so "dwarf-y" that you're beard will literally grow while you read it. Yes, both genders. :)
Talingarde had a standing army (in the feudal sense) in the North. That army in the borderlands had been fighting Sakkarot for many months unsuccessfully before the great bugbear generally finally sacked the city of Daveryn.
When they gathered their great army of the South to break Sakkarot, they likely would have won save for the treachery of their general.
As for divine spellcasters, Talingarde was lousy with them. "Was" is the operative word. When the PCs made their surgical attack against Valtaerna, they took many of those resources from the army.
If Talingarde had a weakness, it was their distrust of arcane spellcasters. Still, Balentyne had Tacitus and we can presume a wizard or two could be found in service to all the other watchtowers. Arcane casters were few but present.
But I do agree with you -- they were screwed all along. This war was always going to go disastrously for them (up until perhaps the end). Adrastus understood Talingarde too personally and too profoundly. He knew their strengths and weaknesses and knew right where to hit them.
And he was ruthless in punishing his former home. Such treachery is a recipe for disaster.
Hope that helps!
I agree this is not 100% clear.
There is no secret door in Room 2-20. Instead hidden spiral staircase inside the pillar runs from the caverns (C-5) up through the first floor (1-27) up through the second floor (2-20) and finally opening up with a landing on the third floor (at 3-12). This spiral staircase has no entrances or exits between the caves and the third floor.
Still, being hollow, I would allow searchers a chance to notice their is something strange about the pillars. And that I would make a DC 25 Perception test result. Determined PCs might be able to bust a hole in the thin wall of the pillars as well. I would say the stone there is approximately a foot thick.
Hope that helps,
Like any adventure path it is beyond the capacity of a mere 600-pages to contain every single possibility and its completely discussed ramifications. That said, we do give some small modicum of word count to abject PC failure and recovering from it.
On page 51 of Book One, we briefly mention presenting Book II as a plan B to failure.
So what does that mean? We are well into spoiler territory here...
If I was running a group that failed to burn Balentyne, then present the tears of Achlys as not a compliment but an alternative plan. By unleashing this pestilence Talingarde is weakened and Sakkarot's lieutenant Shagoroth Night-Mane (See Book III) breaks the Watch Wall. He proves to be the great bugbear military genius and gets all of Sakkarot's later lines.
Perhaps you could come up with a small scene where the PCs return to the site of their failure and pour a portion of the Tears into the castle well thus starting the plague.
And after that, you're off on a more normalized course of the adventure path...
Hope that helps!
Where would I find these books? And really now, any race can produce a tiefling?
As for the Ogre being a tiefling...
The campaign is about playing wicked villains in the service of Asmodeus. Grumblejack the Ogre is your first cohort you can recruit and it turns out his tribe has daemonic blood hence he eventually gains the half-fiend template and more throughout the progression of the campaign.
Though the AP never goes into why he has that heritage, I imagine that Grumblejack's tribe was corrupted by the Brotherhood of the Pale Horseman, a once active daemon worshipping death cult that plays a central role in Book Two: Call Forth Darkness.
As for what daemons would want with ogres...hey, everyone needs minions.
First and foremost, thanks everybody for the kind words.
Regarding a compilation -- we hear you. And I'm not saying we'll never do one, but I will say this. At this time we have no definite plans. The PDFs and soft covers are likely to be the only way to get "Way of the Wicked" in 2013. After that...who can say?
What I would like to do is do a Book Seven for "Way of the Wicked". Book Seven would include MinionQuest -- three fairly humorous single-session sidequests where you get to take a break from the pursuit of villainy and play your poor, much abused minions.
It would also include a miscellany of stuff supporting all six books of things that either I didn't have space for or have used in my own home-game version of "Way of the Wicked".
This will be a stretch goal in our upcoming "Throne of Night" kickstarter.
And Regarding that kickstarter for "Throne of Night"...it begins soon... very soon...
Rest assured, we'll post a notice here first thing.
"Way of the Wicked", the only villainous adventure path for the Pathfinder RPG, has now officially sold over 3000 copies.
We at Fire Mountain Games continue to be humbled by the overwhelming reaction and fan support to our first product line.
Thanks again everyone and onward to our next project -- Throne of Night.
This intrigues me. I sounds like this AP is geared more towards Drow and Dwarves. Are other races equally viable, or is this more geared towards them? I understand that other races might not be geared as well towards an underground campaign.
What Itchy said is correct. You can play anything. In fact, this campaign better supports monstrous PCs than almost anything ever published. But dwarves and drow are getting the lion's share of the word count.
Fundamentally this campaign embraces two points of views -- explorer and overlord. The quintessential explorer races is dwarf and for overlords, obviously, the drow.
The explorer has come to the Azathyr to discover the secrets of this mysterious region of the underworld. They may be looking for wealth or glory or to reclaim a lost kingdom. But ultimately the explorer's mission is noble and benevolent.
Not so the overlord. The overlord is here to subjugate. They will enslave all the peoples of the Azathyr and by their own might, forge a new kingdom in the dark places of the earth. All will bow before them or perish.
For shorthand, I've taken to calling the two disparate points of view X vs. O. So, which are you -- an X or an O?
gustavo iglesias wrote:
When Adrastus Thorn returned from the dead and was recreated, he legally changed his name. This is in accordance with the precepts of Infernal Law as decreed by his most August and Infernal Majesty, Asmodeus, Lord of the Nine Hells. The contract is valid.
Or at least, that's how I'd handle it.
Having just completed the ENnie-award nominated, critically acclaimed "Way of the Wicked", Fire Mountain Games now turns its energies to Throne of Night, the subterranean sandbox adventure path. A Pathfinder compatible Level 1-20 adventure path where you need never see the sun.
Here is the cover of Book I: Dark Frontier.
Will you be a noble explorer of the depths of the earth forging a grand alliance or will you conquer an empire beneath a heel of iron? Will you be a cruel drow slaver subjugating all you survey or a valiant dwarf hero reclaiming lost glories? Are you bold enough to claim for yourself a Throne of Night?
Book One is coming soon. Five more books will follow throughout 2013.
Conquer the darkness.
There is a lot of violence in the sandbox.
The Caothach Ool, the Two Queens, the Kraken, the Shoggoth...
And those are the even fights...that's not counting hunting down and slaying the last inquisitor in Matharyn, slaughtering the Knights of the Alerion, wiping out the Church of Mitra, Wars in the North...
But I'll admit, in Book Six, I made the design choice to make fights fewer and more epic. It seemed appropriate for such high level characters. However, I hear your plea. If that is not enough violence just off the top of my head...
You could stat up Carnaya the queen of the ice elves and make that into a direct battle (see event Sixteen).
You could have there be more than one inquisitor in Matharyn. Together they make a direct assassination attempt against the PCs.
Chargammon has a vengeful mate who attacks the PCs blaming them for her beloved's death.
A mad wizard who is also fanatic worshipper of Mitra unleashes a clockwork goliath (CR 19) on Matharyn.
An ancient gold dragon named Hanjartha Five-Fires-Purge-the-Wicked comes to Talingarde hoping to find and aid Antharia Regina. Unfortunately, our villains find him first...
In short, more violence is always an option.
YEAH! I totally forgot about that.
D'oh! Me too. Hmmm...its certainly not a major plot point. Tiberius is barely mentioned.
But yes, in Ghastenhall you should be able to either recruit him or slay him to get him out of the way.
Heh, I'll write up an optional sidequest about him sometime in the future.
John Malueg wrote:
Always happy to give a few thoughts.
I would let the PCs, if they make a substantial monetary investment in their minions, receive a bonus to the organization stats. If I was ever to expand that system, that would be one of the very first ways I would expand it.
You don't want it to be too cheap -- otherwise the PCs will simply max out their stats with very little sacrifice. You don't want it to be too expensive because you want it to be a viable option. I would probably make the exact cost dependent on PCs level.
I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with the goal, I just haven't spent the time developing it yet.
Wow, this is a very cool question and one I've been thinking about a lot recently.
A dwarven city produces some of its own food, but mostly the dwarves represent a concentration of rare craftsmanship and mineral wealth that allow them to trade for the food they need. If did get cut off from the surface it would a calamity as dwarven culture struggles to adapt to self sufficiency. Would it be an adaptation they succeed at or would they fall to ruin?
Dwarves would need alliances to survive such a calamity, but many of the underworld races are weird, evil or both. What compromises would the very traditional dwarves be willing to make? Could they escape from their shell or will they fall into darkness and desolation.
No doubt some dwarves would instead flee from such a calamity and join with other surface societies. Perhaps reclaiming past glories becomes a cultural survival issue. You will either reclaim the lost dwarven city and once more gain your independence or you will have to forever accept that you are now only a small minority in a great human empire. Bards tell tales of the days of dwarven glory, but everyone knows those days are long gone...
Or are they?
More than that, if you'd like to see my long form 6-book 600+ page Pathfinder-compatible answer to the question "what is a dwarven city and its environs like?", please check out Throne of Night when it becomes available in 2013.
Wow, lots of actual play today, guys! Excellent.
Sounds like a very cool first session. You are playing with a very exotic group of PCs. Should be interesting how that plays out...
What are they to do with the documents? Really, its up to the PCs. I can imagine a scenario where they used them to blackmail Blackerly into smuggling them out of the prison. But, really, they're just there for color and perhaps a hint to point them to the stolen cash stashed under Blackerly's bed.
Sounds like you had a brutal first session! Ouch! I hope their luck turns around.
You covered a lot of ground in one session. Very cool. I look forward to the next report.
And thanks again for taking the time to post about your games!
Barleybell and Turnsborough are both described in the same text block below the entry. My wife warned me that people were not going to get this during her editing pass. And I just want you to know, you're only proving her right. Sheesh, there is going to be no living with her now... :)
Is only mentioned in the sidequests. She is yours to play with an develop. As a ghostly priestess of Mitra, she could be just a straight combat encounter I suppose. But I would more likely have her curse and haunt of the PCs until they finally find the fetters that tie her to this world and banish her once and for all.
Basically, take the evil ghost seeks vengeance from beyond the grave cliche' and turn it on its head.
Anyways, hope that helps.
Sheesh! I missed a bunch of questions here.
You can't teleport into or out of the Horn (except via the gate). Summoning is a big exception because honestly otherwise it completely nerfs summoners and wizards. If you're cool with nerfing them, feel free to implement the ban more generally. If you want an ingame reason why summoning works -- the wizards among the Brother who designed the protection may been been summoners and made this loophole so as not limit their own power.
Regarding the organization rules -- no, you only get one point for every level you actually have the organization in existence -- i.e. levels after seven.
Hex and Vex reform after a month as long as the Horn stands. Personally, I see their fate and the fate of the Horn as being intertwined. However, if your PCs have really fallen in love with these big cuddly monstrosities, I'd let them accompany them on their adventures.
Much of what I say above to Patrick applies to your question. Hex and Vex's fate is not discussed because it depends heavily on what the PCs do. If the PCs betray Vetra-Kali, it seems unlikely to me that Hex and Vex will voluntarily serve them.
They were summoned to the Horn, so that is where they are tasked to stay. But, if the PCs have their true names, work out a deal with V-K and have become enamored with the daemons -- I say let them become minions.
Just a word of warning, if you let the PCs keep every stray monster they meet as pets, your going to need to buff up most of the later encounters.
Anyways, that's all for now.
Been a while since I posted here. I'm reading all these great play reports and trying to play catchup.
So, why is Balentyne necessary to take?
The book gives the simple answer "it's a key defensive spot".
The longer answer -- Lake Tarik and the river that cuts Talingarde in half and links Farholde to Estellyn are indicative of severe prehistoric seismic activity. That's why Talingarde has rivers that cut mountain ranges in half and has great inlakes like the Godscar river near Ghastenhall and Lake Tarik. The same violent upthrusts also create a natural barrier that seperates the northern half of the island from the southern half. The Watch Wall is a wall of sorts, it's just a natural one.
In the time of King Accarius IV called the Architect, nine key crossing points were identified and castles were built there. The Victor expanded that number to twelve. The point of the castles is not to permanently hold off an army of thousands. The point of the watch towers is to hold during the initial assault, for ravens to be sent and shortly for reinforcements to turn an army of a hundred into an army of hundreds or even thousands. And then the attacker is doomed.
For the last eighty years, the bugbears have been so disorganized and chaotic that honestly even the reinforcements have been largely unneeded. The "ill led assaults of the barbarous humanoid invaders" (pg. 81 Book I) have frankly sucked. And if Talingarde has grown a little complacent -- who can blame them?
Of course with the rise of the Nine Knots and the arrival of Sakkarot Fire-Axe that complacency is about to cost them dearly.
Which is the point of the adventure...
A lot of this is in Book One, though very briefly and tersely talked about. This is the sort of detail that fits better in a 256 page world guide rather than an eight page article at the back of a 100 page adventure.
Hope that helps,
Tracy Stiles wrote:
I am a full time game designer and third party publisher. And by full time, I mean I work a modest sixty to eighty hours a week writing/designing/editing/publishing/networking/agonizing over RPGs.
It's a pretty straight forward revamp for demonic apostle. I think you're on top of all the chaotic/lawful/familiar revision.
Call the archetype the Infernal Apostle. Replace rage with heroism. Perhaps giving the heroism effect a devilish flavor by also imparting fire resistance 5 for the duration, but holy and silver weapons do an additional 1d6 of damage. Something similar.
I think that will give you the devil-worshipper archetype you're looking for.
Hope that helps and thanks for your kind words about "Way of the Wicked".
Very cool. I think you might be the first person, Kate, inspired to write in-character poetry for any of my RPG products.
Glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked". I didn't write this, but I feel this poetry is appropriate:
Three times I had the lust to kill,