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GlassJaw's page

166 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I was very excited When Pathfinder was announced. Not because I hated 4E or anything (I'm pretty much indifferent towards it) but because I glad that there would be something for those sticking with 3ed and I'm a huge fan of Paizo so I was curious to see what they came up with. I had a pretty solid list of things in 3ed that I wanted to see addressed and fixed and there was no better choice than Paizo to undertake that task. On top of which I knew they would deliver an incredibly high-quality product.

So Pathfinder Beta is finally here. This is the version that is supposed to be fairly "complete" and that Paizo wants the community to playtest. So after spending some time giving the pdf a once over, I and myself feeling very under-whelmed and quite honestly, somewhat letdown by the Paizo development machine.

I can summarize my disappointment as follows:

1. Failure to address core issues

Almost nothing on my "what needs to be fixed in 3ed list" has been addressed. This includes, but not limited to, multiclassed spellcasters, the 15-minute adventuring day, and high-level play.

Sure, some of the fixes they've done are nice - and needed: grappling, combat maneuvers, (some) skill consolidation - but I see these changes as giving the house a new coat of paint while the framework is still shaky.

I know Paizo has said they would still like to address some of these issues (even Lisa the CEO has made her feelings about high-level play known!) but to me, these things should have been addressed from the very start. They should have been the priority. They are not "Beta" fixes. In the software world, Beta, heck even Alpha, assumes all the major features you are introducing are already developed and are at least stable enough to use and test. Alpha is for testing and bug fixes. When the build gets to Beta, it is essentially a release candidate, meaning it's ready for prime-time assuming nothing catastrophic is found at the last minute.

In the development process, you prioritize your workload and feature list first. I feel Paizo (although ultimately, this is probably Jason Bulmahn) had their priorities backwards from the start. Revising the classes and races, for example, is the easy stuff but it doesn't addressed the core mechanics. It doesn't change the way the game is played, which I feel, is what 3ed needs.

2. Crunch overload

From what I've seen, the design philosophy for Pathfinder has been "more, more, more!" While options are fine, it's not what 3ed really needs at this point in time. I have more ranger variants than I can shake two scimitars at. I like a lot of the class and race revisions but I still feel like I'm talking to a used car salesman who is trying to distract me by cranking the car's sweet stereo so I can't hear the grinding sound coming from the engine.

There's a lot of nice, new, shiny crunch in Pathfinder but I find that I'm asking myself if it's really what I need. I have bookshelves full of class variants and I have my own. Is this really what I need Pathfinder to deliver? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding "no".

What I do need are developers willing to look at the core of 3ed and fix it. I need developers to fix the things that I don't have the time to do myself. I don't need developers to spend their time further bloating an already heavily patch-worked system.

3. Change for change's sake

Along with the lack of addressing core issues and the massive amounts of new crunch, what I find most annoying is some of the things they did change didn't need to be changed at all. This further supports my feeling that the design goal at the start wasn't clear or well-defined.

Just to illustrate my point, take something as small as the Cleave feat. Did it really need to be changed. If you were to go about revising the 3ed ruleset, would you even think twice about feats like Cleave, or Great Cleave, or Combat Expertise? I think Mr. Bulmahn should have had a plaque made and hung it above his desk that said "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

To take this one step further, did the barbarian need rage points? The barbarian, to me, was one of the most well-designed classes already. The mechanic might be sound but truely ask yourself, is this change needed.

Part of why I was excited for Pathfinder was that I was looking for a single resource, a single set of rules, for 3ed. But now I'm finding the more I read it, the more things I already want to houserule or change back to the way they were originally!


Trust me, I'm fully aware that nothing will make everyone happy. I'm fine with that. I also thing it's commendable what Paizo has undertaken with this process. I thought the open playtest would be a mess but they've certainly made it work and I fully support their decision to open the rules to the fans.

Perhaps some of my disappointment stems from the fact that I hold Paizo to such a high standard. I think they one of, if not the best, RPG publishers in the business right now. I want them to succeed. Which is why my enthusiasm for Pathfinder has waned the more and more I've seen in each release. I want Paizo to step up and create a memorable and lasting 3ed ruleset and truly improve the very core of the game. Superficial changes won't do that.

There is also the change that my goals don't coincide with Paizo's. And that's fine too. I hope it's not the case because I want to support them. But as of right now, Pathfinder isn't for me.

Now that I've thought more about this, I actually think moving Search into Perception (Wis) and making Disable Device Dex-based instead of Int has more to do with lessening the need of Int for rogues than the consolidation of skills.

Other than Appraise, which one could argue isn't a "core" rogue skill anyway, there are no rogue skills based on Int anymore. I think that's a problem.

The point I was trying to make with my post is that building a rogue in PF was very different than building one in 3.5, mostly due to the lack of choices I had to make. Because of the greatly consolidated skill list, I could have everything I wanted and still be able to go back and adjust my stats, specifically making Int lower.

Trust me, I'm a huge fan of being able to play Charismatic or low-Int rogues but I think the consolidated skill list goes a bit too far.

Here's what I would do for a skill list:

Acrobatics = Balance, Tumble
Disable Device (but keep it Int) = DD, Open Locks
Stealth = Hide, MS
Perception = Listen, Spot
Keep Climb, Jump, Swim, and Search (stays Int)

Well I wrote a longer post and the forums ate it, which isn't the first time. Very annoying.

Anyway, I'm making a rogue for an upcoming Pathfinder game I'll be playing in a I noticed very quickly that my rogue was shaping up quite differently than past rogues I've played.

Basically, my rogue had almost no need for Int anymore. With the skill consolidation (especially Search into Perception) and some skills changing stats (like Disable Device becoming Dex instead of Int), I really didn't Int at all.

In 3.5, I usually make Int the second highest stat for a rogue. With Pathfinder, there was almost no need.

Search definitely shouldn't be combined with Perception and it should also stay Int. It makes Perception way too powerful. I'm ok with Open Locks into Disable Device but it should be Int. I'd also like to see Jump stay as-is and just combine Tumble and Balance into Acrobatics.

So I'm creating a character for an upcoming Pathfinder game I'll be playing and I noticed something interesting: my rogue had almost no need for Int.

I've played a lot of rogues in 3ed and Int is usually my second-highest stat. I like characters with a lot of skills.

However, with the Pathfinder skills as they stand now, this changed dramatically. I made my rogue human and gave him a 14 Int - I usually don't like playing rogues with less than a 14 in Int.

This gave me 11 skill ranks (or 44 in 3.5). In 3.5, even this many skills still required some hard choices. With Pathfinder, I was able to put ranks into things like Swim (which I would never do previously), and still have all the skills I really wanted.

The biggest offenders are consolidation Search into Perception (thus becoming Wis-based instead of Int) and making Disable Device Dex-based instead of Int. I'd also like to see Jump removed from Acrobatics and staying Str-based.

Totally agreed. If anything, I'd remove the Int 13 requirement. I see no reason why a "stupid" (or even one of average intelligence) fighter with good training can't learn some tactics to better defend himself or even learn some tricks to better disarm an opponent for that matter.

Just wondering.

The Knowledge skills were kept for the Knowledge domain but nothing else as far as I can tell:

Knowledge (nature) for the Animal and Plant domain
Survival for the travel domain

I'd add Power Attack to the list of unnecessary feat changes.

I'm on board with most of the Pathfinder changes/additions but Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack, and Combat Expertise simply weren't needed.

Again, while Pathfinder is looking to be very good so far, it treads a fine line between change for changes sake and actual improvements.

I think the monk should have trapfinding. Heck, it had it back in the 1ed days...

After getting Pathfinder #6 yesterday, I want something like this even more. I love the quality of Pathfinder but I just can't stomach high-level play anymore. And probably not coincidentally, but I felt Pathfinder 1-3 were FAR superior to 4-6. I haven't run any of them yet but now that I have the whole series, I'm already thinking of a way to run a mini-campaign with just 1-3.

I downloaded it about an hour ago and have been skimming it. First impression - looks nice but I'd never run this. It's just a typical high-level slugfest - one battle after another, lots of huge stat blocks, massive amounts of magic items everywhere, and a pretty typical uber-battle against a wizard at the end. Some of these issues just have to do with my dislike of high-level play but overall, this module seemed average.

Overall, Pathfinder #1-3 would make for an awesome mini-campaign, but I wouldn't run any of the others after that.

I'd definitely support this idea, especially at the levels you mentioned. Great idea and nice way to mix up the Pathfinder format.

I totally disagree with the comments that say Mary's problems are "self-induced". I actually feel those comments are pretty rude to be honest.

I know the rules inside and out. Honestly, I don't know anyone that I game with that knows the rules better than I do. And you know what - I HATE high-level play, pretty much for all the reasons that Mary mentioned.

There is really no way to run a smooth high-level game AND follow all the rules at the same time. It drives me nuts because I don't like doing things "wrong" but you almost have to to keep things moving. Otherwise, the game just gets bogged down with inflated numbers and endless die rolls.

I do like the fact that the Pathfinder series only goes to level 15. I hope that trend continues. I don't like that Pathfiner #4 and #5 were massive dungeon crawl slugfests. I like combat and kill thing and taking their stuff as much as the next guy but that's not really why I subscribed to Pathfinder. #4 and 5 were such huge departures from 1-3, and it's kind of disheartening.

Keep up your posts Mary - I find them to be very insightful and helpful.

Sean Robson wrote:
I was never a fan of the Against the Giants AD&D modules - I bought them, found them tedious and uninspired and never ran them, so this adventure may not be to my tastes either.

Same. I'm not sure why people cite similarities with the AtG series as a compliment. To me, that signifies illogical dungeon design and ecology. In other words, not something to strive towards as a designer.

I can see someone having a sense of nostalgia with those modules but I wouldn't use them as a template for good dungeon/module design.

Lenarior wrote:
shouldn't the encounters speak for themselves without having to have oulandishly shaped rooms.

Yes, the encounters are boring too. Enter room. See monster. Kill monster or be killed by monster. Go to next room.

James Jacobs wrote:
FotSG is very much supposed to be an old-school adventure in the vein of the Against the Giants adventures; there are certainly roleplay elements to it, but it's definitely a more hack n slash adventure than the first three.

I have no problem with old-school and I have no problem with hack n slash on occasion.

What I do have a problem with is boring dungeon design. To put on my editor hat for a moment, the first thing I would have said about the library level is "boring!" A bunch of square rooms neatly connected with with a fairly random monster in each - no thanks! Please try again.


It's an ancient underground library/monastery once occupied by a sect of wizard/monks that worshiped an entity called the Peacock Spirit for pete's sake! This is the best dungeon you could come up with?!

And I quote:

"The monks, scholars, and wizards who dwelt in the Therassic Monastery trafficked with creatures of aberrant appetites, devils and strange creatures now lost to arcane knowledge"

I would have loved to have seen a devil in this level of the dungeon. What about a huge, labyrinth-like room filled with books and shelves and a devil that still guards them? One of the cool things mentioned in the text was that the shelves are really high and there are no ladders because the monks and wizards used levitation to reach the upper shelves. Throw in a devil that can fly or levitate at will and has cleared out some of the shelves and uses them as alcoves to hide in and snipe at the PC's.

Speaking of levitating, maybe there are some (now-faulty) levitation devices that the library curators used. The PC's could find them and try to use them. Maybe they go haywire at the wrong time. Hilarity (and danger) ensues.

"...but most of them perish to the menacing guardians that still occupy the halls."

The only "guardian" I can see that would be leftover is the scanderig but it doesn't really guard anything. It's described as being able to move through walls. As a writer, I would have put this entry at the beginning of this level and given descriptions and tactics this creature uses to stalk the PC's while they explore. It's a great monster but as written, almost seems like a throwaway. A better dungeon map (especially one more maze-like) would really add to this encounter. A demon that can walk through walls and use guerilla tactics on the PC's as they explore? Awesome.

The clockwork librarian was very cool but again, I would have liked to have seen more "leftovers" from the time of the original occupants.

I would have also made the cauldron more of a focal-point of this level. As it is, it's just sitting in one of the early rooms. Oh, there's a golem in there too. If I was Mokmurian, I'd want to keep this thing close-by and in my own chamber (and probably keep the golem close by as well). A nice touch for the final room would have been to have the PC's walk in while a giant is in the cauldron and starting to emerge. Maybe the giant will emerge in a number of rounds while the PC's battle Mokmurian.

Anyway, just some ideas off the top of my head.

tbug wrote:
So what's lacking? A connective story for the dungeon crawl? Clearly the giants have all been gathering and this is essentially a military camp waiting for the big push. Should we give this its own thread and come up with interconnecting plots?

Some ideas:


I think the idea of a giant army (literally) camping outside of an ancient library that houses their master is very cool. I just didn't like the dungeon design.

Here are some ideas I posted on EN World:

The first thing I would probably do is make the dungeon levels larger but remove some of the baddies. I'm not a fan of the one-room, one-monster design.

I do like the mummy monk in the outside tower but I thought the tower itself wasn't detailed nearly enough. I would probably flesh out the tower a bit more and make it the entrance to the lower level and make the mummy the guardian to the library. As-is, the mummy is a cool enemy but seems out of place (one-room, one-monster syndrome again).

The one RP encounter in the dungeon is with the Conna, the stone giant sorceress. I thought the background on her was cool but again, the "payoff" for forming an alliance with her wasn't that spectacular at all. I would definitely get her more involved and help the PC's more than saying "go this way".

I would also make the library level feel more like an actual library instead of a bunch of square rooms connected together, each with a different monster.

Overall, I think RotRL has had a great mix of environments (cities, dungeons, wilderness, etc), combat, and role-playing.

And while Hook Mountain and FotSG are definitely more combat-heavy, HMM was by far better executed.

First off, the bad guys were awesome and actually offered a lot of role-play possibilities. When I was reading HMM, I was thinking to myself "I so want to run this!" because it would be so much fun to play up the creepiness of the ogres. So while the role-playing in HMM isn't really social interaction, there's certainly a lot of opportunities for some over-the-top characterizations.

I don't really see any opportunities for that in FotSG. The baddies are just there and are fairly static in personality.

From a tactical standpoint, I also view HMM as superior. The farmhouse is a really cool location for a fight. The enemies have a reason to be there and respond accordingly when fighting breaks out, even fleeing to certain areas if necessary. The traps and other occupants make it a dynamic location.

Same goes for the assault on the fort. The players have a lot of options for getting into the fort and the module provides rules for different methods of infiltration.

Again, FotSG lacks this as well. While there is definitely a lot of combat in both HMM and FotSG, HMM is a lot more dynamic. FotSG is a room-to-room slugfest and lacks cohesion.

But that's not to say it's a bad module per se - just that the Pathfinder bar is very high.

Of the four RotRL modules so far, this one has been my least favorite. It's interesting because Hook Mountain was one of the best modules I've read in a LONG time. FotSG just left me kind of "meh".


The attack on Sandpoint was a nice start. Definitely lots of potential for action.

The design of the fortress and dungeons beneath just seemed kind of random. Lots of seemingly-unrelated encounters thrown together, one after another.

For example, there is a high-level kobold barbarian hanging out in one room, 2 red dragons in another room, 2 lamia clerics right next to them, and then 2 troll fighters. And they don't really seem to be doing anything. I mean they are just kind of there. I know there are explanations but they seem thin at best.

The lower level is similar. Lots of square rooms connected by corridors with a different creature in each - a giant, golem, nasty undead ogre thing, weird furnace demon, and then a couple of evil demon dogs. *shrugs*

I haven't ran it yet but it strikes me as a serious meat-grinder. Once the players get inside the dungeon, the baddies are continuous and there is almost no place for the characters to rest.

Dunno, I just the overall dungeon ecology of this module seriously lacking. There was no interaction between the occupants or good explanations as to why they were there or what they did before the adventurers showed up to slaughter them.

I think this would be the first module in the series that I significantly change, especially the library dungeon level. Apart from having a lot of random encounters, I felt it lacked flavor. It didn't feel like an ancient library at all. Compare this dungeon design to the assault on the Fort in Hook Mountain, Foxglove Manor in Skinsaw, or Thistletop in Burnt Offerings. Those locations are AWESOME. They are great locations because they have unique features, are written in a way that oozes flavor (Foxglove feels haunted), and the occupants make sense.

On an final note, I'd like to emphasize this "criticism" is from a customer that has been immensely impressed with the Pathfinder series so far. The writing and design has been great, which is why I was surprised feeling the way I did after reading this module.

DitheringFool wrote:

I think a hybrid would be pretty cool.

I don't. The races are already balanced against one another. Further penalizing certain races based on size is poor design.

Hit points based on race...yikes...

Hi all, I'm getting ready to start a RotRL campaign and I want to tone down the use of prestige classes. However, I would like to expand the core class options for the players as well make multi-classing more attractive. I'll probably lax the multi-class restrictions and use some of the variants from Unearthed Arcana.

So, what base classes are you allowing in your Pathfinder campaign? I definitely want to allow the Warlock and Favored Soul.

Any other classes that you feel are a good fit for Pathfinder that I should I consider? Thanks!

Hmm, I'm quite surprised at the complaints directed HMM. I, for one, am glad that Pathfinder is somewhat dark and gritty. Heck, you see equally or even more gruesome things on the nightly news.

Nick, keep up the good work. HMM rocks. Pathfinder or not, it's one of the best modules I've read in a long time period. It's rare that I read a module and say "this would be so awesome at the table!"

While I didn't think I would run another 3.5 campaign until 4E arrived, I'm sick of waiting and I'm digging Pathfinder so much. Hook Mountain totally put me over the top!

Anyway, if I do run another 3.5 campaign, I want to shake things up, and I don't mean just add a bunch of new classes.

I will definitely add an action point system, probably replace the druid with the PHB2 variant, and use some kind of variant casting system (spell points, Arcana Evolved, etc).

So what variant rules are people using for their Pathfinder campaign?

I didn't buy it (I have a subscription coming) but I did thumb through it. First impression: it looks GORGEOUS. I was amazed. It looked better than I expected. Paizo is putting out some of the best-looking and highest quality products in the industry right now, bar none.

Koriatsar wrote:

Man I hope it's West.

+1 on West.

Has anything been said about who will be the cartographer for the new Pathfinder stuff? I'm really interested in hearing about some of the new maps.

Likewise. I was skeptical at first about Pathfinder but I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far. The art is great. I think what would put me over the top is the "extras" that come with each issue: maps, artwork, player handouts, etc.

A full poster-map is key IMO.

Has anything been said about who's doing the cartography yet?

It's still not showing up on Amazon though. Curious.

Ok, so we finished AP3 last night.

The party cleans up the rest of Bhal-Hamatugn, including fighting Dhorlot. He smacked them around a bit but an Inflict Critical Wounds and a crit by the archer sent him running and he was able to escape.

After they were done, they head back to town. They first rest and cast speak with dead on Zenith. His answers now are even more cryptic than when he was alive. They decide to return to Davked.

Davked is shocked when he enters the room and sees Zenith's dead body. Long story short, the party (completely unapologetically) tells Davked that Zenith was evil and they killed him. Once again, I was pretty surprised by their actions here. The cleric of St. Cuthbert had some pretty strong words as well.

Then the dwarf speaks up and completely THROWS THE PARTY UNDER THE BUS! Oh man, it was great. He starts pointing at the rest of the party and tells Davked that he tried to save Zenith and that he didn't want to kill him. He tells Davked it was the monk that delivered the killing blow as well. I couldn't have scripted it any better.

Davked/Gortio is very pleased by this course of action. He sees it as a chance to create an internal rift in the adventuring party that has been a thorn in their side up to now. He ends up giving the dwarf his share of the treasure but no one else. He also allows the dwarf to take Zenith's axe as well. To further this rift, Gortio will begins to spread rumors (or just tell the truth perhaps) about the party's "true" colors. This should make for an interesting AP to come. ;>)

My group will be taking a break from the SC AP while we start AoW! Another player in the group will be running AoW and we are going to switch back and forth as we finish each module.

Man, some of you guys are alignment overloads in here.

From the SRD:

"A summoning spell instantly brings a creature or object to a place you designate. When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from, but a summoned object is not sent back unless the spell description specifically indicates this. A summoned creature also goes away if it is killed or if its hit points drop to 0 or lower. It is not really dead. It takes 24 hours for the creature to reform, during which time it can’t be summoned again."

I have no problem with casters summoning creatures to perform suicidal tasks. But then again, a LG monk in my group coup de graced a helpless Zenith so what do I know?

You're just learning the monkey disarm trap trick now?! :>)

I saw the price on the B&N site and it looks like a screw-up to me. Who knows. It is starting to show up on ebay though for around $42-45ish + shipping.

Aushanna went down a lot faster than I expected in my group, mostly because of a enlarged, flying grapple monk (yes, the same monk who coup de graced Zenith, for those keeping score at home).

Good points, all.

Trust me, I certainly think the player could have chosen an action that better fit his character. In hindsight, I really wish I spoke up during the game. The player in question is a good player, one of the best in the group. Maybe that's what I didn't make more of a stand, I don't know. I have talked with the player in question since and I think it was decision that was made in haste and one that probably wouldn't be made if the events were repeated.

If nothing else, some interesting developments could occur moving forward. I'm not going to outright penalize the player but depending on the party's next actions are, I'm potentially going to make life very difficult for them.

Sean Mahoney wrote:

Glassjaw, I think there is a LOT of opportunity in this for it to be a role-playing excersize. Sure there are some changes I will need to make, and at this point it is likely I will need to cut down on the size of the dungeons and add in more political and intrigue type adventures to keep them up in levels, but the main core of the campaign will still work great for this.

If you say so *shrugs*.

While there are some short role-playing "scenes" here and there, this isn't the focus of the campaign - not even close. A lot of times the "investigations" are loaded too. There aren't really many options for the PC's to get to the conclusion and if they miss it, someone will come and help them anyway.

I'm just saying if that you are determined to increase the investigation, role-playing, and political elements of the AP, you have a lot of work ahead of you. In my opinion, your work would be better served creating your own campaign instead of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Trust me, I like the AP a lot but I like it for what it is, not what it's not or could be.

Sean Mahoney wrote:
One of the things I have really wanted to push with this group is investigation, using skills for things other than combat, etc.

Honestly, if that's the type of campaign you wanted, you chose poorly. The AP is all about

1. Getting the "errand" or quest
2. Going to the dungeon where the McGuffin is
3. Killing everything in said dungeon
4. Returning with the McGuffin
5. Getting the reward
6. Repeat 1-5

I'm not saying that's not fun or the campaign isn't done well, but that's essentially what it is. Most of the modules start with Jenya or someone else telling the PC's to go do some chore. The AP is all about back-to-basics dungeon-crawling.

Good stuff fare but I do agree with delve that you may be jumping the gun a little too soon.

I definitely agree that the inhabitants should change their tactics based on the party's actions. That said, I would
slow down a bit considering the party's level and the inherent deadliness of the Life's Bazaar dungeons.

Would Kaz be alerted? It's likely, sure. But when I ran LB, I decided that the skulks and creepers/stalkers weren't very organized (they are all spread out in Jzadirune). The party ended up picking them off one by one (I did have them move around though).

Once they got to the Malachite Fortress though, all bets were off. I had the hobgoblins use guerilla tactics against the PC's. They then setup an ambush in the main corridor with the pit traps. I played Kaz as being over-confident and certainly not afraid of some meddling adventures. He certainly wouldn't flee right away, especially considering how good "business" is lately.

Erik wrote:
I let players roll 3 sets of stats with 5d6 (drop 2) and choose one set. Out of 5 players, one rolled 2 18s, and another rolled one 18. All players have at least a net +11 attribute bonus. I figure they're heroes, and should have all positive modifiers. Especially for a hard campaign. Plus, if they end up being a bit too powerful, I just add a few monsters.

I have to agree on ability generation. Using 28 point-buy for stats is crazy for either AP IMO. I'm running the Shackled City right now and I gave everyone 79 points to distribute evenly as they saw fit.

I'll be playing in the AoW and we can either use 79 points or start each score at 8 and roll 1d10 and place them wherever we want. Once you choose though you can't change your mind. I'l taking the points. :>)

Big Jake wrote:
You may deem their actions permissible under their circumstances and alignments, but to the rest of Cauldron, they just killed a Hero.

How does "the rest of Cauldron" even know who Zenith is?!

Big Jake wrote:
Even if the monk wasn't in the meeting to discuss what was supposed to happen, he should have been completely filled in by the rest of the group as to what their mission was.

I did mention this but I let the player(s) decide. It's not my place to make decisions for the players or their characters.

Big Jake wrote:
Even if Zenith were evil (now), it should have been abundantly clear that he was once a great leader of the Cauldron dwarves. He could have been viewed, even by LG zealatous characters, as redeemable.

Well I think that's a leap. If I was playing this, I'm not sure

I would think that.

Big Jake wrote:
As noted above, as a helpless character, he could have been bound, thus negating any perceived possible threat to his fellow party members. And, as written, Zenith becomes docile once he is captured... not that the players would have known that.

I agree on all points, and that's what I fully expected the party to do. Like I said, I was surprised how it turned out.

Big Jake wrote:
Also... coup de crace is a full-round action. Any of the other characters would have been able to stop him. Your exalted wizard may have done enough to lose his exalted feats for not stopping the monk.

Well it's a full-round action, not a 1 round action. No one was really near the monk when he acted.

Big Jake wrote:
And what about the invisible assassin? He should have picked an opportune time to attack. When the characters opened the door to Zenith's chambers and started chatting, the assassin should have had the surprise attack, allowing Zenith a chance to join in the fray as you see fit.

Do you mean the invisible stalker or Saagogoi? The IS didn't "appear" until after the sphere broke, which didn't occur until after Zenith was killed (and he dropped the sphere). They killed Saagogoi before they entered the room.

Marc Chin wrote:
Question #1: Why did Zenith waste time parlaying with the PCs?

Well it does say right in the module "...he's willing to listen to any entreaties from the PC's."

I thought it was much cooler that he wasn't a raving lunatic when they found him. I basically played him like Brando from Apocalypse Now. He would listen to them and spew his prophecies and fight if attacked.

Marc Chin wrote:
Regardless, the monk was neither Lawful nor Good in murdering Zenith in cold blood - Evil nature or not, he gave him no 'due process' nor solicited any confession. The party is going to lose a ton of good will in the city and certainly get no reward of any kind from "Papa Splintershield/Orbius".

Well again, everyone seems to have a very black and white definition of alignment. All of the reasons cited are why I really hate alignment in general, especially LG. Why can't a LG character be a ruthless hunter of evil, making no exceptions along the way? I'm extremely loose on my interpretations of alignment. As long as the player plays his character consisently, I'm fine with it.

As far as the goodwill of the city, we will have to wait and see. I think it really depends on the characters. If they return his dead body (and try to lie about it), they certainly won't get any reward, but I don't think the people of Cauldron will turn on them, at least right away. Aside from Vhanlantru's crew spreading rumors, how will the citizens even find out?

My party has some issues to deal with (see the "confrontation with Zenith" thread) but assuming everything goes according to plan, did you let the PC's keep Zenith's items?

It wasn't clear to me in the module whether the players would be allowed to keep Zenith's items. If Davked is happy with the PC's, he could present them with Zenith's items because "he won't be needing them any more".

But I'm also wondering if Gortio/Vhalantru would let the items fall into the PC's hands.


Archade wrote:

Of course, that's how this Rat-Bastard DM would run it.

All good points. It will depend a lot on what the PC's decide to do. They could return his dead body and lie (not a good idea). They could return his dead body and tell the truth. They could also use the scroll of raise dead they have on him.

Bringing a dead body back to the Cagewrights doesn't really matter - they just need the body. Of course the PC's don't know that. The only thing it will effect is their rewards and reputation if they lie.

If they raise Zenith, most likely no one will be the wiser.

matthew dickinson 0 wrote:
Something to consider is when you try to raise someone their spirit knows who you are, what your alignment is etc.

Where did you get this from?

matthew dickinson 0 wrote:
I have to go with Coup de Grace a held oponent is not a good thing to do and definitely a violation of LG. There were many other options available to the monk from binding to manacles, to wailing on him for non-lethal damage (the monk is uniquely gifted in this way). Maybe lawful, but definitely evil. I see it as a bored pc and if they're that capricious I would discuss with the player if they feel able to play a lawful class.

Wow, I'm really surprised at the responses on this. IMO, you can't use current society's views on law to define alignment in a fantasy setting. Perhaps the monk in question LG with respect to his teachings and views on evil. If he is unwavering in his quest to rid the world of evil, how is that not LG? He used a mercy killing to dispatch his evil opponent. He also knew that leaving him alive may have resulted in one of his ally's being harmed.

Alignment isn't a black and white issue. There are many shades of gray to every alignment.

Also, the player in question is one of the best in the group. He is knowledgeable of the rules, never argues, and plays cool characters.

Zootcat wrote:
GlassJaw wrote:
Being LG and seeing all the hanging corpses, he took justice into his own hands.
Taking the Law into your own hands is not lawful.

According to who? Perhaps by "today's" laws but that has nothing to do with a medeival fantasy interpretation. You could even argue he did the merciful thing by killing him quick and painless. Remember, this character was not aware they were trying to bring him back. He knew he was evil (from detect evil) and saw the corpses and made his own conclusion. I was surprised but I didn't think twice during the game.

So my players finally got to Zenith last night. They open the door to his room and hold at the doorway while they talk to him. He mutters some random things and the wizard quickly concludes that he has "lost it". The dwarf bbn/ftr downs a couple of potions.

After some more conversing but not really getting anywhere, the cleric casts hold person. Ok, fair enough. Not too unexpected. Zenith might have to make a few saves but it will only last 7 rounds and he should come out of it to fight them.

They spend another couple of rounds (while Zenith fails a couple more saving throws) discussing tactics and then the monk rushes next to Zenith. Roll init.

A couple of the PC's close in and then the monk acts.

He coup de grace's Zenithg!

Whoa. Not what I expected. The player did have a case about why he did it and it was legit. Basically, the monk is new to the group and wasn't around at the beginning of the quest. He didn't know they needed to take Zenith alive. Being LG and seeing all the hanging corpses, he took justice into his own hands. He dished out like 20 points of damage and Zenith failed his Fort save. Dead.

This won't really matter to the Cagewrights as long as they get the body back but depending on what the PC's do, it will definitely affect what kind of reward they get, if any. They do have a raise dead scroll as well so I'm curious if they'll use it on Zenith.

Archade wrote:
I didn't have a problem with the mooks in Flood Season, but that's because my PCs had a rogue with a Diplomacy and Bluff of +12 and was a member of the Alleybashers, so he talked his way out of most of the combats involving them ...

Ok, so one of your PC's employed a highly unorthodox method of dealing with the mooks? I hardly think that's helpful to those who are going to run Flood Season. I mean how many DM's have had a PC who is an Alleybasher in their party?

A normal party will have to deal with the mooks one by one. This takes time in-game and can get old very fast.

Zootcat wrote:
I think that the dungeon in Life's Bazaar is WAY too big, but, like you said, I could shrink it up a bit.

Actually, I didn't have a problem with the Life's Bazaar dungeon. It's actually really cool - lots of cool traps and rooms. It actually moves a lot faster than the Kopru Ruins in Flood Season. Flood Season had too many mooks whereas Life's Bazaar was more about exploration.

The Malachite Fortress moves pretty quick too - once the PC's clear out the hobgoblins, they are free to explore the rest until they get to the Kazmojen's room.

The amount of baddies in a dungeon has more to do with how slow it will be than the actual size of the dungeon itself.

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