Don't try to be epic - epic comes from having an engaged player group who in turn make things epic...if that's why they're gaming. It's hard to explain but if your players want to have a low-level dungeon crawl there's not alot of room for epicness. If, on the other hand, they want to have a bildungsroman or monomyth-esque adventure then epic is what they're aiming for.
Have an outline, not a script. Months of planning and storywriting in your head will be dashed by a single player's actions. Make an adventure flow-chart if your going for epic and highlight the "required" scenes. The connectors that go between the scenes are where you have to be fluid because that's where the players have the most control and where you as a GM have to give the perception of choice or else the verisimilitude will be lowered.
The thing about old-school gaming is that no DM ran the game exactly the same. PF codifies things (actually the OGL did which is why, IMO, the d20 craze worked very well - every "old school" homerule could now be bound into the layers of the OGL and published) and is easily accessible via downloadable system reference docs (SRDs). 1st and 2e games had TSR material, Dragon Magazine, White Dwarf, some 3rd party publishers (Arduin, Judges Guild, other heartbreakers - my fave was Bard Games Arcanum) and fanzines for it's content. Due to the lack of material you were forced to make up alot of rules, content and this resulted in your own personalized brand of D&D that was only known by the amount of players you gamed with. With my cooking background old-school D&D was like chili...yes...chili. Most folks used the basics; meat, some tomato product, onions, garlic, and beans (for us northeners:)) but travel a few miles and then you find somebody who added broken spaghetti (ala Real Chili right here in Milwaukee) or someone who added cinnamon, or someone who did not use beans, etc. It was all "chili" but based upon the taste of the creator and his or her influences. In D&D this equated to all folks using a d20 to hit but some allowed no racial/level limits, some used Method V for rolling characters, some used Wolfgang Baur's Paths of Magic article from Dragon...all was D&D but each DM or gaming group adopted their own variations.
While this level of modification is allowable in today's PF world the intertwined aspect of the OGL makes adding or subtracting things more complex in that you have to do some litmus tests on your modifications, i.e. by removing a rule or option what downstream impacts may it bring forward. It mostly affects using pre-written material that does not follow your tweaks and thus increases prep time to modify the material to fit your variants.
I apologize for the stream of consciousness post but it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet.
I've always thought it using the force of your personality to direct the magic stored or controlled by the item.
The three core classes that have UMD as a class skill; bard, rogue, and sorcerer all gain some of the primary skills from personality, i.e. their influence on those around them.
Magic is an entity that is left up to the DM to devise what exactly it is. While the mechanics that surround it are succinct the fluff is just that fluff. In my games, magic can be influenced as a semi-sentient force by those that have strong personalities which usually means those with UMD. They coax the magic out of the device by use of sweet words, cajoling, or outright threats (which is of course why you have the chance for failure and mishap).
I'm currently running Kingmaker with Maptools and projector (along with Teamplayer (an app that allows a single PC to support 5 mice) and each player get's their own mouse and it's been working out great.
As far as a Paizo VTT - unless they've got one already set the cost investment, as evidenced by the WotC debacle for their aborted VTT, is very high. I'd stick with partnering with an existing VTT (from the armchair CEO:))
I wouldn't say changing so much as filling in the blanks. According to the AP the player's are to:
1. Use the Kingmaker campaign traits as justification for being interested in the Stolen Lands or
2. Answer the open roll call for the charter at Oleg's.
Giving someone the funds to start a colony and expecting something in return seems reasonable. The swordlords are facing civil war, an internal powerstruggle that resulted in the ruling family going missing, and who knows what else.
Embellishing the adventure to give the players more stake in the game is a good way to create excitement.
First off - I really like the Kingmaker AP series. My smallish group ( a subset of a larger group I'm part of who cannot play on weeknights - which is easier for me:) ) is having a blast playing the game so far.
All of my players are willing to accept just about any premise to go on an adventure so they are an easy audience. From the DM perspective though I also want to get pulled into the "adventure". If I'm not excited to run it then the game will end-up dying on the vine.
Paizo's approach follows the hallmarks of good adventure writing - let the DM tell his own story. Note that this is vastly different from fiction writing - an rpg adventure that tells somebody else's story usually frustrates DM's and makes it harder to justify events that take place.
This approach can also have the opposite effect on some DM's by leaving him to ask questions such as "Why would adventurerers get involved with this" like the OP.
I've taken bits from the Chronicles Gazeteer, the Campaign hardcover and the Kingmaker Player's Guide, my player's character class selections and various articles from Wolfgang Baur, Ed Greenwood and Katherine Kerr (from some of Kobold's products and old Dragon magazine articles) and mushed this into a cohesive (enough for my players that is) and successfully engaged them in the adventure.
The group consists of 4 players:
1. Human inquisitor of Abadar
Character 1 and 2 had a background of being in the Restov Militia group, "The Restov Regulars" as part of their early careers. While one had minor noble house ties it wasn't enough to let him live in the lap of luxury. Their cohort priest, a follower of Abadar himself, became fast friends with them and set the characters on their current paths - as a protector (the cavalier) and marshal (inquisitor) of the First Vault.
Character 3 grew up in the surrounds of Restov. While bringing the sheep home that had strayed a bit far he felt eyes watching him from a copse of woods. His mind was touched by a hungry wolf that, instead of fending it off with his staff, befriended the animal (ala animal companion). Over the months he and the wolf bonded but the family farm was not doing well. The family patriarch fell ill and soon died. The land that the family farmed was invested in by a priest of Abadar (the former cohort priest from Characters 1 and 2 )who demanded payment for his tithes. Not having enough goods or gold to pay and deeming that lending the family the money was no longer a wise investment the services of the oldest son (the druid) would be enough to cover their debt.
Combining this background with the civil unrest that is going on provided the perfect backdrop to insert the Church of Abadar's influence into the Swordlord's charter. Abadar, with a portfolio, that includes cities - decided to invest in this venture to expand the borders and potentially provide some stability to the growing unrest.
As part of the metagame that takes place between the years that Kingmaker can cover there will be some potential Game of Thrones type events that occur within Brevoy...if my players want to do that:)
So in summary - Kingmaker provides a great framework to lay your game upon. Providing decisions to your questions regarding "why" is part of the fun to some.
Oh yeah! That's one of the logistical things that I've always wanted to try out as a homebrewer.
Some form of fermentable carbohydrate is necessary for alcohol production. Lichens tend to have secondary compounds that are toxic. If lichens were used perhaps this is the reason why dwarven brews always send humans for a loop.
As far as dwarven druidic rituals surrounding beer/brewing -
The keeper of the sacremental yeast
The blessing of the bock
Heck just go with it and instead of the classic misletoe component go with hops!
Dwarven organized religion is just that, organized by dwarves. A dwarven druid recognizes the greater mystery that the very earth is what gave them life.
Before the dwarves recognized the deities they knew rock, lava, gems and metals. The earth spoke to them and if you listened it would tell you it's story (Mountain Stride and the abilities that dwarves receive regarding stone work).
I would modify the companion list to make the critters more rocklike - I wouldn't necessarily add an outsider template though. They are natural critters that have a closer bond to the earth.
I'd almost make them outsiders in the dwarven community. Their focus would be more focused on nature than on the continuation of dwarven society.
I didn't normally remember having problems with initiative...it was the AC modifiers for each weapon vs. specific AC's, and the fact that you didn't get to pick which guy you were actually attacking in melee plus the weird rule regarding not wearing a helm resulted in getting whacked in the head if hit on a result of a 1 on a d10 (or d6...can't remember) :)
On topic in regards to errata - I have extremely good players who don't exploit rules holes (or at least never tell me about them). When errata comes out I reprint the offending pages of the PDF and insert into the book or binder.
Looking through my archive of the Map-A-Week archives didn't pull up a forest encounter but there is one from the Red Hand of Doom that would work. Not wanting to redistribute WotC (or anyone else's stuff for that matter) there is always the Dunjinni forums which I've found the following:
Note that all you'd need for these is GIMP and Posterazor to modify and print.
Roger that - I actually meant to remove it myself and replace it with a sample from a Wizard's Map Gallery.
Ross Byers wrote:
As for Oleg's background - I'm using The Deed of Paksenarrion as a strong basis for the military structure of Brevoy - although not using as many Roman derivatives like cohort and some of the fighting styles.
The characters that my players have made will fit somewhat nicely into this type of setting -
A human Ranger 1/Inquistor 1 of Abadar and a human Fighter 1/ Cavalier 1 of the Order of the Star who also serves Abadar (note that the Abadarian Church in Rostland is financially backing some of the expansion as well in my variant storyline) who were also privates in the current incarnation of Restov Regular's and were converted by the company's cleric.
Their split class reflects their service and also that they were a cut above the rest as they progressed from Warrior to Ranger or Fighter and then to their chosen class.
The third player will be playing a human Druid 2 who has grown up on the edges of Rostland as the son of a farmer who instead of killing the wolf that was trying to filtch their sheep befriended it (ala Animal Companion). He's been pressed into service to help save the family farm whose deed is held by...tada...the Church of Abadar.
With a party like this - who knows the adventure may take a turn and we'll be off the rails:)
Oh yes - I've already redone the "map" using my 8'x6' battleboard that I use for mini gaming and will be making use my old Mageknight castles sets for the fort.
As part of the destruction the Trading Post will be rebuilt to it's present day status and size.
Light Dragon wrote:
That sounds really interesting- I really like where you are going with Oleg's backstory; You may want to make the fort a bit bigger though. Its barracks currently only seems to hold about 6-12 people.
This weekend I'm kicking off The Stolen Lands with a small group. I'll be using the Warpath rules to enhance the storyline a bit.
The first scenario will actually feature Oleg from quite a few years ago. He was originally a private in the Brevoy army (Restov Regulars). The battle takes place at an outpost on near the southern edge of Rostland (not suprisingly the same location that Oleg returns to years later to make his trading post).
There I will introduce them to some Iobarian barbarians who are searching for something (a precursor to a later encounter).
I'm thinking that the fort will house approximately 40 regulars with a small force of 10 mounted calvalry vs. 20 barbarian warriors, 10 war dogs, and a druid.
Oleg will survive as a plot device to later return as he either:
1) Remembers with fondness the time that the Regulars defended the borders from barbarians (but also the friends that he lost) or,
Having the players run both sides I'll include background information on each of the goals and hopefully get the group more involved in the whole storyline.
I'll post stat cards later as I crunch through the Warpath rules.
I think PFRPG (and pretty much any edition of D&D - even 4E) can be made to work with a less than optimal party. It's going to take a different approach than a fully stocked party but I don't think it's an overwhelming difficulty...unless you've got party members who thrive on being the weakest characters ever (like bookish mages who never take any combat related spells or pacifistic priests:)).
As long as the group understands their shortcomings and the DM allows some pre-game prep like finding a hireling or two things should work out.
I'm starting Stolen Lands this Friday and I've got three players.
1. Human cavalier
The cav and inquisitor will be from the same faith (I'm putting some religious backing into the Swordlords expansion quest) and the druid has always wandered the edges of the Stolen Lands assisting the outlying farms from unnecessary predation (this is where he adopted the motherless wolf cub).
As a DM I had a few options:
1. Make the group 2nd level to give them a hp buffer (I always start out 1st level guys with max hp and with this level bump I could also give max at 2nd).
2. Since they've got a horse companion and a fighting animal companion there not too bad off in the combat area but they'll be magic light so I'm thinking of adding an apprentice who could not afford tuition at the Ordo Arcanum (School of Magic I use in most of my games) who will hire out for money.
3. Having the Swordlords send some (2-3) men-at-arms (Warrior 1) to protect their potential investment.
When running the games for the smaller groups I do take a serious look at morale issues when fighting intelligent humanoids. Alot of times that'll turn the tables to the parties advantage.
In short - a smaller group can be fun but scheduling issues are usually my bugaboo. With a larger group if a player can't make it the impact is far less so I have to rely on perhaps a more loose schedule so we can play when the stars and schedules align.
Here's a link to my first attempt at converting Thorn River Camp encounter from The Stolen Lands - note that I did not crop the partial squares or add any appreciable border when I did this (it's bugging me so I may re-update momentarily) :)
-LINK REDACTED- NOTE - it's a 15 MB download.
You could always run a generational game and have pre-gens. The first group plays the one's farthest in the past. The next adventure features the children or maybe the next generation of heroes from wherever the adventure is set. The last adventure is farther in the future and the "big bad" is still roaming the land.
You could spread out the timespan even farther so while the players who were part of the previous adventure get a chuckle out of NPC's regailing what the "heroes of old" did...even though some of the facts may now be embelished or outright wrong.
French Wolf wrote:
I ran Frozen Fingers and The Hydra's Fang at GenCon. When I get home I'll clean up the maps I made for both of those and post as well. I thought I might as well share:)
As for Dundjinni - it's a great program but what really makes it work is the fan art that you can pull down and use (like the cliff overlays).
I've recently had to reinstall so I'm going through all my custom art and re-adding pieces as I go. It'll take a while but then I can get back on track and start redoing all the maps in the AP's.
I ran Silent Tide last week at a Meetup.com event. I've made some maps for the encounter areas (they were done quickly but they should work for just about anyone)
I'm redoing the last maps and will post later this weekend.
Meh - I find this cartoon no more ridiculous than Apple comparing cool-looking Apple users to nerdy PC users.
As normal the West Coast brand of marketing is full of itself. I think it's indicative of the latest bunch of WotC staffers that they pulled from outside the gaming element.
According to the credits Chris Perkins is listed as the kobold wrangler. He's more funny than this cartoon.
Charlie and the Candy Mountain is a better video than this:)
Or the warforged could be the children of the Mithril Golem who's divine essence animated some of the pieces left over from it's sacrifice.
Heck - there could even be a pilgrimage held each year and the characters could hire on as guards to protect the pilgrims or non-warlike women/children warforged.
Goth Guru wrote:
The Warforged can be a project by the Salacerians or that Titan that was made of molten metal. He's the only one who couldn't spawn rat people. Anyways the War Forges kept running and the WarForged started to come out looking for materials and possibly a life.
I'll be right behind you. I've liked what I've seen I just wait until the end of the month when the PDF version is compiled, print it out on the color laser jet and put it in bathroo...err...reading room like my old Dungeon & Dragon mags:)
Scarred Lands - the Sword & Sorcery Imprint are bringing back 4e versions of The Creature Collection and Relics & Rituals - http://www.fierydragon.com/ -
I don't know any specifics yet but that will be AWESOME. Nothing says "points of light" like The Scarred Lands!
I'm going to have to hang-out here more. I miss all the good threads. On a serious note - this is a 4e forum correct? Am I to assume that this fori also attracts 4e detractors who are "haters"?
I ran Hydra's Fang (for a table of 4) on Saturday and then ran Frozen Fingers (for a table of 6). The mods were great and each had it's own particular mood/feeling as well. The characters all really played their factions well and the faction missions meshed well with both stories.
All-in-all a well organized event. A kudos to Paizo again for starting this up.
If you play at a convention you're expected to have your character on the standard Pathfinder Society sheet. It makes the job as a DM much easier when you review the characters for things that may cause you to investigate further. Plus there's documentation that the DM has to do and it makes his/her job much easier to validate the player number, faction, etc vs. looking at a custom sheet.
For home games it would matter what you used but when you've got a limited time to run the event, finishe the paper work and move the group onto the next event it makes a world of difference.
I bought mine on Thursday afternoon and they were literally being grabbed off the shelves at a breakneck pace. It was good to hold the book in my hands and start to go over it. It's not perfect but damn is it nice to have something to page through.
I ran two adventures today (Hydra's Fang and Frozen Fingers) and it was close. Two very good tables with excellent tactics made it through. The first table was rather magic lite but still packed a wallop. The second table had a specialized chain fighter (gasp) who didn't own the table...much:).
This sounds exactly like Winter Fantasy circa 1994/95 at the Hyatt in Milwaukee...were you there:)
And you can engage in all your normal swinish gaming behavior -- like snacking and beer swilling -- without disturbing the folks at the Diplomacy table.
But of course - that's what I'm talking about. If I can get it done quick enough I'll print out multiple copies and bring them along for anyone to use.
I tend to put mine under a flexible transparent cover (think clear battlemat) so I can use vis-a-vis markers on it.
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
A slot zero is a game run before a convention or game day for GMs. This allows them to play the adventure before running it and helps them better prepare.
Slot 5: Saturday 8am to 12pm #2: Hydra's Fang Incident
Now if only I can find somebody locally to Slot 0 these - if not no biggy - I like to DM more than play these days:).
I may end up running these online via Fantasy Grounds 2 or ScreenMonkey for anyone who's also running these.
You'd have had to sign up for it during open registration at www.gencon.com . Since event registration is closed you'll have to get some generic tickets and go to the event. I'm sure there'll be seats available:)
Christopher Carrig wrote:
Home game guidelines have not come out yet. It'll be much the same I'd imagine but you'll game with people you know. The RPGA process, which this is modelled after goes as such:
1. DM logs into a website and registers his home game and orders events. Home players are limited to the same number of events as con players. This is due to the fact that you can take your character that you play at home to any con and/vice-versa. The primary advantage of home play is you know everyone:)
2. Once the DM has the events he/she runs them for his group.
3. The DM logs who played which adventure and some database stuff takes place which in turn affects the game world.
The neat thing about organized play is the sense of a shared game world. Gamers from all over are participating in the same adventures and can regale tales of glory if they meet at a con or online in a message board.
The biggest thing I've found though is that level of participation can cause some fractures between those that play organized play exlcusively and those that dabble. That, in my experience as an organzied play DM, is the fine line that I have to walk. Engaging both those that know the fluff by heart and those that are just looking for a good game.
Does anyone have any comments about home games (i.e. not at a convention)? That's the type of Pathfinder Society play I'd likely be interested in.
I expect a Paizo rep (employee or volunteer) will assist in marshalling groups together. Prior to the event all the players huddle together, whether singly or in groups of known associates. The marshal organizes groups of six and matches them up with a DM, assigns a table and off you go. This act continues until all players and DM's are assigned.
It works rather well but can sometimes be like herding cats. To me though the chaos gets everything going and that's when the lights come on and it's "showtime".
I love running con events:)
Not really - some graphics programs (GIMP, Photoshop, Fireworks) allow you to scale to larger size and then print in "poster" format which is how you could take a map from a Paizo AP (pdf) and scale it to 1" square size.
Dundjinni let's you create your own maps so what I'd do is create approximations of the maps from the modules. Since these are con modules I doubt we'll see full-color maps ala West or Lazzaretti.
As an example here's a work-in-progress for a 4e battlemap I'm working on titled Bandit Attack.
I'd make the maps in Dundjinni and then print them out, tape together and have'em ready for the con.
Roger that. In regards to battlemaps if we get the adventures early enough is it alright if I make color maps with Dundjinni?
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
In the interests of keeping the playing field level and fair, probably not. We can't expect every GM to have these tools.
Be prepared and flexible.
Because you're running a con game you have to expect that you may have people with multiple playing styles. Con games are not for everyone and since this is a new organized play campaign you may get new con players. Expect to teach some of the rules but most player's will also help other players out as well.
Set the expectations down at the beginning of the game like No Rules Lawyering - if a rule comes up in question accept the DM's ruling and go on with it - especially if it will stop the action at the table...but don't be a dick about it. Have another player who's not acting at the moment look up the rule if he/she can and then adjudicate accordingly.
Let each person have a small amount of stagetime if they are role-playing but keep it moving. With the limited amount of game time you have to watch the clock.
Con adventures are usually broken down into 2 combats, 1 or 2 skill type challenges and maybe 1 role-playing encounter. At lower levels there may be some smaller combat encounter along the way as well.
READ YOUR ADVENTURE. Yes I'm yelling. Nothing irks a player more than getting a DM who hasn't read the adventure. I know this sounds dumb but I've heard (and particpated) in (about) adventures where the DM had no clue what was going on. Sometimes this is the organizer's fault for not having enough DM's but from what I've seen Josh send out this is not the case.
IF YOU SIGNED UP TO DM YOU'D BETTER BE THERE. (yelling again) - I know the Ram is a great bar but if you've got an 8:00 event running a game hung-over is no fun for you or your table.
For the DM and Players
Shower. Yes I know this sounds like common sense but having the cat-piss man as a fellow player or DM can ruin the experience for everyone.
Be prepared and flexible. If you are an experienced player have your character ready and all books necessary to play your character. It is up to you to have a PHB, dice and potentially miniature.
Because you're playing a con game you have to expect that you may have people with multiple playing styles. Con games are not for everyone and since this is a new organized play campaign you may get new con players.
Don't bring your house-rules. Everyone plays by the Rules-As-Written. Don't try to bend, break or bring in your rules from your home DM.
Bring the DM treats - he/she will like them:)
I'm sure I'll think up some more after the coffee's kicked in.
I know that this will probably come up in the Aug 1 release but as a DM can I use the Critical Hit and/or Critical Fumble decks?
(the sneaky bastard in me loves some fumbles:) )
And the reason it's still made with sucrose is because the Mexican population still knows how to throw a revolution/rebellion vs. consumerist America (I kid I just love Mexican Coke and any other soda that's made with real sugar vs. HFCS).
For the record: Mexican Coke is still made with sucrose and it is damn tasty.
They are from Andreas Blicher (Warhammer mapmaker extraordinaire) - http://www.andreas.blicher.info/
You want them as images instead of pdfs or just three separate pdfs.
Here's one (with the three variations) of the handouts that kick off the Skinsaw Murders - Your Lordship notes from Hemlock - page 10. I used some of the background splatters from the adventure itself - thanks Paizo!
Excellent because I like to DM more than play (call me a sadist:)).
Yay! I got into all four scenarios. It looks like lots of tickets are selling for Pathfinder Society. Thursday morning's Silent Tide looks like it is full.
How do we sign up to judge? I've already had my badge ordered for a few months (and room at the Omni Severin - my fave).
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
I always get confused with former and latter - is it the Ewok's you have a problem with - cause I loved Star Wars:Battlefront where I could blow the fuzzy bastards away:)