I'm running AoW in Eberron, so the concept of running all over to talk to specialized experts does not face my PCs.
IMC, Manzorian is a blue dragon and a member of the Chamber. Allustan is a Brelish wizard who served during the Last War; I play up his reticence to get involved as shellshock from the horrors of the war and the players have figured out that he is incredibly smart and powerful, but too afraid to get heavily involved in anything dangerous. During EaBK, I adopted Marzena as Allustan's lover, a former comrade-in-arms during the Last War, so Allustan's motivation is less 'talking to Marzena about the worms' and more 'going to see his girlfriend for an extended vacation, oh and look what happened.'
Allustan then asked the PCs to take the evidence from WC and TFoE and EaBK to Eligos. When the party encountered Eligos, he commented on Allustan's actions - 'and this is why the Master never relied on him' - and cemented the idea that Allustan is well-intentioned but flawed.
I'm using Eligos as the NPC who puts the PCs on the track of the Age of Worms. So far, I've been interspersing the AP with other adventures, to allow the PCs to realize that there is something going on behind-the-scenes organically. When they get back to Sharn to speak with Eligos (setting up TCB), I plan on laying out what's been going on and charting a roadmap they can then rely upon once Eligos is dead.
I will counter your rules lawyer-fu by extrapolating on my version of Kaurophon. He is, in fact, from Occipitus, which is why he is so eager to take control of the plane. :)
Dedekind, I did much the same, which is what triggered the cleric in my group doing unto him as he tried to do unto the party.
I removed the lich from the final section of encounters, as Yet Another Encounter With Random Evil Guys (as my party puts it) would have disrupted the flow of the final scene. After all, when your Shou swordsage is chasing after an invisible rakshasa, who wants to interrupt the hilarity of watching him be crushed to death by a berserk clay golem with a little thing like a lich who summons a metric ton of critters? :)
On a more serious note, If played well, Kaurophon can be a difficult fight for a party. Even my perpetually-suspicious players, who knew Kaurophon (or "Taint" as they nicknamed him) was up to /something/, didn't expect him to turn invisible as the proctor announced the final Test, nor did they expect the blasphemy to return the duskblade and the pious templar cohort to the Material Plane. :)
I suppose it didn't help that they allowed Kaurophon to animate the now-dead swordsage to make it easier to move around. It was amusing watching the skeleton of a party member disrupt all of the cleric's spellcasting...almost as amusing as when the cleric grappled Kaurophon and threw him into the flame. I know I laughed until I cried when I described the cleric's eye bursting into flames and the proctor announcing that she had passed the test - and when she realized she couldn't cast spells anymore. :)
If you keep the lich in it, have the summoned creatures written up ahead of time, otherwise you'll go crazy trying to keep track of it all. Play Kaurophon smart, and let him use up his items before casting spells; this way, he has most of his arsenal ready to combat the PCs. Remember his fiendish abilities, and try to keep him away from melee combat with the players. Do that, and it should be a challenging fight.
Any thoughts on this?
My players love them some powercreep as well! I found that, rather than having Saagagoi fight the party alone in the rooms before the throne room, the invisible monk/assassin would be a perfect distraction once Zenith goes into a defensive stance.
As Zenith is also bat-guano crazy, you can give him a boost to his hitpoints or strength (or both) to make the encounter last longer. Want to make the encounter extra-special creepy? Take all those corpses in the room, and give them an entangle effect as the necromantic energies cause them to lash out at the party.
I'm playing in AoW right now, but it's infected me with a desire to run it once I'm finished playing in it. One of the ideas I've tinkered with (not very thoroughly, since I can't read the adventures themselves) is adapting the storyline to L5R. The BBEG could easily be an ancient blood-sorcerer returning from the Shadowlands. His minions would probably translate well into oni. Arena fights? Feh - the Emerald Tourney.
Diamond Lake would make an excellent Crab locale.
You have to remember two important things about Wee Jas: she considers the Suel more important than any other ethnicity, and she focuses more on the souls than the bodies. If you read the CB, you'll notice that the restrictions are generally on raise dead and its ilk, not on animation.
Simply put, you shouldn't give your PC grief about animating zombies, but they need to use commune before bringing anyone back from the dead.
Unless your version of Wee Jas is different, in which case, play on! :)
And, if you have access to the Greyhawk regional feats from a couple older issues of Dragon, there are some aimed specifically at Olman characters (Atlan's Mark, Badge of Bondage, Jungle Fighter, and Raider's Spirit). Nice stuff. I wonder if there's any chance that the Paizo guys could offer those up as a PDF for download (whether free or not).
Do you remember which issue that is? I know I don't own it, but I wouldn't mind adding it to my collection. :)
It's basic, it's a Word doc, and it runs 14 pages total (7 if you print double-sided).
I was preparing some STAP information for my own use and thought I'd share! It's designed to be printed double-sided, so that you have both pages of the same affiliation visible at the same time. Useful for PC handouts and whatnot. If anyone happens to have clip art of the various affiliations, I'd add it in, but I don't have access to a scanner m'self.
Listed Affiliations: Church of the Whirling Fury, Dawn Council, Scarlet Brotherhood, The Seekers, Witchwardens, Zelkarune's Horns, and Emerald Crest.
If you'd like a copy, drop me an email at alex (dot) rushing (at) gmail (dot) com.
It doesn't matter whether one criticals or not. Balors can't deal lethal damage to a Pit Fiend. They have no spell like ability, supernatural ability, or weapon (natural or otherwise) that can overcome the Pit Fiends regeneration.
We became acutely aware of that fact during playtest. While the balor can only do nonlethal, the criticals can stack to the point where the pit fiend backs off. *shrug*
We also have found that summoning a marilith who carries a silvered longsword and having said marilith cast align weapon before giving it to the balor works as well. :)
My gaming group has been doing this for about two years. I have a sheet of thin plexiglass (about 2' by 3.5') that I place over either my battlemap or whatever handout map I'm using. It works exceptionally well, and it's made explaining travel through Cauldron incredibly easy. (You are HERE, and the shop is THERE.)
One of my players took this one step further and purchased a poster frame. He trimmed down his battlemap edges to fit, and was able to fix the black border over the battlemap-plastic cover combination.
We've found that it works as well as you are suggesting it would; we don't really keep paper around anymore, because we simply have so much 'erasable space' for gaming that we just doodle out the information on the battlemaps themselves.
...and his name is Epix.
Our party has finally (after much tragedy) resurfaced in Diamond Lake with evidence of not only Smenk's involvement with a land-squatting, bodysnatching necromancer but also his involvement (with a certain Mssr. Dourstone) in catering to an evil cult determined to destroy Diamond Lake. Finally.
We've been on the run for 36 game days, which translates to (IIRC) a year of gameplay. In order to assure that we aren't jailed for (among other things) murder, theft, and arson, we presented the information to Sheriff Cubbin and intimated that it would be quite profitable for him to arrest the two mine managers.
In Diamond Lake, however, that sort of bribery is just unheard of. The Sheriff sent a deputy to have Smenk up his bribe, and ... well ... combat ensued. When the dust cleared, the half-gold dragon dwarf fighter Epix was the new sheriff, the rest of the party were his new deputies, and the other mine managers have sent some of their thugs to make sure the new regime isn't overthrown in the first night.
Now we've got to clean up the bad men in town, find a suitable replacement (most likely *shudder* Demon Boy) and help the Free City garrison clean up this (&@#%$(& Aspect that we think is going to erupt from beneath Dourstone's mines. All that, and investigate more of these darn worms in the swamps.
We aren't playing fantasy anymore; it's feeling more and more like a Noir Western with each game session. :)
Erik, James, thanks for the fun!
Oddly enough, I took "Kambranex's Machinations" and juxtaposed it with Jzadirune and the Spell Weavers in Shackled City. (The shadow walkin keycards from Kambranex's Machinations was modified into a variant of the Starry Mirrpr in Vaprak's Voice). The shield guardian was replaced with a warforged as well...I'm definitely going to have to hook your tidbits here into that storyarc. As always, excellent work! :)
We ran a playtest between a balor and a pit fiend over at Circvs Maximvs. The results were less than spectacular, and predicated on one of them getting a critical hit before the other one.
In other words, it proved why the Blood War rages on incessantly, and why armies numbering in the thousands are needed to gain any advantage in it. :)
Back to the OT, I'm playing an Olman barbarian in a ST game over at ENW. I'm playing a spear-throwing, squat, tattooed barbarian who will (if he survives the current round of ravenous zombies) most likely end up as a Reaping Mauler (thanks to all the lovely grappling challenges).
Really, it's just a matter of roleplay. You don't need New and Nifty stats to create a superstitious jungle tribesman. :)
Nicolas Rogue wrote:
Ahhhhhh...now this I could get used to. :-)
Heh. As a failed thespian myself, I loved the adventure. Anything that gives bards a chance to shine /and/ uses social skills in an advnture get a thumbs-up in my book.
OTOH, this Pond Dragon Splash adventure was an excellent example of how to run a travel adventure. (Would that make it a travel-Logue?)
I think that my vote will have to go to ... James Jacobs editorial. Sorry guys, but when a guy promises new monsters in every issue, he just hands-down wins. :)
I've plugged my SCAP into my ongoing Forgotten Realms game. Adimarchus is the son of Shar, and has a lot of elements of Tharizdun tied into his background.
My FR campaign has (at its heart) an alliance between Shar and Jergal to overthrow Ao and break the cycle of deific replacement (Noon to Dusk to Night to Morning to Noon). Jergal is the ancient scion of the spell weavers, and he allowed Shar to reveal the secrets of the spell weavers to the Netherese the Shadovar to escape the destruction of Netheril.
Hrm...the Ebon Triad are Myrkul-Bane-Bhaal and, once the AoW games I'm playing in ends, I'll probably cannibalize AoW into epic adventures for the games that I'm running.
I've inserted Red Hand of Doom right before Zenith Trajectory, with Brindol being replaced by Cauldron. The siege will allow Vhalantru to show his 'foresight' by using the Blue Duke's army to help drive off the Red Hand.
I'm spreading out the Cagewrights a bit more to give PCs a chance to at least have heard of them before the final encounters. I haven't decided how yet, but I need to give the PCs more of a hook to get them down into the depths of the volcano.
There's more, but that hits the high points.
Sean Mahoney wrote:
I think many people would agree that this very issue is one of the weak points of the SCAP. That said, I think the biggest single "bad guy" you need to focus on foreshadowing is the friendly neighborhood head of the Wee Jas temple.
I have to agree. The SCAP is an awesome campaign, but I find that adding in contact with the various Cagewrights prior to the last three adventures is adding a lot to my game. Otherwise, there is a very real risk that your players will be so lost as to their appearance that they won't know what's going on.
I like the idea of being able to put the Workbook into my pocket and take it anywhere and work on it without having to drag a stack of notes everywhere.
I have to agree. I do all my thinking-work on my laptop, but I can put my final copy in the workbook and game with it from there.
A question for the Paizo folk: All things being equal, which would be the preferred means of purchasing the Gamemastery line: sales to the FLGS or directly from paizo.com?
I saw another one last night.
That 70's Show has an episode where Donna starts working at a radio station. To make a long story short, the main character is jealous of the sexy-sounding DJ and confronts him at the radio station, only to find out that it's the sidekick from Moonlighting.
They decline his offer to play D&D and go off to do that thing that teenagers do so well. The final scene of the show has said DJ, the guy who played the hippy DJ in [i}WKRP in Cincinnati[/i] and Alice Cooper playing D&D in the basement.
It had my girlfriend in stitches. She couldn't stop laughing and pointing at me.
Did someone say Diet Coke (tm) and Mentos (tm)?
We (my gaming group) attempted that experiment in the parking lot of my apartment complex. Hooo boy. I don't know what was more enjoyable, watching the first bottle (we didn't use a live test subject) explode or trying to escape from the second, possessed bottle.
You immediately suffer the effects of a bestow curse as the albatross hits the deck of the ship (or waterline.) The next time you are at see, an aspect of Wee Jas will kill and animate all of your crewmates and gamble with Nerull as to the fates of each of their souls.
You'll be returned to land unharmed and slightly unhinged, and will start picking up bard levels as you try to warn people from killing innocent animals.
Celeste's Boon (Dungeons & Dragons 3.5)
Forged in secrecy by the secret society known as the Chisel, Celeste’s Boon was most famously used to save the Free City from a raving madman who sought to unleash a horror during a popular gladiatorial tournament.
This +1 silvered undead bane longsword proved useful in that battle, but the subtle protections woven into its blade during the forging process revealed their true power while battling the vile spawn of Kyuss. Once per round, when the wielder would normally be struck by a physical ranged attack, he can make a DC 16 Reflex save. If the ranged attack has a magical bonus, the DC increases by that amount. If he succeeds, the projectile or ammunition is damaged as if he had successfully made a sunder attempt upon it. The character must be aware of the attack roll and not flat-footed. Attempting to sunder a ranged attack does not count as an action. Celeste's Boon must be unsheathed and in its wielder's hand to provide this benefit to the wielder.
Moderate evocation; CL 12th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bane, shatter; Price 18,315 gp; Cost 9,158 gp + 733 XP
Mike McArtor wrote:
I also subscribe to the "hang out with young people and feel young" philosophy. Every editor here except James Jacobs is younger than I am, my girlfriend is younger than me, and all her friends are around college age. So yeah, I hang out with a lot of younger people. Helps me continue to feel young.
Same here. I've spent my entire mid-to-late 20's in the company of college-aged gamers. It's helped stave off the fact that (as of yesterday) I'm 365 days away from hitting 30. :)
That's actually something I'm thinking about doing. I'm playing AoW, but once it's done, I may tinker with the setting a tad and use it as a follow-up to SCAP. Diamond Lake could easily a mining village near Cauldron. I know that there is an arena battle, and I've placed a large, well-run arena in Hollowsky. Kyuss' old temple is in the area... I think it could work. Of course, I haven't read the AoW AP, so it may not work either. :)
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. I would definitely use blank item cards. As it is, there is a dichotomy between equipment I have cards for and equipment I don't have cards for.
2. Hrm. I'm really not inclined to have a preference. I'm leaning towards generic, but I wouldn't pitch a fit if they had the specific borders and backgrounds on them.
Are you planning on running AoW after this campaign? You could easily use her as a springboard for it.
I've been thinking about this myself, and if the AoW campaign I'm playing in ends before my SCAP game does, I may up the power levels of AoW into Epic levels and have those PCs follow clues from Cauldron to the Free City and on into adventure...
I could easily see her linking up with the Hextorites in Diamond Lake (we just encountered them in my own game - too cool) or just running to the Free City and getting involved there.
The Jade wrote:
Puzzles don't usually give me much trouble. The only thing I haven't looked into is the idea that a clock concept might come into play, and that the colors merely indicate numeric placement. However, I fear I'm overthinking the puzzle, and that when I see the solution I'll punch myself in the eye and say STUPID STUPID! SO SIMPLE!
I'm in agreement. Normally these sort of things are simple for me to solve, but this one is driving me crazy.
Gregory Ellen wrote:
I was thinking that both encounters may be too easy for my group. For the umber hulk, I was thinking about just making it a regular umber hulk but adding a second one. For the dragon [can't remember his name right now] I was looking to pump him up an age category.
I'm combining The Banewarrens with my SCAP, so I have added the fiendish template to the umber hulk and linked it to the first part of the Banewarrens. My players aren't there yet, but I can't wait for it! :)
Gottrod is problematic if you don't 'sell' his presence in the area sooner. Have your players hear rumors about him being seen in the north, otherwise it could come across as a random encounter - and no one wants that. :)
Remember that the PCs will be facing Dhorlok in the temple shortly afterwards, so you may want to avoid overwhelming them with dragons. I like the idea of his flying off and allowing the PCs to track him down later...which could tie in perfectly with his father's appearance later in the adventure.
You have valid points, and I've addressed all of them in my own chronicle. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of DVD for the exact reasons you've laid out - it all seems a bit too heavy-handed, and doesn't correspond with how I see the multiverse operating - and isn't backed up by most of the information presented in 3.0 or 3.5.
As I generally run FR, the canonicity of DVD doesn't really impact my standard games, but it does affect my planar games in Sigil. IMC, I assume that the damage was far worse than originally reported (as is the case with most large-scale disasters). I'm not a big fan of how the Lady of Pain was portrayed, but then I imagine having a Power walk in Sigil would definitely attract her attention.
Really, I'm far more interested in the Serpent than Vecna. If it was a plot device to make the adventures go, that's cool, but I really like the idea of the Serpent. I may use the concept to introduce truenamers into my game.
Samuel Weiss wrote:
Yah, I came across that attribution, but I don't happen to own the book. Die, Vecna, Die! implies that the Serpent and the Lady of Pain come from the same place.
I may run a one-shot where they both are refugees from the Far Realms. *ponders*