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Forwell Hog

Henning Kristensen's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 27 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Thanks again, everyone for letting your collective brain power loose on my frustrations.

I’ve just come home from your weekly game and I’m happy to report that the Summoner had rebuild his eidolon to focus less on AC, and the earthy monk/druid seemed to keep his AC boosting down as well.

Talking to my players did help – as did reviewing the Eidolon (as a lot of you guys suggested).

The players got roughed up quite a lot when they camped basically on the bad guys doorstep – one PC dead, one PC paralyzed and a couple of PC’s with single-digit dexterity. In the next combat encounter, the summoner ended up deep in negative hp territory with his Eidolon long gone.

The review of the rebuilded Eidolon turned up quite a few mistakes. Most of which, I’m sure also existed in the high-AC Eidolon.

The Eidolon had been build with at least 3 evolution points too many (+1 due to misreading the table, +2 due to him having the Eidolon take Extra Evolution as it’s feats – something that I know that I had talked to him about earlier, but that he seems to have forgotten or ignored).

The player were also applying Augmented Summoning on the Ritual-called Eidolon as well as having misunderstood the entry for Bite (he applied +1/2 strength bonus on damage) and also had an unsupported opinion on how much damage the Gore attack gives when used charging.

So I won’t be dropping the ban-hammer on the Summoner class. Not now, at least (even though the player feels like I just dropped a hammer on his toy).

I think that we’ve broken the negative Optimization loop for now, and I surely will be reviewing that darn Eidolon at every twist and turn.

Rynjin wrote:
And TBH if a GM doesn't have time to prepare anything he shouldn't be GM-ing.

True. Everyone in our group really want to play – but none of us really has the time required to prep to the level that we would like. It’s not an ideal situation, but it probably will get better in about 20-25 years when we start hitting retirement-age.

Vincent Takeda wrote:
I'm not saying nobody likes challenging combat. I'm saying sometimes there's more to gaming than challenging combat, and theres definitely more places in a pathfinder campaign to find fun than 'exclusively' in...

Part of the premise of an AP is that the PC’s should be winning. PC’s overcomes encounters and keeps the campaign rolling forward – with the occational setback to keep the illusion of failure as an option.

I have played in gritty games where it felt like we were going nowhere. Every session started with trying to overcome the setback that we had ended the last session with. One step forward, just to experience being pushed back into the same, muddy trenches. That’s not really the kind of game that I want to GM.

Several of you have suggested that I should just let the players optimize and then work around their strengths and hit their weaknesses. Present them with challenges that cannot be solved by their optimizations (AC, in this case).

I guess that my situation is that I feel that the ”high AC” optimizations did take out too many of the (combat) challenges described in the AP.

Yes – the 25 pt point buy is much too generous. It’s our first Pathfinder campaign – and I wanted to give the players options to explore the new rules and classes. So far, I do agree, however, with the poster that stated that the high point-buy helps the other PC’s in keeping up with the Eidolon.

Yeah – we’re a danish gaming group – so playing the Jade Regent thru’ The Land of the Linnorms and later the artic regions is a blast.

Again: Thanks for your support and suggestions – it has been much appreciated and has already had a positive effect on our group.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Thank you – every one of you – for your responses. I’m truly overwhelmed.

It’s not that I don’t want to tweak encounters in the AP at all. Quick fixes such as increasing hp’s from average to well above average – and adding opponents here and there. It’s quick fixes that’s doable on the fly without much prep time.

Pushing the party and have them fight more fights than they really are comfortable with, also helps somewhat. As do circumstantial bonuses and letting the bad guys use their single use items.

We’re not using XP – so I do go with a slightly slower level progression than the AP recommends. That’s also a zero prep time fix - and I should probably take that one step further.

I’m sure that my players know that I’m open to them rebuilding their characters.

Helaman (and quite a few more of you guys): Yeah – I fully understand why some GMs bans summoners. I’ll definitely have to try to land more hits on the summoner himself. I haven’t done that consistently enough.

brvheart: I don’t think that I’ll make them tone things down by heaping more challenges on top of their heads or making the game more deadly/gritty. It’ll most likely just make them rationalize that they really need to optimize their characters.

alientude: There definitely is situations where the players are rolling badly or where the makeup of the encounter makes it challenging for the group. I guess that I just feel that it’s happening less and less often.

Riggler: I’m probably philosophically on your page here. I might just slightly adjust the BAB of the monsters upwards over the next few sessions – until I reach a GM BAB Bonus level that’s appropriate for my party.

Heaggles: I’m already rolling behind a screen, and I’m not above fudging or rearranging dices to fit the attacks. Messing with the randomness is just something that I feel that I shouldn’t overdo. It has to be believable.

Ciaran: I hope that your tank is doing better now. Yes – negative levels are always feared, and so far, I really like the way poison works in Pathfinder as well.

Artanthos: I’ll go with your interpretation of Reach – there has definitely been made some good arguments in the thread for your interpretation.

Mergy: Thanks for the offer. It might be that a group review will turn something up.

LazarX: I’ve made one glaring mistake: I’ve been (much) too generous with the point buy (25 pt). That’s one thing to fix for the next campaign. But I haven’t allowed any third party material (including 3.5) or home rules.

Lucent: I was aware of the potential that an Eidolon could make if turned around – thanks a lot for the pointer to Control Summoned Creature. I’ll definitely have the spellcasters in the campaign memorize that one.

Lamontius: You’re absolutely right – there’s quite a lot of things to enjoy when GM’ing. The plot, the unexpected turns and twists, the laughs. Yet, combat is quite an important aspect in our game - and a part that isn’t working quite as well as I would like with the current party.

Matrix Dragon: I like that nerf. It’s simple and makes the Improved Natural Armor a bit less of a no-brainer choice.

Jhidurievdrioshka: Attacks at night and pressing them to more encounters in a single day than they really would like have been weak points in the party. I am exploiting that.

DrDeth: That was more or less what I told ’em. Including the insta-kill on the less-armored players remark.

Zog of Deadwood: I like the pointer to the Teamwork Feats. They’ll fit right into the campaign at the moment.

Jesuncolo: Heh! There’s definitely far between gunslingers in the Jade Regent AP so far. Wasn’t the gunslinger actually published after that AP came out. The firework in the first book were great, though.

Alan_Beven: That’s quite a house rule. It seems to punish melee fighters a bit more than it’s punishing spellcasters. On the other hand: It’s not the spellcasters that feels like a problem right now.

Sic_Pixie: Great story. The general tactic of ”hitting them with their own medicine” might work as a learning tool on some groups.

Aranna: I’ll keep that in mind. That I should try to improve on adaptability. It’s often that retreats has the effect of drawing more opponents into the fray.

Quite a few of you had great advice on which foes, terrain and encounters would work against high-AC opponents. It’s always nice to be reminded of what to try to utilize in encounters.

Scaevola77 and DGRM44: I guess you’re both hitting the nail on the head with the comment that I end up feeling limited in what’s available to me in the AP.

I’m sure that much of my problems stems from expecting a bit too much from the AP – and that I should try to prioritize encounter customization.

Again: Thanks a lot for the advice. I feel a lot more ready to tackle another session on Saturday evening.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Hi y'all,

I have a problem in my group that's spoiling the fun of being a GM. The group consists of 5 players, we've played together in weekly games for 15 years or so. Experienced guys and girls that plays very well together.

The Jade Regent is our first campaign with Pathfinder rules, but we've completed Shackled City, Legacy of Fire and RotR - so they're experienced with the AP format and style. Right now, they're 5th level. It's a great campaign and I believe that they're all having fun.

The primary front fighters are a Oread druid/monk and a summoners Eidolon, and they have both been investing heavily into- and are both being buffed by their fellow players - to a degree where their AC's are hovering around AC 30 after about a round of fighting/buffing. The Eidolon dishes out quite a lot of damage and hitting quite often (claw, claw, bite - pounce, 10ft reach) but the Oread doesn't do that much damage. If someone questions the math, then there's a thread here with someone in the same situation.

Last time, I came to realize that I - as a GM - basically was sitting behind the screen hoping for 20's in order to hit the frontline fighters. Doing that for a whole night isn't much fun. Realizing that you’ve done it for several sessions and most likely will be doing it for the rest of the campaign is even less fun.

So during our last session, I told them that I was not having much fun, and asked them to tone the AC down. And I was met with some sympathy, but also arguments that "a high AC is all I got" and "it's fully legal within the rules" and "it's better that we buff each other than if we weren't" and "oh, but it's not getting much higher now".

While I really want to be sympathetic to a party that’s playing their characters smart, I simply cannot ignore that I’m not having fun.

Yeah - there's the occasional surprise attack which catches the party flatfooted or unbuffed. Or situations, where it's possible to get around the frontline fighters and deal damage to the characters behind the frontline and wreck some havoc. Some grabbling here, some touch attacks there... Obliviously Aid Another, Trip and other circumstantial bonuses can be brought into play.

It's not that I mind that some encounters are pushovers. The players should definitely occasionally feel that they're on top of their game. But the overall picture is that too many combats are pushovers - with the monsters not having any means of hitting their opponents (other than natural 20's).

And it's not like I don't know how to manage high-AC fights or set up a custom encounter to challenge such players either - but I really don't have the prep time to go thru' every- or at least most of the encounters to tailor and customize them to fit these two players obscene AC optimizations. On. Level. Friggin'. Five!

Ideally, I would like to run the encounters in the AP as-is (concentrating my limited prep time on the campaign story).

So what's a time-strapped, frustrated GM to do? Add an unexplainable +6 BAB bonus to all the monsters? Any thoughts from fellow GM’s?

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

We tried that when we were doing the magazines. Twice, actually. It went badly. And our business is much more complicated now, making it that much harder. (Just one example: we'd basically have to redo our entire website back end even just to tell you what products would be shipping from which location, and that would also probably confuse more people than it actually helped.)

To be frank, I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

Thanks for your response, Vic. I would have thought that there were companies that one could partner with, who did just this - helped other companies maintain a legal, virtual storefront in other regions of the world.

The details and regulations in international shipping with fees, consolidation, taxes, declarations, freight forwarding and stuff is probably quite a bit more complex than I imagine.

Oh-well... We danes can't really blame Paizo for the sad and pathetic Danish postal “service”.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I'm still on the fence about this one.

Negatives: huge shipping costs and customs hassle here in Denmark - including a $25 fee that the postal office rakes in, no matter how much the actual tax amount is. Often just a few dollars in tax + a hefty $25 in handling fee.

For us europeans, it would be much more convenient if it was possible for Paizo to ship from within the EU. If this was the case, then I would absolutely buy all my gaming supplies directly from Paizo. And most likely buy a bit more than I do today.

So hard to resist - especially because we're just a couple of sessions short of completing RotR. It would be quite a nice way to commemorate a great campaign with some great friends.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Uhm... I saw a lot of phones being mentioned in the above thread. I guess that's fine - and I know about screens getting bigger and higher-res and so on - but are you guys really using the phones at the table? When gaming?

I've got an oldish HTC Desire with a bunch of apps that I use for non-RPG releated stuff, but at the table - when I'm needing RPG apps the most - I'm exclusively using a tablet (and so are 3 of the 4 people that I game with).

If you could transmogrif your Adventure Path's into apps, that are heavily hyperlinked with a rules encyclopedia and includes your layered maps, then that would be fantastic. Something to dream about.

Add some kind of slave-tablet functionality, where we could put one tablet at the center of the table and have the GM control the view on that tablet. Including removing "fog of war" on dungeon maps, then I would be in heaven.

I do know a little about software development and the complexities involved here, so I know that it's never going to happen. But I also never thought that our gaming group would be in a situation were we could muster more tablets than players. So I guess that the future is happening now.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

The D20SRD released by Wizards as part of the D&D 3.0 release was kind of an experiment: Could a company give it's ruleset away, let third-party publishers use it and still be in business?

The answer was: Yes, that's perfectly possible. And as the Pathfinder RPG builds heavily on the (OGC) content released by Wizards, I would think that it's practically required to be open as well.

If Paizo had tried to "close" the complete Pathfinder RPG rules and not permit further usage or distribution, then I would think that Wizards easily could have forced Paizo to open up the (sizable) bits of Pathfinder rules that are equivalent with 3.5.

That's my interpretation on why the PRD needs to exist - it's certainly not there to annoy regular book-buying customers.

As an added bonus, it describes the basis on which third party publishers are allowed to build - and create exciting Pathfinder-compatible materials.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Our group finished SCAP and I looked at the other AP's and decided to do LoF next. We're in the middle of The Jackal's Price, and I'm certainly enjoying the GM'ing.

Part of the reason for choosing LoF is that I got the feeling is that it's a less gritty, more heroic than most of the other AP's, and that kind of adventure suits our group better.

I don't feel that we have overdone the arabic flavor, but it's very nice with a dash of spice to the Fantasy genre.

With the current pace, it'll probably take about a year before we've finished up the LoF. I think that it's a great AP - and that the authors and editors deserves heaps of praise for having done a great job with this one.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
PulpCruciFiction wrote:
I don't think the Cusp of Sunrise idea is very believable...

I have a nagging feeling that you're right - that I’m stretching the believability a bit here... But then again - I ran the encounter in the Womb as written even though it stretches my believability that the ritual would be completed just as the characters arrived. And I find that the Derro surprise attack also is “stretching it”.

Having Big V disappear completely from the surface of Cauldron, and start major regrouping efforts so close to the eruptions and the influx of an obedient demon army feels a bit too safe – and might spark off a story arc and drag out the confrontation to a point in the adventure where the party really should be focusing on the Cagewrights (my party isn’t very good at handling multiple, concurrent threats or tasks).

Most of Big V’s allies have been killed by the group, Last Laugh has been disbanded (minus Jill) and the group of heroes have a very good reputation in the city, so I believe that any sort of confrontation or verbal standoff between Big V in disguise and the party will escalate into melee in seconds. They’ll go for his throat and try to keep minions/opposition away with Walls of Force and whatnot.

Chef's Slaad wrote:
His best bet is to take out the PCs hard and fast now, while they're regrouping... What Big V would probably do now is either send some minions out to dispatch the PCs, or get his own hands dirty.

His movement, tracking ability and clean escape plan is somewhat hindered by the fact that he can’t cast Teleport on his own. I haven’t checked his hoard for scrying devices, but I suspect that he doesn’t have any of those either.

Big V’s really annoyed by that warlock’s escape. It turned a clean win into a very messy situation. My first impulse was to have Big V escape and join up with the Cagewrights, but I like the idea of letting the party finish him off (or at least get another chance at doing so) in Cauldron. That’s where he belongs story-wise.

With a dimension-dooring warlock/rogue in the party, it'll be hard to find a really good defensive position anywhere around Cauldron anyway, even though I like the idea of reusing the Malachite Hold.

I’m really in love with the idea of having him hide out in the club that he’s familiar with, which will enable him to continue his manipulative, decadent lifestyle and then just cease the opportunity to crush every member of the Cauldron elite when given the chance.

I’m grateful for the added insight in Big V’s possibilities that you guys have given, though. These boards have been a great help in running these adventures! I’ll report back on how the rematch goes.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Things have been progressing nicely for the group that I'm DM'ing, and they've become rather cocky. The party is magic-heavy - consisting of one paladin, one cleric, one wizard/archmage, one magic theurge and a highly mobile warlock with that highly annoying short-range dimension door at will.

If the party meets a locked door, they usually "dimension door" to the other side - but at this level, they still have to leave one character behind. (Which I've taken advantage of, off course)

So the warlock, the cleric, the paladin and the theurge dimension-doored into the Womb. Open central eye, spit, hoover... The theurge missed her fort. save and were paralyzed.

The remaining three moved outside the central eye cone, that took a full move for the armored halfling cleric, the paladin flew into position to do a devastating melee attack and the warlock dimension-doored out to get the wizard into the fight.

The paladin took three rays - missed his save on one of the death attacks and hit the ground, dead. The halfling cleric took three rays as well but succeeded her save and responded with a Destruction spell that didn't go thru'...

The wizard and the warlock arrive and the wizard casts Antimagic Field to avoid the rays. A spit later, the wizard was paralyzed and the cleric was hit by a death attack. That's two dead, two paralyzed in the antimagic cone and one warlock, which move quickly to grasp the two dead bodies outside the cone and dimension door out. Phew... That was pretty close. Don't know what they were thinking of - going into that lair without sufficient protection.

The remaining party will surely want to come back for revenge - probably stocked with Death Ward's and whatnot, but that'll take a few days before they're done raising and restocking.

Here comes the problem: What's the insanely intelligent Lord of Oblivion going to do now? Surely not sit idle and wait for their return... Is it too much of a stretch to let him disintegrate his way to the surface, turn up at the Cusp of Sunrise, charm the doorman, take up residence in the club, enjoy the wine and perhaps a snack on a few in the staff - probably charm a few of the nobles that frequents the club as well?

The party will go back to Oblivion, find conclusive evidence that suggests that a new mayor should be elected. Let the charmed nobles suggest that the election meeting is set at the Cusp of Sunrise and have the Lord of Oblivion turn up at that meeting for a bloody revenge just in time for the earthquakes to begin... Throw in a few bottles of poisoned wine, falling book racks and dropping crystal chandelier liberally augmented with flasks of alchemist fire.

Basically, the Lord of Oblivion will play the part of the Derro surprise attack. I might be able to use the Derro encounter later - during the eruptions or later if I feel the need to shake things up and underline that the Cagewrights are actively reaching out and trying to get to the characters.

I’m not sure if this plan will work – how would you play the Lord of Oblivion after this first confrontation with the heroes? I played him as being somewhat surprised when he put down four of the heroes in about as many rounds, so it’s safe to say that he knows that the heroes can do a lot better. I also feel that the right thing is to "play" the Lord of Oblivion now – while the action takes place in Cauldron. That’s the home turf that he’s lusting for. That - and revenge.

Any thoughts? Or better ideas on how to handle the situation that I’ve ended up with?

Kind regards / Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
dnjscott wrote:
On a minor note, there is the mildly mysterious Rules Compendium that's supposed to release later this year. I'd think this would be a great platform for a 3.75 type edition. Really, I'm not sure what else it would be, by default if nothing else.

It could be some kind of a decoy. Sitting in the list of product and assuring gamers that the sky isn't falling and that 3.5 will live on at least for a couple of years more.

Then at the announcement at GenCon: "Ya' know, fellow gamers, the fact that we felt that it was neccesary to put out a rules compendium that explained the rules was really the tipping point that made us realize that what you all really needed was a new set of core rules. Which is what we're presenting to you today".

Naaa... That's probably too speculative.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
In Dungeon, at least... the core D&D setting's been the setting for 3 adventure paths. That's, of course, not counting all the other ones we've set in the same realm... which basically accounts for all the ones that aren't set in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron. And since Dungeon's popularity has more or less been steadilly rising for the past few years, and since the Adventure Paths are the most popular feature Dungeon's EVER run... I'd say that the default D&D setting is anything but bland and boring.

I do agree that Paizo has done a wonderfull job to keep Greyhawk alive and vibrant. Adventure Path, Core Beliefs... I fully acknowledge and appreciate your effort and dedication. But there must be people inside WotC that doesn't feel the same love towards Greyhawk.

My wild speculations goes along the lines that WotC will try to inject a lot more setting into the core rules. PrC's, affiliations, gods, geography, villains... If there isn't enough crunchy rules to change to justify a 3.75, then adding some more detailed setting-flavor might be an option. Especially if it also seems to make an non-OGL release unavoidable.

Such material might help players to create PC's that are much deeper rooted in the setting and with an included backstory that'll support the role playing. No more "I'm just another barbarian from the... uhm... plains... ya' know... tribes north of here or something...".

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
theacemu wrote:
Henning Kristensen wrote:
You could successfully argue that the current default setting in D&D is pretty bland and boring and - apart from a few articles in Dragon and a few adventures in Dungeon (and that reprint of Greyhawk Ruins) it's absolutely unsupported by now.

I'd like to see this statement argued.

As ever,

Look at it from a player new to this game and look at the default setting artifacts that are left in the D&D books. What's there?

A few wizard names in the spell descriptions, a few magical items and about a page with some names of gods, their symbols and about a sentence about their ethos.

Nothing about the history of those wizards, nothing about the organization of worshippers, nothing about evil villains, nothing about the geography or history of Greyhawk in the core books. The core books are just rules with a few sentences about a core setting.

Not much to build on for players or GM's. Selecting a god is about all you can do with the default setting described in the core rules.

I would certainly describe the current default setting *in the core books* as not-very-inspiring, boring and bland. My litmus test is that it doesn't make much difference if it's there or not.

If a new gamer want to know more, he'll have to get his hands on a book from 2000 -- and will probably have to buy that one used.

I'm not at all arguing that Greyhawk is bland and boring - just that its inclusion in the core rules is, and I would love to see Greyhawk get a decent treatment by true lovers of that setting.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
kahoolin wrote:
Wild speculation is fine. That's kind of what I'm after.

Here's my wild speculations:

The main reason why WotC is craving back their licenses is that the next version of D&D won't be OGL. WotC has done their math, added the numbers up and concluded that many existing gamers (and most new gamers) will follow the official brand and the 3.5 OGL market will starve to death, die off - or at least be insignificant beeps on the corporate revenue radar.

WotC won't put themselves in a situation where outside companies controls licensed content and releases new content using alternative or outdated rules. The worst-case scenario is that one of the previous license-holders might sue WotC because a new non-OGL version of the rules diminishes the value of the obtained license.

I don't think that WotC has the next real version of D&D ready and waiting. The real 4.0 will have to be more than a simple rules revision. It'll have to contain elements that reach well into the next decade – both with regards to audience, market and technology.

Some GM's are using laptops now - that usage will surely grow over time. LCD panels are dropping in price. OLED panels might be even thinner and cheaper down the line. Producing a touch-sensitive 20-inches "live" OLED battlemap might have seemed far-fetched a few years ago but in a few years time it might be entirely possible. Combine with more mini-centricness, an easier learning curve - shake and stir.

So what does WotC have now - or at least for 2008? I guess that they have a coherent set of rules (3.5 and the most popular content from the Complete books like Swift & Immediate actions). They'll use Star Wars Saga to test some of the simplifications that they're planning for the next revision (skill consolidation - perception skill, perhaps a more uniform hp distribution, more hp at level 1 and possibly even the end of iterative attacks).

They - too - do have a Greyhawk license that Erik Mona still thinks that he might be able to buy. Why isn't Erik just forgetting everything about the long-neglected Greyhawk license? Especially after the Dungeon and Dragon incident? Has he received some kind of hint from WotC that Greyhawk might be up for grabs at some point in the not-so-distant future?

WotC needs a damn good reason for the gaming community to explain why the next revision of the D&D rules isn't OGL. And WotC needs more than just minor tweaks to sell a new revision of the same rules.

You could successfully argue that the current default setting in D&D is pretty bland and boring and - apart from a few articles in Dragon and a few adventures in Dungeon (and that reprint of Greyhawk Ruins) it's absolutely unsupported by now. An unsupported core setting can't be good for business.

WotC also have a Forgotten Realms lineup that seems a bit suspicious. A somewhat apocalyptic 3-adventure series - and at the end of the year: a book on the history of the Realms. And then theres the fact that the Forgotten Realms core-book that hasn't been touched since forever. FR has to be a part of this whole operation.

My prediction is that we'll get a 3.8 edition of D&D in 2008. WotC will explain that it can't possibly be OGL because the default setting has been changed from Greyhawkish to Forgotten Realms (the Red Wizard PrC in the 3.5 DMG might have been for testing such waters).

If the next revision of D&D is announced at GenCon 2007, then these products might still sell pretty decent as lots of DM's and players will want to read up on Realmslore and/or end their current adventuring with a bang.

If D&D gets a new core setting, then WotC could license Greyhawk to Paizo and thus keeping the leash on them (and make Erik Mona really-really happy). Of course Greyhawk won't be released until the 3.8 edition is a success.

I think that the 2008 release of D&D will have some initial support for that Digital Gaming Initiative - but software development takes time and effort so I really don't expect much to be ready. An online character generator and vault, a meeting point, perhaps a trading place for minis, all the content from every Dungeon and Dragon issue downloadable as PDF (not free, you'll probably have to buy each old article) and possible a few more elements -- and it will evolve into a subscription-based service.

How is that for wild speculations?

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Well... Since Pathfinder qualifies as books, it might be available from my favorite uk online bookstore (which doesn't charge for shipping).

I would rather subscribe directly from Paizo than having to remember to buy each month. though. We do have FLGS'es in Denmark as well, but with regard to Dungeon & Dragon, they've been somewhat expensive compared to Paizo's prices.

Anyhow, Pathfinder is probably going to be more expensive than Dungeon & Dragon is today. Oh-well... Quality doesn't come cheap.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Another European Customer Question?

Do you ship from a european distributor?

Otherwise it will be pretty hellish - not to mention bloody expensive - to get those books in some parts of Europe.

Here in Denmark, packages from the US will be caught up in customs forever and be subject to all sorts of import taxes, vat (+25%) and on top of it a unavoidable fee - currently about $14 just for them to open the package, inspect it and add the numbers up.

Globalization and the fact that you - as a private person - might want to buy anything directly from a store in the US or the rest of the world hasn't really caught up with the legislation or realities here in Denmark.

Compare that to a package shipped from another european country: It'll slip thru' without any fees or taxes thanks to the magic wonders of the European Union.

Kind regards / Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I'm also missing the #353 issue of Dragon - it's the first one that I've ever missed, so I guess that I'm lucky compared to some of the US subscribers.

Would like a replacement issue though...

I have gotten the dungeon issue for march and the dragon #354. Dragon #355 hasn't arrived yet, but I don't think that too unusual.

Thanks for publishing such a great magazine.

Kind regards / Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Favorite Punchbag? Yeah... I've got one of them as well!

I'm DM'ing in a group that has been playing weekly games for just short of 10 year. One of my players has a habit of doing (incredible) stupid things. Getting punched to near-death and not retreating even though the rest of the group are fleeing, not asking for help or healing, not protecting himself a single bit - the list goes on.

I try really hard not to kill him, but he's not making it easy for me. So his characters die a lot. Fortunately, he loves to create new characters - I guess that's partly his motivation for acting so suicidal.

Back to your problem: If I were in your shoes, I would stop calling your GM names (behind his back?) and rethink the assumption that D&D is about the GM vs. the players. It's about experiencing a story together and it's about having fun at the table.

If the game isn't funny for both GM and players, then I would guess that your group is heading towards an iceberg.

Some GM's would feel it as you were peeing on their work when you're doing what you did to that suitcase. You should aim to do only mischief that makes the whole table - including the GM laugh.

I also think that you should appreciate the work that your GM put in the game a bit more. He's probably devoting about twice the amount of time and energy in the adventure that you are. I feel that you're getting what you're giving - and that you should think more about how you behave at the table.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I second the #1 tip about printing out stat blocks from the dreaded Appendix 4.

I scanned the Appendix 4 and are cutting and printing the monsters from the scanned pages into a few chapter-specific pages with broad margins. I feel that it's well worth the effort.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
Valegrim wrote:
There is nothing wrong with the issues or the information, it just isn't currently useful.

I'll have to say that I share the same feeling. I'm running our group thru The Shackled City AP right now and neither my Dragon's nor Dungeon's gets the attention that they deserve.

If I had more time to spend reading them, I'm sure that I would find the information in them of greater value - and when we're thru the Shackled City AP, I'm sure that I'll return to these lightly read issues for new inspiration and adventures to string together.

I would imagine that I'll want to run a few stand-alone adventures after finishing the SCAP and before embarking on another AP.

A thing that would make the magazines perfect would be the ability to do a full-text search on Search for "Wee Jas" and get all articles, adventures, npc's and items with issue number and article heading.

I would rather have that than a yearly index or an improved table of content.

Kind regards / Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
teknohippy wrote:
I've cobbled these rules together from various sources. They are untested, anyone see a problem with them?

I don't like the Exotic Weapon Profiency (wood stake). It seems that only a very dedicated vampire hunter would take that feat -- which reduces the feat-requirement to a general -4 penalty.

I certainly don't like the Ranged Staking. It seems that a low-level wizard with a crossbow and access to True Strike and Magic Weapon (and perhaps potions or scrolls with Cats Grace and Invisibility) would stand a too-good chance of staking a vampire with only a small risk involved.

I like the part with "you can stake a pinned vampire", but I would probably allow the vampire a free grapple check before the Staking-attempt to break the pin and thus ruining the Staking-attempt.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I have just a few more pieces of advice:

If your players aren't an appreciative bunch, then it's okay to ask for comments and feedback once in a while.

If they're enjoying themselves (and I suspect that they are), then just hearing that will be a great boost to your morale.

In the eyes of your players, you're most likely doing a great job.

Try not to get frustrated about your role as a GM. It has never been your role to punish and slay PC's -- the point with D&D is that the heroes defeats the monsters in a great, epic story.

The role of your monsters is to be on the loosing side. Even if every monster represents an hour of prep time (or more).

I've played with a GM where every gamenight seemed followed the same "one-and-a-half step forwards, one step backwards" pattern:

First, we did a recap of last gamenight. Last gamenight had ended with our group beeing forced to retreat due to some kind of overpowered encounter. Then we went into some kind of planning mode which involved serious boosting and we went back and fought the same encounter as last time. Usually, the extra specific preparation made the difference. Then we went to fight the next encounter - from which we (usually) had to withdraw. End of gamenight.

Two steps forward, one step backwards - every gamenight ended with a major frustration - and frustrated, disillusioned players are even worse for the mood at the table than having a frustrated GM.

In my interpretation, the encounters were that GM's darlings, and he didn't like us players to finish them off too easy. He as the GM, wanted the taste of victory too.

You should always be prepared to loose your darlings and see encounters develop in unexpected ways that turns your planning upside down (no potent ranged attack, no easy-to-protect exit route and no ways of detecting invisible creatures? then that monster *will* get fireballed by the invisible spellcaster - take a deep breath and get on with the story).

If the players are really into your story, then you're succeeding as a GM. Gamemastering success is never measured in PC defeats and deaths.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

There's no doubt that you're hitting a nail on its head, Farewell2kings. Our games seems to break down at about level 13-14 -- thats the point where it stops beeing fun to be the GM. The prep/fun ratio tilts.

In theory it doesn't have to be that way.

You have to cheat a bit, and push the players a bit around.

If you want combat to take longer than 2 rounds, then add hitpoints to the monsters. Double the hit points and the combat should take 4 rounds (You're the GM), or play a bit more by the rules and add a template with SR or DR.

Set the stage: Try to place the characters in situations where they are forced to improvise. A high-level group that has the initiative is extremely hard to handle, but any group that's forced to be reactive and both run and think at the same time is another matter.

They should not be allowed to cast all kinds of buff-spells and teleport to the Throne room and wrestle with the bad guy while fully buffed.

Multiple throne rooms, throne rooms filled with poisonous gas, dobbelgangers, traps, illusions... Any reason why the bad-guy doesn't employ a cleric that casts Divination and asks if there'll be any hostilities in the next week or so?

Most spells in D&D has some kind of counter-spell. A wise cleric that memorizes Death Ward, Break Enchantment, Spell Resistance and True Seeing might be easier to handle that the one with four Flame Strike spells.

Present (sometimes foreshadow) monsters and scenes that put the players in bad-bad situations if they don't think about defensive spells. Hurt'em badly (preferably save-or-die) if the players don't take the advice.

Other hints:

- If a monster casts spells, only concentrate on memorizing and reading up on the highest-level spells. Combats will be over in a few rounds anyway.

- You know their AC's - don't select monsters that cannot hit (or too seldom hits) your players. Advance or add class levels.

- Don't be afraid to set up situations that take out a player (antimagic zones, undeads that cannot be sneaked...) - you shouldn't take out the same player all the time, though.

- Give them a princess to save (could be anything, scepters, vials, tomes, creatures), key point is that the princess must not be harmed. Combine liberally with combat, imminent deadlines and chase-scenes.

- Don't overlook traps. Crumpling celings, revolving walls, disappearing floor tiles, "spell cannons", poison, gas. About anything goes with 12+ level characters -- and it might be a help in creating an unpredictable, dynamic battlefield.

- Keep track of the magical equipment (and prestige classes) that you give to your players. Some players look at the DMG as a shopping catalogue where just about anything can be ordered. That leads to overpowered characters. Talking to the group about it really helped in our group.

I agree with Magagumo in that this is a problem that's hard to solve. If you find a silver bullet, then please post about your approach.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Alfred Hitchcock - I'm sure that with his ability to think up horror stories and create suspense, he would be a terrific GM who would love to mess with his players heads.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I feel your pain!

Tonight, My party fought the Mass of Chains - the two strongest party members grappled it (which didn't really damage it) and then the rogue glued the grappling bunch to the floor with a Tanglefoot Bag.

Yep! Glued the partys über-melee-guy to the floor...

I just couldn't let such a chance go, so at that point, I introduced Kazmojen and the howler (it wasn't that farfetched that hobgoblins from the next room would have alerted him after hearing that someone were rattling the mass of chains).

I hoped that this would make Kazmojen last a bit longer and that the fight would be one of those to remember.

But the dwarven barbarian struggled to get free, and Kazmojen drove the PC into negative hp territory. The howler did the same to the halfling cleric.

The remaining PC's dragged the dying halfling cleric along and fleed the scene. Which leaves the party barbarian in the hands of Kazmojen.

I'm not sure what to do. I might pare down Alek Tercival a bit and let the barbarian's player "play Alek" during the rescue mission (in order to put some muscle in front of the group and to build some bonds between the group, the church and Alek).

Your situation? I would say that Pyllrak doesn't like fighting, so he'll leave Kazmojen "until he gets everything under control again".

Pyllrak will return some days later - when the group is somewhat rested. Chain the group together with the children, redo the auction and let the round guy destroy the chain (and perhaps a few hobgoblins) i order to get Terrem.

That'll free the PC's and perhaps put a few weapons in their hands. Then let them fight Kazmojen to regain their freedom.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

A boxed set would indeed be awesome.

People balked at a $60 price tag for a hardcover book, so I can only assume there'd be a torch-bearing mob marching on our office if we did Age of Worms as a boxed set priced so that we'd come out the other side profitable.

I would be concerned if no-one were playing the SCAP. I'm sure that most of the groups that have played and enjoyed the SCAP will be "return customers".

Our gaming group are only two gamenights into the SCAP, but really-really liking it and I'm sure that when we're through, we'll remember this as one of the very best campaigns.

We'll surely want to repeat that experience with AoW (no matter what pricetag you guys put on the product).

Here's one vote for a boxed set with a the hardbound adventure, map booklet, encounter booklet, player booklet and extra stuff such as a cdrom with art and "un-numbered maps" and perhaps a map poster for the wall.

The price tag on both SCAP and a box with AoW might be a bit high for "impulse-buyers", but absolutely not for gamers that actually play thrugh the adventures.

/ Henning

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Just started out, had a terrific first session this sunday.

Halfling Rogue
Elf Sorcerer
Dwarf Barbarian
Dwarf Cleric
Halfling Cleric

I've only allowed PHB-races and all material from Complete- and Race-books must specifically be allowed, so nothing special here (other than there's no humans in the party).

I'll try to scale the adventure to 5 players by adding about 25% more hp to each monster (or occationally adding an extra foe).

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