|Jim Groves Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4|
although at this point I wonder what if anything this has to do with Wrath of the Righteous....
I'm sure this is a rhetorical question, but its because Wrath of the Righteous presents a situation where the outcome has extremely meaningful consequences with long range implications.
While it is a sidetrack to get the broader Pros and Cons of evolving a campaign in a general context, it nevertheless is extremely relevant.
I'd like to point something out I think is quite significant.
This is a generalization, but most of the early Adventure Paths present a crisis. If the crisis is averted, the PCs are awesome heroes and have accomplished something incredibly major—but they return the campaign setting to the status quo.
Here are some vague examples from many APs. Not really spoilers, but I want to minimize TL/dr
Runelords—you preserve the status quo by defeating the baddie
Crimson Throne—Life can go back to normal thanks to the PCs!
Second Darkness—The Second Age of Darkness is averted
Legacy of Fire—thanks to the PCs, its business as usual in Katapesh
Serpent's Skull—Ydersius does not return to start World War 5, life goes on.
Now this pattern does gets broken up:
Skull and Shackles-yeah, but the implications aren't as far reaching, its a more personal story to the PCs.
Just bear in mind, it is a generalization. Don't nit pick.
When you get to Reign of Winter and Wrath of the Righteous, something really interesting happens.
A crisis is presented and no matter what happens, there is a huge possible impact on the setting. Especially in Wrath of the Righteous. With Wrath, there is big change if the PCs fail, and there is big change if the PCs succeed. Either way it appears nothing stays the same.
(I am not privy to the end of Reign of Winter except in the most broadest and general sense. However, I have faith in Rob McCreary that if the PCs do succeed they're going to have the ability to do a little more than return Irrisen to exactly the way it was before. I think it is a parallel example to Wrath, but I am making less assumptions about it).
That is not the type of evolution that magnuskn wants, but I think it is a brave departure from past precedent.
That is the sort of evolution in storytelling I think we should hope for, and I'm happy that our Developers are bringing us.
Turin the Mad wrote:
I certainly hope so. There haven't been nearly enough fatalities reported so far. ;)
I'm a bit of a softie so I don't expect a high body count, but I have been following the threads waiting for some of the posting GMs to get to Chapter Two. ;)
Yes, I have spoken extensively with Ben / Terraleon about this. Dale, if this system is solid as you say, I'd love to see you walk through it and clarify it.
Break it down. Clean up the presentation. Make it user friendly.
And I would pay money for that. Now, you have to evaluate the return of investment on your time I realize. I'm just one guy. Yet I think that would be a great gateway product with a series of new Words.
Or if you think you can present the base concepts in a clear fashion, and pair it with Undead Words as a single product, as the first of a series—that would be cool too. Tutorial and new toys.
If you're serious about it, Dale, I'd love to share some of the comments Ben shared with me about the system so that you could address them specifically. But I don't want to do that without Ben's blessing. It was the work product of his analysis. But it was enough to make cringe and not fool with WoP at all.
I think that is the hurdle you want to overcome, and if you can, you may have found a cool niche.
Robert Brookes wrote:
And not to disagree with Robert, rather to add to his point, AC is not even an analog to "toughness". What is also being "absorbed" is the great creatures attack actions.
Occupying a powerful opponent while not getting hit is a valid strategy.
Jeff Erwin wrote:
Start an advocacy thread, Jeff. I created one for a possible Advanced Monsters Guide, and its taking off. The Suggestion Section is the place to put it. I'll post my support, and we'll see if the community can carry it far enough that James can make a compelling case.
Haladir gets a singular point that I was struggling with.
You're going to have a vocal minority who don't want psionics period. And they will howl and pidgeon bomb every thread they see, once it is taken seriously by Paizo. Just like Mythic, and god bless Brandon Hodge- just like Rasputin!
It won't help if fans of psionics have all this internal division. I'd like to see the topic introduced in actual adventures, rather than vieled obscure references in the occasional campaign setting books.
Look at the status quo: right now psychic abilities play no role in Paizo adventures and you have to manually add DSP in them in on every level.
Even if you didn't like how Paizo chose to implement psychic powers, at least you would be gaining ground. The concept would be in the adventures. You might not like their system, and you might still be adapting DSP material, but you wouldnt be fighting the background and the setting. Yet if we get too divisive over the implementation, there is no incentive for Paizo to touch the subject with a ten foot pole.
If psionics fans really want to see the topic utilized in SOME fashion, they may need to let Paizo do it the way they feel comfortable doing it, and unite against those who feel "Paizo's energies need to be spent elsewhere, which coincides with what I want".
Not a question, but I wanted to make sure you knew about this!
Here's another link at BoardGameGeek.com: Here
Brief Description wrote:
I actually think, as a race, that Aeons actually would be considered insane by mortal standards. They are so devoted to balance that they are beyond such lesser concerns as chaos, order, good, and evil.
Oh yeah, I get that. I agree.
An Aeon could make an effective enemy. Imagine Aeons coming in and knocking over a nation because it was too "peaceful". Or barging in and slaughtering people en mass, because there wasn't enough death. Or even goals more esoteric. I could also see one functioning as an NPC that the PC has to negotiate with, and which might send the party on a weird mission that the group doesn't understand.
But... jeeez... That sounds like a hybrid of a protean and an inevitable that just can't make up it's mind. I prefer to have two races push and pull in cosmological opposition, rather than introduce a third group that arbitrarily goes back and forth and intrudes on the niche of either.
That balance is what arises out of the tension between proteans and inevitables.
But still, I think they look cool and I'm glad they're in the core rules for people to enjoy.
Speaking as myself—a fan and a customer:
I like Aeons, but I see a problem with them. They're fundamentally "Reality Cops". A good source of fun and adventure is when reality becomes distorted or messed up. That is a good high level (or mythic) PC problem. From a design standpoint, why would you give that problem away to a race of aloof and uncooperative NPC outsiders to fix?
Inevitables don't have that problem, because they make good NPCs in the same way proteans do. They can be extreme. They can be a PC obstacle.
But Aeons? Like I said, I love the concept—but in actual practice, they're a buzzkill. They don't add adventure easily, and in fact would serve to shut "cool adventures" down.
Aeons, to me, are like the cops at the very end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is amusing to seem them arrest Arthur and his knights and cart them off to jail, but three seconds later the movie is over. Yeah, the fun is over, go home now.
"Reality Cop" may be a niche the game doesn't need to spend a whole lot of time on.
Edit: I can see a crazy Aeon being an interesting NPC, but if you have to make them crazy in order to be fun, there's something missing from the core concept.
I loved psychopomps ever since Stephan King's "The Dark Half".
No, thank you. I like the way how D&D 3E builds monsters and NPCs out of the same Lego brick set. The more we go into 4E's direction of PC human ranger =/= NPC human ranger the worse.
Okay, but that example doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. An NPC human ranger is a creature, but not exactly a "monster".
I think there is some real validity to your point. Your example should not ever happen.
But rather than say, "No, we shouldn't do that", how about we limit the scope such that the proposed mechanics are only for non-playable creatures. Draw a dark and stark line separating what is intended for players and what is intended for monsters. So the responsibility of the Designers would be balancing to CR and not balancing to Class.
Wasn't Green Ronin's 3E Advanced Template book not a celebrated piece of work for it's time?
Could your concern be a note of caution rather than a forbiddance?
As a side note, I will not quarrel about this—but I have trouble putting any stock in the "Once upon a time WOTC did something bad" position. That is a "sins of the father" argument. Paizo rises and falls on its own merits, and not on what a different company did, elsewhere, some time ago.
James Jacobs wrote:
A book that presents new options for monsters is a book I've been trying to convince the design team and management to tackle for some time. If folks want to see such a book, one that presents new feats and prestige classes and templates and maybe even things like monster archetypes and the like... let us know! Preferably in its own thread, and not here. ;-)
I'd like to see a book that adds feats, maneuvers, tricks, and rule mechanic support to existing monsters.
Monster Prestige Classes!
This could include new templates, advanced templates, and so on, but the book wouldn't need to exclusively templates.
Another idea is some discussion to adding classes to monsters (good and bad design), and maybe a clear guide to advancing or lowering a monster's HD. There is such an article now, but one that walks through the process with an example.
And overall.. just a MONSTER mechanics rule book!
Others are free to expand on this idea.
Robert Brookes wrote:
The exception is Zombie Jim Groves, yes? I mean after the last couple of weeks of work, anyway, he's likely to be among the walking dead.
DON'T TELL MR. SCHNEIDER THAT!
You're gonna get me benched!
All joking aside, if I'm working hard it's because of a deadline, not fatigue. If I finish this project TODAY, I am taking almost all of May off to be refreshed and ready for when June comes around, and there may be large outlines ready for assignment.
Off topic stuff about me-
One reason I love to work for Paizo rather than a lot of 3rd party stuff, or doing my own Kickstarter, is because I actually enjoy structured outlines. Some freelancers prefer a lot of freedom. I actually appreciate structure that has some flexibility to it. I don't know if I am unique in that respect. Similarly I'd probably enjoy creating an outline for someone else.
As a side note, I liked Blood of the Night, and that isn't just ass-kissery to the Boss. I got some actual use out of it, and I enjoyed the ideas put forth. I really liked the expanded information on the jiang-shi, and the three dhampir bloodlines. I don't think it was a perfect book, but if I had to review it, I'd give it four stars.. because I got that much use (and reading pleasure) out of it. If I didn't review it was because when I review things I fear it looks biased. But I give Wes and Tork kudos for it. If this book can be even better, that is great too!
Not only am I excited (oh jeez wow, do I ever *love* new Bestiaries, because that opens up new monsters for scenarios, modules, and AP's)—I'm shocked!
Because this is not a surprise PaizoCon announcement!
Which makes me wonder what the hell is the surprise announcement gonna be now!?
I *loved* many aspects of In Nomine, and in fact that is one of the games I would like to rebuild with a different rule set. I thought it was only flawed by not taking itself seriously enough sometimes (which I am told the French version did not suffer from). Anyway, this reply is not meant to be a challenge or disagree to your comment. Rather it is in addition to.
And my apologies to James Jacobs, I don't mean *discuss* anything at great length in his thread about questions. This topic just means alot to me.
I have thought about this at great length, and I also have come to believe that the infernal system is not invested in letting demons (and devils) really believe that it is even possible. And when an evil outsider makes the effort, a concerted effort is made to stop them—like a heresy. It is a dangerous precedent to allow to exist. When an evil outsider succeeds in redemption, that effort is besmirched as self-delusion. As if it were only a matter of time before their true nature reasserts itself, and no one should be fooled.
That being said, I think most evil outsiders don't believe they really have any choice to be what they are. Knowing that you have a choice opens up dangerous questions and confused thinking. "Can I make different choices? Was it my own fault? Was it inevitable, or was I just too weak to do anything different?"
It is interesting that evil outsiders do not (to my knowledge) have much recollection of their previous lives. Case in point, multiple larvae from multiple souls which combine to form a demon. Imagine if you were an outsider burdened with the past?
Enough rambling, I'm just saying if *I* was a demon lord I wouldn't want my minions to even think it was possible. Then they would be uncluttered and unfettered by such distractions to their beautiful corruption.
Just like if I was a hag, I wouldn't want my changeling to think they had any choice either. But they do.
Sorry James, I'll shut up now.
The Eagles wrote:
I could easily see giving out story feats, like this one, as a bonus feat to a PC. You know, as an alternate reward to treasure.
Not to replace standard rewards, but to supplement them or add variety.
People have pointed out that the benefit is somewhat modest compared to some "old tried and true standbys", which make it all that much more suitable for alternative reward.
A single bonus feat in the course of a character's career is not going to spin your game out of control, and could add tons of flavor and coolness.
Just some feedback!
I have to admit, I have not bought many SSG class oriented products, not out of 3rd party snobbery, but because I tend to be a traditionalist.
But part and parcel to that is that I like to work within a setting that "gels" together. That is, I don't mind really exotic and unusual concepts (at all) if it works within the context of the setting.
I guess I'm saying, if you can sell me the setting—you can get me to be open-minded about a whole lot more in terms of races, classes, and unusual items and so forth. But that doesn't work the other way around. Not fair, I know, but it is true.
It's almost as if the setting has its own antibiotics in the form of verisimilitude and suspension of disbelief. But alter the setting, and then suddenly I don't experience the "allergic" reaction or respond to it like something foreign has been added to my campaign.
So what's my point?
Owen, I read your weekend Facebook posts about your home games. They sound crazy as hell sometimes. They also sound fun.
If you had Kickstarter resources to introduce setting and adventure material to support a fantasy scifi Apocalypse then it could serve to be a gateway for the rest of your product line, because I could see adding unusual classes and races and stuff with no problem.
And this has never been a reflection on your work. I've really enjoyed the stuff you've done with Paizo, to the degree that I drew upon your work specifically in two of my four rounds of RPG SS.
But this Warlords Kickstarter idea.. Setting, adventures, rules? SSG has finally made me sit up in my chair and pay attention. (And I love me some Thundaar)
Good luck, I'm watching!
Was it the end of the world? No.
Did I suspect it anyway? Yeah.
Will I still go see the movie? Yeah.
But here's the deal. Its inconsiderate.
There ya go.
Now you can chalk that up to "nerdrage" to just minimize any objection, and use internet slang to dismiss the fact that it was jerk behavior. Standard Internet 101, "attack the other party for objecting to the bad stuff you did in the first place".
This is how we enable people to be jerks.
Oh jeez, earlier in the thread I made a joke about "Aslan had to die because Cosmo had to have turkish delight." I didn't realize the new intern's beloved pet was named Aslan. It was a CS Lewis/Narnia joke. I certainly don't wish any harm to poor defenseless bunny. I feel bad.
AND I BLAME COSMO FOR THAT.
I know detect magic and magical traps sometimes are at odds with each other, but sometimes there is a tendendency to provide too much information.
Okay, if they cast detect magic, the first round they're going to detect the presence of magic in the area. Remember it is a sixty foot cone. You don't need to tell them that, they should know their own spells. If another party member is in that cone, their own buff spells can register as magic. The first full round really shouldn't provide much useful data. "There is magic somewhere" is about all you should tell them.
The second round, they're going to detect a number of magical auras. Again, if a party member is standing in the cone, count the auras from their buff spells and possible magic items. Let's say their sensible or you cut them some slack and point that out to them—in the best possible use of detect magic they're going to know is there are two magical auras being detected. That's all they know. They don't know where they're focused on or what those auras actually are.
In the third round, they learn two more pieces of information. That the auras are faint, and that they are focused on the snowman. If they make a successful DC 16 Knowledge (arcana) check, they can identify the school of magic for one of those auras. So, if they make two separate Knowledge checks, they can learn one is from the illusion school, and one is from the abjuration school.
And that my friend, is all they can learn. Spellcraft allows you to identify a spell as it is being cast, not afterwards. After the spell has been cast, technically you're out of luck trying to identify it (though I would allow for common sense of course, enlarge person is pretty obvious even after it has been cast).
So, you don't tell them squat. After three rounds they have two auras and they can make two separate attempts identify each of the schools of magic the auras belong to. You don't tell them it is a trap. The word trap does not come out of your mouth. You don't give them a bonus on anything. You let them draw their own conclusions and let the mechanics of the game do it's job. What they do with that information is up to them.
If they have a rogue, then that rogue can check for traps. It is a high DC, I know. If that rogue finds a trap, that rogue can disarm it. Yep, it is a high DC. Rogues are like doctors—doctors certify death, and time of death, and all sort of legal definitions. Rogues certify traps. Wizards and clerics can tell you there is an aura and what school it belongs to. Yes, a wizard can tell a rogue there is an aura, so maybe he better check for traps, but until that rogue makes their Perception check, you don't say the word "trap", you say the word "aura".
And if they're paranoid after all that, then that's fine. Making them paranoid is part of your job, and you'll have done it well. Let them walk around the snowman and maybe they'll fall through the ice as Ansel suggested.
Edit: They can't detect the sound burst spell effect of the trap. It is an instantaneous effect that has not been triggered. The only active auras are illusion (for the magic mouth), and abjuration (for the use of alarm as a proximity trigger).
I would like such a book for other alignments.
I generally don't have a problem getting players to play good aligned characters. If anything I find it hard to get them to play Lawful and Chaotic alignments. They seem to love the flexibility of Neutral Good, where they are "good" people and yet can be very organic and natural in their roleplaying style.
Even so, they will play those alignments if the class mandates it.
I guess it would be really cool to see some powerful special unique outsiders for the neutral alignments, especially psychopomps and/or inevitables and proteans.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Bah, I flagged it this morning. It's not nice Mark, it sucks.
Yeah, I suspected it was Kahn, but the thing is.. if it was Kahn, I wanted JJ to sell me the story in his own way. Uncluttered by half the internet pissing and moaning about it before they ever saw the movie.
I was poking around White Wolf's forums, and there's a bunch of folks just mad as hell that the Exalted 3rd Edition Kickstarter hasn't started yet. (OMG, It was supposed to start in January!) I can only conclude that Cosmo was supposed to edit the introductory video.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Thanks Chris, I stumbled upon this thread by accident. It is nice to read.
They were intended to get people's attention and inspire the Development Team to consider future scenarios. I also wanted to demonstrate the Sczarni as doing something meaningful with their international connections.
So, I felt the best way to give the Sczarni a meaningful faction mission was to direct them outward at a third-party foe. If they could defeat this enemy, it would further their faction goals.
Basically the missions were an internal sub-plot I was sliding in there, which I hoped could be later realized in a proper scenario. Not an easter egg I was slipping past MArk, but a possible plot-hook to be picked up on. At the same time they're open ended enough to just set aside.
Feel free to advocate future development of those missions! They belong to the Campaign, not to me. :)
Heh. If I don't get a big project this summer, I might ask for a scenario myself.
I watched it again. I don't hate it, but I am saddened that Alphas was cancelled to free up more money in the budget to pay for this.
Alphas had interesting characters and really demonstrated good storytelling with minimal waste in terms of settings, locales, and special effects.
Defiance really strikes me as an expensive boondoggle that has produced an okay show. Still, it could improve. B5 needed a good handful of episodes in 1st season to gain some momentum and energy, in my opinion.
Tim Hitchcock wrote:
Every great comedian needs a straight man. ;D
Sometimes I see this not just as a function of time, but of space.
That sounds like a cool line, but I mean it literally.
For the most part, AP's happen in diverse geographical locales. Note, this is a general statement. There is a great big exception to that rule—and we all know it.
APs neatly explore and showcase different areas of the Inner Sea, with the added benefit is they also avoid deal continuity issues. AP events in Katapesh need not have anything to do with AP events in the Mwangi Expanse, the River Kingdoms, the Shackles, or Irrisen.
Varisia is something of an exception, because it begs the question 'How can these major events take place within 500 to 1,000 miles of one another and not have an influence on the region?' I thought Shattered Star handled that situation neatly.
At some point, a really great story is going to want to be written in the same region as a previously published Adventure Path. My preference is that we bravely tell the best stories we can think of, even if it is in the same region where another story has taken place once before.
I know there is a lot of concern about a making a campaign wide determination on the outcome of an AP, but I wouldn't want render us unable to explore the return of more Runelords, or deal with the return of Tar-Baphon because there is no logical way two different APs could be happening simultaneously in the same region without a disconnect of logic and believability. That's what I mean by it as a function of both "space" and "time".
I'm not worried about this however. There is too much emphasis on what WOTC did once upon a time in a different campaign. That was a different company, with different priorities, and a different Creative Director. I will say no further negative remarks about that company other than I'm not going to saddle Mr. Jacobs with the "sins of the father." He has demonstrated nothing but respect and humility towards the fanbase, and in my opinion deserves that trust.
At some point the canon must be determined, but only when necessary, and done in a manner that respects the fanbase. I trust Paizo do just that.
Granted I have only studied this for about a half an hour, and I haven't read or dissected it thoroughly, but first impressions?
Tim knocked this sucker out of the park. Interesting NPCs, neat dungeons, cool story.
James Jacobs often says, "If you want to learn how to make better adventures, then read other people's adventures."
With some humility I am going to be studying this one. If people are enjoying the AP so far, I think they're in for a real treat.
Neil Spicer wrote:
Yes, and I need to talk it up more. I have on the downhill slide with this one and am going to have it in Jason's hands no later than the 30th, if not before.
Basically there is a 500 mile journey between "Sandpoint" and "Brinewall" and I am going to help GMs out with that, beyond pointing to a random encounter chart.
It won't be dungeon temples with the ghosts of proteans and crazy stuff like that, but rather some nifty low level encounters that are fun, interesting, and logical for a caravan on a long journey—with a mind of actually getting somewhere. I'll have great maps for all the encounters, and plenty of roleplaying situations, plus many of the encounters are flexible enough to handled in different ways (social/stealth/combat). Plus all of the encounters have an original story running through them that blends and meshes well with the AP. Without much difficulty you can also excise those elements and run it as a caravan journey without the AP. I aimed for maximum flexibility!
I'll tell you how long it takes to get between the encounters and distances in general so you can have a real feel for the length of the journey.
With some help from Jason Nelson, we also tweaked the original caravan rules so they balance out correctly over the length of the whole AP. I still recommend traditional encounters, but if you want do caravan combat, I let you! But we fixed the math!
The artwork is done, and the whole kit and kaboodle should be in layout by May 1st and available shortly after that.
@ Desna's Angel,
No sarcasm in this question. May I ask what tires you out and exhausts you the most?
Is it encounter design? Or is literally the small background details that go into a piece of setting?
The reason I ask is because I remember some of the early really strong Forgotten Realms stuff. (I took a break from the game right about the zenith of Dark Sun). Speaking for myself, I always felt like I was not being given enough background, but often I didn't know what to do with what I had. I didn't know how to translate it into an adventure. So at that time I found myself complaining, "I don't have enough information". I somewhat lacked the self-insight that what I really didn't know was how to design an encounter with what information I did have, and string them together into an adventure, and then into a campaign.
(Decades later I figured it out, but that is neither here nor there).
I'm not assuming that is the case for you, but I am curious if that might be part of what tires you out so much?
The Block Knight wrote:
Mr. Groves, you are shaping up to be a wonderful Adventure Path author. No worries there. For me anyway, this is the strongest AP offering from a first-timer I've seen in a long time.
By the power invested in me, I declare you to be the King of the Internet!
Seriously, I am humbled. Thank you. Great compliment!
EDIT: I'm willing to bet Amber Scott does great in August though!
It has been awhile since I talked about my favorite pet theories.
So, are we ever going to do anything with Acturn's alignment? Xanchara and the Reliquary of the Drowned God?
I mean, I know if tickles you to have people speculate about about stuff, like Hermea. But I think this is would be a fine actual adventure.
I also know you're not going to say too much one way or another publicly, but this is a way for me to gush about a favorite topic and bring it to other people's attention too. :D