|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Actually, as phrases go, I really really like that! Not offended in the slightest.
Book 1 is all about solving a mystery that is presented to the players very shortly after they arrive at the colony - namely, "where are all the colonists?" It's a compelling question, and one that will drive the players to make decisions based upon what they learn and what they believe is going on. That's good adventure design.
However, as the Judge, who knows what happened to all of the colonists, there's not a mystery for us to solve. The investigation is free-form, which means there's not a narrative thread for us to follow - that narrative is constructed during play by the players. It therefore defies conventional narrative structure, having a beginning and end point but very little requiring any point in the middle happening before or after any other. Finally, the reward that lore monkeys are looking for - the nuggets of what Azlanti culture was like - are necessarily light in this book. We'll get more, as stated above, but it just isn't there yet.
No, there isn't as much direct lore. I really had to save for the other folks. That said...
You just made me look at the chapter differently, even though I wrote it. (I'd love to say it was my master plan, but I'll be honest!)
The PCs are coming across a mystery, but you can almost think of it as an interruption of a story already in progress. The story of the first colonists. A story which thus far is not coming to a happy end. The two main adversaries are not expecting the Peregrine or the PCs. Nothing has been planned for their arrival. They're stumbling across an old crime scene and monsters have moved in the neighborhood. When they first walk on the beach, there's little that is conspiring against them. (That changes of course)
Oops, better watch the spoilers in this thread. You get the drift.
The PCs are introducing a change in a narrative already in progress.
I'm looking forward to reading where the AP goes, and what secrets we can learn about Azlant, but I also understand why some people haven't been wowed by the opening. I would encourage people to give the book a chance, though. It does as good a job of encouraging player agency in a published format as I've ever seen.
Well thank you, one of the nicest compliments I have gotten. I hope they give it a chance too, just so they can experience the cool stuff the other authors prepared.
Corvus is correct. Take this as poetic and figurative language and not literal. Eliza stared in the face of her own personal devil and she made a choice, to save herself, and maybe to be on the winning side.
She also had her brains rattled by an extremely powerful and alien consciousness—although I hesitate to play that up too much, because there that is more background rather than something I can point to with game mechanics. And some folks really need you to point to game mechanics before they can accept it.
Part of the underlying logic was an author/developer discussion I had with Adam. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it. He felt that Ochymua should have Eliza dominated because he doesn't trust her. I argued that at 3rd level, its possible to make that DC 15 Sense Motive check. By having her act of her own volition, it allows the possibility of some roleplaying to occur (or opposed Bluff checks), instead of "Oh, she's dominated, just hit her." Maybe the PCs will go straight to combat anyway, but there is some wiggle room. Its up to the PCs and the GM and what happens at the table. It is reasonable for Ochymua to still dominate her (at Adam's request and recommendation) but give her a little slack and just follow along. Sure its a risk on Ochy's part, but it pays off in the story because Eliza is trying to earn his approval and trust. [What Ochy really thinks is entirely up to the GM]
All that necessitates an evil alignment, which is why I wrote her backstory as Corvus explains above.
As far as redemption, I don't like to write in absolutes of alignment. I am not sure that Eliza can be redeemed, but I was prepared to mention the possibility so the players can have the maximum number of options to explore—rather than tell them what they can't do.
As I write this, I am reminded of Harold, from Stephen King's The Stand. Very minor story spoiler.
His body broken in a ravine on the side of the road, with a note that reads, "I was misled." Who knows why people turn bad and what makes them reconsider their choices?
I think Adam Daigle and Robert Brookes already gave excellent answers, but as the author of Book One, may I add a few thoughts?
Book One is about the fledgling colony and is meant to set the scene. That was my job, but I say that without being defensive. You have to understand, I always had a rough idea of what is to follow my adventure. We authors receive each others outlines and we know what the other folks are working on. Additionally, I'm proud to say, with Adam's help and leadership, the authors actually talked to each other a lot more than usual—and we influenced each other's ideas. We strived for continuity. I made every effort to foreshadow.
But.. perhaps this says it all. In another thread someone remarked that there are no sub-rules for colony management and administration. That was by design, because that is not the destiny and fate of the PCs (again, unless the GM wants to provide for it). They have bigger and more fantastic things ahead of them.
That said of course, there's nothing wrong with settlement building. Ultimate Campaign is there just for that reason. What we're providing with these chapters is an adventure to shake the foundations of the earth and provide details and insights the likes of which have never appeared elsewhere.
With thanks to Adam, his bosses like Erik and James, and to my fellow authors.
I think the idea of an interview process is absolutely fantastic.
I fully support Adam's decision to start right on the deck of the ship and looking at the island, but I think once folks have the text, they'll see that the background I wrote is 100% compatible with the idea of an interview process.
Actually, I don't think this is a spoiler, but I actually either state or strongly imply that such a thing actually happened. I don't want to say too much, but you'll see. Everything you need to run a Chapter Zero preparation arc is in place in the background. There are discussion about what the Bountiful Venture Company is expecting and the rights and responsibilities and opportunities for colonists.
I think people will be pleased.
I'm new to Pathfinder and I want to get my four kids involved in tabletop RPGs. I plan on this being our first adventure path and I'm really looking forward to it. Can anybody suggest a few source books to give me some more background information that I can use to flesh out the setting a little bit more?
Other folks have given you good replies. For background from another perspective, I would look at early American colonies like Plymouth Rock and particularly Jamestown. For example, I literally researched the Mayfair and its cargo manifest, just for some details.
There's quite a few details drawn from historical information. I wouldn't claim historical accuracy because the needs of the story have to come first, but real history can be a pretty good inspiration.
(I'm the author but I'm not interested in self-promotion...but if I don't say that, then I'm just some guy on the internet offering his pet theory about the content)
It's saves word count, but I also think it's just cool to give folks monsters and see them used in the adventure. I try to do it as much as possible. Ben was an enormous help with the creatures on this adventure. Because he's a friend in real life, he was also second set of eyes on some of the NPC stat blocks.
Generic Villain wrote:
As far as I can tell, there is no nexus trait noted for the elder thing city in Part 3, Paris in Part 4, nor the Jaundiced Tower in Part 5. Based on flavor text, I think the elder thing city has the nihilism trait and Paris has the disorder trait. I have no idea what the Jaundiced Tower's traits are.
I'll help answer questions here, but Adam Daigle's answers always trump my own.
Oof, this should have been explicit, the fault is mine. That said, you got it right based upon flavor, so I'll confirm it.
Aevan-Vhor (the Azlanti/vampire nexus) possesses the trait of decadence. While you can find the other traits, it revels in its own abandon. Hunger, desire, and self-revulsion are all themes here.
Bohlvarai (the Elder Thing/shoggoth) nexus possesses the nihilistic trait. This is a ghost town in the truest sense. Parts of Edgar Allen Poe's poem, City in the Sea comes to mind.
LO! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Alternate Paris reflects disorder, with warring factions and a police state... Lost mad souls wander the streets. The Music of Erich Zaan is an obvious source of inspiration, but I would alo recommend people check out one of the less mentioned Carcosa stories written by Robert Chambers, In the Court of the Dragon, which also takes place in Paris.
Finally, the forming Thrushmoor nexus also possesses the nihilistic trait. It was necessary to repeat one and the possible transformation and awakening of the King in Yellow / Hastur makes this highly appropriate.
Hope this helps!
captain yesterday wrote:
Oh... Lost. Roanoke as a historical event. Early American colonies like Jamestown and Piymouth Rock. Plus some collected data we had on Azlant, which will deepen with later chapters.
One goal was to provide a good look at Azlant. Perhaps the primary goal, and the Aboleth I suppose were inevitable. Wouldn't make sense to not involve them. Later authors will really get into the Azlanti lore, as my job is to set the stage. We had a lot of talks privately about what Azlant was like. This was a very exciting project for the freelancers involved, and I think we were grateful that the senior folks in charge of content gave Adam (and by extension us) a long leash. There are tons more lore left waiting for future AP's, but you'll get a generous dollop of new insights.
Now, truly, I must beg off further comments. If it says NDA, just say 'No way!'
They can easily fit into Lovecraftian themes with almost no effort. You're not crazy.
We just didn't try to double down on that, so that we are oversaturating folks on Mythos. Hopefully we succeeded and hope you'll take a peek. To check how well we did.
Best wishes and please know your opinion is respected, and no disrespect or patronizing was intended.
Again, I am going to defer to Adam. I just wanted to say this.
To build on Adam's post just above mine, I worked on both adventure paths, so I feel that I have some perspective. They're fairly different. Yeah, I can understand how people relate the alghollthu to something Lovecraft might have created, but the tone and vibe are different.
To me, "Lovecraftian" means more than just some monster with tentacles that lives in the water. It's psychological and often draws on elements of altered perceptions.
This specific chapter reminds me of tv show, Lost, more than it does say—John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness. That feels like the apples and oranges comparison you guys might be trying to force. That said, aboleths are aboleths.
The Lost Outpost has elements of mystery and suspense, which builds and deepens with the subsequent chapters.
I think people will be pleased to hear that the authors worked closely together under Adam's leadership to pull the entire story together into a cohesive epic with as much continuity as we could manage. I'm every bit as excited for the other chapters as I am for my own.
I now return you to your developer, and I'm going to hush up. :)
I'm not looking for help, but I wanted to post this and FAQ it.
The incutilis in Bestiary 4 has some issues. It has a Reach of 0-ft., which is appropriate for its size. The Puppetmaster Special Ability however, states it can use its tentacle attacks independently of a its zombie puppet. Except it can't, because of the reach. Even if the zombie were to grapple an enemy, the incutilis would have to occupy the same space, which the zombie host cannot do. Which means it would have to disengage from the puppet and move into the opponent's square, which would end up taking a whole round and pretty clearly is not what the Special Ability was intended to do (at least the way I read it, if you take a literal interpretation it becomes a pretty lame-o creature). And it would get killed before it ever actually executed that stunt.
A quick fix is to adjust the Special Ability so that it has 5-ft. reach while mounted on a host.
Also, zombies are staggered. Might make sense that an incutilis zombie is not, since it has an active brain driving that nervous system.
Wow, this sounds like an exciting edition to the Bestiary line. I love some of the ideas coming out of this.
I'm particularly keen on the mention of "troops of goblins". I sincerely hope that this means we're going to get an actual troop template or statblock finally, with goblins being the example.
I thought troops from "Rasputin Must Die!" (by the awesome Brandon Hodge) were truly inspired. I've been waiting for something like them, for personal homebrew and even freelancing, ever since.
Vinyc Kettlebek wrote:
I just find it strange that there are so many people complaining that real world morally heinous acts pop up in a magical land of make-believe. When they spend most of their time, in the same world of make-believe, killing anything that moves until they can get their mcguffin.
I think that is a misrepresentation of the position taken. I think it is widely accepted that this land of make-believe has morally heinous elements. They're necessary for conflict and drama, components of storytelling.
Seriously, I can't speak to all of the forums but I don't see this position being argued in this thread.
Rather the discussion is about whether player characters should be engaging in morally reprehensible acts. The PFS campaign is not an appropriate place to explore that. Hell's Vengenance, for example, is a campaign where it is appropriate. Society missions have shades of gray, in terms of morality, but there is very little "gray" in slavery. Not to the slave anyway. The standard for PCs is not the same for NPCs, in an organized play campaign. Home games are an entirely different matter.
Why haven't people cryed out that Geb is allowed to exist when it has farms full of humans being raised as a food source for it's undead citizens?
They haven't been given an outlet to do so? It stands to reason they might when confronted with a scenario or module or AP where that was a theme.
Perhaps the campaign should change PFS to a G rated game, and we can go around making deliveries for local businesses or saving cats from trees.
I think that is an extreme comparison to having other player characters owning other people as chattel.
Like a young person complaining that because they're prohibited from vandalizing buildings and strong-arm robbery against the elderly, they must now be confined to making lace doilies and knitting. No, they still go camping, play basketball, read comics, and play video games.
Slavery is an extreme act, and prohibiting it does not alter the PFS since its inception. I honestly never heard of anyone owning slaves in PFS since the last 12 hours.
The hypocrisy (and narrow-mindedness) of humanity just staggers me sometimes.
Slavery is not an appropriate activity for PCs to engage in, especially in a campaign that is inclusive and open to everyone. Including young people. Frankly we're not that many generations removed from the practice, and the hurt it caused is incalculable.
I can understand why slavery exists in the campaign, because it is a societal evil which can be opposed, and therefore makes an excellent foil for storytelling.
While one can debate what is actually evil on a cultural level, PFS is not a course on Sociology. Lines must be drawn at some point. GMs are asked to entertain, not teach, let alone handle a topic like this with sensitivity.
Domesticated animals are not slaves because they lack self-awareness. That doesn't preclude treating them with kindness. My dog is not my slave, but I must set boundaries for him for his protection, health, and safety. Animals do not belong in a discussion about institutional slavery.
I saw your review and I just wanted to personally thank you. Not just for myself, but for Neil, Thurston, Jeff, Jonathan, Sean, Chris, Andrew, and Jason Nelson.. and our artists and layout folks.
This one was really a team effort and everyone involved made it a great product. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
Happy Birthday John!
You are a scholar and a gentleman, and a genuine pleasure to work with. Hopefully I can attend PaizoCon this year and we can have a proper conversation.
I remember John as a potential rival but he has demonstrated to *me* time and time again that he is the best at what he does—the cheerful, thoughtful, imaginative developer for a program that brings joy to countless people all over the world.
A toast to John Compton.
captain yesterday wrote:
Thank you. You are very kind.
James Jacobs is actually responsible for Ithanothuar, and I think the addition is inspired.
I *DO* take credit for the Grundlescorn sisters.
This just goes to show that all products are the result of teamwork and collaboration. Behind every great writer is a great (and hard-working) developer.
There seems to be a very great deal of hand-waving involved in setting up the PCs into being interested in Skirgaard, in travelling there and in arriving at the hit and run tactics phase of this campaign.
Sorry for the thread necromancy, but I just saw this and thought I would comment. It was an intentional decision, Robert. Speaking mostly for myself, I couldn't see a lot of travel encounters that the PCs couldn't bypass without much difficulty, and I pitched it to the developer that way. Rather than invest the word count in just getting to the area, I focused everything in the location.
I have not seen the very last chapter, but I have seen all the previous five. I have a little better access than some other posters, since I wrote chapter five myself.
I know what you're talking about in terms of Curse of the Crimson Throne, but you concern is unwarranted. Kintargo remains an integral part of every chapter (including the last one). The PCs do take some "field trips" outside of it, but not to exclusion. Chapter Five for example the players coming and going from the city a bit to the neighboring countryside, alongside actual city encounters. The city remains however, their base of operations.
I am confident that Chapter Six will have the players starting and finishing in Kintargo, with their hellish excursion sandwiched in the middle.
Hell's Rebels is very much an urban campaign with some fun side trips which will serve to keep things fresh and varied just when I think the PCs will most appreciate a short change of scenery.
Devastation Bob wrote:
In the false Akhentepi tomb, what happens if they successfully disable the trap (not by finding the hidden torch trigger, just made the perception and disable check in the boxed trap section) but then try to open the northern doors? Will that still trigger the waterfall, or is that turned off with the trap? What's in that room if the trap is turned off?
That is a good question!
There is nothing beyond the north doors besides a small space and a grate that leads to the aqueduct. It is a dead end.
First, the doors should be difficult to open and if the players were able to successfully locate the trap, they might (at your discretion) realize that the closed doors were part of the trap mechanism they discovered and disabled. In that case, they'll know not to bother.
If that is too kind for your taste, consider telling them if they succeeded on their Perception check by 5 or more.
If you don't want to tell them at all, do bear in mind these are not normal doors. They're part of a trap mechanism. forcing them open should be difficult. You might want to have them break them down or set a Disable Device check to open them. Say... DC 20, which is the same DC check to disable the trap.
If they do open the doors, flood the chambers for 4 rounds but don't trigger any of the other trap effects. After all, they found the trap fair and square and disabled it once. This should not be an opportunity to "trigger it anyways".
Hope this helps!
James, you did a great job here. I echo Amanda Hamon Kunz's feedback. For example, the part about ambient moisture is a trap that you perpetrated upon yourself. I know what that's like, because I'm very detail oriented too. Sometimes, however, we make life difficult for ourselves by trying to explain too much. I'll speak frankly, when it comes to rule trolls, everything you say may be used against your actual intention. Ergo it's necessary to be frugal and efficient with our words and to avoid extraneous details. A simple approach may be to say the blade reforms after a round with an option to make the process faster with water, and forego mentioning anything about ambient moisture.
That's not a dig against other posters, rather I say that simply out of pragmatism. We protect GMs from unnecessary rule challenges when we provide tight mechanics.
The infravision trick was neat but Amanda has a point, newer players may not get it and wonder why you are providing a weaker and slightly more complex power than darkvision.
All that said, did I like it ? Absolutely! You found some neat new design space and that is important. Congratulations on your first up on this road. I look forward to your future entries!
@Charlie, Sub-Creator, Lord Gadigan, awesome posts!
(As were previous ones)
I should have said I welcome essays but don't want to demand them. I love to hear about why they were awesome. Soooo helpful. The comments about Gallowspire especially.
I just didn't want to go negative. But i get that a little is necessary to contrast.
Reading and taking notes!
Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:
I'd like to vote against Council of Thieves. Just terrible, not so much an adventure as a loose collection of notes, and anti-climactic after the much better books 4 and 5.
It's not a vote. I appreciate the thought but I would rather hear what you do like for a chapter six. Please?
What's your favorite Chapter Six of any AP? If you have more than one, you can list them in order of preference. Please be specific in you can.
Transparency: We learn from studying the work of others. There's a lot to be learned from trap design, use of templates, and monsters with class levels. Balance of story versus combat. That's why I am asking.
If you want to say why that chapter 6 is a favorite, I'm all ears, but a short answer is a good answer too. No essays required.
What not to do: Please don't tell me you don't like high level adventures and what the "sweet spot is". Please no editorials on what Paizo should do in the future (I have no say in that). Please don't argue with each other but respect that people have different opinions. Just tell me YOUR opinion.
Bear in mind this is *me* asking and not Paizo. If you want to speak to them, feel free, but pretty please also answer my question too.
Thanks in advance, I appreciate t!
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
What were the plot elements in question?
Send me a PM and I'll answer, or ask in another thread and send me a pointer. Its not relevant to this book and it would be an unnecessary thread derail. Although, I can't guarantee it is worth your time. It was not a particularly provocative decision that I think anyone is going to care about.
I defer all similar posts with the same response. I like the Occult Bestiary. Lets use this thread to talk about this cool book that was actually written. ;-)
I'd like to know who wrote the dreamthief hag. I'd like to thank them.
In 2010, I lost to Matt Goodall in RPG Superstar (he went on to write "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers").
My pitch was "Doom of the Dreamthieves" which was about extra-powerful night hags that raided Absalom from the Dimension of Dreams. It was a ridiculously complex planar adventure that couldn't actually be written without Occult Adventures (so the pitch was YEARS ahead of its time, the core rules sort of lacked the support it would have required). The proposal had other issues. It was waaaay too long for 32 pages and it drew upon plot elements that the Development Team wanted to quietly forget. "Doom of the Dreamthieves" had fans though! Some people wanted it! I failed very boldly. (Best final round RPGSS advice I can give is to know how many encounters you need to write your adventure).
So, when I saw the dreamthief hag I was touched. In a good way. It made me smile.
Now, having said that, I hope no developer makes a special effort to publicly say there was no connection. Because that would make me sad.
The Blog wrote:
Nothing warms my heart to a black cinder than a returning villain!
Go, go, graveknights!
My very good face-to-face friend and professional colleague, Ben Bruck, will be delighted that he claimed the character death!
Awesome read, Order of the Amber Die! I was glad to help!
[Not to be a shill, but the actual isomorphic map is in the Giantslayer Map Folio. The full color version was not available to the Order in time to play their session. Adam Daigle gracious gave his blessing for me to send them my turnover version. I dare say the isomorphic perspective really adds to the fun of the player's strategic planning]
Thank you guys so much for playing and promoting this AP!
And.. I am to understand from the Order's GM that the final boss fight was very challenging even though they didn't have a death...? (No spoilers desired, just hoping for confirmation)
Chopswil, I flagged your post for being in the wrong forum. I will copy and paste it, and answer it in the correct forum. Nothing personal intended, I just want to foster open discussion here and mechanical discussions in the thread reserved just for GMs. And its a good question!
Forum Mods, I'm fine with you deleting this post.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I was going to edit my post. I saw that I misunderstood and you have my regrets about my tone. But you got it right—combat isn't the solution here, although there is a lot of combat to be had.
Its not a good question to answer.
And you should duck out of this thread, player! I can't be responsible for spoilers here! :)
gustavo iglesias wrote:
In a RPG, if the enemy has numbers, it can be exterminated. Vague references work better if you want to avoid PC hunting giants to death
Yes, you understand. But there is nothing vague about it in the actual text. It says quite explicitly that no population numbers are given and why. I was just more detailed here. :) You are free to assign a population if you wish.
Generic Villain wrote:
I have no idea, speaking honestly. I have a cop out answer and my real answer. I'll offer both because they both have an element of truth:
Cop-Out Answer: I don't really know how many giants are going to be required to conquer Avistan. I had no way of knowing how large the previous adventure was going to be in terms of population—or how big the next one was going be. I didn't want to throw out a number and have it be wrong. There’s so many people who just want to nit-pick a potentially wrong answer. I’m afraid of mass combat simulations to debate who is right and who is wrong.
Real Answer: It is a bad question from a narrativist point of view. No personal jab intended! The moment I assign a specific population, I have hamstrung the adventure. The Sabotage and the Outrage mechanic become pointless. The goal of the adventure was to encourage stealth and guerrilla style tactics. The only way to effectively achieve that goal is to make attrition of the giants an unobtainable or unrealistic objective.
The fact is, a blunt head-on confrontation at that level should fail. Because giants are dangerous. Depending on your group, that kind of systematic series of fights might even make for a tedious game. Plus, no group can sustainably go from fight to fight to fight. They have to stop and rest and replenish their resources. How does one simulate the giant response? The portion of the camp they cleared remains empty and deserted? No way! Plus, players shouldn’t be counting dead bodies, they should be exploring cool encounters and learning secrets—and that notwithstanding, there is still a wealth of good old combat to be had.
I don't mean to sound evasive and I do get what you mean. It is a fair enough question if this was a novel. Honestly, if I had to guess, I would be just making something up whole cloth. But I went for the lengthy reply to explain that the decision was deliberate and I feel it was the right call to make. It encourages the PCs to approach the problem with creativity and not just brute force.
Hope this helps!
EDIT: Removed an unnecessary remark about myself.
Generic Villain wrote:
Why don't we take this to the GM discussion thread down below? I'll watch for the question and reply. I think that thread would be most appropriate for nuts and bolts discussion. :)
Does this trend continue through the entire AP or is this just a spike in the first books?
I'm actually running the AP and I am halfway through Chapter Four. There is a fair amount of DR. I would defend the reasons why that is not a flaw, but in the interest of a short, honest answer. Yeah. There's a fair amount of DR in all the chapters. Not on everything, but I can see wanting an adamantine weapon.
Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.