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I am not confused, but I am posting to get a second opinion and to see if someone knows of a reference that I couldn't find with a search.
So here's the deal:
Druid is able to wildshape and take the universal monster Grab ability. This grants a +4 circumstance bonus to maintain a grapple.
The Core Rule Book says that when you maintain a grapple you get a +5 bonus. No type of bonus is mentioned.
So the wildshaped druid gets a +9 bonus to maintain a grapple?
(I'm aware of size restrictions, for simplicity let's assume the druid has the size to grapple his/her opponent)
Chris and Mike,
I have actually allowed a neutral aligned gnoll in my Mummy's Mask campaign.
(Personal tragedy caused her to become disillusioned with Lamashtu and convert to Pharasma... and her work with the poor and destitute as a skilled midwife has granted her tolerance and grudging acceptance by civilized locals)
Does this book have stuff for neutral gnolls?
That's fine, Tangent101.
I sort of want back up a little, because I don't want to attribute everything to "Gms telegraphing the plot", because I actually don't think that sums everything up in a single neat package.
It just feels like a lot of the push back comes from GMs who are reading but not actually running the AP. I maintain it is not a novel.
I'm not sure about the other chapters, but that is not the feedback I am receiving about Chapter One. Unless I am misunderstanding some folks, GMs seem to think that Chapter One relies too much on Players/PCs being self-starters.
(The following is not a reply to the quote)
Though that sparks an interesting though (to me). I wish we had a metric to just evaluate player/PC reaction without input from the GM.
Some of the comments make me wonder two things:
This is based on comments like, "Chapter One feels disconnected from the plot." I'm being completely serious when I suggest that the only plot that the players should concern themselves is the one described in the Players Guide. The rest of the worries seems like a "meta-concern" that Reader/GM is projecting on to the campaign without actually knowing one way or another how the players would react. Plus, if the Reader/Gm conveys that concern, either vocally or just in their attitude, how do they really know how well it works? If one determines in advance that the campaign is flawed and undermine it from the beginning, a disappointing outcome shouldn't be surprising. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When Reign of Winter was coming out, I thought one of the coolest things would be to start the campaign (in Taldor) with ZERO advance knowledge. No thoughts of Baba Yaga, Dancing Huts, Cold Monsters, or Rasputin. Taking the story in, as it unfolds. Likewise, I think the Half-Dead City works best with the same premise, excepting of course what is in the Players Guide.
Simply put. Chapter One is a long set-up, but without a preconceived notion of the story or expectation, that set-up goes rather quickly. I'm running right now while telegraphing as little as I can. It's working quite well.
Hi there Customer Service!
I have not received an email with a notification that my card will be charged in the near future for my subscriptions...
I realize that no subs have shipped yet, but always get the advance notification except for this time.. so I thought I would check to make sure everything is cool.
captain yesterday wrote:
i'm gonna go ahead and hypothesize that it'll ultimately boil down to being a love story:)
OH HO! You think you got me typecast, eh?
We'll see. In the interim, you go check out the Numeria Campaign Book and then evaluate my pillow talk. You might be surprised what the pillow actually is and what it has to say.
And knives too.
I deliberately avoided a ticking clock. It seemed like an unnecessary constraint and I thought it might undercut the action of Chapter Two, however the crisis in that chapter might be presented. (Some chapters are written simultaneously)
The fact that there are many rules for the Necropolis, and none of them are really enforceable, is not meant to be lost on the PCs. In fact, that conflict is quite intentional. It sets up the expectation of a certain behavior but leaves the lingering doubt that it just might be 'alls fair in love and war". It also creates space for the GM to do what they feel is best.
Some people are enjoying that GM empowerment, some people feel the story does not engage them. The results are unclear but I encourage reviews of all kinds as long as they are sincere.
That said, I think Grumpus is spot on. It is what I did to my players. Frankly, sometimes you can just give the players a little hint and they'll move in the direction you want. The thought of less cash for goodies is a strong motivator and it dovetails perfectly with Chapter Two.
I was not present in 2013, but I was an attendee in 2012. I'd like to compliment the Banquet organizers for very balanced length of the banquet. We had plenty of time to talk and eat. The speeches, thank you's, announcements, and everything were just the right length. It didn't feel short but it didn't drag on too long either. I say this not just from my own point of view, but also my wife's—who is not as invested as I am. She was interested and entertained which indicates to me the balance was perfect.
I am hoping the new hotel has better food options (primarily price, I didn't have any bad meals at the hotel). This was not a problem for me this year because I drove and went off-site for some meals.. But I feel bad for the attendees who fly in and sometimes don't have a choice. I am optimistic though! This can only get better.
Lincoln Hills wrote:
I appreciate the information and the viewpoint, Jim. I'm usually quite pleased with the flavor and the power level of what appears in APs; the "lonely boss monster" was worth noting because it seemed to me to be one of the few cases where there is a disconnect between the way the game plays and the way the adventures are written.
Absolutely.For the record, I think your comments are entirely accurate as well as helpful.
Obviously I can't actually speak for all writers. I like to think, however, that we are all continuing to adjust and refine as we learn. Plus for the health and frankly the variety—the developers are always adding to the author pool. They have to. It would be unwise to rely on the same 8 men and women, plus the adventures need different people in order to remain fresh. Each new author has a bit of a breaking in period and that is hard to avoid no matter how naturally talented they are.
Although! Our Developers do not change and they are always the vigilant watchdogs and vangards of quality and innovation.
A couple factors I'd like to throw out there for your consideration. Writers and developers need feedback. That also includes hearing what we could have done better. Unfortunately, sometimes the feedback we get is so hostile its difficult to read it. That's not an excuse for not continuing to improve. I'm pointing out that we get a lot of sarcasm. That doesn't help. That stuff gets tuned out.
Incidentally, your posts in this thread are helpful. I'm not even speaking about this specific thread or any post in it. There's no finger pointing happening in this thread, I'm speaking in general.
Another thing to consider, there is a significant delay on the feedback an author receives and what we can then do about it. I am not making this thread about me, but I am going to use me as an example:
By the time I got any feedback on The Shackled Hut, Demon's Heresy was turned over. It was gone. There is literally a six month delay in our ability to compensate from what was learned. So, by extension, The Half-Dead City is more of a reflection of Reign of Winter than it is Wrath of the Righteous.
I can tell you this.. Say I hypothetically wrote another AP chapter, there would be only one or two solo encounters in say 52 hypothetical pages, and neither of them would be the final encounter. But they would be well suited to an entire group.
Hypothetically this would be evidence that we're listening and acting on it. Nevertheless, there is a delay before the echo comes back.
Hope this helps!
Love the art of the book, especially for Urgo Axebiter. I love the fact that Paizo made him much more threatening than the standard imbecilic look of hill giants. He looks much more hardcore badass.
That's sort of how I design.
Sometimes when you come across the seed of an idea in the Inner Sea Guide, you can find yourself attacking the premise or finding a way to make it work. I much prefer the latter, because that is what makes a richer and more interesting world.
For instance, if the INSWG suggests the Pharaohs of the First Age could do impossible things with magic by today's standard, I think writers should back that statement up.
If Urgo Axebiter was said to unite 30 tribes of giants, I'm not going to just look at the hill giant stat block and raise one eyebrow..
(Well, I did, but that's NOT ALL I did!)
...Urgo is just going to have to be badass enough to make that not an idle boast. That's all there is to it.
Does anyone else hope that we'll be seeing a module involving a diabolic cult opening a Hellmouth in Numeria thus enabling an invasion of cybernetic enhanced Devils (led by a particularly ambitious Pit Fiend with a rocket launcher for a arm)? ^_^
The Chapel of Rent Flesh is pretty darn close. :)
Feel free to suggest it as a module, after you read about it.
Thank you for your feedback.
Although you dismiss #2 as a nitpick—I think that is a pretty good point.
I want to claim my work, so to answer your question, the Scorched Hand was written by me but inspired by Rob. I was given names, class levels, race and/or ethnicity, genders, and a general idea of their group agenda. From that I fleshed out what you saw in the final book, and the characters were not changed significantly.
And let me emphasize, an AP is really a team effort. It may not seem that way, but because of the scheduling and the process does not allow me to work simultaneously with Rob, James, or Adam. I have to go first and then they have their turn. I still think of it as teamwork.
As for your third point, I have to say: "I hear you" and I am sure the rest of the team does as well. Mistakes and miscalculations happen, and discussing some parts of the process is not productive without a time machine. Nevertheless, hearing what was your most serious concern is vitally important—because we're writing new adventures all the time and we need to hear this stuff.
I will venture to say that we wanted to establish a paradigm of dungeon exploration early on, because we knew the players would be doing a lot of it throughout the AP. Tombs and ruins are fundamentally archetypal to this particular theme. That said, I feel your critique has merit and I appreciate that you told us both the good stuff and the bad.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
And honestly, I'm not quite sure why the adventure (as a whole, not just singularly) has been hard for me to appreciate. By the numbers, this ought to be my favorite, but it's not.
Entirely fair, and I'm glad you're speaking up.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I don't feel like I'm Rick O'Connell chasing down a menace that I (or some other less scrupulous explorer) let free. I don't feel like I'm Indiana Jones, scouring the tombs for lost relics of the past. And why not, when I'm literally forming a party to go raid tombs? Is it because the fire and forget Pathfinder trap rules are boring compared to the tense movie nature of the same? Is it because there's little reason to know/care about the main bad guy?
There are some pacing decisions at play there, certainly. I alluded to some in my reply to Laric above.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I'm not complaining just to complain.
I believe you. I just want to say that outright. I haggled with Laric a little, but I believe them as well.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I actually want to know why I'm not liking this adventure, because it doesn't make sense to me. I'm also really happy that there seem to be a ton of posters on the thread who are having a blast with the AP...I just want to know why, so that I can go back and feed on that joy like a sweet...er, reread the adventures again and gain a new appreciation of them.
We share the same goal. If nothing else, these conversation are really helpful because I think they draw out the issues, so we can identify them and improve.
So thank you for speaking up.
I certainly did read your review. I have some friends, bless their hearts, who text me while I'm eating out or at the movies, to let me know who said what. I'm serious. I probably need to tell them to stop, but I'm a gentle soul that way.
Against my better judgment, I'll talk a bit about your comments. Not to argue with you, but perhaps to present another perspective.
INTRODUCTION: The introduction is actually quite short, as it stands. You suggest that we have no introduction and just start them at the tomb. I see that as a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" proposition. If some introduction is not present, I feel many GMs would be much more upset. As it stands, the introduction is easily expedited. You suggest this is a long drawn out scene when its two short read-aloud texts, which are incredibly easy to zip through or bypass. There is a generous amount of background information, but that is there to provide a contextual rationale and verisimilitude. I feel you're depicting me as standing over your shoulder rapping your knuckles with a ruler if you don't spend 20 minutes droning aloud. That's a bit unfair.
This is where I question "armchair reviews" because I have to wonder how it would actually play out if I got you at a table with some players in front of you. Whether that opening scene might not just be over with in a few minutes and then you would be on to proper play with the PCs fully engaged.
FIRST TWO DUNGEONS: That's somewhat unkind to the PFS freelancers and developers who work very hard to deliver some great adventures. That said, you sound like you're looking for the "crisis trigger". I respect what you've said. One thing to consider (very mild spoiler, probably won't wrreck the story, but I err on the side of caution):
By delaying the crisis to chapter two, the follow-up author, Crystal, can utilize monsters and encounters that are out of the CR 1/2 range. The players have more interesting spells and special abilities, as do the creatures. Then the crisis transcends the back and forth "swing and miss, shoot 1 magic missile for the rest of the day" stage. I really think this point gets overlooked. This allowed us to make a more thrilling crisis.
WATER TRAP: I appreciate the point Laric, I really do, but that trap is killing PCs. I don't do a happy dance reading that, because that's not my goal. However actual play experience is pointing towards it being a meaningful challenge. Again, you might not see that from an abstract reading.
I DO take your other comments as constructive feedback. You have a lot of worthwhile observations and I really did read them when you first posted them a few weeks ago. Again, I'm sorry it disappointed you.
We're good Mike. No apologies necessary. And perhaps I was a bit stern because I have been refraining from comment for quite a while. You raise an important issue and I don't want attack you for it. Freelancers are discouraged from talking back, but I just finally got to the point where I want to engage and at least guide the conversation towards a constructive end.
You're saying you buy a product for a specific purpose or content, and you're explaining that it didn't have what you were looking for. THAT is something worthwhile knowing and discussing.
I do appreciate the feedback about the first chapter, and I don't want anyone think that it falls on deaf ears.
I do wonder what the take-away is from this?
We can't expect players to be self-motivated? We can't tell the GM, "Players should make characters that are interested in exploration and the recovery of valuable treasures" and expect them to communicate that to the players and have them work with an established premise? Are some of you saying, "Yes, please, milk the guilt, responsibility, or fear angle, because otherwise its not really roleplaying."
That might sound sarcastic, but hear me out, if that is really the case—then its good to know. Be aware, your feedback can shape future design, so its good to be aware of the message you're communicating.
I find adventures to be fun to read, as does our Creative Director. That said, adventures are not the same as a novel, because the main characters are missing. Those are the players and their characters. Everything else is a stage for them to tell their own stories.
Now.. it is fair to say that the Half-Dead City might be challenging in that you (the GM) get a greater benefit from incorporating the gazetteer and developing stories for the individual players.
Now, if folks find the backdrop to their characters lacking, you have my regrets. Honestly and sincerely.
But please know that I have and continue to find some of the critiques to be somewhat puzzling. If this post offended, you have my regrets.
Mike, it really DOES matter if you disparage a piece of work but you neglect to mention that you're frustrated that it doesn't covert easily to a completely different rule system, especially one that is deliberately streamlined, has a radically different player economy/reward system, and is generally more narrative.
I really hesitate to write this, because of the school of thought that "all feedback is good feedback" and "the customer is always right".
Nevertheless, you have been extremely critical without being forthcoming that you actually think The Half-Dead City is a lousy Savage Worlds adventure. I have to admit, when I read that I was both relieved and disappointed that you weren't forthcoming about that to start with.
I do appreciate the frustration. I tried to convert Curse of the Crimson Throne to 4E with very mixed results. Yet, I didn't blame the product for it, or even Wizards for their RPG. It just didn't work out.
So, Alling Third is really ** spoiler omitted **
Not really. Alling Third's description predates the time when that other character formally received a description and a stat block. I am not saying you can't argue a similarity in theme, but they're examples of parallel development at best. Alling Third first appeared in an article during the Carrion Crown series, well before Shattered Star.
He's not my original creation or even description. Although, I did expand upon his history. He comes from the fertile imagination of Adam Daigle. I just do my homework.
A more mature post..
Chesed really hasn't changed that much. We don't invalidate the Inner Sea World Guide. But there is a dark secret to it that is revealed to GMs.
edit-Bravo, whoever wrote the Chapel of Rent Flesh. That last line was especially chilling. D: Xaubunchror's artwork also just screams Dominion of the Black to me.
I wrote the background. My esteemed colleague, Mister Russ Taylor wrote the creatures and the mechanics. James Jacobs I believe provided sensitive material on Starfall, as it overlaps Iron Gods. (NOTE: I mean only that he was the best qualified to do so, as it was being developed, not that there is duplication of material).
I like to think Mr. Moreland played to our strengths. I don't consider it my book, but one the four of us share. Russ, Mark and James did an outstanding job.
Call me Jim!
Just to clarify, I'm not saying any idea is bad and its not like we don't need to write more books in the future!
So keep telling us those ideas! I know for a fact that the Developers do take notes and look for ideas just like the ones you guys have been sharing. I just don't want you to think something was overlooked intentionally.
The Imposter Android and Wayward crusader dont have a SINGLE thing that weren't from previous books. The android is just a common android fighter, nothing new... no android variant, no minor power swap like advanced race racial substitutions, nothing, just a common android fighter fom ISB.
Well, they're not really new creatures. They're NPCs that one might commonly encounter. The book contains a mixture of new monsters and NPCs and they appear in the same section. There is a subtle distinction however.
This is not new. The Shackles sourcebook contained new monsters and... pirates. And those pirates didn't have new "pirate special abilities", like "Arrrgh Matey Shout (Su)" or "Charm Parrot (Ex)". They had skills and feats selected from existing books. Hand crafted pirates, so the GM doesn't have to make 'em up.
Let's face it, the one thing we're not short of in the Core Line is feats! :)
You're kinda looking at androids like robots. I understand, they're all creatures.. But one is firmly a monster, and the other is a playable creature race.
EDIT: An even better parallel example is the NPC Codex and the Inner Sea NPC Codex
If you're looking for new traits for a playable race, the Campaign Setting books are not the place to go, as these other fine folks have explained.
I do want to point one thing out, and this is not to counter anything you or anybody else might say...
To the best of my recollection this book was commissioned and turned over before it was announced. I just don't want you to think that suggestions were ignored. That doesn't mean that ideas that were suggested would have actually made it in the book either, but the process is much further ahead than you might think.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Rubs hands together excitedly
What a handsome and interesting group!
I am excited to see how Professor McCreary, ahem.. entertains you with our plethora of dynamic challenges. Watch that first step.
Devastation Bob wrote:
In the first dungeon, my pbp players aren't sure that piton is "safe" and want to try to tie the rope to the big rolly door. IMHO there's not enough room to do that, but wanted to run it by you guys here first in case I'm being too harsh. What do you think?
I am not sure what part of the rolling stone they would tie it to, but their suspicion is not completely unwarranted. Would you trust your life to some stranger who packed your parachute a hundred years ago?
But, from your perspective, tying a rope to a piton is a time honored tradition done by adventures since 1974 or something..? Let them bang in their very own piton to put their mind at ease. If they still don't trust that, offer a DC 5 Climb check as a modified special Knowledge check. If they succeed (which I am sure they will) you can then promise them that it will hold their weight safely.. and that they should worry about not failing that Climb check instead!
My guys actually tripped, grappled, and pinned.
I regret if I was terse. Balance is always something I watch keenly. From previous APs, I've come to a conclusion that if an encounter leans towards being difficult, than 50% of the people will be upset. If its too easy, the 100% of the people will be upset. ;D
Personally, I would just make fire 100% effective, but not 150% effective. That lends some credence to the hardness rules. However, you know your group best and you're the most qualified person to make that call.
As constructs. This is not a new design technique, they're animated objects, all of which have hardness.
Because energy attacks will do only half damage otherwise, before applying hardness. And that would be too strong for that level.
It certainly makes it challenging. Fortunately they're easy to trip, grapple, pin, etc. Even without an Improved X feat.
If they take damage normally, why not make it 5/something?
You can do that, if you wish. They are vulnerable to fire. You can either multiply fire damage by 1.5 and then divide it in half, or just treat fire as an exception that does full damage (to make things simple) before applying hardness.
I have read the complaints however I have playtested this encounter myself. It didn't take too long or was too difficult once the players got creative.