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Erudite Owl

Jim Groves's page

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,970 posts (5,602 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 15 aliases.


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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Please cancel all my subscriptions, for mysterious reasons.

Still love you guys.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

5 people marked this as a favorite.

GM, three rangers just begun,
But nobody rolled a cleric and now we're screwed.

GM, ooh,
Did you try to make us cry,
If I'm not back again this time next week,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

chopswil wrote:

BERKVILDR p. 41 has domain spells but no domain listed

what is the domain?

Its there! Its just in the Special Qualities line. Check the SQ again, she has the Mountain Domain from Ultimate Magic.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

chopswil wrote:

BERKVILDR p. 41 has domain spells but no domain listed

what is the domain?

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.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Well, I'm a player in the AP, so evidently I don't have access to the original text ^^

I'm just agreeing with the general idea.

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! :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:

A question: roughly speaking, how many frost giants (or just giants in general) would you say are currently active on the plateau?

I know the adventure is structured specifically to avoid a "PCs vs. every last giant" scenario, so the number is kept intentionally vague. But for purely story-based reasons, I'm curious what kind of force the big guy is assembling, even just unofficially.

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.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:

And now, a question: roughly speaking, how many frost giants (or just giants in general) would you say are currently active on the plateau?

I know the adventure is structured specifically to avoid a "PCs vs. every last giant" scenario, so the number is kept intentionally vague. But for purely story-based reasons, I'm curious what kind of force the big guy is assembling, even just unofficially.

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. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Cintra Bristol wrote:
Jim Groves, with this adventure, you've moved up into the top of my list of preferred adventure writers. And the best part is, we still have the second half of this chapter to look forward to!

I didn't see this until much much later, but I wanted to say thank you. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kudaku wrote:
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.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:

As for the adventure itself? I liked it overall.

Thanks for the comments G.V.! I appreciate the feedback!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:
Aaaand you know I just realized I meant to post the Ungarato thing in the Product Discussion of Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen. The one with the graveknight article and all. Woops.

Its alright. ;)

We appreciate the enthusiasm.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Anyway, there's lots of murder, mayhem, and magic between the covers! Any thoughts about what is inside?

EDIT:Innuendo is like gum on a theater floor. You step in it despite your best efforts.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As the author, I'm going to abstain from the art discussion except to point out one thing.

I'm sure that wasn't requested in the art order. I'm reading this depiction that it was some sort of intentional decision on the part of Paizo, and unless they contradict me—I cannot believe that to be true.

Dealing with artists is different than dealing with authors. We're a whole lot easier to edit.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ah, my esteemed colleague is here to speak for himself!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.
xavier c wrote:
Can you give more info on the Birelus?

They come from a time when humanity did not live apart from nature, and in fact appealed to spirits of nature for intercession when life was cruel. These creatures are a humanoid embodiment of nature manifesting as humanoid.

They're pretty interesting. Incorporeal. Capable of possession—because they're spirits. But not undead. Kinda playing with animism but not exactly going there. Got antler horns!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

nighttree wrote:

Are they a new race of giant ? or are they simply existing giants that have become undead of some type....and if so, how are they described as looking and coming into being ?

Tomb Giants

Your question was kinda tricky. They are a new race of giant, but they are a corruption of another type of giant, specifically taigia giants. A certain runelord may be involved. They are not undead, but have neat necromatic powers.

Other creatures:

Living Effigy- a Huge construct
Thremindyr - cold air elementals with some unusual tricks
Indarugants - true undead giants
Birelus - strange nature and animalistic outsiders (CN)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

nighttree wrote:

Can anyone give a bit of a spoiler on the Tomb Giants ?

What do you want to know?

(I may mention the monsters too.)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I all but fainted when I saw this.

I drew (graph paper sketch) the isomorphic map depicted. That is beyond my wildest expectations. Not to be a salesman, but I consider that map to be a must have for Chapter Four.

To be clear: There is a perfectly serviceable traditional top down map in the adventure. It shows the elevations, but this would be an awesome in play aid for players who wish to devise raids and plans in advance.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not to change the subject, but folks should really take a look at the Campaign Map Folio. It has my isomorphic which has been beautifully redrawn!

When people get the adventure, I can't stress enough how useful I feel this will be! And to staff: I am just floored by how magnificent this came out.

Product Image

Product link: Go here

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks to everyone who came out and played!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mizkitty wrote:
I'd love to find out just what information was extracted from this Frostfur captives we escorted...

I am having tea with the Foxglove sisters this afternoon, I shall endeavor to ask!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

4 people marked this as a favorite.
John Compton wrote:
And for those of you who were guessing whether the Year of the Serpent would involve the Aspis Consortium or the serpentfolk, why can't it be both?

Union of the Snake!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some of my peers have said that Pathfinder Core Rules don't lend themselves to adventuring underwater very well. That while there are temporary fixes for short adventures and encounters, long term it is more of a hassle than fun. They're citing movement tied to a skill, slow movement in general, weapon penalties and added combat complexities, and so on.. plus other logistics (how do wizards prepare spells, blah blah).

1.) Do you find that to be true?

2.) If so, do you ever wish it wasn't?

Golarion has so many cool and terrifying mysteries under the waves, I wish we could explore them more. Not just to race to Aboleths, but to other stuff as well.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm sold. I want to put these critters in adventures!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If it troubles you much, by all means make her a male opera singer.

And bear in mind, she's not there to be won as a prize by male characters. Or female characters. She's in a committed relationship with an important NPC who cannot undertake the task herself—because too many other people would be endangered if she took a needless risk for personal reasons.

I appreciate the concern and it is noted. A writer has to make some choices sometimes and this was one of them. I'm not perfect, but I know I have great Editors like Judy Baur to help when I don't see my own biases.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Luna eladrin wrote:


Afterwards they shot the fire rocket into the air as a signal for the revolution. Subsequently, Vladimir the fire sorcerer invited Bella to the roof and asked her to sing a revolutionary song, which she did. He used illusion spells to create a lovely light and sound spectacle, and Aleksej the bard accompanied her on his musical instrument. It was a memorable performance.

Oh, now that is awesome. You must be a fantastic GM blessed with the coolest players. Thanks for sharing!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A few stray comments:

The Technology Guide does have some Golarion Campaign Setting material (Androffan tech) in it which will have to be changed or removed in accordance to the rules. Sections of the book are also posted as part of the Paizo PRD as Core Rules Content. That makes it a valuable resource and at least as baseline for comparison in making technological content.

So I think both perspectives have some merit but neither are exclusively correct.

We're going to have some technology. The parts of the Technology Guide that are open content are a resource for consistency. We have a responsibility to produce content that is mechanically balanced and consistent with the Core rules. That's why a baseline really is an important tool.

But.. as an author who has communed with both the publisher and developer, we're aiming for Sword and Planet. Not everyone knows what that means. I struggled with it myself. As "homework" I sat down and watched the film version of "John Carter." Without getting sidetracked about things like critic reviews and what fans of the novels felt about the adaptation, its a great visual two-hour primer on some of the themes and tech levels we're looking at. You'll see guns, energy weapons, flying ships but also a healthy dose of sword-fightin' that comes straight out of sword and sorcery style action.

(And I enjoyed the movie whether that matters or not)

Science Fantasy.

Hope this helps!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sir Croome? From Seeker of Secrets? He's no coward. I think he's British. Well, the Golarion equivalent, Taldane.

There are a lot of cameo's and special mentions throughout the scenario.

Seriously, if you read it again if he didn't duck behind the barricade, he'd take a crossbow bolt in the head. Then he runs off to fight an elephant by himself.

Aint that tuff enuff? Fabulous Thunderbirds? Bueller?

I thought that was pretty badass for a guy with a monocle. Elephants are CR 7.

That said, there's no harm in swapping him out. I'm not offended on Sir Laribold's behalf. There's just a lot of NPCs that have small roles or are just mentioned by name. This is to reflect how much of the Society is present for this special occasion. Its likely not all players will catch the references, but they're kind of like "legal Easter eggs."

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

RuyanVe wrote:

Somehow befits your avatar .

Maybe we'll see an AP set in the distant past of Golarion where humanoids are battling the spreading of humans.

Ruyan.

Age of Serpents would be good for that. The height of the Azlanti war with the Serpentfolk.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Shisumo wrote:
Has an author list been announced?

I don't think so. I know a couple though. Best I leave that to Jason or Neil.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Maybe I need to tape a video of me continually shoving gobstoppers into my mouth... OM NOM NOM!

::stares coldly::

See this?

Eccentric Genius Beloved By All wrote:
Satan sends booze overseas!

That contains no passive language. Just so you know.

::drops the mic::

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Robert Brookes wrote:
Canadian.

Satan sends booze overseas! I must go to Scotland and learn to craft expensive liquor! Woe is me, there is not enough days in this lifetime!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Rob McCreary wrote:
Maybe it's an AP all about everlasting gobstoppers (they're everlasting because of fast healing, you know).

MISTER MCCREARY WHAT MUST I DO TO BE AN AUTHOR ON THIS AP!

I will send scotch, tee-shirts, European pastries, anything! I won't pay you for the privilege, but I will think long and hard about it (before I make a voodoo doll of you).

I will even work with Hillman if I must!

Spoiler:
Big Wonka Fan.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Neil Spicer wrote:
But, I consider myself quite lucky to have the support of more than a few industry veterans in writing and publishing it. .

There are a lot of industry vets that are excited to be part of it too!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hope everybody has a good time! Please be sure to give the Legendary Games folks your feedback!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

By all means, the three I offered were either my PCs or those from my home games. Though Nigel is a bloke.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Legendary Games's Road to Destiny was designed to integrate with the 500 mile caravan journey to Brinewall. In as much as it can, it foreshadows events in Chapter Two. We've had a couple rounds of edits and fixes,and it truly has some great maps.

5 stars from EZG too.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Bless her heart, I zoomed right past credits page. Shame on me!

Mark, I'm not that vain as to stare at my own name. (And I was called Grover for my first twenty years of life, it took me 20 more to stop cringing at it.)

All due apologies! Three cheers for Linda Z-P! This doubly explains the awesome!

Serious you folks did a great job.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks for the kind words everybody. Except Hillman.

I think John Compton did an incredible job refining my work. Authors are supposed to be bold and confident, but I know there were some rough bits. Convention specials are their own special animals and this was my first. I think the Developer really deserves an extra round of applause here too.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Marco Massoudi wrote:
Also i would expect that the Mindspin Mountains gazetteer in this volume has at least a rough map of the region to which can be referred to throughout the adventures.

Marco, I have the PDF of Chapter Three open that specific article and I'm staring right at a map like you're describing. I mean there is literally a rough, but fairly detailed map of of the Mindspin Mountains. I am counting 17 different cities, ruins, dungeons, and places of interest.

I am seeing a number of adventure sites on that map that appear in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes, including Kragnaroth the other fire giant kingdom. Which makes sense, because the Developer of the Belkzen Campaign book is also the author of the Mindspin Mountain article (Mark Moreland).

I'm not trying to be argumentative or disrespectful, but the AP Team (freelancers and Developers) have to husband our resources carefully. There are limits to what we can provide within our page count. Authors are limited on word count. Part of that is so we have room for maps and artwork. Everything has to be carefully balanced. We add extra words, we might lose some art or maps. Too many maps or art and we have to lose words.

So, getting back to Rob's earlier post, I believe we've provided the maps necessary to run the AP. The Map Folio does expand the details on the map and incorporate other products. Remember, if we rely too much on another campaign sourcebook, we run the risk of giving folks the impression they HAVE to buy another book—which simply isn't true.

I hope this helps.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

mardaddy wrote:
The PC's ultimately prevailed, killing all but Azaz, who is now a prisoner. They have finished exploration of the Erudite Eye and they have the scroll with the warning about the Mask, but failed to read the hieroglyphics, so have not realized yet that it IS a Mask and that it is missing and someone RECENTLY took it. I guess Azaz will connect those dots for them.

Good plan, sounds like it is going well.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Well done!

That matches what I have.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

TriOmegaZero wrote:
John, what maps do I need to get together for this?

If John doesn't answer before Sunday morning I will Pm you.Bear in mind I have not seen the post development, but I can't imagine many locations changed.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Sometimes Easter Eggs are accidental. Mark Moreland found a reference to Doctor Who in the Numeria Campaign Sourcebook that I did not intend. He really had to walk me through it because even when he told me about it, it didn't click.. but when I did see it, wow—it was pretty legitimate. I mean, I would have had a hard time convincing anybody else it was not deliberate. I was surprised.

(Because it was based on the documentary about the origins of the show on the BBC Network and not from an actual episode)

Don't bother to look for it, Mark removed it to be safe. All we could reckon was that I did watch the documentary (we're both fans of the show and Mark knows that) and maybe the names filtered into my subsconcious. I had heard the "no easter eggs" warning enough that I wouldn't do it on purpose.

I mean their fun to find, but most of my outlines say "DON'T PUT IN EASTER EGGS." As a professional its kinda hard to ignore that.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:

It's truly beautiful.

(Your original was badass too!)

YAY!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am looking forward to seeing the frost giant village map. I drew the original.

Forgive me, this is a MICRO SPOILER, but the village is not on a flat plateau, so I drew it isomorphic style. Different height elevations are a terrain feature. I really hope it comes out well as I think it will be an exceptional and practical player aide for PCs to strategize and plan raids.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Hey Mark, remind me: If we ever do another Bestiary (don't know why we would, but if), lets look into doing PF-branded handkerchiefs at the same time.

So froth. Much foam.

::raised eyebrow followed by quiet applause::

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Topic change to product content!

DeciusNero wrote:
Deathknights, frost giants, and Uragotha!

Yes, yes, yes, all this and much much more!

Obviously I have to keep my mouth shut, but there is a wide range of enemy types besides traditional giants. I wasn't sure of the articles and who the authors were, so I am pleased to see the team of authors who join me!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I noticed that too.

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