|John Benbo RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8|
I can only speak of my personal interactions with Creighton. I graduated with a degree in film production and spent a few years writing screen plays and trying to get someone to read them. I sent over a hundred query letters and was only met with negativity or offers to pay out hundreds of dollars before agencies would read my scripts. Oppose this to the Pathfinder 3PP community which has been nothing but encouraging and positive.
After I wrote a fan-inspired alternative opening to one of Raging Swan's newest modules, Dark Oaks, Creighton gave me a very positive response. He then encouraged me to pitch for an opening in his Tribes line; this was the the first time he made an open call to bring new and untried freelancers into the Raging Swan fold. He shepherded me through my first assignment (which as my first, I was very nervous about), taking the time to show me the ropes based on his years of experience as a professional freelancer for both Paizo and Wizards of the Coast.
Since that first assignment, Bugbears of the Frozen Tears (which has garnered multiple 5 star reviews due to his stellar guidance), Creighton has acted as a personal mentor for me in the 3PP field, offering on multiple occasions to write referrals and send copies of my work to other 3PPs that I've been interested in writing for. In addition, he made me one of a handful of Raging Swan design partners where he continues to offer advice and helps develop me as a freelancer. He has always been open to my ideas for new products and my desires to branch out into different aspects of game design, affording me opportunities to stretch my design muscles.
I admit to holding a bias to 3PPs from my 3x days, but Raging Swan products were the first to open my eyes that Pathfinder 3PPs were different. The quality of Raging Swan products made them the first company on my list that I wanted to work for. I have worked with Creighton for over 2 years out of the 3 years that Raging Swan has been in existence. Therefore, from my personal experience as an insider in Raging Swan, I find any insinuation of review impropriety, of scheming to increase sales through such controversy utterly without merit.
I've always found Creighton to maybe even be too humble in promoting himself and his products. However, he is a person that lets the work speak for itself. For me, not just as a designer, but as a fan, Raging swan has throughout the years continuously earned my respect and dollars for putting out quality products that not only keep me coming back as a consumer but also as a writer.
Rite Publishing puts out "Pathways", a free monthly Pathfinderzine that runs adds. Wayfinder magazine comes out twice a year and I know they sell add space. Fat Goblin Games has started releasing a monthly magazine. I haven't seen it, but I would imagine they run adds. Lastly, Gygax magazine comes out quarterly. I just read issue 1, and there were quite a few adds, some were for Pathfinder 3PP.
Congratulations to the top 4, and to the top 8, I feel your pain. However, and this goes for all the competitors, if you got bitten by the design bug while competing in the contest, be sure to regularly check the Compatible Products from other Publishers forum for freelancing opportunities. Also, joining patron projects or Kickstarters that offer some design opportunities are also good ways to get started if you want to do some freelancing.
Alright, even though I'm at work, I snuck onto Facebook and posted the Kickstarter link on the gaming group page of my local FLGS (Jetpack Comic). Mostly wargamers post there but there is the occassional Pathfinder post. Even it just snags a few bucks, it's worth it. Tried sweetening the deal by saying I might run it at the store if it gets funded.
Eric Hindley wrote:
I agree with all this advice. I find the best items tend to pick one or two things and do them in a cool and unique way.
I just saw one that did this. Tight, evocative writing that stuck to two core ideas and didn't use the extra wordcount to add on more fluff or junk abilities. Great item and the first time I've seen it this competition vs. one item that I don't really like that I've seen 3 or 4 times tonight already that goes on and on and on.
Upped my pledge to add another book and some character pads. I wanted to get a S&W copy but then I remembered one of my friends making the mistake of saying that he wanted to try GMing and maybe doing a pirate themed campaign as something different. So even though it looks like I'm getting a copy as a gift for him, I really have ulterior motives which is ok as I hardly ever get to play as a PC (and I really want to try out a changling witch/gunslinger). Also, I want this thing funded so we can start digging for treasure!
On another note, now that you have Vaughn's "Slumbering Tsar" out and you're working on Logue's (with Lou Agresta) "Razor Coast" any plans to finish this trilogy of terror with an opus from Mr. Pett? A "Pettopus?"
This bespectacled, sentient flesh golem is prized by cats. Three times per day when the command word is spoken in Catfolk, it produces food per the create food and water spell. Additionally, on a successful DC 10 Diplomancy skill check, it will pet any cats in a 10 ft. radius for 1d4+1 minutes.
But seriously, I checked my item from 2011. Yep, "prized by..." Doh!
Good luck to everyone! I recommend (having done the archeytpe round) that you start work on your archetype submission as soon as you submit your item. There isn't a lot of time between when you find out that you've made the Top 32 and when the next round is due. You also will probably lose a day caught up in the initial excitement. Read through all the archetypes in the APG, the Ultimate books, and the Advanced Races Guide (all available here on the PRD) to get a feel for what has already been done. Next, read through all 32 2011 entries to understand where mistakes where made. For example, while my saboteur submission did relatively well, I screwed up listing out his skill points which I didn't have to do because I hadn't changed them from the ranger's original entry. That would have given me a few more words that would have helped clarify one of my abilities that had caused a little confusion (stupid semi-colon wasn't enough). Use this time wisely (and maybe even get a little play testing in).
I've designed NPCs for Raging Swan and Zombie Sky Press, and both from a design background and as a regular customer, I think it's important to point out to people who may not have really looked at this line, is that the Faces of the Tarnished Souk characters, while primarily created for the Coliseum Morpheuon, can easily be inserted into any campaign. I've been running Kingmaker for a year and half now, and I can insert these guys in as easy as I insert Raging Swan stuff or the Jon Brazer Kingmaker material. The different CR incarnations is great, because it offers a great deal of flexibility, even if you use the lower incarnation as mooks.
Don Walker wrote:
They are primarily a comic store but they have a whole large room available to play games in. They do a lot of Magic/Yu-gi-oh tournaments and hosts a large group that does wargaming. Occassionally people do post on their website or on the physical board at the store that they are looking for Pathfinder players/games. The person you would want to talk to is Al Spader as he coordinates all their gaming stuff whether you want to look for players or set up PFS play.
I'm spoilering it below so as to not give away details to anyone playing through Kingmaker-
In book 6, there is an encounter with a four armed frost giant and his band. I'm thinking the Icy Heart would be awesome way to jazz up that encounter. My PCs have their capital by the lake where the Stag Lord's fort was so the Icy Heart could sail down the river to attack them. The four armed giant and his band lead the initial assault but to destroy the bloom, the PCs have to infiltrate the pirate ship and find a way to destroy it.
I ran this on Free RPG Day at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH and luckily I had my own Kickstarter copy because I had a full table of 6 (there were 3 copies per kit ordered and Jetpack had ordered 2 kits so we had just enough to give out to the players afterwards). I had mostly inexperienced players and even a person who had never played before but everyone had a good time and the last encounter was pleasantly challenging.
Things I expect to here my PCs say (or scream)as they explore Rappan Athuk.
A couple of things I've done that I enjoyed.
Between books 1 and 2, I added in Raging Swan's "Road of the Dead" module. It's a neat little dungeon crawl that can be dropped into any empty hex and easily tailored to fit the history of the Stolen Lands.
Solo adventures- Book 2 had a lot of material and I thought some of the stuff was way too easy for my group to even bother running. However, a couple of my players wanted to do solo adventures to either catch up on XP or fill in gaps to various character back stories.
Spoiler:Running those encounters with just one person was a lot more enjoyable for me than running them for the full group which would have just steamrolled them.
For one player, I was able to take a couple of the unexplored hexes and tie them together into a story (he met the nixie who needed the tree tokens and had to get them from the mad hermit who wanted the skin from the hodag). Another player wanted to redeem Akiros so I ran the werewolf encounter at their newest city, Staghome (Temple of the Elk) and tied that in with the cultists of Gyronna and then the Stag Lord, as a revenant, made an appearance in the temple.
One of my players, a ranger, had to temporarily drop out when he moved away so he missed the end of book 1 and beginning of book 2 when the other players did 4 years of kingdom building in one session. When he started playing with us again, via Skype, to explain his absence, he was spirited of to the First World and Nyrissa's domain. He doesn't really remember it yet. However, on his solo quest, Tiressia the dryad asks him to take care of a little feylooking girl named Bramble. Bramble is looking for her big sister, Briar, who has been lost for hundreds of years. At the end of the ranger's solo adventure, it is revealed that Bramble is actually a weapon that can take human form (borrowed from the anime, The Sacred Blacksmith). Eventually, when the PCs encounter Briar in book five, she'll also be able to take human form. The ranger vaguely remembers fleeing the First World with Bramble. Finally, the Old Beldame decides to join the PCs kingdom so she can watch over Bramble
My players are easy, they all own the core rulebook and that's it! I mostly GM so those are the products I tend to by but I have a few player option books that I like and make available to the players.
JBE's Kingdom of the River Nations- must have for Kingmaker. Lots of new options and buying the print/pdf bundle makes things easier on the GM and players.
4 Winds Gaming's Luven's Lightfinger Guide- I like the slicer beetles, the nasty Tome of Horrors ones that can cut off arms and legs on critical unlike the nicer Paizo ones (bleed damage). Luven's guide ensures my players can get all the prosthetic replacements they need!
I'm a patron of "It Came from the Stars" by Zombie Sky Press and we're working on some really cool stuff for both players and GMs.
When designing this particular tribe, I wanted to create a unique clan of duergars that weren't just evil dwarves to kill. Yes, there is still plenty of opportunity to mercilessly slaughter every one you come across but I tried working in an angle with their smithing skills that should hopefully provide a lot of noncombat interaction with them. I wanted to keep them in vein with their depiction in Pathfinder (evil slavers) but also present them as the cunning and greedy dwarves sometimes depicted in ancient mythology. I hope people enjoy it as I really enjoyed working on these guys.
@Daniel Rust- Neil definitely has good advice. Like me, you are in Superstar Purgatory in that we can never compete again. But that doesn't mean we go away! :) A couple of tips that have worked for me since my run last year- scour the 3pp companies until you find one you connect with and see if they'll take a pitch from you (and yes, your Superstar tag does help!). Also, check out patron projects when they arise, not only do you get to pitch ideas and work on things there, you may also get to talk with industry vets (I'm a patron of Zombie Sky Press's "It Came from the Stars" where we've been fortunate to be able to pick Colin McComb and Richard Pett's minds on adventure design). Finally, if at all possible, find yourself a mentor in the field. I've been lucky to work with Creighton Broadhurst at Raging Swan Press (and past contributor to both Paizo and Wizards of the Coast) and hopefully by the end of the year, he'll have helped me sharpen my encounter design skills to make up my poor showing in last year's Round 4. So like Neil says, "The sky's the limit."
Biased opinion- "Bugbears of the Frozen Tears" released by Raging Swan Press, though that will probably be replaced by "Duergars of the Obsidian Citadel" at a later date also by Raging Swan.
Unbiased opinion- This is pretty much based on the stuff I'm using currently-
That's just based on what I'm using now. I still enjoy using stuff from Open Design, Rite Publishing, Zombie Sky Press, and 4 Winds.
Looking forward to more Frog God Game releases (the big ones!) and I know Raging Swan has got some cool stuff coming. Oh and Zombie Sky's "Weird Cycle." That should definitely rock.
I've been pondering replacing dwarves with duergar in my homegame and shifting their focus from LE slavers to a more neutral alignment. With their spell-like abilities, duergar, in my opinion, are closer to the dwarves of Norse mythology than the more modern day, "Tolkien" dwarves of the RPG genre.
Heh, funny. My group also did their first session this past Saturday and asked the same question. I'll have to double check their sheet but I think there is an "other" or miscellaneous box to put stuff in and they were going to use that for the time being (I think they ended up with four river hexes).
Also, just wanted to say that the book has been really great with a lot of cool new content. The group I GM went a little wild that first session and did 4 hours of kingdom building covering 3 and half years of game time. I think it was the shiny newness of it and a change of pace so while I wanted to interrupt them with a troll attack, I let them literally go to town for awhile. At one point, I told them that Svetlana left Oleg, their treasurer, and he began drinking and huffing Perivash's euphoria breath. They built him a mansion, basically a rehab, at the old trading post. A couple of months later on the random events, I rolled the efficiency event where the treasurer saves money. Looks like rehab worked!
James Jacobs wrote:
Waiters, cops, and district attorneys? In that order? Wow, never take a T-rex to a restaruant, more trouble than its worth. :)
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Thank you Everyone for helping us meet our first goal. Now we'll be able to get one adventure into every Free RPG Day box. lets see if we can get 3 books in every box. I'll update the campaign after That Game Con this weekend.
Awesome! I ran the Pathfinder game at my local FLGS last year. We're starting to get more players into the game so it'll be cool to have a couple of different options to play during free RPG day.
I was referring to ST but yes, in it's trail of darkness follows Rappan Athuk. I think when the Mayans thought the world was ending this year, they meant the world for PCs. By the end of the year, with both books out, there will be a mass extinction of players' characters all across the world!
I finally got to use this book tonight and it really elevated my game. I'm running Kingmaker, currently Stolen Lands, and injected some of the lower CR level monsters to great effect. For example-
Area O with the Boggard. My PCs actually decided to talk to him instead of kill him outright (a major change of tactics for them). On the fly, I added the lair of a Swamp Troll, CR 3. By killing the brute, they help cemented their friendship with the boggard. Also, a pair of Ronus made for a better encounter than a pack of wimpy wolves which can't hit most of the PCs. Didn't get a chance to use the slicer beetles. I did find that the ToH monsters were a little more challenging than CR equivalent monsters in the Bestiaries (the Swamp Troll was tough CR 3). But this was a good thing as my players enjoy a challenge. However, they did groan every time I reached for the ToH!
Signed up for the subscription the other night. Downloaded the first 10 adventures (which I noticed kept getting longer and longer!). Just ordered a cool Orcus mini off of the Reaper site (think I'll paint him in more corpse like colors than his red incarnation). My ToH should be arriving any day now. I think I'm about ready to TPK some PCs. And I'm going to TPK them so hard that their back-up characters will start in the negative hit points!
My favorite section of the Paizo boards is the "Compatible Products by other Companies" board. A lot of the 3PPs are very good at advertising newly released and upcoming products on that board and they are typically very responsive if people have questions about the product. So, if you don't visit the Paizo website too often, definitely check out that board when you do. Frog God games already has some other cool products in the pipelines and if you aren't in the habit of visiting each companies personal website, the "Compatible Product" board is where you'll likely here about the products first. I wouldn't have heard about ToH otherwise, myself.