|John Benbo RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8|
You're now another 20 bucks closer. Like you, I've also done a lot of freelancing the last year and I'm going to GenCon this year for the same thing, hopefully network and meet new people (and also because I've never been to GenCon before!). Anyway, have fun at Paizocon. I'm thinking of checking it in the next couple of years.
Kthulhu, from the boards I know you to be a fan of Frog God Games and Swords and Wizardry like me. One of the things that drew me to Raging Swan was that old school vibe in their products. You can pick up Raging Swan's Lonely Coast minisetting for free which is mostly flavor with a little bit of crunch here and there. I'm trying to interest my players into trying some S&W and I plan on using the Lonely Coast for the setting. You can also pick up a good-sized chunk of Raging Swan's well received Shadowkeep on the Borderlands which is a nod to classic D&D and seems fairly easy to convert which is also free. That's if you haven't done so already :). Me, I'd love to see a Raging Swan and Frog God Game team-up some time in the future. I'd think the companies would complement each other very well.
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.
3 painted sets but 14 add-ons. One of the two sets will be split between the Chamber of Sorrows and stairs. I'm getting 4 of the castle add-ons as I can see a lot of use for that in my Kingmaker campaign. I figure with the DF stuff I have and the Legendary Terrain kickstarter, it should more than enough for kitchen table.
In hindsight, what I should have done instead of the opening hook of Varnhold disappearing, I would have had Varnhold reach out to my PCs to assist exploring the area. As it was, the PCs raced to investigate Varnhold which lead to the centaurs and then Vordakai. We are in book 4 now and they have done little exploration of that whole area.
That being said, I did make some changes by adding some fey creatures to the spriggans at the fort in Varnhold. Also, I added a couple of mini dungeons, one leading through the mountains to Vordakai's valley and then another shrine once they were in the valley to make up the lost XP. I described the valley itself as appearing out of time and stole the idea of a forest of grey stones (the petrified minions of Vordakai) from the Greyhawk setting. The minidungeons gave the PCs more clues to Vordakai so that way he felt like a BBEG. They also learned that he planned on sacrificing the Varnhold citizens to his daemonic masters. After his defeat, the valley returned to normal but some of the stones had been destroyed (which means some of his minions escaped).
I see that whole area as more classic swords and sorcery type of area and I'm using the escaped minions of Vordakai as seeds for a possible post-Kingmaker campaign.
Like others said, there are a lot of empty hexes that you can fill in and use to tie into the Kingmaker story you wan to tell. My players are really enjoying Kingmaker but they do not want to do the grinding hexploration anymore so what I've been doing going forward is creating larger set pieces. So for instance, when they finally decide to go back and do some exploring, they'll have to deal with some of Vordakai's minions who have been amassing power while the PCs have been running their kingdom. Also, adding more bulettes, with lots of templates :). Finally, I find that sometimes I can group unused hex encounters into a short adventure for my players who may want to do a solo mission, either to make up lost XP or backstory reasons. RRR was great for this.
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.
The advice I always give is to keep an eye on the "Compatible Products from Other Publishers" forum on the Paizo website. Occassionally a 3PP will put out a call for freelancers there (both Raging Swan Press and Rite Publishing have in the past). Also, some 3PPs do patron projects and offer up a chance to pitch/submit ideas. I have not had the chance to do a Kobold Press one, but Zombie Sky Press did "It Came from the Stars" in the same patron model which lead to me getting work from them. All else I can say is that with patience and perserverance, luck will go your way.
I was happy to see my Raging Swan mate, David Posener, as a special guest developer. He has quite the twisted mind (in a good way)!
Also, I hope backers take the time to check out Zombie Sky's Tattlebox pirate issue that came with it. There are loads of cool articles, including one by the pirate queen herself, Christina Stiles (and some aquatic undead variants as well as haunted island I wrote that are easy to drop in).
Can't wait to get my hook hands on the physical copy!
Thanks for the review! I'm glad to see these guys get some use in your campaign. Part of Raging Swan's design philosophy is to make their supplements extremely modular. Bugbears received one review where the reviewer was going to use them in a Jade Regent campaign and another in one of Frog God Game's Hex Crawl Chronicles. I think they would be perfect for Reign of Winter as well.
I'm in the middle of running this right now. I've made quite a few changes to tie the events into my Kingmaker story. I'll spoiler below.
My players and I have at this point decided that the hexploration part is just a grind at this point. When Ultimate Campaign comes out, we will be using the new rules in that to create an organization for my PC warden to handle that stuff. To that end, I'm looking at the big encounters in the book- Ft. Drelev, the boggards, and Armag.
1. Ft. Drelev- kept pretty much the same. I'm a big fan of Raging Swan (a 3rd party Pathfinder publisher) stuff so I added the village of Thornhill to the Ft. Drelev kingdom. I had a lot of fun running the wizard, Imeckus Stroon. My PCs announced themselves at the city gates which caused them to get scryed. Stroon knew they were coming and prepared himself. He was a tough fight. The Baron, not so much...Added a small side adventure for some absent PCs where they got to create a distraction in the city. I added some hillgiants with levels and then just used the stats for desert giants instead to challenge the PCs more. Good times.
2. Boggards- I like lizardfolk alot, so I dropped in Raging Swan's "Lizardfolk of the Dragon Marsh." The lizardfolk have been riled up by Nyrissa and have subjugated the boggards and stalled trade along the river. Like Armag's tomb below, I'll pad this out with some extra encounters to make up for the lack of hexploration.
3. Armag- My PCs are tackling this one now. Stroon was very interested in what Armag was looking for in the hills. I changed the story of the original Armag so that he was given the his sword by a fey queen (ie, Nyrissa) to tie him in more with the overall plot. My PCs think that maybe the sword is Briar, which they've heard about and it gives them a reason to track him down. However, his whereabouts in the hills are hidden by the magics of an evil hag (the one that raised him). To locate him quickly, the PCs have attacked her temple to Gyronna in the hills. Once they defeat her, they can scry his current location easier. They don't know yet that the barbarians are also raiding the tombs for Irovetti's evil plans which will be revealed next book.
I never did get to run the battle of Tatlzeford. My PCs wanted to investigate the lizardmen first, so I held off the attack and then decided unexpectedly to go to Ft. Drelev for info.
So far we've been having fun running this. The changes I've made are mostly just adding some new encounters and changing some back story and motivations so that the enemies fit into the overall story (my players know about Nyrissa, though not fully what she is doing or wants).
I was looking at the Free RPG Day website to see what was in the offering this year and saw that Frog God Games is doing and adventure called "Hall of Bones." Frog God Games website just says "coming soon" under the entry. I think running a S&W game would be fun and a nice break from Pathfinder. However, I was curious if any one knew any other details about the adventure- like what level it will be, will it contain pregens, how many players it's for, anticipated running time, things like that. I was surprised that 15 copies are coming in each set; that's as many as Paizo is producing! Thanks!
I hope ToH 4 will be available for purchase at GenCon. I will be there for the first time ever. However, I'm going with my best friend/player who has been killed or almost killed by the following ToH monsters-
Negative Energy Elemental- barely survived its death explosion. Then a little later-
On the slate for upcoming adventures-
So, yeah, he may be a little adverse to me buying another ToH book. I might have to buy it in secret.
Wow, this one grabbed me right away. Even before I got to Clark's comment, I was thinking of old Conan stories as that guy does find a lot of missing cities. However, I do really like Conan stories and I like the imagery in those one. From James's comment about the sun orchid elixir, it may sound like if this were to win, they might change it. However, I think you can replace the sun orchid elixir with really anything. I haven't fully read through the other submissions yet, but this is definitely a contender for my vote.
I'm only in book 4 and still have a ways to go so I haven't fully fleshed out my idea of Irovetti yet. The PCs have met him a few times, once right at the beginning and think of him as an ally. I don't even think they remember Grigori (the ruler's Diplomancy skill was so high, it was over in seconds). They just sacked Drelev and know that the mercenaries came from Pitax but that fact didn't seem to concern them. However, they did just learn that the tiger lord barbarians were initially driven towards Pitax and then returned to Drelev better armed, so maybe they will get a sneaking suspicion that Irovetti's up to something.
I do know that he is going to be in control of some of the robots from the Inner Sea Bestiary. I haven't fully fleshed it out, but at the beginning of book 4, my players had a lot of different leads they could follow. One was a plea from the centaurs that someone was raiding their tombs and accompanied by flying suits of armor that shot fire from their eyes. Basically, Irovetti is looking for energon cubes (like in the original Transformers) to power the really big robots. He doesn't really realize the destruction they can cost, just that he'll have a weapon that no one else has.
Damn! I am sorely tempted.
Now would be the time to do it. With the stretch goals, you'll get a lot for your money. I bought my first two sets only a month ago (rooms and room and passage) and I love them. I wanted another room set so this Kickstarter is perfect. The three sets I'll be getting with the stretch goal freebies plus what I have now will be more than enough to cover my regular gaming (kitchen) table. However, I don't know if I can wait until October without ordering another set or two of something. Most of sets with the curvy pieces are out of stock so I may have to settle for the ruins and narrow passages.
Good to hear. I'd love to get my hands on some of the wicked edition sets, the caverns, catacombs, and the 6x6 floor tiles. I'm excited to see what this Kickstarter is. Now, I just have to find room in my house for all of it :).
I think Sarenrae is very reasonable with a good backstory. I am GMing a Kingmaker campaign where the PC who is the ruler is a cleric of Sarenrae. He chose the theologian archetype from Ultimate Magic and picked the fire domain as his one domain. His backstory and reason for being there is that his beliefs are a bit extreme (purge the wicked with flame) so the church sent him off to the Stolen Lands where they figured he couldn't cause too much trouble. He took it as a sign to spread the light of Sarenrae and repel the darkness of the Stolen Lands.
A couple of GMs I played under used the 3 nat 20s and you are dead homebrew rule (nat 20 to hit, nat 20 to confirm, and then if you roll another nat 20...). So, one Kingmaker session I was running, my dice were particularly hot and I was was wailing on one of my players when I rolled two nat 20s in a row. I rolled another nat 20 right after (just to see) and the player just looked at me like "Oh, crap"(he had also played under the 3 nat 20 rule). I let the tension hang for a moment before informing him that I would never use that rule.
Probably a New England thing, all the radio stations refer to it as St. Patty's.
I remember a couple of years ago, Nike got into trouble for making a Black and Tan sneaker because that's also offensive, though, black and tans (Guinness and Bass) are on the menus of all the English pubs I've been too. So this year, I'm going less offensive with half and halfs (Guinness and Harp).
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.
For the kingdom building, my players use Jon Brazer's "Book of the River Nations." There is an excellent Excel sheet in the Kingmaker forums that incorporates the data from that book and does all the math for you. I also have them use a random magic item generator I found on the web. Rolling for magic items that their shops produced was the biggest time suck the first time they used the kingdom building rules. With the Excel sheet and the magic item generator, they can generally get through a "month" of kingdom building in about 10-15 minutes.