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[PaizoCon 2015] Shadows over Vathak Presents "Terror in the Colonies" - Friday afternoon, 2:00-6:00 pm
John Bennett here, line developer for Shadows over Vathak. I'm very excited to run an official Shadows over Vathak game at PaizoCon.
Anyone who plays in the game will receive a free print copy of The Colonies: Player's Guide and a print of the Shadows over Vathak game map.
Don't know what Shadows over Vathak is? Well, it is available here as Pay What You Want.
Feel free to ask any questions!
I'm creating this thread so we can post our thoughts on the Round 2 maps and maps in general to help future contestants if Paizo decides to keep this component in further contests. My hope is to offer advice to help future contestants should this type of challenge appear again.
First, I have to say is that there were definitely more maps I liked than I had votes for, so excellent job 2015 contestants! Secondly, for me, maps aren't easy- I've done quite a few professionally to know this and I learned a lot from going through all the submissions.
As a voter, my criteria were
1. clearness and readability- could I understand the map.
2. story- was there a theme or hook that made the map interesting and made me want to use it.
3. usability- lastly, did you create a map that I could swipe for my home game? I own more gaming material than I can hope to run, but I've been known to take maps from published sources and tweak them for my own needs.
Breaking the maps into categories, here are some of my overall thoughts-
1. Mini-regional maps- the maps which detailed a small region were pretty difficult to get my vote this round (I had only one I voted for). However, I think a mini-regional map has great potential to get a story across. However, they need to be clear and list interesting locations that spark my imagination which I can flesh out later. Very "Old School Renaissance" which I appreciate but make sure that features are easy to read and offer interesting places for adventure.
2. Settlement maps- I've done a bunch of these myself and they aren't easy. When designing one, you need to make sure that the cartographer can easily determine what is he/she is looking at. A lot of the maps I've turned over professionally are often cleaned up and made nice looking by the cartographer and kept much of my detail. So it is important that they are well-detailed, defined, and look interesting. Also, the real important locations need to be labelled as these are the places players will be going to. Don't label half of them and leave us guessing as to the others. Out of my 8 votes, I only voted for two of these type.
3. Locations- I love the direction that Paizo has taken with many of their "Unleashed" Campaign Setting books- offering up mini-dungeons centered around a particular creature or NPC. If your doing a map like this, it is important to have enough details for the GM to use it. You are working on a smaller scale here and the details are important to help me, a GM without a lot of extra time, to run it. Also, it should not be something that I could come up with in 5 minutes with a piece of graph paper. Interesting structures and overall shape that fire the imagination help without making it too confusing to read or reproduce. Location maps received the rest of my votes (5) but the ones I voted for had a good story hook.
Noncontestants, please feel free to post your own thoughts.
The first Shadows over Vathak module, Silhouette of a Shadow, is now availabe here at the Paizo store-
Silhouette of a Shadow is a 1st level adventure module set in the Colonies region in Shadows over Vathak. The PCs are tasked with finding a missing person who may be in over his head with a strange and mysterious cult whose designs threaten all of Vathak. You can read more about it here at the Fat Goblin Games website.
Though not necessary to run the adventure, Silhouette of a Shadow is compatible with both the Colonies Player's Guide and the Colonies GM's Guide- both availabe here at Paizo or in print over at RPGNow.
Hi, this is John Bennett. I've recently taken over Lead Design duties for Fat Goblin Games's Shadows over Vathak campaign line. Rick Hershey and I have a lot of cool products planned for the year. Therefore, if you have a Facebook account, I encourage you to like our Facebook page Shadows over Vathak to get all the latest updates on upcoming products and other information regarding Shadows over Vathak. On Wednesdays, I plan to discuss upcoming products and on Saturdays, I'll be posting different books/movies, etc. that provide excellent inspiration for a Vathak campaign. You can click on my profile here to see some of the work I've done for other 3PP companies or visit my personal website to learn more about me and resume. I hope you join us!
Hi, I placed order #2838980 on October 14th. It is still listed as "pending" for all print products to be shipped out. It's been over 6 business days- wasn't sure if there was an issue with availability for one of the products or I also know Paizo is busy with a lot of October subscription shipments and maybe you haven't gotten to it yet. Just wanted to make sure it isn't an issue on my end. Thanks (and no rush)!
Liz Courts wrote:
Cool, thanks! I have a follow up question to make things more difficult- I'd like to preorder the 2013 Kobold Press calendar to ensure I get a copy. However, I have some stuff in my cart I'd like to purchase in addition. Ideally, I'd like it to go as one order (when the calendar comes in and is ready to ship) to save on shipping costs (instead of two separate packages, which is what checkout wanted to do). I didn't see an option when I went to checkout so I don't know if this is possible. Thanks, again!
I’ve read a lot of talk on the boards here about foreshadowing Nyrissa in the earlier adventures. However, when I first picked up Sound of a Thousand Screams, I was more captivated by the other really cool, villainous NPCs in the adventure. This adventure was written by Richard Pett, known for the bizarre and unusual, and he really delivered in regards to the villains. Unfortunately, like Nyrissa herself, I feel that as written in the adventure that they get the short shrift- hanging around Nyrissa to be used as speed bumps for the PCs. I think they deserve more than that!
With that in mind, now that my players are late in book 4 and Nyrissa’s influence and machinations are slowly revealing themselves, I’ve been trying to foreshadow her book 6 henchmen so that way when the PCs finally encounter them at the end, they know more of the villain’s back story and, hopefully, the victory over the villain will be more satisfying. I’m hoping with this thread, people can share their ideas for how to interweave some of book 6’s villains early into the adventures. I know I’m still missing some gaps with some of the bad guys like the Horned Hunter, Frost Giant, Nightmare Roc, and Misbegotten Troll.
To get the ball rolling, here’s some of what I’m doing.
In my campaign, the Gnurly Witch served Baba Yaga at one point but left, not before stealing a valuable secret from her- a complex ritual that allows one to transplant and trap entire kingdoms into a small extradimensional space (ie, the bottle that Nyrissa plans on trapping the PCs kingdom in in book 6). The ritual was incomplete so the Gnurly Witch is assisting in figuring out how to complete it. The Gnurly Witch is not alone in her research. She has her trusty daughters. One, the Mother of Flies (ripped from Council of Thieves) was sent to raise Armag the Twice-Born, so that he could conquer the land for Nyrissa. The other, Black Mary, a Pit Hag (Tome of Horrors Complete), aids a group of lizardfolk (who conquered the boggards because I like lizardfolk better). She along with two crones, Baba Yagas from Tome of Horrors 4 (not the Baga Yaga- these are haglike monsters) focused more on the actual research- summoning and questioning spirits of ancient Thassilionian wizards
One of players joined the campaign halfway through The Harrowing, appearing in Baba Yaga’s hut. He hasn’t really developed a back story yet, so I’ve been giving him some seeds- he may possibly be an agent of Baba Yaga, come to extract revenge on the Gnurly Witch for her treachery in return for a favor from Old Grandmother. The hags the PCs have encountered so far certainly seem to think so. So far, the PCs have learned of the Gnurly Witch, but not the full extent of her machinations. They will soon find a prototype bottle, so I’ll let them wonder about that for a bit.
As I build off this idea more, I’m hoping that it will be more of an exciting encounter when the PCs reach her in book 6.
A former player running a wizard quit the campaign right after receiving the death curse from the Dancing Lady (and losing 6 points of intelligence). The next session, the other PCs found his character missing from their castle, no clues but bloody sheets, and assumed he was dead (after all, Riggs the Quickling did get away). What they don’t know was that the wizard was indeed kidnapped and brought before Nyrissa who offered to break the Dancing Lady’s curse in return for his loyalty. Agreeing, the wizard soon came to regret his decision as he was reborn as the Wriggling Man. Nyrissa slowly twisted his mind as only a fey can, until he blamed his former companions for his current condition.
The Wriggling Man is not yet as powerful as he is in book 6 (using the stats for a Worm that Walks in Bestiary 2). So far, he has tried to enact his vengeance twice. The first time was disguising himself as a mystic at a carnival held at Olegton. When the PCs arrived to find Oleg, the kingdom's treasurer who mysteriously vanished, the Wriggling Man sprang his trap, sending them to the Harrowed Realm with a deck of Harrow Cards. Recently (and only two months of in game time), the Wriggling Man helped the lizardfolk burn down the village of Thornhill (Raging Swan Press) in the Hooktongue Slough. When the PCs arrived, the Wriggling Man introduced them to his friend, the Mire Brute (Tome of Horrors Complete) and then escaped.
The Wriggling Man is very focused on revenge and will try to cheap shot the PCs here and there to keep them on their toes. This greatly amuses Nyrissa for now, who is not sure quite yet what to think of the PCs (they may in fact be just the people she’s looking for to unknowingly enact her plan!). Obviously, book 6 will the final showdown between the PCs and their old adventuring companion.
Ilthuliak has no grand plans of his own, possibly even bewitched by Nyrissa into serving her. However, I didn’t want him to come out of the total blue, so the PCs have been hearing bits and pieces about a great black dragon that once lived in the area. They know that the lizardfolk leader, Sseskar (Lizardfolk of the Dragon Fang), discovered his sorcerous powers by meeting the dying daughter of Ilthuliak and that he is currently allied with Blood Mire, a grandson of Ilthuliak. The PCs will learn even more about Ilthuliak when they meet Eranex (the fey template silver dragon from the latest Paizo dragon book). Hopefully, this will make Ilthuliak a little more awe inspiring when they finally encounter the dragon. It’s still some time before encountering Eranex, so in that time, I can flesh out Ilthuliak’s back story more- like why is he/she helping Nyrissa?
Those are just three of the many cool villains in book 6, so I still got a little ways to go. For the 4 armed frost giant guy (don’t have my book in front of so can’t remember his name), I might lead into that a little with Raging Swan’s Pirates of the Icy Heart NPC supplement. The PC duke, a fire focused cleric of Sarenrae, will likely marry a runaway Irriseni Jadwiga. Perhaps their wedding is crashed by the mercenary frost giant pirates that have some link to the 4 armed giant. Still working on this.
I haven’t decided if I want to do something special for every villain yet (leave a few surprises), but I would like to work in the Misbegotten Troll. A good opportunity would have been back in book 2, but I’m past that point. I find that as the adventure plays out, opportunities constantly arise to tie various things in, so I’m sure something will come along that sparks an idea.
Anyway, these are just some of my ideas. As you can see, they mostly revolve around how things have worked out so far in the campaign. I encourage others to share their ideas as well, so that we can steal them for our games. Because sometimes stealing is a good thing.
Reading through the kingdom building rules in Ultimate Campaign, its unclear to me whether or not you can have a terrain improvement and a settlement in the same hex.
Specifically, in the case of a mining town- can you build a settlement in the same hex as a mine (ie, the town forms up around the mine). Mines do not have the special asterisk that says it can be built with other terrain improvements, but I don't see mention of settlements. I could just be missing something, however.
Normally, I would just house rule this, but I'm writing a 3pp supplement so if I'm breaking the rules, I want to make sure that I make the proper modifications (even it results in creating a new building).
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 was informed to contact customer service to add my contributor copy of Wayfinder #7 to my shopping cart. I have 3 other items sitting in my cart now. I was hoping to add Wayfinder to that order, pay for everything, and then have it ship all together when the preorder items become available if that is at all possible. Thanks!
This question is directed towards paid freelance writers of RPGs- Can you write off RPG material (books and book related materials)as business expenses? I'm definitely going to ask a tax consultant but I was wondering if other freelancers have run into this as well. I'm still pretty small potatoes, but I have already signed two paid contracts this year for work and I'm expecting to do more. Also, as most people know, when researching a company, it's a good idea to sample a particular product line you might be interested in writing for which costs money. Also, to stay current with the rules, until things are released onto the PRD, you need to buy any official Pathfinder book. I still need to research exactly how I go about claiming income earned from freelancing and if their is a minimum one has to make first of all. Thanks, everyone!
I was thinking of getting my current players some Player Companions for Christmas. Since our conversion to Pathfinder almost 2 years ago, they've only bought the corebook so I want to expose them more to the world of Golarion since I'll be running a majority of my campaigns there. I always GM lately, so I'm unfamiliar with the Player's Companion line and was looking for books that would useful/informative for the following classes:
I'm roughly thinking "Faiths of Purity" for the cleric and "Halflings of Golarion" for the fighter, but I'm not sure about the wizard and oracle. I want to get them each a different one, so I'm thinking maybe the "Inner Sea World Primer" and maybe "Humans of Golarion." I've noticed the "Humans" book didn't get the most glowing of reviews with people saying a lot of it was a rehash, but to my players it would basically be all new stuff. Currently, we are playing Kingmaker. Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks.
To steal End's line, "Reviewed!" (though End does a much better and thorough job than I reviewing). Anyway, I highly recommend people check this module out and the other FGG products. "Jungles of Madaro-Shanti" is fantastic. I still have "The Spire of Iron and Crystal" to read and "Hollow Mountain" as well. FGG does not disappoint.
The other day I was walking into my local comic/game store. Plastered in the hallway by the back entrance are all kinds of posters for different comics. But they also have a couple of small game posters for "Magic" and "D&D Played Here." They are smaller than the traditional poster sizes. I know Paizo has their marketing posters but I was wondering if they had smaller promotional posters like "Pathfinder played here" or something along those lines. The store recently opened a new gaming room and I'm trying to spread the word of Pathfinder (Magic is huge at store but I'm been informed by the owner that Pathfinder outsells D&D). I thought it would be great if the store could get a hold of some Pathfinder posters to put up.
Who is the better director? My opinion Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" vs.Matthew Vaughan's "Kick A!@" and "X-Men: First Class." Bonus points- Matthew Vaughan for early Guy Ricthie movies. Victory for me goes to Matthew Vaughan. Gladiators, defend the honor of your champion. (FYI, 300 to me was a lame CGI "Braveheart").
I've just recently started getting back into paint minis and I'm currently working on the Skinsaw Man (a ghoul). I my collection of old Reaper paint, I found a color- ghoul gray, that I used as my first coat (over a black basecoat) for his skin. Ghoul Gray is a nice looking dark green-gray color that I think will work well. Because I always start with a black base coat (it's the only way I know how to paint), I typically start with a dark color and work up from there to the final highlights. I don't ever remember using ghoul gray before, so I'm wondering what I should use for my highlight colors. I uploaded the Reaper painted image of him into their power palette app and a couple of colors that popped up where "pale lichen" and creamed ivory (which I'm guessing is the final highlight). I don't have pale lichen and the color on the website looks more blue-gray (though their newer ghoul color doesn't look as green so it could just be my monitor settings). No store in my area sells Reaper paints so I can't confirm the color. I'm almost thinking about trying to mix in a very light flesh tone and just gradually add a little more as I build up the layers. I'm curious as to what other paint schemes people have used to paint his skin.
Prepare for Glory! (Come Game With Us!)
We are trying to pull together a couple of quick one shot Pathfinder games at our local friendly neighborhood gaming store (Jetpack Comics) to celebrate the release of Ultimate Combat (Really just an Excuse to get together and game).
If you are within traveling distance of Rochester, New Hampshire and are looking to waste an afternoon playing Pathfinder, we hope you can make it. There are twelve seats available for 2 different games on Sunday the 28th. Each game starts at 10am and runs through 6pm or until the end of the module whichever comes first.
There are 2 tables being run concurrently. At table one, a Pathfinder Scenario “To Delve the Dungeon Deep”. At table two, an updated and modified version of “Ex Libris” a great 2nd edition adventure from back in the good’ol “Dungeon” days.
You should sign up in advance (I think you can do it in person or by e-mail) at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH if you want to take part. Look for the Pathfinder Logo in the link for details.
I just started running Kingmaker the other night and I thought it might add to the game by introducing variable weather elements, especially with the characters being low enough level that just can't magic the effects away. Has anyone come up with a random weather generator?
My other idea is since the Stolen Lands is the size of Maine and contains much of the same geography, I might just use the 10 day report feature on weather.com for my area (NH, near the Maine border). As a New Englander, I can tell you that the weather up here can be quite schizophrenic, going from cold enough to snow one day to hot and humid the next.
and is he/she awesome? But seriously, when I went to edit my profile, it has a PFS character listed for me named "Kelaxe." Is this normal? I haven't made a PFS character but wasn't sure if maybe I was just assigned one...Or if you are missing your character named "Kelaxe", he/she is linked to my profile.
Has anyone toyed with the idea of inserting the Skinsaw Murders after Harrowstone? I've read Harrowstone and I just picked up the Skinsaw Murders the other day because from the description, the initial part of the adventure, the investigating of the Foxglove Manor, sounded like it'd fit in pretty good after Harrowstone. Instead of bouncing around from classic monster (Frankenstein, werewolves, Lovecraftian, and vampires), with Skinsaw Murders, I could run my own AP of ghostbusting PCs. I haven't read all of the Skinsaw Murders, but I do know that it moves away from the haunted Manor to investigate agents of the Runelord. I figure if I can find another AP or module to fit in after, I could tie the rest of the Skinsaw Murders to that one.
Anyone try out a Wild West campaign yet? My players wanted to try the new gunslinger class so we took a break from our regularly scheduled campaign. Everyone rolled up 4th lvl gunslingers using the advanced firearm rules and with the assistance of an old Boot Hill module, I ran them through a Wild West adventure. It turned out really fun. We were able to use some of the new deeds and gunslinger feats. My favorite was when my players were trying to lure out an outlaw who was holed up in a brothel with his prostitute girlfriend. One of my players was playing a female and he/she lured the girlfriend and pistolwhipped her. He/she then ended up chasing the outlaw through an open window with leaping shot. Until the Ultimate Combat comes out with more guns, I think to keep it interesting I may devise some various pistols/rifles/shotguns with different properties. Anyways, I just wanted to recommend trying it out if you haven't already.
Raging Swan just released their newest adventure "Dark Oaks." I'm not going to go into detail on the adventure itself here but definitely check it out on the Paizo store. I'm going to also spoiler most of this in case any "PCs" wander by. After reading through the adventure, I was really grabbed by its backstory. Also, I am in no way affiliated with Raging Swan. This is just something I came up with for fun.
This crazy lizardman druid named Ssjarlith corrupted a treant with this drug/disease called "bark blight." She used the treant to attack local villages until adventures drove away the treant to the lizardman's lair and defeated him. The adventurers never knew the lizardmen were involved. Flash forward a few years and the lizardfolk are still holed up in the cave. The tribe is dying out so Ssjarlith sends out her last minions to cause havok.
The adventure offers a couple of different adventure hooks for the PCs, one of which is just merely stumbling across the cave. Most of the others are investigatory in nature, such as half hearted raids by the lizards on nearby settlements, a polluted river, things like that. They do the job but I was really digging the idea of the wild, crazy treant running around smashing stuff. So, on that note...
Inspired by the backstory, I wanted to propose another adventure hook. The adventure is designed to get to the "Dark Oaks" rather quickly so this hook adds a little extra time. In this hook, Ssjarlith, again knowing time is short, becomes frustrated with the half hearted raids by her lizardmen minions. She is also hesitant to waste their lives since the tribe is already dwindling in numbers. Even though it almost brought down their downfall last time, Ssjarlith desperately decides to give the crazed treant scheme one last try. She's able to find a young, somewhat wild and reckless (for his kind) treant named Oedum Brightleaf (or whatever you want to call him, I hate coming up with names...) Oedum quickly succumbs to the bark blight's effects and goes mad, attacking loggers, hunters, and settlements as he finds them. Locals remember this happening once before and it begins to dawn on them that something in the marsh must be driving these normally good aligned treants to acts of violence. The PCs are called in to not only put down the mad treant but find the source of the evil plaguing the marsh. This hook sets up Ssjarlith's plans as a little more hostile than the half hearted raids. The PCs can attempt to track Oedum and maybe bait the creature into a trap. They may watch the treant and observe him interacting with members of the Dark Oak tribe. The PCs can try to slay Oedum outright or chase him back to the Dark Oak lair. If the PCs manage to slay Oedum, then the next day use the hook from page 5 of the adventure where the diseased body of a lizarman floats down the river. This should give a clue that the two events may be interconnected and they should start looking for some lizardmen.
For ease, I've spoilered Oedum's stats below. I've tried to follow the Paizo format for a NPC. Please excuse the lack of bold tags as I'm copying it out of my personal word file of variant monsters I'm creating.
Young Treant Barbarian CR 7
Male treant barbarian 1
CE Large treant (plant)
Init +2; Senses low light vision; Perception +17
===== Defense =====
===== Offense =====
===== Statistics =====
I took a CR 8 treant and applied the "young template" for a -1 CR. Also, taking a note from the actual adventure, I lowered his CR by another -1 due to the fact that he is evil and loses his animate trees ability. So then I added a level of barbarian to show that he was a little "wild" for his kind and give him a little zing. As you can see from his stats which are for when he's raging, he is one tough hombre for a CR 7. But the PCs should know what they are up against and prepare accordingly. Also, when Oedum is raging, he won't be thinking clearly and will be easier to lead into some sort of trap.
Anyways, like I said, I just thought the backstory had a cool idea and I wanted to run with it. I figured if I was going to do the work, I'd might as well post it if anyone else wanted to use it. Oh, don't forget to buy "Dark Oaks." At 4.99 it's cheaper than a "value" meal at McDonald's. Or even a pint at your local pub.
Ah, man, the Superstar 2011 banner is gone already :(. Guess that makes sense since the contest is over, but I was still checking back in regularly (I'm still trying to catch up on the entries for the last three years!). I only discovered the Paizo site about September/October so I have no clue how long the banner is usually up. I was going to suggest a button but already found it under links!