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John Benbo's page

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8. RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter, 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,316 posts. 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

If it's possible, I would like to cancel my pending order 3089258. There's a couple of Lamentations of the Flame Princess products that keep shifting to "backorder." I am planning on submitting a new order without some of those items. Thank you.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Does anyone own this and what do you think about it? I'm looking to add more games to a tournament I'm running in my Kingmaker campaign and this sounds like it could be helpful.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

I own this game (bought it at Gen Con) and my nephew and I really enjoy it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And booked...this will be my first PaizoCon!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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)!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Awesome! When I was at Scotty's on GenCon Saturday, they were all out of my size.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Liz Courts wrote:
John Benbo wrote:
Will the calendar be available from other sites? When I added it to my Paizo cart, the cheapest shipping option was close to $14 using UPS.
John, I've adjusted the estimated size and weight of the calendar—it should be a bit more reasonable for shipping now.

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

Gnurly Witch

Spoiler:
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.

Wriggling Man

Spoiler:
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

Spoiler:
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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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).

Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

C'mon, you got to lead in with "Smoke on the water..." first :). Congrats again, Mike.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Nice!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Congrats everyone and wow, I can't believe we're already entering the 4th round. Seems like yesterday the top 32 were revealed.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Shave his belly with a rusty razor, early in the morning? At least that is what my elementary school music teacher told me...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks for the mention! The Cantankerous Statue of Gedadee is one of my favorites so I'm glad it got a shout out.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Hi, I think I inputted my card wrong the first time around but just to make sure, I updated my order with a different card so hopefully it should be good to go. Thank you.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Can't wait to run this!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Congrats!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

I played Dominion for the first time last night. At first I was very skeptical and didn't think I was going to enjoy it but it ended up being a blast to play. Easily one of the best board/card games I've played in years.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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:
Human cleric (Sarenrae)
Halfling fighter
Human wizard
Human oracle

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks Paizo for getting this up and another big thanks to Raging Swan for letting me write this for them. This is my first professional freelance gig, so I'm pretty excited about it and I look forward to seeing what you all think about it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Alright, glad to see some Raging Swan love on the store blog.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Oh joy of joys, ever since the American Eagle sale began, I've been waiting for some product from my favorite 2nd edition campaign setting, Birthright.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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").

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

Jetpack Comics

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Is there plans to release an Ultimate Combat marketing poster like what was released for Ultimate Combat? It's a cool piece of art and the walls in my office at work are so boringly bare...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Just curious if there will be marketing posters of this available for sale like with Ultimate Magic. As if I didn't get enough questions about the Cthulhu toys/art in my office at work...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

And ordered! Just in time to start my Kingmaker/Raging Swan infused campaign. Now if I can only remember how to paint...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

One word of warning with Beck- after watching it, you may feel a strong urge to go out and buy a guitar and start learning how to play it. It happened to me and I've read about it happening to others.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

How about she's got "Looks that Kill" and then we can reference Crue. \m/

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

From the blog name, I'm guessing the adventure requires the PCs to dress in drag?:)

Some Like It Hot

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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.

Spoiler:
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.

Oedum Brightleaf

Spoiler:

Young Treant Barbarian CR 7
Male treant barbarian 1
CE Large treant (plant)
Init +2; Senses low light vision; Perception +17

===== Defense =====
AC 21 touch 11, flat-footed 19; (+2 Dex, +12 natural, -2 rage, -1 size)
hp 145 (13 HD, 12d8+84+1d12+7)
Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +10
Immune plant traits DR 10/slashing
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire

===== Offense =====
Spd 40 ft.
Melee 2 slams +19 (1d8+11/19-20) or +1 thundering greatclub 21/16 (2d8+17/19-20+1d8 sonic)
Ranged rock +11 (1d18+11)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks rock throwing (120 ft.), rage (9 rounds/day) trample (1d8+16) DC 27
Base Statistics AC 23, ff 21, HP 126, Fort +10, Will +8 Melee 2 slams +17 (1d8+9/19-20) or +1 thundering greatclub 19/14(2d8+13/19-20+1d8 sonic) Str 29, Dex 14, Con 21, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 11 CMB 20 CMD 32

===== Statistics =====
Str 33, Dex 14, Con 25, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 11
Base Atk +10 CMB +22; CMD 34
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (greatclub) Improved Critical (slam), Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Diplomacy +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (nature) +10, Perception +17, Sense Motive +10, Stealth -6 (+10 in forests) Survival +8 Racial Modifiers +16 in forests
Languages Common, Sylvan, Treant
SQ double damage against objects, fast movement, treespeech
Treasure +1 thundering greatclub

Design notes

Spoiler:

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.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

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!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

This must be new? And added to my cart to purchase when I get home.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Congrats, Sam! Do us proud!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

The one thing I would like to see with the directions is alternate views of the model. I think this would make it a little easier. In particular this model because at one point you kind of have to cut one wall almost free and swing it over plus pop out two tabs for the lower roof. It wasn't clear to me at first but after fiddling with it for a little bit, I figure it out.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

I wanted to wait a few days to let the top 4 bask in the spotlight. Now that they are busily writing their pitches, I just wanted to take this time during the lull to offer my thanks to everyone. First, thank you to the judges and guest judges for taking the time to offer your critiques. I don't know how Neil does it, with a family, and a job, and a freelance career, but not only did he give each contest long, detailed critiques, I see he's still doing it in tthe "Critique my Item" thread. Mark,Ryan, and Sean, it was a pleasure interacting with you and getting your feedback. Second, a big thank you to the Paizo community. Being an introvert, I'm not always comfortable putting myself out there but you have all made me feel very comfortable. Thank you for all your comments on my entries. Also, thank you for voting me into the semi-finals. I very much appreciate that I got to participate in the 4 mechanical/rules/design rounds and all their Machiavellian twists. Finally, thank you to Paizo for putting this contest on. It was a great way to pass what otherwise would have been a very boring winter for me. I truly was an amateur game designer. Even though I've played RPGs for 23 years since I was 8, I never really tried my hand at the game design aspect. So, for this contest, I had to rely on that experience I had playing the game. But, having participated in this contest, I've learned so much. I consider myself a storyteller, and now I can add game design, along with fiction writing, script writing, and filmmaking to my "storytelling" arsenal. But don't cry for me that I'm out of the contest. I have no regrets, only lessons learned.

So, for the John Bennett fans out there- what does the future hold for me? Well, I'm very busy with grad school for the next two years, so that's a priority. However, one of my players is designing an awesome new RPG that we've been playtesting. He's the brains behind it and I'll be the money, so maybe you'll see that here in the Paizo store in a couple of years. I still need to finish my novel, the first draft being done. And besides checking out the PFS open call and Kobold Quarterly, I have ideas of my own for PFRGP compatible setting. So, hopefully, you'll see my name again sometime in the future.

And finally, I promised a present! Since I can no longer compete anymore, I'm offering up the original cocoon cloak. It's still a little rough, in fact, it has no price or cost. I literally rewrote it at the last minute into the Cocoon Cloak I submitted but I always thought this one was cooler. So use/modify it at your own pleasure. Thanks, everyone!

Ghlaunder’s Cocoon Cloak
Aura moderate necromancy and transmutation; CL10th
Slot shoulders; Price ZZ gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This cloak made from the whitish-brown silk of giant moths is particularly favored by servants of Ghlaunder. When the command word is spoken, the fibrous cloak encases the wearer in a strong, thick cocoon (hardness 20 and 10 hp). Weapons striking the cocoon must make a DC 20 Reflex save or become stuck to the cocoon. Stuck weapons are freed with a combat maneuver check against a DC 20. As a movement action, the wearer can exit the cocoon. Upon exiting the cocoon, for every consecutive round spent in the cocoon up to ten rounds per day, the wearer is granted a bite attack at her highest attack bonus in the form of a set of grotesque insectoid mandibles sprouting from her face. This is an extra attack in addition to any other attacks the wearer makes and does not provoke an attack of opportunity. On a successful hit, the mandibles do 1d6 points of damage. In addition to the bite damage, the metamorphosis that the wearer underwent in the cloak allows her to infect the creature struck by her attack with any disease she is afflicted by. The creature makes a Fortitude save as normal to avoid contracting the disease. The disease is still communicable even if the wearer is not yet experiencing the onset of the disease. If the wearer is infected by multiple diseases, she chooses which disease she transmits. If the wearer is not currently harboring any diseases, the bite attack inflicts red ache disease. There is no onset period for the disease.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, contagion, web; Cost ZZ gp

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Apep’s Head

Description: Legends in Garund speak of Apep or the “Destroyer”, a giant from the stars that appeared almost eight thousand years ago. Made out of strange metal and standing hundreds of feet tall, the ancients believed it to be a punishment from the gods. The scourge of ancient Osirion, Apep was finally defeated in a furious battle. All that remains of the metal giant is its head, which rests deep within the Eternal Oasis in modern day Rahadoum.

Ancient Osirions avoided the spot where the giant’s head rested, fearing the place cursed. Centuries later, when the decadent Pharaoh Shaket came into power, he became fascinated with Apep’s head, believing it to be from an ancient god. To demonstrate his power to his subjects, he refurbished the head, designing with magic a beautiful hanging garden in its interior. Stories say that Shaket was able to command the head to shoot fire from its eyes, reducing his enemies to ashes. The head fell into disuse after Shaket’s death. As the years passed, Apep’s head was forgotten, swallowed by the jungle around the Eternal Oasis, and the horrors of the metal giant became but a myth.

The head, standing 35 feet high and made of a dull grayish metal, not unlike steel, rests in a large clearing in the Eternal Oasis. The head’s jutting features appear to be almost human, but the eyes, nose and lips are composed of hard angles, softened slightly by erosion. While the features are weathered, there is not a spot of rust on the head. Its smooth surface makes it impossible to climb without magic. A set of stone steps leads up to a large metal door set in Apep’s pursed lips.

The PCs, having previously encountered Voracek, discovered his plan to build a doomsday device from skymetal. Voracek needs a valuable crystal located somewhere in Apep’s head to power the device. The PCs are here to get the crystal first, if they can find it. As they approach the head, thunder rumbles nearby. Voracek and his gargoyle allies who also venerate Ayrzul, having bribed the services of a thunderbird, will be here soon. The PCs know they do not have much time.

Apep's Head (Ground Floor)

Inside, soft light, like daylight, emanates from fixtures set in the ceiling, falling on lush gardens in carefully sculpted beds amongst wild vegetation. The perfume of exotic flowers fills the air. More greenery hangs from stone terraces along the outer walls twenty feet up. Invading vines dangle in clumps from the high ceiling. Graceful statues of a regal looking man carved from marble, his features weathered by the elements, stand seven feet tall on pedestals. At the far end of the room, a metal pillar rises up, growing wider in width.

The pillar, like the walls, ceiling, and floor, is made from a completely smooth metal. It is 20 ft. wide at its base, widening to 50 ft. at its top. There are no stairs visible to reach it. The head, except the first 15 ft. of the entrance, rises to 35 ft. in height. The entrance is only 20 ft. in height as the fire cannon platform is above it.

Behind the pillar on the ground floor sits a small metal altar, three feet high, a mosaic of small flashing lights, lighted glass, buttons, and levers on its top.

Operating the altar requires a DC 25 Use Magic Device or a Knowledge (Arcana) skill check. A successful skill check immediately causes a circular disc, 10 ft. wide, to rise slightly from the ground near the base of the pillar. The disc can support 2,000 lbs. After a minute, the disc rises straight up to the top of the pillar.

Apep's Head (Top Floor)

At the top of the pillar sits a metal chair on a 2 ft. dais. Nearby is a long metal altar like the one below (hardness 15, hp 120). The crystal is housed in the interior of the altar and powers the room. A successful DC 25 Use Magic Device or Knowledge (Arcana) skill check operates a thin bridge that rises out of the ground floor, connecting the pillar top and the platform. A loud thrumming sounds from the one working fire cannon.

The platform contains two fire cannons described below. The westernmost cannon is broken but the eastern cannon is operational. If the command deck has been activated, the metal shields in front of the window, 4 ft. in diameter, open.

Fire Cannon
Space 5 ft. by 10 ft.; Weight 3,000 lbs.
Hardness 15; hp 1,080
Range 200 ft.
Description: This seven foot long metal cylinder lies horizontal on a swivel platform. Attached to a platform is a chair and trigger controls for the operator. To the PCs it looks like some kind of Golarion cannon. The operator can turn the cannon anywhere in a 360 arc and can tilt it as a move action. Once per round as a standard action, the operator , using the controls, can fire the cannon, shooting a concentrated beam of energy that deals 4d6 points of fire damage similar to a scorching ray spell. The attack is a ranged touch attack that uses the operator’s ranged attack bonus. The fire cannon ignores range penalties due to weather.

Thick vines hang 15 ft. from the ceiling, supporting 250 lbs. They can be grabbed with a DC 15 Acrobatics skill check. It is possible to swing from the vines to the flower beds on the outer wall.
Creatures: There is a 25% that the vine is an Advanced Assassin Vine that immediately attacks the PC.

Advanced Assassin Vine (1) CR 4
XP 1,200
hp 38 (Pathfinder Bestiary 22, 294)

Voracek’s Assault

Allow the PCs some time to look for the crystal or set an ambush, reminding them that the thunder is getting closer, before reading the following.

Roaring thunder shakes the ceiling. Suddenly, it explodes in a shower of debris. Hideous gargoyles pour in through the breach, bringing wind and thunder with them. One figure sticks out, illuminated by lightning, a stone skinned man with glowing blue tattoos cackles madly as he’s carried in the talons of a giant, gray bird.

Falling debris rains down on any PCs on the pillar, dealing 1d8 points of damage, a DC 15 Reflex save for half. See hazards below.

Creatures: Voracek and his allies swoop in. A thunderbird carries Voracek in its talons, dropping him by the altar and then flies far enough away to be out of combat but keep its storm aura in effect. Voracek begins to push various buttons on the altar. It will take him 6 total full action rounds operating the altar to open it and reach the crystal. If engaged in melee, Voracek tries to sunder his opponents’ weapons. He crushes his elemental gem to put another ally between him and the PCs. If reduced to half hp or less, he rages, using empowered strike to smash the altar to get at the crystal.

The gargoyles attempt to grab PCs in their talons and hurl them from the pillar to keep them away from Voracek. They target spellcasters and smaller creatures first. If thrown off the pillar, PCs can attempt to grab the vines with a DC 15 Reflex save (-4 for the thunderbird’s storm aura).

Wind, caused by the thunderbird, swirls in from a 30 ft. by 30 ft. hole in the ceiling located over the pillar. See hazards below.

The fight ends if:
Voracek retrieves the crystal, plunging the head into darkness and deactivating the fire cannon. He sounds a horn and the thunderbird swoops in and carries him away.
Voracek retreats as above if reduced to 30 or less hp. He gathers his strength and plans to strike at the PCs within a few days time to take back the crystal.

(TIER 7-8) CR10

Voracek CR 9
XP 6,400
hp 116 (RPG Superstar 2011 R3)

Giant Gargoyles (2) CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 52 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 137, 295)

Creatures: This encounter runs similar as above. However, the thunderbird hovers near the hole in the ceiling and uses thunderbolts to keep PCs away from Voracek and targets archers, swooping in to hurl PCs off the pillar.

The fight ends under the conditions above. If the thunderbird is killed, one of the giant gargoyles will carry Voracek if he retreats.

TIER (10-11) CR 13

Voracek CR 9
XP 6,400
hp 116 (RPG Superstar 2011 R3)

Giant Gargoyles (4) CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 52 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 137, 295)

Thunderbird CR 11
XP 12,800
hp 147 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 264)

Hazards: Garden and wild vegetation areas count as difficult terrain (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 193).

The following hazards are in play when the encounter starts:

The debris from the ceiling causes the pillar to be considered difficult terrain (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 193).

The thunderbird’s presence causes the pillar to be affected by its storm aura special ability (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 264).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Meneena
Portrait: 12

Description: Throughout Avistan, mothers warn their daughters to behave or the Lullaby Lady will take them away. She is real and a derro. Pale eyes radiating madness, Meneena croons haunting melodies to beguile victims. Her chain armor reeks of blood and embryonic fluid.

Motivations/Goals: Meneena’s strange gift for song was born from her grief over her stillborn daughter. She wanders the Darklands, experimenting on women to create a derro crossbreed that can survive sunlight. Her twisted lullabies aid her in both stealing victims and keeping them quiet. Offspring born from these gruesome procedures are abominations. Meneena leaves behind villages populated with her “children.” Considering them failures, Meneena scours Avistan for new breeding stock.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
Women are going missing in Kaer Maga. With troll auguries going awry, citizens are discreetly looking for investigators.

Grotesque children at an orphanage in Almas sing a strange melody. The Lullaby Lady has returned.

The PCs investigate a village of deformed humans who only come out at night in Ustalav. They fear a cave at the edge of town they believe leads to “Hell.”

Meneena CR 9
Female derro bard (sandman, APG 82) 7
CN Small humanoid (derro)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +10
===== Defense =====
AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed 18; ( +5 armor, +3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 85 (10HD; 3d8+7d6+50)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +13; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic
Defensive Abilities trap sense +2
SR 14
Weaknesses vulnerability to sunlight
===== Offense =====
Spd 25 ft.
Melee +1 aklys +11/+6 (1d6+1)
Ranged +1 aklys +11/+6 (1d6+1)
Special Attacks bardic performance 21 rounds/day (countersong, distraction, fascinate, slumber song, stealspell), sneak attack +2d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd)
At will--darkness, ghost sound (DC 15)
1/day--daze (DC 15), sound burst (DC 17)
Spells Known (CL 7th, concentration +12)
3rd (2/day)--blink, dispel magic
2nd (4/day--enthrall (DC 17), invisibility, misdirection (DC 17)
1st (5/day)--alarm, cause fear (DC 16), charm person (DC 16), expeditious retreat, obscure object (DC 16)
0 (at will)--daze (DC 15), detect magic, prestidigitation, resistance
===== Tactics =====
Before Combat Meneena casts alarm on her quarters every day. If triggered, she hides, using ghost sound to lead away enemies.
During Combat Meneena uses fascinate on her foes until at least one opponent is fascinated and then launches into slumber song. She uses stealspell on spellcasters. In melee, Meneena casts blink and tries to feint, opening an enemy to a sneak attack.
Morale If reduced to 20 hit points or less, Meneena flees, casting darkness, invisibility, and expeditious retreat.
===== Statistics =====
Str 10, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 14, Wis 5, Cha 20
Base Atk +7/2; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Extra Performance, Deepsight, Fleet, Improved Initiative, Lingering Performance, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +13, Bluff +18, Escape Artist +13, Heal +4, Perform (sing) +15, Perception +10, Sleight of Hand +16, Stealth +22
Languages Aklo, Common, Orvian, Undercommon
SQ madness, master of deception, poison use, sneakspell +1/+2, well-versed
Combat Gear cytillesh extract (3 doses); Other Gear +1 mithral shirt, +1 aklys, manacles of cooperation, 250 gp.
===== Special Abilities =====
Madness (Ex) Derros use their Charisma modifiers on Will saves instead of their Wisdom modifier, and are immune to insanity and confusion effects. Only a miracle or wish can remove a derro’s madness. If this occurs, the derro gains 6 points of Wisdom and loses 6 points of Charisma.
Poison Use (Ex) Derros are not at risk of poisoning themselves when handling poison.
Vulnerability to Sunlight (Ex) A derro takes 1 point of Con damage after every hour it is exposed to sunlight.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Saboteur (Ranger)
Saboteurs mercilessly hunt down their foes and cripple the enemy’s means to wage war. Saboteurs harass invading armies by leaving cleverly hidden traps for unwary scouts and sneaking into the very midst of their opponents’ camps to sabotage their fortifications and siege engines.

Class Skills: The saboteur’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str). These replace the standard ranger class skills.

Skill Ranks Per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Tamper (Ex) : At 1st level, a saboteur gets a +2 competence bonus on her Disable Device skill check when attempting to sabotage a simple device. At 11th level, the bonus increases to +4. This ability replaces wild empathy.

Improved Sunder (Ex) : A 3rd level saboteur’s engineering knowledge grants her Improved Sunder as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. This ability replaces endurance.

Saboteur’s Cunning (Ex) : Starting at 4th level, a saboteur applies her favored enemy bonus to her Disable Device skill check to sabotage devices created by creatures of the selected type. Favored enemies suffer a negative penalty equal to the saboteur’s favored enemy bonus to their Perception and Disable Device skill checks to detect and disable a trap set by the saboteur. In addition, a saboteur applies her favored enemy bonus to her CMB when making a sunder attempt against a favored enemy. This ability replaces hunter’s bond.

Ingenuity (Ex) : When attempting to craft a trap, a 7th level saboteur can add ½ her Knowledge (engineering) skill bonus to the attempt. For every 5 that the saboteur beats the Craft (trap) DC, the saboteur raises both the Perception and the Disable Device skill check for the trap by 1. This ability replaces woodland stride.

Sabotage (Ex) : A saboteur of 9th level or higher can make a Disable Device skill check on more complex devices like siege engines. Disabling a siege engine requires a DC 25 Disable Device skill check. A success by 5 or more means that not only has the saboteur left no proof of sabotaging the device; she can modify the range of the device if it has one, such as a catapult. For every 5 that the saboteur beats the Disable Device DC, she can lower the minimum and maximum range of the device by 10 feet causing the device to undershoot when used. At 16th level, for every 5 that the saboteur beats the Disable Device DC, she can lower the minimum and maximum range of the device by 20 feet. This ability replaces evasion.

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