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Golem in Progress

Ken Marable's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber. 415 posts (416 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Zakur Opzan wrote:
Reaper has said that once it is over, it is over.
You sure?

Yes, but I want my golems!!! :)

Increasing a pledge later doesn't help unlock anything. I'm hoping we can push a little bit more this last day to get those golems, but it started to level off yesterday.


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Ezren

(Although Mastery Spy is a close second, and the rest are also quite impressive I'm always impressed withe Pathfinder cosplayers!)


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Alzrius wrote:

I really like the idea of Inner Planes-focused material. I think that the Elemental (and Energy) Planes are vastly untapped sources of great adventuring material, which is all too often overlooked by attitudes of "they're innately deadly as well as boring in their featurelessness."

I say, bring on the Inner Planes!

I definitely agree about the inner planes. There was a single Planescape book and an occasional location in an adventure, but they really got little love even under Planescape. "The Plane of Water is... well... just a lot of water... without end." is pretty dull and no real different than just being undersea. Fire is just a bunch of fire, Earth is an Underdark with out drow. Blarg.

Fire should be chaotic - the planar politics constantly shifting with force and personal power rewarded. Those who live there try to control others while in an uncontrollable environment. Power doesn't last, those in charge never stay that way, settlements rise up dramatically and collapses gloriously. In Air, nothing lasts and nothing is fixed. Water flows smoothly but constantly. Power struggles are furious in Fire, but subtle in Water. The Shaitan Empries of the Plane of Earth have lasted millenia. But when a change does occur, the effects tear through the foundations of entire societies.

We have all sorts of metaphors that surround these elements, and the planes should embody those as well in their cultures and interactions.

Thanks!
Ken


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ShadowcatX wrote:

If I had to pick a book, either the caravan or the circus for sure.

As to kick starter, don't do it. Not until you've got a few quality products out and people can see what your company is like.

I am going back and forth on the "small little products vs moderate sized books" and we'll see. I have a decent freelance track record and fan site creds, but this would be my first self-publish (and I can expound on all that elsewhere). And, of course, I would include sample work and not just "hey, trust me!" :)

Also, I didn't get into it, but in addition to standard PDFs, I have built something far more interactive than traditional PDF "book wannabes" that might generate some additional interest. But I wanted to focus here on the content first.

I'm pretty excited about those ideas, too. The more I think about it, I'm not sure about leading with the circus because that might be best done with significant artwork, but I'm not sure. Text might be enough to capture that particular feel. (Whichever I start with, I'm starting small with the artwork because that's an area that can add up real fast. Best to either spend the money to do artwork right or include very little at all. Going with cheap and poor quality art seems to hurt a product more than no or little art at all.

But thanks for the feedback! I'm still in the very early planning stages, so I'll definitely take this under consideration. I might start small and then build up or go right for a moderate sized book. Definitely not diving in deep with a massive book with tons of art and maps and what not. I'm not THAT crazy. :)

Thanks again!
Ken


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Endzeitgeist wrote:
All right! As a backer of "It came from the Stars" and "Sailing the Starlit Sea" I have to say that I'm excited about the prospect of planar material. However, I'd suggest releasing small pdfs first before jumping in the deep end with Kickstarters or big products.

I missed "It Came from the Stars", but definitely jumped on board for "Sailing the Starlit Sea". It's awesome that it got funded and I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Since I'm currently reading "The Japanese Devilfish Girl" by Robert Rankin, I'd love an interplanar freak show. I'd also be interested in sourcebooks on the inner planes, provided they don't offer x archetypes/PrCs/feats etc. for elementalists - there's enough of that already out there and quite frankly, I'm sick of them. Fluff...now that's something completely different. Planar adventure anthology sounds nice, just be aware of OD's Planar sourcebook coming up - any synergy would be extremely cool - the same, of course, also goes for other supplements. The less competing systems there are and the more synergy we get, the better.

I'm also following the Open Design planar project (patron of that one), and definitely plan to compliment all these other efforts as much as possible and certain not conflict or overlap with.

And I certainly am into writing the fluff. Some crunch falls out of the fluff naturally, but these would certainly be fluff-focused and crunch would arise only when it naturally follows from that. I'm not big on "Ok, we need at least X feats, Y PrCls (or archetypes now are in vogue), etc." Crunch just for crunch's sake doesn't inspire the same way a really evocative idea does.

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Caravans of the Mercane could rock - I fondly remember "March of the Modrons" and this could rock on a similar level...

And "Great Modron March" and "Tales of the Infinite Staircase" are definitely models for the kind of Planescape adventures I enjoy the most. (I would have loved to expand on the Orcus-tainted Modrons I referenced in Dragon magazine, but it was cool just getting some Modron love out there in 3.5.) However, I was definitely avoiding being as ambitious as these adventures.

Endzeitgeist wrote:

Don't be discouraged and if you want to show that you're offering a product here, put the name of your company in brackets.

Cheers and all the best,
Endzeitgeist

Thanks for the feedback! I'm still getting things together, so I'll definitely be throwing in the company name and such once it's all set.

-Ken


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Guess I'll bump once to see if anyone has an opinion.

Maybe I should have tried a sexier title like "Planescape meets Pathfinder!" or something. *shrug* :)

Hey, Tiny Coffee Golem, do you have any preferences? If not, that's cool. Thanks for the interest either way. Nice alias, by the way. I like it! If you add HD, does it become a Grande Latte Golem?


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After a few years away, I'm getting back into RPG writing again and was thinking of taking a stab at producing some planar products for Pathfinder since it's often an under-served niche and I just love that stuff (plus Paizo has opened a fair amount of their cosmology - thanks!). But I'm that player who writes up 4 different PCs at the beginning of a campaign and then has to randomly pick which one to use because he can't decide. Same thing happening here, too. So I figured I would ask and see if there is more interest in any of these ideas over the others.

I'm leaning towards a hybrid sourcebook/adventure anthology format maybe in the 96 page range, but that's entirely flexible. They would be Pathfinder compatible, but heavier on the fluff than the crunch most likely - lots of locations, NPCs, plot ideas. Also, if there is interest, I am looking to build these into a line (tentatively) called Planar Frontiers. Planescape focused heavily on Sigil, and I'm looking to counter that with focusing more on the "wilds" of the Planes. Ruins, and small settlements far from big civilizations. Planar prospectors, bordertowns where two planes bleed into each other, those sorts of things.

Caravans of the Mercane
Adventures start innocently enough as caravan guards for traveling mercane merchants, but of course there is far more to their agenda - and their selecting the PCs - than at first appears. Include information on the mercane race as well as several planar trade companies. Several locations that feature planar bazaars. Information on various forms of planar travel beyond the traditional spells and magic items - from shifting your beliefs while travel to shift planes to "backroads" that only traveling merchants now about.

Pirates of the Silver Void (or just Sailing the Silver Void)
Fleshing out the Astral Plane with locations, organizations, and plots enough to support an entire campaign. Would also possibly include magical ship information (although I'd love for Sailing the Starlit Sea to get funded and be able to use or reference their ideas - just an unsolicited shout out to that project that is really close to funding but not there yet with the deadline looming).

Unnamed book on traveling planar circus/carnival/freakshow
Been burning through names on this one trying to find something with a lot of character but not too cheesy. I'll get there. But a sourcebook/adventure anthology on a traveling performance troupe that could be enemies, allies, or even the PCs themselves. Just an FYI - back when I played Warhammer 40K, I was Eldar Harlequins every time. So I love this mash up of bizarre circus/carnival and gaming.

Book of Elemental Fire
The first of 4 building up the elemental planes with locations, organizations, NPCs, plots, adventures, etc. Could see a bit more crunch creeping into this one with some definite new archetypes, support for the Ifrit, etc. I think there's plenty of great stuff that could be done with all of the elemental planes, but fire is of course an easier one to make exciting and help build initial interest. The elemental planes are an area that even Planescape didn't go too deeply into. A while back I even sketched out ideas to make an all elemental plane campaign viable with conflicts between genies and elder elementals, etc.

So, do any of these 4 appeal to you?

Lastly, on a related note, I am looking to use Kickstarter to get this funded (Claudio Pozas is already slated to do the cover artwork), but for a primarily digital product what sort of rewards would be enticing? I will probably include limited edition soft and hardcover options printed through Lulu for the higher backers. Otherwise, is varying levels of input into the design enticing? Or more tangible rewards better?

Thanks for the input!!


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Apologies if this is not the best forum for this or if it's against policy (didn't see anything in the FAQ). If it's best moved, please do so.

Anyway, I'm unfortunately more in the need of some cash than my Pathfinders, so I have a set of Pathfinder #1-6 up on eBay.

Looks like most of them are out of print here at Paizo, and it's currently at half cover price anyway with 2 days left. So if you missed out on what started Golarion and the whole Pathfinder adventure path series then you can provide a good home for these books.

Thank you and take care!
Ken

Edit: Oh, and 10% goes to charity (breast cancer research in this case). I need the money, but I still think it's important to help out where we can.


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Grab your knife, fork, and stun gun because it's time to Eat Your Own Clone!! Purge those extra clone workers and make room for next year's models. I've been fattening mine up nicely, and he's just about ready. Unsuspecting, but oh so ready.


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Sagawork Studios wrote:
Swordsmasher wrote:

I keep seeing this word. What does it mean?

Also, is there a site somewhere that has a glossary for obscure gaming terms?

thanks.

On page 43 of the 1981 Edition of TSR's FIEND FOLIO is the earliest recorded reference of 'Gish' as it relates to Dungeons & Dragons that I can find. The entry is part of the 'Githyanki' entry. The specific line reads thus:

2 'gish': fighter/magic-users of 4th/4th level [sic]

Charles Stross was the one who submitted the entry for inclusion in TSR's Fiend Folio, so I daresay Charles Stross is the one who coined the term 'Gish' in the first place. For those brave enough, you may wish to ask Charles yourself if he did/why he did/what the hell was he thinking at the time.

For more information on Charles Stross and his version of the Githyanki, please have a look at the wiki link. It makes for some interesting reading, especially its origins in a George RR Martin novel.

I hope that this puts to bed some of the prevaricating. If you want more proof, I suggest people locate a copy of the original FIEND FOLIO and verify it for themselves.

Also, Planewalker.com did an interview with Charles Stross about his D&D contributions just as he was getting his fiction writing career going. It seems to have disappeared from the main site, but an archived version can be found here.


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Andreas0815 wrote:
Dude, really, going two weapon fighting is the worst worst WORST thing you could do as an crusader, EVER!

Actually I would think attacking your allies would be the worst thing you could do as a crusader. Or maybe take a nap in the middle on combat. Putting broken glass in your companions' rations? tying their shoelaces together while you are on night watch and then yelling "Goblins are attacking!!"

Or maybe not just attack your allies, but going on a crusade to wipe out all of their families as well and then enslave entire nations to build grand monuments to yourself that you will just destroy so that they can have the pleasure of building them over and over and over again for all eternity. *That's* worse than two weapon fighting, I would think. But I suppose it's all relative.

:) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


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Mok wrote:

I'm not sure if the multitasking is going to be all that helpful for pdf though.

From what I'm reading about what is being implemented for multitasking is that it is a limited kind of multitasking. Essentially they are releasing the APIs that Apple used to allow their core apps to be able to multitask, so now 3rd parties can likewise use that feature.

So you can, as an example, have Pandora play music while doing something else because it is using the same features that the core ipod music feature is using.

In the end there are something like seven different types of multitasking that will be available, covering all of the normal needs for users.

It doesn't sound like I'd be able to have multiple pdfs open at once, with a convenient tab like task area at the bottom (or somewhere) on the screen that I could just tap and be able to jump back and forth between the two (or more) pdfs with just a single tap, the way I can on my windows computer with the task bar at the bottom.

I'm wondering if this part of multitasking (multiple PDF files open at a time) can't just be handled within an app like GoodReader. "Multitasking" is really between apps. But having a single app open multiple files should be doable (but I don't know the guts of the iPhone OS, so I might be missing something).


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Cartigan wrote:

Right, so when we skip to realizing I was referring to logical arguments and not deductive logic.. you referred to a single thing I said as two different points against me in order to fluff up your argument.

And never mind that that whole post itself is a logical fallacy. By substituting your own assertions and assumptions as my own and then using a false comparison, you attempt to make me look ridiculous. Hell, that's multiple fallacies!

Well, actually a common theme that I sense in most of your posts in this thread are that opinions and points that disagree with your view are discounted as irrelevant. I was just trying to clarify the argument, not substituting my own assertions.

Ok, so how about this:

I really like the iPad. I think it's a wonderful product that has a lot of great uses including in RPG play (which the original thread was supposed to be about). As with any device, there are limitations and trade offs, but none that are show stoppers for me. Once the 3G version comes out, I am buying one and not waiting for later versions from Apple or the HP Slate or Microsoft's tablet or any other company's product. This meets my needs now (well, in a couple weeks, technically), and I can have it sooner rather than later when these other products that may or may not meet my needs will finally be released.

Am I a fanatic, sycophantic, ass-kissing Apple fanboy/apologist?


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Cartigan wrote:
I'm sure that's some sort of logical fallacy.

Actually assuming a tautology as the premise of your argument is a logical fallacy. (Technically, this is more of an assuming the consequent, but no need to split hairs.)

A = Likes the iPad.
B = Is a paid shill.
C = Is a fanboy or ass-kissing idiot.
D = Opinion is irrelevant.

Ok, so the argument here is:
Premise 1. If A, then (B or C)
Premise 2. If (B or C), then D.

and the argument flows as:
1. Assume A
2. If A, then (B or C)
3. B or C
4. If (B or C), then D
5. D

Therefore, we can conclude If A, then D. If you like the iPad, your opinion is automatically irrelevant.

Just to see how wrong this is, replace the values above with:
A = Plays violent video games
B = Kills people
C = Robs banks
D = Belongs in prison

If you assume premise 1, then, sure it's easy to say that people who play violent video games should be in prison. But most people say that premise 1 is where the actual point of contention is to be argued about. Simply assuming it is nonsense.

Or, how about this for kicks:
A = Doesn't like the iPad
B = Has an irrational hatred for Apple
C = Too emotional because Steve Jobs killed his/her dog
D = Opinion is irrelevant

Following the same logical above, if someone doesn't like the iPad, then their opinion is irrelevant.

You are taking Premise 1 as fundamentally true without support, whereas most of the rest of us don't. We think a person can actually like a product without automatically being a fanboy, ass-kissing idiot. But this is a website dedicated to fantasy worlds, after all, so I suppose there's room for both of our views of reality.

Don't presume Premise 1 is true. Prove it to us, and then we can follow to your conclusion. Otherwise, like I said, it's as useful as telling people they can't actually like butter pecan ice cream (unless they are an ass-kissing idiot Baskin-Robbins fanboy, that is). You can't disprove someone's preference.

After a while, you just sound silly.


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malkav666 wrote:
Yes my post is a little snarky, but please just deal with it.

Have you read the rest of this thread? Your post is a ray of reason. So don't sweat it. (Or alternatively, maybe you just tried to be mean but failed at it.) ;)

As for open versions of apps/software/etc., I have been thinking about that a lot since I'm toying with some ideas. One avenue might be instead of downloadable apps, going with mobile-friendly web applications. That would probably be the best bang for the buck if someone wanted to hit as wide of an audience as possible, hardware-wise.


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I heartily recommend "Secrets of Pact Magic". He managed to take the concept that WotC just touched on and built it up into several different classes and many, many more vestiges (well, "spirits" in that book).

Personally, I love binders and have had a lot of fun playing them. Also, they are good to dip into to synergize with another class. I'm not big on min/max number crunching, so I don't know how well that works, but flavor-wise, I know my swordsage that regularly binds to Paimon adds a very fun and eccentric aspect to him.

But if you are interested in binders and pact magic, I think "Secrets of Pact Magic" is as vital as "Tome of Magic". In fact the binder class in that book adds a bit more nice flexibility that the ToM version doesn't have.


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BelGareth wrote:
Err. I don't really mind the 499 i doled out for the feeling of Star trekiness when i press on the screen and it follows my orders!

Just to take it further is this fun little app.


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joela wrote:
Doc_Outlands wrote:
Right, those. As far as I can tell, they are not OGC. If I am publishing a project, can I use those names in the Feats list and attributes of the NPCs? That's the re-wording of my first question, I guess. If not, the two online resources I named have feats that accomplish pretty much the same thing mechanically with feats that *are* OGC.
I'd go with the latter if they're OGC.

I concur (just to give a second opinion). Part of the OGL is the concept of a "safe harbor". Real generally, a publisher clearly states "if you use X but stay away from Y, I won't sue you". So you may be trading off some fair use rights in exchange for deeper access to other material. Plus it turns a lot of grey areas into distinctly black and white - use or don't use.

So to keep the "safe harbor" safe, it's best to treat non-OGC material as utterly nonexistent when it comes to re-use (and unless it's in the SRD or certain portions of Unearthed Arcana, then WotC hasn't opened it up). There is what WotC and other publishers clearly say is okay to use, and everything else shouldn't even be mentioned.

Sometimes it takes some creativity and it can be disappointing because there is a lot of very nice material that will never be OGC, but a huge portion is, and unlike in 4e, many, many other publishers have added to the OGC well.

P.S. Oh, if you stuck with this long-winded explanation, I just checked, and you are safe to use Open Minded or to go the original source here in the Psionic Feats file. Personally, I'd download all of those RTFs and check in there first to see if they are OGC or not.


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d20pfsrd.com wrote:
I think the two scenarios are a bit different.

In the real world and taking calculated risks then yes, they are different. In the technical legal sense, no they aren't. If you don't have a clear OGL, you don't have an OGL.

d20pfsrd.com wrote:
It was not (and still is not) clear to me that the OGL even applies to fan created content submitted on a messageboard. The content creators did not include open content statements or indicate product identity etc, so there is nothing to suggest the content has anything to do with the OGL or is in anyway bound by the OGL.

I agree entirely. I actually had a long winded rambling 6 paragraph post that boiled down to "I'm sure no one will really mind, but please be aware you are making Open Content without the copyright holders' consent. Following the rules sometimes but not following them other times can come back to bite ya." If there isn't an attached OGL, it's not open content.

But, like I said, it was long-winded and rambling, and in the real world, I'm sure fans are fine with you using their stuff and keeping it alive. I would be.

Just be aware that the OGL is a legally binding license. And if you release someone else's stuff as open content, and another publisher uses it in good faith but gets bashed by the original forum posters, it comes back to you all. Again, I doubt it'll happen, of course, but I was just surprised that not only were you guys using the material, but declaring it as open gaming content based on "no one objected".

Personally, I would have used it but left it as closed content. It's your site (and very great one at that, realize I speak as concerned fan not poop-throwing attack monkey - sorry if my other post came across as snarky), so you all are free to do as you like. I just hadn't seen someone use the "no one objected and it'll be deleted soon" defense of making material OGC before.


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d20pfsrd.com wrote:
We asked that on 12/6/09 and waited several weeks.. over a month I think, for a response. No response has ever appeared. In fact, I am under the impression those forums are to be closed soon anyway and taken offline, with the net effect of all that information... 60+ pages worth of fan created knowledge check information, being lost in the ether once closed down. Well we waited, and would have NOT used the content had anyone declined. Since no one responded after several weeks we went ahead and started bringing the info into our site. You might even note that we credit the original creators of that content in our OGL statement, which, I don't believe we even needed to do but we thought was the right thing to do either way.

So if I understand this right, you removed all KQ.com content over some question about it's status, but cut-n-pasted entire swaths of a messageboard thread because no one objected? I didn't think the OGL was "opt-out" as long as the content was good enough. ;)


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Urizen wrote:
So, it definitely isn't for those who wants to start out an Oathbound campaign at beginning level, I take it?

It wasn't originally written with that in mind, but there's not really anything preventing it. The default assumption is that PCs will adventure on their own world, build a rep, and then get pulled into the setting. But that's just the default and the setting works fine from level 1 - going with either the "saw great potential so they were pulled" angle or being born and raised on this world.


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Basic run down of it's original incarnation*:

HISTORY

DM info:

A god grew so powerful that the other gods teamed up and locked him away with his 7 most powerful followers bound as the 7 "locks". (Hence "oathbound"). Each ruled a different realm of a world formed around the imprisoned god. However, they are not willing guards and soon discovered that they could reach into other worlds and pull people and items into their realm. The end result was an unstated plan that "Hey, if we keep pulling in powerful adventurers who then come into conflict with each other, eventually some of them might get powerful enough to overthrow us and free our god." So basically, they pull high level adventurers into the setting and hope that someday each will be defeated and released from their oath.

THEME/FEEL
Overall, the setting is jacked up. As written, it was for levels 10 and up, and is described as your every sense is increased. Seasons for crops are only a month long. Fertile areas are massively overgrown forests or jungles. Wastelands are completely hostile to all life. Basically, a world that has more in common with the Outer Planes than a traditional fantasy world.

Each of the 7 realms has a very different personality from the overrun forests of Wildwood to the desert battleground of Arena. Also since every setting needs a major city, Oathbound has Penance which has been built on top of earlier ruins over and over for millenia and is now a massive plateau with ruins layered underneath. (However, apparently in the soon to be released update, Penance is involved in a bloody war and a new city is arising.)

That help at all?

* I co-wrote the intro adventure and was a general design lackey early on, but Greg Dent and Todd Morasch created the setting. So take this as someone who was a fly on the wall during some of the process. I claim no credit to the great ideas they came up with. I'm also not involved in the update (although I wish I was! Hint hint, Greg.).


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Fabes DM wrote:
For me, story is what happens after the adventure is over and the players talk about what happened. Give me a location with some interesting monsters and characters, and PCs will make story happen.

Personally, I would say a fair portion of story comes before the adventure as well with the motivation. A nice, rich motivation (with bonus points for being directly tied to the PCs themselves) can make any encounter carry extra meaning and weight.

But I agree that many memorable parts of an adventure are triggered by the DM reacting to the players, not the other way around.


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Aww man... someone posted about it a day early! Oh well, as my Outlook is reminding me as well - Happy Eat Your Own Clone Day!!

And yes, it is the traditional eat YOUR OWN clone day. Don't wimp out. It must be a clone, and it must be yours. Reduce, reuse, recycle!!


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Pyrik wrote:
The purpose of making the adventures as vague as possible is because it is up to the DM to provide the connections to his setting, story, and characters, both PC and NPC. WoTC adventures make it very easy to dissect and disseminate all or part of any given published adventure, change a few things to fit YOUR campaign, and play with a fairly minimal amount of preparation.
Pyrik wrote:
The purpose of making the adventures as vague as possible is because it is up to the DM to provide the connections to his setting, story, and characters, both PC and NPC. WoTC adventures make it very easy to dissect and disseminate all or part of any given published adventure, change a few things to fit YOUR campaign, and play with a fairly minimal amount of preparation.

That's what I've heard as well (for some reason I'm thinking it was James Wyatt who once clearly stated that, perhaps in a Dungeoncraft column???). However, I agree with others that it unfortunately comes across as just hack-n-slash linked encounters - especially when you go and advertise it as an Adventure Path.

At least with Chaos Scar, they are being clear in their intent that it's just a bunch of encounters. However, it's also why I can rarely bring myself to bother reading most WotC adventures, and Chaos Scar in particular. I just, personally, can't get excited over them.

Which really is too bad. It seems like they have spent so many years through 3.x and 4e focusing on mechanics, that I'm not sure their story muscles are as strong as they used to be. Then when you go and compare to the storymeisters at Paizo... well, let's just say I don't see "Keep on the Shadowfell" being made into a play any time soon.

On the one hand, a Paizo adventure has a strong enough story that it might be more difficult to twist to fit my campaign, but quite often it's a strong enough story that I twist my campaign to fit it! Besides, I love to read RPG material to be inspired by the ideas, and strong story inspires me far more often than cool mechanical encounters.


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Jam412 wrote:

Anyone know where to get some good reviews for 4th ed adventures? I keep wanting to give 4th ed another shot, but with my other games, I don't have time to write my own or convert.

Edit: By good, I mean well written and unbiased, not necessarily positive.

Unfortunately he stopped doing them a while back, and I don't know how many adventure's he covered but I really found Jack99's 4e Ultrashort Reviews to be unbiased and helpful, even if they are "ultrashort" in his opinion. However, most long reviews I've seen tend to just be a long-winded table of contents with little review anyway.


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First off, it sounds whacked out and over the top - which is exactly the kind of adventure I love!!

Word count seems decent - since feels combat heavy, not as much background and exposition needed, so should be good. However, you are going to some strange locations which may or may not require more environmental mechanics and explanations. So I could see the adventure easily getting a bit longer, but I don't think it's out of whack to aim for 50,000.

Something I like to do is to break the adventure down pretty much along level lines. So if the (typical) PCs are going to start fresh at level 12, then progress all the way through 16 (so that after the final encounter they level to 17), that's 5 levels of adventuring and I would break the module up into 5 parts. Two benefits of this are: 1) It breaks a larger adventure into logical smaller parts that are easier to grasp, and 2) Easier for DMs who want to use just pieces of the adventure.

As for the plot, it sounds exciting (from the opening encounters where I envision PCs trying to break through bizarre enemy lines while a massive battle rages all around to the twisted reality inside the tower). However, I would be cautious with thandling Valneeth. On the one hand, I think it's great getting past a cliche "I'm a master villian, you must stop me!", but many players might be too paranoid to trust Valneeth that their actions will keep him imprisoned and not make matters worse. So I'm not saying don't do that, just it will be VERY tricky to pull off properly.

Plus, I'm not sure I understand it anyway. Valneeth prefers to control people while imprisoned rather than wantonly destroying everything. But how exactly is Valneeth controlling anything? He is just sitting in a tower that, from the sound of it, has been sitting as a quiet curiosity. But this is just a brief summary, so that's fine.

However, just digging further into the whole "helping Valneeth" issue, the more I think about it, probably most PCs when faced with a powerful villian who says "It is better to keep me imprisoned so I can control others than for me to be freed and destroy things" would probably answer with "Uh... none of the above. Roll initiative!" I know groups that I have played with would want the 3rd option of destroying him so that he can't control anything. Option A is "He's too powerful to destroy", but that's old and cliche and wouldn't fit well in an otherwise very original plot. Option B is "The players come to the conclusion that it's better to keep him imprisoned." Now THAT would be a great twist, but would also be difficult to pull off well. If you did, however, it would help the adventure be truly great. Maybe he's the lock holding back the unspeakable monstrousity at the end or something. (Which, oddly, I think might be ok to be "too powerful to ultimately defeat". It's good to have a main, identifiable villian that can be defeated. Having something beyond comprehension that can only be contained past that main villian is alright.)

But overall, as I said at the beginning, it sounds like a great adventure and I'd love to see how it shapes up!


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Not to pimp my own stuff, but it's several years old and I'm not getting royalties, so...

Brannon Hollingsworth and I wrote a couple horror themed adventures for the Oathbound setting by Bastion Press. There's nothing in them too particular to the setting so they can be used anywhere. They are also higher level and 3.0, but could be modified easily.

They are both collected in "Horrors of Penance" which was free on the Bastion Press website (and is still lingering at Archive.org) along with 12 horror adventure ideas.

The first adventure is "Craving Darkness" for 10th level (but mostly some traps to tweak and 2 undead that can be replaced). The PCs are trapped in a vacant house covered in magical darkness. Two skeletal undead hunt them while the PCs feel their way through the trap filled house. Very fun to get into PCs trying to navigate rooms described non-visually.

The other is "Totem" which is for 17th level and more demon focused, so I'm not sure if it's what you are looking for. A kindly old lady discovers a ritual to create a totem to ease the grief of those who recently suffered the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, unknown to her, it's an evil ritual that binds the spirit of the newly dead as a hollow shell of a corpse in service of a demon (balor in this case, but easily replaced). Once the demon reaches a critical mass of servants, his nasty lair will burst forth. Some creepy vibe, but more Clive Barker than Bram Stoker classic horror.

There's plenty of other great options in this thread (thanks for starting it!) but I thought I'd just throw that out there in case you'd be interested.


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About Us page from his website with contact information.


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Like a lot of others, Kelly has the better costume, but come on Tiffany did originate the entire contest!!

So Kelly is the 2009 winner, and Tiffany is the 2008 and/or "Originator" winner.


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Dark Psion wrote:
If possible add the Akashic from Arcana Evolved as a Psionic Bard/ Factotum class.

Wow. That is a really awesome idea! I've always liked the akashic, but sometimes had trouble wrapping my head around the concept. Having them be psionic not only gives the akashic class some interesting flavor, but bringing in the akashic record gives some interesting new flavor to psionics! (And the crystal flavor hasn't been very well received in the past.) I heartily endorse this!!

As for other class changes, I'm torn about the soulknife. Personally, I love the mindblade feat chain and that's the default option in my campaigns. However, for new core ruleset, there should be a soulknife class I suppose. Not really sure where to go with it, however.

one thing that strikes me about the psychic warriors is that they could really use a "build option" to make them even more interesting. One of the things that subtly drew me in the most with both Pathfinder and 4e are the class options - i.e. PF's wizard schools to 4e's warlock pacts, sorcerer spell sources, etc.

For a psychic warrior, I can see it flavored somewhat like the Book of 9 Swords, where each PsyWar chooses a school/discipline what not that highlights different play styles. So some focus on fast movement, others on bashing hard, some on telekinetic attacks, etc. In mechanics, I could see a 0-level at will or some sort of attack modification that overlays regular attacks. Maybe allowing free movement with criticals or kills, adding force damage to melee attacks, etc.

I also considered possible free/discounted augmentations for certain powers to emphasize that this PsyWar favors these powers over those other powers, but keeping that balanced gets tricky.

Seeing you guys dive into a full psionic book is great news! I'll have to start digging around and reading through the Dreamscarred forums as well.


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Thurgon wrote:
Quandary wrote:

use these:

Mystic Theurge
Arcane Knight
Arcane Trickster

As already mentioned, they achieve very similar dynamics to 2E multiclassing.
Anything you do to achieve the same effect will be extremely unbalancing for said Prc's.
This issue has already been dealt with under 3.5, and above PrC's should be compatable with PRPG.

That only deals with some combinations though.

What about cleric/rogue, cleric/fighter, ranger/wizard (a rather perfect elven combo and no the arcane archer isn't it). I also have to point out all these combos will need some hit die advancement as well, since many of the core classes got one.

Or rogue/warlock, druid/ranger, binder/swordmage, incarnate/monk, or...?

A general fix works SO much better in my opinion than a big stack of band-aid prestige classes that would probably just cover the most common cases and ignore the vast majority of combinations anyway!


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Dark_Mistress wrote:

Yeah the rule was mostly built for caster and non caster multi classing.

Plus the 3rd wiz and 13th cleric example you gave would cast as a effective 6th wiz and 14th cleric.(cleric would add have the wiz levels rounded down to it)

So include 1/2 of all other classes (including PrCls), max double level, includes spell level increases, etc.?

We've been using that close to 2 years now and are quite happy with it. As for how it interacts with prestige classes, although we haven't officially banned anything, classes like Mystic Theurge that are nothing but a multiclass fix are basically dropped from our game due to lack of interest.

However, in some of the later books they has multi-caster PrCls that actually had some unique mechanics and flavor to them. The one time it came up, the math still worked out just fine (the 1/2 levels of the PrCls weren't counted because it was obvious double dipping).

So now that we've used that system in play for so long, I don't see us ever not using it again.


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FabesMinis wrote:
Geez, I'll happily be 'ignorant'. It seems to require less Peptobismol.

Ditto. :)

I'll even fess up that it took me a while to figure out what "NAD" meant, that's how uninterested I personally am in optimization. I like many aspects of D&D, but CharOp is one that never caught my fancy.

Ever since feats first appeared in 3.0, I thought that the "+X to Y" feats were boring and unoriginal. 4e hasn't changed my opinion. If I can make a good explanation that's different. ("Garyn practices with that wand every spare moment he has, what is up with that?" "He doesn't want to fail... again." - insert enigmatic look into the distance.)

Unless it allows the PC to do something fun, or fits with an interesting story, "+X to Y" feats are a waste of my character's choices - in my opinion, of course. Besides, like jcarleski said above, you get so many more interesting options by 30th level, that losing a few points is no big deal. In fact, those interesting options often make it easier to set up things like combat advantage that help balance out any "penalties" subtly rather than overtly.

But to each their own. That's what's cool about this game. :)


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crmanriq wrote:

I wonder if the first real indication that Dark Sun is getting 4e release will be at athas.org.

Here's the statement that is at the bottom of there webpage (has been for a long time):

"This site is recognized by WotC as the Official Dark Sun site on the internet. Content created on the official website is considered to be derivative work (as it is based on the intellectual property owned by Wizards of the Coast). This means that fan-created add-ons (such as new net books, adventures, etc.) are jointly owned by both Wizards of the Coast and the creator; neither can do anything outside the official website without the permission of the other."

I'm guessing that once Wotc decides to publish new Dark Sun material, this site will lose whatever license they have.

I haven't talked to the athas.org folks in a while to see if they have had any recent communications with WotC, but as the former owner of the Official Planescape Fan Site (Planewalker), we entered into the same license they did back in 2000 or something. Personnel changed so often (unfortunately, typically due to layoffs) that I think they just didn't bother keeping track. In fact, a few years ago I was talking with the licensing person of the moment and he said he had absolutely no record anymore of our license, but obviously there was something and he was really busy, so he just let us keep doing what we were.

As for the "derivative" aspect, that's typical fan site sort of stuff and nothing to do with their status as the Official Dark Sun site. Basically it says that they don't claim ownership of the Dark Sun material, but also WotC doesn't have ownership of the stuff they created. It has no bearing whatsoever on WotC's plans for Dark Sun. In fact, from at least my experience as the Planescape fan site owner, I was somewhat in the loop and playtesting material during the first year of 3.0, but with the first personnel change, that abruptly ended and a news site like EN World had orders of magnitude more access and influence than the "Official" fan site into anything setting related.

Since it had become pretty meaningless over the years, at some point we slowly phased out the "Official Planescape Fan Site" label and started going with the "Premiere Planescape Fan Site". Not sure if they are keeping that up still or not. Other than links on the messageboards here, WotC doesn't really have anything to do with the Official Fan Sites anymore - at least to my knowledge from Planescape and talking to the other owners a few years back. Maybe it's changed, but I'm guessing few people at WotC, especially outside of R&D even know the sites exist or care.


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mouthymerc wrote:
Since we haven't really seen anything since 2E, I am also hoping they revamp and overhaul the setting for 4E rather than try to adapt everything in the old setting to 4E to be true. The hope, I would think, would be to bring back fans of the setting, but also to bring in new fans, too.

When it comes to these things, given the span of time since we've had more than a few magazine articles, I'm a big fan of "stay fiercely loyal to the spirit of the setting, but canon details be 'darned'". With a newer setting like Eberron, I think they would have had a lot of trouble if parted strongly with canon and said Breland was suddenly a nation of warforged, that would be a bit crazy. However, since Dark Sun has been at rest for so long, I don't care of Tyr is free or not, or any of the nitty gritties of the Champions of Rajaat. I just want it to feel like Dark Sun.

Another good test for me, is the Old Art test for campaign settings. Basically it's "Can you use the old artwork?" If so, then you've successfully updated the setting, if not, then you failed.

I'm not advocating recycled art. What I'm saying is if most of the old art still fits with the updated setting, then you've captured the feel (since the nebulous "feel" of a setting is often captured well in art). If the old artwork doesn't mesh well and gives the wrong feel, well then you've made a new setting, which may be nice, but isn't Dark Sun (or Planescape, or Ravenloft, or...).


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#3. They're just feats.

mouthymerc wrote:
Reminds me a little of the people stating you needed to start with an 18 in your class's favored stat just to be viable. The game does not always come down to math but it seems that some get focused on that aspect.

This bears repeating. Everyone is entitled to play how they like, but I'm still shocked when I see people claim you shouldn't play a particular race/class combo when you don't get a bonus to your favored stat, even if they are a good thematic fit. It's as if races are nothing more than their ability bonuses. (I'm tempted to house rule ability bonuses float around to whatever you want just to break any even the seeds of this silly notion, but thankfully it hasn't appeared in my groups yet.)

It's surprising how with 4e so many people assume that mathematical optimization is necessary and the norm. I don't see it being any more necessary than it was in 3.x (maybe even less so given some of the non-optional balancing factors built in like the +1/2 level to almost everything).

I wonder where the cultural shift came from? Maybe because so much is "roll to hit, deal damage and effect" rather than all the crazy 3 paragraph spells of past editions so the math stands out more than it used to? *shrug* I don't know. I know the flip answer is that it's new players who are more used to WOW than D&D, but I haven't really seen any evidence of it just being newer posters (and besides, if the game is drawing in enough new players to shift the online culture, that's awesome and the benefit outweighs the cost of having to explain that you won't lose if play a tiefling cleric.)


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Erik Mona wrote:

I think it finally showed up in the Scarlet Brotherhood book at the very end of the 2e era.

I don't know how (or whether) it contributes to this thread, but I was always disappointed in the removal of the class in 2e, and in the ghettoizing of it as a prestige class in 3.0 and 3.5 (and, for that matter, in PFRPG).

But they handled the removal of assassins so well, especially in the Forgotten Realms. That whole "they all die because the god of assassins died, so problem solved - no more assassins!" was just awesome. Thankfully it spared the assa- I mean, fighter/thieves like Artemis Entreri.

Yeah, even if I never cared for the assassin class, TSR sure handled their removal in a wonderful way.

Is Paizo planning a "Time of Troubles" for Golarion to explain the changes from 3.5 to PFRPG? I think that should be the model for all major rule changes.

Not! {/Borat voice}


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bugleyman wrote:

For those of you who believe this decision is appropriate, and in keeping with D&D remaining a primarily pen & paper experience, what would be unreasonable for WoTC to publish exclusively online? Fighter? Sorceror? Or perhaps it isn't a class at all?

How much is "too much"?

Personally, nothing is too much. WotC could go online only and it's still a primarily pen & paper game for me, because of how I play it not how content is delivered. In fact there's a whole heck of a lot that WotC (or anyone) could do with electronic distribution that WotC has only barely scratched the surface of. I'm still going to sit around the table with my friends and roll dice like I have for decades, but, for me personally, the whole electronic distribution vs. physical books just doesn't matter to me. Both formats have their own pros and cons. What matters to me is playing the game, not how I get content from WotC.

Of course, I'm quite fine with those who disagree with me and prefer physical books and never want to deal with PDFs. I'm also fine with people who like butter pecan ice cream even if I don't. It's a preference.


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Shroomy wrote:
Um, the Character Builder was introduced after the subscription service began and the DDI Compendium has had several upgrades.

Not to mention both are products that grow more valuable with time as the data contained within keeps growing and growing every month.


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The way I look at it, it'd be foolish to not expect a yearly price hike. I'd be pleasantly surprised if a year goes by without a price hike, but I certainly wouldn't expect it.

In my mind, it's still a great deal, but like others have said, it's up to everyone to decide for themselves. Personally, between good ol' inflation, and the fact that the compendium and character builder grow each month, and therefore are more and more valuable as time goes by, I'm willing to pay an extra buck a month.

All that aside, I'm jazzed to see psionics finally get the full treatment, and at the very least those two races look to be plenty o' fun.

I wonder if any of the divine and primal classes that will be in PHB3 are also ki-castoff's. I can see some divine classes, obviously (thinking back to previous edition OA classes), but none of them are jumping out as primal to me right off hand. Thoughts?


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Actually there's more fun if you go to the WotC site here.

Very nice cover shows a minotaur & githzerai, and the subtitle is psionic, divine, and primal heroes. (!!)

Interesting that they are doubling up on primal and divine apparently. I'm certainly looking forward to the PHB3 preview material. I was disappointed that the preview later this week is MM3 rather PHB3 like I originally misread. I just find the PHB's far more interesting than the MM's for some reason.


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KaeYoss wrote:
You could also see if someone would want to write an adventure using Pact Magic. I'm sure you'd fine people right here who would want to give it a shot.

For what it's worth, I'm working on some of my own adventures to self-publish and plan on incorporating optional Pact Magic (it's me favorite, so I'm definitely including it).

But I'd love to see more from others as well. It's great stuff!


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Can't say I'm bothered about the psionic power source - it makes sense to me. Plus there are already two martial strikers so a third is a bit unnecessary. And I'm not sure it makes a big difference mechanically.

Plus, the thought occurred to me that you could reflavor the unarmed attack rules in the playtest monk with a mindblade and you'd have a sweet soulknife.


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lastknightleft wrote:
Suzaku wrote:
Let's forget about trained fighters for a second, when was the last time you or seen someone punch themselves in the face in a fight.

Well people have already talked about how the 5% is wrong, and the fact that saying it == hitting yourself with your weapon. I actually agree that hitting yourself with your own weapon should be incredibly rare. Luckily unless you have a bad DM fumbles shouldn't be hitting yourself with your weapon.

Real life examples of fumbles:

In the last fight I got into I pretty much owned the fight the entire time, guy kept trying to tackle me like a football player (i had a good 70lbs on the guy so he would just stop dead wrapped around my waist)and then I'd just toss him into things. No one watching that fight said that guy even got in a good lick, however, when I threw him into the mailboxes I managed to hit my head on the adjacent light post and so I was the one with blood running down my face at the end of the fight. Sounds like a fumble to me.

My brother in the last fight he got into, fractured a bone in his hand when he punched the guy in the face. Sounds like a fumble to me.

Real life examples of criticals:

When we were kids (very rural uprbringing) we were all walking around with sticks to fight each other with. well we saw a rattlesnake across a ditch and one of my friends takes his stick (improvised weapon) and threw it like a spear at the snake, he struck it in the base of its head severing 90% of it, only a little bit of skin held the rest of its head on.

Note that I actually have more stories of fumbles than crits.

Wow, you sure are serious about your LARPing. :)


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I'm definitely with the "because it's fun" group. We don't always use them, but at times they provide some levity, which is nice in moderation.

Plus, one of my favorite PC moments was from a fumble.

Spoiler:
Quick backstory - deep gnome fighter who was knocked unconscious when an undead army invaded and wiped out his city. So he has some undead and protective issues to start with.

The moment - A vampire led group of zombies had chased us into a temple and we were trying to sneak out a secret tunnel in the back. They were working on breaking down the doors, and we had several alchemical explosives. The gnome decides to "slow them down" a bit, by gathering all of the explosives up, and then throwing the whole bundle at the bunch breaking down the doors. He runs out, swings his arm back... and rolls a 1.

The DM had the gnome drop the explosives behind him. After the dust settled, the gnome got up and saw a huge crater behind him separating him from his companions as well as the zombies and vampire almost through. So he drew his weapons, told the rest of the party to go, and then gritted his teeth and said "None of you are getting past me this time."

What followed was an exciting battle all the more thrilling from the circumstances of the set up.

Without using fumbles, it would have been "You missed. It's a thrown weapon, so roll for where it wound up. Ok, there's a hole in the corner now where no one is." Not even remotely as dramatic.

Even if that was the most exciting fumble we ever had, the majority of them still have been fun in all the groups I've been in. I can understand fumbles not being for everyone, and playing fast and loose with them has been much better for us than having any sort of strict rules. Whenever we did try strict rules, it usually flops.


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Valegrim wrote:
are their psion's in 4e? casually interested...

Not yet, but there will be down the road - most likely in PHB3 or 4.

As for Dark Sun 4e, since day 1 I thought 4e was a better fit for Dark Sun than 3.x was and would make a great setting.

However, after some of comments in a recent Ampersand column and various speculation debating, in the "2010 campaign setting" betting pool, I have my money on Oriental Adventures/Kara Tur or some East Asian themed campaign. But, if I could buy into 2 squares of that betting, I'd put Dark Sun as my second choice.

In the end, however, there's still zero info. Sometime this summer, however, I'm sure it'll be announced.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Another thing I noticed, if a class normally gives 5 hp/level, it's hybrid entry halves that, and rounds down to 2.

So if you play a Rogue, you get 5hp/level
If you play a Ranger, you get 5hp/level
But if you play a Rogue/Ranger hybrid? 4hp/level.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of that and have houseruled that you get half the hp/level and then round down the total. I think there are enough other balancing factors that more sensible hit points is fine.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
So anyone done the legwork and made Hybrid entries for the PH2 classes yet?

What a silly question. Within a few hours of course more than one person would have done that. :) Here's the two I saw over at EN World:

here and more detailed here

Hit points, saves, and skills are pretty straightforward, so it's mostly what class ability gets chosen to hybrid. Typically, it's pretty easy to guess which one strengthens the role the most. So it's simple work for most classes given the PHB examples.

Hey, just for kicks, let's take a look at One Bad Egg's Witch Doctor class since it's awesome. Hmm... I'd say Evil Eye once per encounter. There, it's that easy. :)


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RangerWickett wrote:

In our defense, we released the first 5 on time, but the author for 6 missed his deadline so we had to bump it back a month to finish it. We were chagrined enough about that, but then WotC announced 4e, and our sales dried up very suddenly. Without a steady stream of income to cover expenses, we couldn't guarantee payment of contributors for the last few adventures. #9 came out 3 months late, and when we finally got out the last one, #12, it was 9 months late.

This time around, I don't think WotC's going to announce 5th edition, and the text is written, and just needs some conversion. Plus, I believe Russ isn't going to release the first until he has at least 5 or 6 fully completed and ready to go.

Disclaimer: I'm not currently working with E.N. Publishing. I am biased, but the campaign saga is great.

As that author of adventure #6, I'll back Ryan on this. That was 100% my bad (and still my shame for total freelancer flake out there, sorry). Other than my bad there, the later delay really was 4e announcement temporarily killing all 3.5 sales for all companies, and E.N. Publishing actually being honest enough not to have freelancers do work they couldn't guarantee payment for.

But like he said, all 12 are completely written for 3.5. Now conversion isn't trivial, but conversion is much quicker than writing from scratch. So I don't see why they would have any problem getting them all out on time (especially since they have someone more reliable than me).

But even if Ryan isn't with E.N. Publishing anymore, his efforts really show with having pulled together an amazing campaign saga that captures war in a D&D world very well (and not just orcs instead of Germans, but I'm talking fully accepting magic as an integral part with some pretty heavy duty major players to either ally with and/or fight against). It's really great work, and I can see it being a very nice fit for 4e as well. In fact, some concepts might even work better in 4e's exception-based model.

As for my disclaimer, I'm not making any more money of it, but I honestly do think it's a great adventure path/campaign saga that people should check out.

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