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KILLER GM’s 2016 Campaign ‘Styes 3, Hour of the Knife, Feast of Dust and Maure Castle / Legacy of Worms’ Campaign
Hello everyone. I’ve returned from a lengthy lay-off, and am attempting to resurrect something resembling my old Pathfinder game. I have one player from my last campaign and four new players I've never rolled with before. The game will be held only monthly, and we've just started in March. I hope to have the first game's post up sometime later this week.
This campaign will consist of four parts. I’ve composed a very brief and rough outline below of what I’m expecting to include in the campaign. As things often change, I have no idea how much of this will come off as planned, but I'm leaning towards the following:
Part 1: a homebrew adventure “the Goblin Wars,” starting at 4th level to 7th level, the characters will be wading through a war-torn landscape of goblin/dwarf confrontations, looking to find a cache of hidden gold.
Part 2: 7th to 10th level, the 2nd ed Ravenloft adventure Hour of the Knife (using Pathfinder rules), followed by some adventure yet to be determined, and then conclude with a homebrew that I’ll call the “Styes 3” (nods to Richard Pett).
Part 3: 11th level to 13th level: Feast of Dust, a new Pathfinder module written by Nick Logue.
Part 4: And Lastly, I will either conclude with a homebrew adventure I’ll call “Legacy of Worms” which is based off of the Age of Worms adventure path, which I ran ten years ago; OR Maure Castle.
All the characters are starting at 4th level. Most players (one notable exception) are already hitting me up to use every Paizo book in existence...
The players and their characters for the first game session were (note the characters nick names are mine, and not what the players call their characters):
Bates the Rogue #9: Is being played by the player of Bates from many past games I've done campaign threads for on these boards. The player is the same, the class (rogue) is the same, and the feeble attempts at survival are the same. He just isn't playing a skulk anymore. I'm starting him at #9 because I think his character bought the farm about eight times in the last Tomb of Horrors and 2014 campaigns I ran the character in. I didn't count to be exact though. I will confess that I did NOT waste his character in our first session, because he was beaten into unconsciousness in the first big encounter, and charmed throughout the second... I thought I'd spare him till next week.
Patsy the Useless Bard: I didn't even bother attacking him during the 1st session because he was largely inconsequential to what happened, that there was no reason to go after him. In the rare moment when he did hit an opponent, he did about 3 hp of damage per hit. Before the game ended, the player of Patsy started playing another character (see Presto below) along with Patsy who actually did a few worthwhile things.
Chef the Gnome Alchemist and his riding dog Fido. An interesting character, but his bark is worse than his bite...
Da' Fighter the Fighter: fairly capable, but was beaten like a red-headed step child all afternoon.
Doc the Cleric: he has a high AC, and is a healing machine.
Presto the Wizard, came in during the final encounter when the player's other character Patsy the bard simply wasn't accomplishing anything worth while.
I look forward to corresponding with you delightful gents that I’ve previously met during campaign journals past, and new posters as well. Regards, KGM
I'll add my name to the petition for a Tian Xia AP, on the condition that the writers of the AP each read the Master Li & Number Ten Ox Trilogy of books by Barry Hughart before they start writing. What I don't want is a standard AP that has Chinese names and concepts slapped on like a cheap coat of paint.
I am re-starting my group. We play Pathfinder 1 (one) Saturday per month for about 6 or 7 hours, starting at around 9:30 or 10 am. I am located in Stafford Virginia. I have 3 players at present. The game will start in February or March 2016. The players are currently deciding what genre they want (if you join us, you are welcome to offer your opinions also), but the system will be Pathfinder. I run the game at my residence, which is just off I-95 and Route 1.
Gawd, I love these stat blocks. I miss the days... And the first question anyone reading these stat blocks ought to be asking themselves is why Paizo isn't paying Turin to write for them. Turin does every one of those blocks from the ground up. In a past life, Turin was crunching numbers for some emperor or another...
Killer_GM, there's a video in the OP. About the 17 minutes mark he starts explaining his theory for why schizophrenia is something that's purely made up, and caused by, psychiatry.
Perhaps the video in question (which I haven't watched) is put together by Scientologists. They have a very dour view of psychiatry in general. I've worked with people who have schizophrenia. How does psychiatry "cause" people to have psychotic symptoms. All people who are eventually treated for psychotic symptoms or schizophrenia actually have to demonstrate the symptoms before they are ever prescribed any medications for the behaviors. Whether or not you like medications, unless you want to commit 'schizophrenics' to insane asylums or give them lobotomies, medication is the main way to keep many of these individuals stable and able to function in society. Many of the perpetrators of mass shootings/killings in recent history in this country have supposedly had this condition. I respectfully disagree with those who would suggest that 'psychiatry' or psychotropic medications cause the condition. Ridiculous. You can make arguments for/against the medications, but the meds do not cause the condition. End of story.
I think you are correct that wages as a whole have not significantly increased for a long time. Mine have, but then I work for myself and can create new clients/business as much as I have the time/desire to do so. The stock market has only done well because the Fed has dumped trillions (with a T) into it. Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for this. It gives the appearance that the economy is in better shape than it really is, but even more importantly, it funds everyone's pensions. And when people's pensions fails, then the government is in real trouble, and they want to prevent this. And make no mistake, Democrats are as beholden to Wall Street as republicans are, even though they suggest otherwise.I don't believe that trickle-down is a fraud. The country has to actually have prosperity to have trickle-down. Having the Fed buy up bad debt and bailing out the stock market only masquerades as prosperity. More business paying taxes generates more tax revenue. I think that is preferable than just taking more, knowing that it will result in people working and making less (Supply & Demand versus Keynesian economics).
I find it interesting that many on the political left (and I am by no means suggesting where your political inclinations are), think that 'Conservatives' worship at the trough of Wall Street. Conservatives stand to lose as much, if not more than anyone, by Wall Street's abuses. The more money the fed prints to bail out Wall Street, the less my money is worth. That hardly benefits me and the hard working people who play by the rules, save & invest, and who aren't independently wealthy. Mainstream republicans may support Wall Street bailouts and indiscriminate military action abroad. 'Paleo-conservatives' have (I think) a more sensible view on a number of these sorts of issues.
Whatever you think of the Fairness Doctrine, it was in place for 40 years and the country thrived.
The country's thriving was in spite of the Fairness Doctrine. And I would contend that the country did a lot more 'thriving' from 1980 to 1988, and it's been a downhill slide ever since, even without the Fairness Doctrine.
I might make the same observation about your statements as well. I do however thank you for your concern.
The FCC and numerous prominent politicians have in recent years wanted to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine, (which was repealed in 1987), that mandated private radio stations devote time to all points of view during discussion of controversial topics. This actions, if implemented (and they did try) would have been to stifle free speech, and have the government arbitrate what is “fair” and “correct” on your car radio.
Nice to see they've made it public. Let's see what they do with these nice new regulatory powers in the future.
The devil is so often in the details. Whether or not these new regulations will have the intended effect on providers is unknown. You say it will do that, and at this point, I cannot prove or disprove your statement, though I don't know how you can make that statement with any confidence.
You say that these regulations don't allow "picking winners and losers." I'm sure it doesn't state that in the regulations. Naturally it would not, but it does not stop persons or agencies in the government from abusing these new regulatory powers now that they have been created. No one ever announces they are going to trounce the Constitution or break the law. They just do it later, usually quietly, via the back door. An example: the targeting of Conservative groups by the IRS (ie the Lois Learner) Scandal, or the activities that Acorn was involved in prior to them getting caught.
No one's talking about a dictatorship. The internet was working just fine prior to a few days ago when 3 out of 5 FCC members decided to implement 300 + pages of new federal regulations. Who would disagree with that? Now the government wants to pick winners and losers in the internet, and decide what content gets onto the net and what doesn't. Law enforcement already pursues criminal activity on the net. That is not the purpose of this new government regulations.
Neither you nor I need our government making other decisions and coming up with new taxes related to internet use. How's it working in China? We're about to find out. And you mentioned democracy. 3 out of 5 FCC members (all Democrats) made this decision. Where is the democracy in that?
I work as a psychologist. I hear less anti-psychiatry supporters these days than in years past. Some who are 'anti-psychiatry' are more down on medications of all sorts, and believe that government and science and the pharmaceutical companies are forcing them on us and laughing all the way to the bank. I think you could argue that some medications are over-prescribed; but this argument is usually made on the milder diagnoses (kids & ADHD stimulant meds, Prozac for 7 year-olds). I have yet to hear anyone seriously argue that violent paranoid schizophrenics should stop taking their prescribed psychotropic medications.
Anti-depressants aren't addictive. Some of the anti-depressants have 'withdrawal' effects when you go 'cold turkey' and stop taking them without tapering off. SSRI's (Prozac/Paxil/Zoloft) are examples of this. Having unpleasant physical effects when you cease a medication doesn't meet the definition of 'addiction.'
Only two classes of medications are 'addictive'. One, the synthetic opiates (pain meds) aren't given for psychiatric reasons. The other, benzodiazepines, are given for anxiety related problems. The reality is that 'benzos' are highly effective for treating anxiety, and many report that Buspar and other non-benzodiazepine medications are less effective in relieving anxiety/panic related symptoms. Are most people taking benzos for anxiety, 'addicted?' Probably not. I think the context/reason why one is taking a prescribed medication ought to be considered when defining 'addiction,' rather than just flatly stating that any medication that a person 'needs,' is addictive. A cancer patient 'needs' certain medications, but isn't addicted to them.
Some of the more conservative ideologies may view psychiatry/mental health as excuses for bad behaviors. In my experience (and I am a conservative practitioner of psychology), most conservatives understand that mental illnesses exist right along with physical illnesses, and one is no less/more significant than the other. The brain is after all a bodily organ, just like the heart, lungs and the rest, and like the others, many don't work the way they should.
300+ pages of new government regulations over the internet is great news? Anything you don't want government regulating?
Wonderful. I should have done this years ago...
Another memorable GM'ing feat of cruelty was in 2010, where I had the main villain equipped with a Necklace of Adaptation (which makes you immune to gas poisons), and then doused the group of EIGHT 13th level characters with Dust of Sneezing and Choking (which is categorized as a gas poison). The PC's saving throws were easily made, but even if you succeed on the save, according to the rules, you are still stunned (and unable to act) for between 10 and 20 rounds. By the time the stunning wore off, ALL EIGHT characters had been sliced and diced by the main villain in a bloodbath of a TPK.
Turin the Mad wrote:
Turin, good to see that your memory of that wonderful day (which I was present for also) still remains intact. That was one wonderful dose of humble pie administered. And long overdue. I still laugh about that encounter when I think about it...
Written by writers who are knowledgeable about things chinoiserie, and actually have a real story to turn into adventures, not adventures to ram into a chinoiserie-type of story.
I strongly hope the writers will consult the three Master Li/Number Ten Ox novels written by Barry Hughart. These books should be an absolute must for anyone attempting to write adventures based in this genre.
GM Hands of Fate wrote:
I've never played PBP, but if Turin or Haru ever desire to keep gacking me in a CoC game via email or a internet chat room; I'm all for it. It's like a Wiley Coyote cartoon. You know your number is going to keep coming up again, and again, and again, and again, and...
Turin the Mad wrote:
I 'fondly' remember the headaches of running multiple high level PCs. Your group is what 15th level?, and a Colossal Red is a CR 20+. Sounds 'slightly' challenging for the APL. I'm all for it. "Hardship builds character"... Take no prisoners, Turin :D
Brother Faust the Elder wrote:
Did this update ever occur? This game which I was a player in to the bitter end (as detailed on this campaign journal) was absolutely hilarious. Any self-respecting player should wish to be a participant in such a game. Hopefully this game continues at some point in the future. The Mountain of Madness still beckons I think...
Turin the Mad wrote:
So did your merry band of victims call the campaign quits, or what?
The game is on hiatus. Sean, began to work late, and also (I think) find other excuses to avoid the game. And as his wife and teenage sons are the players, if Sean isn't attending, then they aren't either, and there is no game. These shameful lapses began following two consecutive game sessions that each had (if I recall correctly) 4 PC demises in each, courtesy of "Tamoachan"/"Menace" who was actually a 6th level version of Sir Laughsomore with a Tamoachan costume. I have myself been working later on Thursdays, so I haven't pushed an attempt to resurrect this game at the present time. Sean's memory is pretty short term though, and if I have the time in a month or two, he'll be ready for more punishment by then, and the mayhem may begin anew...
I strongly agree. And as "Japan" was featured in Jade Regent, then why dont' we give "China" a turn for ALL SIX chapters on a future AP. As I said before, have any game designer who would potentially be doing a Chinese flavored AP adventure read Barry Hughart's three Master Li books, which tell of "An ancient China that never was, but should have been..." Those three books are the prototype of all things Chinoiserie. To merely write a standard adventure and put names and illustrations that are 'Chinese-like' completely misses the point.
In the next chapter/adventure in the 2014 campaign, I've opted to scrap "Hour of the Knife" in favor of another Ravenloft adventure from 2nd edition, "Touch of Death." The PCs will be 6th level for this adventure. I will be making some plot overhauls to "Touch of Death", and "Scooby-Doo-a-fying" the adventure to a certain extent. As to why I'm making these changes, I should probably give a little backdrop of the campaign thus far and why the player characters 'find themselves where they are.'
The backdrop for the campaign is that the player characters are themselves basically crooks & con-men. They (the PCs) were previously working for a criminal organization, known as "SCUM" (Serious Criminals and Unscrupulous Mercenaries). SCUM had previously stolen a large hoard of gold bullion from the local monarch, King Stephen. During the course of their work for SCUM, the PCs had succumbed to temptation and made off with a decent portion of the already stolen gold bullion. The result of this was having both agents from King Stephen looking for them, as well as bounty hunters from SCUM looking to rub them out and recover the gold also.
The PCs had hidden the stolen gold of King Stephen in a warehouse, in the port city of Anchorside, and were nearby, seeking to buy passage on a foreign freighter to sail off into the sunset with their stolen gold. The bounty hunters from SCUM and their minions arrived to thwart the perfect getaway by the PCs. The PCs had to flee on the small boat they were on while attempting to buy passage, leaving behind their hidden gold in the warehouse. The PCs sailed south in haste, seeking to escape death or capture, before returning to try and re-claim their stolen gold. The PCs arrived at the jungles to the south, and had the adventure in the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. The (barely) surviving PCs then sailed back to their original port, after the bounty hunters (all except one) were dispatched by demonic pygmies in the jungles near the pyramid of Tamoachan.
Upon arrival, the PCs discover that their stolen gold has vanished from the warehouse where they had hidden it. They learn immediately that a large wagon was parked just outside their warehouse, loaded, and left immediately thereafter. The PCs will now give chase, as the agents of SCUM, who have re-stolen the gold from the PCs seek to vanish with the gold.
Enter "Touch of Death." The two chief agents of SCUM (known respectively as "Avarice" and "Menace") have previously been instructed to first take the gold through a magic gateway/portal into a Pocket Dimension (or a Fading Land for those of you Greyhawk fans), which is Har A'Kir, (from the Ravenloft campaign setting), in order to throw off any pursuit. Avarice has traveled ahead with the gold into Har A'Kir. Menace was the lead bounty hunter that had followed the PCs to Tamoachan, and was disguised as "Tamoachan" as he began greasing the player characters during the previous adventure. Upon arrival back at the port city of Anchorside, the Menace separates from the PCs, as the PCs go to the warehouse, hoping to find their gold there, and Menace, who already knows the gold has been moved, travels to rejoin Avarice in Har A'Kir.
The PCs at length will be able to track the wagon into Har A'Kir. Then follows the adventure "Touch of Death."
The listed plot elements in the "Touch of Death" adventure have been altered. Senmet the Greater Mummy is not a part of this adventure. Ankhtepot, the ruler of Har A'Kir does not enter into this adventure either, unless the PCs go find him and cause trouble (in which case I'll annihilate all of them for their trouble). A third agent of SCUM, a rogue named "Scoundris" has secretly been searching the tombs of Har A'Kir (Pharaoh's Rest) for gold and valuables, which are secretly being carted out of Har A'Kir to another hiding place, to help fund SCUM's operations. This grave robbing & removal of gold from Har A'Kir is totally at odds with Har A'Kir's laws, and Scoundris would be severely punished if he were caught. He is however aided and abeted by Isu Rehkotep, the Cleric of Mudar. Isu was already falling from grace due to her desire to gain greater power over undead to improve her power and influence over others. The charismatic Scoundris, and his promises of great wealth, and a life away from the veritable wasteland Dump, that is Har A'Kir proved too much for Isu to resist. So when a few villagers from Mudar observed that a mysterious wagon traveled through the village of Mudar in the middle of the night without stopping and went straight on to Pharoah's Rest, those villagers had to be silenced. That provides the backdrop for the murders that are occurring at the time the PCs arrive in Har A'Kir. When the PCs are being attacked by the desert zombies (as in the adventure text) it is instead Isu, rather than Senmet the mummy, who is controlling the zombies. Menace will effectively fill the role of Senmet the mummy, as he will don funeral wrappings (to look like a mummy from a distance) and then proceed to stalk the PCs over the course of the adventure.
If the PCs are fortunate and survive the adventure, they will manage to pull a "Scooby-Doo" and solve the case, and Scoundris (if he even survives) will then get to lament "those meddling kids" as he's dragged off to prison or worse. Upon return to the Prime Material Plane/regular campaign world, the PCs are contacted by representatives of King Stephen, and given the opportunity to surrender the gold and themselves. Assuming the PCs agree, they will meet with the King, and after hearing the PCs story of stealing the gold from "Devious" (the mysterious leader of SCUM), King Stephen will scold them for working for crooks, and being stupid enough to steal from Devious. The King will then offer the PCs the chance to avoid ending up in his prison in exchange for recovering the Soul Gem for him from the Ghost Tower of Inverness, as a means to clear their slate with him if they can recover the Soul Gem for the king.
C2 GHOST TOWER OF INVERNESS: The PCs will be 7th level for this adventure. While in the Ghost Tower, the PCs will be contacted by a representative of Devious (leader of SCUM) who has learned of the PCs deal with King Stephen. Devious’ representative tells the PCs that if the PCs give Devious the Soul Gem, they will have half the gold returned to them as a reward, and then keep their lives (no more bounty hunters will be sent after them).
The E-Z Burger Bar. Sounds like the SR version of the 'Green Dragon' Tavern (in Greyhawk), where PCs & NPCs gather to get info and go off to the next adventure... Likewise, I've masked old material that the players avoided or didn't choose, and passed it off as something new. Good way to cut down on your work load as GM.
Sadly, the blue half of Manchester won. That said, I'd prefer the blue half of Manchester to the Red half. Alas... I will be glued to the tele from June 12 to July 13 in an addictive stupor known as the World Cup.Good to see you doing something with Shadowrun. I'm glad Mrs. Meomwt is favorably disposed to your hobby activities. Mrs. Killer GM is far less favorably inclined...
Good place to be from. I trust your Shadowrun group wished you were elsewhere by the time you were finished with them...?Had the pleasure yesterday of watching your 'Reds' from Liverpool handle Norwich. If the Reds can win two of the next (final) three and draw the other, they're due the EPL title for the first time in the last 24 years. About bloody time...
Still hoping for:
In yesterday’s… I think its the 6th session, of the 2014 campaign we’re on, there were Three (3) Player Character fatalities. All Five characters present were 6th level, and have above average ability scores and Hit Points. The characters are in the final room (#54) of the 1st Ed module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (using the Pathfinder rule system). They were gathering up all the loot from the altar they could make off with, as quickly as they could, as they were being chased by a bounty hunter (Advanced Human Fighter 4/Anti-Paladin2) who used a potion of Alter Self to appear as “Tamoachan.” Lenny the Dwarf had been gutted by “Tamoachan” at the end of last session. Lenny used his “Cheat Death” ability to return to life, and I awarded him 1/3 of his total HP to boot. Lenny #2 began to make his way toward room 54. Back in room 54, not only did the morons, (player characters) gather up all the loot, but the player of Medic #4 the cleric (apparently not feeling any need for haste) opted to start healing up Red Shirt the Fighter, casting cure moderate wounds on him. Medic was preparing to cast yet another Cure moderate wounds when “Tamoachan” entered the room, moving his thirty feet, and making an attack on Red Shirt #3 the Fighter. I opted to power attack/smite, rolled a Natural 20 to hit, but failed to Verify the critical hit. Red Shirt never the less took about 30 HP of damage. Initiatives were rolled. Bates #2 the Skulk Rogue went first and bravely hid with a 43 Hide check. Tamoachan couldn’t find him successfully. I went next, and finished off Red Shirt the Fighter with another Power Attack [Casualty #1]. Tamoachan then nailed Medic the Cleric with a Power Attack for around 30 HP to conclude his action. The remaining three characters present (Bates the Skulk Rogue, Squiggy the Wizard, and Medic the Cleric) all opted to run like hell. The players wanted to use a full move/retreat, but the terrain and the need to climb through holes in the wall in order to get out of the pyramid, prevented this option. As a result, I got an attack of opportunity when the PCs attempted to flee, and Tamoachan slammed Medic the Cleric again, and dropped him [Casualty #2]. Bates and Squiggy were out of the pyramid when Lenny ran into the room, and Tamoachan then crushed Lenny, AGAIN, [Casualty #3]. Tamoachan then climbed out of a hole in the wall and began to descend the pyramid, albeit on a different side than the two surviving PCs.
Turin the Mad wrote:
My regrets. I wish it were otherwise.
Why are the chuckleheads not able to make/work their schedule around a once per month game?!?
Turin the Mad wrote:
My lousy luck. I had to bail just before the GM's hardcopy suffers water damage, and I would have caught a break when the GM cuts out a lot of PC suffering on account of it being partially/largely unreadable, had I been able to stick around...
‘Cheat Death’ is an idea that Turin the Mad came up with, and listed it as a house rule for the brief and ill-fated Carrion Crown campaign that Haru, the Resident Artist, Agent J, one other player and myself participated in. It’s a good idea, and I’m going to print it verbatim from what Turin wrote. The PCs can Cheat Death once per character level. Regards to Turin for the idea.
‘Cheating Death’ must result in the character having outright died despite the abilities and efforts of the rest of the PCs (such as receiving a breath of life spell that did not bring your character to a low enough number of negative hit points to otherwise survive). Doing so still results in being ‘dead for the fight’, the precise consequences will vary. If you ‘cheat death’ in a lava flow, you’re going to be looking like Darth Vader before he got the fancy cybernetics. If you ‘cheat death’ after getting hacked into chunky salsa by a big ass sword, something got lopped off. And so on. There are game mechanical penalties of course. How severe depends on how far past “dead” you went. If you only went a little bit past dead, maybe you had a finger or toe lopped off. If you took an arrow, crossbow bolt or bullet to the brain, you lost an eye and maybe some cognitive function (Int and/or Cha penalties) depending on how far past ‘dead’ your character went. If you were killed by a big ass sword, your disemboweling leaves you permanently weakened but alive (Con penalty), or you lost a hand, an arm or a leg. If you did the Darth Vader Dive into a lava pit, you are missing both of your legs, an arm, a hand and are sucking on some serious internal organ damage – but you survived! The “darth vader dive” assumes that your character’s immersion in lava is what killed him.