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450 posts. Alias of Allen Stewart.


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Turin the Mad wrote:

Sneak attack is at its best with multiple weapon attacks/round. He's not going to improve as markedly as the other PCs will over time. Vivi-mutant alchemists tend towards being less effective at later levels given the plethora of foes that ignore sneak attack damage.

Please educate a fellow washed up GM. Other than oozes, constructs and elementals, what other types of critters ignore sneak attacks?

I have been a total slacker on posting since the initial post above. The group has played twice. In the first game session there were TWO (2) character fatalities. The characters started the campaign trying to help their town/village which is on the frontier on the brink of a goblin/dwarf war. An important caravan with supplies for the character’s town was waylaid by goblin invaders, and the PCs opted to go after them. The PCs arrived at the layer of local menace where they found their caravan wagons outside being ransacked by a dozen goblins. The PCs wasted all of the goblins without incident. The group then went into the lair of Louie, the Troll Chef Magnifique and his ogre henchman Frankie. The PCs dispatched some more goblins and then got to the Troll’s lair. Long story short for the sake of time and simplicity, the PCs played smart, but the PC meat shield Bob the Fighter got critically hit and dispatched by Frankie the Ogre Henchman (casualty #1), before finally beating Louie the Troll Chef into tomato paste. Frankie opted to surrender, and the PCs strangely accepted and let Frankie go. The PCs then took on the goblin leader Smitty and his mystery friend (who happened to be a greater barghest). The PCs made short work of Captain Smitty, the goblin leader, but Mr. Barghest greased Bob the Fighter #2 (casualty #2) before fighting the PCs to a stand still. I thought I’d save the Barghest for later instead of finishing the fight to the bitter end there, and Barghest Dimension Door’d out. The PCs then went back to town and did their usual thing.

In the second game session, there were Zero character demises (please accept my apologies). The group was sent to the ruins of Brookmere to disrupt a meeting wherein a representative of the goblin king was trying to bribe a tribe of gnolls and another tribe of goblin-like ogres, called "maugres," to join his war effort against the dwarven lands. The PCs first fought with an advanced Mimic (CR 5). The mimic at one point had three characters glued to him, and it appeared that a TPK might be possible, but the last character dropped the mimic to two hit points, at which time he surrendered. The PCs gained the mimic as a guard dog for their yet-to-be-found or built headquarters. The PCs then missed an advanced Owlbear that I had hopes would carve them up, and eventually stumbled on the main threat of the day, an advanced ghoul (ghast) Rogue 6/Fighter 1. At one point, the ghast had three of the four characters present paralyzed. The characters played very smart, at times running around the room so that the ghast could only charge after them and get one attack out of its usual three (owing to his paralysis attacks). Eventually, I couldn’t get an ample opportunity to try to coup’ de gras any characters, and the group wore the ghast down. Full props to the players for their brains and good sense.
The PCs then get the big encounter, taking on multiple gnolls including the chieftain and the gnoll henchman; as well as the goblin king’s ambassador and his elite goblin hit squad all at once. The PCs again did wonderfully, and wasted the gnoll chieftain, all the gnolls (except for the gnoll Henchman), and all the goblins save for the ambassador, whom they beat unconscious. The PCs avoided the ogres, figuring (correctly) that by removing the ambassador, that they really didn’t need to bother with the ogres anymore. They elected to let the gnoll henchman leave. Quite the humanitarians this group...
That concluded the second session.

The third session is coming up later this month (July). The characters will be attempting to help fight against the goblin war effort by assisting in getting a peace treaty between the orcs and dwarves signed. The PCs will be sent to help safeguard the orc monarch and ensure that the treaty gets signed. The PCs will be protecting the orc prince against multiple assassins who are all gunning for him (the Von Trap Family Slashers, Moose & Rocco: the Hammer Brothers & others). When I imagined this scenario, it had the feel of the movie ‘Smoking Aces.’ I just wasn't sure where to set the adventure.

In a nod to 'Old School' gaming, I opted to set the adventure in a 'historic location.' While the intent of the dwarves & orcs was to hold the peace conference in a safe & secure castle or manor, the orcs, dwarves, assassins and PCs all show up/get misdirected to the wrong manor house. In this case, TEGEL MANOR to be exact :O

We'll start Tegel Manor some time later this month. Sorry for the delay in posts. I will attempt to get posts up sooner given the classic adventure that is Tegel Manor, and its potential for absolute repeated character annihilation. ~KGM

Though this thread is clearly dated, I have read some of the posts and have a few thoughts, as someone who has been called a Killer GM by some past players. A fair number of the examples of bad DM'ing listed in the posts above strike me as being perpetrated by DMs who frankly have personality problems, serious social skills deficits and/or other cognitive issues going on with them. Effective DM'ing requires good social wherewithal and people skills. Knowing the rules, making the game fun, and providing logical consequences are all a part of it.

While I have certainly greased my share of player characters, I do it according to the rules, and also conduct myself as a sensible, amicable person during the game. As far as the game mechanics go, I keep encounters to within 3 or 4 CR's/EL's of the average party level. When I read stories of traps greasing half of a party with no save or way to avoid it; or CR/EL 20 opponents being dropped onto a group of low level characters, that isn't a "Killer GM," rather, it's a moron and a social idiot who has little ability to engage in a game that requires mutual reciprocity of all participants, good impulse control, diplomacy and solid people skills.

In short, these types of Kooks, masquerading as Killer GM's are giving us real Killer GM's a bad name. These clowns shouldn't be running a game. They should be involved in group therapy and social skills training through a local mental health provider.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm buying this AP. Please tell me Pett is doing a chapter, or at least serving as a 'creative consultant.'

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 hope this AP is a real character grind. I have played the Call of Cthulhu RP game, and you literally lose characters on a weekly basis to horrific demises or you go insane. I'd hope that the characters that most players start with are not the ones that they end up finishing the campaign with...

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.

After an extensive lay off, my monthly Saturday game looks to be back in session come February or March. I'll start a new thread. Hope all you delightful chaps are well. KGM

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.
Regards, Allen

I can't help but remember this campaign fondly. I've been spending the occasional odd moment of my semi-retirement from gaming scribbling up a few things that are Kyuss related. Hope to do something with them in the years go come. Smurf...

After reading those stat blocks, I am staggering, reaching for smelling salts... plop.

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...

Irontruth wrote:
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.

Fergie wrote:

You would contend wrong then. For most people in the US wages have been stagnant since around the late 1970's. Stock market has done well, but unlike some folks thought, trickle down economics are a fraud.

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.

thejeff wrote:
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.

Krensky wrote:

Everything you said about this is 180 degrees from the truth. You're listening to people who not only do not have your best interests at heart, that that have your worst interests at heart. That see you as nothing more then a mark to be fleeced, conned, and manipulated for their benefit.

I might make the same observation about your statements as well. I do however thank you for your concern.

thejeff wrote:

Much like the FCC has been abusing the similar regulator powers it has over telephone companies and broadcast TV.

And the companies had basically announced the abused they were going to commit.

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.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

Wow, couldn't work Benghazi in there?

Nope. I was too busy deleting government emails off my private server.

thejeff wrote:
Killer_GM wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Makes me wonder if anyone in this thread has actually READ those 300 pages...
I am not aware of them being available to the public at the present time. Nor were they available to the public prior to the 3-to-2 vote. Very transparent governing, wouldn't you agree.
Have fun!

Nice to see they've made it public. Let's see what they do with these nice new regulatory powers in the future.

thejeff wrote:

The reason for the new rules is to keep that happening. The main issue that the regulation is intended to prevent is proposals by the near monopoly access providers (cable companies, telecoms) to charge content providers for higher speed.

Don't worry about the government picking winners and losers or deciding what content gets onto the net. This doesn't allow any of that. If it did, I'd be against it as much as you are. This is to keep the access providers from doing so. Common carrier provisions, much like your phone company is required to carry phone calls coming from other phone companies customers and do so transparently without extra charges or degraded signal.

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.

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Makes me wonder if anyone in this thread has actually READ those 300 pages...

I am not aware of them being available to the public at the present time. Nor were they available to the public prior to the 3-to-2 vote. Very transparent governing, wouldn't you agree.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fergie wrote:
Killer_GM wrote:
Okay. Apparently they (the government) knows what's best for you.

Well it is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, at least in theory. I guess you would prefer something other then democracy?

Your other choice is big business doing whatever they feel like, which ends up looking like Pablo Escabar in the 1980's. While that does have an odd miami vice appeal, I would rather suffer the dim masses rather then an enlightened psychopathic dictator.

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?

Okay. Apparently they (the government) knows what's best for you.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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.

thejeff wrote:

Yeah, it looks like "public utility" was sloppy usage on the part of the Times. "common carrier" just doesn't mean anything to most people was probably the thinking.

Great news though.

Freaking out the Libertarians is only a bonus. :)

300+ pages of new government regulations over the internet is great news? Anything you don't want government regulating?

ItoSaithWebb wrote:

An old GM of mine once told me of his old GM and related how he use to have random stuff happen just to kill the party. For instant trees, trees in his game were known to and often randomly explode into 5d6 fireballs.

Personally I would be afraid to go into a forest.

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.

I miss these days...

Turin the Mad wrote:
Tessius wrote:
BTW would love for Allen Stewart or Turin the Mad to drop by this thread. They could fill it for pages.

Hello, Tessius - and yes, more than a few posts could be made from GM cruelties both fair and foul. :)

Allow me to tell you a little parable ...

Long ago in the waning days of 1e, a player bellied up to the table with an entire party of player characters. These characters were named after professional wrestlers of the time (for the most part), declared as being nigh invincible ... and high-level.

Lo and behold the insufficiently-praised module H2 "The Mines of Bloodstone" lurked in my possession. With a bit of preparatory research, the GM Screen was raised, gauntlets thrown.

Our Heroes of Hubris carve their way in easily enough, reaching the room with two caged succubi after going through the stone eater's tunnel, still only somewhat warm to the touch from the latter's passage.

After talking smack and casting assorted 1e buff spells, the two succubi proceeded to summon two balor demons. Said balor demons then proceeded to psionic blast or psychic crush - I do not recall specifically which - the entire lot, rendering them all in various states of confusion.

As I recall:

  • One of the two burly Fighters ran gibbering the wrong way down the stone eater's tunnel, burning to death.
  • The second Fighter stood their drooling, rendered permanently idiotic.
  • The cleric whipped out his Staff of Striking and, expending full charges with each swing upon a basically helpless target, proceeded to brain said Fighter #2 with that staff, draining the last charge as the killing blow was dealt.
  • The wizard was, I think, outright slain by brain hemorrhage from the two psionic blasts. If not, he was slain in short order by the other creatures present.
  • There were one or two more characters perhaps - all of them died horribly and thoroughly.

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...

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Tian Xia.

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:
Brother Faust the Elder wrote:
26 investigators bought the farm in the blood-drenched finale to this version of the notorious Horror on the Orient Express.
Impressive. I have yet to play CoC. I have the game, but my friends hold too tightly to their characters, and don't want to die or go insane. All the games Imhave tried to play in have been PBP and the GM has been consumed by Elder Gods within 3 weeks.

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:

"January" 4713 A.R., Into the Nightmare Rift

However, the upside is that "Level E" awaits Our Heroes! Lovecraftian monstrosities galore, including the first reveal of Big Red, my Colossal Red Dragon miniature, which shall be standing in for the Bhole in E3. I fully expect them to reach this room during the next session.

When the next session will be is to be determined as D.C. winters are the nastiest in February.

Will the Candybars at last be eaten? Or will they continue to brutalize, loot, pillage and plunder as they have all before them...

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

Very well, I shan't try. They do have numerous stats in the Bestiary IV for Cthulhu critters, including a CR 30 write up on Cthulhu himself. As to my other point, we really need to resurrect the CoC game at some point before we start expiring...

Turin, I was thinking about how one might tailor the Pathfinder rules system for a CoC style game. Could one say, Cap HP at the level 1 MAX + CON bonus maybe? When player characters advance a 'level', they get 1 extra Hit Point, and some skill points? What else?


I've just re-read this whole thread for s**ts & giggles. We really need to revisit this game at some point.

Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

The 2013 edition of Horror on the Orient Express is taking FOREVER to get finished and produced. It was supposed to be done and delivered by about GenCon this year. Instead, here we are at the end of Thanksgiving weekend and they're still working on it.


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 think Turin has some pretty sinister ideas for teaching a healthy dose of humility to the group of PCs in the Original Poster's game. All that wonderful game knowledge put to nefarious use... Wonderful, isn't it.

GreyWolfLord wrote:
Gancanagh wrote:
I'm really into a new Asian AP because of all mythologies most not-done-yet monsters from real mythology come from Japanese mythology.
I'd be big time into another Asian AP, especially one that was completely an Asian themed one as opposed to the sort of 1/2 and 1/2 of Jade Regent.

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 basic plot to this adventure is that the wagon of gold travels through the village of Muhar and onto Pharaoh's Rest. At Pharaoh's rest, some (not all) of the gold is hidden in one of the tombs there, while Avarice and the rest of the gold continues on past Pharaoh's Rest and into another portal/gateway taking the wagon and travelers back to the Prime Material Plane/physical world. Upon learning that the PCs have arrived in Har A'Kir, Menace tarries behind, to thwart the PCs efforts to find the hidden gold in Har A'Kir or continue pursuit out of Har A'Kir after the rest of the stolen gold.

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).
If the PCs successfully recover the Soul Gem, they will then have two choices. If the PCs bring back the gem to King Stephen, he tells them to seek Devious in the plains to the Southwest, telling them they can keep half of the gold if they can get it. The King also charges the PCs to stop Devious before he can build an army and start a war, which the king believes Devious intends to do.
If the PCs hand the gem over to Devious; Devious’ main assassin (Menace) then attempts to rub the PCs out ANYWAY, and (if any PCs survive) they subsequently learn that Devious is attempting to marshal an army to start a war. The PCs would then go after Devious to settle the score.

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.

meomwt wrote:

How cruel can be football. Liverpool lead 3-0 with minutes to go and end up lucky to claim a point at 3-3. The Blue half of Manchester play this evening, and a draw will see them atop the table for the final game. We will see what Sunday brings.

Last time I played Shadowrun, my players elected to enter the local sewer system in the hunt for a missing mage and the Mud Elemental he accidentally summoned. There are three on the ground, there is a fourth sustaining buffs on the Physical Adept and other Shaman, and sitting sweating in a van.

The three intrepid sewer rats have already spotted a force of Orks (actually Mages with Illusion spells up) who they left alone, and have now found a bunch of mega-Corp goons, locked and loaded, also after mage and elemental. The rats are out-gunned 2:1 but look up for the fight. Given how lethal SR2 can be, I'm expecting blood on the carpet before long.

Odds may be evened if I can persuade Mrs meomwt to rejoin the fray, her Hacker/ Rigger might be able to even the odds somewhat (even if only by running interference on the opposing drones). We'll see.

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...
Regards, KGM

I regret the end of the game. Are you still running Shattered Star, or something for Ineptus and the 'former Savage Tide group 1?' or are you totally without any game/group anymore?

Did you guys play prior to May 10 (which is tomorrow), or did the game literally croak prior to the finale?

...sighs... Most unfortunate.

Yeah, that's about the size of it. Lenny the Dwarf is hosed, having gotten greased at 6th level after having already used his "Cheat Death" at 6th level, and a replacement character is reportedly in the works. I'm personally hoping for a return of Meathead the Paladin, but who knows.

meomwt wrote:

Yup. English and proud. And busy harassing PC's in a game of Shadowrun this evening, hopefully if they come up against a nasty I've whipped up from scratch (a Mud Elemental, no less!), I might be able to toast a couple of them.

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:
- A "Tomb of Horrorish" deathtrap/character grinder AP.
- Tian Xia (please repeatedly consult the Master Li/Number Ten Ox books by Barry Hughart, if you do this).
- Vikings
- A Traditional fantasy AP: ala slay the dragon, rescue the princess, armored knights go on quests sort of thing.

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.
The two remaining PCs Bates & Squiggy then ran through the jungle (past all the other dead bounty hunters outside the pyramid) towards their boat. Upon arriving at their boat, they found hordes of demonic pygmies sacking their boat. The captain of their boat was hiding in the nearby jungle scrub, looking like a Quivering Mound of Flesh, when they spotted him. The PCs then moved to where the captain was, and the captain suggested to the perplexed PCs that they requisition the Bounty Hunters ship, which the demonic pygmies had already ransacked and abandoned. The PCs also managed to find one wounded crewman from their ship and hauled him quietly onto the bounty hunters boat along with their ship captain. The four then proceeded to set sail. Before casting off, they were joined by one of their comrades (Red Shirt the Fighter) who had used “cheat death” to return to life, and by the apparent lone surviving crewman of the bounty hunter’s boat, who came running out of the jungle underbrush at the last minute. The players, (morons the lot of ‘em), gladly had their characters extend a hand to help the sailor into the boat, happy to have another NPC proficient at sailing on board to help pilot the craft. And so the journey back to civilization began. And our friend, “Tamoachan,” now appearing as a sailor on board the boat with the PCs, quietly smiled as the ship sailed off into the sunset…
The players spent the rest of the time talking about things they wanted to buy upon arrival at port. We’ll play again next Thursday… :D

Good to see you again Mr. Meomwt. It should be interesting. We missed yesterday's game, but play again next Thursday the 17th. We'll see how many more sheep buy the farm courtesy of "Tamoachan." Never gets old...:) Are you from the UK?

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