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AoW and SCAP both are nominally set in the old Greyhawk setting. SCAP takes place on a frontier in the far southwest of the overall greyhawk setting, while AoW begins in the very center, near the City of Greyhawk (Free City).
I don't know exactly, but I would guess that there are hundreds, if not a thousand or more, of miles between the physical locations if you are using the Greyhawk world.
Of course, if you are homebrewing, you can make them closer or farther apart as you see fit.
As for how they relate? I don't really think they do, other than using a cool location from SCAP in the AoW. The stories don't relate at all if I recall correctly.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Russel Means (leader of the American Indian Movement and Chingachgook in Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans") said he despised it as well (along the lines of "so what if the American Indians are all presented as being perfect? They're still 2-dimensional! And they still get a white dude to do all their thinking for them!").
Wow. I would assume you don't have a working knowledge of Russel Means or his true beliefs. If you did, you would know that Russel Means bashing a movie starring a white man is at the very best ironic (Means has starred in many such movies), and at the worst reverse-racism.
I'm of the opinion that its the latter, as living where I do, I deal with Russel Means' racist drivel almost monthly. He veils his severely anti-establishment, anti-american, anti-caucasion beliefs by playing the guilt card on every 'white' american for what happenend to the native american people over a century ago. It is reverse-racism in its highest form.
To conclude this rant I'll say this:
The vast majority of Native Americans, even those with the same Tribal Affiliation as Means, denounce his beliefs and actions. So please don't hold Russel Means up as a spokesman for an entire people whose word is law.
Although I would love to see a 4e treatment of Dark Sun, I don't know that the releasing of the original novels means anything more than market research/cheap cash generation.
Also note that WotC has started re-releasing the old Ravenloft novels.
To my mind, WotC is testing the waters early to see how the novels from these old lines sell. If the Ravenloft novels sell well, then they may think about re-doing Ravenloft as a 4e setting. Same goes for Dark Sun.
I do think that tying the release of a Psionic power source to Dark Sun would make a certain amount of sense, but they could just put Psionics into the PHB2 because Eberron is coming out this summer (for the record I don't know if PHB2 has psionics or not).
So, WotC might not have a need to release Dark Sun at all if Psionics are already in the system, and they could simply do a brand new setting in 2010 that would highlight the more complete game system that will have three PHBs, DMGs, and MMs by then.
My group is mixed on 4e. We ran Burnt Offerings with the new edition as a test of the system. The results were varied.
One player hates it because he feels it 'railroads' character options and gets bored doing the same things round after round. He also feels the multiclassing rules are rubbish.
One player loves it because it gives him enough options to be satisfied while letting him feel like an overpowered fantasy hero like you would read about in a novel.
One player doesn't really know any better as this was her first tabletop exeperience.
The last player has mixed feelings, falling somewhere between the first two players' opinions.
As DM, I too have mixed feelings.
First, I like 4e because it makes running a game easier for me than 3.x did, and lets me throw lots of interesting and varied combat encounters at the group.
Second, I dislike 4e because it took all the old D&D'isms and either tweeked them or got rid of them entirely. That and the rules are different enough that it truly doesn't give that 'D&D feel' that I like.
Lastly, being time strapped, I don't homebrew. This means all my favorite settings are in the older editions, and I don't really want to 'waste' time converting them to 4e (not counting the new forgotten realms, which I am still forming an opinion about).
So we are starting an Eberron game using the Pathfinder Beta rules. We want to like 4e, but for now it is missing something for most of our group.
After all that, I'll say that as for our local area (around 100,000 people total population for those who are wondering) 4e seems to be selling ok, but not overpoweringly so.
The three main stores (two LGS and a Borders) all carry 4e, but still sell or promote 3.5 (exception being Borders, which only carries the new stuff).
Each of the LGS's host multiple 3.5 w/houserules games, but absolutely no 4e games. The owners like the money 4e brings, but haven't seen any of the major gaming groups switching over. In their opinions, most groups are experimenting with 4e, but not fully converting over for whatever reason.
Personally, I feel the same way as these owners. D&D 3.5, and Pathfinder RPG, isn't broken enough to warrent a switch to an entirely new system, especially one that will fundamentally change the experience we are used to and have fun with.
WotC may be selling well so far, but I will be interested in how they are doing a year from now, once the 'new car smell' wears off and people form more rational opinions about the strengths and faults of 4e as a whole.
Sadly customers won't get that warning most of the time.
For example: This spring Black Industries released the Dark Heresy Warhammer 40,000 RPG and within two months had cancelled the line without warning. Only after this announcement did they decide to sell the line to a different company. And Dark Heresy sold out from what I understand!
WotC's cancellation of the old 2e settings for AD&D also came out of nowhere, as did their decision on the Alternity line and settings. Same with White Wolf when they re-wrote the world of darkness. Last Unicorn Games with Star Trek. Decipher with both Lord of the Rings and Star Trek.
I think you get my point. As much as you would hope that a company would give its fans warning of their future plans...sadly, we don't get that warning.
For all we know, the developers don't get any warning either until some bean counter comes down and says "Quit working on product X. We are cancelling the line as it is not as profitable as we think it should be."
As much as I like Paiso, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the future they cancel the Pathfinder line without warning. I hope this won't be the case, but it's just business, and if a product isn't profitable a company can not continue supporting it.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
First, IMO, no tabletop RPG should have any ruleset so complex that it forces people to use a computer program.
Second, just because there are those who don't want to use a spreadsheet to do all the math for them, doesn't mean that they are incapable of doing it for themselves, hence using pathfinder or other modules.
I stat out most of the NPCs for my games and, though it was always a pain, used no spreadsheets for the skills. According to your generalization because I view it as a chore and don't use a spreadsheet to help, I should only be capable of using pre-made adventures.
Actually, as you are on these boards, it would make sense that you also use pre-made adventures, so obviously there is some part of the game that must be too much of a chore for you to do yourself... That makes sense doesn't it?
In the future, I'd ask that you keep your snide remarks to yourself.
Put me firmly in the camp that despises what Prestige Classes quickly became in 3.0/3.5!
Pretty much immediately after the 3.0 DMG came out...where Monte Cook explained that Prestige Classes were a tool for DMs to use to expand his plot/world...the splatbooks turned them into just another form of 2e's Kits. The vast majority are overpowered and serve no purpose other than to fill pages in the newest splatbook.
My last campaign allowed no prestige classes and by the end of it (around 11th level) my players were happier without them.
To me, anything that makes the core classes more appealing than a prestige class is a good thing. In my opinion, prestige classes should be a bit LESS powerful than the core classes simply because of the cool plot elements that the character should be able to take advantage of by taking the Prestige Class.
Lord Zeb wrote:
This is a good varient. Actually I like this alot and think that with a bit of tweaking it could be the total solution.
If the problem is that Wizards run out of high level spells early, and the lower level spells are virtually useless in combat, maybe the solution is to allow the wizard to 'trade up' on spell levels.
The wizard would memorize spells as normal, but if he needed to he could trade out a certain number of low level spells to re-gain access to a spent high level spell. Actually now that I think of it, didn't Monte Cook come up with something like this for Arcana Unearthed/Evolved?
If you combined the recharge magic with the ability to trade-up spell slots, I think you could easily keep your caster going all day long...not just 15 minutes.
I've run both Deadlands: Classic, and Deadlands: Reloaded using the Savage Worlds rules and I've found that you just can't beat the classic rules for the flavor they add to the game.
DL: Reloaded is fine, but the Savage Worlds rules that it uses are designed to be generic to a large degree. In my experience, this led to a slightly more generic experience with less cool flavor than DL: Classic did. Also, using the Savage Worlds rules allows characters to be more 'action hero' types than the Classic Deadlands rules does, which takes away from the horror aspect of the setting a bit.
Just my two cents.
While I would love to follow Paizo down whatever road they wish to take, I feel that by trying to compete with 4e, (with a Pathfinder RPG/3.75 or by continuing to support 3.5) Paizo would end up losing the battle.
Even if 4e is only 'OK', it will be the one that most D&D players are playing for the foreseeable future, no matter what many posters claim on these and other message boards. Lots of people said they wouldn't switch from 2e to 3e back in 2000 or from 3.0 to 3.5 in 2003, but low and behold, most of them did. The same will be true for the 3.5 to 4e switch. Never mind that any new player to D&D will get 4e over any older edition.
So Paizo, keep the company afloat however you can until you can switch over to 4e. I for one will be there buying your products.
Trying to play chicken with the WotC driven semi-truck would be folly!
Thank you for the quick answer Mr. Jacobs!
I've DMed since 2nd Edition but have mainly been creating my own adventures and giving out whatever amount of loot seemed appropriate. And while I've used Dungeon magazine adventures in the past (and robbed NPCs and locations many more times), I've never seriously used a pre-made adventure path before Rise of the Runelords.
It's good to know that I wasn't missing anything, as I don't want my players to be severely hampered later on by a lack of resources. Now, my group does have 5 players, so I suspect that they are a bit under-equipped individually, but the extra character will make up for that.
Great job on Pathfinder #1 by the way! My players and I are loving every minute of it. Heck, just making Goblins interesting again deserves a great big 'Kudos' to you all!
Here's a question for the designers:
When creating the encounters for Pathfinder, do you include all intended treasure or are individual DMs assumed to be placing additional treasure for each non-unique creature?
For example, in Burnt Offerings, do you intend for DMs to roll random treasure for each generic goblin warrior that attacks Sandpoint? I'm not talking about the fully stated out goblins like the warchanter, just the ones that are taken straight from the Monster Manual.
I've always assumed that the treasure given out in the adventure was all that was intended, but my players are ready to invade Thistletop, and even though they haven't missed any encounters so far they seem under-equipped for a third level party.
Any help would be appreciated!
It wasn't an entire adventure path like we are used to from Paizo, but the Ptolus setting had a pretty well organized campaign 'adventure path' set up using areas and groups detailed in the main part of the book.
It also had three or four basic campaign frameworks set in there.
There! Yes I did it...I went where all feared to tread: One for Birthright! Oh, and one for Greyhawk and one for Planescape.
Lisa Stevens wrote:
And that pretty much sums up Paizo as a company...
They definatley appreciate their customers!
Actually, I felt that the Arthaus/White Wolf Ravenloft setting was the best incarnation of Ravenloft yet, and I think that it had a lot to do with not being able to use the old TSR/Wizards setting info. By not being allowed to use the old FR/Greyhawk/DL names and material in their products, Arthaus was forced to make Ravenloft a more unified setting that stands on it's own while still keeping the "patchwork" feel of previous editions. No longer was the focus on trying to escape from Ravenloft back to your home world, becuase you were probably born there and have only just begun to realize that 'something' is wrong with your reality. Take Rudolf van Richten...he is the prime example of a Ravenloft character in the Arthaus incarnation, as he was born in Ravenloft, died there, and spent his entire adult life trying to stifle the evil entities that threatened his world.
That said, I do agree with your assessment of the novel line. the I, Strahd books were the best, followed by the Soth books. And I am looking forward to WotC's Ravenloft book this fall.
But, I still feel that Arthaus' Ravenloft was much better off because they were unable to fall back on the 'prison plane' model that TSR created.
I am sick of how optional rules in supplement books make players feel like they have the god given right to take them for their characters. If I as DM disallow a race, class, feat or what-have-you, the player throws a temper tantrum or pouts in the corner the whole game because "its in the book, I should be allowed to take it".
Don't play with people like that you say? That isn't a choice for me. If I kick people out of the group, there is literally no one left to replace them. Gamers are severely limited in my area.
I hate how the old standby, Rule Zero, has been ignored by WotC in favor of pushing character options. New players have no idea that a DM is assumed to be able to pick and choose options for his game. I actually had to show Rule Zero in the 2nd editon books to a couple of people in my 3.5 group before they realized that I was 'allowed' to disallow options. Most new players come to tabletop games from videogames these days. In a videogame, the whole idea is to build the best character possible with all the options available. These are the players that get ticked when someone else makes an 'arbitrary' decision that effects their character options.
The game did a 180 somewhere. Until 3.0, D&D was always much more DM choice than player choice. The DM decided what options were right for his game and the players lived with it. Don't like the way a rule works? Change it, it probably won't affect the rest of the game in a negative way because not much was tied together in the rules. Now, if a DM doesn't like a small aspect of the game, like the default amount of assumed treasure give out, he can't change it without it affecting a bunch of other 'subsystems' within the game.
Experience awards are tied to Assumed Treasure by level, which is tied to character power level, which is tied to the Monster CRs, which is tied back to experience awards. If you raise or lower the amount of treasure that you give out, you just voided the other tools that were put there to make a DM's life easier. Ok DM's, you have to adjust fire. Got it! Does the DMG give any advise or optional rules to help you do this in a timely manner or with less work? Of Course not. They would have been better off just leaving the whole system out, because most DM's probably don't or can't use it as written anyway. So instead of writing adventures, I'm screwing with the CR system to make sure things are balanced. When nothing is ever balanced, why have a system that claims it can be?
Oh, and why the heck did it take until DMGII before WotC started giving out general advise on how to create a better game experience? Monte Cook wrote the 3.0 DMG. He wrote that book as an actual Guide for the DM. He actually included rule zero in there towards the front and gave you advise for making the game your own. The reasons behind creating prestige classes; the optional witch variant to give examples how to make your own classes; subraces; etc. The suits at WotC/Hasbro didn't like that. They figure that if DMs make their own options, they won't buy their option filled books! So three years later some one else revised the core books and the 3.5 DMG mysteriously lost all the good stuff that Cook put in there and either diluted it or replaced it with extra prestige classes and summaries of the Manual of the Planes and Epic Level Handbook. Oh, and they made it harder to find stuff in many cases too. Thanks for that one WotC.
I long for the days when I could run a low powered, low magic fantasy game resembling Dark Ages Europe using only the PHB/DMG/MM. Try that now and see how the flavor turns out. The designers have been reading too much of their own mostly sub-par fiction novels and lost sight of the true genre.
The game 'feel' has changed from the old editions to 3.0/3.5. The art, the options, everything has changed from a psuedo-historical medieval fantasy game, to a superpowered, comic style mish mash.
D&D was inspired by classic fantasy. Tolkein of course, but also Howard, Leiber, and other fantasy authors. After WotC took over, the inspiration seemed to turn into some kind of modern/Sci-fi comic game with swords and armor. The game is no longer inspired by classic fantasy. The mantra shouted out today is "The world must fit the Rules!" not "The Rules are there to help describe a world." Notice I capitalized 'Rules', as they are obviously omni-potent creations that must not be trifled with...unless a spell needs revision in four different books...thats ok...
I like D&D because I can remember playing the old editions. When we tried to play in a rich, vibrant fantasy world. Somewhere that was lost in favor of finding the best character build options.
Agree with me if you will. If not, thanks for reading.
Your idea about separating the three cults into different locations seems like a good idea. I definately wouldn't have three characters and a NPC go up against all three cults at once. I had six PCs go into the temple of Hextor and only one survived to tell the tale. They didn't even know about the other two cults, but had the party survived and tried to rest while in the caves they would have been quickly discovered by a messenger from another cult.
As far as I'm concerned, the cults should communicate at least a few times per day to keep track of things. Heck, even if the rest of the cults didn't talk to one another, one would think that the Faceless One would keep on top of the cults' daily affairs.
In your situation, split up the three cults into completely separate underground areas spread out around Diamond Lake.
PC Name: Frederich, Gerza of Nerull, 'Thumb' the half-breed, Cletius, Erin Hairfoot, Horus Dragonblood.
They were survived by their scout, later known as Garrick Dwarf-Friend.
Fake Healer wrote:
Greyhawk has been neglected almost completely by WOTC since the intro of 3.0, at least let it live in the mags.
Although there are rumors buzzing around, I don't think that WotC have officially dropped anything. They are leaving it to the RPGA as far as I've heard. And it wasn't until the 3.5 revision that the supplement books, like the Complete and Races series, started becoming less Greyhawk oriented as far as examples and naming is concerned.
As much as I like Greyhawk, what deities info can they possible put out that hasn't been put into a gazillion other recent products.
The different churches and their beliefs could be more fully fleshed out. If you've ever looked at Green Ronin's 'Book of the Righteous' you know what I mean.
In most cases, TSR/WotC never really got into this more than just a couple of paragraphs for each god at most. The bare bones of the religions are provided for the Greyhawk gods, but that's it.
Having creation myths, relations between the gods, outlook of the clergy towards other faiths, etc fleshed out would be pretty cool. Maybe try to go into the history of the different pantheons (Suel, Flan, etc) before they merged into the current conglomeration, and what happened when the pantheons and their followers collided.
I can only wish though. I just hope it isn't in the same format as 'Deities and Demigods', with stat blocks taking up half the page count.
The party is currently in Three Faces of Evil, having just started the adventure.
Halfling Assassin 3 (core class from Thieves' World Players Guide)
The group tried bribing their way into Dourstone's mines, but paid very little and Cultist guards at the gate didn't go for it. They let the group in, but not before alerting the temple of Hextor below.
After dealing with the door guards and skeletons, the party found 'The Beast' which was released by the cultists. Beast pretty much annihalated the party, killing the half-orc and dropping everyone into single digit hit points before being killed.
Balabar Smenk sent them into the mine after the cults, hoping that the party would be destroyed in the process of exploration. But just in case they survived, Smenk hired three assassins to follow the group into the mines (the PCs brought them along, thinking that Smenk hired them for extra muscle) and finish the job if the cultists don't do it first.
Currently, the group is trying to retreat from the cultists back to the elevator shaft, where the assassins will turn on them. Should be interesting.
Although Mongoose is toying with them with Conan and Necromancer just released the Wilderlands of High Fantasy in a boxed format, the days of the boxed set are long gone.
The writers/producers of the Wilderlands boxed set have said on their boards that the cost is too prohibitive, which is why they did such a limited run. Now maybe with the backing of WotC something could be accomplished, but I would guess that it won't happen.
It's really a shame too. The old 2e boxed campaign sets like Dragon Mountain and the various campaign settings were beautiful things.
I'll try not to be offended by the insinuation that you've made in this post. ;)
Just because some people feel that their games will not be well served by even more 'crunchy' options, in no way means that they have no imagination. It just means that there is a segment of the gaming population that feels that they already have all of the 'crunch' that they could ever use in a lifetime of gameing.
I agree that creating fluff takes imagination, but I hesitate to think that it is any easier than making another prestige class or feat. Coming up with entire cultures and situations to create a believable and fun campaign world is a daunting task at best, and those that take inspiration from 'fluffy' articles and sourcebooks are only making their lives that much easier. Just like your gaming life is made easier by having more races, classes, and feats made for you when you could have easily just used your imagination.
As for creating balanced options, if a new prestige class or other rule works in your game and isn't going to be published for the rest of the world to see, what is the worry?
As far as imagination is concerned, I see no real difference between creating 'fluff' and creating 'crunch'.
To be honest...
I'm actually pretty disappointed that the majority of the book is just more races, classes, prestige classes, feats, and monsters. It looks like some very good options were picked to be presented, and I'm sure the conversions are top notch, but it is not what I was expecting.
I guess I'm just drowning in all of these things and was really hoping that Paizo would use this opportuinity to grab the best articles that weren't just more crunch…You know, not the same old stuff that we get with every other supplement on the market…
Chapter 6: Classics and the Appendices are actually the type of things that I was hoping would make up the entire book. Chapter 5: Equipment and Magic Items might have some interesting stuff, depending on what is included and if any type of backstory or histories are included for the items.
So I guess what I'm saying is that between 40 to 60 pages of the book looks like it would be worth it for me. But I guess I’m not the typical player/DM and don’t need tons of extra crunchy options shoved into every book to make it worth buying.
Considering that this book is supposed to represent the best that the magazine has given us over the years, and the amount of good, imagination and game expanding fantasy articles that have appeared in Dragon since the beginning, it is surprising to me that this was the direction taken.
Just my opinion though.
The versatility of any race playing any class; and therefore a bewildering array of complex characters; that others find so appealing in the newer editions is one of the least appealing elements, IMO. It motivates players to create a "jack-of-all-trades" and power-game if for no other reason than so your character isn't so vanilla next to everyone else's. In an effort to make multi-classing easier and more appealing, WOTC has made single classing seem boring and unimaginative (removing any motivation to actually role-play or use your own creativity to make your basic class character interesting and unique).
I would have to agree with this statement. Single classing doesn't seem to be 'in fashion' in the new editions because your character won't be as 'cool' as your buddy's 1/2 Dragon/Dwarf Fighter/Bard/Sorcerer...
I've been playing since 2e came out and was lured away by 3rd edition when it was released. The simple rule mechanic, AC that goes up and not down, the loss of THAC0, and the other changes that were made to the system really make for a better game. Overall I am happy with the switch and won't go back to 2e. But, there are a couple of things inherent in the ruleset that need to be considered, as they *can* make for a bad experience if you don't look out for them.
First, as a DM, the new rules can add a lot of time to NPC creation and adventure design overall. Because there are so many choices when making a character, the time factor definately increases if you want a truly balanced and playable NPC. Doing this multiple times for NPCs and Monsters (especially if you decide to advance the creature or add class levels) during adventure prep can really eat away at your time. With 2e everything was cut and dry. Getting the relevant stats for an NPC was quick and easy because of the lack of choices involved. Because of this, you had more of your prep time spent on the story. If I had to guess, I would say that with 3e I spend about 2/3's of my time dealing with NPC/Monster creation and 1/3 dealing with the plot. In 2e it was about 3/4 plot and 1/4 NPC's and Monsters. Take it for what you will.
Next, as was stated in the previous posts, advancing through the levels feels forced because of the experience progression table. If you follow the rules for level advancement completely (for a four person party, 13-14 balanced encounters will result in gaining the next level)you will be leveling up almost every adventure. Actually, by looking at the Shackled City and Age of Worms adventure paths in Dungeon Magazine you will see how leveling is expected to occur. 12 adventures will take an average group of characters from level 1 to level 20. That's simply not something that equates with the 2nd edition AD&D experience, where you had lots of time at each level to get used to your character's new abilities/spells. Now a PC gains levels so quickly that the player never has time to 'settle in' with his abilities, let them fade into the background, and get used to actually roleplaying his character. It's all about the new Feats/Spells/Prestige Classes now (as can be seen in almost every book that WotC releases these days, including the 'fluffy' setting books for the Forgotten Realms and Eberron). In this regard, 3e does feel more like a video game and in my experience is less than fulfilling.
Lastly, by putting such an emphasis on using minatures during combat, 3.0/3.5 edition combats can easily slip out of roleplaying mode and into the wargame attitude. I know that this happened easily in 2e as well, but because of all of the tactical options for combat in the PHB (Attacks of Opportunity, Grappling, etc...)the players can easily get caught up thinking only about the tactics and dice-rolling and forget that that there could be more story based things going on. It's a mixed bag really. Some groups like that kind of combat, others don't. On the good side, I've found that, for the most part, the options are sound and can make for some cool situations. You just have to watch your group to see how they take to it. Due to a lack of space, my group no longer uses mini's, and we have found that it free's up the mind for more imaginative descriptions of character actions. We may go back to the battlemap, but who knows.
Other than these facts, 3rd edition opens up many more opportunites for both the player and the DM. If well managed, the ruleset allows for more varied characters, NPCs, and monsters, which allows for better, more creative stories to be told. Also, the game just plays so much more smoothly with everything being much more intuitive. Once you get a feel for the system, judgement calls as a DM are much more simple because you can fall back on the ground rules of the game when you need to.
Again, I definately recommend switching from 2e to 3.0/3.5...just keep a close watch on your game to make sure some of the options aren't abused.
Anything from the FRCS that needed converting from 3.0 to 3.5 got the change in the Player's Guide to Faerun. It also converted things from Magic of Faerun and a few of the other 3.0 books as well. The biggest update as far as I am concerned was the revised way to handle Regions and Regional Feats.
If you play 3.5 Realms, you definately want the FRCS and the PGtF.