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Dark Ice Brownie

Landon Winkler's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 427 posts. 31 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist.

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There are some cool options, but there could certainly be more cool options. We have a channel-loving cleric in our game who would like another feat or two, certainly.

I offered more feats along the lines of Quick Channel (sacrificing an extra use for empower, a use for widen, or two uses for maximize), but he hasn't bitten. He absolutely loves Quick Channel and did take the channel breath of life feat, though, which might come in handy.

Honestly, though, I think the main reason there aren't other metachannels is that quick channel makes them pretty obsolete. There's little need for an empower or maximize when you can drop two channels in a round. Widen would have been eh to begin with.

I'd certainly accept more channel feats, but I feel like at this point it's largely gilding the lily. There's space for stuff like clearing status effects or moving those healed (friendly equivalent to channel force), but it already does its core role so well I don't feel it needs much.

I'm kind of stunned by the negativity towards channel some people in this thread have, though. I mean, it's the internet, so I should expect that, but I personally point to channel as one of the best improvements between 3.5 and Pathfinder.


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I don't miss it, no.

If I were going to include a healing cantrip, I'd probably have it increase the effectiveness of "Treat Deadly Wounds" with the Heal skill. Like adding your ranks in Heal to the amount healed.

But, even then, I'd rather have that be a feat or alchemical item, to spread healing around a little.

fel_horfrost wrote:
I just thought it might end the 15 minute adventure day as is.

The real question is what you're trying to get around. If you're okay with the party starting at full resources every fight, but think it's weird that they rest constantly, just restore HP and spells after every fight.

Most complaints about the 15 minute day, though, are about how players are getting around the intended play (slowly wearing down the party over the course of a day). In that case, you need to push your party harder. Giving them the benefits of the 15 minute day, even repackaged in orison form, wouldn't help you at all in that case.

If you're pushing the characters so hard that they would literally die with one more encounter, you're probably better off increasing starting HP than restoring full HP after every fight. Or maybe easing off on the encounter difficulty.


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One thing I've been considering is redefining flat-footed from "when an enemy can't apply their dex bonus" to "when an enemy is not applying a dex bonus."

Basically, making sneak attack usable against whose flat-footed AC matches their normal AC. Flavorwise, if the target is so slow it doesn't matter if they're aware of the rogue's presence, it seems like the rogue should be able to take advantage of that.

It has the side effect of generally scaling well, with larger enemies appearing at higher level and often having abysmal dex. Having the rogue shine against giant, slow enemies hits a good flavor spot for me too.


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The actual question here is "why would high-level wizards use ships instead of teleportation to transport cargo?" And, when high-level wizards transport cargo, teleportation is a good option.

But, if a wizard is going to put the effort into building a teleportation network, I'd expect something more in it for them than the nominal gains from creating magical items.

At the very least, I'd expect them to run the network themselves and make ridiculous amounts of money by charging a premium and poaching customers from traditional shipping. And, if that's happened, I'd imagine competition between them and any upstarts could get... unpleasant.

Or they could use it like the Inspired to gain incredible strategic advantage for a country they're attached to. There are things much more important than gold, especially at high level.

For my time, the best use of a network like this is to set up a demonstration and then ask every trading company within teleportation range how much money it's worth to bury it for them. It's going to be cheaper for them to buy you off than assassinate a high-level wizard.

Even if you have some grudge against seafaring and caravans, a wizard capable of casting spells of that level is also intelligent enough to suspect the economic repercussions of their actions.

Is selling one set of teleportation circles worth driving several caravans or ships out of business, along with their builders and suppliers? Particularly if you're talking about a wholesale replacement of those industries, entire cities or even nations can lose their economic reason for being. It's not as though wizards don't have other, infinitely less disruptive, ways to make money.

If players want to play economics, hardball economics can make for good high-level campaigns. But there are plenty of reasons for NPCs to protect the status quo until the PCs get there.

Actual Play Example:
Something very much like this actually happened in my long-running 2nd Edition campaign. Two PCs gained control of a city and one of them built a network of free gates to connect it to the other major cities on the continent, with the goal of making their city the nexus of all trade.

They even installed a cooldown of sorts, so people would have to spend the night in the city after each hop. High-level wizards played by canny players are scary, but probably still less scary than a high-level wizard should be.

But there's no way they would have done something like that just because someone paid them. And, if someone had brought it up, they would have given that person some consideration and then made the network themselves. You don't become an archmage to do piecework for some merchants.

Trade routes were rearranged, with many drying up as trade was shunted through the PCs' city. In the course of a decade game time, many towns and even military outposts along those routes became ghost towns.

More people moved into the cities, near the gates, but it's not as though there were magically a bunch of extra jobs. And, with many roads falling out of general use and areas losing strategic importance, the routes traditionally used to pass between those cities were slowly ceded to monsters.

With a staunchly neutral city mediating all trade, there was also less reason to fear disturbing relations with other countries. The former trade power (now just one satellite of the gate network) could begin expanding militarily for the first time in centuries. On the bright side, the resulting war employed a lot of the people who had lost their jobs with shifting trade patterns.

The PCs got what they wanted... at the expense of making their city a hotbed of espionage along with trade, reducing dozens of vibrant settlements to monster bait, and embroiling the continent in a new war.

I don't suggest making all (or even most) campaigns about economics, but if your PCs want to revolutionize the world, they're handing you a major plot hook. Grab it and run.


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What Set said!

I'd expand on Nethys a bit, though, because he's both the god of magic and creation/destruction. Absorbing offensive magic but still using it to destroy something (be it the original caster or something else) seems like it would be right up his alley, moreso than pure abjuration or even pure invocation.

For mechanics, I'd check out the arcanist from the Advanced Class Guide playtest rules. They have the advanced counterspelling, power management, and blasting pieces there already. You just need the right arcanist build or to port those over into feats or a new class.


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Pan wrote:
W E Ray wrote:


And here's hoping they decide to stop, at least for a couple years (4 APs), doing the "experimental" APs.

Modules are a great venue for time travelling and SciFi Planet adventures and all that other hogwash that's only fun every once in a blue moon.

The APs should stick to new twists and plays on the classic D&D / high fantasy swords & sorcery tropes.

No way, I like the mix it should be 50/50.

I personally really like the 50/50. It takes us about a year to get through an AP, which means having a safe AP and one attempt to hit it out of the park in that time is perfect for us. Obviously, other groups will have other tastes.

On the bright side, "experimental" doesn't really mean "crazy setting" in this context. Wrath of the Righteous and Shattered Star are both entrenched in long-standing fantasy traditions. I mean, fighting an army of demons and dungeon crawling to gather the fragments of a shattered artifact? It's hard to get more classic than that.

They're just experimental in other ways (the Mythic rules and being a sequel, respectively). I wouldn't want sequels or Mythic paths all the time either, but I'm glad they keep trying new things.


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Mikaze wrote:
That's where the Wati article comes into play for me. It's practically the other half of the adventure. I definitely wouldn't run straight through the adventure as a GM< but try to weave it back and forth with events in Wati, before and during the adventure itself.

Yeah, I actually really appreciated the way the adventure was structured to give natural times to hook in the Wati and rival adventuring content.

It's basically three separate mini-adventures with one home base, which gives you time to pace the RP and action so your players don't get overwhelmed with one or the other. And a few scenes explicitly to bring in the church and various rivals.

I'll end up doing the legwork of RPing, but that'd be the case even if they gave me an entire book of nothing but roleplaying information. I think they hit a good balance in this case, although I can see people wanting more direction.


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Tourq wrote:

Interesting, thanks!

How did you make him a fanboy?

Looking at his backstory, I think Karzoug is the only person who ever really accepted him or treated his skills as anything other than a vile secret. He's also sort of possessed, but I played him like a true believer who'd really be into it even without Karzoug's influence.

His basic sales pitch was "We can set aside our conflicts, leave behind our age of bickering tribes, humans and giants ruling side by side, a return to the prosperity of Thassilon of old."

As far as Karzoug "And who better to lead us than Karzoug, the architect of the previous Golden Age and the greatest of Thassilon's runelords?" Which is where the fanboy part totally comes in.

You can foreshadow Xin-Shalast a bit with something like "He carved Thassilon's greatest city from the realm of nightmares, an oasis of boundless luxury where the streets are literally paved with gold."

I made a point to hit on gold and prosperity a lot during the pitch, keeping thing's firmly in Greed's court. I'm not sure if my players picked up on it, but it amused me.

I don't have an arcane caster in my group, but he'd probably be most confused by them standing against him. The idea of a society where rulership is determined by magical skill really appeals to Mokmurian and he'd imagine other casters would feel similarly.

That's probably his justification for giant slavery in old Thassilon too, if the party brings it up. It's not his fault that those giants are stupid. If they studied more, they could be in Karzoug's inner circle like him.


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Hi Mr. Gerbik, welcome aboard!

As Tangent101 said, they shouldn't run into too many problems. The APs are designed with a pretty casual group in mind.

That said, once you have the group set, it always pays to go through the adventures and make sure that there isn't anything that'll totally hit them unprepared. Traps that no one in your party can find, combats with flying opponents when your party only has melee characters, or monsters that inflict long-term status effects your party can't remove... stuff like that.

If you're still concerned after everyone creates their characters, I'd suggest starting a thread about the exact circumstance. Barring some very suboptimal choices, though, they should be fine.


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I really like the new format, particularly having some adventure content integrated with the story.

In the old format, I read everything but the fiction and think to myself "once I have the whole AP, I'll go back and read the fiction." Then I forget to go back and read it. Which kind of makes me feel like a jerk, but there you have it.

But with it integrated more closely, I'll probably read it along with the rest of the issue. There's no guarantee I'll like all of it, but I'll definitely be getting more value out of it now than in the past.


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I noticed this too, reading through the Adventure Path. I was like "woah, two same-sex couples featuring in prominent roles."

Then I realized that I wouldn't have had the same thought if they were opposite-sex couples.

It's like the first issue of Shattered Star, when I realized that almost every NPC is female. I, certainly, wouldn't have noticed if they were mostly or even exclusively male. Even a cursory reading would show that's normal in modules and at my table when ad libbing.

It's also like Burnt Offerings, when I realized that the NPCs care about sex. This enormous drive that defines so much of who we are and what we do... left out because I hadn't stopped to think about it enough.

For me at least, having a bunch of same-sex couples is important because it makes me take notice. Because if I don't notice that I've been screwing this up for decades, I can't even start fixing it.

So to Paizo I say "Keep challenging my privilege." I'll still be a middle-class college-educated white dude in an opposite-sex relationship. But I'm not going to grow as a person or a GM if my assumptions don't get rattled sometimes.


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mkenner wrote:
I don't usually have much in the way of magic item markets within my campaigns. They just seem like too much of a high-ticket item to sit on a shelf somewhere. Instead various guilds trade items around the world. A player who is interested in obtaining a certain item just finds a broker, who for a large finder fee (the 50% markup in the book) uses their contacts to either order one in from another city or to have it commissioned.

I just wanted to say the fee for brokering is brilliant. That neatly explains that mark-up and, at the same time, potentially creates some plot hooks or provides some interesting alternate rewards.


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There was some talk at the Emerald Spire seminar at GenCon that the final (James Jacobs) level of the spire will shed some light on mysteries of Orv and the Vault Keepers/Builders.

That's all I got, but figured you'd want to know.


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I have a great group with one player who's been in a ton of my games (spoiler alert: I'm married to her), one long-time player who joined our group at the start of this campaign, someone with a couple campaigns under her belt, and a brand new player. They're all awesome.

I hear a lot of good things about our GM (spoiler alert: that's me) and I hear a lot of good things about Pathfinder. Everyone's been really enjoying Rise of the Runelords and we're about to hit the final showdown in Sins of the Saviors.

After that, we're planning on doing Shattered Star. We might use the Mythic Rules, but are almost assuredly using the Advanced Class Guide playtest.

But, yeah, we love the game and how it's growing and changing. And what complaints we do have get handled openly and taken care of without drama.


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I can understand why the sort of people who post on these threads are lukewarm to the idea of a strategy guide, but I have new players that are going to love this. The Core Rulebook is incredibly intimidating, as easy as it is to use when you already know everything in it.

So I'm very excited to see this coming out. Thanks, Paizo!


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Personally, I love plots like this, so I'd give the players mixed but generally positive results.

I'd have each leader approached give dire warnings about not trusting the other cults for various reasons. If the players work through the bad blood, they can get a powerful ally or two. If they don't filter through things, they might get a mole.

Here's how I see it breaking down, just based on the gods:

The cult of Dispater will probably be the most helpful. Asmodeus and Rovagug have issues going way back and Dispater is, if not loyal, then at least extremely close to Asmodeus.

The biggest complication is probably that the clergy of Dispater will probably expect to be put in charge or at least make a serious powerplay. They might ask, for example, for the local authorities to recognize them as an official church in exchange for their help.

Most cultists of Urgathoa are planning on becoming undead (or have already). If these cultists fall into that category, they can probably be convinced to be helpful. After all, you're only as immortal as you can keep yourself alive.

The complication from Urgathoa is probably in their methods. Infecting the denizens of the Darklands with various diseases to weaken them and prevent further raids, raising undead troops, and generally offending the sensibilities of everyone around them. If the plagues they release happen to effect non-combatants or stick around after the invasion is turned aside... well, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?

I find it hard to see Zyphus helping. He's pretty nihilistic. If anything, they might take the coming tide as their opening to send as many people to Zyphus as possible.

I'd have the other cults be pretty explicit about this, to the extent of offering to help put Zyphus's worshippers down. But if the players ally with Zyphus... well, on their heads be it.


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Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Landon, it's not a competition about whose life is harder. Its an attempt to provide some perspective on the situation.

I'm also trying to add a bit of perspective. I don't think our points are actually all that different.

But we diverge if you say we shouldn't be providing positive feedback to Paizo. We don't have the luxury of knowing what's going on in their team's lives or how happy they really are at the end of the day. We also don't have the luxury of somehow diverting our positive feedback to someone less fortunate.

So, say nice things about Paizo when they deserve them. Let your GM or players know when they had a good session or a sweet idea. Thank forum moderators when they create a friendly environment. Tip well for good service, if you can afford it. Let teachers know if they taught you something and students know if they learned something.

Just because someone's better off than me or has what I imagine would be a dream job doesn't exempt them from that basic courtesy.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I appreciate how some fans of Paizo feel a need to rally to the defense of the Paizo developers. But sometimes the reality is that some, at least, of the criticism is deserved. Then the knee-jerk protective reaction is counter-productive since it shields the developers from criticism that is deserved.

Perhaps your experience is different, but I've always found that counter-productive feedback is just whatever kind that annoys the recipient. And whether that's because of vitriol, smarminess, repetition, all caps, grammar, or some pet peeve... if you annoy the person you're giving feedback to, they're less likely to listen and will judge your idea below its merits. That's just human nature.

But honest positive feedback is never wasted. Specifics are more useful for choosing direction than vague generalities, to be sure, but it's still never wasted.

I want people to be happy, as a general rule. Much more so if they've added enjoyment to my life, as basically everyone on the Paizo staff have, individually or together.

And, even if them being happy has no impact at all on the products I get in the mail, that has worth.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I believe this is one of those times. I understand what the developers were trying to do, but this is a cluster f*** of serious proportions, and trying to pretend otherwise does nobody any good.

People are obviously quite excited about arguing about it. As I said before, more power to them.

But people care about very different things. I would be hard-pressed to categorize any Pathfinder FAQ update as being a cluster, let alone one of serious proportions. The forum response might qualify for the folks who have spent their weekend putting out fires.

So it might be worth considering that people aren't pretending at all. It might not be a cluster to them. There's room to care about the game very deeply and not have an FAQ entry even show up on your radar, let alone be a major feature of your day.


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Adamantine Dragon wrote:
That's all I'm saying. I appreciate the Paizo staff, I really do, but all this "oh you poor abused people" nonsense is just hilarious. They sit at a computer keyboard and read messages, which they can delete without fear of a knife coming out. Seriously people. It's a b%$@! sometimes, but let's not get carried away.

I'm sure we could have a great contest about whose life is harder and whose jobs and spouse's jobs are worse, but... you know what? It doesn't really matter. Some of us have managers with unreasonable expectations, some of us get death threats regularly, some of us get splattered with acid on a daily basis. We all have our own problems.

But doing your honest best at something you care about and having people dump on it sucks. Whether it sucks more or less than a soulless corporate grind or walking new employees through the bomb threat procedure is completely irrelevant.

All that matters is that it sucks and that trying to put it into perspective with a little positive feedback is laudable. If you think other people also need positive feedback, I won't contest that in the slightest, but the simple solution is to give those people positive feedback as well.


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Thanks for making this thread.

Some people seem really excited about arguing. More power to them, really, I hope they're enjoying themselves, but I've been hiding thread after thread for the past couple days. Because I'm not going to stand around arguing that we shouldn't be arguing.

Anyway, thanks to the developers for continuing to provide a great product and the community staff for wading through the vitriol to make sure nothing crosses the line.

I won't pretend to be the majority, because I have no real idea. But I'll be over here enjoying your game rather than arguing about it on the internet.


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From a native of Northern Wisconsin, thanks for the Hodag. It's like having a little bit of home in the Bestiary.

And the mini looks awesome!


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Jeff Erwin wrote:
Where is Carcosa?

At the end of the play, we learn Carcosa was inside us all along.

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Honestly, I think the answer is "don't optimize."

Shoot, instead, for a consistent power level with the other PCs so that the GM can challenge all of you with the same encounter and everyone can contribute.


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Probably the greatest strength to the Inner Sea is that each country largely stands alone. So each country could probably have it's own list.

I'd honestly suggest focusing on one area and exploring its theme or one theme and exploring its areas. There's a lot in the Inner Sea Region, to the extent that you shouldn't try to cram it all into one campaign.

Some of my favorites, in the order they occurred to me:
1) Goblins. Pathfinder goblins are hilarious and, if you hit the notes right, creepy at the same time. If you haven't dealt with them a lot, I'd download We Be Goblins to get the flavor.

2) Cheliax. It's a giant evil nation that's obviously evil, has a good reason for citizens to be okay with it, and is not completely dysfunctional.

3) Aroden. The death of Aroden and the subsequent failure of prophecy is a huge blessing. Don't let yourself get suckered into prophetic plots and, if you do, have the out of prophecy not being reliable anymore.

Bonus points for the Worldwound and the Eye of Abendego.

4) Kaer Maga. There's probably no reason to go up there unless you're in Varisia, but it's one of my favorite fantasy cities ever.

5) Magnimar. Also a great city, with some really good hooks in its monuments.

6) Thassilon. Great ancient civilization with lots of hooks to the modern day and a good feel that pervades its monuments.

Can you tell I'm running a game in Varisia now?

7) The Pathfinder Society. If you're going to run a game trying to visit everything cool in the Inner Sea, this is almost a must. They provide a good reason to go just about everywhere.

8) Axis. Not really in the "Inner Sea Region" per se, but the plane of law being a giant city should be done more often. Also, I have a soft spot for Axiomites.

9) Desna. Friendly goddess of Travel and Dreams, with just a little edge of creepiness.

10) Isger. It sounds weird, but I really like this place. There are a lot of places you can adventure, but damn does this place need adventurers.


Goblin Squad Member

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Bluddwolf wrote:
Blog wrote:
* PvP conflicts where the death of the target means no gain for the attacker, i.e. randomly killing people for no reason.
None of these apply to banditry, unless it is repeatedly used against the same person, by the same person, which the devs have already described the punishment for that.

It's not a problem in actual banditry. If the tools you're using to encourage banditry also reward "randomly killing people for no reason," then you have a problem.

Bluddwolf wrote:

The "Conga Line" issue you bring up has been dealt with. Bandits will get a double rep hit for attacking a merchant after the merchant has already given into a SAD. The way the bandits will know that the merchant has given into a SAD is that the merchant would have the "fleeced flag".

My question in this tread is addressing the potential exploit of merchants using their own alts, to generate a "Fleeced Flag", without actually being fleeced. There is still no answer to that issue.

I'm sorry if it wasn't clear I was talking about the Conga Line in regards to other people who want Fleeced removed. If you want to keep Fleeced, that's obviously not a problem.

I also did read your first post and understood the problem you're pointing out. That's actually why I suggested penalizing the people who S&D'd someone first than the person who did so last, because the Fleecer in town would be the one taking the hit and the actual bandits would be in the clear.

Even if you hate the idea, it's not me trying to undercut your bandit mojo. I'm just seeing if we can find a better fix than the Fleeced tag.

Bluddwolf wrote:
Wow!! You really are at a huge disadvantage... I wouldn't even try to harvest and bring to market resources with a deck stacked against me like that.

Yeah, I know, it's hard being me :P

In-game, I'll obviously be struggling to avoid bandits as much as possible. It doesn't mean I want that to be made easy. I just don't want the experience when I do get caught to be miserable. I don't think that's much to ask.

In all seriousness, I think a system where Outlaws gain (instead of lose) reputation for killing people near their hideouts would be more fun for me, the non-Outlaw, than Stand and Deliver. That would make life way harder, but certainly more interesting.

Which is to say: I really don't think Stand and Deliver is too hard. I'm just not seeing how it'd actually be fun yet.

Anyway, we seem to be talking past each other, but I hope you get an answer to your question about Fleeced. You did raise a good concern


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The reason I think the reputation loss is an interesting idea is because I think it would really motivate bandits to go after others in their territory, and that's what they should be doing.

Yeah, it's kind of funny being accused of trying to destroy PvP when I want to open up the conflict to more parties. Encouraging outlaws to claim territory (outside of the settlement system) can be done in a number of ways, but is really something that should be done somehow.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I also see appeal in just scrapping the Fleeced flag (or making it strictly for show, so other bandits know they've got competition) but I think the reputation loss idea has a lot of merit.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Fleeced. But, if the alternative is letting people get stand and delivered over and over, I'll take it.

Mbando wrote:
Thanks--that's exactly what you're missing. The system is NOT meant to make PvP infrequent. It's for PvP to make sense.

I absolutely agree that it's a goal to create a structured PvP environment.

But why do they want structured PvP? It's not so it's internally consistent. It's nice if it makes sense, but it's structured to drive certain player behaviors.

That's probably not news to you. I mean, they say it at the top of the blog, so I don't feel I'm showering you with ancient wisdom or anything. But they're trying to discourage behaviors that make PvP victims hate the game.

Near the top of that list is getting ganked over and over while they're trying to do something else. If people didn't hate that and Goblinworks weren't trying to discourage it, we wouldn't have all these flags and timers and reputation hits. If you were expected to be unprotected in the wilderness, no one would lose Reputation outside of town and flags like Traveler wouldn't exist to reward dropping your protection.

So the point of the robbery system is to create a framework victims can enjoy more than getting ganked. Then the game rewards outlaws for using Stand and Deliver rather than just attacking, making PvP more enjoyable overall.

Which means if someone's suggestion for Stand and Deliver is as bad as getting ganked or allows people to be gank with impunity, that's completely relevant. The system can make all the sense in the world, but still fail at it's primary goal of encouraging positive behavior.


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Mbando wrote:
It's supposed to be non-consensual PvP. So if SAD is every bit non-consensual PvP, then the design goal is being met. Choosing how to solve a social problem like robbery, both in the immediate tactical sense of a stick-up, and in the larger, strategic sense of making a hex safe for passage, is a big part of the content of the game.

Well, one of us is deeply misunderstanding what Goblinworks wants to do with this system.

Goblinworks has put a lot of time and effort into gently encouraging people to open themselves to PvP precisely because they don't want a lot of non-consensual PvP going on. I don't know why they'd go through all that effort, then let thieves run rampant.

On a deeper level, getting bullied and shaken down might actually be less fun than getting ganked. Much of the reason people quit after ganking, particularly repeated ganking, is the feeling of powerlessness.

And after you've been shaken down a couple times in a row and admitted you can't do anything about it, why bother logging back in?

Bending people to your will by making them admit their own powerlessness might be "content," but I can't see how it fits into the vision of a game with limited PvP.

Mbando wrote:
Basically, suggestions that destroy game content aren't useful.

That's a good catch phrase but, like most catch phrases, misses the point. Content can and does have negative consequences on the game, far beyond the value it adds.

I'm probably going to end up being a harvester in game, the sort of person you want to be robbing. I could advocate for a system that let me get rare resources in safe areas. That's content and I'd play the hell out of it, but I'd enjoy the game less because there's no risk and you'd enjoy the game less because you couldn't steal my stuff.

Similarly, you're asking for the Goblinworks-sanctioned ability to rob or attack me without consequences. The content there is me. I'd enjoy the game less because their idea of limited PvP was a complicated sham and I don't need games to experience the feeling of powerlessness. And you'd enjoy the game less because you couldn't steal my stuff.

The actual way for you to maximize PvP content is to do exactly what Goblinworks is doing: discourage non-consensual PvP and encourage people consenting. It's better for your non-consensual PvP to come at a cost than to not have victims.


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Valandur wrote:
I wish they would base market data off of settlement progress. Use the settlement level to dictate how much info is available in surrounding hexes. Settlements that are on good terms with each other Would offer more market data between them, while settlements with bad relations would have very little market data being swapped. Obviously alliances and player kingdoms would have even more data available to its members.

They're just bowing to the reality that there will be a website with all the information on it, updated constantly, regardless of what they do. So just letting people search globally, rather than having a complex system of views, cuts out the middle man and saves work.

It sucks, but sometimes you can't beat 'em and have to do the other thing.

That said, they can obviously still make people go to wherever to pick up their item. Which means the economy will still function, it's just a little more transparent than it would be in a perfect world.


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Bluddwolf wrote:
This is what I think bandits do. I have been playing bandits or pirates for years. They never escort their victims to safety.

That may not be how you've played them, but protection rackets (and that's what we're talking about here, a protection racket) depend entirely on the assurance of safety for the people who pay into the racket. It is neither uncommon for rival organizations to target those under each other's protection nor for that to come to blows.

And that applied just as much to old pickpockets and bandits and landless knights as it does with modern criminals.

Now, if you want to kill someone and take their stuff, you can clearly just do that and take the Reputation hit. But Stand and Deliver is obviously intended to create a framework for semi-consensual PvP, which what you're describing does not.

If you want people to play victims and robbers with you, you need to be prepared to put something other than "oh, I'll only rob you" on the table. Otherwise the only winning move is not to play.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
If it's used, both bandits should be aware of who the other is.

Assuming the second bandit isn't penalized (and I'm not thinking they would be by the game mechanics, it's just that someone might be angry at them), then they don't necessarily need to know. In fact, having it be invisible could be an interesting interplay with the victims.

Like saying "C'mon, KoboldCleaver robbed us like a minute ago!" and hoping the second bandit doesn't want to risk poaching someone else's mark and getting killed.

But I agree the one whose mark got poached should definitely find out. Losing reputation and not being able to take reasonable action would suck.


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Even as someone far more likely to be targeted by bandits than engage in banditry, I'm not sure I can get behind the Fleeced flag.

How about:
When a traveler accepts a Stand and Deliver, the Outlaw starts gaining Reputation over time.

During that time, if someone else issues a Stand and Deliver to the target, the original Outlaw starts losing Reputation instead... until the new Outlaw is dead.

So, basically, the Outlaw is staking his Reputation on being able to protect people that pay up.

This should discourage the conga line while also not giving travelers exploitable immunity. Being able to kill the new Outlaw prevents some other exploits, like friendly Outlaws being able to deny other Outlaws their ill-gotten reputation.

It also gives Outlaws a good reason to claim territories and keep other Outlaws out, which I think is a plus.


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Tuoweit wrote:
Actually, you aren't allowed to toggle those flags if you have Heinous. I assume creating undead while an Outlaw or Assassin will cancel your Outlaw/Assassin flag.

Pretty sure it's the other way around. You can't turn it off while you're heinous.

From the blog: "This flag cannot be disabled while Attacker, Criminal, or Heinous (or their 24-hour versions) are active."

For comparison, the Champion equivalent: "This flag cannot be activated while the Attacker or Heinous flag (or their 24-hour versions) is active."

Tuoweit wrote:
Hmm.. depending on who your allies are, they may well whack you anyways I imagine summoning undead alongside your lawful good paladin allies will be one of the fastest ways to see the business end of a two-hander.

They certainly could if they wanted too, but we haven't seen any punishments for not killing anyone yet, so the paladin's probably fine just letting that slide. If they want to roleplay it, obviously, that's between you and your friendly neighborhood paladin.

Tuoweit wrote:
Precisely. Evil will always attract some players simply because "evil".

Yup, for the evulz. It's hard to overestimate the draw of having "Villain" next to your name.


Richter Bones wrote:
This puts a whole spin on it. I could literally be an Enforcer, flagged all the time, and just bring out the undead to help with my enforcement!

Oh, Enforcer, that's delightful!


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Richter Bones wrote:

I think of this game as a really cool psychosocial experiment. My hypothesis is that if you give positive punishment (flagging) to someone who uses undead and offer no types of reinforcements, then all players will gravitate towards more rewarding types of game play.

Which brings me to: if no players use undead then player created undead cease to exist and it is illogical to have player created undead.

There may not be player created undead, depending on the Crowdforging, so Goblinworks may be way ahead of us :)

But my hypothesis is that people who are flagging already will use undead if they're available. If you're already an Assassin or an Outlaw, it doesn't matter at all that you roll up with some zombies in tow.

And if you're at war? Unless there are a bunch of unaligned spectators, everybody there is either your ally or getting ready to kill you anyway. Might as well bring a ghoul along, they'll have plenty to eat when you're done.

Furthermore, I'd be shocked if there weren't people specifically trying to stay flagged villain at all times. Because what better way is there to prove you're a badass than strolling into a good settlement with your villain flag flying proudly and seeing if they have any crusaders worthy of the name?


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Ryan Dancey wrote:

Many of these things will have to be prioritized by crowdforging and may not be implemented for a long, long time (if ever).

In general, I'm not in favor of characters having pets that meaningfully interact with the world except maybe for Druids.

They do take an awful lot of coding, from my understanding, and introduce a lot of bugs for how many people actually use them. But that's also just one man's opinion :)

Banecrow wrote:
I agree that certain acts SHOULD have concequences but I feel that GW has gone WAY too far. They have basically painted big targets on every player who wants to use undead. Does not matter that I do not go out and attack random people. Does not matter that all I may want to do is PvE. If I have undead anyone can just come up and attack you with no consequences. That is NOT meaningful PvP!

I just can't get too worked up about it.

I mean, I want to harvest materials and sell them... maybe craft some if that's fun. It doesn't matter that I don't want to PvP doing it and it's unlikely I'll ever attack anyone, I'm going to be involved in PvP. Goblinworks explictly wants people to attack me. They have a whole system set up to kill me if I cross certain lines.

And I agree with that from a design standpoint. I'll even enjoy the game more because of the threat of PvP.

Nobody's making me go into dangerous areas and nobody's making you raise undead. We're accepting the consequences when we take those actions. We're both opting in for the benefits it gains us. That's meaningful PvP.

I want to move around the game freely without paying tolls or paying attention to borders. You want to conjure the dead. We can both get what we want, Crowdforgers willing, if we're willing to take the risks. I guess I just don't see the problem.


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The Arguments
To be fair, we'd be having these arguments no matter what they proposed. Alignment has been the source of stupid arguments between players and DMs for better than three decades now.

I'm ready to give the computers a shot. Even if I don't agree with the lines they draw, at least there'll be a codified set of rules that nobody can argue their way out of.

We need more information to judge the details, but these arguments have only made me confident that alignment is a better addition to Pathfinder Online than it has been to tabletop games.

Lawful Acts
I could see attacking flagged law breakers being a lawful act, but the more important one is probably settlements like you mentioned.

Assisting in the running of a settlement or doing work for a settlement, could easily be a lawful act. A chaotic settlement probably has less people (or even no) people active this way, but taking time to work for your community is lawful, even if the community itself is chaotic.

I imagine praying at or donating to the temples of lawful gods would be considered a lawful act.

On the lower end of the scale, official commerce could also be a minor lawful act. If you go to a settlement with a sales tax and purchase items, paying the tax rather than finding a fence, that's coloring in the lines.

In a general sense, I'd any acting interaction with a settlement's laws (like taxes or buying plots of land) could grant lawfulness. Meanwhile, the laws that exclude certain actions would grant chaoticness if broken.

Good Acts
Good is a sticky issue. Traditionally, good is seen more as the absence of evil, which creates some of the issues you're discussing above.

Killing certain monsters will assuredly be good. This will probably include a lot of monsters, but almost has to include undead, evil outsiders (devils/demons), and evil dragons.

Helping the downtrodden (read: NPC townsfolk) is another classic way to be good. In a perfect world, they'd have small problems that you could solve like little quests. Even without a system like that, however, giving them stuff or helping with their tasks and turning down payment could be a good act.

Healing magic is traditionally associated with good, so it makes sense that healing non-evil people would grant "goodness." There always need to be some restrictions here (like 1/day per target), but it can work out.

Again, I imagine praying at or donating to the temples of good gods would be considered good. A system where you can "pray away" evils might seem silly on the face of it, but most religions accept prayer as a minor form of penance.

Being a Paladin
So, taking my collection of ideas as a whole, to be a paladin you'd want to:
-Work to improve your community
-Pray in temples of your god or goddess
-Donate to those temples, your community, and to downtrodden individuals
-Kill monsters, especially undead, demons, and evil dragons
-Help the downtrodden and turn down offers of payment
-Heal non-evil people
-Avoid killing people unless it's necessary to interrupt or avenge a chaotic/evil act
-Obey the laws of the community you're in

Sounds about like what you'd want a paladin to be doing. It's not perfect, but if the numbers line up correctly, you'll have people (on average) acting more like paladins online than around the tabletop.

What I mean there is that you won't see paladins in most tabletop groups taking a break after losing their temper and killing someone to pray for penance or turn around and give the loot they found to a poor family. But even a relatively simple set of automated rules can encourage people to think about good like their paladin should.


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GrumpyMel, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but there's going to be some system to discourage random ganking. If it's not alignment, it'll be reputation; if it's not reputation, it'll be flagging; if it's not flagging, it'll be something else.

I understand your argument that it'll encourage gankers to just find some way to gank while maintaining the goodies for not ganking. But I don't think that's a winning argument.

And, in any case, it doesn't really have anything to do with alignment. There's going to be a system to discourage ganking, even if you win a thousand arguments on alignment.

If that's the real heart of your complaint, I'd suggest just dropping it. Alignment is a fine fit and whatever replaced it as the new anti-ganking method wouldn't have the same connection to Pathfinder.


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GrumpyMel wrote:
I don't think you understand just how limited the system is...

Then you're wrong.

I completely understand that computers can't catch all negative behavior. I think everyone who frequents the internet has figured that out, but I work with this stuff everyday and might be giving people too much credit.

I just don't think your suggested solution is a good one. You've spent a lot of time in this thread criticizing Goblinworks' alignment system because lawful good people can still be jerks in chat, but suggest an alternative where they can be jerks in chat and slaughter countless innocents with impunity.

Just because a computer can't perfectly implement my tabletop vision of the alignment system doesn't mean that there isn't a one it can understand. And that alignment system, based on actions, will be closer to my vision of alignment than a dropdown "for roleplaying purposes only" could ever be.


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I believe that "professions" should be on their own timer, distinct from your normal character abilities. This would allow all characters to craft, but it wouldn't take away from those people that choose to focus on crafting, if designed well. The required "merit badges" to get the higher end crafting abilities would need to require some intense work on the part of the crafter, and show the kind of dedication that most casual crafters wouldn't be interested in. I trust that the designers at GW could come up with a system that would not make us sacrifice class advancement, in order to be involved in the market place.

I think you've got this backwards. It seems to me that sacrificing class advancement to be involved in the marketplace is the point.

With all skills competing, you'll have specialists in combat and gathering and crafting. Eventually people will get everything they need and be able to do things more independently, but that's not something that's just handed out.

Letting people double up the way you're suggesting is a fine solution for games that don't care about crafting or assume that everyone will be crafting their own stuff. But a game that wants trade and interaction between professions, it's a step in the wrong direction.

Perhaps more importantly, giving away trade skills for free immediately sends a signal to players that those skills are, well, worthless. If you want people to take crafting as seriously as combat, it has to require the same investment as combat.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Suffice to say, we are working to add more of the later to the rules. Much of the rest that is described here as an issue deals with tone and setting. The text dealing with that was not included in the playtest for a number of reasons, but primarily because it just was not ready yet. There is going to be a significant section of the book talking about how to build mythic games and how to make it more of a impactful change in your game than just some numbers. We are getting there.. but for now, the playtest needed to focus on the mechanical. Its hard to playtest background info.

Sounds like just the thing! Looking forward to see what you come up with.

Virgil wrote:
Then you have no reason to buy the Mythic rules, if you can't expect them to change or support a mythic tone, that's why it's a bad thing. I never said every permutation needed to be covered, but there needs to be guidelines; when all of the abilities are boring number boosters, then you've set a precedent that anything new fits that paradigm of boring numbers. If all of the actual mythic activities fall under pure Mother-May-I without even benchmarks to go off of, then there is no reason to get the supplement.

If I couldn't expect them to support a Mythic tone, I wouldn't have any reason to buy the rules, no.

But that's why I said this immediately after what you quoted:

Some crazy looking elf dude wrote:
Rules can certainly support the tone of your game, but the GM and players set the tone.

For example, I've run Mythic games using bog-standard 2nd Edition D&D. Some rules would have helped, largely to separate the play experience from other D&D campaigns, but the setting and storylines and social contract are what make a game Mythic or not.

I wouldn't object to some benchmarks, but we're talking about myths here. Stories. Did Hercules's have to make a DC 50 Strength check to reroute a river or was that Mother-May-I? Did Coyote have a "Steal Celestial Objects" feat or was that Mother-May-I? Did Perseus have an ability to petrify people that required a gorgon's head or was that Mother-May-I?

Maybe you set an arbitrary DC for Hercules and make him roll. Maybe you give Coyote "Steal Celestial Objects" then still narrate the consequences through DM fiat. Maybe Perseus's Mother-May-I comes in the convenient package of a magical item.

But it all plays out the same way. I'd rather we just be honest that myths follow the Rule of Cool rather than pretending there's a chart that can make things Mythic.

So, what I want out of the book is a lot of good ideas for telling Mythic stories and seeds for Mythic campaigns. I want rules for handling combats that are different enough players feel more awesome than normal. And I want rewards (lesser trials) and costs (Mythic Points) for handling edge cases around the Rule of Cool.

And, yes, I would happily be in line at GenCon to buy that book, even though it all comes down to Mother-May-I. Because otherwise I wouldn't buy any roleplaying books at all.


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You mentioned upthread a "god-slaying apocalypse cult allied with a race of vengeful exiled proto-angels" in your home campaign, which sounds completely awesome.

Would you mind expounding on them and that plot arc a bit?


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TheLoneCleric wrote:
Okay. What the hell is this DOT stuff about?

When you have a post in a thread, it displays with a dot next to it in the list. It makes it easier to pick out.

I interpret it as "I approve of this thread and want to keep track of it." But I never do it, so I might be making things up!


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James Jacobs wrote:
...involved a god-slaying apocalypse cult allied with a race of vengeful exiled proto-angels has yet to manifest in print...

So, could you expound on these guys a bit? Because that's one of the coolest sentence fragments ever.

Not asking for anything Golarion-specific here, obviously. I'm just wondering how that played out in your home game.


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My players love the Pathfinder Society... which is kind of funny, because I just included them to namedrop Sheila Heidmarch (we're going to be running Shattered Star next and I thought it would be a good "Easter Egg"). But they got to talking about how she's short-staffed and they signed right up.

Did I make them go through years of hazing and scrubbing chamber pots? No, because that's a giant waste of resources and she's not an idiot.

Now, she has her own agenda separate from the Decemverite, but so does every other Pathfinder and Venture Captain. And I think if you focus on their agendas, you'll have a lot more fun with the society and with its members.

And if some people have to scrub chamber pots until they're ready to be field agents, that puts them in good stead with apprentices and monks and soldiers all over Golarion.


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Skinsaw Murders (Session 1)
Mushfens Ambush
At Fijit's urging, with the added weight of the opera attack, our heroes decided to head for Foxglove Manor. They set out under a drizzle that quickly became a cold, steady rain.

Making their way along the increasingly muddy road, they were ambushed by a pair of frog-like humanoids, shaking the wits of the Goblinslayers (and the Goblinslayers' horses). Fijit exclaimed "Boggards!" and quickly set to calming their hearts with the gift of song.

The trio dismounted, with Kriger taking care that the horses didn't bolt. Tobar began slashing into the boggards as Kriger noticed what was spooking the horses: three serpentine fish known as swamp barracudas.

Although Kriger's mount was seriously injured, and healed just as quickly by Kriger, they were able to quickly disperse the boggards and barracudas.

Fijit, remembering something she read in a travelogue, noted that the barracudas are said to be quite tasty. They agreed the haul one of the fish to the Foxglove Manor, hoping that the cooks wouldn't be too put out by its sudden appearance.

Maester Grump
Diverging from the main road, they wove down a muddy track as the sun set. They passed several well-lit farmhouses, spaced far apart among the harvested fields.

From the porch of one of the farmhouses, a gruff voice challenged them. "Who's there? Where you going this time of night? It ain't safe round these parts!"

Kriger responded. "We are but travelers." Apparently thinking that was lacking in details, Fijit added. "We're heading to Foxglove Manor."

"I wouldn't head up that way if I were you, 'specially not at night. Yer all welcome to stay here for the night. We have plenty of space and hot fires."

Fijit and Kriger both peered at him, but eventually judged his motivations to be as he said, a simple fear for their fate and common country decency.

Fijit shrugged. "It would probably be impolite to show up this long after nightfall anyway. Better to come in the morning."

"It's settled then!" he waved them in. "I'm Maester Grump. Ah, and you," he pointed at Kriger as he came into the light, "must be Zantus's Ulfen kid."

Kriger smiled. "Something like that. You know the father?"

"Ah, yes, I try to visit every time I head to town. I heard you all were going to build a nice new chapel."

Kriger and Toby enthusiastically nodded, with Kriger adding. "It was actually just consecrated, you should drop by next time."

"Sounds lovely, I think I shall." As an afterthought, he added, "Agnes! Put some water on for tea!"

Fijit gestured to the fish. He blinked a few times and added "and get ready to cook up a fish. A big fish!"

"Yes, father!" a call came from the kitchen as our heroes settled in. As tea came out, they discovered it belonged to a woman, older than Tobar but dressed somewhat like a child.

Foxglove Tales
Having picked up on Grump's obvious fear of the Foxglove Manor, Fijit began slipping it questions as soon as tea was served. "We're friends of Aldern Foxglove. Is there something the matter with him?"

"Nah," Grump shook his head. "He's a good kid, looking after his parents' wishes and his grandparents' wishes. It's the house. The place is cursed, haunted, and probably worse besides."

"But your friend's a good kid. And his wife, Iesha, woo. She's a looker. And dances like... get's the blood moving you know, eh?" he elbowed Kriger, who laughed politely without being entirely sure what Grump meant.

Not one to dismiss superstition, Fijit asked him why he believed the house was cursed. Grump shook his head. "Terrible things in that house, always. Was built by Aldern's grandfather... maybe greatgrandfather... I dunno. But he and his wife up and disappeared."

"Then, Aldern's mom and dad moved in a ways back. His mother went crazy, tried to burn the place down... didn't get the whole thing. She and his dad both died."

"He's moved back in now, trying to get it fixed up."

Fijit frowned. "So, he's alone in there?"

Grump didn't seem sure. "Well, as far as I know. I don't want to wag tongues, but word is Iesha ran off to Absalom with one of the workers. Then everybody else left in ones and twos."

He shook his head. "Yeah, it's one thing staying in a haunted house with a beautiful woman... another thing entirely to stay in there with a depressed man."

With that dinner was served, swamp barracuda enjoyed by all, and the Goblinslayers sent upstairs. Fijit was given Grump's younger son's room, who died of the plague. Tobar and Kriger elected to share Grump's older son's room, who'd left to find his fortune in Magnimar.

Kriger nodded solemnly. "My condolences for your younger son."

Tobar added a bit of black humor, perhaps all-too-true in its way, murmuring "my condolences for your older son."

Grump thanked them both and sent Agnes up with blankets.

Alarm in the Night
Kriger and Fijit were awakened in the night by a hammering at the front door, barely audible over Tobar's snoring.

Picking up a panicked voice and something about the "Hambly place," Kriger elbowed Tobar awake. Fijit shouted "do you need anything?"

Grump shouted back up "no, we're fine! Get yer rest!"

The Goblinslayers, however, were having none of that, getting geared up and downstairs. They found Grump downstairs, crossbow in hand, talking to another farmer.

The other farmer was in a panic, suggesting that a group went down to the Hambly place and hadn't returned. With a little prodding, he revealed that one had returned, back at his house, sick and delirious.

They made their way to his house, finding the gaunt man in a filled bathtub. His only visible wound was covered with bandages. The farmer's wife and daughter watched over him, obviously unsure if there was anything more they could do.

Hoping his curative powers would help the infection, Kriger channeled a spell into his hands, touching the ailing man. He thrashed in the tub and Kriger withdrew a hand covered in smoking flesh. A handshaped burn stood out on the man's chest.

"That... shouldn't happen," was all he was able to manage for several moments, then "undead!" The women gasped and Fijit ushered them out of the room.

Kriger and Fijit put their heads together, quickly narrowing the possible causes down to ghoul fever. But, unfortunately, once the change began, even Kriger's most powerful magic wouldn't avail them.

Kriger suggested they pull the man downstairs, executing him and burning the body. Tobar was aghast at the suggestion. "You want to kill an innocent man! Can't your magic do something?"

Kriger shook his head, driving Tobar into a righteous fury. "Where's your Desna now? We can't just let this man die!"

The Desnan hung his head. "I'm sorry, Toby. He's already dead. All we can do is prevent him from killing anyone else."

Fijit backed up suddenly. "Uh, guys?" They turned to see the man's bloodshot eyes opening. Kriger called on the holy radiance of Desna, reducing the newborn ghoul to a smear of grease and ash.

They stood in silence for a moment until Kriger found his voice. "We need to get to that farm. He could have infected all these people. We can't let it spread."

Outside the farmhouse, the Goblinslayers consulted with the house's owner and Maester Grump. Kriger ordered them back to their homes, because it was far too dangerous out here. Even Tobar, blasé about combat, was not looking forward to fighting a disease he could not cut with his greatsword.

Fijit countered, noting they wouldn't be able to find their way to the Hambly house alone. Grump acknowledged that Fijit had the right of it and offered to be their guide.

"On one condition, though," he added. "If I die out there, you have to make sure Agnes is taken care of." They vehemently agreed.

The Hambly Property
Upon reaching the edge of the Hambly property, Fijit called on her fae blood to speak with the horses. After the usual rounds of "woah, you can talk!" she was able to convince them to head back to the Grump house.

More frightened of leaving a possible infection than for their own safety, the Goblinslayers made all manner of racket as they headed through the unharvested fields. Fijit sang at the top of her tiny lungs and Tobar clanged weapons together, attempting to attract any ghouls in the area.

Unfortunately, they succeeded all too well as Kriger felt terrible lines of pain running down his back. The others turned to find a scarecrow perched on his back, tearing at Kriger's neck with its teeth as they stared in shock.

With a crossbow bolt from Maester Grump, a tiny arrow from Fijit, and a bit of Desna's power, the scarecrow was quickly dispatched.

Fijit asked Kriger if he was going to be okay, gesturing at the neck wound. He felt it itching, but couldn't be sure if that was his paranoia in response to Fijit's question or a genuine infection.

Following the ambush, they decided to stop making noise, prowling along and keeping an eye on the seemingly endless Hambly scarecrows. Instead, Tobar began tracking the number of ghouls they'd killed, hoping the number added to six, for the Hamblies, plus around twelve, for the farmers who went to investigate.

Shooting at the next batch of scarecrows from a safe distance, they quickly discovered one was a living man. He doubled over, coughing out blood into his burlap hood. At Kriger's urging, following another bitter argument, Tobar decapitated the man with his greatsword.

Moving even more cautiously, there was some discussion on the next set of scarecrows, seemingly set to watch a crossroads. However, they were prepared to pepper them with arrows when they freed themselves.

However, even Fijit's arrow and Grump's quarrel weren't enough to stop the creature charging them. It bit into Fijit's chest as though trying to gnaw to her heart. The chill of the grave overtook her as she was forced to watch the ghoul tearing at her flesh. A quick swordstrike ended its unlife, but Fijit remained shaken long after she regained control of her muscles.

Kriger asked Fijit if she was going to be okay, referring to the chest wound. She felt it itching, but couldn't be sure if that was his paranoia in response to Kriger's question or a genuine infection.

Entering the final stretch, they forced themselves to kill another man bound as a scarecrow. Their first volley of arrows merely caused him to spasm, tearing at his bonds with newfound undead strength. The second volley, however, ended it.

The Farmhouse
As the quartet approached the Hambly farmhouse and barn, they stopped to formulate a plan.

The plan, as it turned out, was to burn the place down. Unfortunately, with the rain and the stone farmhouse, the plan was narrowed. Arrows were wrapped in rags and lit with lamp oil, hoping to catch the barn despite the rain.

Fijit and Tobar thunked arrows into the roof with little effect. However, Fijit slipped one in through the loft, catching the dry hay within the barn. Moments later, ghouls poured out of the burning barn.

Suspecting this is where they'll be making their stand, Kriger invoked Desna, consecrating the muddy earth they stood on. Fijit, Tobar, and Grump combine fire to bring down one of the charging ghouls, but the rest make their way onto blessed ground.

The fight quickly degenerates into a melee, with only Grump managing to keep himself disengaged. One ghoul's hungry bite paralyzes Tobar, leaving him staring off into the fields while Kriger calls on Desna's silvery light to batter the ghouls, saving Tobar from being devoured alive.

Distracted by the threat, only Kriger hears the farmhouse door open and close. However, they all hear a voice in Chelish proclaiming "COME, MY CHILDREN!"

Fijit and Kriger turn in time to see a ghoul in ruined servant's finery making his way into the circle of consecration. With their combined efforts, they're able to hold him back, keeping their eyes out for these children... hearing rustling before them and behind in the unharvested fields.

Finally, Toby regained control of his muscles, running through the undead servant. Sliding down Tobar's greatsword, the servant hissed "the master..." turning his head to reveal a bloody smile to Fijit "sends his regards." With his last drop of black blood he tossed a crumpled handful of paper to Fijit.

Taking a moment to collect themselves before the "children" arrived, Fijit read the note and Kriger searched the servant, finding an ornate key.

The Crumpled Note:
Accept the fever, my love, my life. Listen to the harvest song and accept my gift to you.

-Your Lordship

Fijit looked up from the note with an icy look. "It says we should accept the fever and become ghouls." Without further ceremony, she burned the note to ash.

As the children came rushing in, Kriger tossed the key to Tobar, adding another to Ripnugget's key ring from Thistletop.

The Children Attack
Two waves of ghouls poured in, one from the center of the fields and one from behind the house.

"Well," Tobar added, quickly counting. "I think that's all of them."

The ghouls rushed in, paralyzing Grump and raking Fijit. Using the last of Kriger's energy, the last of Fijit's sound bursts, and Tobar's cleaving blade, they quickly cleared in a matter of seconds... all but one.

The remaining ghoul, on the far side of the paralyzed Grump, ripped the farmer open with its talons and began to feast on his entrails.

Tobar and Kriger rushed in, Tobar to bisect the ghoul with his greatsword and Kriger to call on Desna's power, trying to save Grump. But the healing availed to nothing, Grump's spirit already having fled the mortal plane.

Kriger quietly closed the old man's eyes while Tobar screamed into the rain, a wordless howl of rage... one part challenge to any ghoul foolish enough to provide him with a target and one part challenge to the gods for daring to let innocent men die.

With Tobar's rage spent, they gathered their breath in front of the farmhouse, watching as the barn collapsed and sent sparks up to join with the rain. As they waited, the sacred ground seemed to consume the ghouls, breaking their diseased corpses down into nothing more than loamy earth.

Back to Sandpoint
It was Fijit who finally spoke up. "We need to get Agnes and back to Sandpoint."

Kriger added "we should evacuate the others," but was quickly shot down by Tobar. "No, we can send a messenger. We take Agnes and go to Sandpoint now."

Knowing better than to push his friend at this point, Kriger assented to head back immediately.

Walking back to the Grump residence, they found their horses cheerfully munching on oats in the stable. Agnes, although shaken by the news of her father's death, quickly gathered her mother's china and a change of clothes, and joined the Goblinslayers on her own horse.

Through the night and into the morning, they rode. While they rode, Fijit sang to keep up their spirits and encouraged Agnes to speak of herself. They quickly discovered that, after her mother and younger brother died and her older brother left, she remained as the child of the house so she wouldn't have to abandon her father as well and give him someone to care for.

After an eternity, they barely pulling themselves through the gates of Sandpoint.

Without stopping for anyone or anything, they stabled their horses and made their way to the cathedral. Zantus looked over their wounds.

"Yes," he pointed at the wound at Kriger's throat and Fijit's chest, "these two are bad. Father Tobyn, bless his soul, left the parish with two scrolls that should help here. Let me fetch him."

With two scrolls crumbling to dust, their wounds stopped itching, the only obvious sign. Kriger took the opportunity to collapse to bed while his companions made their way to the Rusty Dragon, hoping Ameiko might be able to provide Agnes with work.

Agnes's Home
Ameiko, dishing out some leftovers from breakfast, seemed amenable enough to the idea. She offered Agnes room, board, and wages for work as a waitress, which Agnes quickly agreed to.

With that matter out of the way, Fijit asked to rent a room, quipping "and this time, I can actually pay for it!"

Ameiko smiled, remembering Aldern Foxglove covering the bard's tab last time. "You won't have to wait on a white night to ride in and save you?"

Fijit's mood grew a little gloomier. "Actually, I think we might have to save him."

Tobar corrected her. "Might have to save him again. That'd make two."

Fijit laughed. "Yeah, I guess he's not much of a white knight after all."

GM's notes:
The rain was mostly for atmosphere, but I'm going to keep it up through the dam breaking.

Maester Grump here played the role of every warning NPC in every horror story ever, right down to the accent. Unlike most horror stories, the party listened to him. Not that it helped, per se.

I tweaked ghoul fever slightly. Basically, if you die after ghoul fever has set in, you come back immediately. The disease itself will still slowly kill you per rules as written.

This is both because it's creepy and because I needed to explain how all the scarecrows were already ghouls or close. I figured Rogors was infecting them, then letting them bleed out.

The players were legitimately tilted by the Hambly farm. Between the disease aspects, the ghouls jumping out of the fields, and accidentally killing an infected "scarecrow" people were on edge. The arguments between Tobar, wanting to save innocents, and Kriger, wanting to burn out the infection, got quite heated.

Fijit's player, in particular, was hit pretty hard by the description of paralysis and then straight-faced hid information from the party, destroying the note without revealing its full contents.

I changed the note from the Adventure Path, obviously, calling on a slightly different background. Thankfully, I had all of Your Lordship's notes created in advance.

As an easter egg that won't be obvious in the forums, Your Lordship uses the same font as Aldern, just at a larger font size and italic. I doubt they'll notice until afterwards, but it's the sort of thing they'll probably figure out in retrospect and curse me.

Grump's death hit them harder than you usually see with NPCs. Some combination of his opening his home to them, asking them to take care of Agnes, the general terror of the situation, and the fact that they almost saved him really twisted the knife.

Even if none of that happened, the conversation at the end about Aldern being "not much of a white knight" at the end would have made this session worth it. Because, damn.

The party now has enough XP to get to level 6. Tobar is probably taking a level of paladin, heading to fighter 5/paladin 1. Not sure of Kriger's or Fijit's plans yet.

Next Time: The Bloody Star

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While there's always room for improvement, I think Paizo does an incredible job handling these sorts of issues.

Even as a long-time DM who's made conscious effort to include more female characters, different sexualities, and varied roles for both, I find myself consistently outdone by Paizo's writers.

I would never have run an adventure on my own with the gender balance of Shards of Sin. While a lot of folks, myself included, were busy chasing gender balance, Paizo showed us that it can only be achieved with real counterweights.

And there's no way I would have created the love triangle in Asylum Stone, to say nothing of integrating it seamlessly into a dungeon. That's some crazy wizardry right there.

Even going back all the way to Burnt Offerings, we have characters that are sexual and romantic beings. That doesn't sound like much in the context of this argument, but the history of fantasy and RPGs isn't overburdened with heterosexual characters. It's overburdened with asexual characters.

So, the Adventure Paths aren't always sex positive and aren't always inclusive. But Paizo has done more than say "games should be sex positive and inclusive," they've provided examples of what that looks like.

Maybe nobody else needed those examples, but I'm not too proud to say that they've improved the inclusiveness, emotional involvement, and even drama in my own games. And there's always more to do, but I just wanted to take a moment to say that what they've already done is pretty damned incredible.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Landon Winkler wrote:
The other Adventure Paths should actually be fine. None of them deal specifically with the themes of an self-exiled drow, but most character concepts will need support from the DM to fully bloom within an adventure path.
This is almost the exact opposite of how I try to make adventure path characters. I largely play in Play-By-Post games, and getting in is like an audition, so I try to make my characters so their narratives cleave as closely to the Adventure Path and its' themes and arcs as possible.

Huh, this isn't something I'd ever considered, really. Although our storytelling style is sort of similar. We tend towards "here's the hook, make your characters, and off we go!"

So I'd tend towards starting from an adventure path, adding "drow," and going from there.

For example, take Rise of the Runelords:

There are drow not terribly far from there, so that's a start. About a hundred years ago, one of the Varisian families in the region found a tiny ebon-skinned child being tormented by ogres. Caring little for race, and not wanting to see any living being left to that fate, they drove off the ogres and adopted him.

Decades later, he moved into Sandpoint with his adopted cousin Niska Mvashti, who is now quite elderly indeed. Between inborn talent, Niska's tutelage in the ways of the Harrow, and decades of pouring over carved stones found in Old Light, he has the makings of a promising Thassilonian-specialist invoker.

Although his ogre-scarred face is welcome in Sandpoint, particularly at the Rusty Dragon, some still shun him. However, this has little to do with his race and much to do with the unpredictable rages he's experienced since the Late Unpleasantness.


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Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
If you want to use Illithids in something officially Golarion, just substitute the denizens of Leng which are far creepier and more Lovecraftian, have mouthfuls of tentacles, and as a bonus don't dress like they thought the "Ming the Merciless" look never went out of style, especially in purple.

Interesting choice. I feel like they make good masterminds and excellent slavers, but don't necessarily have the invasive body horror aspect the Illithids get.

Points in their favor include coming pre-packaged with an arguably-worse nemesis (the Leng Spiders) and their agenda of slaving, selling twisted magical items, and being welcome in many shady ports (including some in the Darklands). I think their accepted existence at the edges of humanoid societies makes them creepier than illithids there.

Body Horror, Lovecraft, and Leng:
In Lovecraft's works, they live in the Dreamlands (the Dimension of Dreams in Pathfinder) and are implied to be degenerate humans. If you wanted to reinsert the body horror aspects, they could capture dreamers and torture them, bringing their physical body a little closer to being a denizen of Leng every time they sleep.

The process of gaining tentacles, sharpened teeth, claws, horns, new skin, different organs, and reversed legs could be milked for months of brutal unpleasantness, if one were so inclined. And, at the end of the process, the denizens get a new "child" that maintains some elements of its old body and knowledge, maybe even hiding its transformation to maintain a position in society.

Dreams are nice in that you can throw them at PCs and NPCs alike, keeping the horror front and center without impeding a character's ability to adventure or fight back too much. The victim could also deprive themselves of sleep and use curative magic to slow the process. The freshly-transformed denizen's journal almost writes itself.

And traveling to the Dimension of Dreams to free someone's dreamself from Leng is just begging to be an adventure. The denizens could also transform slaves physically taken to Leng, which is harder to work in to a campaign, but is closer to the illithid's approach and still allows for the rescue mission.

In Golarion, associating them tightly with dreams makes them a natural foil for the servitors of Desna. It does risk stepping on a cool part of the intellect devourers' schtick, although you could also play with the denizens as the source of that particular power.


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Thanks for this thread!

Inspired by these, my Swallowtail Festival had several games set up. There was a drinking game, an ogre battle (stabbing an "ogre" scarecrow while the operator shakes it), Devil's Walk (a series of platforms that you can jump between over the mud), and Goblin Slaying (throwing axes at melons labeled with goblin names).

The ogre battle didn't come up and the drinking game was just a source of soused bystanders. The players engaged in a few rounds of Goblin Slaying (before the real thing), though.

Nobody played Devil's Walk, but it accidentally ended up being relevant terrain in one of the fights. In retrospect, I would have positioned it to be in the thick of things, probably next to the stage where the second (warchanter) batch of goblins are attacking a speaker (and closer to the PCs than the stairs up to the stage).

Goblin Slaying:
Each player pays a copper piece to Daviren Hosk and gets three throwing axes. There are three "goblin heads" (melons labeled with goblin names). The front one is AC 10 and the other two are DC 12.

Anyone who damages a melon gets to keep the melon. Anyone who breaks (3+ damage) two melons gets a tin "Goblin Slayer" badge shaped like a goblin's head.

The players enjoyed it and it nicely foreshadowed Daviren giving the other players badges from his stock once they proved to be real goblin slayers.


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Burnt Offerings (Session 1):
The Festival Begins
Our story begins with the heroes enjoying the Swallowtail Festival. Well, at least mostly enjoying.

Tobar is the only uniformed guard in the square, with the others either relaxing or at the walls. He's spent most of his morning encouraging drunks to fight less and sing more.

Kriger is also on the job, accepting the residents' congratulations on the beautiful new cathedral while Father Zantus prepares for the ritual and his speech.

Even Fijit is working, trying to scare up some funds to pay down her tab at the Rusty Dragon. Unfortunately, her singing skills have abandoned her, sending those interested in song off to listen to the drunks.

Several games have been set out. From the classic drinking game and Sandpoint's own Devil's Step to the newer Goblin Slaying and an unnamed game involving stabbing an "ogre" scarecrow.

Above the sounds of the festival, Tobar hears horses whinnying from the direction of Goblin Squash Stables. He quickly advises Daviren Hosk about the noise, offering to take over running the game while Daviren investigates.

Kriger and Fijit get in line behind the children excited about throwing handaxes at "goblin heads" (roughly goblin head shaped melons carved with goblin names). One copper gets you three axes. You get any melons you damage, along with a tin Goblin Slayer badge if you destroy two.

Kriger does passably, damaging one melon despite being one of the clumsiest people in town, handing out the chunks of melon to the children in line.

Fijit, on the other hand, doesn't even have a copper. Kriger, always willing to help a guest and fellow traveler, covers her game. She destroys two melons with the aid of channeled magical energy and proudly pins her Goblin Slayer badge on her hat.

Goblin Slayers
Kriger hears a strange counterpoint to the drunken songs nearby... "Goblins chew and goblins bite, goblins cut and goblins fight." He quickly rallies everyone near him over the age of ten to the defense of the town as three goblins emerge near the Goblin Slayer game.

Between Fijit's inspiring music, Kriger's seemingly limitless supply of Desna's grace, and Tobar's fearsome strength, they make quick work of the goblins... and the goblins on the other end of the square... and the goblins threatening Aldern Foxglove.

Tobar nearly feel twice, once early in the battle and once after being bitten repeatedly by the goblin dog. Kriger was able to keep the guard on his feet, however.

The priest did learn an important lesson about not channeling energy right next to an injured goblin, even though the goblin stood their mystified while Fijit corrected his oversight.

The goblins, for their part, were goblins. As Tobar cleaved through his comrades, one goblin dropped down to fingerpaint with the resulting gore. Another, too afraid to approach the giant man and too stupid to run, attempted to disarm him with its whip with about the effects you'd expect.

Aldern Foxglove, saved in the nick of time, wrapped Tobar in a massive hug, despite how the larger man was caked in goblin gore. He filled his saviors in on his background briefly, explaining how he's a nobleman from Magnimar and was in town to enjoy the festival and possibly recruit some workers to help repair his manor.

The fingerpainting goblin, as it turned out, was knocked unconscious by Kriger's starknife. The defenders of Sandpoint quickly gathered up the limp creature as they headed to the cathedral to make sure Tobar's goblin dog wounds weren't infected.

At the Cathedral
After having Father Zantus inspect Tobar's wounds, and suggest a bath with certain salts to clean the wound, the party settled in to interrogate their new captive. Conveniently, Tobar still needed some healing anyway, so Zantus's blessings restored the goblin to wakefulness as well.

Fijit, fluent in the meeping language of goblins, performed the interrogation. They quickly determined that the captured goblin was not the mastermind (their first clue was the fingerpainting in the middle of a fight).

After extensive, but relatively friendly, questioning, the goblin revealed that they raided the "big camp" to "keep the chief happy and keep the guy happy and keep the lady happy." It's descriptions weren't terribly clear, except that the guy and lady are longshanks and the lady is very scary and the guy thinks the lady is pretty despite her having a skinny head and hair.

When the goblin mentioned tunnels, everyone got very interested. As soon as the words "through the hot, fun, melty place" left its mouth, Tobar added "the Glassworks."

As the group prepared their investigation, Sherriff Hemlock arrived. The goblin attack had shaken him and, after thanking the trio for their service, explained he was heading to Magnimar for reinforcements.

He asked the group and Tobar in particular to stay visible in his absence, helping to keep everyone calm. Tobar had his own reservations, knowing he's not the best leader, but Kriger and Fijit rapidly agreed and pressured the guard to accept his new responsibilities.

Kriger also leaned on their new friend Aldern to head back to Magnimar and help. He was glad to do it, mentioning he could at least put in a good word with Justice Ironbriar. With that settled, and Kriger paternally suggesting Aldern hire some mercenaries for his safety, the Sherriff and the nobleman headed out.

Kaijutsu Family Matters
The three of them headed directly for the Glassworks, only to be stymied by a sign "Closed for the Festival, please come back tomorrow" and a simple lock. They determined that they'd try to get entrance by legal means first, heading to the Rusty Dragon.

On their way there, they ran into a cheering crowd and Daviren Hosk. Tobar handed over the copper from when he was running the game, earning a "You're a saint, Toby!" and offered his condolences on finding out the goblins had killed two of Hosk's horses.

Hosk pinned two of the leftover Goblin Slayer pins from his game to Tobar's guards' sash and Kriger's cloak, to the cheers of the crowd, then told Fijit "if you were two feet taller, nay, even a foot taller, and I were twenty years younger, I'd be on my knee asking you to marry me" and kissed her on the forehead.

Reveling in their new found herodom, the defenders made their way to the Rusty Dragon, receiving a cheer and a round of drinks immediately upon stepping through the door. Kriger turned down his drink with a "sorry, we're on duty," only to have the massive mug passed to Fijit.

Ameiko, unfortunately, couldn't offer more than Glassworks than that it was her father's Glassworks, certainly not hers. She also advised she could write a letter of recommendation, but it would hurt more than help.

Rather than digging more into uncomfortable family matters, they accepted Ameiko's offer of spicy food. As they were headed out, she also mentioned that Aldern had settled Fijit's tab and added "I hear wedding bells" like a child's rhyme under her breath.

The trio headed up to the bluff, discussing Old Light and how Tobar's glad he doesn't live so close to the ruins. Brodert Quink came up during the conversation, along with his mad theories. Fijit resolved to meet the sage as soon as they've taken care of the current crisis.

Their captive goblin still in tow, they advised the Kaijutsu's majordomo to have Lonjiku come outside, rather than letting the beast into the family's parlor. Kriger took the lead on the negotiations, speaking to Lonjiku as befits a man of his rank.

Lonjiku turned over the key once they promised to return it promptly to his majordomo.

The three of them made their way back to the Glassworks, finding the door ajar and hearing the sounds of breaking glass inside. Kriger ran to get backup, leaving Fijit and Tobar to watch the Glassworks.

DM notes:
I borrowed a bit from the excellent Swallowtail Festival games thread for the intro. It was nice, among other things, getting people warmed up and used to the system after a break.

Things went a little off the rails with interrogating the fingerpainting goblin and Tobar's player jumping straight to the Glassworks. I think it's going to work out, though.

Tobyn's grave has already been robbed and the corpse sent back to Thistletop. The party's probably in town for at least a couple days, so Nualia should have plenty of time for her ritual.

I'll loop back to the encounters that are supposed to occur before the Glassworks. In particular, they need to find out about Father Tobyn and I'll see if I can squeeze in Shayliss and the boar hunt. They already have Ameiko's relationship with her father figured out, so that's good.

The plan at this point is for Tsuto to have broken into the Glassworks while it was closed for the festival and using a threat of blackmail to arrange an ambush for his father. Tsuto is letting the goblins have run of the place while he waits for his father, hence the breaking glass.

For her part, Ameiko is planning to respond to her note tonight. Lonjiku is too proud to make a deal with his bastard son and has sent the guards in first, hoping Tsuto dies or nobody believes him. If the authorities don't take care of Tsuto, Lonjiku plans to at the designated meeting time (during the fireworks at nightfall).

Up next: Glassworks!

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ofstatic wrote:

Thanks a ton Gluttony, that's some great info to give my players. I now have a second question regarding what the PCs would know. When they save Aldern and go on a boar hunt with him, should the players be given a knowledge local roll to find out some background or even some background on Foxglove manor? It seems logical that they would know this now, rather than having a revelation about Aldern in the Skinsaw murders. I fear it could spoil the mystery aspect of the second book though.

Any ideas?

With a successful Knowledge (nobility) check, I'd give them something like "The Foxglove family is a small, but wealthy family from Magnimar" at DC 10 and "Aldern Foxglove and his wife Iesha are the family's only living members" at DC 15.

With Knowledge (geography) I'd give "Foxglove Manor has been abandoned for years, but is located along the coast about halfway between Sandpoint and Magnimar" at DC 10 and "Locals call Foxglove Manor 'the Misgivings' due to several family members' untimely deaths" at DC 15.

With Knowledge (local) I'd give "Aldern Foxglove is a wealthy nobleman from Magnimar, said to be something of a fop" at DC 10 and "It's rumored that the Foxglove family has been cursed with ill fortune" at DC 15.

It all depends on your players, of course, but you should be okay if you focus on Aldern as a victim in the Knowledge results (which he is, if you check his backstory in Skinsaw Murders). Most players, in my experience, will assume it's either a bit of throw-away flavor or that they'll eventually have a chance to lift the curse... which they will, albeit not in the way they'd expect.

Edit: Gluttony might very easily be right here. I do tend towards giving people hints and foreshadowing whenever possible.


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Sissyl wrote:

Just an observation... Given the kitchen-sink nature of Golarion's countries and regions, you STILL get a split customer base. Sure, people generally interested in Golarion might buy a country companion, but with each such book comes new rules, new history and new conflicts, which defines that part of the setting. I know we're not talking about Spelljammer vs Planescape here, but it's still an issue. Splitting out some parts of the setting would give Golarion a tighter focus and allow for more exotic things in another setting.

I know you guys are awesome at this, but you aren't going to completely avoid the problem.

Can they avoid different people being interested in different setting elements? No. If you're not interested in Gothic Horror, you probably wouldn't buy a Ravenloft book or an Ustalav book.

But they can avoid artificially splitting the player base by having multiple settings.

For example, in 2nd Edition there was a supplement for Ravenloft called the Nightmare Lands. I never see myself playing Ravenloft, but I have used the ideas from that supplement in several "standard" D&D games.

So instead of saying "only buy this if you like Ravenloft" on the cover and having information on how it integrates into the Demiplane of Dread, why can't it say "for everyone who likes Pathfinder" and have information on how it fits into Golarion?


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