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Leonard Kriegler

Mark Hoover's page

4,791 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I don't know Emerald Spire. I do know megadungeons. They are about action economy, managing resources and the ability to upgrade on the fly. If you only have 2 PCs you also have to pull double duty.

In my current homebrew megadungeon campaign we have one PC who does quite well: a ranger with the Dungeon Delver archetype. He's a Str ranger switch-hitter build with a lot of perks for fighting underground. Also with a skill emphasis on scouting and stealth he spots a lot of dangers first. This has so far translated to a lot of Surprise rounds favoring the party.

If ES doesn't favor pets this may not work, but what about a simple wizard for your second choice? You've got a familiar to Aid Another on skill checks and for scouting around; spell selections are fantastic; finally... scrolls (hear me out). As long as you allow the PC to purchase some materials ahead of time, the wizard can be scribing a scroll even as your characters are exploring. This means temporary replenishment of resources.

These 2 PCs together long term means they can collaborate on scrolls making Cures and buffs for ongoing explorations. Between them they've got enough skill points to cover all the pertinent knowledge skills. The ranger simply needs items from loot piles in order to get more effective.

I'm not defending the OP's GM, nor am I saying I agree, but I understand the desire to limit knowledge checks on monsters. For one there's no clear-cut definition of exactly what info the PCs know based on their knowledge check. For another some PCs have a ridiculously high knowledge skill.

For example there is an inquisitor PC in my current game. She has Knowledge: Dungeoneering with 4 ranks. Her total check for monster lore against dungeon dwellers like aberrations or slimes is +15 from stats, a magic item and skill. Even on a 1 she gets some basic info from a CR1 or below monsters; her average of 25 (10 on a d20 +15) is so high compared to monsters of the party's APL that I usually just read most of the Bestiary entry.

If you're playing a gritty or horror-themed game or the GM is trying to keep monsters fantastic in some way such high checks can really deflate the mood quick. "You see a hideous, lamprey-mouthed humanoid with gray flesh and tentacles..." Knowledge check... "I mean, you see a Choker, CR 1 with a Grab attack and much of its defense wrapped up in high Dex. Please note the Aberration qualities here..."

Anyway, that's my 2CP.

I hear what you're saying, but how then do we explain the size inconsistency? Shack = 2-4 squares; Storage = 4-8 squares; Office = 2-5 squares.

Also there's the fluff in the descriptions. The Shack denotes a simple table, stool, and a pallet bed. When you get to the Office you have a chair, large desk w/2 locking drawers and a door to the room which locks as well. Presumably you've dismantled the pallet bed for the wood needed to add 2 drawers to your simple table and a back onto your stool?

Finally I cite the section of the Downtime rules that suggests a Common Room in 2 different buildings represents 2 very different spaces. In an inn it might have benches and tables, in a bardic college it might have music stands.

I guess my point is that I want somewhere secure for my low-level PC to sleep but I don't intend on ever renting out my room for cash or Influence. Now an Office requires 3 Goods, 3 Labor and 8 days; if I could keep a crude bed in there it would suit the immediate need. A Bedroom however is 8 goods, 7 labor and 20 days for space and utility I don't want.

I'm probably reading too much into this. A Shack is considered a single room, but really it's a 10x10 hut right? Well this gives you a tiny building w/a roof, 4 walls and an earthen floor. The total area is 2-4 squares.

Upgrading this to Storage gives you a 4-8 square space. You essentially double your shack. Then upgrading once more gives you an office... 2-5 squares.

What happens to the space and furnishings from the original room?

My thought was that a shack is a simple hut used for survival. Upgrading to storage basically adds a loft space but you still have a fire pit, a pallet bed and a crude table in the space; you can still survive there if you don't use it as a business. Finally when it upgrades to an office you finish off the floor, improve the table and chair, but you still have perhaps a hearth and your pallet bed, plus a little bit of the storage space - not enough to use the mechanical benefit of that room but extra space that you can store your own gear in.

So I guess my question is can you live in an Office and count it as a simple, 1-room cottage for yourself with no other mechanical bonuses?

I like everything about this thread. I'm at work now but when I have a free moment I'm going to try and contribute. I run a fey-themed homebrew and this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I wanted. I ended up putting in the Junkmanglers - a bunch of humanoids and fey and such that take junk and turn it into treasures for a price.

If I take that and jam it together with the Witchmarket I think I might be able to come up with something cool hopefully. Thanks everyone for your contributions in this thread so far.

Can it be a 5 room dungeon? I've got a lot of ideas for these, though many involve "rooms" that are really just interconnected scenes. Still, here's a level 1 "dungeon" I've been toying with:

The Beetles of Bugwillow:

Setup: the PCs are together when into the square/tavern/town shop bursts a young man. He is wounded and has obviously run a good distance. He hurridley explains that a massive beetle and several lesser ones have attacked a small logging camp outside of town.

Room 1: The campsite/CR 1
Tents have been torn through and abandoned. The woods at dusk are shrouded in darkness. Nearby a distinct crunching noise accompanies the chitinous hum of insect wings.

- Monsters: x3 fire beetles
- Treasure: the woodsmen hiding nearby return to camp once the battle is over; they repay the heroes with a small coffer of silver (20 GP) and a masterwork woodcarving of a forest scene whitled by one of the cutters (100 GP)
- Note: a Small sized path with a few tracks is hidden to one side (DC 20 Perception or Survival). If the PCs don't notice it the trail is pointed out by one of the cutters. If the party decides to follow this the workers also give them a sack containing 4 flasks of acid (30 GP) as well as 2 potions: Cure Light Wounds. They then leave the camp for the safety of the town.

Room 2: Hidden trail/CR 1
The narrow path is difficult to follow in the rapidly fading light. Brambles catch on your clothing and all around you the forest seems to be closing in. With the temperature dropping rapidly you're suddenly reminded of all the stories you've heard explaining why the Bugwillows are no place to be after dark.
- Hazards: the trail is just over three miles long, wandering through the woods. The cold night causes a Fort save each hour (DC 15 +1/each previous check) or suffer 1d6 non-lethal damage. As well the trail itself is difficult to follow (DC 20) leading to the PCs potentially getting lost and having to find their way back onto the trail. If the PCs fail 2 or more checks at becoming lost generate a random encounter.
- The stream: once the PCs arrive at the end of the trail they find a rapid stream, roughly 20' across. While the PCs' side is tree-lined there is but a single huge willow on the far shore; otherwise the area is a clearing save for stunted undergrowth and mossy boulders. The tracks the party has been following end here and there is no obvious way across

Room 3: The wretched rider/CR 3
Now with the water behind you a clearing beckons you forward. The open expanse is hemmed by towering trees and limestone cliff walls. On the far edge is a gaping cleft in the rocky hillock. The ground in several places is beaten down, as if from above.

- Monsters: bombardier beetle; mite warrior 2
- treasure: the mite is wearing masterwork studded leather and carrying a light crossbow; he has 2 very unique bolts - one carries a single charge of Touch of Fatigue (DC 11; use activated) while the other deals an additional 1d3 Acid damage (each worth 50 GP).
- This is the guard for the cave entrance. Normally he uses his mount to carry his brethren across the stream. He fights to the death, attempting to remain at range for as long as possible.

Room 4: the hive/CR 2
Drawing close to the cave entrance you smell an acrid stench. Inside is a living carpet of beetles in every direction; the floor of the cave is slick with slime and fungal rot. Narrow path of limestone to one side rises up along the wall and leads toward a dimly lit chamber beyond.

- Monsters: beetle swarm (treat as cockroach swarm)
- Note: if the PCs use stealth they may avoid this encounter altogether. Otherwise any entrant not accompanied by a beetle or possessing Vermin Empathy is immediately swarmed.

Room 5: the final enemy/CR 4
The interior cyst opens into a vast cave. Stalactites hang above while the floor is broken by stalagmites; flowstone pillars and curtain walls divide the area further into smaller chambers. Cold night air descends through a hole in the roof to mingle with the infrequent pools of murky seep scattered throughout the cavern making the environemnt bitter. The flickering glands of other beetles skitter to and fro but one in particular seems unusually bright in the distance.

- Monsters: x3 fire beetles; queen beetle (fire beetle advanced to 3 HD with the Fey Creature template applied)
- Treasure: the queen beetle has many peridots, garnets and amethysts embedded in her shell through which her light glows (260 GP worth); in a crevice she guards a mite treasure hoard contained in a heavy chest - mixed coins (200 GP worth), 2 potions: Expeditious Retreat, Mage Armor, 4 scrolls: Burning Hands, 4 bronze rings set with a single moonstone (30GP each)
- Note: each time the queen uses her Dancing Lights or Faerie Fire power her gem-encrusted shell glimmers forth the light she uses. As well when using the Long Step ability she is engulfed in a halo of faerie light; a similar light appears simultaneously where she reemerges. Finally she may spend a full round action calling and signalling to the adjoining chambers of the the cavern with her light. Such a display calls forth another 3 fire beetles to help her in battle.

If this works for somehting you'd like I'll work on some maps and get it scanned as soon as I can.

One other one about fey and I promise I'll stop bothering you for a while Mr Jacobs. Are there any Golarion superstitions rivaling our own in regards to dealing with faeries? Like if you walk through the woods turn your coat inside out or the fey will get you, that kind of thing? Can you tell I'm running a fey game and I'm trying to amp up the weirdness?

James Jacobs wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
Where do mites come from, and why aren't fey outsiders?

Mites come from other mites who get pregnant. They were ORIGINALLY gremlins, but they've stayed on the Material Plane for so long that they've degenerated away from being gremlins and have become mites. They're mostly a material plane thing, not a First World thing.

Fey aren't outsiders because they're fey. And because the outsider category of monster is already QUITE big enough.

There ARE outsiders who are native to the First World, I suspect, although not many. The nature of the First World is really unusual in the grand scheme of things, and that unusualness factors into the fact that fey aren't outsiders.

Similarly, there are a lot of undead on the First World's opposite, the Plane of Shadow. In a lot of ways, you can look at fey and undead as two sides of the same coin, with all the Material Plane native creatures being the INSIDE of that same coin.

Mind... blown. Thanks and have a great holiday!

Can you earn Capital and spend it in the same day? Ex: my level 2 dwarf fighter has Profession: Brewer and earns 1 Labor in a day w/that skill. Could I spend it the same day explaining it as he was able to batch up a small bucket of a beer he had fermenting and then went and ladled it out to workmen for free while they then put in some work on a Shack for him the same day?

Also I thought one of the devs had ruled that rooms could be worked on simultaneously. I can't find it on the threads though. My search skills stink.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gonna have to admit it... I put Season 1 of AoS on my Netflix queue, watched two episodes, and sent the disk back. Disk 2 will not be on my list.

The whole first season for me was worth it to see Coulson's breakdown on the doorstep of a secret base. "This HAS to mean something! It HAS to matter!" Sure, a lot of the characters are a little over-the-top super-spy schlock and sure, the first couple episodes were snoozers, but seeing Coulson suddenly lose it and become an everyman from time to time, especially in that scene makes it worth it for me.

Coulson is why I've always Made Mine Marvel (nuff said). Because Marvel is about regular people first, super second. What would happen if you took a real life nerd, age 15, with all the awkwardness and insecurity of adolesence coupled with the trauma of a broken childhood, and suddenly gave him the power to run up walls, leap rooftop to rooftop and throw cars? Well of COURSE he'd try to cash in on his powers and act like a brat! That is, until something terrible happened.

Coulson knows that with great power comes great responsibility. Coulson makes tough calls. Coulson doesn't always have the right answer. And yet, somehow, he's the guy that took Loki's spear to the chest and lived; he's the guy who died so that the Avengers could live, and he's the guy that has to carry around ALL of this on his shoulders.

Not once in a while. All the time.

Yeah, once these things start becoming a factor in the show it goes from being a cute little time filler to an interesting play on what it takes to be a normal guy in a world where aliens and super-soldiers duke it out on the streets of NYC.

There's only so much character you can show, episode to episode on TV, as opposed to a 2 hour movie. For what you CAN get out of a show, I'd say Coulson is top of the line. That's my CP anyway.

Ravingdork wrote:
[Since you can officially pay crafting costs with your character's starting funds during character creation, while totally ignoring crafting times, I see no logical reason in the RAW why this wouldn't also apply to Focused Overseer and the downtime rules.

This is official? Please cite. I didn't know so I've been houseruling and none of my players have taken advantage ever. I'd love to be able to quote this when explaining to them or when starting off as a first level wizard with 12 scrolls, a spellbook, some basic gear and a club.

Where do mites come from, and why aren't fey outsiders?

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The Indescribable wrote:
How much of that can they actually digest?

About a reader's digest

I used Obsidian Portal for a couple homebrewed campaigns. Even for free you could use it to post maps and images, session notes and such. Of course I haven't been in there for like a year now, so things may have changed. Still, I thought it was fine for me.

Unfortunately my players never used it. 2 separate campaigns, with varying levels of RP and immersion, but with me stating bold face that the players SHOULD take some notes, consult the pages and be up on things for the games to make sense and they never did any of that. Both games have subsequently disintegrated.

Now I just share stuff with Google docs. I have a map and a campaign guide posted there for the current game. That reminds me; I should scan in the map that goes with the city for the campaign.

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You know the GM is out to get your WHOLE PARTY when it's game time.

Also I don't always have a house, but when I do, its a Taun-Taun.

I've registered my thanks on a few threads now. The folks at Paizo are, among other things accessible. I feel valued as a customer and that's important. Their product is solid, the content is searchable and their customer service is impeccable.

But as I've also said before, a special thanks to them for being real people and not JUST a corporate entity. Yes, Paizo is a business looking to make a profit and as a former small business partner I can certainly appreciate that. However I have been and always will to some degree be in Customer Service and have a soft spot for the needs of the customer.

So does Paizo.

Erik Mona put together a number of very classy thanks and goodbyes in the last issues of Dungeon. When my subscription ran out prematurely I had the opportunity to use the leftover credit in their online store. I could've bought some generic maps for use in the new 4x game my buddy was planning. Based on Erik's seemingly genuine gratitude and concern for the patrons I decided to see what else was in the store.

When I didn't understand exactly how to use said credit I sent an email. Paizo responded in minutes with patient, detailed instructions. I responded by thanking them and saying I might be interested in the CRB. The tech replied back and she asked if I did buy it to tell her what I thought.

Today my hard copy of that CRB sits proudly on my shelf at home. The binding is coming loose from frequent use. Many pages are dogeared such as 399 (treasure per encounter) and the 560's (conditions and such). I never did respond to that email back in '07 but if anyone from Paizo is reading this: I'm VERY happy with my purchase!

So yes, thanks to Paizo. Thank you for your product, your genuine care for the customers and fans, and a willingness to be as forthcoming and collaborative with us as you can. Most of us know that you folks need to make money and that is likely your primary goal; it's nice to see however that isn't your ONLY goal.

I appreciate you Paizo. Thank you.

I think part of the villain has to flow from the players too. Not the characters mind you, but the players. Find out what they dislike IRL and what their motivations are. If you have very politically liberal players for example, having a villain who was trod on by the man and now returns to commit acts of anarchy may resonate.

The thing is, your players have to be willing to hear your villain. Not just listen to the guy's rants but really HEAR them. If your players just want to play a game that's just barely not a board game, chances are you're not pulling off a memorable villain.

Finally you as the GM have to have the chops to pull it off. When you're playing the villain you have to make them live and breathe at the table. When dropping in hints and rumors of this villain or inserting the aftermath of the villain's actions such things need to be well delivered.

I've wanted to run a low-level game with a villainess who is nothing more than a CN female human (shapechanger) adept 4. Poor Vanya is just an odd girl, an outsider who lived alone in the woods with her father. She has always envied the girls in town and wanted to be pretty, like them.

Growing up in the woods Vanya spent many nights slipping away to sleep in the moonlight. She heard voices there that calmed her. Her father warned her not to trust the faerie folk but they whispered promises to make her beautiful so she lingered.

Finally when she turned 16 Vanya blossomed. She developed into a pretty young girl and wanted to be among the other girls at the faire that midsummer. She begged her father and he agreed so she made a special dress and sang all the songs the faeries had taught her (adept spells). She and her father went to the faire and Vanya was up with the other girls, coming out to the town now as young women for the first time.

Then the boys pulled the chord. Then Vanya fell under the stage. Then she met the rats.

So Vanya's father took her home. She fell ill with the fever and he went to get a cleric from the town. Vanya wandered into the forest and went to where the voices sang. She begged them to make her better; she pledged anything for her revenge.

Her dark patron rewarded her pleas with a curse. Now poor vanya is a wererat. She has transformed several of the other children into rats with her new powers. She is no mastermind; rather she is a frightened child at once vengeful of her peers and guilty for her actions. Unfortunately her patron has some larger purpose so she must continue plaguing the town.

The PCs then are made aware of Vanya through her father. She hasn't returned home and he just wants his little girl back. There are boys and girls missing throughout the countryside; rats are spreading an epidemic of Filth Fever; the fey have turned spiteful and mean.

This would be a real challenge and I don't think I've got the skill to pull it off. Still, I think it would be really satisfying just to see the look on the players' faces when they get to the final fight where they find a poor teenage girl sobbing "I just wanted to be pretty... to have friends... but they... they TOOK that from me! They stole EVERYTHING! I just wanted it back... I'm so sorry..."

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I try to be impartial when running. I try to be inclusive, giving opportunities for the PCs to interact with the world. I try to be engaging and urge the players forward or incentivize their characters to act.

The emphasis here is on the word "try."

Sometimes I had a stressful couple weeks, have little in the tank and suddenly realize my players will be here in an hour. Other times I lay out a couple plot hooks, look across the table and my players are literally just staring, not saying anything; when I ask for their actions they just kind of shrug.

Every once in a while I'm just fed up. Yeah, I'm gonna say it. Sometimes I get mad at myself for making such a convoluted plot that even I can't follow or my players are running like this is a game of Talisman. When these things happen I'm a crap GM.

I'm the first to admit I'm a crap GM too. When I look around and realize I've just dumped the game into a ditch I apologize to my players. Then its a matter of picking up the broken pieces of whatever plotline is happening and try to repair the damage.

My players tell me I'm good at improv. I don't know if I believe them; it's like a 50/50 crap shoot every time I ad lib a scene. Regardless I basically spend most of my "prep" time between games just making up random set pieces, weird NPCs and variant monsters while surrounding myself with as many random generators as I can.

I make stuff up a lot. Worse, I don't take notes. My last couple games have revolved around a wight animated with the heart of a saint. I named said saint in the opening 5 minutes of the session a month ago; I didn't write the guy's name down or anything. Now it just so happens that player decisions are driving the next plot point RIGHT AT the origins of this dude.

I'm ill-prepared.

Despite all of the above my players keep showing up. I think its because they like their characters, they like hanging out together and they think I'm doing a decent job. I HOPE that's what it is anyway.

I guess my only advice and the only thing I've learned over the years of running games is to be honest. Be honest with your players and yourself that you're only human; you'll make mistakes, forget stuff in your game, and sometimes you won't have anything for tonight's session. Be honest about your villains/monsters: roll on the table, where people can see it. If you, say, have a pinnacle cairn wight animated by the corrupted heart of a saint wielding an awesome Death Scythe you made up and you roll a 1, then an 8, followed by a 7 in three rounds of combat, own it.

And, finally, a note to players everywhere: help a brother out. If your GM has told you he wants to run an immersive world then sets you in a Large City after an adventure and says "ok, you've all got some downtime. What do you do?" Play along. Don't go deer-in-the-headlights; look at your guy, look at his skills and review the past few adventures, then take a specific action based on that info.

Maybe you've got Profession: Innkeeper as a bonus skill from your backstory. You don't feel like there's anything more to do on the previous plot points, so maybe you go to the bar. However don't be passive about it: "I drink at the bar." Be as immersive as your GM is trying to be.

"I go to the bar to get a drink. While there I ask the inkeeper how's business, try to gauge what kind of place this is. Also I'll use my skill to size up the joint; maybe if we need extra muscle on the next adventure this would be a good place to look."

Suddenly the GM knows: you're thinking ahead, you're interacting with the game world and you're willing to RP. Now said GM can ad lib a hulking barbarian... halfling. His nam is Barleykorn and he wants to arm wrestle you; he smells like rancid cheese.

Be honest. Be immersive. Be specific. Everything else is probably in the CRB, Bestiary or the GMG... if I can just FIND them...

All good comments, I love it. To address the point about swarms: I thought I'd actually warn them in character through an NPC and perhaps mention there was an alchemist in town. Hopefully that gives them at least SOME advantage.

Here's a sample of one of the insect nests they'd have to deal with

Beetles of Bruhnwood:

Room 1: The logging site/CR 1
The PCs arrive at a small logging camp that tells them they've had trouble with monstrous beetles consuming the woods. They then take the party out to one small grove that is now infested.
1. Monsters: x3 fire beetles
2. Note: a Small sized trail with foot prints leads away from the site (DC 15 Perception or Survival to notice)

Room 2: The trail/CR 1
If the PCs didn't notice the path leading away from the infestation then the loggers tell them. The tracks are a challenge to follow (DC 15) and lead a short distance to a flooded stream. on the far bank is a cave entrance; the ground here is obviously tromped down by many feet but there is no obvious way across the stream.

Room 3: Main cave/CR 2
Once the party has crossed the stream they find that the cave opens into a large, open vault with many stalactites and stalagmites. Curtain walls and pillars of flowstone divide the cavern into smaller "chambers". There are several murky pools from the seep dripping through the stone.
1. Monsters: x3 fire beetles; x4 mites
2. Treasure: the mites' combat gear plus each of them has a flask or bottle bound to their hips on leather chords; in total the PCs find x2 alchemist's fire, 1 flask of acid and 1 potion of Cure Light Wounds

Room 4: Side tunnel/CR 2
A narrow tunnel (5' wide) descends to an open chasm with several pillars of stone at varying heights sticking up out of it. On the far side of this is another cavern and the party can see movement there. The PCs will have to navigate the chasm by whatever means they wish (rope and grappling hook, leap pillar to pillar, etc) to reach the far cave.
1. Monsters: x3 fire beetles
2. Note: the chasm is 20' deep and serves as the home of 3 fire beetles

Room 5: The master/CR 3
The final chamber is the private chamber of a trained mite warrior. He is one of Gulgurtha's champions and has been sent to make sure the beetles in these caves were a proper impediment to the townsfolk. His personal mount is a huge beetle with which he flies around the caves and the woods. This final chamber is lit by mottled sunlight coming through a hole in the roof (treat as Dim Light). Along the walls at varying heights and depths are a number of stone outcrops, ledges and niches large enough to hold a Medium creature; Climb checks here are only a DC 10.
1. Monsters: Mite Warrior 1; bombardier beetle
2. Treasure: the mite is wearing Small sized masterwork chain shirt armor; on his hip is a potion of Cure Light Wounds; hidden in one of the niches behind loose stones (DC 20 Perception) is a coffer of wood and bronze (100 GP) containing 250 GP in mixed coins and 5 moonstone beads on a leather thong (50 GP each)

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An idea for a low-level mini-campaign. It could be a stand-alone or the lead-in to a longer game.

Level 1: the PCs arrive in the town of Haliwick, a Small Town run by Lady Mayor Alophine Harrowbrook. Lady Harrowbrook is a mature woman but still very beautiful. She is also conceited and vain, outwardly critical of ugliness and over the years has surrounded herself only with pretty people and things. Not surprisingly she is a devout of Shelyn and that faith flourishes here.

The town has recently become plagued by vermin. Known infestations are in the sewers of the town, the woodlots of the town's hinterlands and in an abandoned mine. The whole of the first adventure consists then of exploring these locations and clearing out the nests. This gives the PCs clues to the history of the town being tied to a coven of witches. It also reveals that mites are working with the vermin.

Level 2: after completing their extermination work the PCs get a couple weeks' downtime. This gives them enough time to level, make some disposable magic items if they wish or purchase custom mundane gear. At the end of this time they learn that children in town have been disappearing. The parents all shut their mouths but the kids say that Mr Grins has returned.

The kids are being snatched at night. Every one of them are the offspring of the "uggos" that the Lady Mayor has been overly critical of. The abductor leaves behind bizarre tracks but never a trail; they also leave behind cocoons full of spiders. Unbeknownst to the PCs the mites have joined forces with "Mr Grins", a particularly vile ettercap who has a taste for children.

While Mr Grins does the abducting, some of his victims over the years have been handed off to the fey. They have been transformed into more mites. The PCs have to follow some clues, find Mr Grins' lair and put a stop to him. Here they find more clues directing them back to the Lady Mayor who they come to find out was once a witch in a coven that included, among other sisters, a mite.

Level 3: Lady Harrowbrook is actually being framed by her former sister. The mite witch Gulgurtha is getting revenge for Alophine's dissolution of the coven years ago. Either the Lady Mayor is imprisoned at the end of the level 2 adventure or she has at least been stripped of her authority.

Now at the outset of this final installment Lady Harrowbrook has disappeared. If she was in the dungeons beneath Haliwick her cell is empty; otherwise she has just disappeared from the town. Clues suggest the sewers from the first adventure. The party must descend there, search around and find the coven's old haunt beneath the town.

At this point it's a race against time. The party begins finding mites with minor arcane powers that make them slightly more powerful than their typical kin. These are in fact the children abducted over the years and changed by faerie magic. I haven't decided if the PCs will be able to save the kids or not yet.

Anyway of course at the heart of all this is Gulgurtha. She intends to not only drain the beauty from Lady Harrowbrook as part of her revenge but will also be unleashing an Apocalypse Swarm; a collection of different vermin swarms that will destroy the town above. The party must put an end to her inside a set time-frame (haven't decided what that is yet) or game over.

Please give me your honest thoughts and critiques as well as any advice you can offer.

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The spell component pouch only contains one thing: a red button. On the red button is painted the word "Win". Press the button, cast the spell, get the word. You're welcome.

For folks that have played E6 or whatever, where the game caps at 6th level and then you just gain HP/Feats from there, do you still have all the RAW rules for magic item purchase? Like, would it still feel like low magic if you were level 4 in an E6 style game but you enter a large city where there's a guy on every streetcorner hawking a +2 sword?

I don't do anything much different rules-wise for my game. I run a homebrew. I do however have a lot of disposables in loot drops or for sale, tons of settlements no larger than a Small Town and a real variety of mundane items, coins and art in loot piles.

One of my former players accused me of running a gritty, low-magic game. He was frustrated by this. I just kind of shrugged. I don't put out any restrictions or whatever and tell my players up front that I have the settlements I do. I also encourage them to make magic items telling them that I'm using the Downtime system from Ultimate Campaign to make things a little cheaper.

Finally I tend to run non-linear games. My players are free to wander far afield so if they want more cash they can find a loot-rich adventure site and pursue it at their liesure. If the players however don't take the initiative to use all the resources at their disposal that doesn't make it any higher or lower magic a game than if I ran in Golarion does it?

Anyway I just wondered if maybe I should be running E6 or something...

Aishachan13 wrote:

I'd want to use these, but I'd worry that any random event that happened would spiral off into it's own game.

Fun though!

That's kinda the idea. Imagine: you had a stressful week and haven't looked at the notes of your homebrew game since last session. Suddenly you realize that you have nothing planned and your players will start arriving in 10 minutes. It'll take you 9 to get the table cleared and get the party sub and chips laid out.

The one thing you DO remember is that you ended with the party in town. In desperation you grab this thread and skim it. #321 catches your eye so as people file in you grab an NPC from some source and use his/her stats for the "Brash Warrior".

The party might fight or they may be spectators. If they engage in the duels, run a quick fight and they win some cash. The watchman pulls them aside afterwards and laments that the brash warrior now must return to his owner - he was attempting to move up from simple slave to gladiator in order to win enough cash for his freedom. Now he's not only failed but faces the flagellations of his owner as penance.

If they just watch someone picks their pockets. However instead of taking anything they're left with a map. Said map leads to a treasure buried under the gnarled old roots of an ancient pine grove. Unfortunately for the PCs the earthen dungeon is also home a handful of mites and vermin. Depending on the party's level the fey might also have levels in NPC or PC classes such as adept, warrior, rogue or ranger.

Suddenly your game is solved with a random encounter and a bit of tap dancing. Mission accomplished.

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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Are actually having problems making touch attacks?

I am, but it mainly has to do with some profane enchantment called a "Restraining Order".

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Matthew Downie wrote:
I think there's a guy with a sack full of scrolls who follows adventuring parties around from village to village hoping they'll buy something.

I want to get back to this. I think that'd make an AWESOME side plot in an actual campaign.

PC's start off level 1. First time they go hunting for magic items they find this human with a handy haversack full of potions and scrolls. He asks them to buy, they do or don't, end scene.

Next time they go looking, he's there. If the players actively try to avoid him on their next shopping trip, his "twin brother" shows up with a mustache. This goes on, through the whole game.

This vendor just ALWAYS happens to be around the PCs, no matter how remote their location. He also has JUST the right scroll or potion they need, whenever they need it. In the end the GM can use this guy to represent whatever they want:

Light world: the little guy was a solar/planetar/whatever agent of the gods sent to help the heroes on their journey

Dark world: this is a demon in disguise, slowly getting them to trust and depend on his wares so that, when the chips are finally down he has the ONE thing that will save the day, but it'll cost the soul of an innocent to buy it

Fun world: he's literally a rip-off of some video game trope, like the peg leg boy or the elf-guy from G A or whatever

Sorry for hijacking the thread.

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Run Kingmaker or your own hexcrawl type game. Go read the [url=]West Marches] article about sandboxy hexcrawls.

Make yourself a map. It doesn't have to be big; start out with a single hex and the six around that, then expand out, say, 2 rings worth of hexes from there. Using the rules in Ultimate Campaign or Kingmaker each of these are 12 miles corner to corner, roughly 95 square miles.

Just over the weekend I grabbed UC, the Gamemaster Guide, the CRB, Bestiary 1 and Raging Swan's Wilderness Dressing book. I made some random rolls and came up with a central hex that's settled but forested. Surrounding this are 3 mountains, 3 forests. Essentially through random rolls I came up with an alpine region.

For a little bit of variety I gave the hexes sub-terrains. I have forested hills, forested mountains, mountains with an abundance of rivers, streams and lakes capped in snow, and finally a hex of forested marshes and wooded heath and moors (plains).

I came up with a few sites. These I've keyed to specific hexes. There's a bugbear cleric with some undead and tamed fire beetles; a wizard's ruined tomb with 3 darkmantles and decorated in ossuary; the wooded swamps hide pools of leeches (hazard) that can sap con and inflict disease. One of the wooded mountain hexes has a dwarven "hamlet" sized settlement hidden in the overhangs of a pass. By random rolls however this place is NG in alignment and led by an overlord. I decided to make it a trading post and way stop for travelers who are on an approved list of honored guests.

If I were to turn this into a campaign then I'd make up a few more rings of hexes. I'd hand this map to the PCs, point out the couple of obvious "landmark" type sites and provide them with starting information and plot hooks. Then I'd let them wander running each session as an exploration of a hex or known site, at the end of which the PCs would return to whatever they're using as a base of operations. If players swap out I'd merely explain it as those PCs leaving the party to resolve personal quests while the new PCs join the party having heard of their glory.

Ex: 4 PCs, a wizard, rogue, fighter and cleric set out from the town and head out into the moors to find the Tomb of Balak Thuul. They encounter some goblins in an ambush, cross a flooding river and then arrive at the tomb. Somehow they get past the locked gate and barely survive the CR 4 encounter with three Darkmantles. In the treasure they find a couple scrolls and lots of coins along with a secret door leading to an area with a magical trap and a homunculus. Defeating these and nearly spent they find the wizard's hidden library containing his spellbook and enough tomes on magical theory that, if studied for an hour they grant +2 to Spellcraft. Finally they find a rope that radiates magic and has 1 charge each of rope trick and animate rope (CL3).

The session ends there. The rogue drops out for the next game but I pick up a ranger and barbarian. The PCs ended the last session returning to town, so the rogue gets called off by the guild on a special burglary mission while the ranger and barbarian arrive with lore about some clan of dwarves hidden in the nearby pass. For the right price these dwarves will allow you passage in their heim and will trade with you for their rare goods. The party decides to follow the new pair and goes up into the mountains. They brave some dire boars and flee from a patrolling chimera only to be nearly killed tumbling down a ravine. Here they find a spider-infested cave with mites using the creatures as mounts. The PCs defeat the nest and find a map of the pass as well as coins and gear. The map indicates an "enemy hall" on a spot in the mountains dominated by rocky ledges and overhangs. Using the map the PCs scour the area, are confronted by a dwarven patrol, and once they reveal they have slain the spider-riders they are given passage into the heim where the second session ends.

Now if the PCs swap again you can say one of a few things. You can say the new characters were in the dwarf heim as well. You can also say that the PCs were officially awarded passage to the heim when needed but they went back to the town for whatever reason where they met the new PCs. Finally you could bring in the new PCs as destitute wanderers in the pass begging for protection. Whatever the case you have built in PC swap ability and the game can be focused on what they want, not some pre-planned storyline.

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294. Someone rings a bell and the bald barbarian begins humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" while rising menacingly to his feet

295. A disembodied voice cries out "FIGHT!" as the room darkens. The word actually appears in the air. Suddenly techno music begins playing...

296. It's Whitefish Wednesday and all they have is eel

297. "I'm so glad Firefly got cancelled; Whedon's a hack!"

298. The town drunk just spotted the temperance nuns; three of them are using a prayer circle to block the bar while the fourth, behind the rail, brandishes an axe

299. Necromancy

300. The bar is filled with younglings and a pansy with a glowing sword and a rat tail is standing in the doorway

I just thought of a viking-style feast hall. It's rustic, earthy, and has pallets built into the walls for sleeping/sitting on during a meal. If shabby and barely adequate, it's a couple of shacks that provide no earnings bonuses. However if well constructed the same space in the same style would provide all the bonuses of a Kitchen and Common Room from the UC book. Also sleeping on the floor or bench of a common room in a tavern was common in real life wasn't it?

Anyway the reason I'm asking all of this is I wanted to run a game based around PCs settling in a frontier town and using it as a base from which to adventure. In order to stead the PCs in the town invest the characters in the settlement I was going to start each PC with a free shack. They can then describe their home as whatever they want it to look like and can spend any starting or future gold on developing that structure or building off of it.

As I began contemplating this start to a game I realized that if they wanted to PCs could build their shacks together to make a crude hall of sorts, then use starting gold (I use 150 GP per PC) and their own hard work to earn Capital enough to turn around and spend on cheap rooms like an Office, a Kitchen or a Garden.

In short, they might actually begin the game with a business if they could use their shack to help facilitate it.

I'm not saying that this is an optimized choice or that any of my players would choose this option, but I wanted to be prepared with a ruling if the situation arose.

In UC the shack states:

Ultimate Campaign: shack wrote:
This no-frills wooden shelter contains a simple table, pallet bed, and stool. One person can build a shack with simple tools and basic materials. For an additional 1 point of Goods and 2 points of Labor, you can construct a brick or stone hut instead of a wooden shack.

This room is described as occupying up to 4 squares; a 10x10 room. This per the quote above gives you nothing more than a survival shelter with simple furnishings.

My question is: can it be something else?

What if I'm a poor, first level adventurer but my GM lets me have a shack in my starting gear. Can I add a kitchen to it and say that it is a simple dining area where I can serve guests during Downtime? A shack could only accommodate, maybe a single table of 6 folks, but then I could use that and the kitchen to generate revenue from the Kitchen room bonus of GP +4. My PC then has a shallow loft space where he can sleep above the "common room" shack area.

My thought was that the shack then would simply represent a modest 10x10 room that can double as whatever basic utility you need, it just wouldn't give any bonuses. You COULD use it to double as a cell for example, but it's not nearly as secure as an actual Cell room, or you could throw in a couple extra stools and use it as a sitting room but visitors would not be impressed with it so no Influence +4 bonus.

Is this possible?

Another thing the OP asked about were "encounter quantities." That's a bit math, a bit luck. The CR system is based around 4 PCs of relatively similar levels with a CR equal to their APL (average party level) expected to be a winnable fight that will sap a bit of their consumable resources. In 3x editions it was meant that a CR equal to APL would knock out 20% of the party's total resources, meaning 5 fights a day. I don't think that's explicitly stated in Pathfinder.

However CR isn't an exact science. There's no "perfect" number of encounters/day that the average party can handle. Consider: at 1st level a lucky axe swing by a single goblin can take out the party melee martial. On the flip side a well-prepared wizard who used starting gold to make scrolls has upwards of 10 1st level spells on them, not to mention an Acid Splash boosted by an Acid Flask focus for 1d3 +1 every round. That wizard could easily help the party win victory in more than 5 combats.

So I suppose how many fights/day will depend on your players. I would suggest, however that your dungeon leave empty space for breathers. In those old AD&D megadungeons there were often empty rooms, dead end corridors that DIDN'T have traps and such. The theory I've followed is 1/4 of your total dungeon is purely empty space. If you're planning a 10 room dungeon, 2 of those rooms wouldn't have an encounter.

Finally consider what you're trying to accomplish with your dungeon and your adventure. If you're religiously tracking XP for example and you want your PCs to level, it's going to take roughly 15-20 encounters equal to APL for them to gain that level. Placing challenges of varying CRs will adjust this number.

So again, considering 1st level, if you've got a wizard, fighter, cleric and rogue venturing into a megadungeon for the first time hunting for a maguffin that they need, you might give them a surface ruin with a main hall, 6 adjoining rooms they have decent access to, and a cellar level with an additional 3 rooms. Through the cellar they can find entry points to either a crypt sublevel with 12 rooms and a full level of the main dungeon with 46 rooms.

Of course, you're not anticipating they clear all 68 rooms. You're intending that they will follow clues you've left them through the course of the story to enter the main dungeon in search of the maguffin, retrieve it and escape alive with enough experience to hit level 2. You plan out then roughly 17 empty spaces among those 68 rooms. You also throw in a random encounter chart with a range of CRs from 1/3 - 2. Finally you plan about 35 set piece encounters of varying CRs and populate the last rooms with traps, puzzles, and hazards to challenge the PCs.

If the PCs are well-prepared and their luck holds, they should be able to clear out one section of the ruins (either the hall level or the cellar) and establish a base for themselves. This initial delve should involve, say, 4 set-piece encounters, a random encounter, a trap/hazard/puzzle all of varying CRs accompanied by a purely empty room.

At that rate they've pulled in perhaps 2 average treasure hoards for their level which means about 520 GP worth of loot. If you want them to keep going these may translate to roughly 10 potions, 20 scrolls, or a mixture of both alongside some coins and art pieces. Even at 4 potions and 8 scrolls you have just doubled the spell allotment for both the cleric and wizard PC for the day AND given each member of the group a resource to continue on. If you choose to give them other treasure hoards, random resources in the areas they've explored or perhaps they make allies among the dungeon they will have the tools to delve deeper in that first session.

Now all of this assumes average results on every roll. If the cleric can't hit the broad side of a barn, the rogue takes max damage from a pit trap or a random encounter yields up a goblin commando team, you may get different results. On the flip if the wizard is optimized for damage with their Acid Splash and they're routinely taking down a single foe every round with that spell alone the party doesn't need a bunch of wizard scrolls to keep going.

And, if that wall of text isn't enough, one last comment: Real Life. If you only have 4 hours per game and a few weeks between sessions, megadungeoneering may not be the best option. The players may forget why they're there, get bored with the lack of progress, and as a result you may see the 15 minute workday more often.

Re: low-level wizards they begin play with some gold. I do the PFS thing and start everyone with 150. This means in my game the standard wizard may create several scrolls before the game ever begins.

Yes, making scrolls or potions or wands expends the spell you're using in the item. However if your PC spellcaster has any spells left at the end of the day, the GP spent on materials and the feat for making such items, it would be criminal for them NOT to be using it. Even if they're making scrolls of Unseen Servant tonight, that means in the morning they don't have to take that spell.

Even for martial characters long term dungeon hacking and sleeping in the dungeon are dicey propositions. They don't have many expendable resources to regenerate but they need to maintain a heightened level of vigilance. Suddenly perks like sleeping in armor from feats/traits becomes useful.

Bottom line: megadungeoneering isn't for every player. Talk to your players first. My standard speech is along the lines of "this game will involve a megadungeon. This in turn means resource management, knowing your limitations and playing to them as well as your strengths. There is a strong chance of character deaths; have no illusions that this is a reality. The game will be a marathon, not a sprint, but if you're willing we'll begin..."

If your players are still down, help them. If this is a marathon then provide them the resources to keep running. At low levels this might be as simple as an empty room with a single, well-defended entry point.

Never underestimate the power of a home base. In my current campaign the PCs have a small complex of rooms within a larger megadungeon. When they found it they crashed through a secret door that collapsed behind them. Within the complex they found a sparsely appointed alchemy library that had few useful tomes, an equally sparse bedroom, a broken old alchemy lab and a sealed well.

They eventually found a "back door" escape hatch that leads to the surface and is well hidden. They also scavenged a Good Lock and a scroll of Arcane Lock. They now have a single, secret way into the lair with a very dificult lock on it. They've also befriended some nearby fey on the surface for lookouts. Finally they cleared out all the old alchemy stuff, cleaned the place, and re-stocked it with survival gear.

Upon unsealing the well they found that it descends beneath an underground lake on a lower level of the dungeon. However they also found a side tunnel in the well-shaft. This tunnel takes them to the lakeshore from which they can access several other regions of the dungeon above.

Now suddenly they have a place to stow loot, rest, and recuperate. So far they've put it to good use re-stocking the library shelves with several tomes they've found plus materials for scrolls and an extra spellbook. The players joke about it but this lair is very nearly an NPC in the game for all it's utility.

Now imagine what happens when they start hitting upper levels. Teleport, sure, but what about Stone Shape, the Creation spells and Permanency. Suddenly from this humble hole in the ground these PCs can expand into the surrounding bedrock, even joining with the dungeon around them. The place might be outfitted with running water, grates to the surface for sunlight which in turn can grow plants. They could create an entire world for themselves here if they wanted.

And I encourage this. If the PCs are going to be successful on missions into the dungeon this is a valuable resource. I'm glad they have it and urge them to explore the lair's capabilities to the fullest.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:

From the section on hazards (cave ins):

CRB wrote:
Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.
So there's a mechanic you can use. Otherwise use other folks' suggestions on the subject.

I'd just like to note that this is "clearing" an area in the sense of "making a large enough gap for your friend to crawl out of before he suffocates," not "making a nice clean subway tunnel."

A strength 10 character has a heavy load limit of 100 pounds. Any miner would laugh at the idea of loading 500 pounds of rock in a minute (half a ton, with a crowbar).

So maybe multiply by a factor of 10 for careful work and shoring up? In 10 minutes they carefuly clear and shore up 5 times their Heavy Load limit without tools. That way roughly every 2 hours of work a Str 10 PC with a crowbar could handle a single 5-by-5 area. The entire party, working for 2 hours with appropriate tools could be expected to clear and shore up a 10' x 10' section of hall, or 1 day's work gives them 40'x10' worth of space.

Now during all of this the chance for re-collapse would still exist. You'd need skill checks (DC 20), you'd need "appropriate" tools such as picks, chisels, shovels and such. You'd also need a place to put all the excavated debris and finally you'd need the spars/timbers/undead giants needed to support the roof as you shore up the tunnel to be already on hand before work begins.

Finally you'd need checks for fatigue during the work. This is hard labor so perhaps follow the rules for Forced March or something. I'd modify that mechanic to say you work in 2 hour blocks; after the first block the next block is a DC 10 Fort save or 1d6 Nonlethal and Fatigue. The next 2 hour block is a DC 12 Fort save or another 1d6 damage; if already Fatigued move to Exhausted and so on.

Lune wrote:
What is a "Piskie"?

Another word for "pixie"

From the section on hazards (cave ins):

CRB wrote:
Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

So there's a mechanic you can use. Otherwise use other folks' suggestions on the subject.

thejeff wrote:

The flip side of all the "resource management" stuff is that you have to scale the fights (and the rewards as you say) so that they can win them without using up consumable powers or gear. If you want them to be able face twice as many fights, you can't just slam 2 sets of normally challenging encounters together and say "Go".

Very true. I've found that in megadungeons if I don't want to have PCs resting every couple of encounters I need to have some encounters that are nearly auto-wins. If for example I was running the first delve of a new campaign starting off at 1st level, I'd have half-a-dozen encounters that are merely CR 1/2 or 1/3: a lone goblin warrior 1, a mite and it's single fire beetle, a bunch of weasels in their den.

There'd also be story rooms. That is, there'd be rooms that do nothing but advance the story. These have no traps or encounters but provide clues to other parts of the dungeon. One example recently was that I knew I was going to have a wasting disease in a dungeon that turned the living into zombies. I had the PCs come upon a hapless kobold begging for it's death lying on a chamber floor; as they drew closer they saw that half of it's body had already turned to rot. It warned them not to be bitten and pleaded for their mercy, which the PCs did in fact bestow. On his person they also found a potion of jump - a resource they would use later in the dungeon.

Finally never discount the classic treasure-with-a-trap-on-it rooms! Used sparingly these can also drain a few resources, keep the action going and provide tools for continued adventure. Just remember that binary traps are boring to some players so you might have to replace them with a puzzle, a different mechanic or maybe even a Haunt.

Here's a sample of a megadungeon you might use:

The Ruins of Pvallengrad:

The town was once a walled settlement on the verge of the Elderwood. When the powers of the First World caused the forest to surge forth with wild growth the city and it's inhabitants were overrun. Many fled but the unlucky few were trapped.

Some were slain, only to animate as the restless dead, forever haunting the ruins. Others succumbed to faerie curses and were themselves transformed into monstrous minions; puppets on the strings of wicked sidhee. Still others survived for a time in the wilds devolving into a mockery of their former selves. Having survived in the darkest recesses of the ruins and tainted by otherworldly energies they have become infused with Shadow and become Fetchlings.

Over a century has passed and the First World energies have faded. Still the ruins remain to taunt the civilized lands to the south. Adventurers and explorers are not the only ones who have sought this place for their own gain. Kobolds and goblins vie with the eldritch horrors and faerie revels to make a home here or in the undertunnels below. Rumors abound that the reason the First World first sieged Pvallengrad was for some great faerie treasure the city had captured and held in it's vaults. He who controls this treasure controls the ruins.

Snippet: The Herbalist's Hedgemaze

This section of the ruins is a maze of hedgerows, bogs and massive stands of oaks amid half-walls and tumbled stone. The "floor" of the maze is cobblestone. At its center is the intact tower and umbral garden of Ylvoss, a Kayal herbalist.

She is a talented healer and poison maker, sought by many for her wares. Ylvoss is also a rare find in the ruins; a fair dealer. Getting to her is always an issue. Ylvoss uses her powers to come and go from her tower through shadows. The maze that surrounds it it the lair of many vile creatures but none worse than the fey. Insidious sprites and pixies use their powers to subtly change the maze and manipulate the "halls" so that mapping the place is folly.

Encounters and hazards:

- a trio of sprites/CR 1
- a lone kobold adept 1/CR 1/4: may want to bargain w/the party for safe passage
- 2 medium human skeletons/CR 1/2
- a grig commanding a pair of weasels/CR 2
- water-filled pit: treat as a bog hazard
- Falling Stone trap/CR 2
- 2 goblin warrior 1: they bear a cold-iron lantern and are hunting for faeries
- a shambling medium humanoid zombie/CR 1/2


The fountain - a small plaza amid the maze with crystaline water bubbling in a fountain with fey statuary. The far side of the plaza has a modest but intact one-room cottage large enough to accommadate 4-6 medium humanoids. Currently the place is held by a horde of 5 goblin warrior 1 led by a gobln witch 1 who use this place to make potions.

The Lion Door - a solid wall, once a building, stands amid the hedge here. The wall is shot through with vines and extends 30' up but it's major feature is an imposing oak door with the bronze head of a lion on it. The device animates and asks a riddle of the party; those who answer correctly are admitted through the door and bypass much of the maze. The door can also be forced open (Strong door) but the head will attack like a dire lion's bite attack.

Now that's just off the top of my head. If I were going to run this I'd have the encounters randomized with a d8 or make even more of them. I'd also have about 10 other chambers within the maze. Finally I'd make a point to have some of the encounters with intelligent opponents start off as a role-playing encounter. This would give the players ample opportunity to parlay with goblins, kobolds, and fey in order to gather info, make allies (even if temporary) and perhaps even bargain for resources.

Getting to the center and the herbalist Ylvoss gives the PCs a "win" in the dungeon and perhaps a permanent resource. Being a "light world" kind of GM I'd have the Fetchling give them a special plant that, when eaten allows them to directly enter/exit her tower as she does so they don't have to ALWAYS come and go through the maze. Of course that resource could be finite or stolen/ruined, so they'd still need to maintain vigilance.

Of course in true megadungeon fashion I'd probably also toss in, say, a moss troll (CR 3) living in the canopy of the maze or perhaps a sprite (CR 4) that patrols the place and keeps the other fey in line. If the party encounters these and just goes toe-to-toe they could be killed. Of course they might also employ other tactics as well. Then again if they fight and win I'd reward them with significant resources for the accomplishment.

Another way to design a megadungeon with sleeping is to make a non-standard dungeon. Imagine that instead of a massive underground structure you instead took an entire medieval city, ruined it, then let it be overgrown by a forest?

Your megadungeon then is made up of 2-4 story structures surrounded by dense vegetation. The "halls" are paths through the wilds that used to be streets, alleyways etc. The "rooms" are open squares, building rooms, or unique set pieces. For example what if the city had a colossus statue that has collapsed? One of the encounter areas might be the giant's head on the ground with tunnels and chambers carved inside.

The reason it's a "megadungeon" is because some of the larger, more intact buildings have 10 or more rooms making them the sublevels of the dungeon.

Other non-standard megadungeons could be:

a series of islands floating on a huge underground aquifer with random shafts of sunlight from the surface allowing some of these to have vegetation

tree-top chambers and halls connected by catwalks and rope bridges

an enormous necropolis with sections of the dead city separated by impenetrable walls

In my homebrew I have a custom pixie variant called a Gravesworn Piskie. They have an array of Arcane Marks they place on things:

Marked for Death: Gravesworn are nature's observers of death and they make sure that those that die naturally stay dead and go into the ground. Sometimes these faeries mark a poor soul when they are about to die. In doing so they ensure that at the moment of their death the Piskies are there to do what needs doing.

Interloper: The Gravesworn abhor those who disturb their Faerie Graves or the revels that make them. If someone interferes they are marked as an Interloper. Once this happens then over the next 30 days all fey in the vicinity of the marked victim are considered Unfriendly and have a duty to prank the victim. These pranks get worse the further the mark fades so the victim appears to have 30 days of bad luck. If they survive this haunting they are considered to have atoned for their sin; if they should seek forgiveness of the Gravesworn before this time is up there is no guarantee of success.

Fey Friend: If a mortal has helped the Gravesworn in their duties or otherwise done some great act for the fey they may be marked with this invisible and permanent glyph. It takes a Coven of Gravesworn (3 or more) to make this mark permanent. Once bestowed the bearer is paid a certain amount of respect by those fey who in turn respect their kin, the Gravesworn. This translates to a +2 Circumstance bonus to Diplomacy among the fey though there are some instances where the mark's bonus may not apply (as decided by the GM).

So that's how I've used it. The one I like the best is marking a victim for later dog-piling by the fey and it could be a good use by other GMs. Some goblin witch or Adept or whatever puts this on a victim, and then for the next 30 days all Goblinoids can "sniff them out" and try to murder that PC.

Other practical uses I've seen PCs put the spell to:

- Placing the spell's mark on ammo for collection after a fight so said ammo can be repaired using Mending

- Marking gear so that in case of theft it might be slightly more easy to find/identify

- Marking animals with a temporary brand to blend into a settlement

- Labeling trails in the wilderness or in a dungeon; in this case I give circumstantial bonuses to Survival checks to avoid getting lost

- Marking PCs invisibly to ensure dopplegangers and the like are not an issue

- Labeling a glass invisibly as part of a "battle of wits" to ensure the PC didn't drink poisoned wine

In the same game as that last one the wizard player had the thought: what if you marked a substance and made a person ingest it? Could you cast Detect Magic and track that victim?

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A few suggestions:

1. Not everyone/thing in the dungeon is a villain: I have a large homebrewed dungeon and in building I thought "why would humanoids have coins as treasure?" The obvious answer was to buy things but from who? The obvious answer again was that there was some kind of economy among the humanoids. Therefore they have to be willing to buy, sell and trade stuff. Why not to adventurers? From this line of thinking I created whole sections of the dungeon as well as traveling "merchants" that would serve the PCs' needs such as potion-peddlers, neutral "inns" of a kind and even a modest trade town for use by low-level adventurers.

2. Bend the rules of time and space: there was a great article in Dungeon magazine back in '06 about adding extra-dimensional spaces in dungeons. One of the spaces was a pocket dimension that appeared once in a while to help provide food and rest to adventurers. There are a lot of ways to do this. You could make it a divine respite provided by the gods, some First World portal from helpful faeries, a permanent Mansion spell from some old wizard or just simply a timeless pocket dimension. Whatever the case you might limit its use through everchanging passwords or some other challenge.

3. LOTS of consumables: this one's an easy solution. If you have a party spellcaster that refuses to capitalize on the value of cantrips at low level or wield a weapon when spells run out and you don't want to frustrate them further drop in consumables like scrolls, potions and wands. Even alchemical weapons replace low level spells and keep the action going just as well. Consider: at 1st level an average loot pile is worth roughly 260 GP. If you threw in just 4 1st level scrolls, say Mage Armor, Sleep, Expeditious Retreat and Magic Missile now the arcane caster is set for the next couple rooms and you've still got 160 GP left in the loot pile for the rest of the party.

4. Remind players to use their other skills/feats: a lot of players need reminders that their PC is more than their consumable powers. Using Survival you can rig up simple snares; you can use this skill and some available rope to defend a room while you sleep. PCs can work on certain magic items or mundane items while they adventure, albeit very slowly. Clever players memorize where that pit trap is and use Disable Device to reset it, then lead the next monster back to the thing to try and trap their foes.

Dungeon delving at low to mid level is daunting, no doubt. Most modern players at my table are expecting 10 rooms to explore, tops. Even after I tell them there are MILES of dungeon before them they shrug, grab some basic gear and start going nova in rooms 2 or three. They need reminders that this kind of adventure, the MEGADUNGEON adventure, is about resource management.

You can't clear a megadungeon. The players need to be aware and accepting of that fact. Once they do and they're still willing to play that style of game suddenly their minds switch. I have one player who is running a level 3 sorcerer. I've only seen him use a 1st level spell maybe 3 or four times in all our game sessions. This is because he almost exclusively uses Acid Splash plus a flask of acid as a Material Focus. It's not tons of damage but it's reliable and everlasting for every fight, every round.

Magic only goes up, along with everything else in this game. Adventuring wizards are assumed to be constantly studying between adventures, so they always get new spells when they level. More spells, more WBL; onwards and upwards.

So what if you just simply had a mechanic for loss?

Non-artifact magic items faded over time; adventurers can take months of downtime but they might lose xp; spellcasting weakens if not constantly maintained.

I don't know, I'm just spitballing. It just seems like alongside the astute observation that a lot of low-magic desires stem from ridiculous amounts of magic items, the other piece of it is "gritty" versus "glittery" style and if you're shooting for realism, why not just have things get worse once in a while?

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I think one reason folks go low magic is to limit magic items. I think one of the reasons for THAT is simply that magic items never break.

People in this thread have equated magic to technology in the real. Well, I'd disagree because my computer can get a virus, my car can break down from wear and even my push-point pen can get jammed.

When was the last time a wondrous item in PF wore out?

Now you can have charged items, sure. Consumables are fine. But when you have, say a Handy Haversack, unless someone targets you with a Sunder attempt or something the device NEVER breaks. Ever.

Consider that for a second. What if you could make a blender that would NEVER break unless you physically destroyed it on purpose. The motor would never weaken; the blades would remain sharp for literal centuries; the lid would fit as snugly on the millionth blend as on the first.

That's ridiculous, but yet that's magic items in Pathfinder. So for some folks this simple truth makes limiting magic items imperative. If you can always consistently count on your armor, bracers, belt, Ioun Stone or whatever to never falter unless specifically targeted by an enemy that means that your players will ALWAYS have that level of power at their disposal.

Frankly for my games I play the system as is. I don't really care too much about the magic level, demographics, realistic economies and such. I'm playing a game where a mortal male was drunk one night, in the right place at the right time, and blacked out; suddenly he is an immortal, eternal power of the universe with millions of worshippers and near-limitless magic. Yeah, there's no comparison to my reality there at all.

Tread lightly. This is my only advice. I speak from experience.

If you toss out an ad for players at random, be ready for a random assortment of players. The more well defined your intention is in the ad, the more defined your players' expectations will be but the fewer responses you'll receive.

The real problem, above all else, is one of communication and language. You say you want intertwined characters with a pre-existing connection. Your players may wonder "why?" You mention emotional investment; suddenly people are asking "what do you define as emotional; how DEEP an investment?"

My version of investment and yours might vary wildly. I might show up with a well-practiced elven accent wearing fantasy garb with a foam bow strapped to my shoulder, ready to completely transform into the persona of Lythos, the elven ranger. However you might have meant "it's a light game of beer, pretzels and dungeon hacking; just don't kill each other when the healing potions run low."

But once you feel confident dropping your hook in the waters of potential players a good way to get everyone together as a group is to have a session zero. Literally no roleplaying or games of any kind. Meet in a neutral place in the real world or, if you're hosting online just show up at the hosting site. Then chat, plather, and otherwise hob-nob with your fellow gamers.

Tell them about yourself and encourage them to do the same. Create a safe, social environment full of common ground among all of you. Be inclusive. This is a good time to level with your potential players in person - tell them why you've put this game together and what you hope to get out of it. Also make a point to ask them what they hope to get out of the experience.

Finally, at the end of session zero, make characters. Do this togehter, sitting with one another or while you're all online together. Sure, it's not time-efficient but by making characters in this way you're actively sharing your first role playing experience as a group.

Vibe off one another. "Oh, you're gonna be a fighter? I was thinking of going fighter too. My guy was going to go sword and board... and you're thinking polearms? Cool! Maybe your guy and my guy work together, like one taking down the foes close up and guarding the polearm guy with his shield. Kind of like a team..."

Hopefully this works for you.

Skeletal Champion FTW. Go back and read your Disney. In the book of Pirates of the Carribean:

For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it; too long I've been starvin' to death but haven't died. I FEEL nothin'; not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea. Nor the warmth of a woman's flesh...

A dead captain barking out orders to a skeleton crew on a doomed ship. It almost writes itself, savvy?

Invisibility does it. If you're a cleric cast Sanctuary on your little buddy and have them deliver touch spells to your friends, not your enemies. Otherwise consider Acrobatics.

Your familiar can move at half speed as part of a Move action with a DC of 5 + your enemy's CMD. On a successful roll your familiar moves through an enemy's square w/out suffering an AoO. If you take ranks in Acrobatics your familiar can use them and regardless of your class the familiar treats Acrobatics as a class skill.

As an example an owl at 1st level has a 60' fly movement. It also has a 17 Dex. It can move 30' delivering a Touch attack using your 1 rank in Acrobatics. It's rolling a +7 Acrobatics check against an average DC of 17. If you have time to buff you can add Guidance to this or other situational modifiers.

A note on Small familiars, touch attacks and AoOs. If you feel like your little buddy should get into that kind of position anyway, consider taking a goat (Small sized familiar) and having them make Full Round action Touch attacks with their Gore attack. They have a +2 (1d4 +1) melee attack which, if successful, deals its damage and delivers the Touch attack. Now you have a familiar inflicting 7 damage on a 1st level Chill Touch spell.

Hey fiendie, I'll make you a fantastic deal. I'll take the win in exchange for some goatee wax.

So I've surfed through here and skimmed some posts, mostly TOZ's 'cuz, well, he's him. Anyway, I have to say I agree w/one of his basic premises: the whole game is basically the GM saying "you win" or not. No matter how fair, clever or dice-ruled your GM is, at the end of the day they can tell you whatever they want is the result of every roll. They can lie, cheat, add extra HP, spontaneously change rules or whatever to fit their view. The fact that some DON'T do these things doesn't put any more control in the players' hands; it just means that the GM's decision or whim swung that way.

That's the reality. Players can cheat too, but they're bound to the character they have in front of them, so their control is limited. The GM on the other hand has control over the entire game. They decide what you're facing, why, and what the result of your actions are.

I know that's tough to swallow but this isn't a board game where we're all playing to the same rules. One participant is making everything up, presenting it to the others and then presiding over the result. The other participants are simply making suggestions to the GM and hoping for the best.

This is why it always strikes me as funny when someone says "I want a GM who challenges me to think, RP, and is generally clever." GM's aren't clever; they're either good or bad manipulators, nothing more.

Now please understand: I'm writing this even as I'm actively pursuing becoming a player in a couple guys' games. I accept all of the above as fact in this hobby. I don't see it as good OR bad, just the reality.

I don't mean to disparage or offend. If I did, I'm sorry. And TOZ, keep being you. Your wit-grenades in these threads are freaking awesome.

I haven't gotten my campaign started yet but my plan was to start the PCs off at level one but not in the region of the ferry. I bought The Lost City of Barakus and was going to start the party out in the wilderness there, then move into that mini-campaign and include ties to the growing menace of RA. Finally once the Barakus thing was complete, putting the PCs around 5th level I was going to put in a level of "epic journey" up the coast from the Barakus region to Zelkor's Ferry.

You might not use Barakus but this might be a good way to pull it together. Have the party start in the hinterlands to the south, have a couple wilderness encounters and hit the Ferry at 2nd level. Have them take a couple cursory missions from there getting them to 3rd or 4th, then send them into the "Dungeon of Graves." All the advice I got from friends who'd played RA when I started planning was that sending in PCs lower than 3rd level either required compassion on my part as a GM or would require serious, hardcore optimizers willing to flee at a moment's notice from the players.

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213. one I actually used in a game was the start to a campaign involving fey. Mites had snuck into the undercroft and cellar of the tavern. A couple of them got bold enough to even climb up the stairs and hide out in the rafters and dark corners of the taproom. Then the fun began.

When the crowd was rowdy and with the PCs present the mites started pranking, hard. The drinks suddenly tasted sour or spoiled; the food tasted super peppery or salty; a drink was tipped onto a barbarian and the resulting stain on his hide armor turned bright pink. Prestidigitations were all over the place.

To tip it over the edge the mites used their vermin empathy. They started urging harmless insects living in the woodwork like flies, ants and spiders to come swarming into the room crawling into people's food, drinks and clothes. The place erupted in a brawl but the PCs were allowed to notice the snickering mites hidden in the periphery. Now all they had to do was GET to them through the fight...

Mending is now the PERFECT spell for any NPC. As long as you keep all the pieces you can repair ANY weapon by level 15; all light and most 1 handed by 5th. That's not a bad little business. Take a rank in Craft (weaponsmithing) as well as levels in Adept. You are a talented weapon maker and devout of (x) who can repair weapons in 10 minutes. Sure, right in the middle of a dungeon it's not helpful but hire this guy to protect the camp. All those old, nasty rusty swords the skeletons are carrying? Money in the bank.

And why stop at weapons? Dungeon sconces, ancient maps and illegible tomes, locks, used ammo, old shields and clothes. Consider that fashion always goes in cycles; you come across some old zombie in their burial dress - it can be fixed up and good as new in 10 minutes, then sold as "vintage" for serious cash!

Oh man, I think I have a new reason for a shop selling magic items. Take 1 adept with Medning, Detect Magic and Prestidigitation. Put a dungeon nearby with tons of "smalls" like vases, books, hand tools, light or one-handed weapons, etc. Suddenly you have not some old witch in the woods but a tidy shopkeep with a curio shop crammed full of antiquities. 90% of these are non-magical but being sold at higher prices because of their history and such, like a RL antique shop. The other 10% are very minor items that the adept either enchanted themselves (take Scribe Scroll or if the adept is high level enough Craft Wondrous Item) or is the rare minor magic item brought back from the dungeon.

Abe's Antiques? 2nd Time Around run by April O'Neill? Oh the possibilities...

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203. a "Your mom" joke contest gets out of hand

204. "Got 'yer nose" game goes terribly awry

205. A man and his 2 female roommates get into another zany misunderstanding

206. Someone eats the salmon mousse

207. a male duelist walks in, picks out someone in the crowd and calmly announces "halo, my name is Anigo Montoya. You kill'd my father; prepare to die."

208. A man with the death sentence in 12 systems doesn't like you

209. Bees

210. "Wow, the warm yellow mead you're serving seems like it got real sour in a hurry!" to which the bartender replies "I'm not serving any warm yellow mead..."

Shadowborn wrote:
My only problem with the latest episode was a skilled mercenary, having a sniper rifle and a clear shot to a target that had no idea he was there, taking the time to go all the way to street level and causing a panic with the gun he was carrying to take a closer shot, thereby ruining everything so Coulson could swoop in and save the day. Makes no sense, except as an obvious way to move the plot.

Double agent maybe?

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