I was thinking very seriously about posting additional information to the boards for fleshing out the townsfolk of Belhaim and even talked to James to get his OK. However, current Paizo assignments make it unlikely I'll be able to do that before at least November or December (and then only if there's sufficient interest).
In the meantime, here are a couple more tidbits for you:
Xemne is actually a Galt ex-pat who fled Isarn after publishing a series of inflammatory tracts accusing the ruling council of betraying the revolution.
Shelyn cleric Nilos Genser has something of a drinking problem.
Butcher Orin Akil has three daughters who he jealously guards from outsiders. Unbeknownst to him, his youngest is having a fling with one of the underclerics at the House of Abadar.
Blacksmith Marcus Chance brutalizes his wife. Feltmaker Pelnas Megara, a rather asocial and withdrawn sort, has a thing for the wife and may one night hit Marcus over the head with a rock as he stumbles home drunk from Grayhands' tavern.
Is it me, or does it look like the boss might end up really easy? <egregious spoilers snipped>
The module assumes a 4 person party. You may be thinking of CR 11 vs, a party of 6 (for which PFS scenarios since season 4 are desigened).
Four 7th level PCs vs. the BBEG, even with the potential aid available(assuming they gather every scrap of it and have snapped up every bit of XP in order to reach 7th level) should still be a nail biter at least. The Core Rulebook (p 397) calls an APL+3 encounter "epic." So what would this one be?
Of course, some parties may prove me wrong. If you think the boss would be a cakewalk, deny the party some of the aid or XP opportunities to get them up to 7th.
Sir Pelle Benhovy is
the one and only Benhovy in the town, he is an aristocrat, and he is naturally jealous of any esteem the party earns in the eyes of the townsfolk (who generally see Benhovy as a bully and an arrogant prick) and especially Baroness Origena.
The other members of his household are two servants. The sheriff is a bachelor, perhaps because he has not yet secured a politically and/or economically advantageous marriage.
Jeff Mahood wrote:
In the interest of ease of tracking all the things that need to be tracked, I just uploaded this handy little document to the shared prep drive.
Nice work, Jeff!
I encourage all you GenCon GMs to print this out for yourself to make your lives much easier. I'll have a version of it on my Kindle.
To each his own, but I beg to differ.
First, given that it's the location of some pivotal events in the story, it was the logical choice as a battlemap.
Second, no similar map exists—the amphitheater has six tiers of varying height, chairs, two enclosed performer huts on the stage, and four sets of stairs. It's generic enough that a GM could re-use it for other adventures, but unique enough to make for an interesting combat.
As for the size, I created its dimensions to the limit a twice-folded book insert would allow.
Suggestions for clever alternatives or improvements, of course, are always welcome.
Craig Mercer wrote:
Anything published by Paizo, whether its an actual product or web supplement, still has to go through development, editing, and layout process (as was the case for the web enhancement for Lady's Light). Given the jam-packed schedule the developers have for their product lines, it just isn't feasible.
I'm sure every freelance designer has stuff that doesn't make it into the final product for one reason or another. I have a bad habit of going over assigned word count, which makes more work for the developers (sorry James, Rob, Mark, Adam, John, Patrick, et al.!). In my experience, most of what James and the other developers trim off is by-and-large the editorial equivalent of woodshavings, not diamond dust. I trust the developers to know what's ultimately best for the project. Everything I've written for Paizo has been made stronger and better by the developers. It's an essential part of the process.
John Robey wrote:
Fair enough ;-)
John Robey wrote:
(Also, it's worth noting that given the time constraints of the plot, inserting a lot of side-quests is really problematic. The entire "third act" sees the town being hemmed in by patrolling monsters, forcing the PCs to go face the dragon, or fight their way out of town.)
The first and second acts don't have serious time constraints, offering ample opportunity for those GM-generated side quests to replace the offending story awards (which I think are more prevalent in the first two thirds of the module anyway).
Also, it wouldn't be too much trouble to add a couple caves and encounters to the kobold lair, or an encounter or two in the flooded quarry. I had a deformed (read: understrength, with the young template) kelpie there, as well as a crocodile at the water's edge in the turnover--both were cut for space).
As far as the third act is concerned, time constraints don't prevent some additional combats (spicing up those grioth patrols, or creating patrol parties of differing composition). PCs could capture a minion from one of those patrols and gain XP (and info) for interrogating him/her/it.
The original turnover had some additional encounters that had to be cut for space. My favorites were a haunt in the hills of Dragonfen on the way to Tula's tomb, and a duel with Pelle Benhovy, instigated by the sheriff, who really hates the PCs.
I think James answered the OP's question well. This was designed as a one-shot with a very specific goal: take new PCs to a point where they can confront a BBEG of this CR. There is ample opportunity for the GMs to yank out the story awards and replace them with encounters of their own design if you feel strongly about it. Indeed, there are hooks lying around to use for that very purpose.
My perspective is this: if we were talking about child rearing, over-rewarding children for mundane tasks ("Here's a $5 for brushing your teeth!") is bad parenting. But GMs aren't parenting their players. This is entertainment, not an avenue for people to gain important life lessons or build a healthy work ethic or learn the value of a gold piece. The most important question at the end of the day is whether all involved enjoyed their experience.
So: Was it a good read? Did you have fun?
But as SLA's though, right?
Id insinuation and psychic blast are listed as special abilities for the two new monsters featured in the module and are fully explained in their respective write-ups.
Sooo, technically one needn't purchase Psionics Unleashed to GM the module. However, I would strongly recommend adding it to your library—it's an outstanding resource. I'm planning on getting the Advanced Guide soon as well.
Excellent work, Dreamscarred Press!
John Compton wrote:
My plan is to reveal how this interfaces with Pathfinder Society Organized Play in an upcoming blog. The new format certainly opens up new and interesting possibilities for sanctioning, and I believe the planned solution will encourage players to experience the entire module in all its glory.
This is very cool news. Before or after GenCon?
Any chance of doing pawns for the new modules? or maybe just the first one?
From your lips to Erik Mona's ears.
Aromaz Esoj wrote:
Can the players be from Belhaim as it becomes the base of operations?
From Getting Started:
"A large part of the adventure is getting to know the people of Belhaim and exploring its hinterlands, so it’s best if the PCs are not natives of the town."
Nick O'Connell wrote:
So what's the new monster appendix look in this ?
Two new monsters, the artwork is awesome for both, but one of them reaches a level of Lovecraftian creepiness that makes me giggle like a monkey.
An evil monkey.
I'm loathe to do any spoiling of Dragon's Demand, but let me remind you that dragons run the gamut of the CR range based on their ages and there are ways that you can boost a party's effectiveness vs. a specific type of foe with the gear and experience they gain along the way.
I feel very confident that the new module, combined with the other books you mentioned which are coming out during the same release cycle will provide a very clear idea how you can hunt dragons at 7th level and beyond.
I'm sure that PCs who survive the battering of the first five volumes will be worn out and not really wanting a challenge, especially any Lovercraftian horrors. Therefore, the concluding chapter of the AP will involve the party sitting down to tea with the Sky Pharaoh, explaining that Osirion already has a ruler, and everyone chuckling at all the fuss this misunderstanding has caused. E-mail addresses will be exchanged and the Sky Pharaoh will politely fly away.
I guess I should have spoilered that.
Lord Snow wrote:
Yes...the cover would suggest that the BBEG is a green dragon. Of course that's what it must be. Why on earth would a green dragon be on the cover, after all...
Having a breath weapon means never having to worry about seating issues.
Jim Groves wrote:
The dragon, an aficionado of Taldan high culture, agrees to cease his depredations if the party can get him season tickets to the Oppara Opera House.
However, getting those tickets is an incredible challenge.
That phrase is actually spoken by the illusory Karzoug and was meant to be an evocative, if abstruse reference to some kind of underlying philosophy to which the Runelord of Lust might ascribe. My thought in designing the illusion was that it's of ancient creation and operates independently of the sinspawn sorcerer.
1) I think it's important to define your terms. What ranges do you have in mind when you refer to low-, mid-, and high-level modules?
2) What about modules that end up straddling your range?
3) With the new format a higher level module can be fleshed out a great deal, but the bulk associated with high-level stat blocks and such still limits what can be covered in 64 pages. For this reason higher level adventures will cover a narrower range. For instance, Dragon's Demand may reach as high as 7th (that's in James' hands now). Patrick's Reborn Forge*, on the other hand, starts at 12th and plans on reaching 16th (I have my doubts that much can get cram into 64 pages, but he and James might prove me wrong).
* - (Let me say again that I'm super excited to see this one!)
You're probably already aware of this, but The Dragon's Demand is scheduled for a May release and should take players from 1st to 6th (perhaps even 7th) level by the end. James Jacobs is doing development on it as we speak.
Re: Old Margreve, Endzeitgeist mentions it in his post above.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Some of the Ulfen peasants in the rural towns still worship Pharasma and this is more-or-less tolerated by their Jadwiga rulers. However, most other religions are forbidden by the White Witches. At least one secret shrine to Desna can be found in the village of Kerad; it stands to reason that some of the peasants still worship other gods venerated before the Winter War. Take a look at those deities worshipped in the Linnorm Kingdoms and Realms of the Mammoth Lords.
Adam or Rob can correct me if I'm off on this...
Aromaz Esoj wrote:
What do you recommend for where the characters and/or adventure start? Reading the Taldor companion book, Wispil offers many races or will the village of Belhaim better suited? Will we see traits for Belhaim or just Taldor ones?
Unless James makes some major changes during development, we're strongly discouraging any PCs being from Belhaim--hard to "discover" a new town if you grew up there.
For the rest of it, I think James will be handling those aspects.
You're absolutely right. I found this doing research on general slavic folklore. The ved has its origins in northern Croatia...
My bad for employing Google Translate. It translates Nadzieja Lato as "Hope Summer," while Nadzieja Lata translates as "Hope Years."
Forgive me, Bag o' Teeth. Your English will always be better than my Polish. ; )
Jim Cavalcoli wrote:
Glad you liked the book! As always: post a review!
Alas, I didn't save the other shanties as there didn't seem to be much interest in the one that I posted (though at least that one remains available here in my list of Paizo credits.
I doubt that the very much improved PDF map of the Shackles will be included in an updated Map Folio, but the Paizo folks are the final authorities on such matters. Of course, it will always be available for download on the product page.
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
The term I used in Irrisen-Land of Eternal Winter was Irriseni and I believe Rob & Adam maintained that during development.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Seeker of Secrets, page 10, Katapesh entry: Elsewhere in the city is Farseer Tower, home of Venture-Captain Wulessa Yuul and her retinue of blind servants.
I like the dungeons and each individual module a lot. It plays a lot like most of Shackled City (minus parts like Foundation of Flame), I just think lack of a cohesive story the PCs can really involve themselves in hurts APs.
Might I recommend this?
Considering the way I'm designing Dragon's Demand it should most definitely lend itself to being split up into chunks for PFS play. Understand that when an adventure spans multiple levels, a designer needs to know at each point what level PCs are at —otherwise, how would one gage how challenging individual encounters are and if they are suitable for parties? I've actually developed a table specifically for tracking XP total from encounter to encounter in order to keep an eye on this. The module is designed so that the transition from one episode to the next coincides (roughly) with the PCs leveling up. While I can't speak for future volumes, I don't know how a designer could do things any other way.
Also, I'm sure Mark and his obseqious minions are looking at how the change in module format impacts PFS play. Unless he is engaged in some activity more evil.
I assume I'm not talking out of school here...if so, delete my post, Paizo!
I agree that the 64 page format gives much more flexibility and opens loads of doors for adventures. For The Dragon's Demand, most of those pages are going to be devoted to the adventure itself—I'm hoping PCs will be able to reach level 7 by the end, though that's gonna be pretty tough to achieve. Still, a module that moves players through six levels is pretty huge, twice as big as many single AP volumes.
The Dragon's Demand also features an isolated small Taldan town that serves as the party's base throughout the adventure. The plan is to write it up in considerable detail that should provide loads of role playing opportunities. I've already put a ridiculous number of creative hours into designing a town with over 60 unique buildings/locations and NPCs to populate them, many with backstories. This gave me a chance to create a really memorable setting like the one that drew me into D&D back in the old days: my very first taste of RPG, The Village of Hommlett. My hope is that players will be meeting lots of people and build relationships so that "Belhaim" becomes a word that conjures fond memories for all who spent time there.
The adventure itself is episodic in nature, building inexorably to a final confrontation with the BBEG.
Needless to say, I'm enormously excited about this project and want to thank James for this great opportunity.
And they're paying me to do this, too!
James Jacobs wrote:
Dragon? You didn't tell me you wanted a dragon in this one. ; )
Jim Groves wrote:
That's whore, Jim, not pimp. ; )
And by the way, I heartily agree with gbonehead's assessment. Awesome job on this adventure. It was a pleasure to read.