|Mike Shel Contributor|
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.
Ernest Mueller wrote:
Sorry you found things boring and vanilla. However, I actually think that the Runelord of Lust is about dominating the wills of others--sex is only a means to that end. The Thassilion school of magic is enchantment-focused, after all.
Yes, a lot of the "lust" component is in the subtext, implied. Call that a cop-out if you want, but I think that's how you hit the right notes while aiming for a PG-13 rating (the target for all Paizo products).
Feel free to inject whatever salacious details into your own game you wish. There are plenty of places for you to do that.
David Bowles wrote:
For all the lamentations about balance and the difficulty of the final boss, my turnover for In Wrath's Shadow had
1) a permanent desecrate spell emanating from the altar and engulfing the entire room; and 2) tactics for the BBEG directed use of his quick channeling for two negative energy blasts right from the get-go. Adam (wisely, it seems) dialed that down in development. Also, the BBEG was an Allip/Cleric, not a Ghast/Cleric, with the nastiness that accompanies non-corporeal enemies in combat.
And they're responding pretty quickly, especially in terms of publishing schedules. For instance, the upcoming Irrisen gazetteer has maps and juicy write-ups of Whitethrone, four provincial capitals, and a peasant village called Riba.
Kyle Baird wrote:
The problem with saying "X" scenario is Easy/Average/Difficult is that it varies so wildly from table to table. <snip>
One of the pleasures of watching a scenario I wrote played over four days at GenCon is to witness the wide variation between tables. During the same session, I saw a table waltz through the first combat encounter in Wrath's Shadow and another get brutalized. Mark and the others developing the scenarios work hard for balance and making sure encounters are CR appropriate, regardless of what the numbers say, but there are so many variables affecting how encounters play it's impossible to know for certain what the outcome will be.
@Kyle: you left out one extremely important variable: GM EQ (Evil Quotient).
So how many monsters in this one?
Unless changes have been made in development:
* 3 unique fey beings
* 1 template (with 2-4 example creatures with the template applied)
* 3 other monsters (2 very different constructs, a dragon, and a giant)
* 3 sample winter witches (jadwiga Elvanna, daughters of the reigning queen)
The bestiary is shorter here than in Isles of the Shackles because we also have significant sections on Irriseni hazards and adventure hooks (ala Lands of the Linnorm Kings) as well as the large gazeteer and stat blocks for 5 cities/towns, and a sidebar on Irriseni holidays.
Mike, this corner of Internet...
Heh. Deleted it mere moments after I posted it, because I'm classy that way.
You may have been the post's only witness.
This means I will have to kill you.
On the other hand, all I know of Poland is you and Krzysztof Kieslowski, whose films I adore. Perhaps you needn't die.
While I'm not responsible for all the bestiary entries, I think they are really cool and judgment shoudl be suspended until you actually see them.
I'm particularly proud of the bogwid, in all of its disgusting, Lovecraftian horribleness.
The Thassilonian sentinels are not your average constructs, they have an alien, creepy vibe. Two forms are described (bronze and marble), but of course the door is open for many different varieties.
The bogwiggles are the "degenerate spawn of boggards," essentially boggard hatchlings that have been deliberately stunted. Two variant forms are included.
The grand defender is powerful CR 15 construct, tied into the Torag deity article.
The first three all make appearances in the AP...
While I certainly appreciate any feedback, especially the kind of longer form feedback you provided, I think starred reviews end up drawing more attention to products. Indeed, when searching a product line I always order them by customer review scores.
Let me, then, also encourage you to post an official star-scored review and encourage others to do the same, even those who want to give it less than a stellar rating.
W E Ray wrote:
I wrote the original Mud Sorcerer's Tomb for Dungeon #37, but the Paizo updating to 3.5 in issue #138 was done without me—James Jacobs tried to track me down to see if I was interested in the project, but he was unsuccessful ("Mike Shel" is a pen name). At any rate, MST is the property of Wizards of the Coast.
Also, Tomb of the Iron Medusa wasn't actually a "re-created" MST for the Pathfinder world, but brand spankin' new. Glad to hear from Power Word Unzip that he was scared for his PC's life—if the two modules had anything in common (other than both being tombs), I would hope it was that fear!
@Amanda, were you the person I met briefly at GenCon this year when I was on my way to lunch with the evil James Jacobs while you were on your way to lunch with the evil Wes Schneider? If so, howdy again, and welcome to the stable of Paizo freelancers!
The central third of the Arch of Aroden collapsed some time ago, making it useless as a bridge.
Also too as well, what James said.
Alrighty. In response to the request, here are some responses to questions asked about running In Wrath's Shadow as well as some thoughts and suggestions I have for GMs. Understand that this is not an official post from Paizo, but a post from the freelancer. Adam and Mark, who did development on this scenario, may swoop in one day to give official decrees. I'm gonna spoilerize the whole thing.
1. I'd make the high tier haunt DC for bestow curse 18, which is appropriate for a CR 8 encounter.
2. Tholrist's domains are listed as evil and demon, but this doesn't seem to affect his spells and spell-like abilities, so no worries. My turnover gave him evil and darkness domains, so this change happened in development.
3. Trapped Statue: my turnover had no onset delay--touching either the belt or iron mask caused the statue's teeth to shatter and the blast of super-heated air engulfing the room immediately. Since the onset delay is necessary for the trap to be Pathfinder kosher, I'd make that one round delay, simply stating that some of the statue's teeth fell onto the floor, others fell into the statue's apparently hollow interior. That would likely keep at least one PC in to investigate further and catch a face full.
4. Re: the ghoul/ghast minions. My turnover had no minions (Tholrist was had a higher cleric level and was incorporeal--an allip to be exact), so I'm spitballing here. I'd say that since the spells are being cast by a caster "friendly" to the mooks, the buff spells are effective (for me the word "immune" always implies a resistance to magic or forces of hostile intent). Scott Young's rationale above for this works for me. As for Mergy's concern, the tactics imply that Tholrist casts those spells on a minion before the party can even see him. Even if they do witness him, Scott's explanation justifies the rule bending. Yes, a player may potentional waste a spell, but it makes sense that things would get weird when you're dealing with a caster from 10K years past.
As for Drogon's concern that rule bending to allow the BBEG to cast rage on a ghoul or ghast minion makes for a "not-very-fun fight," well...I'm not sure I understand how that takes the enjoyment out of the encounter. If you object that much as a GM to the rule bending, don't use the tactic.
As for the "mature" theme, yes, I wouldn't want my 10 year-oldbeing read some of those descriptions. However, I don't think anything violates the PG-13 standard Paizo espouses in its products (my beloved, rated-PG Raiders of the Lost Ark showed melting eyeballs and exploding heads, fer gawdsakes, along with other equally disturbing images).
A few suggestions for those running this scenario.
1. Provide a copy of the first level temple side view for the party
2. Watch how much you reveal to the party about harpies perched on the tops of the pillars. Using the side view as a reference, I don't think they would be able to see anything atop the easternmost pillars given the ceiling at the entryway and angles involved.
3. Pete Pollard's review complained that the party can't access the backstory info (to be fair, some is implied in the Knowledge checks). He suggested having the haunt employ bits and pieces of Tholrist's bloody sermon detailed in the intro text; that's a great idea: the haunt could be a mix of cultists verbalizing their agreement, with Tholrist's calls for sacrifice.
4. The secret door to the narrow hall leading from the BBEG encounter was supposed to be a one-way secret door (not sure if this was a change in development or an oversight). I think it works better if it's only usable as an exit, though I understand that some consider anything that sniffs of "railroading" a Crime Against Humanity.
5. The optional ooze encounter ended up being pretty unchallenging for the games I saw at GenCon because oozes have stellarly bad initiative. My turnover had PCs in the front rank knocked prone by the ooze bursting forth from its prison, anyone behind the front rank needing to make a skill check to avoid being knocked down as well. That might make this a more challenging encounter, or by giving the ooze a surprise round.
6. For those feeling the BBEG encounter wasn't sufficiently challenging, consider having the mooks hide behind pillars when the party opens the secret door and attacking only after a few have actually entered the shrine (most of the games I watched had almost all of the combat happening at the entryway itself). Tholrist hangs back from the fray, throwing his spells at the party. To beef things up, consider the following: my turnover had a permanent desecrate spell in the shrine, and Tholrist opened with two negative energy blasts at the party on the first round of combat (this is why the quick channeling feat was there). Substituting desecrate in Tholrist's stat block would be an option at the higher tier, using quick channeling for a double whammy would also toughen up the encounter.
Scott Young wrote:
Direct me to those threads. I'd be happy to do this, but I'd like to know what it is people are curious about and make sure Paizo doesn't mind such things being shared...
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I loved this scenario and was honoured to have the author at my table 3 times. Some parts of it had the potential to be very creepy and provide a great opportunity to play up the atmosphere. Pretty sure I traumatized a kid who played at my table but it was very well received by all the groups I ran through it!
Dude! Write a review!
As for the trauma, there was one boxed text passage that Adam re-wrote during the development process that creeped me out. For the record, what's floating around in Mr Daigle's mind is far more disturbing than what's floating around mine! Paizo staff, keep a close eye on him!
Let me start by saying that I was never very enarmoured with the idea of Epic play. Being able to punch Cthulhu in the nose (or tentacle... whatever) never seemed very appealing to me. It's fun to kick butt, but I want to be mortally afraid of something, after all.
However, here's my two cents on the mythic system, based on what I heard at the GenCon seminars and what I gleaned in conversation with a couple of Paizo's resident geniuses:
1. Yes, they will have a public playtest and as always will listen to (rational) messageboard feedback.
2. IMHO this is an incredibly clever and elegant solution to the Epic problem of bad math and monstrously unwieldy stat blocks. Jason Bulmahn (and whoever helps him work out the kinks) deserves a medal for this concept.
3. Because this is an overlay system, my assumption is that those who do not want to use it can remove it with some effort, and just like mass combat, caravan rules, and other specialized systems introduced, won't appear in each and every Pathfinder product.
4. It was very obvious that the guys at Paizo are really excited about the potential of this system. This fact alone speaks volumes to me.
5. Regular PCs are already pretty awesome in terms of their power in the world, but even unnaturally talented folks are going to reach a limit as to the level of skill and power they gain. It makes sense from a storytelling perspective, however, that some extraordinarily rare few are (literally) touched by the Divine, and that's where extra-special awesomeness comes from (e.g., Hercules, Achilles, Gilgamesh, Hiawatha, etc). That is an emotionally and intellectually satisfying conceptualization in my mind: any adventurer who is lucky and works hard enough can become an 18th level whatever, but only those touched by the gods can become virtual demigods themselves.
6. As a freelancer, I am really jazzed about the kinds of stories I can tell with this kind of system. I am also excited about reading the kinds of stories others will contribute as well.
For those predicting Golarion-Shattering Cataclysm, I recommend taking a deep breath; let's see what happens. The Paizo folks have consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to maintaining the Pathfinder RPG's quality and integrity.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Eric must own some White Castle stock or something.
Take time to wander away from the convention for a trip to Yats at 659 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis and have a plate of the Chili Cheese Etouffe ($6.25 with bread) and a slice of the peanut butter pie if they've got it.
Trust me. From someone living in Indy for nearly 20 years, it's worth the side trek.
White Castle...shame on you, Eric Mona.
The Rot Grub wrote:
Lady's Light was originally designed for a party starting at level 4. However, Greg Vaughn threw so much nastiness into the first volume that this one had to be adjusted (it's probably just as well that this happened, as I think my turnover only had a single encounter that was below CR 5 anyway). By the end of this volume players should be 8th level (providing, of course, [maniacal laughter] that they survive [/maniacal laughter])
I don't think there are plans to take this AP all the way to 20th level, but that's something the evil geniuses at Paizo would have to answer for certain.