Well, I do foresee one problem with that - the Time Travel isn't two ways. So, wherever you go to, it's a one way trip. I hope you enjoy life in ancient Thassilon, because unless you can convince the great wyrm to take you back to where you started, you're stuck there. And, honestly, why would it? It can only do this three times in its incalculably long life, and by its perspective, it just got here. Sure, it will move on in a few thousand years, once its gotten to see all the important bits of history it wanted to see here, but by that time, it's all academic for the people that hitched a ride with the dragon.
Picture it this way: you've waited fifty years for the chance to eat an incredibly delicious ice cream. However, due to the fact that the makers of this inprobably delicious ice cream want to keep it special, you can only eat their ice cream three times in your life. OK, so you turn fifty, and you buy your first scoop right away. You've waited a long time for it. You've earned it. When do you eat the other two? And what do you say when a group of four to six twenty-somethings you've never met come along and ask for a taste?
Personally? I wouldn't have them open anything. Quite honestly, the idea of having a bunch of keys in the bottom of a fish tank filled with swamp barracuda seems a bit silly and melodramatic. The fact that they're easily avoided by mage hand suggests to me that he's not really worried about whether they're taken or not.
What I'd do? The keys and barracudas are all window dressing. In the bottom of the tank is a plain, unremarkable rock, buried underneath quite a few of the keys. That's really what he's protecting. It's actually something important and possibly magical altered by a polymorph any object and a magic aura to seem innocuous. Jaster probably doesn't know what that rock actually is, or what it can do - he was just told to protect it by his superiors in the Sczarni, or he'll be the next into the tank.
Well, let's start here. What's the character? Race? Class? What's their background? Answering those questions will help figure out what they're attached to.
Oh, and I do like your idea of being Attached to a building, bleeyargh. "Nobody steps on a church in my town! Again!"
Yeah, the Sandpoint Gazetteer is both exciting and daunting. One of the things I love about the games that were presented for the Swallowtail Festival is that it has an important NPC tied to each of them. That way, you introduce several important and interesting people in a very low-impact way. Daverin Hosk becomes a whole lot more memorable if you see how much he gets off on killing goblins, even little representations of them. The Pixie's Kitten sets up exactly how open-minded (most of) Sandpoint is when you see the girls outside offering body shots to people to drum up business for the night. And if they find out that the dragon races are rigged, they might get noticed by Jubrayl Vhiski.
When I ran it, I found that I had enough time to have everyone experience the full Festival experience, and the entirety of the goblin raid that first night. Of course, that's with six experienced players, and while I don't like self-aggrandizement, I'm got a bit of experience behind the shield. (Which I don't use.) I'll also suggest running a module before starting the AP to get everyone up to speed on how the game works, but as I'm not as familiar with those, I'll let some other folks that are make suggestions.
I think Sam Clemens here has the right of it. Most of the influx that Sandpoint would be seeing during the Swallowtail Festival is probably taken care of through paying for the common room. Basically, the floor of the Rusty Dragon (and probably all the other inns in town during this busy time) are converted over to pallets for people to sleep on. It's cheap, no-frills, but it solves the problem of where the common folk sleep when the private rooms are all filled by PCs and more important NPCs.
Can't wait to see this coming write-up. We did this fight twice - once where it went extraordinarily poorly for us, and once where it went extraordinarily poorly for them. We almost didn't make it out the first time. As for them, well, I don't want to give the game away just yet... :)
If Merisiel slept with every pretty face she flirted with, then she'd never get any adventuring done.
Say, if I were to introduce you to a dwarf who was magically cursed to be unable to grow a beard, knew Elven, and was trained as a rogue, would you at least entertain the notion of going out on the town with him?
At this point, I think it's a point of pride not to buy Thassilonian.
I think any quick plot that results in Jubrayl's capture/downfall does a great disservice to him. He's a wily crime lord who instills loyalty in his men, and uses a network of blackmail, extortion and murder to get what he wants. He's a made man, to steal a term from the Mafia. He doesn't do anything himself, because that would lead back to him. He tells one of his lieutenants what to do, and if their operation goes bad, they're the one that takes the fall. He's Al Capone. He's untouchable. The smoking gun is in the Scarnetti manor, and the PCs have the chance to get that once the raid occurs in Book 4. If they can wait that long, they'll finally have one over on the Sczarni, and could end their involvement in Sandpoint for years to come.
In my group, I've got a Shoanti who took the Family Ties trait. He was orphaned when his tribe was massacred, and a group of Varisians took pity on the child and raised him as their own. He fell in with the Sczarni, and worked as a legbreaker for awhile before finding the faith of Abadar and becoming an inquisitor. He's now trying to reconcile his past and his present, trying to see if there's a way he can balance his faith and his ties to Jubrayl. It's not going well so far! Jubrayl wants the tough back, and is trying to find a way to get him to renounce his faith and rejoin the fold. I'm also planning on bringing Sandru into the mix and showing the positive side of the Varisians, a far more welcoming and caring side of the People, rather than the thieving, murderous sort that the Sczarni represent.
At the culmination of a series of improbable but incredibly awesome events, you have rescued a noble djinn from impending doom! As a result, he will grant you each a wish, improving one of your six stats. However, for some strange reason, the cosmos will not allow him to increase your highest stat.
So, removing Dexterity from the table, which stat do you ask the djinn to increase?
Yeah, I'd contact him privately and ask him to refrain from using knowledge his character doesn't have. "Hey, I'm thrilled you're excited to know more about where Runelords is going, but a lot of the story is about finding out about Thassilon and who they were. I think you'll enjoy the story more if you don't know what's coming up!"
He may not care about that, though. If he won't stop reading about it, then try to do what Tangent suggests and get him working with you to act as the party expository device. "Oh! I recognize that symbol, it's the mark of Rage! This must be a site that once belonged to Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath!"
Hopefully, he'll keep his studying to historical matters. If he starts showing signs of knowing what's coming up mechanically (suggesting that spellcasters prepare remove fear for no reason as they're planning on diving into Thistletop, for example), then you might have a bigger problem, but no sense worrying about that until you've got some clearer evidence.
That's a pretty good idea for the Vraxerisi, NobodyHome. Since they're all slightly off clones as well, I could see them taking different (and occasionally counterproductive) actions, each of them believing that theirs is the most effective and obvious thing to do at that moment. Still, I like the idea of a bunch of wizards focus firing, and if my party gets there and is stupidly powerful, I may do this as well.
This came up while we were fighting Nualia tonight. Both Lem and Kyra had a Strength spell,and we weren't certain if they both could cast it on Valeros to give him an additional +6 to his rolls for the turn. I know that they couldn't do so if either of them had two Strengths, but is there anything that prevents them from both casting one?
It depends on what story you want to tell. A Scarnetti PC would have pressures from the family to use their newfound hero status as a weapon to wrest control of the town away from the Deverins. A Valdemar hero would be asked to walk the line between aiding the Scarnetti and finding a way out from under their thumbs. A Deverin hero would find himself schemed against by the Scarnettis, and they get a front row seat to Mayor Kendra's lonely existence. The only one I'd probably nix is a Kaijutsu hero, for obvious reasons.
This is the best thread on these boards!
I used to think I hated beer, and it took a Bud Light (of all things) to make me realize I just hated the beer my father preferred to drink (Michelob AmberBock). From there I visited the Old Chicago in my area and started experimenting with beer flights to learn what I did and didn't like, something I recommend people that say they hate beer try to do wholeheartedly! I realized quickly that I really like stouts, while IPAs are thoroughly wretched. That pine/grapefruit taste isn't compatible with my taste buds.
I'll gladly drink all the Guinness you wish to give me, but I also enjoy Old Rasputin (North Coast Brewing Co.) and Dark Truth (Boulevard Brewing Co.), both Imperial stouts, which is to say high in alcohol content. They're definitely not session beers, unless you enjoy ending your session in a blackout and coming to wondering who has your pants this time. I also enjoy the Weston Brewing Company's selections. Their cream ale is very smooth, and they've got a Hot Pepper Ale that I think would work very well in a chili recipe.
Stay thirsty, my friends!
I'll second the Swallowtail Festival games - they make for a very soft opening to the first session. My party decided they wanted to try their hand at everything! It introduces them to the townsfolk, and also sets up Sandpoint as a sleepy little town where nothing interesting ever happens.
Like Derry, Maine, really.
There's also a thread in this forum that has a rough version of the Wayfinder games, as well as a few other things that were added after the fact. I'll also recommend the Chopper's Isle adventure, since I used a slightly depowered version of that during Local Heroes.
As for your reading assignment, I'd focus on the Sandpoint gazetteer and Burnt Offerings, but skim through the broad strokes of what's to come. As the story starts, you won't need to know everything there is about Thassilon or Xin-Shalast or Runeforge, but knowing where the story is going will allow you to tailor encounters to your PCs' triggers. For example, I was ecstatic when I found out that my party's cleric/paladin has Fey Foundling and absolutely loathes his First World heritage. I made sure that Nualia targeted him with Lamashtu's Mark - a ram's horns grew from his forehead quite instantly and painfully. Keep an eye out for things that PCs do and say which you can then bring back up in later stories. You'll want to read it all eventually, but you can content yourself now by focusing on the early bits.
Speaking of, you'll want to start listening for whatever their sins would be. Runeforge will respond to them if you've noticed how PCs react to the situations, and you'll soon learn which of the deadly seven they most identify with.
Butch, it sounds like you and I have very similar ideas on how to present information on Thassilon to a party. People know about Thassilon, so it's not like they're discovering a hither-to-unknown ancient empire. The way I see it, you want them to always be wanting just a bit more information than they actually have. Slowly reveal the true depth of how big, powerful and evil they were, until they realize just how large the stakes really are.
That's not exactly the same thing here that you're arguing, though. The courts decided long ago that this parcel of land is covered by the Treaty, something that the previous owners took advantage of by allowing people passage through the land but charging them a toll. I don't recall hearing much about the public outrage at the audacity that the previous owners were showing by restricting people's access to the publicly available beach on the other side. It's only now that the land itself is closed to the public that people are upset. Am I missing something on how private property works?
In the end, I agree with bugleyman. This will get appealed, and probably should. If anyone has the right to rule on whether this precedent applies in this case, it'd be them. I don't see it making it to the US Supreme Court, as I'm not sure which section of the Constitution this particular case would violate.
One thing I'd do is listen to the party as they make their plans on how to take down the Big Bad. Even the OOC stuff. And make your plans accordingly. This supra-genius level evil has already thought of your particular plan, and come up with some way to counter it as best it can. Is it cheating? Only a little. GMs get to cheat, though, so it's all good.
Exactly. Until the state and/or federal government rules that this loophole cannot be used to guarantee the free exercise of private property, the guy has a pretty clear case. The previous owners kept ownership due to the same loophole that people are now complaining about. It's only because the guy is being a jerk and restricting access to his land that they're upset.
Hmmmm, how about linking to a version of the story that is less inflammatory and more instructive, like this one?
The important legal bits are as follows:
"The decision was based on a unique set of circumstances dating back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. The treaty essentially required the United States to recognize Mexican land grants as long as the owner filed a claim. Jose Antonio Alviso, who owned the land grant at the time, filed such a claim, and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed it in 1859. A patent for the 53-acre beachfront property, 6 miles south of Half Moon Bay, was issued to Alviso in 1865.
Judge Buchwald ruled that Alviso's patent, handed down over the generations, extinguished all public rights to the property, including beach access rights established under the public trust doctrine in the California Constitution, which was first drafted in 1879."
So, the big problem people have with this is that the new management of the beach have decided to restrict land access to said beach. People are welcome to be upset by this, but until they can make a case that this is in violation of some other law, the courts seem to have made the right decision. He doesn't own the beaches, but he has the legal right to this parcel of land, much as the previous owners had the legal right to the land before him. This is a unique set of circumstances, and as a Midwesterner, I don't know how frequently this would arise. I'm guessing "rarely."
That said, if people would like to protest this decision, they are free to do so from his beach. It's public property, and the courts have upheld that as well. They just have to get there by sea. If they're determined enough - and, from the original post, I would suspect that they are - then there's little that he can legally do to remove them. In fact, I'd expect to see several stories in the coming weeks and months about people taking up his "private" beach space.
It's been five years since the Late Unpleasantness. That happened in 4702 AR, which makes the current year 4707. Mokmurian awoke Karzoug in that year, and his stirring reactivates the runewell of greed. This in turn reawakens several other runewells across Varisia, including the one beneath Sandpoint. The minor runewell in the Catacombs of Wrath burbles to life, and amplifies the wrathful impulses of the citizens above, manifesting in Chopper's killing spree and the fire that consumes both the original Sandpoint Cathedral and claims the life of Ezekien Tobyn. Nualia is assumed to perish in the flames as well. It also pushes Lonjiku into killing his wife Atsuii, and while he is never convicted or accused of this crime, some people speculate she did not accidentally fall to her death. (The Pathfinder Wiki's a great resource on when things happen, so check that out at pathfinder.wikia.com!)
And yes, everybody knows that Varisia's a treasure trove of historically significant sites, but at the time of RotRL, nobody suspects that the Thassilonian Empire is anything but a footnote in history. It's like Stonehenge: we know that ancient people built this impressive monument, but nobody thinks that those people are still around today (or, at least, nobody sane). There's ancient monoliths and half-buried ruins everywhere, but most of them have been picked clean of anything of worth, and nobody certainly expects that the Runelords have actually survived to this day. There's some threads on here that I've suggested that people "know" to be true about Thassilon, but most of that is either apocryphal or could even be flat out wrong, based on the scant knowledge people have of that lost civilization. That's why the library in Book 4 is so important historically - it represents modern Golarion's first really accurate look at the horrors of Thassilon, and just how big the threat really is if Karzoug returns.
But that's all in the future. For now, a DC 20 would be a sufficiently high number to slowly piece out what people "know" to be true about Thassilon. And, if they can't figure it out, that's what the Sandpoint Brain Trust is there for. Brodert Quink will be glad to talk to people about his specialist subject...if you can get past his crazy theories.
I wouldn't say there aren't skill checks in this AP - it just depends on what you're doing and how you're doing it. There are times you'll want to go in hot, and times when a more clandestine approach will benefit you. Knowledge skills will give you clues on avenues of approach that aren't immediately obvious. Linguistics will let the party read Thassilonian, not to mention speak with the giants or other races they'll meet along the way. Movement skills like Acrobatics and Climb can be useful to get past obstacles. In general, every class should be able to find something to do in the AP at some point.
If you really want to get mean, have bits of Delek be used to make The Scarecrow.
And yes, rewards in the first book are very light up until the Glass Works. Ameiko can reward the party for her rescue, and that money can be used to outfit themselves before they look into the Catacombs. The wealth found there can outfit the party before heading to Thistletop, and Thistletop is actually a treasure trove.
Yeah, of those, tiefling's the most unusual, though they're not unheard of. Habe's Sanitarium employs a pair of tiefling orderlies, and I'm sure the larger cities in Varisia has a small population of them. Besides the usual discrimination that comes from being a tiefling, there's also the fact that some people (the Shoanti and Varisians, most notably) came to Varisia to escape Chelish rule, and tieflings might be a reminder of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune.
That said, Sandpoint is filled with good and forgiving people for the most part, and while they might distrust the tiefling before and during the Swallowtail Festival, they'll recognize good deeds when they see them. Assuming the tiefling steps up to defend the town when the goblins attack, they should soon look past his infernal heritage. (Most of them, at least. Titus Scarnetti won't, but he's a jerk.)
Nualia, honestly, won't care. She might envy the tiefling and see the aasimar as a kindred spirit, and try to get them to join her when they meet in Thistletop. I'd also have the people go back to their old habits when another aasimar comes into town. Have them always pressing the character for locks of hair, asking them to touch their sores or remove the colic from their infant, especially if they have no connection to the divine at all. Play up the things that Nualia must have encountered for years. It will make her story all the more tragic, and they'll see why she fell into Lamashtu's service so readily.
So, how exactly does the whole iconic business work? I mean, are you actually going on all these adventures in the art we see you in? Because that would mean you've stopped the rise of a Runelord, taken on a rogue efreeti, prevented the return of a serpent god, stopped the Whispering Way from freeing Tar-Baphon, became a pirate queen and are currently working on closing the Worldwound. (And that's just the APs!)
Is it just you? Do you have multiple Merisiel clones running around Golarion doing all this stuff? Or is it something else?
James Jacobs wrote:
Regardless of all that...
...he died like a chump.
In the case of Sheriff Hemlock, I assume that he would be spiriting Kendra Deverin to safety first, with the intent of organizing an actual resistance once she's safe. It'd be awfully damn irresponsible to let the Mayor of the town get killed while you're running off to fight some goblins somewhere else.
Father Zantus is unarmed, unarmored and doesn't strike me as much of a fighter, so he's probably just gone total defense. The only people who can take care of things at Cathedral Square are the PCs, who happen to be at the right place at the right time.
Aldern is a bit of a fop, and his role should be support. Fighting a boar's not an especially dangerous fight, so a party of four shouldn't have too much trouble. His best contribution would probably be assisting attack or AC.
As for Aldern's reward, yes, the mounts and equipment he buys for them are theirs to keep. If they don't go, I'd assume 50gp per person - likely what they would receive if they sell off the light horse, boar spear and crossbow.
I just recently found out about the Pathfinder/Big Finish audiodramas - congratulations! So, some questions about it:
1. What are some of the challenges of adapting Rise of the Runelords into a six hour radioplay?
2. Other than time constraints, are there any other reasons why Seoni and Kyra were excluded from this first story?
3. How stoked are you to have someone portray your character theatrically in a story you helped pen?
Welcome to the boards, Wristyearth!
I'll admit, I'm not exactly certain what your first player is actually playing. I don't own any of the psionic books, so I have no idea what those rules look like. I'm sure someone else can answer that for you. I'm not also not sure how the party is already an average level of 6. Can you provide an example how you hand out XP?
Story, though, I can help with that! So, your characters have just finished the Catacombs of Wrath. It's true, there's no link there to Thistletop. That's because they found Tsuto's journal previously, and that had the clue that said Nualia's up at Thistletop, working at freeing Malfeshnekor.
But you're probably wanting more general ideas on how to make the story flow. Well, the most important thing you as a DM can do when running a published adventure is to be constantly rereading the story. Understand how the narrative flows. What event occurred in the past that is now happening in the present, and what evil plan are the heroes trying to stop in the future? And what clues can you lay down that will start having the PCs ask themselves "What's going to happen next?"
For example, now that they're finished with the Catacombs, what do they know? Well, there's some weird ruins under Sandpoint. That's new. They've been there for several thousand years, and the place barely has any wear and tear. There's strange spiky runes carved into the walls that most people can't read (unless they speak Thassilonian, and then they can). There's some powerful artifact that emanates incredibly strong necromantic power, and nobody's really sure what it is or how to turn it off. The place has a statue of an angry woman, who may or may not be revealed to be the last Runelord of Wrath.
That's the bits from the Catacombs that are important to the story at large, and hint that there's something big just lying under the surface in Varisia. The PCs will learn just what, and just how big as they continue onwards.
If you've got more questions, feel free to ask them here!
StreamOfTheSky is right. Magus doesn't have access to these spells, so they can't actually fix their blade themselves. This needs to be redressed. On a similar note, fighters can't cast healing spells in order to heal themselves when they get low on hit points, and the matter gets worse if they fall unconscious or die. Their spell list needs to be changed as well. Can we expect a change on that soon?