|Neil Spicer RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor|
captain yesterday wrote:
You may want to keep an eye out for Ultimate War, too. Jason is working on it now and it'll do for naval combat (and land wars) what Ultimate Rulership did for enhancing Ultimate Campaign. I know that's a lot of "ultimates" to consider, but collectively, these supplements could really enhance not only a Kingmaker game, but also the entire Skull & Shackles AP, too...not to mention the upcoming Wrath of the Righteous.
Joshua Goudreau wrote:
...damn fine adventure Neil, my group has just finished the lodge in a hell of a fight and so far this has been a fantastic romp.
Thanks, Joshua. I really poured a lot of my heart into this one. I think I had more passion for it than just about any AP I've written for so far. And, a lot of that had to do with the responsibility of writing the first chapter. It's important to make sure the campaign gets off to a great start. And I did my best to ensure it did.
Hats off to Rob McCreary for his development, as well. He took the best parts of my turnover and made them better. And he gave me a fair amount of leeway in enhancing certain elements of the storyline...such as the Black Rider's mantle and the odd similarities between Heldren and Waldsby. Adam also let me suggest the frost fir and witchcrow as new creatures to add to the bestiary so I could use them in the adventure. And I did a lot of collaboration with Jim Groves to share certain elements between our adventures...such as the characterization of Nazhena and Nadya. We both wanted to do Irrisen justice with as much flavor as we could cram into our individual chapters.
I think it all came together in a very satisfying way from a storytelling perspective, and it was my hope it would translate to some fun play at the gaming table, as well. I'm glad you're enjoying it, because that's really the ultimate compliment of all. We always strive to provide as much entertainment as we can with our work. And when we hear from folks having a blast with what we wrote, that's what warms our hearts...even in the icy cold of the witch-ruled north. ;-)
...By the way, what does one call individual installments of an AP? I used to call them "modules" but that doesn't seem right considering that's the name of a separate product line.
As authors, we usually refer to them as chapters. That's how the developers chart them in the outlines we're given, as well.
...the special abilities of a monster - the poison breath in this case - feel more defining of that monster than its feats do, especially when the feat in question provides a very minor, passive bonus that the PCs encountering the monster are unlikely to notice or care about.
Generally, I'd agree. However, for an arctic tatzlwyrm variant, I think it makes more sense to drop the poison breath and focus more on it being a snow-burrowing predator which can pounce on its prey even in what amounts to difficult terrain for everyone else.
There's also something to be said for swapping out a feat for a feat, rather than swapping out a special ability for a feat. Feats are theoretically balanced with one another, while special abilities are balanced with neither each other nor with feats.
Which is why I was suggesting that you not only add the feat, but also the burrow movement rate, but tweak it so it only applies to snow, not actual dirt. Together, they're more indicative of what the value of the poison breath represents, because it's what empowers its unique pounce ability in difficult terrain. Bottom line, that kind of tweak keeps the equivalent CR balance in such a variant tatzlwyrm...whereas, retaining the poison breath in addition to the ability to pounce/ambush out of snowy terrain would increase the CR of the base creature rather than bring it in line with the original.
Also, as an aside, feats are not always "in balance with one another." Ask Sean someday about his thoughts on a point-based feat assessment. In essence, something like the Run feat isn't on equal footing (if you'll pardon the pun) as many others. So, there's more variation in there than most folks realize.
That said, I'm not trying to convince you of anything.
I'm not either. As I said, everyone's free to run it how they wish. From a design perspective, however, I still like the approach I suggested for the reasons cited above. And I hope everyone enjoys the adventure regardless of how they adapt things to fit their game.
Why not just replace the standard tatzlwyrm's Stealthy feat with Acrobatic Steps? It would still have a +24 to Stealth checks in the snow, so you're not losing much, you keep the poison breath, and the encounter can be run as written.
I try not to replace the baseline feats woven into an existing creature. They pretty much represent what makes it a tatzlwyrm. Now, augmenting those feats with something additional feels fine to me, particularly if it's just a bonus feat. But, to make room for that, you either need to advance its Hit Dice or replace some other monster ability to justify it. That said, it's your game. Adapt the encounter however you see fit.
I'm prepping the final chapter of Book 1. Any suggestions on running the assault on the Pale Tower?
No suggestions on my part. It's hard to plan or adjust things for each individual play group. Since your party is more advanced at this stage of the game, only you know them well enough to consider what changes to make so they'll still be challenged.
I have a question about the fight with the arctic tatzlwyrm....Under "Tactics" in the tatzlwyrm's stat block, it states that it pounces and rakes before grappling. Pouncing requires charging, which requires at least ten feet of movement. However, this fight takes place in a deep snowdrift, which counts as difficult terrain....Nimble Moves doesn't let the tatzlwyrm ignore more than 5 feet of difficult terrain, though, so what allows it to charge in this situation when normally you can't charge through difficult terrain?
That was an oversight on my part. For some reason, I was imagining Nimble Moves allowed enough movement to charge through difficult terrain. In actuality, it's only the gateway feat to Acrobatic Steps (which would allow that tactic to be carried out). Personally, I think the best way to salvage the integrity of that encounter is to reinterpret the arctic tatzlwyrm as a variant of its kind. My suggestion would be to drop the poison breath attack and give it Acrobatic Steps as a bonus feat with an assumed burrow movement rate in deep snow only. That would give it the ability to pounce from the snow and grab a victim. Then, with opposed combat maneuvers, it could drag someone under the snow via its burrow ability.
My two cents,
Putting an age on the pregens is something I started focusing on this go-around...and something I intend to keep doing as I go forward. The only place it really makes a difference (in terms of background planning) is when I'm dealing with a longer-lived race than the norm. And, since at least half of the pregen cast is usually non-human, it's become important to identify that. Plus, even in Gothic Heroes, I put one of the PCs at middle-aged, so it's important to consider it going forward.
That said, I haven't gone back to computer the ages for the earlier pregens. Some of them indicate their age in their backgrounds. But, if there's nothing there, you should be free to generate their age using the random method outlined in the CRB.
Periodically, I circle back to this PFS scenario, just to see how it has run at the gaming table and the reactions/commentary it's received. I don't usually make a lot of comments about original turnovers and manuscripts, but a lot of the disappointments voiced with this particular adventure (based on the reviews I've read and some conversations I've had) stem from significant changes made to how I originally wrote the final battle.
First and foremost, here's the challenge I was given:
The main villain of the Echoes of the Everwar is Khalfani Zuberi, a man who's been cursed to live forever...but not in a hale, hearty young man's body. Instead, he's been cursed to live as an old/venerable man with all the persistent problems the elderly face. The unnatural extension of his lifespan hasn't been pleasant at all. So, he's squirreled himself away in a tomb while he uses his massive fortune to hire mercenaries (or dupe the PCs) into gathering all the things he needs to undo his curse and restore his youth.
Okay. With that as the basic premise, the final showdown with Khalfani isn't particularly compelling if he's still a decrepit, old man. Originally, I wanted to do him as a spellcaster since the ravages of time on the physical body mean very little as long as the mental attributes stay high for an arcane or divine caster. But, the direction I received from my developer indicated he should be a rogue. And therein lay the design challenge. How do you make an old rogue with debilitating age modifiers a challenge for high-level PCs so the grand finale isn't a total letdown?
Here's the approach I used in my original turnover. Khalfani Zuberi had already stolen away all the artifacts (retrieved by the PCs) which he needed to restore his youth. The doors to the final ritual chamber are sealed and guarded by a two-headed ettin (which Zuberi's spirit uses as a magic jar-like receptacle while his actual body is undergoing its youthful transformation. In essence, the PCs get to fight him twice. Once in his ettin form. And again, when the PCs finally bash through the sealed doors.
It's that final encounter that got changed so dramatically from my original turnover. The battle with the possessed ettin was meant to put the PCs on a timer. If they defeated the ettin and entered the final chamber in time to disrupt the ritual, Zuberi remains an old man. To make him a challenge in that situation, I gave him a lot of disposable magic items (scrolls, wands, potions, etc.) and a max'ed out Use Magic Device skill. He even wore a robe of scintillating colors at the high-tier to further screw with those trying to engage him directly. And there was also a cage of sorts and a wide gulf separating him from the PCs when they entered. So, they'd have obstacles to overcome just to close on him. He was also accompanied by a handful of additional guardians (more enlarged living monoliths at low-tier, and actual clay golems at the high-tier). That was going to make the final encounter more dynamic, more challenging, and hopefully, more exciting.
Additionally, I also wrote the final encounter with a entire second set of suppositions. If the timer runs out on the PCs and they fail to reach Zuberi before his ritual is complete, he appears before them as a youthful rogue with none of the hindrances of old age modifiers. This makes him infinitely more dangerous. Not only does he still have access to his stock of magic items (via Use Magic Device), but now, he has much more potent ranged attacks and sneak attacks he can employ against the PCs as they're engaged with his minions.
So, I bring this up to explain that the scenario was always intended to provide a more meaningful (and challenging) resolution to the 4-part Echoes of the Everwar series. Unfortunately, a lot of my original material hit the cutting room floor and I never completely understood why. The approach I took didn't exceed word count in any egregious way. And, as a PDF product, even if the final part of the series ran a little longer (in terms of space), I didn't think that was a bad thing. Perhaps the developer thought it would run too long at the table...or the old vs. young Zuberi would make it too difficult or complex for PFS GMs to run at the table? I simply don't know, but the end result obviously came out as a weaker capstone to an otherwise entertaining series of scenarios. And I certainly never intended for Zuberi to wither away with the PCs never getting a chance to meet him, converse with him, or come to blows with him as he sought to complete his return to power.
Regardless, I do think some of the "easiness" of the adventure overall (in terms of encounter design) are squarely my fault. For one, this was my first PFS scenario...and my only PFS scenario, for that matter. So, I was still learning the differences between writing for the Pathfinder modules and Adventure Paths vs. writing tiered encounters for PFS play. Secondly, I designed the adventure for four PCs using 15-point buy without realizing how many PFS tables run with more than four players and their PCs are designed using a 20-point buy. So, where I wrote something to be moderately challenging, it often came through as too easy for most tables. Were I to write it again, there's no doubt I'd increase the lethality factor by giving the encounters a higher degree of difficulty.
So, why am I sharing all of this information? For a couple of reasons. One, I hope it helps people understand that the adventure's finale was certainly written to be an epic showdown. And, two, for anyone who buys this scenario to run it independently of PFS, maybe this information helps inform their home game so it's a bit more fun to run. If anyone cares to see the original encounters for old vs. young Zuberi (with stat-blocks), I can also post those here in another spoiler, provided Paizo has no reservations about me doing so.
My two cents,
I'm debating writing up a formal review...
By the way, as long as you're considering some formal reviews, I noticed you haven't posted one for Imperial Heroes yet. So, that'd be a great place for indicating the specific elements you liked about that one. Not only would that prove helpful for others buying the product, but that's how I learn what people like or don't like as I go into the next one. So, throw something up there at the very least, because it sounds like certain elements in that one really worked well for you.
...I thought the notes on potential intra-party interactions were better in Imperial Heroes, and here they come up a bit short, or at least not as detailed.... the role-play notes feel a bit lacking.... there's less potential or guidance for relationships between the various characters....
That's all useful feedback regardless, Kvantum. So, I appreciate the time you took to articulate it. I haven't always been able to gather from the various reviews for these pregens what elements of each design are the most appealing to everyone. For instance, are the roleplaying notes useful at all? Ditto for the advancement notes? Do people like interweaving character relationships between them or do they prefer standalone backgrounds for maximum portability without having to string along another character for everything to make sense? Do the physical descriptions and personality sections give better character immersion to someone who's going to use them in a game? What about the in-character quote? Is that useful or a waste of space?
So far, I've tried to be judicious and a bit restrained in each section, but each one still feels important to me. Nevertheless, there's a word count I've been striving to meet for each write-up, as well (i.e., 1400 words or thereabouts), because that's the same limitation we're under when we write a two-page spread for NPCs in the appendix of an AP module for Paizo. Of course, in LG's PDF format, I could go on and on...layering in more detail...and believe me, I get very detailed if left to my own devices. But, I don't want to overdo it either. And, there's always a point where the time investment we put into these PDFs as authors starts to have diminishing returns for the price point we've established for them. Jason's been producing some larger products (with higher price points) to test the waters for what's possible...and we're seeing some mixed results (i.e., slightly fewer sales, but more return on each individual sale).
So, I'm somewhat reluctant to go full throttle by piling on more and more content for the pregen PCs. That's because they already carry a premium price point. I've certainly done everything I can to make sure the value is there...not just from the writing, but the full-page art, the paper mini's, and so on. But, even so, there's only so many words I can really devote to each character concept. And, I need to do each section justice. Based on your feedback, I think I'll go into the next one looking for all the various ways I can maximize the relationships between the characters. But, I also know I'll be juggling my word count to make sure I can squeeze that in somewhere.
...nothing from Conquering Heroes really matches the mad genius (or just plain madness) of a goblin ninja.
Really? I thought the treesinger druid having a dryad-like relationship with her treant plant companion was kind of inspired. It seemed like a really appropriate thing to layer into the overall campaign for that AP plug-in. I wonder how much of the love for the Imperial Heroes write-ups stems from the pregens' relationships and roleplay potential with the other NPCs (i.e., Ameiko, Shalelu, etc.)? Unfortunately, the sandbox campaign for Kingmaker doesn't quite have those kinds of hooks to draw upon. So, it's more difficult to interweave the Conquering Heroes in the same way. Food for thought all around, I guess.
You know, the new Ultimate Campaign rules for building a stronghold would be a great resource for widening out the means by which your PCs fix up the fort. Legendary Games also just released an Ultimate Rulership PDF which adds onto those rules in ways that might enhance that approach, as well. Food for thought, at least.
That's because the tatzlwyrm already appears in Bestiary 3. You can easily get its stats from there and Paizo generally avoids reprinting such a stat-block when they can save room for more adventure content. There references to other such creatures in the various bestiaries, as well. If you don't have Bestiary 3, you can easily look up the stat-block via their online PRD here.
Kinda confused on the June 1 / June 7th thing... But I'll keep my eyes peeled.
We typically release products through our own website/webstore one week in advance of wider distribution channels like Paizo, DTRPG, D20PFSRD, etc. So, if you want to be the first to own it, you can buy it direct. And, frankly, that helps us more in a financial sense, as there's no overhead fee for selling through someone else's online marketplace. That said, we know we're always going to sell more copies of our products in larger marketplaces like Paizo's webstore. That's just the benefit of their name being a much bigger draw than ours alone.
Might that also give the Pathfinder Society GMs an opportunity to run or play in a game outside their committed schedule on behalf of Paizo? I know a number of them get frustrated that they can't see the schedule of lottery events before committing to how many slots they're going to run for Pathfinder Society. This could at least present some alternative games they could fit into their schedule.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
...Clocking in at a hefty 4 million words, slightly over twice the length of the Mahabharata, this product will change the way you look at Adventure Paths, as Neil Spicer provides feedback on every aspect of his favorite Adventure Path as if judging it for RPG Superstar. Put together, it's an invaluable source for any GM considering this or any other Adventure Path.
Hugo's detail shows up best in B&W. So, we stuck with that. Doesn't mean we won't go full color again in the future, though. Instead, I think the B&W style that Hugo has brought to the horror-inspired, noir-like Gothic Heroes as well as the exploratory, expeditionary Conquering Heroes fits in with the themes of those APs. It's like those images were copied out of some old musty tomes or scout's diary. So, the B&W imagery on scroll-like paper made sense, I think. Meanwhile, all the pageantry and vibrant nature of Imperial Heroes demanded full color. And a future product certainly may as well.
Yep. We're always caught between that rock and a hard place in giving folks new material for the older AP's at the same time we're striving to do something for the newer ones. Conquering Heroes is an attempt at the former. And it won't be our last, as I'm sure we'll go back and still create new material which works well for some of Paizo's older AP's.
The good new is, even if you're already well into a particular campaign, you can still use these pregens as NPCs (both as allies or enemies). They can also serve as replacement characters in the event a regular PC dies or you have a TPK. Likewise, there's always the possibility of rerunning the campaign with a different group and using them from the very beginning.
Adventure Paths tend to have a long shelf-life since they're campaigns and not just standalone adventures. As such, our AP plug-in's are meant as supporting material that can be useful for just as long. They're also useful inspiration for any other PCs your players might envision...or even as something you might cook up for an NPC in an entirely different adventure or campaign. In a lot of ways, they're like a miniature NPC Codex, only with more background, roleplay, and character advancement suggestions. I've really tried to do something more with this product line than simply pregen PCs which can only add value to a single campaign.
Rohkar and his Undead got in some good licks, but he was eventually incapacitated (natural 20 to stabilize at -2). He gave up the info per the book once he awoke, then was judged guilty by the Inquistor and quickly beheaded.
Cool. He's the kind of sub-villain who just keeps on giving to the storyline of the adventure.
In Ashes, page 38 - there are 3 nabasu demons in the warehouse. It also says there are 8 ghouls killed by the nabasu demon gaze in that warehouse....so should I be running them with growth points or without growth points?
Unfortunately, that's another casualty/change from my original turnover. In the original manuscript, I didn't include any ghouls created by the nabasu yet. That encounter just had the three demons in the rafters for the PCs to encounter. Basically, Radvir was intending to encourage the use of their death-stealing gaze to create more chaos in Caliphas on the Whispering Way's behalf, transforming its citizens into ghouls...which would ultimately create a new cadre of undead for the Whispering Tyrant upon his return. The nabasu hadn't yet been given leave to begin this activity yet. Radvir was waiting to complete his manipulation of Luvick's vampires before setting them loose.
I'm hoping this is posted in the right forum. I have a question regarding Lady Evgenya Zunaida. I must be overlooking something. According the tactics notes, she is to escape "casting quickened dimension door with her metamagic adept power to escape". I don't see how this is possible since dimension door is a 4th level spell, Evgenya is a 10th level sorcerer, and quickened uses 4 spell slots higher than the spell being cast (e.g. quickened dimension door should use 8th level spell slot, which she doesnt' have). The metamagic adept only decreases the casting time of a spell when used with a metamagic feat....What am I missing or did the designer goof?
Evgenya Zunaida changed quite a bit from my original turnover. Originally, she was an aristocrat 2/sorcerer 13, which gave her spellcasting up to 6th level spells. The Morale section of her stat-block then included a quickened casting of invisibility to aid her escape rather than dimension door. Thus, as a 2nd level spell, she could use her metamagic adept power and Quicken Spell feat to do that. You're quite right that a quickened dimension door wouldn't be possible. Sometimes slight inconsistencies like that happen when NPCs are modified from their original design. Rob or Wes must have needed to scale her down from a CR 14 to a CR 12 and just missed that change in terms of her abilities as compared to her tactics.
She only has a masterwork greatsword. However, her Melee entry indicates a +1 greatsword because the Tactics section of her stat-block explains she casts magic weapon on it before combat. That's why her Base Statistics ratchet it back down to a masterwork greatsword again and give you the stats for that, as well.
One can rarely find the fey, even when you're actively looking for them. More often than not, it's they who find you. And when they do, that doesn't always end well. So, it's not like no one is looking. It's just that they've been charmed and led off to parts unknown once they find them. Or warped and twisted by some strange fey magic so they can't relay what they've seen or experienced. :->
You put out a flawed product...
I put out a flawed product? You do realize I'm not a Paizo employee, right? I'm a freelancer who wrote Chapter 5 of Carrion Crown with Ashes at Dawn, not the Haunting of Harrowstone. And I'm also a member of the Legendary Games design team (a third-party publisher of like-minded freelancers) who created these so-called "patches" as supplementary material for the APs to enhance their play. If you don't see any additional value in them, that's fine. I offered them up as a potential solution to your perceived problem, as described here. But no biggie. As you say, you can address your problems just as easily on your own.
I am not going to blow an additional 5 bucks to correct an adventure I already bought. Should have been included in the first place; smacks of greed to nail people for patches.
You're certainly entitled to that opinion, Piccolo...though I disagree with it pretty much in every possible way.
I looked at those in-town Events, and there's not enough Trust points available. The only other way to build trust that I have seen is the town hall fire. I also looked at the town description, and nothing was listed as a means of building Trust.
Not to be a broken record, but Legendary Games also designed a couple of side-trek adventures which work well with the Carrion Crown AP, both of which are designed to address some of the "lack of available Trust points" concerns people had with the initial chapter of the campaign. The first one is called The Fiddler's Lament and the other is The Murmuring Fountain. Both give you more opportunities to earn additional Trust. We call these products Adventure Path Plug-In's for this exact reason.
Neil, I would like you to give me your opinion on the last part and what the ramifications might be if it happened and is the doppelganger really ready to fill the role yet?
I also toyed with the idea to have him carry Lady Argentea back to the camp and return with the doppelganger Lady Argentea to a point where the PC's would rescue her (The wrong one) and return her back to Heldren...
That could certainly pose an interesting turn of events. Honestly, the doppelganger encounter in the Pale Tower was designed to make the PCs second-guess themselves. As in, did we rescue the real Lady Argentea? Or did we just enable Elvanna's plan?
...and when they come back to continue on they would find the real Argentea at the camp or the Pale Tower dead.
Not necessarily. A noblewoman such as Lady Argentea could continue to hold value as a captive. Both in terms of ransom, further interrogation, or as a bargaining chip in the event Radosek, Teb Knotten, or even Nazhena needed a hostage. Likewise, the doppelganger might still need to contact his winter witch allies (via an attentive mirror) to make requests for additional information only Lady Argentea would know in order to more properly carry out his ruse in Oppara. So, it's not a given that they'd simply slay Lady Argentea. Killing her is something Rohkar would want to do (because of his faith in Norgorber). But the winter witches don't typically think that way. They're much more manipulative and cunning than a brute murderer, no matter how divinely inspired he might be.
That would make them feel like they got played like pawns. Especially if they found the real one in the Pale Tower and couldn't get back through the portal to tell anyone.
Exactly. And that would be one more reason to hurry and free Baba Yaga so they can end the threat posed by Elvanna and her minions. However, keep in mind that if you do put the real Lady Argentea in the Pale Tower for them to find, presumably, the PCs will trap her there along with them when they close the winter portal. Of course, it's possible they could delay the closing of the portal to give her time to cross back into Taldor. If an enterprising PC learns the Irriseni mirror sight spell and they give Lady Argentea a mirror, it would be easy to confirm her escape from Irrisen. Then, it would be up to her to expose the imposter in Oppara. Of course, during that time, the PCs would also run the risk of more of Nazhena's minions (i.e., Winter Guard, cold fey, etc.) returning to the Pale Tower and attacking them. So, it'd be a calculated risk, but at least they'd still have a chance of returning the real Lady Argentea to Taldor.
As for Rohkar himself, the man is probably living on borrowed time. His role in Elvanna's plans is becoming more and more limited the deeper he goes. Teb Knotten especially will have the bandit's head if fails him again. So, if after delivering the real Lady Argentea to the moss troll (and she's subsequently taken through the portal to the Pale Tower), he'd probably charge Rohkar with taking Gardhek (i.e., the doppelganger) back towards the PCs with the intention of letting them "rescue" her. Whatever happens to Rohkar after that, the moss troll won't care. In fact, he'll probably encourage Gardhek to run to the PCs as soon as they're sighted, claiming Rohkar abducted him/her to more properly carry out the ruse. Rohkar will basically be betrayed, thinking Teb Knotten only wanted him to escort Gardhek safely through the forest to ensure the doppelganger could reach Heldren. In essence, Rohkar will think it's his big change to escape the expanding winter weather (and Teb's vengeance), planning on parting ways with Gardhek as soon as they get back to town. If Gardhek carried out such a plan, Rohkar would likely turn invisible in an effort to evade the PCs. But, from there, he'd be looking to follow them back to Heldren so he could take revenge on the PCs and eliminate them before they can return to investigate the winter portal. In fact, Teb might have charged Rohkar with doing just that, but the bandit will have to weigh the odds of success vs. the likelihood of dying if he crossed the PCs in such an obvious manner. More likely, he'd look for ways to murder them one at a time...whether in town or on the trail.
That's how I'd play things,
Just as an aside...do we have an idea yet of when "Conquering Heroes" will be available? I was hoping to use it this weekend...
Clearly, it won't be this weekend.
However, I can tell you it's in the layout stage. Liz and I have been working through some tweaks and what-not. There's also an opportunity to add a bit more text to stretch some of the character write-ups so they fill all three pages devoted to each one...i.e., there's always a bit of "empty" space on that last page that annoys me. So, I'd like to fill that up with further content, if possible. Noting major. Just a couple hundred words here or there...enough to basically add another rolepaying tip or bit of description or background enhancement.
At the moment, Liz has already laid out the first four (i.e., half) of the pregen PCs. But I believe she's scheduled to go on vacation next week. So, she may not be able to address any further tweaks I make to the text until she returns. If she can finish the initial layout of the remaining PCs before she leaves...and give me an idea of how much "empty" space remains for each PC...that would give me all the information I need to square away any further work effort on my part. And that means we'd have a solid chance at finishing up very quickly after she got back.
My two cents,
What I would like to know are things like what sort of feats should PC's take, what class mix we should have, etc, to get the most out of Carrion Crown.
If you'd like some examples, you could always pick up something we produced at Legendary Games as an adventure path plug-in for Carrion Crown, which we called Gothic Heroes. They're basically eight different pregenerated 1st level characters complete with stats, feats, advancement notes, roleplay suggestions, lots of background hooks for how to solidly integrate them into the campaign's storyline, and a good mix of hand-selected classes which should work well with one another over the course of the campaign. Even if you don't wind up using the characters, they could certainly give you and your players some decent ideas to tweak or build upon.
EDIT: Oops. I see Daronil already recommended that product. And, it does obviously include a couple of character classes (summoner and alchemist), which you've chosen to ban. Even so, they should provide some decent examples of how those classes actually can still work in the Carrion Crown campaign (and to great thematic effect). But it's your game. Run it however you want. Likewise, disregard or choose from these suggestions as you wish.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Well, it wasn't going to be a braised short-rib sandwich, that's for sure. ;-)
And, we're in...
...with a little taste of Gothic ("The Necrotic Verses") and a little taste of the Far East ("Meditations of the Imperial Mystics"). Don't let it be said we didn't throw some quality stuff in the hopper (i.e., both have 5-star reviews). And, for Christina (whom I know quite well after she played in several of my games here on the East Coast), she should find "The Necrotic Verses" especially appealing since she likes to play bards so often. ;-)