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Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras

Owen K. C. Stephens's page

Modules Overlord. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 3,690 posts (3,694 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Ravingdork wrote:
Is this a 3rd party product? I wanted to craft myself a few cyclops helms, but the PFSRD has it listed as being from a 3rd-party product, which our group doesn't allow.

It's published by Paizo and Goblinworks together, with authors like Lisa Stevens and Erik Mona. Your group is going to have to decide if being an official Pathfinder Module, published by Paizo in cooperation with another company, and being set in Golarion proper is good enough for your group, or if any involvement by a not-Paizo group makes it a 3pp product in their opinion.

From the first page:

"Pathfinder Module: The Emerald Spire Superdungeon is a joint publication of Goblinworks, Inc. and Paizo Inc. Pathfinder Online is a trademark of Paizo Inc, used under license. Goblinworks is a trademark of Goblinworks, Inc.

Pathfinder Module: The Emerald Spire Superdungeon © 2014, Paizo Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Dragnmoon wrote:
I thought one of these blogs was going to list the recommended PC levels for the dungeon levels?

Logan covered that in the Emerald Spire Discssion Thread, so I didn't repeat it in the blogs. But here's his answer, with levels included.

Logan Bonner wrote:

Because Emerald Spire has so many variables (ways to tackle levels out of order, skip entire levels, or gain extra XP awards), I didn't include expected levels. It's meant to be—not a sandbox per se—but a fairly open-ended experience. It can be easy for a party to jump to a challenge significantly higher than their level, especially after they pass the upper levels. So please remember those caveats when looking at the level ranges below!

Dungeon Level/Party Level
1: 1
2: 2
3: 3
4: 4
5: 5
6: 6
7: 6
8: 7
9: 8
10: 9
11: 10
12: 11
13: 11
14: 12
15: 12
16: 13

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Patrick: "And now, for the mercy killing." (Bites head off an animal-shaped sugar cookie) "Hmmm. Tastes cute."

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Patrick: "If all you have is a flamethrower, all your problems look like spiders."

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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You can use multiple castings of create demiplane spells to expand the size of your demiplane, and with greater create demiplane you can put in a portal to link to another demiplane, but neither of those is quite what you are looking for.

Of course if you can create a demiplane you're at the level where such things as limited wish become available, and I'd think linking two "friendly" demiplanes would fall within that spell's power.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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The Sword Emperor wrote:

However, Logan, the emerald automatons have construct traits. That makes them immune to mind-affecting effects, including compulsions; Bless is a mind-affecting compulsion. Therefore, Bless will not work on Clanky.

True. However, lacking any ranks in Knowledge (arcana), Skizzertz does't know Clanky is immune to the bless. so he can still cast it. After all, the goblin still gains the benefit.

Obviously it'd be better if we'd listed some other spell, or noted Clanky is immune, but sometimes these things slip through the cracks.
You could have Skizzertz prepare shield of faith instead, to cast on just himself (or even to boost Clanky).

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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kikai13 wrote:

This may seem rather simplistic, but I would like to see more adventures set in Absalom. Perhaps as part of a hardcover that revisits and expands the details gleaned from the Absalom paperback...

It's safe to say both that I am enthusiastically in favor of this, and that there are many forces at play that may make me wait a while before getting to do anything like this. Not the least of which is that Pathfinder Modules need to not try to become Campaign Setting sourcebooks. :)

But yeah, I am still excited by Absalom.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

In the end you decided to include the Anachronistic Adventurer classes, and just mark them "Anachronistic Adventurers." Now I admit those are presented as lost world romance classes designed to be mixed in with straight Pf classes, but if you want a really complete list I'd suggest just tagging the Modern classes, like you do with psionics and other classes built on a specific rules subset. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Lance Charge, x2 damage
Lance non-charge Critical, x3 damage
So Lance Charge Critical, x4 damage

Lance Spirited Charge, x3 damage
Lance non-charge Critical still x3 damage
So Lance Spirited Charge Critical x5 damage

While there may be a few exceptions lurking about, as a general rule when multiplying damage, you multiple all static bonuses (Strength bonus, Weapon Specialization, magic weapon bonuses, bardic performances, and so on), but no extra dice (sneak attack, flaming weapon property, Vital Strike, and so on).

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

I'd love to hear how it goes!

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Gilfalas wrote:
Going absolutely RAW you cannot sub out the attack for a Sunder attempt. The feat explicitly states you must use your highest BAB and not your CMB and your CMB is required to make a Sunder attempt.

The rules for Attack of Opportunity specify "You make your attack of opportunity at your normal attack bonus, even if you've already attacked in the round." Despite specifying you use your attack bonus, it's been clearly ruled you can sunder as an attack of opportunity.

So I think it's clear you can sunder as a Cleaving Finish.

Also, much as when an ability grants the ability to grant a bonus to an ally you can be your own ally, I think it's reasonable that if you get an attack against another target, you can make the original foe the "other" target. That's less absolute (you could say the logic of "cleaving" should move to a different target), but I am not convinced there's a strong RAW case against it.

But none of that is official. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Derfmancher wrote:

Round two of Derfs Dumb Questions...

The Into the Emerald Spire.. Nothing is listed about what PCs to be using. Pregens? Level 1? I can't be the only one that starts building characters once I know what games I actually got into..

Assuming you are talking about my Into the Emerald Spire (as opposed to Erik or Lisa's events, where they run the levels they wrote), I'll be providing Pregens, minis, maps, pencils, heck even dice if you need them. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Both Erik and Lisa have events where they run their Emerald Spire levels (the ones they wrote). I have two events where I'll run pregens through as much of the Emerald Spire as they can manage (with the second group taking over where the first group leaves off).

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Crazyriver wrote:
#1. Are all of the rooms flushed out for encounters or is this like some other mega-dungeons leaving that to the DM?

Yes, everything is fully encounter-ready.

Crazyriver wrote:
#2. While I understand that PC levels are not mentioned for the corresponding dungeon levels, is the dungeon designed to played straight through? Or, are PCs expected to return once and a while?

It's actually set up to be able to be handled either way!

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

The Sword Emperor wrote:
Darklands Delver is basically a permanent +1 initiative bonus insofar as this campaign is concerned. I'm not sure whether that's balanced; I want to say it is, because of the +1 Fortitude feature I've seen tossed around before.

As a general rule traits are supposed to be about half as good as a feat 9which is why a feat can give you two traits). So while I'm not making any kind of official development, as a personal opinion I don't think a trait that gives you a +1 initiative bonus is too good, since Improved Initiative gives you +4.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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It's a 160-page hardcover (the biggest Pathfinder Modules ever!).

The bestiary has :
Bone Priest
Caustic Stalker
Emerald Automaton
Lava Lurker
Moon Spider
Shadowfire (a template)
Xiomorn
Mythic Xiomorn

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Coridan wrote:
Much like the AP thread, post your ideas for modules here!

Yes, please do!

The schedule may or may not put me in a position to do anything with these ideas for quite a while, and we'll never get to everything, and there are always other factors at play when outlining adventures, but I am reading the thread!

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Adam Daigle wrote:
Wait! The new hire gets a desk!? On the first day!?

I got a desk on my first day.

Not a chair or computer, but I had a *desk*.

Adam Daigle wrote:
Fight your way up out of the raptor pits and claim your workstation like the rest of us!

Ah... I may have broken some of the raptors, Adam.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Arazyr wrote:
Owen: You have a "-" or something at the beginning of that URL that is making it not work.

That's what I get for posting before I have coffee.

Fixed, thanks. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Wes Schneider just covered why this isn't really that different from every adventure project Paizo does. There are always constraints on size, or style, or page count.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Liz Courts wrote:
Heh—putting up blog posts is the hard work of Robot Chris and Crystal

Of course I appreciate them too! :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Liz Courts wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
man! i liked the italics! added a bit of class:)
*grumps*

Ignore them Liz. They'll all die soon in the traps and space-warping halls of the Emerald Spire anyway.

I appreciate your hard work putting up blog posts, even if no one else does. :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

sadie, what are you wanting the lead-in modules to do? As Lisa said, Emerald Spire is designed to start you at 1st level.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Valantrix1 wrote:
Thanks Owen, I'm really digging these blogs! I can't wait for my backer copy!

You are very welcome!

cannon fodder wrote:
Yay, we're on the italics level!

Weirdos. :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Rob Rose wrote:
How about PDF only? I can't see much production cost in that. Paizo fans would be the most likely to purchase online, anyway so why not PDF only? We could purchase them and print them as we need them (like we're able to print the Sandpoint Cathedral Square).

Actually that's also covered in James Jacobs' reply in the link Vic posted:

James Jacobs wrote:
It would cost us less to pay someone to write and illustrate a module than it would to pay for battlemat scale maps for an average volume of Pathfinder.

The fact is that battlemat-scale maps aren't just zoomed-in versions of the larger-scale map. And pdf only sales would be unlikely to recoup the costs of recreating them.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Kolokotroni wrote:
Fighters have to pick feats that are effectively permanent (retraining aside)

It *is* worth noting that starting at 4th level a fighter gets to swap out a bonus feat without having to go to the retraining rules, and does it every 4 levels.

One reason games I have run and played in ahem had particularly effective fighters in that their players were not afraid to adjust feats as the abilities of the other players, focus of the campaign, and availability of magic items made ding so useful.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Mikaze wrote:
still waiting on a non-evil female orc love interest

This is an honest question: What would you be looking for to feel something had met this criterion? Would a non-evil female orc ally that doesn't mention romance in any capacity could if she could serve as a love interest? Would it need to call her out as potentially available? Would some description need to mention she's specifically interested? Would the plot need to revolve around her romantic status? Would she have to have art?

To be clear, any of those is a perfectly reasonable metric, depending on what it is you're looking for. I'm just genuinely curious.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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It also comers into play for the spells arcane cannon, banish seeming, gaseous form, and healing thief, the feats Dragonheart and Witchbreaker, the conductive magic weapon ability and forsaken banded mail, and the fey-taken drawback and noble born traits.

NONE of that is mainstream Pathfinder material (though its all official), but it is a sign of how the Ex/Su distinction can be a useful tool of specific design ideas. I'd hate to lose it.

I would love to see a strong design theme that Ex abilities can do things like reflect spells using a shield, and that martial classes can pick up magical abilities. But I don't think eliminating the difference between Ex and Su is the way to get there.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Diodric wrote:
They were always really helpful! Its funny, as I've always had a fixation for halflings and I always remembered your name as "the guy who wrote the halfling name generator." >_> My apologies.

No apologies needed! First, it's nice to be remembered for *anything*. Second, I *love* what I did with the halfling name generator, so I am glad to find fans of it. :)

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Diodric wrote:
Also, I apparently don't have the issue but I reeaallly think that Dragon #251 has the Elf name generator.

It does. That was my first published, paid game writing work, as it happens.

I also did (in Dragon) name generators for dwarves, gnomes & halflings, drow, dragons, and some under dark races. The series was called "By Any Other Name."
I also did the dragon language article, and articles on random names for inns, taverns, and businesses.

I loved writing those. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
(4714 must have seemed so far away in 4708. Time flies!)
It did, it really did...
Perhaps they'll serendipitously discover a Volume 2...

Certainly if I was the one expanding on the Harrowers, that's not how I'd handle it. :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Major_Blackhart wrote:
So, does the elevator have to stop at every floor or can we take it all to the bottom?

Only if you have the right key, and the right code!

Major_Blackhart wrote:
On a more serious note, is there any relation in this to the Emerald Chambers, mentioned in the Dead Heart of Xin?

Not directly, though an inspirational link from ages past might well exist (but isn't spelled out).

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

That's how flip-maps always work. Outlines often don't tell you a lot.

That said if you want to keep things hidden just cut some sticky notes to cover parts of the map until revealed. I've done that to great success occasionally.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Uri Meca wrote:
Couple of questions:

I love questions!

Uri Meca wrote:
1. Does Emerald Spire feature player handouts? (Apart from the flip-mat pack, that is.) This does tempt. Am considering hardcopy vs pdf. If there are many handouts to print, it might make more sense to at least have the pdf, though I'm still old school enough to prefer reading paper.

Not in large numbers in any case. None come to mind, but there might be a few I'm not thinking of offhand.

Uri Meca wrote:

2. 16 levels to get PCs to level 13:

a) Are there sections of rooms with no descriptions? Some of the mega-dungeons I've seen had cool sprawling maps, sure, but with a ton of non-defined rooms. I can sketch a maze of rooms in a few minutes without worrying about populating them, too. I take this won't be the case but want to make sure.

Again, there might be 1 or 2 over 16 levels, but basically no. Every space is described and ready for adventure!

Uri Meca wrote:
b) Does the 16th dungeon level allow for potential modular add-ons for those wanting to nurture the campaign to beyond 13th level? (I guess that's an easy one: Nothing can stop the power of imaginative editting!)

The themes and plots are specifically brought to a head and resolved... but some of them lend themselves to a vast scope. If someone wanted to build on that scope to expand the dungeons, there are tons of idea to use as jumping-off point.

Thanks!

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

All of every dungeon level is covered on the maps. The level designers had 18,000 square feet to work with, and each designed his map within that limit. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

The adventures assume the PCs don't have a ship at the start of the adventure. Having a ship would require some adjustments on the part of the GM.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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IxionZero wrote:
Though, in the interests of running it as smoothly as possible, are there any plans for support products beyond the mega flip-mat collection? Pawns and item/face cards and the like, or would such things made specifically for the mod be superfluous?

I'll be going over some of those in future blogs, but we have already announced the Pathfinder Campaign Cards: The Emerald Spire Superdungeon.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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jimibones83 wrote:
Emerald Spire sequel, levels 13-20? :)

I never say never, but I am really happy with how this wraps up both the various plots and the physical space of the dungeon. I wouldn't want to suggest a follow-up just to reach an arbitrary number of levels (especially since it's 16 levels of dungeon for 13 levels of adventuring as it is). I suspect that sort of thinking is what leads to movie series where the 2nd or 3rd movie sucks, or things get really weird in an effort to "keep things fresh."

That said if we had a great idea for continuing the Emerald Spire, and we could fit it in the schedule, we certainly wouldn't refuse to go back just because we've done it once. :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

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Rysky wrote:
Sorry for being sorta vague, while I kinda guessed it was the Emerald Spire I was curious as to what exactly it was, man-made architecture? Crystalline architecture? Energy focus/nexus? Green liquid runoff? The way it spreads out at the bottom is what piqued the question.

Those are *exactly* the kinds of questions we were hoping people would ask! :D

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Since an invisible creature in water displaces water (thus giving away its location), but still benefits from concealment, and a tanglefoot bag covers a target in enough goo to entangle him (but not render him paralyzed), I'd certainly run an invisible creature affected by a tanglefoot bag as have its location pinpointed, but still getting the 505 miss chance.

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Ross Byers wrote:
(4714 must have seemed so far away in 4708. Time flies!)

It did, it really did...

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Ashram wrote:
Devils and Belkzen definitely sounds odd, considering orcs in this setting are at the very least CN, if not CE.

Chaotic orcs is definitely the norm in the Hold of Belkzen, but that region is hundred of miles long. Lots of room for some exceptions to crop up. :)

Ashram wrote:
Sounds like some half-fiend or devil-blooded tiefling shenanigans in the background.

It does, doesn't it? :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

There is an element in place to get players in and out of the dungeon without forcing them to trudge through 8 levels of things that aren't a challenge and wouldn't offer them much reward. It can also be used as an introduction to the dungeon, and may be enough to convince players to go there. But that's about skipping the levels they are already too high level for, not repopulating the whole thing with higher-level threats. :)

The dungeon has a number of thematic links between levels, so it would also be possible to cut some levels (or combine them into higher levels) and just cut the easier sections to get PCs straight to the part that's balanced for them. You can treat it as a set of adventures, rather than one massive adventure that requires everyone to begin on level one.

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Erik Mona wrote:
You're probably right about pirate APs (though Skull & Shackles does not preclude more pirate _adventures_, of course).

In fact I think it's pretty clear we are doing more pirate adventures. :D

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

I actually wasn't one of the designers on this project, I'm just working on the release in my role as Pathfinder Modules Developer.
That said, there are always constraints in design of any project, and one of the key differences between good designers and great designers is working within those constraints without compromising the quality of the end product. In this case, the need to have all the levels fit on a flip-map was one of the defining requirements all the designers worked under. But even if it wasn't, things like deadlines, tying multiple designers' levels together thematically, word count (as determined by page count), art budgets, CR needs and so forth would still mean designers can't just do anything that comes to mind.
I think we got great designers on this, so while there may be ideas that didn't make it into this project, I'm confident what did make it in still represents each designer's best concepts for this project.
I suspect just "paying more" for the flip-mats wouldn't have fixed the issue either. A designer can easily come up with ideas that eat up miles of imaginary space, and there's no realistic way to sell 1/60 scale maps of things like entire cities, ancient battlefields, or "endless" mazes. You have to draw the line somewhere - in this case we drew it at the flip-map size we already know is popular and practical.
I'm looking at running some Emerald Spire in early July actually,. so I at least am thrilled with the added value of physical flip-maps for each level even if it means designers only went with ideas they could fit into the needs of this project. :)

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Derek Weil wrote:

Can you tell me more about cohesion between floors? With one author to write each, is each floor truly "modular", or is there an overarching connection?

It would seem likely that given this a really big tower/fortress (not a whole underground realm) that it would be controlled by a single entity/faction. Any hints?

We'll be discussing a bit more about some of the specific levels a little closer to release time. But while the whole spire is not controlled by a single overarching group, there absolutely are strong ties between many of the levels, which in some ways form a narrative about the spire itself.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Kevin Mack wrote:
Is there a lot of Iconic artwork in this and if there is is there a lot of action pitures?

Without going through it page by page, I know there are at least 16 1/2 page shots feature 1 or more iconics, and most of them are action shots.

There are a few static iconic shots even beyond the 1/2 pagers.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Dragon's Delve is complete, for 3.5 anyway, on Dungeonaday.com, though I dunno if anyone can still access it.

Greyhawk has Greyhawk ruins from 1990, Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk in 2007 and (unofficially, but realistically) Castle Zagyg in 2005.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Ross Byers wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
In one notable case, every single instance of a character saying "Ok" was rendered as "QX".
That is, of course, a Lensman reference.
It was the lensman series. Are you telling me it was supposed to be like that?

I hadn't realized you were discussing Lensman, I thought someone had gotten cute.

Yes, Doc Smith wanted to change the language a little, so it would be clear it was the far-flung future. So in addition to oddities such as Q-Type Helixes and similar undefined terms, he used QX in place of OK.

That goes back to the original print books, at least, and I suspect all the way back to the serialized releases.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Ross Byers wrote:
In one notable case, every single instance of a character saying "Ok" was rendered as "QX".

That is, of course, a Lensman reference.

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