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Peruhain of Brithondy's page

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Trying to look through the back issues for something, but it looks like everything after issue 5 has broken links. Anyone have a more current way to access OJ?


Wow. I haven't checked in over here for a very long time. Hello if you're still around, Darkbard.

My Age of Worms is still going, but at a snail's pace, since my player is off at college and only comes back for short periods of time. We just finished the Spire of Long Shadows over winter break, and maybe will get to start the Prince of Redhand this summer.

Haven't really worked on the journal because most of my gaming time is occupied with a play-by-post campaign of my own devising over on Myth-Weavers. I haven't converted to either 4e or Pathfinder, so I haven't been hanging out over here much either. Maybe sometime when I'm feeling idle I'll try to get some more journal written.


A post to keep this from falling off the edge of the world . . .


Just caught up again. Looking forward to more installements, even if they only go through CoBI.

I, too, am mainly doing PbP these days, DMing a campaign of my own devising, and playing in two others. PbP can be a lot of fun--I had a blast DMing a Red Hand of Doom campaign, and am enjoying DMing a campaign set in Greyhawk--of my own advising but using quite a bit of Paizo and WotC material. The games I'm a player in are pretty slow, though--I love the characters, but progress is slow.


LOL. Me too. Back when I was 18 my waist size was somewhere around 32. Now it's more like 42. I went from Medium to (Extra-) Large. ;)

Seriously, though, there are all kinds of possible solutions here. It's not completely out of the question to give a trained, experienced warhorse or other fighting animal levels in warrior--presumably they can get better, up to a point, without getting bigger. Shadowfax was probably awakened at the very least.

I think the main reason for making monsters larger as they advance is to keep the challenges commensurate with the theoretical increase in CR that comes with every 3 HD or so. If you're going to bump a wolf up by a certain amount of CR, it needs to be able to do significantly more damage, have a better chance of tripping its opponent, and so forth, and increasing its size helps a lot in that regard. If you want to just give the wolf HD, skill points, and feats, and normal ability score increases that's great, but you shouldn't increase the CR as much because let's face it, at 10th level a single attack with a 1d8 plus whatever (5? 7?) that you can achieve this way just isn't that scary. And it seems hard to justify a normal size wolf with a strength that exceeds 20--even with a "collar of giant strength." If you want a normal-sized wolf that scares (surprises?) your players, then you've got to do something to juice it up beyond just giving it more hit points and a better BAB and a couple of feats that slightly increase its attacks and damage. You need templates, or awaken it and allow it to cast spells, or make it a fey wolf from some "feywild" demiplane that has cool spell like abilities and can summon a huge pack of wolves (mob template!!!), or make it a variant winter wolf with a nastier breath weapon, or something.

The monsters that don't increase in size as they advance are generally not scary melee combatants per se--their strengths are in their spellcasting power, and it makes more sense to give them class levels than advance them by monster HD.


As others have mentioned, visor slots, joints, and the line where breastplate and backplate are buckled together are vulnerable to piercing weapons. The groin also--the skirting that covered the hips typically couldn't protect it because it needed a gap so that the knight could sit in his saddle. All these areas were protected by chainmail or boiled leather, but not as impenetrable as plate.

The earliest rapiers were not as thin as contemporary fencing foils--they were more slender than a longsword but still quite stiff, and a thrust with one off the back foot (with the whole body's mass behind it and the strength of both leg and arm driving it) could, in fact, pierce plate armor, if you hit at the right angle. They were designed for this purpose, in the late 15th century, IIRC, and were one of several advances that made plate armor obsolete. As noted above, most piercing weapons could pierce plate armor--if they struck at an angle perpendicular to the plate with enough force. Crossbow bolts, arrows fired from a longbow, blows from a military pick or lucern hammer (both designed for piercing armor), and of course lances, pikes or spears employed against a charging enemy could all pierce plate armor. Daggers might be useful at close quarters, or against a knight who was prone and couldn't easily stand up.

When fighting in plate armor, the idea wasn't that the armor would block all blows--a vicious sword or axe blow could also cut through, and a mace or morningstar on the helm could give you a nasty concussion even if it didn't dent the helm. The idea was that the plate armor would deflect glancing blows and make them harmless, and a skilled fighter could make use of this--a step to the side, a partial deflection with your shield or a partial parry would do the trick, whereas with lighter armor such tactics would still result in a wound. And you could use your vambraces or gauntlets to knock blows aside with less fear of a wound as well. In short, like any armor, plate armor merely makes you less vulnerable, not invulnerable.

Two other factors should be considered. First, with D&D's hit point system, 10 pts. of damage to a 1st level fighter doesn't produce the same wound as 10 pts. of damage to a 10th level fighter. The former is probably a pretty serious flesh wound--coming close to laming the novice fighter or something comparable. The latter probably represents at most a bruise, maybe just a bit of muscle fatigue from the effort to dodge or parry the blow. A high-level fighter in plate armor is actively using his armor to help lessen the impact of blows--the rapier thrust to the armpit and into the lung is the one that drops him from 4 hp to -3, not the one that drops him from 60 to 53.

Second, "plate armor" evolved over time and came in different grades. The thickest and most complete plate armor--the kind you often see in museums--was used only for tournaments and ceremonial purposes because it was too clumsy to be practical on the battlefield. Even still, lots of knights died from fatal wounds sustained in jousts (even though the lance tips were usually blunted). In fact most such suits of armor were made after people had begun to wear less armor on the battlefield due to guns, crossbows and lucerne hammers. The earliest types of plate armor, the ones that were actually used on battlefields during the 13th and 14th centuries, had a helm, breast and backplate, and plates strapped to the front of the legs. The arms, back of the legs, and neck were often covered only by chainmail. There was no gorget protecting the throat, the helm was often open (or partially so), and in short it provided protection that was better than straight chainmail, but far from complete. (This is "plate mail" vice "full plate" in D&D terms). Gradually more plate pieces were added to the kit, gorgets, roundels, "besagaws" (round metal plates mounted in front of the armpits for extra protection there), and so forth. The design of the armor also changed to make it harder to strike a square blow with a piercing weapon or dent with a blunt one, with beavered helms, fluting, and so forth. As with modern weaponry, there was a constant back and forth in technical innovations to defensive equipment and offensive equipment, so that at any given moment the balance might shift between the two, but in general there was always some possibility of hurting your enemy.

For a better idea, go to the library and get a picture book on medieval arms and armor. It'll show you examples of what the stuff actually looked like, and make it easier to describe what's going on in your game.


Just finished Walter Scott's "Guy Mannering" a couple of weeks ago, then blasted through two novels by Lois McMaster Bujold that were good fun: "The Curse of Chalion" and "The Hallowed Hunt." ("Paladin of Souls" from the same series is also very good).

Just started Ellen Kushner's "Swordspoint" which isn't really drawing me in, so I've been dabbling in some other books--a collection of Ursula Le Guin short stories, plus Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and a history of the early Slavs.


If the NPCs are strong enough to mutiny and win, they could maroon the PCs on or near the beach where "Here There Be Monsters" begins. Or if a struggle erupts at this juncture, it could doom the PCs' efforts to control the ship and make the shipwreck inevitable.

If the NPCs believe the PC captain is putting the ship in danger through bad decisions or poor seamanship, it would certainly be plausible for them to mutiny in the storm.

They could also cut their way out of the kelp patch and leave the PCs behind after the PCs defeat the Mother--they might leave a small boat behind just to avoid feeling as though they've murdered the PCs.

It would probably be a good idea to make a little roleplaying/encounter flow-chart to plan how to give an escalating series of signals that a mutiny is in the works, and some idea of what responses might be effective in quashing the mutiny at what juncture. A PC overhears mutinous talk at the scuttlebutt--if the PCs take drastic action to punish the mutineers and restore discipline does this squelch the uprising or fan the flames of resentment and lead to something worse later? That sort of thing. If you don't give some warning signs and give the PCs an opportunity to act on them, the players might feel railroaded.

Also, depending on the number of active mutineers and whether they are able to catch the PCs by surprise, a mutiny might well not succeed even if it's twenty crew members against four PCs.

Avner might be a good leader for the mutiny. That would give the PCs an excuse to execute him summarily, but there would be later repercussions--Avner's uncle could easily suborn some witnesses from the crew into giving false testimony that Avner was unfairly accused and unjustly executed.

Some sources for ideas on how a mutiny might work:

Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" (I'm sure there's a movie version or three if you don't want to read it--but it's a pretty quick read and a great classic--the expressions of tension and distrust on the ship between officers and crew are a good model for how to foreshadow the mutiny.)

Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny" (novel, adapted into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart as Capt. Queeg--modern setting, but plausible psychology, and the mutiny takes place in the middle of a hurricane that threatens the safety of the ship).

"Mutiny on the Bounty"--I think there are a couple of movie versions of this, plus the real-life historical tale--there are several historical accounts and you could get a synopsis from Wikipedia.


I believe some of the Olman deities were borrowed from the real-world Aztec pantheon whole cloth, which means you should be able to find some background on them in Wikipedia or a print encyclopedia or book about Mesoamerican religious traditions. The ones I recognize are Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca, and Tlazolteotl. Wiki will probably give you enough info to come up with alignments, portfolios, domains, and a holy symbol.

IIRC, the old TSR publication Scarlet Brotherhood had a page or two of info on this topic. Unfortunately, it's too late to get it except through e-bay. I'll look at my PDF when I have time and see if I can extract some info for you.

Some of the deities also appeared in the 1e AD&D Deities and Demigods under the Aztec pantheon.


Allowing us once again to purchase old edition (i.e. before 3e) PDFs would at least be a conciliatory gesture. I'm not likely to buy into 4e either way, but at least I would be a bit less annoyed with them.

I don't see much else on the laundry list above that WotC can easily retreat from at this point, except maybe issuing a more favorable 3rd party licensing agreement. I don't think they are going to pull back from 4e, or do anything to it that will make it an attractive product for those who haven't already switched, at least in the next 2-3 years. They certainly aren't going to publish for both editions simultaneously at this point--Paizo has already captured the 3e holdouts that haven't just stopped buying new stuff entirely, and Paizo has a much stronger relationship with this clientele than WotC ever had with theirs. I'd love to see the print magazines back, and might subscribe even if they were 4e focused, but I think 18 months off the bookstore shelves makes trying to get back into the print magazine market a money-losing business proposition at this point (and therefore a non-starter).

WotC doesn't need to pimp their product, they need to change their attitude toward the customer, starting with delivering the products that their existing customers want. If you can't keep your existing customers happy, how are you going to get new people to buy? Of course, the problem now is that a significant part of their existing customer base, I think has been lost already because we've been abandoned. It's even harder to get an abandoned/lost customer back than to attract a new one. Ask Rick Wagoner.


Legally?

You might find the module on e-bay. Don't know what WotC's decision has done to auction prices there, but if you want it bad enough, it's probably there.


According to the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, the city's population in CY 591 was 69,500. You can project from there using the tables in the DMG.

"Wormfood" in Dragon 337 (p. 80) has a list of the ranking clerics of each major deity. The high priest of Boccob is 18th level, and the high priestess of Pelor is 15th level, so you can get just about any spell you want cast. Even a true res.

As for mages, a number of powerful ones frequent Greyhawk, since the Circle of Eight meets there. Jallarzi Sallavarian and Otto both maintain residences there, and are both 15th level Clerics. I'm not sure where Bigby lives, buy he's 19th level, and Mordenkainen, who has his personal stronghold high in the Yatils but frequently visits the mages' guild and the university of magical arts, is epic (28th level, according to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk). And of course there's Tenser--whom the PCs will meet later. He doesn't live in the city, but is a fairly short pilgrimage--maybe three or four days' hard ride away.

There's also a bardic college in Greyhawk. Druids are a bit harder to find in the city, but the Gnarley Forest has some pretty high-level ones.

So, it's safe to say, if you want to give your players access to any particular spell, it's not a stretch for it to be available in Greyhawk either as a scroll or as "spellcaster services."


Fake Healer wrote:
Damn. I thought this was a sign up thread.....I was gonna sign up for some....

Sorry for misleading you, Fakey. :p


Sharoth wrote:
pres man wrote:
Jason Grubiak wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Since I can't really speak with my wallet any more than I am (I haven't bought anything WotC produces since last January, and now can't even legally buy the only thing left they offer that I might have considered) I did something that was perhaps a little bit childish. I went to my local Barnes & Noble and Borders stores on my lunch break, opened up their copies of Book of Erotic Fantasy to the dildos page and left them sitting right next to the 4e material. I hope lots of parents see it and make the association WotC so feared when the book came out.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Thank you for this post. :)

Weren't those all pulped? Where did you find a copy still being sold?
Well, I have a copy at my house and one of my LFGS's has a copy in stock. However, that is just local. I have no idea what the big stores are doing.

There's been one on the shelves in our local Border's for months. Just sitting there. I live in the Bible Belt, so maybe people are embarrassed to actually buy something like that, except at the Adult Stores by the freeway that cater to trucker-types.


Large, complex entities are generally dumb--I've worked in both Academia and Government (Navy), and have found generally that one spends an awful lot of energy getting the resources and freedom of action needed to do anything worthwhile that takes one's cart out of the deep ruts worn by one's seniors. Usually someone several echelons above you in the hierarchy has made some stupid policy (generalizing from their own limited experience or as a knee-jerk reaction to some crisis, without soliciting feedback from subordinates on how the policy will affect the various branches of the organization). I suspect the same is true in any large corporation as well.

Given that WotC's top dog is, in his origins, a non-gamer Hasbro suit, he probably doesn't have a nuanced understanding of the various intellectual properties that WotC has been offering as PDFs--either in terms of how they affect the company's bottom line or in terms of their significance to customers. Bosses who don't understand the details, when faced with an alarming report ("the pirates scooped our new book the day it was released") tend to give firm orders (that's what bosses are supposed to do in a crisis) and don't want to take any guff (i.e. feedback) from their subordinates about it. The result is often idiotic and sometimes catastrophic.


From the Ars Technica report linked above, it looks to me that once again WotC is dealing with a genuine problem in the clumsiest possible way.

OK, so the PHB2 got scooped and sold online the very day it was released. They're understandably upset about that.

Some comments:

1. I'm quite sure (having looked at posted links to some pirated late 3.5e harcovers from a piratically-inclined player of mine) that this isn't a problem that has developed over night--it's one that has been gradually increasing for the last several years. We're now about 18 months into WotC's supposed digital revolution, and they haven't figured out a consistent strategy for dealing with this yet? All they can do is make knee-jerk reactions when our corporate bosses at Hasbro yell at us on the phone about "why isn't this fixed yet?"

2. Pulling digital access to everything is like using a nuclear weapon to kill flies. The PDFs for out of print 1e and 2e material aren't competing with anything they are currently marketing. Anyone who is still playing those editions in 2009 probably isn't going to switch to 4e. On the other hand, there may be a few 4e Greyhawkers out there who want the old modules for background info as they build their campaigns. At four bucks a pop for a legal copy, the incentive to sell pirate copies of the old modules is pretty small--most of the people who want this old material are stably employed and can afford the cost. If you must pull digital access, at least limit it to the stuff that's causing the problem people.

3. While having a company-issued PDF to post for free makes the process easier and the copy quality better, it's not that hard to scan a 200 page book and put it online. They've just created a huge incentive for the extra labor involved.

4. Good thing the Hasbro/WotC suits aren't running the country. Their response to today's piracy of a U.S. flagged ship would be to nuke Mogadishu.

Nice going, WotC.


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
crmanriq wrote:
EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.

I can field this one.

When you buy your pdf from Paizo (or another site). Paizo keeps a record of what PDF's you have purchased, and at any time in the future, you may redownload that PDF (if you lose it, or need it on your laptop instead of at home, or whatever). The PDF is watermarked indicating that it was sold to you, so if you give it away, everyone will know where it came from.

So when you purchase it, the PDF is downloaded to that one computer. If you wanted to put it on another computer you would have to re-download it. If you computer crashed you would have had to re-download it (for free) but now you can't. Correct? I take it these PDF files cannot be transferred to a back up disc then?

I lost some of my itunes when my computer crashed and a few songs werent backed up to a disc. The songs I had backed up on a disc I simply re-added to the play list, no problems.

The files can be transferred to a back-up disc--you pretty much need a CD or DVD for files this size, or maybe a big jump drive. The problem is, if you didn't download everything right when you paid for it, or if your computer crashed and you didn't extract the files from your hard-drive (or any of a dozen other reasons why you might have bought a PDF but not have a copy of it saved anywhere), you are now SOL.


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse the matter by implying Amazon. I was thinking businesses that were strictly online RPG stores: DriveThruRPG et al.

I feel your I.N.R. :(

Add: To bring Amazon back into it, if I was a 4e customer, would this move really force me into my FLGS more often by getting me off pdfs through online stores and onto the paper copies? Probably not--I'd just do more business with Amazon, and I bet that would be true of a lot of customers.

If I were a 4e customer, I'd be buying new hardcopy. However, I'm not.

And I hate to inform WotC, but the only "FLGS" where I live doesn't even maintain a shelf stock of D&D stuff--or didn't the last time I went, which was over a year ago. Let alone carry used hardcopy or pdf's to sell or anything complicated like that. They order stuff in for you--which in my book is a why bother--I can do that for myself, or just go to Borders.

I am perfectly happy to buy their old TSR stuff, which I'm using as background material for World of Greyhawk campaigns. I've mostly been buying PDFs, but also some used stuff off e-bay, which can get rather expensive given that I'm just using it as background reference material. I don't buy pirated stuff, nor do I put the stuff I've bought online, except for little snippets of maps and art (and 95% of this is "free download" stuff that my players could get for themselves) that I post in my PBP games to help my players visualize what's going on in the game. Certainly not enough to be a violation of copyright or be an attractive substitute for a purchased PDF.

WotC is certainly getting more profits if I download an old TSR module than if I buy it off of e-bay. And I'm sure as hell not going to pay to "rent" PDFs--they've just proven with this action that they are liable to remove access to something I've already paid for with zero notice. Indeed, their approach is very much incitement to piracy--or going back to making up one's own material entirely.

What's the next move for these guys? Shut down Canonfire and Oerth Journal? Sue e-bay to keep them from selling old modules?

Wizards of the Coast did an amazing job of revitalizing the game when they introduced 3e. What they think they are doing with it now, I don't know--I just know that they are doing an amazing job of building up resentment and ill-will among a significant portion of what used to be their customer base. And I also know that I'm perfectly happy never to spend money on their products again.


Without reading the entire thread above, I just wish to express my extreme displeasure at discovering an e-mail announcement in my box, shortly after noon today, with a 7:45 am time-stamp, announcing that I can no longer purchase WotC-owned PDFs on this site, effective at midnight the night before, and that I can no longer download what I've already purchased, as of noon today.

I had quite a store of PDFs on my old computer, so I think I probably have all the downloads I've paid for on CD. But it's quite possible that I'm missing a few things--particularly Dungeon magazine pdf supplements--that I might need in the future. And this belated announcement did not give me any chance to verify that my electronic collection is complete.

Since Paizo usually doesn't operate this way, my immediate assumption is that this is more WotC nastiness. But it seems to me this sort of announcement really ought to have been made two weeks in advance--at least the part about not being able to download stuff we've already paid for. I've not been on these boards as regularly as I used to be, so it's possible I missed some hints coming down the pike, but really a formal announcement in advance is only fair! Did some lawyer from WotC call you guys up yesterday at 10 PM with an immediate cease and desist order or something?


Yeah, my warlock player finished the campaign with a virtual library of scrolls in his bag of holding. UMD is one of those skills that suddenly becomes very, very useful and powerful when you hit mid-levels.

I would also encourage those interested in playing with the warlock to invent some special invocations--collaborate with the player on this--that gets the player thinking about what he wants, but gives you the chance to trim it back a bit if it's too powerful. My player's warlock PC's mother had essentially sacrificed his father's life and her own soul to bind a diabolical soul to his, for the purpose of reclaiming her family's lost land and title of nobility. He did a great job of playing a character torn by the desire to act as a force for good and the tortured knowledge of what gave him his strange powers. During the campaign, the character had a chance to explore his family's ruined castle and discovered that the family had a tradition of experimentation with soul-binding techniques. A daughter of the family left a disguised journal, from which he was gradually able (with increasing knowledge (planes) checks) to learn of several non-standard invocations she had developed. He also could have become a hell-fire warlock (FC2), but chose instead to try to harness his ill-gotten powers for good ends. The player ended up inventing a couple of invocations and feats for his own character, and I was able to accept them with only minor modifications.


Given the set-up of this adventure, if your party somehow surfaces from the underdark, say by dimension door spell or something similar, you can pretty much put it wherever you want it. In practical terms, there's not much difference between the Shield Lands and the Bandit Kingdoms these days--they're both overrun by Iuz's forces. White Plume Mountain is technically in the Bandit Kingdoms, but probably visible from the borders of the Shield Lands, and that whole section of the map is pretty desolate these days anyway, so who claims the land is not very important. If you want to use this as a foretaste of what the PCs will encounter later, by all means set them closer to the Rift and throw a couple of appropriate encounters at them. Dragon #276 has some additional info on the Wormcrawl Fissure and a couple of colorful monsters that could serve as random encounters.


Just ran a campaign from 5th to 12th level with a warlock PC, who turned out to be reasonably balanced with the rest of the party, maybe a bit overpowered, without getting one invocation per level.

I gave him access to a couple of homebrewed invocations and near the end he got a homebrewed magic item that duplicated (more or less) the split ray metamagic feat from Comp. Arc. He also had a fell chasuble, which boosted his blast damage by 1d6. He chose his invocations carefully and made excellent use of them: see the unseen, chill tentacles, voracious dispelling, and the one that lets you fly all the time (which replaced the one that lets you spider climb all the time). Chill tentacles and voracious dispelling at will, combined with being able to see anything and fly anywhere made him, if anything, a bit difficult to challenge, and meant that large numbers of lesser enemies didn't faze him. For damage, just eldritch spear and torpid blast (homebrewed, forces enemy to make will save or be slowed one round). Oh, and empower spell-like ability and quicken spell-like ability feats applied to his eldritch blast.

In the final encounter of the campaign, he almost single-handedly took down two enemies (in succession) five and four CR levels above average party level. The battleground was under a silence effect, so he was the only spellcaster who could do much.

As for flavor, warlocks should be rarer than most other classes, but they don't fit in any worse than monks in a medieval setting.


I'm just wrapping up RHoD in PBP after a little over 2 years. We had several lulls in enthusiasm, partly corresponding, I think, to my own--a week or two break is sometimes good for a PBP game for everyone to recharge, though longer can lead to people drifting away. I would say that I got to the point where I was sick of more beating up on hobgoblin units, but I made up for that by throwing tougher stuff at them for the boss encounters. Also, I had long periods of roleplaying between each of the chapters, so that the players were pretty ready to get back into the fight when the time came. But, sometimes it's good to arrange an earlier ending.

If you haven't already dropped any significant hints that Azarr Kul is out there, I'd just conclude the campaign with a victory on the Cathedral Steps, assuming they win.

If the players know about Azarr Kul, but you haven't told them about the sacrifice to bring on the diabolical army, then I'd skip the Fane. Instead, have Azarr Kul come to Brindol, perhaps with Franchesca, Luchia, and/or Terilanyx in tow. Then, you can watch how the battle goes. If they look like they are about exhausted, say after the big street battle, or after taking out Skather, then have the Red Hand pull back and give them a chance to rest, heal, level up, and prepare spells. Then, you can bring in all the bad-guy leaders for a final throw down in front of the Cathedral (eliminating some of the guards or bringing in some friendly NPCs if necessary). Or you can run that battle as written, but have a substantial army still remaining outside of Brindol. Lord Jarmaath orders his army to attack this remnant (perhaps with reinforcements that have just arrived from Dennovar, if necessary to make it believable)--then you can have a big Pelennor Fields-type charge in which the heroes head straight for the big Red Hand banner and fight Azarr Kul and whatever escort you think he needs to make the fight fun.

If you've already know about the sacrifice to open the gate, then you probably better run at least part of the Fane. I don't think it makes much sense to put the Fane anywhere east of Vraath Keep. You could put it in the mountains just west of there, or north of Skull Gorge Bridge. Since Immerstal knows teleport, all you have to do is have some captured hobgoblins reveal the Fane's whereabouts to Jarmaath's men, have Immerstal teleport them to Vraath Keep or the north side of Skull Gorge (he's probably traveled the Dawn Way before), and have them enter the Fane. The upper level of the Fane is superfluous--if you're looking to cut time and encounters, I'd eliminate the entire upper level (kitchen, barracks, etc.), and possibly also the cavern room on the lower level. You could cut even further so that the Fane is merely a shrine, staffed from a camp that is nearby, but far enough away from the entrance so that the PCs can sneak past it rather than fighting through it. This eliminates the need for barracks, prisons, kitchens, and the like.

If I were designing a minimalist Fane, I'd have the Grand Temple be a half-open grotto cut into the cliff face and station maybe 1 warpriest and two blue abishai there (modify to suit party level). The secret door in the north wall of the Grand Temple leads directly to the Outer Sanctum by means of a short corridor--you can station another small group there--maybe four blackspawn or doom-fist monks and two warpriests. Have one erinyes instead of two in Azarr Kul's bedroom, and have the treasury guarded only by a trap. This should allow the party to get through in one foray--vice two or three.

For a super-minimalist Fane, just have the shaft to the Inner Sanctum lead straight up from the Grand Temple (in grotto form as above).

It sounds like your party may only be around 10th level after Brindol. Azarr Kul (at CR 13) with a couple of abishai should be a pretty good challenge for them if you run a minimalist version of the Fane. If you need something bigger and better, I've got a CR 17 Azarr Kul statted up, along with a CR 16 Aspect. I'm happy to e-mail them to you.

And, of course, you can always cut the last encounter with the Aspect, though for us that turned out to be a super-cool battle.

Hope this helps! Good luck!


It goes the other way, too. A 20th level fighter can get a +30-35 attack bonus without straining his budget, and the Tarrasque's AC is only 35. Figure in all the feats and weapon powers that are going to add to his damage (improved crit, power attack, weapon with bane, flaming burst, etc.), and figure that first attack almost always hits and you're going to land around half of the next three attacks each round, and you're talking some serious damage.

And then there's Mordenkainen's disjunction, which is likely to be deployed by either side if magic items make either side anywhere near unhittable. The game at that level is a bit like nuclear war. That's why Mordenkainen and his ilk hire lower level adventurers--to avoid a magical holocaust.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
I've personally already done it by designing a classless xp point-buy system, with a built-in diminishing returns mechanism.

Yes, you could do that, too--as described, it sounds like your system is a pretty radical departure from 3.5 RAW, though. There are certainly some advantages to a class-less, modular character build system, but for me personally, I think the class is one of the things that gives D&D its particular character, and I'm not ready to ditch the concept.

To each his own, I guess. I never thought of myself as a grognard, but I think the 3.5-4e edition switch has brought out the conservative in me and made me less interested (rather than more interested) in major changes to the game design. Even PFRPG changes too much for my tastes, though I understand what Paizo is doing and why. I've come to the conclusion that using a single base set of rules, and making small and judicious evolutionary changes through house rules to suit one's own group is the way to go. But I think WotC's decision to move ahead with 4e has blown the lid off the idea of a unified D&D game, and given everyone who isn't onboard with their particular ideas about redesigning the game license to do their own 4e.

I guess I'm a royalist in a world filled with Girondins and Jacobins.


IRT Kirth Gersen's last post:

There's nothing stopping any individual DM from running the game that way. Wrap up your campaigns at a level of play you're comfortable with. It's certainly easy enough to slow advancement down in a number of ways. You can tweak the XP column of the advancement table so that it takes 50% more XP, or twice as much XP (or substitute whatever factor you wish) to advance at each level. Or you could apply the rule only after 5th level, if you want to get past the powerless low levels to the "sweet spot." Or you could levy an "XP tax," which could be flat or could kick in at a certain level, to slow down progression. Or do away with XP altogether and advance by DM fiat when specific milestones are reached in the campaign. (There are various ways of working around the problem of lost levels from level drain or resurrections, and also around certain spellcasters' need for XP to craft items or cast spells like permanency and wish--and such spells won't come up much if you're not playing at high level anyway).

Most of the APs that I've looked through (both Dungeon and Pathfinder) have points where, with a little tweaking of the back-story, its easy enough to conclude the AP between 10th and 15th level as well.

Anyway, it is evident from these boards that some people enjoy playing high level--even epic level--3.5e campaigns, and have figured out the problems of balance and time consumption to their satisfaction. The point of high level play was never that everyone should play at that level, but to have the option open for those who want it. That's what 3.5e is all about--options. I remain skeptical that either PFRPG or 4e will solve the "problems" of high level play, and if anything the commitment to "no dead levels" in both games will make high level play more complicated, because everyone will have dozens of special powers to juggle, and it will take 15 minutes of reading through one's character sheet to find the optimal action for a given situation. I could be wrong about this--I haven't made a concerted effort to learn either game system, but while I'm waiting for reviews (and maybe a chance to use these systems as a player), I'm sticking with 3.5e. I know this system pretty well--both its rules and their weaknesses--so it's easier for me to use house rules, nerf or boost abilities where necessary, and design challenges with the system's problems in mind. My players can do the same.

Let's take grappling as an example--it was cited by the blog cited by the OP as a major reason for his giving up on 3.5e after an incident where a raging barbarian charged the overworm in Spire of Long Shadows and got swallowed and digested. Grappling has been virtually dropped from 4e, and PFRPG is making drastic changes, which, as I understand it, are supposed to keep big monsters with a size bonus from completely owning the wrestling ring. To me, it makes sense that a large creature with tentacles should completely own the wrestling ring. But there are lots of options out there to negate that ability, if players are prepared and work as a team. Enlarge person, freedom of movement and still spell/eschew materials, for starters. There's also a feat in Complete Warrior (Close Quarters Combat, I think) that allows you to thwart even big improved grabby creatures with an attack of opportunity when they try to pull you into a grapple. In AoW, my player's paladin selected this feat after Froghemoth nearly ate him and then swallowed the party cleric after she tried to come to his rescue and has largely avoided being grappled ever since. There are also ways to combat such creatures without these special capabilities or spells specifically designed to thwart them--the tumble and escape artist skills, invisibility and displacement, flying or levitating away, haste or expeditious retreat all allow you to outmaneuver such creatures or interfere with their ability to target you, then you can take them down with ranged attacks. The opposed d20 mechanic of grappling is accused of being, awkward, swingy, and favoring the party with the advantage in grapple bonus, but it does give you a slight chance of escaping something that has a grapple bonus up to +18 more than you. I don't think it works all that badly, myself. Without the aid of magic, a raging barbarian shouldn't be able to beat a creature two or three size categories larger than himself in a wrestling match. The imbalance is there to preserve a vague sense of verisimilitude--a flavor of swords and sorcery rather than Marvel superheroes. The point of such monsters is to force you to find other ways than brute strength to defeat the enemy. And if you want a campaign where brute strength always wins, then monster placement should be made with that in mind. Age of Worms is not that campaign, at least not without some serious substitution of monsters. Age of Worms is also designed to challenge experienced players--as should be evident from the large number of encounters with EL's from two to four or more above average party level.


Killer dwarves--winnings--more investigation--a deadly demon--aid from outside

Entry for Earthday, the 13th day of Goodmonth

The morning tournament postings in the Coenoby told us that we were to fight Pitch Blade. This pair of barbarian dwarves from the Griff Mountains of the far north began the Games ranked second only to Auric’s Warband by the bookmakers. From what Coenoby gossip Alandrin had overheard, their stock had not diminished with a first-round victory in which they slew all three members of the Iron Hill Monkeys and gravely wounded two of the Woodchuckers, then went on to force Chuko’s Ravens to throw down their weapons. My brother won money on them, in fact. Since this victory, though, they had been shut up in their quarters, so we hadn’t had much chance to assess our opponents.

Nonetheless, we outnumbered them and came out well-prepared. Barbazad cast a spell that created a confusing array of illusionary doubles swirling back and forth about him, and Gwyn and Barbazad placed abjurations on Alandrin and me to protect us from the flaming swords these dwarves were said to use. Barbazad also cast a hasting enchantment upon us at the beginning of the fight, and Gwynaleth surrounded herself in a wreath of cold flames. All of these precautions proved useful, for the dwarf named Drusfan nearly slew Barbazad before I killed him with a blow to the helm. The other, Pharbol, my brother took out of the fight with his infamous laughing hex, but the dwarf still wouldn’t surrender, and we had to pummel him into submission. Perhaps I should account it shameful to slay an enemy in a gladiatorial contest, but what could I do? Drusfan seemed in earnest in his attempts to slay my companion, and I could only stop him with deadly force. The dwarves seemed suspiciously eager to slay us—and I wonder if this contest may not have represented in some way Loris Raknian’s attempt to kill us without suffering the sanction of the law.

Ekaym came down to share supper with us, bringing our prize for surviving this round of the tournament—a silver trophy-statuette of a dwarven gladiator—a chance irony, or was it meant to please those who were supposed to win this bout? The prize also included a fat purse of 5,000 gold orbs plus 600 more from the bets Alandrin had placed. Ekaym brought the news that our team had risen in rank, and was now a safe bet for the next round of the tournament in the eyes of the bookmakers, rather than a long shot to survive. The bookmakers clearly do not realize that Loris Raknian would stop at nothing to see us dead before the end of the tournament, or they would give worse odds for us to win the next round. The matches for tomorrow won’t be formally announced until morning, but it is customary, according to Ekaym, for the defending champions to face a monster in the ring as a sort of exhibition, while the two best challengers fight for the right to face them in the grand finale. A team called the Skull of Murq should be our opponents—fronted by an eight foot tall fellow who must have ogre’s blood in his veins, they defeated two fellows from the Wild Coast known as the Guttuggers on account of fighting with a pair of pet wolves and a vulture who entertains the crowd by plucking out the eyes of their slain enemies.

Ekaym was composed this evening, but I could see the flame of revenge burning in his eyes. As yet he has been unable to procure the scrolls we need, but he encouraged us to continue our investigations in the hope of finding clearer evidence linking Raknian to Lahaka’s death. The man is so influential that the Directing Oligarchy is unlikely to convict him without some truly damning piece of evidence that establishes without a doubt that he murdered the poor woman and knowingly sheltered Bozal Zahol.

We used the same methods as before to sneak past the Coenoby guards. With only three teams left, the guards are getting lax, making our task even easier. On this foray, we returned straight to Bozal Zahol’s quarters and ransacked them more thoroughly. The stench of death in the place was almost unbearable, but one learns how to bear the unbearable when one has a quest. At least the place seemed undisturbed—if Raknian ever visits this place, he must have been too busy with his duties to do so in the last day. Behind a loose brick hidden by the tiefling priest’s bed, we found a packet of letters, and we took these without looking over them carefully, for later perusal.

Last night, we did not venture beyond Bozal’s chamber—instinct, perhaps, had told us to be wary in this fell catacomb. Tonight, to our sorrow, we pushed beyond this chamber, into a chamber divided by a curtain. We are not yet sure of the purpose of this chamber, other than to serve as lair for a fell guardian—a hideous, amorphous demon that hid in a huge clay urn behind the curtain until we disturbed it. The demon—we aren’t even sure what kind it is—possesses terrible powers, and most especially commands some sort of ice magic—it trapped Gwyn and Alandrin briefly in the latrine beyond this room with a wall of ice, then slew Barbazad (who was invisible, trying to avoid harm) with a powerful blast of ice-cold air. When it seemed I was near to destroying it with my sword, it disappeared, then returned in the form of a horrible, choking brimstone cloud. We had no choice but to retreat with our friend’s body and sneak back into the Coenoby in much the same fashion as last night.

It is now very late. Alandrin bribed the guards to let him out of the Coenoby, and then paid a visit to Jaikor Demien at the Sanctum of Hieroneous. Alandrin informed him of what we’ve found so far, and the good Bishop happened to have a scroll on hand with the powerful magic for raising the dead. Gwynaleth has brought our good dwarf back to us. Now two of us have experienced the world beyond. Perhaps death is preferable to the fate that lies in store for us at the end of our quest . . .


To throw out yet another possibility, building on Stebehil's idea of Runelords = Ur-Flan: It could be set in Perrenland, with the mountain adventures taking place in the Yatils. (Hook Mountain Massacre could also be set in the Sepia Uplands, the Clatspurs, or the Mounds of Dawn). Of course, Perrenland already has Iggwilv and the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, but hey, maybe she was building on the work of some predecessors.


Yeah, it was awesome. Definitely one of the most memorable battles I've ever fought in D&D on either side of the screen.


Just finished China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" and Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union."

Reading a Walter Scott novel ("Guy Mannering") for a little change of pace.


Not sure if this is the right place for this, but just wanted to put in a quick post to thank James Jacobs (and Rich Baker, if he ever visits these boards) for excellent authorial work on Red Hand of Doom. I know it's a WotC product, but I figure this is a better place to post this.

Just finished the final battle of an online Red Hand of Doom campaign set in the world of Greyhawk. I made Elsir Vale into a former colony of the Great Kingdom off the map to the west of Ull and the Plains of the Paynims. The campaign took just over two years (about 26 months) to run online, staying fairly faithful to the adventure as written with the exception of beefing up encounters and stat blocks to handle a group of 6-7 PCs that included some very experienced players with characters drawing on the Complete books and Spell Compendium (and gifted with some custom-made magic items of considerable power discovered in the first dungeon).

The party:

Eltanin Vraath, warlock and heir to the Vraath family lands (Eltanin on these boards)

Aloysius Delozier, druid of the Eth Circle, and his ape animal companion Rheis (Wampuscat43 on these boards)

Sir Valyan of Arthion (aka Raziel), an Elven wizard from Celene

Sojiro Kurai, an exiled Samurai from the Seric Empire (Oriental-flavored land northwest of the Paynims in my Greyhawk) in the service of Lady Kaal

Wolf, an Elven scout (slain by Ozyrrandion)

Yann Zavier, priest of Pelor (Wolf's replacement)

Ril Merrison, a woodsman and sometime smuggler born near Vraath Keep (slain by Tiamat's Vengeance, as I named the Aspect)

Varghedin, a questing Ice Barbarian (slain by Regiarix and not replaced)

Thelya, a priestess of Sehanine and Raziel's cohort.

The final battle was particularly cinematic.

Spoiler:
Eltanin took out Azarr Kul very quickly despite the magical effects in place (and my boosting him to 15th level), but the Aspect (upgraded to a CR 16 version) appeared and made my players practically crap themselves in panic. They prevailed, but it was a very near thing, and for a while I thought they were going to retreat and I was going to have to have Tiamat's Vengeance come after them in Brindol. Raziel, after wasting two or three turns trying to organize an orderly retreat, rescued Soji and Yann, who were pinned under the Aspect's belly at the edge of the access shaft, by disintegrating the stone beneath them and casting feather fall to let them parachute downward. Only Eltanin using every last ounce of his power, and a couple of lucky crits from Ril allowed the party to win the battle. The battle ended with a critical hit eldritch blast destroying the Aspect as it was crawling down the shaft breathing acid and lightning at the party below.

It was a really cool encounter design, although the party never managed to drop the silence effect despite copious hints from the DM on how to do so. As a result two of the PCs were unable to affect the battle much, and two more (Raziel and Soji) ended up missing opportunities in their panicked concern to evacuate.

So, thanks much, James and Rich, on behalf of myself, Eltanin, and Wampuscat43!


You know, I think high level play in 3e broke down because people gradually figured out how to exploit the gradually building imbalances that are by definition going to creep into any level-up based rules system. If you make each class's powers unique, they end up not balancing against each other at some point, under some circumstances. Players will exploit that, as will DMs trying to challenge PCs that seem sometimes to be invincible. It is then the DM's job to try to figure out how to fix the problems that they and their players create, or make sure that the circumstances aren't repeated.

4e seems to have taken one route toward fixing this underlying issue, by making most classes gain access to and utilize their powers in a similar fashion. Not everyone likes the feeling of sameness this creates. In any event, I am skeptical that 4e has fixed high-level play, because I doubt that that end of the game has been as thoroughly playtested as the low end. I suspect that people will start discovering the problems with high level play in 4e when more people have played 1st-30th level campaigns. I'm sure a few people have made it there already, but assuming that most people will start playing a new edition at 1st level, even with very rapid advancement (say 1 level per session), only the most active groups will have played into the 25th-plus level range by now.

I think there are still many of us who think 3.5e works as well as any other game system, when used by reasonable players who are mindful that the game should be more about fun than strict adherence to a set of rules. Most of us build up a large corpus of house-rules over time to fix what we see as glitches or points in the rules that take away from our enjoyment of the game. I've DM'd AoW up to 14th level (still working on the campaign intermittently), and the main problem I've found at this upper-mid level of play is that combat bogs down a bit as more complicated effects come into play regularly (flight in particular) and as it becomes tempting to get buffed with eight or ten spells a piece when anticipating a major combat. The math for saves begins getting wonky around these levels, which further encourages buff-o-mania (magic circle, death ward, multiple protections from energy, mass bear's endurance, etc.)

Some of the things pointed out by the blog the OP pointed to, though, are unique to Age of Worms (and to a particular group of players and characters in that AP), rather than faults of the game as a whole. And some have to do with what happens when you run a published AP. The AP has a theme (undead in this one), but the players come into it with no idea (or limited idea) of what they'll be facing, so they come up with what seems to them a cool character concept (Stealthy the Rogue, Grapplemeister the Barbarian) that may not be at all optimal against the key enemies they'll face. If they don't adapt, they're bound to be disappointed. In a homebrew campaign, this is less of a problem because the DM has more leeway to tailor the campaign to the cool character concepts the players are attached to, and give them challenges that will make them feel like badasses instead of bumblers.

I don't think APs (or AoW in particular) broke 3.5e--au contraire, they have allowed me to enjoy the full possibilities inherent in the edition and helped me to grow as a DM--both in terms of designing my own material and in terms of learning how to run the game. And I don't think it is at all correct to say that 4e was developed because of the problems discovered by thousands of players playing the APs from 1st to 20th level. By their own admission, WotC was working on 4e starting not long after they put out 3.5, and it is clearly part of their business model to make money by putting out new editions, like Microsoft.


As a further follow-up to SSM's idea of setting RotRL in Sterich, it would be easy to set the Runelords up as a cabal of Suel mages, perhaps closely involved in the Twin Cataclysms. That would work out quite nicely, with the Sea of Dust (former Suel Empire) right on the other side of the Crystalmists. Oooh. Starting to warm up to these Pathfinder APs again.


Dragon #276 has an article detailing several monsters found in the fissure. It's 3.0, but I don't think there's much trouble converting to 3.5.


Navy, Surface Warfare Officer, active duty 1987-95 (didn't game while I was on active duty, though) and Gulf War vet.

Naval Reserve, '95-'03.


Another not too unreasonable place to drop the Shoanti is into the northwestern part of the Bone March. The Bone March is pretty undeveloped in published work except for Knurl and Spinecastle. You could have the Shoanti being a Flan tribe that was subjugated by the old Great Kingdom and placed under the watch of the Bone March--but they never really settled down and all. It's a fairly small territory, but big enough to set the fixed-site adventures from CotC part 4 in.


Savage_ScreenMonkey wrote:
As for Rise of the Runelords I totally would set it in Sterich. Magnimar would be Istivin, and I would totally run the Dungeon adventure Istivin trilogy arc as part of it.

And "Headless" as well!


So, Korvosa is a colony of the Great Kingdom, on the east coast of Hepmonaland. Between Kevot and Byanbo on the map in Scarlet Brotherhood--perhaps the history of Kevot can be altered so that it was taken over by Aerdi colonists at some point. Use Tuov for Shoanti, and say that the Tuov from Kevot took refuge in the wilds of the Kabrevo Plain and the Yano Desert. (Or just drop Shoanti in as the former natives of Kevot, now nomads of the abovementioned wilds). The haunted castle is a former Olman outpost on the central plateau of Hepmonaland, a region later overrun by Yuan-ti.

Interesting. The only weirdness results from it being near the equator.

One other obvious option is to plop Varisia down IN Oerth, either along the western shore of Oerik or as a continent east of the Solnor Ocean. Of course, if you're going to make it that far away, you almost might as well just run it in Golarion.

I'm still liking my idea of setting it in Ountsy. It would take more work, but would allow hardcore GH fans a chance to continue to play in the GH setting, with connections to previous campaigns and events.


Some good ideas there, Stebehil. As I've been saying for all my proposed Flanaess sitings of the AP, considerable mods have to be made to GH canon or adventure (DM's choice) to accommodate the differences between Golarion and Oerth. Siting the AP outside the core area would reduce those problems.

An Aerdi colony in Hepmonaland is not implausible, and the Scarlet Brotherhood boxed set materials left a lot of open space down there, so that it would not be too hard to shoehorn the Shoanti in somewhere south of the jungle belt that covers the northern part of the continent. The module with the haunted castle in the middle of orc lands would be a bit harder to site in Hepmonaland, though--at least I can't think of any place that is mentioned as having orcs at all. Of course, you can make it an ancient Olman ruin in the jungle, and replace the orc tribes around it with Suel barbarians or yuan-ti.


Hardby might work for Korvosa as well, although it's been heavily detailed in the pages of Dungeon and Living Greyhawk Journal, so you'd have to do some pretty serious mods to either canon or the adventures as written. Having the Bright Desert and the Pomarj nearby could be handy, though, and it wouldn't be completely out of flavor.

One could even use Greyhawk for Korvosa--setting it in the future (with respect to current living GH campaign date of ca. 599). Advance the calendar a decade or two, say that a monarch has gained control of Greyhawk and made a marriage alliance with Ahlissa. (For Carl Cramer--this queen could be Rowyn Kellani's daughter or something like that.) His decadent, spoiled, magically talented queen poisons him, and voila. Greyhawk has the advantage of having a big castle within city walls, in which a monarch would naturally ensconce himself. It is a river port with lots of trade connections. The Rhennee would probably work as a pretty good substitute for Varisians, at least in the roles in which they are cast in this AP.

As for what to do about the other two APs, I'm not sure.

I had vaguely thought of putting Sandpoint in Ratik or the coast of the North Kingdom, which would work well with the major adversaries of the last part of the AP, which could be set in the Griffs or the Rakers. But that leaves a bit of a problem with what to do about Magnimar. Maybe use Bellport or Winetha, I don't know. One important theme

Spoiler:
Giants!
of the AP would fit pretty well with Geoff/Sterich/Yeomanry, which would augur for ditching the coastal location entirely and making Sandpoint a provincial town in that region and setting the Magnimar portion of the adventure in Istivin or somewhere like that. Of course, if you want to use Greyhawk for Korvosa and you want to keep the two APs closely connected geographically, you might want to use Hardby, or Dyvers, or Highfolk for Magnimar, and put Sandpoint somewhere on the Wild Coast or along the Velverdyva. Then the mountain adventures could be set in the Abbor Alz or the Yatils.

I've only read through the first adventure of Second Darkness because I had to halt my subscription. Riddleport could be plunked down in a lot of different places--Vernport (on Least Isle, in the territory of the Sea Barons) fits the bill as a chaotic pirate town. Dullstrand would be a reasonable candidate (as a smuggler's haven), as would any of the coastal towns of the Pomarj or the Wild Coast. Once could even go with Scuttlecove. If you're not planning to be a player in SD, further thoughts are in spoilers:

Spoiler:
I'm not sure how the drow and the elves of Golarion stack up with those of GH, flavor-wise, and of course in GH the drow are most closely connected with the Hellfurnaces, the Crystalmists, Sterich, and (via the slavers) with the Pomarj. Of course, one could just create a second major drow community beneath the eastern Flanaess. The strange Gray Elven ruins in the Adri Forest might be tied in somehow with the plot . . .

Well, enough rambling for now. Lots of possibilities.


The easiest way to do that is just to present the players with fait-accompli: open play with a meeting at the mine office. The PCs have agreed (prior to start of play) to meet there to explore the Whispering Cairn. As long as you've used the backdrop article to help your players build characters that have backstories with motivations to explore the mine (get out of debt, master's bidding, or whatever), you don't need to roleplay for hours to get them there. Start your game with the adventure, and then let them explore and roleplay their way through Diamond Lake once they've made their first foray into the mine.


Thanks for more ideas. I'm not certain I'll use them in the current adventure, but they are useful in case the next campaign has similarly capable characters.

Symbols are not objects, but they are placed on objects (doors, walls, and the like), and thus would make the object on which one is placed bear a magical aura, unless Nystul's magic aura is somehow built in to the spell.

Saern, I think the earlier poster was referring to Voracious Dispelling, which is an invocation and thus takes up a slot in the warlock's limited array of invocations. However, I'm mostly in agreement with you. Perhaps others have different ideas, but I see dispel magic as a pretty attractive capability. It's usually one of the first third level spells I take, and I usually prepare it if I can cast it. So, while taking that invocation means you're sacrificing something else, it's not like you're taking an invocation that has limited applicability. Especially given how much the higher levels of 3.5 revolve around buffing and debuffing.

The main resource used by this warlock in the adventure is time--since the caster level on a lot of the traps is 15th, so it takes a lot of tries to dispel the trap or the after-effects.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I have 0 greyhawk knowledge but I am using the realms to run it myself.

Cool. I've only played in the Realms a little, but would be curious as to where you sited it and what deities you used, and such.


So, working with the basic idea of setting Korvosa somewhere in the wreckage of the old Great Kingdom, what do we need?

1. A city-state with a port, a small hinterland, and a female ruler. Ountsy fits the bill here, with some minor modifications. (Ratik might also work, or one could convert any of the coastal cities of the North Kingdom, such as Winetha or Bellport, into an independent principality.)

2. A barbarian land with connections to our city-state. This is more difficult. My best suggestion is to use the free peoples of the Grandwood, Lone Heath, and/or the Gull Cliffs as stand-ins for the Shoanti. This would require considerable modification of the Shoanti part of the storyline and the adventures that go with it. Alternatively, one could invent a connection between Ountsy and the Stonehold or the Rovers of the Barrens (maybe the Garasteth princes of Ountsy had a long tradition of hiring mercenaries from these lands and allowed them to build some sort of temple there)--these areas would be a better fit for Shoanti of the Cinderlands culturally and environmentally, but are located quite far from Ountsy or any part of the Great Kingdom.

3. A secretive order of assassins. The Scarlet Brotherhood (or some rogue element thereof--perhaps based in Hepmonaland) could easily fit here.

4. Some substitutes for Vudran Rakshasas. Perhaps Ountsy has developed trade connections with one of the Tuov city-states in southern Hepmonaland. If desired, the Rakshasas can be swapped for Yuan-ti, who have a strong presence in certain Tuov lands. Alternatively, Vudra can just be plopped down whole cloth somewhere across the Solnor Ocean.

5. An evil militant order of knighthood. Hextorians substitute pretty readily for Order of the Nail

6. An undead haunted keep with connections to some evil deity. Old Medegia is an excellent place to site this. Rinloru (an undead haunted keep under siege by the North Kingdom) would also work. Bone March would work fine as well. If one is using Rovers/Stonefist as Shoanti, it would be easy to just stick this somewhere in the Barren Wastes or the Bandit Kingdoms.

7. A big swamp for the final dungeon. Vast Swamp works great here, especially since it's infested with Bullywugs. Pelisso Swamp in northern Hepmonaland works fine as well. The Lone Heath could be used as well, if you want to keep it closer in.

8. A substitute for the church of Abadar. Zilchus is a pretty close fit.

Any other ideas? Suggestions? Did I miss anything important?


OK, sorry to move this discussion again, Carl--here's the link to my old thread in the CotC folder.

I'll post some more ideas over there.


Resurrecting this thread, to continue a discussion I'm having with Carl Cramer . . . please feel free to join the melee, anyone else.


I'd like to reiterate my sense that Ountsy is an excellent place to use for Korvosa. It is a city-state controlling a small hinterland

Ountsy's ruler is Princess Emmara, the Trine of Ountsy. Her husband was a House Garasteth nobleman, who died during the Greyhawk Wars. She was born into House Darmen (Prince Xavener of Ahlissa's house!)

She has a capable wizard (Svenser) advising her, and is said to greatly fear the influence of the Scarlet Brotherhood.

So . . . it would be possible to set the beginning of the campaign during the Greyhawk Wars, or move the date of Emmara's husband's death to a later time. Or have Emmara be old in 591 (date of LGG) and die shortly afterwards, leaving the city in charge of a brother-in-law or son who gets married to another Darmen princess

Spoiler:
. . . and becomes victim of her scheme to murder him and take power . . .

At this juncture, I'm wondering if we should open yet another thread in the CotC section of the boards, in case readers in this section are planning to play in CotC and inadvertently stumble across spoilers . . .


Wow. I'd totally forgotten about that one.


Here's the link for Ivid the Undying. This sourcebook represents the state of the Great Kingdom successor states at a time chronologically between "From the Ashes" and the "Living Greyhawk Gazetteer."

I had thought about Ratik as a good location as well. I think any place you plop the city down, you'll have to do some alterations--either to the AP backstory, or to Greyhawk canon, or both.

Another alternative would be to just use Kalstrand--it's a river port, after all. It's a bit farther from "barbarian country" per se, but one might use the demihumans of Sunndi or even the Vast Swamp.

If one wanted to use Pontylver, one could perhaps advance the calendar by a couple of decades and have the city reclaimed from the horrors that claimed it.

If I have some free time, I'll give this some more thought, and post some specific ideas. I haven't looked at FR/Eberron conversion notes for old APs, so I'm not sure if there's a good format to follow or what considerations are usually dealt with in them.


The OP may be interested in this online index.

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