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I see what you are saying. There were plenty of VERY subtle clues before the encounter in regards to venturing into a holy place. Your party may have been lucky to have a follower of the proper deity in it. Mine did not and likely will not. They will get no clues from me on what they need to exploit the creature.
Keep in mind the exploit that your players may have the opportunity to use is the fact that of all the gods they could have chosen they happened to have a follower of the right god in this case with a holy symbol out. That's quite a bit of luck that more than makes up for bad die rolls if that's how they figure out how to exploit the guardian.
Yeah, my group did end in a TPK with this critter. But that was because they lost one member to a trap that sprung in the middle of a fight just before-hand. And they decided to be-bop on down to where this guy was located with a party of 3. It was brutal.
That being said...this creature is not intelligent. And is programmed. I would rule that it evaluates creatures constantly. When it's weakness is present on a creature it will not consider that creature to be an enemy. It would re-evaluate whether or not that criteria was met on it's every turn, if not every second (free action).
@Laric -- I read this whole thread up to that post at once and my reaction was just what I wrote. I didn't say you had to run an adventure to decide if you like it. I simply said reading an AP for enjoyment versus reading one to run is reading an AP it two totally different ways.
@Lord Snow -- Your first point, I agree with. You are correct. Your second, ehhh, kinda. I was excited by the setting of Mummy's Mask and had high expectations. The first volume met exactly my expectations. I would gladly forgo a reading experience that would take me a week of reading for a full AP with my schedule versus a fun play experience that I will use for far many more hours.
@Tangent -- I agree. Hence, while I respect James Jacobs as a game designer, I've learned its best I just stay away from his APs.
@Pan -- Yep, I used to feel the same way. Heck, I did read all of Legacy of Fire before running it. By the time we got to Book 5 I was totally burned out. I had known how it ended 14 months early by that point and it went on for another 6 grueling months. I learned that for myself, I just couldn't do that anymore. No matter what advantages there may have been for me to read the whole AP first was not worth the trade off of getting increasingly bored the longer the AP went on because I knew how it ended. Hence I would totally suck as a film director.
I find it really hard to take seriously criticism of an AP volume's adventure from those who mostly just read adventures, especially those who rarely run a table.
If I'm sitting down to read an AP in previous versions, the first volume is usually a pretty interesting read. I don't buy an AP for a very interesting read. I buy an AP for an interesting adventure to run as a GM. I don't need a bunch of word count spent on information that the players in my game will NEVER know or have a way of finding out.
Half-Dead City is expertly put together. If people are running 4 PCs with 15 point build through it, they are in for a VERY tough AP volume. As it should be. The traditional 1980s classic Egyptian modules were known to have a reputation of keeping players on their toes at all times. There is not a wasted word in the first volume. There is no waste of space saying why the PCs are together for a thankful change. But there I go talking about actually RUNNING this as an adventure instead of whether I enjoyed reading it.
Now based on a lot of people who comment here, apparently Paizo sells a LOT of APs based on what people read instead of what people actually run. I'm not buying an AP unless I will run it or I know someone else will. My party had a TPK in the last chapter of the book, because they forgot they were in an Egyptian themed AP apparently. Not a single player blamed the AP or the GM. Every last one of them knew at the end of the day, they screwed up just about every way imaginable. We "aw, shucks" it off and start again. I say that to say this, I haven't even read an entire paragraph of the second volume of the Second Volume of this AP.
Why? Because I don't want to know what's coming three months ahead of time as the GM. I get too excited when I imagine how my players will react when they get there, that by the time they get there I'm over it already if I've had to wait more than a few weeks.
So yes, I can see why those reading APs for their own enjoyment might not be a fan of Jim Grove's product. For those who buy APs for running real live players though adventures around a table, Grove's volume is exactly what I want.
I was not a fan of the fiction in the past. I've only gotten Part 1 of this AP so far, with Part 2 on the way. But I have to say I LOVE the new way the fiction section was used in Part 1 of Mummy's Mask. It's a pretty interesting story, and something I can really use (and did use) while running the adventure.
Many, many, many congrats on the change. If fiction is here to stay, then THIS is how you do it in an AP.
First @ Jim Groves, yes I was speaking of the Tomb of Akhentepi in the above post.
archmagil, yeah, your group is playing at a power level a bit higher than mine. Mine is 4 members (although a 5th may appear at times), 15 point buy, avg. starting wealth and for the most part Core + APG + some archetypes. Thanks for the feedback on how your group did and how you ran it. Good idea to change the Iron Corbra's DR. I may have to run it that way when they go back.
Ran most of Chapter 1 yesterday.
Thought it went pretty well. I loved the flavor and the players (split between two vets and two newbies) was paranoid as all get out. Just the Egyptian theme was enough to do that. This first chapter certainly added to it.
The party did go back to town for a night. And they will now rest prior to going back into the final room. Was resting planned or was the party expected to go through the entire first chapter without regaining resources?
The FINAL conflict in chapter 1 of the first AP seemed very harsh given the defenses of the critter and it being a first level party. Now, they were nearly out of resources when they went in there after covering most of the complex on their second day, but they did have to run away.
Now I'm all for "teaching a party" that sometimes the best option is to run, but I did have a post-game rant by a player (an vet, and adventure designer) who complained the math for first level party members just didn't work out for the CR of final critter unless the party was at full resources.
A rope with a wall is DC 5. You must fail by 5 or more to fall on a climb check. Otherwise you make no progress. So unless someone has a negative climb check, the chute is no threat to fall until the last 10 feet where there is no wall.
Exactly. A GM bias on my part. I'm much more likely to target an optimized PC with a death blow than I am the PC that is a well-built personality.
I have been saying this for years. If you have hundreds of pages and millions of options and only 10-15% of those options are "optimal" or useful in most situations, then one player at a table who chooses to play optimal style creates an arms race of players. The reason everyone else has to go along is to keep from being irrelevant. And the end result is that 85-90 percent of rules content is useless.
The "average" game table does not consist of gamers like many of the employees at Paizo like to present themselves...as players who make great characters for story and not math. Because as game designers they understand (or should) that game mechanics is just a bunch of numbers and math and the GM can wipe them out at any time. Creating the story is the fun part of RPGing. However, most players are concerned with showing off their intelligence or system mastery or showing off to their friends how uber a hulk they build, or just stealing the spotlight.
So every time the rules team puts out some powerful rules option that is usually the "best" choice it pushes all the "not best choices" into the realm of obscurity. This is why balance in rules options are so important. Not just with every feat or spell, but the combinations of spells and feat and magic items. The correct combinations are much more dangerous to game imbalance than a single feat, item, spell usually are.
This mentality has been present since 3.0 came about and it hasn't ended with Paizo. There is already starting to be an outcry from GMs who have the inability to say "No" to players in regards to published options that Paizo puts out, leading them to desire a reset with a new edition. I personally don't plan on buying another rule line supplement by Paizo. And by requiring me to do so with the Mythic Adventures guarantees I won't be buying Mytic Adventures either. And if the APs go the way of "we have to support our rule line," I'm not such a fanboy that I can't do without the APs either. Put a gun to my head and say buy the rule line or you won't be able to play the AP line, and I'll say I don't need the AP line either then.
It's a cyle. And half the customers who bash me for this stance will feel foolish in a couple of years when they finally realize the rule line has gotten too out of control for them too and wonder how they got sucked in so far. It happened with fans of 3.0 and it happened with 3.5. And it is happening with Paizo.
According to the AP, the PCs next event is the barroom. Harrigan is planning on shipping out the very next morning. That event could be run late night after the Hurricane King's party. In other words, Harrigan has other things to do. He's almost ready to ship out of town. In fact, their story could be the reason he sends his cabin girl to the tavern to see if he spots the PCs. Just to be sure. And the cabin girl could end up joining the PCs crew if they play it right.
If they do insist on tracking Harrigan's ship down. I'd set up the combat as an opportunity for humble pie. Now that the crew are legit pirates, Harrigan is unlikely to slay the newly minted crew on land in Port Peril of all places just yet. His situation for the future would require him not raising the ire of the Hurricane King just yet.
Well this list certainly woke me up. I've only purchased two full APs (LoF and Skulls & Shackles) and a friend owns Kingmaker. But seeing this list made me go out and gobble up Carrion Crown in full.
Even though Mummy's Mask will probably be the next AP I GM, having a spare AP that I know I'll enjoy seemed like a good idea before it was too late.
I'm seeing a Rob McCreary developer trend here in my tastes.
Galt's inspiration seems drawn from post-revolutionary chaos (See historical: American revolution, French revolution. See fictional: Mad Max, Revolution tv series.)
Trust will likely be one of the strongest currencies. Support for needs such as food, shelter and materials will comes through bands that bonded through strength to take needs, cooperation to con needs or cooperation in creating/defending needs. Everyone will be seeking stability through any means necessary and constantly re-evaluating the cost/benefit of the choices they've made in how they are deciding to secure those needs.
That breeds chaos and revolution. As to the Golorian setting of Galt the rise and fall of different authorities in Galt and inability to maintain power means that trust is a very low amount. And the cost/benefit analysis leans towards the cost for stability is outweighing the benefit relatively soon after that stability is achieved.
An arc for a campaign in Galt may be why that is occurring. Why is the cost of stability never worth the benefit? Why, in the view of the governed, do the stability options always end up being judged so costly?
Galt has always been the most interesting area of Golorian for me.
I don't know if this occurred to the OP or not. But perhaps the GM is being required to ramp up the encounter design to challenge your PC, because as a player you are playing on a level different from every other player at your table?
If that's the case, then I'd argue it's not the problem of the other players you are playing with and would advise a mirror as a prescriptive measure to find the relief you seek.
Why do you need 1 million options of character rules and 1 million possible magic items, if the optimized choice is to never pick 90% of those options. Why wouldn't designers just not publish any of the other fluff? Is it the Magic: The Gathering aspect of game design in that you have to have the WHOLE BOOK to get "access" to those "best" or "standard" options?
So I certainly play by the option 2....mostly. I do not want a party of PCs decked out in the "standard" magic gear by level. I think most players who have played for any length of time have done that and seen that. Let's try something different. There are so many other options out there.
Beer and great Pen and Paper roll-playing sessions that go for well over 6 hours always mix well at my game table. That said, we're not guzzlers and no one is getting more than slightly buzzed during the game. It depends on a lot more than a blanket statement of beer does or does not mix at a gaming table.
When I'm GMing there are natural breaks in the action. We don't do 6 hours non-stop. It's like there is just a natural flow of the day, but a lot of this comes from a group that games together more regularly.
I think that's a lot of it. It sounds like it is a new experience for everyone at your table. My table has four players and a GM with an AVERAGE of 15 years of tabletop gaming experience each. Those tables are going to feel a lot different than a less experienced or younger game tables.
But the problem players you describe will be a problem player for the entirety of their gaming life (whether its 3 more weeks or 30 more years) unless the behavior is nipped in the bud. And the way that's handled will depend on his personality, maturity, etc. In other words, only you know him.
A new player that came in to my game like that would likely not be welcome back by anybody at the table. But I'd at least give the benefit of the doubt and have a mature discussion about this isn't about beating the system, or competing against me as the GM, or hacking a video game, or finding a gold-mining cheat in a MMORPG. This is about group entertainment. And I recommend the player either get down with the group entertainment aspect of the game or find something better to do when all their other friends get together for gaming.
One last bit, don't fight this guy on "in-game" solutions to the problem. This is not an "in-game" problem, this is a player problem. When you address the problem by using NPCs to deliver your message, then you are being passive-aggressive. Doing so will only ENCOURAGE future PLAYER problems from this player. It will reinforce that his tactics worked. If you are looking through campaign sourcebook or some other in-game rules source to solve the problem, you are going down the rabbit hole. You don't need a book to say, "You are a merchant? Ok, I run all the merchants. He's an NPC. Roll up a new character." We'll be playing Merchants & TaxRolls in 2031. The campaign starts on Nov. 15, 2031, see you then. It's on a Saturday. We'll be starting at 1 p.m. sharp.
Rules for not breaking APs:
I see so many players come to the boards asking how to make APs harder when they have broken one of the rules above. Most of these issues would go away if the things above were adhered to.
Allowing a PC Undine in Skulls AP, bad idea. It destroys so much of what makes the AP unique and challenging in parts.
Allowing classes that have pets in any AP where you have more than 4 players is just making more work for yourself. Druid animal companions and Summoner pets might as well be a 5th part member, because they are just as strong as another PC.
This AP for most portions are NOT set up to avoid the 15 min. adventuring day. In fact, half of the first half of the AP is designed with exactly one encounter per day expected. After lullying your players into the tempo, a wondering monster or two have they have shot their load of abilities and best spells is a way to change things up and temper that kind of playstyle.
To sum up, most of the work in making sure your PCs don't break an AP comes during character creation and what GMs allow to be brought to the table. The work the GM must do to up encounters can then be dictated by how many players they allow to play in the game. And finally if things are still easy by way of adventure design with PCs that have super abilities that are short-lived, modifications can be made in how encounters are run and wandering monsters are added. Failing all of those things (character creation being the biggest) that leaves you with just adding more numbers to encounters.
It never came up in my game, but if it did, I would not have allowed them keep a ship captured on the high seas without the minimum crew to run both ships. That's kinda the point in having minimum crew requirements. And it also serves to teach the PCs a lesson about their actions having consequences. Be as evil pirates as you like, but you may well let your evilness cost you -- aka every toy-based cartoon made since 1985.
A new edition, no. A revised edition, maybe.
Fixing some minor things that should have been fixed the first time around. Druids for example are ridiculous from a GM perspective. I've got players not playing druids feeling like they are pointless, because the druid player is essentially playing a character with an animal companion that is equal to two of the other PCs. That's a problem that Pathfinder should have fixed from 3.5, but didn't. Just one example.
But I think that one reason may be looking for a new edition is rules bloat. When GMs are depending on for-profit companies to control their games, that is when GMs get to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books ever few years. When rule supplements are broken and poorly playtested, especially compared to chained and connected feat trees or combos of abilities, the answer is for GMs to disallow options into the game. Just because it's published by the industry leader doesn't mean you have to buy it, and just because you buy it doesn't mean you have to allow it in your games. GMs especially should be cautious about allowing all those options in their game with some of the horrible design decisions and lack of foresight the rules crunch team at Paizo has made in recent years regarding those new options they have allowed into the game and those options' impact.
Arrogance and confidence are not nearly as admired in society as they should be. You will unlikely to find players react to a character who is arrogant or confident in a friendly manner. Most people seem not to like that. So I think your best hope is to counter it -- with more arrogance and confidence. Such as: "Why are you yelling at me? Does it upset you that I understand this better than you? I'm trying to help you. If THAT upsets you, it says more about you than it does about me."
In my game, Ultimate Combat and Magic are NPC books unless I approve. No problem whatsoever. The entitlement effect is a major problem with D20 players. DMs only succumb when they need players.
GURPS advised that you only need to stat up NPCs to the point where they will be used in an encounter and no more depth than that is needed. D20 GMs would do well to adopt such philosophy. Otherwise it's a DM v. Player scenario. GURPS releases you from that mentality. And it's made my Pathfinder games multiple times better for it. I'm not tied to "fairness." Fairness is a waste of time. I'm not competing with my players. I'm SUPPOSED to lose as the GM most of the time. The key is entertainment. If "fair" or "even" costs me more time to create or entertainment value, I have no problem with throwing it out the window...and doing so quickly.
I haven't read ahead more than 1 Chapter. I don't want to know too much of an AP in advance of running it or I'll get bored with running where the PCs currently are. However, a very close PC relationship with Grok could play out to a devastating twist in later editions if I understand what I've read on these boards --- as long as Grok is made to stay on the ship with Harrigan when the Wormwood and Harrigan's new ship part ways prior to the mutiny.
Name/Race Zach / Tengu
Name/Race Mirron / Elf
The party has breezed through most encounters until the last part of Raiders of the Fever Sea. The Canopy Creeper was scary for them. Then the dungeon they were going well, but knew they were depleted on resources and should have taken the sure way to rest instead of hoping their salvation was just around the next corner. Hindsight is 20/20.
The other two PCs barely escaped. On a ship, the party was very tight. In a nasty fight underwater, they left a lot to be desired. The alchemist was almost useless in the dungeon. The Ranger was a new addition and didn't take advice that a "longbow" ranger would probably not be a good fit.
Deviant Diva...I'm sorry you didn't get the point I was trying to make. GMing is an illusion. It always has been. Those who have been one understand this. I'm lucky enough to have experienced players at my table who do, too. But we don't talk about it. Just like an illusionist never talks about how they do their tricks.
In my game, it's like David Copperfield putting on a show for Houdini and Blackstone and their peers. We know it's magic and we're all willing to come around the table to forget about how the illusion is made to be amazed. And we are willing to understand that there are limitations on our vantage point of the magic. Because it's not about the fact that you can figure out the trick. We all know there's a trick. And we're willing to allow ourselves to be fooled by it.
It's the same thing with watching professional wrestling as performance art, or allowing yourself to not decipher to your friends the special effects of a movie, it's about allowing yourself to realize it's all an illusion. It's the same thing with RPGs. Stop trying to figure out HOW to win the game. And that's what people who play the game are doing when they say, "This option is published, therefore I must be allowed to choose it." They are trying to look at the floating woman from the wrong angle.
That's how I see it.
Deviant Diva wrote:
As do I.
Understanding that game companies must publish more options for RPGs in order to make money, means that new options are continuously being offered. They know the mindset of their audience to sell the most product to make the most money. They are a business after all. And their goal is to stay in business. TSR did it. Wizards did it. Paizo is/will do it. Put so many options out there that all the GMs throw up their hands and say, "I can't put up with all these options anymore." So then they have a reason to create a NEW edition of the game. Wash/rinse/recycle. The reason Paizo exists is because people LOVED 3.x. But the people running the games yearned for a RESET. Paizo is getting there unless the people running the games grow a backbone and say enough is enough. But that's very hard to do when you are competing for players with the GM down the street will allow anything that's published. Paizo KNOWS this. They will NEVER say it. And they will probably deny it. But their business practices prove otherwise.
And the reason GMs get over all the options is not only that they understand what is going on. Some don't. In a game like RPGs, it is nearly impossible to conceive of all the options that powergamers and system masters put together to break those people at the table's fun.
I have four people at my table. The Role-player expressed concern that he didn't pick the best options because he wanted to play a character and we're all friends so he KNEW two people at the table were taking powerful options. He was concerned that his PC wouldn't be important in combat anymore and I'd have to pull punches to keep his PC alive. Because almost everyone at the table has been a GM, too. They know it's all an illusion. A good GM is an illusionist. A GM can kill a PC at ANY TIME. The trick is to make the players think YOU WANT to kill the PCs, but a GM never actually WANTS to do it. But if I've got a powergamer who picked all the right options and a gamer who KNEW he picked the wrong options as compared to an optomizer, then I DO have a problem. Because it makes the illusion that much harder. Cause math. I think I have the powergamers under control, but I also know that I have to keep a keen eye on them or else they will hurt the other two players' fun.
THAT is why, just because everything that is published is not allowed in my games. The optomizers are going to have fun anyway, because they will approach the limited options as a challenge. As long as I can keep the power levels within the reach of my illusion without the math showing these intelligent players that I'm really performing a magic trick -- all the better.
Go with the deity that you think fits your character at the beginning. This gives multiple storylines, conflicts, etc. for the GM to deal with. GMs love built in conflict in character design (from a role-playing or "fluff" perspective). Maybe your guy meets a cleric of the deity your guy worships = conflict. "You are doing it wrong." I think that's awesome. The reason could be anything from your PC didn't know any better, never had a teacher; to I once heard a story in a tavern and not having any faith and was searching for one I gravitated toward this guy based on one story. The possibilities are endless. Your GM will (should) appreciate the RP perspective of your choice in choosing a deity that is not really compatible with the alignment of your PC. Who knows your PC may change religions as he grows. Or your PC may change alignments as the PC learns more about the religion. Lots of opportunity for RP and for your GM either way.
Game companies publish options to make money.
This does not hold true in game groups that the whole idea is everything published is open and the whole goal is to build the best build possible of all the options available. And that's fun for some people. To each their own in that regard. It's not fun for me, but a friend of mine created a "dungeon of doom" that was all about that type of play for many months.
But I just can't buy into the fact of the mentality of "I should be able to play anything I want because it's been published. It's official." That kind of attitude made 3.0 eventually unplayable if GMs weren't putting some limitations on the game by everyone who was not a rules master. It took much less time as options exploded for 3.5. And it will happen with Pathfinder, too, if there are not limitations on the table.
It must suck to be a Golorian Human. I mean think about it. Every time the world needs saving, not only does a group of heroes have to come along to save it. But your fellow humans hardly ever measure up to being part of that group. It's like you are a second-class species, even though you are in s human-centric world. Gotta be a bummer.... :)
Pump Up the Volume & Golorian Humans wrote:
Everything decent's been done. All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted decade where there's nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to.
Magnuskin, I feel your pain. Our Legacy of Fire game ended because the Zen Archer Monk could almost solo any encounter, to the point that I even used bad guys employing Tower Shields, darkness, smokesticks, and Wind Walls. *snip*
I agree with your post. An arcane archer dominated my Legacy of Fire game late. I don't know that he could have solo'd it, but he was certainly the Hero and the rest of the party were his mooks.
I think a lot of this discussion comes down to the difference between gaming styles:
1) As a GM: If it has been published, I'll allow it in my game if a player wants to play it. As a Player: If it's published I have a right to play it.
2) Just because it's published doesn't mean it's a good fit for the game/story I want to run or play in.
There can be a multitude of reasons why one falls in one camp or the other. And for a very, very, long time, going back to 2nd Edition's beginning up to 3.0 I was definitely in Camp 1. I sat out 3.5 as a GM, but found I certainly did not like playing in a group in Camp 1 as a player. And when Pathfinder came out and I became a GM again, realized that with all the options that are published as a need to keep a company afloat, that I am certainly in Camp 2.
To each his own, but I neither want to play or want to GM a group of players that are not OK playing/GMing in Camp 2. As a GM I will ask those players who only want to operate in a Camp 1 atmosphere not to rejoin my game group I they cannot adapt. And as a Player I will show myself the door if the group is run under Camp 1. But then again, I live in a relatively small town, that has a THRIVING game community. So I'm lucky to have those types of options.
I mean "unless" you run an average party that is randomly put together, then you are not running an average party. "If" should have been "Unless" in my above post.
There does seem to be a designed "killer" encounter usually in the second volume of APs, at least in the ones I've read. But the point I was making is that the "average" party these days is a "moderately optimized party." Unfortunately that eliminates about 50 percent of all rule options ever published for the game, but that's just how I see the game played -- even in my group that tries hard (by urging or coaching or self-awareness) to resist the urge.
I think you are missing my point. The "elf" outliving lover role can be played by a human. There's a reason humans connect with the character. And the same story COULD be told with a human. The 18 year-old PC is in love with a 65 year-old human. She has to choose what to do. And her decision may not be socially acceptable among her family. Yes, a human can play the role.
The goblins, there's a reason we think they are sometimes funny and end up doing unintentionally funny things even though they don't mean them to be. And they are often played for comedic effect. We can relate to them. They are buffoonery. It's akin to making a comedy segment out of the keystone cops. The role of goblins can be played by humans. Just change the window dressing.
The tropes, the clichés, the stereotypes -- they all exist for a reason. Because they are relatable human emotions, feelings, scenarios. They are placed in writing, literature, movies so that you can make a point but mask that you are making a point about the state of human emotion or being. But they are human relatable if they are the good guys.
At the heart of the matter is the human heart, and the rest is simply window-dressing, SFX, or a race description.
MICHAEL DANNEMILLER wrote:
See this link.
No, Sundar may not be used with an AOO action without something special that allows you do to so. The reason is that AOO is a single melee attack. And Sunder uses an Attack action which is part of a Standard Action.
Arwen -- Why is this character understandable by humans? Because many humans have had a pet, that they "loved" so they can understand the outliving of some creature they loved. Abandoned love, can't be with both the one you love, having to chose to live around family or move off with your love. Very real, modern concepts. Completely human. Stretch.
Goblins -- Are you saying goblins are relatable by humans? I know other than the killing and maiming part, I would certainly put a lot of my son's classmates when he was younger into the "goblin" category. So I can relate. Sometimes you just want to play a wild 6 year-old.
Taking the readied action:
Would be an action that would allow you to use your readied action to attempt to stop alchemists bomb-making and spell-casting with a material component.
However, your readied action would also be used in the case that they retrieve a torch.
Modifying the trigger to say an "arcane or alchemical item" might be a bit restrictive, but if your GM allowed could save you from using the readied action against a drawn torch.