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Jim Groves wrote:
A group of 4 PCs, three of which can form a human pyramid to give the 4th PC a way up to the shaft opening by climbing on top of his fellow PCs, can then use pitons and climbing to get out of the shaft and lower a rope down for the others (assuming they cannot climb as well as the rogue who is the one who likely goes up).
For a group who can be that human pyramid to get them up to the shaft, the shaft does not present a "magic only" problem. Instead, it become a "group only" solution that a sole tomb raider cannot bypass. - especially with broken legs. :)
I care about one thing and one thing only as a "must have" rule development in Pathfinder 2E:
Current 3.5 mechanic for "Full attack" and OP attacks leads to static play. Most melee characters rush to the middle and by 6th level, there is VERY little movement at the table. This leads to boring mid and high-level play.
I want to see changes in the combat system that greatly reduce, if not eliminate this aspect of combat. I want more movement, more maneuvers and less static combat on the battlemat.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Digital downloads will be available on paizo.com ($12.99) and BigFinish.com (£8.99).
When looking at the Big Finish site, it notes that Burnt Offerings is available for "pre-order".
So I take it that this is an error, and that the digital version on that site is not a pre-order, but will be available immediately for purchase?
This is a product description that would be worth fixing.
If I had my druthers, I think I would introduce Mythic Levels earlier and would have spaced them out more widely.
I think the end of The Champion's Belt and the defeat of the Ulgurstasta is the natural story point in the AoW to award the first Mythic Level and go on from there. In strict Pathfinder RPG terms, that's the point in the campaign when under normal rules, the party begins to transition to high level play.
The more time the GM has to integrate the effects of the Mythic system, the better you will appreciate its effects as a GM. Of course, that also means, the more changes you will have to subsequently make to the power level of your encounters to compensate for it. It's a mixed blessing, to be sure.
Tangible Delusions wrote:
Well, it might not be what you would select as "Mythic Trials".
The Heroes gained Mythic Levels for defeating/completing:
1 - The Harbinger (Mythic 1) (End of The Spire of Long Shadows)
There are seven more opportunities to gain Mythic levels remaining, with three of them mandatory.
As for what I've done in response to adjust, I must be candid and say "probably not enough". All monsters have had their power level continuously turned up (with many having mythic levels added) as I become accustomed to the increased capabilities of the Mythic level party and I am certain that I have not done enough.
A GM ideally needs a lot of experience working with the Mythic system in Pathfinder and as this is my first time, I don't know it as well as I would prefer to. I am learning Mythic as we go along. Frankly, it's not a well balanced system. The power curve can be quite dramatic and in practical terms, how well your players will "metagame" the Mythic level powers available to their own characters will be different at every table and I think it can have dramatically different effects on the party's combat effectiveness.
For example, it is difficult to overstate the power surge that "Mythic Haste" lends to a party of well optimized adventurers, especially when combined with a Mythic Surge for an extra attack. The melee damage the Paladin and the Ranger can let loose in one round of combat with 11 or 12 melee attacks between the two of them is awe inspiring and north of 800 hit points. In one round. And that's just two party members. There are 6 in the party in total.
At their current power, given the presence of a high level Paladin and the effects of his Aura of Justice on the party as a whole, the Heroes could probably blow through a 3.5 statted Kyuss in 2 rounds, right now. The only thing which would stop a 1 and done combat round result is Kyuss' ridiculously high AC and crit immunity. Even then, I'm not really sure. I hope to BE SURE by the time we get there so I can adjust it properly.
All by way of saying, it's a work in progress guys. I'll let you all know how it goes here and, of course, the episodes are available for a week or so after each session to view them online. I have the entire campaign recorded on video (a few sessions glitched here and there, but really, I have it all recorded on video from the first session onwards) so I will probably post it all sometime on Archive.org when the campaign is complete.
Yes we broadcast *mostly* every Monday night, typically 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the East Coast.
Party is now level 17/Mythic 3. They just arrived in the Moonscar, on Somal, Golarion's moon -- the setting I chose for Kings of the Rift, which is now a slight mashup beteen Richard Pett's The Moonscar and Greg A . Vaughan's Kings of the Rift - Vol X of the AoW AP.
Thanks. I sent him my AoW Re-Rolled background.
I do have to say that it has worked out remarkably well. The merging of the iconics into the Age of Worms in one of the better campaign ideas I've come up with in decades. It just fits.
Practically speaking, my players had two party member who could cast burning hands. They used that spell to burn off the worms before they could burrow into the flesh on the next round. They also obtained a wand of burning hands as a "worm burner" to deal with the threat.
This tactic made the worms a mere minor nuisance.
Where did you obtain all of the digital maps you use for your game? I've watched a few of your sessions and the maps look really good. I'd love to get my hand on those maps.
I have a complete set of the Flip Mats in electronic form (subscriber) so I simply made them. The same answer applies to my copies of all the Map Packs I have assembled for use in our online AoW campaign (I have them all).
As for the digital AoW maps, while I have the paper versions of the original Dungeon magazines, I also purchased the entire AoW series of Dungeon from the Paizo store in PDF format. I did that so I could copy+paste the entire adventure in text format into Word for conversion to Pathfinder (and so whatever other changes I made would be integrated in my own PDFs). It's not that expensive when you realize you are getting an entire AP for less than $30 or so. (The Paizo Dungeon PDFs were made from the original digital files, not scans. They are vastly superior to any unofficial version.)
The digital AoW maps were all released by Paizo as downloadable freebies with and without map keys. You can find them at this link. Look for the High Res supplements for issues #124 through #135.
The maps can be easily stripped from the PDFs, but usually require reassembly in GIMP as sometimes the images were carved up first by Paizo back in the day (probably as a crude form of copy protection). Whatever the reason, they will only take a moderate level of skill for you to strip out and reassemble.
The Heroes have progressed, have achieved Mythic Tier 1 and are about to either die - or achieve Mythic Tier 2 as they fight Krathanos the Titan in The Library of Last Resort.
The fight, which features a very significant chance of a TPK, will start about 7:00 p.m. PST/ 10:00 EST on Monday, December 16 on Twitch TV on our Grumpy GM channel
The End of the Shadows of Long Spire to the Beginning of The Prince of Redhand
My Age of Worms Re-Rolled Campaign continues.
The Heroes have defeated the Harbinger beneath the Ziggurat in Kuluth-Marr. Having destroyed the great Spellweaver Lich, the Heroes absorbed some of his near divine essence and ascended to Mythic Power, Tier 1.
In the aftermath of the destruction of the Harbinger, the Heroes also "rescued" the dead body of a late middle-aged halfling. Preserved along with many other corpses in the room, the halfling looked entirely out of place. Raising the corpse from the dead in the Temple of Sarenrae in Absalom, the Heroes took time to speak with a legendary figure Hero of the Pathfinder Society, Lem.
Lem revealed that he and his companion, Seltyiel had been on the trail of a human artist, known as Garland, a certifiably insane painter believed to be of Taldan origin. Garland was first encountered by Lem, Ezren and Seltyiel while on a mission for the Pathfinders in Cassomir, nearly 23 years ago. All of the adventurers found Garland's paintings to be disturbingly prophetic and seemed to foretell the End of Days. It was not lost upon them that Garland also claimed to be a prophet of Groetus - the God of the End of the World. As Ezren and Seltyiel came to discover -- Groetus does not grant spells or powers to those who profess to worship him.
But nevertheless, the artist undeniably had some divine gift. How and why was as clear as mud.
AS the years passed and many of Garland's prophecies appeared to come true, the Heroes of Westcrown became increasingly convinced that there was something to the artist. Seltyiel, in particular, became convinced that Garland's prophecies could lead to a means to avoid the Age of Worms. Then, a few years ago Seltyiel and Lem began their hunt for the missing artist across the Inner Sea. Ultimately, their journey lead them south through Osirion, Katapesh and to the very borders of the mana wastes and the lands of Geb. There, Lem halted -- but Seltyiel pressed on into Geb alone. Lem refused to enter the Kingdom of the Undead and begged Seltyiel not to enter, but the Eldritch Knight would not listen.
Lem confirmed to the Heroes that after waiting for about five weeks and on the verge of losing all hope, Seltyiel returned out of Geb. Seltyiel told Lem that the trail of Garland had been lost, but an ally in Geb, who Seltyiel described as a "mysterious benefactor" had also been searching for the artist and had seized at least six of Garland's paintings -- and had given Seltyiel one as proof. In order to verify the authenticity of the painting, Seltyiel proposed that he and Lem attempt to teleport to the Ziggurat enclosed by the Black Wall depicted in the painting. Lem reluctantly agreed.
And so it was that Lem and Seltyiel teleported near to Temple of Groetus at Kuluth Marr. Soon enough, the duo were exploring the ruin when disaster inevitably struck. Lem fell and remembered nothing more until he was raised from the dead in the Temple of Sarenrae. Seltyiel must have abandoned Lem to his fate. Lem fell in the Temple approximately 17 months ago.
Lem did assure the Heroes that Seltyiel had promised that they could meet their benefactor in Westcrown and that Lem would know who the benefactor was -- "it would be obvious to me", Seltyiel had explained to Lem coyly. Lem did not have a chance to get Seltyiel drunk and press the wizard for more details before Lem was slain in the temple.
With that, the halfling vowed to take a rest from adventuring. They could find him in Magnimar for a good long while, drinking peaceably in disreputable bars. After having been betrayed and left for dead by his best friend, Lem's zest for adventure appears to have been quenched - for the time being at least.
The Heroes' arrival in Westcrown was largely uneventful, though signs of the War with Galt and Molthune continue to stir across the land; the manpower to bring the harvest in from the fields has been decidedly weakened. Famine in Cheliax does not appear likely quite yet -- but a harvest is not nearly as consuming with the need for labour as planting is. Next year, the Empire will face real challenges just to feed itself if the war does not end.
The Twelve Guises of Aroden...
Their entry into Westcrown was also underscored by a chance viewing of ancient religious street art depicting the Twelve Guises of Aroden. Both Takoma the Paladin and Felinx the Wizard became ... "disturbed" that they have seem to have encountered so many (though not all) of the individuals depicted in the Twelve Guises of Aroden. Unspoken was the concern that Garland, the mysterious prophetic Artist is one of the last depicted individuals in the Twelve Guises of Aroden the Heroes have not yet met.
A New Hero Joins the Quest...
Shortly thereafter, the Heroes met an adventuring cleric from the Order of the Knights of Ozem, far to the north in Lastwall. The cleric Dakkuh reveals to Takoma that he is here because of a prophetic vision from Iomedae that he had which showed to him the destruction of Takoma's sword, Justicar. Knowing that the blade was sacred to the Knight of Ozem, Dakkuh was tasked by Lord Commander Seelah to journey to Westcrown, find Takoma and ensure that Justicar was not lost. Swearing loyalty to the Heroes, Dakkuh joined their quest to stop the Age of Worms.
Soon after arrival in Westcrown, the Heroes also learn of a great banquet for the privileged and powerful, to be presided over by Prince Maximillian and the new Mayor of Westcrown, the Lady Chammady Drovenge. The Lady Drovenge was believed to have been slain at the hands of the Heroes of Westcrown over 20 years ago. The Wizard Felinx reasons that to Lem -- Chammady Drovenge might well appear to be the somebody "obvious" in Westcrown referred to by Seltyiel. After all, Chammady is supposed to be dead -- and Lem was personally responsible for Chammady's death 20 years ago. It would stand out like a sore thumb.
And so the Heroes resolved to seek out this Lady Drovenge and see if she was the "benefactor" and knew where Seltyiel was - and what had become of the other five paintings Seltyiel spoke of.
A source for invitations to the banquet was located by Takoma, but word also comes to the Heroes that hundreds of Westcrown's fishermen, hunters and commonfolk are combing the Great Swamp to the East in search of a fabled dragon hoard - the dragon itself said to have been recently slain by a great elf warrior.
A Promise Given to the Mother of Lies...
Recognizing that the dragon rumours seem to refer to the death of Ilthane near Diamond Lake -- and that Ilthane's hoard was never located -- the Heroes are enticed to the swamp by riches they believe to be rightfully their own. On their journey in the swamp, the Heroes encounter the Great Hag, the Mother of Lies.
The Hag promises to trade the secret location of Ilthane's lair for one bauble within it - and a promise from the Paladin that he will slay the imposter Chammady Drovenge, who the Mother swears is an evil imposter up to no good. The Hag even assures Takoma that his Oath to Aroden will not be in conflict with the mission and he may withdraw from it should he believe that it is; otherwise, he will keep to his word.
Sensing a trap, reluctantly, Takoma agrees to the terms and the Hag fulfills her promise and provides the location of Ilthane's lair, four leagues to the northeast.
We resume The Age of Worms Re-Rolled with Episode 51, this Monday, August 12 at 9:30 p.m. EST on our channel on TwitchTV , the GrumpyGM.
The last session may be viewed on demand, here: Session 50 AoW Re-Rolled
We are down to about two or perhaps three sessions (we play short sessions on Monday nights, so 6-9 hours left) in my heavily revised Golarionized Shadows of Long Spire left to go. The Heroes are currently in an epic battle now with the three Swords of Groetus (Kyuss).
I foreshadowed this encounter to the party's cleric for the past four months in real time - since the beginning of Champion's Belt. Of all encounters before Kings of the Rift, this battle has the highest possibility of a TPK, which of course, I wanted to avoid without nerfing the encounter. I had hoped the prophetic dreams would accomplish that. I am not sure it had that effect as the PC cleric seems so spooked, he has a scroll of Word of Recall in hand.
It turns out that my party figured out a non-standard protection against the Swords: they have used Walls of Force to split up and contain the foes so that they are only fighting one at a time. It looks like this will prove to be a winning strategy.
The only effect which should "stack" is the modest increase in damage due to increased strength by reason of the enlarged person spell. Gravity bow should work per normal. I would not permit a "double bump" to arrow size, no matter how clever the ammunition is crafted. To permit this with such a low power spell combination breaks game balance.
Frankly, enlarged person in potion form is already the best low level spell in the game. We don't need to break it more.
Gary Teter wrote:
An observer mode for a public game would be good. Observer = gets to watch, otherwise locked out of input.
In terms of longterm API, hooks for someone to ultimately get basic combat values from, ultimately, a Herolab sheet would appear to be optimal.
P.S.: You can chain a contingency spell to key off the casting of another spell on the same target with the same action. With this tactic, you can hit a target with two maximized touches of idiocy in the same round. That's -12 to CHA, INT, and WIS, no save. Even with PC uber stats, that is likely to wipe out most 7, 8, and 9th level spells possessed by that character at a stroke. Following a disjunction spell that screws up major stat gain items, you might effectively wipe out BOTH party casters with this tactic.
With spectral hand and a lich's BAB from surprise? You won't miss either.
You absolutely CAN screw over just about anybody with a 19th level lich. Play it smart, patient and mean. Don't be fair about it. You'll be surprised how quickly the party can fall.
Last I checked, a lich can cast vampiric touch, enervation and energy drain. Most importantly limited wish permits a lich to cast harm, which essentially fully heals it.
The suggested spells for this encounter allow for maximized enervation and enervation, both of which can be used to heal it, but you can vary as you see fit. Limited wish used to cast harm is the easiest way to add a heal spell to the lich for this encounter.
If you can't challenge a party -- any party -- with a lich? You really aren't trying hard enough. or you don't know to play a Wizard to maximum effect. Try adding a contingency and greater dispel magic along with something uber. Etherealness and noncorporeal body adds surprises as well. Change it up.
Throw off a hit and run Disjunction to strip their buffs, break their stuff (even artifacts) and REALLY piss them off. Reverse gravity fields are still horrendously powerful at an opportune moment, as are surprise anti-magic fields near powerful environmental threats.
Greater dispel magic and a quickened enervation in the same round or an energy drain -- empowered feeblemind after a disjunction on the Wizard PC and then teleport the Wizard away to kill him -- all of these things can be utterly devastating. Use hit and run. Teleport away -- FAR AWAY and use selective spells to split up the party -- or just leave and come back after the buffs wear off (some times this simple tactic is the most effective). Don't let your lich show himself. They should not even be able to even reach it without real effort.
Really, any caster that can cast 9th level spells has its finger on the "I win" button if you want to give the appropriate spells to it as long as it has superior knowledge and the initiative. And as the GM, you decide if you have that or not.
Running high level encounters is difficult because with access to that much power and being devious about things, it's quite easy to TPK the party. Playing up the threat without pushing it over the top is the hard part.
We'll be chatting tonight, Sunday March 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm PSt/9:30 pm EST with Chris Pramas of Green Ronin on Chronicles LIVE. Check it out on Google Hangouts, on Youtube when complete, or you can wait for the podcast audio feed on iTunes tomorrow. Psst: that Jason Bulmahn fellow might be joining us as well. See you there!
I guess this speaks to the dev time issues; though I am surprised you went in support of an AP release BEFORE Shattered Star. Didn't see that one coming. I thought we might see a more generic branded set followed by Wrath of the Righteous.
Well, I'm a player in this one too. *grins and dodges bullet*
So far, I think it has been very successful. I credit that to having run 7 of the 12 installments before; knowing the overall story arc very well; and knowing Golarion very well.
All of that has allowed me to make more out of the Age of Worms than could be achieved by just running it out of the book, as written.
I also believe that modification of the story, settings and encounters, and using a judicious rasp to file off the burs and make the whole thing fit "better" for your group is an approach that can and SHOULD be used running every single AP that Paizo has ever released, without a singular exception.
Given the manner in how they are written, the one constant throughout the past seven years is that they are written and developed under incredibly tight time pressures. Accordingly, it's just not possible for one developer to do everything they can to shepherd the best possible AP out the door that they could develop if they had twice the time to do it.
Those are their workplace realities. But they are not OUR workplace realities. We have more time. LOTS more time.
So take that time and add + reduce, trim and cut, mold and strengthen whatever AP you choose to make it your own in order to fit your players' needs best. It doesn't matter which AP you run using this approach, your game will be the better for those efforts.
Age of Worms, Re-Rolled: A Pathfinder AP set in Golarion
I thought I would post an update to my current Age of Worms, Re-Rolled campaign. As I have posted elsewhere in this forum, my Age of Worms campaign has been converted to Pathfinder RPG and has been completely converted to Golarion. Without giving too much away, the central conceit is that the Greyhawk NPC's and mythos which lies at the heart of Age of Worms has been completely excised and has been redesigned with the NPCs and mythos of Golarion substituted.
Note: I have created a design document to convert Age of Worms for use in Golarion for this and anyone who is interested may PM me for that design document as I do not want to post it here (my players read this message board). The current document is a work in progress, but weighs in at 5600+ words.
Events in The Champion's Belt
The Heroes travelled from Diamond Lake to Egoria, (the "Free City") a journey of about 3.5 days along the Imperial Highway on horseback in search of Ezren ("Allastan") who disappeared via a telepport spell carrying Harsk at the beginning of Encounter at Blackwall Keep. At the time, Harsk had been infected by a "slow worm" and was on the verge of turning into a Spawn of Groetus.
During the course of the events of Hall of Harsh Reflections, Ezren's daughter, Marzena worked with Grandmaster Torch to find the location of Ezren without success. As The Champion's Belt began and the Great Fire was lit to start the Games, the heroes met at the ding room of an absent Chelish noble. The home's owners were absent, but the great dining room was in use by GrandMaster Torch as he entertained the heroes, Marzena and a new companion, the sorceress Seoni (Celeste). Seoni confirmed that no trace of either Ezren or Harsk had been found in Absalom. Given the considerable enchantments placed upon the former "Heroes of Westcrown" to prevent them from being magically located -- no spell would ever locate the missing pair. Still, where magic would fail, old-fashioned intelligence, rumours and informants might yet provide a clue. A few pointed to the involvement of Lord Valeros (Loris Raknian) as the man who was behind the attempt on the PCs life at the hands of the doppelgangers.
As the dinner unfolded and the Heroes prepared to feats, a silver chafing dish was uncovered to reveal a rack of lamb. Beneath the cover of the dish, a delayed blast fireball went off at the table severely injuring the Heroes and almost killing Grandmaster Torch. In the panic, smoke and fire which followed the Heroes escaped from the capital and returned via teleportation to Ezren's home in Diamond Lake to heal up and prepare for entry into the Champion's Belt. While there, the PC Wizard, Felinx who had been working on his familiarity with Ancient Azlanti, noticed amongst Ezren's papers the old Azlantui runes for the word "Icosiol".
Thinking little more of it, the Heroes prepared to return to Egoria and to enter the competition for the Champion's Belt. Under the protection of the Fires of Peace, even the hero pledged to the worship of the Dawnflower might safely reveal his divine spellcasting power safely within Cheliax -- as long as the Hellfires of Peace burned, at least.
Gladiator Studs for Hire...
The tourney progressed and, with some difficulty, the Heroes prevailed against the competition. Between matches, the Last Knight of Aroden was visited by the Chelish noblewoman Ilya, who the Heroes had rescued from bondage in Sodden Hold. Entering into a private chamber beneath the Arena, the Lady Ilya had paid dearly for the privilege of spending some... quality time... with the gladiator of her choice.
Following their tryst, the Last Knight learned that last year's champion, Auric, had a similar tryst last year with Hakim's (Ekaym) missing sister, the Lady Lahaka last year during the games. Understandably, Auric was reticent to speak of his tryst with the Lady Lahaka, given that she was the second wife of the Minister of Punishment, Lord Valeros of Blackstone -- the Chancellor of the Arena and patron responsible for the Champion's Belt tournament.
Later investigations of the rest of the chambers beneath the Arean ultimately lead the Heroes to Bozal's lair, the Apostolic Scroll and the Great Worm. Bozal was defeated and slain and the secret passage to the wine cellar of Blackstone castle found as well -- but the Scroll could not be touched and the Worm remained in its force field cocoon.
On the eve of the final battle against Auric and Khellk, the Lady Seoni, in disguise visited the Last Knight posing as a matron who had paid for his stud services. Seoni revealed that in an attempt to hunt down GM Torch's would be assassin, the clues lead to Merisiel, a former adventuring companion of Seoni from the old days. Seoni advised the Heroes that she had defeated Merisiel's plot to have Bozol raised from the dead in Absalom, but Merisiel had eluded capture. Seoni also revealed that a copy of the Apastolic Scroll she had read in the holdings of the Arcanamirium indicated that a sacrifical event involving the great worm Ulgurstasta and the Blood of a Champion could have apocalyptic consequences. Seoni subtly suggested to the Last Knight that it might be best if he and his companions did not win the match -- but Takomah rejected the advice.
Other events in the city in the two days leading up to the final battle in the arena also changed the celebratory tone of the city of Egoria. Some event in Andoran -- a great battle as the rumor went -- had emptied the city of most of the troops that had patrolled the streets. The Queen and the Infernal Court was also said to have left for the battlefield and many of the Infernal Court's Wizards who had acted as Umpires at the battle and tended the force field surrounding the competition had also left the city for the front.
The Final Battle
During the course of the final showdown with the Grand-Champion Auric, Khellek and their Flesh Golems, the heroes witnessed a fatal attack on the Archmage Talibir, Umpire of the Games, by Lord Valeros from within the Royal Box. At that time, the Ulgurstasta burst from its holding chamber into the arena and Pandemonium ensued.
As matters turned out, the battle against the Ulgurstasta was touch and go. The worm did not burst through the floor of the arena until the 4th round of combat and by that time, Auric had been brought to near death by the efforts of the Heroes during the contest. The Great Worm had the Champion in its mouth and if it had swallowed the Champion, an apocalypse would have been unleashed upon Egoria.
As chaos unfolded, the Last Knight strained to hear the urgent whispered words of a far-off woman, pleading help -- or perhaps providing instructions. Whatever the case, the words could not be heard and the Champion was soon to be swallowed. The world's fate teetered on the edge of the razor's blade.
However, at that moment, the elven Ranger Yuimiara saved the day (and the world) by firing three arrows at the Worm, doing 89 points to it with one attack. The demon worm was brought to (Un)Death's door and was easily dispatched before the worm could swallow its sacrificial prize.
In the immediate wake of the attack on Talibir and the worm's entry into the arena, the Crown Prince and Lord Valeros had vanished during the chaos and there was still fighting within the Arena halls. The surviving Umpire dropped the force field and the Heroes quickly provided to the Infernal Court their notes concerning the worms and the cult of Groetus. As the Wizards traded words, Seoni dropped to the sands and told Takomah that earlier that morning Diamond Lake had been destroyed by a dragon.
We resume on Monday, Feb 25, 2013 with Wolfgang Baur's "A Gathering of Winds".
Ultimate Campaign is now "too player focused"?? WOW. Tough crowd. Can't win for losing.
There will be PLENTY in Ultimate Campaign for GMs. Indeed, my main concern when it was first revealed was that Ultimate Campaign would appear to be too much of a GM oriented product and so not sell very well.
I am glad that Paizo is marketing the player oriented aspects of a book that appeared, on its face, to be squarely aimed at GMs.
Downtime systems, story feats and -- perhaps the best and most obvious thing to emerge in a D&D RPG since 1974: an Honor system which rewards a player for sticking to his PC's personal code.
"A man's got to have a code."
- Omar Little, The Wire
Paizo continues to take risks and forge new paths with the Pathfinder hardback series. I continue to look forward to Ultimate Campaign more than any other hardcover that Paizo has yet released. Let's hope the reality lives up to the hype -- and most of all -- to the hopes of fans.
N43: Torture Chamber! Please note that the damage potential of Asaam the torturer with an improvised weapon is SOOOOOOOO over the top it's not even funny. I have never been exposed to such a blatantly BROKEN encounter as this one in all my years of playing 3.5 and Pathfinder.
Using the uber Advanced Rogue Trick "Hunter's Surprise" (EX): Once per day, a rogue with this talent can designate a single enemy she is adjacent to as her prey. Until the end of her next turn, she can add her sneak attack damage to all attacks made against her prey, even if she is not flanking it or it is not flat-footed."
Not that it does not say "until the end of their turn", rather, it is until the end of the "NEXT turn". So this would appear to give Asaam two rounds of attacks, or SIX attacks with full sneak attack going.
6d8+6d4+42d6+30= 27+15+147+30=194 hit points to one foe.
Asaam will do, (if he hits with all attacks, which is not all that unusual against Barbarians and two-handed weapon wielding fighters) an AVERAGE of 194 hit points over two rounds. Even at level 15 or 16, there are not many characters who will be able to withstand this damage -- or even know where it is coming from seeing as his first three attacks are from invisible -- and the next three might be as well.
It is a pretty clever stacking of feats to get the catch-off guard and improvised weapon mastery to turn a red hot poker into a 1d8+1d4 weapon -- all while invisible no less.
But for all its cleverness, it wasn't a whole lot of fun on the receiving end. I don't mind dying, but this one comes off as an outright assassination of a Player Character.
It didn't feel epic; rather, it felt cheesey.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Map Pack - Sewer System:
Simply Awesome. Buy *three* copies with complete confidence. (And yes, I have three copies of the original Sewers map packs as well - but only because they were on sale during the 10th anniv sale.)
SRM's approach to Map Packs is the best thing to happen to the GameMastery Map Pack line since the product line started (and yes, I'm well aware that's saying something).
When it comes to adventures, the market has clearly indicated that people prefer long and epic adventures and have very little interest in smaller adventures. (At least when it comes to buying them. What people actually play is anybody's guess).
The Adventure Path concept itself is Exhibit "A" in this trend. As we look at other 3rd party adventure products, once more, it is the long and lengthy campaign adventures that sell: Rappan Athuk, Slumbering Tsar? These sell. The Rise of the Runelords hardcover? Big seller once again.
Compared to 32 page modules? The sales figures are rather telling. While we don't have hard data on this from within Paizo, we do have sales figures from retailers. At Black Diamond Games, for example, sales at that store indicate that the entire 32 page module line is less than 3% of the store's overall Pathfinder RPG sales volume. Their turn rate is low as well.
APs are three times -- and closing in on four times those sales figures at BDG. Because of the subscription model that Paizo uses for direct sales, my guess is that the AP line clearly sells better than that directly to hardcore fans and the AP line is Paizo's flagship for a reason.
Which leads one to wonder why Pathfinder Society is emphasizing the play of one-off unconnected adventures at all. Put bluntly, I think the entire concept behind PFS Scenarios is the perpetuation of a play style that has not existed since 2nd Edition. It is the selling of yesterday's game using yesterday's adventures. Why? There has got to be a better way of accommodating casual attendance than presenting an endless supply of one-off adventures where the story content is only a little above that presented in Farmville.
In a world where players are linked to the web via smartphones, tablets and computers virtually everywhere, at every time, there has GOT to be a better way than promoting a playstyle that has its roots in the 70s and which clearly isn't selling any more.
(Yes. I get to say things like this again Jeff :))
As I have mentioned earlier this week at 401 Games, I am retiring as Venture-Captain effective Monday, December 3, 2012.
A number of factors have contributed to this, but the essence of it is that after a year and a half, Pathfinder Society is less satisfying for me than it was. Often, it seems to feel that is has evolved into an obligation. As a consequence, it is feeling a lot more like work and a lot less like fun. That’s not a lot of fun to me — and it isn’t fair to you all as players either. You need a Venture-Captain who is fully engaged and excited to be involved in the game. Right now, that just isn’t me.
While Jeff Mahood has done an excellent job as Venture-Lieutenant and co-ordinator at Dueling Grounds, he has a number of other obligations in his professional and family life which have lead him to prefer not to act as the new Venture-Captain.
Instead, Adam Mogyorodi will be stepping up as our new Venture-Captain for Ontario. For those who do not know Adam in person, he posts as Mergy here on the Paizo Message Boards. For those who do know Adam from in-store play, Adam has selflessly assisted many new local players in creating their own characters for PFS play in the Toronto area. Pathfinder Society and the Southern Ontario Lodge will be in good hands.
While I will continue to be involved with Pathfinder as an Adventure Path player, GM, sometimes reviewer and podcaster, I will be withdrawing from all PFS activities until probably well into 2013, at a minimum. My career and family can use the extra time — and frankly — so can I.
I wish Adam all the best and hope that you all will support him as he steps up and takes our local PFS lodge to the next level (or three).
Wishing you all Happy Gaming and a great Holiday Season and prosperous New Year.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Saying it only takes 14 seconds for the developer and also no additional time for editing and layout over and over doesn't make it true (and is a bit insulting). Sure saying it over and over might make it true in your own head, but it still doesn't make it a truth in the real world. Once you actually work for Paizo, then you can speak on the matter. Until then, we'll just have to trust Mark Moreland when he says that adding more words to scenarios will cost Paizo more money.
Crap to that Kyle. *I* can certainly do it in 14 seconds. Sorry if I am saying things you don't want to hear - but that doesn't mean that the solution is not to say them.
The reason behind this initially was about training new authors. It isn't about cost and never was. There has been a technological change in the intervening period. It requires revisiting.
Why are you saying things like this? It's just not true. No matter how many times this stuff is chirped out loud - it doesn't make it true.
If the issue is: we want our noob authors for PFS scenarios to abide by a word count -- then make them do that. Make them refer to these statblocks in other products when assessing the length of their submission and paying them for it. NO PROBLEM.
But at a developer level, take the 14 seconds extra and copy+paste that stat block in for us. THE END. No extra cost, no extra time on the Dev side and NO EXTRA TIME on the GM side.
This is not an extra cost issue. That's PLAINLY AND OBVIOUSLY not true.
Don Walker wrote:
In a word -- nonsense.
If the issue is "we don't want to pay an author for copy pasting in an existing statblock" -- then deal with it on that level. Don't pay for a copy+paste stat block -- and then copy+paste it in at a dev level. There is no word length in a wholly electronic product except for one that is arbitrarily imposed without a valid commercial purpose.
This approach will serve the purpose of training authors that seems to be behind the rule, without inconveniencing GMs.
I put it to you that these design assumptions inherent in PFS scenarios were put into place long before GMs started running products digitally without ever printing them off. We have iPads now, and they don't deal as well as we might like when switching between multiple documents.
Technology has changed since Season 0. This necessitates that the submission/printing assumptions behind wholly electronic products should change as well.
I think I approach this topic from a very different perspective than many posters here, in terms of the foes I prefer to see in PFS and those I look forward to seeing in the future.
No Thematic Approach to Monsters
With perhaps a slight bias in Season 3 to Eastern flavored monster types (and that's *quite* a catch all) there has not been a thematic approach to what monsters we are fighting at the table. The themes in terms of season design breaks down, more or less, as follows:
In short, what I want to see is a coherent STORY emerge out of a Season of PFS, not a series of theme park rides set in a region. The story should engage the player, the use of interesting environmental challenges should entertain them and make them think, while the maps and minis should be eye candy which creates and sells visual excitement to both players and non-players alike.
Enough with the Multiple Files Already
Lastly: Can we PLEASE stop sending the GM to some other stat block published in another book in a PFS scenario? We have PDFs for these scenarios and there is no print product or page length concern engaged. At all. Ever. EVER. Yes, I have the books in hardcover, yes, I have the books in PDF (all VC's do) but the stat blocks are available online anyways. Can we just STOP with this file/book chase? Especially if we are going to use more monsters from Bestiary 2 and Bestiary 3 in the future?
My pattern is to run the scenario straight from my iPad and from what I can see, that a habit a LOT of PFS GMs are following. The more I need to open another document in another tab and navigate to it, the more my game slows down. Please put the stat block in the scenario and don't make me go look somewhere else for it.
This design "feature" slows down my game and there does not appear to be a valid commercial goal behind this decision at all. Convince me that there is a valid commercial interest being served here and I'll shut up. To date, that argument has not been made and the design feature is adversely impacting the quality of my game. I can't be the only GM out there that this is affecting.
It is evident to me that I clearly like other design elements in dragon miniatures than the overwhelming majority of people posting in this thread - or - it seems, designing and manufacturing this miniature.
The depths of my dissatisfaction with the pose, sculpt, and paint job on display in this mini are difficult to express in detail without being accused of being a troll.
Suffice to say, this miniature is clearly not intended for me. Which is just fine. Can't win em all.
Michael Brock wrote:
This will be addressed in the FAQ. Yes, the pregens included with DotSS, WBG, etc... may be used for those modules only. It will be spelled out in the FAQ. As for people using them in the way I am concerned about, the reason this is an issue is because a 10th level pregen from Hero Lab was used in a game in the past week.
I was of the view that the pregens that were provided with Dawn of the Scarlet Sun were okay to use for that specific module.
There were pregens created specifically for Master of the Fallen Fortress as well back in the history of time. We be Goblins? Ditto.
It is also likely that there will be pregens specifically created for use with Free RPG day modules in the future too Mike.
Please be careful in the blanket language that you might employ so that it does not prevent the use of pregens for the modules designed for them. The Herolab pregens have been there for more than year - this is not a new thing and I am not aware that anybody is using them for any purpose in the way you are concerned about. If they are, it is a very rare exception. Please ensure you don't employ langauge which throws out the baby with the bathwater.
On the subject of transparent fire effects, I would suggest you look at the effect obtained by this modder of WotC's fire elementals simply by taking advantage of a painted base instead of a flat black base.
Setting aside the impact of rocks and so forth, the effect of simple paint under the transparent fire plastic is awesomely effective and might not involve significant paint steps. Indeed, a uniform pre-printed decal might achieve the same effect and be applied almost instantly at a very low cost.
The gallery of the miraculous fire-effect bases is HERE. I think the impact of this sort of basing is self-evident.