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914 posts. Alias of Robert Trifts.


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Liberty's Edge

I went looking for my LEgacy of Fire barbarian, Kyrano 'Ghu at 1st level. I couldn't find him. Here he is at 8th level.

He was almost always enlarged (from potion) during any combat. When enlarged, raging and hasted, he routinely did 100+ points of damage a round at 8th level. He could take enough damage that whatever he fought died *long* before it was a real threat to him (or anybody else).

His damage output was *ridiculously* high. At the end of the AP, we was at 248 HP, AC 28 and his damage output was well over 225 points a round. He convinced Azmyth and I that barbarians were just plainly unbalanced.

In Serpent Skull, I tried a dwarven fighter, lucerne hammer wielder, just for kicks. That was not quite as foolish as Kyrano - but he was close.

In both cases (barbarian or polearm fighter), the greatest exploit in the game is the near continuous use of potion of enlarged person in combat. There is no other CL1 magic item that is that DIRT cheap that is that effective at **all** power levels of the game. Anything that good is TOO GOOD. It should be banned, imo.
K'yrano 'Ghu
Male Gnoll barbarian (invulnerable rager) 8 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide 79)
CN Large humanoid (Gnoll, enlarged)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12
AC 17, touch 9, flat-footed 15 (+7 armor, +2 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 natural, -1 size, -4 untyped penalty)
hp 119 (8d12+56)
Fort +12, Ref +4, Will +5
DR 4/—, 8/lethal; Resist fire 1, extreme endurance
Speed 50 ft.
Melee dagger +13/+8 (1d6+12/19-20) or
Entropan +14/+9 (3d6+19/×3 plus 2d6 vs. Lawful Outsider) or
Goreshred +15/+10 (3d6+20/×3 plus 2d6 vs. Humans)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +13/+8 (1d8/×3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks rage (22 rounds/day), rage powers (intimidating glare, raging leaper +8, reckless abandon[APG], terrifying howl [dc 20])
Str 23, Dex 14, Con 22, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 9
Base Atk +8; CMB +15; CMD 25
Feats Cleave, Great Cleave, Intimidating Prowess, Power Attack, Vital Strike
Traits finding haleen, killer
Skills Acrobatics +13 (+21 to jump, +18 to make high or long jumps, +21 to jump), Bluff +1, Climb +11, Diplomacy +1, Disguise +1, Handle Animal +3, Heal +2, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (local) +3, Knowledge (nature) +7, Linguistics +1, Perception +12, Ride +7, Stealth +5, Survival +9, Swim +10
Languages Common, Gnoll
SQ fast movement
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, potion of cure light wounds, potion of cure light wounds, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of cure moderate wounds (3), potion of enlarge person, potion of enlarge person, potion of enlarge person, potion of enlarge person; Other Gear +3 mithral chain shirt, Entropan, Goreshred, arrows (20), dagger, mwk composite longbow, amulet of natural armor +1, boots of striding and springing, ring of jumping, ring of protection +2, adventurer's sash, backpack, belt pouch, 2,314 gp
Special Abilities
Cleave If you hit a foe, attack an adjacent target at the same attack bonus but take -2 AC.
Damage Reduction (4/-) You have Damage Reduction against all attacks.
Damage Reduction (8/lethal) You have Damage Reduction against non-lethal damage
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Energy Resistance, Fire (1) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Fire attacks.
Extreme Endurance (Fire) (Ex) At 3rd level, the invulnerable rager is inured to either hot or cold climate effects (choose one) as if using endure elements. In addition, the barbarian gains 1 point of fire or cold resistance for every three levels beyond 3rd. This ability
Fast Movement +10 (Ex) +10 feet to speed, unless heavily loaded.
Intimidating Glare (Ex) As a move action while raging, demoralize vs. adj foe with extended duration.
Killer Add weapon's critical modifier to its critical bonus damage.
Power Attack -3/+6 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Rage (22 rounds/day) (Ex) +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 to Will saves, -2 to AC when enraged.
Raging Leaper +8 (Ex) While raging, gain the listed enhancement bonus to Acrobatics to jump.
Reckless Abandon (+/-3) (Ex) Trade AC penalty for to hit bonus while raging.
Ring of jumping This ring continually allows the wearer to leap about, providing a +5 competence bonus on all his Acrobatics checks made to make high or long jumps.

Requirements: Forge Ring, creator must have 5 ranks in the Acrobatics skill; Cost 1,250 gp
Terrifying Howl (DC 20) (Ex) While raging, howl to panic shaken foes.
Vital Strike Standard action: x2 weapon damage dice.

Liberty's Edge

Lass wrote:
I'm running this with my online group and am frustrated by a lack of maps for several areas of Skirgaad such as the Drake Caves, Mess Hall and Winter Wolf Warrens. Have others come up with good alternatives?

Do you have the poster map folio? That provides you with a fairly good idea of what they should look like in terms of elevation, relative size and basic layout.

Liberty's Edge

karpana wrote:

Looking for some quick advice...

The initial encounter run up for Ewigga in J4, it speaks about how Ingrahild and her brother decimated Ewigga's coven before she fled into the vault.

My player party has Ingrahild in the group for the moment...and while Ingrahild won't recognize Ewigga (due to Ewigga's disguise), it should be evident that Ewigga recognizes Ingrahild.

What's the best way to role-play out this initial encounter?
Should I do this by the book and "pretend" that Ewigga doesn't recognize Ingrahild? Or should I have Ewigga go ape-s!~* on the group in retribution against Ingrahild.

Has Ingrahild be cured of her madness/curse?

If no, Ewigga bides her time and savors the cruelty of it. If she has been healed, Ewigga should curse her again - on the sly.

Carry on.

Liberty's Edge

Giantslayer - Dwarven Delve

All five of my players PCs are Dwarves from Janderhoff. All are from the same clan. This concept for a PC party is something we have kicked around with doing for many years but this seems to be the time to actually try it. The Giantslayer AP is our "Dwarven Delve"

Malakai Redrock - Ftr 1/Paladin (StoneLord)1
Ulbricht Redrock - Ftr1/Cleric 1
Hemattin Redrock - Rgr1/Wizard 1
Horadaric Redrock - Ftr 1/Rogue 1
Hrafnarr Redrock - Ftr 1/Monk 1

All of the PCs are Lawful Good, except for Horardric the Rogue; the black sheep of the Redrock clan is Chaotic Neutral. Still, the "Dwarven way" of seeing things has predominated over any particular trite LG alignment role-playing. We're going all-in on the Dwarven feel in every respect.

Players speaking in "fake brogue" indicates that their character is speaking in the Dwarven tongue, not common.

The plan was to start all PCs as either Ftr or Ranger and then diverge from that point to branch out into the character's chosen class.

In terms of flavor, the Dwarven theme has worked out very well so far. There is a different backstory which explains their presence in Trunau, added clan obligations, family politics and so forth.

I think everybody is quite pleased with the Dwarven Delve so far.

Free Starting Team Feat

The fighter baseline for all of the Redrocks went further than martial/armor proficiencies. They got a free team feat out of it, too.

Each of the Redrocks was given a free "team feat" to start in addition to their normal starting feats and traits. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, after much debate and weighing the pros and cons, the players ultimately agreed they would choose "Shake it Off" as their beginning team feat.

As a free team feat, "Shake it Off" may prove to be the one selection which will prove to be too powerful. We're giving it a few more sessions to get a feel for how it will play out during actual play during extended combat when it may come into use. That has not happened yet and may not for some time, tbh.

They may receive another team feat at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th, or not. We are playing this "team feat" experiment more or less by ear.

Very Dangerous over Short Distances...

The other wild card is how the reduced mobility of the PCs will play out during combat. With every PC being reduced to a movement speed of 20', that aspect of things may well have pernicious consequences.

For those GMs familiar with the conclusion of Vol 1, that may be a battle where the 20' range limitation will hit a stone wall. We'll see.

Pt II of Vol 1, The Siege of Trunau begins next session!

Liberty's Edge

There is no doubt that the primary purpose of the Forge in Minderhal is to resize weapons and armor. You are absolutely correct about that.

I do think, however, that while the Forge is aimed at providing the PCs a resource to resize weapons and armor (after they reach a level when one of them probably also knows teleport and so can make use of that resource as a matter of GM "hand waiving" later on in the AP), the Forge also speaks to the idea of the PCs using it to craft items, generally.

The lack of any central city tied to the adventure as a place to purchase and sell goods suggests that the PCs will be resorting to the craft magic weapons and armor and wondrous items feats more often in this AP than they will do in most of them (table variation of this tendency across groups of players is admittedly high I think).

Still, my point is that there is no lottery issue here with Gorum's Thorn. Its bonus ability to trip a giant on a crit is not accidental and it emerges usefully only in the later half of the AP through crafting, if at all.

The weapon is not evil, is not aligned and there is no reason why a paladin cannot use it per RAW -- and no good role-playing reason why they should avoid using it, either. Its additional benefit to followers of Gorum is there to deny that bonus to most PCs while making it useful for a role-playing purpose to bribe General Karrguk, who is multi-classed as a cleric of Gorum for just that reason, I think.

Liberty's Edge

I would also point out that Gorum's Thorn is intended to act as as blueprint for PC use (with modification of the deity involved) after they secure and reactivate the Forge in Minderhal and have the resources to craft their own weapons. So I think you are giving something early that is meant to be secured by the party later -- and as a reason to activate the forge (which others have complained appears to be irrational).

You might consider this and put it in the hopper.

Liberty's Edge

So Silvermane, the Elven druid who was a member of the Council of Thorns, the one who SENDS you to the Vault of Thorns can use a longbow, but the fact there are magic arrows there seems inconsistent to you?

The only member of the Council you meet can use arrows... (Elves can use longbows; druids or not).

Gorum's Thorn is a +1 keen Greatsword. The trip on a crit is mostly neither here nor there. It's a keen greatsword. If you crit with it, the target is likely dead, tripped or not. At least at this stage of the game. Giants do not become frequent enemies until after Steelhand's Tomb.

And there is nothing which prevents Gorum's Thorn from being wielded by any party member. Indeed, the main fighter is certain to do so.

It is also a weapon that if offered to Karrguk as part of any deal will ensure that the Twisted Nail will betray Grenseldek.

Karrguk is a cleric of Gorum; it's expressly in the text. And Karrguk will betray the party, too, so the deal won't have to be made. Only promised and it makes complete sense to buy Karrguk's loyalty with such a promise - and Droja knows it.

Liberty's Edge

There seems to be a very great deal of hand-waving involved in setting up the PCs into being interested in Skirgaard, in travelling there and in arriving at the hit and run tactics phase of this campaign.

As written, it feels very rushed to me.

It's a huge gap in the AP, which, on reflection, I'm okay with. However, I think a great many GMs would benefit from some more hand-holding and express direction in seamlessly flowing the AP from Vol 3 to Vol 4 or at the least, more discussion here as to how all that was done.

There could be *easily* be a half-dozen or more game sessions getting from the end of Vol 3 to the start of Vol 4; I guess it depends on the GM and the group and their play-styles. Some prefer and demand a more natural and organic flow to APs where others are more prepared to metagame it.

What did other GMs do to bridge this gap?

Liberty's Edge

Mosaic wrote:
Cool. If this could dovetail off the edges of the old swamp flip-map, it would triple the utility for me.

Seeing as I have been screwing in GIMP with the Swamp Flip mat attempting to do just exactly this, I concur.

The product has long since been designed, created, developed and probably even printed by now. I guess we will soon see the results.

Liberty's Edge

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

This module was the weakest in the path so far.

I am still digesting this volume of the AP after 4 read throughs; however, it is my favorite so far -- by a great margin. I also think it is Tim Hitchcok's best outing since Kingmaker Vol 1: Stolen Land.

The sandboxy nature and two set piece dungeons are wonderfully mixed in with a regional adventure hex crawl which has great promise, provides great opportunity to customize and to bring the setting -- and the villains -- to life. And it all hangs together, too.

As the nature of what the Giants are doing with the human tribute (Flash to indelible scene of Mom being eaten in Attack on Titan) the role of humans as food is underscored in this volume to a dark and pleasing degree. The politics here is outside of the borders of this Valley. Within it, with a few exceptions, you are Giants or you are food. That has a clarity and a singleness of moral purpose that I found refreshing. And finally, it was DARK and GRITTY.

An ogre is going nuts near tearing apart a Crofter's Cottage near Shinnerman's Fortune because she can't fit up the stairs to reach a crying human baby and the smell of it is driving her mad with hunger. LOVED IT.

Are we crystal clear on the motives of the party and the bad guys now?

Tim Hitchcock's signatures are contained throughout the module. The backstory to Stilgrit, the mother of Spiders, is classic Hitchcock. His villains always have reasons for what they do and who they are and his writing style has affected all the other Werecabbages when it comes to NPC backstories. Stilgrit's is a little over the top, but it's the effort he puts in that is noteworthy. Every GM and adventure author can learn something about NPC and story design by reading that.

The cracked femurs in the fire, the bodies stacked like cordwood, the cadavers hung from hooks in the butcher's lair, the nods to PCs that cast speak with dead and what they uncover from using it, the descriptions of useless gear or odd loot that has a value -- but also has a purpose -- all of this stuff is dark, well thought out, and fiendishly delightful.

If you can't roll 1d6 in Z11. Cathedral Chapter House after a successful Perception DC25 wondering with some excitement what the PC found and how you will describe these wonderful "garbage" non-garbage items in just the right way -- you aren't a gamer I want to play with.

Area N, "Abandoned Mines"? You have 8 or 9 months in the real world to build in motives, rumors, and backstory into your campaign to make finding the Abandoned Mines a highlight reel moment with connective tissue and real importance to your players and their PCs and your campaign. The Giants worked the mines until they couldn't reach farther; the Dwarves dug deeper until they abandoned the mines, too. What did they find when they dug too deeply? What lurks there and what treasures does it now guard? Why do your players care and how does this all fit in with their individual character's stories? You have more than HALF A YEAR to work this in and make it count. Don't drop the ball! Do your job, damn it.

If you can't use the Mines Map Packs and make that fit within your own Giantslayer AP and unspool all of that into one of the highlights of Vol 3 - turn in your GM card because you just aren't trying hard enough.

So, setting aside a discussion of the motives for reactivating the Forge to a separate thread/post, I loved this volume of the AP and I found it called back to the Kingmaker AP in a strong and functional way, while providing great hooks for GMs to customize and make this major installment in the AP the crown jewel of the Giantslayer AP.

Liberty's Edge

On the plus side of things, our Gianstlayer session last night featured the introduction of our 60" Bravia Electronic Battlemat.

The game is played primarily in the SF Bay Area and the GM is remote to the game over Skype, with battlemat feedback in real time over Twitch.

The battlemat is controlled/revealed through the use of d20Pro, although the game is otherwise played normally by rolling physical dice and announcing results in the ordinary way.

What do the maps looks like on the electronic battlemat? Pretty sweet. Here is one of the attack in Event #2 by the Young Diseased wolves within Trunau.

Attack in Trunau

Liberty's Edge

The Soundset Editor that is being developed now (and with a projected release next month) should make it much easier to grab and pluck various elements from their back catalog and develop custom sets for APs not formally covered by the current offerings.

It's doable now without the editor of course.

It's not perfect as a soundset specifically created and assembled for an AP of course, but given the very robust offerings for Rise of the Runelords which features a great many ogres and giants already, you should have few problems in cooking up exacting soundsets and moods for the Giantslayer AP, say.

I'm quite excited to be using Syrinscape in our games. It's a great product and I think Paizo backed the right product with this one.

Liberty's Edge

Our Dwarven Delve is sent in a darker, grimmer, and grittier version of Golarion. Where Trunau is overtly racist, class ridden, and divided. Where Jim Crow is in effect for those with "tainted" blood despite their heroic efforts and self-sacrifice. Where bigotry, prejudice, pride and jealousy is palpable and real -- and where rape and abortion are pressing ills and social issues which everybody fears and nobody talks about above a whisper - but which entangles all, just the same.

It's also the place where some people fight back against this entrenched order, where they still believe in love, honour and justice. A place that they would rather believe in a better world despite the evidence; where they would rather live on their knees and hope that mercy and deliverance exists somewhere, somehow than slit the throats of their own children and call it bravery.

It's the no frikkin Gnomes, no hopping bunnies and no Sunny Days and Blue Skies version of the Giantslayer AP. :)

Liberty's Edge

taks wrote:

Actually, I'm sitting here thinking about something similar...

Rather than at the obelisk, but when the PCs first find Silvermane and waken him, he explains they need to rest for the coming battle... foreshadowning "hoardes of things" that I keep mentioning.

I would suggest that the easier default source of all foreshadowing in this Volume and, indeed, to introduce the Storm Tyrant earlier into the AP is not so much through RP discussions with Silvermane, but through the Oracle Katrezra.

Katrezra is the blind LG Orc prophet, who one or more gods have decided to make use of as their hotline to the world and provide Katrezra with glimpses of the future that are as obscure, prophetic and clear/unclear as you need them to be. It's a built in trope. Use it.

Liberty's Edge

taks wrote:

The problem I have with this is that "they should be 3rd level by the time they face the waves of orcs." That means they level up some time DURING the inner quarter. How do you do that? They can't suddenly get new spells.

All the more reason to use the Vault of Thorns pocket dimension change to the plot as I posted above. As a plot device, it eases and forgives a multitude of sins... It allows for bulking up of encounters where needed, too - both before and after it is triggered, as the GM can eyeball at the time.

Liberty's Edge

In terms of resting, I have the following change to the plot cooked up in case it is needed:

Nearing the entrance to P1, the party will see Silvermane step OUT of the standing Stone obelisk that stands in the Hopespring pool. I use the largish rock already present on the map as the new Trunau standing stone. Its presence in the Hopespring also explains Silvermane's interest and devotion to Trunau.

Silvermane is able to speak to the party and make himself understood through using the voice of his special Raven animal companion.

When the PCs see Silvermane step out of the gateway, he is holding the Ghostlight Lantern and it is lit.

The reason that Silvermane has stepped out of the Standing Stone is because Silvermane has just traveled there. Time in the pocket dimension known as the "Vault of Thorns" moves VERY FAST compared to our own. Silvermane was able to travel there using the Ghostlight, rest off the path in the vegetation near the Obelisk at J1 in the Vault using the spell Campfire Wall to do so secretly. Silvermane regained his spells, healed himself and looked about the Vault briefly and did not like what he saw. Deciding against further investigation in the Vault for the time being, he then stepped BACK through the Standing Stone, nearly healed and with freshly prepared spells. All the while, only a few minutes at most had passed in Trunau and the battle still rages...and he sees the PCs. [Hopefully the PCs saved him earlier and he now returns the favor; perhaps not.]

Silvermane knows that the Vault of Thorns is not safe. Alone and injured, he had to heal first. After he recovered most of his strength, his priority was to return to Trunau and aid the people in the battle. Silvermane planned to return to the Vault after the battle and see what the mischief was.

But seeing the PCs in their weakened state, and hearing the devastating siege engine throwing flaming death down upon the city, Silvermane makes up his mind quickly. Silvermane will pass the Ghostlight to the PCs with a quick word on how to use it -- advising them to rest off the path in secrecy in the area still protected by his Campfire Wall spell -- and quickly return to Trunau. The party must return before the light from the lantern fades or they will be lost there. [This provides the GM with some more narrative control re: light flickering out on the Ghostlight Lantern in case the PCs go poking about the Vault anyway] There is not much left at all. Silvermane is an 8th level druid and his Campfire Wall spell still has at least 8 hours left on it; He tells them about the time differential relative to the "real world" that passes in the Vault, exactly where the campfire is and how to find it, advises them to rest in secret and to return as quickly as they can to save Trunau. "Go - go now". Time is moving quickly there and the campfire wall spell is burning off FAST relative to Trunau time.

[Time in the Vault moves not as a constant fast river relative to Golarion's, but more like an unpredictable storm, with winds, strong wind gusts, luffs and eddies. This provides "Fudge Factor" so that resort to resting in the Vault as the AP progresses as a quick "spell refuel point" can be narrated around and avoided later in the AP if you need to. Rope Trick is bad enough on its own; Don't let the Vault of Thorns become your Rope Trick nightmare later on in the AP!]

They must hurry. But just as importantly, Silvermane warns the PCs they must NOT go into the Vault or near its doorway. Silvermane will explain the place later to them when they return, but the Vault is >>NOT<< empty and powerful foes lie within it and near its door that are beyond their strength to meet. Should they perish in any attempt to give battle in the Vault, Trunau will not have their aid and could be lost.

With that, Silvermane transforms into a bird and flies into the night to deal with the [other] siege engine raining rocks and casks of burning oil down on to the town, leaving the lit Ghostlight on the ground where he stood. Silvermane will deal with the other siege engine. The party needs to rest.

In this manner, the PCs get to leave the battle -- rest in a pocket dimension where time passes differently -- regain their power and return to the battle >>IN PROGRESS<<. It also strengthens the hook into the next installment of the AP and the reason why they must travel there.

Of course, on their return to Trunau, the Ghostlight gutters out and fades. Without the light from a Will 'o Wisp to open the doorway, the PCs must travel to the marsh and gain a new Wisp corpse. Silvermane does not have another and there are simply none nearby that might be recovered.

Which will lead the PCs into Vol 2 of the AP -- after the end of Skreed and the conclusion of Part 3 of Vol 1.

I think this makes for a better adventure in Vol 1 and ties Vol II far more organically and naturally to the overall AP's progression.

Liberty's Edge

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Rob McCreary wrote:

Just to respond to a few of the points raised in this thread:

..."So if giants couldn't be the primary foe in this adventure, we needed to replace them with something else, and that something else was orcs...Now we might have been able to delve a lot deeper into the themes surrounding orcs, half-orcs, racism, and a human city in the middle of orc territory, but that would have moved the theme away from that of Giantslayer.

While that may be, 1/3rd of this AP deals primarily with Orcs, and it is the first part of an AP which sets the tone - and the theme. Players experience the theme as they play. And I promise you, for the first 4 months to 1 year of play? The theme is not going to be Giants, no matter the name of the AP. The theme from the players' perspective is "the Orcs of Belkzen".

That more than merits the attention from where I sit, notwithstanding the subject matter of Vols 3-6.

I appreciate your point; please consider mine and how it is perceived by players who don't get to see the AP from 40,000 feet. They eat the AP one encounter and NPC at a time. My bet is that for a VERY long time during play, this Giantslayer AP "tastes like Orc."

Regarding some of the other specific topics brought up, it is important to realize that Trunau was fully detailed in a Campaign Setting book, Towns of the Inner Sea, published in 2013. And many of those things were established there: the town's view on half-orcs, the relationship between Sara Morninghawk and Agrit Staginsdar, hopeknives and how and why they are used. These were not things included in the adventure for any "messaging" or political correctness or tokenism. They were included in the adventure because they were a part of the setting two years before this Adventure Path came out.

I am aware of that. To be clear, the same-sex relationship was not the part that got me; the relationship between a Dwarf and a half-orc was the part that seemed to pass without comment when one might have been offered. The dwarves of the Mindspin Mountains have "racial hatred" as one of their default special ability when dealing with orcs, yet we get Sara and Agrit as spouses? That merits some comment I think, but not because of the gender issue.

As for hopeknives, I understand those were also mentioned before in the Inner Sea World Guide's entry for Trunau initially. This could have -- and imo, should have, received more and closer examination, and a mature questioning, frankly. What does this all mean and how does it fit?

The entire concept is plainly extremist and fanatical. It's definitely interesting, I grant you that -- but it has many implications the AP does not attempt to develop. Hopeknives are either 1) Nutty and unjustified or 2) Logical & justified. If it's #2, that makes the treatment of the town's half-orcs pretty much wholly at odds with this desperate view, hardened philosophy and the whole symbology of the hopeknife. It's a very hard sell otherwise.

Towns of the Inner Sea tells us that Trunau treats half-orcs well, but also implies that they are the product of rape. And that their children survive the event of getting raped in order to carry those children to term. So they would sooner kill their own children rather than have them be raped by orcs (even if they survive it), but they embrace the bastard off-spring of such couplings? Even when they appear to be monstrous and are clearly non-human?

Does that make any sense? Really? For some, sure. For most? Not Really, no. I think it is necessary to admit that extremism is practiced by extremists.

It is also a very difficult thing to accept if Hopeknives can be reasonable and justified while their attitude to half-orcs is the subject of a sidebar going very much the other way at p. 20 ("Half-Orc Witch Hunt"). Canonical only goes so far.

I thought the realistic way to deal with this was for the PCs to discover, through Brinya, that Rodrik secretly considered the hopeknife to be a symbol he despised. That's why he lost it -- he hates wearing it. The poet in him considers it to be a symbol of Trunau's intolerance and hatred and fear. (Contrast against his forbidden love for Brinya, "Other Side of Contempt" poem, et al). I would also have also used the fact that Rodrik and Brinya had exchanged hopeknives as a sign they had married in secret, without the consent of the father -- an act consistent with the entry for hopeknives in Inner Sea Towns. That could have been developed further in the investigation, but appears left unexplored. (Perhaps that was a space limitation issue.)

Still, instead of exploring the mixed meaning of this symbol, what it means and implies, it is reduced to a McGuffin relating to a "receipt", the need for which in a such a small town is a most improbable plot device.

While I appreciate that these sorts of conundrums seem small, in the context of the adventure as presented in Vol 1, a great deal of time and effort is spent by the PCs thinking about and investigating this hopeknife and what it means. And yes, suspecting the half-orcs and if they are to be trusted or rounded up, and if so, how. The players are not just going to breeze over this stuff.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Auxmaulous wrote:
In the future, please try having a little more conviction next time before you post a five-point screed...

I'll take that under advisement.

My position (and my objections) are not necessarily a binary proposition. There is room for nuance, there is a spectrum for discussion, and there is usually a range of possibilities.

What I will run, and what I understand the commercial and practical pressures facing an author or Paizo to be, are very different things.

It appears that you want it all Black and White; On or Off; Troll or Fanboi.

I do not share that view nor do I share that approach.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Geddes wrote:

I wonder what the proportion of gaming-products-used-for-games vs gaming-products-which-are-just-read-for-fun is.

I suspect I'm in the minority, but almost every adventure I buy is for reading/inspiration purposes. I would guesstimate that I run 10% of the adventures I buy (maybe it will eventually reach 20%, but I doubt it's higher than that).

As such, readability rates more highly in my list of priorities than playability. Lots of tables or bullet point lists don't really have much value to me.

Nobody knows what those numbers currently are. Paizo had an idea about them from 15 years ago when they published Dungeon. One of the things which made the AP design so attractive to Paizo that they took a risk on it was how popular the AP format was when it was started in Dungeon, and how many people seemed to be talking about it and actually playing the adventures in Dungeon that were part of an AP. While that change was difficult to quantify, Paizo knew they were on to something with the AP format.

#100 issues later of Pathfinder Adventure Path, I think we can agree on that point, at least.

But yes Steve, the products main "value-in-use" lies still in the reading and not in the using during actual play when it comes to Adv Paths at least. It might not be a DELIBERATE choice on the part of the purchaser, but whether deliberate or not, I'm pretty sure it's the practical result.

I would make an exception to the "principal use" observation. My guess (and that is all that it is -- a guess) is that when it comes to Pathfinder Society Scenarios? My bet is that the main "value in use" for those digital products really does lie mainly in the running and not in the reading. And given how those scenarios are run in stores, in practice, the bullet point stuff suggested in this thread probably would be better appreciated and lead to a better gaming experience.

Problem is, PFS scenarios are also the main training ground for module and AP writers, so trying to make a change in one product area and pretending that has no consequences in other areas is incorrect as well.

All of which lead to the following observation as to why adventures are the way they are: there are good reasons.

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I've been inside "the cool kids club", thanks; spoken with *many* of the Paizo designers and freelance authors as part of Podcast and print reviews of their products I have done in the past. I continue to do so on a daily basis with some of them on Facebook. We're friends.

It's not about that.

And I don't agree that Paizo designs their AP products with any overt "kid friendly" design mantra. The only time I have seen that ethos have any effect on their product design is in the Beginner Box -- and I happen to agree with their choices and motives with that product. The sorts of things you are mentioning have had real impact at Wizards of the Coast over the years, especially when licensing electronic games designs at WotC (I have first-hand experience with that) but that's WotC and this is Paizo.

So it's not about that either.

I certainly do understand that when it comes to games, people want to get away from the troubles of this real world and escape into a fantasy RPG to have fun. That is an entirely legitimate objective for any player to want, and it's legitimate for Paizo to serve it up, too. There are a diverse number of people playing RPGs and they want to see themselves depicted in that world: whether it's sexuality or race, rubbing people's noses in those aspects of the real world in their game world isn't much fun.

I certainly DO "get" that.

As for same sex relationships and marriages, I get all of that and have, generally, no problem with any of it. I'm a leftie Canadian and the Kim Davis style social divisions don't exist here in any significant manner. I really don't have a personal problem with it being depicted in a shrug-worthy manner in this AP. I'm okay with that. What I did have a problem with was then a layering of an odd racial coupling added on top of that, too: half-orc and dwarf, together, in a land where the orcs and dwarves have fought one another since the Quest for Sky - more than 9,000 years? That's going one Bridge Too Far.

I would have thought THAT aspect to their relationship would have been worthy of at least a sidebar.

Rape isn't fun and there isn't much about it that could be considered fun or escapist. So that's something I think we can all understand at an intellectual level -- and which we can admit that most of us cannot understand at an emotional level.

And yes, that a particular half-orc has been the product of a conception that arose out of rape has been mentioned before in several Paizo products, so that's hardly a ground breaker. The problem with this particular adventure is that given the presence of Trunau within the fringes of Belkzen and the population's well, zealotry, in deciding to stay there and the methods they will resort to up to and including deliberately slitting the throats of their own children and loved ones to avoid capture? Well -- all of that is very dissonant with how it is that there are so many half-orcs in their society, and how "orcish" a particular half-orc looks (or 1/4 or 1/8 orc blooded, say) would seem to be a reasonable leap and have some bearing upon their social status and how they might be treated.

Which brings us back to race and I can understand how all of that becomes a very distasteful and very unFun theme for many players.

The problem with this particular adventure is that all of those things seem to be twisting into a confluence, a maelstrom of distasteful and unpopular real world social and historical themes converging all at once, with race and rape being far and away the biggest aspect of it.

But the Hopeknives is where they lost me. There is NO REASON, zero, zip, zilch, nada where those can be breezed over as no big deal. The idea that capture by the orcs would result in such a horrendous fate -- or perhaps, merely believed to result in such a horrendous fate -- that a mother slitting the throat of her young child rather than allow him or her to be captured would be seen as a socially responsible thing to do and part of their duty as parents in Trunau...

From my perspective, that's frikkin extremist nutbar CREEPTASTIC stuff. And it's not a small point in the adventure; it is, in fact, the point of departure to the entire first Act of the adventure. And yet we don't get a sidebar about that?

No. No, no, no. That's crossing the line. You don't get to make creative decisions like that and not get called on it. Add in all the other mounting social issues studiously ignored for whatever reason and the whole thing just loses me.

It's fixable. And I can and WILL fix it in my Giantslayer campaign. But all of this was at the very least deserving of a sidebar discussion somewhere within this volume of the AP and we didn't get it. We should have. It would have made for a better adventure and inspired others to make their campaigns a better adventure too, I think.

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After reading through the Battle of Bloodmarch Hill a few times, I have to say this about all of that.

No, This is too damned Black and White. This is portrayed as KID's STUFF.

The area is too clear cut, too cartoonish, too simple in its morality and absolute in its depiction of the people's ideals. Nobody feels real.

It misses the mark for me. Completely.

Here are some of the issues for me:

1- Racism without being Actually, you know, RACIST

There is racism and racial tension without there being any actual racism. Why? Because that is unrealistic, or is it simply that it pushes the wrong politically correct buttons?

Here is an enclave of human within the unclear borders of Belkzen and these CRAZY people are both distrusting of -- and somehow protective of -- their half-orcs? ALL of them?

No, no and no again. **NO** This rings FALSE to me. The opportunities for Jim Crow and deep prejudice among the human and half orcs is missed. The opportunity for a grim and gritty Trunau is avoided -- not because it would ring false, but because it might offend. And that wouldn't be "fun"? Screw that.

2. Same-Sex and Multi-Racial Relationships Without Consequences

Similarly, the AP seems to go overboard on same-sex relationships and then layers on top of it a multi-racial relationships, too. Without providing any context, tension, or consequences to ANY OF IT; it ignores opportunities to provoke controversy and then examine it in game. It's just an immature DisneyLand approach to these serious subjects.

We see it in the relationship between the Female Half-Orc Smith and her Dwarven wife in Vol 1, and another opportunity is missed in Vol II between the Saboteur and the Half-orc Cook. I haven't got to the rest of the AP in depth yet, but given the missed opportunities in the first few volumes, I am guessing it will happen again as it moves forward.

3. Class and Ethnic Prejudice and Hatred in Family Relationships

They could also have developed the theme of racial tension further in Vol 1 with the Father of the murder victim and his antipathy towards his son's lover (who actually seems to have been his wife, as they exchanged hopeknives.) But they miss it. It's just treated with a middle-school level of complexity here. It BEGS for more.

4. Race, Rape and Jim Crow beyond the Walls of Trunau

We could have explored this theme further with WHO does the farming outside the walls and who is safe within them. The number of half-orcs, who conceived them and why, Orc raiders in the area, the signal fires, and the issue of half-orcs within the town just screams RAPE and what THAT means for their society. But no, another opportunity missed. I well understand why Paizo might have decided to ignore this given those uncomfortable implications in this "triggering" society we seem to now live in, but it's the elephant in the room.

5. Hopeknives are VILE Fanaticism

The very idea of the Hopeknives and what they represent is a fanaticism which is portrayed as noble, but which if explored with some maturity is as offensively over-the-top extremist as almost anything ISIL did last week. It may well be best summed up as potentially bat-s!@% crazy. An opportunity to explore how the victim felt about hopeknives is lost as well. This demands moral complexity but we get middle school theme park out of it.

Why? Because the entire approach seems appropriate to a teenager's sense of moral complexity. It misses the mark, fails to feel real, and in general, seems just ... silly.

I won't do it. I won't run a module that BEGS to have layers of grime, grit and moral complexity like a patina (if not a pall) over everything -- and run it instead as if it was some Banana Yellow and Pink theme park ride in DisneyLand aimed for 10 year olds.

I won't do it. I won't.

Am I the only person who sees this? I can't believe that, yet, nobody else is complaining. I am mystified at the lack of a reaction to this by Pathfinder GMs and subscribers.

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
The worst was Legacy of Fire - (and no, it's not even close, either).

Weaker then Council of Thieves?

Hell yes. LoF turns into a choo-choo in an almost DragonLance manner.

I have never played Second Darkness (though I have read it) and like LoF, they each suffer from the same sort of bait and switch given fairly strong design in vols 1 and 2 of the series and then a slide into Sucktastic (albeit for somewhat different reasons, though an inelegant choo-choo train plays a role in both). The Suck just comes in earlier in Second Darkness than it does in LoF.

Reign of Winter suffers from the same Choo-choo ride problem inherent in LoF, I might add. It simply hides it a little better.

Council of Thieves has a lot to recommend it actually. It's biggest problem is that it has a weak beginning. SKR is a fine game designer and world builder, but adventure design has never been his forte. Add to that that the PF core game was still being developed at the time he was writing it and vol 1 just didn't work out as well as it could have.

I was not a fan of Bastards of Erebus, but Richard Pett's Sixfold Trial which is Vol II of Council of Thieves is excellent and that volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path (when considered as a coherent whole 96 page book) is still probably the best overall AP volume released, and if not - definitely top 3 through the first 99.

The worst thing about Council of Thieves is that it really has nothing to do with the title. It builds false expectations and that is not a sin players or GMs easily forgive. Shadows Over Westcrown would have been a better, and certainly more accurate, title.

Every AP benefits from a GM taking steps to customize the setting and add his or her flourishes to the campaign. There is plenty of room to do that with Council of Thieves; perhaps more than almost all other PF APs other than Kingmaker. Council of Thieves has potential - you just have to work at it a little more (and you have to fix Vol 1 - we covered that on the podcast when we reviewed it).

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I have played or DM'd/GM'd the following:

Shackled City
Savage Tide
Age of Worms (twice)
Legacy of Fire
Council of Thieves
Serpent's Skull
Jade Regent
Carrion Crown
Skull and Shackles
Mummy's Mask

now playing: Iron Gods & Shattered Star

and about to start to GM Gianstlayer.

Out of that list, I honestly think that the best one, far and away to such an extent that it isn't even really *close* is Kingmaker.

The worst was Legacy of Fire - (and no, it's not even close, either).

I do think that Kingmaker's ultimate villain is not as strongly foreshadowed a villain as she could be and the final volume is fairly weak. That's the part where the shine really starts to come off the AP.

That said, first half in particular is the best of any AP released and the work that both Tim Hitchcock and Greg Vaughan did on Kingmaker is their finest they have each written to date. Given how prolific both authors have been - that is saying something.

I would expect to see a successor campaign to Kingmaker. Not necessarily set in the River Kingdoms, but just generally revisiting the concept of kingdom management and an exploration theme. At its core, it's a solid winner and I would look forward to see what both James Jacobs and Rob McCreary would do to develop the AP concept further.

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James Jacobs wrote:
This is a harder nut to crack than it sounds, honestly. WotC's "delve" format, which they started using toward the tail end of 3rd edition, was one attempt to make adventures easier to run, but it made them VERY difficult to write and quite unsatisfying to simply read.
James Jacobs wrote:

Having gone through several "rework the format" attempts for adventures before, I'm pretty hesitant. Each time, what seemed like a good idea kinda ended up backfiring in the end, and we've always gone back to the "standard" set by early 3rd edition's Dungeon Magazine.

One of the things you mentioned in the first quote James was, I think, perhaps lost upon some of the people who read it and then posted here. DeathQuaker got it right. It's not a small point, so it bears repeating (if I may be so bold).

The OP and others mention a number of things that might make the adventure easier to use during play by a GM on the fly. These comments are not wrong. I am not suggesting that they are wrong. Most of those comments are right.

The problem is that those who posted them are approaching the utility of the adventure merely as a game product, the purpose of which is to aid a GM in running an adventure. That's actually not what a published adventure by Paizo is; or rather, it is that, but it is also something else.

A Paizo adventure (and most definitely an Adventure Path volume), is a published book whose "value in use" lies not only in the using, but in the reading of it. In fact, its principal value probably lies mainly in the reading, and not in the playing.

I have no idea what percentage of adventures Paizo sells that actually end up being run as part of a RPG session. I could pull a stat out of my colon, but it wouldn't be very reliable. I am not sure that anybody knows the answer to that question - in Paizo or outside of it.

Erik Mona has mentioned to me some years ago that Paizo had data on the number of Adventures that were actually run when Paizo published Dungeon. Erik told me it was actually quite low for the most part, and that most often, an adventure was never actually run by a GM at all.

Fast forward in time to Pathfinder RPG and those adventure and subscription lines and matters may have changed somewhat. But whatever the "real" answer is, it is still merely a subset of those who buy the adventure, read it (if they do even that) and put it on the shelf to be used "someday". Often (if not most of the time), "someday' never comes.

That's right, the adventure is purchased, sometimes read, and even less frequently than that, actually used in play as a RPG aid.

Consequently, Paizo must publish adventure material that is not only interesting to play, but is also interesting to read as a form of (non-fiction) gaming fiction, as it were.

It's not just important to their business, it's very important. You can't sacrifice that value-in-use for another purpose which you might prefer without consequences.

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Looking at my Pathfinder comics collection tonight, I observe that of the issues that came with a map (by FAR my favorite feature of the comic line!) Paizo, in partnership with Dynamite, has now have released 18 individual battle maps.

The comic maps themselves are essentially the equivalent of 4 Map Pack cards assembled into one map. Ignoring the promo/box art in a typical Pathfinder Map Pack, each with 18 5x8 cards in each pack, that makes the 18 total released comic maps the equivalent of 4 Pathfinder Map Packs. That's a rather significant amount of content!

I prefer to use my maps online with a VTT, and yes, I have scanned all of the comic maps in at 150 dpi for that purpose. But tbh, it's an awkward task and no matter how careful I try to do the scans, some glare and imperfections in the scanned maps are inevitable. In addition, the colors are not as vibrant as Jason Engle's original "camera ready" art.

So here is a product I would like to see: a PDF product of the maps released with the comics to date. I would think a 24 map collection would be an auspicious number to include for sale sometime in the spring of 2016.

Whatever the case, I would be very happy to buy this as a PDF only product at normal map pack DPI resolution, in pre-assembled map form. While I know there is also a market for the comic maps as a stand-alone print products, I am concerned that to release them as stand-alone print products (assuming Paizo even has the right to do so) would devalue the existing printed maps that ship with the comics, so I'm a little iffy on that idea.

I would also point out that phasing in the encounter maps in some form for generic use in Pathfinder Society Scenarios would also make sense and make good use of existing art assets.

In short, I love the comic maps and the comic maps and encounters are among the most under-appreciated and hidden gems in Paizo's product line. I want to be able to make better use of the content created and released so far.

How about it?

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I would imagine that within days (and certainly weeks) this #100 issue will be arriving at Paizo's offices to await eventual shipment to subscribers and stores.

I remember receiving my copy of AP#1 in the mail, as a replacement for my then expired Dungeon subscription. While I wasn't angry about getting Pathfinder AP, I certainly wasn't happy about the end of Dungeon.

Eight years later and I am still not happy about the end of Dungeon, but at least I can be philosophical about it now. Moreover, if I had to choose between Pathfinder or Dungeon/Dragon, it would be Pathfinder a million times over. I'd make that choice awoken at 3:30 a.m., dead drunk. Every. Single. Time.

What a supremely *satisfying* moment this must have been for you all to ship this one off to the printer.

Congratulations to Lisa Stevens, Erik, James, Wes, Jason and the entire Paizo staff.

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Dungeon dressing looks good. Uptick in use of "animated objects" encounters in future game sessions? Magic 8-Ball says: "Mo Debly".

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The sheer size of Paizo's offerings is becoming quite vast. There was a a time when they had only a half-dozen of their own products - and everything else they sold made/published by somebody else was still a minor add-in shipped with a magazine to subscribers. In the past few years, the size of their own catalog shows which contains only their own offerings are bigger than the magazine they used to publish.

Impressive! Most impressive.

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Name: Raman of the Sand Clan
Race: Dwarf (Pahmet)
Class/Level: Fighter 6
Adventure: Empty Graves
Location: Sepelchur of the Servant (Lower Level)
Catalyst: Failed Will Save vs. Crypt Thing

This was not entirely Raman's fault - but he died just the same.

Upon entering Servitor's Court, the party was ambushed by the Crypt Thing which used a quickened dimension door to move into the geographical centre of the party so that all were in the area of effect and the Crypt Thing activated his teleport AoE attack.

All the heroes resisted the Crypt Thing's attempt to split the party, save for Raman of the Sand Clan.

As the battle against the Crypt Thing and Naghut raged, Raman found himself teleported randomly southward into what rapidly became a solo combat with the Graven Guardian of Anubis. The Guardian struck swiftly and without mercy. While Raman fought bravely, he soon discovered that he was over-matched and attempted to flee the area; Raman could have attempted to use the withdraw action but did not. Mistake. Instead, Raman trusted to his heavy armor and shield and ran for the door. The Guardian was lucky and the AoO as Raman tried to run was enough to finish him from behind. Raman died in a pool of blood before the northern doors, his companions just beyond, having defeated the Crypt Thing and now in a battle for their lives against Naghut - a Barbarian Ghoul that ought not to be able to gain morale effects from rage -- but apparently, nevertheless can.

Raman's next of kin have been notified. The player has opted not to have Raman raised to join the living. Accordingly, this was a true death.

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The OP is correct.

When the "popularly believed premise" (as opposed to actual premise) of a book is to "fix what ails ya" about 3.xx/PFRPG, without more particularity there is just no way that those expectations can be met. Disappointment is not merely likely - it is inevitable.

Now that we've agreed on that - let's get back to my brighter brights and whiter whites.

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It's been a week since the glossy dead tree version was passed around at Indy.

Could we get the PDF of that online too?

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No. Not yet.

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While not directly on point, I would also like to point out that the new Social Combat Deck is particularly well suited for use in Vol 3 of the Mummy's Mask (and elsewhere, as you may prefer).

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Ciaran Barnes wrote:
What's wrong with the standard viewer?

Nothing is wrong with it. It is simply that Goodreader is faster, allows for notations and its built in support for Dropbox makes it far easier to transfer files to your iPad and organize them in folders for use.

The less use I am forced to make of iTunes, the better.

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Mark Norfolk wrote:

Some kind of preview of the use of these cards - an example of them in action might be useful. I was very disappointed with the Tide of Battle cards so want a little reassurance....


I have explained in my product review how they work. It is different than the initial Chase Deck and I rather like the mechanic Jason has designed.

At its heart, this is a Skill Challenge system that allows those who are not Charisma skill based characters to still contribute -- and allows the players to work together to decide how best to succeed at the "Social Combat".

I thought this product was particularly well suited to Vol 3 of the Mummy's Mask.

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Alright, I'm still not getting the complaint.

Maybe the OP can explain his workflow of what he does now to extract his maps to "prep" his maps for use in a VTT. Because I don't have these problems and I work pretty fast.

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Fubbles the Baby Cow wrote:

Guys, I'm glad to hear that you're trying to get the podcast going again. I loved the show, and watched with dismay as your releases grew further and further apart. I have to admit I thought you had podfaded.

Curious, what have you changed that will allow you to release on a more frequent basis? Has SteelWind's professional life eased up any? Do you plan on keeping the AP review format? There's a lot of unreviewed AP's out there...

We released a new episode last week, so that should answer your format questions! Click Here

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#1: Kingmaker 2.0: Set wherever. I don't care. But it's time to go back to that well.

#2:Godfathers of Absalom An entirely urban campaign, with lots of sandboxy capers, where the PCs are thugs, thieves, second story-men, fences, pimps, bookies, enforcers, loan sharks and wanna be Made Men. Rise from the Puddles district of Absalom, run the rackets, fight for turf, survive the gang-war and have your crime family rise to the top; become the Godfathers of Absalom. (Paladins need not apply).

#3: Quest for Sky: A historical AP set almost in its entirety underground, in the past after Earthfall when the Orcs rule the surface of Golarion. A pure Darklands style campaign where the party are in service to the Dwarves who are pressing to discover the path to the surface above. This almost entirely underground aspect of the game removes the need to redo the Inner Sea World Guide for the past.

#4:Orcslayer: It's time for the Orc! The heroes must take their stand against the most dangerous of all foes; the ones that are just as clever as humans, but stronger. The Orcs take the roll of the Big Bads.

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:

Just going to leave this link here for everyone...


And even more Great Library inspiration Click Here

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Caderyn wrote:

Why is your Div acting like a melee brute?

You are primarily a debuffer and should be kiting (using your at will DDoor) to get out of sight and then slap them with at least 3 curses (-6 ST, 50% chance not to act, -6 Con, - 6 Wisdom first if they have good saves), never allow the PC's to get a full attack until you have the advantage and then pressure them when they are weakened (they get quite a few free rounds to hit him with single attacks but if you cripple the frontliners you should last at least a couple of dozen rounds).

With his DR10/Cold Iron mooks occupying the low damage melee fighters (preferably people with natural attacks so they cant bypass the DR easily), you can easily make the fight seem much more impressive despite it actually being quite easy (and low risk) for the PCs.

The risk here to the PCs is fairly low, but to the continuity of the AP itself? Very high. Chance of death is low, I'll grant you that, but the curses are permanent in duration. The cost to remove them is significant and the disruption to the AP "timer", such as it is, is also very significant as well. Food for thought.

We cover this design issue in detail in the most recent podcast review of this volume of the Mummy's Mask AP. The Div encounter is far and away the biggest potential pitfall in the Half-Dead City.

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Erik Mona wrote:

On Thursday I conducted a dinner meeting with the design staff and Brandon Hodge, with the topic being Occult Adventures.

I learned the following things:

7) Not only will this book be a fantastic resource for ALL Pathfinder players, but it will show how much "design space" is still left in the Pathfinder rules engine. Some of the mechanical discussions under discussion are tremendously exciting.

I love the Advanced Class Guide, and I'm looking forward to Pathfinder Unchained, but the design of both of those books is predicated on existing character classes. There's a ton of innovative stuff in those books, but it's all predicated on stuff that already exists. This book is going to be full of fresh,...

#7 is the one which worries me most, but it is gratifying to learn that the Paizo team has their eye on the same concerns that I share. Whether the choices Paizo may ultimately make in response to those same concerns are things I might have chosen is irrelevant. That really doesn't matter at all.

As long as you guys see the same potential problems, the path you take to deal with those concerns will probably make me (and most other Pathfinder fans) happy with the outcome.

Big Thumbs Up!

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Woah, woah. Slow down everybody.

Nearly ten years ago when Paizo was publishing Dungeon, there were a few of us who were using LCD projection technology to shine an image on the table during the game so we could move our minis directly on the map image surface. We wrote into Dungeon and asked if they could make it easier for us to access their maps so we could use them for that purpose.

LCD projectors were seen as avante garde cool tech at that time and Paizo, being made up of gamers, thought it was cool, too. They listened. At some expense, they began to break out the maps then published in Dungeon only in paper form and release online supplements to the issues of the mag. They were sometimes delayed a few months after publication -- but they listened.

Fast forward several years and during a conversation I asked Erik Mona if there was something that Paizo could do to make it easier for electronic maps to be accessed for GMs as part of VTT play. Paizo listened again. One of the significant problems users of VTTs faced was having the grid line up properly in the VTT display. The realities of having to size and rescale art as part of the publishing process meant that a grid that was embedded in the image made this very difficult.

Paizo listened again. In the products in which they could rigidly control their image sizes, all grid alignment problems went away, so that the Flip-Mat and Map Pack lines were easy to import into VTTs.

While that approach was impractical in dealing with the realities of deadlines and variable image sizes in a print publication where maps had to be resized to fit the page in an arbitrary way, they still tried their best. At considerable expense, they began to publish the Interactive Map pack as part of their .PDF downloads for each issue of Pathfinder Adventure Path. The images are produced so that we can turn on and off the secret doors and grids.

Using screen captures, we can take those images we need, capture, crop, copy and paste the images into a VTT for easy use during play. I do this for all my online games and the process is very easy now. I can prep an AP volume of maps for use in a VTT in a few minutes now.

If there is something the OP is finding difficult about the technical part of this, it may be he is doing it wrong -- and it may be that he wants to use maps and art for some other purpose where problems are occurring which might be remedied.

My point: you'll catch a lot more of your quarry with honey rather than vinegar. Paizo has been extremely accommodating on this issue over the years. They aren't playing catchup -- they've been at the front of the pack in this issue. So explain your technical issues, difficulties, preferences and druthers concerning images patiently and precisely. It might be that there are tips we can provide you on how to do it better -- and it may be that Paizo can take some steps so that they they can do it better, too. And it might be that there are reasons your preferences cannot be accommodated as easily as the OP would prefer.

Point is, you need to be more precise concerning the technical difficulties you are facing than the rant in the initial post.

Seriously: what's the problem? How can we help and how could it be made better for you by Paizo if we can't?

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Council of Thieves was always a stronger AP than it was made out to be. The title of the AP was the worst thing about it, as it engendered an expectation in players that the AP itself did not deliver on. Shadows over Westcrown might have been a better title.

This seems more in keeping with a true sequel to the real plot of Council of Thieves. And in the sense that #100 is a sequel to the beginning of the Pathfinderized portion of Pathfinder AP, I'm good with that.

I do wish that it was more to do with Molthune, but I see this as more of a northern independence movement that if successful, will have no real impact upon Cheliax itself. La plus ca change... I get the necessity, but, doesn't mean I have to like that aspect of it.

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organized wrote:

Just in time for the drive to Gencon. :)

That was our intention. Enjoy the weekend!

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Haladir wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
Mummy's Mask is not suitable for out of the box play - it just looks that way. There are, in fact, a number of lurking issues in that AP where the problems are latent and potentially pernicious. Don't go there for an out of the box campaign. I am not saying that the issues cannot be dealt with readily, but the design has latent deficiencies which may not be readily apparent to many GMs.

I haven't yet run Mummy's Mask, but I have read it pretty closely. It looks pretty tight to me as-written. I'm strongly considering running it when my current homebrew campaign set in Korvosa winds down.

What are the "latent and potentially pernicious" problems you see with it?

I discuss the potential problems at some length concerning Vol 1 in the latest episode of the podcast. The latent difficulties in Vol 2 will be discussed on the next episode. We also have Rob McCreary on the podcast to discuss the design issues in the module and the changes to the module during development as well.

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Liberty's Edge

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Just in time for the drive to Gencon, Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast returns with the Chronicles Re-Rolled Pre-Gencon Special: Featuring guests Stephen-Radney MacFarland and Rob McCreary of Paizo Inc., Colen McAlister and Liz Theis from Lone Wolf Development, Matt Morton of d20 Pro, and Jason Nelson of Legendary Games. Join Azmyth and Steel_Wind for the return of Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast and their featured review of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path, Vol. 1 The Half-Dead City. The all new episode weighs in at 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Available NOW! Right Click and save Here

Please NOTE: The old iTunes/RSS Feed for Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast no longer works, but we will be updating an all new iTunes subscription link later on in the week. For now, used the above link to download.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Just in time for the drive to Gencon, Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast returns with the Chronicles Re-Rolled Pre-Gencon Special: Featuring guests Stephen-Radney MacFarland and Rob McCreary of Paizo Inc., Colen McAlister and Liz Theis from Lone Wolf Development, Matt Morton of d20 Pro, and Jason Nelson of Legendary Games. Join Azmyth and Steel_Wind for the return of Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast and their featured review of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path, Vol. 1 The Half-Dead City. The all new episode weighs in at 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Available NOW! Right Click and save Here

Please NOTE: The old iTunes/RSS Feed for Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast no longer works, but we will be updating an all new iTunes subscription link later on in the week. For now, used the above link to download.

Liberty's Edge

Erik Mona wrote:
The Purity of Violence wrote:
For Pathfinder #100 I'd like to see a visit to the Spire of Nex, written by Erik and developed by James. Iconic location, iconic names. An aboleth involvement would be nice...

Maybe in 150 or 200. :)

I don't care much about what the specific adventure is about, but I do hope to see a bona fide HOLY CRAP offering for #100.

Several years ago, the mere fact that #100 was on some list, somewhere, and no longer entirely theoretical was in itself cause for celebration. Now? Now it's just cause for work.

That and coolness.

Liberty's Edge

I would agree that Rise of the Runelords is the easiest to run out of the box. Shattered Star is a close runner up, but that one will take some effort to cooper up some holes in the middle books.

Mummy's Mask is not suitable for out of the box play - it just looks that way. There are, in fact, a number of lurking issues in that AP where the problems are latent and potentially pernicious. Don't go there for an out of the box campaign. I am not saying that the issues cannot be dealt with readily, but the design has latent deficiencies which may not be readily apparent to many GMs.

RotRL Anniv Edition is the way to go, for sure. It is also the cheapest and the AP with the highest accessory support. It's an easy choice.

Liberty's Edge

Lord Snow wrote:

However, at least in book 2, it seems like the author is unaware of just how easy it is to defeat really underpowered mooks.

I found that for my group what works best is one APL+1 or APL+2 boss, and then 2 or 3 APL or APL - 1 mooks. makes for a difficult but fair encounter to cap the adventure off.

Uhm... what?

The bottom level of the Sepulchur in Vol 2 presents 4 VERY under CR'd, overpowered (if not overpowering) challenges. WORSE, the design employs the use of not one but TWO alarm spells which logically should lead to the Boss calling upon at least two of the high CR threats in the dungeon to stride forward with him in to battle. You fight Nebta, Sekuir and Naghat together? That encounter would significantly challenge a level 9 or 10 party.

If that happens (as it should) against 4 level 6 PCs? it's a TPK, 100% of the time.

Even on their own, the use of the Crypt Thing will likely lead to one player death as the PC is randomly teleported into the dungeon with a good chance of having to fight one of the Graven Guardian, Nebta-Khufre and Mummy Cohort, or worse, the sceaduinar in a solo duel to the death -- any one of which will result in almost certain death if confronted by only 2 PCs, let alone 1.

The design problems in the second half of Empty Graves would take an hour to explain, but they are there, lurking and very, very real.

If there is anything that Vol II's final dungeon level is NOT, it is a cakewalk. The foes on that level are so far removed from the term "mook", I can only say, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

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