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Gorgon

Steel_Wind's page

887 posts. Alias of Robert Trifts.


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Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Spoiler:
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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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?

Andoran

No. Not yet.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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).

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.
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.

Andoran

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....

Cheers
Mark

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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

Andoran

6 people marked this as a favorite.

#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.

Andoran

Darrell Impey UK wrote:

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

Photos

And even more Great Library inspiration Click Here

Andoran

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. http://ChroniclesPodcast.com/

Andoran

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!

Andoran

9 people marked this as a favorite.

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?

Andoran

6 people marked this as a favorite.

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.

Andoran

organized wrote:

Just in time for the drive to Gencon. :)

That was our intention. Enjoy the weekend!

Andoran

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.

Right Click and save Here

Andoran

2 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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

This is outstanding work. My only regret is that I appear to have progressed well beyond the maps which are now available. Nevertheless, thanks greatly for this.

Andoran

Folkish Elm wrote:


I was just thinking about this very thing and saw this helpful thread. As my players are still early on in half dead city I think I'm going to try planting a series of scrolls in the house of pentheru for the adventurers to find. These will contain academic research written by a member of the pentheru family who has been studying the levels of panic caused by the plague of madness and the effect on the city at each stage.

The research will present a model for tracking the levels of panic in the city. Later on in book two I can refer them back to this research they found and I have an excuse to tell them the rules for the current situation as if their characters were simply applying the sociological research they had found. A bit contrived but provides a reason for the panic level system to be in game.

What do people think?

Excellent idea. I will mention this one on the podcast. Great stuff.

Andoran

Alright, I have some complaining to do about this Volume of Mummy's Mask.

Despite the reasonable text that leads us all through the adventure areas with logical Letter Keys, it's pretty clear that there are "missing" maps.

I cannot help but feel that the Osirion Gods piece later in the volume wiped out one or two pages of maps we were supposed to have.

Is this just me?

Andoran

7 people marked this as a favorite.

"Class changes" in Unchained are an easy way to bullet point a book still in progress, without saying anything of greater substance at this point about **what will specifically be changed**

Fundamental alterations to the underlying action economy during combat are, far and away, one of the biggest changes to Pathfinder from 3.5 that could be made. Apart from reworking the math behind high level characters, the problems with SR and saving throws (which will probably have to await a full blown PF 2.0 revision), changes to the action economy in the game are what interests me most.

In particular, MY biggest problem which is inherent to the design of Pathfinder/3.xx is the trade-off which favours STATIC MOVEMENT by mid to high-level characters engaged in combat. The trade off for a full round attack action in order to be able to inflict multiple attacks on a foe tends to always favour a rush to the middle and then minimal 5' step movement by melee combatants. And as the trade-off "cost" of movement during combat gets more "expensive" the higher level the combatants are, the worse the disparity becomes.

That underlying reality makes the combat element of the game BORING the longer an AP continues as it tends to rule out all the cool combat maneuvers which the game theoretically now allows. Not cool.

The problem tends to make most combats feel exactly the same. We need more variation not simply with environmental factors and theoretical combat maneuvers, but with an action economy system which does not punish those choices being used at 6th level and beyond. Low level combat should not, in practice, be more dynamic than high level combat. Nevertheless, it often is. That's counter-intuitive to me.

And this needs to be fixed. It's been 14 years -- and it's still screwed up.

That's always been my main beef with Pathfinder/3.xx and one of the few things which 4E improved upon. I'm interested to see what Paizo comes up with as options to mediate these gameplay issues.

Bring it!

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.

For what it's worth, I do think that the first volume could have been more closely connected in terms of plot motivation to the balance of the Adventure Path's metaplot for my tastes. To a lesser extent, the same applies to Book 2.

All of this is pretty easily fixed with some minor tinkering, so it's not that a big a deal. While the lack of a central "plot villain" in Book 1 is a real weakness - or at least a change of pace -- from most APs, it's not a disaster by any means.

These are not difficult things to elegantly fix. The core of the AP is solid adventure material.

Andoran

I have received a number of posts over the past month with people asking me for "my notes".

I posted my notes here. It's in the post right above this one. If you are looking for "my notes" you now have them.

I think what people are asking me for is my converted campaign files. I can't post those. They are direct conversions of the text stripped from the .pdf files from Paizo's magazine issues. Those are copyrighted by Paizo. Many of the people who work at Paizo are personal acquaintances of mine (and a few are close enough I would call them friends) so I'm not going to do that. That's not a "technical response", that's something I'm just not going to do because I would feel that I betrayed my friends - and it would bother me. A lot. Are we now clear on this part?

This isn't rocket science folks. The important (and difficult stuff) when converting the AP to Golarion is in the plots and NPC identities and how those shake down in your campaign. The stat blocks are trivial (and you will want to eyeball those as your campaign progresses in any event.)

I would note this word of caution: Introducing the Mythic Rules into the AoW camapign RUINED my campaign and I would NEVER, EVER under **ANY CIRCUMSTANCES** do it again. The Mythic Rules in Pathfinder are utterly broken. If your players optimize for Mythic feats and abilities, they will be VASTLY more powerful than any Mythic monster stat block you will throw at them. and I don't mean "maybe". I mean FOR SURE. DON'T DO IT.

Andoran

As it now appears that my Age of Worms AP has now come to an end, I am posting my Conversion notes for Golarion here and will discuss any questions you may have about it here as well.

_________________________________

Groetus and the Age of Worms

I have removed Kyuss and replaced him with Groetus, the God of the End of the World. Groetus is still essentially Kyuss and continues to be a worm god, but Groetus was never mortal, so that needs to be changed.

Groetus' official symbol in Golarion lore, that of a full moon, remains though in many visions and depictions there are great worms crawling out of the craters like it was a rotten apple.

In Golarion lore, Groetus is not a minor god - although he typically does not grant spells to his followers (for the very good reason that, along with Aroden, he now exists "out of time" and is not able to do so). From time to time, Oracles and even some crazed Druids claim to receive spells from Groetus, but most scholars believe this is a case of a divine caster getting power from another source and misattributing it to Groetus.

According to lore, Groetus is ultimately destined to be the last Being left in the universe, together with Pharasma at the End of All Things. It is for this reason that His symbol of the moon can be seen hanging above Pharasma's twilight garden. The Age of Worms campaign is about stopping his return and the End of All Things.

Seen in another way, Groetus as the God of the End is Entropy incarnate. He is opposed by Aroden, the Lawgiver.

The Moon holy symbol of Groetus is a play on the prophecy. Groetus is in fact imprisoned in an extra-dimensional space which exists beyond time. There are two halves to the Gateway leading from this dimension to the Prime Material plane.

One half of the Gateway is located on the surface of the moon of Golarion; the other part to the Gateway is located on a large comet/asteroid, Groetus Cauda (the "Wyrm's Tail"). As the comet approaches the sun, the ice warms and melts and the dust trail it leaves in space takes on an almost greenish hue. This tail is referred to in prophecies as the "Great Wrym" and its appearance in the firmament is the sign of the coming End of All Things.

The campaign started with the comet seen in a telescope which becomes accidentally pointed at a region of space which is otherwise dark and void of stars. It is a triangular shaped area in the night sky, lying between three constellations representing minor gods of destruction upon Golarion: the gods Gyronna, Dahak and Ghlaunder. All three minor gods have destruction as one of their portfolios in the lore of Golarion. The dark triangular area of space which their constellations form is known to the Wise as the "Dark Triad".

The return of the God of Destruction is prophesied to occur from the merger of the minor gods of destruction. The cult of the Ebon Triad believes this prophecy refers to an Overgod which results from a fusion of the gods of Gyronna,

Dahak and Ghlaunder. They are wrong of course. The prophecy refers to the appearance of the comet in the Dark triangle of space in the night sky, the Dark Triad; however, the cultists have twisted it around and misinterpreted the prophecy's true meaning.

Timeline: The Year is 4737 A.R., 25 years in the Future

I have also set this in about 25 years in the future. Supposedly, I did this so that nothing I did in Age of Worms would have any effect on the official APs etc.. That's not why I did it. I did it so that I could age up the Iconic characters and have them play a pivotal role in something else I have changed in Golarion: WAR.

The Impending War between Galt and Cheliax

The Age of Worms AP takes place as a major war in the Inner Sea is brewing. In my future, Galt finally stopped its perpetual revolution, and like Post-revolutionary France, became a major military power. Galt has conquered Taldor and now marches on Cheliax after allying with Molthune. The coming war between Galt and Cheliax leaves Andoran caught in the middle. The war is something that happens "off-screen", but its importance is such that the Iconics are doing everything they can to stop the war or militate its effects. That's why the Iconics are not returning to band up together to adventure and stop the Age of Worms. They've got more urgent and immediate matters to attend to.

References to the coming war begin in Diamond Lake during the opening pats of The Whispering Cairn when the heroes hear of a HUGE order of arrowheads at the foundry which promises an increase in hiring at most of the local mines. Mining towns undergo boom and bust cycles and war is good for the mining business. The coming war promises great wealth to flow into Diamond Lake and Balobar Smenk intends to stuff as much of this gold into his pockets as he can.

Later, during the Encounter at Blackwall Keep, smoke from a massive fire, 100 miles away near the Chelish/Andoran border greets the heroes as they wake up at their morning campfire. The morning is strangely dark, with vision greatly reduced and all light spells give off a curious blue quality to the light cast. The in-game effect is purely narrative, but the fact that there are ominous events happening far over the horizon is brought home with such portents.

Later, troop movements between Egoria and the border are observed, and discussions and gossip with the members of a company from the 3rd Legion (which is the Legion that the unit currently assigned to Blackwall Keep was detached from) serves to put all sorts of rumours, both true and false, about the war.

Military recruitment in Egoria is often featured during the events of Halls of Harsh Reflections and The Champion's Belt. The point of all of this is to remind players there are larger events going on and the entire context of the campaign is that War wages across large swaths of the Inner Sea.

Greyhawk NPCs OUT -- Golarion Iconics IN

I have replaced most of the significant NPCs in Age of Worms that had been played by Greyhawk's iconic NPCs with counterparts in Pathfinder lore. The players don't know the extent of how far I went to do this.

Allustan became "Eruztan" and he is no longer the mayor's brother - though he certainly is the smartest man in Diamond Lake. He also has an advanced case of Parkinson's Disease (he learns "Age Resistance, Greater" at the end of Three Faces of Evil which allows his vigor to return and to accompany the PCs to the Swamp). But his real name is Ezren. He is one of the mentors to the PCs and the main iconic NPC in the AoW.

Ezren is undercover in Diamond Lake living under an assumed name along with a dwarven companion, known to the locals as "Harry". Harry is, in fact, Harsk and along with Ezren he has also been living undercover in Diamond Lake for the past 20 years. They know the Age of Worms is coming and that it has something to do with Diamond Lake, but beyond that -- things are pretty hazy. Uncle Harry brought up one of the PCs (his nephew) and acted as foster father to another.

The PCs have only recently discovered who he really is.

I introduced Seelah as the Lieutenant-Commander of the Knights of Lastwall. She is now an enemy of the lawful good Paladin in the party (yes, really), who professes to be the Last Knight of Aroden.

The iconic cleric, Kyra, is dead. Her daughter, Kylen, is alive and will be one of the main benefactors of the heroes. She's very much worried about her father, however, who took her mother's death very hard and changed and grew very bitter at Sarenrae after Kyra's death. Her father is Valeros, and Valeros has replaced Loris Raknian and fills his role in the tale.

Manzorian has been completely removed and his part in the tale will be fulfilled by Ezren. (Ezren evolves over time after his Parkinson's Disease is cured -- and as he comes to grips with the enormity of the Age of Worms and the war).

Ezren does not know everything, and he relies upon Harsk, Grandmaster Torch, Seoni, Kylen and Marzena as his main sources of intelligence. The progress of the war and other vital details concerning those plot elements are presented principally through Ezren and his allies.

Celeste has been replaced by Seoni. Seoni is particularly close to Kylen.

Eligos has been completely replaced. Instead of a Sage, he is now the Information broker Grandmaster Torch, a recurring Golarion NPC who frequently appears as a source of critical information in Pathfinder Society scenarios. Torch is now secretly living in exile from his former haunts in the Puddles district of Absalom and now lives in a secret hideout in Egoria. Torch is exceptionally wary of strangers as he is actively hunted by agents of the Scarzni controlled Pathfinder Society. In my AoW, the PCs rescue Marzena at the end of Encounter at Blackwall Keep and then travel with her back to Diamond Lake briefly to look for Eruztan. Unable to find him in Diamond Lake, at the urging of Marzena, the Heroes travel to Egoria to find Torch as he is the best lead Marzena has on where her father might have gone to seek help for Harsk.

The main impetus for the attempts on the PC's lives is not only Valeros, but Ragnolin Dourstone, who escaped at the end of Three Faces of Evil and is now in hiding in Egoria.

The subplot to the Champion's Belt and the role of the rival adventurer's is complicated by what emerges to be their attempts on the life of GM Torch at the behest of the Scarzni. The chance for the party to engage the rival adventurers in direct combat during the Champion's Belt should prove to be a FAR more serious and cathartic moment. They are not simply rivals, two of them (Khellek and Merisiel) are outright enemies of the PC's main allies.

Marzena, the female wizard in Encounter at Blackwall Keep is still Marzena, but she is now the estranged daughter of Ezren. The party is traveling to Blackwall Keep along with "Eruztan" to meet up there with Harry, who left Diamond Lake in session 1 when he remained at the camp of Seelah. Harsk is in the Mistmarsh because he's been tracking down the source of the worms. When the party meets Harsk on the road, he's staggering, delirious and rambling. In fact, he's been exposed to the worms and is about to change into a Spawn. Ezren FREAKS when he understands what's happened and uses a scroll to teleport away with Harsk in order to try and save his best and oldest friend, leaving the PCs behind on the road to Blackwall to save his daughter, Marzena. This new motive fixes one of the cheesier plot holes in the AoW where Allustan teleports away without a good reason to do so.

Ezren in desperation to prevent Harsk from changing into a Spawn willingly enters into the stasis trap carrying Harsk to await rescue by the PCs in A Gathering of Winds. (It will be the only thing Exren could think of on short notice to stop the transformation of Harsk into a Spawn.)

Balakarde (who was just a made up name for Bucknard in the original Greyhawk premised Age of Worms) has been replaced by the iconic Seltyiel.

Merisiel replaces Tirra, one of the team of the "rival adventurers" encountered in Diamond Lake. Merisiel ultimately becomes an opponent of the party in The Champion's Belt. Like Khellek, Merisiel is a Scarzni recruit and a member of the Pathfinder Society.

The Seekers, the unethical organization of archaeologists referred to in The Whispering Cairn (and which Khellek, one of the "rival adventurers" met in Dimaond Lake is a member of) is of course The Pathfinder Society. In the future, the Pathfinders have been shaken by internal strife and the Scarzni faction has essentially taken over the Decimvirate. Grandmaster Torch is in hiding in Egoria and is still alive, however, and will be introduced as an associate of Ezren who has vital information to advance the story. Ultimately, it is Torch who knows about the ruins of Kulluth-Marr and the legends that surround it.

Darl Quethos has also been subtly recast, though Darl is not a willing participant in all of this. Darl is an adventurer with a neutral, self-interested world view. Some time ago, Darl managed to penetrate Gallowspire and recovered a bone collar and helm from within the doomed fortress. Darl does not know what he found, but he has substantially over-reached and got himself into trouble he cannot escape from. Darl is being subtly influenced by the spirit of Adivion, a lich who resides in the bone collar phylactery Darl recovered from Gallowspire.

Lashonna has also been recast -- and this is a HUGE change to the AP. While Lashonna goes by that name and appears to be mortal, she is, in fact, the lich-queen and fallen demi-goddess, Arazni. Her motives are far from pure but at the least, she wants the Age of Worms to be averted. The mad spirit of Adivion, however, believes that Tar-Baphon will be released during the Age of Worms and so is working against her, through Darl Quethos.

The Free City = Egoria

My Free City is Egoria, the capital of Cheliax. More important than where the Free City is, is where Alhaster is.

Alhaster = Westcrown

Alhaster has been dramatically reskinned to become Westcrown. I also used the advance in the timeline to make some significant changes to Cheliax. In my Golarion, the fallout from the consequences of The destruction wrought upon Westcrown in the Council of Thieves AP had a significant impact upon Cheliax and all clerics and druids of all religions other than Asmodeus and Aroden are banned in Cheliax now.

The Chelish Inquisition

The "heroes" of the events that occurred in Westcrown 25+ years ago are wanted criminals by the Throne (in fairness to the Thrunes, they DO have a point). As Ezren and Harsk were part of that group, this forces them to hide their true identities while in Cheliax (hence "Eruztan" and "Harry"). The Thrune dynasty has since used the entire crisis as a pretext to begin a systematic repression of all significant religious opposition within the Chelish Empire. This is popularly known as "The Inquisition".

Current clerics who profess to continue to worship Aroden are no significant threat to the throne as they do not have spells and in any event, it would not be possible to stomp out the worship of Aroden as it is too deeply rooted in Chelish society.

Active spell-casting clerics other than those of Asmodeus and Pharasma are actively hunted by the Inquisition. Currently instrumental in avoiding detection among the underground clerics of light in Cheliax is a subtle but powerful tattoo which acts as a slotless ring of misdirection. While it will not suppress the magical aura of a healing spell as it is being cast, it does prevent the cleric from "pinging" if detect good, evil, chaos or know alignment is cast. Kylen arranged for the PC cleric to receive a preserved tattoo, sent on a small piece of skin that had been removed from the back of a dead cleric and preserved for 1 week with gentle repose. The tattoo can be transferred to a live recipient by those who know both misdirection and the relevant tattoo magic (see the spell transfer tattoo, Inner Sea Magic, p.61). Detect Thoughts, however, remains an effective inquisition technique as does torture and old fashioned spying and scrying.

The Silent Brothers and Sisters of Pharasma are technically also banned in Cheliax, but in practice the priests of the Lady of the Grave are allowed to continue to operate within Cheliax without harassment, provided that they do not publicly preach (other than at solemn funerals) and further that they do not openly offer spell-casting services to the public. Why Pharasma is tolerated when no other god's priests are permitted to openly operate within Cheliax is not known, but it is widely believed that the Thrunes are not so foolish as to openly challenge the Lady of the Grave -- and besides -- member of that Order are apolitical and have never been known to interfere in the temporal affairs of the Empire.

The Fate of Aroden

Aroden isn't really dead of course -- but he might as well be. He removed himself from time and is in the same timeless dimension where Groetus is. By leaving the known universe to go to the Time Where There is No Time, Aroden sacrificed himself to try and prevent the Age of Worms. His presence behind the doorway of the Gate where Groetus will ultimately emerge gives the heroes a chance in their final battle.

Campaign Seed: The Last Knight of Aroden

One of the players is playing a Paladin of Aroden. Unlike any other Paladin of Aroden in Golarion (except one, who is now dead) the PC paladin of Aroden actually has Paladin powers. He converted to Aroden in the first session when he was asked to come to see his "grandfather" at a nearby Varisian camp. His grandfather, on his death-bed in a Varisian Gypsy wagon, was an ancient half-elf and the titular Commander of Lastwall.

The old Commander, a half-elf, was not REALLY the PC's "grandfather" -- but was his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. The Last Knight of Aroden made the PC Paladin swear his Oath and then gave him his sword, Justicar the "Sword of Justice", an ancient masterwork bastard blade said to be have been given to a former Commander of Lastwall by Aroden himself, centuries ago. Technically, the bearer of the Sword of Justice is revered as the Knight Commander of the Knights of Ozem. When Aroden died and his Paladins lost their powers, they converted to Iomedae, but as the Last Knight kept his powers, under the law he was promoted to and remained Commander of the Knights of Ozem for most of the last century.

Seelah expected to receive the Sword from the Last Knight on his deathbed and her followers were furious that it had been given to a boy, who they refuse to acknowledge as their Commander. Thus, we have a PC Paladin who is technically in charge of the Knights of Ozem -- except they won't listen to a single word he says!

Nearly a millenia ago, Justicar was only indirectly given to the Commander of Lastwall by Aroden. Aroden, even then, no longer acted directly upon Golarion and used his herald to deliver her sword to the Commander. You may not know this, but in official Golarion lore, the first prophecy which went awry and changed the future was not the death of Aroden, but that of his herald, Arazni.

It was Arazni who unexpectedly died at the hands of Tar-Baphon and changed everything. A part of her soul remains in the Sword of Justice and in the hands of a true Knight, her spirit is enough to grant that knight spells and powers as a Paladin. The so-called Last Knight of Aroden has been (and in fact, the new one still is), getting his "powers" from the last part of the divine spirit of the goddess Arazni, a part of which became bound to the Sword of Justice through persistent use of the Paladin's bonded weapon ability used over the ages upon it by successive Commanders of the Knights of Light.

As the PC Paladin's divine bond with the Sword of Justice grows, this mere masterwork bastard blade grows in power. As a free action, the sword can cast true strike once per day. At third level, the sword became +1 magical and increases by a further +1 for every three levels it is wielded by a Paladin who has the weapon as his divine bond. By the end of the AP, Justicar should be a +7 Magical Sword, able to manifest into almost any magical weapon through the use of a Paladin's bonded weapon power. Justicar is the weapon what will probably end up killing Groetus if the PCs win.

As the last untainted source of the holy spirit of Arazni, it is also possible for the Sword of Justice to either defeat Arazni or potentially, to even redeem her if the players are willing to take the risk and are extremely clever.

And of course, none of my players have any clue about this.

A Tangled Web of Phylacteries: Arazni, Dragotha and the Age of Worms

This is where it gets complicated. Just as Arazni is looking to defeat Dragotha by seizing his phylactery, so the spirit of the dead dragon, Naraga seeks to control Arazni by recovering her Bloodstones and threatening her phylactery with destruction. Arazni is powerful and Naraga is weak. But her weakness has instilled in Naraga great patience and subtlety through necessity. Naraga is playing the long con.

As noted previously, Lashonna is no longer a vampiric silver dragon of unknown origin and even more uncertain motives. As a vampiric silver dragon, Lashonna in the original Age of Worms was a case of "nerd templatism": "wouldn't it be cool if we put a vampire template on a silver dragon?" Well, no, it's not so cool when you do that and then don't take the time to figure out why this happened, or how it all fits into the campaign. I was also very unsatisfied that Lashonna could not be redeemed in the original AoW. Accordingly, as initially presented in the original AoW, Lashonna wasn't "real" and was simply a paper cut-out villain who-wasn't-really-a-villain (except she sort of was).

So I have dramatically changed all of that.

In my Age of Worms, just as Aroden lurks in the tale from outside of time in his struggle against Groetus, the spirit of his former herald, Arazni, is unwittingly aiding Aroden by striving against Dragotha in a bid to make herself the herald of Groetus. Arazni seeks to eliminate Dragotha and so be the servant that Groetus will reward upon his re-entry into time through the gate in the Moonscar.

The goal of the PCs is to make use of Arazni to defeat Dragotha, and then make use of the Bloodstones and Justicar to defeat or even redeem Arazni. With both immortal lich generals defeated, and the Wyrm's Tail redirected directly at the gate, the heroes should be able to defeat Groetus.

The bone collar that Darl Quethos found within Gallowspire is, in fact, the Phylactery of Adivion Adrissant, the spirit of the lich villain from the Carrion Crown AP. This phylactry acts as a "failed" phylactery and the lich sprit within it can communicate with and possess its bearer. With Adivion's aid, Darl escaped from within Gallowspire bearing both the collar and a horned bone helm - the Horns of Naraga (Artifacts and Legends, p. 28).

Quite apart from utterly despising the Whispering Tyrant, Naraga is loyal to Dragotha. While Adivion's spirit is able to possess and take control of Darl, Naraga lacks this power. All Naraga can do is whisper. But just as Adivion whispers to Darl, so Naraga can also whisper to Adivion. Unlike Darl, Adivion was *quite* insane to begin with. So while Naraga's spell power is less than Adivion's, her influence may, in the long run, prove to be the greater of the two.

Adivion does not dare possess Darl directly as Naraga has convinced Adivion - posing as the Whispering Tyrant whispering to Adivion's spirit - that Darl's soul must be untainted to touch and recover two of the Bloodstones of Arazni that are hidden within the Library of Last Resort. Naraga knows that the holy power of Aroden that resides within the Bloodstones will prevent a possessed Darl from touching them, so instead, Naraga is subtly affecting the thoughts of both Darl AND Adivion. Naraga manipulates Darl by enhancing his intrinsic greed, thereby making him more vulnerable to Adivion's more direct control. With Adivion, Naraga's task is easier as Adivion is quite mad to begin with and the mad lich is open to subtle emotional manipulation. Adivion wants to believe in the whispers and wants to believe he is the Tyrant's "chosen one". He has always believed this.

Naraga is the real ally of Dragotha in all of this; Darl and Adivion are both merely pawns. Naraga needed Adivion's aid to guide Darl free of the prison while bearing the Horns of Naraga. Naraga is also prepared to use Adivion's arcane power when temporarily possessing Darl to further Dragotha's ends. However, Naraga needs Darl's mortal soul to be free of true evil or Darl will not be able to safely touch and carry the Bloodstones of Arazni. So Adivion must be convinced by Naraga that Darl cannot be possessed permanently.

While complex and tangled, all of this is simply a means to relate the story as a layered "slow reveal" to the heroes of the actual identity of "Lashonna". As it also ties into the tale of Tar-Baphon and how Arazni fell, this tangled web is part of the continuum of events which touches on how the prophecies of Aroden twisted when Arazni died, the Last Knight of Aroden and the sword Justicar, which brings us back to the Bloodstones of Arazni (Artifacts and Legends, p. 13). The Bloodstones, collectively, are Arazni's Phylactery, stolen centuries ago by the Knights of Ozem from Geb. If Arazni recovers the Bloodstones and reintegrates that divine power within her, the artifacts might make Arazni near invincible.

What Arazni does not know is that part of her true divine spirit, untainted by evil, still resides still within the Sword of Justice. While Arzni can sense the presence of the Bloodstones, she cannot sense her divine spirit from within the sword -- as she has been corrupted while the Sword remains pure. Using the sword Justicar, the Bloodstones can be destroyed -- or the divine spirit within the Bloodstones truly purified, depending on how Justicar is used. If Arazni is tricked into then attempting to re-integrate the Bloodstones into her being after they gave been truly purified, Arazni will be redeemed.

As a more vague and longterm goal, Arazni has always wanted to recover the Bloodstones. Like Naraga, she can't touch them nor can her undead Knights. She must act through uncorrupted mortals to recover the Bloodstones. Arazni, in her guise posing as Lashonna, seeks to use the PC Heroes as her unwitting pawns to defeat Dragotha. She cannot sense the presence of the Bloodstones within the Library as that extra-dimensional space is cut off from her senses. Once they are removed, she can sense them as soon as they are used. The Heroes coming into possession of two of them from within the Library of Last Resort will be seen by her as ironic divine provenance.

The Whispering Cairn and Old Azlant

I made the Whispering Cairn the tombs of old Azlanti generals who fought the Aboleths before Earthfall. I went with all of this from the word go - and completely removed all that Mishka the wolf-spider stuff from The Whispering Cairn and instead vaguely referenced the fall of Azlant in those tombs and the role that the Aboleths and Mind-flayers (I added the mind-flayers back in) to the entire idea of Earthfall, and I had Dragotha appear in one of the murals at the end of the Whispering Cairn. I thought this was important so as to keep the role of the Age of Worms front and centre throughout and not get distracted by Mishka and these elemental lords.

The idea was that the Aboleths and the Mind-Flayers were the ones who, went to Eox and used a Runestaff as a control panel/key to cause one of the orbital weapons above Eox to alter the path of an asteroid to hit Azlant on Golarion millenia ago. That's how Earthfall happened. When they learn more, my players will ultimately assume that the comet Groetus Cauda is headed towards Golarion and that is how Groetus will return.

It will only be at the end when they are on Eox that they will learn that the initial gravity disruption of the asteroid field that caused the comet that hit old Azlant (Earthfall) ALSO disrupted the orbit of Groetus Cauda at the same time. It's just taken gravity a lot longer to cause Groetus Cauda's orbit to decay into its current collision course. The prophecy predicting the return of the God of Destruction "arising from the Ebon Triad" is, literally, an astronomical projection. The comet has been on its way for thousands of years as its eliptical orbit has decayed over time. The PCs will discover that they have acted too late and that the gravitational beams on the remaining operational weapons platforms above Eox are now too weak -- and the distance to the target too great -- to stop the comet. All the PCs can do at this point is alter the path of the comet a very, very little so as to impact the Spire directly on the Moonscar.

Icosiol's Tomb and The Last Gate to Eox

In keeping with the off-world origin of the Worms and the ultimate goal of travelling to Eox to attempt to alter the path of the asteroid Groetus Cauda, several paths in the plot have been tweaked in A Gathering of Winds.

Additionally, the nature of the tomb itself has also been changed. All living foes within the Tomb have been removed and replaced with Elementals or Constructs. The two exceptions are Flycatcher, whose access to the Plane of Shadow permits the Shadow Spider to enter and leave the Tomb (and so he can access food to keep himself alive) - and Moreto, described below.

Firstly, the Tomb has been dimensionally isolated so that it is not possible to teleport into or out of the Tomb, other than by using the two gates which lead to it. Once inside, it is not possible to leave the tomb through the gate that the Heroes have entered through from the Whispering Cairn, as Ezren's triggering of the stasis field has caused the Tomb gate to enter into "lockdown" mode.

The tomb features many elements which are future tech and the area is a genre mash up between fantasy and SF. Ezren and Harsk, (who is on the verge of changing into a Spawn of Groetus) are caught in the Temporal Stasis field in Area 14. The nature of the stasis field, however, is that it is technological, not magical in nature. The only way to free the duo from the stasis field is to recover a "key" and shut-down the power in the Tomb.

The key has been removed from its location in Area 10 and is now in the possession of Moreto, who is now trapped by Iron Golems behind a forcefield in an alcove in the Star Chamber at Area 21. The series of crazy doors in Area 12 on the second level has been re-imagined as the main control station for the power generator in the complex. The source of the power is a generator harnessing the electricity created by the Falling River, and a future tech force-field turbine has been installed in the top of the falls near Area 20.

Another small series of chambers has been added to the area beneath the Star Chamber (the map is in exactly the same style of Rob Lazareti's maps and you can ask me for it and I will send it to you). This area leads to a devious door with a monstrously powerful magnetic trap, isolating the complex from the hard vacuum beyond the door -- and to the Last Gate to the surface of the dead planet Eox which is forced into an open state and has a Sphere of Annihilation in the middle of it. Due to the nature of the trap, It is extremely unlikely that the Heroes will ever reach the room with the gate operational and live to tell the tale (the vacuum would suck the Hero through an anti-magical zero G zone straight towards the Sphere), but after disabling the power to the Tomb, they should be able to ascertain the location of the other side of the gate on Eox for travel to the planet through interplanetary teleport. This will be the clue the Heroes will need to ultimately travel there near the end of the AP. The sphere of Annihilation itself, however, will end up on the surface of Eox after the trap is disarmed and the Last Gate will have been rendered permanently inoperable by its brief interaction with the Sphere.

The Ghoul Moreto has been recast as a well-intentioned Spellweaver warrior of the ancient past who was himself caught in a stasis field for the past 8,000+ years - though Moreto has no idea where he is or how long he has been there.

Moreto travelled through the Last Gate hot in pursuit of another Spellweaver, the Harbinger, in order to prevent him from destroying Golarion by spreading the worms. Moreto did not succeed in preventing the Harbinger from reaching the surface of Golarion as Moreto was caught in a stasis trap (similar to the one in Area 14) which has been added to the new level of the dungeon. When Ezren deliberately triggered the stasis field in Area 14, the power generator in the Tomb could not keep both stasis fields up and the complex released Moreto.

As Moreto requires negative energy to survive, and the Tomb has been sealed off from access to all the Planes (except the Plane of Shadow, which the Azlanti did not know about), Moreto has been trapped here and has been starving for some time. Accordingly, Moreto is now on the verge of death and cannot be saved, though some limited interaction with the warrior is possible depending on the Heroes' choices. Moreto's bears one of the original Eoxian worm symbiotes. It is possible for the Heroes to recover this symbiotic worm after Moreto's death to deliberately infect a PC with. This symbiotic worm, unlike the other worms of Golarion, allows a PC access to the Wormhunter Prestige Class as inspired by the article in Dragon #338.

The fragmentary nature of the recovered memories and hive mind of the original worms allows the GM to dole out snippets of information and back story as required over time, without the symbiotic worm triggering a massive AP spoiling information dump.

When successful in turning off the power to the Tomb, the Heroes will free Ezren, destroy the Last Gate and the Sphere of Annihilation that prevents anything from entering the Last Gate will be lost on the surface of Eox. A ventilation shaft can now safely be ascended to the surface which emerges in the Sargavan jungle, near the ruins of Kuluth Mar.

Other Changes...

Some other changes...hmmm, oh yes. The source of the worms is from off-world. In Distant Worlds, that book's entry speaks about the world of Eox as a dead planet now full of "liches" where a portion of the population of the planet survived destruction by voluntarily becoming undead. My Eox was initially populated by a civilization of Spell-Weavers and is now a planet with pockets of Spell-Weaver liches. The Harbinger is obviously from Eox. The Harbinger first brought the green worm to the Sargava in Koluth-Marr. That planet, which continues to be orbited by ridiculously powerful orbital weapons, will be visited by the PCs at the very end when they realize that the comet is not aimed at Golarion, but at Golarion's moon. The comet is intended to destroy the Spire and release Groetus free from his prison.

The PC’s will be able to use one of those weapons to alter the gravitational path of the comet ever so slightly, so that it will directly impact the spire and do great damage to Groetus when the gate is opened. I've decided to move that final battle off of the surface of Golarion and move it to the Moonscar, as something like that is too world-shaking otherwise.

The Rift itself I will probably moved as well to the Moonscar. I have not made my mind up about that yet, but that's where I am leaning.

I have moved the Library of Last Resort to the Isle of Terror in the Lake Encarthan region.

I added three medium sized black dragons, "Ilthane's Brood" to Encounter at Blackwall Keep. You can eyeball this as you like, but the CR level in that module is completely underpowered for virtually all adventuring parties.

I was also clear to remind the PCs through Marzena that when Ilthane returns, the garrison from the 3rd Legion would likely be destroyed. Marzena spent some time in game after she was rescued and back at the Keep trying to convince the 3rd Legion to leave. I did this so that the destruction of Diamond Lake in the events of Gathering of Winds would appear more organic and easily foreseen. I have been aiming for that feel throughout the campaign. Events have consequences.

The theme so far that I have been trying to establish is one of continuity and consequences. Filge was left alive by the PCs and he will be a possible ally and source of information in Egoria. Smenk was someone that the PCs actually allied with and Smenk will prove useful -- up until Ilthane attacks Diamond Lake. After that, Smenk will turn on the heroes and betray them out of anger.

Whenever possible, I have tried to establish NPCs, even minor ones that are completely new, who later reappear some modules later when it makes sense for them to appear. Because Westcrown is only a week's ride from Diamond Lake, the whole triangle between Diamond Lake, Egoria and Westcrown is far more inter-related in terms of trade, governance and proximity. I don't want the PCs moving on from an area never to return to it or to feel as if it no longer matters to the plot. While certain places visited in later parts of the campaign are clearly exotic and far away, the campaign itself is still clearly based in Southern Cheliax and that is "home". Even though the PCs hate the Thrunes, the area is still home for them and the people who live there include members of their own families. This isn't a place the heroes can just abandon or walk away from. It matters.

I think that's most of the changes for now. I am in the midst of doing a considerable rework of The Prince of Redhand and will update this document to reflect those changes when complete.

Additionally, I will be adding an additional off-world adventure on the planet Eox that will take place after the destruction of Dragotha and before the final battle with Groetus. The 20th level adventure takes place on the space station orbiting Eox, the automated defences of which remainm staffed by droids and will draw extensively from Star Wars Saga edition. The party gained the first access key to the base station's computer at the end of The Whispering Cairn and have gathered up two more as the AP has progressed. They also have two light sabres, one is still operative (the other is corroded beyond repair). The operative light sabre simply has no power and was gained in Icosiol's tomb. The broken light sabre and the drained tablet computer were found in the Harbinger's gear in Vol VII.

Andoran

archmagi1 wrote:

So, I got the hot idea today that to get my party already together and to keep them in a group motivation (particularly if they decide they want to to be their Evil campaign they've been bothering me about), I'm toying with the idea of having them all be Most Worthy Angelic Princes operating out of the Sothis branch of the Order.

What other sources beyond Trail of the Beast has info regarding the Order? They're sadly missing from Faction Guide, but is any info given about them in Rule of Fear or either Osirion CS book? Or any other book for that matter (there is a callout to Scarwall (Crimson Throne, I believe) and them helping slay Kazavon, but I don't wanna make a blind purchase and it be a dead end with just an NPC who belongs to the org being an ally).

Anyway, As I go through adding EOoPE to the AP, I'll post changes and musings.

First, I think this is a GREAT IDEA. Kudos on going with this spin on things. I may steal some of this myself.

There is some material in Rule of Fear on the Esoteric Order, but really, Brandon Hodge's article in Carrion Crown Vol II has all of what is in Rule of Fear and more. There is nothing in the new Osirion book on it at all; nor is there anything in the older Osirion companion. The reference to Kazuvon and Scarwall is an oblique reference to "Ustalavi arcanists" without any substance whatsoever. That's it and that's all.

So build from Brandon's article and draw upon some Call of Cthulhu and other pulp inspirations to fill in more details, as you may prefer.

Andoran

Jim Groves wrote:


Treasure assignment is somewhat both objective and subjective. Its objective in that we need to be providing a set amount of treasure so that players have a reward with which to buy gear. Its subjective in that there is no exact methodology on how this financial reward should be provided. It can be gold, art, magic items, or a healthy mix of lots of stuff.

Honestly? The sarcophagus is large and unwieldy and getting it up the shaft is going to be difficult. Some groups, like yours perhaps, might thank me for the level of verisimilitude that I might have introduced. Other groups might be annoyed that I tied up the treasure into what they feel is a big pain in the butt to deal with.

I am going another route with this Jim. My players are undercover Pathfinders, given the Pathfinder Society's persona non grata status with the Ruby Prince. The PCs secret benefactor, the so-called Sapphire Sage, Amenopheus, secretly paid the very significant entry fee into the dig lottery for the PCs. While the entry fee would indicate that a more experienced group would get the assignment, the PCs cannot be known Pathfinders because of the problems with the Ruby Prince. This need for anonymity explains the PCs inexperience.

I am also changing the backstory a little. Neferekhu knew Amenopheus in her youth and shared her oracular prophecy of doom with her then lover, Amenopheus. Amenopheus knows from Neferekhhu's prophecy nearly 50 years ago, that a dire event stems from the looting of an artifact of great power from the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye this year. He shares the name of this tomb within the Necropolis with the PCs at the outset. They know it is their goal within the rigged lottery.

Amenopheus has a contact within the Pharasmins, Nakht Shepses, the leader of the Voice of the Spire. Shepses is highly placed and can "fix" the lottery -- but his price for doing so requires that two unique treasures from the Necropolis be recovered first and given to him so that the Voices of the Spire will have control of the items.

Amenopheus knows the location of the two treasures that Shepses seeks. (Each treasure has been placed in each of the two initial tombs and its recovery is the "goal" of each tomb.) The items are powerful and extremely valuable and would break the treasure rules, but their purpose is not to be sold by the PCs; rather, they are to be given to Shepses as a bribe the PCs must pay so that they are "randomly" selected as the team that will get into the Sanctum. Amenopheus and Shepses have "fixed" the lottery; it is up to the PCs to ensure that the fix is carried out.

The treasures the PCs are to recover more than justify the prohibitive entry fee for the lottery if they were to be found by others. Shepses believes that the recovery of such valuable artifacts cannot be leaked to the other tomb raiding teams without a loss of all semblance of order within the Necropolis dig site (the Pharasmins practically lack the power to enforce order within the Necropolis). So Amenopheus and Shepses choose secrecy as the best means of avoiding subsequent chaos in the Necropolis dig sites. The PCs are "randomly" assigned two locations within the ruins as the site where Amenopheus believes the items Shepses seeks are to be found so that they can be recovered by the PCs and given over to their mysterious Pharasmin contact, Shepses. (Whom the PCs never actually meet). The treasures are essentially to be left at both dead letter drops within the Necropolis.

The major "Encounter in the Ruins" event has been changed to be a consequence of the competing adventuring team trying to recover the 2nd treasure before Shepses can do so. The PCs move to stop this from happening to ensure that Shepses gets the treasure -- and the PCs get the keys to the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye.

TL;DR -- I prefer more story continuity in my APs. This is my way of adding it in.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jim Groves wrote:

Hypothetically, if the PC's rope gets cut, how the heck do they do they get out? How do they even "climb" up to get back in the shaft?

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. :)

Andoran

5 people marked this as a favorite.

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

Tangible Delusions wrote:

I think I could guess at what spots they gained mythic levels, but where did you grant them and what, if any, adjustment have you made for them?

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)
2 - Slaying the Titan Krathanos Mythic 2 (Trial 1, Library of Last Resort)
3 - Completing The Library of Last Resort to gain Mythic 3 (now re-imagined as removing the Great Seal of Pharasma from the Well of Sorrows on the Isle of Terror).

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.

Andoran

BayonetPriest wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
Teresake wrote:

Steel Wind has created a remarkable blending of AoW into Golarion. See here: Steel Wind's Thread

You can PM him for info.

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.

Wow. That's all I can really say. I have no words. Sooo jealous of your players though.

I think whatever I wind up deciding on will be... less ambitious than yours. You broadcast on Twitchtv? Is the campaign still ongoing?

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.

Andoran

Teresake wrote:

Steel Wind has created a remarkable blending of AoW into Golarion. See here: Steel Wind's Thread

You can PM him for info.

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

B0sh1 wrote:
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.

http://paizo.com/dungeon/resources/downloads/

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.

Andoran

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

Andoran

Two nights ago, during the Prince of Redhand, the party's 14th level, Mythic Tier 1 Ranger did over 400 points of damage to the Overgod ... in her opening round of attacks with her bow.

I'm not sure how bad-ass my Dragotha is going to be. However, I think the short answer is: EXCESSIVELY Bad-Ass.

Andoran

My Age of Worms: Re-Rolled campaign set in Golarion went Mythic about three weeks ago at the end of The Spires of Long Shadow.

The Heroes have fought a Mythic Harbinger and a Mythic Acidwraith so far.

Yes: Dragotha will be one of the most bad-ass Mythic monsters they will face.

Andoran

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's Tale

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.

Westcrown

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

Andoran

This is a file I would definitely like to look at. If you put it up on a website that does not try to SPAM ME into eternity or create a bunch of trojans on my computer -- I will happily look at it.

But hosted on 4Shared? No way.

A torrent would have been better -- and safer, too.

Andoran

Sounds like fertile ground for a good book.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

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.

Andoran

For those who prefer to watch a recorded video of the 3 hour session, last night's session is up on our Grumpy GM site for streaming. Typically, the sessions are available for streaming for about one week after the session.

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