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I've always wanted to try Ravenloft!
You say that the characters are part of an established adventuring party. What setting norm should we build around? My understanding is that Ravenloft typically draws in adventurers from outside The Mists. Do you want us to play gothic horror heroes, or high fantasy heroes that suddenly find themselves in gothic horror Barovia?
Would you be willing to entertain the possibility of a Kuthite attached to the Hellknight force? Nidal and Cheliax have a history of cooperation and it's not unforeseeable that more militant shadowcasters would align themselves with Hellknights. If no, that's totally fine, I just thought it'd be worth asking.
MisterLurch, Javell, good to see you two again.
What do you look like?
What were you arrested for?
Did you actually do it?
Do you play well with others?
Campaigns like this tend to be some of the best, and I'd love the chance for some pulpy western gaming!
Stats: 4d6 ⇒ (1, 4, 3, 2) = 10 9
Well, pulp heroes do tend to have some glaring flaws. Let's see what I can do with this. It looks like there aren't many caster submissions yet.
Race: 1d28 ⇒ 11 Drow (common)
Attribute 1: 1d12 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
HP: 3d8 ⇒ (8, 2, 5) = 15
Gender (1 male, 2 female): 1d2 ⇒ 2 Female
I can work with that. I'm going to throw in a second class for the fun of it.
Class: 1d39 ⇒ 38 Psychic
I don't know about the second one, but as far as the first and third go, here are my thoughts.
1. As written, you can't. He has no interest in you, and has complete faith in Mr. Plugg, who hates you. Making nice with Captain Harrigan is something you'd have to talk to your GM about. At one point later on before the mutiny there is a feast, and you might be able to make some progress with him there, but it comes so late it won't even matter.
3. Use your actions to influence crew members. The most important thing you can do is increase your friends and reduce your enemies, however you choose to do so. Make friends with Grok and Ambrose Kroop if you can. Either Diplomacy to make them like you, or Intimidate to make them afraid of you. If your GM rewards roleplaying, you can help NPCs on their actions or other things like that.
The first part of the game is a tiny sandbox hurtling down a railroad track. If done well, it can be a lot of fun. The status quo is that the officers basically hate you and there's nothing you can do about it but make nice with your fellow flunkies. Plugg and Scourge hate you, and you should probably hate them too.
That's a pretty good list you've got going there. I think that part of the issue is that Skull and Shackles is, in many ways, written as a vehicle so players get to play those kinds of characters.
There are other sources for sea-faring characters, even pirates, that you haven't mentioned here. All of your examples draw from a very narrow range of pop culture pertaining to the Golden Age of Piracy which was concentrated on the Caribbean in the mid-17th century. This completely ignores the Muslim corsairs and the Viking raiders, as well as piracy from East Asia. What about Sinbad the Sailor? Or Leif Erickson? Even if they may fit certain characteristics that you've included above, they still feel very different from the picture you've painted, which is the whole point. Also, if you haven't seen it, give Starz's Black Sails a watch. Captain Flint is fantastic, and it's a much grittier pirate story than we're used to.
My answer would be to play something other than a pirate. There are plenty of characters that can fit into S&S if you expand the theme in your mind beyond "pirates". Piracy is far from the only thing going on in this campaign, it's just a very important part of it. Think about the Shackles region in Golarion and the other places surrounding it. Within the Shackles proper, you've got the ruins of Ghol Gan, an sect of dragon cultists with their own archipelago, Mediogalti and the Red Mantis. Nearby, you've got Sargava and Bloodcove, the Mwangi expanse, and the Sodden Lands. Anybody from these locales could have ended up in the Shackles for any number of reasons, and they don't have to be strictly integrated with piracy. Maybe a storm blew your ship off course and you had to set in at Port Peril for some repairs?
Integrating your character within the Shackles will go a long way toward making your character appealing. In my opinion, the most boring way to play this campaign is to have a bunch of identical grog-swilling blackhearts with stereotypical brogues. Anybody who crews a ship that makes its money by poaching legitimate trading business is a "real pirate", even if they wouldn't be at home in a Treasure Island knockoff.
If you'd like to pitch some ideas, we can talk them over here. Heck, I've got plenty of examples of my own I could share if you'd like.
I'm interested. I'd like to do a Healer type. I love clerics but thinking of something different. Suggestions?
Life Oracles are also good. Thematically, a Mwangi oracle could be similar to Tia Dalma from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Ms. Pleiades, would you prefer Roll20-style tokens or are you just looking for portraits or pictures that could be ported in to suffice?
"It's not fair, Cim!" Ismene pounded her fist against the tavern wall in frustration, eliciting a a cry of protest from the barkeep as dust sprinkles down from the rafters. "I've been here over a year, but the priests treat me like a wet-behind-the-ears acolyte!"
Cimri had heard this litany of complaints before. Ismene had been braying about the same things since she came to Longacre. It was always, "There's never anything to do in this town!" or sometimes, "There's nobody to train with here! How am I supposed to get better if I only have wooden dummies to practice on?" and occasionally she would trot out the laughable "How can they waste my talents tending to the garden all day? I know the Asmodean law as well as any of them!"
In truth, Cimri was Ismene's only friend in Longacre, which was hardly surprising. Hailing from Isger, Sister Ismene had lost her parents to the Goblinblood Wars and was taken in by the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes. The Devil Nuns, as they were better known, had a fearsome reputation, and Ismene didn't exactly have a glowing personality (unless you count hellfire). Baptized in unholy water, the nuns taught Ismene to be violent and cruel and stronger than the chaos of a broken world. She was all of these things, but ever since coming to Longacre, Ismene found that she could be something worse - bored.
That was why Ismene liked hanging around with Cimri. The little hellion always had something interesting to do, whether it was a job to be done or some mischief to be had. For Cimri's part, letting Ismene hang around and complain had certain fringe benefits as well. For starters, the horse-faced girl with the crooked nose made Cimri look more attractive by comparison, and the freakishly-strong nun was good for intimidation factor. Cimri had plenty of use for cheap, reliable muscle.
"Cim, there's got to be more to my life than this! I could go to Egorian maybe. I hear there's a convent there, the Sisterhood of Eiseth. They worship the Erinyes Queen, and they become erinyes when they die! How incredible would that be?" Cimri had heard this half-baked scheme before, too. Ismene liked to fantasize about running away and joining a Whore Queen's cult, as if that would solve all her problems. The idea wasn't completely without merit; Ismene had more than her share of enemies in Longacre. The priests hated her because she was a political liability (and because she was a woman), the Hellknights hated her for crippling (and embarassing) an armiger during what was supposed to be a friendly demonstration of martial arts, and the Sherrif hated her for corrupting her daughter Cimri (if only she knew the truth). Getting out of Longacre would at least let Ismene escape from all that. There was only one problem with this idea. Sister Ismene had been sent to Longacre specifically to aid the Asmodean temple here. So unless the head of the temple released her, Ismene was stuck.
Cimri had told her as much before, but that conversation never went well. Ismene wasn't the only one who wanted to escape the prison of Longacre, but if they were going to leave, they would need friends in high places. Most days, Cimri didn't know what to say. But today was different. The winds were beginning to shift in Longacre, and fortunes along with it. "Well Sister, today's your lucky day. See, I've got this job..."
Ismene drapes herself in loose-fitting robes of red and black that hide her muscled figure. She wears her hair cut short to keep it out of the way, denying her opponents an easy advantage. She wears a string of prayer beads around her neck, ornamented with an Asmodean pentagram. Her nose has been broken multiple times and her knuckles are covered in scars, betraying a history of violence.
Raised by the Devil Nuns of Isger, Ismene is cruel and violent and vindictive as an erinyes. Valuing personal strength above all else, Ismene looks down on those that are weaker than her and resents those that are stronger. Schooled in Asmodean doctrine, Ismene likes to skirt the edges of the rules and twist words to her advantage. Still, she's not bright enough to truly abuse the rules, and she often finds herself hampered by those who are more clever. Having lost her parents to the tumult of the Goblinblood Wars, Ismene is grateful to the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes and loyal to House Thrune. Painting herself as an angel of Thrune vengeance, Sister Ismene will gleefully aid in breaking the rebellion.
Leedwashere, I found some information on Cimri elsewhere online and I'm working on changing a couple of things around to incorporate her into Ismene's story. When I get that finished, I'll submitting the new stuff here, but I'll link to the previous post for the sample combat turn to keep everything in one place.
If a full party was desired, it wouldn't be difficult to recruit more. So the choice to play solo is often intentional. In those cases, I prefer to play one character. A solo campaign that focuses on one character allows you to tell very different kinds of stories than you could otherwise. If one is two few for combat purposes, there are always NPCs played by either player or DM.
It also lends itself to character builds you otherwise might not get to play. Pet classes, summoners, and necromancers can have lots of minions to help.
I wouldn't say it's too difficult to play multiple characters, as long as ask the mechanics are familiar.
I'd rather not create an alias just yet, but here's my submission.
Sister Ismene, Devil Nun of Isger:
Female human monk (uncahined) 1
LE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +2
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12
HP 11 (1d10+1)
Fort 3, Ref 3, Will +2
Defensive Abilities AC Bonus
Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +5 (1d6+3) or flurry of blows +5/+5 (1d6+3)
Ranged shuriken +2 (1d2+3) or light crossbow +2 (1d8)
Special Attacks flurry of blows, Stunning Fist (1/day, DC 13)
Str 17, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Weapon Focus (unarmed strike)
Traits Asmodean Acolyte, Reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +5, Climb +7, Diplomacy +4, Knowledge (history) +4, Knowledge (planes) +1, Knowledge (religion) +5, Perception +2, Profession (farmer) +6
Languages Common, Infernal
Born in Isger during the tumult of the Goblinblood Wars, Ismene was orphaned as a baby and left in the care of the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes. She was babtized in unholy water and raised under the strict discipline of Hell, administered with zeal by the nuns. Her many mothers were not warm or nurturing, but they kept her safe from the chaos of the outside world and taught Ismene to defend herself. In time, she learned that the perfect law of Hell, while harsh, kept society safe from anarchy. Having witnessed the destruction wrought throughout Isger by the Wars, Ismene grew to appreciate the Asmodean doctrine. Its cold, unfeeling justice comforted her and gave her life purpose; she pitied those who clung to their notions of freedom. Couldn't they see that they were merely trading sureness for uncertainty, enslaving themselves to the whims of 'fate'?
As the years passed, Ismene grew into a devout young Asmodean while what was left of Isger struggled to put itself back together. When she finally came of age, she eagerly took the vows that brought her into the fold as a Sister, eager to repay the nuns for all that they had done for her. To her surprise, she was not to be staying at the orphanage that raised her. The needs of the Isgeri orphanages were waning as the glut of orphans from the Goblinblood Wars was beginning to taper off. Instead, many of the young nuns would be sent back to Cheliax to aid in missions there.
At first, Ismene was apprehensive about this mission, but she accepted it without complaint. She owed her life to the Sisters, and House Thrune by extension, and she would do whatever she could to serve the Empire. Now attached to the Asmodean temple in Longacre, Sister Ismene seeks to make good on her vows. Disgusted with the undercurrent of dissent and rebellion in the small town, she stands ready to dispense Hell's justice on the ungrateful isurgents who would see Cheliax plunged back into civil war.
Sample Combat Turn: A Friendly Demonstration of Hamatulatsu
Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Round 1: Initiative Count 23
Sister Ismene bows to the opponent before her, a Hellknight armiger. She takes a deep breath to center herself, feeling the energy flowing through her body. She bends her knees slightly, preparing to spring into action. Her face is expressionless as she sizes up her opponent. Young. Arrogant. Terrible stance. Strong frame, but his joints look weak. Chanting in Infernal, she aligns her energies for her opening salvo. The Hellknights were about to get a demonstration of the power of Hamatulatsu.
When the call goes out to begin the match, she darts forward, closing the distance between the combatants in the blink of an eye. Before the surprise can register on her opponent's face, she drives her fist into his solar plexus, finishing her chant and releasing the infernal energy into her victim's body.
Declaring use of Stunning Fist. Move action to move 15'. Standard action to attack with unarmed strike and Stunning Fist (DC 13 vs. Fort save).
Active bonuses: bless (+1 to attack rolls and saving throws vs. fear)
Some notes - I don't have HeroLab or anything, so the stat block was hand-typed. It should be correct, but I'd be happy to fix any discrepancies. I haven't finalized gear selection yet. Finally, I don't really know anything about Cimri, so I'm not yet sure how to work her into Ismene's story.
Since it's open to the public, I'm definitely submitting interest!
scranford, if the DM is okay with the Dragonborn race, there's a great hook in the Shackles for one. There's a cult of Dahak, a dragon god, living in a group of islands ruled over by their priestess, a red dragon. You could be from the town of Dragonsthrall.
Skull & Shackles is great! The first part is practically tailor-made for PbP too since it's so roleplay-heavy.
I haven't had the chance to play 5e yet, so I'll need to look it over some. For the time being, I'll tentatively present Ambrose Jeggare, tiefling wizard and former navigator for the private Korvosan merchant ship Imp's Purse.
4d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 2, 6) = 18 16
Yes, that stat array will do just fine I think.
For what it's worth, if you're using point-buy you can just dump the stat(s) you get a bonus to and bump the one you want. The only "downside" is that the math makes it impossible to achieve the theorycraft maximum +4 or +5 in your main stat at level 1, but you still have a very viable character that can be more well-rounded stat-wise.
Prepares to dodge tomatoes
Exactly right - and in the face of constantly being told not only that it would never happen, but even why we were so wrong for even asking for it. I, for one, never think its a bad thing when customers want to tell a company what they are eager to spend their money on.
This is the second time you've expressed this sentiment. I'm sorry you personally feel persecuted for having wanted to see this product. However, there was very good reason for reminding people of the party line. In fact, the constant reminding may have been one of the key factors in ensuring that the book got made.
The issue is this: the hardcover editions of the adventure path function similarly to trade paperbacks in comics, and are fraught with the same vulnerabilities; namely, the risk that the consumer base will refuse to purchase the individual issues on the assumption that they will be able to purchase the collected trade paperback. Paizo's business model is reliant on the monthly income from the Adventure Path subscribers, and if it became commonly-held belief that every AP would simply be reprinted as a hardcover in a few years, that source of income would dry up and the hardcover would never happen.
The problem with people constantly asking for the hardcover is that it helps perpetuate the perception that the hardcover is on its way, which may prevent people from subscribing. This is not merely hypothetical - it was a main fear of Paizo's the first time around, and they were very clear about the danger that such an attitude posed to the product. Aside from the subscriber problem, Paizo also has backroom stock that they're trying to sell; any issue of an AP that isn't sold represents a monetary loss, not just on production but also in stocking and in destruction costs. One of the important contributing factors that helped both RotRL and CotCT get re-published was the fact that they had mostly become unavailable and prohibitively expensive to acquire on the second-hand market. The enduring popularity of these APs, the lack of physical access to the product, and the timely milestone anniversaries meant the stars aligned to make both very special products happen.
Enjoy the CotCT hardcover. I know I will. And many of those who vigilantly reminded people not to get their hopes up are just as happy to see this product as you and the others who were so vocal in their support for it. Please don't feel that you were the personal target of any attacks. Because the same risks to the company still exist, and they're arguably even more likely to come to pass due to this new book, which means that many of us will continue to remind the rest of you that a Second Darkness/Legacy of Fire/Kingmaker/etc. hardcover is not likely to happen. And when and if those products do eventually see release, we'll all celebrate together again.
Homebrew campaigns are always some of the most interesting. And one that explores ancient history? Count me in!
GM Gathrix, I see that there are a couple of role restrictions on the kinds of elves allowed to pass through. Half-elves and evil elves are explicitly left behind. What about Forlorn? If allowed, I'm contemplating a Forlorn elf with the High Elf trait returning to Kyonin to escape the Starfall. While they were ostracized by their fellows from Golarion, they find new acceptance among the elves of Sovyrian.
After considering mechanics, I have no idea what direction would be most appropriate. Should I build like a solo fighter? Like a team leader? Take performance combat feats? It's all heavily dependent on GM preference and how the game is run. GM, I can put together a more complete backstory if you'd like and propose some possible builds, but I think I would have to hold off on the final build until we've had a better chance to talk things over.
GM Mowque wrote:
By 'overthrow the city', I mean force the city guard into submission and oust the city government. If you've seen the movie The Warriors, that's the basic idea. He grew up worshiping Iomedae, training his whole life to be a paladin. Despite all his efforts, she never called him, and he left embittered by the experience. He became disillusioned with the church, with Cassomir, and with Taldor, eventually taking up Gorum as his patron deity. He values order and discipline, and sees that Taldor is suffering for a lack of it. The byzantine society is diseased and has been atrophying for years, yet those in power continue to pretend they're in the midst of a golden age. So he intends to cure the disease by cutting out the cancer.
Through the gladiatorial games he will rise in notoriety and be recruited by more powerful organizations as a head enforcer, and he'll commence building a personal army with other people's dirty money. Eventually his underworld army, with a loyalty network including other organizations, will launch an all-out war on the city guard and bring Cassomir to its knees. After establishing his own outlaw military state, his eyes will turn to Oppara, and Taldor will finally see glory again.
Custom polymorph effects could work as well. Deku scrub gets small size, a limited form of water walk, the aforementioned glide speed, and a weak ranged attack.
For each form it might be better to have separate sheets or a custom template. Most of the other masks are more situational and only need a couple of custom effects at most. Bremen mask definitely has music to go with it.
Thanks Tac, that's exactly what I was on about. Kingmaker-style hexploration would work really well in Hyrule or Termina, as spread out as the different hub areas are.
The only reason I bring it up is that dealing with overland travel has the same problem as running around in a dungeon: it's dull and tedious. Playing OoT on the N64 is a very different experience than playing a tabletop game. Running around Hyrule Fields (or running from room to room in a dungeon) isn't so bad when you're controlling Link in a 3D world with visuals and music and so on, but narrating the constant travel both in the overworld and in the dungeons can be very boring in a tabletop. This is actually one of the biggest reasons Diablo tabletop games tend to fail, in my experience. Anything you can do to spice up the walking part of the game will drastically improve the whole experience. Otherwise, you're better off "teleporting" between areas (like from Hyrule Castle Town to Kakariko), but that would diminish the uniqueness and special utility of the ocarina's teleport songs.
Having considered the problem of overland exploration, turning the overworld into a hexploration game could be fun. It would allow you to seed the world with various thematic encounters (think Stalchild attacks or the peahats from OoT, or the Takkuri bird from Majora's Mask), adding some spice to the rest of the world between dungeons.
The first and most important question you're going to have to ask yourself is, "Is this fun, for both of us?" If you find perma-death to be more fun, then go for it.
Some elements that you shouldn't forget to include are the Goddesses' spells (Din's Fire, Nayru's Love, and Farore's Wind). You can use Farore's Wind as a sort of respawn or get-out-of-death-free card if you need to justify it. Nayru's Love could, instead of being a temporary spell, function as plot-armor that protects the hero from dying immediately when they inevitably fall into lava during the Fire Temple.
The Water Temple should be fine as long as you re-work it extensively instead of recreating the Ocarina of Time dungeon.
Having run a number of Zelda-inspired combat encounters, I'm very excited for you.
A brief note on building the character - Paladin is a great mechanical chassis for the Legendary Hero's powers. The special items aren't difficult to build, either. For example, the Hookshot could utilize Force Hook Charge.
Zelda-style dungeon exploration in a tabletop system might work better if you approach it as more similar to the top-down games; a lot of the puzzles from the 3D games would be more difficult to work in.
If you're dead-set on trying to port actual OoT-inspired dungeons, make use of skill challenges. When you enter the dungeon, give her the full map of the floor she's on and describe the main room. Traversing the rooms of the dungeon is only interesting if there's actually something to do (like a skill challenge to jump across platforms or avoid lava or what have you). Otherwise, just let her pick where she wants to go and skip to the point of interest.
The trapped rooms are easy. "You walk into the room. As the door closes behind you, hidden bars lock into place, trapping you into the room. Suddenly, (enemies) appear." Combat as normal.
Combat encounter design for a successful Zelda-style game is different than for a typical Pathfinder campaign. I like treating each combat as a sub-game of sorts. Sometimes there are platforms above pools of water, and enemies jump between platforms. Other times enemies are intended to be used against each other. Lure the Iron Knuckle into the path of the Beamos beam to stun it, or something like that.
If you want to try dungeon-spanning puzzles, have three or four pieces to the puzzle (levers, collectables, challenges to defeat) scattered around the dungeon. Rooms that don't make progress on the puzzle should contain some item of use or other interesting feature. The key to pulling off the Zelda dungeons is novelty; running around the Forest Temple is fun on the N64, but in a tabletop setting it can be pretty dull walking back and forth through featureless rooms.
One of the best design features of the Zelda dungeons is that each dungeon introduces a new item to use about half-way through. The item is key to beating the rest of the dungeon, but will also be incorporated into the design of future dungeons, even if it's just one or two challenges. So if you're feeling stuck on designing a dungeon, figure out what kind of new item you can introduce to expand your design space and mic up the mechanics, or figure out how to use items the player should already have in new and interesting ways.
Sixteenbitcoin, desert fantasy ninja could work really well as hashashin. It would not be unlikely to find such a spy or ally attached to the caravan given the wealth of the owner and the political importance of the mission.
I'm considering throwing in for this myself, likely a genie-summoning conjuration wizard.
It's always good to see this tool cropping up now and again. For anybody who hasn't tried it, the calendar is a fantastic tool. Golarion has so many official holidays that add great flavor to the setting, and this tool makes it much easier to keep track of them and integrate them into the game. On top of the holidays, it also includes phases of the moon. I'm sure a clever GM can think of a use for that ;)