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Jessica Price wrote:
This, generally speaking, my take on it across Golarion. Since I've been running Jade Regent I basically took this approach with Minkai that the station and cultural norms would dictate the behavior of gender stereotypes.
I portrayed the Samurai caste in Minkai for gender to be a non-issue. Ability to perform your duty mattered, weather that meant swinging a sword, or pouring tea. Women are warriors when it is their duty to be such.
Then on the same hand, I treated the peasant caste of Minkai in a more traditional manner. The females and males both worked the farms, but the females were the ones who ran their household and raised the future generations of farmers/craftsmen. When the samurai caste conscripts peasants for battle, they almost exclusively conscript males. This is done from the standpoint that future generations of farmers needed to be raised in order for the region to flourish, not from the idea that men are strong and tough and women are frail and dainty.
Of course there will be standouts who fly in the face of these traditions, but I simply felt it was a decent way to portray a less than detailed portion of Minkaian society.
Does it match up with my modern sensibilities, of course not, but does it give flavor to a setting? I'd like to think so.
Dustin Ashe wrote:
Toothy grin + large eyes + larger nose = Oni?!
I've actually milked this a bit for both of my groups, as the Half Orc's have seen a gamut of different treatment. Sometimes viewed as kami/oni with expected reactions of worship/fear, other times treated with a respect previously unknown to them in their Avistani regions of birth as I imagine Minkai rarely had a chance to develop a cultural prejudice against Orcs.
On Topic, I pitched this to my players as an "West meets East" style of Story. Pretty much ended up with two tables full of people from Varisia in some manner. It's worked out great, as it allowed them to 'learn as they go' instead of having to be briefed on cultural differences long in advance.
That is naughtier than that play-by-post I was telling you about. :P
Oh, I thought the group with Mikaze already had also finished Jade Regent, Asurasan? Anyway, sounds intense. Shosaito has a lot of personality, although we get to see very little of it. But the whole mansion really conveys a lot of it through its entire design. :)
Nah, Mikaze's group was passed by my 'group 2' due to protracted scheduling issues over the holidays as well as some slight playstyle difference between the two groups of players.
Mikaze's group, was at times is a bit more 'slashy' in book 4, literally fighting their way through pretty much all of the Penance as well as the Spiders. They even brought out all the guns(all the leveled NPC's from the caravan) for the final showdown with Munasukaru leading up to a massive brawl. All that together ended up costing them a session or two that the other group was able to avoid by more covert means.
As for Shosaito, I really feel like I enjoyed his side plot the most in book 5(and considering how much I like book 5, that says a lot).
I felt his story was too interesting to not find a way to 'show' it to the players. So both groups learned quite a bit of his story while gathering information/meeting various NPC's. I had him monologue a good bit about his failed plan as well, both groups immediately being repulsed by the rather twisted nature of it.
I've been inactive in the forums lately due to work but both of my groups are still making their way through to the final book of the AP and really enjoying themselves in the process.
As for one of my groups, it is comprised of quite a few new players who really have impressed with their desire to contribute to the story as well as their efforts both in-character and out of character to keep the gaming moving. It's been a real joy to see a lot of the first timers really experience some of the joys that our hobby can bring.
As a gift to commemorate the soon to be completion of their first ever 'adventure'. I commissioned some art that I thought I would share with you guys.
This is my 'Group Two' for Jade Regent. Enjoy!
I've not actually directly run into anyone hating the class, that said...
In one of the Jade Regent parties I GM, we have a cavalier who works extremely well in tandem with the other classes(Alchemist, Sorc, Rogue). I think their ability to move people around the battlefield at later levels is a huge deal.
Perhaps they don't like the horse?
I think Shosaito could be tied financially to Anamurumon, that way you don't have to decide how to handle the pearls. Possibly big A sold him some arcane secrets or information in exchange for enough money to fund his 'grandson's' rise to fame and fortune? I doubt it was cheap to propel him into the spotlight in such a manner, even psudeo-Japanese cultures have a value for money even if their personal tenants do not proscribe amassing it. The ruling caste in particular(daimyo's and high ranking/landed samurai) would see some value in it.
As for the Ja-Noi,
I'm Mikaze's GM, and also the GM thinking of eventually running Wrath of the Righteous, which conceptually sounds really exciting to me.
JR stuff for Mag!:
I also felt like the unlimited use of Suishen's Protection From Cold was excessive and would take a lot away from the feeling of a grueling trip across the Crown, so I limited its use to 3/day. That pretty much nipped it right bud. The power is still there(and still quite awesome!) without just negating all the cold related effects.
I also made a slight alteration to only allow Suishen's powers to be used on Scion's of the Amatatsu line(so Ameiko + PC's) as a sort of built-in safeguard against someone misusing Suishen's powers(How you force a super powered awesome sword to use its powers is beyond me, but hey, it makes sense from a story standpoint).
As for my 'background music' for book 3:
No musical masterpiece by any stretch but when told to loop for a long time and the volume kept low had much of the cinematic effect I wanted it to have. Decent for setting a mood at least.
I also hope your group gets to get back on JR soon! I know book 3 is daunting because of the overland portions and I was concerned about it myself, but there is really a lot of room for character building and flavor to be inserted as time passes.
As for my hesitation(if you can really call it that) about running a Mythic campaign. My hesitance is more to do with adding extra complexity(mechanically speaking) and codifying a 'better' type of hero that I think should be the purview of the GM running the game. It's only a personal bias though on my part. I completely understand that and i'm sure that type of stuff has really been gone over in a million other threads at this point though I'm sure so I won't regurgitate it.
I will buy the Mythic Book, I will read it, and quite probably like most things that I read in it, as is the case with most everything Paizo has put out thus far. If I don't, I'm more than capable and willing to adjust those parts of WotR to better suit my groups. So fear not on that front either, so long as WotR delivers the same great 'shell' for storytelling that your other AP's do, it will be a hit with me.
The premise is strong and full of awesome, which makes me want to work hard to deliver quality gaming for my players. I only want the mythic aspects to not over complicate or slowdown a session.
I think everyone is in too much of a hurry to take offense theses days. Seriously, the whole internet seems to be in a hurry to have their very core beliefs tramped on at a moments notice.
A little less emotional investment about this Ultimate Encumbrance discussion and a deep breath of fresh air would probably be for the best. I strongly believe if you were to have had that exact same discussion with Sean in person, you would probably have laughed at the end of it, as he was most likely intending to make a funny anecdote.
This is pretty close to my own feelings on the matter as well.
So much of this discussion seems to be a matter of a GM not knowing how to constructively redirect a character to something that works for his campaign as opposed just saying outright saying "no".
Generally "no" is usually the wrong answer for any GM in my opinion, but a good GM when confronted with the situation will try to redirect the player to a more suited path while still salvaging the character's core concepts(I don't mean anything mechanical, just finding the heart of what the player is actually after). Then both sides have to compromise, compromise, compromise!
I've found that more often than not, sticking points like these are able to be walked away from with both sides getting what they wanted(Girl with Horns!/Unaltered Setting!) with only a few changes required of both parties to facilitate it. Certain settings come with certain expectations so I won't speak for all of them, but since this is a Pathfinder/D&D esque setting we are most likely discussing here, that is my thoughts on that.
Now for the on topic discussion:
As a GM I feel like my responsibility is to portray a consistent setting for my players to RP in. Societies tend to reject things that break away from the established status quo, so I tend to think it is best to portray that as best as possible in my games.
'Acceptance' as a is something fringe elements need to work for, often times only gained at the individual level. Looking like an giant undead unicorn that shoots spiders from the bloody stump of a horn you once had, is probably not ever going to earn the hand of the Mayors daughter or be given the keys to the city. Could it happen, yes? Is it likely, probably not unless Zombarachnocorns are a particularly common thing in your setting.
As long as you are consistent in your reactions and warn any players in advance that are playing their 'exotic' concept of what they should expect when they walk into town you are probably on the right track.
Just to play Oni's advocate here. It's not 'random' exactly, its one per day. :)
Seriously though, I think the 'arbitrary loss' should be explained by the DM in a way that makes it seem much less arbitrary. With each passing day, more atrocities occur in the name of the Jade Regent will make the dissident members of the population wonder what the heck is taking the hero's so long!
The first day it is suspect that Ameiko and company are in town, he starts home invasions with his loyal oni, taking 'hostages' from families, children, wives, ect seemingly at random. As time goes on he may start publicly executing said hostages in an effort to draw the Scion's out into a very one sided ambush. Perhaps as the PC's build up rebellion points with a major/public success snf some public supporters rally together and hold a peaceful protest asking the Jade Regent to step down. The Jade Regent rounds up the traitors and places their heads on spikes at every street corner and intersection to remind the people who is in charge and what happens to those who stand against him.
As things get even more desperate and it seems like an attack against him is inevitable, he may start having his men kill every single woman between the age of 20-30 they can find, declaring it is a crime for anyone to remove the bodies from the streets.
This is Big Bad Guy territory we are talking about here, he should be dangerous in ways just beyond his combat stats. The losses don't have to be 'arbitrary', you can explain them in a way that makes sense to you and your players.
I know you've said before that you really like to be able to run the games directly from the books as much as possible due to time constraints and what-not and I can respect that but it is a pretty decent proposal you are putting forward about having a similar system to Book 2, if you bring the subsystems of the various books to the forefront and let your players know when and how they are 'gaining points' I think it would accomplish changing the feel of the book from 'gotta hurry' to 'Take that you oppressive jerk!'. I would probably go ahead and design about 3 combat encounters and then 3 social/background encounters to happen at certain stages of Rebellion point gain and call it a done deal if I was looking to make a similar change.
You can most likely make the changes you are suggesting easily enough before your group gets to book 6, and if you do, be sure to share them with everyone here :)
A small leatherbound journal written with bold confident penmanship.
The Journey to Ravengro was taken at as brisk a pace as we dared.
In the words of my Father, "To be a Vinatori, one must bear his scars."
The news of the Professor's passing was devastating to the Vinatori Family. He had been a dear friend and long time ally, perhaps even closer than that to my parents. I know I would not be the same man I became without him. I fear the loss of loved ones has become part of the Vinatori family as much as our holy mission mission. All of those who travel with me, my family all, have been marked by the death of those we love. It takes hold of your heart, steals your breath, and destroys all reason. As we travel my thoughts drift to my dear Kendra and the pain of her loss...
I will do my best not to speak of sad affairs further though! Despite the grim venture we undertake on, this is the first time I believe all of my cousins have gathered together. So there is some time to discuss how they have grown and changed since we were boys. Being the oldest of this generation of Vinatori, I have the unique perspective among them to say I have seen them all grow into the strong men that are worthy of our name. As my father was before me, the role of leadership falls to me with regards to our family mission. I pray I am worthy of the responsibility of leading and the respect that they have shown me since their return.
In our youth this was perhaps not always the case though. Where-as Piper have been thick as thieves as long as I can remember, there was always a tension between Alexander and myself. He is a few years my junior and the teenage years were hard on him. By the gods they were hard on all of us for certain, but I believe he felt this more keenly than the others. I imagine it was around the time I was 15 or so... A few years after the death of my sister Alara. I was perhaps a bit morose still, but I admit I came to blows with young Alex on several occasions. I believe he perhaps resented how my station as my father's child seemed to somehow give me rank above him. At such an age, boys are prone to fighting anyway to carve out their station between themselves, but this was a bit different from the tussling that one might expect of boys. There was always such a serious conviction in his eyes, I would have sworn on my life he despised my very existence. I admit I was perhaps a bit hard on him and at the time I was quick to anger myself. After one particularly viscous thrumming, I mocked him openly in front of my younger cousins out of frustration. The words in my head do not deserve to be written on paper. They were shameful, childish words, but I said them none the less.
It was hardly a month later that I had learned Alexander had run off. Piper did his best not to allow me to blame myself for it, but in my heart I felt my words pushed him further away. It was years before he eventually returned to the family. He was nearly a head taller than me, and a man grown. Things were frigid between us for some time, but as we began to travel alongside each other we learned quickly that neither of us were the children we were when we last had spoken. He had seen War first hand, traveling with Priest's of Gorum and learning the ways of the God of War himself. He lost himself to the violence of it all, but as time went on, he explained that he found the war between the people of Lastwall and the Orc's of Belksen to be little more than brutal savagery on both sides. It would seem the teaching of the Vinatori family has found ground within his heart and he once again wished to return to a fight that had purpose, where good can be done! My father would have been so proud to hear those words. I feel fortunate that we have grown closer in the past years, Alex is a staunch ally, and trusted cousin and most importantly as Piper has on many occasions pointed out, "Not someone you would want to trade blows with anymore."
Next, of course there is Vincent. His story is the most troubling of all of ours. He is not entirely human, and stands as proof of the insidiousness of the enemy of the Vinatori. The word for him is Dhamphir and his cursed lineage shows with every graceful step he takes and how the sun brings tears to his eyes. Piper is distrusting of him despite my assurances he is family. His birth and the death of my dear Aunt have caused fissures in our families structure, and I would be a liar if I said Vincent does not suffer for that which is not his fault. Unlike my other cousins he did not spend most of his youth with us, and instead was sent away to a temple to better 'curb' his tendencies that were a result of his damned blood. He is largely distant from me, from all of us I believe, save for his younger brother who shares he shares the features of their mother with. I will not speak in depth of his beliefs, but I imagine the strict code he holds himself to is required to keep the darkness at bay. This is something I understand and respect. I pray in the future that what must be done, need not conflict with his sensibilities. The family needs his strength.
Vincents younger sibling, who has had the lovingly given nickname of 'little blondie', is lithe and frail but strong of heart. He bears the nickname with a slightly begrudged look that one might expect. As the youngest of us all with such a fair face he is given a hard time by most of us. Vincent is quick to come to his aide, which generally keeps our jests to a minimum. None the less, despite his age of 18, he seems to have inherited some form of power as magical gifts come natural to him. Also, he is a staunch Desnan, which unlike the rest of us who pray to the lady for protection while we travel, he engages in her rituals with a fervor one might expect from the most devout of the wanderers. His father seems to have lost some control over the boy as he has allowed quite a bit of wandering already. I think it is perhaps that he see's a bit of his deceased wife in the boy's face. Never the less, his youth makes him generally a pleasure to travel with and his magical powers will serve the family well once he settles into that role. Perhaps some time alongside his seniors will temper his youthful spirit with some wisdom. That said, we all remember what it is like to be that age, and if he hasn't inherited the looks of the rest of us, he seems to have inherited some of our willfulness.
The last of my companions is the one dearest to me. Piper is my oldest friend and the closest thing I will ever know to a brother in this world. He fought unflinchingly for my sister Alara against insurmountable foes at my side and I owe him my life as well for that day. Piper has changed a lot since her death. More specifically, his father, my uncle was effected greatly by her death and the special 'training' he forced Piper to endure has been.... I do not know how to put it into words that will not disgrace our family's name so I will abstain at this point. What I will say of Piper is he is quick witted, fearless, and will not hesitate to do what must be done. I above all trust him, but I fear his judgement has been skewed somewhat by his fathers unorthodox teaching methods. With time, we will see what comes of him. I worry he is perhaps becoming more self destructive as time goes on. He does appear to at least trust my judgement at the moment so I have hope for him. Perhaps some time traveling with the family will bode well for him.
Speaking of Piper, I hear him giving Vincent a hard time... Let me go diffuse the situation before it comes to blows, I'll write more in a few days as we approach Ravengro.
-Christian Vinatori II
With Jade Regent. I've been using the new improved map pdf's that are included to actually print out full sized maps myself. So far it hasn't been terribly difficult to do and my players are really liking it so far.
The quality degrades a little bit when you blow up any image, but none of us have had any trouble telling anything that is going on, even when blown up to full size. Snag a free image tool (GIMP) count out your squares, crop your image and re-size it to the proper inch x inch scale depending on the number of squares on the map. Then take what you get and divide it into printable 8'1/2 x 11 sheets. Print them, cut them out, mount them to poster board/foam board.
If you are willing to do the legwork(About 4 hours for the first book in total) and spend a bit of cash on glue sticks and poster board. You will have maps for all the major encounters at the very least.
It's not exactly 'take and play', but I despise using the erase boards with grids. It keeps things flowing so well just to slap the mat down and say 'go'.
James Jacobs wrote:
I haven't looked at Kingmaker maps, but I was able to do all of Brinewall without any issue at full 1-inch square scale.
That said, it is no Scarwall(Lots of walls in castle names apparently), but from what I worked with, I believe I could honestly do any map to correct scale at this point. Quality is not something I would sell, but it is doable. I could take pictures of my results and show them, but I'm not sure where a 'picture of a map' qualifies in you guys licensing thingy.
Been busy the past week with prep work(and real work!) but I figured I would get back to this and offer my Koya scene from the first book that I am planning on. Thanks a lot for the help everyone has posted with regards to Koya in particular! I believe I have a feel for her somewhat.
So here goes, Koya Scene #1. The first reading.
The evening before the Caravan departs for Brinewall Castle, Koya assembles the cast of characters for a night of merry-making and fortune telling. She has even stolen one of Sandru's precious bottles of Brandy(See Sandru's inventory) and cracked the seal to share with all gathered. Play up Sandru's disappointment("I was saving that one!"), and Koya's good natured jesting, "Far too good of drink to be wasted on some milk maid you try to woo back to your wagon, boy. Be quiet and drink up!". Play it out as long as you can but if you feel PC attention start to wain, go ahead and press on into the harrow reading.
The secret here that the PC's aren't in on, is that Koya is playing a small prank on the new crowd as a sort of initiation. Have Sandru go on about how Koya is /never/ wrong in her readings. Speak to the characters personal lifestyles and back stories where possible, but make sure the fortunes appear to be quite negative.
A lot of this will depend on how much your PC's have given you to work with, but try to tailor each reading to something that would potentially be a fear for the character.
Any PC's who pay attention to Koya or Sandru during the reading will be allowed to make a Sense Motive check at DC 20, to get the feeling that something isn't quite on the level with these two.
If either of them are called on their shenanigans, they will laugh it off and praise the PC for seeing through their ruse. Though if they join in and decide to play along with the reading somehow or help validate what Koya says, Koya is all the more pleased with the PC in question(possible bonuses later to relationship rolls for said PC). If any of them act out, or misbehave at receiving the bad news, obviously apply penalties(or bonuses in the case of rivalries).
Either way, Sandru and Koya will eventually come clean a few days later that it was all a joke and that it has been a long standing initiation ritual for anyone who would be traveling with them for any long amount of time and that the PC's shouldn't worry themselves about it.
Those 4 scenes should do well to fill my PC's journey with some character building moments and allow them to grow close to the Major 4, instead of just a bland travel sequence with occasional random encounters.
I really like the NPC profiling as well. I think that is a really good idea.
I've been gradually wrapping up my prep-work for the first Jade Regent AP and have been putting some work into how I plan to use the 'Major 4' in my game.
Most specifically, I've been putting thoughts in to how I can roleplay them to ensure my PC's have a fairly strong foundation with them from the very first AP.
My idea for this is to create small 'scenes' to use along the group's travel between Sandpoint and Brinewall. Since that time could easily be bogged down into a load of dice rolls. I wanted to give my Players some 'defining moments' for each of the NPC's so they can start coming to grasp with who they travel with and hopefully engage them more for future AP's to keep everyone 'talking'.
Here are two examples of what I have come up with as Scene's that will help define my NPC's for later.
My Ameko I plan to be all about swagger. Constantly light heartedly wise-cracking the other PC's and NPC's alike. I will throw as much of this in there as I can manage, but to really show her spirit I plan for her to be a linchpin in a bar fight the night that the party arrive in Roderic's Cove.
After inviting all the caravan staff to a night on the town, Ameko starts up an impromptu performance in the bar the group are visiting. She plays some jolly standard folk tunes but as the night goes on, she sings a song in Tien that seems to captivate the crowd. Right as the song starts to build, a group of drunk Sczarni thugs will bust into the bar and in my best mafioso-esque voice will say "Ey, whas wit the cross eyed dame on stage singing like a tomcat."
Ameko will proceed to step down, walk across the room calmly with a smile on her face, and just deck him right there, sending him into some tables. Roll initiative, its barfight time guys!
Afterwards will be a perfect chance for my PC's to make their diplomacy rolls for their relationship score with Ameko, with possible bonuses for the outcome. I can also possible use this as a setup for a later scene with Ameko, perhaps that song had secret meaning to her? Perhaps it can be a chance for a small window into the NPC's past.
I see Sandru as a fairly good natured guy with a bit of a rogue's code of honor. Possibly even with a bit of a soft spot that he does his best to hide in front of the 'men'.
While the group is in the middle of selling what wares they can to Wolf's Ear, Shalelu will spot a small street urchin lifting some food off of one of the wagons(perhaps something from one of the PC's bags?). When she calls it out, the kid bolts with whatever he has. Chase ensues, if/when the PC's at last track the child down, they find him living in some hovel on the outskirts of town. Insert typical sad story about said street urchin(parents dead, trying to take care of little sister, town thinks they are cursed and wont help them, ect, ect). Depending on how the PC's handle it when they return to the caravan, Sandru will confront them, ask them about the outcome.
Sandru, having visited Wolf's Ear many times in the past has encountered this street urchin on several occasions and has a soft spot for him. Generally his good hearted nature has left him unable to seek to punish the child. Depending on how my PC's handle it, they will get bonuses or penalties to their diplomacy roll with him.
"I guess little one 'got away' from you guys too? Oh well, he probably needed it more than we did."
Shalelu I have some stuff in mind for too that I will post soon, but Koya is giving me some grief in the roleplay department. I'm trying to figure out how to make her cool and interesting without defaulting to 'grandma'.
I'd like to hear how you guys plan to personalize your NPC's and make sure your PC's stay engaged with them. Lets all share!