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41 posts (78 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


OK, I've updated this to include all the feedback so far.

Parka - your feedback is very helpful. For one thing, it helps me pinpoint the assumptions that I was making but not spelling out. For example, when I said that using a device followed the rules of spell casting, I was thinking specifically of things like casting time, range, that sort of thing and not verbal, somatic, and material components. Clearly, another thing that needs to be clarified. I think the most sensible option is that wielding the device is basically the same as a somatic component, but no others are needed (but the idea of adding magical fuel is interesting). So, that gives them a little bonus - effectively all their devices have the Eschew Materials and Silent Spell feats. I don't think this is a terribly unbalancing advantage.

You've almost got me convinced about the preparation time. I still don't want to make it too easy to reset the devices, but perhaps a good middle road would be to have the Rapid Dweomer class ability come in earlier and improve every few levels - that way it would kind of scale with the artificer as he can make more and better devices. Perhaps a flat 4 hours/device at 1st level, 3 at 6th, 2 and 11th, and 1 at 17th.

Neat ideas about the flavor behind activating a device!

Cheapy: Yeah, I realize that it's a problematic ability and not to everyone's taste, but I wanted to see if I could make it workable. Your mileage may vary. Thanks for the link - lots of interesting stuff there!

Parka: Good points about the spell levels. My group is really only using core stuff, so I hadn't even considered the other base classes. It might be prudent limit it to the wizard, cleric, druid, and bard spell lists. In any case, however I resolve it, I would go by what's listed on the spell's description, which at least clears up the issue of domains and mysteries.

As far as creation time, I'm still not convinced it's a problem. I think it would be reasonable to allow them to come into play with all slots full - presumably they set them before the adventure. Losing items - well, you'd better be careful and take precautions. I don't think any character should be 100% safe from mishap. If a GM really doesn't allow any downtime (and how, exactly do other spellcasters regain their spells in such games?) then I agree that this class would be a poor choice for such a game. Please note (and maybe I didn't make this clear enough), that creating dweomercraft items is more akin to preparing spells than true magic item creation. Another thing to make explicit - I was operating under the assumption that they require no special equipment or labs; they are created from mundane materials the artificer is assumed to be carrying and the magical power comes from within.

That said, I have given a fair amount of thought to the physical attributes of the devices. I vacillate between handwaving it all as flavor, as above, or spelling something out. Getting specific opens a lot of questions: what's a fair weight, hardness, break DC, and size? Should it scale with spell level? Can devices be made from items of clothing? Is so, do they take up magic items slots (I would be against this, as I want to maximize device usability)?

Here's some baseline, off-the-cuff physical stats: Weight: 2 lbs/spell level, hardness: 4+spell level, HP: 8+(spell levelx2). One handed if weight< 8lbs, two-handed otherwise. Seem reasonable?

Yes, the manufacture times can build up, but I think it's a necessary balancing factor. Because the artificer is so versatile (they use all spell lists; level of spell is lowest level it appears on ANY spell list - I'd better make that explicit), they would quickly supplant all spellcasters if it were too easy to reset devices. However, they do get to cut manufacture time in half at 17th level - if it seems to be a serious problem I suppose that ability could be gained earlier.

My gut says that Salvage isn't overpowered as is, but I suppose if playtesting shows it to be abusive, it could be reduced to recovering 75% of the gp value.

Thanks for the feedback!

Adamant Entertainment's Tome of Secrets included an artificer class that was based on an interesting idea, but the implementation was a bit wonky and left a lot of unanswered questions. I've attempted to fix it here. I've tried to make the weird science (I renamed it "dweomercraft" because I found "weird science" a bit too steampunky for my taste) more balanced and workable and have thrown in some elements of the original Eberron class as well. I would love to know what people think of this version.

I really did not care for the skill slots option. It struck me as too unrealistic. I am very happy with the compromise in Alpha2.

KaeYoss wrote:
CrackedOzy wrote:

You are an evil, EVIL man!!!
It's all true! Except the thing about me eating puppies.

Kittens are much easier on the digestive system...

I concede that the Pathfinder setting goblins (which I love!) would not work very well as a PC race. That said, my own interest in the Pathfinder RPG is not in the setting, but as a generic resource and a flavor of d20 that I can stand to play. I've long since burned out on D&D/d20 in favor of GURPS, but both my game groups are HIGHLY resistant to changing game systems. From what I've seen so far, Pathfinder RPG is somewhat more palatable to me, but my primary interest is in a game engine that I can use with Eberron and homebrew settings.

I would love to see at least Goblins and Hobgoblins as PC races without the messy LA/monster class level business. Bugbears too, for that matter.

Just wanted to register another vote in favor of the smaller font size. It was one of the very first things I noticed when I got my copy of Pathfinder #1 this weekend. It gave me the feeling that I was getting greater value and more content for my money.

This has been asked on the Eberron boards over at WotC. The answer from Keith Baker was pretty much the same as what James Jacobs said above, esp. about the mark reemerging elsewhere.

I've gone so far as to completely remove the 100gp requirement from the identify spell. I really don't see how it adds to the FUN of the game to make it so difficult to use one of the primary resources that characters collect over the course of the game. Neither do I see how alleviating this difficulty adversely affects the balance of the game.

Nowadays our group pretty much sticks to D&D, but we used to be a lot more diverse:

I haven't looked into Paranoia XP, but olde skoole Paranoia (1st edition) has been a long-time favorite. Favorite part: our groups always had to write (and then read aloud) mission reports at the end.

Bushido - had a lot of fun with this one as well.

The Fantasy Trip - barely counts as an RPG, but we played some pretty extensive campaigns using those rules.

Bunnies & Burrows - Don't laugh, I've actually run a game of it. Rabbits had to rescue their brethren from the animal testing lab, ended up actually killing a janitor!

Another vote for Fasa Star Trek, especially the Klingon expansion. Many, many hours of gaming goodness.

A few games that I own and have read, but never played:
Bureau 13 - Game system looks INSANEly complicated, but a very fun read.

Duck Troopers - A very goofy game with a stripped-down version of the above.

Attack of the Humans - Yet another monster-hunting game. Mildly amusing.

It Came from the Late Late Late Show - I absolutely loved the premise of this and the scene breaking mechanics of this. Bought the game and all the supps, never got a chance to try it out.

NightLife - I had the same idea for a game, those dirty so-and-so's did it firest.

Top 3 Things I would like to see in Dragon Compedium II

1) Update of the Timelord character class!!!

2) Lots more of the "miscellaneous" articles (like the stuff in the Classics and Appendices section of volume 1).

3) Minimal updates of 3.0 material. This is pretty easy to convert myself. The heavy concentration on recent material kept me from purchasing volume I. Anything above 10-15% or so would prevent me from purchasing future volumes.

Ah, Wormy! I remember it well. I collected Dragon from issue 42-120 or so. My first thought when I bought the collection on CD was "Cool! Now I can find out how Wormy ended!" D'oh. Oh well, it was a beautiful strip while it lasted, even if we never did get any closure on it.

I remember when I saw the ad for the compilation - I was so excited I thought I would burst. Then, just a few issues later someone asked in the letters section when it was coming out. The reply was something along the lines of "We have no idea what you're talking about - such a thing was never planned." Even at the time I thought that was odd, given that anyone who collected the magazine could simply look a few issues back and see the ad right there. Now, knowing that there was some kind of bad blood, it makes a little more sense.

I've got to go home and find the issues/pages this all occurred on.

Anyway, here's to you, DAT. May your passengers always be heavy tippers!

Check out this thread for some of my thoughts on the subject.

Oh yeah, forgot about the "Wormcrawl Fissure." Definitely agree on placing it in the Demon Wastes. I've already (in 3FoE) dropped a bit of a hint that should at least have the PCs thinking about the region.

I will agree with the OP only to the extent that I think there are a few too many dungeon crawls in this AP. The catacombs in "The Champion's Belt," for example, felt tacked on. Or rather, it felt like a bunch of rooms with monsters in them were easier to make than a totally event-based adventure. I also was not particularly impressed by, or interested in, "A Gathering of Winds."

On the other hand, "The Whispering Cairn" had some very interesting side plots that helped it transcend the dungeon crawl genre. "Spire of Long Shadows" really struck a chord with me, for some reason. And "The Prince of Redhand" was the most original adventure I've seen in a long time.

As for the over-arching theme - PCs save the world from ancient evil menace - well, that's kind of what heroic fantasy in general and D&D in particular are about. Trite? Maybe. But fun.

I'm also using the "real" Mistmarsh. It fits in better with my campaign, since I moved the 3FoE to Darguun.

Some more random adaptation notes:
The idea of incorporating the Blood of Vol has been mentioned before and I like it. Kyuss in my AoW will be a long lost member of the line of Vol, 3-4 generations older than the infamous Erandis. Speaking of which, it has also been suggested that our favorite half-dragon lich could be substituted for Dragotha. But why not sub her in for Lashonna instead? It would make the whole betrayal thing make a lot more sense - she naturally feels that she should be the right hand of her ancestor rather than some upstart dragon.

I had originally thought I would set "Spire of Long Shadows" in Xen'drik - certainly it has that lost temple in the jungle feel. But I also can't see placing "Kings of the Rift" anywhere else, for obvious reasons. So now I'm thinking "Spire of Long Shadows" is actually in Aerenal. Sure, it's not a huge place, but I'm sure there are depths to the rainforests that the elves choose to avoid, especially if they are associated with a period of history they would prefer to forget.

I've already started planting the hooks that will get the players to Sharn for "Hall of Harsh Reflections" and "The Champion's Belt." HoHR I will use pretty much as is, but I'm thinking of changing tCB to center around the Race of the Eight Winds. This is mainly because I've already run some of these players (in a previous homebrew campaign) through "Pandemonium in the Veins," so another gladiator adventure would seem redundant. This will take some adaptation, obviously, but I envision the big climactic fight taking place during some award ceremony at the end of the race.

Not sure yet what I'm going to do about "A Gathering of Winds." I really feel like the whole Wind Duke - Rod of Seven Parts side plot is out of place in AoW, not to mention an Eberron adaptation thereof. Another problem is that in my campaign, the characters started off with 3FoE. Actually, they did run through "The Whispering Cairn," but that party were all killed by the Wind Warriors, so when we started the campaign over we started far away from Diamond Lake. Any suggestions for a good adventure to substitute in? Whatever it is, I think I will make set it in Red Hand/Alhaster, to give the PCs more of a history with that place.

"Library of Last Resort." In another Eberron campaign, I had a secret druid enclave on an uncharted island in the middle of Lake Galifar. No reason why I couldn't recycle this idea.

"Prince of Redhand" and "Dawn of a New Age" will be set in the Lhazaar Principalities, as suggested by Keith Baker. This actually fits with adding in Erandis d'Vol as well, since she hides out in that region as well. Don't know how it will all play out, but one of the signs of the return of Kyuss will be the reappearance of the 13th moon as the Mark of Death ascends once again. When Kyuss and Erandis are defeated, the Mark will somehow be transformed to the Mark of Life.

Lots and lots of details to work out still. Sorry for the randomness of this post - I'm mostly thinking out loud here. Feel free to chime in with comments and suggestions.

Hmmm - I can see how it would be interpreted that way. Your reasoning about level loss makes perfect sense to me - I would view it that way to. Not sure that I would carry it over to gaining levels, though. Guess I'll need to look through the FAQ or query the WotC sages to be convinced which interpretation is correct.

However it works, I think this is a great idea. I hope it occurs to my players.

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
You don't need to re-clone if you level. The clone comes to life at whatever character level the PC was at death, minus one, as soon as the character dies (or as soon as the clone is mature, if the character dies first).

Are you sure about this? From my reading of the SRD description of the spell (see below), it seems clear that the clone's level is one less than the current level of the character at the time the clone is created, or one less than the character's current level, whichever is lower. Was there some sort of ruling that changed this?

d20 SRD wrote:
When the clone is completed, the original’s soul enters it immediately, if that creature is already dead. The clone is physically identical with the original and possesses the same personality and memories as the original. In other respects, treat the clone as if it were the original character raised from the dead, including the loss of one level or 2 points of Constitution (if the original was a 1st-level character). If this Constitution adjustment would give the clone a Constitution score of 0, the spell fails. If the original creature has lost levels since the flesh sample was taken and died at a lower level than the clone would otherwise be, the clone is one level below the level at which the original died.

There's a nice pic in the latest Dungeon (#134). I'm sure an electronic copy will eventually be available when the get caught up that far on the web enhancements.

A couple comments:

Sathar/Vrusk mix - LOL! Now you're talkin' OLDE school, brother!

Actually, I have no particular problem with the avolakia - always room for another bizarre grotesquerie. But I'm also running AoW in Eberron and I am flabbergasted to say that it never occured to me to sub in some Rakshasa - despite the fact that they are one of my favorite things about the setting and I've been looking for a way to work some in. Thanks, Obscure, I will be appropriating that idea for my campaign (of course, it's going to be forever until they get to that point - they're just now starting in on the third temple in 3FoE).

Psurlons - now if there is any creature that strikes me as implausible and just plain goofy it's the psionic giant earthworm people. I'll take the avolakia over them any day.

Yay! Thanks, Dungeon dudes!

To clarify, I'm also running with the idea that the Cult of One are deluded pawns as well.

Here's the main folk in Temple One:
Teldruuk CR 5
Male Bugbear Barbarian 2/Favored Soul (the Devourer) 1
CE Medium Humanoid
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60’, Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Common, Goblin
AC 16*/18*/21*, touch 15*, flat-footed 17*
*+2 from Protection from Good, -2 when raging
hp (6HD) 48 (+12 when raging)
Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +4
Spd 40 ft.
Melee trident +9 (1d8+5, piercing) *+2 to attack and damage rolls when raging
Ranged composite (+4) longbow +6 (1d8+5/x3, piercing, 100’) or trident +8 (1d8+5 piercing, 10’)
Base Atk +4; Grp +9
Combat Gear potion of protection from arrows (DR 10/magic), wand of hold person (36 charges)
Favored Soul Spells Known (CL 1st):
1st (3 per day) – bane, lesser vigor* (CDiv p. 186), protection from goodD
0 (5 per day)– cure minor wounds, guidance, resistance
Abilities Str 20, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 6
SQ rage 1x/day (duration 6 rounds), uncanny dodge, rebuke undead, smite (+4 attack roll, + 1 damage) 1x/day, spontaneous casting
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack
Skills +1 Knowledge: Religion, +3 Listen, +7 Move Silently, +3 Spot
Possessions combat gear, trident, composite longbow (+4) w/20 serrated arrows (-1 to attack rolls, +1 to damage rolls), bronzed shark jaw (holy symbol of the Devourer, 100 gp value), pouch w/8 gp, key to area 10, keys to chests in areas 9 and 10

Kashta CR 4
Female hobgoblin Bard 4
CE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +8, Spot +4
Languages Common, Daelkyr, Goblin, Undercommon
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14
hp 4 (1 HD)
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +5
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee flail +4 (1d8 bludgeoning) +2 to opposed disarm checks, can make trip attacks
Range heavy crossbow +7(1d10+1/19-20 piercing)
Space 5ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +3; Grp +3
Atk Options mainly feats that enhance attacks
Special Actions bardic music (countersong, fascinate, inspire courage, inspire competence)
Combat Gear brooch of shielding (89 hp remaining), potion of invisibility, potion of protection from arrows (10/magic), wand of cure light wounds
Class Spells Known (CL 4):
2nd (1/day) – cure moderate wounds, dimension leap (MoE p. 95)
1st (3/day) -- charm person (DC 14), herald’s call (DC 14, CAdv p. 151), summon monster I (Fiendish Small Monstrous Spider**)
0 (3/day) – dancing lights, detect magic, flare (DC 13), ghost sound, mending, read magic
Abilities Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16
SQ bardic knowledge +6
Feats Negotiator, Song of the Heart
Skills Bluff +7, Diplomacy +12, Knowledge: Arcana +4, Knowledge: History +6, Knowledge: Religion +6, Knowledge: The Planes +4, Listen +8, Move Silently +7, Perform: Song +10, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +6, Spot +4
Possessions combat gear, mithral shirt, masterwork flail, heavy crossbow, 20 +1 bolts, obsidian & khybershard beltbuckle shaped like The Fury’s holy symbol (200 gp value)
Feats: Song of the Heart adds +1 to inspire courage and inspire competence bonuses and +1 to fascinate save DC
Skills: +4 racial bonus to Move Silently checks

**Fiendish Small Monstrous Spider CR 1/2
CE Small magical beast (extraplanar)
Init +3; Senses darvision 60 ft. tremorsense 60 ft.; Spot +4
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11
hp 4 (1 HD)
Resist Cold 5, Fire 5
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +0
Speed 40 ft. (6 squares); climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d4-2 plus poison)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +0; Grp -6
Special Attack smite good (+1 damage, 1x/day)
Abilities Str 7, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 2
SQ poison
Feats Weapon Finess
Skills Climb +11, Jump +8, Spot +12
Poison: Fort save DC 10, 1d3 Str (initial and secondary)
Skills: +10 racial bonus on Jump checks and +8 racial bonus on Spot checks

Horrid Dire Wolverine CR 5
NE Large animal (augmented animal)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, scent; Listen +7, Spot +7
AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 18 -2 to all when raging
hp 55* ( 5 HD) ; natural healing 3 hp/HD per night of full rest *+10 when raging
Immune acid
Fort +7*, Ref +7, Will +5 *+2 when raging
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 10 ft. (2 squares)
Melee claws +8(1d8+6 +1d6 acid)
OR 2 claws +8 melee (1d8+6 +1d6 acid) and bite +3 melee (1d8+3)
*+2 to all attack/damage rolls when raging
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +3; Grp +13
Atk Options rage
Abilities Str 22*, Dex 17, Con 23*, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10 *+4 when raging
SQ acid immunity, ill-tempered, improved natural healing
Feats Alert
Skills Climb +14*, Listen +7, Spot +7 *+2 when raging
Ill-Tempered (Ex) Handle Animal checks involving a horrid dire wolverine take a -4 penalty.
Improved Natural Healing (Ex) A horrid dire wolverine recovers 3 hit points per Hit Die with a full night’s rest.
Rage (Ex) A dire wolverine that takes damage in combat flies into a berserk rage on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead. An enraged dire wolverine gains +4 Strength, +4 Constitution, and -2 AC. The creature cannot end its rage voluntarily.
Skills: A dire wolverine has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

I’m currently running TFoE in Eberron. Some may remember this thread detailing the disastrous end of that campaign. Well, our group decided to give it another go with new characters, so I started them out at 3rd level and went straight to adventure #2. I have made quite a lot of changes, as I agree that Keith Baker’s conversion suggestions don't go nearly far enough (not that I blame him – I think his suggestions are fine for the amount of space and time he is able to devote to them). My plan is to fairly heavily modify the entire arc to increase the Eberron feel and tie it in one or more of the campaign’s Big Secrets.

The hook for the adventure was that a company in Zilargo, the Dymus cartel, have lost a shipment of Khybershards. Rather than loose face with the rest of their countrymen and risk censure from the Trust, the gnomes have decided to try and take care of the problem quietly on their own by bringing in outside help; i.e., the PCs. The shards disappeared from a warehouse at the lightning rail depot near Sterngate. A little investigation points towards Darguun and a tribe called the Black Sun.

Instead of the Ebon Triad I’m calling the inhabitants of the underground temples “the Cult of One.” Their goal is to merge all of the Dark Six into one horrible beast – the Ebon Aspect. Their temples are located in an old daelkyr stronghold inside a hollowed-out mountain about 200 miles southwest of the Seven Caves and 160 miles east of Sterngate.

The outer reaches of the site are a warren of tunnels and chambers that the Black Sun, a marginalized tribe of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, call home. At the center of the mountain lies a huge empty cavern, the center of which is an enormous hexagonal stone pillar. The lower section of the pillar is a guard house – this is where I put the tiefling guards. But instead of being humanoids with fiendish ancestry, these tieflings are goblinoids who have been warped by exposure to a Husk of Infinite Worlds (see Magic of Eberron). Rather than having horns or red skin or tails, these poor creatures look like wax figures who have been left near a flame too long. Mechanically the same as tieflings, though. I also had a couple of the grimlock archers in the level above the guard house, firing through arrow slits.

Once the PCs have made their way past the guards, they find a ladder all the way to the top of the pillar, about 200’ above the cave floor. Just below the top is a group of cells, full of non-goblin humanoid prisoners. The prisoners report that many of their number have been taken away, especially the able-bodied fighters. None have returned. The top of the pillar is where the pool (hexagonal) that the Ebon Aspect will emerge from is located. Surrounding the pool are the Khybershards the PCs seek. Unfortunately, there is also a damaging field around them which drains Wis, Dex, and Con. No character can remain within the field long enough to pry the shards out.

From the top of the pillar to the sides of the cavern run three bridges. Their sides are stone walkways, but their centers are more like channels, bearing from the temples the strange liquid that fills the pool. In essence, as each temple performs its rites to the gods it worships, that power is made material and channeled into the pool by the shards. The temple inhabitants believe that if they perform their rites long enough, the Ebon Aspect will arise spontaneously. What they don’t realize it that the deaths of the priests are the necessary catalysts to complete the summoning. Once they are slain, the field will drop and the avatar will be released.

Temple One: Instead of Hextor, this temple is dedicated to the Devourer and the Fury. Teldruuk (bugbear barbarian 2/favored soul 1) is the leader of the Black Sun tribe and a servant of the Devourer. He lead his people here and joined forces with the Faceless One and Grallak Kur when they convinced him that with the power of the merged Dark Six behind them they could wipe all non-goblins from the face of Khorvaire. Teldruuk’s lieutenant is a dirgesinger named Kashta (hobgoblin bard 4) who serves as the voice of the Fury. Arena combat serves as worship for both as they pit themselves and their beast (a horrid dire wolverine) against whatever prisoners they think will make an interesting fight. They will be overjoyed by the arrival of the PCs, as they have run out of worthy combatants. I’m replacing the skeletons and fanatics with miscellaneous goblin and hobgoblin rabble. Kashta takes the place of the two acolytes.

Temple Two: Instead of Vecna, the Faceless One (wizard 7 – I’ve toughened him up a bit because I’ve got 6 PCs in my group) is a servant of both the Shadow and the Mockery, although because of his interest in arcane power, primarily the former. Instead of the pair of dippy mages, his lieutenant is a dust-stuffed (see Explorer’s Handbook) hobgoblin monk 4 who is devoted to the Mockery. The kenkus have been replaced with dolgrims – also created by the Husk of Infinite worlds out of members of the Black Sun tribe. I’ve done away with the dire weasels and just increased the number of dolgrims. The dolgrim leaders are fighter 1/rogue 1. This temple’s worship rites consist mostly of gruesome arcane and surgical experimentation on hapless prisoners. The labyrinth serves both as a layer of security and a venue for tormenting prisoners.

Temple Three: Grallak Kur is a Psion (Telepath) 5 who is the true head of the “Cult of One.” Grallak Kur is a servant of both the Traveler and the daelkyr and likely sees no distinction. It is he who operates the Husk of Infinite Worlds. He is assisted by a renegade Karrnathi necromancer and war criminal (Dread Necromancer 5) who serves the Keeper. In addition to the grimlock archers, Grallak Kur will be guarded by some some very altered myconids (and possibly a few other fungus-based creatures as well). This temples rites center around transmutation – of the living into monsters and of the dead into undead minions.

As time permits, I’ll post the stats of my alternate Temple principals.

This is related, albeit somewhat tangential. In my reborn AoW campaign, the psionic character has threatened, when he gets high enough level, to mind seed the entire party, thus making everyone in the party HIM. I think (hope) he was joking...

Hey, Monkey King - don't pull any punches, just tell me what you really think! ; )

It's all good - any feedback is useful and welcome. Actually, the upside of all this is that it has provoked a lot of discussion in our group about what we really expect out of games (what we like/dislike, what works/doesn't). Quite a useful discussion.

TPK Jay - the idea bringing back the first party as Spawn of Kyuss is absolutely evil and highly uncalled for. I love it! I will definitely be appropriating it, assuming we do end up continuing this campaign!

Yeah, the saddest thing about losing all these characters is that they all did great work on their backgrounds, which I was going to use as plot hooks or threads in future adventures. Barbarian’s grandfather was a minor Brelish noble – I was going to make him be the commander at Blackwall Keep. Ranger came to Diamond Lake searching for a rogue Tharashk agent, whom he would have encountered as a member of the Ebon Triad cult (possibly as a replacement for Theldrick). Rogue/sorcerer had an evil merchant in his past who would have made a great substitute for Loris Raknian in Hall of Harsh Reflections/Champion’s Belt. And clues about the amnesiac warforged’s past could have been worked in anywhere – especially if I made Red Hand Stormreach.

Oh well. Hopefully the new group (already getting a few feelers from some of the players) will have just as rich backgrounds to plunder.

Thanks for all the feedback, in the form of Kindly and Stern words - both kinds are greatly appreciated and useful.

A few additional clarifications/details:

The group never found the wand of shatter - they didn't even venture into the Lair of the Architect at all. The ranger used his Tharashk dragonmark to locate the red lantern, so they focused entirely on that level and getting into the Chamber of Sighs. Even if they had, I don't see anything in the wind warriors' or the spell description that indicates that they would be particularly vulnerable to it. I suppose I could have ruled that it affected them as if they were crystalline creatures (3d6 damage, assuming CL3)

I agree the leveling issue was the biggest thing. The house rule I was operating under was that you needed to train a week for every other level and that you were assumed to have trained at 1st. The exception would be adding a new class - you always have to train then. So level 2 of the same class was essentially free. I can't explain why the ranger refused to take it. Still, if everyone had been able to level up to 3rd it would have made a tremendous difference. TPK Jay, I like your training bank idea - a good way to pay lip service to realism without inconveniencing the players too much. I also rule that you have to sleep 8 hours before gaining a level, even if you don't train. Good points everyone else who chimed in on this subject.

The potions - true, they could have been poisoned, but they already knew that they were certainly magic. I do have same potions look/smell/taste alike, but they had yet to use any of them, so they wouldn't have known which was which.

As far as the players dropping out, I hope that it was just the emotion of the moment. I was pretty distraught, too - still was when I posted this morning. But we're all old hands (some of us have been playing over 20 years), so I think they'll be back in the saddle eventually. We probably will take a couple weeks off to playtest an SF RPG system the barbarian's player is working on.

GGG - you're absolutely right about not kicking players when they're down. I should have just had them recover, whatever the rules say. Actually, it was almost worse. I considered having the barbarian (human, not dwarf, by the way) run into Kullen and his gang (with whom the party has already had a colorful - and painful - history) on his trip to town, but dismissed the idea as rubbing salt in the wounds.

Anyway, thanks again for all the advice and support.

So I ran the final session of “The Whispering Cairn” last night and it may well have been the final session of the Age of Worms campaign path. After several session of getting battered to death’s door, my party finally was ready to reap the reward. They’d hit all the important points – made contact with Allustan, learned the background story of the Vaati, tracked down (and prematurely killed!) Filge, found the note that was the hook for adventure two, buried the Land family for Alastor. Onwards to the Chamber of Sighs and big treasure.

Oh yes, there’s the trifling matter of the two 6HD opponents who can fly and have a ranged attack that they can use pretty much anytime they want. I decided that having the wind warriors just sit back and smack their swords together would be no fun for anyone concerned, so I had them mostly engage the party hand to hand, reasoning that they were created to be melee combatants and “programmed” to attack in that manner. The ranger (who despite having almost enough experience to be third level had never even bothered to level up to 2nd) and the rogue/sorceror were the ones who triggered the attack by mucking around with the airshaft while the fighter/barbarian, warforged tank, and goblin favored soul (NPC healer) hung back. Actually, the warforged was out of the room entirely, picking up some of those iron balls to use as a door jam because he was worried about the door closing on him (my fault – I forgot to mention that the trigger for the door was on that side).

So the wind warriors appear and engage. Let’s see, +8 to hit vs. low level characters, average 7.5 damage per hit, high AC, lots of HP. Yeah, that didn’t last long. They split up, running for the rim. The ranger managed to hide himself behind the barbarian. The rogue yelled for the cleric then was cut down (-7 or so, stabilized with an action point at -9). The healer ran to respond and was knocked down to 1 HP. By this time the warforged was in the fray. He interposed himself between the wind warrior and the fragile goblin. No prob, the wind warrior just flew out of reach and used the sonic attack. One goblin healer, down for the count.

The ranger decided to flee from relative safety and made for the airshaft. I had decided at this point that this was going to be a slaughter and that I would reward his daring by having him find something that would control, or at least call off, the wind warriors in the true tomb. But I wasn’t going to make it a cakewalk. While WW1 is dealing with the warforged and the barbarian, WW2 follows ranger into the true tomb. Ranger decides that it’s too risky to investigate the true tomb with WW2 on him like glue, so he flees back down the shaft. WW2 follows, fumbles an attack roll, so I rule it lost the weapons (mostly to give them a bit of breathing space and also see the looks on their faces when it summons a new pair next turn). At this point ranger decides to see if he can do something about the healer. WW2 follows and guts him. Ranger has no AP left and fails his stabilization checks. I play with Whimsy Cards and one of the other players used one to give him a second chance on his last roll. I even gave a bonus. No luck.

Meanwhile warforged and barbarian have been battering the heck out of WW1 and finish it off just in time for WW2 to come after them. Warforged goes toe to toe while barbarian hangs back with his bow. It’s going pretty well for them until WW2 gets in two solid hits on the warforged (already a bit battered to begin with), one of them a confirmed critical. Light fortification takes care of that, but still the damage is enough to drop him to -13!

That left the lone barbarian. Fortunately, the warforged had softened up WW2 quite a bit, and he’s able to finish the job in just two or three rounds. With one round to go, barbarian attempts to stabilize the healer. Success! Although two characters are dead (one arguably deservingly so), three will survive. Barbarian plunders all the bodies to find healing magic. There are a bunch of potions, some recovered from the beetle room and some recovered from Filge. They never got a chance to ID any of them, but had figured out that several were of the Conjuration school of magic.

Barbarian decides not to take a chance, and runs into town to but some potions. OK, I estimate it’s about 5 miles. Feeling charitable, I tell him he can run all the way, do his business, and run all the way back. I estimate about an hour and a half altogether. Meanwhile, I look up the rule about recovering consciousness when you’re in the negatives. 10% chance per hour, and you lose a HP if you fail. Ooops – they’re both at -9. Barbarian comes back to find two more dead companions.

At this point, playing in character, barbarian decides not to investigate any further, but simply to pull his companions out, bury them, and retire from adventuring. So now the Age of Worms campaign is over, as are my days as a DM. I don’t think the group will play under me again. I’ve broached the subject of continuing with new characters, but did not get anything even resembling enthusiasm.

What I did wrong – I could have fudged a lot of rolls, minimizing damage and having the wind warriors miss more often. I could have ignored the rule about losing HP when in the negatives or fudged the rolls. But I’m not really comfortable with doing that too often. I don’t think I have the “killer DM” mentality, but I do try to play the opponents intelligently and prefer to let the dice fall as they may as much as possible.

I could have had Alastor warn them that there were some guardians inside – I simply forgot to do so. Ditto with the door trigger – things may have been different if the warforged had gotten there a little sooner. I could have realized that two wind warriors would be too much and just used one – that would have been challenging but not devastating.

Another problem was that before this session most of the party had enough EXP to become 3rd level, but I find it unrealistic to say that people just gain a level without some kind of downtime. The party didn't want to take that downtime because they were worried that the rival adventure party would find the WC and get the big reward before them.

What the PCs did wrong – They could have stayed together more, backing each other up, instead of splitting up and making themselves easy individual targets. Barbarian could have taken a chance on one of the potions being a healing potion – good grief, he was a little injured himself, he could have tried it on himself first. They also could have retreated, although I’m not sure they could have escaped creatures with an 80’ flying movement, although I wouldn’t have had them pursue the party outside of the Chamber of Sighs (they had no way of knowing this, of course).

Other Problems – I think my group and I are not well adapted to the play style that is assumed by published adventures. Very heavy on highly challenging combat encounters, packed tightly together. Don’t get me wrong, I think Whispering Cairn is a fun adventure with a lot of fine role-playing encounters, but it’s also very, very deadly. My group almost gave up at the very beginning when the wolves and (later, after rest) the beetle swarm/mad slasher combo nearly wiped them all out. Is this really how most people play – a combat that incapacitates most of the party, rest, repeat?

If you made it this far, thanks for reading (and bearing with my abrupt changes in verb tense). Opinions and advice welcome. The big question nagging me is - am I an unreasonable killer DM? Should I have let the players live?

How about replacing the Lurking Strangler with the Eyeball? It's the cute lil' "baby beholder" in Monsters of Faerun. I don't think it's been updated to 3.5 yet, but it shouldn't be too hard to use as is. That's what I'm using in my AoW campaign. Or rather, I would have used it if my players had not bypassed that section of the WC entirely. (And after I made nifty stand up counters for the little guys and everything. Grumble, grumble...)

Very well done. Consider huge swaths of it stolen for my own campaign.

And don't forget the dreaded Head of Vecna!

James Jacobs wrote:
I will not give an estimate on a date that it'll be ready. That way lies madness.

Very wise.

I'd just like to say I appreciate all the effort that goes into these supplements. They add value to my subscription and keep me coming back. Thanks for all the hard work!

Brian Engel wrote:
While your ideas are fresh and exciting I think you are completely missing the idea of The Chamber. The Chamber would not "wait and see." That's what the rest of dragonkind would do.

Yes, after I wrote that I realized that would be a problem. The quickest fix would be simply to state that the rest of the Chamber simply disagreed with him - they interpreted the signs differently and cast aspersions on Dragotha's scholarship. Dragotha's anger at their disrespect contributed to his downfall.

William Pall wrote:
From my first read-through, the most out of place thing that I can think of for the Eberron setting is the Drow Thralls. I just can't picture Eberron Drow being located anywhere but Xen'dric. I'm thinking possibly replacing them with Dolgrim or Dolgaunt's . . . any idea's?

I think dolgrim and dolgaunt's are a great idea and quite fitting as servants of the illithid ("we's all jest the Daelkyr's chilluns"). I would use them myself, but I'm already replacing the kenkus in 3FoE with them (I don't think there's anything particularly un-Eberron about kenkus, I just don't like 'em for some reason).

One possibility is to keep them drow, but give them a back story to explain their presence. I'm leaning towards making them Umbragen. Perhaps this particular group was facing a threat to their people - maybe even connected to the Age of Worms in some way - and they traveled to the outside world to find assistance (more likely magic stuff to steal than allies since the Umbragen don't seem the making friends type). Ironically, the party fell into thralldom to just the sort of horror they were trying to save their people from. If the PCs somehow free them, they might even be greatful and provide some sort of assistance before returning home. Expanding on that further, I've been considering having Stormreach stand in for Red Hand. If that's the case, during the big finale perhaps the Umbragen could come back as unlikely allies.

Jacek Strycharczyk wrote:
Kyuss, the only elf with Siberys Mark of Death had been lost in Xen'drik and in time before the line of Vol was exterminated.

My jaw dropped when I read this. Coolest idea ever - why didn't I think of that? It'll take some work, but I think drow, dragons, and the Mark of Death all make perfect sense intertwined with Kyuss and his worm buddies.

Must mull this over.


AoW on Xen'drik is an interesting notion, but I don't think required. Southwestern Breland is a pretty wild and not particularly heavily populated area, so I see no problem with a lone lizardfolk tribe.

I'm placing Diamond Lake on the western bank of the Dagger River as indicated in the conversion notes in the 124 supplement and Overload. I'm placing Blackwall Keep and the Mistmarsh a little further off than written in the adventure - either somewhere between Ringbriar and Moonwatch or on the eastern edge of the forest north of Ringbriar. My thought is that at one time (possibly centuries ago) the marsh was much more extensive and the lizardfolk that live there now are a pathetic remnant of a once mighty tribe. In general, they are not a threat, but a few decades ago they caused some VIP noble a bit of trouble, so the Keep was built. Unitl the recent attack, egged on by Ilthane (pun definitely intended), there was little to do there being posted at Blackwall was viewed as a punishment, or at the very least a sign that you've been forgotten by the Powers That Be (which might explain the soldiers' incompetence at dealing with their Spawn-ed companion).

Here's a couple thoughts on using Xen'drik:
- What if that's where Kyuss found the Spire of Long Shadows?
- What if the tiny nation of Redhand is actually the area ruled by Stormreach?

I'm 90% certain that this is the approach I'm going to take.

Here's my take on dragons and the Age of Worms in Eberron. Bear in mind, this is a bare bones outline, providing the beginning of a rationale for the dragons' involvement. There's a lot more I want to do with the back stories of Kyuss and the Wind Dukes to tie it all together with Eberron. I'll post more when I have it.

Dragotha, a young and idealistic member of the Chamber, foresaw the coming of the Age of Worms written in the sky millenia ago. He urged his fellows to work with him at preventing it, but to his great frustration the other Chamber members were content to adopt a “wait and see” attitude. As century after century passed, Dragotha's frustration turned to bitterness and anger. He eventually came to believe that nothing could prevent the onset of the disaster. Whether this conclusion was based on an honest assessment of the facts or tainted by his growing resentment is difficult to say, but nonetheless Dragotha decided that the only way to save Eberron was by bringing about its ruin. The sooner the cataclysm struck, the sooner it could be moved past and another, better Age could begin.

Dragotha labored on in solitude, painstakingly searching the heavens and earth for clues, piecing together bit by bit the sequence of events needed to start the Age of Worms. The quest began to take a toll on the red dragon's mind and he grew obsessed with allowing nothing to prevent his completing it - not even death. The search for the power of Kyuss had brought Dragotha into contact with many branches of the necromantic arts. He learned the ritual of lichdom and eagerly embraced undeath as a means of continuing his work. Over time, he was finally able to recruit other, younger, dragons such as Ilthane and Lasshona, to his cause. Originally attracted by the idea of saving the world, Dragotha's servants have over the decades become as corrupt as their master.

I am very pleased with the new format for Dungeon. Very nice mix of adventures and lots of side goodies that can be sprinkled in. I'd like to say I missed the mini-games, but really only ever liked a couple of them, so no loss there. What I am especially happy about is that they finally dropped that silly core rule book page layout. I never understood that. About my only complaint is the lackluster title font. The old one was great, this one is...blah.

I agree with those who posted above about the title font - I vastly preferred the old one. The new one isn't terrible - just dull (the title font *before* 3e was terrible). In general, though, I think the artwork and general design and layout of Dragon magazine are exemplary.

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