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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber. 854 posts (858 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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I would think that Triel is the most charismatic of the three leaders and with her gone the alley bashers and hill folk would pull out. Really once their hidden lair has been found they best leg it.

Iirc the reason for stealing the wands was to ransom them back for money. Once they are found they should go and hide again. This probably means the party will fail to recover enough wands.

This is a disappointing way for the adventure to end so perhaps Tarkilar could stay in the ruins and some of the dead could be brought back to assist him? Skaven can live to fight another day.

I read a more interesting reason for the bad guys wanting the wands which was along the lines that they were using them to drain the water from the ruins to discover something within the lake. I can't recall exactly what it was down there. But if you follow that motivation they might have a reason to stay.

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Greystaff wrote:
Yes. I modified the "Cauldron and Environs" map to reflect plantation locations. It's not very complicated but it helped me describe what the players saw as they took various trips outside the city. If you have an email address, I'll send it to you for use however you see fit.

Thanks Greystaff. It's

Thomashobday at hotmail dot com

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Greystaff wrote:
I'm not familiar enough with Greyhawk to give recommendations for that setting. Generically you could have them as the routes to the various mines and plantations that are mentioned in the various installments but never specifically placed on the maps.

Did you use them when you ran it?

I suspect there is no canon for this. I am looking for ideas for expanding the area. I am thinking of having Port Shaw from Razor Coast set up some distance to the South so the Hollowsky road could go there.

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Looking at the hardcover map on page 28 there are 4 roads that lead to/from Cauldron. One goes to the west past the Lucky Monkey. We know this goes to Sasserine .

One goes past each of Kingfisher Hollow, Hollowsky and Redgorge.

Where do these lead to?

Any suggestions?

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Yeah, but the guardians if the galaxy movie wasn't premised on a big comic book following to sell tickets was it? IMO It was just a story turned into a film - using a bit of goodwill from Marvel, from space films etc

I would have thought getting the D&D brand a bit of a spit & polish would be all that Hasbro would need ( I certainly wouldn't think the rpg was anymore than a small plank in their intellectual property plan) then they could make a Drizzt movie riffing off the books, the recent warm fuzziness toward the game ( including cprg's , board games etc ) and 'magic/fantasy' films like LOTR, hobbit, harry potter. They could then see if they have got the Marvel style movie franchise they dream of.

( of course this means they need some sort of control of the D&D film licence - what happened to that?)

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I am looking to try out 5e and this looks like a good, all level campaign.

Has anyone done a 5e conversion? Of so can you share?

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When did that one come out? If is was October 2014 then I think I already knew that. I thought there was another one due about now.

When is the next one after that due?

( I admit to being quite ignorant about all this I am just an interested onlooker)

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So what happened in the most recent ICV2 list?

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For me and most of my group it wasn't the complexity of character build that was a major contributor to making 3.x popular.

It was that it had a robust system for a tactical level combat. Things like flanking, attacks of opportunity, 5' step, straight line charging, miniature scale movement etc all were new for d&d. We had rarely used mini before because combat didn't really benefit from it. AD&D was more about resource management - combats were simpler - fighters at the front, magic users at the back hand wave the rest.

Suddenly 3.x added a tactical combat game to the roleplaying, adventure, storytelling game that had always been D&D.

Now I agree that the character build part was initially fun too but that side of it became more and more like homework. The imbalance between characters, problems that were created by things going slightly wrong, the maths to check each round based on buffs and the like became frustrating. But having been exposed to the added tactical element for my group we couldn't go back totally to the hand wave tactics of previous editions - not when playing D&D. I mean, we could do it a bit, but those tactical combats were fun.

So if 5e can be a roleplaying, storytelling, adventure, tactical game without making any part too complicated I am in.

Oh and I am 47 and started with the basic set in 79.

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Kthulhu wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
Just sayin'
If your GM is throwing you into the Mana Wastes or facing you against cabals of beholders, that's introducing AMFs through fiat.
As much as I hate to seem even for a moment like I'm in agreement with David Bowles, if you extend GM fiat that far, then the mere fact that an adventure happens is GM fiat.

Well yes but I think the point is that if the way you deal with a class, or spell or whatever is by having a bunch of " you can't do that " things then you are already conceding you have a problem that "normal" rules don't solve.

It's like designing a river crossing problem for a 6th level party then saying there is some magic preventing you from flying.

Btw you look way over there, in the distance , you can see the point of this thread : )

Pathfinder is awesome for those that like it, same for 5e.

Has anyone played 5e to high level yet? How did that compare ? ( I haven't but I have given up on trying to run 3.x/pathfinder above 15th)

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Zardnaar wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Werecorpse, I think Bounded Accuracy will help in the department of keeping monsters relevant to higher level characters.

Kind of does but AoEs and the PC power level and copious amounts of healing negates it. I have used 40 Kobolds on PCs at elvel 8 and 40 hobgoblins at level 12. They can get a few hits in but are mostly bait for level 3 spells.

Depleting PC spells and then hitting them with stuff that matters kind of works.

This is an interesting result, I would have thought they would be a decent threat in 5e, especially with their ranged attacks and pack tactics/martial advantage. I can certainly understand AoE being a crucial part of such an encounter. I hadn't really picked up that 5e allowed copious in combat healing.

Was this against 4pcs?

I guess some of my assumptions may turn out to be incorrect.

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Maybe I'm wrong about how 5e will play out.

Maybe my perception of 3e/pathfinder is coloured by most campaigns I have been in or run in the last 14 years being adventure paths ( I ran a converted Night Below from 2000-2006 before Paizo started producing them). Maybe it's partly because most published adventure paths seem to use the "to help the party be tough enough to face the next encounter have them beat up this side quest" trope. Or maybe because when we played 3e we went up levels so much faster than when we played 1e so if you met a threat that was too tough a legitimate solution was to leave it alone, go up a few levels, then come back & kill it.

I guess in the 1e games I ran it felt like a bad guy was almost like a terrain feature. Everyone knew the evil summoner lived in the hills which are infested by ogres - but he had lived there for years and no-one could do anything about it except thwart his plots when he sent his minions into the kingdom. In 3e he would be a threat for about 2 months until the party hit 10th level.

But this is probably more a speed of levelling up effect, and it doesn't really look like the default speed of levelling up has changed so this will still be a feature. It does look like numbers matter a lot more. So if a tribe of orcs rules an area it will be tougher to just run them out when you reach 8th level.

I guess I am looking forward to more intractable foes in the campaign world that aren't uber level.

How do other perceive it will play out compared to pathfinder?

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I haven't played much 5e but to me what looks like a difference in style of game between 5e & pathfinder is that pathfinder seems to suit the epic adventure path style of game and 5e a more sandbox style.

A pathfinder adventure path often involves events which are essentially a way to gain levels to allow you to trouble a BBEG. The difference between a 3rd and a 15th level character is enormous. So adventure design tends to lean towards a linear adventure progression. You don't want the 4th level characters stumbling into the 9th level adventure because that's a TPK waiting to happen. So you fight goblins, then ghouls, then ogres, then giants etc you don't want to meet a couple of giants when you should be fighting ghouls!

5e seems to have a less steep improvement curve, meaning that at 4th level if you wander into the 9th level dungeon you can survive ( probably only long enough to get out). So this means you can make the world a bit more sandboxy, let the players find their own way. Now maybe this will just lead to the players having a false sense of their ability to defeat a big threat.

Now that I look back on it when 3.0 came out I started running essentially much more linear adventure path style campaigns. I like the story element of the game anyway. Maybe now I will try a bit more sandbox.

Like I said I admit I haven't had much experience with 5e but that's my thoughts .

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Yep, if a player gets the best protective magical items in the game, and take the right class options and spells, they have a really high Armour Class and are hard to hit - same as it ever was.

(Off topic 1: I recall from one edition the write up of Grazzt was that he could hit any Armour Class on a natural roll of 13 or higher, I thought it was a cool ability to get past the uber munchkin AC fiends)

( off topic 2: GWL - what do you consider are the most crucial elements of 4e style play ( or any other edition) that are not replicated, or able to be replicated in 5e? - I don't know 4e well but for mine:
1. unlike in in 1-3e a high level character is not able to wade through an army of goblins or orcs with impunity ( I guess unless you are that uber high AC guy?) and;
2. that unlike 3e the best way to defeat the BBG threatening your city is not necessarily to wander off into the nearby caves, kill a bunch of stuff, level up 5 times gain a heap of enhancement stuff, then come back a fortnight later and crush it.
.....but I think that these are good things)

As for the list of info from the DMG it is too scarce to influence me one way or the other - but the PHB and MM have been enough to make me look forward to the DMG.

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Sissyl wrote:

But according to their plan, you would then not have more Spelljammer products at all. Would this affect your willingness to invest those 10-40$?

I did plan on getting their stuff. I have gotten the PHB, MM and HotDQ. But if they intend what seems to be the case here (wringing what money they can out of well-known brands with no intention of supporting them after the initial two or three books), they can do just fine without my money.

I don't agree that that is their stated plan. Their plan as I understand it is to release 2 stories a year - with some support for each story. That doesn't mean once a story is released they will not touch the setting again, or that they will not allow 3pp to do so, or that there will be no other source of new adventures for that setting.

But, hypothetically, if they released a Spelljammer story - with the support they have referred to and only that - nothing more & all 3pp support or future module support for that setting prohibited into the future. I would be less interested than if they produced a swathe of new material. But if it was a good enough story & I wanted to run it I might buy the background stuff. It's pretty good value.

But that wasn't my point - my point was in response to you saying they are planning to "start" a setting then abandon it. They ain't starting any of those settings, they are adding stories to settings that already exist, the settings already have stories. If you liked the old ones you can convert them to 5e and here are some new stories - some new support for an old setting.

During the time of 4e iirc the old settings weren't available online. Now they are. That makes a difference as to what WOTC need to do with a setting. Then they needed to entirely explain and support the setting. Now they just need to add to a setting. It's already there.

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Sissyl wrote:

So, instead of settings... we're getting "storylines" consisting of a player guide, a DM guide, and an adventure book... BLEAH. Didn't they learn sodding ANYTHING from the debacles of their 4th edition launches of Forgotten Realms and Dark Sun, which followed exactly this pattern?

Apparently not. Either you start new settings because you intend to support them, or you do it because you can squeeze a little more money out of a well known brand. Well, it makes the decision not to support the crap so much easier. *smirks*

See, from my point of view, I don't think that WOTC need to "start" the setting of Spelljammer. It was already started 20+ years ago. They just need to make the background stuff available online (which they largely have). To throw support behind it now they need to release a conversion guide (which they say they will), maybe have a small Spelljammer 5e guide, then release a players guide with some mechanical stuff and some fluff and an adventure showcasing the setting including some GM appropriate stuff.

As far as support after ( or before) that is concerned - modules ( either from WOTC or more likely 3p) and the sort of material that used to be in Dungeon & Dragon magazines (digital if that fits the economic model) would be what I would want.

Don't get me wrong if I was a big Spelljammer fan I would want them to produce lots of Spelljammer stuff ( that's what fans want). I am more a Greyhawk fan and I could start a classic Greyhawk campaign right now - without anything more from WOTC ( though I would like the DMG, more monster manuals and a conversion guide - but I don't need any more greyhawk setting stuff - it's out there).

They also don't need to start Darksun, Ravenloft Dragonlance or birthright either. ( let's face it hoard of the dragon queen could probably be adapted to dragonlance post war of the lance pretty easily.)

I have never played or owned Spelljammer in my life, but if a 5e adventure I was interested In came out I could fork out between $10 and $40 at rpgnow and get a chunk of it. Then I would know the setting and could run it.

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Just thinking of some of the 1st edition white dwarf & dragon classes
Houri for the bard
Bandit for the rogue
Elementalist for the sorcerer or maybe warlock.

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Night below: it is suitable for young people. The first book is above ground. It has some straightforward quests, the village is ok but the main plot is obscure and not really discovered until later. Then into books 2 & 3 where the exploration is fun but can be a bit of a grind. Again the main plot is revealed layer by layer. By the time you find the missing girl I guarantee you have forgotten you were looking for her. Like any big adventure it will need tweaks along the way to fit your group.

I agree with Misroi, if you are in for the long haul it's a great plot and pretty well done. The first 3.0 campaign I ran was a converted Night Below campaign. It lasted 6 years and went to level 20. Awesome.

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Thanks all.

I agree that I could probably just rerun it without changes. I have been having a bit of a look at some of the story v adventure elements and will probably make a few changes to mix it up for those with long memories. I think putting in a couple of side quests will help.

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About 3 years ago a campaign I was playing in fell apart for a variety of non game reasons. We had played shackled city up to about the battle in the town where the masons are. Anyway I would like to run it now with some of the same players, starting from the beginning but I am happy to make some changes so the people who went through it don't get bored ( although to be fair the secret plot was still pretty much a secret).

Any suggestions for tweaks to the early parts to make it replayable ?

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Mikaze wrote:
graywulfe wrote:
Where are we getting the idea that Mummy's Mask is not going to be a "normal" one.

I'm in this boat too.

I mean, the stuff mentioned about Mummy's Mask seems pretty firmly in line with stuff like ** spoiler omitted **

And those honestly fit into the spectrum of "standard" fantasy for me.

(has also been playing Final Fantasy IV on DS lately, so...)

Perhaps I am wrong about the Mummy's Mask.

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I recognise that there is a proportion of standard fantasy in the AP line especially early ( I think I said that) and I hope I didn't come across as strident criticism of the non standard. It's not of use to me, but so be it. I just want to express my opinion that standard fantasy is my preference. I don't believe you need to put pistols or lasers into fantasy to make it a fresh and interesting story. For me that is a true rarity, a 1 in 100 adventure, not a 1 in 2 or 3

Shisumo wrote:

Altogether, about half of the adventure paths that have been published since Paizo went solo fall into the broad category of "fairly standard fantasy exploration discovery story." Yes, to a certain extent, this has been slanted somewhat away from that experience in the last few years - but that's because it's already been done. Several times. Paizo needs to keep breaking new ground so it doesn't stagnate.

I truly hope that Paizo doesn't believe that it has already done the standard fantasy exploration ideas several times over so now they need to put guns, robots or ray beams into the fantasy so they don't stagnate.

Pushing boundaries is fine but witch war, wrath of righteous, now mummy's mask ( which I had thought was the 'normal' one after a couple of odd ones and before Iron Gods - but that looks wrong) then Iron gods all seem to fit this ott or hi tech twist category. It's no longer a fresh twist if it happens every time. I guess I am just one of the people who isn't yet bored with normal swords and spells adventure fantasy.

I am looking forward to the post Iron Gods AP ( fingers crossed) and will give Emerald spire a look too.

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Mark Moreland wrote:

Imagine you build up a fantasy character—a wizard, let's say—who's all about researching the ruins of ancient civilizations to discover lost knowledge that no one else in the world knows. Researching arcane lore, and all that. You take that character to your GM and she thinks he will fit in the campaign, so you play the wizard for a while.

In one dungeon, you find a strange relic from the past that your PC has never heard of before. It's a brand new discovery—exactly what he wants to do. This weird item can clearly be held by a humanoid hand, but doesn't look like any weapon you've ever seen before. It doesn't radiate magic, so it's likely just some piece of ancient junk. Until you accidentally put pressure on one part of the item, and it shoots what looks to you, a wizard with maximum ranks in Spellcraft, like a scorching ray. If you could unlock this ages-old enigma, you'd be known the world over for your intellect. Heck, the device might even get named after you!

That's the end of the night, as the GM needs to work early tomorrow and the woman playing the fighter needs to make the last train home. You thank the GM for an incredible adventure, noting that you're so used to knowing every page of every rulebook that nothing seems to surprise you anymore, but that tonight you got to experience the wonder of discovery along with your character. Your GM just smiles and says knowingly, "just wait until you see what that strangely etched coin you found does."

If this book were called "Treasures of Numeria" and we hadn't told you that Numeria was home to a crashed spaceship and had laser guns and robots in it; if this product description didn't pull back the curtain and say, outright, that these are technological items one would expect to find in a science fiction setting; if a sword made of light and an invisible field of force were describes as magic instead, would there still be the same negative reactions to it?

Food for thought...

Yes, but fluff and description matter when playing a game of imagination. Describing an item as something that shoots forth a magical bolt of flame vs that emits a laser beam vs a ranged touch attack that does 4d6 fire damage mechanically may be the same but it does matter. In a game meant to be played partially in your imagination, how it's described is crucial. For some people the description that juxtaposes different genre's breaks their immersion. In this supplement you are not talking about strange magical treasures from another world you are talking about technological devices.

Now I know some people love that stuff, and importantly the creative minds at Paizo want to produce it so fine. Bring it on. I am very unlikely to use it but others will and that's fine. I hope you get it out of your system and start producing stuff that is more my speed again.

The AP's started off as being fairly standard fantasy exploration discovery stories but it seems like for some time this has been the exception rather than the norm.


1890 - 1920s style horror, Ninja quest, dimension hopping to earth, mythic monty haul adventuring. I was really looking forward to the Mummy's Mask as a return to 'standard' fantasy but I see that technology appears likely to taint that as well.

Can I request that the AP following the Iron Gods one just be a standard old fashioned no guns, no lasers, no anachronisms adventure.

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Pure game mechanic fix proposed - directly related to the game mechanic problem

Light crossbow - problem : it needs a move action to reload making it poor, particularly at bab +6 or higher

Solution : the base damage for a light crossbow increases by 1d6 per +6 bab the firer has (ie +1d6 at bab+6, +2d6 at bab +12 etc) ( personally I would use an extra d8 but that might seem too much to some people)
Maybe also that at bab +1 you can reload while moving ( like drawing a weapon )

Heavy crossbow - problem : it needs a full round action to reload, making it poor

Solution : as above but make the extra dice higher ( ie d10)

In addition, and more radically, I note that in other games crossbows tend to be "armour piercing". In pathfinder that would equate to a bonus to hit, and maybe damage so maybe make crossbows have the "point blank shot" feat built into the item. This gives everyone who uses them a bonus to hit and damage and enables them to just take precise shot etc more easily

( disclaimer - I play 3.5 not pathfinder so some rule nuance may be lost on me, I apologise for any associated errors)

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Thanks for the reply shadow born. I didn't make myself clear. I am the GM - when I say I have a PC I mean one of the PC's I am running is a Calistria cleric.

I have read through the material and it seems that the drow all worship demon lords & only demon lords, as a society, I am sure there are individuals that worship outlier deities but demon lords seems to be their thing.

So I was wondering what the canon is ( & others thought) about drow worshipping Calistria.

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Do drow in Zirnakaynin only worship demon lords?

How about ones from other cities?

Do some also worship calistria and nethys like normal elves?

I have a PC disguised as a drow who is a cleric of calistria - can that remain or does he need to pretend to worship a demon lord to openly be a cleric?

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I am back and getting ready for my next all weekend session in 3 weeks time. The usual group is being joined by a couple of extra players brining the numbers up to 9 pc's so I am going to have to adjust the encounters a bit. More open plan fighting, increase the numbers and hit points of foes, less small group roleplaying or investigative stuff. This means I will change the emphasis of Endless Night, but I think I was going to anyway.

So here are my thoughts for changes to the rest of the path. I have no doubt some of this will change when the session actually starts but the main stuff will stick. My thoughts are a bit disorganised but I will try and put some of them down...

First the Winter Council, how it all went pear shaped and how they are now.
1. They were always secretive and focused on information gathering as that was the course of their greatest triumph - uncovering the impending Earthfall event.
2. About 50 years ago their contacts at Mordants Spire recovered some arcane secrets from an Aboleth residence ( the finding of this knowledge was assisted by Abraxas' servant Alistraxia)
3 Allevrah was in charge of investigating the secrets and they turned out to be about Earthfall, and to be plant a seed of corruption.
4. Hialin helped Allevrah when she needed it and was infected with the corruption as well, but with slower maturity
5. Initially Allevrah was going to use the Earthfall to crush Treerazer's army ( not the drow, she didn't really care that much about them)
6. 10 years ago Allevrah killed Auramesties - who was the principal liaison with the crown, amongst other things - and turned, and fled.
7. The winter council having lost it's 2 most active members fell into stunned depressive decline and have been that way ever since.
8. Meanwhile about 40 years ago Treerazer employed Quilindira to infiltrate the winter council.
9. She did this successfully and now is an advisor to Lord Villastir ( she hasn't been found out yet) - who is the commander of the Rath
10. Using her charms she had already effectively convinced Villastir to issue the odd order on his own - with the Winter Council going mysteriously quiet Villastir believes that he has to step into the breach ( this belief is partially ego and partially subtle manipulation by Q).
11. For the last 10 years the Rath has been going in more and more dangerous missions and losing a fair bit of strength.

So back at Celwynvian
1. I am not going to have the elf gate even exist in the academy. I don't like the idea of elf gates existing in the Darklands at all.
2. Instead the drow have their own version of elf gates - called the demon web which is partially a creation of Mazzmezz ( I am foreshadowing the Harrowing from Dungeon 84 here).
3. The demon web entrance is a distance from Celwynvian in the mountains.
4. Allevrah has all she needs from the Armageddon echo and has left for bigger things, but the drow use the echo to hide from the elven assaults and wait them out. If they could just nick off back to the darklands instead for a bit of r&r why wouldn't they?
5. The main drow that are left want to control Celwynvian, and do some more experiments.
6. So it is important for the drow to keep the echo gateway able to be opened. That's what the Vrock is for and why he was bound to the academy.
7. Q , who will take the place of Laveth in the Harrowing scenario wants to absorb the echo plane as part of her ploy to take over part of the demon web - so she wants the drow gone and the the heroes gone. ( she will later want to capture Perelir as a sacrifice to complete the harrowing.

In drow land
1. This will be less Vonnarc and more all in
2. Azrinae is hiring as their forces are depleted
3 Vonnarc is hiring potential Azrinae double agents to get a look at their books
4. From these sources the party can learn - the winter council has a drow informing mole ( but not who it is) that has helped the drow ambush the Rath ( it's Q) - allevrah has gone to the land of black blood - she plans to nuke Kyonin - they don't know how to stop it - she got the knowledge before she came here - she got the knowledge about how to nuke it ( and presumably disarm the nuke) by infiltrating the winter council.

The elf queen
1 Will not act like a ditzy goose but will enquire openly why Auremesties hasn't been seen for a while
2. Hopefully the finger will be pointed at Lord V ( an innocent patsy - if a bit annoying)

Anyway that's a fair bit of my planned big picture changes - I hope the party ends up rescuing Perelir from Q in the harrowing before going to the land of the black blood. And eventually replaces the now useless Winter Council : )

Now to work on the small picture encounters

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Please cancel just the rpg subscription.

I will keep the adventure path & module subscription.


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YogoZuno wrote:
Very interesting take on the AP - did they interact with the librarian in the sphere at all?

They met him, but didn't interact with him much. initially they tried to discuss the drow and so on, but once they realized his knowledge stopped prior to earth fall they just asked about the identification of various buildings and the like.

Do you have any suggestions about how to get the most out of him?

They will have further interaction I expect once they enter the Armageddon Echo. They also saw the blacksmith ghost in the graveyard but too were caught up in hunting for the huecava's lair to follow.

All part of the stuff I have to make sure they recall when next we play.

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I have just completed running the third weekend and the party is only part way through Armageddon Echo. However this session was the first time they really got to be elves within elven society. Instead of adventurers or outsiders they were part of the establishment. This was the best session so far.

Now I wanted elves to be different from humans, ie not just humans with pointy ears. So I decided to again stress the longevity, the respect for life, the chaotic nature and the fact that they have no god of war.

So the party were introduced to Evianna who as mayor of Crying Leaf was the head of the bulk of the troops launching an all out attack on Celwynvian. To Khaerisiel who most knew as the head of the Rath in Mierani - which meant them and the new replacement PC's. To Shalelu, the head of the Mierani Forest rangers, an autonomous collection of scouts who worked with, but not for the Crying Leaf forces. There was no single leader although Evianna was in notional command. Part way through the battle I let them know that Khaerisiel had sent for a powerful Mordants spire elf wizard who was an ally of the Rath to come and help with the battle - he hadn't arrived by the end of the session.

She stressed that this was to be an all out assault, possibly finding and taking out all the dark elves in as little as a fortnight. The elven equivalent of a Blitzkrieg. She stressed that if anyone got badly hurt they should retreat back to base camp where the clerics would are for them.

The half elf fighter was put in charge of the party as this was going to be a war. More special forces than secret agents.

So the battle commenced, small groups of elves sneaking into the ruins taking out small groups of drow etc. it took the players a little while to get into the idea of no sense of urgency, chaotic command structures, preservation of life but they eventually accepted, then relished it as the elven way.

I played the drow as similarly chaotic, sneaky and interested in preserving life ( well their own anyway, perfectly happy to cut and run and leave a fellow drow in the lurch). I had the drow run off quite frequently so the Players really got into the value of an elf life ( the drow used zombies and left troglodytes, spiders and dretch to cover their escape)

I was heavily influenced by Joanna's posting of her experience with the battle- especially as to the bits taken from the article on Celwynvian. I had the party discover the recorporeal incarnation spell from the necromancers - they were suitably repulsed by the foul drow magic when the elven skin sloughed off (though i had a drow fighter rogue wearing the skin rather than a troglodyte). I had the necromancers being essentially here on their own frolic, and not co-operating with Nolveniss.

One combat the players loved was an encounter as they circled north of the city and were coming in they walked into some drow forest traps ( pits, springing spikes etc) and a small contingent of drow. I played the combat full of drow hiding in the bushes, appearing shooting a crossbow bolt then running off and hiding again. It had little melee and everyone felt it was a definitive sneaky elf v sneaky drow combat.

One players comment " trust a drow to bring a hand crossbow to a bow fight"

They also met a couple of elf scouts who had met and chased off a medusa ( the party later killed the three medusa) but had two of their number petrified. Initially there was some discussion about just leaving the statues as they couldn't restore them but following on the elven creed of preserving elven lives ( they still have five centuries in front of them) the party helped get them safely back to camp.

The ap set up to get into the Academy and then into the Arnageddon Echo seemed a bit weak. So I had Khaerisiel possessed by a shadow demon ( who lead the party onto the shadow road for a Babau, shadows ambush) and when he recovered he remembered that he had also sent Shalelu into the Academy. Sneaky drow trap! The party followed.

The party was repulsed by the beasts within and we finished the session at that point.

I feel the need to revisit why Vrock is there - such a powerful demon bound to wait until someone comes in then you are free seems lame.

The battle has taken 8 days so far. All the NPC elves ( except Khaerisiel ) talk about how rushed it is. The only thing that spurs them on to hurry now is the fact that Shalelu and her squad have apparently disappeared I to the Academy.

Anyway that's my experience so far. I hope it is useful to someone as i have found reading your experiences and thoughts useful. Probably won't play again until March. The players have really enjoyed getting into elven society. I am gonna have to work hard on the next 2 books to keep than elf society immersion going (book 6 is just a bug hunt). I am contemplating incorporating the dungeon magazine adventure about the daughter of lolth and the demon web into this adventure at higher levels but haven't quite worked out how.

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The second session started with the half-Orc player deciding to drink the cool-aid and switch characters to become a half elf fighter/ranger. Also another player who couldn't make the first session joined us,mhe played an elf rogue. So I explained this by having some upper level Rath that were visiting Crying Leaf scry the party, teleport in ( essentially about half an hour after the drow fight while they were tidying up) they took all the notes etc, left the rogue in charge of the next mission, tinkered with the half orcs memory so he would think they had fought hobgoblins and left. Before leaving they told the new leader to try and track & kill the drow, then return to Riddleport and tidy up any loose ends before returning to Crying leaf within a month or so.

Part of what I was trying to impart in my portrayal of elves was a lack of the sense of urgency, and a respect for individuals rights and the desire to protect elven lives.

So this next weekend was in essence spent tidying up loose ends. They chased the drow across the seas, eventually caught & killed them. They played around with the noqual and returned to Riddleport to extricate themselves. Then, just before deciding to sail to the Mierani forest, they returned to the island to deal with the ghost as they had promised. They went to where the wraith ( who i had toughened up a bit) was and the dice turned against them - 4 out of 7 of them died and became wraiths. The others fled the island and returned to the Meirani forest shattered at what had happened.

I am not sure why this took so long. I think it was because they kept failing. They nearly caught the drow twice but the leaders kept getting away before they eventually died. This weekend ended up being almost entirely off script as far as the adventure path goes. They had a couple of nautical adventures etc.

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Before running an adventure path I generally comb through the boards and have a look at what other people have done to add to it or change it. These are a great source of inspiration. I run a heavily house ruled version of the game, half way between 3.5 and pathfinder ( so heavily houseruled we have essentially re written the players handbook) with emphasis on minimizing the power spikes. We have played this for about 3 years and are on version 18 of our everchanging draft rules. However i pretty much just use the stats in the ap, the monster manual or a bestiary as I see fit. Most of this isn't important but I am putting it out there so if something I say later doesn't gel with the rules you will know why.

Also the group I run ap's with can only meet 2-3 times a year when we go away and play Friday evening to Sunday evening, generally finishing 1 book per weekend session ( although we got through 2 in the first session). We have been playing together for between 20-30 years.

In starting this ap I took heed of those who ran elf only campaigns and went with that. The players were told they would be members of, or associated with, the Shin'Rakorath which I described as being a private mercenary force heavily tied to the elven nation and a cross between special forces military and secret agents. I strongly suggested they be elves, though I said half elves and to a lesser extent gnomes were acceptable. I said that while they could be any race these were the best fit for a roleplaying sense. I advised against half-orcs or dwarves. I also said they should be mostly good but could be neutral leaning toward good, and I recommended against playing paladins and to go with more standard elven stereotypes to get the most from the game.

As part of the way I decided to assist in the immersion side of things I decided that the Shin'Rakorath ( or Rath as they were known for short) were
1. one of those need to know organizations - so not everyone knew about the drow, or the fact the Rath was the military arm of the Winter Council to start with; &
2. Would change the leader of the group depending on the type of mission at hand

I also decided that as a result of the dreadful events that occurred in the upper echelons of the Winter Council which precipitated the whole ap there would be some elements of the Winter Council that wanted to find out what Allevrah was up to, others just want to find and to silence her to protect the WC, others just maintaining business of drow hunting and secret keeping as usual etc

So first session off they went to Riddleport:
The mission leader was a Mierani forest ranger who had been involved in patrols to keep 'short lives' out of the forest. She knew of the Enemy within the Rains but not what it was. She had been in the Rath for less than a decade so a command mission was a sign of approval.
She was assigned a half elf fighter who had just joined the Rath as an associate member and who had spent about a year in Riddleport with his fathers human family a couple of years previously.
She also had a Mierani forest elven wizard who was an intelligence officer, who knew about drow and was tasked to keep the secret.
She had a Kyonin elf wizard and a Kyonin cleric. The Kyonin wizard was also an intelligence officer who knew about the drow.

Upon arrival in Riddleport they had two contacts, Kwava who had been observing the city from outside and a half Orc cleric of Calistria ( yes despite my suggestions as to race someone played a half Orc).

They understood that their mission was to track down a renegade elf who was working with the Enemy within the Rains and had come to Riddleport presumably to ally with one or more of the pirates there.

I mixed up how I ran the adventures but essentially followed the script. They could t figure out where this elf was staying in town, but people had seen her talking with the cypher mages, dealing with Cromarky etc. I threw in that they traced this mysterious elf to an inn located out of the city where she had stayed on several occasions. ( here I ran a shadow plane connection adventure to foreshadow the creation of the Armageddon echo). Eventually they found the lair but Despora ( wearing a hat of disguise) got away. They did find a barrel with rotting elven flesh in it ( she had also had recorporeal incarnation cast on her, which had expired), but thought nothing of it ( beyond eww!).

Because they were playing as elven secret agents they didn't get heavily invested in Riddleport, which was fine by me as I had just run crimson throne where the leaving of Korvosa was a bit of a sore point and I heard that had become an issue for groups not wanting to leave Riddleport.

Anyway they had some wierd notes seemingly about the Cyphergate and other stuff written in a combination of elven and some strange language ( under common) and were in the process of trying to figure out where she had gone when the meteor struck.

The children of the void went as expected. The high point for me was when they met the drow. After they killed the sentry drow and headed into the complex the Mierani elf intelligence officer stayed behind, then when he though no one was looking he poured acid on the drow faces to hide their elven nature and tossed the bodies into the sea. Unfortunately the others saw this and were a bit freaked out.

The first session finished with quite a few of the drow escaping ( inculding Despora again) and the intelligence officers explaining the secret of the existence of the drow to their companions and everyone agreeing to acid up the dead dark elves and feed them to the orca.

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YogoZuno wrote:

Also, recall the elfgate from Celwynvian originally ran to Kyonin, and was subverted. So, the surface elves only recently re-discovered that elf-gate and where it goes.

In addition, we're talking here about the Drow - the city likely doesn't keep any sort of coordinated city guard. Instead, it will be up to each house to man a defence. It would be up to each individual house to decide where to put that defence - perhaps they would all prefer to keep their guards actually at the city, rather than at some low-risk outpost.

Yep I get all that. It's just that what the two elf gates located near to the drow city means is

1.Before the elves left golarion before earthfall The elves had explored the underground realms sufficiently, and with enough permanence, to build 2 of their special gates in this relatively small section of it/ or the drow have built elf gates but not really using them ( which doesn't seem to be the case)
2. The reprogrammed exit gate from Celwynvian must connect to some other gate same where ( or maybe to several other gates) before it was reprogrammed.
3. The gate to Kyonin is functional in that the drow can operate it

Point 1 seems odd as elves arent really deep earth explorers, and to the extent they are they are just visitors rather than establishing and building gates - or it means elves used to be much more widely spread over the world. Ie why aren't these elf gates everywhere on the surface if they are located 2 within 50 miles underground?

3 means why aren't the evil drow using this to wreak evil - or are drow more of a mind their own business kind of evil?

I don't have such an issue with point 3 it just seems contrary to my understanding of pre star fall elves that they would be building gates in the underdark.

When my players come across these underground gates they will be perplexed and it may seem a bit convenient and gamey.

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My group is an all elf group, members of the Shin'Rakorath so Riddleport was "just a mission".

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Ban the spell except in exceptional circumstance like summoning a djinni. It's a boredom inducer. Make each player just control one thing in the game, their character.

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Joana wrote:

It's been a long time since I read Endless Night, but I'll take a stab at it.

Is it explicitly stated that the Darklands aiudara existed pre-Earthfall, or could the drow have spent the thousands of years since then building their own elfgates and attempting to attune them to existing elfgates on the surface? Remember, the one in Celwynvian used to lead to Kyonin; it's due to the drow that it now leads to the outskirts of Zirnikaynin.

Also, I believe the elfgates were disabled when the elves left Golarion, and they've reactivated the ones they now use one by one. Keeping in mind that the majority of the elven nation has no clue that drow even exist, what reason would they have to guard an auidara that is, as far as they know, turned "off?" As I recall, the Crying Leaf elves don't even know about the existence of the elfgate in Celwynvian; the source of the drow that are occupying the city is a mystery to them until the PCs discover it. One has to presume that, until the events of The Armageddon Echo, the elves have no idea that the drow possess elfgate technology. The Kyonin elves, in particular, both believe that the abandoned aiudara is nonfunctional and have no way of knowing that it's linked to a Darklands elfgate. Part of the downside of the Winter Council's secret war is that it's hard to mobilize your people against dangers you don't want to let them know exist.

Ok, that helps. Thanks.

It just feels odd that the ancient elves were mucking around in the Darklands enough to build 2 gates in such relatively close proximity to each other.

I re-read the bit about how the Celwynian gate was directed - Ley lines path etc. I might go with the reprogramming of the Celwynian gate created a second portal that then connected the pre existing link. Or maybe just go with some other way back to the surface.

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New wtf moment.

So the elf gates were created before earth fall by ancient elves before the existence of the Drow right?

Why are there two such gates in the Darklands ( one leading to Celwynian so the PC's can enter and one leading to Kyonin so the PC's can exit)?

Why is the one that leads to Kyonin not guarded at either end ( to stop incursions or spies) - or used by either side to send through spies to spy in the other?

In fact the whole premise of this part of the AP is that the PC's are urged to take the unique opportunity to pass through the corrupted elf gate to go to the drow city when
1. It goes to another elf gate anyway - ie not so unique; &
2. In any event there's a gate from Kyonin to pretty near the city

Am I missing something that makes this make sense?

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I suspect a strong Cthulhu mythos taint.

Should be interesting.

I do look forward to a more traditional fantasy adventure path, like Runelords, maybe next time.

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DSXMachina wrote:

Yep, "sad pathetic loser scientist", poor loser shop-keeper, and lazy comic-shop user.

But seriously, the characters tend to be stereotypes until they are shown more on screen. Then they become slightly more developed or greater caricatures, like with any popular US sit-com (IE Friends, Scrubs, etc).

Agreed, BBT uses stereotypes like any sitcom.

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Mark Sweetman wrote:

Explicitly, the issues that many people take with the program is that it mercilessly reinforces every single negative stereotype about gamers / comic book readers. Plus the fact that the show's creators and enjoyers seem to think that it's somehow 'funny' to do so.

They don't make complicated jokes, they don't layer nuance, they don't make clever references - they just make observational and stereotyped statements and the laugh track responds with laughter.

There - clearly and objectively stated.

Objectively, no, subjectively stated.

And that's the point, some of those people that don't like it, don't like it because they subjectively perceive that it is "merciless" , that it reinforces " every single negative stereotype" etc ( where are the overweight bearded gamers dammit?!)

this is not my perception

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The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Interesting thing about Friends is that it was inspired by the movie Singles....

Singles is one of my favourite movies....

I have never been able to watch a full episode of Friends.

I Did not know that, I will have to track it down for a look see.

( I like Friends too)

Doodlebug I pretty much agree with your Mum ( although Leonard's my favorite - Sheldon is too selfish imo, even if he probably can't help it). I would say would say it pokes fun at geeks and everyone else in the show ( geek or not).

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I like BBT and Community ( position declared ) and IMO

1. BBT is a more mainstream sitcom than Community ( but they are both sitcoms). As part of the sitcom formula the characters have flaws and are periodically the butt of jokes. The characters flaws and idiosyncrasies are exaggerated, they tend to do stupid things and it generally works out alright in the end. Like all sitcoms, like Friends - Monica had her neat freak, competitiveness exaggerated, Joey is enfatuated by food and is dumb. The purpose of these exaggerated characteristics is to poke fun at these fictional characters weaknesses as they may be reflected in people we know. This is intentional, they are not intending to say all people who like things to be neat are OCD or hyper competitive, or chefs,. Or that all people who love food are dumb.

2. In BBT they do this same thing. The premise of the show is that a bunch of socially awkward but academically intelligent types struggle to be less socially awkward. By it's sitcom nature it pokes fun at all of the main characters. I guess they could have been socially awkward by being jocks or frat boys but that has probably been done before - in hundreds of frat boy movies. But they weren't, they were geeks. The geek characters ( especially leonard )are meant to be identified with and sympathized with to some extent. Yes their foibles are meant to be laughed at but that has been the same since I Love Lucy.

3. If you know people who think that because you like star trek or play RPG's you must be like Sheldon or Raj etc that is their ignorance. It is the same if they believe that all people of a certain gender should be more nurturing or all people of a certain race be better at certain sports. That ignorance is not the shows issue, it is the issue of the person who holds that belief. Just because Howard is Jewish and comes from a broken home with an odd mother relationship doesn't mean anything about anyone except Howard. BBT portrays its main characters as having certain flaws. It has portrayed scientists as cool motorcycle riding womanisers as well. So what? Surely just because William Shatner portrayed a Crazy lawyer in Boston legal people don't believe all lawyers in Boston are like Denny Crane? ( though that would be freaky)

4. The portrayal of the BBT characters does laugh at them but it also shows them as caring smart vulnerable people. In one episode Penny ( the non geek girl) watches a show recommended by Leonard ( her boyfriend ) because she is envious of the passion she sees the geeks have in the things they like. It's a passion she doesn't really have for anything. The geek hobbies are non mainstream, they are not baseball - to suggest they should not be treated as being a bit different is pointless.

5. Community has no greater relevance to the debate than Friends or Seinfeild. It is a show about characters who ( in the main) are not geeks. Jeff is a selfish lawyer, Annie is a swat, Shirley is a Christian mum, Pierce is an old bigot, Troy is a jock, Britta is a protester, Abed is somewhat Aspergers who lives his life through TV. They are not portrayed as particularly geeky in their hobbies ( apart from Abed and later Troy but that is more TV geek ). When they do portray RPG like in the second season Advanced Dungeons & Dragons episode the relevant person that is the reason they play the game is an outsider to the group who they have previously mocked and referred to as 'Fat Neil' . He is expressly described as a loser who is considering committing suicide due to his sucky life choices ( epitomized by his being overweight, playing D&D and consequently having no friends). How is this a good portrayal of geeks? The game itself ( in which senor chang plays an awesome Drow) involves a scene where one player intimately describes sex with an NPC ( thus crossing into the other roleplaying reference) . I get it's a joke but do your friends think that is an accurate portrayal of role players, or what happens in roleplaying games? How is this portrayal better than BBT.

6. Finally as someone who enjoys both these shows, but believes they are merely sitcoms and therefore no more realistic than the story about two men who walk into a bar one of them holding a duck ( ie i believe men and bars exist, and men sometimes carry ducks or walk into bars - but on this occasion it's just the set up for a joke, i do not draw any adverse inferences against bar patrons, bar tenders or duck owners because of it). I say if you don't like them it doesn't necessarily mean its badly written, or that you are too dumb to get it. It just might mean it doesn't appeal to your sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoy the warmth beneath the sense of humor of both the shows .

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judas 147 wrote:
Calderis wrote:

I dont like an elf doing d12 with a longsword

Is that still in the playtest? I thought it was gone?

If it is it's just a move from an elf getting a bonus to hit to an elf getting a bonus to damage. Consistent with the bounded accuracy plan.

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Pan wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If they keep the bounded accuracy stuff that's, if not original, at least different.

For me personally, BA is the one hope DDN has of getting me to try it out.

The BA is the most appealing thing in DDN for me, the possibility of still being able to valuably participate in melee even if you aren't the melee specialist and of a high level character being able to be effected by a group of low level monsters is key.

For mine the over specialization of roles, rules mastery and the just add more plusses to make you better is where 3e went wrong & Pathfinder sadly just went further down the path.

I currently prefer Savage Worlds where as characters advance they get more tricks, more breadth but generally not specialized in their own niche that no-one else can enter. If DDN brings that approach I will be very happy.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Drejk wrote:
From my personal experience advantage is quite good but disadvantage makes succeeding on anything almost impossible. Maybe it's just the spread of my and six out of seven members of my D&D/PF group dice rolls.

I think it's more likely due to where the DM or the adventure is setting DCs (or alternatively just a function of perception).

If you need to roll a 16 to succeed in some task (for example) granting advantage improves your chances by about 20% (so it's now equivalent to you needing to roll a 12 on a single d20) and disadvantage decreases it by the same percentage (ie it's now approximately equivalent to needing to roll a 20 on a single d20). This would presumably feel like advantage being quite good but disadvantage making things almost impossible.

If you were in the habit of setting tasks such that you needed a 6 to succeed you'd probably find the opposite (ie that advantage made succeeding at a task almost a certainty whereas disadvantage granted a noticeable penalty whilst still making it interesting.

I suspect that, should it become implemented, there will need to be quite a bit of thought put into where DCs should generally be set. It's likely to require quite a profound shift in thinking when it comes to encounter design, in my opinion.

Except that needing a 12 vs needing a 16 means you are about twice as likely to succeed ( 45% vs 25%) and needing a 20 vs needing a 16 means you are only 1/5 as likely to succeed ( 25% vs 5% ) . So having advantage makes you twice as good, but having disadvantage doesn't make you twice as bad it makes you 5 times worse.

This is a significant point of varying chances of success. If you need to roll a 19 to succeed getting a 1 point penalty halves you chance of success. It is equivalent of getting a 4 point penalty when you need a 13 to succeed.

But the point you make is valid ( as it ever was in no advantage / disadvantage systems) the relevant issue is getting the DC right. If the system was +4/-4instead of roll 2d20 having disadvantage on a roll where you needed a 16 would be massive and having advantage would be good but not great.

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1. Can someone link the SKR comment that gave the idea for this thread.

2. My homebrew solution is to make 'death' from adventuring much less likely. As long as you have the body and can cast enough cures to get it up to a certain negative point within about a minute you do not have the 'dead' condition; you have the 'at deaths door' condition, this condition means you cannot be healed above 0 hp until you have a weeks rest and when you can you have a negative level for a period of time ( or until you gain a level) The raise dead spell removes this weeks requirement and reduces the time , or if cast within 1 hour you don't get the negative level.

The effect is that people really only die if their bodies are abandoned or lost or the bad guys rip them to shreds, behead them etc. at that point you need serious magic to come back.

The logic is that if you are going to make death easy to ignore it isn't really death in the classic fantasy sense is it? Don't call it death, call it something else then when you kill the bad guy it is a win and when you risk your life it actually matters.

3. My other game I play savage worlds, death means the end. The (same) players love the actual character risk, they don't find it unfun.

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My recollection is that some who have run Blackwall Keep first ran a prequel with the players playing standard militia in the Keep and interacting with the infected & lizard men etc. I suggest finding that ( on the boards, probably in archives somewhere) as it sounds very different.

Another possible event for your characters future would be to try and intertwine Expedition to Greyhawk Ruins when they get to Greyhawk. This would require some foreshadowing now most likely

I also recall reading an interesting plot development for the faceless one

Otherwise I suggest focus on foreshadowing and npc depth through things other than journals, adventure paths always need more foreshadowing.

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My feeling is that the GM stepped over the line but its difficult to judge. You haven't given a lot of background info. This appears to be a social game situation issue, so i would say depends a little on the game system and a lot on the social game situation.

It also depends how personally you identify with the PC as to how personally violated you feel. Would you feel violated if the result was you agree to break your sacred oath and reveal the secret formula enabling the bad npc to poison the towns well supply? In this instance as i understand it you were new to the game? the player objected, did they object because they felt uncomfortable with the ruling on control or the sex or because they felt the GM had the rules mechanic wrong ?

In some ( ok most) social game situations I would consider the idea of mental domination leading to sex inappropriate but not all. Sometimes the playing group does accept this as ok.

I don't really understand the game system. If the system was that on failing the roll the character became mentally dominated and lost their free will, and the social game situation allowed rape ( as well as the usual murder and torture) to be part of the game then it might be ok.

I have run a game (D&D 3.5 rule set) where a bunch of good pcs were disguised as evil, it was set at the time in a drow city marketplace where I ( male dm) had a charming but evil male drow vampire charm/ seduce a PC ( female human fighter - played by female player - a friend) and teleport her away to his city apartment, for nefarious unspecified purposes. She rolled back to back 20's on diplomacy rolls while the charm was being set up and failed her save - so i ruled he became obsessed with her ( maybe i had watched too much Buffy or read too much True Blood and Anne Rice ). The other players ( including her husband and my wife) panicked and tracked her down. When they burst into the apartment a short time later the encounter was resolved without fighting and through role playing. The player of the fighter defended her new 'friend' and despite numerous dispels and being taken away she couldnt clearly recall what happened and maintained he was just misunderstood etc. It set up a great role playing session that continued on as she adopted the typical vampire victim/star crossed lover role. Eventually some demons captured the vamp and you guessed it the PCs were gearing up for the rescue mission.

All the players loved it. It added to the game. It wouldn't have been possible without player/ GM comfort. I acknowledge we never mentioned sex, I deliberately made that time when she was first captured blank to allow people to read into it what they felt comfortable with.

If I hadn't felt comfortable, and the players hadnt felt comfortable we would have missed out on some good flavor to our game story.

Now as I read vampires the non horrible brute ones nearly always have a sexual component to their behavior, the obsession, the domination, the seduction, the feeding etc. I just felt if we were going to deal with smooth talking vamps it would include that element if it came up. Of course I credit the player with much of that interaction. Had she decided upon being rescued to pull out her sword and skewer the evil creep I would have rolled the dice and played out the fight. Or even earlier if she had indicated a lack of comfort with the seduction side of the domination i would have made him less the charmer and more the black & white villain. But the starting point, the Npc seducing and taking away the pc was a path I took as GM that I was able to take due to the social game situation.

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