Interesting ideas. :)
A few times in the Aubrey-Maturin series the protagonists' ship is still cloaked by night while the rising sun is illuminating another ship's sails. I plan on having that occur at least once. (Although there's no guarantee that it'll be the PCs that benefit.)
Glad people are finding it useful!
I've made a small tweak - moved the observer's input up to its own area. There's also a quick reference tab that shows distance to horizon at 10 foot intervals.
One possibility if it comes to blows:
The captain is needing enough experienced hands to man both ships. Killing the Rahadoumi serves the purpose of cowing the others into submission but killing the PCs doesn't. He could incapacitate them either via non-lethal combat, or having Peppery use a spell on them; or both.
They then wake up, or regain mobility, after being transferred to the prize.
One upshot is that it would serve to further make Harrigan hated by them.
Yeah, the bottom side view is it unrolled. D8's side view looks to run northwest through the top down view; parallel to the tunnel into D8 basically.
Personally, I'm seeing the side view to be for depth, and headroom, only; with the lateral dimensions not to be used for exact measurements. For that matter, I'm using the side view for info on the deepest part of the chamber an general slope of the floor as it's only applicable for the centerline of the chamber.
As for tides, it's yet another advantage of the year/calendar being exactly like Earth's - you can use locations on Earth for in-game information. For tides, I arbitrarily chose Lagos, Nigeria as being in the roughly equivalent location.
Wolfram Alpha, as usual, produced an amazing result when I queried it for "tides for Lagos, Nigera October 12, 2011". One thing it provides is a chart so you can see the rise and fall of the tide. The exact height is, of course, unimportant as the module specifies that, but it's great for knowing if the tide is ebbing and when it'll be full in or out. And it'll be fun to tell the players that the water's slowly rising around them. :D
You could also use something like What's the tide, but that gives the tide at the selected date/time with the time to high and low.
Agreed, 20 is the sweet spot. The last time we made characters we used point buy for the first time. We started with 20 and then tried 25, every one of the players went "ewww" after seeing their stats at 25 and asked to go back to 20.
Yeah, surprisingly I'm having trouble finding people that want to play pirates. So who knows when I'll be able to either. :(
"There's a huge white cliff right in front of us! We're going to hit it!"
So, a sail's been spotted, but how far away is the ship?
Does it really matter? ;)
If it does, then I hope this spreadsheet will turn out helpful.
I've done it a bit hurriedly during boring parts of training, so it's a bit rough.
It does both simple and "complex" calculations for spotting land and ships. I've assumed Golarion has the same radius as Earth. I also assume the weather's fine and the lookout is eagle-eyed and sober.
An example: assuming a ship with a deck 10 feet above sea level and a lookout at the crosstrees 70 feet up. The ship is heading towards the White Cliffs of Dover (UK, not Golarion), they reach upwards of 350 feet above sea level.
That means that the lookout will be able to spot them at just over 33 miles. People on deck have an effective horizon of just under 4 miles. But since the cliffs are 350 feet tall, they'll be able to spot them when the ship gets to just under 27 miles.
They happen to be attempting to run the English Blockade. Unbeknownst to them, a British frigate is ahead. It's under full sail; it has somewhere to go, but won't mind turning to snatch up a blockade runner. Assuming the top of the frigate's sails are 120 feet above sea level, our blockade runner's lookout can spot the sails 23 miles out and it'll be hull up at 10 miles (the lookout's horizon).
If our lookout is hungover and is not paying attention, then the officer of the watch could spot the sails 17 miles out and it'd be hull up at under 4 miles.
Now the island. You might think you could spot it's location first from the vegetation or mountain peak (if it was a volcanic island). But no, you'd get a much earlier indication because of clouds that form above islands. An astute sailor could determine that there's something "thataway" due to a cloud bank on the horizon in an otherwise clear sky. So the ship might be able to spot it over 100 miles away.
Yeah, I'm considering a first and second dog watch. Two crewman per watch. Great time to sneak around or for somebody to "accidentally" fall overboard. Screw up bad enough and you get assigned to both watches and still have a full day's work to do (not to mention having just done one) and thus probably suffer from fatigue.
I'm also working on an alternate deck plan. (Yeah, yeah, but there's some stuff that just bugs me.)
Chris P. wrote:
Right, but with the assumption that the crew is basically locked in the middeck at night with no access to the heads, they've got limited options.
Edit to add: The galley was also near the front of the ship so that wind would keep the smoke off the deck. I've been tempted to redraw the plans. Move the officers below the captain, galley and maybe stores forward. Then the hands would be "before the mast" and the officers aft.
Ah ha! Thanks, I thought I had read that somewhere, but I was failing looking for it.
Mornings and evenings the crew uses the stairs in the officers' cabin. It doesn't come out and say it (or maybe it does, I'm blanking now), but it appears that the ship anchors at night. Which makes sense in island-ladened waters, don't really wanna run into one in the dark. Even into the 1800s ships would lay to at night, maybe under light sail to keep steerage. (And I'm lead to believe that a ship not under motion wallows about rather sickening in any sort of swell, so you'd want at least some headway if you weren't anchored.)
At nights Owlbear keeps guard over the stairs.
As for relieving themselves, well, that's what chamber pots are for ... or the bilge.
"Ugh, pumping duty again. Man look at the size of that rat floating in the water."
There's flogging around the fleet where the convicted would be sentenced to hundreds of lashes, split up among the ships. A surgeon would travel with him and determine when the flogging needed to stop for the day. Such a punishment could take weeks to be completed.
Now bring in magic. A particularly cruel captain with access to a cleric, or other means of healing, could flog a crewman to, or near, unconsciousness, have the cleric heal him, and continue.
Especially cruel if the cleric and transgressor are PCs. The cleric could be under threat of the same, or double, if she doesn't perform the duties. An excellent way to make the PCs despise Plugg.
#3 is definitely important, especially considering the captain.
I love that the PCs get to meet the ultimate BBEG in the first few minutes of the game.
One piece of metagame knowledge that can easily be pointed out to the players without disrupting the plot is the module's title. It's "The Wormwood Mutiny" not "Immediately Kill the Pirate Captain and Get Yourself a Ship" - that should drop a big hint that they need to bide their time.
Yeah, I'm working out how to balance out not playing every. single. day. yet give the players time to get to know the crew and to get the politics worked out. It's the latter that'll force the time to stretch out some, but if it's interspersed with some additional encounters, I think it'll work out pretty good.
The very first sidebar:
...firearms do not appear in the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path until the final adventure, when the PCs face the Hurricane King, one of the few Shackles pirates to possess firearms.
Each adventure in the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path will contain notes with suggestions on modifying the adventure to include firearms.
With that in mind, I think most of my players will be happy. One might want to play a gunslinger, but the others will be happy to note that they won't find themselves facing volleys of gunfire.
Timothy Hanson wrote:
And there's the cantrips too. We've always played that they stay memorized until replaced. So a 1st level wizard isn't too gimped without his spellbook.
After reading the first part of the module, the best answer, without spoiling anything, is: don't sweat it. Unless the character (or player I guess) is a total dimwit, there's no overwhelming need to gird up your loins in preparation for an imminent battle. And if said character (or player) is ... I don't think having starting gear is going to be of much help.
The Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'brian and the source material for the Master And Commander - the Far Side of the World movie. It's 20 books (21 counting the unfinished manuscript), so it's quite the read. I'm on book 11 and only audio books have made it possible for me to get this far.
I then found A Sea of Words is a necessary supplement, it's a lexicon of words used in/about ships because O'brian does the immersion method of letting the reader guess by context what was just said.
The Sea-Wolf wasn't too bad. The main character gets shanghaied, cruel captain, a mutiny. :)
I've also had problems with evil characters. I banned them long ago, however S&S might tempt me enough to allow them as long as the players do it smartly.
Y'know Lex Luthor evil. Or even Joker evil (he's crazy, not stupid). But Captain Planet villain evil is right out. ("Why did you do that?" "Umm... donno, because I'm evil? Muwahaha...ha?")
Wow that's a tough decision actually. Here are my thoughts (and I skipped to the tasks so I might have [probably] missed something).
If the PC doesn't have Profession(Sailor) or something similar they must "learn" how to be a sailor. Therefore, they are under extreme scrutiny for the first few days. In other words, they have to succeed 3 times in a row before they can take 10.
If the PC does have Profession(Sailor) ... urrrh ... let them do it right off, or maybe they have to succeed just once.
You could even up the ante some by saying they have to pass by 5 or more for those 3 times in a row before they're allowed to do their duties without being watched like a hawk.
Note, I'm all about verisimilitude and having fun and will thus bend the rules to fit the scene. Which all of my players prefer, just to be clear. :)
I'm with Sean. There's what? 21 base classes now? That's a lot of space required for a paragraph each. Then add in archetypes and bloodlines that can seriously change a class and it gets pretty boggling.
I'd rather the space be taken up with new rules like this, and not in the module. Since it's for the players, they can easily access it, and it doesn't take away precious real estate from the module itself.
I get that new/casual GMs/players might find it helpful, but ... well, is a paragraph really going to be all that helpful beyond: fighters hit things, clerics heal/turn things, wizards blow things up, sorcerers blow things up, alchemists ... uh ... blow things up, gunslingers blow themselves up*, etc. Even my newest player who'd never seen a dice other than a d6 didn't bother reading the class section of the Player's Guide. But then YMMV.
*As one of my players has discovered, if your d20 has nineteen 1s on it, do not play a gunslinger.
Reebo Kesh wrote:
I've pondered writing a response along these lines. The thing about doing an Adventure Path is that it's ... well, a path. There's going to be some places that could seem railroady, but that's what everybody agreed to when they agreed to play it. They did agree right? ;)
A good one is designed in such a way that it's more like bumpers on a bowling alley lane: plenty of room for them to bounce around with a wide variety of outcomes but there are preventers in place to keep it from going into the gutter and falling apart. There'll still be a few places where the players might have to have their PCs do something not 100% logical, but it's easier to swallow when there's good in-game reasons for it. In this case that's the season and distance, among others. Not only will they be skipping two modules, but that also means they'll be quite a few levels behind where they're suppose to be. You'll have to come up with enough encounters and side adventure to level them. Plus, in Forest of Spirits, there's some plot info that they're going to miss.
And very importantly in my opinion, don't try to solve this in-game by springing upon them blockades, sinking their ship, or other stumbling blocks. That can quickly become construed as GM heavy-handedness along the lines of punishing a player by killing his PC. Maybe it should be brought up out of game that a sea voyage isn't exactly the point of this AP and get the players to help come up with ways of guiding their PCs in the right direction so that no one feels forced out of a decision.
And if they're that dead set to get on a ship, tell them to wait a couple months for Skulls and Shackles. :D
After reading that section, I think cutting through the Grungir probably falls under the Very Bad Idea (TM) category. :)
Delmon's Glen's write up mentions that it's on the major overland trade route connecting Jol to the northern kingdoms. So the route seems to skirt the southern edge of the forest until it finally dives in and cuts across from Delmon's Glen to Losthome following the river.
So: Solskinn -> Delmon's Glen -> Losthome
Other than that, that's the route I came up with too. There's also some unmentioned villages along the Rimeflow too, but they're up to the GM to create and populate. I'm probably not going to go too overboard with them myself.
Doesn't have to be an AP book. There are tons of stand-alone modules (and a lot linked in two or three module runs). Then there's the Pathfinder Society modules, I've used a few of them for my home group.
What level range are you looking at? (Not that I'm all that knowledgeable about the modules.)
I'm treating them as arrow slits, although now I see that the artist did drawn them different than the definite arrowslits on the first floor. Oh well, arrowslit or window, if the party gets too noisy fighting in the court they might find themselves attacked from above.
Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Seconded. I readily admit that I can't create good encounter on the fly from scratch, so I'll prepare a few ahead of time.
We're still on Brinewall Legacy but that's what I did for the caravan part. I rolled random encounters ahead of time, guesstimated where they'd be (they'd already equipped their caravan so I knew rough where they'd be on a give day), adjusted a couple encounters to better fit, and then wrote some notes to give them some flavor. But, I also make a couple too many so I can switch out for something that fits in better or throw out a few if the pacing is bad.
Jim Cirillo wrote:
True, but you've got to take the players into consideration. That fantasy involves characters controlled by the author who knows what's going to happen. Such a start in an AP needs some metagame buy-in from the players.
Years ago a friend started a Ravenloft campaign. He did the classic TPK to get our characters there, without any warning. There was a near riot and a lot of fast talking on his part as we fought, and lost, a fight against horribly stacked odds. Great for the story, but not for the players. Once we figured out what was going on, then it became ok. Had we known at least something ("Hey, the first few minutes are going to suck, roll with it please, it'll all become clear shortly."), then I think there wouldn't have been nearly as much angst and the game would have started far more smoothly.
Something else to consider is that a market share of Paizo's subscibers are the sort of GM that does NOT have time to have a totally open and dynamic game that allows players to wander all over and do whatever they want. That sort of game requires quite a bit of adjustment after every (or at a minimum every few) game session to keep up with the variations to the story added by the players. Some GMs have very little free time to make these adjustments, and just want a canned adventure, which is why they buy an AP instead of running a homebrew. If Paizo implemented the changes you are suggesting, it could discourage this sort of GM from purchasing the APs.
I fall under this category. While getting my degree I had all sorts of time to prep adventures, build a world, tweak things for everybody at the drop of a hat. Now however, I'm lucky to get an hour or two free each week to prep. The APs have saved my ability to run games. I still tweak here and there. I'm running Jade Regent right now and have made some change specifically for my players. But for the most part it progresses A-B-C as I don't have the time to reconfigure C if they go there first and I'd rather not TPK them due to my lack of time and their choosing the deadly corner of the box to go play in.
If I still had the free time I wouldn't be running APs, I'd be running from a vague plot framework and making up the next adventure bare days, or even hours, before the game, and in my own world too.
That might be an answer right there about the viability of such a beast. Now, I imagine that a "Sandbox of the Month" article would be entertaining. Sixty pages of a framework to build a campaign off of. But I don't really see it becoming mainstream.
Those GMs with the time to flesh out a sandbox framework probably have the time to do it all the way from scratch. I often created whole adventures after seeing an evocative picture or reading an interesting hook idea online or an offhand comment from one of my players without buying any published material other than core rules. Now however, I more often than not run most encounters with very little tweaking.
Ask again tomorrow. :)
It will definitely lengthen combat. We had two RAW caravan combats last session and they were a total of 8 rolls by the players (4 attack rolls and 4 damage rolls). But, the frequency of combat is so low it's worth it, at least in the first module.
I plan on an ambush with raiders attempting to cut out a wagon and ride off with it. Since that's going bring in most of the NPCs and make it fairly heavy in favor of the party, I've got a rather large force attacking them.
James Jacobs wrote:
And we generally avoid citing specific times (like saying 6:00 AM) because that locks things in FAR too much—what happens if the GM decides you have a wandering monster attack at 6:00 AM? Do you miss your chance?
Or timezones. Could you imagine a cleric's consternation when he fails to get his spells because he forgot to set his waterclock forward after moving from Magnimar to Absalom?
Or having to get up extra early if he moved the other way and his deity was stickler for prayers at a universal time. "I use to get up, have a nice jog, a cup of coffee, and then ease into the sanctuary just in time for mid-morning prayers. But now, noooo, I have to get up at three-freaking-a.m. and scramble to get ready because I moved west."
I've had very similar thoughts, keep the logistics but toss the combat. I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with.
OK, finally got it up on Google Docs. Here's the link. Unfortunately, due to a sickness in the group, there was no chance to test it in action. As I mentioned, it's a total WAG on a lot of the numbers with no real testing (myself or playtesting with the group), so change as you see fit. As it is, trading isn't going to be much of a concern anyways. I think Sandpoint to Brinewall has the most trading opportunities run in the first 3 modules. (Although I'm curious about what's in the 1100+ miles between NoFS and THS.) My players realize the "mobile village" aspect of it and are accepting of the fact that they're going to have to likely bankroll it out of their own pockets.
As it is, I'm more concerned/focused on the damage output of the caravan.
Yeah, she's not coming off too well with my players either. We did part of Burnt Offering right before JR was announced and then decided to wait for it. So that plus what's going on now has made her a bit of a downer for the group.
In the words of one player, she's "surrounded by death." Her father, mother, and brother (in a very visual way in which the PCs were core), among others, before Jade Regent. Then they discover about her grandfather, Tsutamu, and three ships full of people. And now they just found out about Alder.
I'm working on having her come out of her slump the further north they get. I'm going to try to get some good role-playing in with her at a side adventure they're about to have so that she doesn't become the pariah. I'm sort of anxious to get them attached a bit more to her before the coma. If they get the notoriety points in Kalsgard for the kidnapping, it will not be her, that's for sure. They won't do anything overt, it'll become more of "we're doing X because the AP calls for it" rather than to escort and support a friend.
The Hungry Storm is "the big caravan module" and I don't recall there being any point increases in it.
Spiral_Ninja: I'll get the doc up on google docs here soon. The numbers I used are total WAGs so it requires some salt to go with it. :)
Is a spoiler tag needed? I don't know! But I'll spoiler it anyways!:
If in Brinewall Castle itself, they can be thrown into the cell with Kelda. There's all sorts of fun ways to go from there. Bust out and go mano-a-mano with Slugwort. Or, Slugwort's a bit on the dim side, a good diplomacy or bluff roll might get them out or trick him into bringing a useful potion over from their gear as an "antidote" because one of them was bitten by an icky spider. Or it might get him close enough for some strong guy to grapple through the bars while somebody else grabs the keys off of him.
If in the village, the corbies could find them and drag them back to the castle, in which case see above. That'd also be a good time to introduce Spivey, even if it's only a flash of butterfly wings and the sense that somebody just healed them.
Clark Peterson wrote:
Well yeah, I mean I shouldn't always be level 1 even if I'm brave (brave, brave) Sir Robin, right?