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Now, during the katanagari - the sword ban of 1876 - the samurai started using Shikomizue. This is a relatively straight-bladed sword, which is then concealed in a walking stick. I have one. It handles quite well. You can't draw it as fast as a true katana - the lack of curve means it can bind on the sheath fairly easily - and it does not have a hand guard, making parrying somewhat dicey. However, it balances well, and cuts well. It will not, however, fool anyone who's seen it before. In restoration Japan it was a polite fiction to allow the police to ignore the fact that samurai were breaking the law. You could probably make it work in Glorlarion, as most people will not be familiar with katanas.

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Borderlands (Chaosium, 1982).

Oh! you mean Paizo!


And yes, by the way, the proper length for a katana blade is determined as follows: Hold your arms straight out in front of you, palms together. Measure distance from fingertips to chest. Measure the width of one of your palms. Add those two numbers together. That's your correct blade length.

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Go to your local craft or hardware store. Get a 3' long, 1" diameter dowel. Look up on the internet how to wear a katana. Wear the dowel as if it were a katana. Drape a blanket over your shoulders as if it were a cloak. Look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Walk around your house or apartment for awhile.

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Aaannnddd ...
The thread is officially derailed.

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"The players cheered..."

By definition, you made the right call.

One character is the Shaman/Doctor for a frontier community.

Another is a professional gambler. Between game session adventures he gambles, seduces, wenches, and makes off with the occassional Insufficiently protected jewelry box. Oh yes, and avoids angry husbands and fathers....

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All that Drow infighting and murder is the "Underworld Enquirer" version of Drow. The reality is much duller.

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City State of the Invincible Overlord.

The first, and still great. Necromancer Games published a D&D 3.5 version of it (now at frogged

Many European Cathedrals included a maze (just a pattern on the floor, but you can take it from there). Walking the maze was intended to assist in prayer. Solving the maze was a form of local pilgrimage.

Try running for congress.

I'm planning to start one by pre-establishing the players as friends.

Then, the arcane caster will be coming into his village early one morning, and see a sorcerer standing there with a wand, fireballing all of the major buildings. The sorcerer sees the PC, smiles, hands him the wand, tells him the activation word is "Hit me" and teleports out.

Game begins with PC's being hotly pursued.

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NobodysHome wrote:

Oh, once Mr. Stereotype joined all my problems were solved... delightfully! He insists on taking an action. Everyone else is so terrified of what he has in mind that they insist on taking a DIFFERENT action.

Actions occur, problem solved! :-P

Ah, Leadership. It comes in so many different ways!

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They are fervently defending their right to sit around and do nothing?

This reminds me of a Pulp/Call of Cthulhu game. We had a character who was a former cop PI (he'd quit the force over corruption). When a man staggered into the speakeasy the characters were hanging out in, fell dead with a knife in his back, and a suspicious-looking letter addressed to one of the PC's hanging out of his coat pocket. This PC stood over the body to prevent anyone from touching it, and told the other PC's to call the police, so the police could get over and investigate the crime right away.

What can you do? It's a risk-adverse culture, so getting them to see the fun of risk can be a little challenging.

Maybe you should start awarding experience for taking action, any action.
If a player has an idea, and follows it up, that counts as a CR 1 encounter. If they have good idea and follow it up, that's a CR 2. Allow players to split the party; some can stay back at camp, some don't. Divide the XP by the total number of party members, but only award it to the people who go out and do things.

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Ah the joys of gaming with teens!

What's sad is when adults do the same kinds of things.

BTW: Kale says Hi!

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The Balanced Game

EVERY encounter is "party appropriate encounter level" exactly. No deviation up or down.

EVERY treasure is carefully moderated to produce "expected level treasure".

EVERY character and NPC has EXACTLY the treasure described as "typical for their level" in the book.

I'd start with Rise of the RuneLords. The first module is a set of flavorful and well-linked adventures, and if you want to keep playing, the adventure path goes forward from there.

amethal wrote:
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
We will be updating Braden Morten's Ancient Kingdom's Mesopotamia so that it will fit into the Lost Lands rather than just being fantasy ancient Earth (much like the treatment we'll be giving Khemit/Ancient Egypt).

That's good news about Mesopotamia as well. It's a great book, but it's not a very good fit with anything else so I've never been able to use it for anything. (Writing my own Mesopotamia campaign is a non-starter!)

Not to be a spoiler here, but I run a RQ6 game set in the Hellenistic Era (circa 250 BC). I used Egypt for Necropolis, and am using Mesopotamia as written - it's largely a matter of providing appropriate magic to the various gods and magicians.

Of course, I also converted Goodman Game's "Sunken Ziggurat" module, and some other classic adventures. "Lost City of Barakus" is currently situated in what is now Romania, but the players haven't been there yet.

So... I'm happy with Mesopotamia as written. But I agree that an update to Pathfinder will be a lot of fun!

Good article, I particularly liked where you pointed out that the term paladin didn't come into use until ~1590, long after the events of the "paladins". I wonder how this would apply to medieval/renaissance literature - was this the time period when the "matter of France" was being publishing in book form?

I think the direct lineage of the gaming paladin also lies in Holger Carlson, (Ogier du Dane) in Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. The character is a modern man, sent back to take part in Carolingian adventures. We see the paladin mount, detecting evil, aura of courage, laying on hands, and, of course, the holy sword that dispels enchantments...

A great book, by the way, and a key title in "Appendix N".

1) Check out the Monstrous Codex. it provides monsters with class levels and appropriate abilities.

2) Tactics s the key. i know it doesn't sound like much when your monsters only hit on a natural 20, but tactics is only partially about hitting.

2a) Dragon Mountain, a massive D&D 2E module for 17th+ level characters featured kobolds as the primary adversaries. No levels, mostly, just kobolds. The module discussed their tactics:
1) Spread out. Mobs of monsters do not stay n small clumps to be fireballed.
2) Ranged weapons. Closing for melee just means being vulnerable, and hard to run away.
3) Hit and Run. instead of trying to take out the heroes in one fight, hit 'em, wound 'em, make them use spell slots, and then bugger out.
4) Hit the party while it's resting. Prevent the spell-casters from regaining spells. Rush in, fire arrows, make a lot of noise, and run away. Repeat every half hour or so.
5) Use creative attacks. A stink bomb won't do damage, but it will prevent rest.
6) Use those magic items. A First-level kobold sorcerer can use a wand of fireballs as well as anyone.
7) Use the terrain. 100 goblins sniping from cover will damage a party. And when they flee before the party can launch an effective counter-attack, the party knows that they're going to be back.
9) Work the party's psychology. Have the monsters observe how they interact, then launch appropriate attacks. The barbarian always charges into combat? Dig a punji stick trap, camoflage it, and put a couple of monsters on the far side.

The monsters know their limitations against the PC's: Play them smarter.

If you really want Stealth as a skill, whip out Advanced Players Guide for the "Additional Traits" feat, and Ultimate Campaign for "Indomitable Faith" (+1 on all will saves), and "Highlander" (+1 Stealth, Stealth is always a class skill). If you don't like the background associated with these, talk to your GM, and see if he or she will allow you to create backgrounds that grant these abilities, but fit better with your character idea.

Freewolf wrote:

Well actually this is why I am asking. I am planning on running this. I wanted to level up the PC's in other quests first. I wanted some of them to be undead related so the PC's gain some experience and inside into combating the undead.

So desu ka!

Okay. I agree with Brandon Hodge's observation: Haunting of Harrowstone is a good plot-driven dungeon crawl, and would set the player up very nicely for Ravenloft. That also leaves you an opening to go into Carrion Crown, if you and your players are so inclined. They'll walk out of Harrowstone with some good anti-undead experience, and at about 4th level. Then run one more short adventure between Harrowstone and Ravenloft, and they'll be ready for the letter: "Hail to thee of might and valor...

Check out the classic: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. It's D&D 3.5, converts to Pathfinder easily, and is a great adventure. I'm running it now. Average CR seems to be about CR 8. I converted the fortunetelling sequence to Harrow cards, to keep the Pathfinder theme. It's working very well.

Take "Torchbearer" feat at 5th level (Dungeoneer's Handbook). Choose a bard as your torchbearer. This gets you your first minstral earlier.

Have something useful you do for your party, so your fellow players don't say "Ni!" at you until you die.

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thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Gary Gygax deliberately created the economy system he did because he felt that the lure of dungeon delving was the big pile of loot at the end.

Consequently to keep players motivated, it was required to find ways to require players to SPEND out those piles of gold to keep them motivated.

There was never any concern in trying to build a true simultionist economy that reconciled the Gold Rush of adventuring life, and the more mundane economics of everyone else. For decades it was acknowledged that both existed to the extent that it was a popular thing to lampshade in various comic media.

The game is so structured around this essential dichotomy that any attempt to reconcile this division is going to give you nothing but brain explosions.

But the economy Gary Gygax created was very different, since magic items weren't really a part of it. He never really found a way to require players to spend those piles of gold. Training at low levels worked, but was quickly surpassed by the amount of loot and no one ever played with training costs anyway:) Then eventually you saved up, bought land and retired. Or that was the theory.

Personally, I'd rather scale the huge piles of loot back. Conan was always happy with a pouch of gold or jewels to finance some tavern crawling.

Thejeff is exactly right.

I asked Gary Gygax about the "experience points for gold" rules at Origins '78. - Really nice man, by the way, willing to take time to talk and explain things to snotty teenagers - His rule was that the piles of gold that earned you experience were out of the game in some way - invested in land and resources for fighters who were going to build castles at 9th level, in their churches for clerics, in magical libraries and resources for wizards, in their influence in the guild for thieves. Leveling up included a socio-politico component. The gold was out of the game and not available to buy magic items. Thus huge piles of gold were not a problem in his game. He had never more than referenced that in the rules, as most players were not interested in playing out that development.

I scale the loot back, myself.

Korvosa would have no more issues with a party of adventurers wandering around in heavy armor and carrying big weapons than Austin, TX, would have with people wandering around wearing (visible) bulletproof vests and carrying AK-47's.

I could see witch. I think he calls himself a "sorcerer" in the movie because it sounds more evil than "wizard". In game terms, I think I'd make him a wizard, with leadership as a feat and Iago as his cohort.

There are a lot of good suggestions here.

Check out Dungeon Crawl Classics:
“Prince Charming, Reanimator” (FT 0 - Purple Duck Games)
“Bride of the Black Manse” (DCC 82 - Goodman Games)

Also check out GRAmel's
"Amulet of the Dogskull" - absolutely not for lawful-goods! (Savage Worlds system; you'd have to take the storyline, and do the encounters on your own).

For adventures that will take less conversion, check out Goodman Game's 3E line - most are only $3 as pdf's.

I have converted a large number of D&D 1st through AD&D 2nd adventures, and I've never really found a problem with encounter levels. But you have to remember, in the older adventures, it was given that some encounters were going to be pushovers, and some were going to be encounters that the players should avoid or flee - knowing when to hold'em, and knowing when to run was just part of character survival.

It is.

I did this conversion a while ago, and stored the data on a spreadsheet. I don't think I can attach a file, or I would.


You don’t need to do much conversion. I just plugged Pathfinder stats for the existing monsters. So where the module says "4 ogres" just use ogres. The encounters have some diplomacy, but mostly are combat. There are very few traps. The encounter levels are pretty consistent in the modules. The modules are about as old school as you can get, so you may want to rework treasure.

Also, there are a lot of detailed areas in these dungeons; players were not expected to explore everything (although many try).

Darkness over Sterich This lead in scenario is not necessary, but can be played out. There's only a few encounters, and they over around CR 6 - 7 on the average.

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief Most encounters are CR 6 to 10. Encounters above those levels are something the PC's should avoid. A party of 4 - 8th level characters on a 15 or 20 point build will handle this fine (if they are intelligent). I estimate the party will earn about 300,000 XP (total) in the scenario (about 500,000 is possible, if they do everything right). Expect the characters to gain 2 levels on slow or medium advancement rate.

Rift of the Frost Giant Most encounters are CR 11 to 13. There are a lot of CR 13 encounters, but very little higher than that. Again, there are a lot of encounters (about 48). You probably want a party of 11th or 12th level characters. I estimate the party will earn around 500,000 XP (total) (about 800,000 are possible). Again, expect characters to gain 2 about 2 levels. Possession of fire, heat, or anti-giant weapons could make this too easy, but it's a way to buff up a party that is otherwise too low of level.

Hall of the Fire Giant The encounters in this one are all over the place. Most are CR12, with a normal range of 10 to 13, but a substantial number of CR 16 encounters. After the more consistent Frost Giant adventure, players will find this one easier most of the time. Just the result of changes in the system. However, there are a lot of encounters – you can keep the danger level up by not giving them opportunities to rest and recover very often. I estimate the party will earn about 1,250,000 XP, out of a possible ~2,000,000 XP. Again, enough to raise them 2 levels on a medium or slow advancement rate.

Will your party be moving on to the Vault of the Drow?

Keldarth wrote:

Recently, I convinced my gaming buddies (currently very focused on Pathfinder and used to quite high stats as more or less the norm) to try Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. As most of you probably know, it is an old school-style that tries to emulate pre-D&D fantasy literature. In essence, it is a retroclone full of twists and cool mechanics. We rolled a bunch of 0-level characters (3 per player) with no class, only a commoner-style randomly-generated occupation, and stats rolled with the old merciless "3d6 in order". I thought that, used to characters with superhero stats, a developed background and the marks of heroism already at 1st level, they would hate DCC and their bunch of 0-level commoners. Quite the contrary! We had a blast rolling them and watching them unfold one roll at a time! Despite my advice to not get too attached to them, they began making plans for them and guessing which class would the survivors take when graduating to 1st level!!!

Next session, our horde of 18 commoners will face "the Funnel" and we'll see which of them have the luck, skill and guts to become a real adventurer! My players are eager...



I've got my group playing Dungeon Crawl Classics on 'off' days, and like your group the loved the funnel (16 commoners went in: 6 adventurers came out). They're having a great time building up their characters - lousy stats and all.

Highly recommended; for a change of pace if nothing else.

On the original post:

Quit the group while you can. It's going to go into toxic breakdown, and people who didn't want to have any part of it will be blamed.

I've seen this happen (it just happened to me when I set up a "Ravenloft" game).

I think what happens is the players all think something like: "Oh, everyone else in the game will be playing a standard western-type character. I want to create something different from everyone else."

The chargen session, suggested by Pan, may be your best way to manage this. But it really doesn't work if the players are trying to assert their control of your game.

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Player Says (whines): "I'm just playing my character!"
Player Means: "I'm being a jerk. I know it. You know it. Everyone else at the table knows it. Now I'm trying to pass it off as role-playing in hopes that will force all of you to let me be a jerk.

Player Says (before GM explains campaign): "I have this great idea for a character."
Player Means: "I'm going to totally ignore your campaign concept, setting, and plot, as well as all of the other players, to bring in this character that I've dreamed up who may or may not belong with any of the above. Then I'm going to whine or throw a fit when you don't change your game to fit my character idea."

Player Says: "I try to play character concepts."
Player Means: "I haven't read the rules and don't want to."

Player Says: "I've worked out a great [race/class] build!"
Player Means: I think I found a loophole in the rules that allows me to be a god."

Player Says: "My last GM let me do/have/play "X""
Player Means: "I dreamed up this game-breaker and nobody has been stupid enough to let me play it yet."

We use roll, then if rolled total is less than 78(which is will be, 95+% of the time), the character gets the difference in points to add, distributed as evenly as possible: So if you rolled 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, you would get 15 points to distribute; +3 on 3 of the attributes, and +2 on the other three.

If you rolled over 78, well, you got lucky.

All die rolls are on the table, in front of GM and fellow players.

Before GM outlines game concept:

Player says: I have this great character concept with really cool backstory.
Player means: I'm going to ignore your campaign concept, setting, and the other PC's by creating something that may (or may not) fit in with whatever is supposed to happen in this game.

Player says (whines): I'm just playing my character!!!
Player means: I'm being a jerk, I know it, you know it, everyone else at the table knows it. But I want all of you to let me get away with it because I'm role-playing.

+1 on the Goodman Modules.

I'm having good luck with Wizard's pdf's on DriveThruRPG: Running "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft" - an excellent update of the classic adventure. Good storyline - good NPC's.

Also check out Necromancer Game's modules. "Lost City of Barakus" gives you a good setting, and a level 1-5 mini-campaign for 3.x, Pathfinder, or Swords & Wizardry.

+1 on the bard. Failing that, sorcerer. Although Xen is right, the Harrower is a perfect role-playing and thematic character.

Carrion Crown is speed-heavy (your characters often, literally, race from adventure to adventure) and treasure-light. Without too many spoilers, a wizard does not have many opporunities to add additional spells to his spellbook; and this negates the biggest advantage the wizard has over the sorcerer.

I'd probably go with a Celestial bloodline, as the campaign path theme is fighting undead. Concentrate on buffing spells, and attack spells that will damage undead - forget the enchantments and illusions.

On the other hand, bardic knowledge, and the fact that a bard can do some healing, could make a real difference. We've found that knowledge makes world of difference when getting ready to fight some of our opponenents.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
You can also add things like holes in the coin or less precious metal inserts.

Bimetallic coins may not be practical at Golarion technology. Other than special purpose commemorative medallions, they first appeared in the 17th century here on Earth. Even milled edges are relatively new (16th century). (In fact, Isaac Newton is generally considered to have introduced them to English currency.)

Uh - no.

The first official coins, Croseus's Lydian coins, were electrum: an alloy of gold and silver.


"I listen at the door. What do I hear?"

"The sound of a quarter-inch drill going into your ear. Bzzzzzzzz!"

Graeme Lewis wrote:
No, no, if you start at the stomach you'll only get to his spinal cord. The way to a man's heart is through his ribcage.

Ribs are pretty effective armor for the heart. You really are better off stabbing up through the stomach.

The Crusader wrote:

Be super-wary of this! Some people have a "There's only one right way to play a Paladin" attitude... and this is a sign of that type of thinking. If that's your DM's attitude, or his "supervisor's" (what is that, by the way?), then you won't be playing your character... you'll be playing his. And the minute you stop doing it "the one right way" he'll start looking for ways to punish you...

I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's symptomatic.


Heck, +5 and Vorpal!

What makes one tribe good and the other evil?

Addressing questions:
1) Civilizations usually fight over resources. Same with tribes. Maybe the land is only big enough for one of them. Or maybe one tribe was pushed into the land by a third, larger, tribe, just over the horizon.

2) It takes time to wipe out a people - even for a dragon. How long have the silver dragons been gone? If the "good tribe" is laying low in wetlands or a rainy forest (which can be hard to search, and harder to burn out), it could take a dragon years to hunt them down. What generally happened in the real world is the men of the warrior class would be killed off and the tribe would be declared "destroyed" and everyone else (about 99% of the people) would accept a new set of overlords and get on with their lives. Possibly, the dragon and the "evil tribe" don't want to simply burn the land to ash - after all that would wipe out the food supply, and the "evil tribe" needs that land, due to a population boom.

3) The silver dragons are dead. However, by talking to the good tribe's oracle (after the first fight or two), the oracle reveals that the silvers had once told him that they had a mentor. In their glacial mountaintop cave - which has been taken over by frost giants and white dragons (dungeon crawl) - is the information the players will need to go and find the ancient gold dragon who was the silver dragon's mentor. This gold is difficult to reach (another plane of existance, perhaps, but requiring a quest to find). The gold cannot come himself, but is willing to rally a number of younger good dragons (each with CR's about equal to the PC's level) to act as mounts and companions for the party during the grand conclusion fight.

My wife plays a Ranger/Paladin of Erastil. She never scolds anybody - she guides by example (and sighs alot...).
Actually, is sounds like your party might need a rogue, rather than another combatant. How will your group deal with locks and traps?

Other than that, your build sounds fine. Power Attack is a good choice. So is weapon focus. We rarely fight groups of small critters in our game, so Combat Reflexes is not something we use much.

Before you play a paladin, talk with the GM and other players: confirm that they will be okay with a paladin in the party. Find out your GM's attitude towards paladins. Some like the class. Some take it as a point of pride to make you fall as fast as possible.

No class brings out jerk arguments faster than "paladin".

If the GM and other players do not accept the idea ofa paladin with good grace, then play a fighter or a cleric.

+1 on Savage Worlds. If you need a setting: check out Hellfrost (Triple Ace Games) for a High Fantasy with a twist, or Beasts and Barbarians (GRAemel) for a Conan-esq swords and sorcery setting.

Swords and Wizardry d20'd tribute to original D&D: They kept the rules the same, but streamlined and simplified them. It's a really good system for adventuring.

Likewise, Castles and Crusades (Troll Lord Games) is a simplified take on the D20 system. I've only played it a little but it plays well.

My group is playing a lot of Dungeon Crawl Classics (Goodman Games) lately. Like S&W and C&C, DCC takes the idea that D20 games have gotten too complicated. It plays fast and well.

Remember, when you are talking about a simpler game, you are talking about a game that leaves out rules and leaves it up to the GM to adjudacate a lot of situations. This can make it harder on the GM and players when in play. Also, a "simpler system" means there are less customization tricks for PC's, so unless your players are decent role players and storytellers, all of the characters of a given class will tend to look alike. (I should mention that Castles and Crusades has a good game mechanic for dealing with this.)

Claxon wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:

I don't do point-buy, but the general consensus I've noticed is the less the PB, the more unbalanced things will be in favor of full casters.

If I was considering PB, I'd probably do 20 points and set a limit of 16 pre-racial.

This is a solid way to handle it. Personally I've taken to given an array score that is quite generous, which is 16/16/15/14,13/11. I still allow the option to do 20 point buy, but it really penalizes people who absolutely demand a single high attribute (wizards/sorcerers) while giving rogues/monks a lot more points to do what they need to effectively. It basically ensures that highest score anyone starts with is an 18, unless you're really willing to miss out on being well rounded. For anyone that isn't an offensive full caster the benefit of being well rounded usually tops starting with a 20 in a stat.

A 36-point build? That is pretty generous. But on the other hand, it's great for characters meant to be heroic.

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In our game, once the characters had good cooking skill, we simply described the food, and left it to the player's imaginations. That worked pretty well.

Player 1: Don Miguel serves up dinner: spiced quail stuffed with olives, a flavored rice pilaf, and escalivada on the side.
Player 2: Hmm - have I got time to mix up some Sangria to go with all this?
Player 3: Now I'm hungry!

Of course, to be fair about all this.

When I'm running Pathfinder in Golarion, I use 50 coins/lb., and tell the players that a copper piece is roughly $.5, a silver piece $5, a gold piece $50, and a platinum piece $500.

While I like using historic settings, with appropriate details, it's often more trouble than it's worth.

Lucio wrote:

Why not pick up something from this section?

They're all a reasonable size and weight for what they represent and not earth-shatteringly expensive unless you're looking to model a dragon's horde.

Oh yeah -

You can buy the campaign coins through Paizo.

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