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PaizoCon 2014!

The Broken Crucible Foundry


Round 4 - Top 8: Create Golarion location with map

1 to 50 of 62 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

The Broken Crucible Foundry
==========
The Broken Crucible Foundry is an imposing, warehouse-like building, made of once-sturdy brick walls and a sloped tile roof. It was built during the height of Westcrown’s prosperity by a group of metallurgists in the flourishing Rego Plea district. Having harnessed the power of a shackled fire elemental, they produced high-quality goods, sold far and wide. During the civil wars of Cheliax, the city was filled with turmoil, the Rego Plea district ruined, and the foundry was abandoned.

The building now squats within the miserable Blood District, surrounded by a cluster of tenements and drug dens. The beautiful stained glass windows are shattered, and the brick walls are in need of repair. Despite the condemned appearance, the foundry is still in use. Behind the boarded windows a group of dark folk work the forges. In exchange for magical trinkets they pump the bellows and pour the molds to make cheap materials of questionable quality. Recently a group of worshipers, dedicated to Zyphus, have joined them and encouraged the dark folk to create even shoddier items. These faulty wares are then snuck out to construction sites across the city where they may one day cause the accidental deaths that please Zyphus.

The interior of the Broken Crucible Foundry is a place of gloom, inhabited not only by the dark folk but by the strange creatures they keep company with. One of the rooms has been converted to a shrine of Zyphus, with traps appropriate for the god of accidents. The largest section of the foundry is the main mold room. In here, buckets of molten metal swing through the air from chains and pulleys, pouring lines of searing fire. The furnace room is equally dangerous with pools and crucibles used to smelt the ore.

A Knowledge (local) or bardic knowledge check might reveal information to players.

Knowledge (local)
15+ Shadowy figures dressed in rags have been spotted coming and going from the foundry.
20+ Occasionally, the foundry shakes and spews plumes of acrid smoke, as if something were bound within; struggling to break free of its confines.
25+ The Broken Crucible Foundry was known long ago for producing golems. Rumors are that a golem manual is still on the premises, and could be in the process of being used.

Retreat to the Forge (CR 9 or 12)
==========
Shouts erupt in the crowd as two wheels on a wagon collapse, nearly crushing a passerby. A gruff-looking man begins to run from the scene with a hammer and wedge in his hands while the guards call after him. Before the dottari can give chase the crowd erupts into panic, making passage difficult. Meanwhile, the suspect has begun to climb a wall, glancing over his shoulder in search of pursuit.

Creatures: Tarvin Haddon, Agent of the Grim Harvestman (R3), has been using the Broken Crucible Foundry as a base of operations, spreading the faulty materials crafted there throughout Westcrown. Having finally been spotted in the act, he flees along a booby-trapped escape route back to the foundry where his dark folk allies wait to ambush the PCs.

The beginning of this encounter uses the chase rules (Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide pg. 232). The chase consists of 8 sections and finishes at the entrance to the Broken Crucible Foundry. The speed for the chase is 30 ft. Tarvin begins with a head-start, three sections ahead of the PCs. Having set the traps on the route, he knows how to avoid triggering them, and receives a +4 bonus to overcome obstacles due to his familiarity with the route. His goal is to outrun the PCs or at the least thin their numbers with the traps (see Traps within appropriate Tier). Once he reaches the foundry, Tarvin warns the dark folk that the PCs are coming and they prepare for a fight. The dark folk remain hidden until a PC enters the foundry, then they use their spell-like abilities during the surprise round and attack. When they strike, Tarvin uses the controls for the bucket to attack PCs. If the fight is turning sour, he flees to the shrine (see Development).

Chase Sections:
Section 1: Through the crowd (Diplomacy DC 20) or over the wagons (Acrobatics DC 15).
Section 2: Up the brick wall (Climb DC 25) or secret handholds (Perception DC 15).
Section 3: Steeply sloped roof (Climb DC 10) or hidden path across the shingles (Perception DC 20).
Section 4: Slide down the awning (Acrobatics DC 25) or take the drain pipe (Climb DC 15).
Section 5: Sweet talk the guard (Bluff DC 20) or narrow hole in the wall (Escape Artist DC 25).
Section 6: Over the rubble (Climb DC 15) or along the broken wall (Acrobatics DC 25).
Section 7: Into the broken window (Escape Artist DC 20) or smash the weak wall (Break DC 18).
Section 8: Secret path from the room (Perception DC 20) or alley full of caltrops (Acrobatics DC 15).

Note for Tier 10-11: Due to rainfall, moods are tense and the city is slick. Increase the DCs of all skill checks during the chase by 5.

Read the following when a PC has reached the finish line:
The man’s trail leads to a pair of open doors into a huge, warehouse-like building. The large room beyond is barely lit by pools of molten metal that cool in large molds placed around the floor. The suffocating odors of sulphur and iron permeate the air.


Tier 7-8 (CR 9):
Tarvin Haddon CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 32 (R3)

Dark Creepers (4) CR 2
XP 600
hp 19 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 53)

Trap: The first PC to exit Section 6 of the chase triggers the rest of the alley to collapse. This trap affects all creatures still within that section of the chase, including the target who triggered it. This does not alter the obstacles to exit that section.
Collapsing Alley CR 3
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger touch (tripwire); Reset repair
Effect Atk +12 (3d6+5); multiple targets (all targets within Section 6)

Trap: Any character who exits Section 7 of the chase is targeted by a javelin trap hidden within an abandoned home.
Javelin Trap CR 3
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger location; Reset automatic reset
Effect Atk +10 ranged (1d6+6)


Tier 10-11 (CR 12):
Tarvin Haddon CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 32 (R3)

Dark Stalkers (4) CR 4
XP 1,200
hp 39 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 54)

Invisible Stalkers (2) CR 7
XP 3,200
hp 80 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 181)

Trap: The first PC to exit Section 6 of the chase triggers the rest of the alley to collapse. This trap affects all creatures still within that section of the chase, including the target who triggered it. This does not alter the obstacles to exit that section.
Collapsing Alley CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger touch (tripwire); Reset repair
Effect Atk +15 (5d6+10); multiple targets (all targets within the rubble filled alley section)

Trap: Any character who exits Section 7 of the chase is targeted by a javelin trap hidden within an abandoned home.
Javelin Trap CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger location; Reset automatic
Effect Atk +15 ranged (1d6+6)

Trap: PCs who exit Section 8 of the chase through the caltrop obstacle trigger a deadly blade.
Wall Scythe Trap CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Trigger location; Reset automatic reset
Effect Atk +20 (2d4+6/x4)


Hazards:
Forge Bucket (CR 3) The forge bucket, normally used to dump molten metal into molds, can be directed to strike characters located on the foundry floor. As a move action, a creature at the controls (marked C) can direct the bucket up to 20 ft. along its path. Characters in the path of the bucket during this movement are dealt 2d8+5 damage unless they succeed a DC 20 Reflex save to avoid it. If the bucket strikes a character, it stops at that point on the path. During the Tier 10-11 encounter, there are two buckets and they are filled with molten metal. Each bucket requires individual activations to use. Anyone struck by a bucket makes a DC 20 Reflex save or be exposed to molten metal for one round.

Molten Metal (CR 4) During the Tier 10-11 encounter, the foundry is being used and several locations are filled with molten metal. Molten metal follows the same rules as lava (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook pg. 444).


Development: In the shrine Tarvin informs the clerics of Zyphus about the situation and uses his oil of arcane lock on the door. Should the PCs make it through the locked door he immediately heads to the work room, where he activates the partially-constructed iron golem. As a last-ditch effort, Tarvin will release the unstable fire elemental in the furnace room and flee to the streets.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

The image Cody provided was a full-page image at 90 dpi (though it was marked as 72 dpi, which would make it oversized.)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome to the Top 8, Cody! This is a round where you really get to stretch and show off the talents a designer needs to create an actual adventure. As such, I'm going to do my best to assess it in that light. As always, I have this tendency to give a lot of feedback. And, I want to make sure you understand that anything I point out here or raise in the form of constructive criticism is done in the spirit of wanting to help you improve. But I'm also going to balance that by praising you where you really shine so I can hopefully highlight that for the voters so they can recognize your strengths. So, to keep this post to manageable levels, I've spoilered the rest of my comments, below...

Spoiler:

First up, I want to give you some kudos on your attention to detail and professional polish. I think that's stood out for you since the beginning of the competition. Your flask of five fifths, hound master archetype, and dhampir antipaladin have really resonated with the voters. And, although I've picked a few nits here or there, your body of work has been pretty impressive on the whole. So, going into this I still have high expectations of you and I'm interested in seeing how you meet them within the ever-tightening competition. By way of feedback, I'm going to breakdown my commentary according to each key element of your submission, including: your descriptive text, your location choice and villain pairing, your map, and the creativity of your encounter.

The Descriptive Text:
You gave us some good solid tie-in's to Golarion by setting this in Westcrown. And, you spent a fair amount of words on painting a picture for us. However, I noticed that you're using a lot of passive voice here. At least half your sentences in the first three paragraphs rely on forms of the verb "to be" with "was"..."are"..."is"..."has been"...etc. As a result, most developers/editors would wind up doing some serious rewriting/restructuring of your words to present a more evocative presentation for the reader. So, I'd suggest you really work on ways to weed that out of your writing. Phrases like "...buckets of molten metal swing through the air from chains and pulleys, pouring lines of searing fire..." are much better than "During the civil wars of Cheliax, the city was filled with turmoil, the Rego Plea district ruined, and the foundry was abandoned."...

The Location:
Pairing a foundry with the Zyphus-worshipping trapmaster Tarvin Haddon is a pretty cool idea. And the notion that it turns out shoddy (and therefore, easily broken) goods is even better. With his minions distributing these goods to construction sites all around Westcrown, the opportunity for creating a multitude of "accidental" deaths is a great way to integrate the villain with the site. Personally, I would have liked to see you call him out a bit more in the location's description...even if it was just a small paragraph to explain him as the catalyst for bringing the foundry back to life rather than just alluding to "a group of worshipers, dedicated to Zyphus." Basically, I thought it took you a bit too long to get around to mentioning him and I don't think you needed to wait until the encounter explanation to feature his involvement.

On top of that, I would have also liked to see you further describe the features of the foundry's interior...i.e., hardness and Break DCs of its doors, presumed lighting conditions, ceiling height throughout the structure, etc. Most lead-in descriptions of an overarching location in a Paizo product devotes at least one paragraph or a couple of sentences to set these parameters for the GM before diving into the room-by-room description and series of encounters throughout the location. So, I would have liked to see a nod toward that in your design.

Also, I was a bit taken aback by the choice of the dark folk as the operators of the foundry. Granted, the windows are all boarded up, but dark folk typically prefer underground environments...or at least a lair that provides easy access to underground passageways and escape routes. I didn't get a sense the foundry has anything like that, which leaves me wondering where the dark folk go when they aren't working there. Do they all live on-site? Where do they go to the bathroom? Do they walk the streets of Westcrown by night? And why would they be interested in worshiping or supporting followers of Zyphus? In some ways, I think you might have been better served to find a different set of minions/allies for Tarvin...or, at least give us a more credible connection between him and the dark folk.

I'll also comment that I liked the Knowledge check to give the PCs a chance to know more about the forge. However, I'm not sure how they'd ever come to investigate it, especially considering the whole encounter kicks off with a chase scene that takes them straight to the foundry's doors with the implication that they're hot on the heels of Tarvin. I'll touch more on some of your choices in this area when I get into the encounter part, though. So, for now, let's move on...

The Map:
I've got to say, I really like what you've done here. Your map is crisp, clean, and very well labeled. Some might view it as a bit cluttered in terms of the detail and the rather large key for interpreting each symbol, but I'm someone who favors putting a lot of detail into maps, as well...so I like it. Others might also question the "boring" square building layout for the encounter. But, again, I like maps that depict realistic structures and this is how I'd imagine a foundry. So, I think it's fine. I especially like the creativity of including the bucket paths from the furnace room into the molding room. That really sets up your map for some cool synergy with how your encounter plays out.

If I have any advice for you here, I'd cite two things. First, as a designer/author of an adventure or PFS scenario, your map turnover doesn't have to be this "finished." For the purposes of this competition, however, I think it's very smart to make it as "finished" as possible...as that showcases how complete your map-making skills are and can certainly win you some additional votes. But, in the future (and if you go on to write an adventure or scenario), I'd recommend scaling back some on the full list of map symbols (some of which are already pretty universal). And, rather than just relying on all those symbols and your encounter write-up, drop in some designer's notes for the cartographer. This is what I do on a lot of my map turnovers. Basically, by drawing a different colored line and pointing to a single room or object, you can then explain what that room or symbol represents so the cartographer has a better idea of what you're trying to do...and ultimately, what you need him to illustrate.

Secondly, one of the habits I had to break early on with my maps was the "thinness" of the walls I used. And I think you've got a similar issue. For a location like a foundry with a massive forge and furnace room, I think you need to depict thicker walls than what you have here. As it stands, they look to be about the same width as the windows and they should probably be a bit wider than that...which means some of your rooms and hallways would potentially become more narrow. So, planning ahead for this sort of thing is sometimes useful to ensure you've got the normal sized 5-foot and 10-foot halls, etc.

Lastly, I will point out that I was a little confused on exactly where the PCs arrive on the map. Looks like it has an entrance at the mold room and storeroom. I just assumed the mold room, based on your encounter description. But it came off a little unclear.

The Encounter:
I really like that Tarvin appears to be in charge and well-versed with the operation of his little lair and hideout. This makes him the featured character of the encounter and that's what an encounter involving a villain should do. Showcase him at his best. It starts off with a pretty elaborate setup with the chase scene, though...which leaves me feeling like this is two "encounter" descriptions in one. And, the setup for the chase feels very forced to me. So, a wagon collapses and he takes off running? Why would the PCs even feel compelled to chase him? Yeah, I guess it could be assumed that they've already been investigating his "accidents"...but that leaves me wondering why Tarvin would even be hanging out anywhere close to the wagon's collapse, much less in a way that would implicate him as the guy who's responsible for it. I just don't see the pieces coming together for the chase.

Now, that said, I actually like the detail you've provided on the chase. Those mechanics can certainly make for an interesting scene and everything. But the way you've written it, this part of your encounter makes the assumption he automatically gets away. So, why even hold the chase? What are the ramifications if he reaches the end of the chase before the PCs do? Does he get away? Would they even see him reach the foundry? How "close" do they need to be? What if they capture him before he even gets there? What if they just send a flying familiar to keep an eye on him rather than participate in the chase? See what I mean about it coming off forced? Also, I'm not sold on it even being necessary for the assignment you were given. I think you could have just dropped the entire chase...implied the PCs have learned of a bunch of faulty goods emanating from this recently activated foundry...give them the Knowledge check to learn more about it...and then assume they've gone there to see what's up...maybe even with the implication that it's only active at night with the dark folk there...and then describe a single encounter when they arrive on the scene.

But let's move past that and examine the actual encounter details. I LOVE the potential for a battle taking place amid the hazards of the molten metal and forge buckets. But I think the inclusion of all those traps amid that awesome encounter scene comes off as misplaced. Again, this feels like the "chase" should be its own encounter where the traps can get detailed. And the battle in the mold room would then have its own encounter description and list of creatures/hazards that come into play. The traps from the chase would certainly factor into some kind of attrition on the PCs as they come charging into the foundry, but I don't think they should be factored into the CR value of the mold room encounter. The hazards certainly should (for both tiers). Lastly, I thought the higher tier encounter falls well short of a CR 12...not so much because of the sum total of XP from the creatures/traps/hazards involved. But rather, a group of PCs playing at tier 10-11 will make pretty short work of a couple of invisible stalkers (which seem like an unusual inclusion with little explanation) and what amounts to a CR 5 villain with some CR 4 minions. Individually or grouped together, none of those adversaries are going to last very long against the PCs. So, it's just not coming off as all that well considered for me from an encounter design/choice perspective.

Overall Assessment:
You really had a solid, creative idea going here and a pretty cool map...but the execution let you down in some areas. From a "strength of writing" standpoint, it surprised me to see you use so much passive voice. Likewise, I think the mixing of the chase scene with the battle among the pouring lines of molten metal from the forge buckets was ill-advised. It would have been much stronger to feature one or the other. A trap-laden chase route would have sufficed. Or, a series of traps set off in a foundry's forge would have been fine, too. But, having both in the same writeup just kind of muddied the waters. In addition, the tiered encounters themselves didn't quite have enough cohesion to feature Tarvin Haddon the way I'd hoped...especially at the higher tier where the invisible stalkers felt like they'd overshadow the villain and just didn't have enough explanation for their presence and what they'd contribute tactically to the encounter.

So, given all that, I think the cons just barely outweigh the pros on this one. Your creativity was high, especially with the core idea and the map. I could see where you were going. But the execution stumbled in some really key areas. As-written, it feels like a really amazing cake that's only half-baked. Smells good, but you wouldn't want to eat it yet. As a result, I DO NOT recommend this encounter location to advance to the next round. Regardless, you've got a very strong body of work in the competition so far. And, it'll be interesting to see if the voters pull you through. I truly wish you the best of luck.

Cartographer

Good reference here, very realistic building floor plan design. Everything is on the map reference needed to complete the finished product.

I don't have anything I would change about this map reference, very well done.

Cartographer

Fantastic reference that is quite precise, this map would come alive through the added details and flourishes of a finished product. As a pure gaming product, it stands alone by itself as and player or GM would be able to use this with having no trouble at all. Its clear he went through alot of trouble to put in exactly what he wants the players and GM to see which i admire. Love these types of interior maps.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I'm looking at this submission from a developer's perspective.

LOCATION
I like the idea of a foundry encounter, it gives it a very Terminator 2 or Isengard feel to it.
Likewise, the creation of faulty tools and such is a smart way to spread misfortune and accidental deaths.

ENCOUNTER
While the chase aspect of this is fine by itself, you're diluting your word count by including it. This is really two and a half locations: a half-location at the start of the chase (which is mostly irrelevant because it starts and then you run), the terrain covered by the chase, and then you have a battle in the foundry.

You spent 300 words on the details of the chase--not counting text for some of its traps, which really ought to be in the chase section, because as written you don't find out about these traps until you've finished reading through the chase section.

You provide very little in the way of tactics or interesting details about the foundry encounter location. The tactics for the monsters amounts to "they hide, and use their SLAs in battle." Also, I think you don't ever say "the encounter takes place in area 1", you just refer to double doors, "the entrance", and the buckets (which by context means it's area 1, but it should be clearer).

I think if you had made the chase happen within the foundry, that would have been really cool. As it is, we have a chase encounter that ends at a location with a lot of rumors the PCs won't find out about because the chase dragged them to the location before they could do any research.

To sum up: the chase aspect is cool, and it made this more than a "show up and have a fight at the boss' lair" sort of encounter, but the chase took away words from the actual battle, and thus the battle encounter is lacking.

MAP
This is a great map. Whatever software you're using here, keep doing it. It's clear, you have a lot of art elements at your disposal, and while some of those art elements are a little complex in black & white, the included key makes it readable.

Paizo Employee Developer

Congrats on making it into the top 8, Cody! At this point, I'm judging all the submissions from the viewpoint of the person who will be assigning and developing Pathfinder Society Scenarios to the three runners-up in the next round. Thus my recommendations are based almost entirely on how well I feel you'd do—based on this submission—writing an adventure as a reward for reaching the next round.

I think this is one of the strongest map submissions this round, and you've managed to make a very intricate location readable and not boring, which often happens with interiors with no curved walls. It's not symmetrical and all the rooms are of adequate size for their described purpose. Good job!

I also really like the placement within a developed part of the world (meaning you set it somewhere we have a lot of information on, rather than inventing somewhere new we might contradict later if we develop it and forget about this location) and the research you did on the Regos in Westcrown. The overall plot of the Zyphus cult is also well thought-out.

The inclusion of a way for PCs to get information before heading to the location is good, though note that bardic knowledge is no longer its own check, but rather a bonus on all Knowledge checks. Knowledge (local) and Diplomacy (gather information) are generally the skills to list for urban adventures, with other Knowledge skills as needed based on context.

I like that you included a chase scene, but that's really its own encounter, and doesn't take place in the location you're describing. So good idea for a part of a larger adventure, but outside the scope of this particular assignment. A chase through the interior of the location would have been awesome, but as it stands, I feel like you overextended.

Then we get to the encounter itself … and I just can't believe they'd be challenging for PCs of the intended level. Tarvin Haddon is only CR 5, so even in the lower tier, he's two CR levels below the PCs. And his mooks are only CR 2. A single fireball could easily finish the whole battle in a single round. That's not a very effective BBEG. In the higher tier, it's even more of an issue, as the main villain is only half the CR of the lowest level PC playing through the encounter. In Tier 10–11, the invisible stalkers are the foes that will challenge the PCs most, and even they are much lower CR than the party.

It looks like you included the traps that occur during the chase in the CR for the encounter that takes place after them, which isn't an accurate assessment of the difficulty of the encounter. And encountered alone as they are during the chase, CR 4 traps simply aren't a threat to either tier, but especially not to 10th- or 11th-level PCs.

In the end, I think you overreached here. Tarvin is an excellent foe for a 3–7 party if his traps are in the same location as the confrontation with him, but he's just not big or bad enough to warrant use in a 7–11 adventure. Combined with the out-of-place chase scene and weird CR calculations, this location left me disappointed, even after I was so impressed by the quality of the map. All said and done, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this location for advancement. Best of luck in the vote, Cody.

CEO, Goblinworks

Recommended for advancement

You got 1,500 words and you delivered a cinematic chase scene and a huge area for the encounter plus details on the big fight at the end. I love the epic scope of this submission.

I suspect that you're triggering people to read the chase rules now just to see how they work. Bringing something of the game that may be underutilized into the competition was a good idea and shows you have a command of the game system.

As I mentioned in R3, I'm not a fan of this villain. One of my critiques was that he's not going to be much of a challenge to overcome and in fact the PCs will really be dealing with his environment not him, and most of his backstory will never be relevant. Sure enough, that's how you approached the design of this encounter, relying on the environment of the room to be the challenge and letting the NPC and his minions fade a bit into the background.

I will say however that barring the comments which follow I would have not recommended this submission because your CR is just way too high. No single person running through a city is going to be able to outrace an APL 10 to 13 party. The whole encounter is predicated on that chase and that the chase ends at the Foundry. I think that had you playtested it more thoroughly you'd have realized that the chase would be aborted and you'd be stuck with the PCs interrogating Tarvin without ever reaching his lair.

I'll echo another Judge's comments too - why chase this guy in the first place? APL 10 to 13 parties don't get too upset when a wagon breaks. Are they investigating lots of acts of sabotage or working for a higher authority? The setup is great for a swashbuckling group of APL <5, but breaks down completely above that level.

Here's why I'm recommending this for advancement:

This is a potential mini-campaign starter. A lot of GMs could take the map and the description you provided of the Foundry and its denizens and turn it into a multi-session adventure. There's so much going on here - a trapped elemental, the anomalous presence of Dark Folk in the heart of the city, the shrine to Zyphus, the knowledge that a lot of shoddy dangerous stuff may be circulating within the city's markets, the question about Golems, etc. I could see running this in such a way that Tarvin always escapes at the end of the chase so that he can return to plague the players as they try to deal with the mess they've uncovered at the Foundry.

Back in the day when I ran the D&D group we talked about campaign settings as being of two types: Stone Soup and Cup o' Soup.

Stone Soup campaign settings gave you just enough stuff to get started then relied on the GM to flesh them out and make them cool. Greyhawk was a stone soup campaign setting. Cup o' Soup settings gave you everything you needed and the GM was supposed to weave plots together from the provided materials - i.e. the Forgotten Realms.

This is a Stone Soup encounter. A GM who chose to put this into their game would be doing so because they saw the potential to make this much bigger than a one-shot experience. Those are hard to make well, and I think you succeeded here with this submission.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

Thank you very much for your responses and critiques. I look forward to everyone's reactions, and don't forget to vote!

Osirion

You've gotten dinged by the judges for including the knowledge DCs.
However, I think they are looking at this knowledge check as a 3.5 Gather Information check, or a knowledge check modified by a library or whatever. I see the DCs as a "here is what you've heard about this building" - the knowledge won't help the characters in buying materials, but it may help them in what to cast as buffs. (resist fire?)

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

Cody you have some pretty fun things to play with here. Had I moved on, using Tarvin in a trap-laden chase though an industrial space was one of my ideas as well. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 so combining your two encounters would have been AWESOME! I think I get why you used Dark Folk with Westcrown having all the shadow and darkness motifs in the Council of Thieves AP.

While you chose Westcrown I can easily see this happening in Alkenstar's Gunworks. Tarvin not being a spellcaster it'd be easy to replace his magic items with alchemical ones.

--Vrock the Vote

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

The first thing I noticed as I read through this was the big mis-match between the villain CR and encounter CR in general compared to the tiers. (Okay, that's actually the 2nd thing I looked at - after reading the name of your location, I was first looking to see if you used my villain, Voracek, with the foundry connection, but I digress.) I think that using the array of villain CRs from round three, and using them unaltered in two different tiers was the biggest challenge this round. My planned solution was to use the villian solo in the lower leverl tier, and then give him some allies for the higher tier. In this case, I think you simply used too high a set of tiers for the CR of the villain you selected. This is compounded by the fact that the villain is a bit of a push over since he's really designed to make traps, rather than be a combat threat.

Aside from that, I thought that the location was well executed, with lots of good Golarion lore mixed in, as well as some interesting tactical challenges with the molten metal buckets. The mix of the cult of Zyphus and the dark folk was a bit odd and felt forced.

I loved the inclusion of the chase, but have to agree with the judges that it essentially added a 2nd encounter. If you had focused on just the chase, integrated the traps into it better, and even had some minions along the way taking shots at the PCs or something, as well as tactics for Tarvin to liven things up during the chase, that would have been a stellar encounter. Unfortunately, the chase encounter would have been completely separate from the foundry, which is why you had to include an encounter there also it seems to actually have an encounter in your location. I get the feeling that you had the idea for an encounter that was a chase, but then couldn't figure out how to make a location out of it and sorta jammed two things together to meet all of the requirements of the round.

Oh, and awesome map. I know that the map was the part of this round I was dreading, since I have the artistic talent of a blind rat. I'd be very interested to hear what tools you used to put that together.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Other than the level mismatch, I'm liking this encounter a lot. It reminds me - in a good way - of the early Sandpoint glassworks encounter. I also like that it's not just a straight-up fight.

I do have to say, I hate the user of spoiler blocks to hide pieces of the submission, and would rather see it go away in future years. No ding on you for that, just expressing annoyance.

The good (chase, traps, match of villain and environment) definitely outdo the bad (inappropriately low threat level) for me in this submission. And the map was impressive. Wish I could do that. I thank my lucky stars Paizo's cartographer did so much with my turnover.


I did not particularly like this villain in the last round, BUT I think the way you work in the location really works well. He loves trapping people, so he runs a foundry making shoddy metalwork so things break and people get hurt. Brilliant!

I agree, I was a little confused why the dark folk were involved, but I think Tarvin is evil enough to have those kind of connections. As to where they go during the day, one more map icon for "trapdoor" would cover that. The trapdoor leads down to a mini-dungeon level where the golem manual is kept.

And of course, the map is nice. It's clear. It's detailed. It's very professionally done.

I think you'll be getting one of my votes. Nicely done.


+1 Vote.

The setting is fresh and on the whole unique. Bravo. =)

Sczarni

I'm loving all that's going on in this submission, though it doesn't hurt that I really liked Tarvin from the get-go. The idea of using the environment as a weapon is something that you don't see too often, so the novelty of the approach outwieghs the CR problems for me, too. Well done. (Oh, and pretty map! We really need to know what program you're using)

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Move the chase from the streets into the foundry itself and this would be a kick ass encounter.

Nice job taking this "behind the scenes" villain and bringing him to the forefront.

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tarvin was among my favorite villains of the last round, so you get major points for using him. The foundry setting is inspired (Gunworks would be amazing too). The idea of a chase is excellent, as this is a villain who prefers to run away and let the environment deal with his enemies. These ideas lay a foundation on which you could build the most amazing encounter ever (not "one of the most amazing," THE MOST AMAZING).

Unfortunately, you faltered a bit in the implementation. Your first misstep (in my opinion) was how the PCs encounter Tarvin. Why is he out in the street sabotaging a cart with a hammer? A villain like this should be much more subtle than that. He's got a good thing going with churning out bad parts, he doesn't need to go whacking stuff with a stick to make it fall over. Let the PCs uncover a conspiracy of sabotage that eventually leads them to the foundry. Give them some time to make those knowledge checks. Let them sneak in if they want to, then hit them with so many traps everyone within 5 blocks hears them scream.

The second misstep (which has been pointed out already) was separating the chase from the foundry. The chase as it is feels somewhat contrived (he has a special escape route from the area of the street where he knocks wheels off carts?) and lacks real punch. The encounter in the foundry is much better, and I love the use of traps and molten metal to make the environment alive and threatening. If you were to combine these two elements into a single encounter, it would be fantastic. I'm picturing PCs dodging swinging chains and flying sparks, sliding down ladders, trying not to fall in molten metal, avoiding traps, and fighting forgeworkers, all leading to a final confrontation with the villain and his mighty fire elemental.

Your encounter as written is good. It's plenty good enough to guarantee a vote from me. But it's the idea of what it COULD be that really has my brain running in circles. If the next round included a proposal that ended with a climactic chase through an active foundry, it would be an almost automatic vote. I'm pretty sure I'm going to write up my own version of this encounter, and I'm already trying to find a way to work it into my Rise of the Runelords game (yeah, I have no good ideas there).

Overall, very solid work. Good job and good luck.

Andoran

On reflection, this is the best map of the 8 submitted. It's not brilliant -- and it doesn't try to be. Instead, it's a believable utilitarian map which is intended to convey a utilitarian building that could work and is a believable and interesting place for encounters in an urban setting. It completely succeeded in achieving that goal and it did it better than any other map entry. That counts, in my estimation.

The Trapmaster and the Foundry setting is rather inspired. Best of all, you tie it all very well into Westcrown. I bought into it completely from the very start. In fact, I think in terms of rooting your adventure believably in an existing Golarion setting? Considering you chose a location as well detailed as Westcrown? You nailed that aspect of "creating a location" better that any other submission. Well done!

The chase may not be executed perfectly, but it's an exciting component to the location/encounter and you show off how easily it adds depth and excitement to an encounter with relatively little text spent on it. Upon reflection, a little more text spent on it might have been a better choice. Overall though, while the judges might not have liked it all that much, I'm guessing the voters will.

Given a choice between charming voters and charming the judges? At this stage? You chose correctly, sir. :)

While this isn't perhaps my first choice of the Final Four, it clears the hurdle and it's more than good enough to earn you a spot in the last heat.

All by way of saying: Cody, I want to see an adventure proposal from you. You got my vote.


Pros:

1)Your map is very easy to read.

2) The chase was unexpected, and therefore creative.

Cons:

1) Unfortunately, the chase was also a con for me. A simple fly spell (available to both of your tiers) means that the PC can catch Tarvin and bypass all of your traps (and 90% of your submission). What happens if the PCs catch Tarvin before he gets to the foundry, or if they don't catch Tarvin (he gets away)? In either case, the PCs never get to see your actual location... which is kind of the point of this round.

2) I don't think you really got the feel for Tarvin. He creates accidents. Tripwire-rigged alleys, spring loaded javelins, and wall scythes are not his style. I think you would have been better served if the chase had carried the PCs across frayed clotheslines over alleyways, and along loose rooftop shingles (each made that way by Tarvin).

I still have more to read, but I'm leaning in the "no vote" direction.

Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was blown away by the richness and potential of the description on this one. I liked the idea of the chase, though I think some of the judges' comments and suggestions were spot on. But I'm voting for this one on the description alone. Wonderful writing here.


An old foundry, a cult working for the Lord of Accidents, in Westcrown! I love the feel of it all. Great work once more!

Osirion

Whatever your mapmaking tool is, I love it. It reminds me of the old B&W Dungeon maps. When you get a chance to comment, I would really like to know what software you used.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka surfbored

Cody:

There are a couple of problems with this submission, most of which have already been well described, but I don't think any of them are enough to take away from the bright spots of this encounter.

  • The chase sounds fun (but you have to work out the kinks), and kicking it off shouldn't be a problem since the PCs are likely to already be looking for the culprit by now.
  • The foundry is a great backdrop for the encounter; but you might need to buff up the enemies (play it out first, the difficult terrain and previous traps might make this harder than it seems). Maybe you could include some auras of intense heat?
  • The development possibilities after the encounter are intriguing.
  • The map is clear and neat.

    All of your entries have been front runners so far and this one is no exception. Your writing took a half-step backwards, but your creativity was in full force.


  • Cody Coffelt wrote:

    The Broken Crucible Foundry

    ==========
    The Broken Crucible Foundry is an imposing, warehouse-like building, made of once-sturdy brick walls and a sloped tile roof. It was built during the height of Westcrown’s prosperity by a group of metallurgists in the flourishing Rego Plea district. Having harnessed the power of a shackled fire elemental, they produced high-quality goods, sold far and wide. During the civil wars of Cheliax, the city was filled with turmoil, the Rego Plea district ruined, and the foundry was abandoned.

    The building now squats within the miserable Blood District, surrounded by a cluster of tenements and drug dens. The beautiful stained glass windows are shattered, and the brick walls are in need of repair. Despite the condemned appearance, the foundry is still in use. Behind the boarded windows a group of dark folk work the forges. In exchange for magical trinkets they pump the bellows and pour the molds to make cheap materials of questionable quality. Recently a group of worshipers, dedicated to Zyphus, have joined them and encouraged the dark folk to create even shoddier items. These faulty wares are then snuck out to construction sites across the city where they may one day cause the accidental deaths that please Zyphus.

    The interior of the Broken Crucible Foundry is a place of gloom, inhabited not only by the dark folk but by the strange creatures they keep company with. One of the rooms has been converted to a shrine of Zyphus, with traps appropriate for the god of accidents. The largest section of the foundry is the main mold room. In here, buckets of molten metal swing through the air from chains and pulleys, pouring lines of searing fire. The furnace room is equally dangerous with pools and crucibles used to smelt the ore...

    Disclaimer:

    In case you’ve only just woken up to the contest or otherwise (somehow) missed these Round-by-Round reviews before, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus:
    Spoiler:
    Fairness means Prizes For All Succubi, balance is the process of fine-tuning your harp of the Abyss so that the acoustic resonances are particularly obnoxious to any clerics of Asmodeus who happen to be captive audiences in the vicinity, and logic is a bit like cornflour paste – cast-iron hard work when anyone else touches it, but conveniently gooey and runny to a succubus’ subtle touch. Oh: And Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (still) firmly maintains that it’s a succubus’ privilege to change her mind with neither any warning nor any obligation to bother to explain herself…
    ;)

    How convenient does the estate/property seem to be for the regular delivery of groceries?
    Located in Westcrown, a port in Cheliax, I would surmise that regular deliveries of groceries are likely relatively easy to come by at this location.

    What preparations should a succubus planning to make a social call consider?
    First and most important, This Location Is In Cheliax, a nation which is a stronghold of Asmodeus worship and where licensed devils occasionally roam the land. Irrespective of other concerns, a succubus visiting this location should be prepared to make a smart exit (from the country) if the Hellknights or Church of Asmodeus show up. Either that or she should take along with her a couple of tame lawyers to deal with any Official Trouble. (Always fun to see Asmodeans or devils arguing with lawyers.)
    The bigger picture aside, the location is a foundry, being run by a group of religious fanatics who delight in 'accidents' happening to other folk. Whilst succubi have a natural immunity to heat damage and it's tremendous fun to flick blobs of molten iron away whilst a group of idiots who were expecting to see you die screaming stand around and gape like goldfish, I would recommend that flame-retardant apparel might be a good idea, and hairstyles not likely to be expensively disarranged by a large quantity of molten metal splashing all over one's head. Also, any dresses should be low-backed, in case a succubus needs to spread her wings and fly in an emergency.
    For that matter some dust of illusion just to cover several other contingencies which might arise could be a good idea.

    Assuming a succubus comes into possession of the estate or property in question, how much landscaping/redecoration work needs to be done?
    This is tricky. It's an industrial site, which likely isn't much use as such to most succubi, in a land run by devil-worshiping bureaucrats who as a general rule probably aren't too fond of succubi. Any kind of redevelopment of the site is going to be tied up in miles and miles of red tape, and negotiations are likely to have to be carried out remotely via proxies, because remaining personally civil to lickspittles of Asmodeus for any length of time is a *very* trying experience. About the most subversive recommendation I can make here to a succubus who comes by this site is to turn it over to the Church of Shelyn. The Asmodeans in Westcrown know that the Church of Shelyn is occasionally engaged in slightly naughty acts, but they tolerate them anyway because they like to pretend that they're cultured.

    Other comments?
    I'm bemused that (irrespective of their current state of repair) the description of the site includes mention of 'beautiful stained glass windows'. Industrial sites which have been purposed that way right from construction don't usually make a feature of the glass they use to keep the weather from impacting what's going on inside. I'm left to wonder if this was originally (before the Chelish civil war and the rise of House Thrune) a site dedicated to a deity with an interest in metal-working such as Torag?
    I find that in the previous round I was on the fence as regards to whether a succubus should tip anyone off as to Tarvin's activities? I'm no more inclined to like Tarvin right now, but I will add it's pretty moot whether or not a succubus should tip anyone off now he's moved to Cheliax. Just because someone's stupid enough to bow the knee to Asmodeus, it doesn't mean that they're otherwise unintelligent - indeed a lot of Asmodeus worshipers are unpleasantly sharp. And in a nation of Asmodeus worshipers, Tarvin's not going to last long churning out shoddy goods before someone puts two and two together and a squad of Hellknights descend on him and his nest of fellow Zyphus worshipers.
    Ideally a succubus should just sit back and watch the fun...

    Property Value:
    Negligible.

    Further Disclaimer:
    Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (still with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would (again) like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.


    Your map is crystal clear and very detailed. I like the location and the inherent danger of combat around the forge buckets and molten metal. I think your idea of a foundry that makes shoddy goods fits well with the villian you chose.

    I don't like the chase idea. The part about the Grim Harvester running from the scene seems to indicate that he just caused the wagon wheels to fail. However, this does not seem to be how the Grim Harvester would actually do things. He seems like a more subtle, behind-the-scenes kind of guy (which is why your foundry idea fits).

    I think that if you get rid of the chase scene and lower the CR for the encounter, this would be a great encounter for a party.

    Osirion

    Cody
    I really like the feel of this, it has a cinematic flavor to it that I really dig. From GM experience however this is how i see the chase scene working. Dude runs. Players scramble about for a moment before one of the players casts fly or summons a creature or some other inventive method to follow our escapee. The PC's then arrive at the foundry. The PC's then call for the city guard to surround the building before entering and systematical destroying the people and place.
    Regardless this is common with my group they really analyze their situations and react in the manner they feel that endangers them the least. If they knew the place was chock full o baddies (via spells or whatever) and that no innocents were present, they would probably wait outside and just demolish the building (summon earth ele's. pump them in and swing batter batter)... that's just their style.
    Regardless I still really like this I would love to play it. Just at a much lower tier and thus increasing the likelihood of the chase and showdown at the forge.
    Cool +1 vote


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    fatouzocat wrote:
    Players scramble about for a moment before one of the players casts fly or summons a creature or some other inventive method to follow our escapee. The PC's then arrive at the foundry. The PC's then call for the city guard to surround the building before entering and systematical destroying the people and place.

    Flight or other extraordinary means of movement give a +10 bonus to overcome obstacles in a chase, they are not an absolute win. Also this is based in an abandoned section of Westcrown so the town guard is not the most helpful group to call upon (especially if you run this during council of thieves as a side adventure where the point is to prove that the PCs can handle things to gain notoriety in the city).

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

    Well, what can I say? Firstly, it's a fantastic map. Well organized, well-keyed, professional and polished. And the backstory for the location is also aces. Abandoned foundry, dead district, shoddy goods distributed by the dark folk. Would have fit right into my Council of Thieves game.

    But beyond the actual location, there's a lot of problems with this entry. Tarvik is a potentially interesting villain, but his main weakness is being frail for his CR. So what did you do? You gave him a bunch of minions that are also frail for their CR. And a lot of them. The ELs are far too high for the actual challenge the encounters would provide; perhaps you should have aimed lower, using dark creepers and shadow mastiffs or something like that.

    The chase, I feel, is just a poor idea. I like the chase mechanics, but using a chase to lead to a set encounter is dangerous. What if they catch him? They should be allowed to! And the lead into the chase is lame. They see him sabotaging a carriage? Not only should Tarvek as written be subtler than that, what's a carriage doing in the Dead District anyway? The chase as a whole feels like too many words that could be better spent on the tactics of the enemies, or even telling us where precisely in the Broken Crucible they are.

    Although I'd want to snatch the map, I'd never consider running this encounter even close to as written. Although I was very impressed with the Hound Master, and recognize that my issues with your villain were predominately those of taste, this encounter's riddled with issues that add up to it being rather unplayable. I will not be voting for this entry.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
    Demiurge 1138 wrote:
    Well, what can I say? Firstly, it's a fantastic map....The chase, I feel, is just a poor idea....Although I'd want to snatch the map, I'd never consider running this encounter even close to as written....

    +1

    Why should the PCs bother when a wagon looses a wheel? While I understand that they could have a task set by someone else to investigate some (minor) acts of sabotage in the city the CR simply doesn't fit. This is a 1-3rd Level Adventure hook.

    Second the PCs would most probably catch this villain and interrogate him (most likely successful), learning about his homebase and avoiding all the traps. The rest is just a walk in the park.

    All in all a nice map but poor adventure hook and setting.


    I actually think you should get credit for providing almost a mini-encounter before you get to the Foundry setting.

    A couple of the judges' critiques are spot on. I, for one, hope they do nothing but help you write your full 32-page submission for the final round. It's gonna be really, really interesting to read that.

    Good luck! I've already voted for you.

    Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I think Ryan Dancey has received a lot of criticism in reviews - I think every once in a while somebody should point out something good. That would be me in this case, and I'm saying that the "cup o soup" and "stone soup" metaphors are awesome.

    That aside, I think there is something to be said for this encounter. Though if I were to run it, I'd probably re-spec it a bit to be a much lower CR; something that I can throw at a level 3 party.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

    This map is amazing, I will definitely be looking into this software. I really like the feel of this encounter, everything seem well thought out. The trap laden chase, the dark folk allies, the crumbling foundry all seem to fit your villain well.

    While great the map does seem needlessly complex for the amount of focus it gets in the encounter. This is not a failing of the map, but rather a lack of related detail in the encounter write-up, and in fact if the map were simpler it would probably be a source of criticism. Some key elements seem to be missing here; Haddon goes for the bucket controls, but there are no details about them. Does using them require a skill check? Assuming their use to be a full round action, what manner of actions does the bucket take, a move and a standard (to dump)? How fast does the bucket move? What damage does it do? Does it only target the square below it, or is there splash? When does the bucket need to refill? Does Haddon have any manner of cover or concealment when at the controls? This is all need to know stuff for the location to be anything more than every other warehouse. I'm also seeing no indication of where the other opponents are to be found. They can of course be easily dropped into any room by the GM, but it wouldn't hurt to specifically space them out, as this will resolve the fireball vs. room-o-goons problem seen in other entries. I also feel that your development could use a touch more work, I can easily reconcile the level of the cleric and the size of the fire elemental ( which can be easily changed to fit the party), but the incomplete iron golem could use some hints as to what exactly makes it incomplete. Stating no magic immunity, reduced hp, weaker/no poison, reduced armor, use young creature template etc. could all help a DM scale down the iron golem to the level of completedness that you're aiming for here.

    In all, I think that the failings here a minor compared to the flavor and fun that this encounter provides. You regularly show great rules acumen and a fine creative talent. I feel that you have often been in the forefront in previous rounds, and are a personal favorite (and onetime bane of my hopes for advancement :P). You have gotten my vote in every previous round, and I see no reason why that trent should not continue. Best of luck!


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Nick Bolhuis wrote:
    Haddon goes for the bucket controls, but there are no details about them. Does using them require a skill check? Assuming their use to be a full round action, what manner of actions does the bucket take, a move and a standard (to dump)? How fast does the bucket move? What damage does it do? Does it only target the square below it, or is there splash? When does the bucket need to refill? Does Haddon have any manner of cover or concealment when at the controls?

    Um, check the hazards section. All of that information is in there. Also, I cannot think of a single Paizo campaign where enemy locations have been called out on the map.

    Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

    Tikael wrote:
    Nick Bolhuis wrote:
    Haddon goes for the bucket controls, but there are no details about them. Does using them require a skill check? Assuming their use to be a full round action, what manner of actions does the bucket take, a move and a standard (to dump)? How fast does the bucket move? What damage does it do? Does it only target the square below it, or is there splash? When does the bucket need to refill? Does Haddon have any manner of cover or concealment when at the controls?
    Um, check the hazards section. All of that information is in there. Also, I cannot think of a single Paizo campaign where enemy locations have been called out on the map.

    You should look at PFS scenarios then...

    --Vrocknrolla

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka motteditor

    I tend to like basic building maps -- I yank them a lot from old Dungeon mags to repurpose for my campaign -- so this kind of hits the spot for me. I don't know for sure what I'd use it for, but I could definitely see pulling it into my potential use folder. Love the buckets of molten metal as potential obstacles.

    Like others, I'm a little dubious about the chase element -- I'd love to get some more chases going from time to time, but I find my players are much more likely to work around them.

    Despite that, the basic map itself -- and of course the Houndmaster, which continues to be my favorite thing in the contest so far -- will get you my vote. I'd like to see what you'll do in the next round.


    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    The map is really really well done - it is a little basic though. The description helps a lot, from looking at the map first I was like "generic warehouse? Why?". Definitely utilitarian, but I was hoping for more zazz.

    I like the chase and then that there is a final fight in the foundry. I feel like the foundry is sadly underutilized and gets very short shrift in the encounter, this should be a location where the environment is KEY to the fight as opposed to color near it.

    Cheliax RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Boxhead

    Does the villain match the location/encounter/minions

    Alrighty, Tarvis Haddon the trapmaker in a foundry churning out shoddy goods. Cool, makes sense. Plus a "trap-laden" series of streets for a chase. Even better. I actually had an idea for a similar encounter, a bit of run-and-gun as traps went off while the party chased Haddon through a series of alleys. Obviously, that doesn't really matter, but it's odd how many similar ideas arise in Superstar. The Dark Folk seem like a bit of a stretch, but they jive enough that I can get over it.

    Is the location cool?

    Foundry, swinging buckets, molten metal, yeah that's cool. The mechanics for the controls seem a little clunky to me, but I can get over that too.

    Is the encounter fun/interesting?

    I'm actually having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the encounter. Is the encounter the chase? Is it set in area 1? Some combination of the two? I actually feel like this would be better served with a map of the surroundinmg area instead of the (possibly never used) foundry. It seems like you drew the map, designed the hazards and then threw them out for a chase enounter. Also, I feel like at either level, the PCs are pretty likely to waste Haddon with a few ranged attacks and be done, or badly overrun him in the chase and waste him.

    Anything else?

    The map is fantastic. I just really wish you had used it. This has the potentional to be a great portion of an adventure, but not the final encounter, which is fine. If the chase had been in the foundry (or even just outside), this would have been a great entry, but it is still good in its components, which might be enough for me.


    Tikael wrote:


    Flight or other extraordinary means of movement give a +10 bonus to overcome obstacles in a chase, they are not an absolute win.

    I don't see why flight wouldn't trump every section of the chase except possibly section 7:

    Section 1: Through the crowd (Diplomacy DC 20) or over the wagons (Acrobatics DC 15). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly over the crowd. Done.

    Section 2: Up the brick wall (Climb DC 25) or secret handholds (Perception DC 15). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly over the wall. Done.

    Section 3: Steeply sloped roof (Climb DC 10) or hidden path across the shingles (Perception DC 20). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly over the roof. Done.

    Section 4: Slide down the awning (Acrobatics DC 25) or take the drain pipe (Climb DC 15). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly lower (or not, for a better vantage point). Done.

    Section 5: Sweet talk the guard (Bluff DC 20) or narrow hole in the wall (Escape Artist DC 25). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly over the wall. Done.

    Section 6: Over the rubble (Climb DC 15) or along the broken wall (Acrobatics DC 25). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I just fly over the rubble. Done.

    Section 7: Into the broken window (Escape Artist DC 20) or smash the weak wall (Break DC 18). This section sounds like he's going into a building, so I could either attempt to enter, or fly higher so I can observe anyone exiting the building and wait for the rest of the party... or ready an action to cast Hold Person

    Section 8: Secret path from the room (Perception DC 20) or alley full of caltrops (Acrobatics DC 15). If I'm flying, why do I need to do either of these skill checks? I fly over the caltrops. Done.

    As mentioned, Fly isn't the only spell/ability that makes this chase a cakewalk. Hold Person, Sleet Storm, Summon Monster III, Deep Slumber, Suggestion, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Ray of Exhaustion, Beast Shape I, Haste, Spike Growth, Summon Nature's Ally III, and Slow are all available to parties at both tiers, and each one means that there is a significant chance that the party never even gets to the actual location because they end up fighting Tarvin in the chase locations. That doesn't even mention the wealth of magic and mundane items (tanglefoot bag, net) that could help as well.

    Simply put, the chase may sound fun, but its way too easy for BOTH of these tiers. And in the off chance that the party doesn't catch Tarvin, then they don't get to see the foundry. Either way, that is bad design. As a GM, I don't like to waste money on things my players will never get to see.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Jason Rice wrote:
    I don't see why flight wouldn't trump every section of the chase

    Those are the rules for chases, per the GMG.


    LoreKeeper wrote:
    I think Ryan Dancey has received a lot of criticism in reviews - I think every once in a while somebody should point out something good.

    I think Mr. Dancey is a big boy and can handle the criticism. I also think the criticism is 100% deserved, and based on his own actions during this contest.

    Star Voter 2013

    LoreKeeper wrote:
    I think Ryan Dancey has received a lot of criticism in reviews - I think every once in a while somebody should point out something good.

    The plot behind the foundry is fantastic, and the related writing is quite good. ;)


    I love the map and the writing is wonderful. You show true talent for game design and I hope you make it to the next round! Count my vote.


    Hope we get to see your work in the next round.

    Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

    Cody,

    It's down to you and Sean (for me anyway) as far as who I'd like to see win the paid commission for a 32 page adventure proposal.

    Your Hound Master (Cavalier) archetype was easily one of my favorites.

    The encounter here at the Broken Crucible Foundry is pretty good. I like the tie in to the Lord of Accidents, the chase scene, and all the hazards thrown in for good measure. It would sure trip up (no pun intended) the players that wouldn't be expecting that sort of thing.

    The mismatch regarding CR/APL for the tiers presented has already been covered, so I won't go into that. (It's an easy fix or adjustment in my opinion) and it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the encounter as a whole.

    For example, if I wanted to use this encounter for my 5th level party (currently in Kingmaker) I think it would see a lot of "accidental deaths" simply because I have such an eclectic group (an alchemist, an inquisitor, an oracle (flame), a rogue, a sorcerer (fey), a summoner, and a survivor (new class from PFRPG Freeport). So, most of them don't have access to many of the "problematic" spells that might spoil a lot of what you have going on here. (But maybe I'm underestimating my players as well).

    Anyway, sorry about the off-topic stuff.

    I've given you a vote (of course) and I am very interested to see what you have in mind for an adventure proposal.

    ~Dean


    A lot of people seem to be concerned about the dark folk here. I played through Council of Thieves, and I seem to remember dark folk plastered all over the place. It seems reasonable that there would be groups of them lingering around Westcrown. Thoughts anyone?


    Do like
    * I love the whole backstory link to the Dark Folk and the worship of Zyphus works well in this setting. A foundry where faulty things could be manufactured and a cult who carries out the task of installing the things in places where the most mayhem could occur is a new take on a villainy. Sabotage for the sake of creating mayhem is going to throw some player characters into a tizzy trying to find the "real" motive.

    * You have a very nice map of the foundry. I want to see text describing more than just the entryway.

    Do not like
    * Though interesting and a nice use of the GMG chase rules, the chase itself uses up a lot of the available word count and I am found wanting some write up on the foundry itself. A better approach may have been a chase within the foundry itself with many neat places for hazards.

    * I wanted to read more about the setting of the foundry itself. The first thing I saw was your very nice map of it. The text bogs down on the chase and almost never even reaches the foundry.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Standback

    Cody,

    Congrats on making it to Round 4 :) I've said before how much I've enjoyed your entries; I'm glad you've made it this far, and I hope we'll be seeing you next round as well. Here's my comments on your entry, before I've read anybody else's.

    • Tarvin Yay! I really liked Tarvin as a villain concept, and I think you chose your concept really well: tarvin lends himself to a very certain type of encounter, one which will require a lot of planning, and base itself on Tarvin's cunning nature. That's great for this round - it lets you focus a lot on the villain and his behavior, in the context of describing the action.
    • I don't like the way the chase begins - it makes no sense for him to be spotted as the wheels come off. What kind of lousy sabotage is that? And, why should the PCs immediately chase him? You're expecting to land this encounter on them out of the blue; I don't think you can assume that they'll bite so quickly. I think you'd have done better to establish some "The Adventure Till Now" lead-up that would have set up the PCs interest in Tarvin, giving them reason to chase him.
    • The chase is exciting! I think this was a cool choice for your encounter, because most folks have gone with simple combat - this really stands out, and your description of it does sound exciting. Even so, some concerns:
      Concerns:
    • I have no GMG, so I don't know how the chase mechanics work. So I'm not sure how this encounter actually runs.
    • No sense of location. You describe all kinds of things along the way in a very partial manner - what rubble? What wall? What the heck is "secret path from the room"?
    • The chase occurs outside your central location. That seems like you're flirting with the rules somewhat. Might also be the reason the chase location is so vaguely described. Maybe a chase through the actual foundry would have served you better.

  • The Forge Bucket is a very cool hazard; I like how you duplicate it for higher tiers.
  • Some of the phrasing is a bit shoddy (the manual "could be in the process of being used" sticks in my memory). Perhaps shoddy phrasing is a deliberate attempt to cause accidental PC deaths and please Zyphus? :P

    In summary, I think you've done a lot of cool things here. Also some not-so-cool things. It seems to me that the less-cool things have more to do with contest restrictions than with your ability to put together a complete, cohesive adventure. I definitely want to see what you'll have for us in Round 5.

    Lots of luck! :)

  • RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

    After voting ends I will be glad to respond to comments and answer questions regarding my submission. Thank you everyone who has voted so far.

    Osirion

    Tikael wrote:
    Jason Rice wrote:
    I don't see why flight wouldn't trump every section of the chase
    Those are the rules for chases, per the GMG.

    There are rules and then common sense. Fly overcomes these obstacles. As Gm I would just be punishing my players for their ingenuity which is bad i want them to think not rules/metagame.

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