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Red Snow Ravine


Round 4 - Top 8: Create Golarion location with map

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Evil Space Mantis

Red Snow Ravine
Located in the south-eastern Irrisen hinterlands, in the foothills of the Kodar Mountains, Red Snow Ravine was, until a few years ago, simply another unnamed and unremarkable bit of wilderness. The coming of Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer(R3) has changed that. No one, other than Hoarfrost and his rage worg companions, has come back out of the depths of the ravine alive; however, a few souls who have stumbled across the entry to Hoarfrost’s lair, and have lived to tell about it, have told tales about the sights within. Central to these stories are the half-a-dozen dismembered, mutilated, and otherwise defiled corpses hanging from posts and from boughs of the evergreen trees at the entryway to the ravine; the gory drippings of which have given the ravine its name.

The tactics that have driven his reign of terror in the region have been both simple and brutally effective. Hoarfrost likes to catch unwary women or children and kidnap them, dragging them back to his lair. There, they then serve as the bait for his true prey; those brave souls who venture out to rescue the captives. Hoarfrost stalks his prey through the pine forests and frozen hills around his lair, before eventually ambushing them, killing them, and turning them into ghastly souvenirs.

The Rage Worgs’ Lair (CR 9 or 12)
==========
The ravine widens here, opening in to a small glade some fifty feet wide before closing again to a narrow path after about seventy feet. Along the eastern wall a small waterfall trickles down the rocks feeding a small, mostly frozen over, pool some thirty feet across. Along the western wall a rocky overhang provides some shelter from the elements. In happier circumstances this glade would be a beautiful natural area, but the effect is ruined by the smell of blood and rotting meat wafting from the western side of the glade.

Hoarfrost’s rage worg allies have turned the area under the rocky overhang into their den. This overhang is only 5 feet tall, and so medium and larger bipedal creatures have to squeeze in order to move or fight inside it.

The walls of the ravine are about 40 feet high in this area, and due to both their sheer faces and the slippery ice that coats them, require a DC 25 Climb check to climb. While it is possible to climb the hills around the ravine, the steep sides of the ravine make it impossible to see in to the ravine without standing right at the edge. The shifting drifts of snow at the edges of the top of the ravine make for dangerous footing, and anyone attempting to make an attack, cast a spell, or any other vigorous activity not related to keeping their footing on the dangerous surface must make a DC 20 Acrobatics check or slip and fall into the ravine.

Creatures: If the rage worgs have been alerted to the presence of intruders (most likely by their allies in Area 1) then they are actively hiding in their den, preparing to pounce. They have also alerted Hoarfrost, who stands at the back of the clearing, behind his hidden bear traps, bow in hand.

If the rage worgs have not been alerted, they are simply in their den eating or sleeping, and come charging out as soon as they detect anyone in Area 3. Once they attack, their howls alert Hoarfrost, who is in his campsite in Area 5. Hoarfrost comes running to see what the commotion is after taking 2 rounds to prepare for combat.

Tier 7-8 (CR 9):
Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer CR 7
XP 3,200
hp 78 (R3)

Rage Worg (2) CR 4
XP 1,200 each
hp 67 each (NPC Guide 39)

Tier 10-11 (CR 12):
[b]Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer CR 7

XP 3,200
hp 78 (R3)

Vicious Rage Worg (4) CR 7
Worg barbarian 5
CE Medium magical beast
Init +3; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +11
===== Defense =====
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 12; (+2 armor, +3 Dex, +2 natural, –2 rage)
hp 101 (9 HD; 4d10+5d12+47)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +6
Defensive Abilities improved uncanny dodge, rage powers (superstition), trap sense +1, uncanny dodge
===== Offense =====
Spd 40 ft.
Melee bite +17 (1d6+21 plus trip)
Special Attacks rage (15 rounds/day), rage powers (no escape)
===== Tactics =====
During Combat As soon as combat begins, the worgs activate their rage ability. They then attempt to pair off against opponents, flanking and tripping them, then using power attack on any that are prone.
Morale Vicious rage worgs fight to the death.
Base Statistics When not raging, the worg’s statistics are AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; hp 83; Fort +10, Will +3; Melee bite +15 (1d6+18 plus trip); Str 22, Con 17; CMB +12, CMD 28 (32 vs. trip); Skills Climb +10, Swim +10.
===== Statistics =====
Str 26, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 30 (34 vs. trip)
Feats Endurance, Furious Focus, Intimidating Prowess, Power Attack, Step Up
Skills Climb +12, Intimidate +13, Perception +11, Stealth +12, Survival+10, Swim +12
Languages Goblin, Hallit
SQ fast movement
Gear masterwork leather barding

Hazard: The icy pond on the eastern side of the ravine presents two possible hazards to the party. If anyone attempts to charge or run on any of the icy spaces they must succeed at a DC 15 Acrobatics check or fall prone in the first icy space they move through. Additionally, the ice in Area A is strong enough to support any number of medium creatures, but a larger then medium creature on the ice will break through the ice in their space(s) and fall in to the frigid water beneath. The ice in Area B is thinner, and instead breaks if any medium or larger creature enters the space. While the water is no more than three feet deep at any point, any creature in the water must make a DC 14 Fortitude save when they fall in, and at the beginning of any round they are still in the water, or become fatigued for 1 minute. For each round a creature remains in the water, the DC of this save goes up by 2. Climbing out of the water requires a DC 10 Climb check due to the slippery conditions.

Trap: At the 4 spaces marked with X’s, Hoarfrost has carefully hidden and anchored a bear trap. Hoarfrost and all of the rage worgs are aware of the locations of the bear traps and will attempt to lure opponents into them if possible.

Bear Trap CR 1 (4)
Type mechanical; Perception DC 15; Disable Device DC 20

Effects
Trigger location; Reset manual
Effect Atk +10 melee (2d6+3); sharp jaws spring shut around the creature's ankle and hold the creature immobile; the creature can escape with a DC 20 Disable Device check, DC 22 Escape Artist check, or DC 26 Strength check

Development: If Hoarfrost was not previously alerted by activity at the entrance to the ravine, he arrives on his initiative count in the third round of combat in Area 2. He usually takes a moment to assess the battle at that point, preferring to stay back behind his bear traps and fire his bow or throw his javelin of lightning at any likely targets. However, he does not hesitate to begin raging and wade in to melee if any opponents come within 20 feet. If forced to retreat, Hoarfrost hopes to use the time his bear traps can buy him to slow down his adversaries long enough to arm his trap in Area 4 and then drink his 3 potions of cure light wounds before making a stand in Area 5.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

The image Ethan provided was 7.25 x 8 inches at 96 dpi.

Cartographer

Good looking map reference, everything is on the reference needed to complete a good finished product.

The frozen pond is a cool hazard to have here and the mutilated corpses are always fun to draw :)

This one would be fairly easy to finish in a short amount of time, I would enjoy getting into the smaller details on this map.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome to the Top 8, Ethan! This is the 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 and they can recognize your strengths. 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 props on your designs so far. Your eye of the void struck a major chord with its Cthulu-esque overtones. It was a big hit with the judges. Then, you gave us one of the stronger archetype ideas with the exalted armsman as a different way of portraying a cleric who defends the faith without going full-scale paladin. Then, last round, you presented us with the Prince of Knives as a dual-archetype multiclass character to showcase your design skill and creativity. So, if I assess your passage through the competition so far, I'd say you're bringing good ideas with some serious creativity and the right kind of showcasing of your skills to make a real run at this opportunity. I've picked a few nits here or there with your designs, but your body of work continues to be really impressive as a whole. So, going into this round I have high expectations of what you'll do and I'm interested in seeing how you meet them with the ever-tightening competition from your fellow contestants. For this round's feedback, I'm going to breakdown my commentary according to the key elements of the assignment, including: your descriptive text, your location choice and villain pairing, your map, and the creativity of your encounter.

The Descriptive Text:
First, I'll note that you're the third competitor out of the Top 8 to select Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer as the villain for your encounter design. Maybe you guys should all give a tip of the cap to Scott Fernandez for coming up with such a popular concept, because it obviously inspired a lot of his fellow competitors. Now, with your initial description, you paint an appropriate picture of Hoarfrost's homeland somewhere in Irrisen. I like that you get right down to the business of explaining your villain's impact and involvement in this corner of Golarion. You're featuring him in a very direct way and that's a smart design approach. Yes, you want to set the backdrop with your location, but you also want to lift up your villain with it and get right into talking about him rather than spending too much word-count on backstory and further development of ancillary stuff that doesn't feature him.

That said, I didn't particularly like the writing in your lead-off paragraph. It doesn't flow as well as I would have liked. One of the sentences feels a little run-on to me and ends with a preposition. There's some extraneous phrasing that could have been tightened up...such as, changing something like "...Central to these stories are the half-a-dozen dismembered, mutilated, and otherwise defiled corpses hanging from posts and from boughs of the evergreen trees at the entryway to the ravine; the gory drippings of which have given the ravine its name..." to "...Often these stories include tales of a half-dozen dismembered, mutilated, and otherwise defiled bodies hanging from posts and the boughs of evergreen trees near the entrance of the ravine, their gory drippings giving the region its name..." Try reading those two ways of phrasing the same information aloud and get a feel of how the words flow. Or, better yet, have someone else read it back to you. That should help you tighten up your writing as you go forward.

One other thing. You significantly underwrote your assignment. The rules didn't require you to write exactly to word count, but a lot of real-world assignments will. And, underwriting by more than 200 words is a pretty big deal on a 1500 word assignment. Also, underwriting is often worse than overwriting, because a developer has to fill in entirely new words rather than cut some out.

The Location:
I like the notion of the Red Snow Ravine. The name sounds both vile and beautiful at the same time...and gives some great hints towards the savagery of your villain and his nature. As I stated earlier, I think you've chosen the right region of Golarion in which to set an encounter involving Hoarfrost. He's a mountain man of a half-orc with just the right touch of savage barbarianism with the steady, intelligence of a hunting ranger...and not a villain to be trifled with on his own terms. I think your chosen location makes perfect internal sense.

One thing I would have liked to see in your opening paragraphs (i.e., before you get into the Rage Worgs' Lair at area 3) is some more words describing the actual ravine itself. You took some of the basic, vital information about the terrain and inserted it into the description of area 3. That really ought to be lifted up into the preceding paragraphs before you get into your individual encounter descriptions within a location. So, stuff like the height of the ravine, Climb DCs, the dangers of the icy edges, etc. should be higher up in the descriptive text. Other than that, I think you're mostly solid here. You included all of this information, just not in the most appropriate place as compared to other location/encounter descriptions in Paizo products. If it helps, think of it this way: for an overall location, you want to describe everything a GM needs to know about it first, especially things that will apply to all of the individual encounters, rooms, etc. within a location. So, stuff like ceiling heights, illumination levels, features of doors and walls...or, in your case, the height of the ravine, icy terrain conditions, etc....should be universal for the site, not just a single location. After you get that out of the way, then you can dive into describing each room or encounter within that site and spend further words on describing the features of that individual area.

The Map:
I like the map, though it may have gone a bit too far over the half-page size and came too short for a full-page map. Despite that, it's very clean and easy to read. Programs like this can lend themselves well to quick renderings of map features that you need to convey to a cartographer. Sometimes, they can hamper you on the amount of detailing and customizing you can do, though. A trick I've started using is to hand-draw it first, then scan it into an image file, and import it into a program where I can tweak, highlight, and colorize as much as necessary.

For your map, I really like the terrain elements you've introduced like the overhang...the icy pond with the varying thickness of ice that could come into play in a battle...and all the traps that guard the way to Hoarfrost's yurt. One thing I would have liked to see here is a "backdoor" on a higher, difficult to reach, elevation. A wily hunter like Hoarfrost (despite his tendency for raging in battle) ought to have ways of either escaping when he's in over his head, or, more likely, ways to circle around those he manages to draw into his well-trapped ravine. With worgs as his allies, I could better imagine him using tactics like this where they draw his prey in while he cuts off their retreat. I think that could really enhance a location that features his style of ambush.

The Encounter:
I like that you've chosen to define the most likely combat encounter for your map. Sure, there's the off-chance that the heroes manage to slip by the rage worgs' lair and take on Hoarfrost unprepared. But, wily hunter that he is, it's far more likely they'll run afoul of his minions, guards, and traps well before then. You've done some very smart design work here by preparing for what happens if the worgs are alerted to the PCs' approach...which should quickly have Hoarfrost arriving on the scene from area 5. And, I really like that you've included the cagey move of retreating through the bear trap area so Hoarfrost can quaff his potions of cure light wounds before making his final stand.

One thing I would have liked to see you play up here would be a more active use of the icy pond, either by Hoarfrost or the worgs. And, including some areas beneath the ice which Hoarfrost knows are more solid with underlying boulders. That would have been cool, especially if he could draw the PCs toward him...or give his worgs the means to harry them onto the ice. That would have made this encounter even more cinematic for me if you'd included something like that in their tactics.

Something else that I really like in your design (which I'm starting to notice as a trend in your submissions) is that you've made an effort to give us a taste of every possible design element. We get a villain, some minions, some traps, a hazard, and some situations that might necessitate a few skill checks. It's good solid design and a demonstration of your proficiency while adhering to the assigned guidelines and the provided template. You did something similar with your villain last round by incorporating as many elements as you could. And, again, it demonstrated some clear proficiency and professional polish on your part. I admire and like what you're doing. Keep it up.

Overall Assessment:
I sense you're improving with each and every round. You're making smart choices and giving us some really good designs. Here and there, you still have some things to improve on, but you're on the right track, and I'm convinced you could very well create an interesting and memorable full-scale adventure.

Given all that (and despite the fact that you left a lot of words on the table), I RECOMMEND this encounter location to advance to the next round. Best of luck in the voting.

Cartographer

Looks pretty straightfoward, clean reference with everything labelled, but leaving enough room for me to fill in details and use some artistic license. I like Map reference like this as its crytal clear clarity along with the written reference material is concise, but open to artistic interpretation. Bravo:) Plus i like killer wolves, haha.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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

LOCATION
This is a pretty straightforward outdoor monster lair. I like that they've altered their lair to suit themselves and that they have a supply of fresh water ("dungeon" ecology is often overlooked).

You had over 200 words to spare in your R4 writeup. Unlike R1 where you should avoid trying to cram too much into your submission, we gave you 1500 words because we expected you'd need them for your encounters (previous R4 rounds had 1200 words for a non-tiered submission, and you're barely over that). Use those extra words for extra details, either in the Location description/background or adding some cool element to your Encounter.

ENCOUNTER
Creature sizes (Medium, Large) are always capitalized.

I like the presence of the icy pool and the hazard it presents. Considering that this is a cold environment and the PCs are probably going to use fire spells or stuff like alchemist's fire, I can see opponents catching on fire and needing to jump into the water to extinguish themselves (though I suppose rolling in the snow would do as well).

I think it's very interesting that you chose to add levels to the rage worgs and give them new, complete stat blocks. That's a more difficult designer challenge than just adding more creatures from the lower CR, and shows you're not afraid to put in the work to make a tiered encounter challenging at both tiers.

Watch for passive voice, particularly regarding the word "will."

MAP
Map is clear and easy to read. The only thing I'm wondering about is the giant orange circle marked "5." Is that a gigantic fire pit? A unique tree? A trap?

Paizo Employee Developer

Congrats on making it into the top 8, Ethan! 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.

Looking first at your map, I have to admit that I'm uninspired. You've got a lot going on here, and the actual encounter area (Area 3) is fine. It's areas 2, 4, and 5 that give me pause. I wonder why 2 and 4 even need to be listed, as they're just passages and are likely too narrow and small to have anything actually happen there. When mapping, every labeled area should have some mention in the location writeup, and spending words to write about these passages seems a waste of space. Area 5 looks too small for a yurt and there's not a lot of room for the PCs to move around here, much less engage any anything close to combat. The fire looks like it's too close to the hut and I'd like more information on what's in the cage. I think this would be a sufficient turnover, but would likely require me to provide additional explanation to the cartographer to get it to look right and work for the final adventure.

I like the backstory of the ravine and the etymology of its name. Points for those. I also like that you didn't set a specific trigger event to lure the PCs there. A GM could use this however she saw fit, and could use established NPCs as bait or build up to the final encounter with Hoarfrost.

In terms of style throughout, you've got a lot of extraneous commas. When in doubt, leave it out; if you're not in doubt about using some of the commas you've got here, you may want to brush up on that in the Chicago Manual of Style.

In the creatures section, you mention allies in Area 1, but there aren't any specifically mentioned. Your location is more than just the one encounter area, and if there are other creatures, even as part of a different encounter, they should at least be mentioned. As it is, the worgs are never alerted by their allies because they simply don't exist.

I like your use of terrain, melee and ranged combatants, and traps in the encounter, and think it really accentuated the specific location and the strategic approach of the primary villain. I especially like Hoarfrost taking refuge behind the traps and firing from range, waiting for PCs to come to him. You might consider increasing the CR of the traps, however, since a CR 1 trap isn't really a challenge for PCs in these tiers. But kudos for including them in the total CR calculations for the encounter; authors often leave them out.

I also appreciate that, instead of simply increasing the number of combatants in the higher tier, you increased the existing foes' level. That's exactly the sort of design decision I like to see in Pathfinder Society Scenarios, as lots of low-CR foes are rarely as challenging as a few level-appropriate beasties. When not restricted by the extra rules of the contest, you'd also be able to increase Hoarfrost's level to keep him from being overshadowed by his minions. Good work there.

All things considered, I think this is a solid encounter, with both strong mechanics and location design. I wish there were more information on the other areas of the location (1, 2, 4, and 5) in those unused 200 words you left on the table, though. In the end, I RECOMMEND this location for advancement, and look forward to seeing what you could do with a full proposal. Best of luck in the vote, Ethan.

CEO, Goblinworks

Not recommended for advancement.

Coming in short on the word count doesn't bother me too much - if the directions had specified a minimum then it would but since it doesn't I don't care to detract from the submission. There are plenty of places where designers can underwrite content limits and still deliver quality turnovers. Our industry has a tendency to overwhelm with verbiage anyway so its refreshing to see someone just stop when finished.

My issue is really with the design itself not its presentation (which was uniformly excellent in my opinion).

Hoarfrost's schtick is killing adventurers. The R3 submission centered on that idea.

The lair you've presented is a fine piece of work for a generic wilderness encounter with a bad nasty NPC who kills random travelers and beasts - but that's not what Hoarfrost is. He's a hunter of men - and particular, the most dangerous kind of prey - adventurers.

As designed this lair is really only suitable for parties with APL around 5, with no caster over level 5. The lair could probably survive a couple of fireballs but not much beyond that. The higher tier just isn't going to be a challenge for parties at that APL. They'll make short work of Hoarfrost and his worgs.

He needs to think about antimagic. He needs to think about invisible opponents. He needs to think about how to deal with summoned creatures. He needs to think about spellcasters. He needs to think about flying opponents. He needs to worry about d-door.

Unless you want to presuppose that this encounter happens very near the beginning of Hoarfrost's career, he's going to have seen and had to overcome many of these things before.

His open-air lair is going to be really easy to recon and bomb. A flying caster with the ability to deal with becoming a pincushion could probably kill him without ever setting foot on the ground. AOE spells will reach under the overhang and the trees. The choke points are going to let casters web, entangle, and otherwise impede progress. A couple of Cloudkills are going to ruin the worgs' day. The linear nature of the lair means that even a party choosing a simple frontal assault doesn't have to worry about covering the rear.

I'd have liked to see something more extreme from his lair. As written, it's just not going to be believable that Hoarfrost has been regularly luring adventurers out to this place and slaughtering them. I think he needs to fight like Rambo in the 2nd movie - hiding in the environment and picking off unwary targets one by one rather than looking to fight a pitched battle.

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

Overall, I like this as an ambush point, though it has the all-too common issue of aerial weakness. I really appreciate restatted rage worgs instead of the old standby of increased numbers.

If you had a "do over", I'd suggest spending those 200 words you left on the table to vivid up the descriptions a bit, but overall, I like this as a nice, simpler encounter that doesn't overreach what its level should be about.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

The name is really evocative on this one and the descriptions you give really open up the imagination. You took a villain I didn't really care for last round and made him really come to life in a way that rocks! Thanks!

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

Ethan, thank you for using Hoarfrost. I intended for him to be an easy to use villain in any wilderness setting and here he is (again)!

I like the idea of using a ravine to funnel PCs into an ambush and your hazards are a good way to hinder them in a harsh environment. But as many have said at the tiers you chose PCs have the tools to avoid obvious traps like this. Hoarfrost as an experieced hunter wouldn't want to get boxed in.

One of the trickiest thing to do when designing an encounter is take into account all the options PCs have, especially above 5th. Designing wilderness encounters in the mid to high levels starts to become harder and harder as spells and magic items remove mundane hazards like difficult terrain or even simple distance. Overland travel is pretty much dead once overland flight and wind walk are available, heck even phantom steed! Invisibility and flight are two tactics that PCs love to abuse once they can which is why I gave Hoarfrost scent, a bow, and a javelin of lightning.

--Vrock the Vote


This is a good entry, but I'm not sure if it's great. It has a lot going on, which is fine, but I have two main issues.

1. Hoarfrost is supposed to be a hunter. I'm thinking he's the Pathfinder version of a Predator. To that end, his tactic in this location seems counter to his character. He kidnaps women and children to lure adventurers to him. That's not really hunting. In addition, the adventurers that he wants to challenge aren't going to be the ones with farmhouses and wives and community ties. Hoarfrost wants to go up against the badass adventurers and I'm not sure too many of them waste their time with developing family ties.

2. My other issue is both a compliment and a criticism. I really like the ice idea. It's interesting and different and could make for some good roleplaying. Is it worth risking the ice to get better field position? Is it worth rescuing a friend stuck in the ice if you have to sacrifice an attack round?

However, I'm not sure the PC's would ever actually use the ice. There's plenty of room to the left of the ice for people to move through. Maybe if the ice was more of the location, it would work better. But you get points for the concept and its mechanics.

Currently, I'm on the fence on this one. Good luck in the voting.

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

Ethan, I want to commend you on a tight to the point submission. I'm with Ryan here - the rules didn't say there was a minimum word count, so that shouldn't be a knock against you. If in reality it's a problem as other judges have said, then I'm sure you wouldn't under deliver if given a real assignment. That being said, using some of those extra words to better describe some of the other areas of the location would have made for a stronger entry.

I like the encounter described - it has a good mix of challenges, and involves the terrain with both the lake and the confines of the ravine. Great job of fitting in a full stat block for the advanced rage wolves as well.

Unfortunately, while what you have is good, it's not great. It's solid and to the point, but it's not drawing me in to want to run this adventure. Maybe as a filler to boost the PC's XP to get them to level before you start another big adventure, or side trek, but not as the main event. It's basically just an extended ambush with a hunter and his wolves, and while it's a well done ambush with a hunter and his wolves, it doesn't rise above this basic set up.

Sczarni

This does definitely read like a side-quest, and there are some abilities that would make this quite a lot easier, but what breaks this for me is this hunter type having his lair so badly set up for the ambush that he obviously intends. Some avalanche traps could be devastating in those narrow passages, and why couldn't the waterway have been dug specifically to provide a handy trap in cold weather? All it would take would be to routinely break up the ice in specific parts of a moat-like trench, let them freeze over just barely, then cover them with snow, and you'd have great hypothermia-inducing pit traps. The flanking point has already been brought up, and I also think it would be a great idea to have a trapped, hidden path for Hoarfrost to get around his quarry and wreak havoc from a secured spot on the lip of the canyon, possibly after cutting off escape with an avalanche in area 2.

Just lots of missed opportunities here that could easily have been put in with those extra 200 words.

Andoran

The ice was easily the best part of this location. Your mechanics for using it were quite effective and interesting and I really liked that aspect of the location.

The map is serviceable. It does the job it's trying to do. Lazzaretti could make this location look pretty good - so that part is all good.

I understand that you made a "bridge" of sorts between the ice on one side and the overhang on the other. It's the natural chokepoint for the initial encounter zone as the party presses through to engage the BBEG in his redoubt.

In all honesty, I think a better choice would have been to use the ice more aggressively. Have it be unavoidable and let the PCs do their best to get through it - or better still - use spells to turn the hazard into a weapon they could employ to their advantage during combat.

Not sure what kind of players you have, but mine would have used an Enlarge on a foe to increae his weight and make him drop through the ice and drown - or otherwise have melted the ice beneath a foe's feet.

I'm not sure this one is good enough to make it to the Final Four. In the event it doesn't, I wanted you to know I thought your ice was the coolest hazard in this round.

Had you built your location around the thin ice and featured that aspect of the hazard more? I think it would have been a shoe-in to get you to the end.


I don't think this is a bad encounter, but it doesn't get me excited.

Why would someone who's trying to kill adventurers not have an escape route? Even tough guys plan for the worst.

I like the bottleneck created by the overhang and the iced over area. Along with the traps it makes for a nice kill area for intruders. However, it doesn't feel like an area that Hoarfrost would actually use to ambush adventurers. It does feel like an appropriate lair for him though.


Pros:

1) Red Snow Ravine is a good name.

2) There is a good mix of elements here.

3) Your map is easy to read.

Cons:

1) Concerning the overhang, you said that because of the 5ft ceiling, medium bipedal creatures need to squeeze to fight there. Dwarves, humans, and half-orcs can all be shorter than 5 ft. (core rulebook, page 170), and all are medium size. In fact, the min. height for a female dwarf is 3'9". There are probably alternate medium-sized races that can be shorter than 5 ft. as well.

2) Ravines are formed by erosion, normally erosion caused by running water. The design of your ravine doesn't look realistic. The sharp angles between your areas should be removed, area 5 would either lead somewhere else, or be the source of the water, and the water/ice (or at least a dry creek bed) would lead from the pond.

3) The ability to fly (available to PCs at both your tiers) would make this a MUCH easier encounter.

4) I'm kind of not buying that Hoarfrost chooses the place where he lives as his preferred hunting ground. It's not very cunning for this huntsman, since his options become severly limited if the battle goes badly. The R3 entry said he lures them to "prepared hunting grounds", not where he sleeps.

Still more to read, but I'm on the fence with this one. I like the mix of elements, but unrealistic maps and plots are big pet peeves of mine.


Steel_Wind wrote:


Not sure what kind of players you have, but mine would have used an Enlarge on a foe to increae his weight and make him drop through the ice and drown - or otherwise have melted the ice beneath a foe's feet.

Em...this sounds a little like meta-gaming if you ask me...You seem to be assuming that PCs will know how the ice works but in my experience they just charge into the fight and plough through environmental obstacles without a second thought. Unless you have just seen another member of your party or someone else fall through the ice, using knowledge about how ice works from other encounters or whatever....meta-gaming.


In the previous round, Hoarfrost was one of my favorites. He had feral drive, cunning, and a fondness for pushing the limits of his skills to hunt a most dangerous prey. That said, while I think certain aspects of the encounter work in this theme (the ice and planted bear traps), the overall idea of the encounter is flawed.

I for one picture Hoarfrost as more of a wanderer in the wastes. He would have a lair, yes, but he wouldn't be dependent on it and certainly would not leave it so open to the world. Part of the ability for animals to survive is for their burrows, nests, ect to be protected, most effectively by being hidden. A character so in tune with his feral nature would understand this, and one that would go so far as to hunt adventurers would not be so brazen and arrogant to leave his lair open and relatively lightly protected. He wouldn't have made it to level 7 if that was the case.

That said, I think the scene that is set and the idea is great. If the lair didn't feature, or at least the Worgs weren't hiding there, and the elevation was exploited more (I feel Hoarfrost should be harrying the party with attacks from the ridge while they're engaged with the Worgs)then it would work better. At the very least, more traps like deadfalls, rockslides, and such. I'd play it, but make it more brutal.

Andoran

Esmea-Shyva wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:


Not sure what kind of players you have, but mine would have used an Enlarge on a foe to increae his weight and make him drop through the ice and drown - or otherwise have melted the ice beneath a foe's feet.

Em...this sounds a little like meta-gaming if you ask me...

Unless you have just seen another member of your party or someone else fall through the ice, using knowledge about how ice works from other encounters or whatever....meta-gaming.

There is open water visible on the map. My players don't have to "metagame" to know that ice is thinner near open sections, and to know that more weight upon it will make it crack.

YMMV.


There is open water visible on the map. My players don't have to "metagame" to know that ice is thinner near open sections, and to know that more weight upon it will make it crack.

YMMV.

Fair enough, but I never said anything about players venturing near the water section where the ice is really thin. I was really talking about the fact that a big enough player will go through at the edge but they might not necessarily know this and the most direct route to Hoarfrost would take them across the thicker ice. In fact, from almost all positions, going anywhere near the thinner ice would waste valuable time that PCs could spend attacking.

Also, what makes you think Hoarfrost would go anywhere NEAR the ice so you could melt it and drown him...he lives there, and therefore knows his ice. He's not a dope

Andoran

Esmea-Shyva wrote:


Also, what makes you think Hoarfrost would go anywhere NEAR the ice so you could melt it and drown him...he lives there, and therefore knows his ice. He's not a dope

I think you have now taken the remark out of context. The context was as follows:

Quote:

In all honesty, I think a better choice would have been to use the ice more aggressively. Have it be unavoidable and let the PCs do their best to get through it - or better still - use spells to turn the hazard into a weapon they could employ to their advantage during combat.

Not sure what kind of players you have, but mine would have used an Enlarge on a foe to increae his weight and make him drop through the ice and drown - or otherwise have melted the ice beneath a foe's feet.

If the ice essentially blocked off the ravine, so that there was no way to the back other than going over it, then the foes could have been engaged on the ice - thick and thin.

There are more foes present than Hoarfrost. The Rage Worgs would certainly engage the party upon the ice.

Hoarfrost may choose to so as well, depending on how the battle unfolded and the nature of the provocation. He may chooe to stick to the thick areas of the ice in an attempt to remain "safe", but enlarge, shatter, various fire spells, monster summoning, etc. could be used to attempt to take advantage of the ice as a hazard working to the benefit of the party.

In any event, we are now discussing a map that does not exist and a very different encounter, to be sure. But that was the context in which the comment was originally made.

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

With the Rugged Northerner feat Hoarfrost doesn't have much to worry about in the water. He's immune to the fatigue from frostbite and hypothermia.

--Vrock Salt

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

The sentence about there never being any survivors leaving the ravine, then talks about those who have seen Hoarfrost's lair and lived. Maybe there's a difference here: previous visitors to the ravine never came back, and since the villain moved in, no one goes inside? But they get cose enough to see heads suspended from trees and the worgs or the superbeast himself don't track them down and kill them? I think the sentence is clunky at best and contradictory at worst.

I am not convinced the CRs are right. Maybe I can get some help with this. A CR 7 and a CR 6 don't amke a CR 9. The CR 1 traps offer no challenge to the party and shouldn't fit into the equation. Even then, 4 CR 1 is a CR 5. So a 7, a 6 and a 5? Maybe. Seems weak.

The second encounter also, an 11, a 7, and a 5? With the open air, low AC and meh hit points, four 11th level characters would cakewalk all the way to the treasure and back.

I think the ice could have used a CR, too, but no PC is going out on it.

I do dig the name. There's not much better iconic imagery that blood in the snow.

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

The name is great, and there's parts of the description that really sing to me. But the text often seems like it's in the wrong place, and I did get somewhat confused about what's going on where reading the encounter description. I did really appreciate the alternate stat-block for the rage worgs; makes them more genuinely threatening at higher levels. But on the other hand, lots of no-magic melee only threats will be turned into mincemeat by some groups of the recommended level. The ice is interesting... but most groups will never set foot on it. And so on.

For every feature I really like in this encounter, there's another feature I find irksome. I'm currently on the fence with this encounter; I might vote for it, but I'm not sure.


Steel_Wind wrote:


In any event, we are now discussing a map that does not exist and a very different encounter, to be sure. But that was the context in which the comment was originally made.

Ok, point taken, sorry for getting out of context. I was talking about the context of the real map. I still think the ice is a really clever hazard and know many PCs that would get their asses handed to them by it :P


Steven T. Helt wrote:

The sentence about there never being any survivors leaving the ravine, then talks about those who have seen Hoarfrost's lair and lived. Maybe there's a difference here: previous visitors to the ravine never came back, and since the villain moved in, no one goes inside? But they get cose enough to see heads suspended from trees and the worgs or the superbeast himself don't track them down and kill them? I think the sentence is clunky at best and contradictory at worst.

I am not convinced the CRs are right. Maybe I can get some help with this. A CR 7 and a CR 6 don't amke a CR 9. The CR 1 traps offer no challenge to the party and shouldn't fit into the equation. Even then, 4 CR 1 is a CR 5. So a 7, a 6 and a 5? Maybe. Seems weak.

The second encounter also, an 11, a 7, and a 5? With the open air, low AC and meh hit points, four 11th level characters would cakewalk all the way to the treasure and back.

I think the ice could have used a CR, too, but no PC is going out on it.

I do dig the name. There's not much better iconic imagery that blood in the snow.

I know right? The whole idea of the scarlet blood on the pure snow, gives me the shivers.

By the way, the description says that no one has returned from the depths of the ravine, but they have from the entrance...that doesn't seem too hard to believe, does it?

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Hmm,

my players would give Invi + Fly to the Ranger ato scout the whole thing, then probably drop with surprise into the hut to overwhelm a sleeping hoarfrost.

Hoarfrost is a hunter but you paint him as a sitting duck. He lures Adventurers into his killing grounds, not into his living room. He should be aware that the PCs are coming and get the drop on them, not vice versa.

As it stands this is some sort of a sidetrack lair for the PCs to finish off quickly and burn some resources on their way to the true BBEG.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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

A recurring theme seems to be that high CR encounters are underpowered because of the wily nature of high-level PCs that have all the powers and tricks of level 4+ spells at their disposal.

I think all designers have a tough call here - as "decent" full-casters tend to be exceptionally well prepared in terms of spells for all normal situations. Whereas reasonable casters would allow for a good encounter, the powerlevel of high-end casters is such that it makes encounters an all-or-nothing affair.

I'm not sure if the game or the designers need to be blamed for this.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Ryan Dancey wrote:
He needs to think about antimagic.

I'll buy the other items on this list, but this point was downright silly.

Antimagic field is 6th, so that means a 13th level wizard. Why a 13th level wizard would blow his AMF here escapes me.

I do agree that this isn't an APL 10-11 encounter. This needed to be at the 5-6 and maybe 7-8, but probably 3-4 range to really roll right, but I like it for those levels quite a bit. The design is solid, but estimation of what makes a credible threat at those APLs is off. That's something that comes with more organized play, which might not be Ethan's background. Still, this shows a dynamic and fun environment, just one that needs to be set at a different table.

-Ben.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

terraleon wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
He needs to think about antimagic.

I'll buy the other items on this list, but this point was downright silly.

Antimagic field is 6th, so that means a 13th level wizard. Why a 13th level wizard would blow his AMF here escapes me.

I don't think he meant that literally, Ben. Ryan just meant "antimagic" in general...i.e., ways to counter the magic the PCs (and adventurers, in general) will use against him. As a hunter of men, Hoarfrost needs to anticipate and have counter-strategies for various spell effects.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

I feel that Hoarfrost's secret yurt was too much if a selling point for you here. As soon as I saw that in his R3 description I knew that someone was going to try and employ it here. Your map is nice, but I too feel like it's the wrong place to encounter this villain. I like the idea of his sitting back and picking off his enemies while they tangle with his worgs, but he's got nowhere to run, and if things are going badly for his allies, he's pretty much screwed here. I also feel like a DC 14 fort in the icy water is a little trivial at this APL. It seems like you lost a lot of words on your worg barbarians, and may have been better served to add or substitute new tougher monsters, like a yeti or something.

Finally, what is the trap in area 4? If he's gonna take time to arm the thing when the battle is going poorly, when he should be trying to break the PC's line and run away, it had better be something that's going to save his butt, and you'd better tell us about it.

This is a mechanically functional encounter, but I think it will only be remembered as that time we cornered that stupid orc and his dogs, then took all his good stuff.

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

Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer in Irrisen in a ravine. Sure, that works for me. He has some beasties, rage worgs in this case, cool. I don't have the NPC guide, but I can guess what a rage worg is. Is barbarian really a non-key class for them? Seems like it wouldn't be, and thus would add 1-1 for CR.

Is the location cool?

It's an icy ravine, that's not bad. Some traps sprikled in (though not CR appropriate traps) makes it a little more interesting. The hazards are nothing to a level-appropriate party, who likely possess some magical climb and fly.

Is the encounter fun/interesting?

Party walks in, party fights worgs and Hoarfrost. Or they stand at the top of the ravine, use freedom of movement, levitate or acrobatics and rain death from above. I just can't see this as an interesting encounter.

Anything else?

The map's ok. I dislike curved maps, but it makes sense, though I don't know that any natural ravine would snake like that. I suspect I won't vote for this, sorry.

CEO, Goblinworks

Neil, exactly.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jason Rice wrote:

Pros:

1) Red Snow Ravine is a good name.

2) There is a good mix of elements here.

3) Your map is easy to read.

Cons:

1) Concerning the overhang, you said that because of the 5ft ceiling, medium bipedal creatures need to squeeze to fight there. Dwarves, humans, and half-orcs can all be shorter than 5 ft. (core rulebook, page 170), and all are medium size. In fact, the min. height for a female dwarf is 3'9". There are probably alternate medium-sized races that can be shorter than 5 ft. as well.

2) Ravines are formed by erosion, normally erosion caused by running water. The design of your ravine doesn't look realistic. The sharp angles between your areas should be removed, area 5 would either lead somewhere else, or be the source of the water, and the water/ice (or at least a dry creek bed) would lead from the pond.

3) The ability to fly (available to PCs at both your tiers) would make this a MUCH easier encounter.

4) I'm kind of not buying that Hoarfrost chooses the place where he lives as his preferred hunting ground. It's not very cunning for this huntsman, since his options become severly limited if the battle goes badly. The R3 entry said he lures them to "prepared hunting grounds", not where he sleeps.

Still more to read, but I'm on the fence with this one. I like the mix of elements, but unrealistic maps and plots are big pet peeves of mine.

I was going to comment but then I saw this, which I 100% agree with, especially the pros. Red snow yay, not great tactics for the superhunter though. Should be for lower APLs too.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

Esmea-Shyva wrote:
By the way, the description says that no one has returned from the depths of the ravine, but they have from the entrance...that doesn't seem too hard to believe, does it?

Maybe. But the worgs have scent, they know the turf. Seems like anyone that found the heads hanging from the trees would have Every Paladin In The World there for smiting and pancakes.

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

Ethan,

Best of luck with your encounter entry! Here's my thoughts, written before I've read anybody else's.

Overall Concept: You've chosen to use Hoarfrost, the shapchanging predator; you've chosen to depict his lair, and to focus on an encounter with his guardian rage worgs. I have to say, I'm not wowed by these choices. Partially because none of them is particularly unusual or exciting; I feel like you made the easiest choices you could have based on the original material. More crucially, though, I feel like you're doing a huge disservice to Hoarfrost's villain concept.

Hoarfrost is a hunter, an ambusher, a scheming predator. But you'd have the PCs encounter him by surprising him in his own home - at most, you allow him to use his own ready-made defences, and his preferred tactics are to remain in a safe position - far from "attack the caster, then wade in for tooth-and-nail melee." Seen through the eyes of the players, this is no fearsome hunter - this is a vicious old curmudgeon whose lawn they've determined to step on.

Really, my natural expectation of an encounter with Hoarfrost would be having him hunt them, with chases and traps. Them coming to him kind of undermines the entire premise, IMHO.

Points of Note: I was surprised Hoarfrost's lair would have so few avenues of escape. The PCs could probably starve him out if they really wanted to.

Icy pond is a fine hazard; I think you handled it well.

I like the name. :)

Combat: As I said, I think Hoarfrost's tactics are very uncharacteristic here; that might come back to bite him, since he's optomized for stalking and melee, not ranged attacks from behind a trapped area. I'm concerned about the enemies being apparantly cornered into this tiny, snowy nook - it seems like the PCs have the advantage.

Use of Villain: You've certainly made the villian the center of the piece, inasmuch as this is his lair. You've also hit most of the notes the original description set up: location, yurt of stolen treasure, mutilated corpses, rage worgs. But as I explained, I think you're misusing this villian.

All in all, I didn't enjoy this entry, alas. You could have come up with a much more unusual scenario to encounter Hoarfrost in; you could have made this encounter suit Hoarfrost much, much, better; you didn't. I also don't see any specific element about the design here that strikes me as unique or exceptional - I feel it's just not particularly Superstar.

Sorry for the negative review - I'm sure you've got other fans rooting for you. Wishing you lots of luck! :)


Ethan Day-Jones wrote:

Red Snow Ravine

Located in the south-eastern Irrisen hinterlands, in the foothills of the Kodar Mountains, Red Snow Ravine was, until a few years ago, simply another unnamed and unremarkable bit of wilderness. The coming of Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer(R3) has changed that. No one, other than Hoarfrost and his rage worg companions, has come back out of the depths of the ravine alive; however, a few souls who have stumbled across the entry to Hoarfrost’s lair, and have lived to tell about it, have told tales about the sights within. Central to these stories are the half-a-dozen dismembered, mutilated, and otherwise defiled corpses hanging from posts and from boughs of the evergreen trees at the entryway to the ravine; the gory drippings of which have given the ravine its name.

The tactics that have driven his reign of terror in the region have been both simple and brutally effective. Hoarfrost likes to catch unwary women or children and kidnap them, dragging them back to his lair. There, they then serve as the bait for his true prey; those brave souls who venture out to rescue the captives. Hoarfrost stalks his prey through the pine forests and frozen hills around his lair, before eventually ambushing them, killing them, and turning them into ghastly souvenirs....

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?
It's out in the foothills of the Kodar Mountains, well of the beaten track, in a land bounded by eternal winter.
So it's very convenient for the regular delivery of groceries if you happen to know a friendly frost jinns who live in the area. Otherwise you're right out of luck.

What preparations should a succubus planning to make a social call consider?
I'd advise any succubus planning to drop by Red Snow Ravine to call on this particular Hoarfrost to consult with the Irriseni authorities just how long it's going to be before they move in to stomp him out in a hail of magic and frenzied ice-troll attacks? Given that this Hoarfrost is still (currently) alive, it seems unlikely to me that he's crossing the spine of the Kodar Mountains to be cut to pieces by the Shoanti for having the temerity to raid their territory; thus unless there's a magical gate to somewhere else that the description of the location hasn't mentioned... well all the maths points to the fact that this Hoarfrost is raiding Irriseni frontier settlements, but that the jadwiga haven't quite yet got around to dealing with him. Probably the politics in Whitethrone with the current Queen's reign heading towards an end are distracting everyone, but once a new monarch takes her seat and looks to impose her will...
Anyway, it's highly embarrassing for a succubus to be in a position of inquiring if someone would like to borrow a cup of sugar, so to speak, when the local authorities come charging in, spells and swords blazing, to stomp the fellow.

Assuming a succubus comes into possession of the estate or property in question, how much landscaping/redecoration work needs to be done?
It's a crack in the ground with a (likely moth-eaten) hide tent in freezing cold hills. There is no indication in the presentation of any potentially valuable mineral content in the vicinity. If for any (highly eccentric) reason a succubus should desire to do anything with this location, it's likely to involve a lot of very expensive work. The corpses should (in my opinion) definitely go. Whether or not they have any nominal artistic merit, they will attract friends of relatives looking to retrieve their remains (or any other scavengers which the local wildlife has to offer) which will mean a lot of bother. They also might give rise to ghosts or other incorporeal undead, which could well be yet another nuisance for a succubus with plans for the area.

Other comments?
According to this round’s presentations, apparently there are at least two – perhaps three – different half-orcs by the name of Hoarfrost Throat-Tearer active in or around Irrisen. Whilst if this is that same Hoarfrost he's moved out of the forest, nothing is mentioned to indicate that this Hoarfrost deviates from the behaviour outlined for the Hoarfrost of the previous round, which means (see above) that he likely has a very short lifespan remaining.

Property Value:
No obvious value whatsoever.

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.


Do like:
* Your encounter background is interesting though weakened with use of that nagging passive voice. It is a hard thing to do to remove that from your writing once you develop the habit for it.

* I loved the excellent background motivation for Hoarfrost. It is appropriately vicious and cruel.

* Very good use of setting hazards make this a more challenging encounter.

* The map is very neat and clear, for the most part. Although I can't decide what the bright orange spot under the number 5 is yet. Perhaps that is in a later encounter you have not detailed for this submission?

Do not like:
* The encounter does not quite take into account resources higher level parties would have at their disposal, particularly certain magic spells.

* I see the need to reduce the effectiveness of a party that has access to aerial reconnaissance or similar means to bypass the earlier encounters.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Hi Ethan,
Nice use of terrain to the villains advantage (thin ice, low overhang). the map is simple and covers all it needs to. It lacks some spirit of adventuring (where does this tunnel lead to, details of statues, ice pillars etc.) I think the aerial assault needs to be addressed (good place for bear traps, especially if they are staked to log or ice ledge that falls with any sudden movements...). As an enocunter though I thnk the simplicity is a strength. Good job and good luck

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dark Sasha wrote:
Although I can't decide what the bright orange spot under the number 5 is yet. Perhaps that is in a later encounter you have not detailed for this submission?

According to the key on the map, that's a fire pit.


Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupsersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned (very advanced) succubus. She's right out of sympathies at present, and in any case ginormous siege towers tend to leave rather unpleasant wheel marks on the lawn which it takes ages for the grass to grow back in (even Abyssal snoozlegrass, which is really saying something). (Please see the thread of someone who went out in Round 2 or 3 if you don't get the siege tower comment.)
Plus please take as read all the usual disclaimer stuff about gossiping salaciously over a cup of tea and plate of yummy buttered crumpets away from the boards and generally other Chaotic and Evil stuff, kept (barely) in check for now because of Good Manners.

Dear Mr. Ethan Day-Jones (or perhaps you prefer Evil Space Mantis?),
Congratulations on reaching the top 8. As it turns out, this is the high-water mark of your progress in this year's contest however.
As a random observation, prior to writing this post, I glanced over your entries for this year, and noted that after the Round 1 Eye of the Void there was a tendency towards gore and physical violence; ranging from a cleric who prefers to get martial, to a maniac who likes to pit-fight and to this particular presentation of Hoarfrost, there was a discernible thread of bloodshed. If I were less well-mannered I would make some indelicate throwaway comment at this point; instead I will observe what pleasant weather it is looking out from the balcony of my Druman villa as half a dozen dwarves toil to re-lay my patio knowing that they're working for a (very advanced) succubus but that they're contractually bound to finish the job and they concede the philosophical superiority of a chaotic approach if they don't finish the work to standard on time and to cost. I have a particularly nice pot of tea brewing, and my agents out in Tian Xia inform me that this year's harvest looks particularly promising.
Anyway, perhaps we'll be seeing you around here again in some non-RPGSuperstar contestant capacity or perhaps we won't.
Hoping that you have found my posts occasionally Helpful.

Yours,

Ask A RPGSupersuccubus.


Off-topic:
That was a magnificent (and successful) run-chase by the Ireland cricket team today. I had TMS on this afternoon, and I hope the ICC takes Ireland more seriously now. I'm an England fan, but we need more top flight nations in the game. :)

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