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Cold Hearth Lodge


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a new organization

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cold Hearth Lodge
NE
Headquarters: Cold Hearth Keep, Canterwall, Ustalav
Leader: Grand Huntmaster Janos Ceparyk
Structure: fraternal order
Scope: regional
Resources: fortified lodges, caches of magical weapons, and political contacts throughout Avistan

In the lonely corners of Avistan, where hook-clawed giants and acid-spewing dragons can raze a village overnight, it can be great comfort to know that the grim stone walls of a hunter's lodge stand nearby. The Cold Hearth Lodge, whose iron-thewed huntsmen protect the lives of provincial folk from threats hidden the wilderness. Too bad the protection the lodge offers is a fable. In truth, the Lodge seeks only the glory of a blood-soaked trophy hoisted overhead, and would sacrifice any number of "provincial folk" to gain it.

Structure and Leadership
In 4670 Ustalav, Vakliv Ceparyk was a noble-born huntsman who contentedly spent his days within the misty hills of his homeland. With the founding of the Palatinates, Ceparyk, bereft of his birthright, suddenly succumbed to madness and slaughtered his family. In his grief, he deluded himself that the butchery was committed by werewolves from the hills. It was upon this lie that Cold Hearth Lodge was founded. Now, across Avistan, lodges established by his "Huntmasters" purport to protect remote villages from raiding beasts. Recruiting from local populations, each lodge functions as a meritocracy, with slain beasts the currency for advancement.

Goals
To assuage the hidden ignominy of their founder, the brethren of Cold Hearth Lodge revel in the slaughter of giants, lycanthropes, and other monstrous creatures. While this can result in the accumulation of wealth in the form of hoarded gold and magical relics, profit is of secondary concern to the lodge brethren. It is the collection of trophies of the slain, grisly symbols of the lodge's aggrandizement, that drive their actions. Lodge Huntmasters pursue quarry based on how impressive a trophy the corpse will make, without any concern for innocents, environmental harm, or the creature's alignment.

Public Perception
Cold Hearth Lodges are established in frontier areas, where villagers view them as a protective element against marauding "savage" races. These villagers generally also know less about the "beasts" the brethren hunt, and view the murder of an noble lammasu as equivalent to the slaying of a bloodthirsty chimera.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome back to RPG Superstar, James. You know the drill. It's game on now. The contest takes an entirely new turn at this level. And, as judges we're here to comment on your work, both in the hopes of guiding you in honing your game design skills, and also to help the voting public assess how you measure up. With that in mind, I'm going to talk a bit about what you did well here and also where I think you still have room for improvement. So, let's go under the hood and see what we've got...

Alright. Straight out of Ustalav, you've given us a lodge of big-game hunters who like to mount trophies of anything and everything on their walls, including sentient prey. This is a theme that often shows up in various campaign settings (of all kinds of genres). Golarion doesn't yet have something like this, so you're introducing the concept as something fresh while giving it a unique spin with the Ustalav angle. It's obviously an organization that could come into direct conflict with the PCs if they venture into the region where they're established. So that's the "good" elements you have going for you.

On the flip side, there's a lot of stuff here that worries me. First, I didn't care for the lead-off text. It's too much like a cinematic voiceover narrative than what you'd expect in more of an encyclopedic entry for a new organization that's part of a campaign setting. I think you missed an opportunity here to come charging out of the gate with your best stuff. It's important in these kinds of write-ups to answer all the basic questions as quickly as you can. So, right after the reader hits the "Cold Hearth Lodge" and sees their "stat-block" information for alignment, headquarters, leader, etc., you need to come right out and tell us what it is. This is a lesson that I've brought up before in wondrous item design. When you're dealing with a limited piece like a 300-word item submission or a 400-word organization write-up, you don't have wordcount to get cute with your descriptive text. You've got to answer the singular question in the mind of the reader in that very first sentence--namely, "What is it?" And this lead-off text doesn't do that.

Additionally, I think you missed the boat on the next paragraph, too. Your structure and leadership section reads more like background. In fact, there really isn't much that we learn in that entire paragraph that the title (Cold Hearth Lodge), leader (Grand Huntmaster Janos Ceparyk), and structure (fraternal order) don't already tell us in the header above the text. You tell us each lodge serves as its own meritocracy and that they recruit from local populations, that's not nearly specific enough for what I'd want to see here as the reader. I need to know if each lodge has its own Huntmaster. What kind of powers do they have over the hunters? What kind of allegiance do they owe to Janos Ceparyk. How do they function in the field? If it's just a great big hunting club with a bunch of loosely-aligned lodges across the countryside, it doesn't come across as a very strong organization that'll have much of a lasting impact on the campaign. We need to see something more here. And this paragraph--while it provides a decent frame of reference on Ceparyk's origins--doesn't deliver the goods.

So, let's talk about the goals of the Cold Hearth Lodge. I liked the initial setup. "Hunters without conscience" has great potential as an antagonistic organization. But it really depends on what you do with them and what they want to accomplish. Just collecting trophies feels short-sighted and underwhelming. Since they don't mind hunting down sentient prey, I figured you'd go for something where they kidnap and abduct various victims and ne'er-do-well's to send them into the forest so they could hunt and kill them for sport before the werewolves and other monsters of Ustalav's highlands could do the same. Or, maybe set them up as world travelers who like engaging in similar hunts, but in faraway places like the Mwangi Expanse, Casmaron, or the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Mammoth Lords, or even the Worldwound. That would have given these guys more mileage and a greater opportunity for conflict. As-written, though, I just didn't get enough "pop" from the trophy-gathering you described for these hunters. I needed something more dangerous and more sinister.

So, given all these reservations, I'm going to have to say that I DO NOT RECOMMEND this organization to advance you to the next round.

You're a veteran of this process, however. So, you know your fate lies in the hands of the voters and not simply my recommendation. Some of the other judges may also feel differently about your work here. And, so many people really enjoyed your rajah's silhouette that maybe they'll see this round as an aberration and push you through to see what you can do with the monster round. I wish you the best of luck in the exit polls. And, hopefully, we can still see you on the other side.

Contributor

Interesting vibe on this one: trophy-crazed hunters happy to kill any exotic "beast" if its head looks good above the mantel.

The writeup leaves me wondering if the members know about the founder's madness, or if they believe in its public story. I think the focus of this entry is on the long-dead founder, and doesn't give us enough information on its current leadership and structure (other than Janos's name and that it's a "meritocracy").

I like (in a story sense) how they use news of murdered villagers as the sign of something worth hunting, and aren't afraid to let more villagers be slaughtered if that's the way to draw out the creature. I can see the PCs allying with these guys to help defeat a tough monster... and then have to turn on the Lodgers when the PCs discover their callous methods.

I don't think it's one of our stronger entries, but it's interesting, and I like how the PCs may ally with or fight against this group, depending on the state of the campaign. So, for now, I say

I do recommend this for advancement.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

James, welcome to Round 2!

What you are getting from me in this critique: This round is all about conflict and story. I think the best organizations create interesting and compelling groups that will come into conflict with the PCs. My comments, and my recommendation, will focus on how well you do that. My comments will also focus on writing and use of your allotted content in achieving your goals. What you won't get from me: I don't have the total Golarion-fu that Neil and Sean do, so I will leave to them whether you got the nitty gritty details of some of the setting stuff to them (though apparently I did have enough Golarion-fu to know its Pharasmin not Pharasmian, you know who you are).

So here we go!

Initial Impression: A cool concept—the amoral hunters. But is this an organization or a cool NPC? We’ll see…

Concept (name, title, is it an organization?, overall design choices, is the organization and antagonist and does it create direct conflict for the PCs?, playability): B-
I like the initial concept--amoral hunters. In the end, though, I think this is too much NPC and not enough organization (its not so slanted that I don't find this to be a proper organization entry, I am just noting it is more lopsided than it should be). We have way more (and way better) stuff on the founder than on the group. No real location, nothing evocative to make a GM say "I can picture that place! I can't wait to use that!" No other NPCs. Then there is the disconnect between the madness of the founder and the amorality of the members. But I do like the core idea and the conflict and encounters it could generate.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, quality of mandatory content, did you milk your idea for all it was worth? did you use your allotted space well?): C+
You write well. But I don’t think that can overcome the failure to really detail an organization fully. The execution is not up to par.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor, are you showing Superstar mojo?): B
Despite the failures, I am on the fence on this one. I really see a good idea here and I like the immoral hunters quite a bit. So it grabbed me. I concede this is subjective. I see story opportunities and roleplaying. This is an idea I want to use in my game and that matters to me.

Overall: B-
A good organization concept, but a bit heavy on the NPC and light on the group.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this organization submission for advancement, but just by the slimmest of margins.

James, I am on the fence on this organization. It is minimally sufficient, so I don’t need to reject it. But it’s execution is not as strong as it could be. However, your silhouette is so amazing and strong I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. I don't normally do that. In fact, I normally say I judge on this round alone but your item was so excellent in my view that it is worth considering. But that said, it is up to the voters. I hope for your sake they share my feeling. If you get through, you better step it up. Good luck!

CEO, Goblinworks

The hunters hunt, and sometimes they run roughshod over the locals, or kill something that shouldn't be killed? That's it? That's the whole of your SuperStar submission?

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

EDIT FROM SEAN: Competitors, remember this item from the Round 2 FAQ, which reminds competitors about the rule against commenting about their own submissions. We're pasting this reminder into the last judge comment for every organization just to make sure all competitors see it and remember.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4 aka OamuTheMonk

Looking forward to seeing everyone's comments, and (hopefully) their votes!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

I could see PCs trying to help an innocent "monsters" against the hunters. Or helping villagers, when the Lodge decides to steal the glory (and reward).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It's a meh. It reminds me of Gaston's hunting lodge. I am expecting their leader to look like Gaston when he walks in the door.

Status: Reserve List-Not bad, but not great.


Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!


Lars Lundberg wrote:
Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!

Who are you talking to?

Anyway, I can definitely see this one being a recurring thorn in the side of an adventuring party. First thing I thought of was the PCs coming to the aid of a 'monster' (I see a metallic dragon, but I just like dragons, heh) that is being targeted by the hunters. It's potentially very tear-jerky if they fail, which I love. Will vote for!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Lars Lundberg wrote:
Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!

Hey the monsters ran the show long before the upstart humans came on the scene. Recognize! And here we come, deforestation, turning perfectly good seabeds into islands, and breaking the cycle of life by getting rid of otyguhs.


Lady Ophelia wrote:

It's a meh. It reminds me of Gaston's hunting lodge. I am expecting their leader to look like Gaston when he walks in the door.

Status: Reserve List-Not bad, but not great.

What she said.

Good luck :).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Jatori

Welcome back, James.

Last year's archetype round was tough and this year's organisation round looks to be just as tough. You've given us some interesting backstory for the founder, but just not enough information about the organisation itself. That said, I do like your entry, despite the flaws pointed out by the judges. Perhaps I just like the potential for a Predator or The Most Dangerous Game series of encounters.

Good luck with the voting.


Sly Boots wrote:
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!

Who are you talking to?

Anyway, I can definitely see this one being a recurring thorn in the side of an adventuring party. First thing I thought of was the PCs coming to the aid of a 'monster' (I see a metallic dragon, but I just like dragons, heh) that is being targeted by the hunters. It's potentially very tear-jerky if they fail, which I love. Will vote for!

Maybe this is just a pet peeve but realistically, no character would be helping monsters of any shape or size. As players we know the difference between a metallic dragon and a chromatic dragon but even in a world of magic and wonders its still the dark ages, comparatively speaking. In our own enlightened time now we can hardly stand anyone who has a differnt skin tone, religion, or social status. It just stretches the boundaries of logic to think that characters would go out of their way to help anything not of their own race.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

There's a lot here to like. Cold Hearth Lodge is a cool name. There's something compelling and scary about the idea of monster-hunters whose definition of "monster" hinges on how good something would look mounted on the wall. I can see using this group in so many different ways, ranging from uneasy allies to sympathetic antagonists to crazed mountain-dwelling manhunters. The touch about Ustalav provincial folk turning unwisely to the lodges for protection is perfect both for Ustalav and for this organization.

There's a lot missing, too. I wanted a clearer description of how Vakliv's murders led him to found the Lodge, if for no other reason than to establish some connection between his story and what is basically an unrelated organization. Overall, I wanted a stronger and more concrete narrative of why these people join the Lodge and how they relate to the community.

Still, something here just resonates with me. I think maybe you suffered from word count troubles and cut some connecting material, or maybe you made some last minute changes that left your entry a little less smooth than it could otherwise have been. Nonetheless, this is an organization I'd use as written, a surprisingly rare thing in this round's entries. I'm voting for you, albeit with hesitation. Next round, I hope to see this level of spark combined with the polish of the rajah's silhouette.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This could be a good adventure site (and there is a somewhat similar location in Ustalav as detailed in the Carrion Crown adventure path), but I’m not really feeling it as a good antagonistic organisation. I get that they are evil, and that they are as likely to kill good creatures as evil ones, but I think the entry really needed to focus on / expand on exactly what these guys do that is so bad and why they would come into conflict with the PCs.

I do like the name though.

Good luck James.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Sly Boots wrote:
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!
Anyway, I can definitely see this one being a recurring thorn in the side of an adventuring party. First thing I thought of was the PCs coming to the aid of a 'monster' (I see a metallic dragon, but I just like dragons, heh) that is being targeted by the hunters. It's potentially very tear-jerky if they fail, which I love. Will vote for!
Maybe this is just a pet peeve but realistically, no character would be helping monsters of any shape or size. As players we know the difference between a metallic dragon and a chromatic dragon but even in a world of magic and wonders its still the dark ages, comparatively speaking. In our own enlightened time now we can hardly stand anyone who has a differnt skin tone, religion, or social status. It just stretches the boundaries of logic to think that characters would go out of their way to help anything not of their own race.

Wow, I disagree completely, and not just because I suspect you mean 'species' and not 'race' in regards to this org. You can't apply the words 'realistically' to how ANY PC will react in ANY fantasy role-playing game; it's all made up, you can do anything. How much of role-playing games stretches the boundaries of 'logic' in the first place? Do you think magic is logical? How about gods that grant spells? And how a PC will react to an appeal from a sentient beast is where you draw the suspension of disbelief line, huh? What if you have players who don't want to role-play a horrible racist? I'll just ignore what you said about the real world, here, also.

In MY RPGs, players whose PCs are of good alignment should feel obliged to help sentient beasts who are also of known good alignments, ESPECIALLY if that beast came to the party specifically, as is possible with this organization. If I was playing a good PC in such a campaign, I would try and convince party members to help. Lumping everything under the heading of 'monster' as bad is pretty narrow. I would be bored.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It is not an easy antagonist - the lodge needs to be put into the context of an interesting encounter or adventure, but if that is done, I can easily see them develope into an unusual challenge for a group of characters (even more so if there are 'exotic' characters or their animal/monstrous companions threatened).
Voted for you


Congratulations and good luck in the voting, first of all.

Now, I really liked you item. It was easily in my personal top 5. This however, has me doubtful.

I like that it's not a straight otu hostile organization - I don't mind the PCs actually having to think to find out that somethings up.
I'm just completely concerned over this. Something's just not quite. They're trophy hunters. That's the bottom of it. They're not in particular malevolent, they even do protect villagers, some/most of the time. It's not quite enough, for me.
It seems like you shot a little on the side of careful here. This could easily handle more creative awesome and a little less safety.
I can see players working against for any number of reasons, but I do not find enough motivation here to bother to make my players realize that something's wrong.

I don't feel like you got quite enough wrung out of the word count here, though you may still find your way to a vote, but presently, it depends a lot on how I end up evaluating the rest of the entries. Good luck, though.


Sly Boots wrote:
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Sly Boots wrote:
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Helping monsters!!!! are we playing the same game!!!
Anyway, I can definitely see this one being a recurring thorn in the side of an adventuring party. First thing I thought of was the PCs coming to the aid of a 'monster' (I see a metallic dragon, but I just like dragons, heh) that is being targeted by the hunters. It's potentially very tear-jerky if they fail, which I love. Will vote for!
Maybe this is just a pet peeve but realistically, no character would be helping monsters of any shape or size. As players we know the difference between a metallic dragon and a chromatic dragon but even in a world of magic and wonders its still the dark ages, comparatively speaking. In our own enlightened time now we can hardly stand anyone who has a differnt skin tone, religion, or social status. It just stretches the boundaries of logic to think that characters would go out of their way to help anything not of their own race.

Wow, I disagree completely, and not just because I suspect you mean 'species' and not 'race' in regards to this org. You can't apply the words 'realistically' to how ANY PC will react in ANY fantasy role-playing game; it's all made up, you can do anything. How much of role-playing games stretches the boundaries of 'logic' in the first place? Do you think magic is logical? How about gods that grant spells? And how a PC will react to an appeal from a sentient beast is where you draw the suspension of disbelief line, huh? What if you have players who don't want to role-play a horrible racist? I'll just ignore what you said about the real world, here, also.

In MY RPGs, players whose PCs are of good alignment should feel obliged to help sentient beasts who are also of known good alignments, ESPECIALLY if that beast came to the party specifically, as is possible with this organization. If I was playing a good PC in such a campaign, I would try and convince party members to help. Lumping everything...

It all comes down to how you view your roleplaying world I guess. I like to think of the world I play D&D in as a world that "plays" by the same rules that I know are true in the real world that I live in. It helps me to frame my play and experience. The world of Golarion is about as advanced as our own historical Renaissance. Sure, Golarion has gods and magic, but they still follow the rules of logic, just in their own way. It's just that I can't ignore how people are, or in this case, were. In that time, information was passed slowly and rumor and legends were paramount. People were superstitious and untrustworthy of almost everyone who wasn't in their local vicinity. Tribes killed tribes, towns fought towns and countries invaded countries. You could be a great person with high moral standards and still go out and slaughter your neighbor because you thought he was possessed. In our current day and age that seems absurd. But back then it happened all to often. So coming from that perspective where knowledge is limited and superstition and misinformation is prevalant, anything different: race, species and even similar races from different places must be viewed as suspect. I think that is the core of what makes the Cold Hearth Lodge at least partially feasible. The Lodge members rely on the fact that people don't know or care what is in the wilderness around them, only that they want it dead so they can sleep at night. The part that I find unfeasible is the supposition that players would then want to help the unfortunate monsters because they somehow "know better". Why do they know they are good monsters? Because you read it in the Bestiary? Because you have been playing for several years and have run into friendly werebears and noble dark elves and so on and so forth. I think it is more realistic and fun to play a campaign where things are scary and unknown and characters react accordingly. Now that being said, if a "good" character was put into the situation that the Cold Hearth Lodge is designed for then it would be feasible in my mind to at first be on the side of the Lodge, but upon further evidence that something isn't quite right, then maybe a little insight and knowledge could be gained that would open some eyes a little wider to the possibilities out there. Last of all, why on earth would a sentient creature approach a group of people in the first place to solve their problem? Do they just automatically know that you are a "good" character with an "obviously" similar alignment? It doesn't make sense logically.


The real world doesn't have monsters of human intelligence, or definitely defined alignments. The real world provides great inspiration, but the parallel breaks down pretty quickly.

From an ecological standpoint there are way too many intelligent top shelf predators in close proximity. That's called D&D. So how they react to each other is sort of up to logic and flavor.

Which is part of the trouble with this organization. Join 'em, fight 'em, they just don't seem that antagonistic unless you're a monster.


Lars Lundberg wrote:
Why do they know they are good monsters? Because you read it in the Bestiary? Because you have been playing for several years and have run into friendly werebears and noble dark elves and so on and so forth. I think it is more realistic and fun to play a campaign where things are scary and unknown and characters react accordingly.

I would like to point out that in Pathfinder there are things called 'Knowledge checks' that, amongst other things, allow PCs to learn about the creatures that inhabit their world, including creature behavior and alignments. Maybe you disallow these in your realistic campaign, I can't say. Knowledge is way more common in an RPG world than it was in the real world analogue period. There's way more literacy. Not to mention magical means of gathering knowledge.

Sentient creatures might also have these 'knowledge checks', and recognize stuff about the people they need help from (ie; the player characters) such as do they worship a generally recognized good aligned god. If in game a PC sees someone wearing a butterfly holy symbol, you might think 'That person is going to have a recognizable set of beliefs', if you know what the symbol represents (you know, from those knowledge checks we spoke about).


Saint Trickery wrote:

The real world doesn't have monsters of human intelligence, or definitely defined alignments. The real world provides great inspiration, but the parallel breaks down pretty quickly.

From an ecological standpoint there are way too many intelligent top shelf predators in close proximity. That's called D&D. So how they react to each other is sort of up to logic and flavor.

Which is part of the trouble with this organization. Join 'em, fight 'em, they just don't seem that antagonistic unless you're a monster.

Or someone with a reason to not have the monster killed. I looked at it this way. You don't kill non-poisonous snakes, because they sometimes eat the poisonous ones, or to keep the poisonous ones from moving into the territory.

How about if the CHL members came in and killed the beast that was keeping a flood of much worse things at bay? I like a little ambiguity in my bad guys, which is why I like this org so much. They would seem like heroes to the commons, but the PCs, better educated, more experienced than the commons, know better and get involved.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Good--Ambiguity. These guys are do seem like good guys on the surface. However, they are just the guys to screw things up and make things interesting. Plenty of room for conflict.

Bad--Not highly original. Still well done.

It is getting my vote.


Sly Boots wrote:
Saint Trickery wrote:

The real world doesn't have monsters of human intelligence, or definitely defined alignments. The real world provides great inspiration, but the parallel breaks down pretty quickly.

From an ecological standpoint there are way too many intelligent top shelf predators in close proximity. That's called D&D. So how they react to each other is sort of up to logic and flavor.

Which is part of the trouble with this organization. Join 'em, fight 'em, they just don't seem that antagonistic unless you're a monster.

Or someone with a reason to not have the monster killed. I looked at it this way. You don't kill non-poisonous snakes, because they sometimes eat the poisonous ones, or to keep the poisonous ones from moving into the territory.

How about if the CHL members came in and killed the beast that was keeping a flood of much worse things at bay? I like a little ambiguity in my bad guys, which is why I like this org so much. They would seem like heroes to the commons, but the PCs, better educated, more experienced than the commons, know better and get involved.

I could buy that.

It does seem like it'd be a bit of work to get PCs to understand. You'd want to show, not tell, of course. And then it could go a lot of different places. Which is good. Hmm. In a really intelligent, sophisticated game they could be like a distorted mirror. "We like killing things, they like killing things. Are we them?"

It might be growing on me.


Sly Boots wrote:
Lars Lundberg wrote:
Why do they know they are good monsters? Because you read it in the Bestiary? Because you have been playing for several years and have run into friendly werebears and noble dark elves and so on and so forth. I think it is more realistic and fun to play a campaign where things are scary and unknown and characters react accordingly.

I would like to point out that in Pathfinder there are things called 'Knowledge checks' that, amongst other things, allow PCs to learn about the creatures that inhabit their world, including creature behavior and alignments. Maybe you disallow these in your realistic campaign, I can't say. Knowledge is way more common in an RPG world than it was in the real world analogue period. There's way more literacy. Not to mention magical means of gathering knowledge.

Knowledge skills are a real problem. Mostly from a DM standpoint, but somewhat as a player issue. I think Sean Reynolds has mentioned something about them in the item critique thread. Players that use them like you do take some of the mystique and mystery from the game everytime you say to the DM "What is that thing flying overhead?" The DM answers: "It is green and scaly and has a noxious gas pouring out of its mouth." You respond: "I make a Knowledge check to see what it is. I have maxed out the ranks in it so tell me its alignment, fighting abilities, vulnerabilities and its social security number." The point I am trying to make is that monsters are scary, they should be treated as such. Let alone the fact that it can ruin the game for a DM. They are trying to tell a story and in the case of the Cold Hearth Lodge you want to immediately know the conflict (Huntsman killing good creatures) and how to solve it (Kill the Huntsman). Where is the fun in that? Play the game like you live in the middle ages. Play it with a sense of mystery and wonder even though you probably know the monster backwards and forwards from the Bestiary. Play it like a person would really react to hearing about a monster lurking in the woods.

Sentient creatures might also have these 'knowledge checks', and recognize stuff about the people they need help from (ie; the player characters) such as do they worship a generally recognized good aligned god. If in game a PC sees someone wearing a butterfly holy symbol, you might think 'That person is going to have a recognizable set of beliefs', if you know what the symbol represents (you know, from those knowledge checks we spoke about).

What "knowledge checks" are the monsters supposed to use to figure out a character's alignment? Religion is the only thing that could work and how many monsters have that as a knowledge skill.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I like this one, especially the introduction text. It provides great flavour and sparks my imagination. Not crazy about the madness motivation in the background part but in this case i think it works since part of the history, and not part of the present. I like the feel of something "insignificant" (one person's madness) being the start of an entire organisation. Although i would like to see abit more "evil" in the writeup. More "hands on" evil instead of just letting it go on. Instead of just disregarding the wellfare of the locals, perhaps activly using them as bait?

You have my vote.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I liked these guys and their misguided attempts to achieve good results no matter the cost. To them, the end justifies any means. In their minds, they're doing what's right. I can totally see how PCs would come into conflict with these guys. That's good stuff! Of course, I'm also a sucker for wilderness adventure. Well done!


James Olchak wrote:

Cold Hearth Lodge

NE
Headquarters: Cold Hearth Keep, Canterwall, Ustalav
Leader: Grand Huntmaster Janos Ceparyk
Structure: fraternal order
Scope: regional

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead wasps and a six week old ‘to do (in)’ list.
;)

Important Note:
There’s a difference between late and fashionably late. The former is what most other beings manage. The latter is what sophisticated, (very advanced) succubi manage.

First impressions always being important, do members of this organization wear nifty robes or uniforms when out on formal business?
Alas, an(other) organization which doesn't bother to have its members even occasionally formally dress up. Apparently there are a shortage of these on Golarion, or at least in terms of the lesser known ones chronicled in this round.

Does membership of this organisation seem likely to involve regular tea or dinner parties or other appropriate social occasions?
Arguably, a group of bloodthirsty maniacs banding together to go hunt down a gold-dragon together is a social occasion. How appropriate such a social occasion is, from the refined, sophisticated point of view of a succubus looking for something to eat, is another matter altogether...

Is the cost of being a member of this organisation likely to be acceptable to a succubus?
No details are given regarding membership fees. But they go out. And they bloodily butcher things. And quite possibly risk serious injury. Oh, and they have a lot in common, temperamentally, with some daemons. Really, a succubus has to ask herself if it's worth joining this group.

Other comments?
It seems a bit unlikely that a group like this which originated with one idiot in Ustalav would have spread beyond that rather charming but otherwise insignificant nation's borders. Or not unless they're being used as a front organisation by some church (hello, Norgorber anyone?) or daemonic cabal.

Rating:
Organizations are not being rated except under special circumstances.

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