[GM School] Dungeon Master S "House of Harmonious Wisdom" (Inactive)

Game Master Chris Marsh

Tactical Map | Handouts

Quickpost:

Initiative
[dice=Eyden]d20+6[/dice]
[dice=Treble]d20+8[/dice]
[dice=Elemenar]d20+4[/dice]
[dice=Zadim]d20+2[/dice]

Perception:
[dice=Eyden]d20+0[/dice] (Darkvision)
[dice=Treble]d20+7[/dice]
[dice=Elemenar]d20+5[/dice] (LLV)
[dice=Zadim]d20+4[/dice]


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MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

I keep a googledoc for things I post with regularity. One of those things is a standard issue opener for games. Feel free to crib, copy, or tweak this for your own purposes.

Example----------------------------

Welcome to my Play-by-Post!

Here's the ctrl+P for all my games:

1. I've been running games since the late 1980s, I've seen a lot of editions. I started playing PFS with Slot 1 Season 0 at Gen Con. I'm solid with the PFRPG rules, but everyone makes mistakes. I'll try to be as fair as possible.

2. I'm a Venture-Lieutenant for Southern NH. If you're ever in the area, or you need help finding games/conventions there. PM me.

3. I post with a high rate of frequency. That being said, if you guys can post 2-3 times per day, awesome. If it's only 1/day I understand. No worries. Real Life Comes First (tm).

4. Feel free to preemptively roll Perception, Disable Device, etc. It makes the game run more efficiently. I ask only that you make sure minis are placed in their actual position in case your choices have consequences (good or bad.)

5. Let's get started:

Player Name:

PC Name:

PFS#:

Slow Track or Normal:

Faction:

Day Job: Feel free to roll now.

Perception and vision/senses:
Initiative:

Notes: Anything I should know; passive abilities, boons that are way out there, etc. If you have abilities that are immediate actions that interrupt an enemy, I'll be as fair as possible, but you can help me out by telling me under what conditions you typically use it.

----------------------------------------------

Some expectations in my games:

  • Try to post at least once daily. Remember though, real life comes first. If you're going to be gone for 24+ hours, try to give a heads up before you go.

  • Saving Throws first. If you have a saving throw to make, have it be the first dice of the post.

  • Animal companions, eidolons, phantoms, etc. For PbP I have them go on the same initiative as their PC. In your post take care of the PC, then the companion.

  • Know your obscure rules. Most people know how the basics work, but if you have a character who uses something less than common, know how it works (Handle Animal, Sunder, Grapple, etc.)

    That's about it! Looking forward to the game!


  • MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    So it looks like I'll be running one of the quests. I can either go first, or I can go last. Any requests before we pick quests?


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    So:

    Fragments: TBD
    Inkstains: TBD
    Constellation: TBD
    Teahouse: TBD
    Prophesy: TBD

    First and foremost, does everyone have the adventure?

    Grand Lodge

    HoHW: "Teahouse" Maps | Jade Ogre style

    I do not have the adventure, although having played it twice I would like to request the teahouse quest.


    PSS 8-16: Inkstains - Gameplay | Inkstains - Maps

    Oh, wow - I’m sorry, I missed these - I didn’t realize I had to dot in separately to the Discussion thread to see notifications. I don’t think I’ve ever dotted into a Gameplay thread before the Discussion thread before.

    I’d like to run Inkstains because the character I ran when I played the series through had a lot of trouble with it despite being the party rogue.


    PSS 8-16: Inkstains - Gameplay | Inkstains - Maps

    For the scenarios we’re playing, should we use one of our own characters or do you prefer we run pregens?

    Grand Lodge

    HoHW: "Teahouse" Maps | Jade Ogre style
    Tusk, MD wrote:
    For the scenarios we’re playing, should we use one of our own characters or do you prefer we run pregens?

    That was actually going to be my next question.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Fragments: TBD
    Inkstains: Tusk, MD
    Constellation: TBD
    Teahouse: GM Will-Save
    Prophesy: TBD

    As for your character choice, I do not have a preference, just know that a full chronicle means this character is locked in until we're done.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    I should also mention that you guys will need to go the normal route in purchasing the pdf. School isn't part of the convention, so we don't get a product support option.

    The Concordance

    M Sylph Sorcerer (djinni-blooded) 1 | HP 7/7 | AC 12 T 12 FF 10 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | *Active Conditions: Heightened Awareness | F:+0 R:+2 W:+2 | Init:+6 | Per: +1* | SM: +0 |
    Spells Known:
    1 (2/4): Color Spray (DC 15), Heighten Awareness; 0: detect magic, message, ray of frost, read magic

    Thanks. I’ll play with this character, and will get him updated tonight (never played him before, but he has a GM chronicle attached and was created with a convention boon for his bloodline).

    - Tusk, DM


    Constellation

    I'll take constellation. I have a copy of the scenario as well, so that's not a problem for me.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Awesome! That leaves GM MindXing to decide on either the first or the last slot. I'll take the remaining.

    Fragments: TBD
    Inkstains: Tusk, MD
    Constellation: GM Blue Moose
    Teahouse: GM Will-Save
    Prophesy: TBD


    Not having done this before, I think it would be best for me to take the last slot.

    I'll also need to purchase the adventure. I can do that later today. Since I'm going last, is it ok to read the whole adventure first?

    In order to decide on a character to use I think I need to know how this is working for PFS credit. As we do this scenario in GM school mode, does that also mean we can't play it again as a player?

    If we play 4 scenarios but GM 1, what kind of PFS XP do we get?


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Fragments: Dungeon Master S
    Inkstains: Tusk, MD
    Constellation: GM Blue Moose
    Teahouse: GM Will-Save
    Prophesy: GM MindXing

    Ordinarily, I would say emphatically not to read the adventure first, but this isn't ordinary. Learning how a GM jumps from instruction to practice is a key skill that you're not going to pick up via discussion.

    As for credit, it'll end up being all on one character with a completed chronicle no problem. I just don't yet know what that's going to look like...


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    So, I'm going to essentially keep a running commentary as I GM the first quest. This way you get insight into my techniques. I will say I'm reasonably old school in balancing "story" and "skirmish". By all means, ask questions, even if they seem silly. I'm a high school teacher during the day, so I'm used to questions :-)

    When prepping to run via PbP (a very different kind of game than F2F or VTT) I have a system that has become comfortable over the years:

  • Get the scenario and read the summary, conclusion, THEN the scenario itself.
  • Make a run through making notes of what I need for maps, pogs, effects, etc.
  • Read pfsprep.com
  • Read GM Discussion Thread
  • Build the "quickposts" at the top.

    -------------
    Go ahead and post the information in my first post.

    P.S. paint.net is your friend


  • PSS 8-16: Inkstains - Gameplay | Inkstains - Maps

    Player Name: Tusk the Half-Orc
    PC Name: Eyden Varisia
    PFS#: 199504-8
    Slow Track or Normal: Normal
    Faction: The Concordance
    Day Job: Craft (painting): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
    Perception and vision/senses: Perc: -1, darkvision 60'
    Initiative: +2

    Also purchasing standard gear, plus the following always available magic items:

    - scroll of mage armor x4
    - scroll of comprehend languages x2
    - scroll of identify
    - wand of infernal healing (2PP)

    Starting gold: 656
    Total purchases: 420.53
    Remaining gold: 235.47


    Since I've got the last scenario I think I'll not read through the entire adventure yet. I'll wait until after we've played the first part (Fragments) then I'll read it all.

    I'm still considering whether to roll a new PC, use one of my idle ones, or play with my GM character... I'll decide soon.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    No problem. We do need to lock into PFS character numbers before we start (unless you WANT to spread them out, which I don't recommend doing.)


    Actually, maybe you all can help me decide. I have a level 2 wizard and a level 4 bard just sitting on the bench waiting to get into a game. I do want to use the same character for the whole thing (except the one I GM of course) so whichever character I pick will be tied up the entire time. How long do we expect the GM school to run?

    What is our current party composition?

    Grand Lodge

    Male LN Samsaran Inquisitor of Magdh (knowledge domain) 1 | HP 3/10 | AC 15 T 12 FF13 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | F +3, R +2, W +3 (+2 vs. death effects, neg energy effects, neg levels) | Init +8 | Perc: +7, SM +11 | Speed 30 ft | 1/day comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize, Judgement 1/day, low-light vision | Spells: 1st 2/2 | Active conditions: none

    I (GM Will-save) will be playing as this character, level 1 inquisitor of Magdh. I still need to get the character info updated, as I just finished another PbP with him. I plan to do that tonight. He is not heavy on melee or ranged, or offensive spells. More of a support/knowledge right now.

    The Concordance

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    M Sylph Sorcerer (djinni-blooded) 1 | HP 7/7 | AC 12 T 12 FF 10 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | *Active Conditions: Heightened Awareness | F:+0 R:+2 W:+2 | Init:+6 | Per: +1* | SM: +0 |
    Spells Known:
    1 (2/4): Color Spray (DC 15), Heighten Awareness; 0: detect magic, message, ray of frost, read magic
    Treble Tan the Third wrote:
    I (GM Will-save) will be playing as this character, level 1 inquisitor of Magdh. I still need to get the character info updated, as I just finished another PbP with him. I plan to do that tonight. He is not heavy on melee or ranged, or offensive spells. More of a support/knowledge right now.

    Similar roles for Eyden - more skills than blasting. So we have support and knowledge pretty well covered between Eyden and Treble. (Great looking avatar by the way, TTT!)


    Constellation

    Okay. I was going to use a lvl 1 witch that I have mostly completed for this. However, with 2 skill/support characters already tagged, and the third looking like a similar route, I think I'll have to throw a melee in here. Would you rather me use my lvl3 warpriest (She's a dirty trick specialist, But I suppose she could function as a primary melee.) or would you prefer me to grab a lvl1 pre-gen?


    I'd be fine playing with my wizard/evocation(fire).

    Grand Lodge

    Male LN Samsaran Inquisitor of Magdh (knowledge domain) 1 | HP 3/10 | AC 15 T 12 FF13 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | F +3, R +2, W +3 (+2 vs. death effects, neg energy effects, neg levels) | Init +8 | Perc: +7, SM +11 | Speed 30 ft | 1/day comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize, Judgement 1/day, low-light vision | Spells: 1st 2/2 | Active conditions: none

    Player Name: Will H

    PC Name: Treble Tan the Third

    PFS#: 110483-8

    Slow Track or Normal: normal

    Faction: Grand Lodge

    Day Job: Craft(alchemy): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11

    Perception and vision/senses: +7 perc, low-light vision
    Initiative: +8

    Starting gold: 599 gp, 6 sp, 4 cp
    Purchases: 126gp
    Starting Prestige: 4
    Starting Fame: 4
    Starting XP: 2

    Would like to purchase:

    Arrows (20) = 1gp
    Scroll of Magic Weapon = 25gp
    Scroll of protection from evil x2 = 50gp
    Scroll of shield of faith x2 = 50gp
    Wand of cure light wounds (2 PP)

    And I believe that is all.

    Sovereign Court

    Male NG elf Wizard 2 | HP 5/14 | AC: [mage armor: 18/13/15] 14 T: 13 FF: 11 CMD: 13 | F +1 R +2 W +4* | Init +4 | Perc +5 | Fire jet: 7/7 | Lvl 1 spells: burning hands, shield, color spray, grease

    (This is MindXing)

    I'd like to use 2PP to purchase a wand of burning hands and then 2000gp to purchase an amulet of natural armor.

    Is that ok?

    Grand Lodge

    ”Zadim” | Male N Medium Human Slayer 1 | HP 14/14 | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | CMD 16| F +3 R +4 W +2; | Init +2 | Perc +4 | Speed 30ft | Active Conditions: None.

    Okay, without input from anyone, I decided to just use a lvl1 pregen.

    Player Name:Garon N. /Blue Moose

    PC Name: Aika Whitetalon by way of Zadim

    PFS#: 153161-12

    Slow Track or Normal:Normal

    Faction:Grand Lodge

    Day Job: n/a

    Perception and vision/senses: Perception +4, nothing special
    Initiative: +2


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    That all works. We start in earnest on the morrow!

    Sovereign Court

    Male NG elf Wizard 2 | HP 5/14 | AC: [mage armor: 18/13/15] 14 T: 13 FF: 11 CMD: 13 | F +1 R +2 W +4* | Init +4 | Perc +5 | Fire jet: 7/7 | Lvl 1 spells: burning hands, shield, color spray, grease

    I realized that I didn't post my info yet so here it is.

    Player Name: MindXing
    PC Name: Elemenar
    PFS#: 212182-5
    Slow Track or Normal: Normal
    Faction: Sovereign Court
    Day Job: Profession(astronomer): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
    Perception and vision/senses: Perc: +5, low-light vision
    Initiative: +4
    Special: Fire Jet (1d6 +1 fire damage) 7 per day


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Okay everyone! We're off!

    First, I've confirmed that we will each get one complete chronicle as if we ran the entire thing. We'll make a single chronicle for one person in the group.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Just before typing up the opening post, I made sure the quick posts are ready. In my online APs, I also have a Slack team where we can make rapid fire posts and comments (like "Hey Raen, you're up in Giantslayer"). If you're at all interested in an AP, you'll be playing together for years so it's worth it.

    The maps I've taken from simple GIS searches, though there are a few sites that consistently pop up.

    Also, and I ask that you please copy this to make your own, and not alter this one (I use it for all my games), but having some MAP TEMPLATES ready can be a big help to a GM.

    --------------

    Opening Post: Make liberal use of the Paizo posting format options. I find it to be extremely helpful to break some grammar and formatting rules in order to make the reading more like a "game" (which is saying something as I'm a psychology and Latin teacher, so grammar is typically important to me.) When I break the rules, I'm often mimicking a break I've seen before in inspirational writing. Which reminds me, the best GM's know a little secret (players too): APPENDIX N. There are a lot of older edition veterans here, but I wanted to point it out anyway. :-)

    You'll note I altered the intro slightly. Instead of having you roleplay out the countersign, I simply executed it. Such a back and forth could take days over PbP and doesn't set a great pace before the adventure proper starts. While we are required to "run as written" like any face to face game, some tweaks to fit the medium help maintain fun, the higher directive.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Constellation

    Here's the link for my quest


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    In my experience there are two things that can kill a PbP game:

    1. Slow posting rate. It's a slow agonizing death.
    2. Too much posting without advancement. This was a little tricky for me to get used to. I used to feel like the GM should let the players engage as long as they want and role-play to the hilt. I find that this causes the adventure to often get lost among the trees. I also find that it causes burn out faster.

    So finding your voice with how much to post, and how hard to push is going to be something organic that you develop, and an important skill. I think that if you strip away what people think they look for, and actually go with the evidence, you'll find that players gravitate towards GMs whose foot matches theirs on the accelerator.

    Silver Crusade

    Venture Lieutenant, Play by Post (online), Hostess of Cottonseed Lodge (playtest)

    Hi, everyone; I'm going to post some updates about your assignments here.

    Blue Moose, I still need you to include your GM philosophy in your GM profile.

    Everyone else, I need you to make your campaign and then post a link here to it.

    Grand Lodge

    Male LN Samsaran Inquisitor of Magdh (knowledge domain) 1 | HP 3/10 | AC 15 T 12 FF13 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | F +3, R +2, W +3 (+2 vs. death effects, neg energy effects, neg levels) | Init +8 | Perc: +7, SM +11 | Speed 30 ft | 1/day comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize, Judgement 1/day, low-light vision | Spells: 1st 2/2 | Active conditions: none

    So this is where I was wanting to gain information. How exactly would one go about doing that?


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |
    Treble Tan the Third wrote:
    So this is where I was wanting to gain information. How exactly would one go about doing that?

    Not sure about what you're specifically asking here.

    Grand Lodge

    Male LN Samsaran Inquisitor of Magdh (knowledge domain) 1 | HP 3/10 | AC 15 T 12 FF13 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | F +3, R +2, W +3 (+2 vs. death effects, neg energy effects, neg levels) | Init +8 | Perc: +7, SM +11 | Speed 30 ft | 1/day comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize, Judgement 1/day, low-light vision | Spells: 1st 2/2 | Active conditions: none

    How do I make my campaign?


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Gotcha! Redelia posted this in the main school thread, but I'll paste it here to cut down on clicks:

    Go up to the top of the page, to where it says Paizo/Messageboards/Online Campaigns. Right click on Online Campaigns, and select Open in New Tab.

    Click on the new tab that just opened. Scroll down to where it says Play by Post Online Campaigns as a section title, and click on the words Play by Post.

    Now find the words Add New thread near but not at the top and click on them. This will create a new gameplay thread. Put in the title I indicated earlier, and include some text. Then hit submit. DO NOT DELETE THIS FIRST POST!

    The website will ask if you want to create a campaign, and tell it yes. You can then put in the title for the campaign I gave you.

    Now click on the discussion tab, and it will give you a chance to create a new discussion thread. Again, put in some text, give it the name I told you to use, and click submit.
    After you have created your campaign, please post a link to it in the discussion thread that your mentor made. You may ask any questions or request help either here or in your mentor's discussion thread.

    The Concordance

    M Sylph Sorcerer (djinni-blooded) 1 | HP 7/7 | AC 12 T 12 FF 10 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | *Active Conditions: Heightened Awareness | F:+0 R:+2 W:+2 | Init:+6 | Per: +1* | SM: +0 |
    Spells Known:
    1 (2/4): Color Spray (DC 15), Heighten Awareness; 0: detect magic, message, ray of frost, read magic

    I have created the campaign for Inkstains.

    The Concordance

    M Sylph Sorcerer (djinni-blooded) 1 | HP 7/7 | AC 12 T 12 FF 10 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | *Active Conditions: Heightened Awareness | F:+0 R:+2 W:+2 | Init:+6 | Per: +1* | SM: +0 |
    Spells Known:
    1 (2/4): Color Spray (DC 15), Heighten Awareness; 0: detect magic, message, ray of frost, read magic

    @DM S: I noticed that in your Quickpost spoiler above, you have initiative and perception rolls for Tusk - that’s my main forum profile, but the character I’m using for the quests is Eyden. Just wanted to point it out in case it got confusing.


    I have created the campaign for Prophecy.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Thank you! I'll fix forthwith!


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    The scene with the letter is an excellent one to work your GM voice. Really in my experience there are three:

    1. DEEP DIVE: You take some time out and write it out entirely. It provides deep immersion and gives you an opportunity. This takes the most time, and can be TOO much for some players who don't get into it. Still, for players who love this level of depth, it's a great opening. This is really only possible in PbP.

    2. NAH: It doesn't affect the story, so you post "It doesn't say anything important." It's the fastest for the GM, and for skirmisher style players, this is fine as it keys them into the fact that they DON'T need to focus on it. Otherwise you could end up with 3 days of posts testing if this letter is something important. (Like in the old days when the DM mentions the nature of the floor tile pattern, you knew it was something important, and the game ground to a halt until they figured it out.)

    3. BALANCE: You give it something, but don't agonize over it. It's a chance to put in a little flavor, while staying focused.

    Silver Crusade

    Venture Lieutenant, Play by Post (online), Hostess of Cottonseed Lodge (playtest)

    I want to point out that there's two variants on option 3, which can work for different people. Some GMs would give the text of the letter, without worrying too much about the details. This could be mistaken as option 1 by your players. Other GMs would try to give a flavorful paraphrase, like 'It's a letter from a woman to her son, a soldier, trying to give him the latest news from home.' That injects flavor, without giving a chance to derail the adventure. In terms of which to pick, I agree with Dungeon Master S, it's a matter of finding what works for you as a GM. It also can vary between groups/games.


    I'm thinking that whether or not this is a PFS scenario, published scenario, or home brew makes a big difference here too.

    While for PFS, it seems that we want to stick to the main path, for a home brew this seems like a great chance to lead the PCs to a side quest that you, the GM, hadn't planned.

    I know in a RL game this could work, but in PbP, maybe not.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Doors.

    No joke, doors are one of the hardest things to DM in a PbP. It's a weird cocktail of analysis paralysis, vague post options, carefully selected map positions, etc.

    By and large, players are courteous and cautious. So everyone spends time checking to make sure everyone is satisfied before opening the door. Additionally, the GM is put in a precarious situation because if there IS a trap, you want everyone's pog to be accurately placed without giving the trap away.

    There are a few solutions a GM can use:

    In pick up games: the players are only with you for a short while, and there may be very few doors in a scenario. The GM states at the start that "Any time someone searches an area; opens a lid, door, or package; disables a device; or executes a surprise attack: the map must be up to date. I'll assume it is, and roll accordingly."

    In APs or ongoing campaigns: About 5-6 years ago I started doing SOP (standard operating procedures). Whenever there's a door, anyone in the game can copy and paste the plan. It DEFINITELY keeps things moving. HERE is an example from Curse of the Crimson Throne. Warning, there may be mild spoilers.

    Grand Lodge

    Male LN Samsaran Inquisitor of Magdh (knowledge domain) 1 | HP 3/10 | AC 15 T 12 FF13 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | F +3, R +2, W +3 (+2 vs. death effects, neg energy effects, neg levels) | Init +8 | Perc: +7, SM +11 | Speed 30 ft | 1/day comprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize, Judgement 1/day, low-light vision | Spells: 1st 2/2 | Active conditions: none

    Treble is the one with the green border. One of his deity's colors.


    Constellation

    Okay, I believe I'm supposed to post this here.


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Spoiler Dice.

    We'd like to think we live in a world where people won't check spoilers unless they're cleared, but we don't. Often times if it's a contest of skills, I won't put the modifier in the spoiler, only the d20 roll. Crafty metagamers can use that information to deduce the odds of success for things.

    At the end of the day, metagamers will metagame, and cheaters will cheat. Trying to make a game incorruptible is a losing endeavor, but some simple things can make it a little harder.

    Grand Lodge

    HoHW: "Teahouse" Maps | Jade Ogre style

    So, I think I have this set up correctly. Let's see....
    HoHW: "Teahouse"


    MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

    Looks like it!

    (though I'd cover everything over.)

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