JohnnyBlack's Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition

Game Master JohnnyBlack

"A new cathedral!"
You haven't been at Sandpoint in many years (or ever) but the news of the consecration of the new cathedral, on the Swallowtail Festival day, convinces you to go be there. You pack your few belongings, say goodbye to your friends and family, and get ready for the long journey up the lost coast.
You couldn't imagine that it would be the most important decision of your life.

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@Anton Ionescu: Excellent. Looking good, just need background info in the profile and you are ready.

@Vrog Skyreave: I think so.... but... Int 8... Can I recommend making her at least "normal" (Int 10)?

@Kar-ak Val-kan: It wouldn't be a presidential advisor as he has no "force of personality" to make his point across in a discussion or debate. As you say, it is somebody that doesn't like to stand up. A follower. The one that quietly works and lets others take credit for it. Not "adventurer" material if you ask me. But I have to say, any ability in -2 would make me think the character is not "hero" material. But that is just me, anyone can make his own characters how they see fit. I think you made your point, and I got no more questions.

I think I'm going to withdrawal my application. I think of Dick Cheney is a low cha advisor. If quiet genius can't find a reason to try to something great as an adventure in a group I'm not sure our story telling styles are compatible. I appreciate your attention you give your recruitment. I sure will find a great group good luck.

Thanks, and sorry it didn't work for us.

@JohnnyBlack Yes, the Divine Defender and Hospitalier archetypes for the Paladin are both in the Advanced Player’s Guide.

Here is Seamus Lightfoot’s Backstory. I have the crunch just haven’t moved it yet to the profile here.


Seamus Lightfoot grew up in Korvosa, the first son of Finnius Lightfoot head of the Lightfoot mafia; a criminal organization of like-minded halflings. Along with his brother Brody Lightfoot grew up in the criminal underbelly. Despite the close camaraderie of both halfling culture and mafia culture, Seamus always felt a little like the black sheep of the family. That is until Rosie Nightstep joined the organization. The two became fast friends, Seamus giving the young orphan access to the privileges of being a part of the family and Rosie returning the favor by becoming one of the guilds most prolific thieves. Seamus was taught all of the underhanded tricks needed to survive in a city in which anyone could stab you in the back.

That’s exactly what happened. As Seamus rose in the ranks, as befitting the son of Finnius, Seamus was given increasing authority and status. He began to run more complicated grifts, thefts, and cons. As he rose in prominence so did Rosie, alongside of him. The two of them were given charge of the biggest theft the Lightfoot mafia would ever pull off, the theft of a valuable jewel worth a king’s ransom from a mighty Duke and Duchess with connections to the nation of Cheliax. While the two silently entered the grand hall and successfully heisted the jewel, danger was about to befall Seamus. As he exited the hall, the lights turned on and when Seamus turned around, he was alone, Rosie at betrayed him and stolen the jewel for herself. Left alone and pinned for the crime of the stolen jewel, the Duke proceeded not to press charges or make it a public crime. Instead he sold young Seamus as a slave to a Cheliax noble.

In Cheliax, Seamus hit rock bottom. Forced to serve, his freedom completely cut off, Seamus had nothing left. As he lay in the stone room deep in the basement of his masters house, he thought about ending his life there; there was no joy in his life. What seemed like a coincidence but later Seamus attributes to divine interaction, another halfling was shoved into his room. An older gentleman, Dabarn Greyward, came into the service of Seamus’ master. Dabarn, while in the same situation as Seamus, worshipped the goddess Shelyn. Seamus was drawn to the natural beauty and art of the goddess and begged Dabarn to teach him the teachings of Shelyn.

It was during this time period that joy entered Seamus’ life again. As he learned to see the beauty in every situation, his life became more bearable. As they grew in friendship Dabarn became a mentor to Seamus and the two became very close. They would begin planning an escape plan. The escape worked almost perfectly, except as they escaped the city some guards captured Dabarn, the old halfling not having the benefit of the years of criminal training that Seamus had.

Seamus barely escaped with his life, and he didn’t stop running until he left Cheliax and found himself in Varisia. Unsure what to do next, Seamus dedicated his life to Shelyn in honor of his mentor. As he traveled Varisia he heard tell of a new chapel to Shelyn being erected in Sandpoint. Immediately interested about learning more about what it means to follow the teaching of Shelyn, he began making his way to Sandpoint.

JohnnyBlack wrote:
@Vrog Skyreave: I think so.... but... Int 8... Can I recommend making her at least "normal" (Int 10)?

I think that her makes sense given her background: she is a slave who barely learned how to read less than a couple years before the start of the campaign (and still has to sound out complicated words).

Background for Anton:
Anton Ionescu was born and raised in Sandpoint. He matured in some ways quickly, and in other ways not at all. He felt constrained by Sandpoint. He wanted to see the world, and though he was bright, he wasn’t “wizard-bright.” All sorts of magic seemed inaccessible to him. So he signed up with the army in hopes to see the world.

What he saw, in his own words, was “A bunch of people in authority who liked arbitrary rules more than they liked both success and their own soldiers.” He served a frustrating, boring, limiting tour of duty with very little “action” or even “seeing the world” to be found at all. At his enlistement’s end, he decided not to re-up and headed home with no small bit of despondency.

However, the new temple was about to be opened and he’d always been at least semi-devout in his worship of Shelyn. That ought to be something. Besides, Varisia was filled with monsters that needed to be dealt with. The world could wait. Humbled, Varisia seemed pretty interesting.

Anton is athletic, strong, intelligent, and caring. He was both served and misserved by being a “gifted” kid. He’s a handsome young man, well built and with a kind face and easy smile. He’s good at fighting, but hasn’t really ever been tested or done so for a greater cause. Deep down, this is what he wants.

JohnnyBlack wrote:
@hustonj: About Yvnsa... -1 INT and -1 CHA. Really? What about NOT making him unlikeable and stupid?

10 is human average. What happened to slightly below average not being stupid or unlikeable? How is it neither heroic nor iconic to have things that people will call weaknesses?

Charisam is also force of personality, the ability to convince others to see things your way or to listen to an idea they expect not to like. You can be amazingly pretty and have a low Charisma. You can also be amazingly ugly and have a really high one. Just below average doesn't have to represent more than really shy, or maybe an introvert.

In this case, I have someone who has been the butt of the jokes for so long, and so thoroughly, that his very name is an insult. He basically ran away from the people who were doing that to him. How could you expect such a person to have a forceful personality?

Edit: But based on your interaction with Kar-ak Val-kan about his character's Cha, I think it is clear that you have expectations for the characters that you didn't bother to put in the character build requirements. Asking us to justify decisions that you left for us to make, when you could have clearly indicated not to before we started?

I dunno, I feel like any time you go in to the negs for an attribute, you've got to have a real good reason, especially if it isn't a low point buy. The average person isn't all that smart, wise, or charismatic. Ten is baseline "average." Below that is a big role-playing choice.

@Seamus Lightfoot: If I might... Seamus is level 1, so he should not have so many "years of experience". Loved the story... betrayal, adventure... what about Dabarn dying while on the escape (and Seamus had a lot of luck to escape - he is not THAT skilled yet), and in memory of his friend he will go to his old home, Sandpoint, to bury a small memento of his (a locket, or maybe just a wooden holy symbol, something a slave would hold dear without it having objective monetary value) in his birthplace? And about the journey... would he go to Sandpoint as a pilgrim, or trying to land a job in a caravan?

@Vrog Skyreaver: Uneducated or inexperienced is not the same as slow. But ok, I note your reasons for it.

@Anton Ionescu: Nice background. Going back home "defeated" by the big city. Or, more correctly, not having found what he looked for in the "big city". BTW, Magnimar IS still Varisia. But you can say "the lost coast".

@hustonj: Yes, you are right, I should have put something in the recruitment requirements about my preference for "not sub-normal" characters. I will keep it in mind for next time. My bad.

I prefer characters that have "normal" or higher abilities for their race (a Gnome 8 STR and 12 CHA is normal for him). If you want a "leg up" in the selection process, that is something you should have in mind.

@JohnnyBlack I pictured him as never actually going that far, so that is perfect. He never even got to see Kaer Maga.

On second thought, I think I will be dropping out. Sorry to waste your time, hope the final group has a fun game!

I hope this is helpful, sorry if it is not. I think the criteria should also be updated to include the want for inexperienced pcs.

Level 1 pc with wealth by level is a cr1.

Here are the CR 1 NPC

I think many players stories are in line with a shaman, priest, berserk, chalice runner, Daring Bravo, or 'professional guard or soldier who has seen many battles'.

The last is a direct quote from the stat block. If the criteria is a little clearer it would have helped me a lot.

Kar-ak Val-kan wrote:

I hope this is helpful, sorry if it is not. I think the criteria should also be updated to include the want for inexperienced pcs.

Level 1 pc with wealth by level is a cr1.

Here are the CR 1 NPC

I think many players stories are in line with a shaman, priest, berserk, chalice runner, Daring Bravo, or 'professional guard or soldier who has seen many battles'.

The last is a direct quote from the stat block. If the criteria is a little clearer it would have helped me a lot.

That's all good for NPCs. These are supposed to be player characters.

@Anton Ionescu: Done. I think Anton is ready.

@Meji Farborough: Sorry to hear that. I hope we game together some other time.

@Kar-ak Val-kan: Wealth is the max gold for your class.

Honestly, I am not a fan of dump stats - I dislike the mechanic that your wizard can be smarter because he is weak. Or that your fighter gets to be stronger because he is dull. So this recruitment seems up my alley.

I am currently in a very slow-moving RotR and think I could handle two without the information bleeding over. Will probably work up a rogue character. Given the sources allowed, a Core Rogue seems useful for having access to both Trapfinding and Trap Spotter (otherwise, exploration slows to a crawl as you search every 5' square). Could multiclass in the future, but at least Rog2 seems useful.

And I am not of the opinion that Core (or Core+APG) Rogues suck, so I will not whinge about playing that role.

I am a player from the Red Box days, where a Ftr1 was a 'Veteran', so I do see the point about the experience of a level 1 character. But am happy to roll with your interpretation.

@JonnyBlack: I'm confused a little by the "Fair Warning" - gunslingers and "Eastern" classes. Yet the allowed books are the CRB, APG and RotR PG. So gunslinger/samurai/ninja are out anyway. Right?

JohnnyBlack wrote:


@Kar-ak Val-kan: Wealth is the max gold for your class.

I think Kar-ak Val-kan's player was positing that a 1st level PC (with WBL) is equivalent via CR to the NPC's as presented HERE in terms of possibility for lengthy periods of time or relative experience in their backstory.

OSW again. Dump-stats for dump-stats sake are hollow. Lowering a stat for story reasons are a great mechanic, and there is a fine line. JonnyBlack, you seem to have an in built disdain for low Cha characters and have characterised them as grumpy etc. For me, Charisma runs the gamut from social skills (or lack thereof), personality/force of personality, emotional maturity, personal grooming, hygiene (or lack thereof). About the only time I lowered my Cha I also lowered my Wisdom for this character - a warforged that played RotR. He was kind, and very very naive. Part of his schtick was he took everything literally and missed a lot of social cues. He was the lifeblood of the party - serious, accidentally comic, loyal and fierce.

So if a PC is as skilled as an npc similar experience is reasonable is it not?

If the gm likes a story of inexperienced adventures that's great it's a great story and I think it is the one they want to tell. Clarifying that seems helpful.

I look to iconic backstories for guidelines. I would check out Oloch as part of the meet the iconic series or look at Crows stat block.

My apologies. I will read any response but I won't write anymore as this is the gm's thread not mine. Sorry.

(also apologies for the multiple intrusions)

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A hero isn't a hero because he is blessed with abilities better than everyone else. A hero is a hero because they overcome their own shortcomings as they do the right thing.

One of those things about averages that people always seem to forget is that there are as many instances below average as there are above. That's as close to the definition of the term as you can get without doing math.

A normal human isn't straight 10s and 11s. Your average blacksmith has a higher Strength score than that, and lower attribute else to keep him normal, and to make the averages work out. The blacksmith's shortcoming is probably NOT intelligence, as he needs to understand how to work the metal and plan out the steps in more complicated pieces. A scribe is likely to be physically challenged. That's part of WHY he becomes a scribe, and then is reinforced by the life at a desk.

The mechanics support the story, they do not define it. An extremely intelligent wizard want-to-be isn't spending a great deal of time playing in the forest, he is in a room, being careful about handling the old books and scrolls he is trying to understand. He, effectively, trades away a youth of active exploration and physically developing play in order to expand his mind. So, he kind of does become weaker so that he can be smarter. And in a medieval society, the guy studying inside all the time has about zero chance of developing the same strength as the "average peasant" working in the fields.

@Aldizog: Welcome, please make a submission. Oh, the old red box. Good times. It is not like a level 1 character does not have any experience, but should not have too much experience.

@Oceanshieldwolf: Not out, just will have a more difficult time to get accepted. But a very good character concept can be accepted. It is not like a level 1 character does not have any experience, but should not have too much experience. "Dump-stats for dump-stats sake are hollow." Amen Brother. If you lower an attribute, and use it to roleplay, as you did with your Warforged, I am all for it. But I prefer, and that is only my preference, not a law, to have fully functional characters. Not only Charisma but any other attribute too. But that is just me.

Eh. I'm with hustonj. Heroes are heroes precisely because they overcome, whether they have deficiencies or not.

@Sorry to be pedantic JonnyBlack, still confused. It seems not difficult but impossible to get a samurai/gunslinger/ninja accepted because they are from Ultimate Combat which is not an allowed source. Or am I missing something?

I had this character accepted into a RotR that had precisely zero Gameplay posts. (One of the handful of games that had a lengthy, protracted Recruitment only for the GM to completely disappear before a post in Gameplay was even made...)

Teminkar is a Sandpoint local, and only a "Samurai" mechanically. Mostly he is a caravan guard. Again, as hustonj said, mechanics supporting the story. I had a Kellid Horselord character that was mechanically a Samurai, with everything reflavored for Kellid honor and horsebound custom...

Guys, there are plenty of recruitments.
If this one isn't for you, it isn't for you.
I as a GM hate Small-sized mounted characters, and SAD-optimized PCs. We all have our preferences.

If deficiencies gained you no advantages, Teminkar, I would agree with you and hustonj. If they were merely for the RP potential they afforded. That is sadly not the case in PF1. Being deficient in an area that doesn't matter makes you better in an area that does.

I dislike that and am happy to find a recruitment where it is discouraged. Please stop dumping on the GM's preference. Start your own game if you wish.

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See, here's the bit: It ain't the GM that keeps posting comments that makes us want to justify the viewpoint.

I would be happy to walk away if it was, "well, different strokes for different folks" Instead, I have multiple people telling me why a mechanical choice I rarely make is WRONG THINK. [Edit: Check my aliases if you want. Below average attributes is not my norm. Looks like 2 of 11 currently in use, actually.]

Given that the key feature of the Barbarian class actually REQUIRES "turning off" higher brain functions, claims that members of the barbarian class aren't going to be effectively less intelligent than the average seem to be directly contradictory to the story supporting the game's design.

@Teminkar Tavuus: Damn! You are right! For some reason, I thought Samurai, Ninja, and Gunslinger were in the Advanced Player's guide! Try to adapt him to the requirements, and submit him (he should start in Magnimar, for starters), and let's see what happens. Make a great character, and I will want to accept him. even if he is "mechanically-only" a samurai.

@Everyone: Please, let us keep this thread for the recruitment for this game. If you want to discuss the value or preference of a certain kind of character builds, I recommend we do it somewhere else.

Dot. Quite interested. GM responses to every player inquiry? Very nice.

Plan to submit a LG Inquisitor of Shelyn with the Love (Charm) subdomain; traveling (certainly with others) to participate in the grand opening festivities (an amateur performer, herself) & ensure there are no subversions of beauty or art in the newly-dedicated clergical institution (can't find which god/s the new church is dedicated to, in the players' guide - any word on that?).

Coming in with the Eager Performer campaign trait; eyeing a religious trait Ear for Music, although the (NG) alignment listed after the trait name makes me pause; is that a requirement? Within 1 step maybe...?

Does anyone know is there an APG trait that grants perform as a class skill?

I like the analysis of PC roles & attributes here! ^.^ good to stay on-task, of course, especially early on.

Briefly, then, as a player; I also enjoy the challenge of playing somewhat atypical characters - low ability scores representing a particular flaw aren't necessary, of course, but are one way to create (and quantify) PCs with more than a single dimension. I like roleplaying flaws (mechanics or just flavor), but I like my PCs awesome, too.

Will drop crunch & backstory in the coming days. Mulling over LG vs NG and particular religious viewpoints & ideologies one might have as an Inquisitor of Love.

@Aldizog: I'm not dumping on anyone. And I don't feel hustonj is either. I'm just passing by adding my two coppers.

@JonnyBlack: oh, I wasn't planning to submit Teminkar, I was merely producing him to clarify the classes available AND add some nuance to the mechanics/story conversation. I'm in one RotR that has rebooted, was in one that was Spheres of Power/Spheres of Might characters only that died, was in the aformentioned game that died before it started so I'm good for RotR.

I am interested. I have a gnome merchant sorceress which is born to play this AP, but the game she was playing was abandoned by the DM (was the same DM as Magnus the Magnificent).

She is currently in the recruitment for another RotR game whose recruitment closes the 24th. Since I don't like double submitting, as I feel dishonest at some level, I'll wait to see whether I'm not selected to the other game before submitting her here.

@JohnnyBlack I really like the suggestion of having something to commemorate Dabarn in Sandpoint. Although I like the idea of inheriting his holy symbol and having that be my holy symbol; not sure if I want to give that up. I’m thinking of maybe making it a piece of art, like a wooden statue of a flying bird that Dabarn carved out of a piece of driftwood he stole from a fireplace while a slave.

As for the “too much experience thing” I completely agree that adventurers need to be appropriately experienced for first level, which is why hes a Paladin. Being a holy warrior of a goddess is totally new to him. He knows next to nothing about it. His life and skills growing up in Korvosa was more akin to his natural halfling abilities (same with his apparent “luck” a nature talent of halflings) and not necessary that he gained enough experience to level in like rogue or something. Like he was a part of the organization and given responsibility simply only because his family was in charge not because he was extra talented in anyway.

@DizzyP: Welcome. What your character knows is that the cathedral is for many gods, not just one (excluding the evil ones). Probably Desna, Erastil and other "Varisian" deities will have a place of honor. And Shelyn should, at the very least, be very well respected. Go for the "Ear for Music" trait, no problem for my part. If you ask me, Love is NG. Love is stronger than justice. In war and love, everything goes.

@Oceanshieldwolf: Excellent! Let me know when he is ready.

@Anthorg: Damn! There is a lot of abandoned games, I see. I'll try to do my best, and I think I can finish this. Thanks for not double submitting, and yes, if you are not selected, you are welcome to submit here.

@Seamus Lightfoot: Loved your idea. The holy symbol he keeps, the flying bird wood statue he wants to put in the new cathedral, to commemorate Dabarn.

Aldizog wrote:
If this one isn't for you, it isn't for you.

This is both completely fair and completely correct.

I am, however, going to withdraw my submission. I wish the people who play luck in the game!

Scarab Sages

Alright, Necress Nyx, Oracle 1, at your service.

Thanks for your consideration!

@Vrog Skyreaver: Hope we game together some other time.

@Necress Nyx: Welcome. It seems like an interesting character. Can you check the skills? And the Undead Master feat I think is not valid. About your backstory, remember we start at Magnimar.

Scarab Sages

JohnnyBlack wrote:

@Necress Nyx: Welcome. It seems like an interesting character. Can you check the skills? And the Undead Master feat I think is not valid. About your backstory, remember we start at Magnimar.

Okay, I corrected my skill points and changed my starting location to Magnimar.

As for Undead Master, I qualify for that feat through Bones Oracle, which gives me Undead Servitude as a Revelation:

Undead Servitude (Su)::
You gain Command Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel negative energy 7 per day, but only to use Command Undead.

The Undead Master feat has this prerequisite:

Undead Master:
Prerequisites: Spell focus (necromancy), the ability to cast animate dead or command undead.

I have both of those prerequisites met through my starting feats and through Bones Oracle revelations.

@Necress Nyx: My point being that Undead Master appears in Ultimate Magic, and we are only using Core and Advanced Player's Guide.

Scarab Sages

JohnnyBlack wrote:
@Necress Nyx: My point being that Undead Master appears in Ultimate Magic, and we are only using Core and Advanced Player's Guide.

Oh, gotcha.

I think I'm going to have a hard time remembering which book something is in. I'm going to go ahead and withdraw my submission, and wish you all the best of luck going forward!

Silver Crusade

I have a previous RotRL character from a game that died around level 2 that I can rework. It was a central part of the character that she should have the Powerless Prophecy curse, though, so I just have to ask if that could be allowed in this case. If not, I can make it work, but it'll just take extra time for me to rewrite around it


@Necress Nyx: Hope we game together some other time.

@Hrothdane: Welcome! Well, Powerless Prophecy is outside of the set sources. But... you picked my interest. Can you quickly tell me why it was a central part of the character?

@RHMG Animator: Welcome! let's see what you come up with.

Silver Crusade

Basically, I was inspired by the old 3.5 Eye of Gruumsh prestige class (minus the evil Gruumsh bits) which had you sacrifice an eye for the supposed power to see your own death. My character did a similar ritual to try to reconnect with her orc ancestors and it worked too well, sometimes giving her brief access to the future and sometimes to the past, but only relating to the lives of other orcs/half-orcs. I originally had her as a battle oracle with the warsighted archetype, but I’ve realized lore fits way better thematically (and warsighted is not allowed anyways).

@Hrothdane: Nice... Well, your call. Your chances are much higher if you use the normal restrictions, but feel free to submit your best.

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Four days to go, and this is what we got so far:

Anton Ionescu - Human Figher - Shelyn
Gyorgy Elberion - Human Bard - Desna

Almost ready
Ezmerelda Santana - Human Ranger
Livia Taviskin - Human Cleric - Shelyn
Luke Redwood - Human Fighter
Seamus Lightfoot - Halfling Paladin - Shelyn

DizzyP - Inquisitor - Shelyn
Hrothdane - Human Oracle
hustonj - Human Barbarian
The.Squirrel.Ninja - Elf Druid

RHMG Animator

For the record, I don't mind if all the party characters are fighters or sorcerers. Or lack a cleric. It is better if we get a balanced party, but I am more interested in great characters than in filling up "slots".

I’ve got all the crunch in the profile, so I should be ready to go. Let me know if you have any questions!

Character and background are up for Morgan the Menacing.

@Seamus Lightfoot: Nothing big, just need for you to put the finished background in the profile. Other than that, looks finished and ready.

@Morgan the Menacing: So this is instead of Ezmerelda Santana? Or you are submitting both? What deity does Morgan follows? Why does he want to go to Sandpoint?

I think I'll be making a Sorcerer of some kind......

I would prefer Morgan to Ezmerelda. Morgan follows The All-Seeing Eye, Nethys. He's just starting his internship (a quest to find ways to use his magic) and has heard of many goblin tribes in the area and thought, 'what better way to test his magic than on lowely goblins'.

@RHMG Animator: Excellent! Please let me know when is ready.

@Morgan the Menacing: It worries me a little what he is not going to return to Magnimar in quite some time, and will never finish the internship, as he is going to be very busy saving the world and all... Also, the "let's go to Sandpoint" sounds a little... vague... let's think in something good... maybe sent from Goblinworks? Does Goblinworks use glass items?

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