GM Euan's Rise of the Runelords

Game Master Euan

Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet - Sandpoint Notes
Varisia Map - Hinterlands Map - Sandpoint Map

Rise of the Runelords (AE) Players Guide

Formatting Basics and Writing Style:
I’m assuming you already know how to format your post on Paizo for the most part, but if you need assistance there, please let me know. For Play by Post games, there are some standard usages that I want to follow in this campaign.

[ quote ] or quoted text, are used when you want to make it clear who you’re talking to, or just want to refer back to a prior post that might have gotten lost in the shuffle that is PbP. You can also use the [ url ] tags for the same purpose though quoting the material is usually more helpful. Feel free to do both of course - things can get confusing in PbP, so keep things as simple and clear as you can for your reader.

[ b ] or bold text is for things you say out loud. Please additionally wrap your text in double-quotes, “ “, for greater clarity. This is for things your character is saying out loud to others. Whispering usually uses the [ smaller ] tag while shouting uses the [ bigger ] tag.

[ I ] or italic text, is for thoughts your character is having, though it’s also frequently used for inflection on a word or two when speaking aloud as well. No need to use quotes with thoughts. To further confuse things, telepathic communication is often designated by using both the [ b ] and [ I ] tags at the same time (and with quotes as well).

[ ooc ] or blue text, is used for Out Of Character communication. Please use this for anything you might want to say in your post that’s from player to player/gm as opposed to character to character/npc. It’s not used to describe what your character is doing, plain text is fine for that, unless you’re noting some mechanic or other rule of course (and if you’re doing that, [ url ] links are helpful).

[ spoiler ] tags are for anything that would run really long and/or generally isn’t for everyone’s consumption. Your character status in combat for example would be put in a spoiler. Also information given by the GM to a specific player or group of players (or to the GM) can be put in spoiler tags.

I also encourage the use of the [ spoiler ] tag, along with Google Translate (link) to reflect foreign languages. To that end, I suggest the following list for fantasy to real world languages:

Abyssal = Gujarati
Aklo = Bengali
Auran = Sinhala
Azlanti = Latin
Celestial = Armenian
Draconic = Chinese
Drow = Tamil
Dwarven = Russian
Elven = Finnish
Gecko = Korean
Giant = Icelandic
Gnome = Yoruba
Goblin = Hmong
Halfling = Dutch
Hallit = Mongolian
Infernal = Tajik
Kelish = Persian
Orc = Klingon
Osiriani = Arabic
Polyglot = Swahili
Shoanti = Maori
Skald = Danish
Terran = Welsh
Thassilonian = Greek
Tien = Japanese
Undercommon = Khmer
Vaati = Vietnamese
Varisian = Romanian
Vudrani = Hindi

Finally, please use Third Person Limited (link) when describing your character’s actions and thoughts. It seems the best for PbP’s style of storytelling and is what is most commonly used here on the boards.
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Rules and RAI vs RAW:
Generally I play the ‘Rules As Intended' rather than strictly ‘As Written'. There will be exceptions of course and we can’t always tell what the intention is supposed to be. I may also change a rule now and again for the story. The story is what is important - the story the players and I are writing together. If that story conflicts with a rule on occasion I’m likely to ignore or modify the rule for that instance. However, the rules are there so we all know what to expect out of our environment so it will not happen with any frequency and will generally be minor and obvious. Allowing the big-bad a death scene before succumbing to that critical hit which killed them is a good example.
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Game Master and Player Commitment:
As the GM I will do my best to post twice a day or more. I expect players to post at least daily and more often when we’re on a roll. Those players who do post more often will likely be more prominent in the campaign, within reason.

There will of course be exceptions caused by real life, but I will let your character get left behind. What occurs in the meantime will vary depending on your consideration for others. If you know you are going to be gone, just let me know and we'll work around it. If you are repeatedly absent, particularly without warning, I may ask you to step away from the table.

If you are absent during combat and you are holding us up, I will Delay your action or chose an appropriate action for you, whatever seems to make the most sense, and from your characters perspective if I can. I will also try to leave time for folks to catch up. I know we all have other responsibilities.

If you are absent for ten days without notice, I will assume you have quit the campaign and may replace your character. That said, if you want to leave, even temporarily, please let me know so we’re not waiting on you or left hanging.

With five players, I will usually go with whatever any three suggest when there’s a situation requiring a party decision. Some decisions are more important and I will wait until everyone has had their say. If you feel you are being repeatedly left out of the conversation, please let me know and we’ll find a way to solve it.
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Combat and Dice Rolling:
Occasionally I will roll perception checks for the party, though usually I’ll simply take-10. For example I’ll have you take-10 every time you enter a room, situation permitting, or immediately after combat if you’re interrupted. When leveling up it is important to let me know if your Perception has changed (also spellcraft and initiative, see below).

Technically you cannot take-10 while identifying magic items as you must concentrate on the spell and are thusly ‘distracted’. However, to help keep the pace moving, I’ll be taking-10 on your behalf every time you find a magic item and have the time to cast Detect Magic so I may describe it fully. This does not count against your once a day attempt per item, violating yet another rule! So if you find a magic item I have not identified for you already, feel free to roll a fresh check.

When combat begins I will roll initiative for all combatants including the PCs. Actions will be resolved in order. Players are encouraged to post ahead of their turn (including likely options). If a player has posted before their initiative and things substantively change before their actual turn comes up, they are free to change their action with a new post as long as it’s done in a timely manner. I will adjudicate as needed and try to make sure everything blends more or less together. It won’t be perfect, and doesn’t have to be, but if I get it wrong, like doing something your character wouldn’t do, please let me know so I can improve.

Attack modifiers
You should modify your die rolls as appropriate for cover, flanking, higher ground, shooting into melee, attacking from prone, etc. While being prone is technically an AC modifier, please feel free to calculate it in. Please make sure you note the modifications in detail so I know what modifiers you’ve applied.

Here (link) is an example of what I mean. See the basic ‘always on’ bonuses listed in the spoiler, and other ‘situational’ bonuses listed with the attacks. Ideally I should be able to figure out your attack and damage bonuses without having to look at your character sheet and delve through all the abilities, just from looking at your spoiler and attack line.

Format for Posts
You do not need to post the round and your initiative. In fact I’d prefer it if you didn’t. I’ll keep track of your turn order, and I’ll even try to do it right. Please do list your current status at the top or bottom of your post however. Your status should include: current AC including flat footed and touch, current and maximum HP, any equipped weapons, current conditions, and any other pertinent topical information (like the spells you have memorized or the arrows in your quiver). Please use spoilers for things that would scroll long. Here's an example (link).

Dice rolling
Dice rolling is done via the Paizo online dice roller. Feel free to roll dice for a skill, save, attack, etc, anytime you think it is appropriate. I appreciate it when you explain any situational modifiers that alter what the roll would be from your profile like this (link).

End of turn
This is really important. Once you post and your initiative passes, your turn is over. A friend of mine once said, "I play the villains perfectly and I expect you to play your characters perfectly." You have one chance to be perfect, please be careful. There is, mostly, no going back - things are slow enough with Play by Post, I don’t want to slow it further by covering the same ground twice. Decisions matter.
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Play your character
Have fun! Enjoy your creation. Listen to the advice of others, but do what you want. However, be sure to play your character as built. The 8 intelligence fighter should probably not be figuring out the puzzles. The 7 charisma dwarf should not be the lead diplomat (or at least shouldn’t do it well). Feel free to assist, but remember who your character is and play them accordingly.

Play your own character
It's fine to make general requests in character: ask for a flank, suggest a tactic, beg for healing, etc. Please refrain from "Next turn you should cast bless, pull out your mace, and take a 5' step to the north to give me a flank." Let everyone play their own character in their own way.

Don't play other characters
You control only your own actions. You might think your diplomacy roll of 20 will make the innkeeper cut you some slack, but maybe it won't. There are things going on behind the scenes and I will not reveal all of it. NPC's might actually try to deceive you, have hidden grudges, or any number of unknown ideologies.

Try to advance the action
Play by Post is slower than Face to Face gaming and as such you should be active with nearly every post. Before pressing submit, consider whether or not your character is actually doing anything in your post. If not, you may want to reconsider. Naturally, role play is doing something as surely as any combat action. Have a great thought bubble? Try and find a way to make it into a short speech so other characters can join in without having to make Sense Motive checks to read your mind. Be ‘active’.

There are no real world rewards or prizes for winning. Another friend said, “I'd much prefer to stab [you] in the heart with my sharp wit then kill [you] with a dragon.” If your character dies, then they have more character. They'll make it back to the world somehow if you want them to, or we can try something new. If you're not having fun, don't cheat to fix it. Talk to me and we’ll fix it together.
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Magic and Mundane Crafting:
To encourage crafting (link) we will speed up the time it takes to accomplish basic tasks. Where it says 'week' substitute 'day' so all mundane crafting is done 7x faster than the standard rules.

When scribing scrolls (link) or brewing potions (link) there is text that requires that the creator must have prepared the spell and that the spell is used when the creation process is finished. I will not enforce those rules in this campaign. You still need to use the spell components as normal, but you do not need to memorize the spell and you do not lose the slot when the item is made. This is to encourage the manufacture of these minor magics with as little inconvenience as possible.

As for crafting more complex items the usual rules apply. I do allow for fast crafting as per the standard rules. That means an item can be made twice as fast by making it more difficult to craft (+5 DC for 2,000 gp/day total). Further, in this campaign, an item can be made three times as fast by making it very difficult to craft (+10 DC for 3,000 gp/day total).

While there will be some time in this campaign for crafting, you will also have relatively easy access to magics from Magnimar (though there may be occasional delays in transit). So you will not need to craft to get the items you wish for the most part.
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Hero Point Rules:
We will be using Hero Points (link) with the following details/changes.

There are no Group Service hero points to be gained. You may not use Hero Points for Special attempts. There are no GM Hero Points and no Antiheroes.
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Accounting and other tracking:
I have a Google Sheet that we will use for tracking, here (link). The sheet tracks a number of things which are helpful to me as a GM - and of course helps you keep track of all the loot you’re about to acquire and the people you’re about to meet. I will be entering in NPCs for the most part, as well as the Calendar entries for historical reference.

I am not going to worry about a few gold here and there spent on things like bar food and petty bribes, but anything more than a few gold should be carefully tracked on your character sheet along with your other equipment. This tool does not track what happens to the items & gold once they hit individual characters - it is purely a macro look at wealth.
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Special thanks to all the GMs and Players over the years who have contributed to this document in one form or another.