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Hi Aeryn, you've posted so great questions, so here are a few more suggested answers>

1. Just to reiterate, Jonathan and I are tracking those stats down - I've just been looking at my version of a preliminary document, so we know they are out there!

2. Traits and feats - well, there are a few "bred and lived in the wilds"-type traits that seem best suited for in and around Rybalka, such as:

Dedicated Defender
Hunter's Knack
Kin Guardian (expand to members of a trade, or friends from a particular drinking den, or those who hunt together, perhaps?)
Nature's Mimic
Resilient

Devotee of the Green
Tireless Avenger

Cross-Disciplined
Desperate Resolve
Hedge Magician
Kin Bnd
Self-Taught Scholar

Beast Bond
Harvester
Life of Toil
Mercenary (think of this more as a result of trading skills and abilities rather than selling them. Money isn't as important in Rybalka as it is elsewhere - goods and services have more than monetary value!)
Poverty-Stricken
Weathered Emissary

These are just a few suggestions of the kind of thing residents in and around Rybalka would grow up with, and therefore PCs coming to the village will encounter and perhaps develop.

3. As for being in Rybalka, or any other place like it, you have a great list! Folks are coming to Rybalka as a result of a bounty being paid by the government in Mohkba, and so all kinds of people turn up as a result. Also, the Main Klavek kingdom isn't currently involved in any major war close to the capital OR on most borders, so many battle-hardened types are drifting towards places liemRybalka because of the Vikmoredere issue. Oh, and Rybalka does have a famed hotel, particularly good for such a remote place, as well as a renowned gambling spot (Fin Starling). Perhaps the party has taken a detour just to sample these.

4. I'll check with Jonathan about this.

~~S~~


Stephen here, one of the writers. Just a quickie; there ARE ststs for for Myharl Gryphonwind, Goldsneezer, Gregor Hawthorne, Thyron Warstriker, Sven Silvermane. Will Myers, another of the writers, put together stats for them for every two levels. There is an NPC resource that details various characters created by backers, and includes these five in great detail. Jonathan and I are currently hunting for it, as we're not sure where it has gone!

~~S~~


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As an outsider on this one, I'm really looking forward to what J.A.M master Justin produces. It's going to be one heap of fun!


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Excellent! Reading the adventure coming to life like this is fantastic - I can't wait for the next instalment. Cheers!


Hi there DM Papa, thanks for the message. This is one of those, "Err, how did I miss this out?" situations, so thanks for raising it.

The only obvious indication of the size of any part of the cathedral that I can quickly see I've included, which is the important point, is that the size of the entrance hallway is ten feet between the outer doors and the swing gates into the cathedral proper. This is correct, and means the following:

The hallway is 10 ft. by 20 ft., with the storage areas either side 15 ft. long and 10 ft. wide. The inner walls come to about 5 feet thick, making 55 ft. across in total.

The main section of the cathedral that holds the pews is 110 ft. by 55 ft. including the walls, which are fairly thin

The area with the altar is 25 ft. across and roughly 10 ft. deep.

The stairs are each 20 ft. long and 5 ft. wide (for "squares" purposes) wide.

For the rest of the maps, taking 1cm to be 10 feet gives you a working scale for "squares". This, for example, makes the first level of the bell tower (rooms 1-7) as good as 55 ft. by 40 ft. or 11 by 8 squares, while the first section of the crypt (rooms 12-25) is 45 ft. wide by 55 ft. long, so 9 by 11 squares.

I hope this helps, but if you have any other questions, do please ask! And I'll get this information out to everybody.

Happy gaming!

Stephen - co-author


Hi Chris, thanks for the comment on "true love" - certainly not too long and definitely worth reading!

Ok, as the person who (wanted to, argued for, and finally) wrote this, I will admit that there were two distinct camps for this idea, and you are in one of them. So let me give you a view of where I was coming from and why I tried to get a mechanic in place which, by the way, I'm going to be coming back to prior to the release of the hardback; thoughts such as yours are important to that book. Let me see if I cover all your thoughts here, but let me know if not.

Firstly, as a middle path, we put the suggested mechanic with the pomum rather than at the point Lumi might or might not fall in love because we didn't want to say you HAD to use it then - the line (something like) "You can use the mechanic from the pomum" rather than "You must" or similar was there because we love role-playing as much as you do and are more than happy for you to ignore the rolls and charts and get straight in there!

Secondly, however, there were two things I was considering with the suggested rolls: one, that some people aren't overly comfortable role-playing something deeply personal (I'll use your good choice of words deliberately here) like true love, or don't feel experienced enough to play it successfully, say, between two members of the same sex, and so giving them something to "get through the experience" seemed helpful; and two, I wanted to try and introduce the rather capricious nature of love in a fairytale setting by having it decided by, well, the luck of the dice! I'd taken a look at a lot of the Grimm brother's tales prior to suggesting the mechanic, and wow, do a lot of the ordinary folk get turned over when royalty appears. Of course, like you, a number of the writing team felt this was harsh - even over here in London I could feel things being metaphorically thrown at me by some of them :-D - but wanted there to be a way for some people to say "Look, Lumi IS in love with me and the dice say so!"

Thirdly, we did consider that Lumi might not want to fall in love with the prince. Along with many other endings - having to write EIGHT of them was fun - 3 and 7 do acknowledge this suggestion. However, in the first edition of the adventure, we were aiming for the fairytale ending, as we wanted this to be the "Snow White" that people know, and for the party/PCs to have played their part in the full story - the line, "Where this leaves the PC who may (or may not) have been in love with Lumi is another story," is meant to leave the "door marked revenge" open for a jilted PC to step through. But we realised this may well leave some GMs and players feeling like something was missing, and that is why as part of the Kickstarter, we will be going back to the whole "falling in and out of love" scenario to add some more options. These will only be there for IF, and only if, you want to use them, not must use them. Otherwise, as before, role-play away.

Chris, I can only apologise if you felt we'd not really tied up this loose end and hadn't made it clear enough that we'd love a GM like yourself to role-play this element of the tale from start to alternative finish, rather than roll those dice. It was an idea that caused more than a few heated discussions, more than any other component of the adventure, and came down to one vote for inclusion, so I can confirm you are not alone in your thoughts! I WILL be looking at this in more depth for the hardback version, and whilst I can't say that the "rolls and charts" version will go away, I CAN say that I'll be adding more thoughts and ideas to cover the points you make about role-playing. Finally, this will not only cover the suggested paths in the adventure, but will also include at least two additional endings that cover Lumi staying in ove with the PC.

I hope this helps, and thanks again for contributing to both the discussion and, in this case, the hardback development. Happy gaming!


Hi David, there are some interesting points here. When I wrote my parts of this, I tended to think in terms of number of encounters rather than XP per se. I'm more of a 3.5E player/gm, so make sure a party of four 1st level characters goes up a level after 13-14 1st level encounters, with a 3rd level encounter being equivalent to two 1st level encounters, and so on. Five PC would need 17-18 encounters, six PCs 20-21 (all roughly), etc

With that in mind, I put in LOTS of encounters, far more than are needed to go up a level for a 1st level party. In the first part of the prologue, there is an awful lot going on at the same time, and it "ought" to be impossible for the party to deal with all of it, as those consecutive events impact on each other - if you go to do A, B takes place and ends elsewhere, but C will still happen. However, if you go to do B, A will conclude with a result and C will be different, and so on.

As all the parts of the adventure path work this way, the suggested starting level for each section is about as good as we could get/agree on. We know that different parties will start at different points, but they will "gain less" as they deal with encounters, and perhaps not be at a particular level by a certain point. I know, I know, this almost certainly isn't "really helping" with what you want to do, but the reasonably rigid-looking way the example is laid out doesn't quite work with the vast sandbox that RotD in particular becomes, and we weren't of a mind to say that a party ought to be at X level before it can begin to tackle Events E, F, and G. If you are really stuck - and you certainy don't read like you are, more that you'd like things speeded up a little - let me know, and I go back and make some suggestions based on number of encounters.

Take care

- Stephen


Hi, Monkeygod, I know this is a month++ later than your post, but in the random encounter cards, there ARE some renegade drow, so the idea is a fine one. What I would say is that a drow PC would almost certainly draw all the initial fire in an encounter; most Holoth residents are very unforgiving. However, the flip side of this is that s/he may well attract other unhappy drow, those disgruntled with Maelora - who knows, maybe the drow is connected to Makinnga, which would make some of the encounters much more intriguing.


Very intruiging - I'm all for the antagonist being a BIG surprise, and Colin does that in spades!


Ahh, Muser, you've found me out! Now, no giving the game away!! :-D

If you are new to Adventure a Week, you won't be familiar with my naming process in all the adventures I write...if you ARE familiar, what others can you spot...Prince Ruhtin, perhaps?...Lord Herttua?


For those of you who are curious about the art work in "Rise of the Drow", there are some more images posted on its Facebook page, and some in Adventure-a-Week's page. Why not check them out?!


Hi guys, Stephen here, one of the folks on the front cover. Whilst Mike Myler deals with the nitty gritty of the questions, I thought I'd jump in with comments on some of the aspects that I work on. Going backwards from the latest posts, for which we thank you profusely as they all help us...

Carter Lockhart: yes, it is a traditional printer. If you listen very carefully, you can here all of these books settling as the ink steadily dries.

So... Bardadin, you will eventually see a real hardcover available for you to drop on your gaming table and scare your players witless!

Captain Moonscar: At present, the cost of the book is just that; what it costs to produce. The Kickstarter was very carefully costed, and the price point worked out so we could achieve all we wanted to (plus just a little more, as it turned out), and ensure that all the additional people we wanted involved could be paid properly for their efforts. Not wishing in any way to sound like a whiner, I have to say that for the core AaW team, this is a "labour of love" that will allow us to get going with the next Kickstarter we have planned. Having said that, as I think Mike has pointed out, we've looked to make additional materials more "price pleasant". But for a small company, printing hardcovers of around 500 pages is an...interesting...endeavour.

Asmodeus: unless Mike or Jonathan have already approached you, you are more than welcome to contact me directly with your concerns and someone will look into your particular situation - stephenyeardley@aol.com is my working email.

Magnuskn and RoystaDoysta: I was responsible for the overarching descriptio of the adventure, and wanted to try and keep some elements cloaked to avoid player spoilers. However, in light of your omments and another on another site, I WILL be re-writng this to include more "main event events". Thanks for the helpful views on what might make this more eye-catching.

Cyrad: We want people to love this book, of course we do, but are not daft enough to believe that there won't be many different views. We respect what everyone feels about our products and always take their thoughts forward. If you wish to let me know directly, please use the email above. I'll leave it at that.

All in all, we hope this is something you will all enjoy, however you receive and use it.


Hi Toadkiller Dog, it's Stephen here, one of the authors. I (we, all of us who have worked on this) hear exactly what you are saying - yep, the drow are matriarchal, they have ambition, they step up to the plate...sooo, what's new and why should you or anyone else be interested? OK, anyone else reading this: THERE MAY HAVE TO BE A SPOILER OR TWO! So, close your eyes for a few minutes whilst I talk with the Toadkiller, please...

Have they gone? Where was I? Oh yeah, talking about what we did with this. Well, from the outset...

Spoiler:
the aims and ambitions of the drow matron turn out to be a ruse, actually just a subplot to what is going on. She's a pawn being played by the real enemy, the Vidre. And if you don't want to concentrate on them, then one of the matron's children is next in line for your attention: Makinnga is at the head of a possible undead rebellion, with her generals all laid out for you to take advantage of. Don't want them? The next possibility is using the advanced chokers on their flying mounts, a result of mushroom-fuelled enhancement. Or maybe you want to use the giant, fully sentient fungi druid to lead a fightback against all those that endlessly kill and eat his offspring. And so on. We needed something to hang the idea of the Adventure-a-Week underworld onto, and this is it. We think in our minds/hope in your mind if you see this, that we have put together an entire setting, with a dozen or so fully formed protagonists. Of course, you may look and disagree, which could happen, but we hope not, and those good folks at Paizo, who admittedly have the advantage of seeing and reading the book, think so too, which is great for us! I guess future reviews may help, and we're hoping to get them sometime soon. All I can say, Toadkiller, is that this really is much more than the surface seems to present, and "drow matron's ambitions" are very much the beginning.
... and therefore I hope you get to see this, or talk with people who have. Happy gaming and thanks for the question!


So, Adventure-a-Week has released its mega-adventure, "Rise of the Drow", and it's a fine product indeed. I've got this and the Random Encounter cards, so there may be a spoiler or two here, although I'll try to avoid them.

The original trilogy threw parties into AaW's take on the Underworld, and the story took PCs from a first encounter through to a huge final encounter. It was a great way of introducing players to the pitfalls and perils of below-surface adventuring, but it was clear that there was room for more, and this is what is now available.

Just about everything has been expanded, from the approach to the way into the Underworld all the way through to the final events. The dwarven enclave of Embla and the drow city of Holoth have been expanded, as ahve the mushroom fields near by and the rota of residents living close to both urban centers. There are more races, classes and the action is much more involved. A party that deals with everything fully deserves to reach the upper levels of experience, but even if a group decided NOT to play everything, then it will still be challenged and entertained in equal measure.

I like the way the story flows, and especially the decision-making that is involved. Encounters are varied through out, and it is easy to "bite of more than can be chewed" in several places. Also, not every encounter is "clear cut", and sometimes the risk/reward ratio has to be carefully considered. This means that some sites need to be revisited, keeping the whole adventure very fresh throughout.

As I've said, I also have the Random Encounter cards: in case there isn't enough for the PCs to do, here are 120 other events around the two cities and in the Underworld itself, just to keep them busy. These are frequently presented as trades, deals, problems to be solved, or puzzles to overcome. It seems the characters on them are backer-created from the Kickstarter that brought us the book, and most have the name, a little back story, the important characteristics and the event that occurs. How the PCs deal with each one is up to them, but there is the AaW suggestion if you wish to use it.

Overall, this is an interesting book, with much that can be pulled in all kinds of directions. Indeed, when I look at some of the content, it is clear that some areas could be expanded again, if a GM wishes. Otherwise, thare is so much to "take" from it, you will be busy for months to come.


Hi Kyle, Stephen here, one of the authors. We're pretty sure you'll enjoy the twists, both as a GM and a player. There's nothing like a little bit of double-dealing in an adventure like this, so in some places it's triple (and at one point, quadruple!) dealing, just to add some spice. Take it easy!


Yep, kicked a dozen or so around, am now honing a trio, will decide on which to use if I somehow happen to make it through. All will appear at somepoint elsewhere if not, probably expanded to a prestige class.


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Hi gang, Stephen here, one of the AaW team that does occasional writing and lots of editing.

@Owen, way back - I have an urban thread underway, set in the giant realms of our land. It'll be an adventure path that spreads out across a city having started as a metaphorical stone dropping in a pond. It'll be coming out over the next few months.

@Bob Loblaw - the start of the above thread can be "Good vs Good", although "Lawful vs Lawful" is potentially more possible. It involves resolving a complicated court case by allowing the accuser to access the property of the defendant for one hour - look for high level encounters throughout, along with golems and summoned defenders! There are more possibilities below of "good vs good".

@GM Elton - there will be dinosaurs - in the land of the giants, dinosaurs are what children ride to prepare for any future wars. As for adult giants; they ride BIG dinosaurs, so the party has to deal with quite enormous creatures. Expect it some time early next year.

As for those of you who want to have an "out of body" adventure, keep an eye out for what can happen when Summoning Conjuration and Transmutaion Reincarnation get mixed up and go horribly wrong.

And for an adventure based in a maze, look out for "From Night to Day" - it's set in a library that has an alarming tendancy to confuse those that aren't thinking intelligently by shifting its shelves and racking.

Two more ideas: what does a good party do when confronted by newly-enlightened creatures that are "gooder" than them but are usually thought of as mindless AND what do they do when some other good guys have cheated on what appears to be the bad guys? This may be for you, @Tony Rabiola

Finally, anyone want to be "the monsters" defending against "the PCs"? Do you have a gaming group big enough to play this, or perhaps think of it as a convention game? Let me know. And truly strange settings? Other than an upside-down giant's home that has a damaged-and-malfunctioning weather machine in it? Again, let me know!


Sorry Sigismund, too many words for this round - six is your free allowance - you may have to save it until your next turn!


Dweedletoes, it's time for you to consider your options...


All around you, fights are beginning to break out.

The scratching sound Vlad heard is clear - every rat in the place is heading towards your table.


As you watch, you see the raging man rapidly slow, until, fist inches front Vlad's face, he goes rigid! The spell has worked!


Sigismund, you momentarily feel as if your retinas are on fire, but manage to quickly blink out the sensation. With just one or two spots of flaring light still dancing in front of you, you cast your spell towards Grunt!


Vlad strikes out with a grabbed chair and brings it down onto the menacing Grunt. Most of it breaks over his outstretched arm, but he is showered by sharp pieces of of wood and is clearly hurt by them.

The woman with the rapier sheath glances at you all and hurls the plates at Dweedletoes; the wooden platters catch him squarely on the side of the head as he goes to duck under the table and the woman ducks down too, looking to see where he has gone.

The other woman, standing behind Grunt, points at Sigismund and says a few words. A barely perceptible wave of energy rapidly flows towards his face an, at the last moment before striking the bridge of his nose, bursts into a bright flash of fire and light - A FORTITUDE save please Sigismund. If you succeed, you can cast your spell.


Don't worry about the unarmed stuff - I'm going to be pretty free-and-easy with it here.


Vlad, it's your move!


Thanks Sigismund, there's a bit to go before you, but I'll bear it in mind.


Ok, as written before, the clerical-looking Black Bear mutters a few words and slaps the big man, Grunt on the back. grunt visibly swells in front of you, his muscles bulging even further from his hide armour. He grabs a chair and bellows in rage - surely he's not increasing in size and strength - and swings it at Vlad!

He's obviously done this before - the crashing sound of the flimsy furniture coming down onto Vlad's skull, shattering into a thousand pieces and sending them everywhere isn't pretty. A wound appears down the right side of Vlad's head, blood flying out after the pieces of chair. everyone to the right of Vlad is sprayed with this gore.

However, Vlad has taken the force of the blow, as he intended and, with his head ringing from too much ale and now this blow, retaliates!


For what it's worth, here's my dice bag

http://www.d20srd.org/extras/d20dicebag/


And did you split up the items from A1 to A5 to your satisfaction? It did look like it, although you may want to barter some away to Quorron so Jegres and Sigismund aren't quite so "unprotected"...


And Sigismund, did you sort your hp out?


Vlad, how many hp do you have please? I just have it as 6d10 +18, not the total you rolled


And I'm really happy for you to just roll any dice that are to hand.

What I would like from all of you is a list of twenty six d20 rolls, just as they come. Call them A,B,C and so on. Sometimes I will need to keep something to one side unless you succeed - a listen or spot usually - and I quite like the "oh, Vlad, by the way, you see something in the dark corner..." and have it as a pleasant surprise.


Sorry Dweedletoes - no weapons allowed in the Thirsty Serpent - Fin insists, as cleaning up entrails takes up too much time!


Thank you Vlad - just Dweedletoes to go. Those Bears look like they mean business!


Sigismund, you will, of course, go before Jegres. Some of the Black bears seem better prepared than you too...


Thank you Sigismund, thank you Jegres, for now now you don't see or hear what the rolls were for. We'll await the others!


For a man who has been drinking steadily for the whole time you've been in the inn, Grunt seems incredibly agile as he approaches. The man in black robes, with a tonsure haircut and a holy symbol hanging around his neck, grasps the symbol and places a hand on Grunt's shoulder as the big man brushes by him; Grunt seems to swell in front of you, visibly more physically impressive.

The man with the eye-patch stands, grabs the few remaining pieces of cutlery and takes a step back. The petite and vivacious young woman wearing tight black leather knee high boots positions herself behind Grunt and recites a few words. You can't be sure, but a new noise can be heard over the rising sound of the inn crowd .

ANOTHER ROLL FROM EVERY ONE PLEASE, THIS TIME A LISTEN ROLL.

Finally, the skinny woman with long jet black hair, also dressed all in black with a rapier sheath at her side, grabs a couple of plates and moves back a little from the table.

At the bar and around the edges of the inn, the noise from the other drinkers increases a little, and discussions sound a tad more heated.


Of course, your instinct is to reach for your weapon. But Fin Starling runs a tight inn, and all weapons are expected to be stored behind the bar, locked away.

Grunt, however, has dispensed with the serving lad and now has a chair in hand, grasping it by one of the front legs. He's approaching Dweedletoes with a look on his face that suggests he is much keener about this than he ought to be!


The big man, serving lad currently in hand but dragging him backwards, is up and out his chair. With a sweep of his free hand, he swipes food and drink over you, covering a couple of his own group in the process. The man with the eye-patch barks, “Grunt, no!” but it is too late. The others clench their fists and move towards you!


As Vlad sits back down again, it seems as if Dweedletoes is ready to spend his recently acquired coin already - not that four coppers and half a bronze is going to get much. Dweedletoes makes a big show of calling over a serving lad, who seemed to be on his way towards you anyway. As the lad changes his direction, there is a growl from the Black Bears - "You! Squirt! The boy was coming to take MY order!"

The over-muscled hulk of a man, a sour look on his face, grabs the lad as he approaches Dweedletoes. Holding him by the scruff of his neck, he rumbles menacingly, “Where d'ya think you’re going, worm?”

Two roles everyone please. One Spot, one Initiative!


Right, I managed to get my account cancelled by asking "How might I do it?" and it being done in a trice, but I'm back!