Joel Flank wrote:
My perspective is that as long as you don't contradict something that's official, adding something new that wasn't mentioned is just fine, if not actually encouraged.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Apep is an Osirian serpent god, as outlined on pages 24 and 25 of the Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, or recapped on PathfinderWiki here. So you've contradicted established canon here...
Canon was indeed contradicted here. Just sayin'.
Though Razorbreath Chasm feels more Hoarfrost than Red Snow Ravine, I think I have to agree that he's really not using the sort of big-game hunter tactics that I really wanted to see from him. The bear-trap thing showing up in two entries is particularly annoying, since it's the only real 'hunter' vibe we're being given here. Yes, they were listed in his equipment, but it seems that he'd be smart enough to use the location to his benefit, especially considering the possible hazards you called out but did not use.
I'd say this is the best entry of Hoarfrost as originally intended, but not as satisfying as such a visceral villain could have been
I really wanted to hate this entry for putting the barbarous Hoarfrost into an urban environment, but then the Snow White/10th Kingdom connection with the monarch employing a vicious hunter clicked, and I was hooked. This looks like a lot of fun, though if I were to run it, I would probably have thorn traps trigger above the path on anyone that tried to fly over it, despite the navigation difficulties (which would definitely be mitigated by any AoE fire spell).
All in all, really interesting, well worded write-up, and nice curve-ball with Hoarfrost.
"Worse, you place a secret door at a place where there is plainly and obviously a room behind it."
I'm pretty sure you're reading that one backwards. The secret door seems to be intended to prevent discovery by someone going down to the cellar for a nice merlot, and finding way more than they bargained for. Just a guess ;)
james knowles wrote:
"To me, Varstrius isn't the villain in this encounter, The flesh golem creating wizard is."
IDK, I could find plenty of reason to want to kill the creator, the employer, and the creation. Hell, I think I just want to torch the whole house and be done with it! Great feel, I like your writing, though you started with a strongly creepy guy, which helped you out a lot. Good show, though I'll have to finish reading before I give this one a vote.
This does definitely read like a side-quest, and there are some abilities that would make this quite a lot easier, but what breaks this for me is this hunter type having his lair so badly set up for the ambush that he obviously intends. Some avalanche traps could be devastating in those narrow passages, and why couldn't the waterway have been dug specifically to provide a handy trap in cold weather? All it would take would be to routinely break up the ice in specific parts of a moat-like trench, let them freeze over just barely, then cover them with snow, and you'd have great hypothermia-inducing pit traps. The flanking point has already been brought up, and I also think it would be a great idea to have a trapped, hidden path for Hoarfrost to get around his quarry and wreak havoc from a secured spot on the lip of the canyon, possibly after cutting off escape with an avalanche in area 2.
Just lots of missed opportunities here that could easily have been put in with those extra 200 words.
I'm loving all that's going on in this submission, though it doesn't hurt that I really liked Tarvin from the get-go. The idea of using the environment as a weapon is something that you don't see too often, so the novelty of the approach outwieghs the CR problems for me, too. Well done. (Oh, and pretty map! We really need to know what program you're using)
I play home-brew for the most part, so the Golarion continuity issues are over my head, but I really love the epic introduction, and your encounter is really, really cool. Just so MANY ways to die (beaten down by the screaming zealot, pulped by surprise earth elementals, knocked into the tar and sunk, dragged in by surprise tentacles bursting from the goop, knocked/dragged in and burned to death by the unintended consequences of the sorcerer's fireball, wow), I could really see loving this as a GM.
The inclusion of screwy magic effects would probably push this one up in CR, considering the opposition relies largely on melee prowess, but it would have been another great wrench to throw into the PCs plans, as well as good tie-in flavor for the location, so a missed opportunity there. The map is troublesome for me as well, and I could see some misinterpretation causing problems.
Overall, this is just too cool to ignore. You could have my vote on this one.
I really like the back story of this location, despite quibbles about deity choice and such, and can see some major mid-level mojo going on down in the dungeon with unspecified big baddie. The mention of the holy men succumbing to insanity could bring in some really freaky Cthulu-esque mind games, but that's not a part of this encounter at all, and that disappoints me a bit. Really, it seems like the PCs should be on their way to keep the evil from escaping, and just happen to come across Mr. Knave squatting on their dungeon. Perhaps Venarys has been drawn here by the evil power below, and is using it (or it's using him) to foment chaos in the world above, though that doesn't quite seem his bag. I'd just like to see a solid connection with the villain and the history of the place to give me a reason why him, why here, why now. The elements are there, but you've missed the connect.
Secondly, I'm with Mr. Dancey on your magical effects blind spot. It's already been pointed out that the Gentleman Knave is a bit lacking in magical defenses, so it seems like you'd have had a heads-up to watch for those kinds of attacks against him, and maybe include a spellcaster lieutenant of some kind to mitigate some of those effects. Given, a custom spellcaster opponent could eat a lot of word space, but there may be something in the GMG that would serve well enough (don't own that tome yet, so I don't really know)
Sean Reynolds's points on grammar and wording are well taken, and following them will take the final product a long way toward sounding like professional, polished work.
Niel's point on a lack of cinematic excitement was a really big one, too. As a player, this looks like a couple of cleaves and a fireball to clear the lackeys, then trading punches with the lieutenants and the Knave, then a big disappointment when the one with the good loot slips off at the last minute. Some dramatic dialogue ("They've found us out boys!", or something) followed by the Knave jumping up onto the table for the high ground advantage, coupled with some flashy magic from a caster lackey could do a lot for the excitement level here.
I have yet to read the rest of the entries, so I'll reserve final judgment, but I'm not ecstatic about this one.
Niel Spicer wrote:
That said, we may just do a seminar at this year's PaizoCon where we workshop wondrous items together in a more holistic manner. And, along with some group participation, we may just collectively design a Superstar item that's worthy of making the Top 32. And, for those who can't make it, maybe we'll film it and post that as extra "advice" for next year...
I'd like to throw a little more momentum behind this idea, especially posting as a video for those who can't make the Con. Being able to hear some pros talk about item creation would be amazing. In fact, a webcast on various aspects of content creation, with a focus on GMing and homebrew content, would be an amazing addition to the community at large. Is there anything like that on the web that anyone knows of?
Glimwicket's Instant Stone
Aura: moderate transmutation; CL: 10th
Slot: --- Price: 900gp Weight: 10lbs.
This large oilcloth pouch contains a gallon of lumpy, grayish goo which hardens into a stone-like substance (hardness 8, 30 hit points) 1 round after being removed from the pouch. Glimwicket's Instant Stone has a consistency similar to very soft dough, and any amount may be removed and molded into any crude shape (wedge, ball, block, disc, etc) before hardening.
The goo can also be applied to an object or creature, to which it adheres thoroughly before hardening. A handful of Instant Stone may be hurled at a creature as a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 10 feet. A Medium or smaller creature hit with Instant Stone is splattered with the substance, which hinders its movements upon hardening. Affected creatures suffer a -1 penalty to all attacks, and a -2 penalty to dexterity. The creature must also succeed at a concentration check (DC15) to cast any spell with a somatic component due to the weight and stiffness of the stone. One melee weapon may be coated in Instant Stone as a standard action or melee Sunder attempt (if the weapon is held by another creature). If so coated, the weapon deals bludgeoning damage instead of its normal physical damage types, and causes its wielder to take a -2 penalty to attack rolls with the weapon as a result of the considerable weight of the stone. Four uses in either of these fashions are contained within a pouch of Glimwicket's Instant Stone.
The goo retains its hardness for one minute or until dealt enough direct damage to reduce its hit points to zero, at which point it crumbles into a fine powder.
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, Stone Shape; Cost: 450gp