Dr Davaulus

Ariso Chivala's page

126 posts. Alias of littlehewy.

Dot away, friends!

Welcome to the gameplay thread

Hi folks, welcome to the new campaign, the Dales and Beyond. I'm very keen to get started, but firstly, we need to work out a few things, such as:

  • the alterations to your characters' backstories, given that we're now in the Dalelands
  • how your characters know each other (or at least some of the others)
  • where we are and what we're doing

    Though I'll offer suggestions for the first two points, in the end those things will be up to you. The last one is largely my domain. To summarise:

  • The party is already a party. I have ideas about who knows who and how you know each other, but we'll work that out together. The point is, you're all travelling together, and already have at least some brief experience working together as a team.
  • The party will start play as they enter Shadowdale. The plot hook will be dangled, and away we go.

    So please, check in with your aliases and start discussing or asking questions about the above topics.

    A few expectations...

    First, for the good of the game I'll ask you all to try to post at least once a day, in general. If you can't, let me know and I can keep things moving, no problem.

    Second, I intend this to be a long-running campaign, however, this isn't my first spin around the block, and I know that sometimes, for various reasons, people want or need to bail out. That's okay, it happens. But please drop me a line if you can't play anymore, don't just disappear into the ether! Also, I'd ask that everyone at least commit to the first adventure of the game. Over the last few days I have converted to 5e the adventure Beneath the Twisted Tower from the 2e Forgotten Realms Campaign Box. If you've played or run it already, you have two options: tell me and I'll work something else out; or don't tell me, and do your best to play like you don't know! After this adventure, I will dangle some options in front of the party, possibly to do with some of your backstories, and we'll go from there. If any of you aren't enjoying the game or feel like you can't keep up, that would be a good time to mention that to me.

    All in all, communication is the key. Let me know if you have any problems with anything. If it's about rules or one of my decisions, post it here rather than the gameplay thread, or message me directly if you'd rather.

  • Hi folks! Welcome to the City of Splendors campaign discussion thread. I'm really looking forward to running this campaign for you all, and I hope you're all excited about playing it. Before we jump into gameplay, I want to spend just a little bit of time discussing your characters, who already knows who and how you met, and the setting, including what you're all doing right now, and some of the current events happening in the North and Waterdeep. So please, check in with your aliases and feel free to start discussions or ask questions along the lines of the above topics. I'll be prompting things a little, and once we've got a general sense of who we are, how we know each other, and what's happening, I'll make the first post on the gameplay thread and we can get started!

    In addition, I just want to put forth a few expectations.

    Firstly, as mentioned, for the good of the game I'll ask you all to try to post at least once a day, in general. If you can't, let me know and I can keep things moving, no problem.

    Second, I intend this to be a long-running campaign, however, this isn't my first spin around the block, and I know that sometimes, for various reasons, people want or need to bail out. That's okay, it happens. But please drop me a line if you can't play anymore, don't just disappear into the ether! Also, I'd ask that everyone at least commit to the first, short section of the campaign, which will get the party to Waterdeep. That should coincide with reaching level 2, so I'd think that's only a month or two of play, or even less.

    All in all, communication is the key. Let me know if you have any problems with anything. If it's about rules or one of my decisions, post it here rather than the gameplay thread, or message me directly if you'd rather.

    As mentioned, the first section is a bit planned out, but once you reach Waterdeep I will mostly just be dangling a multitude of things in front of you and responding to what you go after. Most of you have things in your backstory that I'll give you the opportunity to explore too. If you want to create more of your backstory as we go in order to explore personal storylines, tell me here, and I'll work out a way to make it part of the narrative.

    Aaaand go!

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    Hi folks! After rediscovering my 2nd edition City of Splendors boxed set, I've decided to run a 5e Forgotten Realms game set in Waterdeep, in that era. This is around 1367 Dales Reckoning (335 NR), a decade after the Time of Troubles (when Cyric and Midnight became gods, just before Kelemvor did), just months before the novel Prince of Lies, six years before the return of Netheril, and a healthy twenty years before the Spellplague, a truly cataclysmic event that basically spelled the end of my love affair with the Realms as a living setting.

    Assuming more than 4 people submit characters (fingers crossed there are at least 4), I'll be selecting 4-6 PCs. They can hail from anywhere, but the game will begin somewhere northeast of Waterdeep, so they need a reason to be in that region. Characters will begin play as hired guards for a merchant caravan travelling from Mirabar to Waterdeep, so a desire to travel to Waterdeep would be helpful (also a willingness to work as a caravan guard!). After characters have been chosen for the game, players will need to devise some kind of connection or previous relationship with at least one other character (but possibly more).

    The setting itself has a few implications for D&D 5e, but the main one for character creation is that Dragonborn are not an option; they don't exist in the Realms yet (sorry Dragonborn lovers…). Character creation (and a few other) rules are pretty much straight out of the book, with a few exceptions, as follows:

    Character creation and rules:
    * Ability scores are generated by point-buy (27 points, min 8, max 15 before racial mods, as per PHB, p 13).
    * Core races except dragonborn (as mentioned); other races are discouraged, as I don't have the books for them, but hey, feel free to ask.
    * We will be using at least the core feats, so you can plan for them, or play a variant human. I can't promise I'll allow any other feats, but I do like to say yes rather than no, so long as what you want is reasonably balanced and makes sense.
    * Evil characters are discouraged. Try it on, by all means, but be prepared for disappointment (see below).
    * Ranger characters can use core ranger (if you really want to) or the UA revised ranger found here. I tweak the UA ranger slightly; if your first Favoured Enemy is humanoid, you must choose two humanoid races as per the core ranger, and similarly, the bonus language should be justified by your choice of favoured enemy. Also, the revised ranger's Primeval Awareness regarding the presence of favoured enemies seems far too specific, and I reserve the right to tweak that, negotiated with the player, as we go (I'm thinking somewhere in between core and UA version).
    * Unearthed Arcana options are likely to be given the go ahead; some things may need reskinning, others may not fit the setting, but in general I'm open to it. I'm not an expert on all things UA, so I'd have to look into each case and make a decision (again, negotiated with the player) about it on its own merits (as an example, the Raven Queen patron for warlocks has been approved, with a possible tweak down the line).
    * Please submit a decent description of your character's appearance, personality, and backstory (at least a short paragraph for each). This will be the main area I'll look at to decide the party. Quality is better than quantity, so it doesn't have to be an essay, but it can be if you want!
    * We will be using regular Inititative rules, adding the Action Options (especially Tumble through an enemy) in the DMG (pp 271-72), and also the Hitting Cover and Cleaving rules (DMG, p 272). I may occasionally use the Lingering Injuries rules (but not at all often, and maybe not at all if players hate them), and the Massive Damage rules, and maybe occasionally the Morale rules (DMG, pp 272-73), although I'll often just decide enemies (or allies) run away.
    * Any questions about character creation or rules used, just ask.

    A few things about me as a GM and the game I intend to run:

    The campaign:
    * I think it's important that people commit to posting, in general, at least once a day. I, too, exist in real life (two jobs, one teenage child, writing a masters thesis, Con 9 so sometimes ill, going to Europe in June), and so will sometimes be forced to give a heads up about a period of less frequent posting than usual. But players in those situations need to let the group know, and be prepared for the occasional whack of the bot stick.
    * I have an opening act roughly sorted on paper, which should see the party to Waterdeep, but after that I'd welcome as much PC direction on where your story goes as you would like to give. I have villains, organisations, plots, and dangers in mind, but what gets focused on, what becomes a side story, and what gets ignored all together will be up to you. Take Undermountain, for example. I'll probably tempt the party to go there at least once, but that might be it; then again, the riches that such a deep and dangerous dungeon offer might tempt you into extended trips there, or you might take up a cause that leads you there more than once. Whether Undermountain is peripheral or central to the campaign will be, like most things, up to you. If it ends up that the party wants to be railroaded, I can provide that as a last resort, but I'd rather not. I'll build the sandbox, you lot make the sandcastles.
    * I'm pretty permissive in general, and like to say yes more than no. However, for right or wrong, I really like staying somewhat true to a setting, so there are some restrictions in character creation for this campaign, as noted above. Your firbolg mechromancer from the future riding an adamantium flying octopus probably won't get selected for this one. Having said that, the Realms is a pretty diverse place, so there are plenty of interesting options that don't include adamantium flying octopuses.
    * I strive to be as fair as possible, and while I've been GMing 1e, 2e, 3.5, and PF since the early 90s, I have only run a bunch of 5e sessions so far; I'm not an expert with this system. If I do something wrong, I'm not trying to mess with you or the party, I've just made an error. Feel free to correct me, or point me in the direction of the right rule. Bear in mind that I may sometimes ignore or bend the rules slightly, for narrative purposes, and also to reward sweet ideas that players might have. So I encourage those who end up playing in this game to try things not specified in the rules; if you have a cool idea, ask how to attempt it! If it feels right (or not too wrong) and would make a badass story, we should be able to figure something out (although it might have a low probability of success!).
    * If you're not into roleplaying, engaging with a setting, and sometimes spending time bantering with NPCs for no specific plot-driven reason, this isn't the game for you. Combat is awesome, it's what gets the heart pumping, and there'll be plenty of it, but there'll also be plenty of time following PCs' personal goals, getting to know the folk of Waterdeep, and becoming a part of the city. Having said that, while characters don't need to be completely min/maxed, try not to gimp yourself; I estimate my combat difficulty can get to about a 4/5, so PCs who are not mechanically effective may well risk failure/death.
    * I'll generally try to stick to the recommended encounters/short rests per day, but that won't always be the case. Particularly in the city, there may only be one or two encounters in a day, so spellcasters (excepting warlocks) may feel a power boost, but they may also be limited by law (Waterdeep has many laws about reckless spellcasting, damage to people and property, etc). Conversely, there may be periods (particularly if you want to go into Undermountain) where the party faces many encounters in a row, with only the occasional short rest; probably nothing quite like the Battle of Bloodmarch Hill, but who knows…

    Finally, a bit about my thoughts on alignment/working with the party:

    Alignment rant:
    Alignment is a contentious thing for some, but in my experience, people take the murder hobo thing way too far, regardless of their alignment. If you want to play a neutral character, no worries, but in my understanding neutral means you care about you and yours (which may be family and/or friends) first, others second; it doesn't mean you don't give a rat's arse about anyone except yourself. That's evil. Even evil characters can (and in both literature and real life, do) often care deeply about some other people; in my experience, most players who want to play an evil character don't want to explore morality or shades of grey, they just want a reason to be able to ignore the needs and wants of other characters (and players) and focus on making their PC as powerful, wealthy, and awesome as possible.
    In a similar vein, if you want to play a paladin or some other LG character, you'd profit from making sure their views are tolerant enough that they won't turn in the party rogue for picking pockets or occasionally breaking in somewhere. Maybe model your paladin on that wonderful religious person you know in real life that maintains high ideals and standard of behaviour, but is generally forgiving of others and willing to see the good in people. Maybe don't model them on the inflexible Catholic schoolmaster who thought the strap was the best form of education, or worse, the people who did this stuff.
    So I guess those that want to play murder hobos, edge lords, misanthropes, intolerant and/or narrow-minded "do-gooders", or any other cardboard cutouts also need not apply. It's a team sport. I'm biased against evil characters and generally ban them, but if you can convince me that your bad guy can be friends with, work with, and trust a bunch of good guys, I may be swayed. Likewise, if you make your pally a team player, they stand much more chance of being selected to play :)

    Recruitment will be open for at least a week, maybe two or three. I'll give everyone plenty of warning before it closes.

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    Hi folks. So I've just discovered my old 2e City of Splendors boxed set, and I'd love to do a 5e campaign set in that era. This would be the end of 335 NR (1368 DR), so post- Time of Troubles (Cyric, Midnight, and Kelemvor are gods) but pre- the return of Netheril and the Spellplague (blech).

    It may also involve some of the dungeon crawls from Tales from the Yawning Portal, but will probably be based in an original storyline, likely involving the Harpers (and so would favour good-aligned PCs). PCs could be from anywhere, but would start somewhere between Mirabar and Waterdeep. The start might be slightly railroady, to get the characters installed in Waterdeep, then would be all about the sandbox. Could take place entirely in the city, or involve using Waterdeep as a base from which to travel the Realms. Could be working for the Harpers directly, or just having some contact with them, depending on how PCs decide. Could involve crazy dungeon crawls (I have the 2e Undermountain boxed set too), or could focus on RP, intrigue, and politics.

    Anyhow, I'm just trying to get a sense of how many people would be keen for this - at the moment, I'm trying to get a pbp game started for my old school crew, but they're dragging the chain real hard, so I might pull the pin on that, in which case I would definitely run this. I might run both anyhow. Or there may be no interest at all, which would make the decision for me.

    So feel free to voice your opinions on this idea! Go!

    This is where the rebellion begins.

    ...Or done that thing you know you should have, because it fulfils you and helps you get closer to your goals, whatever they may be?

    I've practised my scales today. Can't speak for tomorrow, but today I did :)

    I've received my Shadows of Esteren PDFs from the Book 2 Kickstarter, and I don't have time at the moment to run a game IRL. So of course, I'm posting this, as PbPs are the next best thing.

    A couple of comments:

    - I've started a PbP as GM on this site, and I've struggled to keep up, even though it involved my real life friends. We've had fast-paced periods, and stylistically I'm fine, but it's been on hiatus for a while as I realise I need lots of time to do it properly. The upshot is, I'd rather be a player in this one, not a GM.

    - I'd be interested in a fairly RP-heavy game, which I've found PbPs are perfect for. I play in a few games online here, and the two longest running ones are my favourites - one is a highly optimised Legacy of Fire, with lots of combat (though good interaction as well), while the other is a Wheel of Time conversion that goes months without a battle. Both are great, but the second style is more what I envisage for SoE.

    So, anyone out there keen to play or run a Shadows of Esteren game? I'd be up for playing through an adventure/scenario, and we could take it (or leave it) from there. I'd much prefer to play with people who have at least the first book themselves, so that everyone's fluent in the mechanics and the flavour, and if I had a choice I'd have an experienced GM to run it - but beggars can't always be choosers :)

    Also, if there are no suitable offers for GMs, I'll put my hand up - but I couldn't commit definitely for more than one adventure.

    So, anybody out there..?

    When our current AP finishes up (surely, before 2017...) I'm extremely keen to run something other than PF for a change of pace (unless I can convince someone else to run something... anything).

    To that end, I've checked out a couple of other RPGs. The three that are sticking out at the moment are Shadows of Esteren, Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy, and A Song of Ice and Fire. I've bought into Esteren's Kickstarter, so that's a pro for that game, but I've looked through the free starter pdfs for all three, and each of them has a certain intriguing flavour of their own...

    So to the boards I go! What I'm ideally hoping for is opinions from people who have played two or all three of them, and can offer comparative analyses. Failing that, the opinion of anyone that's played one of them would be most appreciated. I would also welcome recommendations for other games that people particularly like that I haven't yet considered - but if so, I'd prefer them to be current (and thus currently supported).

    Have at it folks - sell me a game :)

    New campaign details for context:

    I'm just starting a Pathfinder campaign with two close mates wherein we each play one of three evil drow brothers who have just been exiled from their Underdark city when it falls to an assault by a illithids and their multitudinous thralls. The idea is that as we're all about to get turned into driders (having been cut loose from our family after a botched assassination attempt on the war leader of a rival house), the illithids attack. The sacrifice of our PCs is interrupted, and between all the globes of darkness and the fwooping of mind blasts, the PCs escape into the drider tunnels - with nothing but the equipment they managed to loot from a single drow mook on the way out. The idea is, Underdark scavengers. Living off Nature's bounty, such as it is in the Underdark, able to buy virtually nothing.

    Having played games like Baldur's Gate, Resident Evil and Diablo, we're all familiar with the "Inventory Slot" system, and having played that first session, we're contemplating coming up with a similar thing for this. Actually, as I'll be GMing it 95% of the time (the other two have reluctantly agreed to run the odd session to let me not GM), I'm quite happy with standard encumbrance rules (albeit enforced strictly by the book, which I rarely do). However, the others are keen to explore this idea, so here I am :)

    Actual question: Has anyone ever used a slot system for gear with PF? I'm both canvassing for ideas, and keen to hear anecdotes on how successful/entertaining/fun it was.

    Cheers in advance!

    Longwinded summary of my RotRL situation:

    So on a whim I bought the PFS Scenario King of the Storval Stairs, and turns out it'll slot just nicely into my RotRL game. At the moment, my PCs are just heading back to defend Sandpoint from the stone giant raid, and have just gone level 11 at the nd of last session. I'm planning to include Sheila Heidmarch in Sandpoint so they can meet her (she'll know them from their extended exploits in Magnimar), and then recruit them.

    Couple of things:
    - The five person party is generally cruising through most battles in the AP. Xanesha was very tough, and tacticals errors made the battle with the scrag at Skull's Crossing a bit hairy, but overall I think they're itching for a real challenge.
    - Their PCs are all very well made, but they're a bit under typical WBL.
    - We're playing without XP, levelling at plot points.

    So, I was thinking, given that I don't need to worry about over XPing them, this scenario would be a good one to boost their treasure with. Also, they seem to be craving a serious challenge, and this seems to be a tough little adventure!

    Herein lies my worry. It looks really, really tough. So,

    I thought I'd get some feedback from any paizo.com experts who have played King of Storval Stairs about how deadly it is (and how fun it is too, I guess), and how well it might slot into Fortress of the Stone Giants.

    Please share your experiences with this scenario, PFS or not

    I'm running an initial playtest for a scenario I've written in a few hours, and I need some pregen PCs. I don't have enough time to make them from scratch, and I'm considering using characters from the NPC Codex. Does anyone have any reasons for or against this idea? Any quick responses would be appreciated, but I'm interested in people's opinions on this in general as well, as it may be a tactic I adopt for more playtesting in the future if it works ok.


    Just noticed this today. Here 'tis. Other FAQ goodies have gone up at the same time.

    Yay for the Rules Team!

    Westcrown. A city of extremes and contradictions. Once capital of the Empire of Cheliax and home to a mortal made god, now a crumbling metropolis, riddled with corruption and despair, and a forgotten city in a nation in league with devils. Bustling and loud by the bright light of day, yet night brings only fear and silence, as dark shadows stalk the city unchallenged. Folks on Westcrown proper’s dirty, garbage-strewn streets gaze across the waters of the Southrun and see the unblemished white stone towers and walls of the Regicona, the walled collection of canal-filled islands that is home to the noble families of the city.

    All of you have suffered personal hardship as a result of the government of Westcrown, be it through suspicious or negligent circumstances leading to loss of family, state sanctioned ill treatment at the hands of nobles, or as a slave to the ruling class. And though you have met each other seemingly by chance, through it all runs a subtle common thread – the whispers of the shadowy Council of Thieves. Rumoured to be the true power in Westcrown, many lay the city’s problems at the door of both this hidden group and Westcrown’s uncaring leaders.

    Someone, it seems, has taken notice. Known to certain people as a result of the rescue of Linoven of House Salisfer (or in the case of Berrin, as a capable friend of Attris), you have been individually contacted by a woman named Janiven. In the interest of Westcrown and its people, she has appealed to each of you in person to meet her at a place called Vizio’s Tavern at 4 o’clock today, well before the dusk curfew. A passionate, capable, and beautiful woman, Janiven would not reveal much, but has managed to dangle the right carrot before all of you to ensure your attendance.

    Feel free to describe what you'd like to do this day, whether it's buying stuff, gathering info, meeting with other PCs, or just turning up (early, late, or on time).

    Does anyone know of or have a conversion of creature and trap stats for the Seven Swords of Sin? I'm about to head into level 2 (tonight!), and it all starts to get a bit gnarly, so I figure it would be better to use converted stats if I can get my hands on them.

    Edit: If anyone has run this module for Pathfinder "as is", how did it fare? Was it still lethal, as it was intended to be? Or was it a bit more of a cakewalk?

    On a related topic, does anyone know of an online archive of Paizo OGL modules converted to Pathfinder?

    Thanks in advance :)

    Hello folks!

    We'll use this thread to discuss the characters you might wish to make. Feel free to post your ideas, brainstorm with each other, ask for assistance or anything else you wish to know.