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Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai 40 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 Organized Play characters.


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So last session my players reached start of the road to Xin-Shalast. Such is a cause for song and celebration (or so says our party bard).

minor description spoiler:
"...an ancient road paved with flat stones that have a faint sheen of gold to them." (RotRL AE p320)

Description of Xin-Shalast: "The building materials are several varieties of stone quarried from the rock faces of the Kodar Range, including a hard green marble similar in appearance to emerald." (RotRL AE p324)

Oh, well played, Paizo and Greg Vaughan. Very well played indeed.

Follow the Golden Road
Follow the Golden Road
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the Golden Road

Follow the Avah's ghostly stream
For we are a kick-ass team
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the Golden Road

We're off to fight the Runelord,
The terrible Runelord of Greed
He hear he was a ruler of Xin
If ever an evil wiz there was
If ever, oh ever an evil wiz there was
The Runelord of Greed is one because
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the horrible things he does

We're off to fight the Runelord,
The terrible Runelord of Greed


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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Also, just in case it wasn't clear, I'm moving on to exciting new opportunities and—while it does leave me misty eyed—this is an amicable parting. :D

All the best with your new opportunities, Wes.

Those are some big shoes you're leaving to be filled - though Paizo is brim full of talent.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Sad to say we weren't able to get gaming on Mount Longonot - two days before we planned to run the event, someone fell off the crater rim and the Kenyan authorities closed the mountain to the public.

Had our initial plans gone ahead, we may just have squeaked in before the closure, but our borrowed car went in for repairs and it took us a while to sort out an alternative.

We did visit Lake Naivasha, close to the foot of the mountain, which served as a recce mission for a later attempt; I think even if original plans had gone ahead, we were being overoptimistic about using Nairobi as a base for the ascent; it took about two and a half hours to get to Longonot from there.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

I'll print that out as a just-in-case. Haven't looked at that yet. ;)

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

I ran Citadel of Flame when we ran our games in the Arabian Desert

I could run it again as Core Campaign (two of the players are the same) but I decided to go with the Garundi setting. We will be in African hills - Scions part 1 seems appropriate.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

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Anyone looking for a game in Kenya at the end of July?

Members of the UAE Lodge will be running Scions of the Sky Key Part 1 under core campaign rules on the rim of the stratovolcano Mount Longonot.

We'll be running one table. Well, I say table, but it depends if we can find one light enough to lug up the volcanic slopes.

Event details

If you can't make the crater rim, we'll see about running some sessions in Nairobi or Mombasa during the first two weeks of August.

You can contact me via email in the event listing if interested.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

... or even better, a volcano in Garund.

Some of you may remember the UAE PFS lodge running games in the Arabian desert a couple of years ago, and the boards provided some great ideas for desert-based scenarios we could run.

This summer we're going abroad. I won't reveal the whole of the plan just yet, but if anyone could point me to a scenario set in or around a volcano, or the Garundi savannah, it would be very useful.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

We've a thriving gaming community and a PFS lodge here.


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Yes, I like Pathfinder. A lot.

I don't believe it to be the End All game - but I don't believe such a game exists or will ever exist.

I've been playing RPGs for nearly 35 years, starting with Dr Holmes' Basic D&D. And I've played a good number of systems - RuneQuest, Traveller, Rolemaster, Chivalry & Sorcery, The Fantasy Trip, GURPS, HarnMaster, Hero System and more.

Pathfinder has a good mix of character definition (what your character can do is quantified mechanically) and tactical decision making. It shares that with 3.5. But what I get out of the Paizo/Pathfinder team is a sense of fun that I didn't get out of 3.5 particularly. I know that seems a little weird as in a number of cases, the Pathfinder team was part of the 3.5 team, but I find Pathfinder just bubbles with fun.

Pathfinder is not a simulationist game, like many I've played over the years. It's happily ensconced in the Game end of the Game-Sim-Narrative corner of the triangle.

But like all games, one can emphasise different elements, and I like to emphasise the roleplaying element. I build characters to a concept, not by optimising race/class/feat combinations.

Golarion itself is a fun world. Yes, I can see the joins, and I don't mind them at all.

So yes, I like Pathfinder. It isn't the only game I play, even now - but it is my mainstay.


Cross-over as I re-read the feat and edited my original post. Thanks anyway - wasn't aware of the skull ram. ;)


I've a player who's taken Enforcer and Orc Weapon Expertise (Thug) for his half-orc inquisitor. By his interpretation the combination is devastating.

Quick overview:

Enforcer allows Intimidate as a free action when you do non-lethal damage. The amount of damage done is how many rounds an opponent is shaken.

Orc Weapon Expertise (Thug) means you always do 1 point of non-lethal damage on a successful attack in addition to the regular weapon damage.

My player's interpretation is that if he hits with his greatsword, doing say 11 pointds of damage, plus his 1 point of non-lethal damage, a succesful Intimidate makes the target Shaken for 12 rounds.

That's true by RAW. I wonder if the Shaken is only for 1 round under RAI, as he only did 1 point of non-lethal damage.

Reviewing the build, I also note that Orc Weapon Expertise applies only when using a weapon woth 'orc' in the name. Are there any beside the orc double axe?


Dire mice got it.

Do you have any Double Gloucester, Double Gloucester?

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Welcome, Kirill.


I am also having this problem reporting two sessions.

All the players tell me they are properly registered. They may not have registered specific characters - but in both cases we were playing We Be Goblins, and one players wasn't sure at the time which character she'd be applying credit to.

I'm finding this frustrating - this didn't used to happen.


Re: the maps folio - these are not battlemaps. There are some suitable as handouts (Sandpoint, the Hinterlands, etc) and some that are maps of adventure sites, useful for the GM so you don't have to keep flipping pages.

I'd say they're worth having, but not essential. They won't replace your Chessex battlemap, though.


The first time I had a stab at running Runelords was the first time I'd run a published campaign in many years. Since GDQ in 1st edition. I didn't handle it as well as I'd have liked.

The advice to spend time getting to know Sandpoint is excellent. Even more than that, find ways to put some of the background on the table. Until it's on the table it doesn't exist as far as the players are concerned.

Second time around, I'm evaluating each little bit of background and asking how I can work it in, foreshadowing later events if possible.

I'd strongly advise listening to Big Finish's audio version of Burnt Offerings. It's surprising how much background they fit into Mayor Kender's speech. On of my next tasks is to write speeches for Kender, Belor, Cyrdak and Father Abstalar. Then I'll be going through the list of games, adding some of my own, and working out which NPCs the PCs will be competing against.

There's even more opportunity after that raid.

Scour the scenarios for potential connections. Thistletop mentions an attack on Merchants, so the survivors should appear in Sandpoint wh3n the players are there.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

The Fox wrote:


Consider breaking into two groups. Everyone will get a lot more out of each session if you have the smaller tables.

That's exactly what we're planning to do. I don't have the time to run two groups on top of PFS, so we'll be meeting tomorrow to sort out who will run the second group and which players will join which GM.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

kinevon wrote:


Note that, as a home campaign, and only if you feel up to handling the confusion, you are not limited to the legal PFS table size of 3-7 players.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. It's logistically too much, not rules too much. I'm concerned about length of combats and the difficulty of getting 9 players to all show up for sessions, players are concerned about 'screen time'.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

If you find the non-sanctioned parts pointless, just run the sanctioned parts under PFS rules using PFS characters. It'll seem a little disjointed, but continuity is one of the things we try not to look too hard at in PFS. ;)

I'm prepping to run the entire thing with some of my PFS players precisely because it offers us something PFS does not. We'll run it as a home game, with non-PFS characters, but still applying Pathfinder rules with the same attention as we play PFS. They'll be able to take their time, do more roleplaying, more exploring, go off the beaten path. We want those non-sanctioned parts to scratch itches PFS doesn't reach.

And they'll get chronicle sheets to pass off to their PFS characters when they complete the sanctioned parts. Bonus.

The only problem I have is that I currently have 9 PFS players looking for the change of pace, and that's far too many.


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For my Runelords campaign I've prepped a little songlist for Ameiko to play at various times in the Rusty Dragon.

I've decided to use the Yorkshire folksinger Kate Rusby as a stand-in for Ameiko for a couple of reasons (not least of which is I love her work and have a good deal of it).

1) Rusby works exclusively acoustically.

2) Her repertoire being primarily traditional folk songs, it's in keeping for a fantasy game. Rustic songs, old love songs, sea shanties.

3) She has an amazing voice, which is very much in keeping with Ameiko.

The downside is that Rusby doesn't play the samisen. ;)

I'm not planning on overdoing it, because not all my players share my taste in music. Just enough to give them a taste and do some scene-setting.

Here's a description of the songs I'm planning to use (including the version; Rusby's done several recordings of some of her songs), and links to YouTube performances in case anyone else wants to follow suit.

The evening before the Swallowtail Festival

I'm planning this as a kind of pre-session so PCs can meet and interact with Ameiko and other Sandpoint locals before the festival.

Sir Eglamore (studio version from the Hourglass album)

An upbeat nonsense song about a knight fighting a dragon. Cheerful, and sets the scene for what happens to Sandpoint later. YouTube link to this version.

Matt Hyland (studio version from the Little Lights album)

Heaps of foreshadowing. A story of a beautiful young noblewoman whose father disapproves of her choices. There was a lord, who lived in this town, who had a handsome lovely daughter... The secret love angle helps introduce one of the rumours about Ameiko (and I have no hesitation about having an NPC turn round as Ameiko's playing it and telling the PCs the rumour). It could have been written for Runelords. YouTube link to this version

Optional addition: Sho Heen (re-recorded studio version from the 20 album)

This version has a gentle banjo backing that's about as close to a samisen as anything in my music collection. It also lets Rusby's voice soar. However, it's optional because it's just a beautiful song and doesn't serve to foreshadow or introduce any background. YouTube link to an earlier version without the banjo

The evening after the goblin raid

Who now will sing me lullabies? (studio version from the Hourglass album)

A deeply emotional song of mourning and grief. Grown men will weep. An NPC will turn teary-eyed to the PCs and explain Ameiko wrote it after her mother's death. Ameiko will play this song, then close the Rusty Dragon early. Since the PCs are staying at the Rusty Dragon, that gives them a chance for some interaction time with Ameiko and Bethana.YouTube link to live version

Subsequent evenings

Let Me Be (studio version from Underneath the Stars)

A jaunty song about a woman wishing suitors would leave her alone fits Ameiko quite well. (They say a girl like me should wed, take a man to lay in my bed, but I would rather stay young and free and, oh, I wish they would let me be...) YouTube live version.

The Duke and the Tinker (Studio version from Sleepless)

All the slow, sentimental stuff needs a lift. A bit more upbeat and funnier. YouTube link

The Wild Goose (studio version from Sleepless)

A rousing sea shanty that Rusby, in her own words, "coloured pink and made girly". If you want something closer to the original, you'll find your pirate crew singing it in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. YouTube link to live version

Bring me a Boat (studio version from Underneath the Stars)

Just a lovely song. This version has the samisen-like banjo. The disadvantage is that there's an inappropriate geographical reference, to the River Tyne in England. I think I'll get away with it. YouTube link to this version


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I'm wrestling with the timeline myself as I prep Runelords.

I've spotted some discrepancies in the excellent work above (and in Runelords itself of course). Most of these relate to the Kaijitsu family and the Late Unpleasantness

Page references relate to the Anniversary Edition.

Runelords background:

Ameiko's return: Rusty Dragon entry (p382) says Ameiko has run the inn for 6 years. If the start time is October 23 4707, this means she is in town before the Late Unpleasantness of 4702, yet we know from Bethana (p27) that she returned to Sandpoint for her mother's funeral and her mother died during the Late Unpleasantness.

Solution: amend p382; Ameiko has run the Rusty Dragon for 5 years, not 6.

Kaijitsu birthdates: Bethana's background reveals Tsuto is born in 4888, and Ameiko in 4889. This makes Ameiko 13 at the time she returns to Sandpoint after a year of adventuring, and 18 in the 'present day'.

Solution: amend p27, on the assumption there has been a partial edit of the timeline for the Anniversary Edition. Tsuto is born in 4884, Ameiko in 4885. This makes her 22 in the 'present day', and 17 when she returns to Sandpoint to open the Rusty Dragon (I'm more comfortable with a 17 year old running a pub than a 13 year old).

The Late Unpleasantness This occurred 'late in the year' in 7202. The timeline in above puts it in the middle of the year. No real issue. However, the description of the Late Unpleasantness indicates Chopper's killing spree lasts 1 month, and Naulia doesn't burn the chapel until 1 month after Chopper's death (p373).

Solution: amend timeline above.

With these in mind, here's the timeline I'll be using, based on the ecxellent work by posters above with my own modifications:

-10543 Years ago Karzoug born

-10466 Years ago Karzoug becomes Runelord of Shalast

-10050 Years ago Runeforge founded

-10000 Years ago Thassilon Falls

-9000 Years ago Darkness in skies from Thassilon's fall ends

-150 Years ago Ghlorofaex (Blue Dragon) discovers ruined Xin-Shalast

-120 Years ago Mokmurian born

10/17/4597 -90 Years ago Mokmurian exiled from tribe

08/08/4604 -83 Years ago Vorel Foxglove builds Foxglove Manor

03/28/4617 -70 Years ago Silas and Karivek Vekker come to the Kodar Mountains

12/21/4624 -63 Years ago Vorel Foxglove attempts to become a lich, Manor becomes his phylactery
Ironbriar takes over Skinsaw Men cult

5/18/4642 -45 Years ago Battle of Broken Trees, Black Arrow rangers defeat Kreeg Ogres. Fort Rannick Begun

-40 Years ago Silas and Karivek Vekker Discover Xin-Shalast

-39 Years ago Silas and Karivek Vekker eat each other

02/13/4884 Tsuto Kaijitsu born

05/312/4885 Ameiko Kaijitsu born

04/01/4687 -20 Years ago Traver Foxglove reclaims Foxglove manor
Aldern Foxglove born

01/18/4693 -14 Years ago Cyralie Foxglove attempts to burn down Foxglove Manor, is killed by Traver. Aldern and siblings sent to orphanage.

02/26/4702 -5 Years ago Mokmurian arrives in Xin-Shalast opens Karzoug's tomb and awakens Karzoug

04/04/4702 Chellan (Sword) awakens and possesses Viorian Dekanti who goes to Xin-Shalast

06/21/4702 Runewells Activate - Wrath washes over Sandpoint

06/25/4702 Late Unpleasantness Begins. Jervis Stoot begins killing spree

07/05/4702 Lonjiku Kaijitsu kills wife

07/19/4702 Funeral of Atsuii Kaijitsu; Lonjiku fights with Tsuto, who leaves Sandpoint

07/24/4702 Nualia miscarries and slips into a coma, dreaming dreams of Lamashtu

07/30/4702 Stoot is slain in final confrontation with the watch. Hemlock becomes Sheriff soon after.

09/03/4702 Nualia burns temple and flees

09/27/4702 Ameiko takes over the Rusty Dragon

10/05/4702 Nualia reaches Magnimar

12/02/4702 Karzoug forms alliance with Lamiakin and sends them into Varsia including Riddleport, Janderhoff, Korvosa, Belkzen, Magnimar, and Turtleback Ferry

Early 4703 Nualia makes contact with the Skinsaw Cult

01/30/4703 -4 Years ago Lucrecia arrives in Turtleback Ferry

03/27/4703 Aldern Foxglove returns to Magnimar

6/24/4703 Nualia kills Delek Viskanta on anniversary of their child's death with the help of the Skinsaw Cult

02/14/4705 -2 years ago Xanesha arrives in Magnimar

06/01/4706 Aldern joins with Skinsaw Men, reclaims Foxglove Manor

06/30/4706 -1 year ago Xanesha gives Sihedron Medallion to Nualia

09/30/4706 Nualia finds catacombs of wrath, begins studying with Erylium

02/07/4707 - 8 months ago Aldern harbours a group of Varisian travelers from a storm, meets Iesha

02/11/4707 Aldern and Iesha marry

05/14/4707 Nualia recruits Tsuto, Lyria and Orik in Magnimar

07/01/4707 Nualia and allies journey to Thistletop, Nualia recruits Bruthazmus

07/07/4707 - 3 months ago Aldern murders Iesha and contacts the Brothers of the Seven

09/12/4707 -1 Month ago Barl Breakbones takes over Kreeg Ogre Clans. Hag Coven Starts filling the Storval Deep

10/23/4707 Swallowtail Festival in Sandpoint, Campaign Begins, First Goblin Attack

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

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I've looked into caves for our area. The only major complex is not open to the public, only known cavers by invitation.

Now, the only 'known caver' I know is Matt, who played his first PFS session with us in this desert session (the night-time one, Citadel of the Flame).

It's looking like the mountain-top session will be easy (one of the world's best driving roads leads to the cafe atop Jebel Hafeet), the sea-going session is doable with cash (just hire the dhows), and the cave... that will require some planning and a few Diplomacy rolls.

Forest sessions are way out. This is a desert.

However, my wife is Kenyan, and we spend as much time as we can in East Africa. I've already inducted several Kenyan friends and relatives into PFS. Let's not rule out a session in the Maasai Mara.

What I'm delighted about is that several people are thinking along the same lines. Take PFS out of the living rooms, the game shops, the coffee shops. Do something wild. Show me what you've got. Use the land around you.

Europeans, you have castles and ancient forests. You have deserted medieval villages, caves and mountains. Americans, you have mountains, caves and forests. Everyone, wheresoever in the world they may be, has a world on incredible beauty around them.

A world of incredible beauty to game in.

I've shown you mine. You show me yours. ;)

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Well, over breakfast in the desert we discussed renting dhows for a nautical gaming trip near the Straits of Hormuz... No Plunder No Pay might suit. ;)

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

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As part of a Gulf Roleplaying Community social trip to the desert outside Dubai, several of us in the UAE PFS lodge played a couple of sessions.

Here's the story (and pictures) - The Dice Must Flow: PFS in the Desert.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Namaste. And congratulations on your huge territory. ;)


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I'll definitely be buying these. I don't like the pot-luck nature of the Battles packs - I like to know what I'm buying. So far the only Pathfinder minis I've bought are the beginner box iconics. MOstly I use pawns and paper minis.

I have wanted a full line of iconics for some time - particularly the iconics used as PFS pregens, as they make a nice visual for demo games.


Rhatahema wrote:


Rules question: How does she handle the -2 penalty on disguise checks to be "Disguised as different gender"? Can I powergame my character's gender identity to optimize disguise? (mostly joking here, though it might come up at some tables)

She doesn't need a disquise. From Crystal's write-up:

Quote:


Kolo taught her of the rivethun—dwarves who drew great power by embracing the disjunction between their bodies and souls—and she learned to brew the alchemical tinctures her past sisters used to quiet the rages of adolescence and bring their minds and bodies into harmony.

Her body and her mind are in harmony now.


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Lamontius wrote:

But as adolescence hits her in the write-up, the words "femininity" and "womanhood" come up...annnnnnd...dammit, I just realized even as I'm typing this that I'm taking those words to mean the appearance of only physical and biological traits...

...I think I get it now.

Bingo. And you won't be the only one who has the epiphany.

Crystal, you've achieved something special here. You're leading people around corners - absolutely brilliant work.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Well done!

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Thanks. Old ones, one per character, new ones one per player. Got it.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

This thread's from a couple of years ago. I note that in the 2013/14 guide, p26 says it's one Tales boon PER PLAYER, not per player character. The change log notes that this section was added to this editon of the guide.

Can we get a confirmaton of this? The contradiction between this thread and the (later) guide has caused a little confusion in our recently formed lodge.


In a PFS game, a player wanted his PC to use his lucerne hammer (10-foot reach) in a fairly small area - a 20ftx30ft cavern littered with sizeable stalactites and stalagmites. It's the stalactites and stalagmites that made me wonder how easy it would be to use such a weapon among them.

On a judgement call, I told him to make a DC10 DEX check to alter direction, or he could make it part of a move action. Post-game research leads me to believe my judgement call was wrong.

The issue of threat zones for reach weapons has been fairly well duscissed in THIS POST, and there has been some discussion of two-handed weapons in confined spaces (there are no special rules), but I see nothing of reach weapons in confined or restricted spaces.

I can't find anything in the FAQ to cover it.

This leads me to believe that there are no real restrictions on reach weapons in confined spaces. He could attack a creature 10 feet in front of him, and get an attack of opportunity against another creature leaving the threat zone behind him with no penalty, despite the fact that he's standing betwene to stone columns.

Am I correct?

Please note that this is a PFS situation, so I'm looking for Rules As Written answers.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

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What we believe is the first PFS game held in Dubai took place earlier today, and it was a rare treat for me as I usually sit behind the GM screen. This time I actually got to play, as our UAE Venture-Captain, Mike, was in the hot seat. Huzzah!

So that's our first milestone achieved for the UAE PFS branch.

Thoroughly enjoyed the game - we played Confirmation - and Mike's an excellent GM. Playing in one of his games was another new experience for me - he's been playing in mine.

It was also nice to meet a roving PFS player, who squeezed in the session just before flying back home from a holiday. I hope we're able to run more games for PFS members passing through or visiting Dubai - it's great to feel part of a larger community, and to meet fellow Pathfinder enthusiasts from other parts of the world.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Thank you, Mike and Mike. I'm honoured.

Hi folks. I'm Andy Staples, the Dubai guy, also known as Barwickian on these boards.I'll do my best to get PFS up and running here (and to keep my regular Rise of the Runelords game running as well).

Like Mike Labny, I'm new to organised play, but I'm a longtime player and GM (I started with Holmes D&D back in '81) with a passion for Pathfinder.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

June - no, I'm not a pilot.

Avatar-1, we've joked a couple of times about taking the folding tables out into the desert and having everyone wear their national costume, purely because we think the resulting photo will go viral. We will almost certainly do this soon, but summer has been lingering - it's still pretty hot out in the sand.

My actual set-up is probably like most people's. Here it is. Sessons are definitely more multi-cultural than I'm used to back in the UK, and that just adds to the pleasure. Golarion's a good gameworld to use for a multicultural party - people can come from pretty much anywhere, and there's enough ethnic options that no one's forced to play a character they don't connect with.


BTW, I GM this character of Meadmaker's, and while I was aware it wasn't strictly by the letter of the rules, I happily allowed him to have Sylvan in my game - it makes sense.

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

Mike, have we picked the same avatar? That's creepy...

Venture-Captain, United Arab Emirates—Dubai aka Barwickian

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We are the Gulf Roleplaying Community. We have active forums and an active Facebook page. If anyone is looking for a game in this area, sign up for the forums and/or the Facebook group (they're linked from the club's main page).

Mike, our new Pathfinder Venture-Captain, is one of us - and, in fact, he plays in my Pathfinder and HarnMaster games. He's a top bloke, and I look forward to playing and/or running Pathfinder Society games under his guidance.

Over the last couple of years, we've been building up quite a thriving little roleplaying community here in the Arabian Gulf. Our heartland is definitely the UAE, in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but we have gamers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well. Pathfinder is one of the few games actually sold here (for the record, we've seen Pathfinder, D&D4 and a fair amount of Warhammer/GW stuff).

Most of our supplies we have to buy online; much of my gaming budget goes on postage. Polyhedral dice are in short supply - occasionally we order in bulk to sell on to players.

But we are here. We game. We game A LOT. We run 2-3 mini-conventions a year to show the public waht tabletop RPGs are. We pay a small fortune for tables at the Middle East Film and Comic Con so that we have a visible face in the geek community at large (and there are many geeks here).

We have a lot of young people who have heard about tabletop RPGs and are trying it out for the first time. We have veterans in their 40s and 50s. We have people who've been to Uni in the US or Europe who discovered it there. I haven't seen a gaming community as active and as exhilerating since the heady days of the early 1980s.

We have Americans, Brits, Emiratis, Syrians, Indians, Filipinos, French, Kenyans (and that's just MY two gaming groups)... All the myriad nationalities, races and cultures who live in the Middle East.

We play D&D, HarnMaster, Fate, Burning Wheel, Vampire, Dresden Files, War Machine, Dark Heresy, Hero System, GURPS, AD&D2 (and occasionally 1), and more.

We play Pathfinder. Lots of us play Pathfinder.

Roll for initiative!


Spoiler:

I think I'm getting in early because I get the digital version (being an overseas fan).I can't help feeling this was a bit of an anticlimax. The great battle seemed a little too easy - given the serious trouble both enemy combatants have caused the party over this story arce.

On the other hand, the feelgood factor of the party affirmation is a nice - good set-up for the next phase (and a very nice resolution to that age-old RPG issue of how we keep the party together).

The real highpoint of this issue for me is that little cloud on the Kyra/Merisiel relationship. One line. Over-protective. I don't know - maybe it's because I want to see why Wesley Scheider was finally convinced that this wasn't a fan-service relationship - but I can really see this becomng an issue for these two. I think Kyra is becoming my favourite Iconic; the lass has some interesting issues buried beneath her virtues.

And Spring? For the next series So long? This is why I buy TV series by the season now. This is why I waited before getting into the comic. And now I'm caught up, and I have to wait months for the next issue. Dammit, I've become addict again. The last time this happened was around 1981 (I think) with the Dark Judges.


I'm honestly wondering if I'm playing the same game as everyone else.

I've got the PS3 version, and I think it's great. Yeah, the graphics aren't awesome, but they're good enough. And graphics are far less important than gameplay.

Anyway, the sound makes up for any lack of graphical wow-factor: Henriksen, Biehn and Paxton in the voice cast, and those pulse rifles sound just right.

The solo mission has two radically different styles of combat; fighting aliens is very different to fighting W-Y mercs.

Aliens I find very tough to fight - I'm a sniper by preference, and the aliens get up close and personal all too fast. Individual aliens are not as tough as the movie, but they can be difficult if there's three or more, especially if they're being sneaky.

Health pick-ups are few and far between, and wide save points make some sections extremely challenging. There's enough wobble in the weapons to make aiming tricky.

I find it has a distinctly old-school flavour, and I like that a lot. It doesn't lead you by the hand. Keep playing, and the game will suck you in.

I haven't got the hang of multiplayer tactics yet - done persistently poorly as both a marine and an alien in deathmatches, and haven't ried the other modes - but I've only played a few rounds, so I expect to get better with familiarity. There don't seem to be any server issues, so it's smooth.

I rate it very highly - far better shooter than Black Ops 2 (which had a decent story, but totally unchallenging gameplay).

It's true that there's not much Alien suspense in the story; this is a stand-up shooter, not a bug-hunt. How much suspense can be milked out of a 27-year-old film anyway? But the first time I wandred through the goo, waiting for an alien to leap out, I was definitely nervous.

That being said, I haven't played any of the AvP games (the AvP franchise leaves me cold) so I've nothing to compare with there.