Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Right on! It's astonishing how many different stories and approaches will come out of this scenario, and I'm so happy that GMs get a chance to be even more creative than usual and have significant control over the story at the table. While I put goblins on a chart, for example, I did that because, well, I like goblins and they fit in/under Kaer Maga. A GM can look at that chart and say "Yes! Goblins! I know why they're there..." or "Here we go again; Duckwitz and goblins, I'll pass, and go with _____ instead." It's freeing, certainly, but you're not kidding: it is heavy lifting!
I love to hear about all the work you guys are doing. I'm so excited!
I wanted to provide a bit of assistance too. By its nature this scenario requires the GM to build up the "connective tissue" of whatever location she chooses. Since only some of the pieces are set by the story arc, it can be tricky to make choices that fit thematically and reinforce the adventure's story. It sounds like those of you already talking about your plans are doing just that, but I thought some might find it helpful to get a sense of what I had in mind regarding the theme of each location since I was sometimes a bit subtle. I hope this helps GMs as they plan and run it.
The theme I had in mind was "alien horror and madness." I tried to write location descriptions in a Lovecraftian way (ornate yet vague; suggestive not explicit). The antagonists all have an alien, inhuman way of viewing sentient life, and the caverns themselves work to transform and warp those who enter.
"Things fall apart" kept running through my head as I worked on this section. The instability of the location itself reinforces the breakdown of normal order (in "Recovering the Implements" and "Raising the Dead") and instability between planes (in "Summoning Gone Wrong"). The antagonists in these arcs broke both physical and social boundaries, yet their own successes seem to crumble almost immediately as well.
This location and its story arcs are all about entrapment. The antagonists have all captured prisoners, but even the villains themselves were lured into a location designed to ensnare and destroy them. By capturing what they want, they hasten their own destruction (at the hands of the PCs).
I'm excited to hear what you think of it. It was a challenge to write, and the developers had their work cut out for them with a project this complex. I think they did a wonderful job. I'll check in here once in a while to provide (totally unofficial) suggestions.
Also, I don't know if the "Additional Treats" is my mistake or not, but I'm totally taking credit for it. That's awesome.
As Damien_DM says, be sure to cut the vault name off the handout. It's there so the GM knows which one is which.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Take this with a big grain of salt and consider this damning with faint praise... but this was the first scenario in quite a long time (too much old stuff) where I didn't have a burning question or any real misgivings about anything in the scenario.
I'll take that as a compliment!
After I ran it, I just told the players some of the really cool bits they have little to no options to learn (like the reasoning behind the trap, or what happened when the goblins met the fire hazard).
That trap idea was the first thing I came up with for the adventure; in hindsight it would have been smart for me to find a way to transmit the goblins' rationale to the players. I guess I assumed most groups would have a PC with enough Knowledge (local) to know how goblins feel about reading. Oh well.
My players really enjoyed the graffiti, especially the one on the rune lord statue, in retrospect, some of the "empty" rooms could have benefitted from more goblin art.
I'm pretty sure the graffiti on the statue was the last thing I added. The mostly empty rooms are my biggest regret, but again the issue was word count, honestly.
I'll wait to have actually played it but it looks like its going to be a very positive review.
Ooh, I like the spines.
I kicked around the idea of mutations and possible negative effects--I even started building a table--but it fell victim to that dreaded enemy Word Count as well as room on the chronicle sheet, mostly since I really wanted to have that special bit of treasure that needed a full reprint.
I imagine most PCs won't just jump in, but if someone wants to have a character covered in mutations, I'm inclined to say "knock yourself out!"
Steven G. wrote:
*Cue maniacal goblin laughter*
Let Grib experiment on them, eh? Oh that's wonderful! I'm glad you all had so much fun; I love hearing these stories.
I ran it yesterday for a group but only got to mutate one PC. They captured Grib as well. I wonder how many times all told he'll make it through?
You're welcome! I hadn't even thought about the possibility of using DF, but I'm glad to hear the design works well for them.
2) I liked this one enough to make some quick conversions to represent all the custom stuff in this scenario. Check them out. Several minis were harmed in the making of this production...
Wow! I’m just blown away. Those miniature mods are spectacular. You even did the trap! I’m honored to be part of something that led to those!
Totally unofficial clarification: Yep. The idea was to make it so PCs can have mutations but that they’d be cosmetic only. If they want to walk around with an extra ear or something, then by all means!
2) Clarification on the Development section of A10. It states if the PCs kill Zoagusk the surviving the goblins scatter. There aren't any other goblins in the encounter, so I assume this means all the goblins in the dungeon? Is that the intent? So PC's that choose the magic path could make it out without any Goblin Songs? Sacrilege!
There definitely is some confusion, and I was a bit inconsistent in my text. The intention I had is stated in the first part of the conclusion:
“With the Fleshwarped Queen and her lieutenants Grib and Glibeldring defeated, the wrath energies within the facility grow unfocused. Any remaining goblins attempt to flee, ignoring Julian as they go.”
So, the totally unofficial answer: unless all three are defeated (not necessarily dead, especially in Grib’s case), the goblins don’t flee. I realize this means it’s very unlikely for any goblins to be left alive to flee, but I can imagine some scenarios when it might happen.
This might be my favorite scenario this season, looking forward to running it tomorrow night!
That's high praise! Please let me know how it turns out.
Bongo BigBounce wrote:
I'll take the blame for that. In my original turnover she was not a mutant in the lower subtier and was in the higher, which added unneeded complexity. I think the developers made the wise choice to make her more consistent between subtiers and removed the mutant template while beefing up her level in Subtier 4-5.
My (totally unofficial) suggestion is to have the tactics remain as written except she casts cacophonous call on the toughest-looking PC in place of the breath weapon.
Still looks awesome! I like the map as well. Compact while fitting in a lot of rooms, with simple 90 and 45 degree angles. Should be easy to draw. I have high hopes for this one.
Thanks for the kind words. I was definitely thinking about GMs drawing it out when I designed it. I hope you like how it plays.
I hope everyone enjoys the adventure. I definitely had fun writing it! Keep in mind the following answers are not official, just how I would handle the situations if I were GMing. As for Andrew's questions...
Because it emphasizes the danger of jungle travel, I like the idea that some of the PCs are already suffering when they get to encounter A, so I'd have the characters make one save each day for the first three days. More about timing in my next response.
By the way, I wish I could take credit for the disease system, but it wasn't in my turnover. I'd been struggling with how to represent the dangers of extended travel in the jungle, and what Linda and John came up with is much more elegant and thorough than what I'd done.
As for when particular events happen, I left the encounter timing inexact so the GM could decide on when they take place. I like encounter A late on the 2nd day or early on the 3rd, and B on the 4th day.
Thanks Eric and everyone else for the great advice and fantastic links to resources. I read the Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design a few months back and found it very helpful, but I was unaware of many of these others.
Cheapy, I totally agree with your recommendation of not waiting around for contests. I've only relatively recently (the last six months or so) been dipping my toe into design, but I've heard others say to not give away ideas on messageboards "for free" as it were. Would you say your comments about posting to the homebrew forums are more of a confidence-building and skin-toughening step, or is that becoming a common route to get started?
Congratulations fellow 32—I'm honored to be among your ranks.
A bit about myself, you say? I live in Edgerton, Wisconsin, about an hour from Lake Geneva, where our little hobby began. I'm married to a lovely wife who recently let me make some renovations to my Nerdery in the basement. I have two children: a daughter who is named after a certain elven princess (but can behave like a balrog) and a son named after a series of English kings.
I've been gaming since 7th grade, right at the tail end of AD&D. Most of high school and college were spent playing, and eventually running, 2nd Edition. I played 3E briefly, dabbled in Torg (anyone else?), West End Games' Star Wars RPG, played MtG for a bit, and dropped d20 gaming entirely for several years once I was introduced to the versatile (and highly crunchy) HERO System in graduate school.
I didn't get back into d20 again until Gen Con 2012 when I was wrangled into joining a group of my friends to play The Race for the Runecarved Key together. They all had their own PFS characters, but I was stuck with a Kyra pregen. The excitement of the big room and the competition, however, was pretty intense, and I had a better time than I expected I would. Our group advanced to the second round where the outstanding Chris Mortika was our GM, and we managed to escape the dungeon just before time ran out. A few minutes later, we found out we had won our subtier and boons to create goblin characters. I was hooked on Pathfinder.
Since then I've been buying books, listening to Pathfinder podcasts, and running adventures. I currently have two groups playing through The Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition, one of them with mythic rules. I'm astounded not just by the sheer amount, but also the high quality of the material this fan community has produced, and don't know how I'd find the time to run a good game without it.
Oh, if you saw a guy at Gen Con 2013 with a plush goblin dressed as an alchemist, that was me...
Anyway, last night I was playing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game to pass the time, but tonight I have work to do!