Calpal's page

Organized Play Member. 98 posts (99 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Organized Play characters.


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A while back a short story (something about the woods) was posted s a touchstone/reference for the Abomination Vaults. Does anyone remember what that was? I was looking for reading material for a trip. Thanks.

Calpal wrote:

Great that this is coming out!

A bummer that I'll likely be almost done running the campaign by then :(

I overestimated how fast my players go through things. We'll probably be a little into Book 3 by then.

It's pretty crushing that the other 3 characters (Eleukas, Gristlebrust and Wendlyn) all had character art with transparent PNGs and this one is a non-transparent JPG. The lack of consistency is a bummer.

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I already own them all but I might suggest this to some friends!

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Great that this is coming out!

A bummer that I'll likely be almost done running the campaign by then :(

My watch has ended! Early in the morning!

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Austin Phillips wrote:
This month's subscription shipping hit a few technical snags as well as the expected pressures of Gen Con preparation. As a result, we will not be done with shipping today, but are continuing to work on it to get everything shipped as soon as possible. We will keep this thread updated with more information as we receive it from our Warehouse department.

No problem! We know you're doing all you can and working hard!

My watch begins!

I'm very excited to read through the Dark Archive.

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Blake's Tiger wrote:

Is the Pathfinder community toxic? No.

It is not a community except in the most tenuous of definitions. People who play Pathfinder do not have a common definition, do not follow a common social mores, nor have a common method of communicating with and correcting the behavior of others.

It would be more appropriate to say that social media users or, even more appropriate, specifically to the venue where the activity takes place are the community of interest: the Twitter community or the YouTube community. Those two communities may overlap but they are still distinct. Even more specifically, the Twitter posting community or the YouTube posting community, because even though I watch YouTube videos, I do not post comments. However, those still aren't really communities.

When a number of individuals related only by their opinion and the media upon which they communicate that opinion repeat an action, it is stereotyping to refer to a community of such superficially definition as toxic.

There are irritating or rude or mean or antagonistic individuals, but to define all people who happen to play a given game system by their posts would be unfair.

That said, it is a moment for each individual to consider and reflect upon their own posting habits.

This is by far the best response I've seen to this yet.

I really dig this!

I actually find Winter can be dark but can also be very bright. When the snow is on the ground and the sky is crisp without any clouds it can become blindingly bright during the day. And at night, with the moon reflecting off the snow, you don't even need streetlights to see.

Looking forward to Season 4!

This is great! Unfortunately this is also probably about when I'll be done running the campaign. I know it's not logistically possible with how it all works but I do wish that a product like this came out closer to the lauch of the AP.

Just throwing it out there that starting the adventure at Level 11 does have some advantages.

The style of game and the characters you'll probably want to build for Ruby Phoenix is pretty different from what you might want to build for some of the other Level 1-10 adventures. There are some backgrounds and lores that are very specific to the campaign and your players might not get as much out of it if they are from a completely different part of the world.

If you want to convert some 1st Edition stuff there was a module that took place 10 years prior titled "The Ruby Phoenix Tournament" that might act as a prequel. Many of the events of that module are referenced in the AP. Additionally, there are a bunch of 1st Edition Pathfinder Society modules that take place in the lead up to the "Ruby Phoenix Tournament" module. They took place in the "Year of the Ruby Phoenix" PFS season.

My group started up right at Level 11, and aside from adjusting to high level play it didn't feel like starting a campaign halfway through.

Calcryx666 wrote:
Have emailed CS in regards to sidecart this months order please, saving on international S&H

Oh, I didn't even think of that as an option. Oh well, I don't want to muck anything up at this point.

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And my watch has ended!

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I'm back into getting unreasonably excited every time I get an email.

I'm not familiar with their other products but I do love me some audio!

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We live in Canada where an R rating is considered roughly a "14A" rating. So we would play a 14A game at maximum. Quite often it would probably just be rated PG. Fist of the Ruby Phoenix is not super out there and the players aren't particularly gory.

On a side note, I always find the American movie rating system wacky and unnecessarily restrictive. You all need to lighten up!

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This is some wholesome content.

My wait is complete!


(for other people)

The Rot Grub "The Rules Lawyer" wrote:

The Sixth Pillar Students on page 14 have 8th level spells as their "7th level" spells: disappearance, monstrosity form, and polar ray.

For my game, I replaced them with invisibility, elemental form, and disintegrate, all heightened to 7th level.

I probably should have done something like that. I'll definitely be reviewing the White Haired Witch's spells. All my players seem to pass their saves without fail so I might see if I can opt for more damage and battlefield control.

Dang, I really wanted to make a Pine Leshy Champion. Guess I'll have to save up a bit more.

This gives me hope that maybe we'll get a Ruby Phoenix battle card pack.

But, if this is out in October I'll 100% be done running Ruby Phoenix before the battle card pack comes out.

On the one hand, this is great as all the official art for all the creatures in an adventure path should be available. On the other hand, this is quite a delay from when the actual adventure path comes out, which is a bummer.

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I took a skim through that chapter (my players are only on Book 2) and it looks like the intention is that the locations and events in that book happen at the GM's discretion.

I don't think I would make my players role survival or use overland travel rules. I would probably just play up through description how they travel for hours and objects in the distance don't seem to get closer or how they go in circles for a while. Maybe make it similar to being lost in a fey filled forest when they are playing tricks on you.

If you wanted more concrete rules you could roll some dice to see how long it takes them to get between one spot to the next. Or have them make survival checks to estimate how well they are able to navigate through the changing landscape.

Either way, you're going to end up having them go to the events listed in the book, which is really the main point of the chapter. How they get there doesn't seem to matter as much.

I've taken a similar approach to this adventure path in general. I'm not making my players roll knowledge checks for magical items as this isn't really a grindy, dungeon crawl adventure. This is a lot of action with wild creatures and wacky high level antics. The thought of having them do overland travel never occurred to me, particularly for this magical island in a pocket dimension formed by a mad sorcerer out for revenge.

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hyphz wrote:

Ok, but how do I explain to the players that they can see where he is going clearly enough to follow him the right way, but at the same time cannot see him clearly enough to shoot him?

If it is going to be cinematic, it should not be producing a sequence that would end up on CinemaSins :)

It's a chase so it follows the chase mechanics. There should be an understanding at the table that when you say "this will be using the Chase Mechanics" that the chase mechanics are used. No different than any other chase.

You could make the exact same case for a chase through a mountain or a city street. Your gunslinger also can't just take aim at the creature they are chasing because it's a chase.

If you want to allow the gunslinger to fire then what you could do is have them shoot at rubble or have the attack count as their action during the chase. Maybe you count it as slowing Razu down and it's a victory towards completing the chase.

Either way, I think you are 100% overthinking this situation or not having clear conversations about expectations with the players.

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It's wild that you read "The map purposefully does not include a scale; the mutable and unpredictable nature of time and space on Syndara’s Island makes calculating distance both impossible and largely unnecessary" and thought "this is definitely a problem".

I read that part and thought "oh, that is neat". It will never ever come up in play. If you didn't mention it to your players they would probably never know.

You definitely inferred that Syndara is constantly changing the island to suit his whims as opposed to it being mutable and unpredictable. Unpredictable means it can't be predicted. To me that also means that Syndara is not predicting it. Otherwise it would be mutable and predictable. The predictable part would be Syndara constantly making things too far away.

But ultimately, as Grankless has stated, there would be no story.

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Truthfully, that isn't how I'm going to run the chase mechanics at all.

I wouldn't let the players take ranged shots as it's a chase. If they ask (which they won't as they have zero ranged support) I would just say that things are moving too fast/too bumpy/too far away/too much zig zagging for anyone to get a clear shot.

You've already done the chase though so it's a little too late for that.

I guess if they catch up to Razu then you (being more of a general anyone) could always say you can just start the last encounter and go into it. I mean, the PCs ARE supposed to win.

Personally I enjoy the chase mechanics. I've run them a couple times and they are fun to chase things up. But when I'm using the chase mechanics I'm using just the chase mechanics. They have to pass the checks for the tasks. I definitely allow for some creative thinking but it would be more like the gunslinger tries to shoot something out of the way to clear a path and then have them make an attack roll. That's more honoring the chase mechanics and letting the gunslinger have some pew pew fun.

I would probably limit each team to starting on their respective sides.

My players have fared pretty well in most of the matches on the island. They didn't fight any of the legendary creatures as I built them up to be very powerful. The watchtower banshee I think really messed them up as it gave them a lot of drain.

One thing I often did not do was have the enemies use perfect tactics as I was trying to replicate wild animals or inexperienced teams. As the adventure moves on I'm going to have the opponents start to use better tactics as there is a greater chance that the enemies will be very intelligent or have experience with the PCs team. More grappling, flanking, focus fire, aiding, etc.

But a team of 5 in this AP will probably roll through things pretty well if the GM doesn't make very specific balances. I originally was going to run the game with 5 (thankfully went to 4) and it was tough trying to figure out when to add an additional opponent vs when to bump a character to elite or make other changes.

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Onkonk wrote:

Hmm, initiative is about how fast you react to combat, no?

Seems like it would become a bit too meta for me to do it that way, interesting idea though and you can really create strategy and tactics based on it.

My thought was sort of how Starfinder does starship combat where the better you role the better you're able to jockey for position. The pilot with the higher roll goes last so they can choose where to be.

I've contemplated having each character get placed in order of reverse initiative. So the better you roll the better you can place yourself relative to everything else. I didn't want to give away the NPC initiative that way, though so I might opt for something else.

I tend to place the opposing teams farther apart than they probably should be.

willfromamerica wrote:

I also wanted to add that as someone who’s currently running Abomination Vaults, the party is really happy that there’s an AP that goes from levels 11-20 that we can jump into afterward. With most of my players, pitching a campaign that only goes up to level 10 is a bit disappointing for them if it means they aren’t gonna be able to take those characters all the way to level 20. That’s the main reason I hope more 11-20 APs are created since right now while I’m excited for Frozen Flame and Outlaws, they’re a tough sell for my players.

I’m all for more 3-part APs interspersed with the 6-parters though! I’d even go so far as to say they’re necessary for campaigns with a cool premise, but which would overstay their welcome going for 6 books. My players are loving Abomination Vaults, but they’d be so annoyed if they knew they were going to be exploring the same dungeon all the way from levels 1 to 20.

Funnily enough there's definitely a chance that I'll run Abomination vaults for my players AFTER we finish Ruby Phoenix. I think knowing it ends when you reach level 10 would be fine for them so long as that is communicated. I'm mostly about being able to finish campaigns so having them be 3 books rather than 6 books is just a lot more reasonable.

So far the high level play has been a lot of fun.

I just chalk that up to a typical adventure path where the only people that can really get any results are the PCs. Keep in mind that the PCs are far more powerful than any standard NPC (guard or not) that would be wandering the streets. I certainly wouldn't run up and fight a dragon.

What was the reasoning behind locking down the teams? For their safety?

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hyphz wrote:

Well, the Phoenix Challenge was a bust. Hao Jin had to quickly correct the rules to add that flying isn’t allowed, but just jumping over the area in two actions wasn’t a problem, and the person climbing the spire of Earth had a climb speed and did it in one round.

Since Hao Jin will ensure nobody is permanently harmed, there is no reason for every team not to volunteer for every event.

Oh, and it is a strange thing indeed for Hao Jin to “cast a spell to protect the rune giant from the heat, but not direct contact with the lava” because Rune Giants are immune to fire anyway.

Sorry, really not impressed here.

Being immune to fire is not the same as taking no damage from heat. Nor is Lava the same as fire. It makes sense to me that she would put this ward in place.

Also, just because a team won't be killed or permanently harmed doesn't mean it's "fun" to get beat up. If you are wondering why a team wouldn't volunteer to face the Rune Giant it might be that they just don't particularly want to face an unknown threat at this time in the day. Or they are trying to retain resources for unknown threats/opportunities later in the day (the same reason the PCs might not want to fight).

Kobe Batcake wrote:

I love this thread - very helpful things to consider as I kick off this AP with my friends on Friday.

One big questions remains for me, which a few have touched on, but not sufficiently imo. How do the teams position on the battlefield before initiative? This seems a very important point. I was thinking of having the two guides for the two teams flip a coin. Whichever team wins the coin flip gets to position itself on the battlefield with some parameters (each team member must be within 30 feet of one other team member). The losing team then gets to position itself on the battlefield (same restriction as above, but also cannot be closer than 20 feet to opposing team). From there, initiative is rolled.

Thoughts? Other ideas?

That's a really good idea. I might adopt that for the second book as they are done Day 2 already.

I just had the players position themselves on the map and then plunked down my NPCs wherever I thought would make sense. Most of the time it gave the players the advantage but didn't make much of a difference overall.

GM Kitsune Kune wrote:
Calpal wrote:

You could always have the younger sibling killed off by some nefarious force (The Lightkeepers) to make things a bit more personal and up the stakes!
I may, or may not, have such planned for my younger member, and been why I went that way... <.<


Another thought to make it even more personal would be to have the 5th member of Tino's Toughest be a younger sibling of someone on the Player's team! Then there would really be personal investment with Tino's Toughest.

Oh, the thought of having a younger member got me thinking that it could be Tino's younger sibling or cousin or something like that. Give it more of a personal family feel.


You could always have the younger sibling killed off by some nefarious force (The Lightkeepers) to make things a bit more personal and up the stakes!

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Onkonk wrote:

So does anyone have any good excuses for why Hao Jin gets taken out by the disintegrate?

I really want to make it clear that they were super lucky to do it and I think it would be hard to have her injured from before.

My take is that she took the hit, knowing she would be fine, so that she could see how everyone would react. She's constantly testing these teams and was curious what other teams would step up as a result.

I don't imagine my players to overthink things. I think instead they'll go "WHAT!?!?!?" and dig into the shock.

So far I've run everything as is and they've mostly clobbered everything. You have conrol as to what wandering teams they fight so if you don't want them to come up against Golarion's Finest they definitely don't have to.

The biggest challenge will be the number of combats they have to do before resting. They might blow through all their spells right away and then be hurting later on.

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1-02: The Mosquito Witch is my vote!

I'm interested to see the how the Adventure Paths are presented. For instance character art that has previously only been available on tokens. It would also help some navigation I have when using PDFs.

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I do really like the thought of having the Golden League strike during the Kaiju attack. Anything where you think the focus is one thing and then Golden League strikes out when you least expect it. Maybe you could have a rooftop battle with things crumbling around. Could even just go for a couple rounds before the building collapses and the party has to move on to the final fight.

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I agree with Curaigh. You could definitely have another team be a Golden League plant. Or, you could have one of the assistants that are with teams or an enforcer with the tournament staff be a secret Golden League agent. While they're at the market or just after fighting a team you could have the assitant secretely talk to them. Then when you have the Golden League stuff happen in the second book it's driven home even more.

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Unfortunately, I have two local gaming stores and neither are particularly reliable about stocking products. There isn't really any incentive for me to shop with them for Paizo products.

To me, the free PDF with a physical book is 100% the main reason I do the subscription. I want the physical book but, truthfully, the PDF is what I use more. Particularly for adventure paths.

Skya wrote:
Calpal wrote:

My players are definitely not rushing through this game! After the initial first session I think they've been in the temple for 4 sessions now. They should clean it up in their 6th session.

Sounds like a lot of people have had things go much faster than that!

Well, it also depend on the length of your session. We just finished session 4 last night, and my players are about half way or a bit more in the temple. But we usualy have about 3h sessions.

Also, don't rush it. Every group is different. If you and your players are having fun, no need to change anything.

Oh no worries about rushing! It was more an anecdote. They like to take their time and we all get sidetracked with random conversations and stuff!

But it's nice to hear others with a similar pace!

My players are definitely not rushing through this game! After the initial first session I think they've been in the temple for 4 sessions now. They should clean it up in their 6th session.

Sounds like a lot of people have had things go much faster than that!

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I'm here to echo what everyone else has said. Not cancelling my subscriptions yet. I will definitely be watching.

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