Chris Wissel - WerePlatypus's page

Organized Play Member. 707 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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Thanks to everyone for their kind words and concerns about me. It’s very overwhelming to see so many people worried about your well-being. This is definitely what makes the Paizo community so special.

I apologize for not responding to the other Off-Topic thread sooner. I’ve known about it for a couple of weeks now, and so much concern from so many people deserved an immediate response from me. Unfortunately, by that time, it had been so long, I wasn’t sure how to respond, and I just let it hang.

Fortunately, Stefan called last night, and that action made me realize many things about myself, and about the strength and positive energy of this community. He is truly one of a kind.

I apologize again if my lack of response caused any hurt feelings or worries. No one deserved to feel that way.

Thank you all.

Dude - I got a response, but we've already highjacked this thread enough. Shoot me an e-mail at weaslfish@yahoo.com, and we can continue this conversation in a more appropriate forum.

Ah-Leph wrote:
The movie touch upon many good principles pertaining to too much government especially in light what is happening here in the United States. Our government is treasonous and has intentionally pushed aside the principles behind the Constitution. The part in the show I did resent was the intent to validate a reprobate mind condoning homosexuality. Take that part out of the movie and the movie would have been perfect.

Okay, I'll take the bait.

One of the things I particulary enjoyed about the movie was the various illustrations of the ways a nation-state can exploit the baseless fears of its population to create "enemies" and maintain control. Of course, one of the biggest baseless fears in our society is the fear of homosexuailty. Without that plotline in place, one of the the most emotional points in the movie would have been lost.

Thankee-sai, Dragon staff. Is this a new monthly tradition?

The extra NPCs in Dreadhold are very cool, as was an extra stat block for a another dracolich. There was a little part of me that was hoping to see a planar dragon from Arcadia in the suppliment. Did Mike McArtor write one up? Will there be any plans for a future issue that includes this elusive beasie?

Attention "A Song of Ice and Fire" fans! The old sample chapter from the forthcoming "A Dance of Dragons," has finally been replaced by a new one. You can find it here:


If you haven't started this series, or gave up on the first book before page 200, then shame. . . on. . . you! You're missing out on what is shaping up to be one of the best fantasy epics ever written. :)

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'll go with Mavis I guess.

Yup - I'm a chicken-pecker. I moved around alot, and somehow, during my stint in three different high schools across the contry, I never had the keyboarding class.

I picked up my habits playing the old infocom games back itn eh day, such as Zork, the Great Underground Empire. I can hunt-and-peck at about 40+ words a minute, but it is far slower than I can think, and my typing is so littered with errors that I've even had trouble decipering what I'm trying to say when I go back to fix them.

All right Mavis Beacon, it's me or you. . .

kahoolin wrote:
Any ruler who wants everyone to carry ID papers (for example) must be trying to take our freedom!" is from a chaotic culture.

I think that's true, kahoolin. However, I think it's hard to figure out what the dominate culture is in that situation. In my opinion, the protestors in your example do belong to an subculture with a few, minor chaotic ideas, but I would say that they are not advocating for the removal of Law itself, as much as they are wishing to change/refine the nature of the laws that govern them. I think that the very fact that you debate a Law, or advocate the goveerment for teh removeal of a Law AT ALL, shows your inherent respect for the instritution, making you Lawful.

Not only that, our criminals are Lawful. For every Law that a crimial breaks or ignores, they're are 100s more that they follow. Getting your car tagged, standing in line at the grocery store, using state currency, oberying (most) traffic laws, and so on. . . all Lawful. Plus, what if they get caught committing an act against the law? Regardness of anyone's personal beliefs about what you are philosophically subject to, if you are caught doing something "illegal," you are punished according to the law, regardless of what the circumstances are.

Shows like Law and Order, CSI, Without a Trace, The West Wing. . . oh man, so many shows dedicated to Law and it's aspects. Each of them have been very sucessful portraying example after example where their "hands are tied" due to a legal technicality, how thier personal feelings have to be put aside for the sake of law, or just going over the minutae of every legal process, dramatized and rehashed, for the viewing public. Frankly, we are obseseed with Law.

As I said in my previous post, I propose that we live in a very Lawful culture, and probably find it hard to imagine otherwise. The pendulum in our society swings all the way from Pretty Lawful to Really Lawful, and I think that's about it.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Heathansson wrote:

Weregild was an old Norse practice; it was dark ages wrongful death civil suit recompense. I'd say it was a lawful neutral sort of thing, to try and stave off bloodfeuding, which if unchecked can lead to a lot of disorder.

Interestingly enough, I read in one of Joseph Campbell's works that the judge's gavil used in modern courtrooms was symbolic of Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. The norse had quite a bit of influence on English common law which was our system's predecessor.

Wow, nice tidbit. If I ever become a judge, I'm going to have a true 20 pound gavel of Mjolnir!

I could well imagine the lgeal fees assessed with having to constantly replace the Judge's bench. . . :)

Weregild is very cool. . . however, I'm going to go out on a limb and consider Weregild to be a Chaotic form of jusitce. I say this because the murderer has a choice not to hold to the tradition and simply accept the blood feud. Furthermore, the offended party can refuse it and pursue the blood feud anyway.

Plus, blood fueds can last generations. According to the Wikipedia entry on them, they usaully occured in ares without any strong central government, a politcal situation that is generally Chaotic in nature. In the D&D Cosmology, I think this practice would fit right in on the Plane of Ysgard, which is chaotic neutral, with some good tendancies (the custom does exist to prevent death, after all).

In my mind, if the practice were actually Lawful, it would be the culture's resposibility to enforce the payment, and not the family's. The organizing element would go so far as to seize the property itself (for the family), actively discourage blood feud retaliations with higher enforcement practices, and restrain the murderer to enforce physical punishment, or death, if the murderer cannot comply with payment.

I have survived decades of hunt-and-peck typing, and am now ready to graduate to touch-typing. Can anyone recommend a cheap typing program that won't make me pull my hair out?

Luke Fleeman wrote:
I don't know that a chaotic culture woudl restrict NO behaviors. I understand using custom to deal with it, but it seems like some things, like murder, might have very real consequences, especially in a CG society. It is basically, a good way of lookign at it, though.

Very good point, Luke. Under my model for Chaotic societies, I would say that murder is not illegal, but anyone committing a murder will have to face the consequences dtermined by culture. In some cases, they might be exohnerated if the victim was disliked, or was wronging the culture in other ways. If the victim was innocent or well-liked in the eyes of the culture, I could see the murderer facing a good old-fashioned stoning, or at the very least, banishment. It could even result in having to hand over a few sheep, or a few bushels of grain to parents of the murdered.

I think it all depends on the circumstances. My point is that in a chaotic society, even murder is not expressly forbidden by a law. A chaotic culture will determine each murder case as culture and circumstances demand, and depending of course on whether or not the soceity is good, nuetral, or evil.

What a great topic for discussion!

Human history is full of Chaotic cultures, though few still exist today (I am going to start paraphrasing Daniel Quinn now – may he forgive me for the butchering of his ideas). Prior to agriculture, most humans existed in hunter-gatherer societies, where there are no laws, only customs. In these environments, no behavior was technically restricted, but there were still consequences for your actions. Leadership was common among the tribal organization, but their role was not meant to enforce laws that are static and unchangeable, but rather their goal was to actively solve problems necesasry to ensure the survival of the tribe.

Chaotic cultures use custom and free thinking to figure out what to do to preserve the integrity of the tribe. What may work for one dispute may not work for another. On the other hand, Lawful cultures use rigid structures that are designed to restrict any behavior that threatens its stability. These structures, or laws, are actively enforced throughout the culture, and the vast majority of the society’s energy is not focused on WHAT you should do, but HOW you should enforce what currently exists.

It is important to understand that Chaotic cultures restrict NO behaviors at all. You can do anything, and no one will come and take away your freedoms or stop you from doing it. However, there are still consequences, based on tribal custom. The job of the wisest, most intelligent, or strongest among any tribal culture is not to impose a series of static laws, but rather approach problems and disputes dynamically, using what has worked in the past. When any situation is brought to them, they judge the solution based on maintaining the integrity of the culture, but they DO NOT technically restrict the behavior. The solution is to allow the behavior. . . but impose additional actions that the perpretrator must follow if they want to proceed.

For example, if you steal something from someone else and want to keep it, fine . . . but it will require you to harvest the victim’s tomatoes this spring. If you don’t want to do that, that’s fine as well, but you better give the item back to the victim if you want to remain a member of the tribe. This solution is not designed to punish the thief or reward/avenge the victim . . . it is designed to add respect for personal possessions throughout the culture. The ultimate goals is to maintain membersship, and let the members of the cultures rest easy knowing that their possessions will not be taken from them in the future. Actually, that’s kind of a bad example, as there really isn’t a lot of ownership in Chaotic cultures (some still did, though). However, ownership, and the enforcement of ownership, is so ingrained in the consciousness of OUR particular culture; it’s the easiest way to explain it.

Lawful cultures don’t work like this at all. We write down our laws, consider them sacred (as a given), and spend most of our energy enforcing them. When problems arise in our civilization, we respond by adding more enforcement, adding more penalties to the same law, or trying to refine the law holistically. In the previous example of the thief, a Lawful culture would catch and restrain him until a decision can be reached. The proper procedures are followed according to what the lawmakers have written into the books. Despite the thief’s financial situation, his level of acquiescence/education regarding the matter, and the possibility that he can make reparations to his victim on his own, the final results of this process are generally punitive in nature. Punishment for breaking laws fosters a level of respect and control, hopefully adding a deterent to any behavior harmful to the culture. Desipte these differences between Law and Chaos, the goal of a Lawful culture is the same as a Chaotic one: Maintiaing membership by letting the members of the culture rest easy knowing that their possessions will not be taken from them in the future.

In our world, it is very hard to conceptualize Chaotic culture, because everything we see and everything we know is based on Lawful culture. But is does . . . well, at least it did exist, once, before our culture wiped them out or assimilated them. In D&D, you can have as many chaotic cultures as you want in your world. Just remember that any individual culture you create will be tied by a common thread of custom, and its members will be motivated by the desire to remain in the tribe. Other than that, the variety is endless.

Also, don't be confused by the word "tribe." It has primitive connotations, but that's not what I mean. Chaotic cultures can still be quite advanced, and can engage in complicated bartering, sophisticated customs of religion, and have several positions of elected or hereditary pseudo-authority. For example, when it comes to "Lord of the Rings," I would consider The Shire to be a Chaotic Good culture, and Sauron to be Lawful Evil. The One Ring is a symbol of Law and Control as much as it's a symbol of Evil.

(This post became quite long - I have a ton more to say, but I'll leave it at that for now - kewl topic.)

That would be really cool to have one of the earlier Savage Tide adventures focus on a black pearl (of whatever it is) activating prematurly. WOuld it look something like "28 Days Later?"

Those zombies (if you can call them that) ran reaaally fast.

Thanks for the correction Vegepygmy. It looks like the Gnome can continue being a splash-slinging weapon of destruction after all. And Kyuss. . . is toast.

*Edit*: You know. . . Considering that a spash weapon doesn't use the ranged attack bonus of the PC, but rather a ranged touch attack, would it make sense that a single splash attack still requires a standard action all by itself? In other words, a PC cannot use the full attack option to throw more than one a round? I dunno.

Some really good ideas here. . . I too want to see a system for Mass Warfare, and a bigger treatment of the D&D Cosmology and its alternatives (like Planescape did fo 2nd edition).

I also want more campaign settings. I'm really starting to get into Greyhawk, and I've always liked Dragonlance, Planescape, Spelljammer, and Ravenloft. However, I also want to see some more alterative ideas for settings.

There were 11,000 submissions to the WOTC campaign setting contest, which Eberron won. Eberron is awesome, but what about the work of the two other finalists? The final eleven? Many of them did some work and got paid, so why not make a seperate sourcebook out of each of their ideas?

I'd buy a dozen core sourcebooks that introduce inspiring, never-before-seen 3.5 D&D worlds, over a dozen extra suppliments that only serve to narrow the "canon" of one setting (and all of its prerequisite limitations of flavor).

Hey -

This has never come up in my games, as using splash weapons is often a low-level tactic, abandoned at high levels. . . I've never run into a situation where me or another PC has attempted to throw more than one splash weapon in a round.

I looked it up and found that preparing to throw a splash weapon is considered a full-round action. You may have house-ruled other-wise, and that's cool if you did. . . I just wanted to point out the rule from the book.

It sounds like you guys are having a blast. I can't wait for my PCs to get that far. :)

Tessius wrote:
A few power components I would recommend for said summoning: Rice Krispie Treats & Starburst. If those do not bring the were-platypus out, they are a great help into tricking it into granting you entry to its apartment/burrow/den(?).

:sniff sniff:

Hey guys, what's going on?

When you apply an undead template such as ghost or vampire to an NPC who can use rage, defensive stance, etc., how does the Constitution modifier work for duration? Does the NPC lose that ability, or do they use the Con they had in life? I don't curerrently have access to Libris Mortis to see if they covered that, and I don't remember a rule about it anywhere else.

Is there any errata on this somewhere? Suggesstions?


::happy dance::

Thanks Gav! As long as they're duplicate files and they don't violate any copyright stuff or gank someone out of a hard-earned 4 bucks, then I'll definitely take 'em. We can talk about it, at least, and figure out those details.

I have the same e-mail. Thanks again! :)

Normally, I'd let people roll 4d6 and take what they could get, but since this is a very tough campaign, I had them use a 32 point buy. Some were fairly inexperienced, and I'm not going inflict instant death on players for not knowning every PC trick in the book.

Of course, after about 4 months of playing, no one has died yet. Lots of close calls though. . . Which is all right by me. Looking forward to all the hard encoutners, PC death is still bound to happen anyway. That's okay too. :)

Steve Greer wrote:
Perhaps, Phil. Perhaps. I can only hope that it will increase my writing mojo.

I can definitely say reading the efforts of Steve, Nick, Greg, Richard, and others have done wonders for my writing mojo. They are the best of the best, and learning all I can from their quality contributions only inceases my chances for future publication. I'm SO looking forward to AP III.

Oh yeah. . .

Meetin'? Did she happ'n? News? Eh?

Thank you again, guys. I feel like I have a much better handle on where to go to get the best information about the setting. I've already downloaded the core products, and they're pretty cool. I've taped the four part poster map next to my desk, and I've been locating the major cites, lands, and political designations as I go. It's been especially fun flipping between From the Ashes and the original World of Greyhawk stuff to note the differences after the Greyhawk Wars.

I also appreciate the heads up on Ivid the Undying (I've included one link to a good .pdf file). So far, I find the decadent fall of the Great Kingdom to be one of the most intriging aspects of Greyhawk, and I'm looking forward to pouring through that one very soon.

Here is my final draft, based on your suggesstions. The total cost is exactly $100:

Best of the Overall History (3 .pdf files)
AD&D World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting
From the Ashes
AD&D Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins

Best of the Regional Supplements (5 .pdf files, 1 is free)
Scarlet Brotherhood
The Marklands
Iuz the Evil
Ivid the Undying (free .pdf located at http://www.io.com/~wmallman/ivid.html)

Best of the 1st Edition (11 .pdf files)
Scourge of the Slave Lords
Queen of the Spiders
The Temple of Elemental Evil
The Saltmarsh trilogy
The Secret of Bone Hill
Mordenkainen's Maginificent Adventure
The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
Isle of the Ape

Best of the 2nd Edition (7 .pdf files)
Five Shall be One
Howl from the North
The Falconmaster trilogy
Fate of Istus
Return of the Eight

Best of the Greyhawk websites (free):

Other Resources:

Greychat Participation Instructions:

Important Gord Novels from the public library:
Saga of Old City, by Gary Gygax
Artifact of Evil, by Gary Gygax

Greyhawk's 4-Part Poster Map:
Dungeon Magazine - issues #118-121

Okay, I have reviewed everyone’s comments, and I want to say thank you for your tips and suggestions. I have an initial list valued at exactly $100. But I want to refine it, and see if anyone has suggestions or changes. Remember, for this list, I considered the “best” to be those that provide the highest level of Greyhawk education. . . It’s not necessarily a list of the all-around best adventures. For example, Five Shall Be One is probably not as good as White Plume Mountain, but it may better serve the setting’s timeline. Let me know where my list is wrong.

The list tries to leave out modules like Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, or Greyhawk Ruins, essentially those which may be set in Greyhawk, but contain mostly generic elements that don’t distinguish it as part of the setting or its history. Of the list below, I’m a bit unsure about the Tamoachan/Tharizdun modules. Is there something better to replace them?

The list also tries to leave out modules that do not actually take place in the setting. The Dungeonland modules, Dwellers of the Forbidden City, and Isle of the Ape are not included, as they might be good examples of this. Are there any that I’ve listed below that inadvertently fulfill this criterion? What better examples exist to replace them?

Okay, what else? What should I be adding here? What should I get rid of? Feel free to point out my lapses in judgement. Here they are:

Best of the Overall History (4 .pdf files)
AD&D World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting
AD&D Greyhawk Wars
From the Ashes
AD&D Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins

Best of the Regional Supplements (3 .pdf files)
Scarlet Brotherhood
The Marklands
Iuz the Evil

Best of the 1st Edition (12 .pdf files)
Scourge of the Slave Lords
Queen of the Spiders
The Temple of Elemental Evil
The Saltmarsh trilogy
The Secret of Bone Hill
The Assassin’s Knot
Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Adventure
Ghost Tower of Inverness
The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun

Best of the 2nd Edition (6 .pdf files)
Five Shall be One
Howl from the North
The Falconmaster trilogy
Fate of Istus

Best of the Greyhawk websites (free):

Other Resources:

Greychat Participation Instructions:

Important Gord Novels:
Saga of Old City, by Gary Gygax
Artifact of Evil, by Gary Gygax

Greyhawk's 4-Part Poster Map:
Dungeon Magazine - issues #118-121

Okay, that's it so far. Please let me know where I could make improvements. Thanks!

- Chris

drunken_nomad wrote:

Hey- If Chris Wissel is both a werecabbage and a wereplatypus....uhhhh, how does that work? Does he look a little like the Kids in the Hall / Bruce McCulloch sketch where he wore a cabbage head for a wig? If he gets a head injury, will he bleed coleslaw?

Yup, blacktooth coleslaw. It's juicy.

I better get back to work. . . they're going to kick me out soon unless I actually produce something. :)

grodog wrote:

Chris, Hagen raises a good point: are you looking for adventures, sourcebooks, campaign updates, or what? Also, do you have a preference for what edition they're written for, or what era of GH they're written for?

As far as what I'm looking for, I'm mostly thinking adventures, but also enough of the timeline to provide a decent overview of the setting. I don't really have a utilitarian purpose, or anything, I just really want the feel of it. It'll enhance my game, and heck. . . I might even get a couple of ideas for submissions to Dungeon.

There are so many people on these boards that I really respect who love Greyhawk. I thought I understood the setting well enough to dismiss it in favor of my 20 years of homebrewing, but their continued support (as well as those two links - thanks!), has made me realize just how much I don't know. Plus, the shared experience of the APs and the sense of "community" on these boards is very addictive (in a good way). I think that sharing a setting such as Greyhawk would be one more way to feel that comraderie.

Thanks for the all the tips, guys. I'll probably start downloading the obvious stuff today. Any more helpful hints would be great.

- Chris

Fake Healer wrote:

Most of the time the wizard doesn't have the right one prepared anyway, "lets rest in enemy territory overnight so I can cast _______." You either got it or not. Done sitch.

My 2

Ha! That is so true. for all their diversity, this still happens all the time. It seems strange to me that the most scholarly PC in the group is the one advocating for an extra night of "camping out." Still, I gotta say I love the wizard anyway. Mostly for the reasons everyone else mentioned.

One of the things that sticks in my craw about sorcerers is their unfettered ability to use scrolls and wands from the sor/wiz spell list. One of the neat things about playing a wizard in 1st and 2nd edition was that they had access to many magic items that were useless for any other class. Now, that feature has been undermined by this undisciplined upstart. Fie upon you, sorcerer!

Okay, okay.

Paizo sells .pdf files of old 1st edition adventures, as well as many other Greyhawk suppliments. While leafing through the store, I recognize plently of the adventures from my childhood, but there are at least three times as many that I couldn't afford as a 12-year old, and never even had the chance to read, let alone play. Some I've never even seen before.

Now, as a grown up, I want 'em. But not necessarily ALL of them. I want the best of the best, 20-25 works of old school Greyhawk, chosen for their Greyhawk content and wrapped up for me in a big red ribbon.

For those of us who, for whatever reason, couldn't afford those titles as a kid, this would be a great way to provide a quality Greyhawk education, hand-picked by the experts and bundled together for a single purchase. Plus, for the price of a cheap pair of Nikes or a Xbox 360 game, the next generation can have a simple, direct line to their gaming roots.

So, what would be the logistics surrounding the creation of such a mega download? For 20 handpicked modules, and perhaps half a dozen suppliments such as "From the Ashes," I'd gladly pay an extra 10 - 15% over getting them piecemeal. . . maybe $125?

Perhaps a smaller version can be offereed, like a 10 module pack with a couple extra Greyhawk suppliments for $60.

Can this be done?

- Chris

(If not, then maybe some good folks could provide me with a good list, and I'll buy them piecemeal. Thanks!)

Ichabod Drule wrote:

The work Paizo is doing with the APs is reforging the D&D community through shared experiences. This is so much more important than what world they support. I remember that swarm coming for me in the Cairn, not what pantheon the clerc's god was from.

I think that's very well said, man.

I love the APs as well, and I think it does show that we all really enjoy the shared experience. Twenty years from now, crusty old gamers are still going to be swapping stories about how they killed Dragotha, or laugh about their experiences at Prince Zeech's party. They won't remember what campagin world they were in, or the implications that Redhand's liberation will have on Iuz, the shield lands, or the duchy of. . . wherever.

Granted, DMs do care about setting, that's true. But I'm starting to learn that this isn't really important to the game. . . it's just a particular fetish of being a DM.

farewell2kings wrote:
Ashavan...I didn't get the memo....does that mean that I get an assassin sent after me now? You must warn him that I'm rarely unarmed, but when I use the bathroom at work, I hang my Glock and its holster from the stall hook, so he does have a chance at that point.

I got the memo, but I lost my decoder ring somehwere, so for all I know, it spells out my doom. Just to be sure, I better booby trap my house. . . some more.

BTW - tell you wife good luck, F2K. You're married to a pool shark, how cool is that? :)

I think the 4.0 Player's Handbook should be randomized. You can buy the basic pack for $29.99, which gets you a 3-ring binder and 20 random pages of core 4.0 PH rules.

Then you can buy 10 page booster packs at $9.99 each, and eventually work to get the entire 224-page collection in your binder!

Yay!! :)

Baramay wrote:
II am wondering if today's media has people having unrealistic expectations of DnD. The good guys don't always win. Being brass and cocky does not always get everyone to love you. What are some opinions out there?

I've been thinking back with embarassment about some of my favorite movies growing up. . . "American Ninja," "Commando," Rambo II," "Gymkata," and a slew of other mindless stories of violence and bravado. When I consider my tastes then, and compare it to the tastes of today's youth. . . I actually think today's generation has a slight leg up on me. :)

Fortunately, I've changed. As for my heroes, I don't really identify with ancient mythology much. Some of my favorites from more recent writings include Samwise Gamgee, Huckleberry Finn, Eliot Rosewater, and Can O' Beans (if your familiar with Tom Robbins).

Golbez57 wrote:

There have been some truly excellent adventures in and around coastal themes in "Dungeon" over the past few years. Dang if I can't remember the title of it, so excuse the 'Friends'-ish description, but The One With the Priest of Pazuzu in the Stone Arch Stronghold was killer. And, of course, there's "The Styes".

Yar! Doncha be fergettin' about Tammeraut's Fate!

Thanks for posting this! It's great.

Mortepierre wrote:

"Characters who examine the floor here will note that there is an eight-pointed star chiseled into the stone. The points of the star are entirely cleaned out, as if something is supposed to be set into them. The “something” which is meant to be inset is a set of eight metal triangles, each about the size of a halfling’s hand and each of a different hue. In the Greyhawk Campaign, each plate was enchanted to a different plane typically a special demi-plane or similar place. Thus, a double adventure was set up for each of the eight triangles. First came the search for the metal plaque, and then came the adventure of traveling to the destination encoded on the plaque, exploring, and finding a way back."

I was kicking back in my computer chair, eating some oatmeal raisin cookies and appreciating all the wonderfully penned articles contained in the Wizards of the Coast archives, when I happened upon this one:



ghettowedge wrote:

Or after every fight spend 10+ minutes rolling on the random treasure tables.

I played one session where this happened, and never went back. We found four "magic bags made of pure fire" and in each of them was a slew of treasure. It took, I dunno. . . about a hour.

Ironically, he started fudging his rolls. I had made a 6th level Wizard, and by the end of that first session, my character "earned" a Staff of Power, not to mention a bunch of other stuff. He said I'd need it all if I wanted to survive his "plans."

Plus, we were using the wounds/vitality system and an alternative spell system. I asked for some details regarding how the it all worked, and he just shrugged and said, "Well, no one really understands it."

When you have to worry about traps, foes, and spells from your own NPCs, it can be challenging as a DM to run a party member too.

Before third edition, if I only had three players, the decision was easy. No one ever wanted to be a priest, so I could always run a poor martial skilled NPC, chocked full of prepared healing spells, who never assisted in combat. It was never a hassle.

The previous sugesstions to keep the PCs ahead a level is good, and instead of giving them the treasure as written, you could customize it to meet their exact needs. They don't have to sell anything, and they get an ideal mix of treasure that is immediately useful to their character classes.

I say some of. . .

<---- These guys!

Maybe there's a Great Old One in the depths, and the sea devils are raiding for the sheer tonnage of human flesh necessary to keep it frisky. If the BBEG isn't a demon and it isn't undead, I'm hoping for an aberration! Or maybe an army of them. . .

Also, if there be pirates and a few ocean going adventures, it would be seriously cool if the PCs get their own vessel during the campaign. Yar!

farewell2kings wrote:
I talked to a long time gaming friend of mine who gave up D&D 15 years ago and told him about the Adventure Paths and he said that something cool like that could potentially get him back into gaming.

BTW - That is awesome.

Marc Chin wrote:
There you have it, from the horse's mouth. The research paper did not in any way mention Dungeons & Dragons specifically, or role-playing games in general, as linked in any way to Goth subculture or self-destructive behavior.

Thank you for writing to Dr. Young, Marc. Your representation of D&D has been spot on. I am very glad to see that he replied, and I'm hoping that he makes his own inquiries.

On a side note, Reuters also has a review of this study on their web site (it was picked up by Yahoo news). While I'm happy to see that there is no mention of D&D (why would there be?), they imply that both Marylin Manson and the Columbine shootings are directly related to Goth culture.

Same stuff, different story.

That article, published last Thursday, can be found here:

http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=1184750 7

I am using Eligos, but he is not a big wizard with information. In my game, the PCs will hopefully seek him out, on their own, during a Free City investigation section threaded into the beginning of HoHR. The PCs gain the doppelganger's attentions as they search for a hidden shipment of Slow Worms cabable of infecting thousands, sent by Illthane to aid Raknian in his final Champion's Games ceremony.

Here are some of the other changes I've made. My campaign is set in my homebrew of Wistera.

The Wispering Cairn:

PCs didn't get to the tomb until second level. Much of their motivation is based on a dispute between a local cattle rancher called the Blackknave, and the man who pushed his operation into the Miresburg valley, the Khellek character (in my game, he's named Archemedi - he tries to hire the PCs, and had not yet made his adventure party. . . he will, and it will eventually be five members, if the PCs don't kill him first).

After the PCs get to the tomb, there was a ticking clock against both the double-crossed Archemedi, and the Backknave's men. The PCs ended up fighting Kullen and his men in the Lair of the Laborers, stooges of the Blackknave.

Alastor Land's mother is still alive, albeit crazy as a loon. As a former priest of Pelor, she and three others tried to stop a growing evil in a fishing village to the south, almost twenty years ago. Alastor was taken captive, but fled into the hills to die in the cairn. He wants the PCs to bury his bones, and find the bodies of the other three Pelor Priests. Both he and his mother's curses will be lifted.

After a rousing, and very empathetic speech by the party's fighter, I allowed the PCs to make a Diplomacy check to convince Alastor to open the tomb first (it was only fair). They made it, and cleared the true tomb before they got to Filge. Fortuately, they were already 3rd level, so they didn't get TPKed by wind warriors (it was close).

Filge had a direct hand in spawning a disease that cleared out a fishing village. Instead of a recent arrival, he has been the only living resident at the village's observatory for years. He has the priest's bodies, and after his defeat, Alastor's mother is revived from her insanity. Once she rebuilds the temple in town, she'll be a good ally (I hope). I dropped Filge's necromancer statblock, adn made him into an evil druid. As a master of poisons, the syringes still came in handy. . . :)

The PCs also find a series of letters and notes that detail Filge's "good work" clearing out "a set of docks" in the big city. Balabar is a local magistrate, and Filge was hired in by him nearly twenty years ago. The PCs are not aware yet, but as a young man, Filge's talents with poison helped Zyrxog clear out Cinnmore's docks around the Sodden Hold, paving the way for an infiltration by Doppelgangers. Highly recommended, his next task was to clear out a fishing village. Unfortuately, Filge was double-crossed, and forced to serve as a lonly watchdog over the empty, diseased town indefinitely.

Wow, that was long. The above changes have already happened, for good or ill. I have alot more changes planned for the other adventures. Some, such as 3FoE are unrecognizable, but others, such as EaBK, will be run pretty much as written. Maybe I'll do another post after others have disussed their changes. Later. . . :)

Oh yeah, let me qualify something:

I do not feel that Goth culture in the US or anywhere is inherently unhealthy, and I am not implying or judging that D&D is hurt by any association to it.

The article simply misrepresents D&D by an implied association with a series of specific, maladaptive behaviors, not a culture or a subculture.

That's what I meant, in case there was any confusion about that.

I recently read a link to CNN website called MedPage. They usually do a summation of medical journal articles, and present them with tips on how to improve your health. I don’t read it every day, but it seems to be a pretty innocuous site.

However, one of the most recent articles on MedPage is about the prevalence of self-inflicted harm on members of “Goth” culture, based on a journal article published on the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in February.

The web posting gives a decent summation of the journal. But then. . . Completely out of left field, the review states:

“There is a Goth subculture in the U.S., reportedly inspired by fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragon.”

The original cohort study in the BMJ interviewed children in SCOTLAND. It never mentions, studies, or draws comparisons to Goth culture or subculture in the United States, nor is there ANY mention of Dungeons and Dragons anywhere in the original journal article. The reviewer simply added it in.

I find that line about D&D to be very misrepresentative. The journal reviewer that wrote this review is Dr. Robert Jasmer, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. His e-mail address at the University of California is robert.jasmer@ucsf.edu.

I am writing him to present my experience of Dungeons and Dragons as a healthy pastime with many positive social effects, and I am urging him to either present research that supports such a claim, or offer a retraction of that line in a future MedPage article.

I’m hoping that a few others might join with me to do the same.

You can read the CNN Medpage review here:

You can read the BMJ abstract here:


It's possible that Kyuss's CR is at 27 or less. For the Dragotha fight, the PCs will most likely have Bucknard's aid, shifting the encoutner from "We're already dead" status to a mere "We're all gonna die" status.

Unless there are similar tools/conditions to fight Kyuss in "Dawn of a New Age," I wouldn't figure his CR to be any higher. But then again, I'm just speculating.

Either way, it's gonna be cool. . . I can't wait to see the conclusion.

Last night, I just DMed the 11th weekly session of my Age of Worms campaign. I have six players. They are all regulars, but everyone has missed at least one session (I actually missed session 9 myself. . . another player took over for me, to run Challenge of Champions III for the rest of the group. See how good my players are! They don't even need a DM!).

They are currently:

NG human fighter 4
N halfling cleric 4
N elven wizard 3
CN elven ranger 4
CN half-elven rogue 4
CE human dread necromancer 4

Saern wrote:

Well, provided that he has a reason to believe there are foes in the next room, and the DM rules that the barbarian can keep his rage knowing this (as the argument is moot otherwise), should the barbarian be able to keep raging while the rest of the party sips potions, or should he only be allowed to keep it if he immediately sets to breaking down the next door and killing whatever is on the other side?

I say that he should only keep the rage if he immediately, perhaps still in initiative, works to break down the door and attack them.

Saern wrote:
And if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around the hear it, does it make a sound?

An old question, one that could readily be solved with automated logging components and a strategically placed monitoring device.

Unfortunately, my protestations for funding fall on deaf ears at the University of Houston's Philosophy department. So I guess we'll never know.

Koldoon wrote:

It should be noted that the reason issue 112 is available in PDF is that the issue has SOLD OUT, at least that is my understanding. This is a distinction not shared by most other issues. I imagine, therefore, that it must have been a very popular issue.

That said, I'll admit it is also one that I haven't read, so I can't comment personally on the adventure. But for people asking why... clearly that sort of dungeon crawl DOES sell. At least when a gamer celebrity authors it.

- Ashavan

Yeah, this adventure did sell out, didn't it? I'd forgotten that.

I am not a person of faith, but regarding Maure Castle’s sales figures, I desperately want to believe the following equation:

Wayne Reynolds gets a cover, especially one as awesome as #112. It’s be-oo-ti-ful. (plus) The words “Giant-Sized Super Adventure” on the cover, something that excites me for the same reasons that the words “Adventure Path” do, regardless of its actual content (plus) The invocation of “by Gary Gygax.”


Awesome sales.

Now that’s faith. :)

Craig Clark wrote:

[It's funny because when I first read "Mordy's Fantastical Adventure" back in the day, I hated it. Primarily because of some of things that you have listed. One of things I liked about the reissue is that they (Rob -- Erik, et al, kudos! btw) gave a lot of the major bad guys interesting background and even some of the fodder had some interesting motives.

Those are some good points Craig, and I can admit that Maure Castle does make a couple attempts at plot and character. I also grog what you and others are saying about the enjoyment of static dungeons, in general. I like ‘em too.

However, I want to talk a bit more about Maure Castle, since it’s come up a few more times. . .

For the most part, I’m pretty easy to please, and I’ve enjoyed 99% of the adventures I’ve read in Dungeon. If something doesn’t work, I can always change it to suit my style of play. However, my dislike of Maure Castle is very specific, and is probably the sole example I can think of regarding what not to do (from the magazine itself, of course . . . feel free to insert “Tomb of Horrors,” and a few other 1st edition modules into this too).

The checklist of bad encounters includes one-solution battles, a “compulsion” to touch objects that have harmful effects, single ability score checks with such vastly different results (Intelligence is a very small factor in determining the effects of the purple stone, for instance), rooms in the same dungeon with illogical hazards (poisonous fumes, magical fires, bubbling acid), several “empty/mundane” rooms mixed with several trapped rooms mixed with several treasure rooms (a reeeally bad combination).

All of these “not-so-good” elements are passive effects that slow down the narrative. In my experience, players of all ages want to take an active role in the game, letting their decisions make a difference in their own survival, advancement, etc. Unfortunately, as this particular adventure is played out, and the players observe the kinds of indiscriminate, random challenges that they have to face, their only logical recourse (to empower themselves) is to search every 5 ft. space in every single room, run a scan of all the detect spells, and mess with every single object as if it were a possible magical item, trigger, door, or trap. Talk about bogged down! Any attempts by Mr. Kuntz to develop NPCs or a cohesive storyline can’t really make up for this inherent problem.

As a smaller single-level adventure, this design wouldn’t be fun to play. As a massive multi-level dungeon . . . it’s just flat-out painful. Apologies to those that worked hard on this issue, but I figured that using Maure Castle is the best way to illustrate a “bad dungeon crawl,” and I really wanted to provide honest feedback.

Thanks again for the opportunity, and I think that the Paizo staff is doing a wonderful job with the magazine!

Nicolas Logue wrote:
The fun thing about the imagination is that we can go anywhere in a heartbeat. BAM! We are in a tavern full of rakshasas, BLAMO! Now we are in a sewer pipeline where a mad sage-like hermit hides amongst his wererat brethren. We can jump time and space so easily and it is sooo much fun to do so...therefore I can think of no real reason I would like to be stuck in a perfectly mapped out realistically realized dungeon that stretches on for eternity.

Actually, this was what I meant to say. :)

Well said, Nick.

James Jacobs wrote:

So we're aware that a fair amount of our readers aren't as interested in the old classic "dungeon crawl" adventure. In my mind, the classic dungeon crawl is an adventure along the lines of #112's "Maure Castle," or to be more recent, #129's "A Gathering of Winds."

First of all, thanks for the interest! As it's been said so many times before, it's been a real privledge for hobbyists to have such a direct line to their leadership.

For me, dungeon crawling is less about the "dungeon," and more about the "crawl." Static duingeons are great, as long as they don't slow down teh narriative, or present a series of encounters that are meaningless. For me, I'd say that I loved A Gathering of Winds about as much as I hated Maure Castle. And here's why:

A Gathering of Winds is a dungeon, but everything in it has a logical place. The encoutners vary from stand-up fights to negotation, and there's even a moment halfway through where the goals of the PCs are reassessed (right after rescuing Allustan). The dungeon has a consistent theme throughout, and there isn't alot of empty rooms.

Maure Castle, on the other hand, is a mess. Instead of a cohesive plot, the vast majority of adventuring takes place room to room. While I appreciate the creativity in describing each room, there's nothing for a PC to get inspired about. It's a "moral neutral" set of independent encoutners strung together under the title "Maure Castle." Kill things, survive the "save or die traps," and take all the stuff.

Take one specific example from Maure Castle: Room 7B. . . You have to break through a barrier for the privledge of getting charmed to destroy magic items. Furthermore, the PCs actions are set by a random table! When I was 12, I may have enjoyed "tee-heeing" at this encoutner, but now it's just dull, illogical, and unfair.

There is a similar example from A Gathering of Winds that I have opposite feeling about, area 12. The PCs have a dead end, and they can spend as many resources as they want tinkering with the false gatehouse. Instead of horrible DM twink-fest that they have to passively save against, the PCs are taking an active role in their own befuddlement. Furthermore, there is a logical reason and purpose behind the area to begin with.

I think static dungeons are great role-playing opportunities when they are focused, logical, and possess conceits that allow PCs a chance to care. I don't want "crawling" encounters which are no fun play, hold zero role-playing possibilities, and only exist for a DM to indiscriminately wreck the party.

So I guess to answer the original question. . . I want a dungeon to have as many opportunities to let the players fulfill the heroic/villanous fantasies that brought them to teh game. . . not another opportunity to "crawl" for the sheer sake of "crawling".

Grimcleaver wrote:

The solution is this: hit points should represent capacity to take damage, armor class (or better put, defense) should represent the ability to avoid getting hit, and damage reduction should represent the ability to lessen the severity of injury (such as from armor). This is simple and easy to use--it reflects what's happening in the game. AC and init should get bonuses per level, perhaps based on class. Some classes might get a DR. AC bonus from armor becomes DR. Dodge can be bought multiple times at a +2 Defense each time. Hit points only go up if the character ups his Con modifier with ability increases, or if he buys the toughness feat.

I'm interested in hearing more about your rule system for hp. What are your class-based progressions for AC bonuses and DR in your game? It sounds interesting. Can you give me an example?

Also, how do you nerf magic damage, such as magic missile?

Steve Greer wrote:

Since nobody is credited for the Arcane Dragon, could whomever wrote that little piece please explain it? Is this meant to be a template? I assume it's a variant you can slap on any dragon by the way it's written. But, when does the Alternate Form ability come in to play? And how much slower is their speed with the Graceful Flight ability? The description makes it sound like they are much more adept arcane casters than other dragons, yet all they get for that grand title is a frail form and the ability to take another form more often. Oh, yeah, and they can fly a lot better.

That took me awhile to figure out too.

I think that Arcane dragons represent a type of dragon, like Chromatic, Gem, etc. Hex dragons and tome dragons are two types of arcane dragon.

I also though the Hellchain Weaver was extremely cool. :D

Aberzombie wrote:
Another something I had thought about but never really fleshed out - a floating city. I was going in one of two directions. First would be an actual island that floats around by some whim of the gods (think Delos, birthplace of Appolo and Artemis). The other would have been a city that started out as a few ships lashed together and slowly grew from there. Like I said, I never fleshed it out, just jotted down some preliminary ideas. If anyone wants to run with the idea feel free.

I think floating cities are cool, too.

One idea that I never fleshed out was an archeological black market, which was located on a floating city of magic theives. Instead of theives with rogue levels, most of them would be mages and clerics of death (to recognize value in stolen merchandise).

It would also have thousands of unknown relics on it at any one time, almost like collected libraries.

I wanted to model it after those seedy towns in Egypt in the late 19th century, where hundreds of grave robbers would congregate to unload their stolen wares. In a D&D setting, with so many ruins scattered about the world, having a magical and mobile base of operations sounded like a pretty cool way to fence those goods.