Dark's page

34 posts. Alias of Jake Ainslie.


Congratulations Christine!

Among so much outstanding talent you managed to stand out. Your creativity and firm grasp of pace, plot, and character (not to mention the often tricky 3.5 game mechanics necessary behind the curtain) were simply amazing.

obviously, we'll be seeing work from the top 4 (we are all so damn lucky for that!) but you absolutely deserve your RPG Superstar title.

Oh, and having your own holiday ain't bad either!

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Another thought--Perrenland might work pretty well--you've got the Yatils to the West and the open expanses of the nomads to the north (sub for Shoanti!), and the country has a loose enough political structure to account for the relationship between Magnimar and Korvosa.

No doubt. Good idea. I had a Highfolk/Vesve campaign a few years ago that went well and I dabbled with the idea of moving it into Perrenland but never got there. Maybe now is the time?

Tessius wrote:
Dark wrote:

Tessius ... I know I'm a bit slow in the head but what is "FCI?"
No problem :) it's the first Fiendish Codex. I was rereading it a month or two before RotRL started and was surprised to see a couple references to Lamashtu.

Ahhhh .... thanks! Haven't read that but good to know she is referenced elsewhere should I decide to use her.

Tessius wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
As for Lamashtu, I'd keep her as is and find a spot for her as a demon-lord in the abyss, or put her in Pandemonium and give her a divine portfolio.
Lamashtu doesn't need to be imported. Someone, probably James, put a couple mentions of her in FCI :)

Tessius ... I know I'm a bit slow in the head but what is "FCI?"

Whoa! Peruhain of Brithondy - just missed your post before I sent mine.

I agree with you that the Ratik option is intriguing and that the underdeveloped "east side" of the map is undiscovered country that a lot could be done with. It is wide open.

Then again ... I've been messin' with my players heads with various revivals of ancient Suel cultures and outposts for years now so doing the Sterich and Crystalmists connection might be the easiest for me. I dabbled in the area a few years ago and had a good time watching my players freak out fighting giants.

Finally, I really appreciate you taking time to focus in on Lamashtu and give some thoughts on how to handle her as a goddess. That, in particular, has been bothering me. You gave some good suggestions. Thanks!

Savage_ScreenMonkey wrote:
Another good location could be the Wild Coast region. Every time I read Lost Coast whatever I kinda get the idea that was what James was thinking of. Sandpoint could become Safeton or you could just slip Sandpoint as is somewher on the coast.Verbobonc,Dyvers or Greyhawk city could become Magnimar. The Nyr Dyv the Storval Deep and the Kron Hills and Lortmil Mountians work as the Iron Peaks. Karzoug could be replaced by Iuz who has decided to tap the ancient power of greed in order that he may crush his multitude of enemies starting with the Free City of Greyhawk.

Savage_ScreenMonkey -- thanks for both the Sterich and Wild Coast suggestions. I have had my campaign on the Coast for years now (spending time in Greyhawk, the various Ulek states, and all wilds in-between) and it has been a helluva lot of fun for me as a DM and my players. It is so easy to have almost anything go down there. Honestly, this was my first idea when considering this whole notion. Part of me wants to do that to continue to build upon my players' collective knowledge and experience with the area but part of me feels like I've already tapped out enough ancient secrets in the Suss and strange new monsters, etc. and that I should be doing something entirely new. Hmmmmmm....decisions decisions. I have a few good possibilities now so I just have to start researching and tweaking (a favorite DM pastime no?)

Thank you to everyone that shared thoughts and opinions on this matter.


The Real Troll wrote:

I've thought long and hard about how to fit this campaign into Greyhawk and here is the best I could come up with.

In my campaign Iuz has been pushed further north to the land of black ice. He has left behind much of the northern Flaness. As his minions retreat humans and demi humans (mostly from the Bandit Kingdoms, Blackmoor, the Shield Lands, and Perrenland) have moved in to settle the land that was once called Iuz.

I replaced the Runelords with the Horned Sociey and adjusted the society to be devil worshippers that used infernal favors to enslave/dupe the stone giant population and use them to quickly (over 200 years) build a vast empire. The relics of this empire still exist in some part to the present day (CY 600 in my campaign). Each of the Horned society members worshipped a devil with a different aspect of sin.

So far this has worked seemlessly into my campaign. In fact my players had no idea that the adventures were actually part of the Pathfinder series until they reached the fourth installment.

Nice work Real Troll! Thanks for the reply. That has some distinct possibilities for my campaign as well. In particular, I like what you had to say about how you incorporated the Horned Society. My campaign is a few years behind you (CY 595) but I think I used more of the standard Greyhawk wars timeline of events so I'd have to go a slightly different path than you used, but you've given me plenty to think about. Thanks again.

That's two great possibilities for me from the awesome folks inhabiting the Paizo universe!

Ring of Five wrote:
To answer your question, Dark: Ratik, Ratik, Ratik...IMC not only has that area (the whole Corusk Mtns. region in fact)been a favorite of my players for years, but there are also many parallels worth noting-closely connected mountain and coastal settings, prevalence of humanoids and giants (and rangers), a lost city (Skrellingshald is mentioned in the 1st Ed. GH Adventures HC, Xin-Shalast in RotRL), and the frontier feel of the established human domains. When I will run RotRL I don't know (Recently started Savage Tide), but I have three of the PF issues and am eager to set it in Ratik and/or Bone March.

Thanks Ring of Five! I will take a look at Ratik and the Bone March and look for the parallels you mentioned. Much appreciated.

I know this might come off as blasphemous for some, but I was curious as to whether anyone has tried to place the Rise of the Runelords adventure path in the Greyhawk setting?

I DM a group of gamers that has spent many many years learning that campaign setting by heart and this has given a fantastic sense of verisimilitude because they know the countries, the races, the gods, etc., etc. and can roleplay accordingly.

Don't misunderstand -- I'm no newcomer to drastically altering adventures as written (in fact, I just about always alter things to fit my vision and my particular campaign and homebrew), but I am curious if anyone else has already done this and if so, if you have any tips for me? What changes did you find necessary (besides the obvious Gods and geography)? Did you find an existing country that really worked for you (offered the least amount of geographic or cultural changes to the storyline as written)?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Put me down for the Charred Chase and the Monkey Goblin Attack entries.

I love seeing people take well known (and often considered cliche or boring) monsters and doing something new and fun with them.

Great work to everyone though. Very fun to read through all of these.

My 3 votes went to Darkblight, Bleak Midwinter, and Born of Lightning.

Man those countries were fun to read!

I'm not breaking any new ground with my choices - but I do think that in itself is telling. It just shows that many of us immediately recognized and responded to certain entries. Entries that were written extremely well considering the parameters of the contest. There were many others that had a single great idea or maybe a few well written sentences but just didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle.

Considering that the winners of this round need to not only provide a solid, workable D&D country, but also need to show they can stick to a theme, showcase writing talent, creativity, and an understanding of what players and DMs alike want . . . only a few really stood out to me. I have to agree with Clark -- I could've cast a vote for 8 country entries, but that being said, a few would've been ones that didn't have it all, but that I saw promise in. So I have to agree that 5 was the best way to go - it MADE me really look closely at my top 8 and whittle them down.

Anyway - congrats to all 32 to that made it this far and good luck to you all. My votes (in no real order of preference) went to:

Freeholds of Karistynia
Land of Stained Peaks

Man! Patrick . . . you are a machine! Rock on!

I need to get a Word doc going of all of these items and just go through and write my comments for all of them and then post all at once. There are just so many!!! Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Danzig Darkheart wrote:

As close as I can remember, since I didn't save a copy, just entered straight into the post...

Adventurer's Vest
The Adventurer's Vest is of sturdy design, constructed of fine leather and canvas, it has two front pockets, one to a side. Although the pockets apear normal, they are in fact non-dimensional spaces capable of holding 15 pounds or 1.5 cubic feet of material without encumbering the wearer. These pockets have the special property when holding certain items. If a pocket contains only potions, any potion may be retrieved by the wearer as a move action, and if a pocket contains only ammuntion, it may be drawn out as a free action.
Additionally, after the vest has been worn for at least 24 hours, it grants the wearer the benefit of endure elements as well as providing nourishment and refreshment, so that the wearer does not need to eat, and requires only two hours of sleep per night.
Moderate varied; CL 9th; Craft Wonderous Item, create food and water, endure elements, secret chest, Price 4,500gp.

I guess it might not have the wow factor. I thought it was mechanically sound however, and also thought it was the sort of item that every character would want. It doesn't do much that other items don't do, but it's a vest, so it doesn't take up valuable finger space. Also its main function in the game is to allow players and DM's alike to ignore some of the more cumbersome aspects of wilderness adventure and get straight to delving.
I know 15 pounds of potions is a bunch, but the idea is drawing them out as a move action, allowing the character to pull and pound a potion in a single round. The Handy Haversack (another "must have" item) has a similar property, but as an avid hiker, I've always had a problem with charcters taking things out of a backpack while wearing it. Try it some time.

Like I said, this isn't word for word my submission, but its close enough for a losing entry.

I'd love anybody's comments, I can take it.

As someone that has done a lot of backpack hiking/camping, I also have always had an issue with the Heward's "reach over your head and neck, open the bag and grab out anything you want" concept. Very difficult maneuver - yeah, yeah, I know it is magic and all that, but a vest is sooooo much more practical.

Also, as you say, it doesn't have the "wow" factor that seems to have been THE thing for the contest, but I am a BIG fan of practical items like this in general. There seems to be a ton of combat based items in the 32 (and in general) and of course, D&D is a combat oriented game, but items like this are very useful and necessary in my opinion. Good "gear" type of item!

One potential flaw to it that I am seeing is that you can't enter rope tricks, etc. without tearing a rift. You'd have to hang the vest on a tree outside or something.

Also, I might have limited it a bit more - it seems a bit swiss army in all the various things it does. Maybe take out the sustenance aspect or take out the endure elements or something? Plus, of course, the judges didn't want to make travel/camping too easy it seems so you got dinged there. I feel for ya on that, I really do.

Dark wrote:
Bedroll of Bowered Dreams

Not exciting or groundbreaking maybe, but I do think it's useful. Are there any other items that do this? How does it compare in usefulness to something like a rope trick spell or other "hidey-hole" items?

Thanks for the comment . . . I was really trying for a useful item and something that adventurers would want. The thing the bedroll addresses for the guys in my campaign is the need to leave the bag of holding or Hewards Haversack outside in a well concealed location as they disappear in the rope trick or "hidey-hole." The extra dimensional items are tricky that way. This was a way to blend in and disappear without leaving your magical bag of goodies sitting around and crossin' your fingers it would be there in the morning.

OK everyone -- I'd appreciate any feedback on this item. I know for starters that it fit into the judges bad stereotype of a travel based item. Also, after comparing it to the 32, I can see that it was not nearly as high on a "Wow! That is some crazy s#$%!" factor. I was going for useful and practical and I thought the bedroll angle was a good one. What do you think? Was I even close in price? Is it something that the characters in your campaigns would want? Be as harsh as you like. It's all good.

Bedroll of Bowered Dreams

On command, this bedroll allows a single person within it to assume the form of a Large living tree or shrub or a Large dead tree trunk with a small number of limbs as the spell tree shape. The effect can be utilized once per day and lasts 8 hours.

Highly prized by wilderness adventurers of all classes, this lightweight and well-crafted item serves as a means of protection during the time when they are often the most vulnerable: during their sleep.

Upon inspection, the bedroll of bowered dreams proves to be distinct from the myriad varieties of bedrolls available to adventures in two ways: it is crafted solely from plant fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, etc. (which a close inspection by one knowledgeable about fabrics will reveal) and all examples of the bedroll found to date have had their outermost layer either embroidered or dyed with leaf patterns depicting a wide variety of tree and shrub species.

Moderate transmutation; CL 8th; Craft Wondrous Item, Tree shape; Price 6,000 gp. Weight 4 lbs.

Cainus wrote:

After reading the magic item compendium I think mine fell into the Item That Was Too Close To Existing Items heading. OK, so I didn't see that heading but it should be up there.

Mine was the Amulet of Lightning Strikes, it let people add electrical damage to their improved unarmed strikes or slams a certain number of times per day, as well as allowing them to channel the electricty to haste themselves once a day. I was thinking about have the haste damage the wielder a little...

I did this 'cause unarmed guys miss out on the shocking and other traits that weapon wielders have access to, that and I pictured someone like Raiden from Mortal Combat beating on people with electricity arcing all over the place.

And hey, bedroll guys, I think there's a healing bedroll in the Magic Item compendium (and that may not be the exact name of the book).

Mine wasn't a healing bedroll (but thanks for the reference) -- mine gave the user a one time a day/8 hour tree shape (tree or bush of his or her choice) so they could sleep in safety.

jocundthejolly wrote:

Magic bedroll high five, Dark.

Another problem I might have had was that I included a cursed variant, also. That might have queered the deal. 1% of my healing bedrolls were actually cursed with Nightmare, so Detect Magic says they're the healin' kind---but spending the night turns out to be a fit-throwing hell ride.
Maybe I shouldn't have required a different spell for the cursed ones, but
rather made it so that they just don't come out right and the effect is like Nightmare.

High 5 returned with great enthusiasm! LOL.

I know that the Travel Items were bad stereotypes to the judges but I KNOW my characters would love to have an easily carried item that helped them (esp. the spellcasters) get a good night's sleep.

Like some others have said, though -- if I take part next time, I'll really try to go crazy unique (and probably powerful) with my item. Now that I know mechanics, writing, usefulness (practicality), and format take a back seat to "Whoa that is some unique and crazy stuff!" I'll go all out and see if that gets me any closer. It is all about writing for your audience after all. I misjudged what was wanted from the judges (their priorities) and though still proud of what I entered, realize now that I should have dug around in my magical "box of strange" for my entry.

jocundthejolly wrote:

Hm. I don't think my healing bedroll fit any of those bad categories.

I'm guessing it just wasn't imaginative enough. I took the wrong tack.
I decided that a squeaky clean submission (rewriting several times, revising, editing, and having others read it to be absolutely sure it was well-written and that there were no spelling or grammar errors) would give me a good shot, even if it wasn't massively creative.

Ha! I went the bedroll route too jocund! I'm guessing that like you, it was just too far down on the "WOW! That is the craziest thing and/or weirdest and/or most unique/powerful thing I've ever seen" scale than many of the 32.

Plus, mine helped adventurers sleep 8 hours in relatively safety (and we all know how much of a pain in the butt it can be to get 8 full hours of rest in some campaigns) in the wilderness so it fell into the bad travel stereotype.

I thought I was being pretty inventive with choosing the virtually unknown magic bedroll (an item most adventurers have but don't give much thought to right?)but now I wonder how many bedrolls there were out of the 858? 2? 5? 25?

Grimcleaver wrote:

It's clever, but I wonder if it doesn't make too many assumptions about how undead exist. Certainly there are some--like vampires, that have clear connections, "strings" as it were, to the Negative Energy Plane--but the idea that magic forms strands to sustain their effects certainly is a new one to me.

I do love the idea of being able to cut through magical control with them though. It would almost be fun to make it less about undead and more about severing any form of magical control--whether it be controlling undead to dominate or charm person.

Granted a lot of the appeal is the likening of animated dead (skeletons in particular) to marionettes--which is an evocative image, but the idea that undead have any kind of magical "strings" seems to be going over the line and making blanket statements about very prevalent stuff in the D&D setting, that are well beyond the sorts of calls that should be made within the context of a magic item.

Good points . . . I wondered about this too - who says this is how it works? And also, it makes sense for the "mindless" undead, but it starts to get tricky with the higher free-willed ones.

The magical control cutting would be a nice tweak.

Clive wrote:

Dark: That King book is Insomnia.

The item is kinda neat.

Thanks for that title!

Grimcleaver wrote:

Great name. Not crazy about much else about it though, really. You don't really get a breaching legion with this item, and really it doesn't seem to fill a nice specific niche--but instead is just a demon spawning machine with the ability to swift cast a bunch of magic. Seems munchkiny, yeah.

The name of the item got me thinking more of something that a leader could use when coodinating a seige. Something with Shatter abilities, and other sorts of hulk-smashy stuff for getting past barricades and locked portals (maybe even a bit of knock and open/close just for opportunities when blasting something down is harder than just opening it) and a few radius buffs to improve the morale and defenses of the champion units composing said "breaching legion". I dunno'--that sort of thing.

I have to agree that the name kicks a$$ but it does evoke a different idea than what is actually given by the item. Like Grimcleaver, I was expecting more of a battle oriented "breach" making device. Then again, I push the limits of D&D with the battle scenarios I run and often run mass combats and things like sieges, etc. are probably far more common than in most games being played. That could be part of my misunderstanding the name.

This is a great way to boost summoning though and is a good visual. Well done!

I have to agree with the others. This item oozes with flavor and has just the right crunch of a well thought out item. It virtually drips with style and I love that it can be easily explained or incorporated into almost any campaign's understanding of goblins and goblin culture. Well done. I look forward to your country write up!

Reminds me of a Stephen King book where the narrator sees everyone's life lines like glowing threads sticking up from their heads and that is how he knows who is about to die (their thread energy gets discolored or blackened) and have their "thread" cut by the grim reaper.

Darn it! I can't think of the title . . . what book is that!!!???

Cool flavor to this one and very useful for anyone needing to fight of hordes of undead.

Snip snip! Who is next?!

As a guy into traditional archery in the real world, and as a DM that primarily runs wilderness campaigns, there have been plenty of bows and arrows and quivers cycling through my world over the years. I have to say that the current ranger in my campaign would LOVE an item like this, though. Very cool without being insanely powerful.

I'm glad the judges recognized the Green Arrow connection but that doesn't take anything away from the usefulness and the "I gotta have it" factor (at least for certain character builds) of this item.

This has so many cool aspects to it. It is almost like a DNA collection/cloning tool -- but it is creepy and sinister at the same time. Almost makes you wonder what sorts of powers you are dealing with in order to get an imprint of a person's body like that???? Love the flavor and the writing for this one.

Clouds Without Water wrote:
darthfrodo wrote:

This delicate amulet is crafted in the form of a beacon lantern. Through a simple divine ritual the amulet is attuned to the bearer’s deity so that when the bearer falls unconscious or is dying, friendly creatures within 600’ can sense their location without error.

Faint Divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Price 3,000 gp
A testament to the power of simplicity.

No doubt! Very simple, clean, and elegant. Beyond that -- what PC (but esp. the guy on point) wouldn't want this?

Congrats to the 32 and the runner-ups! There are some really original and well-crafted items in there.

Can't wait to see the countries! I think the next round will really separate the real Superstar writers. Obviously, for anyone that was disappointed that some items got through that were poorly written, you now have a vote to keep any shoddy work from going further. The "wow" factor can only take you so far if no one can understand what you are trying to say.

As Watcher! and neorxnawang have said, I think it would be best to allow for a high word limit in this phase.

However, word count is a personal style kind of thing and some writers can indeed get everything they want to convey out in 1,000 - 2,000 words. Others might need 10,000. Which is better? Whichever ones the voters like better I guess. From personal experience, I know that many people don't like to read. That being said, we all geek out big time on this stuff, so it shouldn't exactly be torture for anyone in this community to read "longish" country entries, right?

I tend to write a lot and go into detail on many different aspects of a country. I do this to prepare a player that reads the entry (and going with the assumption that I will have curious and information demanding players - the whole "why my PC needs to even bother to go there" is key) as well as to prepare myself for the myriad questions that come up in game play. DMs know what I'm talking about. If you you don't know the "why, how, and when" of just about every aspect (and aren't prepared to make it up on the spot) of your country (politics, how religions co-exist, major threats, exports/imports, etc.), your game can suddenly grind to a halt while you figure that out (worrying that you are not considering some vital detail that will come back to bite you later). Good old fashioned prep work on how the country works can go a long way for you.

That being said . . . something I'm wondering about is how important history is going to be for this write-up. I guess that is up to the writer eh? Some people can cover all the years of history of a country in a few sentences and some will need paragraphs. Only the voters can decide whether you've chosen a correct format or not. I am looking forward to seeing the example country entry though - at least as a starting point.

You better believe I'll be there to "see" that! Very curious to know what the requirements are going to be for the country design one way or the other!

"A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide”
~ Samuel Butler

I agree with everything positive that has been written. Thank you to the judges and the whole Paizo crew for your hard work, transparency, and obvious passion for good design.

This was a blast to take part in and the discussion on the process was invaluable.

I've never even considered trying anything like this before and it has certainly reinvigorated me -- got the creative DM/design juices flowin' like they haven't in years. Much appreciated.

Good luck to everyone. After recognizing the level of talent taking part in this contest, I have given up any serious hope of making the top 32 but I am sooooooo looking forward to voting on their countries!

"The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it.”
Danish Proverb

Have to say "B" for now.

I've been DMing for nearly two decades now and my group of loyal players and I have always followed along with each new and "improved" edition of the game(though we nearly always lag behind a year or two or four). Some of my crew are avid collectors and our campaign has never lacked for books or supplements for each edition. Not only have we invested great sums of money, but also hours and days of time learning each new system and invariably creating dozens of house rules to fix what was so obviously broken in each system.

Don't get me wrong - we've had a blast along the way. D&D has been a strong bond between us for years. But each time there was more of that feeling of, "Am I being had?" in the backs of our heads. We've wondered a few times what really motivates these new editions -- especially when they seem to follow so closely on one another. Is it pure greed or is it a quest for the best game possible within the genre? I hope it is a mix of the two as I feel the game has improved but you also have to take into account that considering that D&D is "all in our imaginations," it has proven to be a pretty expensive game over the years. Maybe not on par with golf, paintball, or today's video game systems and games, but still . . .

So back to the point -- I'm getting another year or two out of 3.5 before I'll even consider 4.0. And like many have already said, by then it will be 4.5 or 4.75 or 4.99 or something like that.

Of course, as you can see by my attached head shot, I have to get all my books and dice in braille so I guess it is a bit more spendy for me. ;-p

I would just like to add my thanks to Lisa and everyone at Paizo for this great idea and the opportunity to submit. First time I ever attempted anything like this and like the others, I am really looking forward to seeing the 32 chosen out of the 850+.

Great job!