Fiendish Zen's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Dedicated Voter, 9 Season Dedicated Voter. Organized Play Member. 176 posts (5,614 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters. 14 aliases.



Discussion thread for group Eigengrau.

Discussion thread for group Cinereous.

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Welcome to the recruitment thread for 'Towards the abyss', a sci-fi adventure using the Pathfinder rules.

No you didn't miss the release of Starfinder, it's just that I've been re-watching Babylon 5, immensely enjoying season 2 of The Expanse, and have had the idea for this bouncing around in my head for years. So now seems the right time, when I've a head full of well-written/acted sci-fi and a heart full of good intentions :)

Pathfinder...IN SPACE!!!!?
Yup, the ruleset is D20 Pathfinder with BAB, AC and skill checks. Everything you've come to expect :)

OK, so... why!?
Several reasons! I've been wanting to run another game for some time, and also to see if I could find a way to help out newer players. There's always more players than there are games, and PBP games consistently suffer from losing players who start well but quickly realise the more sedate pace of PBP doesn't suit them. GMs also lose interest in their projects, leaving whole groups stranded and disheartened. A one-shot short means everyone knows it'll last a couple of months of real time, which is a commitment but not a millstone. Also, presuming it all goes well, I'll run it again for another group of players, rinse and repeat :)

Right, so what's the setting then?
If you like(d) the 'functional tech'/hard sci-fi of Galactica, Firefly and The Expanse, then you may like this too. However, because the game will start 'in media res' and is a one-shot, I'm deliberately keeping most of the details close to my chest. All you need to know before we begin is that the environment is very much 'dirty tech'.

In a nutshell, mankind has reached outside the solar system to distant stars, driven by a lack or real estate on earth. Whilst there are colonies and space-stations in our solar system, there are also new (within the last couple of decades) outposts in other systems. Interstellar travel is slow but not terribly so. Transit is via 'sleeper ships' with the passengers in suspended animation, but the trip between systems only takes a few years due to *commences handwaving of actual physics involved* ;p

DO also note he setting and adventure may feature content towards the more adult end of the spectrum (horror and complex situations where there might not be one right answer) so please be aware of this before signing up.

How do we create characters!?
Well long story short, in a certain grand tradition of game start conditions, your characters don't know who they are when the adventure begins...

WAIT! Please read on before you close this tab!

New players: Relax! No need to number crunch or learn dozens of rules before play, we'll start 'in media res' and you can feel free to ask questions about the mechanics as each situation comes up.
Veterans: Take a load off and stop worrying about optimisation, synergising group roles and who's going to provide OOC healing. All together now....ahhh.... :)

There are still a bunch of choices to make when generating your character which will guide what they're good at as the adventure develops.

What you can expect from me
I've been on the boards for nearly 3 years now, and I've run a continuous campaign here for most of that time (The Walking Dead of Golarion for those who might want a sample of my GM style or a read-along campaign). In other words (barring unforeseen circumstances) I'm not going anywhere, so this adventure will happen and will progress to a conclusion!

I try to update at least once a day and manage that most of the time :)

I'm fair and open-minded, my mailbox is always open if you have questions either about rules or the game!

My expectations of you
This is far from your standard dungeon crawl, so anyone who's main aim is to kill things and take their stuff should probably move on! The adventure will involve problem-solving, investigation and teamwork, with a few combats thrown in. The main theme is a mystery for you to solve. All in a high-tension environment which should make for some good drama and role play! If this doesn't sound like fun, I wish you all the best with other recruitments :)

Once per day posting please (I reserve the right to boot you if you don't post for a week without telling me in advance!)

Respect your fellow players and GM by contributing to the collaborative story rather than being disruptive for the sake of it :)

Character creation:

So, your character submission should consist of the following:
Name: Pick anything human you like
Virtue: One word, something your character is proud of being (courageous, clever, ambitious, witty)
Vice: One word, something your character is secretly ashamed of being (cowardly, angry, unforgiving, dismissive)
Five questions for you to answer in character:
Why did you need to board a bulk transport so quickly, taking only a single holdall with you?
What are the three most important items in the holdall?
If you came across men intimidating a woman and her child and extorting her for her ration card, what would you do?
When under pressure and faced with a complicated problem, how do you react?
What was the last thing going through your head before you went in to cryosleep?

No need to create an alias, just post your submission in a spoiler :)

I am looking for FOUR players, and to start with I'll pick the four with the most evocative answers that give me a great picture of your character. If you do miss out then don't forget if things go well I'll be running this again! No idea how popular this will be, but if there's enough demand I'd also consider running two tables.

If there's enough interest where selection has to be made I'll do that next Friday 3rd March at noon GMT, with the aim to have the first gameplay post up Sunday noon.

Feel free to ask questions as I'm bound to have forgotten things!

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Chapter 0: The Weeping Dragon

It began raining this morning, lightly at first, almost a relief from the slight heat, but it soon became a heavy downpour which has lasted all day. Even traveling parallel to the road under the canopy of trees offers scant protection from the weather. The moss on those trees tells you the road is taking you north-west, but direction is an afterthought at the moment, the search for shelter is foremost in your mind.

You have been on this road for what seems an eternity, placing one foot in front of the other in an almost mindless motion. It is a struggle to remember the details of yesterday's journey, let alone the events of last week. This newest group you find yourself in numbered over twenty some days back, as you glance around at the other five souls that escaped that bloodbath, you count yourself fortunate to have escaped the horde that crossed your path.

Night has fallen, the pale light of dusk almost fled, and yet you can see something bright in the sky far ahead. The road you are following emerges abruptly from the forest, immediately splitting in two. A partially overgrown signpost points right to 'Sandpoint'. Someone must have loved this town once, what remains of the faded lettering on the sign is written in a flowing and friendly style, almost as if inviting you to enter. At last, possible shelter.

Staying to the scant cover of the darkening forest, you can see a bridge far off down the left hand fork in the road, away from Sandpoint, and to the right you can see the outskirts of the town itself. There you can see the source of the light seen earlier, a bright and flickering orange light seems to be coming from the middle of the town. Of more immediate note are the two human-shaped figures stood motionless by the bridge leading in to the town itself.

Map - Welcome to Sandpoint
Party is the orange dot, humanoids are the red dots

Due to the events of the last few days, the forced march away from the horde and the poor resting conditions on the road, all members of the party are currently fatigued

perception DC 15:
Judging from their movements, or lack thereof, the two humanoid forms by the bridge are zombies. You've seen enough of them by now that they're unmistakeable

perception DC 20:
The zombies appear to be restrained in some way, they occasionally try to take a step across the bridge in to town towards the light, but are prevented by something you can't quite make out

-5 from the perception DCs if you have low-light vision

survival or knowledge (nature) DC 15:
That flickering orange light in the sky means something is on fire, something big like a building *sniff sniff* yes there's definitely some smoke in the air, tinged with another aroma you can't quite place

knowledge (local) DC 15:
Sandpoint was known as a simple, relatively peaceful town. It sits at a point on the Lost Coast halfway between Magnimar and Windsong Abbey. Wood buildings and cluttered docks line the town’s natural harbor, while farms and manors dot the surrounding countryside. Fishing, farming, lumbering, glass-making and shipbuilding were the primary pastimes of its inhabitants. Sandpoint’s sole true landmark is the Old Light, a lighthouse of ancient origins that now lies in ruins.

Congratulations all, you beat out some serious competition to get your slots, give yourselves a pat on the back for writing good backstories, having interesting twists on a concept and building your crunch well.

The first question you are likely to have is 'where the *bleep* is the cleric?!'

My answer is simply that whilst there was a maximum of one divinely connected character, it was not a minimum, and I felt that your characters were a better fit. In addition from a mechanical viewpoint, 3 of you can heal magically, you have party members that can brew potions and you have access to the heal skill as well, Polonius being your go to guy there. Stop worrying! What could possibly go wrong?! ;)

Ok, time to finalize your characters. If you haven't already, please cross your T's and dot your I's for a final once over, then post here to confirm you're in.

As an incentive, i'll be advising of your minor magic item once your character is rubber-stamped :D

Looking forward to this, mwa ha ha!

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Recent history

Tar-Baphon, The Whispering Tyrant, has finally broken free from his confinement. It was all the forces of good had feared for so long, and so much worse than their darkest nightmares.

His freedom has been centuries in the making. Cultists worked unceasingly, infiltrating every echelon of society, every corner of the civilised world. Then on one fateful Harvest Day they struck. The cultists came out of hiding, conducting sacrifices and rites so dark they had never seen the light. A magical plague was released, blanketing the land with necromantic energy so strong that it began causing the dead to rise throughout the entirety of Golarion. In the blink of an eye, the entirety of that necromantic power suddenly focused on Tar-Baphon's prison, shattering the seals that had long held him in stasis. Immediately the Gods came to do battle, but in that moment the mortal world lost sight of the divine. An opaque curtain of blackest evil coalesced across the planes, locking the material plane away from all others and blocking any attempt to contact the pantheon. Many clerics and other divine casters lost their connections and associated powers, which only increased the ease with which Tar-Baphon's forces began to conquer and destroy the living.

In a few quick months the armies of the dead had broken and destroyed the hastily formed forces resisting them, leaving the landscape behind them a blasted ruin of broken stone castles, pillaged towns and desolate villages. Pockets of survivors scrape a living clawing raw vegetables from the frozen ground, fear permanently etched on their faces.

There is no hope that things are going to change any time soon.

Where do your characters come in?

This campaign is set 6 months after Tar-Baphon's release, and will concentrate at least initially on the aftermath of the necromantic plague that has ravaged the land.

Your character survived the night of Red Harvest (such has become the common name for the night the dead began rising) and has seen with their own eyes the devastation that has been caused, their previous way of life destroyed forevermore. They have spent the last few months on the run from one fragile refuge to the next, watching friends both old and new fall time and again to the everpresent undead.

You have managed to make your way to yet another shelter, a weather-beaten though mostly-intact inn whose identity is now lost to history. Rusty chains rattle in the wind where a proudly painted sign once hung. You are in a small group of survivors, immigrants to this tiny abandoned town, the name of which you read from a fallen post on your way in. Once upon a time they called this place 'Sandpoint'...

Would you like to know more?:


If it wasn't already apparent, this campaign will be heavily 'survival horror' based. This means constant danger, limited resources and even more limited shelter. If your character ends the day with 1 more trail ration or arrow than they started with, that's a win. Getting a new weapon or map to a possible refuge or supply cache is a great day worth celebrating with that single bottle of ale you found last week, shared with your party of course. In other words, anyone looking for a grand monty-haul dungeon crawl should move along.

The campaign will contain horror themes. I don't mean 'slasher' or 'shock', Saw or Hostel style. I mean themes that might make you squirm a bit, feel a little uncomfortable, push you out of your comfort zone. Your character may have to make choices where there is no immediate right or 'good' path, and have to live with the consequences of their decisions. Again if that doesn't sound fun or challenging, then this isn't the campaign you're looking for. But if what you've read thus far has got your mind whirling, if you've already got a concept or two banging to get out of your skull, then you *should* apply!

The differences in the world today

Clerics and other divine magic users are understandably more valued in this new world than ever before, but are also fewer in number due to the difficulty of maintaining contact with their sources of divine power. As such, there will be a maximum of 1 divine caster in the party. As the first of many difficult choices you may have to make, will you try to create a party member that will be sorely needed and have more competition with other players for the slot? Or will you try a different concept and have a greater chance of succeeding with your application?

Obviously this will be an undead-heavy campaign, but that's not all that you'll be running in to. By all means take favored enemy and other anti-undead abilities, but don't make your character so specialised they'll struggle with other challenges. Also, every character will be mixing it up in combat at some point. This is not the campaign to try out your knowledge-focused librarian cleric build. That guy got eaten real quick (but at least he got a high enough skill check result to realise he'd be coming back ;)

The nuts and bolts

Aside from the nitty gritty day-to-day survival, there will be plot arcs, but no grandiose rail-roading. For the most part what happens will be driven by you in your search for survival. Will you try to put down roots in a defendable location or live as nomads moving from cache to cache?

There will be a small intro scenario, following which you'll advance to level 2. After that, a new level will be your reward for surviving the 'season'. So...plan for a build that works straight from the get-go.

Character creation:

Point buy: 15 - stats no lower than 8 and no higher than 18 AFTER racial adjustments
Races: Core races get an automatic pass, others will be considered but it would be a good idea to have an interesting concept.
Classes: no gunslingers, summoners or playtest classes. Archetypes allowed but must be approved. It would pay not to focus on having a mount as such are few and rare in these times. Nom nom nom.
Alignment: no evil
Traits: 2 - none that increase wealth. I'll handwave reflavored campaign traits if you have a good idea.
Skills: You might want to invest in some craft or profession skills. There are no handy shops to buy arrows, food or camping gear, let alone potions and the like.
HP: max 1st level, average rounded up for every subsequent level (d8 = 5, d10 = 6 etc)
Starting gold: 50 gp and I recommend spending it all. Shops don't really exist beyond the occasional barter, and gold will just weigh you down when you're running from the horde...Yes it is a miserly amount, but it represents having been on the run for 6 months when you couldn't always grab your gear before heading out. To make things a little more bearable, you'll get a useful (minor) magic item for free that I'll select individually for you.
Source material: Paizo only, no 3PP
Posting frequency: Once per weekday minimum please

A nice backstory that gets me excited about your character will go a long way towards getting you a slot. Fluff is more important than crunch! I don't need a novel, but a couple of paragraphs of backstory plus description as a minimum please.

Questions for your character to answer to get you thinking:
Where were you and what were you doing on the night of Red Harvest?
Have you had to do anything you regret in order to make it this far?
Have you got family out there or just a strong desire to survive? What gets you through?
For those creating divine casters... what makes you special that you still have a connection to your powers?

There are 4-5 slots available, submissions accepted till 12 noon on Sat 15th March GMT, which gives you a week to get something together. Roster will be posted within 24 hours of deadline. Best of luck to all.