My group of 5 consist of:
Camla (Varisian oracle: left Sandpoint in his early teens to learn to deal with his visions.
Derik (Chelaxian paladin/rogue): childhood friend of Camla's who went to Magnimar to learn the family mercantile business.
Hoddin (gnome wizard): traveling the world to sate his curiosities
Vartha (half-orc barbarian): exiled from the Shoanti tribes for his tainted heritage. Died at the hands of goblins while protecting Aldern Foxglove from the goblin attack on Sandpoint.
Vhearun (drow ranger): newly fled to the surface after escaping slavery at the hands of a rival drow noble house.
Gragdar (half-orc cleric): cousin of Vartha, who felt called to Sandpoint at the death of his cousin
Another thought is to remember Katrine, one of the first Skinsaw victims the party will investigate is Shayliss' sister. So during one of the romps, you can have Katrine interrupt by accident and the sisters have a fight to introduce her. That makes the connection that much stronger before starting part 2.
I'm actually at the point right now, and tomorrow's session will be dealing with the aftermath of Thistletop. I've been RP'ing all shopping sessions, in that way introducing the various personalities of Sandpoint, and after all the loot they collected, that's a good way of bringing Sandpoint alive.
Need some scrolls and potions? There's the pillbug. Wands? well, you'll have to go see so-and-so for that.
Plus, I'm stealing the idea that they'll have to escort the imprisoned Tsuto to Magnimar for trial, where of course they will meet Ironbriar.
I let my player's use a free action to know what a monster is, and they can use standard actions to rack their brains in subsequent rounds to keep "remembering" more information. This allows "non-combat optimized" PCs to continue to be very useful even in the midst of combat. It came into play at the last session when the Oracle, during the second (or third?) round of combat against Mal suddenly yelled out after making his know check - "I just recognized what it is! It's a GREATER...".
I also allow player's to use player knowledge - in that case, the old-school gamers said "GREATER?!?!" and fled the room. Other times though, player knowledge worked against them such as when they figured Erylium wasn't going to be a problem; little did they realize that a Q with class levels was an entirely different problem.
For the check itself, I pretty much use the standard, every 5 above the DC they get to basically ask "one line" from the bestiary entry; so they can ask for AC, or hp, or special weaknesses, etc. I do increase the DC by an equivalent of 2 if the creature is rare, another 2 if from Bestiary 2, and another 2 if from Bestiary 3. I do this to represent the difficulty of recalling more unusual monsters.
Here's how I ended up re-stating Lyrie as a Magus. My players are all very experienced gamers, and min-maxers in addition; that combined with 5-6 PCs meant I buffed up Lyrie quite a bit more.
The encounter was quite memorable for them. They managed to capture her alive and stabilize her in the neg hp, but one PC in particular really hates her and has attempted to kill her twice as a captive (once by throwing her off the bridge connecting Thistletop! The paladin jumped in afterwards and make some incredible swim checks - and burned hero points - to rescue her.)
Lyrie CR 5
Female Magus 5 / Wizard 1
CE Medium Humanoid (human)
AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed (+3 dex, +4 armor, +4 shield)
hp 39 (5d8+1d6 +6 Con + 5 favored class)
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +5
Defensive Abilities mage armor, shield spell
Speed 30 ft.
Melee MW rapier +7 (1d6/ 18-20 & spellstrike)
Melee +1 keen rapier +7 (1d6+1/ 15-20 & spellstrike)
Special Attacks arcane strike (+2 damage), spell combat, spellstrike, arcane pool (6):
Magus Spells Prepared (CL 5th; concentration +15)
2nd (3/day): Scorching Ray, Mirror Image, Invisibility
1st (5/day-5) Windy Escape, Burning Hands, Ray of Enfeeblement, Warding Weapon, Shocking Grasp,
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +11)
From all the posts I read before running, it seemed like bringing Sandpoint to life was quite important. And so I really tried to slow my players down - who, like yours, were chomping at the bit to get into action.
I opted to spend a lot of time with Madame Mvashti doing card readings for the PCs when they first got to town, as she "saw their aura" was going to be vital to the "rising darkness"; and made them RP getting rooms and board. I did have a quick encounter with several goblins attacking Mvashti as she was out and about on one of her walks with some druid initiates to foreshadow the goblins attacking. After however, I extended the Swallowtail festival out to a week, and had the goblin attack towards the end of it.
For my action heavy group, it was hard for them to handle - they started suspecting all the action was to be found in town, so they went around sneaking around town to inspect the new cathedral, went out to Chopper's Isle to poke around, etc.
One session was spent with them just finding all the various games at the festival - one player ranted that this was the first session he's ever played in over 25 years where there wasn't a combat. Made me smile 8-).
But, I'm glad I did because one the action starts in earnest with the Glassworks, it gets VERY dense VERY quick. And so taking the time with Sandpoint made it come alive to them, and they have built up quite a connection with it. So much so, that the discovery of who's behind the goblin attacks comes as a great shock; leading to lots of anger and malice towards the antagonist; and after taking care of N, great sadness upon learning (via another poster's wonderful suggestion of dream sequence flashbacks) what drove them to that point.
So, yeah - TLDR - it is very much worth it.
In the Runelords game I'm running, Shayliss sought out the high charisma drow warrior who was getting lots of attention for his "exotic" elven appearance. I had them previously at the store when they were looking for supplies and so had encountered her and her father before; unbeknownst to the group, they had left her smitten with him.
She stalked him until he was out alone one night after being fitted for a custom shield and lured him to the store to "show him something". He was stunned by the change in situation as the suddenly naked girl embraced him in the basement. Pushing her back, his reply of "I do not wish to have offspring with a surfacer" came out as a sneer with his Diplomacy roll of 3.
Rejected, Shayliss began to cry, sobbing about how her sister Katrine had Banny, but no one loved her; and what was wrong with her, wasn't she as beautiful as her?
Completely mortified, he tried to comfort her with a few words, enough that she once again embraced him. Just as he heard footsteps begin down the steps.
A clever use of darkness and stealth led him escaping without being caught.
I mainly wanted to use the opportunity to introduce Katrine before starting Skinsaw. However, the other players now bring up the incident every session at least once 8-).
So I was playing around with this idea more over the weekend, and I toyed with her as Magus 3 / wizard 1 and the wand wielder arcana. She would lose second level spells, but would make for an interesting encounter with her fighting with the sword while simultaneously being able to use her wand. She still won't last long against a group, but would be memorable as more than just a speed bump.
With the wizard level, she could still have her familiar and her buff spells, as well as her spellbook and scrolls. Thoughts?
My group just killed Ripnugget and Bruthazmus in the landing at D1 before retreating back across the rope bridge to rest when we ended the session last night. The next foray, they are going to face the rest of Nualia's remaining allies.
I had been toying around with the concept of changing Lyrie into a Magus, and I was wondering if anyone else had done that. I did a few searches, but didn't come up with anything. I had been thinking that as it is, she's not any sort of match for any competent group without some melee folks to keep them off of her. And then I really liked her picture in the AE and her mini that shows here with a sword, rather than just a dagger.
Since the main reason Nualia hired Lyrie was for her Thassilonian, arcana and knowledge, I figured that Magus still had access to much of that, plus would make her a more interesting combat encounter.
So, any thoughts?
Thank you Tangent 101!
I've seen the Terrainclips at some of the local cons, and they look really neat with what you can do with them!
And thanks for those that sent me your thoughts, much appreciated!
I posted more pictures of how it eventually turned out when we played yesterday. I got to use a lot of the new We Be Goblins minis for Warchief Ripnugget's throne room.
My group is about to set out for Thistletop, and I am looking forward to using my Dwarven Forge Woodlands set for the thistle tunnels.
I know that I won't be able to reproduce the map per se, but I wanted to convey the same feel, so I put together this rough approximation. I was trying to go for a more "random" meandering path feel with varying widths of passages; that's why some have walls back to back. I was looking for some suggestions before I run it on Friday.
The upside down tile is to represent the Howling Hole, and I didn't have enough tiles with me to finish putting the walls for Gogmurt's area, but will do that once I get to the venue (this is 3 sets shown, and I brought a few other sets there already.)
Here's the link to the DF forums where I posted some pictures of what I was thinking it would look like:
I agree with the recommendations to build up the PC relationships with the Sandpoint NPC's as much as you can. I started running this for the first time a few months ago, and this past weekend had the first "big reveal" with Tsuto showing up. By then, the player's were all very invested in the lives and backgrounds of the NPCs, and so really cared about Ameiko, and disliked daddy. The satisfaction of finding who was behind the goblin attack was tempered with the ambivalence of Lonjiku's death.
I had four sessions before the Glassworks just running it as an investigative mod with minimal "combat" to build up the familiarity of the group with the NPCs. (Other than the initial attack, the goblin under the bed, and the boar hunt, I added the "side-trek" from Wayfinder #7 to look for Lucendi). I used face-cards for the first time, and they really enjoyed it. One player mentioned that with the cast of "people" they met, the face cards really helped them to make the NPC's real to them, and not just abstract names.
Specifically, whenever they asked to buy or sell something, I had them roleplay it through; and I would have the 2 PC's that were originally from Sandpoint (before having left 7 and 8 years previous for "studying in Magnimar" and "ostracized") make untrained Knowledge (local) checks to know a few facts about the NPC. In learning these tidbits, it made the characters real.
- Recommended to buy silken ceremonial armor from Lonjiku at the Glassworks, where he is rude and abrupt to the PCs as he's fretting over his guilt
Hope this helps!
The Rot Grub wrote:
I'm interested too in a "published" systemic errata if there is one. Hard to track what exactly is an error, and what is a "oops! I forgot that modifier"! 8-).
Running Runelords for a party of 6, well-optimized PC's. These boards have been very helpful for ideas, and I wanted to contribute back as well as get thoughts.
I think the Glassworks is going to be a little too easy for my group, so decided to have Tsuto with the goblins, brooding over the fact that he's taken his revenge, but not sure about what to do next. I like the idea of him being a Zen Archer, so here's what I have (created with sCoreForge sheet).
I'm not sure it's completely correct - specifically, for the Composite Longbow +1 damage.
+8 attack from BAB +2, Wis bonus +4, Weapon Focus +1, and Magic +1. But How does he get +5 damage?
I've been playing around with this as I re-stat an NPC for the Runelords game I'm running (Tsuto).
It takes a while for things to re-calc on my laptop, but it's seeming to be a great tool!
I had a few questions about it:
1) Does checking the box in the options to use the variant rule "Armor as DR" do anything? The stat block and character sheet both continue to display AC as normal.
2) I accidentally added a Composite bow with a strength allowed (+3) above the strength mod (+2). When I changed it back, the to-hit penalty disappeared, but on the character sheet page III, it continued to say in the special ability section that using a bow with a higher mod gives a penalty to attack.
3) Is there a way to use a monster as a base race? (Quasit for Erylium.)
I just started running Rise of the Runelords as a home campaign, and had decided to use armor as DR before I knew there was a version of it published in Ultimate Combat.
A few house rules that I use along with it:
1) For every 10 above the needed "to-hit", extra damage of one extra die is done (so if hit by greater than 10 for a longsword would be 2d8, greatsword 3d6, greataxe 2d12, and if by 20 above, 3d8, 4d6 or 3d12)
2) Armor Check Penalty is a penalty to defense. So that full-plate will give DR 9, but makes it even easier to be hit! So good against lots of small damage opponents, but less so against hard-hitting ones.
3) I'm also contemplating one aspect from the Conan d20 RPG (which seems to get a lot of love above 8-) - one could "aim" to attack the unprotected areas. In that case, Armor provides AC bonus like normal. This is useful for those that can't otherwise penetrate the DR.
- I don't use the size bypasses DR rule.
One thing I was wondering about was if there are any Bestiar statblocks that are recalculated using this rules variant. I've looked around, but can't seem to find one.
The sCoreForge character sheet has a check box for this rule variant, but it doesn't seem to change the output of the statblock/charactersheet, nor does it seem to be able to output monsters from it.
Hope this helps!
Had a great time again this year with the pre-Gencon Pathfinder Society games - we had 15 (or more) tables running starting from Tuesday evening through Wednesday night!
Thanks to Tracy and Chris, our Venture-Captain and Venture-Lieutenant who did the unenviable task of getting it all arranged! And thank you Paizo for the game support!
If you are around Indy, drop on by.
Mark Garringer wrote:
Cool Mark! Looks like my GM habits are rubbing off onto you 8-)...
I figure that PC's would know about how skilled their combatants are - and so, with the players being able to see what I roll for attacks, and whether they hit or not, they are (like their PCs), able to gauge the relative skill of their adversary. Then they can see which of their opponents are truly the dangerous ones (again, something an experienced warrior would be able to tell within a few moments of combat).
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
This particular scenario has some oddities in it because of the location in which it's set. Most scenarios are much more thematically inclined that this one was.
Ran this last week - it seeemed to go pretty well. The concept was rather neat, and my player's enjoyed the gnoll encounter, though it threw them for a loop that they were conversing with gnolls.
I do agree that this can be a confusing mod to run. It speaks about being able to show up randomly at any one of the four locations, however, later on, it talks about how the PC's should go through every encounter before leaving. In addition, Act 5 should immediately follow Act 4.
So I just rolled randomly, and ignored Act 4 results until the other 3 were done.
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
To be fair, a final encounter doesn't always have to be the climactic encounter. :-) With time to prepare, she's a monster. But if the PCs are careful and she's not warned, she's not so much of a monster. The "push-over" aspect is really a reward for the players. :-)
That's a good point - and they did prepare well 8-)
Steven Robert wrote:
My pleasure Steven, I hope the set ups did justice to your vision!
I ran this mod this past Saturday, and overall, we had a great time with it. I put up pictures up here:
(BTW, Josh, could I put up a picture of the map from the map to show how well the DF set works for this particular mod?)
The group consisted of a
Osiriani Half-elf Monk 1 / Sorcerer 1
Ran it at Tier 1-2
The first fight with the elementals barely hurt the group. They discovered the writings, and the Andoran spoke Kelite, so noted the trials before of his fellow Sarenraeites.
The group completely fell for Gali's "footsteps in the sand" leading up to the sauna, and nicely opened the trapped door and got the full fire in the face. A few also decided to spend time in there to decipher the glyphs about the sandstorm. Thinking about it now, I should have had Gali give trouble to those who waited downstairs at the ones upstairs took 20 and suffered from the heat.
In any case, they moved on into the Trophy room, and noticed the light from the Secret Spine, but ignored it. They was to their dismay as the Flaming Sphere appeared and got the Ranger. The barbarian tried to should his way through the wall at that time, but ended up only hurting himself. Meanwhile the group tried to figure out what was going on as the Sphere took down the Ranger. The Qadiran cleric quickly deduced that there was a secret room beyond and noted the eyeholes in the wall to the entry hall. (I agree with notes about the hardness & hp of the wall as I'm sure many others will try the same).
They stuffed some of the tattered cloth into the eyeholes to prevent more tricks. They decided to try to ambush Gali by going through the Trophy Room, into the Reception Chamber and from there, the Secret Spine. Meanwhile, the Andoran removed some cloth and opted to summon a celestial dog into the secret spine. I had him roll for init, and he beat Gali; so he bent to look in and saw an eye staring right back at him. He was casting a full-round spell, so Gali attacked back with his ray, but it was insufficient to disrupt concentration. The next few rounds, Gali spent dealing with the dog as the PC's hear barks, yelps, and shouts of pain from within. They soon got in there and captured Gali.
As they were trying to figure out what to do with him, the Ranger went ahead to scout out the bridge. I had him make a Perception check to see if he was surpised by the Gaav. He made it, and so heard the flapping of wings just as the Gaav appeared at the crack. The Gaav was going to attack, grab him, then drop him off the bridge, but alas, the ranger was too quick and fled back to the reception chamber. There, it engaged the entire party. It managed to grappled the Barbarian, who had charged up a few seconds later. It was then going to fly away with him to the crack, however, the Ranger critted it while using one of the Holy +1 arrows. Did something like 40 points of damage, in addition to the other Holy arrow which hit - it was rather incredible as they were not being very successful getting past its DR with the other attacks. Quite a memorable and fun encounter!
They next managed to talk to the Dwarf and, while not necessarily convincing him to help them, agreed not to hinder them if they promised to "dispose" of the Hafshi.
No one decided to perform the rituals, (although the Andoran guessed correctly that a Chelaxian would have to 8-), and they arrived upstairs. As there was no warning to their appearance, she was not prepared. She did hear them coming up the stairs however, so was not surpised. It didn't matter much as the monk sprinted up to her, hindering her casting, and on round 2, the barbarian was next to her and, with another crit, took off her head. I concur that this was rather a pushover encounter. Perhaps add a few other cultists (could she really have sacrificed every last other person?) who can serve as speedbumps so that the players don't just steamroller her.
In any case, a very fun, and enjoyable mod with interesting faction missions.
BTW, is this considered a Living Campaign where the PC's actions can affect future mods? Ie. if most did not destroy the mural, will it show up later? If so, how do we "report" whether Gali was killed, or the mural destroyed, etc.?
Thanks! Running the mod now, this update is very helpful... have you done this for the other mods?
My group and I have played D&D 3.x for basically its entire run. After Living Greyhawk finished we've been playing some other games. Now we're interested in playing in the Pathfinder Society (for the upcoming Neoncon).
I'm wondering if there's a document somewhere that lists all the changes between 3.5 and PF. I'm usually the DM, and I usually have a hard enough time trying to remember the minutiae of the changes between 3.0 and 3.5; now with PF, I'm sure there are a lot of things I'll miss from a reading of the rules by myself.
(I know about the major changes, such as CMB/CMD, and those are pretty easy to spot, its the little ones that I'd like to make sure I don't miss - ie. no more XP penalty for non-favored class multiclassing, something that doesn't tend to come into play very often...)
I noticed that the SC AP hardback is being sold at a discount on the online store - I was wondering if the book was going to be available at Gencon, and if so, if there would still be the discount... I'm planning to be there, so I figured I'd save on shipping (and on the PRPG shipping as well!)
Hi all, going to Origins here, and my bus is not leaving till 11pm, so I'm wondering if anyone is going to be around and would like to extend the fun a few more hours!
I'd love to play some Pathfinder if there's anyone who'd like to run a game 8-D... otherwise, I'm happy to play or GM Hackmaster, Ace's & Eights, Shadowrun, Star Frontiers, or Living Forgotten Realms.
Looking forward to some fun!
I agree completely with aboyd! I'm the DM 95% of the time for our gaming group, and have been DM 95% of the time for the past 20+ years. The main reason I would want to stick with PRPG is that I can continue using all the resources of 3.5 for my group with MINIMAL changes. Sure, I can continue using everything for 4E, but that takes a LOT more work converting it all - time and energy that I would rather spend PLAYING.
Another big factor is that for the past 2 years, we've all been very involved with Living Greyhawk - the greatest benefit is that with a standardized rules system that is worldwide, if I'm not available to run a game, or if I have a hankering to play, we can fairly easily find a group within 30 min drive playing on any weekend that is using the exact same ruleset and shared world. We can bring our characters in and out with no problems! What one runs into with houserules and options is that this shared campaign aspect becomes harder and harder to do.
Making changes to fix the modular components of the rules are easy to do - ie. change how grapple works and that's fairly easily done without having to change stat blocks or re-work characters; change the mechanism of a spell is likewise easy to do without impact upon the rest of the game; allow 0-level spells to be cast at will again changes little (and makes it easier that the DM doesn't have to track all the cantrips those 6 wizards have already cast. BUT changing how domain powers for clerics however requires significant reworking of things - PC's who base their "alpha strike" on raging and using the smite ability from the destruction domain and the luck reroll for a miss no longer can continue working as the same PC; printed tactics for cleric NPC's that use domain abilities are no longer applicable - all that creates more work for a DM who ALREADY has to keep track of what the 8 clerics, BBEG, his bodyguard, and 24 troops are doing each round for 12 rounds before the dragon reinforcements come in... (example from my currently running game of Red Hand of Doom).
So what I'm asking is to PLEASE keep us DM's in mind when changes are made when thinking of backwards compatibility (ie. don't completely alter the cleric domains! Add those per level abilities ONTO the existing domain abilities, not replace; use the proposed idea by aboyd of having a certain list of the EXACT details changed so that its easy for me to go through a stat block and add a few more hitpoints because the favored class mechanic changed).
And thank you for allowing us to continue to use all the wonderful 3.5 modules out there!
Hello all! I thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Andrew and I'm a long time D&Der (since the old boxed days). Over the past years, my group has had a lot of fun playing Living Greyhawk and we were at the Gencon announcement that they were shutting down the campaign... and we were not pleased.
As the proposed changes for 4E have become public, all of us (with some 100 years of D&D experience between us!) were struggling to figure out what we'd do after our campaign for the last several years is being shut down - so hearing about the Pathfinder Society, we thought this might be a neat alternative. So here I am to check it out for our group (as I'm 90% of the time the GM).
I'd love to contribute and lend my hands GM'ing in this new venture. One plea, please don't change 3.5 much for the Pathfinder RPG, one reason we're wanting to stay is we're find with the rules, sure, grappling isn't the smoothest, but we've used it for 7 years now and have been doing fine with it; sure the core races aren't "as powerful", but let us the GM's allow/disallow what's available in the campaign instead of giving new stat bumps here and there; in short, keep it as much the same as possible, after all, that's why we're staying!
Thanks! And looking forward to finding out about the new setting - we've pretty much gamed in Greyhawk for literally the past 20+ years.
There's numerous reports from people now that WotC (and thus, likely RPGA) won't be at Gencon due to the ongoing Chapter 11... If that ends up being the case, there's going to be a LOT of disgruntled RPGA'ers who've already booked hotels and planes that are looking to play in LFR.
In the past years, the primary reason my group has gone is for LG, and I'm sure we're not alone. If there's any way Paizo can convert all those players, that'd be a huge coup!
Some other things to consider:
Last year, I lived near the airport with friends and we just rented a car (using Priceline, it was like 30 /day for the car).
Or you can consider the public transport system Indy Go - the Green line goes from the airport to downtown every 15-30 min from 5am to 9pm for like $7... http://www.indygo.net/green_line.htm
I echo some of the statements above about backward compatibility. I'm DM 95% of the time (and that's pretty much been the case for the past 20 years), and so approach the Alpha release from that perspective. I would love to run my players through Age of Worms (having heard so many good things about it) after we finish up Red Hand of Doom and Expedition to Greyhawk Ruins, with a MINIMUM of change to written text. As my time is fairly limited, I don't want to use that in going back and changing statblocks, adding feats, recalc'ing ANYTHING. I'd rather spend it actually playing the module as written.
Sure, game mechanics can change - next time someone tries a trip, we simply use the new system, or tries to grapple (though, the current Alpha 1.1 really doesn't look any simpler at ALL than the 3.5 system), or even attack / defend.
I'm not sure there's enough people complaining about how weak the base races are that would justify some minimal changes to them (like giving an extra 1hp or +2 stat bump) that would necessitate more work than benefit.
Even adding some class abilities at "dead" levels is pretty simple to accomodate. Using the new turn undead rules is simple to implement, even the new cleric domain abilities are fairly easy to do - just gives my NPC clerics some neat abilities if there's not a good spell to cast; but getting rid of the standard domain power really changes things - it's be much simpler to keep the standard power as the 1st level ability and tack on the other ones. Is this domain power more "powerful" than another?, then perhaps the Luck domain simple doesn't get the 2nd level domain ability to balance it out.
I guess my point is, if something is broken, make a definite change that's different, don't just tweak small things here and there that'll lead to confusion and more work to convert everything - if so, it'll just be easier to stick with 3.5 or learn 4E.
I think the best method to continuing to keep the original vision and maintain backwards compatibility would be to keep the Standard method as Standard, and use a sidebar to give options (similar to how stats are generated).
That being said, in a house game I've run, I've used the exact same method as the original poster listed - Con score times size modifier = kicker. This kicker applied to everything with a Con score - PC's, NPC's, monsters (which made Huge and above monsters VERY tough), but NOT undead.
As HP are directly tied into combat, I also used a modified combat mechanic that can make it more deadly: melee attacks deal extra damage equal to the amount over the AC needed to hit.
Lastly, tying this all together was that a character didn't necessarily go unconcious with negative HP. If the made a DC 15 Wil save they could continue to function, however, every roll had a modifier equal to their current hitpoint. At hp = -10-Con, the character died.
These chages tended to make combat deadlier the greater the discrepancy between the skills of the combatants.