I think at least three wagons would be correct as the phrase, "all of the wagons" is used, rather than "both wagons" if it was two. Three or four wagons would seem OK, but then you start to run out of teamsters to drive them. You'd have Bort, Olf, Ulf, and Tamli able to drive them - but perhaps one of your PCs has taken on the teamster role depending upon the background they have chosen. I'd say three wagons or four wagons if one of the PCs is a teamster sounds about right.
Could Vilree have been lying? Could the drudge plan not worked as expected - and the PCs have a bomb detonation scenario to deal with? Could the bomb have half-gone off and the PCs need to rescue the town? There are obviously a few options but they all go off-piste so to speak.
It sounds like the big problem though was one of both player and PC motivation. What would you do differently if you had the time over again?
I love the clay Jason has given us to work with. Plaguestone shifts gears a couple of times as you say from murder mystery to ecological mystery. There are a couple of things I’ll be augmenting when I run this to really squeeze every bit of juice Jason has given us.
* I’ll be starting in Elidir to give the PCs time to not only want to solve the murder, but avenge it.
Now we have a double layered mystery, with some extra red herrings to further layer in. And the PCs have to dig to the roots of the module to truly solve the murder. “V”’s plotline becomes more one of redemption, while the “true” villain of the module will hopefully get his just desserts when the PCs finally uncover what “really” happened.
As you can most likely tell; I’m really juiced to run this for my players.
I like the change to currency. The way how I have explained it to my players is:
I like the idea of making coppers the most commonly used currency for everyday activities while leaving gold as the most exclusive currency for lavish purchases. Platinum does not come in “pieces” but are minted to represent a specific event or transaction and are typically worth much much more than 10 times a gold piece. In terms of expensive or magical items, I generally prefer the trading of item for item rather than purchasing with coins. I prefer limiting access to large quantities of coinage.
From my understanding, as a 3rd level item, it will require a Crafting check DC 18 (15 + level seems the suggested amount for something magical but not rare). As it's being transferred from a runestone, there will be no additional cost (usually 10% of worth of item) and it will take 1 day rather than 4 days (see page 580) of downtime.
As Ed said, you will need a +1 potency rune on light or medium armor of a nonmetallic variety to allow the transfer of a single property rune such as this shadow rune; otherwise the crafting will automatically, critically fail.
OK, now I've got my bearings and a scale to work with - thank you very much. :)
It says the caravan travels south by south-east from Elidir. If you take a scale 60 mile line and point it SSE from Elidir, you end up at the foothills of the Asphodell mountains, with Etran's Folly being in between the E and R in the Isger label. I think this is incorrect.
If instead you have the caravan travelling "east" by south east for 60 miles, you end up with Etran's folly being very close to where you suggest. Particularly with the river outside the town heading in a north east to south west direction, this marries up neatly with the town-map of Etran's Folly. And in fact this is the only place in the vicinity where the Conerica river travels at that angle.
As for Spite's cradle being 20 miles west; again, if you substitute east here, then it marries up neatly with the information that it is in the foothills of the Five Kings Mountains. Perhaps this was originally written as Etran's Folly being 20 miles west of Spite's Cradle, and then in editing, this has been swapped around for clarity but the direction has not been re-referenced. Having Spite's Cradle being east (and actually very close to Dustpawn) makes sense as this is further up the Conerica river, meaning that activities at Spite's Cradle would travel downstream toward's Etran's Folly. If Spite's Cradle was west of Etran's Folly, the runoff would need to go uphill to affect the town and that is ... unlikely.
Of interest here is that Etran's Folly is so close to Dustpawn (Doom comes to Dustpawn Module) but also Citadel Altaerein which shadows where Breachill can be found (the starting point of the Age of Ashes Adventure Path). I'm sure this second one is not a coincidence.
For what it's worth, I'll be going a little off-piste in augmenting this module. As for the look of Etran's Folly, I'll be adapting the following Township
Imagine if we take the whole mini-drudge and Silwyth's ring touching the Plaguestone off the table.
Let's say this is the super-sized mother of alchemical drudges and it has the Viridium inside it. Maybe the superdrudge could be fashioned to be eerily similar to Silwyth. It's instruction is to go to the Plaguestone and "explode". As such, she sent it on it's way earlier but it travels very slowly. Perhaps it even has a bodyguard with it to protect it from attack.
The whole point of her telling the PCs all of this is to save herself. Perhaps a smart thinking PC could say something that would make her want to return to Plaguestone herself. Something such as saying, "you thought Father Bolgrist was dead didn't you. Well guess what, he fooled everyone. He's been rotting pox-ridden in an underground shrine under the Feedmill - Etran's best kept secret! You're going to kill everyone when he's the one you want. And he'll escape your plan now." In that way, she is there at the end after the PCs have disabled the drudge and killed the bodyguard. Realising she has been tricked, she looks to kill the PCs for destroying her plan.
Or perhaps rather than running away, the PCs work out that Vilree will look to recover the disabled drudge and its contents giving the PCs an opportunity to finish her off.
[I'm actually planning for Bolgrist's survival to be true by the way in my campaign. I think Father Bolgrist is too interesting a character to just die to the plague as suggested. He has convinced a cabal of the older townsfolk that he has to be kept alive at all costs. He has hoodwinked everyone.]
Please note I have not run this although I'm putting in some serious prep for a darker dramatic presentation of the material. (All three podcasts I've listened to so far have been a lighter and more comic style).
It might not be what you meant, but my initial concern is that the players will NOT be "that" emotionally invested in the master's fate. For me, the key IS to make them as emotionally invested as possible. I want them to feel an injustice and despicable act has occurred. I want them to have a couple of suspects right from the get go.
If you are saying that your players ARE emotionally invested, then from my perspective, no need to alter things - you've done your job well.
I am in the preliminary stages of putting this together - I won’t be running it for a month or two yet. Already though, I’ve identified a few tweaks I think are needed for the first act. Essentially, the PCs need to have more of a connection to Bort before his demise. The PCs need to fire up at the injustice of his murder and be highly motivated to find out who did it. And the PCs need to have some suspects straight away; have several directions straight off the bat. I’ve got a few ideas and will write them up on these boards when I’ve worked it all out. I’m preparing for a darker more dramatic treatment of the material compared to the lighter and more comic approach in the module.
I can certainly recommend The Danger Club Podcast and the Roll for Combat Podcast as something to listen to in regards to The Fall of Plaguestone. As a preliminary prep, these will help you work out what is going to work for your group and what scene moments you want to nail.
I find a lot of the "fun" in our games happens when a character does something either exceptional or completely incompetent. This gives the other players and GM something to riff of off, be it roleplaying or tactics/strategy. Being average is where the "boring" lies.
And so, defining a character concept requires the numbers to back it up - be they effective or completely ineffective. As long as it's not done in a cheesy way, I see nothing wrong with using the numbers effectively to define a character. While not precisely min-maxing, this approach to the game is built on being highly aware of how to get the numbers where you want them.
As always, and particularly when it comes to "fun", your mileage may vary.
What is the benefit of adding new actions to represent sprinting or running if they are mechanically the same as striding x2 or x3? I think its pretty obvious that the mechanic of striding twice does equal dashing narratively
Not too sure how this thread finished up in rules but heh.
For myself, I see the guy striding at 60ft in 6 seconds (using up to three different possible directions) as different both narratively and tactically to a guy fleeing in terror in a single direction - but still at 60ft per 6 seconds. I don't think the rules are effectively differentiating between these two situations.
For example, a triple action of "sprint" should almost double the movement, but deny the sprinter from using reactions for the rest of the round. I'd even go as far to say, it should give a bonus to your armor class versus ranged attacks. Link it to an athletics check even, with critical success giving you further distance, critical failure resulting in falling prone. This would reflect the difference between this and striding three times.
A double action of "dash" makes sense tactically when rushing from cover to cover - providing that same armor class bonus versus ranged attacks. Again, link it to an athletics check if needed.
The thing is, the designers deliberately omitted these actions. I'm just curious if it was anything beyond simplifying (or from my perspective oversimplifying).
I'm not too sure what to make out of movement in 2E. In a round, your average character can move 20ft, 40ft, or 60ft depending upon the amount of effort (actions) they use. This is pretty much a walking stride as it says on the tin. What are the reasons we don't have a run, sprint or dash action in the core rules?
Rather than an occult version of class x, or class y with z grafted on, it would be great to see Pathfinder find a new path or two in terms of classes. The one class I would like to see developed is a charismatic battlefield leader who inspires and assists their allies. I could imagine a class that:
* controls the battlefield making it difficult for the enemy to attack certain allies
I think you get the idea; I’d have a lot of fun playing a class like this!
Star Dragon Caith wrote:
Is it just me, or is a meager +3 not that impressive? By fourth level it is the smallest part of your total bonus, after your level and skill ranks. That +3 is lost in the shuffle by 10th level.
If your modifier was the be all and end all, I would agree. However, it appears that being "Legendary" in a skill is a gateway to awesome feats that lesser-proficient combatants cannot access. I'm hoping that modifiers are reined in so other aspects of the game can impact power level and success.
I'm a little late to the party here but I thought I'd offer an opinion that I like bounded accuracy in concert with using proficiency as a gateway to better abilities/feats. Essentially, the modifier numbers are important but they're not the be all and end all. Now, the level of proficiency (from untrained to legendary) has a bigger impact on play, stopping modifiers from ruling every character creation decision. Coming up with a couple of examples might be best to explain my thinking.
Combat with a Longsword:
By using proficiency as a gateway to special abilities, the shift focuses from having the best modifier or AC to the abilities that go with higher levels of proficiency.
Perception check leading to Combat
Again, while the modifier is important in determining, success or failure, it is what the Master can do with that success or failure that has the bigger effect on the final outcome. Bang for buck is going to characters/monsters with higher proficiency.
However, it looks like with the critical success/failure mechanics in PF2, they are still relying on the modifiers doing most of the heavy lifting rather than sharing that lifting around. I'm looking forward to seeing what mechanics if any they will use to soften this. Jason spoke of proficiency as a gateway and to my mind, this is the best way forward. Looking forward to seeing the full PF2 rules.
I'm still planning out my Reign of Winter Campaign (waiting for the entire AP to be released before starting) but the Black Rider's mantle seems a crucial point, particularly if a new character (or entire party) needs to be introduced.
From what I see, the issues involved and possible solutions are:
* The somewhat heavy-handed nature of the mantle that diminishes the PCs autonomy.
* The suddenly transferred nature of the mantle and how it is tied to the words and throat-cutting of the Black Rider.
* The absence of fore-warning in regards to Baba Yaga as anything other than the cold evil queen of witches.
* Have the PCs talk with the Black Rider; and then when the discussion is done have him remove his helmet for a nice Darth Vader reference. I think the picture of the Black Rider really plays this up too as he gets to view the world for the last time through his "own eyes". I think to see the humanity in one of Baba Yaga's servants is important if the PCs are going to buy-in to freeing Baba Yaga.
* With his mask removed, his death becomes imminent and irreversible. When he dies, perhaps his body dissolves into black wisps sucked into the helmet as well as the two keys; empowering each item with Baba Yaga's magic. [I think this might neatly parallel the nature of Baba Yaga's progeny and their relation to the Dancing Hut but I'm still not sure.]
* By doing this you can have the power of the mantle be attached to the PCs interacting with the helmet. They have the choice of accepting the benefits/geas or staying well away from it. Importantly for your original question this means that a new PC can tie themselves to the group by accepting the mantle (perhaps by performing a ritual involving the helmet). In the case of a TPK, you can have the helmet mysteriously appear somewhere with the entirely new party interacting with the helmet.
* Another thing I am planning is to provide a little more context for Baba Yaga. I plan to have the actual campaign in Snows of Summer start a little earlier than given. In particular, I want Old Mother Theadora to play an important initial role as the strange and eccentric "witch" woman. In her house, are many items relating to Baba Yaga (including that absolutely brilliant painting of Baba Yaga gifting the black rider with his helmet on p4). Perhaps this will motivate the PCs to ask a few questions of this strange entity that the Old Mother venerates while also being a pre-cursor of events to come. By presenting the "softer" side of Baba Yaga's nature, I hope to motivate the PCs (and the players) in their crucial decision to rescue her.
I'm hoping that such an approach will cover all the bases for the Black Rider encounter as well as the possible repercussions if a new PC or entire party are required to be introduced.
To each their own I suppose. What I'm guessing here is that people who love pizza with the works can't understand why someone would bother to order a pizza with the works and then painstakingly scrape off all the topping. If such is the measure of your pizza palate, go for it and eat with gusto - I don't believe there is a wrong way to eat pizza.
The character's behavior encompasses more an evil alignment than a chaotic one. Inquisitors may skirt the edge of right and wrong but followers of Ragathiel seem to be a little more black and white.
If I was role-playing this internal struggle, then I as the player would have discussed with the GM that my character is going to be shifting between these two aspects and thus losing abilities and regaining them (if such is allowed through atonement). I think this characterization angle would be pretty cool at the right table. If however, the player is just doing this for a triple deluxe cheese pizza with stuffed crust worth of goodies, then you most likely need to discuss the direction of the character with the player.
Cruelty is most certainly not what Ragathiel's lord of and so I think you need to address this first. If an act of vengeance of the character can be viewed as cruel (such as pulling wings off a sprite, burning them alive, etc.) then the player should expect their character to lose some of those obedience goodies.
I think as long as you clearly separate player from character when discussing this type of thing, you should be able to resolve it to everyone's satisfaction.
Practice in the shower. Seriously. Or in the car on the way to work.
Create lines that you could imagine the character saying in game and practice over and over. You'll pick out the words that aren't quite right and fix them. Do it enough and you'll be able to carry the accent more reliably.
Another idea is to listen to a stand-up comedian who has the accent you're after. I can remember honing my Scottish brogue listening to a heap of Billy Connolly. The big yin is absolutely brilliant!
I'm not worried about the travel aspects (I've described this as the Doctor Who Adventure Path - as a serious Whovian it is a main reason I wanted to run it) what I am worried about, a bit, is that the highly linear nature of the first book (and from what I've seen the next book as well) may grow boring for my players after a while - when they feel like there aren't many options for them to choose amongst.
Perhaps some of this comes down to the heavy influence of Nadya in book 1 and 2. If she wasn't there, or was there but in a reduced capacity, perhaps this would give the PCs more autonomy? Could this work?
I can imagine several different archetypes for Ranger that would nail the brief so perhaps it is not so clear-cut - the top 3 archetypes could all be rangers perhaps? I'm really hoping to see if one of the contestants has taken a risk with an Outsea-based archetype. I'm looking forward to seeing who has taken a risk in general and who has played it safe.
Thanks for taking up Neil's mantle this year. Super Cool!
Thanks for taking the time to give this a good read; I think my item really split the voters though. The writing in particular was appreciated by some but too densely crafted for the quick casual read that the voting format can tend to promote [reading so many entries can get pretty monotonous]. Unfortunately the effect was seen as too powerful by some or not powerful enough for the price by others. When you have voters divided on your mechanics as well as (or because of) how you convey them, your item is always going to struggle even though I think the core idea of this item is pretty solid.
I think this was a classic case of being so familiar with the item that I lost sight of how it reads. It forced readers to read it several times to fully grasp what was going on and you can't expect voters to do that.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Here goes. I quite liked my item, but obviously was the only one, since no one's mentioned it yet at all (other than Eric's Big List o' Items).
I sympathize with you completely here. I thought my one was ticking every box I could think of... but obviously not as it has failed to receive one single piece of comment.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
I really like the concept; the problem you are attempting to solve. You nailed the description of the item - very impressive indeed. The first ability is a little wonky and I'm feeling it would be cool if it could be connected to the second ability in some way. The overall mechanics (basing it on initiative order), might not have been a premium choice. I'm not too sure though which direction to go. Perhaps forcing a target to delay while allowing at the same time another target to act at that point instead might have been interesting but then you have to be careful working around the multiple actions in one round thing (which is kind of clunky). [And perhaps not worrying about this might have been OK?] I think you made a good effort at this with the mechanics you did come up with but working with the initiative mechanics smoothly and clearly seems difficult to do. Definite props for giving it a go; this was certainly one of the better items in terms of concept, if not quite the solution it tried to provide.
I think this item was perfect for the boundaries you set for it. Essentially I would not change a single thing - the item was masterfully conveyed. Unfortunately, those boundaries might not have included enough "crunch" or "stuff" to convince the judges that you were the designer they were looking to top 32. I would have loved them to have given you that chance though. Reading that you were in the top 20 or so on public vote is certainly deserved. As an item, the Candle of Distant Reassurance "feels" like it should be part of the game. I'm sure it will end up in a future Paizo product somewhere.
Gentleman’s Ensnaring Cane
A miniature animate imp of carefully sculpted detail and paranoid disposition forms the handle crowning this 3-foot long cane of exquisitely polished mithral. Typically accompanied by the imp’s energetic protests and gesticulations, the holder finds a gentleman’s ensnaring cane clammy to touch, surprisingly weighty to heft, and slick to hold.
As a standard action, the holder activates the cane by thrusting it into the ground, holding it pinned. Upon impact, flailing ribbons of visible force coruscate out from the cane, ensnaring up to four target creatures of Gargantuan size or less within 100 feet (Reflex DC 20 negates). Fine threads of force tightly harness ground-based, underwater, and airborne targets: seizing them just above ground, submerged, and aloft respectively. Ensnared targets can defend themselves normally but are dimensionally pinned as though affected by a dimensional anchor spell and cannot through means mundane or magical shift from their ensnared position.
As a free action immediately before each ensnared target’s turn, the holder may twist the cane magically repositioning the target in a clear straight line to any unoccupied position within 100 feet of the cane (possibly generating attacks of opportunity). Then during the ensnared target’s turn, the target may perform actions unhindered, except attempts at movement are nullified.
At the start of the holder’s next turn, or if the holder prematurely unpins the cane or fails to maintain contact, the cane absorbs the desperately objecting imp and ends all magical effects (possibly causing falling damage).
The holder can only activate a gentleman’s ensnaring cane while the unabsorbed imp remains atop. If absorbed, the indignant imp sullenly reforms atop the bare cane at midnight.
Vomit in the bed and through a 3 year old's long hair at 2:00am and then again at 3:30am in the morning is not fun! [Washing hair and changing bed stuff and then still smelling it is the worst so I completely sympathize]. And your poor cat - I'm very sorry. :(
However, allow me to hopefully cheer you up. I reckon your efforts would not have gone unnoticed by Paizo staff as well as other 3PPs and I think they'd be crazy not to throw something your way. And further, there are lots of regulars here who would have something in common. When thinking about Anthony Adam, the image of that avatar would come immediately to our minds as well as a smile, thinking of the fantastic work you did that the top 32 are most likely utilizing. Hopefully a mountain of good will your way counts for something. :)
This is one of only three items I didn't get to see during voting that made top 32. While familiar, I think it is in a good way, similar to the Candle of Distant Assurance. It's something I could just imagine in a fantasy world; so very well done. I look forward to seeing your development across the competition.
This one was one of several favorites for me and certainly one of the best of the top 32. I think your online activity over the years means that your "name" is one that registers well for many regulars - I think definitely take it as a compliment of your online presence and input. I hope you do well in the coming rounds.
Well done Michael with your walking stick and ideas that I thought were neatly done and effective. I did a Gentleman's Cane (Walking Stick) and wrestled with the question of whether my item was actually a wondrous item or a rod too. Considering that a sword-cane had been published as a wondrous item, I thought that was kind of the all clear. In your design, the walking stick is pivotal to the overall concept and impression of the item, so I think you were on solid ground.
I think the item is a little under-priced but this is where you have to leave the pricing formula alone and compare to other wondrous items (rather than rods funnily enough). Imagine a character who would wish to use this and then compare it to other wondrous items that character would get or want access to. You'd most likely find it slightly higher (but not by much) than what you came up with but as the judges have said before, pricing is easily fixed and so not a make or break issue. You may not have got it right but I don't think you got it wrong (to quote Clark from that Superstar panel).
Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you come up with in future rounds and best of luck.
My initial top 6 from the judges top 32 (not in any order):
Icon of Aspects
This may change when I go through all the items but that's what coincides with my keep list.
Eric Morton wrote:
I kind of feel like poor map guy's missing half the ride though. Poor guy... must be feeling pretty bad... maybe...
Anyway Eric, best of luck and I hope you get that magic triple. I'm looking forward to seeing how many of the regulars make it in as much as my own fate. Best of luck everyone and see you all at judgment hour.
Clark Peterson wrote:
You know what is truly evil? Reading your posts and knowing which of you made it and which of you didn't. Hehehehe.
My routine for the last two years has been to look at my inbox, wait patiently until 5 past the hour, drop the head slightly, then go look at the Top 32. You can start laughing now Clark.
Clark Peterson wrote:
I'm guessing startling absence here (as strong presence might not be as much of a surprise) which means that [looks at voter status] ... yeah... OK... ummm... I'll start focusing on my round 2 archetype... maybe... ;)
You sir are evil (and must be loving this).
Joshua Allen wrote:
If an item fell too far down the list to get specific comments from judges (and I imagine that is the majority) would it still be possible to get a 'placing'? Eg. I start a critique thread for my item and get a simple: Your item placed 734/1100. Better luck next year.
SKR commented on this, to the effect that you either make top 32 or you don't. Clark has also commented that the top 89 are mathematically significant in terms of voting. I suppose the majority of people are going to learn more about design from actual feedback rather than just a number; a number won't help anyone improve is the vibe I'm getting.
I've entered twice before and been correctly rejected both times. On both occasions I felt like I had a chance but in hindsight I can easily see the mistakes. My first time was a classic plot device that mucked around with time travel (SKR posted his Hitler sword less than a day after I submitted and so I knew straight away I was toast, presumably having supplied him with a measure of inspiration). Last year I had some interesting wrapping but the core idea was not Superstar.
This time around I hope I've done it but I can't help but feel the pain of those first two rejections, hoping to avoid a third. I'm cautiously eager if that makes any sense.
...And, though I know Paizo will never release which items got passed over, I can't help but be curious which ones floated to the top that still got an instant-veto from the judges. (Please not me, please not me... :P)
If it was my item, I'd obviously be disappointed but at the same time, I'd love to read the feedback why it got rejected by the judges. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity for learning; even though "my" item was a success in the public voting, "this" is why the judges looking at it with an experienced eye rejected it. That would be a very valuable design lesson for the public. If the Critique My Item sub-forum gets up and running, hopefully the judges might pop their heads into a thread or two for such feedback.
Well done to everyone who voted with huge props to our three Champion Voters: Thomas LeBlanc, CHEERS and Feros. Completely awesome!
Gary, if possible can you say who had the most votes out of the Marathon voters? I think like a few, I got to Marathon and then eased up but are there any voters who went for Champion but didn't quite get there?
Orcus Of Undeath wrote:
I have one question. Does flavor text have to explain how the class is unique to the River Kingdoms? Is detailing on that topic necessary with flavor?
I think SKR used a better word than "unique": "native". It is best if an archetype is native to the River Kingdoms and I suppose the introductory paragraph is where people are going to be looking for that River Kingdom tie-in. However, if you can imbue River Kingdoms flavor into other parts of the submission as well (such as in an ability name) with minimal distraction, then that would be a good way of producing a cohesive flavorful River Kingdoms Archetype submission.
I saw my item four times (all post-cull) and voted for it each time. I was really proud of my item and the effort I put into it and so I think I would have really struggled to vote against it despite seeing lots of good items (I had 85 in my "keep" word doc) across the voting period.
Neil Spicer wrote:
...The only second-place prize is your participation, your education on game design, and your involvement in the Paizo/Pathfinder community and the industry as a whole.
I think this (as the whole post is) is an interesting perspective on RPG Superstar. I think Neil you are providing some very good advice for would-be competitors: don't get too wrapped up in the process, focus on the end goal - becoming a freelancer for Paizo. There were some excellent podcasts from Paizocon a couple of years back on exactly this topic where Wes in particular spelled out what Paizo needed from freelancers and what they didn't.
In the scheme of things whether you came 37th or 737th makes zero difference to that end goal where as learning from the process is far more important (and anyone who has spent time voting has assuredly learned lots on design). However, for people looking for encouragement to get more involved in the community, the Critique my item thread should be the place to go rather than seeking out a ranking number. The Critique my Item thread this year should be spectacular considering how many people will have seen everyone's entries and been forced to consider them. Whether you're doing this process to become a freelancer or just want to see how you scored, I think that thread will be gold.