Berserker Cannibal

IcedMik's page

RPG Superstar 7 Season Dedicated Voter. Organized Play Member. 199 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters.

1 to 50 of 67 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Why are you certain they're making things up? #20


It's not "official errata" until it gets posted as such and/or is reprinted, but it's the original intent I had for the system, and I'm the lead developer for the project, so I guess take that for what it's worth? ;-)

Clarifications here on posts like this on these boards are not considered "Official Errata" because they quickly get lost and aren't catalogued, but if/when we publish errata for Kingmaker, this'll be something I push for. But to manage expectations... we've NEVER published "official errata" for an adventure.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

My players love Kingmaker, but are less than pleased with Kingdom Turns. They want to love the system and don’t want to just handwave it out, but the turns take forever and the quieter players struggle to find a place to include themselves. As game developers, we decided to make house rules to simplify and enhance certain things, and well, it eventually ballooned out into the alternate ruleset before you. This is our Kingdom Rules Overhaul – or at least a synopsis of the overhaul. We plan on writing our full rewrite of the rules for Pathfinder Infinite, but wanted to get the forums’ opinions before finalizing any drafts. These rules are a fairly large departure from the rules as written; other rules notes in the forums have taken a conservative approach to rules changes, which may be better for some tables.

Generic Rules Changes and Philosophy

The philosophy behind these changes
* Streamline the phases and reduce rarely-taken actions.
* Reduce complexity of rules while maintaining impactful choices for the players each round.
* Balance skills and feats to be more equal in importance.
* Take advice from these forums regarding XP and Untrained Improvisation.
* Include advice on how to keep kingdom turns in-character and using roleplay over rules.

Rules Changes

Removal of Investment and Size-based DC increase:

Currently, role investment has few benefits other than providing a status bonus to rolls (and making New Leadership easier). That status bonus counters the Size DC of a kingdom’s rolls at approximately the same rate. By removing both investment and Size DCs, it frees status bonuses to be tied to feats and special abilities. (This does mean a large Size no longer causes an issue, but that might not be a problem?)

Removal of Influence:

The concept of a settlement’s influence is removed for simplicity. Kingdom turns must be taken inside a settlement. With the original rules, benefits that apply within the kingdom’s influence are rare; these can likely be safely removed without affecting any other mechanics. Farms can now be built anywhere; they do not require influence to be built, nor to reduce consumption.

Replacing Boating with Information:

The Boating skill sticks out as being a strange choice, being the only skill tied to a terrain type. It seems like a very campaign-dependent choice, and one that’s not obviously useful for the Stolen Lands. I’ve merged Boating’s skills into Exploration (for the shipping parts) and Agriculture (for fishing), and introduced a new Economy-based skill, “Information,” in its place

Information measures the kingdom's ability to learn about other factions through its civilians, merchants, and tradesmen who work with these factions daily. While Scholarship deals with research and learning, Intrigue deals with secretive methods of information gathering, and Statecraft deals with official channels, Information deals with the passive knowledge gained from a kingdom's strong economic bond with the world around it.

Automatic Untrained Improvisation or Courtier System Variant:

As described in the kingmaker forums, skills quickly become auto-failures at even the middle levels. The common solution is to add half the kingdom’s level to all untrained skills, which is a quick and easy solution.

For groups that want a variant to this that makes NPCs more important, we’ve made the Courtier System variant. With this variant, any NPC that might have experience with an element of kingdom management (ie, the Kingdom skills), can join your High Court as a courtier. This might be companions like Amiri and Linzi, story NPCs like Akiros Ismort, or even PC background characters like family members. Each courtier is trained in two Kingdom skills, a level, and has one specialization In this variant, ALL kingdom skill checks during a Kingdom Turn must be assigned a courtier, who is no longer able to be used that turn. If the courtier is trained in the applicable skill, you may use their proficiency bonus rather than the kingdom’s proficiency bonus; and if the check meets the requirement of the courtier’s specialization, that check gains a +2 circumstance bonus.

For example,
Keston Garess is a level 3 courtier, trained in Warfare and Defense, and has specialization when working with mercenaries. The kingdom reveals an event that could be solved by hiring mercenaries by rolling Defense. By assigning Keston, you can use his proficiency bonus (his level + 2: 5) rather than the kingdom’s, and his experience with mercenary work grants the check a +2 circumstance bonus.

With the Companion Guide, many companions have special activities during Kingdom turns; with these rules, these activities are replaced with an additional feat.

For example
Jubilost Narthropple is a level 5 courtier, trained in Trade and Industry, and has a specialization with alchemy. In addition, if used to Collect Taxes, on a critical success or success, he gains the kingdom an additional 2 Resource Dice, rolled immediately.

Please note: The courtier variant goes against the general philosophy of this overhaul and makes things more complicated. It is not right for every group, which is why it’s specifically a variant rule.

Event Choices and Resolution:

Events are changed in a few ways. Rather than happening by chance, two events are always rolled and revealed in the Upkeep Phase, and are resolved during the Leadership phase rather than immediately. Each event is split into at least three options for resolution; the results depend on both the dice roll as well as the particular choice.

For example, Local Disaster (Variant A) [Event +0]:
A startling earthquake has damaged a building in a particularly pious part of town, such as a shrine or church, or just a housing area with many religious residents. The building is beloved by the townsfolk and people are against tearing it down to rebuild, but the damage is extensive and repairs will be dangerous without demolishing it first. Something needs to be done before it collapses entirely.
[Engineering] We’ve prepared for disasters to our cities, and our masons can repair the damage and strengthen the foundation, despite the danger.
[Folklore] Contact the church in Brevoy for aid in keeping the townsfolk pacified while the building is destroyed and repaired.
[Politics] Placate the townsfolk’s protestations with promises it will be just the same, and demolish and repair the building despite the townsfolk’s protestations.
Critical Success
[Engineering] The building is fortified and appears brand new. The townsfolk celebrate; gain 2 Approval.
[Folklore] The people eventually agree that demolishing and repairing is the best option, and cause no issue with repairs.
[Politics] As folklore.
[Engineering] The building is repaired at the cost of extra resources. Reduce your Resource Dice total by 2 next turn.
[Folklore] Most people are placated, but a few of the most pious are still bothered. Gain 1 Unrest.
[Politics] As folklore.
[Engineering] Tragically, the building is unsavable, but you don’t lose any life in the repair attempts. Gain 1 Decay and the structure is reduced to rubble. Reduce your Resource Dice total by 4 next turn.
[Folklore] The church is unable to pacify the townsfolk, and people revolt. Increase Unrest and Corruption by 1.
[Politics] Your words are unable to pacify the townsfolk, and they interfere with repair attempts. Ultimately the building is lost. Gain 1 Decay, 1 Unrest, and remove the building
Critical Failure
[Engineering] The worst happens, and the building collapses on several of the repair crew as well as a few bystanders. Gain 1d6 Decay, 2 Unrest, and reduce the structure to rubble.
[Folklore] The people are furious at the building’s destruction, and interfere in its repairs. Gain 1d6 Corruption, 2 Unrest, and remove the building.
[Politics] The people are furious at the building’s destruction, and interfere in its repairs. Gain 1d6 Decay, 2 Unrest, and reduce the building to rubble.

Leadership Activities and Phases
Other than the Upkeep phase, the various phases have been merged into one Leadership phase. The Upkeep phase includes Commodity collection and consumption, but does not include RP gaining (this is now part of the Treasurer’s Collect Taxes activity, which is assumed to be taken every turn). It also always includes two Kingdom Events to be revealed before the Leadership phase. During the Leadership phase, all Leaders gain one Role Activity and one Leadership Activity from a role-specific list, which they can take in any order. Each role-specific list has one Role Activity and five Leadership activities.

The Role Activities are summarized here:
Counselor: For each settlement, you may attempt to build or demolish a structure.
General: For each army, you may take an Army activity.
Emissary: You may Trade Commodities to attempt to gain bonus Resource Dice next turn.
Magister: You may attempt to gain Intel (a general “Infilitration” style action)
Treasurer: You may Collect Taxes (which is now changed to not be limited to once every two turns. In addition, certain structures are tagged as “taxable;” when you roll a check to Collect Taxes, on a success or better, you add 1RP for every taxable structure in your kingdom). Or Tap/Restore Treasury.
Viceroy: Claim or Abandon one hex, Establish a Worksite/Farm, or Construct a Settlement
Warden: Build Roads, Build Bridge, or Fortify Hex.
Ruler: Take any one Role Activity from another leader. (If Building Structures, you may only build one Structure. If Commanding Armies, you may only command one army. If you Collect Taxes, you do not roll any Resource Dice, but can still gain bonus RP from taxable structures.)
– All Role Activities include “or gain 2RP” at the end as an option.

The Leadership Activities are fairly varied, with each leader gaining five choices of activities, four of which are based on specific skills. All require a skill check which results in similar results as the official rules. The whole list is under the cut.

List of Leadership Activities:

Invest in Heroes: Use Exploration to gain RP
Issue Edicts: Use Politics to give an ally a circumstance bonus to a Kingdom roll. (gives a wider bonus than other “give allies a bonus” activities)
Allied Information: Use Statecraft to gain Intel on an event’s result or on a faction of your choice.
Inspiring Ceremony: Use Warfare to reduce Unrest

Guide Artists: Use Arts to repair Corruption
Creative Solution: Use Scholarship to give an ally a circumstance bonus to Resolving an Event.
Tithe: Use Folklore to gain bonus RP.
Improve Lifestyle: Use Politics to reduce Unrest (reduces more Unrest than other Unrest-related activities)

Show of Protection: Use Defense to reduce Unrest
Prepare Supply Lines: Use Engineering to Build Roads in the location of an army.
Battle Divinations; Use Magic to gain Intel on an event or an enemy.
Train Military: Use Warfare to attempt to gain a free Army action.

Infiltration: Use Intrigue to gain Intel on an event’s result or a faction.
Gather Rumours: Use Information to give an ally a circumstance bonus to Resolving an Event.
Study Ledgers: Use Trade to repair Crime.
Foreign Relations: Use Statecraft to gain bonus RP.

Holy Services: Use Folklore to Reduce Unrest
Subtle Influence: Use Intrigue to repair Strife
Supernatural Solution: Use Magic to give an ally a circumstance bonus to Resolving an Event.
Research Solution: Use Scholarship to gain Intel on an event’s result or (tbd) (highest Intel result)

Craft Luxuries: Use Arts to gain Luxury Commodities or Fame.
Trade Information: Use Information to gain Intel on an event’s result or (tbd)
Purchase Commodities: Use Industry to gain Ore, Lumber, or Stone commodities.
Stimulate Trade: Use Trade to gain RP (higher RP than other RP-gathering activities).

Harvest Crops: Use Agriculture to gain Food Commodities
Industrial Organization: Use Industry to gain RP.
Repairs: Use Engineering to reduce Decay.
Forest Speaking: Use Wilderness to gain Intel on an event’s result or wilderness location.

Medical Aid: Use Agriculture to reduce Unrest.
Erect Defenses: Use Defense to Fortify Hex.
Explorer’s Boon: Use Exploration to give one ally a circumstance bonus to Resolving an Event
Hunt and Fish: Use Wilderness to gain Food Commodities.

In addition to their four skill-based activities, all leaders have “Resolve Event: Use one of your role-specific skills to solve an event.” Because two events are always rolled during the Upkeep phase, to avoid critically failing an event, at least two leaders must spend their Leadership activity on Resolving an Event.

This rules change standardizes the number of activities per turn, rather than giving fewer actions to small parties and incentivising large ones. It also reduces the complexity of going through each phase. The challenge in a Kingdom Turn is deciding who will take part in events and who will roll their skills. The Role Activities make each leadership role feel a bit more unique, as each player gets a specific job to do in the kingdom. The Ruler gets to feel a bit more like a proper leader with the unique ability to double up another leader’s Role Activity.

Additional Flavour Advice:

This is not rules advice, but moreso sidebars that we’d like to add.

Quirks: When building a settlement, a structure, or an army, encourage the players to come up with at least one “quirk” that describes it. What might be a standard Tavern could be a dwarven-built tavern that’s slightly shorter than comfortable; or an army could have a pet bear mascot that they train.

The High Court: Rather than jumping out of character for the kingdom turns, you can flavour the turn as taking place in a council chamber or in a large open hall. Have an NPC bring the PCs news of events, and encourage the players to decide what they do during the turn in-character. Even if you’re not using the courtier variant, you can have NPCs involved as messengers and assistants, bringing up ideas or commentary during the turn.

Additional Notes
These rules will need to come with a host of feat and structure changes, and the Army actions haven’t been touched yet as we haven’t yet started playtesting a war.

This was a huuuge post – what do people think? I’d love to hear opinions and suggestions, if this seems like a good plan or not?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A -1 creature is 2 levels below the players, so 20 XP each.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Inspiring Entertainment doesn't work as written, to my understanding? The status bonus does, but the previous sentence "When you check for Unrest during the Upkeep phase" implies there's a Loyalty-based check to be rolled during that phase, but I can't find that in the rules.
I don't know what the solution would be other than to just ignore that, but I wanted to see your thoughts if I've missed something

1 person marked this as a favorite.

High praise from one of the kingmaker greats! Thanks!

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Expanded Kingdom Rules: Courtiers

This is an idea me and my players came up with, to help solve a few of the kingdom rules' problems, and to do something interesting with the menagerie of NPCs they've collected. Essentially, the companions and important NPCs you meet can be recruited as members of the royal court. This becomes vital, as every kingdom action now requires a courtier to complete for you. Of course, courtiers have their own skills and specialties, which can help shore up a kingdom's weaknesses, but they are limited in number, and are never more skilled than a kingdom's specialties.

Some of the problems my group has with the kingdom rules:
* After the early game, the DCs for untrained skills become impossible to meet. In a party, this is fine because you have allies with their own skills -- but there's only one kingdom. This can lock away essential actions if you're not careful, or at the very least locks your kingdom into a certain direction.
* Many actions and buildings are locked behind skill trainings. Many buildings can only be build when trained in Industry, and you must be trained in Statecraft to send a diplomat (a prerequisite for trade agreements).
* Events have a single skill requirement, so eventually some events become instant failures. There's also no choices to be had with events.

Our solution is the Courtier System.
Courtiers are skilled NPCs that attends court when held by its leaders. Each Courtier is trained in two Kingdom skills, and has one special trait which grants them a bonus and/or penalty in certain situations. To complete any Kingdom Activity, you now must assign a Courtier to complete it. That Courtier's skill proficiency can be used for any Activity's proficiency requirements, and that Courtier's skill bonus can be used instead of the Kingdom's for that Activity. Once a Courtier has been used, they're unavailable to be used until the next Kingdom turn.

For example, your leaders decide to Trade Commodities, and are trained in Industry. They must send a courtier, but that courtier's skills don't necessarily matter since the Kingdom already has a high Industry rank; they decide to send Tristian. The leaders roll the skill check as normal.
Were they not trained in Industry, they could choose to send Jubilost instead. Since he's trained in Industry, the rulers can roll using Jubilost's bonus rather than the kingdom's. Though, if he's the only Courtier in the court with Industry, they might decide to hang on to him so they can use his proficiency to meet the requirements of a foundry.

Courtier Rules
Courtiers have courtier levels, which don't necessarily correspond with their character level (similarly to how a Barrister, a Creature -1, is considered a 4th-level challenge in legal matters). They also have an Ability Score Modifier of +2 (meaning they will never be better at the skills that are focused by the kingdom). They are trained in two kingdom skills; at 3rd level, one of these skills becomes Expert; at 7th level, that skill becomes Master while the other becomes Expert; and at 15th level that skill becomes Legendary while the other becomes Master.

Each also has one special trait which grants a +2 circumstance bonus to applicable rolls. For example, Amiri gains that bonus when dealing with Barbarians. This might be Warfare checks against Barbarians, trading with Barbarians, or hiring Barbarians as adventurers. GMs should try to let PCs come up with narrative reasons why a bonus might apply.

When choosing to use a Courtier's skill modifier, no Kingdom bonuses (such as item bonuses from buildings) apply; however, penalties such as Unrest DO apply.

At the start of your kingdom's creation, you begin with at least 8 courtiers in your court (even if that "court" only starts off as a couple logs around a campfire), and you can gain more as you progress through the story and befriend new people, or as the GM feels necessary. This pool is made up of Companions from the Companions guide, important NPCs you've met along the way, visiting representatives from other factions, future questgivers found in the book, backstory NPCs like family and friends, or just made-up-on-the-spot NPCs. Not everyone can be a Courtier; they must have some reason for being trained in a Kingdom Skill, but otherwise there is no limits to the number of Courtiers that a court can support.

At every kingdom level up, you gain two levels to give to Courtiers. A Courtier can't be levelled up beyond the Kingdom Level. In addition, players can choose a new "Kingdom Feat 3: Courtier Training. You gain four levels to give to Courtiers; this cannot level a Courtier above the Kingdom's level." The limit to levels means that keeping an eye out for new and talented Courtiers is always important.

Some example Courtiers
(Companions are set to Level 4 as it's assumed they're about the PCs level when the kingdom starts.

Amiri, Level 4, Warfare (Expert), Exploration (Trained). Bonus vs. Barbarians.
Linzi, Level 4, Arts (Expert), Magic (Trained). Bonus dealing with rumours.
Valerie, Level 4, Defense (Expert), Warfare (Trained). Bonus defending against attackers.
Nok-Nok, Level 4, Intrigue (Expert), Wilderness (Trained). Bonus vs. monsters.
Tristian, Level 4, Folklore (Expert), Scholarship (Trained). Bonus against curses.
Ekundayo, Level 4, Exploration (Expert), Wilderness (Trained). Bonus against giants and ogres.
Akiros Ismort, Level 3, Warfare (Expert), Folklore (Trained). Bonus against religious zealots.
Keston Garess, Level 3, Warfare (Expert), Defense (Trained). Bonus dealing with mercenaries.
Mikmek (Sootscale representative), Level 2, Intrigue (Trained), Engineering (Trained). Bonus with traps.
Chundis (Swamper), Level 1, Boating (Trained), Agriculture (Trained). Bonus in swamps.

In my player's kingdom, they have a few NPCs based on their backstories.
Eikadam Stonesplitter, dwarven niece of the ruler, trained for courts. Level 3, Politics (Expert), Statecraft (Trained). Bonus with laws and regulations.
Gramps, retired farm owner and warhorse trainer. Level 4, Wilderness (Expert), Agriculture (Trained). Bonus with trainable animals.
Andary Marsholm, de jure mayor of the capital. Level 3, Agriculture (Expert), Engineering (Trained). Bonus with residential districts.


With these rules, you can also change up the Events system. In my game, we move random events to happen before the rest of the Kingdom Turn, while all Courtiers are active. I roll the events beforehand, make sure I come up with a specific narrative for it, and come up with a few ideas that Courtiers might have to solve them that don't necessarily use the same Kingdom skill that the event usually calls for. These solutions might even change the results or the difficulty of the roll. The players can choose which Courtier to send, or even come up with their own ideas.

For example: Nature's Blessing. A flock of rare red-breasted eagles has been spotted near the capital.
Linzi (Arts): Such beauty! Lets encourage painters to use eagle motifs as they make houses!
Tristian (Folklore): I know of a few deities which revere these birds. Let us celebrate those faiths for our people to see.
Amiri (Warfare): Huh, these used to be important to my tribe. We could make them a symbol for our troops. [+1 Event difficulty] (On success, gain a bonus instead to Loyalty instead of Culture)

Example 2: Monster Activity. A nomadic tribe of goblins has been raiding travelers through our woods.
Valerie (Defense). I will not allow this to stand. If they will not relent, they will fall to my blade.
Ekundayo (Wilderness). I can get us behind these goblins and scare them off, simple. [+1 event difficulty]
Nok-Nok (Intrigue). Hey, I think I know these guys! Maybe if I can get close enough without getting stabbed, I can get them to work for us [+2 event difficulty](On a success or critical success, you gain one goblin courtier).

What do people think? Having a handful of trained characters means a kingdom isn't locked away from things it isn't good at, and choosing which courtiers to send around to do various actions makes for a bit more dynamic kingdom turns.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dudemeister, these are amazing! Thank you so much for bringing these to my attention, I must have completely missed them while browsing the original forums.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you so much phntm, I think that's a great idea putting Nyrissa in a bit of an ally side. My party has already met faeries that know of her, and the baron seems interested in asking her about marriage, and even mentioned to me after that he didn't mean for it to be a joke. I might actually work on a sort of using-romance-as-manipulation subplot.


4. Civil War

Since Chapter 5 as written is not great for my players, I'm going to use that time to play up the civil war in Brevoy. It's pretty interesting to me, and it'll give me a chance to keep some elements of war in my rewrite.

Essentially, I'm going to use the materials in Game of Thrones and Venture Capital (both linked above) to have the players meet and get opinions of the noble houses in early Chapter 4. Angered that the Swordlords are sending the PCs into the Stolen Lands and hoping to gain a flanking position over the Aldori, the noble houses try to overtake the PCs by sending war parties, spies, and other plots.

What are these plots? I...have no clue. Depending on how the PCs ally with the different personalities, I can see a number of different ideas.
* Enemy Surtovas send spies to try and hobble the kingdom, and assassins to take out key members, aided by Lodovka torturers. They then try and send their own invasion force, despite the concequences with the neighbouring Aldori or Orlovskys.
* Toval Golka of House Garess tries to befriend the party regardless of alliegences; they're using the party to capture Hargulka's dwarven stronghold, which holds secrets to the whole Choral thing. More about this in point 6.
* House Medvyed wants peace. Enemy Medvyed use their druidic magic to spy on the kingdom and...well, I'm not sure.
* Same with House Lebeda, not sure what they're really gunning for.
* Enemy Swordlords send another group to begin a kingdom of their own, this time loyal to the Swordlords and enemies of the PCs.

As for the actual meat of Chapter 5, I'm imagining murder mystery plots, armies entering ther Stolen Lands, mercenary attacks, the beginning of wars happening in Brevoy that require player intervention, as well as stuff in the next point.

5. Yog-Sothoth's Cult

Yog-Sothoth is an Outer God of gates, space, and time. The fact that Candlemere exists in the campaign makes me want to weave this in, despite being kinda outta nowhere?

My idea: Choral the Conquerer is a worshipper of Yog-Sothoth. Or at least, he is now, as he saw an aspect of Yog within the Skywatch observatory. Canonically, we don't know who built the massive observatory, nor do we know ultimately what happened to the nearby cyclops, but for my game those are linked. Choral got the ability to create his own demiplane on the Lake of Mists and Veils from that event.

I'm still piecing everything together in my mind, but in general I want Candlemere to be a more important location. The rites at the bottom are what the PCs use to challenge Choral's return.

In addition to the above in Chapter 5, I'm going to take some of the plot with the Cult of the Bloom and instead change it to the Yog-Sothoth's cult, doing something to try and find and take over Candlemere. Nobody knows that Candlemere is where Yog's cult is centralized, including any Pharasman allies the PCs might gain. The Black Tears additionally are linked to Yog's cult (replacing the Cult of Gyronna that the Black Tears bankroll in chapter 4)

6. Golka Clan
As listed in Game of Thrones (linked above), Toval Golka has a long term plan to take over the duchy. He's going to assassinate Duke Garess and frame House Lebeda, and attempt to ally with Swordlords left over in Lebeda territory.

In addition, I think the clan is planning more of a major thing. They're also seeking Hargulka's dwarven stronghold, believing it to hold some of the secrets to Choral's disappearance. It's possible they're going to be a big player in Choral's return - either as an ally or enemy of the players.

This is something else I haven't yet thought of entirely. I'll try and think more before next post.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have a problem that might resonate with a few people here: my players know the story. Between playing the game and hearing stories about this classic adventure, they know everything Nyrissa has in store for them. Of course, they're great players, and aren't going to metagame with that knowledge, but my favorite part of GMing is player theorycrafting and end-game payoff when they realize you had something planned the whole time. So, I'm going to homebrew a lot of changes, and I'm hoping the people here can help me!

The below is inspired by several dozen posts from the 1e Kingmaker forums and various blogs, some over a decade old, so many I can't credit all of them - but I'd like to shout out DaddyDM's post mortem, Erik Freund's Venture Capital, Dudemeister's Monster Kingdom, and Redcelt's Game of Thrones. There's one post I couldn't find that suggested the Golushkin dwarves were in on the Vanishing, but I can't find it. Additionally, a looot of this is inspired by the various tips and hints hidden around the Paizo books intended to inspire your own creation.

My intentions with this are:
1. Deprioritize Nyrissa and make her less of the sole catalyst. Rewrite Chapters 10 and 11.
2. Bring back Choral the Conquerer, and solve the Vanishing and Skywatch's closure.
3. Upgrade Vordakai and Irovetti to be more integral (Vordakai more entrenched, and Irovetti less tied to Nyrissa).
4. Play up the civil war in Brevoy, the Mivonese Aldori, and more of the River Kingdoms.
5. Involve Yog-Sothoth's cult more directly.
6. Because one PC is a Golushkin dwarf/Garess scion, I want to involve Toval and the missing Golushkin clan, potentially related to Hargulka's dwarven ruins.
7. Because one PC is a changeling who wants a Calling storyline, I want to involve the Knurly Witch.
8. Potentially remove the entirety of Chapter 5 due to player lines/veils about diseases.
9. Tie the companions' adventures more directly into the plot.

This is...a lot. Maybe (definitely) too much. But I'm gonna try?

1. Deprioritize Nyrissa
She's going to be less of a final villain and more of a mid-game villain. She lives in the Thousandvoices forest rather than Thousandbreaths. Rather than the plotline of the Apology, her heart (Briar) is merely being held by Irovetti, and immediately after the players retrieve it, they can return it to Nyrissa or attempt to slay her with it.

So what is Nyrissa now, what're her actions and whats her motivation? I...don't really know, to be honest. As mentioned in point 8, I'm removing the Bloom entirely (very cool but not a great fit for my players). She's influenced the Stag Lord and Hargulka, but I'm not sure to what end.

2. Choral the Conquerer
Rather than Thousandbreaths, I want the ultimate extraplanar threat to be the return of Choral. Based on several clues in the books, and fan theories in several threads, I'm ruling that the Choral is indeed himself a red dragon. His original disappearance a century ago was to create his own demiplane in the Lake of Mists and Veils (similar to Thousandbreaths). For whatever reason, the demiplane is crumbling now (as evidenced by the Rogarvian artifacts appearing in the Lake, as of Lost Omens Legends)

To try and keep his demiplane intact, he uses ancient cyclops magic which requires him to sacrifice suitably royal blood, which is infused with the divine energy of those who are ruled. Ruthlessly, he sacrifices his own bloodline, thus causing the Vanishing of House Rogarvia. But because the Rogarvians ruled through fear rather than by respect, the ancient ritual didn't hold together long. By the time the players' kingdom has become a nation itself, he needs another sacrifice, one of royal blood who's subjects love them (a sort of parasitical divine magic), and turns to the player kingdom to sacrifice (though whether or not the players are playing noble heroes or tyrants doesn't matter).

As for Skywatch's closure, I'll list my ideas more in point 6.

3. Vordakai and Irovetti
How do we make these guys more integral than single-chapter villains?

For Vordakai, I think he's been awake for longer than the start of the campaign, over a century. He's trapped by Choral's magic, kept bound to his lair and magically restricted until Choral needs him. The ancient cyclopian magic that Choral uses was taught by Vordakai under duress. By chapter 6 though, Vordakai has gained some more freedom, enough to take over Varnhold. It seems like Varnhold's Vanishing mimics the Rogarvian Vanishing, though the whole town is taken rather than just a bloodline - perhaps only the Varn bloodline was used in the magic, but the rest of the townsfolk are just phylactery fodder. We can use this as hints for Choral as the final boss.

As for Irovetti, I...don't know. He's already a menace. Maybe the Rushlight Treachery could happen much earlier, staking him as military events earlier on so the PCs can use their armies. I will need to read the chapter more closely. But I do want to keep him in hold of Briar, and use Chapter 8 as a climax for Nyrissa's story. Perhaps afterwards, even Nyrissa could become an ally.


I've got some more notes to get out my brain and onto paper, so I'll continue this another time. I'd extremely appreciate any notes, opinions, ideas, or links to threads for anything above! Thanks!

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey, I wanted to give a shot at remaking the Stolen Lands map. This is hand drawn (well, in Clip Studio Paint) in Mike Schley's style. Each hex is 150px from edge to edge. The colour delineation should help if you're using the hexploration rules and need to know what kind of terrain something is. The only major gameplay difference between this and the official map is that I considered the the starting area as grasslands/gentle hills rather than full hills (though I think the official map was vague about it anyway).

2 people marked this as a favorite.

All Roll20 APs contain every creature and item in the book, even if they're from a bestiary. You won't need to buy any bestiaries separately.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

These look amazing! My group will be using these as soon as they get to kingdom building in hopefully a few weeks, so I look forward to giving some feedback.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This player's guide is great, I needed to get these rules in my player's hands. I agree and do wish we got more of the AP1's lore, but AP1 is still there, and this is already a massive PDF if you wanted to print it out (like me).

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Something I've wanted to do for a while is add more literary themes to my campaigns, something to center my story and anchor my ideas around. All RPGs have "good vs evil" kinda thing, and Kingmaker has several themes already, I'm just not great at identifying them. I want to make sure I /do/ define them though, because my group is very interested in RPing the kingdom and I want to challenge them on this RP basis.

Because building a kingdom is inherently political, I want to emphasize that I am avoiding any modern takes on ideological themes. I've had a conversation with my group about this - Kingmaker takes place in a fantasy world where Good Kings make their kingdoms thrive, and there's no global corporations or human atrocities happening behind the scenes. We're all fairly active politically, but we want to play RPGs where a child's understanding of the world is true. All of this is to say - be very careful using any of this, talk to your players, use safety tools, and try not to think about (gestures at everything).

The Land Needs No Kings. This is like the classic "power corrupts" theme, but with a twist of society itself being corrupting (oh jeez, what did I just say last paragraph!). The line "This Land Needs No Kings" is spat by Oleg, and echoed by various folk in the lands (I'm dotting safer areas with small, unnamed 3-4 family thorpes). This means, if there were no "lords" around, the Stolen Lands would be peaceful. They want to be left alone.

Society in this instance is the Stag Lord, Irovetti, Drelev, Armag, Vordakai - all human (well, and cyclops but they're the humans of their time) and all tyrants. I'm going to echo this with Brevoy and Mivon, with Brevic backstabbing and Mivonese infighting causing many of their people to risk joining the heroes' kingdom.

Hargulka (who for some reason - even a decade ago when running the hot-off-the-presses original - I thought was female until writing this) is a queen of trolls (and I'm homebrewing it to be true). As written, she'll take over the countryside and grind bones for bread, but I'm going to change it. Even with Nyrissa's (undefined) influence, she wants a safe place for monsters hunted away by Swordlords. Gurija, who I'm changing to a Mivonese hobgoblin who learned Aldori dueling but was never accepted in society, convinces her that the PC's kingdom is worth eating.

As for the Sootscale Kobolds, they're corrupted by Tartuccio, and otherwise content warring with mitflits (which isn't great but at least they aren't inflicting tyranny elsewhere); and the Greengripe Goblins are pretty chill before the cult. It's big society's influence that corrupts these peoples, who are otherwise content to get along with their lives.

For the Kingdom, the PCs will need to make sure they're different. Of course they're not tyrants, but I'll be making sure to flavor all applicable events with difficult choices they must make; sacrifice their own power to do what's best for the kingdom. Only then will they be able to provide something more to the people of the Stolen Lands.

Whisperers Behind the Throne. Less of an ideological theme and more of just a recurring thing - almost all of the villains are being manipulated by another force. In fact, so are the PCs being manipulated by Nyrissa! Most of them are manipulated by Nyrissa, but Armag has the Sisters, Hargulka has Gurija, Foras has, uh, Yog-Sothoth.

Not only are the players manipulated by Nyrissa, but I'm going to have the Lantern King play more of a role, if hidden. He whispers in the heroes' ears in the form of an old poem, which reaches the ears of the PCs through dreams, found tomes, that pesky golden gnome, or even Linzi having a strange spark of imagination. As the Lantern King is fey, and has a different perception of time than we do, he foretells the "Ten Trials" that all kings go through (that doesn’t make sense, but hey, fey). This is meant to guide the players somewhat, for mercurial reasons, which Nyrissa has no clue about.

Each of the ten verses below relates to the first ten chapters, and is revealed to the PCs shortly before the important part of their corresponding chapter. Right before the Black Tears attack Jamandi, right before heading into the cradle at the breach, after the heroes retake Briar, etc. The second verse does differ in that it covers all of Ch 2. (Also, I really hope that people like this. I spent a LOT of time getting the right poetic meter going, and even got a subscription to a Shakespearian website to get appropriate archaic words!)

The Ten Trials

'Fore the iourney yet enkindles, likely rulers sup and mingle,
knowing not the night's devices, lie abed with hopes beleev'd.
Yet the sable princes countlesse, spilling blood with daggers soundlesse,
hale our crownes unto the fire: lo, the kingdome is conceiv'd.

Commer crownes explore their holdings, new foundations thus unfolding.
They emboss a vicious hart to fashion footeholds 'pon his grave.
Battle won, the fog reveales just whose life our heroes steale -
scarcely but a namelesse childe; lo the kingdome's start is paved.

Arest with structured walls surrounding, newfound barons their lands counting.
Beurocratical adventures, toyling whilst their foes dost wake.
Ferret fiends whose shadowes skitter: dragon false and scorn'd thieves bitter,
fire-brands, Moone sins, heibarr's bane; lo, the kingdome's fortune makes.

'Twixt the challenge prior facing, to our noblest word debasing,
from the thicket storme-sway'd fiendfolk gath'ring up corival sortes.
Follow'd fast by blinded mourner, shivers homesteades, mowes street corners;
making rivers redly runneth; lo, the kingdome's road contorts.

Seedes of ruin subtly spreading, threatning like to peace beheading.
Mothers's canker waxing so to spreade its way through stock and stone.
As it reaches full bloome's upsets, heroes venge their fallen subiects
thin the cradle at the breach; lo the kingdome's seedes are sown.

When an innocent young questant finds betray-ed emp'ror restant,
wicked wakes and breakes entombment; ravens rivals midst one night.
Heroes parley moone-lit guardants; past their datelesse vigil ardente;
Smash the cyclop't throne of bones; Lo the Kingdome's future's sight.

Reborne warlord steales obeisance of the cravven prince complacence;
Gives affiance to his thrall's oath, flies to brooke his forebear's brawne.
Weary rulers buckler legions, hew the twice-born tyrants's heathens
Trading blood for blood as forehand, Lo the kingdome dusks its dawn.

Favoured bastard, treachrous rival; wishing fortune's swifte revival
Sealed away the fool queen's bosum; flouting stocke, her trust begrudged
Hero lords o'rtake his nation -- Infiltration! Liberation!
Once their castle singly stands; LO the kingdome's worthe is iudged

Long past, deathless stove off timeless; eld verse new, divinely crimeless.
She, new goddess, stone plug sealed off; compassed warring factions bothe.
If the hero lords determine; watcher foes hear gravely sermone,
or they say not, either way; lo the kingdome seales its oath.

Measured goode with en'mies foyle; her fair heart strews cross the soyle
All at once, the land embraces as she breaths a thousand breaths.
Watch the sins past fly the sweete breeze; hark the angels singing how these
stolen lands are stolen no more; lo the kingdome lastly rests.

So, what do people think? Any themes that you all are putting in your campaigns?

26 people marked this as a favorite.

Kingmaker is huge. Between Chapter 2, the Kingdom rules, the Companion Guide, and the rest of the book, there is a LOT of overlapping events and quests. For my game, I decided to try and list out every single thing I might want to remember, by level. This doesn't include the events of Chapters 3-11, assuming you'll be reading those to prepare for your game -- but it does include every other event and timed note I could find. There's doubtless several things missing, but I'm sure others will comment below.

These are split up by level. They may have a prerequisite, and will have a page number (Companion Guide is prefixed CG), then the header or note. Below that is events tied to Kingdoms. I do list the first time that a companion has a quest or rare thing, but you should check each companion every level for potential upgrades.


Level 1
• Campaign begins.
• Chapter 1. Meet Amiri, Linzi, Harrim, Jaelthal, Valerie
• 53; Oleg's Trophy, Radish Soup, Svetlana's Ring, Wanted: Kobolds, Wanted: Tuskgutter, Wanted: Bandits.
• If Amiri is companion: CG10, The Blade's Legacy, before "Blood Calling" can begin at any point. Also, she may want to fight Tuskgutter (CG12)
• If Linzi is made friendly; CG46; Special Training

Level 2
• 55; Quest: Gathering Fangberries
• 67; Quest: Davik's Revenge
• First time back to Oleg's; 54; Keston arrives. Quest: Find Falgrim
• After meeting Keston; 54; Jhod arrives Quest: Visions of the Elk
• Before facing Stag Lord; CG57; should meet Nok-Nok
• Temple of the Elk; CG 69, Meet Tristian
• Any point: CG102-104; Meet Octavia and Regongar.

Level 3
• 70, 75, 77; Quests: Wanted: Shamblesap, Tomb Treasure, Black Rattlecaps.
• Before driving out Stag Lord; CG25, A Score to Settle (Meet Ekundayo)
• After driving out Stag Lord; TW1 and TW2 (Meet Jubilost) available
• If Tristian is companion; CG71 Tristian can teach followers of Sarenrae.
• If Octavia is Influence 4, and the party can cast 4th-level spells while at character level 3; CG103 Special Training?

4th level
• Amiri, Ekundayo, Jubilost; Special Training/Items
• 79; Wrath of the Scythe Tree
• 188-198; Events: The Slain Townsfolk, The Rabble Rouser, Desperate Spies (200: Suggests 5th level), Cult of Gyronna
• 198-199; Minor Events: Founding of Tatzlford, Return of the Black Tears, Troll Sightings (200; Suggests 5th Level), Weird Gnome
• After Kingdom starts: CG98 Can meet the Twins. Special Training available immediately.
• (Personal suggestion: Foreshadow Amiri's cult of personality)

5th Level
• 74; Wanted: Howl-of-the-North-Wind
• Forgotten Keep, if rumour gets out PCs exploring here; 515; A Lady's Desire
• Forgotten Keep, if cleared; 153; Kyonin elves may make request
• If Nok-Nok is companion; preferably between Hargulka and the Beast; CG61 Heroes or Gods?
• If Harrim is Influence 6; CG95; Special Training

6th Level
• If Amiri is a companion; CG10; Monster Hunt
• If Ekundayo is a companion; CG27 A Feast of Feasts
• 81 85; Quests Mmm Eels, Wanted: Manticore, Wanted: Flame Drake
• When Chapter 5 begins: 105, refugees enter DR4.
• 217, Increase random encounters.

7th Level
• 87 Wanted: Spidersilk
• Forgotten Keep, if cleared and settlement built; 153 Dancing Lady may return
• Spend a day in a settlement while Linzi is in kingdom; CG47 To Ask for Forgiveness
• If Valerie is friendly, CG84 Valerie's gifts.
• If Jaethal is Influence 8; CG96; Special Training
• After learning of Varnhold vanishing: 527; A Missing Professor

8th Level
• 90; The Nomen problem
• If Jubilost is a companion, pref just after Ch 5 resolves; CG36; Jubilost's The Inconsequent Debates

9th Level
• XX, The Ghost Stone War
• 99; Dragonfly Cloak
• If Valerie has joined the kingdom; CG85, False Faces

10th Level
• 103: Wanted: Slug Spit
• If Garuum is brefriended: 64, Garuum's Revenge
• 101, Save the Bog Strider
• 159, Sepoko's Vengeance
• When about to reach 11th level, if Amiri is companion; CG13, Blood Calling
• If Linzi's quest was successful; CG54, Linzi's unique structure available
• If Tristian is companion, after Vordakai but before Ch7; CG72 Kingdom of the Cleansed

11th Level
• 104, Wanted: Speartooth
• Amiri companion; CG13, Amiri reminds party of Blood Calling
• If Regongar is Influence 6; CG104 Special Training

13th Level
• If Sootscale Cavern is part of the kingdom; 131; Old Sharptooth Comes
• If Amiri is companion; CG10; Barbarian Immigrants

15th Level
• 110, The Eater of Kings
• CGXX, Amiri's unique structure available

16th Level
• If you designed your own adventure to split the Twins; CG101; Separating the Twins (Forefather)

17th Level
• 113, Numerian Trade
• 114, Mammoth's Shame

Once Kingdom is built
• CG98; Can meet the twins
• During First Month; 521; A Missing Brother
• If cleared Temple of the Elk; 62 Can attempt to restore

• Lumberyard, lumber camp, or claim forest; xx; I Swear I'm Sober
• Manor, Craft Luxuries, or explore Forgotten Keep: 515; A Lady's Desire
• Academy or Museum; 529 Forgotten History
• Noble Villa; 535 Chasing the Wind
• Three breweries; 542 Drunken Heroes
• Any hex swamp in Hooktongue: 533 Bog Mummy
• Linzi's Printing Press; CG54; Local Paper and Special Edition

Kingdom Level
• 7th, and before Rushlight Tournament; 523; Catching a Cheat
• 9th; 525; Omelet King
• 13th; 529 Strange Vegetation
• 17th; 545 A Flying Owlbear

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Less details on the teachers, so I don't know what I'd imagine them.

Takulu: Canonically an anteater. Nose ringed in light blue stripes. Covers whole face, has an articulated tongue controllable by Takulu.

Koride: A colourful insect (of indeterminant origin). Wide around eyes with compound lenses, like horn-rimmed glasses, leaving mouth uncovered.

Zuma: A light green, serene-eyed gecko, similar in colour to his own skintone. Covered in many protective tattoos. The gecko is a symbol of luck and protection in his ancestral traditions. Often puts it on top of his head and forgetting where it is.

Mafika: (I didn't play Ruby Phoenix so I don't know if he canonically has a mask. If not:) A noble-faced gorilla, made of exceptionally thick wood, but carefully carved and painted in delicate brushstrokes. Marred by several large cuts, like scars.

Janatimo: A white/silver striped zebra.

Lesedi: A full-faced mix couatl, glittering blue, covered with Alijae symbology and demon bones.

Ahassanu: A large shark, using her natural teeth.

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I've been thinking about this too! It's a bit frustrating this has been skimmed over, considering the Magic Warrior archetype requires you to replace even your identity with that of the mask.

My headcanon has been these:

Anchor Root: An avian mask made of bone, decorated with traditional gnoll iconography (not sure what that is). Doesn't cover the mouth/muzzle, but fully covers the eyes (though, somehow, can still see through). She feels a bit braver while wearing it, and keeps it on during classes.

Chizire: Originally planning something less on-the-nose, he picks a lion as a mask. Covering all of the head, most of it is uniformly painted dull earth tones, but the eyes are wide and vividly coloured. These are actually decoys, as the eyeholes are hidden lower down (to help naps).

Esi: A noble cape buffalo, carved with shocking realism. Humbly sized, but with grand multicoloured patterned horns. She chose this to represent her determination after a conversation with Teacher Ot. Covers the face.

Haibram: A somewhat abstract phoenix; a sharp cone covering his face, with fiery-coloured feathers pushed back away from the tip. This represents his fascination with wind and magic, and begins his switch from Rain-Scribes to Tempest-Sun Mages.

Ignaci: Somewhat resembling a black fox, with asymmetrical black silk fur in fashionable patterns. Covers half the head. The eyeholes magically enhance the blue in his eyes.

Mariama: An abstract red bat, somewhat mechanical in nature featuring metal and wood, covering just the eyes. Wide black-and-red bat wings. The eyes are glass lenses that can be refocused without touch.

Noxolo: A nosoi with an intricately carved white beaked mask, etched with a faint crocodile pattern. Wild black feathers extrudes behind. Sits fairly forward on the head, allowing for many hairstyles.

Okoro: A dire rhinoceros with several horns, covered with charming colourful patterns. The muzzle extrudes quite far, and leaves mouth free. He used a washable paint, allowing him to recolour it at will.

Tzeniwe: A colourful peacock spider. A bit stereotypical, she decided to choose this for her children's comfort. Masterfully carved to stay stable between spider/hybrid/human forms.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

According to Gabe Hicks, a writer on Mwangi Expanse, Xhokan is closer to "Sho-khan." (Tangentially, Noxolo IS likely pronounced with an isiXhosa-style click)

3 people marked this as a favorite.

While not original, Gabe Hicks (@GabeJamesGames) who has a writing credit in Lost Omens: Mwangi Expanse, spoke with me a bit about pronunciation.
He pronounces it "mah-gah AHM-beeya" with a definite break between A's.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It did surprise me that the anadi students at the end of the book are in hybrid form, when hybrid is a 5th-level feat. I know NPCs don't follow PC rules, but the discrepancy between hybrid form being "thing all anadi can do" and "something a few anadi can do, but happens to be all NPC anadi"

32 people marked this as a favorite.

SoT Book 1 looks amazing! Looks like it really brings RP to the forefront. Beginning with Teacher Ot giving a character interview, almost creating a Session Zero. There seems like a lot of value in just letting your PCs explore and interact with the university and city at large, perfect for players wanting to interact with NPCs and long-term goals without skimping too much from traditional adventuring.

Unfortunately, there's a few drawbacks. Limited page counts and different authors per chapter means a lot gets left unsaid. The book implies a lot about the next chapter and school as a whole with precious few details. Things that PCs could interact with, like more teachers or locations, are listed in Key Names and the campus map, without description. Normally, these can be improvised, but the adventure text occasionally has important information explained later. For example, if the Tree Stump Library wasn't described until book 2, you wouldn't know that it's abandoned and your improv might ruin a major part of the adventure.

While the NPCs are very well fleshed out, and the downtime studying subsystem is pretty cool looking, there isn't much guidance on how to describe it. It seems easy to hand-wave over what is ostensibly the point of this AP - to experience a magical university! This post is my notes for extra content I'd like to include in my game, since I'm terrible at adlibbing descriptions. None of this is actually tested, and including too much might slow the pacing too much, so grain of salt!

Downtime Revisited
The downtime rules are fairly loose and open-ended, allowing you to work into the story as you see fit. But I'm playing Pathfinder; I want crunch. Here's my thoughts for a bit more of a regimented system.

A year is broken into three terms, which are broken into four month-long segments. The general flow of the game is a month-by-month telling. Most of the month is dedicated to attending classes, working on perquisites, and other day-to-day activities (including NPC vignettes and general adventure content!) For each month, you gain seven additional days of free downtime activities, such as crafting, retraining, extracurricular clubs, etc. In addition, once per term, you can spend 14 days of downtime to make an Academic Check (Study, Cram, Practical Research). This means normally you get 14 days of free downtime, but forgoing studying for a term gives you a full 28 days.

Example: At the first month of their third term, after a few weeks of classes and competing in the Starday tournament, the GM tells the players they have seven days of downtime. Tsige chooses to study for his primary branch; nothing happens yet as he needs to spend another seven days before getting to make his branch's skill check. Quilla, having critically succeeded last term's study check, spends the seven days crafting some potions, but puts off finishing them so she can spend more time reducing their cost. Uruueda decides to take part in the school's rowing club, and the GM has them roll an Athletics check (they critically succeed and win a few races; the GM decides some of the NPCs take them more fondly and gives them a +1 circumstance on checks with them).

There's more to college than classes. With a diverse student body, any type of clubs might exist for PCs to join. These are intended to be activities during free downtime, taking place throughout the month, and are supposed to give opportunities to interact with NPCs and the city at large. In general, a PC can spend a few days at a club to make a skill check for a small benefit. Here's a couple examples, but any hobby a PC might have can be a great activity!
- Rowing Club. The Magaambya Magical Rowing Club is one of the dozens in Nantambu (LO:ME pg 237), and are trying to perfect wind spells to move more efficiently in the water. The captain of the club has learned that Haibram's specialty is air magic and desperately wants him to join, but Haibram is reluctant as the skies are more his thing. If a PC can recruit Haibram (possibly with the promise of dangerous tricks), the rowing club will be incredibly pleased. Regardless, winning races through skill checks slightly improves the attitude of any boat racing fan in Nantambu.
- Kickball Club. A non-magical club that competes with others in town. Okoro is a member, but routinely loses interest before big games. A member who can re-spark his interest can guarantee a victory, or at least improve the opinions of the children around town.
- Sparring Club. Dedicated to being prepared for physical fights, this club routinely finds guest speakers who can begin to teach all sorts of uncommon and advanced weapon proficiencies to dedicated students that spend a few weeks training. Esi, Mariama, and Haibram are members, and appreciate anyone who puts in the effort to learn rare weaponry.
- Culinary Club. A club dedicated to rare spices and teas abound in Nantambu. Skill in this club will allow one to make great treats and feasts for celebrations - everyone eats, so this is one of the easiest ways to endear yourself to any NPC. This is one of the few clubs to attract the introverted Tzeniwe and reclusive Anchor Root, and quiet PCs can impress them.
- Brewers' Club or Artificers' Club. These clubs give PCs a chance to meet NPCs while doing crafting activities. Mariama and Chizire often teach how to make alcoholic elixirs, and Noxolo or Anchor Root might be in an artificer's club. This is also great place to trade formula
- Religious Service. Temples of all sizes dot the streets of Nantambu, and many serve in various capacities. Pious students that join a religious community may find discounted healing or salves for maladies that the Magaambya isn't as well equipped to cure; and some may find some minor blessings.
- Performers, Buskers, and Bands. Many Nantambiyan musicians would jump for a musically talented mage, and theater troops could use some extra sparkle to their performances. Students who join a local band could gain some modest wealth and fame in town.
- Cryptic Circle. A secret society dedicated to deciphering strange codes appearing all around the base. Of course, these are actually Ignaci's notes, as listed in his section.
- Romance. Not a club, per se, but as this campaign could represent a decade or more of the PCs lives, this might be a good adventure for finding (or starting with) spouses, or having children.

Extra Reading
One of my players had an interesting idea; take text from various pathfinder lore books to condense into a little printout/handout that players can read between sessions, if they're interested. I've been copying text from PDFs into a document and plan to distribute them slowly over the next few chapters. This also lets me foreshadow some places and people that will come later on.
While I can't fully copy the notes here as they're from book text, here's a list of some stuff to include.
- Any lore on gremlins.
- LO: Legends - Description of Old-Mage Jatembe and the Ten Magic Warriors, and one of his stories.
- LO: Mwangi Expanse - Lots of great material on the various peoples and their magics.
--Hints of the Doorway to the Red Star's location.
--Mentions that to protect anadi students, the teachers spread stories of Grandmother Spider and helpful spirits disguised as spiders for millennia.
- LO: Gods and Magic describes Grandmother Spider.
- PCS: Distant Worlds - Descriptions of other planets. Good place to foreshadow Akiton.
- PCS: Inner Sea World Guide - I haven't read this, but it seems like a good place to find information about the two kingdoms that were destroyed by the Eye of Abendego, as the 'Knights of Abendego' appear in book 3.
Presumably Secrets of Magic will also have a lot of lore to utilize, once it's out.

More NPC Vignettes
The book has four assignments for teachers, and five short prompts for RP activities with their peers. I don't know if adding any more than this will drag out the campaign too much, but at the very least I want a few more ideas for other students. These are all largely inspired by the Students of the Magaambya section.

Okoro - Game Night In Nantambu. Every two weeks, Okoro drags up the PCs and 2-3 other people in for a game night. You must bet silver, school supplies, formulas, favors, or secrets. Other students can bet the same things, though generally not their specialty item. In particular, if using the monthly classes above, characters can gamble for downtime days (in the form of chores or favors) to gain extra time each month.

Tzeniwe, Noxolo, Ignaci - Fashion Club. The three have been designing new fashions, and want the PCs to try them on. These designs have some minor flaws (Tzeniwe's rain slicker is so bulky that your speed is reduced by 5ft; Noxolo's outfit is avant-garde, but the face-covering makes you effectively dazzled; and Ignaci's costume is quite revealing and requires a free hand to be used to keep from showing one's unmentionables). They ask they spend the day wearing them, responding to any complaints by saying they just need to be broken-in a bit. Of course, this happens to line up with a day that requires checks...

Tzeniwe - Scavenger Hunt. This is particulary useful if the PCs haven't explored all of the dorms. Tzeniwe would like to hide treats for her children around the dorm. However, the kids have been getting very talented at finding her tells and can often spot them based just on how her eyes move. She gives the PCs six small toys to hide around the dormitory anywhere as long as it doesn't bother the other students. The kids like the rafters (they have a climb speed) so they shouldn't hide too many there.

Any student - Rivalry. When it comes to specialties, many students have a competitive nature, or at least a panic response when they see someone exceed their skills. These might be a students' favored type of magic, a particular hobby, or a sport or skill they are proud of. Once they've identified a PC as matching their talent, there's lots of ways this could manifest; challenges, rudeness, support...

These are simple descriptions to throw around between other things. Many of these are just quirks in their character descriptions, but it helps me to put them in a list.
- Esi mentions her mother is a Tempest-Sun Mage. It's clear she idolizes her.
- Esi is carrying books about foreign policy and military defense; she gives one to the PCs to learn from, if they're interested in warfare.
- Esi and Okoro have a feud about footracing.
- Someone asks Esi about her date last night. Esi says the guy was not nearly ambitious enough.
- Ignaci leaves some notebooks in the main room, all written in secret code.
- Mariama likes linguistics, and asks to hear any strange accents or languages the PCs might speak.
- If anyone asks Tzeniwe where the father is, she's a bit offended and growls that she ate him.
- Tzeniwe has themed outfits for classes. She's willing to make some for close friends.
- Tzeniwe leaves small gifts outside the new students' rooms; a fist-sized box of candied cherries, a woven sun-hat, a handpainted clay bowl for leshies to bathe in, and a small tin of wood polish.
- Ignaci is terrorizing Okoro with butterflies in a net in order to get him to leave him alone.
- Rumours from Okoro that Teacher Ot's kindly wholesome image is hiding a dark secret. Mariama fully disagrees, which surprises people as she's normally open to conspiracies.
- Chizire is spotted sleeping in a courtyard lecture. He wakes up to answer a question and immediately goes back to sleep.
- Chizire and Mariama are hammered on their latest attempts to brew moonshine; they believe they can see spirits, but it's just an effect of not cleaning the equipment after alchemical experiements.
- Noxolo is found spacing out, staring at dust motes. If the PCs interact, or just walk away, she starts and says she was trying to read the spirits around, but they all seem to be insects.
- Noxolo's snabble has figured out how to open doors and sneaks into rooms at night for food scraps.

Nantambu Sights and People
The PCs have several days in the city, not to mention 44gp burning a hole in their pocket. Even though they're on business, there's always a chance for a few extra good deeds. The Nantambu section of LO:Mwangi Expanse is the best source for these, but here's a couple extra ideas.

MEETING LOCALS (all described in LO:ME)
- BEFORE THE MASK CEREMONY: Teacher Ot suggests the PCs take some woodworking lessons. If asked why, he grins and pats the mask on his hip, saying "oh, who knows what the near future will bring." He points them to Goana (LO:Mwangi Expanse 245). She happily gives students (rates comped by the university). If any PCs are foreigners, she excitedly tells them she has some wood from their home country if they wish to take it. Meet with Goana (LO:ME 245) in Nantambu. If any PCs are foreigners, she's excited that she has some wood from their home country. Her help will let the
- Okoro is inspired by Anchor Root's chicken, Mariama's monitor lizard, Noxolo's snabble, and any of the PCs' familiars. He wants to go into town to buy a familiar, and has heard of Oba Eze (LO:ME 246)'s rare creatures. He asks the PCs to come with him into town to help him pick one out. Of course, Oba snubs them and becomes furious if argued with.
- LO:ME describes glass charms on every window and door; presumably even Spire Dormitory is covered in them. A glassmaker or woodworker's wares might include charms in the shape of PC or NPC interests, would make an excellent personal accessory or gift for a dormmate.

Give the PCs opportunities to use their cantrips and skills to help the populace. If the PCs are wearing their beads, townsfolk may politely ask for aid.
- The canvas roof of a food vendor's cart ripped and spilled a pool of rainwater over the grill. The vendor has been struggling to relight the wet coals. He sheepishly asks the PCs if they have any spells to light fires.
- A trio of buskers, a mbira-player and two dancers, have a hushed argument about where their fourth is. The dance doesn't work without the beat of a drum (or, whatever instrument a PC might play)
- Someone splashed into water getting onto a wherry, and could use a prestidigitation to get dry.
- A pet is hiding under some scaffolding. A ghost sound might coax them out.

Missing Information
There's a lot of locations and people that are missing descriptions. I'm hoping some writers can shed some light on these things, because there are instances where important descriptions can be found in later books (such as a building being ruined), so we can't know what's free for us to play with. A few of them have one-sentence descriptions, others are just "this is where you can find Takulu." It seems like a lot of these should be described in the Players' Guide, but I don't see them anywhere. I don't want to foreshadow things without knowing if they have a concrete description later. While some of them might be described in later books, a few of them are actively visited in this book without description.
- Warden House
- Archhorn Library (has "imposing entrance" but no other description, except an offhand mention that the building hasn't been used for its intended purpose)
- Heron Archives
- Elephant Museum
- Verdant House
- The Between
- Whistle Tower
- Shifting Greenhouse
- Indigo Hall
- Sun Dormitory
- What are the First Ten Buildings (Heron Archives is one)?

There are also some people that would be good to know about. There are five "learned ones" that lead each of the Magaambya's branches. We learn who the Uzunjati's branch leader, but none of the others.
- The five learned ones.
- Teachers Izem Mezitani, Lesedi, Nhyira, Tahenkot. Likely described in later books, but if they are teaching classes, it'd be nice to foreshadow their input.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

So I'm taking over my party's game starting with book 2, and I'm wondering how I can foreshadow some of the later events, or at least make sure certain events and people are given more prominence so they have more weight behind them later. Of course at the time of writing we can only talk up to book 4 and speculate on the rest.

1. In book 4, Wynsal Starborn makes a big request from the party. I am going to have him stop into the PC's station after they deal with Hendrid, passing by on his way to Starwatch Keep (and maybe a description of Starwatch), and thanks them directly for a job well done. I'd think he is one of the few people that makes Lavarsus sweat, so it might be a treat for the players. Book 1 mentions Wynsal is enthusiastic about restoring the Precipice Quarter.

2. In the Campaign Summary, it hints that Olansa Terimor has the stolen excavator, Graveraker. We'll want to really play up that it's missing in book 1, and keep bringing it up. The news chides Edgewatch for not having a lead, maybe Skinny (from the Faces of Edgewatch in book 1) is assigned to it and asks the PCs to watch out for any information at all.

3. Similarly, we want to mention Olansa Terimor early on. She's the City Planner in book 1, though not really mentioned outside of The 4720 AR Radiant Festival, and Chapter 1 where she was part of convincing the Grand Council to resurrect the Precipice Quarter. She might be seen walking the streets with a small retinue, mentioning...something?

4. Book 5's boss, Reginald Vancaskerkin, shows up in Book 1, and is mentioned in Book 2 as someone seeking an exclusive scoop. He should show up fairly regularly, perhaps giving them clues to certain adventures. While it would be fun to have him writing the PCs as idiots and twisting their words, I think he needs to be fairly endearing to the players. The Eyes on Absalom HQ is in the wise quarter -- without book 5, we can only speculate how it's connected to the story, so to be safe we should try and avoid the PCs going there, unless 5 has a description where they won't find out his secrets. He might set up a temporary office in a covered carriage near the edgewatch station. (Maybe it's drawn by a horse with a ginger mane, called "Red Top")

Any other suggestions?

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So I've played a few of these in game. My party really picked up on Elizia's grief over Myron, and spent a surprising amount of effort cheering her up. While I don't want to influence my party to interact with NPCs when they don't want to, I was playing with the idea of giving some extra benefits for befriending the circusfolk.

I had played with them being trainers for uncommon skill feats, with precedent in Plaguestone, but I'm having trouble coming up with enough feats, and most of them are just variations on the regular skill feats.

Instead, I think everyone can give the party a boon +1 to a specific instance. Befriending Elizia gives a +1 on Nature checks against snakes. The Professor gives a +1 on Deception to tell grandiose stories. Cubby gives +1 on Diplomacy checks to make an impression by being adorable.

I'd prefer some kind of skill trainer system, but there's already so many skill feats it's hard to figure out what is useful and what's just better/worse at each level.

Anyway, some more Chapter 2 vignettes.

  • Fidget is having some trouble getting used to being in plain view, let alone an act in a circus. She lets up that she and her sisters stole from violent thieves in Escadar, and would really appreciate the town guard being at the next show.
  • The Flamboni Sisters become fast friends with Fidget, quickly coming up with a trick involving juggling both the fireworks AND Fidget. They ask for permission to practice in the big tent. This inevitably starts a fire. However, if it's put out and they're allowed to practice again, they combine tricks to level 6.
  • The party enters the tentgrounds and sees Elizia berating the newly-hired Aives. One of her snakes has weak lungs and has been sick ever since Aives used his poison breath on them. Depending on how the party intervenes, they may become friends or bitter rivals.
  • Aives and Tahala are comparing tattoos. Aives decided to give them to himself during his sailing days. Hod comes up, revealing he's also got a tattoo, and you'd never guess where.
  • Evora and Gigi have been a bit standoffish, having trouble accepting this as their new home. The Dwarven Throwers have been trying to make her feel more at home, but the Professor advises the PCs step in before she kills one of them.
  • Once Ufi has recouperated a bit, he befriends Mordaine. They teach each other swimming tricks, and Ufi's politeness is acceptable to Mordaine. After a brief dispute over the treatment of Hod, they may combine tricks to level (Ufi+1)

    I'll have to come up with more of the NPCs my group haven't met yet at a later time.

  • 1 person marked this as a favorite.

    This looks amazing, there's a lot of great material in there that helps tie everything together. I'll be trying out some of your new stuff tonight. I'm sure whoever this "IcedMilk" guy is would be proud to help!

    Something I've been doing in my games, which you may or may not like, is trying to enhance the random event system to be more active. I roll two or three, AND roll which acts they occur in. These happen during the acts, and must be dealt with for PCs that aren't currently On Stage.

    During an act with an event, I roll initiative with all PCs (On Stage and Backstage), NPCs who are On Stage, and "the event." In this initiative, each action represents 5-10 minutes (the average I imagine a trick to take), allows for one skill check to try and resolve the event, and everyone in initiative gets ONE action per round.

    The reason it's in initiative is that each event needs to be resolved before the On Stage acts are finished, including skipping their last action. This means that if the event isn't resolved by the third action, one of the On Stage actors (PC or NPC) needs to do a third action of some kind (including summoning clowns, even if there isn't another benefit). We assume the On Stage actors are aware of the status of backstage (there's stagehands whispering to them throughout the trick, or they can see there's stuff going on).

    Now, this hasn't been calibrated against your other actions and non-performer rolls, but it's worked well in my home game so I'll try and work it out some more.

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    A few of the further performances have some development, but not ones the party will do on their own. I've been brainstorming a few ideas to weave into performances, so there is at least one thing that needs to be done by players not currently performing each show. Many of these are stolen from various sources. And of course, the distractions from the first adventure can be re-ran if needed.

    - A child is lost! He needs to be found (Perception or Society). Now he's climbed up to the rafters of the big tent, but behind the main curtain! Someone needs to get him down before the audience notices!
    - Muddy ground! The area is starting to sink, bits of the tricks need to be fixed up quickly.
    - One of the acts has an issue, or someone is too nervous or sick to perform, someone is arguing? and needs quick fix!
    - Reports of a pickpocket are abound - this'll be bad if the show finishes without him being caught.
    - Drunken louts are bothering the people outside; the sideshow is trying to stop them but needs help.
    - Goblins have stolen the popcorn popper.
    - Strong winds threaten to move the tent. Things need to be hammered down.
    - Grigs Tarisia and Cannono have come back and started to play, making people dance and distracting them.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    So, this is probably better to be put into the Book 1 thread, but since it refers a lot more to Windjammer's statements above, I figure it's easier to reference here.

    In about 15 hours, I'm running the second half of Erran Tower, with the party just about to meet Balenni. I'm very inspired by the concept of theoria vs sadism as a core theme to this game, and I'd like to introduce it as early as possible.

    My plan is to have Balenni - as a captured researcher - divulge her insights on humanity vs xulgaths as part of her ploy to get closer to the players and use her abilities. I'll try and force the G14 fight before they get to G13; once finished, she'll cry out to get the PCs to investigate asap. After they release her, she'll explain she was studying xulgath culture and got captured; if the PCs will help her escape, she'll tell them what she knows (this is a flimsy story, but as long as they let her talk a bit, I'm fine with them figuring her out. In fact, the end of it has her make a slip up before she tries to kiss someone).

    I'd like to present my readaloud text that I'm going to paraphrase from, in the hopes that smarter people than I can check to make sure I'm using all the terminology correct. This is cobbled wholesale from Windjammer above and the Xulgath chapter of book 2.


    "Well, to understand the xulgaths, it might be best to compare them to humans. Humanity finds joy in observing spectacle and performance, they are drawn to festivals and theaters, not for gain or glory but simply the mutual delight of shared observation and entertainment. It might be the core of human ethos, something some philosophers call theoria. Of course, other ancestries like yourselves enjoy theoria as much as humans, but humanity is characterized by mortality and their short lives. Death is a constant companion, and the only way to counter death is to smile back. At its strongest, theoria could even be considered a force, a sort of shared energy permeating human civilization, one that Aroden used to bring about the Starstone Isles.

    Xulgath, by and large, never experience theoria. They're not simply unconcerned with such things, rather they have no inkling of it. Their emotional range is based on joy grounded in sadistic rituals and the suffering of others. They have no idea of class, charm, self-awareness, honour, or grace. Instead, their civilization is characterized by paranoia and violence, strength and dominance. They have no impetus to set aside differences and act as equals. Their greatest joy is quite literally to consume - the word for their highest title roughly translates to 'devourer'. This too carries an energy with it. One that the xulgath hope to bring to the surface. And one that I must say, I quite enjoy."

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Here's my writeup of changes I've made to the circus for my own game. I'd love some feedback on this!
    While as previously discussed, I know that the players shouldn't feel cheated if they want to take a certain trait but aren't great in the associated skill, the fact is I know my players want to enjoy the metagame as much as the roleplay. I want to make it more free for them.

    General Rules
    I really don't like the critical rules. Mechanically they're interesting, but I definitely dislike the metagame of "we don't want to do too well, or they won't pay as much." For the purposes of my game, I'm removing critically succeeding shows entirely. Instead, the successful Payout equals (Payout + Final Anticipation + (One quarter of excess Excitement).

    While I enjoy the sideshows and act significance of Zapp's post above, I am not certain I'd use them, as they'd add a bit more in-game tracking than I'd like. However, I love the Switching Trick Checks.

    (Copied from Zapp's post above) Perform a Trick action: Each time you switch to a new trick check you haven't used earlier in the act, you generate additional Excitement equal to a quarter of the trick's level (rounded up), regardless of whether you succeed or fail.

    Trick Traits
    The goals of changing these traits are to allow more freedom with their trick choices. In addition, a number of the traits have been changed slightly to differentiate them mechanically, and hopefully make them more interesting.

    - Note: For all spellcasting/item tricks, the spells/items need not necessarily be of the indicated type, as long as they make sense. For example, the air bubble spell lacks the water trait, but would make sense to be used in a water trick; similarly a Feather Token (Tree) lacks the plant trait, but could work for a plant trick. For all fractions, assume round down, minimum 1. For all "on a success," assume critical successes count as well.

    Aerial: The trick involves flight by either magical or mundane means. You may increase the DC of your tricks by 2. If you do so and critically succeed, you may increase the Anticipation by a quarter of the Excitement gained (rounded up).

    Air: The trick involves the manipulation of mist, wind, or another prop with atmospheric properties. You may expend one spell slot to cast an air or electricity spell, or use an air or electricity consumable item in their posession with (but not both). If a spell slot is used and the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the half the expended spell slot’s level. If an item is used and the performance succeeds the performer gains additional amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the item's level (rounded up); this destroys the item.

    Alchemical: As part of the trick, the performer can expend any one alchemical item in their possession. Upon doing so, the performer gains a +1 circumstance bonus to their trick check. This destroys the item.

    Agile: The penalty for performing an agile trick a second or third time in the same act is –4 or –8, respectively, instead of –5 or –10.

    Animal: The trick utilizes trained animals. Before you make your first action in an act, you must make a Command an Animal check with no action, at your trick's DC. On a success, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to your trick checks for the rest of the show.

    Audience: The audience participates in the trick, and is particularly distracting. You can use the Send in Clowns action once this act without using up your clowns.

    Beast: The trick relies on intelligent beasts. If the performance succeeds, it generates an amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the creature's level (rounded up).

    Dance: The trick involves dancing or choreographed movements. Circumstance bonuses to trick checks gained from performers using the Costar reaction stack. For example, if two other PCs successfully Costar with their ally and have the master proficiency rank in that trick check, the total circumstance bonus granted from the Costar reaction is +6 (rather than +3).

    Drag: The trick involves an exaggerated display of femininity or masculinity (or a mix of the two) and usually includes dramatic "reveals" mid-performance. If the performance succeeds, each additional trick you perform you may increase the Anticipation by a quarter of the Excitement gained (rounded up).

    Earth: The trick involves the use of mud, earth, or stone. You may expend one spell slot to cast an earth spell, or use an earth consumable item in their posession with (but not both). If a spell slot is used and the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the half the expended spell slot’s level. If an item is used and the performance succeeds the performer gains additional amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the item's level (rounded up); this destroys the item.

    Emotion: The trick uses alchemical or magical effects to induce a powerful emotional response from the audience. A trick must have either the alchemical or magical trait in order to have the emotion trait. Whenever a performer succeeds at a trick check with the emotion trait, they can reduce the amount of Anticipation the trick generates however they wish, down to a minimum of 0 Anticipation.

    Fire: This trick involves fire, smoke, or pyrotechnics. You may expend one spell slot to cast a fire spell, or use an fire consumable item in their posession with (but not both). If a spell slot is used and the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the half the expended spell slot’s level. If an item is used and the performance succeeds the performer gains additional amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the item's level (rounded up); this destroys the item.

    Injury*: Anytime a PC uses a saving throw for one of the trick checks, the trick has this trait. If an NPC or PC performing a trick with the injury trait critically fails any trick check, they have a chance of becoming injured. To determine if the performer is injured, roll a flat DC 15 check. On a failure, the performer becomes injured. An injured performer (whether PC or NPC) cannot perform tricks for the rest of the show. In addition, at the beginning of the next show, the injured performer must succeed at a flat DC 15 check to determine if they have recovered sufficiently to perform again. On a failure, the performer cannot perform in that show, either due to the lasting effects of the injury or due to fright of becoming injured again. A performer can miss only one show after the show in which they were injured. On subsequent shows, no check is necessary and the PC or NPC can once again perform as normal.

    Magical: The trick involves the use of magic. While Performing the Trick, the performer can expend one spell slot of any level. If the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the expended spell slot’s level.

    Musical: The trick involves musical cues or is somehow augmented by sound effects or music. When you succeed on a musical trick, you grant one other performer in your act +1 circumstance bonus to their trick checks. You can only provide this bonus to a specific performer once.

    Plant: The trick uses plants such as trees, flowers, or fungi, or uses magic that affects such plants. You may expend one spell slot to cast a plant spell, or use an plant consumable item in their posession with (but not both). If a spell slot is used and the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the half the expended spell slot’s level. If an item is used and the performance succeeds the performer gains additional amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the item's level (rounded up); this destroys the item.

    Prop: The trick requires the use of some mundane prop or stage setup. Before you make your first action in an act, you must make a Craft check with no action, at your trick's DC. On a success, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to your trick check for the rest of the show.

    Slapstick: The trick is so silly that it's difficult to tell if it's gone wrong or not. This trick never loses Excitement for critical failures, though other effects still happen.

    Team*: This trick requires more than one person. Anytime a PC performing a signature trick accepts the Costar reaction from a performer, the trick has this trait.

    Time: The trick involves distorting or altering time in some way. A performer whose trick has the time trait can perform that trick one additional time per act, taking a penalty to the fourth trick check equal to the penalty to the third trick check.

    Versatile. The trick can be completed in a variety of ways. Before you make your first action in an act, you may change one of your trick checks to a different check (potentially gaining or losing the Injury trait). In addition, Each time you switch to a new trick check you haven't used earlier in the act, you generate additional Excitement equal to a quarter of the trick's level (rounded up), regardless of whether you succeed or fail. [If you are using the Switching Trick Checks rules, this stacks]

    Water (Athletics): The trick features water as a primary component of its performance. You may expend one spell slot to cast an water spell, or use an water consumable item in their posession with (but not both). If a spell slot is used and the performance succeeds, the trick generates an additional amount of Excitement equal to the half the expended spell slot’s level. If an item is used and the performance succeeds the performer gains additional amount of Excitement equal to one quarter of the item's level (rounded up); this destroys the item.


    Non-Performer Roles
    A few of these have been removed because they are strangely unbalanced. I've added Zapp's Mascot, as well as a Stagehand to help provide things for the group.

    Backup Clown: Unchanged

    Bandleader: Unchanged

    Carnival Barker: Unchanged

    Clown Coordinator: Unchanged

    Lighting: Drag, Prop, and Slapstick tricks gain a +1 circumstance bonus to trick checks. The circus must have the spotlights permanent upgrade before a PC can choose the lighting role.

    Mascot: The Mascot may choose to re-roll one Random Circus Event; the second result is final. (Altered from Zapp's, allowing for larger tables)

    Medic: Unchanged

    Security Guard: Any rolls of hecklers or scalpers Random Events are negated and have no effect on the performance.

    Stagehand: For one trick check in a show, you may cast a spell or use an item with to grant it the respective bonus (for example, casting a fire spell to grant additional excitement), without the performer needing that action. In addition, the trick generates double Excitement.

    (Removed: Animal handler, costumer, pyrotechnics)

    Permanent Upgrades:
    Traits that don't have a bonus (or reduced DC) to their checks are now covered by a specific upgrade.

    Acoustics: Trick checks with the musical or audience traits gain a +1 circumstance bonus. After purchasing this upgrade, the bandleader role becomes available to PCs.

    Flooring: Unchanged

    Magic Infuser (Min prestige 5) : Trick checks with the magical trait, or checks in which a spell has been expended, gain a +1 circumstance bonus.

    Seating: Unchanged

    Spotlights: Unchanged

    Tent Expansions: Unchanged

    Watermarked Tickets: Unchanged

    Random Events: I'd definitely like to change these. I don't like that fire and aerial tricks are slightly nerfed, and earth tricks are slightly buffed; and as mentioned above the Overflowing Crowd trick can ruin the first show. However, looking at the adventure, it's unlikely the players are going to perform 20 performances over the campaign, so having a massive list is a little wasted. Plus, I'm a little lazy on this.

    I love how in Chapter 3, each of the places you can visit has special variants. I'd like to build a few more venues to use throughout the game with some more variants.

    Castinlee: Promote the Circus takes only 1.5 days. +1 on animal (ADDED: and beast) tricks
    Turpin Rowe: Adverts gain additional tier. +1 on injury (ADDED: and drag) tricks.
    Kerrick: (To my knowledge, this settlement has no bonuses. If I've missed them, use those instead!) Begin with 2 anticipation due to Opper Vandy's help. Due to the lack of arts in town, musical and dance tricks gain +1.

    Little Shackles: A small port with ties to the pirates of the Shackles, unknown to the Absalom Navy. Only once the PCs have befriended a pirate captain can they perform here. Tricks with the water, air, or drag traits gain +1, but due to superstition, fire tricks gain -1. The Scalpers event is guaranteed, but the pirates are the best way to spread information throughout the region; your next show begins with 5 anticipation.
    Otari ( The retired Pathfinders of this region are difficult to surprise; all magical tricks (or tricks with a spell slot spent) are at -1. However, the first successful show in Otari grants double payout, and the leader of the town gifts the party with a wayfinder.
    Westerhold ( A very rich town; adverts cost half as much more than normal, but payouts from the first successful show are doubled. The high dwarven population makes earth and alchemical traits popular with +1.
    Watershollow: A river town largely populated by halflings. The folk here are friendly, reducing Promote the Circus checks by 2. They enjoy aerial and plant tricks greatly (+1).

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Ah, I wasn't intending them to be entitled! I intended Ukti (Aihib's mother) to be moreso the no-nonsense old lady that is never impressed with you (but loves you dearly), and Tuoro is entitled because she's 8 and wants to hear every detail about daring escapades. Might be that she doesn't even know she's royalty. I definitely like having a palace guard show up at some point, a new face that seems to be stalking the circus, but really just trying to make sure he's found the right people.

    I had a couple more ideas

  • Tahala and Cubby are having a spot of tea near the bonfire as the PCs pass by (Cubby's mug is actually a wooden bowl with a metal handle awkwardly pinned to the side, for his pride). They invite the PCs over for a quick warm mug before they leave, and Tahala offers to tell a fortune (explaining she's not exactly a famed oracle, but she knows of a few omens to be found in tea leaves). She explains something lost will be found, but Cubby speaks up saying he found his lost pipe earlier that day so the fortune must have been for him.
  • The Professor asks to see the PCs in the sideshow tent. He wants to hear about the part's latest exploits and wonders if they'd mind him sprucing it up a bit and including the story in his sideshow.
  • Hesper and Meitas Jaxis (who alternate sentences) are writing on parchment at an outdoor table. They are writing a poem for their show, and are trying to find a rhyme for hippogriff (or any word you think would work here).
  • Axel is terrified of snakes, but needs to deliver a message to Elizia from Mordaine (Hod pawned the task off to Axel before he could deny it).
  • Mordaine's water tank sprung a leak and made the ground muddy for about fifteen feet around her wagon. She'd be ever so appreciative if the PCs could help, especially before the dwarves get to mud wrestling again.

    I'm going to look at Ch2 people next.

  • 5 people marked this as a favorite.

    I've been brainstorming a bit about the flavour of the circus itself. It's such a unique setup with so many cool characters, it feels a waste not to use them to their full potential. Personally, as a GM I like to have prompts ready for NPC conversations. Nothing too intense, just putting slightly more thought in them than I'm capable of at the table. These are a bunch of mine, just to flesh out the circusfolk a bit more, so there's always something happening when the PCs come back to base camp.

    As we know, there's little written about the performer NPCs, so I've given them some backstories. These are obviously non-canon, and I may have missed an important detail in the books somewhere.

  • The Kanbali Family is Aihib, father; Dhelbi, mother; Odvi, daughter (19); Xondi, child (17); Sumesh, Aihib's brother; and Ukti, Aihib's mother, plus Tuoro (8)(named the Rahadoumi word for Thunder, after Myron), daughter who doesn't perform. Each of them could be a close friend of a PC who spends time with them in downtime. They were previously Rahadoumi nobles who fled a local coup.
    -- Aihib might be someone's drinking buddy who gives (poor) adventuring advice and offers acrobatic training.
    -- Dhelbi, a previous diplomat, offers advice to the PCs when they need to talk to someone important like a town mayor.
    -- Ukti, too old to perform, demands perfection from the PCs in all aspects, chastising them after every adventure.
    -- Odvi developes a crush on one of the PCs and tries to run away with them.
    -- Tuoro demands detailed reports of every adventure.
  • Bardolph the grizzly bear is wandering around, looking for food (despite Ukti having already fed him, and is currently futilely pulling at his harness). He breaks into the Flamboni Sister's tent (well, barrels into it) and starts a small fire.
  • Elizia was a close friend of Myron's, and despite putting on a strong face, is devestated by his loss. Without her knowing, Mister Tickles actually approaches the PCs timidly, and sort of points at her wagon and tries to get them to follow. If they do, they find her sobbing quietly with a gift from Myron. Consoling her will pick up her spirits, and inspire her next performance with a +1 circumstance (in Myron's honour), and she can befriend any animal-loving PC.
  • Hod, Mordaine's assistant, is darting around the camp, possibly running into the PC's tent. He's panicing because Mordaine wrote a scathing letter to the dwarven throwers about their late-night festivities, but every time he gets close to them, they catapult away. If he can't find them, Mordaine's going to be furious!
  • Mordaine is berating a group of riggers for leaving extra slack in the ropes of her last performance, she could have DIED! One of the riggers mentions that the performance is rigged and the lid wasn't actually sealed, which makes her furious.
  • The Dwarven Throwers are big pranksters, and go around at night causing harmless mischief. Any time they're sneaking around and chuckling, there is bound to be something up. Depending on the night, the PCs awake to find their tents facing backwards; Tahala Roadwatcher's face has been drawn on with baudy illustrations in the style of her tattos; pack llamas have been given a wig and makeup in Mordaine's iconic style. If you're very unlucky, in the middle of the night you're shocked by a naked drunken dwarf catapulted through your tent. Occasionally, the biggest prank they pull is not pulling any prank at all, leaving everyone to wonder what's coming.
  • Bardolph and Cubby (who can understand Bardolph because why not, and not other bears, don't be silly) have a rivalry, which escalates to roaring at each other as best they can. This is scaring the townsfolk, and needs to be de-escalated by the PCs.
  • The Flamboni Sisters are secretly burglars and pickpockets. Once the rogue PC shows off his skills a bit, they come to him at night with a small burglary target - the stuffed owl in the mayor's office. To the right buyer, it's worth a fortune, and it's just sitting there, an affront to our elven heritage.
  • The Professor and Ukti have an on-again/off-again relationship. It becomes graphic, in whatever direction you'd prefer.
  • Godarron Elbus has tidbits about every city they approach, rarely of use. One town's wine vinegar is particularly good at removing blood stains. Another has a competitive harrow card game that many enjoy immensely. The next's brothel has better beds than the inn, and cheaper too if you don't indulge. He does also give out one rumour per town (including the Abberton Muggers on pg 19)
  • Once the PCs have spent time with the Kanbalis, Sumesh approaches them on route to the next town. There have been reports of agents of the group they are running from. He doesn't wish to scare his family, so he needs the PCs to distract them while he deals with the problem.
  • Dhelbi is pregnant! It is fantastic news, and the circus throws a party for her. She doesn't perform until the baby has arrived, so the Feather-Fall Five temporarily becomes Four.

    I don't have anything for Tahala or the Unjoined Twins; they both seem awesome (though the Flamboni sisters make it a little confusing). Anybody else have any ideas to add to the pile?

  • 2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Thanks Zapp! Those are good points.

    (As an aside: my "but" for Additional Circus Trick was supposed to be "but if the players don't want to spend a whole general feat on it, that whole thing is kinda wasted)

    Personally, I love that the circus rules are less strict than the regular rules, I love the inspiration they give for telling an awesome story... but, well, this is pathfinder. At the very least, my players are playing it because they like stricter rules. I'm going to make some alterations to certain roles to bring them to a bit more of a baseline.

    Something I've been thinking about; the skill-based traits are slightly stifling to creativity. One of my PCs, a sandstrider lizardfolk (ie fire resistant) who wants to use Athletics on a Fire trick to represent their history of escaping a firey temple as a child. The issue being, they're also the sweetest person ever, and does not have Intimidation (the Fire trick's bonus) at all. So -while the circus rules are meant to be fluffy- that does end up punishing him for running with great backstory, something I'd normally want to encourage.

    - My first instinct for a change would be to change all Skill Traits (for lack of a better term) to instead grant +1 circumstance with their first trick check, no matter what it is, representing the NPCs' teachings with the material.
    -- Now one issue is that there's no real benefit to unlocking new Skill Traits with new NPCs, and my songstress PC might as well add fire to her trick for all the benefits it gets.
    To potentially solve that, all Skill Traits are unlocked at the outset (so my songstress can pick Musical). Picking up a second Skill Trait grants a +1 circ to their second trick check, and so on for third.
    -- Now the issue is that unlocking NPCs gives less benefits, except for unlocking Alchemical, Dance, Emotion, Magical, and Time. For this, we could edit a couple traits to no longer be Skill Traits. By doing this, we also devalue some NPCs, but those can be changed.

  • Prop is now similar to Alchemical, and must be crafted/maintained before the show with an appropriate Crafting activity.
  • Alchemical and Prop now give +1 Excitement equal to half the item level, like magical for spell slots.
  • Audience now lets you distract from other tricks. One of your actions can be to Send in Clowns without using up this act's clown.
  • Beast now requires a friendly intelligent beast to be met (outside of the NPC trainer), and gives +1 Excitment equal to half the level of the beast? (This one is a little sus, as it depends on meeting beasts in the adventure, who'd join not as performers but as sidekicks to performers?)
  • New Trait: Slapstick. The trick is so silly that it's difficult to tell if it's gone wrong or not. This trick never loses Excitement for critical failures, though other effects still happen. (Unlocked by Fidget in Ch2, Pin Tingwheely in Ch3, maybe Keppip in Ch4?
  • New Trait: Versatile. The trick can be completed in a variety of ways. At the start of the trick, you can change one of your trick checks to a different check. (Not sure if this is useless, but allows you to quickly "retrain" your trick if your skills change a lot?) but maybe Evora in Ch2, Serpent Woman in Ch3?

    The exact teachers may need to be changed slightly for a steady dose of unlocking, but I don't feel like deep analyzing it right now.

    I'd definitely like to see what a general chart of the average anticipation/prestige looks like, and add in some more rewards for meeting those things in the book. In Ch3(?) you go to all these towns; could add more of a benefit for performing a successful Anticipation > X show, or penalties for not, like bonus/penalties for skill checks to interact with more people than the book suggests. Each of the towns has their own preferences (Matten Cleave likes alchemy, fire, and magic; Castinlee has easier promotion and likes animals, etc), so I'd like to expand on that more so variety is more important. I'd also like to design a couple additional show locales in a sorta "random encounter" setup, like a underground dwarven colony or a hidden pirate town that can be placed anywhere.

    (Tangentially, I'm also adding a New Skill Trait: Drag. The trick involves an exaggerated display of femininity or masculinity, or a mix of the two. Particularly loved in Turpin Rowe. Taught by a new NPC, Ms. Cast.)

  • Dedicated Voter Season 7

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I'm super busy today, but will be doing my own critiques later on tonight.

    The forums were extra painful for me, because mine was one of the torcs, AND got called out on body part removal. Is that something popular in past contests?

    Guillotine Torc
    Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
    Slot neck; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
    This uncomfortably tight torc allows the wearer to detach and reattach his head as a standard action. The torc remains on the wearer’s neck, acting as a link between his head and body. While detached, the head hovers and can rotate freely. As a standard action, he can move his head 60 feet per round, but cannot move past 100 feet from the body. The head can remain detached for up to 10 minutes per day, which don’t need to be consecutive. If it exceeds this duration, is forced beyond the range, or if the item is dispelled, the magic fails slowly and the head gently floats downwards at a rate of 60 feet per round for 1d6 rounds, and the wearer begins to suffocate until the head is reattached. If either head or body enters an antimagic field, or the torc is removed or destroyed while the head is detached, the wearer dies instantly as if decapitated.

    The head can be targeted by effects, using the body’s AC and saves, but with a size modifier two sizes smaller than the body. It can deliver touch spells, but cannot attack and does not threaten squares. It sees, hears, speaks, and breaths for the body. The body is controlled as normal, but is treated as blind unless the head can see it. The torc does not interfere with spellcasting, and spells can be cast from either head or body.

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, breath of life; Cost 4,000 gp

    EDIT: My intentions for the item were to make something that didn't have an immediate combat effect, but would be able to have interesting uses. Basically allows your head to gain line of sight from another view, while allowing your body to be controlled as normal. Originally wanted you to be immune to vorpal, but was already at 275 words and decided to cut it for power.

    I'm proud of the wording, I think I covered most caveats with the item fairly concisely. I'm less proud of the flavour, I could have added a lot to it to make it /seem/ cooler. I am least happy with it being a torc, because of the hundreds of other torcs, but at least I feel my item made sense being a torc.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    If I get in, my gaming group is having a party, with rum and Civ V.

    If I lose, my gaming group is having a pity party.

    With rum and Civ V.

    Either way, I'm good.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Got my lucky underwear on. Batman give me strength (just not necessarily in that particular area).

    This is my first year witnessing this contest. I'm really looking forward to seeing the judges' comments on the winning items this year!

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    8 people marked this as a favorite.

    I made a very sassy post a minute ago, but I decided against it and deleted it. The point I was trying to make is that designers need to remember that magic items by definition can be created by anyone with the prerequisites. Things like command words can be chosen at creation. And just because one such item was made by King Doofus and forged in the Holy Church of This Garden, blessed by special gods and nymphs; in my game, it's made in my wizard's basement in his underwear, and the command word was a dirty word in Undercommon he learned at a bar.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    mamaursula wrote:

    I know we discussed this last year and it will come up in the critique threads, but I can't wait that long - Please do not use the phrase (or any similar phrase to this) "The true power of the item is revealed when you..." Your items MUST be in an active voice and it really needs to be dynamic. This phrase is not dynamic. Please take this phrase out of your phrase vocabulary.

    Thank you.

    The item reveals its true power when you...

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Steven Helt wrote:

    Just saw an item that appears soaked in magic.

    That's what I like to do after a hard day of insurance sales. I run a hot magic bath and just soak in it.

    It smells like mango.

    Luckily there's a magic towel to dry yourself afterwards.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Jeff Lee wrote:
    Another apparent trend is the idea that imbibing alcohol makes one more likeable.

    It doesn't? *hic* Uh-oh.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    My favorite list so far

    - A slotted consumable, something I've never seen, but with a fairly clever effect; if a bit wordy for what it does.

    - A cartoonish container, which made me grin. Something silly that's not too silly, that I can see my party getting a kick of. Unfortunately, it's something that a smart PC could come up with using two mundane items, so it doesn't really need a magic item.

    - Two really cool slotless items that lets you move around in new ways. One group based and one specifically singular. I think few characters would purchase them, but if found as treasure, would be a ton of fun for the players.

    - A cool consumable way to get defensive buffs which I haven't seen before. May not make it due to pricing.

    - A wearable item with amazing visual effects and a cool mechanical effect. If it's not in top 32 I'll be sorely disappointed.

    - My item, which, from the hints people are giving in their lists, hasn't been favorited. Crying emoticon.

    Something I've found is that I really need to sit, take a breath, and imagine each of the items in play, and to be less knee-jerkingly negative to all of them. Being quick to put stuff down might be partially to blame from the Incessant Ranting thread, partially to blame because I want my item to win, and partially because it's totally my fault, hah.

    I'm glad this thread exists. It reminds me to be positive, and realize that if I look past my first immediate reaction, a lot of these items are pretty kick-ass. Sure, some might have needed a little editing or a tweak or two, but I'm learning to just enjoy seeing what a community of talented individuals come up with.

    There's no reason to be angry at every item. Only some of them. Another "favored by"...ffs....

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    mamaursula wrote:
    IcedMik wrote:
    Hngh just saw my own item and the homonym typo I made oh god bottom tier kill me now.
    It's okay, I voted for it because it didn't involve consuming body parts.

    Hah. I wish I could say that's mine, but I've counted at least 6 others that have homonym errors.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Hngh just saw my own item and the homonym typo I made oh god bottom tier kill me now.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pamela Elizabeth wrote:
    I've never had to make a save to avoid falling into my own vomit.

    The GM is rolling that for you secretly.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Ffffff, I need a voting break. They're starting to fuse together in some horrible torcstring umbrella soup of the +10 skill bonus.

    And I just accidentally voted for the one I didn't want. Darghggh.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pamela Elizabeth wrote:
    Why does this item's author think I want to lick it?

    Why wouldn't you want to lick any of these items? I'm looking at you, body part items.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    As fun as this thread is, I feel really horrible about my entry now (even if I still think it's awesome despite what everyone keeps saying). Do they automatically link the item to your account, or can I keep it anonymous if it doesn't make top 32?

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Treppa wrote:
    I keep upvoting an item I don't really like because its opponents are unbearable.

    Tagline for the first round of the contest.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Whiskey Jack wrote:
    Zerri wrote:
    Next year I should submit an item that shoots meteor swarms at anyone carrying (or creating)an item to do with turtles, hamsters, or detached body parts.
    *Next* year I am submitting an item that compares two other wondrous items and tells you if either of them is worth voting for... and makes drinks for you whilst it does so.

    Stop the contest, this man has already won.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    It's been said before in other words, but my person auto-reject is seeing "GM" anywhere in the description. Even worse is seeing "DM."

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Okay this one is TITLED after one of the auto-reject rules.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    "feather fail"

    are you serious.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    There's a few items where the sassy designer in me goes "oh nuh-uh, you do NOT tell me what command word to use. When I craft this I'm gonna make whatever command word I want, and that command word is gonna be 'my foot up yo ass'."