James "Wulf" MacKenzie's page

16 posts. Alias of Sir_Wulf (RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16).



Thank you for posting those notes. With such compelling evidence against them, I'm sure that the Pathfinders are surely DOOoooMED...


gnrrrg wrote:
In this case, do I ignore the standard Bestiary rules that require all three hags take a full round action in favour of tactics listed in the scenario that imply that only one needs to take a full round action?

Go with the Bestiary rules...


Tiaburn, it sounds like you did a great job.


Kitten, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy that part of Jester's Fraud.

When writing the scenario, I did include some clues that you might encounter dangerous items.
I hope that the rest of the scenario went better!


Hello, Valar! Contact the AZ Venture-Captain, Jason Leonard. There has been some talk about getting things going in Flagstaff, and he may be able to get you into contact with other Pathfinder enthusiasts in your area.

I'm certainly not an admin-type: I'm merely a scribbler who hopes folks have fun with my humble offerings.


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I'm very excited to see Echoes of the Overwatched released and can't wait to hear how the adventure plays out for everyone!

Looking at the adventure, I thought I'd chip in my thoughts about running the various acts. A few details were cut in development, generally to improve the pacing of the adventure.

In the first act, the PCs investigate what's gone wrong in the Blakros Museum. When they poke around in the attics, I'd have the dangerous floor section creak ominously, but hold until violent movement collapses it (such as when someone rushes in or out of the chamber). The nature of the threat within the observatory may be unclear at first: If the party fears that they face an invisible opponent, they may try to retreat from the room or rush in. (In one of my rough drafts, the haunt had a fear effect to drive victims onto the trap, but that just wasn't nice!)

To give the party the sense that time may be of the essence, I'd mention that its about 2 PM when they wrap up in the museum. Dark clouds churn above the city, promising rain in the evening. Gusty winds carry the scent of the sea, as the forlorn cries of birds draft above. (Yes, I like a bit of purple prose when setting the mood...)

To keep the party from spending too much time on their investigation, that section of the adventure was abbreviated. I agree entirely with the developers' decision to get the PCs into the "meat" of the adventure, but gamemasters who wish to extend the PCs pursuit can include rumors of additional murders committed by the Devourer of Reason as it navigated the city. Additional encounters may make the scenario run quite long, so GMs should be wary of including them.

Some PCs may want to involve the local Watch: The Learned Guard protects the Wise District, headed by Mendhir the Colossus, a member of the Society and semi-retired venture-captain. Those seeking him out find him sympathetic: He assigns a squad to watch over the area near the museum, but lacks the resources to give further aid.

(I'll add more later, if people are interested...)


Kinko's didn't let me print out a copy of The Jester's Fraud. I think they're a bit too cautious.

I wanted to mention how much I enjoy checking out your group's progress. Ithuriel, you're doing an excellent job as GM!

I'd recommend that you eliminate any chance of catching lycanthropy from Haidar unless you would like to play out the party's quest to deal with the curse. Make them roll saves and let them wonder, but save the curse for whoever wields the dagger. This reduces the chance that party members will be accursed before they have the resources to deal with such an affliction.

FirstChevalier wrote:

No Spoilers, promise...

I've read through the mod and I'm VERY excited. It has a very old-school feel to it (imo), a la AD&D. It also has new-school as well. It looks like it may run long though. I'll be running it tonight and this weekend. I'll post my thoughts after the convention here in Georgia (Catchup Con).

I'm eager to hear how it goes! My suggestions have some spoilers...

If the scenario starts to run overlong, Torvic's jumbled memories may gel enough to suggest where the Lady Morilaeth's revel is being held.

Additionally, the derro torture-sage is no great supporter of his nightmarish leader: Skilled diplomacy or roleplay may convince the vile researcher and his thralls to stand aside while the party heads upstairs to the Masque of the Pallid Measure. Of course, the party needs to get Torvic off of him to pull this off.

A group with additional time for play might choose to add a horrific "dream sequence", taking advantage of Morilaeth's deadly power over night terrors. Once Lady Morilaeth knows of the party (probably from a fleeing mite), she can try to stalk them in their dreams. If the party chooses to rest, one of the party members could be targeted by night terrors, while the rest of the party is only present in the victim's dream. I wouldn't reveal who the real victim was until the scene ends (and he begins rolling saving throws) and I wouldn't tell them it was a dream: They'll figure it out soon enough.

Foreshadowing the Masque of the Pallid Measure... "Orchestral music awakens you, and you find yourself in an opulently-decorated ballroom. You're all seated at a feast table piled high with delicious dishes. Each of you wears a brightly-colored costume and ornate masks cover your faces.

Festive figures wheel and twirl across the dance floor as dwarfish servants pour wine and deliver trenchers filled with desserts. Beyond the revelers, an elegantly-clad woman urges her guests to enjoy themselves."

The revel continues until one of the PCs decides to take off their mask (or it becomes tiresome, in which case the revelers begin shouting "unmask!" The unmasking reveals each of the revelers (and the PCs) to be a ghoulish figure, which immediately begins attacking and devouring those around him. The "delicious food" on the table is revealed to be maggot-filled carrion. Blood flows copiously from the wounds the revelers (and PCs) inflict on each other, covering the floor. Shapes seem to rise from the spilled blood, arms pulling struggling victims into the floor beneath them.

As described in several posts above, random encounters shouldn't be as "random" as they seem. Use "wandering monsters" and other encounters carfully, making them into tools for controlling the adventure's plot.

Encounter Goals:
Encounters (random or not) serve several purposes. By tailoring your encounters to accomplish these goals, you can improve the flow and thematic tension of your game.

Encounters should inform the players about their environment, in accordance with the theatrical maxim "show, don't tell". If the player hear rumors that the wilderness is dangerous, they won't be impressed. If they spot a distant dragon devouring the remains of an ogre, they'll know. Players told that an area aggressively punishes lawbreakers become more concerned when they see the Watch seize a petty thief and hack his hand off on the spot.

Some encounters are also threats meant to wear down the party, using up their resources and challenging them. Ideally, these encounters should give the players the feeling that they succeeded by "the skin of their teeth", barely pulling through without any PC fatalities. Err on the side of caution when building these: It's easier to add another encounter or a few more monsters than it is to weaken the encounter once it's underway.

Finally, some encounters exist primarily to let the PCs show off how heroic they are. These encounters need not be especially challenging, but give the characters a chance to effortlessly accomplish some task beyond the abilities of lesser mortals. A good example would be a scene where the PCs face a band of (hopelessly outclassed) brigands, gaining the respect of locals by demolishing the villains.

Although it sounds like I advocate total control of the storyline, I'm not completely against random encounters. By choosing encounters randomly off a pregenerated table, you create the illusion that the adventure environment functions independently of the players' actions. Instead of being arbitrarily chosen by the DM, the encounters seem as though they were chosen objectively. This encourages the players, making them feel that their choices drive the game.

In order to maintain tight control of the game's events while empowering your players, I recommend that you make a random encounter table, but pregenerate the encounters. Choose only the coolest, most interesting encounters for them to discover, then roll secretly when deciding if and when they will encounter something, so you can occasionally fudge the rolls if needed to adjust the pace of the game.


miniaturepeddler wrote:

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Ok, planning on travelling 250 miles and 4 hours to goto a convention that has been heavily promoting pfs scenarios. One of the prime time slots: 7pm to midnite on Friday, they only had one low level pfs scenario, yet they have at least 2 high level scenarios scheduled.

I'm driving up in a van loaded with Pathfinder fans, including two hardcore gamemasters. One way or another, we'll get your game on!

What level characters will you bring and which scenarios do you most want to play?

Robert Jordan wrote:
...has anyone noticed some of the confusion in "The Refuge of Nethys"? In section 1, it mentions a shaft that Medium creatures can't get through but Small ones can make an Escape Artist check to get through: My question is what shaft? On the map there is no shaft and there's not one described for that room.

A line was dropped from Area 1: A narrow shaft lies hidden among the rubble west of the site, found with a DC 18 Search check in the area. This narrow chimney leads to Area 7. Too tight for Medium creatures, even Small creatures must make a DC 12 Escape Artist check to navigate the shaft.

In room 7, "narrow vents lead into the ceiling..." That shaft is one of them.

Robert Jordan wrote:
Down stairs in room 4, it mentions 3 arches leading from the room. I'm going to assume that it is including the way they just came in that total, however it has a small path leading to the west out of the room.

The map scale should be larger: Please treat each square as ten feet across. That hall should be about 6 feet wide.

Robert Jordan wrote:
How are medium characters supposed to get in there without going through room 10 (where Haidar is probably encountered)? The writing of the rooms lend themselves more to having room 5 be investigated and then progressing from room 6 onwards. I'm just not sure how that's supposed to work with a link between room 5 and 10 cutting out 6-9.

Your concern about the pacing of the adventure is well-considered. Don't let your players encounter Haidar until the time is right. If they make a beeline for his probable location, send him off hunting small game or wandering lost in delusion.

I've always disliked "linear" dungeons where everything is laid out in a straight and unavoidable path. The original drafts of the Refuge featured several additional chambers and secret passages, most of which were empty. These were eliminated to avoid wasting words (Who wants to search lots of empty rooms?), but made it more credible that Haidar might elude the party among the Refuge's passages.

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
In the Set Piece... how did the chokers get into the room they're lairing in?

A line was dropped from Area 1: A narrow shaft lies hidden among the rubble west of the site, found with a DC 18 Search check in the area. This narrow chimney leads to Area 7. Too tight for Medium creatures, even Small creatures must make a DC 12 Escape Artist check to navigate the shaft.

On an unrelated note, the map scale should be larger: Please treat each square as ten feet across.

Demiurge 1138 wrote:

The weretiger's stats in the Set Piece adventure are strange.

(snip...) Should we assume that the curse on the punching dagger is such that it makes him a slightly different lycanthrope (defaults to hybrid form, can spread the curse)?

Those quirks are entirely my fault. When I was working on the adventure, I wanted the shapechanger to have some of the abilities of natural lycanthropes (especially hybrid form), but didn't want to give him the brutal 10/silver DR. The dagger's curse became my explanation, but there wasn't space to elaborate on it.