I'm not doing XP for my run (I briefly tried using the alternate XP system from the Unearthed Arcana article but abandoned it) have just been using milestone leveling. (Though because I have a party of 6 I've been leaving them about 1 level behind where the AP says they should be.)
They hit 11th level after Mokmurian and I'm going to boost them to 12th once they defeat Freezemaw. We left off last session with them opening the secret door into the Scribbler's lair and a strange voice (The Scribbler) calling out from the fog and darkness in the demanding to know who they are.
Ultimately, I don't think it matters too much about the pace you level them up at as long as you keep the party's current abilities in mind when converting the baddies over.
One thing I didn't do that I should have is convert the treasure values. Even with removing a ton of random +1/+2 cloaks, rings, weapons and armor from the AP, the party still has a ridiculous amount of money. That being said, I'm rolling randomly for the items available at shops (or, more specifically, using the Donjon shop generator) so they can't kit themselves out exactly how they want.
For what it's worth, when my PCs were all fired-up about tracking the goblins, I had an incredulous Sheriff Hemlock ask "You bunch want to go tearing off into the woods at night after a bunch of bloodthirsty maniacs that can see in the dark?" which made them decide to wait until morning. A heavy rainstorm overnight conveniently (for me) muddled the tracks. They ended up making their best effort at following them. They didn't find the raiders, but they did find some goblins that had attacked a merchant wagon. (I used this to introduce Bruthazmus and Shalelu, as someone else had suggested on the board.) Once the goblins were slain and Bruthazmus was chased off, Shalelu asked the PCs to accompany her back to Sandpoint, as she had urgent news for the Sheriff. (She then did her info dump about the various goblin tribes on the trip back to town.)
I ran it as-written the first time (though I sprung it on my players on a whim because the rest of the group decided they were going to help the rogue deal with Shayliss' "rat problem" after the two of them left, so I had them run into Amele as they were rushing out of the Rusty Dragon) and the group found it kind of depressing and were irritated when Amele's sister blamed them for failing at their hero-ing.
For my second run-through I had little Aeren run up to the "Heroes" on the street to ask for help with the monster in his closet, only to have Amele come over and apologize for her son's behavior. The group told the kid to be brave and stand up to the monster.
When events then unfolded as written in the AP they ended up feeling really guilty about the whole thing and willingly took their lumps from Amele's sister. They also vowed to show any further goblins they met no mercy.
The PCs defeated Mokmurian last night. That being said, it was incredibly close fight with 2 of the PCs down and rolling death saves and the rest of the party really low on HPs.
While 5E's concentration mechanic prevents Mokmurian from layering on cloud spells like in his listed tactics, using Transmute Rock followed by Cloudkill really makes for a bad day for the party if they don't have any wind spells prepared (mine didn't.) I didn't even have to use another action to dispel the mud back to rock (and thus trap anyone in it) because trying slog through at 1/4 speed and constantly getting stuck was hindering enough to them.
I allowed him to create a fog cloud as a lair action (to free up his concentration on that) so in addition to the mud slowing them down they had a very hard time seeing him to target him while he was able to target them with impunity because of his fog-cutting lenses.
I guess it depends on if they admit to it.
My first party somberly told Horran that Lettie had passed, but didn't give them the details as to how.
The second party insisted on bringing her body back to town and have Father Zantus perform last rites and see that Horran was taken care of. Zantus or Hemlock may have noticed that she died from a sharp weapon rather than a ghoul's claws and teeth like the others, but neither of them broached it with the PCs.
Honestly, my PCs felt guilty enough in both instances, I felt no need to bring the law down on them. (Especially since, considering the circumstances, it was a somewhat understandable tragedy from the view of Sandpoint's powers that be.)
That being said, if the PCs show no remorse and/or have already been behaving in ways that have put them on the town's bad side, by all means put them on trial. Considering the circumstances, I don't think even the most reckless murder hobo players could conceivably be charged with murder, but a manslaughter (or the medieval equivalent) conviction and a fine paid to any surviving Guffmins would be appropriate. (Especially if the PCs decided to continue on shooting scarecrows after discovering they had killed a person.)
My current party is level 10 and just made it to the Ancient Library level under Jorgenfist.
Lucrecia has taken the "constant thorn in our side" role that Xanesha had in the previous campaign. So far they have fought her three times and she's escaped each time. The party rogue even took Alert at 10th level specifically because she was tired of Lucrecia's invisible antics.
One house rule I've adopted (based on Matt Mercer's rule on Critical Role) is changing the per turn spellcasting limitation from Bonus Action Spell and Cantrip to one of the spells can be no higher than 2nd level.
While this helps the party out a lot (the cleric loves being able to drop a level 1 or 2 Healing Word on someone and still be able to "cast something cool") it also helps the bad guys out as well. Most enemies don't survive long enough to burn through all their spell slots, so giving them the ability to potentially cast two spells a turn means they get to do more things before the party inevitably kills them (or makes them run away.) I pretty much give any sorcerer enemies they face Quicken Spell as one of their metamagics. And clerical badguys who are on the ropes can sometimes give themselves some breathing room by pairing a casting of Sanctuary with a healing spell.
So far the only legendary creatures they've faced have been Xanesha and Lucrecia. (ETA: And The Black Magga) I also made the Black Monk legendary (though they haven't investigated the Black Tower and might never do so) and Mokmurian will be when they face him.
That being said, Chapter 5 looks to pit them against a fair number of legendary foes (The Scribbler, Arkhryst, Azaven, and High Lady Athroxis will all be legendary.) I try to look at each enemy's background and status when determining if they should be Legendary.
I agree that everything they PCs face shouldn't legendary, but if there's a logical reason a specific enemy should be more than a normal foe, feel free to make them legendary.
As far as making the players use all their resources, sometimes it's a matter of not giving them a chance to rest so they're forced to press on and burn through everything. Assume the PCs will always take a rest if they have the opportunity to do so. In some cases you can put in a time restraint or not give them an easy safe place to rest in. Other times you have to assume "My PCs will probably rest right before this and be at full strength" and then plan the encounter accordingly.
In the end, though, how challenged the party feels is more in how likely it seems to them they're going to die, rather than how many spells they have left when its over.
Something I've started doing, which seems to really help the "my PCs have lost sight of the plot" issues is I do a recap of "the story so far" at the start each session. I generally go back as far as the start of the current chapter in my recaps (or do a general recap of the previous chapter if it's the first or second session of a new chapter). I generally get a "that's right, we did do that" response from at least one of my players during the re-cap, so it seems helpful in reminding the players of things they may have forgotten that their characters likely didn't (since the latter actually lived through it.)
My players just think the sihedron runes are part of a cult (they don't think the Skinsaw Cult was fully destroyed), and they took Kaven prisoner once they found the tattoo. They think each person with a medallion they've killed is associated with one of the seven deadly sins, even though I don't think I've given any indication that this is the case. They don't make much use of NPC knowledge, so that's why I think they're kinda lost. They wrote off Brodert Quink as a crazy person, so they really have little idea of the larger picture and don't know much about Thassilon. We also barely manage to play every two weeks, so the time gaps between sessions don't help much. But they're having fun killing things, so I don't think it's a big deal. They're currently in Fort Rannick, but I think after the Barl fight they will have a better idea of what's going on.
My second group is very similar to yours. They're convinced that all the bad guys they're fighting are members of a cult dedicated to worshiping the ancient Runelords and each medallion bearer is the cult's representative of each sin. No clue how they got on this track (since my first group pretty much followed the clues correctly and I haven't really done anything different this time around. The biggest difference is they're just not that interested in doing research or asking obvious sources of knowledge like Quink.)
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Hopefully, it can be a prequel with Nat bioenhanced with the Red Room longevity formula, and thus include Agent Peggy Carter, Dottie Underwood (squee!), and Winter Soldier Bucky.
I am hundred times more excited for this possible movie now than I was when I first heard the news. Make this happen, Marvel!
Unlikely. Forbes had an article that said the falloff between TFA and TLJ is on par with the falloff between ANH and ESB (which is frequently touted by fans as the best of the entire series.)
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
I liked what they did with Leia, finally using the Force to move one's self.
I thought the scene was shot a little goofy, but I didn't have an issue with what she did. I assumed it was a variation on a stand Force Pull effect. She attempted to pull the ship towards her but having less mass she was effectively pulled to the ship instead.
I wanted him to actually be on salt planet. Stopping all that firepower with the force would of felt more impressive then hologram trick. Then the the obi wan thing and let kylo win after everyone escapes. Kind of to pass on the torch and to become more powerful then he can possibly imagine thing.
I don't think the movies have ever established that Luke is super-powerful compared to other Jedi. Beyond that, if Luke was able to resist that kind of punishment with the Force, one wonders how most of the Jedi order managed be killed off.
I personally thought the scene as presented went brilliantly. Luke got to be a BAMF while the audience went "How is he doing that?" with the final reveal answering that question. It was also a classic Jedi thing to save the day without resorting to direct violence.
He also created an inspiring moment and added to his legend (see the kids retelling the story to each other in the final scene) and while him allowing Kylo Ren to kill him directly might have been a callback to Obi-Wan, I think him saying "See you around, kid." and simply vanishing is far more legendary, from an in-universe perspective.
I'd have to re-watch, but I think the whole idea of the Star Destroyer support for the TIE fighters is that their big guns were able to punch holes in the shields of the opposing capital ships, which is what allows the TIEs to do damage on their run. Once the Rebel ships pulled out of the Star Destroyers' effective range, the TIEs no longer had the ability to damage the Rebel ships.
Again, there's a lot of hand-waving involving the actualities of space combat in a universe where star fighters behave like atmospheric fighter jets, you have to travel horizontally along a trench on the surface of a space station to reach your target, rather than coming straight at it vertically and a collision from a spinning-out-of-control damaged star fighter is consistently far more dangerous to enemy ships than one actively firing its weapons.
I've got two friends who have lived and breathed Star Wars since we were all kids and they absolutely loved The Last Jedi. (One them had "To become a Jedi like my father before me." as his future aspirations quote in our senior year book.) So it's not that all the fans that hate it, just a section of them.
If people want to hate it, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you'll definitely have company, but it's disingenuous to say "The fans hate this movie."
I'm not trying to be persnickety. An escape pod and a shuttle are two very different things in the Star Wars universe with two different purposes. Ships tend to carry a large number of escape pods (since their entire purpose is to escape a damaged vessel, much like life boats in our world, and they generally don't take up a lot of space) whereas a shuttle is meant as transport between larger vessels and/or locations. In Star Wars they seem to seat between 2 and a dozen crew/passengers and have some level of hyperspace capability. The number of shuttles assigned to a ship seems to vary wildly based on ship size and function.
How many shuttles there were in the Rebel fleet is unclear. If there were a large number of them, could they have been used to enact a different plan than what Admiral Holdo had concocted? Sure. But first she would have to know that those shuttles wouldn't be tracked by the First Order through hyperspace and picked off. Which would have required Poe, Finn and Rose to inform her that they had figured out how the FO was tracking them.
You keep mentioning an escape pod that leaves and comes back, but I don't know what you're referring to.
Finn and Rose take a shuttle. I guess you could argue that "why didn't they use the shuttle to evacuate?" but I can't even begin to imagine how many hundreds of trips that would take. One shuttle launching and immediately jumping to hyperspace is unlikely to be noticed (or, if it is noticed, it's already gone), but the same shuttle doing it hundreds of times probably would be.
They return to the fleet in a cloaked ship and with the assistance of a skilled thief. Even then, their goal is Snoke's ship, not reuniting with the Rebel ships.
Rey takes an escape pod from the Falcon and gets picked up by Snoke's ship, and then steals Snoke's escape pod and gets picked up by the Falcon.
At no point in the movie do we see an escape pod enter hyperspace, much less leave and come back.
I actually really like Poe's character. I was rooting for him the whole way
through the mutiny until Leia stunned him and it was clear he'd messed up.
And he did mess up. Even if you think the Admiral owed him any explanation at all, he still not only withheld his own plan from her, but also the information on how the First Order was tracking them. (Remember, Finn and Rose are the ones to figure it out, who then tell Poe.)
Had he told the Admiral what the First Order was doing to track them and she was still dismissive, I'd be firmly in the "he had no reason to believe the Admiral was actually going to do something" camp.
My question is would folks be just as angry if the situation was reversed? Poe doesn't piss off Leia at the beginning, maintains his rank and takes command once all the flag officers get blown into space. He has an idea to save them, but he's worried about showing his hand to the First Order so he keeps it close to the vest. Some other officer or fighter pilot who thinks that Poe's going to get them all killed based on his reckless reputation stages a mutiny and manages to thoroughly muck up Poe's plan. Would you be mad at Acting Admiral Poe in this instance?
As for the Hyperspace stuff,
it's been made pretty clear in the movies that you can't just stop on a dime coming out of a jump unless you're Han Solo piloting the Millenium Falcon. No one else, that we know of, has ever been crazy enough to try it (or at least lived to tell about it.) We've also not seen anyone do the sort of multiple short jumps that would have been needed to cut off the Resistance ships (since, as others have said, they can alter their own sublight course as soon as they detect you spinning up your hyperdrive.)
1) Who says Poe is a traitor? He's just a hotshot with a tendency to shoot his mouth off (case in point when he basically spills the beans about the Rebels' plan to Finn over an non-secured and easily-overheard comm.) I've never served in the military, so maybe I'm missing something, but I didn't think it was common for Admirals and the like to keep their subordinates up-to-date on their plans whenever one of the latter is simply seeking reassurance. Especially a subordinate who was recently disciplined for disobeying orders.
2a) The effectiveness of fighter craft versus capital ships in the Star Wars universe seems to vary wildly, depending on the needs of the plot. In general a fighter craft spinning out of control after being shot down tends to be drastically more dangerous to a capital ship than one actively trying to do damage with its weapons. I'm willing to accept a lot of handwaving where their capabilities are concerned.
2b) Why the FO sending a ship ahead via hyperspace wouldn't work has already been discussed.
2c) Why would they need to call for reinforcements? They've already got the Rebels outgunned, their movements tracked and they're quickly running out of fuel. Those other ships are probably better-served conquering former-Republic systems.
2d) My understanding is the Rebels were cloaking their transport ships in some fashion, which meant the FO didn't see them until they knew what to look for.
Finally saw it over the weekend. Not a perfect movie, but I definitely enjoyed it more on first-viewing than I did TFA.
For those of you blaming Holdo for
not letting Poe in on her plan, why does he get a pass for not letting her in on his plan?
Also, I think if Admiral Akbar had taken over, there would have been less reason for Poe and/or the audience to distrust him and the whole point of of that plot line was for Poe to learn that being a reckless hotshot doesn't always win the day.
And I agree with those saying Star Wars tech rarely makes sense. The tech has always been there to serve up certain imagery, rather than being a logical product of high-tech society.
I enjoyed it. I thought the makeup and special effects were pretty well-done. All the major elf and orc characters looked the part. (Some of the random elves in the Elf Town scene, not so much.) The elven "assassins" were really cool.
The movie as a whole didn't blow me away, but I didn't regret the two hours I spent on it. Solidly 3/5 for me. Definitely a little overstuffed on the world-building (the whole Shield of Light thing definitely felt wedged in to setup a future sequel/series)
All the little background touches (the afformentioned dragon and the centaurs, in particular) were nifty.
I think Brienne's hunt for Sansa was probably the worst plotline in the books. I love the character, but spending hundreds of pages watching her going in what you already know is the wrong direction and not have anything important happen until the very end (and then what actually happens is both extremely frustrating and then left ambiguous) is one of the reasons book 4 is such a slog.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
That she can beat the crap out of Kara, apparently.
All jesting aside, we don't know for sure what it means, yet. Whether it was genetic engineering or selective breeding or something else. All we know is she was created to conquer/destroy worlds whereas Kara and Kal-El are normal folks. So I'm okay with Reign being able to take Kara down (at least for now.)
Which, of course, also begs the question of - if there was Kryptonian space travel and interplanetary commerce - why was it so hard to get people off of Krypton, and what happened to all those other Kryptonians who were off-world when their planet blew up, but... hey... what do I know?
I've wondered the same thing. How were the folks on Fort Roz and the poor schmuck whose pod Mon-El stole the only Kryptonians off-world when it blew, considering they were obviously a space-faring society.
The only specialized streaming service I might shell out for is the Warner Brothers one because of the resurrection of Young Justice (the Titans TV show and rumored Harley and Ivy show are just a bonus.) Discovery certainly wasn't enough to get me to pay for CBS All Access (especially since every thing I've heard says it doesn't feel like Trek.)
"Oh, no, you've grabbed me, whatever should I do except continue to cast my spells with zero hindrance whatsoever?" Grapple doesn't do much unless you can forcibly move them somewhere they don't want to be. (And even then Misty Step or Dimension Door resolves that problem if it take you more than a round to get them there.)
Petrification or Hold Person might work, if you can get them to fail their save (remembering that a 1 is only an automatic failure on attack rolls in 5E) and they don't counterspell it.
I don't know, I'm running a 5E RotRL game and if I were to give special K that spell, it would probably result in a TPK.
So here's something I've been wondering about: Green Arrow and his team have directly worked with ARGUS numerous times and Oliver has been an (unwilling) ARGUS agent since well before he returned to Star City and ARGUS was well aware of Oliver's activities as The Hood and made no effort to stop them.
Couldn't Lilah, as director of ARGUS, call up the FBI director and say "Oliver Queen is one of ours. Drop the case."? (Leaving aside any ethical and legal quandaries involved in government spooks getting special treatment.)
You'd think Supergirl X would have been a little more affected by getting shot with a Kryptonite arrow, considering how much just being in proximity of Kryptonite affects original Kara. (Maybe it's a side-effect of her blood being over-saturated with solar radiation, it just seemed odd.)
I really enjoyed the two episodes, though "Earth 1 Thawne with Wells' face: alt-Earth Nazi True Believer" seemed really weird.
Awkward wedding attendant was definitely a time traveler and likely a Barry/Iris descendant, IMO.
I don't see why some version of Chloe couldn't exist in the Supergirl universe or why anyone would think she would have to explicitly be the Smallville version. I thought it was a fun reference.
I will say both the actresses playing the younger versions of the Danvers girls did an excellent job of emulating the speech and mannerisms of the originals. I did find the blue contacts that young Kara was obviously wearing a little distracting, but her performance was spot-on.
Man, the Hulk using the Thing as a club while fighting bad guys on A:EMH was one of the best things ever. (That and presenting a Doctor Doom that was properly hyper-competent and threatening.)
I tried to include a subplot with the Scarnettis trying to muscle in and convince a grieving Ameiko to sell the Glassworks to them (to increase their political and financial power in Sandpoint, seeing as the Glassworks is a major part of the local economy) but my players didn't bite and I didn't force the issue.
In both times I've run it, I've had Hemlock come back with about 6 extra guards from Magnimar and complaining about how that seems insufficient to stave off a full-scale goblin assault on the town, but it's the most he could convince Lord-Mayor Grobarus to spare. Perfect time to foreshadow the Lord-Mayor's greed and self-interest ahead of Chapter 2.
Yeah, it sounds like my theory was wrong and he really is trying to be earnest and failing, rather than pulling off high-level satire: AV Club Review.
AV Club wrote: