Lady Aurora's page

873 posts. 46 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

I just acquired (after much ado) an old two piece map of Greyhawk from the World of Greyhawk boxed set. I wanted to reference the locations from Age of Worms on it but am somewhat puzzled. Where exactly does the Spire of Long Shadows take place (besides the obvious answer - in the Amodeo Jungle). Where is Redhand? Did I overlook Alhaster? Can some Greyhawk fan give me hex locations? I'd really appreciate that. I apologize in advance for my cluelessness.

This is a shameless love post. I was happy to receive my Descent into Midnight adventure. I had intended to cancel my subscription before Second Darkness, but then ... who can resist the draw of Drow? But when my final installment arrived, I thought "*Now* I can finally cancel my subscription". After all, these things aren't cheap and I have tons of material already. I don't really *need* another adventure path but ...alas, I'm hooked again. I've always had a soft spot for adventures with Arabian flavor. Just flipping through, the art of Haiten Bhaq had caught my eye. Now not only dare I not cancel my subscription, I'm fairly drooling for the Legacy of Fire! Paizo, you've done it again. I can't wait to explore the delicious possibilities!

I had a death in the family last summer which lead to a rather chaotic six months financially. I appreciated the emails I received from Paizo informing me that some of my subscription orders couldn't be filled. But now all that's resolved. I appreciate the "pending" service you provide but I can't remember how to resubmit the orders. Specifically, I'm interested in order#978661 from July 2008 and order #1048363 from September. Can you resubmit those orders with my regular payment method please?

The chain golem has nice size and heft with interesting detail but I agree that its inclusion in this pack seems ... contrived. Did someone in R&D have a secret hard-on for such a creature? Time and money would've been better spent on a giant (as per the series title) than this thing which will never have a chance to see daylight in the D&D tabletop play (although I suppose those who play the mini game can use it). More classics in your game packs please! Less obscure contrivances.

I got a friendly email (which I appreciated, BTW) informing me that you guys were unable to ship my Pathfinder subscription due to a problem with my credit card. A few days later, I got a similar email about my GameMastery subscription. I interpreted the email to mean that I needed to provide you with a new active credit card so you could charge me and my anxiously awaited products could be shipped. I went to my online account site and provided a new VISA card (and yes, it's turned on and has money available) but when I was returned to my subscription page it wasn't immediately updated with the newly inputted payment method information. What's up with that? My subscription still shows payment with the now-defunct credit info. Did I do something wrong? I want to right this situation so I can receive my Pathfinder (which I haven't received any of) and my GameMastery subscriptions (which I *have* received D1 but am anxiously awaiting D2) as soon as possible.

Add this as reason #47,897,089,073,218,709th why it just sucks that Dungeon & Dragon won't grace newstands much longer ... The art just keeps getting better and better! Issue 148's art is superlative.
Sure, when I first glimpsed the cover I was thinking Jawa rather than Charon but it was cool nonetheless. The lighting, the details, the spooky "atmosphere", everything about Andrew Hou's cover art is just awesome!
But it doesn't stop there. The great artwork continues throughout the whole mag. Now, Kyle Hunter's style isn't to my particular taste but I must admit its softer edges and less stylized shading/contouring of late is much more appealing to me than his earlier work. Julie Dillon's work in the Automatic Hound is great too. I like the fact that the more you study the initial picture on pg 14, the more interesting detail is revealed. The NPC portraits (not just Dillon's work but throughout the magazine) are compelling and well-wrought. I especially like Udon's pic on pg 48 as it seemed a "snapshot" of citylife in Spinecastle, both fascinating and mundane at the same time. It is such illustrations that really help a DM such as myself draw the players (and myself) into an adventure scene. And I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the efforts of Wootten & Mahy in Wells of Darkness. The opening scene of destruction immediately draws in the viewer and the garish scene on pg 62 is just too cool for words.
By far the best illustration has to go to the Map of Mystery. I wanted to use this scene the moment I viewed it. It was exquisite and evocative with fantastic detail and "flavor". So inspiring and jaw-droppingly beautiful. Words fail...
I hope that all the artists from #148 and other great issues will continue to find outlets for their masterpieces after Dungeon/Dragon stop print publication. I definitely appreciate being able to sample their work. Thanks, artists, for helping me visualize my fantasy world and drawing me into your own wonderful imagination!

I ordered some miniatures from your online store on April 13th. I was surprised when you sent the confirmation email and the "your order has shipped" email that same day. I thought, "wow! you guys are really efficient!". Now it's the 21st and I haven't gotten my shipment yet. This is very odd since I've ordered many times in the past and a shipment has never taken this long to arrive before.
Now, I just went into your store and noticed that it lists one of the minis I ordered (or more accurately, I ordered three singles of the Troglodyte thug) as not available. It was available when I ordered it but now it's not. Is this the hang-up or is it something else? Has my ordered been shipped and is lost in space? Please help! I really need my order for my upcoming game day!

This issue had its highpoints and lowpoints. I wanted to take this opportunity to express which things hit and miss in my opinion.
First was the cover art. I gotta list it under lowpoint. I can't really articulate what is wrong with it - the composition, detail, etc are all there. It just lacks oomph, I guess. It's boring and what's more it leaves me wondering what exactly is it supposed to be? Just a close-up of some adventurer? Trophy hunter the inner description says. I say yaawwnn. With all the recent discussion on cover art I'll be interested to see how this one ranks in the sales curve. If I didn't have a subscription I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have bothered to pick this issue off the rack, which is a shame because the issue is packed with goodies.
The biggest high point was in the least expected article for me - Music in D&D. I rolled my eyes when I saw the cover tag line and actually intended to just flip past it. The dragon wearing the ipod caught my attention and I'm glad! This article was well written and useful, breaking things down in a clear concise manner for those who aren't as hip as we'd like to be while at the same time not seeming to "talk down" at the reader. The automatic playlist hook-up just plain rocks!(pun not intended)! The suggestions on how to create one's own was excellent and tips on the how, whens, and whys was just the tool for the busy DM.
The editorial was a slight lowpoint. It was a great topic and well written but at the same time kinda a frustrating teaser. It's like those party games when you're asked a complex question but you can only answer in three words or less. We love to hear opinions on favorite monsters and the complex processes of compiling the special Ecology issue but word count and space restrictions made the whole thing choppy and unfulfilling - just when you start to get excited, it's over (never a happy situation!).
Speaking of Ecologies, the Ecology of the Devourer was excellent. Again, this was unexpected for me since it's *not* one of my favorite monsters. I especially liked the sidebar containing past adventures that included the devourer (has this been going on for a while and I've just been overlooking it?).
The Creature catalog was great. Again, not necessarally my usual fare but this time I found it interesting and useful. Some of the art wasn't as crisp as I'd like to see but I especially liked the write-ups on the madedar, the cave fisher, and the scarecrow (I have a phobia of scarecrows so kudos for drawing me in despite my fear!).
I don't "do" Forgotten Realms but found Volo's Guide an interesting read. I skipped the Eberron article and so can not comment on it.
The Adventurer Class Act was superlative! I've got a player who loves to equip his characters with garrots & such. I'm so pleased to see this game mechanic its due.
The other Class Act articles slide into lowpoints for me. They're either too specific for my personal use/tastes (psion, eldritch warrior) or so general as to be practically useless (druid).
Anyway, #355 might be a bumpy ride but overall it doesn't disappoint. Keep up the good work!

I was skeptical about the Escape from Meenlock Prison when I read the adventure synopsis (which is usually what I base my decision to read/not read something on). Not that I didn't like the plot. I just wasn't sure about how appropriate I thought it was for 1st level characters. Well, I went ahead and read it anyway and I'm really glad I did! It's a great adventure - kudos to the Connors!
However, I'm totally unfamiliar with meenlocks (obviously don't own the MMII). For starters, exactly what size are they (how tall?)? The description says tiny but the artwork seems to suggest otherwise.
Also, at what point does the meenlock transformation manifest physically? And once a physical mutation begins, at what rate does it reverse (if at all)? And I am accurate in understanding that the meenlocks only have to touch a victim to transform them? If so, then why are there so many partially affected victims in the prison? Why not just stand there and touch the victim three times?
Calling all meenlock experts! Can someone give me a better idea how they operate? I've read the descriptions included in the adventure but I'm still confused.

I was just wondering where the general gaming population fell in terms of birth order. Do more first born children play? Are large segments of our gaming population the youngest child in the family? How many only children make up the demographics? Are middle children more apt to game?
My oldest brother introduced the family to D&D back in its origins and the second child (out of four) was definitely the most obsessive about it for the longest time; but I'm the youngest in my family and I'm the only one who still plays (even though we're all mature adults now).
Where do you all rank in the birth order?

There's been plenty of talk about the desire to see miniatures tailored to the current Adventure Paths, etc. While I agree that would be too cool, there are also monsters right from the monster manual that thus far have been overlooked. First & foremost, did I overlook it or have the manufactorers actually dared to pass over the rust monster? What about a cockatrice for your small mini. The leucrotta, the sphinx. Dire monsters could include giant wasps or giant crocodiles (which are often opponents in my games anyway). Where's the annis hag? A bit more of a challenge to render but how about a shadow? For huge pieces I'd like to see the aboleth, the remorhaz or the ever popular hydra. Finally, how 'bout a little love for the plant kingdom? Namely, the violet fungi.

What creatures have been overlooked thus far that you would like to see in future D&D plastic miniature sets?

I wondered about how different DMs manage the whole "punishment" for misdeeds problems? I'm specifically referring to PCs breaking their alignment or other similar scenarios. I am NOT trying to start a debate about whether a DM should or should not discipline his players in the first place - that's another thread (PLEASE!!). Just for those DMs who *do* choose to inflict consequences on the PCs for "improper" behavior - how exactly do you go about it?
On a different thread a DM was relating a story about how a LG PC cleric stood by and let a copatriot murder someone without protest and so said cleric was plagued by chronic & debilitating headaches. The cleric went to the local temple and sought answers to the dilemma and his "sin" was revealed, requiring restitution. I thought this was very well done by the DM. It's so much better, IMO, than just announcing "you've lost your abilities until you attone for this thing *I* think you shouldn't have done!", which almost always results in defensiveness and resistance from the players.
I once DMed a paladin PC who was unwittingly infected by lycanthropy and (unwilling) murdered all his companions in their sleep one full moon night. It was well role-played and everyone had fun but the paladin's code required he lose his abilities until he atoned for his chaotic evil act. The DMG suggests several options for atonement and I decided he had to complete a quest from the church in order to regain his powers (thus an adventure hook to the next module) but I still just broke continuity and announced "OK, you've lost your paladin abilities until you atone. What are you going to do?". The player knew this was coming and wasn't upset but in hindsight I'm now wishing I had accomplished this discipline "in game" - perhaps in a more subtle fashion.
(Sorry for my ramblings...)
Anyway, how have some of you handled this situation in the past?

I really like writing product reviews (just in case y'all hadn't noticed) because I'm always interested to know what other players/DMs think of a product before I buy it.
Anywhoo... yesterday I tried three times to post a review for the War Drums Starter Set. Three times my review was eaten and I had to retype my lengthy complaint. It goes to preview and then erases the text and I have to start over. Then when I click save changes, it just kicks me back to the Paizo home page and the review disappears again.
Wondering whether a PDF that I downloaded yesterday off your site might have somehow interfered with my ability to complain :), I tried again this morning - twice... with the same frustrating result.
Please help. My ability to complain is being repressed and I'm not sure how much longer I can make it!
Seriously, am I suddenly doing something wrong or is there just a glitch in the website?

Let me start by saying that this latest installment is by far the best yet! I love the whole idea and plot. I enjoy the free-flow feel of the whole thing; each task is related but the players get to choose exactly where and how much to focus on. The only thing that I'm uncertain about is whether the players should be *aware* of the victory point system? Is the DM supposed to intimate to them that certain activities gain them an undisclosed amount of victory points and that their final total decides the ultimate success of this module? Or are they supposed to just blindly decide to help (or not), explore the island (or not), prepare for attack (or not) without any real idea of how the consequences of their action/inaction will affect them (and obviously the citizens of Farshore as well).
I know other DMs complain about railroading and linear plotlines but my players, even though they're veterans, really prefer to make a plan with knowledge of how their actions are going to impact the entire plotline. I know, I know, someone will say "if that's what works for your players, then DM this module that way" but what I'm really asking is "How is it *supposed* to be played?". Have other DMs given hints that the PCs are gathering points toward possible victory or is mum the word and what happens happens?

Point of this post (in case it gets lost in the babble)- your web store is the place to buy minis!
I recently was bitten by the miniature bug. I don't play the miniatures game or collect minis or anything like that. I just think they're really cool and have been replacing my cheesy tokens/markers with actual plastic replicas. I'm not exactly internet savvy nor apparently very adventurous (in a web-surfing sort of way) so when I find something that works, I generally stick to it. I first discovered an easy way to order minis here on your website so that's what I used exclusively for several months. At one point someone complained on these boards about how inflated Paizo prices were and how insane anyone was to purchase them here. While I appreciated the honesty and candor with which Paizo's pricing strategy was explained, I'm not completely comfortable with the idea that you basically jack up the price until even those fanatics out there have reached their limit. This leaves poor folks like me in the wave of your profit-making machine since I can't possibly compete with those willing to fork over big bucks for a tiny piece of plastic. Anyway...I googled D&D miniatures and checked out other websites. I was initially shocked at how much cheaper the minis were priced elsewhere and wasted no time in ordering bunches. Here's where the problems started. Other websites advertise items as available when they're not actually in stock (a problem I have NEVER had here at Paizo). Whole orders have to be recalculated and manipulated. Even when availability problems are pointed out to these websites they make no effort to correct the problem. Then there's the service - getting a response is about a 50/50 gamble, getting a clear accurate response really starts to stretch the odds! Delivery time? Be ready to wait! I'm still waiting on items from some websites that they claim were shipped months ago! Which is another thing, has it been shipped - hasn't it been shipped? Some of these companies insisted something had not been shipped while FedEx was giving me tracking numbers and destinations.
My lesson learned is this - there's quality, price and service. You can only pick two. While Paizo doesn't have the lowest price on miniatures, the quality and service more than outweigh these drawbacks. What is a mini at half price if it never arrives? You guys still have the best selection, the fastest shipping, the easiest website to navigate, and the friendliest & fastest service.
Thank you! I'll stick with you guys for my miniature needs (which can actually be quite large) ;)

On October 13th I ordered a miniatures booster pack and 3 sets of the Relics of War pack (order #676243). The total balance was $38.11. On November 6th, you shipped the booster pack (I was charged for this, of course - the pack itself & s/h costs). The receipt that came in the package said the 3 sets of Relics of War was still pending. Fine. Fast forward to November 16th when you informed me (via email) that the Relics of War portion of the original order had been shipped. My bank statement informs me that my account was indeed charged $38.11 on this date. I'm confused - if I already was charged & received part of the order, why am I now being charged the entire balance? Now, it's December, I still haven't received the final portion of my order. I'm disappointed that I haven't received those card packs and annoyed because I'm beginning to suspect I was overcharged. Some clarification would be appreciated.

Am I losing my mind or at some point way back when did Paizo say they were making (or had made) some special AoW minis? I'm specifically thinking of a Kyuss zombie or somesuch with tiny green worms dripping from it. Was this something that was being considered but was dropped? Did I imagine the whole thing? Bottom line - are there AoW minis available somewhere or must a DM rely on her own creativity and the standard miniatures currently on sale?

My group is no where *near* ready to run this adventure but I still must say that this is one of the clearest and most concise adventures I've read in a long time (which, with the high quality of Dungeon adventures, is saying alot!). The plot is simple but presented in such a way as to be far from boring. I think my favorite part is the sidebars with tips on how the NPCs act/react during each section. What could be easier? I've been DMing for 27 years but this adventure just struck me as especially nice for newbies, and even us ol' timers don't mind having it broken down Barney-style every once in a while. I appreciated the glimpses at NPC motives and attitudes without dregging up huge backstories. It just felt like we are given the proper tools and nudged in the expected direction but still left with the all-important DM right to improvise. Perfect! Then there are the happy DM's little treats sprinkled throughout the module. For instance, I liked the random table for figuring what supplies survived the shipwreck (with a little note encouraging individual tailoring by the DM). The saving of one "monster" (the diplodicus) from others was a nice twist on the rescue mission. Lithira just hanging out for flavor (possible interactions nearly infathomable). The little note about how much food the monstrous crab would supply if cooked (so simple and yet so profound!). I found myself giggling gleefully as I read each little nugget.
This adventure promises to be simple to set up and play, for rookies and veterans alike; and impossible to forget.
Great work, Mr. Bulmahn!

I was just wondering if anyone had purchased any of the critter packs being offered. If so, what was your opinion of their quality, value, and usefulness? Do the packs contain an acceptable assortment of critters or just a glut of the common turkeys that the manufacterers can't get rid of any other way?
Please, share with us (or me, anyway) so a future purchasing decision can be made. Inquiring minds want to know!

Not sure whether this post belongs here or is better suited to website feedback but ... here it is anyway.
I ordered some miniatures from the online Paizo store for the first time at the beginning of the month and I just felt compelled to offered hearty praise to this company for the service I received. I never expected the packages to arrive so quickly (here to the east coast) and for the whole process to be so simple. I also appreciate the email confirmations of the order and the shipping updates. You guys are great and we greedy customers probably don't give you the number of pats on the back that we should.
Thanks again. (gushing over!)

On two separate days (Sept.2nd & 3rd), I placed orders through the Paizo shopping cart online. The first order (#666924) included dual subscriptions and a few odds & ends. The second order was miniatures and similar items. I received an email informing me that the second order was shipped. I understand that it's not as easy to send the form email for the first order since it includes the subscriptions (which obviously are technically "shipped" immediately). My question is (and I do have one...), is it therefore safe to assume that the miniature & item pack items in the first order (#666924) have shipped in a timely manner or should I not assume anything and just wait for the appropriate email notification?

I am actually the wife of Sir Marcus, though I believe the subscription to Dungeon magazine was in my name. Anywhoo... my husband is active duty military and was recently deployed. At either the end of May or beginning of June, we logged on to the "My Account" page and changed our address to my current one (from North Carolina to New York). We received issue #136 at our North Carolina address but not #137. We tried to change the address online early enough to avoid losing an issue, but, alas, to no avail! Issue #137 never arrived in New York (at our new address) and as of July 12th had also not arrived at our North Carolina address (where our post box is still active). Can you please send me my copy of #137 to the New York address?
Also, we weren't able to change our email address before the North Carolina internet service was de-activated. So obviously I was forced to create this new account under my name. I know there are concerns over privacy but does this mean (without the North Carolina email account) that Sir Marcus's account information is forever inaccessible to me? He had downloads and also magazine subscription information in which I am interested. Please help!
Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to see my missing issue soon!

A while back, perhaps when Encounter at Blackwall Keep was first released, a DM posted a thread about (if memory serves...) the moral implications of performing a coup-de-grace. In the example the DM mentioned that the lizardmen had eaten the wounded and dead soldiers defending the Keep and the thread partially sidetrekked to the moral implications of this action by the lizardmen. There was even discussion over the proper definition of cannibalism since the lizard men in the example were eating human corpses and not their own species. I remember thinking at the time "with all due respect for the flavor it adds, why would you even think to include such a bizarre detail?".
Fast forward ... the original thread disappears in the archives and I am at home looking up notes on psionics. While flipping through the DMG (Gygax, 1979), I was shocked to see the following entry on page 105 "Lizard men will serve a human master only because of fear or religious awe. Either case requires continual maintenance in order to keep the lizard men serving... Lizard men troops will also tend to fall upon dead and wounded of either side and devour them if not strictly officered at all times."
Gee, I guess I owe the original poster an apology. You're not just some twisted individual but historically (in D&D terms) accurate in your portrayal of the lizard men's actions.
Who knew?

I've been DMing for 25 years now, playing D&D for even longer but Age of Worms AP introduced something that has never even come close to happening ever before ... one fateful night, the entire campaign crashed and burned!
The AoW AP has been, in my opinion and I *thought* my players agreed, the best, most exciting campaign we've ever tackled. My small band of players are all old-timers who have been having fun for decades under my leadership (one is my wife, who's been involved with D&D even longer than me!). Everyone has developed complex but wonderful characters and we've all been having a great time.
Then, for no foreseeable reason, we were playing along and suddenly all my players "got attitude". Without warning they abruptly seemed to just no longer care whether their characters lived or died. No player made any comment illuminating this plan nor did anyone express any discontent with the campaign or my DMing style (which as I've said, they've all played happily under for decades). I was oblivious to what was even happening at first. A bad choice, a character drops. A foolish move, another one drops. I began to feel puzzled. The encounter was difficult but not impossible and the PCs certainly had the resources (both fantasy and real world knowledge and accumen) to resolve the conflict. I started wondering what was up with these people. Why were they playing like they'd never seen dice before? One character died, followed quickly by another, then another. Anyone who knows me from previous posts knows I'm nearly a Fate Nazi - I hold players responsible to the Nth degree for their choices and the fate of the dice roll - I never "fudge" anything. But at this point I saw TPK approaching on a fast horse with players who were literally offering themselves up to death. I have spent hours reading, plotting, and preparing for the Age of Worms and more than anything (even more than my own homebrew) I didn't want to see the campaign end. So against all my better judgement, I started to "fudge" - just a little. I held back a couple of monsters, purposely ignored some tactical advantages, wasted enemy resources, etc. but it didn't help. The characters just stood there and took it on the chin. One of my players seemed as bewildered as I was to his compatriots' behavior. He was struggling, basically alone at this point, to survive the encounter and actually PLAY the game. It was he and I against the world it seemed. Clearly, in hindsight, we should've just stopped the game at that point but it all seemed to happen so fast. The entire campaign crashed and burned. His brave efforts (and mine) failed and the party was totally wiped out.
I was angry and frustrated. Everyone went home without comment. Even my wife was silent and indifferent about the whole thing. The one player and I were both furious but there seemed nothing we could do.
Time heals all wounds and a few days perspective was the first step toward the rebirth of the adventure path. I wasn't sure how to relaunch the campaign and I was quite determined not to let it go. Everyone's characters were so rich and interesting it seemed an equal shame to let them fall by the wayside.
My wife, whose only explanation for the entire incident was "I don't know, I just got frustrated and overwhelmed so I gave up", eventually provided the answer. During character creation I have each player roll on a random chart to receive a feat or fault. These are "natural" flaws or benefits. My wife's character had scored a great natural benefit - prophecy. She had created a monk and he would have prophetic dreams. This turned out to be a great tool to advance the plot line and {spoiler} ....
when the campaign notes suggested players eventually realize they were "destined" to be involved in this Age of Worms cosmic struggle, I was pleased that this plot device fit in perfectly with the monk's mysterious visions.
Anyway, my wife asked if we could pull a Bobby Ewing and have the whole night's session be one of her monk's visions. This would allow us to relaunch the campaign at it ending point (rather than just start again at Whispering Cairn) and everyone would be allowed to keep their characters too. Now I realize this is pretty corny and hokey, not at all ideal, but it allows (hopefully just this once) for the campaign to be reborn and for all of us to continue with the plotline with a fresh attitude.
To this day, I'm still not sure exactly what happened or why. Everyone insists they are having lots of fun and are fully motivated to continue/complete this adventure path. I begged for criticism of my DMing style so I could adjust/correct any problems but everyone insisted that they were perfectly content with my style (which I humbly admit is supported by the decades of smooth play we've enjoyed).
Anyway, bottom line (forgive the babble), the campaign inexplicably crashed and burned; and then just as miraculously (if a bit ridiculously) was reborn.
I'm not really sure what my point is ... except maybe "anything can and does happen". I'm thankful that we've all come together again and that we once again are enjoying this great Age of Worms adventure path.

I'm not a big fan of Dragon magazine in general. I usually flip through it and, finding nothing of interest, return it to the shelf. Though I love Dungeon magazine it has been with great reluctance that I have been gathering Dragon mags this past year to support my Age of Worms campaign. Several of the more recent issues (within the past year) have actually managed to impress me (Hoorah! The magazine seems to be improving!!).
Anyway, I wasn't just impressed but absolutely blown away by the cover on issue 342! I didn't even flip through the pages, I just bought the mag and stared at the cover in jaw-dropping awe. Several times while reading through the articles later, I would pause and flip back to admire the cover. The pose, the details, the subject - everything about it is just ... AWESOME!
(except perhaps that it has little to nothing to do with the clerical focus of the the articles). Maybe Paizo figured if you saw this guy, you'd better be sayin' your prayers!!
Anyway, I came to these messageboards and was stunned not to see several threads praising Marc Sasso's work.
Pardon my gushing, but I'm totally blown away by this artwork. It is superlative! I guess the title of this thread says it all. And let me put a vote in for "great artwork sells" question. I wouldn't care if the articles totally sucked (which I'm pleased to say, they did NOT), I would've bought this issue purely for the cover art.
Great job - plain and simple.

I've set the AoW in Greyhawk and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about general background/history. I know that Balakarde is really Bucknard but this latest addition mentions his sister's death as a tramatic encounter and offers her name but that's not *really* her name is it? A half hour after reading it I was still puzzling over Bucknard's sister's real name but now I've just got the new one in my head.
The obvious question is this - what is Bucknard's sister's official Greyhawk name?

While reading a post on the AoW forum regarding the Hall of Harsh Reflections, a poster commented that he kept track of the PCs' hit points for a certain encounter in order to maintain secrecy and a sense of uncertainty. That got me wondering, how many other DM's REGULARLY keep track of the characters' hit points rather than allowing the players to do so themselves?
It's been years since I took over this task as DM (so long I can't even recall the "old" way). My theory at the time was that player knowledge of their characters' hit points fostered an innate "meta-gaming" (a vile form of roleplaying that I seek out and destroy at every opportunity).
It might not seem like a big deal but it has quite an impact on the game when you think about it. Should our group press on or fall back and recover after that last battle? Well, we have enough hit points - let's just go! Four wounded characters and only one healing spell/potion/device - whoever "needs" it most gets it! Or worse yet, let's not waste a higher level healing spell on a character when a lower level one will do. Help, my character is at one hit point - someone must break off from battle and help me now!
Instead, the players in my group are only aware of their character's hit point status in the most general terms. They are told, of course, when they get wounded - from "merely a flesh wound" to "a mighty blow that sends you reeling". I also inform them when their character's hit points are at/near half, a quarter, and single digits. If a character is below 3 hit points (but still conscious), I inform them that they are "barely standing" or "struggling to remain conscious". The healers in a party can never be certain exactly how close their comrades are to death. Hesitation can be the difference between life and death!
It probably sounds more complicated than it is and I like the flavor it adds to my game.
Anyone else out there have similar experiences?

So my Dungeon #133 arrives and I'm thrilled with everything about it. I read all the adventures immediately, of course, with special attention to AOW since I'm currently DMing the adventure path. Chimes at Midnight is an Eberron adventure so I feel the instant temptation to save it to read last (I don't use Eberron, so I figure it would be the least practical and most difficult to adapt). Now I'm not the kind who usually agrees with those agrieved masses who constantly debate the pro's and con's of campaign specific modules versus generic ones. I almost always can find some way to adapt or at least pirate ideas from virtually any adventure. I'm kinda anal so I like to read the magazine straight through rather than skip around (when I might miss something). Anyway... I read Chimes at Midnight and found it wonderfully well written with a clever plot and interesting NPCs and challenges. My complaint is this - In the first paragraph is "With some adaptation, this adventure can be played in any urban environment regardless of setting". I STRONGLY disagree! Obviously Mr. Logue's (or whomever's) idea of "some" and mine differ vastly. It's a wonderful adventure, as I already stated but much of it hinges on the rail station - NOT an easy thing to adjust to your standard medieval setting! It's the statement I have complaint with, not the specific style of the module. I feel like I was *lured* into reading this adventure under false pretenses - sorta bait & switch. The challenge is great but I believe it will take a lot more than *some* adaptation before much of it could be truly or accurately played out in any campaign of mine. I appreciate knowing that (and therefore having the proper frame of mind) before I start reading something.
Chimes at Midnight is a campaign specific adventure (most of which can indeed be adapted *with work* or at least are useful as idea seedbeds). Why try to trick us into reading it instead of letting it prompt us itself on its own merits? Why not just call a spade a spade?


Disillusioned in DesMoines (well, actually North Carolina but you get the point)

I recently received my latest issue of Dungeon and thoroughly enjoyed the Prince of Redhand adventure. My major beef with it is the part where the improved Ebon Aspect comes into play. Scenario {spoiler alert}: the party enters a room with statues, including one monstrous one with several arms and a hideous face. But wait {insert gasp!} it's not *really* a statue at all! It's attacking. Oh noooo!!!
I'll tell you what's really scary about this scenario - how authors can keep including it in their adventures and thinking anyone who's played D&D for more than a day doesn't see this one coming!! Please, authors, PLEEEASE! Stop including the statue that isn't in your adventures!!!
As a DM I try my best to prevent metagaming and my faithful players are good people who try their best not to engage in it, but we all grit our teeth whenever this scenario presents itself (which is disturbingly often). As a DM I'm half-tempted to award ad hoc xp to PCs who manage to stand stupidly next to the statue they know very well is going to animate any second and bash them!
For example - in Whispering Cairn, the characters enter the sleeping chamber and there's the large terra cota statue with the heavy mace. Everyone rolls their eyes. I sheepishly announce at the proper moment that the statue comes to life. The role-playing comes when the players are forced to act surprised when any preschooler could see this one coming.
This is sooo frustrating! Please, just once, I'd like the characters to enter a room full of creepy, well-armed, menacing statues (maybe even step on some floor trigger or whatnot) and have nothing happen! THAT would freak them out!
Once more (because after 25 years or however long Dungeon has been in print it apparently bares repeating) please, to all you authors out there, keep up the good work with writing excellent adventures but please, for the love of God!, skip the scene where the statue shockingly comes to life.
Thank you and good night!

I was just sitting here thinking of a personal experience and wondering if others had shared the same experience. Let me explain...
We play in 2nd edition and our campaigns (both that I DM and play in) often last for years. Our characters gain levels very slowly and so players develop a great deal of depth and attachment to their characters. My wife has a druid character (now 16th level) she's been playing for over twenty years. So, anyway, it behooves a player to create the most suitable character possible (since you'll likely be "stuck" with this character for a looong time). After much forethought, I decided to play a paladin named Sir Marcus. I imagined him to be the perfect fantasy incarnation of myself with all the cool traits and buff abilities I'd love to have. He's good and noble and chivalrous and... well, boring. I've had my iconic character for about ten years now and I'm torn between trudging along with him and wishing he would just meet with some fateful accident and free me of this burden. At the same time I created Sir Marcus I created a ranger named Briar. He was sorta intended to be Sir Marcus's sidekick and was developed as such. Now the elven archer has stolen the spotlight from my brave knight. Briar strives toward goodness and integrity but sometimes bows to temptation {"My arrow hit him in the back after he dropped his weapon and fled - oops!"). I've found, much to my chagrin, that my ranger is a much more accurate depiction of me and a lot more fun to play.
My question is this ... Have you ever been really excited about playing an iconic character only to be disappointed (or disallusioned) after a relatively short period of time - instead finding enjoyment in a less likely character?

I love when magazines come sealed in plastic. It always means there's some great "extra" hiding inside (unless you're talking about porn and then ... well, I won't go there). So I finally get Dragon #337, I tear open the plastic and there is an awesome poster map. I love poster maps!! I open it up to ooh and aah over the superior artwork when ...what's this - in huge letters "Drow Outpost". This ridiculous title printed right in the middle of the map is not only unneccessary but immediately drops the value of said map by about 85% in my estimation.
There should never, never, NEVER be writing on a map intended for miniature/battle mat purposes unless that writing actually appears on the floor of the room your characters are standing in! The great thing about poster maps and using miniatures is they go a long way in helping players *get into* their part and help them visualize the action. Nothing spoils that entire point faster than big letters scrawled across the playing surface. Sure it was on a non-grid area, technically inside a solid wall but that doesn't make it any better. The writing might as well say "This is a pretty piece of paper, please place your little plastic figures here".
Secondly, if the creators of this map are going to ruin the moment and destroy the atmosphere the least they could do is impart some crucial knowledge to me. You already explained in the text exactly what the map portrayed and even where it "fit" in respect to other map locations. Why do giant letters need to scream this obvious information to my players? Did they forget in the last nanosecond where they were? Gee, if only we had a map or some visual clue to where my character is right now ... Oh yes, I do but aw... I'm still confused - am I in the desert or a volcano?... hey, what's this ... giant letters ... AHHH, now I remember, I'm in the drow outpost!!!
One of the great things about maps, well, every other map than this one, is that before/after you've used that particular map for the adventure in which it was intended, there's no rule that says you can't use it again and again in as many different locations/scenarios as your imagination allows. The problem is that this map now has zero versatility. If I try to use it somewhere else, it's either no surprise that your characters just stumbled onto a drow outpost or the DM has to break the story to compensate for the fact that you are describing one location when the map is screaming that this is, in fact, a drow outpost.
As you can see by my scathing sarcasm and condescending tone... I was very disappointed in this mistake. I expect better of Paizo. I'm not sure which artist drew the map (and he/she might even have been responsible for the glaring ID tag) but I'd be upset if I was him/her for destroying a nice piece of art and limiting its usefulness for no logical reason.

Why am I angry, let me count the ways!!
First of all, this is the second time I've posted this tirade since the first time it apparently disappeared into space.
Here I go again... (note: this is not lessening my anger level at all!!)
On October 7th (this year) I ordered a total of four issues of Dragon magazine from the online store. This order included three back issues (#327,#333,#335) and then issue #337 (considered by some to be the "current issue"). I was told my order would arrive in two days. When my order did not arrive promptly I posted on this message board and was politely informed that the delay was caused by issue #337 which wouldn't ship until October 27th. I offered to split the shipment and pay separate shipping costs so that I could receive the back issues A.S.A.P. but apparently this option isn't available yet so I waited... My campaign came to a screeching halt and I cancelled weeks of game nights while I waited for these back issues. On October 28th I was informed that my order had finally been shipped. HOORAY!! But did it arrive in two days time? NOPE!! On October 30th Paizo charged my credit card for the order (I had assumed I would be billed immediately, i.e. Oct 7th, and so this caused some financial woes in the form of overdraws and fees). I tempered my anger over this glitch, consoling myself with the thought that if I had been charged then surely my order would arrive on my doorstep any moment. So I waited...and waited...and waited some more! Now my calendar reads November 2nd and glorious - FINALLY my order arrives! I tear into with glee... but what's this? Only three magazines inside. Issue #337 is missing! This REALLY steams me!! After waiting almost a month for this order because of #337, the least you can do is include it in my order!! I got charged for all four and the invoice lists all four, including a section which reads "In this package..." followed by all four titles. If you were going to split the order then why didn't I receive my three back issues weeks ago?? I got the worst of both worlds here - I had to wait and I still don't have everything I ordered!!
I'd love to threaten never to order anything from you ever again but it seems a weak threat knowing I have to rely on you to get AT LEAST what I've already paid for. I want you to know in no uncertain terms that I am EXTREMELY disappointed and annoyed over your delivery service (or lack thereof). Words can't express how angry I am right now.
Bottom line is this - WHERE IS MY ISSUE #337??!!

Why am I angry, let me count the ways!!!
On October 7th I put in an order for three back issues of Dragon and issue #337 (considered by some as the "current issue") and was told they would be delivered in two days. I posted on this messageboard after it did not arrive promptly and was told I had to wait until after October 27th because Issue #337 wouldn't ship until that date. I told customer service I would be willing to split the shipment and pay two separate shipping costs in order to get the three back issues ASAP, but I guess that option isn't really available yet so I waited ... and waited...and waited. On Friday the 28th I was informed that my order had been shipped but did it arrive in two days? NOPE! On the 30th my credit card was finally billed (I had assumed it would be billed immediately so this caused me some financial woes in the form of overdraws and fees). Anyway, I tried to temper my annoyance with the thought that if Paizo charged me for the shipment it should be on my doorstep any second. But alas, it was not delivered on the 31st or the 1st. So I let my anger simmer and waited some more. My calendar now says November 2nd and my order FINALLY arrives! But what's this? The invoice lists all four issues and I certainly got charged for all four but only three actually arrived in the package. My invoice even says "In this package..." followed by all four titles. But Dragon Issue #337 is missing! This totally steams me!! If I had to wait almost a month to receive my order because of #337, the least you can do is actually send me what I ordered! If you were going to send the back issues separately from #337, then why didn't I get the three back issues weeks ago??!!
I'd love to threaten never to order ANYTHING from you people ever again but it's kinda an empty threat since I have little recourse. However, I want you to know in no uncertain terms that I am extremely disappointed and annoyed over your service (or lack thereof).
Bottom line is this - WHERE'S MY ISSUE #337?

Over a week ago I ordered several back issues of Dragon here at the online store. I think it was three or four magazines including a pre-order for #337 (which it warned would not be shipped until Oct 25th). I paid for the order and two day USPS shipping but I still have received nothing. How long is two days anyway? Or do I have to wait until two days *after* October 25th? If so I wish that had been made clearer on the order form. If not, then my order is lost in space - what can I do?

With the Wormfood articles to support the current adventure path I was half-expecting there to be some article on gambling in Dragon. Diamond Lake (the setting for Age of Worms adventure path, for those who don't know) is a poor man's Las Vegas. I'm sure gambling is covered in such places as BoVD, etc (I don't own that, so I'm just guessing here) and I don't want to open a can of worms over "evil" practices getting support from Paizo, but just a run-down on how a player and DM can get through the role-playing process of gambling in the game would be appreciated. Stopping the game to actually PLAY poker, craps, etc is sorta a killjoy to me & my gaming group but "just roll your 'gambling' skill check" is sorta lame. Isn't there some middle ground here?

I tried to submit this once and it disappeared, so if this ends up being a duplicate - Paizo housekeeping is welcome to delete it.
Anyway, I'm sure this topic has come up before so I apologize for the repost but the issue of intoxication just reared its head in my campaign. I looked through the PHB & DMG for the various editions without success. Can someone clue me in to the game mechanics for drinking? What effect does one non-magical alcoholic beverage have on a character - what about two..six...a dozen? What are the chances for addiction? I bought the recent Dragon magazine specifically for its advertised article on drinking and D&D only to be vastly disappointed. If there are no official rules to adjudicate this issue (and IMO, there should be), I'd be just as willing to accept personal techniques fellow DMs might have developed.
Thanks in advance for any advice!

This may sound like a stupid question but... how deep is the water in WC chambers 19-22? By submerged do they mean completely underwater (20 feet according to general room descriptions) or is there some space between the top of the water and the ceiling? Am I missing something in the description or just having a brain cramp here? I'm having a really hard time motivating my PCs to explore a dark,watery chamber without compounding the problem by forcing them to swim back and forth to the stairs to get air. I'd be interested to hear how others have handled this scenario.
BTW, my gaming group meets tonight so I need a response ASAP.

Someone, somewhere in these tangled webs of messages, provided a web link to a WOTC site, somewhat recently, that had lists of third edition spells, monsters, etc. (possibly updated for v3.5, I can't remember that part). I followed the link and was thrilled at the cache of information available but then lightning struck (literally) and I had to shut down my computer. This happened maybe a week or more ago. I know this all sounds terribly vague but I've been sifting through all the posts on all the message boards and now I can't find the post with the link. I also went directly to the WOTC site and looked all over there but I can't find it. My computer has no record of my journey to the desired site so now I'm lost.
Does anyone have a clue what I'm even talking about?

I have the 3ed core books but not the 3.5 so I'm sure this information is probably clearly available for everyone else. But could someone just clue me in on this one simple question -
one of the NPCs is described as possessing a "Robe of Bones (full)". What exactly is a robe of bones, and what does it do?