How about d20 Modern/Cthulhu? It'd be a creature-feature for sure! Diamond Lake fits anywhere, any country. Whispering Cairn works as written, don't even have to change the opening encounter. Three Faces works (perhaps with all-human cultists, but it's still feasible as written). Blackwall Keep would require a rehaul of the "keep" (perhaps it's a hangar at a remote airfield), but the swamp lair would be really wierd.
This is the risk you take whenever you DM an off-the-storeshelf published adventure as written.
Just make drastic changes or change your campaign to a different adventure. Swap encounters like you have already done, or better yet just start a completely different campaign.
(I wouldn't continue running Age of Worms because it sounds like the group will just continue to read the magazine behind your back)
But don't give up the group or stop playing, if you like D&D and your players then there's no sense in abandoning the group.
Just change adventures.
The Doomgrinder theme itself is really cheesy, but the writing in the supplement is very good. The book sets up a nice little chain of encounters dealing with the Cult of the Green Lady outside Diamond Lake, which I will be adapting for my campaign (minus the whole Doomgrinder threat).
Another good suggestion the adventure gives is that when the PCs are later in the Free City, the Oligarch who appointed Neff to Diamond Lake asks the PCs to "take out" Neff, and as a reward one of the PCs could be appointed in Neff's place as Governor-Mayor of Diamond Lake.
OH sorry, you meant the Land Farmstead. OK. Anyway, I have my interpretation of all the distances you talked about in the other thread, based on what I picked out of the text.
In my own campaign notes, I have travel distances converted for every numbered location in Diamond Lake, and all of the surrounding encounters too. For example, the lake is about 3000' wide (standard keelboat travel = 30 min), or a 4700' walk to the far side (trackless hills / normal human walking = 30 min).
Good call, the Tome of Clear Thought makes great sense; Vecna cultists are into reading dusty old tomes full of dark secrets. Oh and perhaps not coincidentally, the writeup says that the Dark Cathedral used to be Vecna's library...
I plan on making Faceless One's vast intelligence a factor. He will be a brilliant tactician, and will have thought of every possibility; including the possibility that an overpowering force of PCs might someday break through the complex's defenses. So he will have escape plans ready (maybe the main plan is to have an apprentice's potion of gaseous form ready in his pocket?)
It could be either, depends on where you look in #124.
p.18 col.3, p.19 col.1
I skimmed through my copy of "Slavers". As has been previously mentioned, there is a chapter dedicated to the Pomarj region. The book's plot mainly focuses on the Cult of the Earth Dragon, which has a secret base in the center of the Drachensgrab Mtns.
Fenrill, Lost Fenrill, and the "unnamed river", are all marked on a simple B&W map of the Pomarj penninsula (the map doesn't have much more detail than your Ulek triad map). But none of those 3 items are even mentioned in the text of the Slavers book. I couldn't find any mention of them in any other sources either, so they probably have no specific significance. You should feel totally free to manipulate these locations to fit your campaign. At the time period of the Slavers campaign, many of the towns & villages in the Pomarj/WildCoast region have been destroyed by orcs and other humanoids.
From what I recall of the Greyhawk regional feats, most of them are relatively low powered (the names and feat descriptions are all cool and appropriate for detailing Greyhawk, but the actual d20 "crunch" behind most of the feats is, dare I say, kinda boring...usually just a couple of random skill bonuses; there's not much available to boost the excitement/combat area). I don't think they'd upset the balance. Maybe just give one free to each PC...
I think your idea to have Smenk show up and post guards at the entrance is a great idea. When the PCs somehow get inside, maybe they wander into a room where they find the rival adventurers counting up a huge stack of gp, showing off some cool looking magic items they found, etc. That outta discourage your group from leaving any dungeon again!
But besides that, I think the closeness of the town isn't a big deal. I would just let them go back. I'd have fun roleplaying stuff in town, there's lots of detail and lots to do. I don't see the problem.
If I started to think the PCs were going back to town way too often, like after every single encounter or something ridiculous like that, then that's when I would start making life difficult.
First step would be to add new wildlife that moves into the cave entrance. Like a hive of stirges. Or maybe a lonely owlbear. Maybe the wolves they killed earlier, come back to life as zombie wolves...
Also you can add some random encounters along the 10 minute path between town and cairn; like a trio of wandering gnolls, a platoon of hungry giant ants. For some roleplaying, maybe they find a lost baby hill giant that wandered away from it's parents....
Anything to chip away at their hp. So by the time they get back to the room where they last left off, they end up nearly as wounded as before they left. That might discourage them just as much as Smenk's goons or the rival cairn-robbers.
And then, once issue 128 gets finalized and out the door, they'll need to concentrate on getting issue 129 edited and finished on time. It's a never-ending cycle of doom and gloom! :D
P.S. Oi, methinks the "supplement" assignment is probably lying beneath a bag of doritoes on the desk an intern who's busy playing Guild Wars in an obscure cubicle down by the janitor's closet....
Fant's Mine/Office is 1 hour Northeast from the center of Diamond Lake. I use the Emporium as the central reference point. Assuming a normal human at walk speed; that translates to roughly 2 miles (I break it down to 1.5 miles by hills-trail and 0.5 miles by hills-trackless).
The Whispering Cairn is 10 minutes East from Fant's Mine/Office. For a normal human at walk speed, that translates to roughly 1500' over hills-trackless.
For perspective/comparison, the Boneyard (on the pull-out town map) is roughly 1500' Northeast of the Emporium by hills-road, a 5 minute walk for a normal human. The Old Observatory is roughly 1500' North of the Emporium by hills-road; also a 5 minute walk for a normal human.
The Anders' Land Farmstead is roughly 3000' East of the Emporium by hills-road; a 10 minute walk for a normal human.
Halfelves are great for roleplaying purposes, but for pure stats they suck by comparison to the other races. In real games, you rarely if ever see "players" choose that race. Somewhere between 0-1%.
I originally added the human skill point bonus to the half-elf. But even that didn't raise a peep of interest.
Lately, I give half-elves the core half-elf traits, plus the human's skill point bonus, plus the elf's bonus weapon proficiencies. I find these two additions to be minor perks that make the race a bit more attractive to players, while at the same time not causing any major issues with balance or adaptation to existing game supplements or adventures. Works for me!
I think they should release a statement like this:
"There's been a bit of controversy and complaints over the release date of the Overload pdf ; So we've decided never to make any free pdfs available ever again, for as long as we shall live. This way, we can't ever upset our loyal fans by missing a target date again. We're going to cancel the other 10 Age of Worms pdfs that we had planned, along with all the cool maps, statistics, and artwork we were going to create for you later this year. It'll be less work for us, and our loyal fans need not fear being disappointed by a two week delay ever again."
That's not a scan of published material. It's original fan artwork (by Eric Anondsen) hosted by the Canonfire fansite. Better than anything in print! You can get the full map (the link above is a "cropped" portion of a Central Flanaess map), and a few other Greyhawk sub-regional mapping projects, here:
I'm about to start a regular AoW campaign with my regular tabletop group, and will probably start second campaign via Pbp with some strangers.
Play-by-post is fun because I love fleshing out all the action with lots of flamboyant descriptions. I can spend an extra hour to make every little detail extra-accurate. It's ridiculously slow, but it's also a fun way of trying out your creative writing skills.
Even if the game is "heroic" it still needs to cling to at least some small amount of common sense, or else it becomes silly, which isn't always appropriate to the nature of the piece.
There is still a huge amount of detail left that makes every game very realistic. Some trigonometric/magnetic/chemical/biological minutae can be ignored.
Adding pots of poo everywhere, might make the game even more silly. I don't want the gaming session to sound like an episode of South Park!
Just assume dungeon inhabitants bury their waste in a shallow grave, like animals. If the room is solid rock, they either burn it, or the vilest ones will simply eat their own dung.
Adventures don't have chamber pots, for the same reason the Players Handbook doesn't list toilet paper as equipment.
Adventures don't have privies, for the same reason the DMG's hazard section doesn't list Fort saves vs Urge-to-Pee every 12 hours.
It's a game about heroes and adventures; it's not a game about the accuracy and frequency bodily functions.
The same thing happens on TV and in the movies. We know that everybody must use the bathroom, it's part of life. But a movie doesn't need to describe how Darth Vader pees in his Tie Fighter, or where the Human Torch flies when he needs to take a poop.
We can just assume that they find a place to do it. Where they go or how people do it, does not need explaination or detail in a heroic adventure. It's not part of the game, and that is a good thing.
In "Dragotha's Lair", he was referred to as a male. Either way, he's still going to be scary.
Entering the final room of his lair, read-aloud text:
The air is cold here, so cold that breath steams and skin stings. A vast subterranean chamber opens up on all sides, filled with gargantuan cave stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and other oversized cave formations. The cavern is lit by a gleaming point of light that stands poised on the edge of a wide basin. Within the basin, a jumble of gargantuan bones can only be one thing: the skeleton of a mighty dragon.
At this point, the DM's notes show:
The silence shatters with a haunting scream so loud that your ears feel pierced with needles. Rising up in great loops like an uncoiling python, a horrible skeletal form rises, brushing the ceiling with an insane length that easily surpasses 100 feet. Yellow light shines from every bone, though it's cavernous eye sockets are black as night. Teeth taller than men fill the undead dragon's mouth, which is more than large enough to swallow a man whole.
His terrible black breath weapon is a cloud of negative energy that causes flesh to shed away. Those killed are completely melted, save for clothing, possessions, a still beating heart, and exposed bones. The bones rise a round later as a skeleton in Dragotha's service.
* two adventures in the Free City (Greyhawk), one of which takes place below the Free City Arena (in the Clerkburg district).
Other locations I've seen hinted: Magepoint, a coastal village on the south shore of the Nyr Dyv (home to the famous tower-fortress of the wizard Tenser!)
Not included: Between Alhaster and the Wormcrawl fissure lies the famous "White Plume Mountain", so if the Paizonis don't include a "return to" style adventure for that, I plan to run my group through a side-trek adventure there anyway! I love that place.
Looking at the supplied picture of the blue lantern, er, indigo lantern, got me thinking. Indigo and blue are both pretty much the same color. When the PCs look the faded fresco in room 6, would they even notice such a subtle difference? How to describe it?
DM: "Clockwise, the colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet"
4) And lastly, under the Hungry Gar description, it says that he (the owner) would have some jobs for them. Is this going to be explored in a later issue, or should we do these missions ourselves? Any ideas on what kind of trouble he would want them to cause? Maybe just enough so they have to leave in a big hurry?
You mean Gansworth at the Rusty Bucket? I got the impression that his jobs were side quests that the DM makes up. I've got some plans for that!
Gansworth is the younger richer manager, the one getting into Lady Perrin's pants. Picture in your mind an italian mob boss who always sits at his "special booth" at the local pasta joint, the Rusty Bucket. He runs his own isolated faction, seperate from the other anti-Smenk group.
As a nasty idea, Gansworth could make your PCs lives really complicated, by tricking them into sabotaging the Tilgast/Perrin coalition. He could hire the PCs to take-out a band of "bandits" hiding in the hills. But unbeknownst to the PCs, the bandits are merely thugs employed by Tilgast, on a mission to raid one of Smenk's caravans. Then, Gansworth could blackmail the party by threatening to tip-off Tilgast and finger the PCs for their deed.
This is something I have been thinking about too. I want the weather to fit the mood, through all parts of the campaign, yet somehow still fit the local climates and seasons.
For Diamond Lake, I don't want snow, the mood doesn't seem right for that. I want either dark and gloomy rain, or maybe rustic dry-heat like the wild west. The Greyhawk references all seem to indicate a great amount of rain in the Cairn Hills, so I'm leaning towards that.
Later in the campaign, the action moves North, where the weather gets a tad colder. I might be cool to have snowfall around the Barony of Wormhall. But then again, I prefer to use the default read-aloud text supplied in the magazine, so I worry about buring some fantastic description under a blanket of snow.
Predicting how long it will take for the players to move from place to place, will be tricky. Typically, time flies faster than fireballs.
I will have to use some cut-scenes to push the time forward a month or two at appropriate times (such as when the players are training, traveling, researching, etc). Otherwise we might get the whole freaky deal with players going from 1st - 20th in a mere 3 weeks. I prefer our heroes' tale to transpire over the course of a year or so, to make it "epic" and realistic.
My tentative plan is for the campaign to have four major themes:
Then in a dramatic movie-moment, when the heroes slay the final monster at the end of adventure #12, the sun breaks through the clouds as songbirds begin chirping, signaling the start of spring.
So I tentatively have <b>1st of Planting</b> as a start date (April 1st).
Edit: That date just gave me an idea. On the final day of Growfest, the Emporium puts on an annual demonstration in the tradition of Greyhawk's "Desportium of Magick" holiday. Local bards and sorcerors shoot illusions, fireworks, and spellfire out over the lake, to the delight of drunken miners who clap, cheer, and buy more drinks. So the players will start the campaign by waking up with hangovers from the previous night's festivities. :)