Matt Wrycraft's page

16 posts. Alias of Nevarre.


Grand Lodge

Excellent News!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Nelson wrote:
Great stories. Glad you enjoyed the adventures and had fun with Ultimate Battle and the Ultimate Campaign version of the kingdom rules.

Thanks The Ultimate Battle made a really positive difference to the 'feel' of the battles in parts 5 and 6! :) (Thanks again!)

Jason Nelson wrote:

I forget how long in game time my Kingmaker campaign ran, but it definitely covered at least six years or so. Probably 3+ years in real time. It's a great campaign for adding in bits and pieces.

I found a lot of stuff from Rise of the Runelords was a great fit. We used the haunted house and clock tower from Skinsaw Murders on the creepy island with the will-o-wisps in Rivers Run Red. We used Hook Mountain Massacre to account for the missing fourth colony off to the west and what had happened to it, although the part with the dam and Black Magga we moved over to Varnhold Vanishing and made it part of the ancient cyclops ruins. We also (for a variety of reasons) switched Varnhold Vanishing to happen much later in the campaign, after War of the River Kings, and we had Vordakai's destruction of Varnhold be much more complete, using "Shadows Of Gallowspire" from Carrion Crown to represent the destroyed Varnhold after V had unleashed his power on it. Very memorable campaign and a lot of fun.

I can well imagine ROTRL would - though we've been alternating between the two APs (I'm playing in ROTRL) and we start part 6 next week!

On the subject of the Island. I forgot to mention that I did something fun with that. In fact, the players were so concerned about the island (because of the spooky lights on it) that they avoided in for a number of levels - to the point that it was the only unexplored hex in their Kingdom. When they finally decided that they were ready to venture across to it in a boat I used the map from the Shore to Sea module. I decided it was an Azlant university (including some liquid metal professors of learning) but had been destroyed by a Colour out of Space that came Golarion about the time of the Starstone. The PCs explored the weird island, encountered some Mi-Go (I decided to draw on and extend the Lovecraft influence inferred in the KM AP) who were experimenting with a planal orerry which had been drawing the will-o-wisps. Once the PCs dispatched the Mi-Go they had to learn out to use the Orrery from the memories of the Azlanti magi, and disable the orrery. Finally they had to deal with the Colour (a NASTY monster in Pathfinder!) they finally sent it fleeing to space...

The party's wizard claimed the island and build a magical school on it. The party druid spent the rest of the campaign trying to re-vitalise the soil that had been drained by the Colour. At the end of the campaign he had finally managed to get life to return to the island.

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I play him as an over enthusiastic, forgetful, slightly crazy old man, with a flair for the dramatic - especially if he's in disguise!
He sort of remembers every young pathfinder (making reference to previous adventures) and also makes the PCs repeat what they have to do (and then seems surprised 'Really? How interesting, you must come and let me know how it goes!')

I like Dreng. :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

Brilliant news!! Congrats Tonya - now come and see us again at Paizocon UK! :D

Grand Lodge 4/5

Here's the things I do to keep pace.

1. Lots of prep - read and re-read the scenario - print it and highlight the REALLY important parts so you don't have to scan the text - especially in combat.
2. I use the PF magnetic board:
I run initiative myself - I tend to track mob HP etc on there as well in an erasable marker
Running it myself allows me to control the pace. Nothing bothers me more than when I have to ask a player (who previously volunteered to run initiative) who is going next - it can destroy pace, especially if I need to keep doing it!!
names and Initiative mods go on the markers at the beginning of the game so I can usually break ties.
I call out for initiative rolls clockwise around the table so people know I'm going to be asking them next. I right the results on the markers and immediately pop them in order on the board
If time allows during play I will pre-roll the mobs initiative and right them on the markers when ready. Note, I try to avoid grouping mob initiative, but it depends on the complexity of the fight. I'm cautious about this, because it's easy for the GMing to think that having multiple mobs move up into flank and then attack simultaneously without delays etc...
3. I take a note of perception checks at the beginning. I can roll them quickly and in secret.
4. I use my GM screen to put clip cheat sheets to the inside (monster stats, any tables unique to the scenario, print out of relevant rules (eg, underwater combat)
5. I use little post-it tabs on my GM screen, if I need to mark a place I just grab and stick.
6. Maps are either printed out beforehand or draw-out before hand. If I'm using printed out maps I will put a acetate sheet over the top - I can then right on it! ;)
7. I use different sets of dice to roll different attacks simultaneously (attack and damage).
8. I select all my minis beforehand so I don't need to hunt for that minotaur..
9. I force pace by standing, point and saying '<character name>, you're up! What are you doing!?' (or words to that effect...
10. Chronicle sheet info is pre-printed and ready.
11. I track time and warn at the -1hour before deadline - especially if the PCs are behind on where they need to be...
12. I create spreadsheets to help me track effects unique to the scenario (eg final encounter of Fires of Karamoss)
13. I remind players to use the take-a-10 rule when not in combat. It helps.

I'm sure there are other things I do, but that mostly covers it. I don't really do this to ensure that I make the 4 hour slot - it's mostly because I think that pacy combat is interesting combat.

TBH the best solution is running the adventure a couple of times. I tend to know the pace and what is needed to be done when. I try not to under-run either. Finishing in 2 hours is almost as bad as going over (not quite - at least you get XP etc.) IMO since players rightly want to be entertained for the whole slot.

Grand Lodge 4/5

UndeadMitch wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

I've run the second of those two, twice now, and I LOVE the chase scene in it!

It's dramatic, exciting and has lots of opportunity to ham up the action at pace. I have only two small issues with it as written.

1. Considering everyone is basically helping the best person, the DCs are a little easy
2. I breaks down a little if individual members of the party decide to do different things - the emphasis is clearly on everyone doing A together, even if one person is really bad at A and good at B. As long as you're prepared it's not a big deal.

So, individual chase scenes = BAD (IMO). Team chase scenes = Good.

Anyone else hoping for a Pathfinder vs Aspis Consortium team v team chase through the twisting roots and docks of Bloodcove in S7? :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jamesui wrote:

So I've been doing tabletop games off and on for about 7seven years and pathfinder for fourish, almost always as a GM in some pretty heavily houseruled settings/rulesets. I've recently started as a player in PFS and signed up to GM a scenario (3.19: The Icebound Outpost) at the end of August.

I imagine I'll have about ten scenarios as player under my belt by then. Combined with a couple years of on-off GMing, should that prove sufficient experience to run a PFS game?

What sort of preparation goes into GMing a PFS scenario above and beyond what you'd do for a home campaign? I've never actually run premade scenarios before, meaning I could always make stuff up if anything went off-rails.

In short, o veteran pfs GMs, help me not suck in my pseudo-debut in two months.

I only starting GMing PFS a couple of years ago, after many years of running Pathfinder at home. Here's how I approach PFS Gming:

I read the scenario through three times:

The first is just a quick one to understand the plot and decide if I need to do any other background reading (eg if the PCs are going to Riddleport, I like to read up on Riddleport).

The second is where I make notes in the margin and then use a highlighter pen to highlight the text I can't afford to miss. I make sure I name everyone NPC just so don't have to make it up when a PC asks 'what's your name then?'

The third time is when I look at the stats, paying particular attention to Feats, abilities, and Spells.

After I've done that I then head over to and copy/paste all the feats, spells, abilities, conditions, monsters, and any other rules into a word document that I can print landscape and clip it to the inside of my screen (yes, I have all the books, but I really don't want to be flipping back and forth mid game).

Then I head over to GMPrep and and see if anyone has anyone has created something I would find helpful (there might be some rules 'sub-system' in the scenario, and someone has created a summary etc.)

I print out the chronicle sheet x8 (there's always someone that makes a mistake filling it out - ME!), and 1 copy of the reporting sheet (I pre-populate the event ID and my GM details)

For maps I much prefer to have them printed to scale, cut up, so I can lay them down especially. It's more attractive, and quicker (important if you're running to a time slot at a con).

I bag up all the minis I need into a ziplock bag so I don't need to scrabble around in game. I try to make sure they as accurate as possible. I also take some gemstone markers (swarms, or other things), the iconics - in game someone has a pregen, and a few others for summoned monsters.
I also take a couple of empty Chessex dice boxes - great for flying creatures.

Yes, I love using sound in game, but it's not always appropriate. If I think I can, I make sure it's all on my iPad and have a fully charged bluetooth speaker to hand. ;)

The whole point of this to a make the GMing of the game as seamless as possible at the table.

As for making stuff up - you'll still need to (nothing big, but don't be surprised if someone wants to speak to the local blacksmith, or casts speak with animal on a passing sparrow!)

I think that covers it.

I hope you find that useful, but whatever preparation you do, don't forget that you're supposed to have fun as well! :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

TetsujinOni wrote:
Matt Wrycraft wrote:

I consider it a personal challenge, as a PFS GM, to make every scenario fun for the players, in spite of any issues with the content, and without changing any of the rules :)

Fixed wrote:
I consider it a personal reward....
Fixed to my perspective.

I see what you did there. And I like it! :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I consider it a personal challenge, as a PFS GM, to make every scenario fun for the players, in spite of any issues with the content, and without changing any of the rules :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

LazarX wrote:

There isn't a separate guide for Core. The Core campaign operates exactly as the standard Classic Campaign with the following single exception.

The only book allowed for players is the Core Rulebook, Character Traits Web Enhancment, and the core rulebook sections of the Additional Resources document.

Otherwise just pick up the the standard Guide for Organized Play

The other thing to reference is the original Blog post which has all of the specific rules for Core at this point.

Yep, I thought as much.

I going to assume that Paizo will include an explicit section on CORE in the S07 PFS guide. As simple as it might be, it's good to have it in one official document we can waggle at anyone confused about the limits...

Grand Lodge 4/5

Is there a downloadable guide for Core anywhere? If not, why not? It would help both GMs and players at the table...

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:

And I'm fine with the number being a mystery when it's something I don't actually know. It's just kind of silly it being a mystery when it's something easy to calculate from the rules and known information.

Absolutely agree. I think that's really about personal style of play rather than rules.

In my own game, I have 1 player who ALWAYS takes a 10 (when possible) and another that ALWAYS rolls. Neither of them is wrong, it's their choice and I get some people like the excitement of the roll of the dice to determine their 'fate'.

As for the PFS GM? I'm not telling other GMs what they should do. Me, I think the Take 10 rule is there to be used, and find it's meaning clear enough.

Grand Lodge 4/5

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Here are my notes on running The Wounded Wisp.

I've run it 3 times now and take the following approach.

First things first:
I have a piece of the paper with the chosen Fake Pathfinder, three Aspirants, and all the randomised content all on it.

Personally I tend to:
1. Use spiders in the first encounter. Dog sized spiders are creepy and they have just the right amount of HPs and AC to make the first fight interesting.
2. Consider any religious PCs when deciding which NPC to have in the Graveyard. Same faith is always interesting - especially if it's Sarenrae! I like giving the Cleric etc a chance to shine/roleplay this scene out.
3. I usually go with the Aspis Consortium for the final encounter. It ties in closer to the events of the rest of the season and feels 'right'.

Before the first scene, I introduce the Pathfinder Society, and then give a little bit of history about Golarion, Absalom, and The Starstone - including the test, and mentioning those few that have become gods.
I do this for 2 reasons:
1. A lot of players of The Wounded Wisp are new to PFS (and also even a few more experienced players don't know the history).
2. It adds some context to the backstory, and the events taking place in the city during the adventure.

I typically start with the PCs in a boring 'class' in the Grand Lodge listening to a tedious tutor talk about fauna in the Mwangi Expanse - namely fire beetles. Drone drone drone. Then they get a 'pass' when a message comes from Drendle..
Later of course, when the fire beetles are summoned in Fimbriks house, this puts a wry smile on the faces of the players.

The Wounded Wisp:
I find this the hardest part to get right. Straight off the bat we're asking PCs to start talking to the NPCs for no real reason. This can be tough if the players are new (I ran this Core at the weekend and most of the player were new to the game - 5 pregens!)
I try to:
Ensure Heryn tells them that these are fellow Pathfinders so might have some experience to share.
Make sure that they overhear the buzz about Sir Reinhardt
Ensure that they see a Wayfinder hanging around the neck of one of the NPCs.

Travelling around the city:
I mention that everyone is talking about Sir Reinhardt.
I mention the general lack of horses in Absalom.
I describe the various districts.
It's raining - heavily.

The Wall of names:
I ask the PCs if they have any other PFS characters that have died? If so, what does it say on their epitaph? :)
I don't waste too much time on figuring out that the underlined sections relate to Failed Apirants - if a player doesn't get it right away, I call for the knowledge checks.

As above - I choose the Cleric. This can be a fun encounter.
I have a small coin (actually from the Prosperity set of Dominion! ;) ) that I give the person that takes it out of his mouth.

This is run as is.
I've been tempted though to write out my own phys-rep, with a different password, just incase I have a player that's done it before and decides to be a jerk about it.
Perhaps next time...

In all cases so far, the PCs go there before they have all the information they need. Usually they find the chalkboard and once they found the secret door.
I give them a wipeoff card and marker so that they can write down and show me exactly what they write.
I always have them ambushed in the large room on the way out. I tried it in the cave area once, and the combat didn't work as well. With a minimum of 4 v 4 it needs room to breathe.

Once they report back, I then make up a cut-scene of Sir Reinhardt galloping towards the gap surrounding Ascendant Court. The rising cheers of the throng of people, the pounding of his steed, the mirror-like sheen of his armour.
He leaps, rising up to the sky! The crowd cheers!
He drops short, descending into darkness and is never seen again..Someone says 'Well that was a waste of a good horse...'

Finally, I print the letter from Valsin on the back of the Chronicle sheet, as it feels rather special.

I'm a big fan of The Wounded Wisp. I hope we see it around for a long time.

Grand Lodge 4/5

thejeff wrote:
I'll ask explicitly: If you were GMing and a 15' gap came up, would you tell me the DC for jumping it?

I would tell you if you asked. ;)

Some players don't want to know - the mystery of the number they need is part of the fun for them. For everyone else, sure.
And then I'd let you take a 10 unless you're in combat or otherwise threatened. :)

thejeff wrote:
Or would you make me look up the rules and calculate it (simple as they are:) and hope I understood them the same way you did?

Hell no! PFS is a 'game' right? And games are about having fun. I'm pretty sure that the most fun to be had at my table will NOT be arguing over whether you can make that jump. In 30 years of GMing I've yet to come across a scenario whose main drama or story comes from jumping a 15' pit...

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've GMed this a few times now, and Arkaths Tomb isn't really needed. It's useful to know and can put the PCs on the right track if they've failed perception checks.

BTW - I love this scenario. One of my faves to run! :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

I actually think that taking a 10 (and the even less used Taking a 20) aren't used enough by both GMs AND players.

I ran some games at UK Expo last weekend and had to remind people that they can take a 10 (outside of combat etc).

It speeds up the game and keeps the dice rolling for when the pressures on.