My group will wrap up Serpents of Scuttlecove next week. I think your party will do fine, they're pretty well balanced. Sure, they'll occasionally run into trouble when the bruisers run around the one melee guy in order to get at the soft squishy characters hiding behind her, but once it happens a time or two the cleric and ranger will invest resources in being able to stand up for themselves in melee when necessary and the others will come up with strategies for staying out of the way.
I don't see any reason not to let the warlock join the witchwardens. The affiliations add a nice additional element and give the pcs additional motivation for being involved in the plot. I tried to get as many characters involved in as many different affiliations as I could.
I wouldn't worry about the warlock. Some of the abilities might seem like a lot when you get them, but they're not really going to overpower your game. Your warlock will be very happy to be able to see invisible at first level, but how many times is he going to run into invisible opponents? By the time that ability is going to come up multiple times a day, the party will have enough resources that they would be capable of solving the problem other ways if it became necessary.
Council of Thieves related, but really applies to all the APs-
I'm still hip deep in Savage Tide, it's not like I'm going to be running another campaign any time soon. And yet the Paizo Adventure Paths area awesome and if past history is any indication I will be running another campaign after the current one wraps up. I'd like to be able to hand the group teasers for each adventure path and let them decide. I've looked around this site, but the product descriptions and blog posts aren't focused enough on the player perspective and the player's guides are too much info.
I'm too lazy to do the work myself, and besides I haven't played or run any of them yet. So I challenge you. Which is your favorite adventure path? Give me two or three paragraphs that I can hand to my players that will give them a sense of what the campaign will be like and convince them, "This is The Best Thing Ever. You Must Play This One."
Just idle curiosity at this point, but whatever, would a player be happy with a wizard in this campaign? Are there any schools that are particularly valuable? Conversely, what schools can a specialist can do without? It is always a drag to play a wizard and then find no scrolls the entire campaign, discover only one spellbook (formerly the property of a necromancer and necromancy is one of your barred schools), and now that you think about it the campaign would have been just as much fun with no arcane caster in the party at all.
Not that I've ever had a bad experience. The only thing I can think of more irritating than the useless wizard is the ranger who took favored enemy undead and finds himself in a campaign where he never comes across a single zombie.
My players have brought a certain level of paranoia to the Savage Tide Adventure path. This has lead them to make effective and frequent use of divinations. Good for them, right? I like that they're thinking about the mysteries of the campaign and working things out. If it takes away some of the surprise down the road, so be it. They did the work, they know what to expect.
So anyway, we're at the end of Serpents of Scuttlecove, about to start the attack on the Crimson Fleet Base. They've been worried about the whole Tooth Ahazu thing since Zotzilaha's shrine way back in Tides of Dread. So they've been working on the problem. For example, every time they cast commune, which has happened three or four times so far in the campaign, there's always several questions about the individual who they've taken to referring to as The Manipulator.
As an aside, since Lavinia was snatched a leading theory is that she isn't who she seems to be and has actually been playing the party for fools the whole time. This is causing no small amount of consternation for the party rogue, who is married to her.
Anyway, through the communes and careful guesswork one member of the party has pretty much worked out that The Manipulator is another demon lord. So he wants another commune to basically play twenty questions: Is it Orcus? Is it Graz'zt? Is it Malcanthet? Is it Obox-ob?(I'm paraphrasing here, the list is much more extensive and the questions are more carefully worded.) There are some non-demon lords in there also, like Lavinia, Vanthus, and Rowyn.
So I could cheat and have The Manipulator interfere with the commune or something, but it hardly seems sporting. It doesn't derail the campaign for them to have this piece of information now and hard work should be rewarded. My problem is they get the answer now, but at this point it will seem completely random and won't actually matter until Enemies of My Enemy. Cool we figured it out - and that information is largely worthless for two and a half adventures.
I'm not looking for ways to weasel out of this. I'm just looking for suggestions on how to make this information matter earlier in the campaign. Any thoughts?
My group played the Age or Worms adventure path until it fell victim to DM apathy during the Spire of Long Shadows. In the year or so since I've had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the rest of the Adventure Path which we never completed. It seems like it would be relatively simple to turn the second more Kyuss focused half of the adventure path into its own high level arc to use in some later campaign. So help me with this thought experiment: What information from earlier in the campaign would have to be introduced if you were beginning Age of Worms with The Spire of Long Shadows? What aspects of later adventures would have to be changed?
*TFoE is the major opportunity to establish the Ebon Triad as a threat prior to PoR. They should be swapped for a group that has some group already established as a threat in the campaign.
And here's the bonus round. My wife was one of the players in our abbreviated AoW campaign, so she's already played SoLS. She's likely to be a player in any future campaign I run. So what additional changes need to be made if the arc starts with The Prince of Redhand?
In all cases assume that the new high level AoW arc is set in a completely new campaign world and is not a sequel to the earlier campaign.
PC: Elyosha Tatanya Fyorovna, elf druid 8
Elyosha, with a refreshing lack of multigame thinking went to check the crucible for treasure even though the DM still had the party on combat time. Unfortunately that left her right next to the Lemorian Golem when it animated.
Luckily, Elyosha had acquired a scroll of reincarnate. Urol was able to read the scroll and Elyosha will continue her adventures on the Isle of Dread in the body of a dwarf.
I'm looking at the Seeker affiliation description in Dragon 348. A seeker that "wrecks a ship" takes a -4 to their affiliation score. How strictly did you interpret that penalty? I hit my party's seeker with the penalty when the Sea Wyvern was wrecked, but I'm inclined to remove the penalty when they retrieve and repair the ship. What about ships that don't belong to the party? It seems really cruel to levy the penalty if the party sinks one of the Crimson Fleet ships at the end of Tides of Dread. I'm not entirely sure what the intention was, that penalty doesn't seem to have much to do with the rest of the affiliation modifiers.
PC: Bolk, the druid's advanced wolf animal companion
Bolk was a loyal and effective follower who proved surprisingly resilient, but her luck finally ran out.
PC: Dexter, half-orc barbarian 6/ Champion of Gwynharwyf 1
Neither the players nor the DM realized that the party hadn't had a chance to heal between battling the masher and waking up on the beach until after Dexter charged the T-Rex. He didn't survive the trip down the dinosaur's gullet. The party barely had time to mourn him though, his friend the druid was delighted to have an opportunity to use her new reincarnate spell, so Dexter the half-orc is now Dexter the dwarf.
At the end of last session my group reached Journey's End. We've got four sixth level characters, so I've been running the path as written with no problems. Next session we will likely have a new player and a couple special guest stars, so I'm looking at seven sixth level characters. I need to adjust the challenges for Journey's End, and likely for the rest of Sea Wyvern's Wake, to accommodate the larger group.
Our two special guest stars are first time D&D players, so even more than if I regularly had a group this size I'm concerned with hitting the sweet spot where the combats are challenging, but I'm not going to wipe out the party. Any suggestions?
My group begins the Savage Tide Adventure Path on Sunday. We're playing it as a sequel of sorts to our Freeport campaign which will be wrapping up soon. Many of the Savage Tide characters are the grandchildren of the Freeport characters. We've got:
Dexter, a CG half-orc barbarian, an apprentice carpenter and a member of the Church of Whirling Fury
Garnham, a NG human rogue, Dexter's brother
Margaret Teech, a N human cleric of Aster, God of the Dead
Elyosha Tatanya Fyorovna, a NG elf druid, a refuge fleeing political and religious opression in an elven nation far to the north
Wish them luck, they're going to need it.
My group just finished Spire of Long Shadows. It looks like that will be the end of the path for us. Last month the DM said he was tired of running published adventures and would create his own adventures for the rest of the campaign. This month he put the campaign on indefinate (I suspect permanent) hiatus. The party at the end of the campaign included:
Abellard Ironfist, NG dwarf conjurer 6/ Alienist 7
One might reasonably ask how a party of 12th and 13th level characters could complete the Spire of Long Shadows. It certainly wasn't because of our superior tactics or particularly powerful character builds. I suspect our DM has been taking it very easy on us.
I replaced all the statues in Oblivion with PCs from previous campagins I've run or played. That way I had ready to play personalities without having to do any additional preparation. The one player who realized what I was doing was very pleased with himself. My party was much too selfish to spring for any stone to flesh spells. They never even considered helping out their fellow adventurers out of altruism. Even one player's idea that they return the adventurer's to flesh and then kill them for their stuff didn't spark much interest.
Our Eberron game, which follows the exploits of the Marple, Marlowe, and Spade Inquisitives agency, just completed Murder in Oakbridge the other night. It really gave our investigation and social skill heavy party a chance to shine. We had a great time. As a player I'm thrilled to hear that there is a sequel to Oakbridge in the works.
Filmguy, I would recommend Shut-In. It sounds like you're planning to use many of the same adventures we have. Shut-In provided a great start to our campaign, it really set the right tone.
I'm glad to hear Chimes praised so highly as well (and that there is a sequel in the works). I think our DM has that one lined up next. I can't wait.
I'm getting ready to run The Weavers in a couple weeks. Has anyone run it already? How did you deal with the tower full of Kenku Thief-Acrobats? The fight looks cool, but I need a way to help the players visualize what is going on. I suppose the ideal solution would be a 3D model of the tower, but I'm reluctant to put in that much effort (and doubtful that my nonexistent artistic skill would be up to the challenge).
I'm actually pretty happy with the way the campaign is going. The players are really enjoying it. Grumbling about things that go wrong just inspires me to do better next time.
I've used some of the Scuttlecove elements in Freeport but dropped others. For example I used Kedward Bone, but not the Monks of the Dire Hunger. I played up the drug element quite a bit. We already played Gangs in Freeport from Adamant Entertainment, which actually ended with the party's rogue/sorcerer and his small criminal gang (thank you Leadership feat) taking over a drug cartel. It set up Porphyry House Horror pretty well. The PC made a distribution deal with Kedward Bone, who subsequently clued him in to a new competitor in town.
I also added a few Freeport specific elements to the adventure. For example, rather than employing polymorphed monsters, Porphyry House's employees were primitive serpent folk whose shapeshifting abilities and limited intelligence made them ideal pawns.
While the party has saved Freeport from destruction on a number of occasions in such adventures as Porphyry House Horror, Madness in Freeport, and Black Sails Over Freeport, they haven't exactly made it a safer place to live. They've started a criminal gang and a drug cartel, allied with a diabolist and drug lord, left a major threat alive at the end of The Styes, sat out a major riot which lead to the death of the head of the Sea Lord's Guard, and failed to save the lives of numerous clerics of two different major good temples (the God of Knowledge during Terror in Freeport and the God of the Sea during Crisis in Freeport). In a way the PCs have helped make Freeport more like Scuttlecove, so I intend to add more Scuttlecove elements over time.
I was planning to reanimate the old The Styes thread, but it appears to be quite happy in the afterlife of the archives. So how about a new thread?
Richard Pett wrote:
Nearly two years ago I promised to check in with a status report when my players completed The Styes and Porphyry House Horror (both transplanted to Freeport). It took us quite some time to get here, but better late than never.
Both adventures went very well. In both cases the PCs managed to circumvent some parts of the adventure, but it just meant they got to the hurting faster.
In the Styes the PCs started their investigation by shaking down Constable Jute. High intimidate rolls and threats of violence lead them directly to Mr. Dory. The wizard's quasit familiar scouted the warehouse invisibly and spotted the manticores. The party decided to bypass the warehouse and fly and dimension door to the hulk, to my eternal regret. I had planned to blow up the warehouse at the slightest provocation.
The running battle aboard the hulk ended when the party's undead-lovin' cleric subdued Mr. Dory. During the subsequent interogation Mr. Dory managed to convince the cleric that even though he was a murderer and cultist he was really just a misunderstood member of the undead community who deserved compassion and mercy. I practically cackled with glee when the cleric slapped a mark of justice on him and told him to take the first ship out of Freeport and never come back.
The following day the PCs took the fight to the Whisperer. Sadly, I wasn't as prepared to handle its many illusions as I thought. However, although I know things could have gone better, the players still had a challenging and satisfying final battle. Two PCs were blind and several others had unloaded a fair portion of their resources on illusionary cultists and shark-golems before they ever discovered their true target. In spite of a hearty round of, "Slime for everyone!" they managed to hang in there long enough to take down their foe. The poor thing could have gotten away, but I got cocky. "I can take it for another round," I thought, "I'm going to dominate the fighter!" Unfortunately the fighter had protection from evil up. Oops- squish.
With the enemy directly in front of them defeated the PCs went home to celebrate, never bothering to investigate further. So the baby kraken is still out there, growing. I've worked up 30-HD and 60-HD versions of a half-starspawned kraken, ready to spring on them when it strikes my fancy. Right now they're just hearing rumors about some sea monster sinking ships and plucking people off the docks. They don't seem concerned.
Porphyry House Horror started with a bang when the PCs decided to use their newly acquired lute of building to tunnel into Porphyry House from an adjoining building in the middle of the day. This quickly brought down half the population of Porphyry House down on their heads. They faced waves of pureblood and halfblood Yuan-ti, a Yuan-ti abomination cleric, a stone golem, and a huge fiendish half-dragon viper. While I didn't manage to kill any of them, I eventually wore them down to the point that they ran away.
Comically, before they left the cleric managed to control the corpse creature sucubus, so yet again the party ended up making nice with an undead monstrosity. Firmly controlled she gave up alot of information about the Yuan-ti's plans, their remaining forces, and the 'back door' leading to the chambers beneath Porphyry House. She also had plenty of opportunity to gloat and describe, in graphic detail, what the Yuan-ti, and their demon allies, were going to do to the PCs.
The next day the party returned and headed straight for the final battle. Even the Retriever, which I was looking forward to running, didn't last a round. One Dismissal, one failed save, and off they went.
The final battle was pretty tough. The orlath demon opened up with a Blasphemy, which made everyone very unhappy. Ultimately what decided the battle was the large number of friendly forces involved. Four PCs, three cohorts, and the sucubus- that's a lot of actions every round. It also helped that they hit 11th level before the final battle. The cleric's 6th level spells and the fighter's extra attack were huge. The fighter pretty much waited it out until the strength drain from Blasphemy wore off and then chopped everything into little bits.
I made some mistakes in the final battle, I let the fighter get close enough to Wulvera for a full attack and forgot the orlath demon's gaze attack. I also waited too long to use the abomination clerics special abilities. I was too enamored of their spells and big swords. By the time I used aversion on the fighter and turned the rogue/ sorceror into a snake it was too late.
All in all, both adventures were quite satisfying. I think my players, not a group notable for their weak stomachs, did find PHH somewhat 'icky'. I'd say that The Styes was easier to run, the huge number of varied opponents running around in a relatively small space in PHH made it difficult to track. Both adventures left me with loose ends that I can follow up on later, a boon for any DM. Many thanks to Rich and James for a couple of excellent adventures.
Coming soon - the Weavers. It looks like the PCs will be 12th level by the time we get to it. Any additional ideas to beef it up (beyond the 'scaling the adventure' sidebar) would be welcome. And by the way, where do I find weapon stats for the scourge?
I have a question about the demontainted weapons introduced in "Lost Temple of Demogorgon" (Dungeon 120). On page 69 in the Demontainted Treasure sidebar it states, "A demontainted item is an evil item, and bestows a negative level on non-evil users...," while on page 82 in the description of the Dread Forge it states, "A demontainted item is an evil magic item... and bestows a negative level to a lawful or good bearer or wielder (2 negative levels to a lawful good creature)..." These two descriptions of the demontainted property are inconsistent, and which one I use could make a big different to my largely neutral party. Any suggestions?
We can hope. I'm running a Freeport campaign now. And as we all know, the only thing better than swashbuckling pirate high-seas adventure is more swashbuckling pirate high-seas adventure.
James Jacobs wrote:
Forget about training. No matter how conscientious you are, you'll eventually put your players in the position where they have to go and save the world RIGHT NOW, but they'll all be killed if they don't spend several weeks training to up their levels first. Moreover, most training schemes also require an ever increasing investment of cash. You'll spend many headache inducing hours calculating how to give your party more treasure to compensate. Or you won't, in which case the party's wealth levels will be perpetually low and your players will hate you forever.
The answer to your problem is to be liberal about saying, "And then nothing much happens all winter. In the spring…" Let the party go on sabbatical for a few years before throwing the next end of the world scenario at them. Let the players tell you what happened during the enforced down time. In my Freeport campaign it took about six months of game time to get from level one to six. The arc wrapped up and the next time we gamed we picked up the story nearly four years later. I gave the players a pretty free hand to decide what the characters did during that time. They loved it. Characters experienced personal growth during that down time that they never would have gotten while running from crisis to crisis during the game itself. This allowed the players to refocus and move forward with the game with the characters they had imagined playing when they started the campaign.
Interesting suggestions, thanks! My only concern is that your suggestion requires a pretty complicated backstory and removes quite a few of the unique aspects of the original adventure.
How about this- a whole band of cannibal vermin-worshiping orcs were using the ship as a pirate ship/ floating temple. The octopus attack killed most of the crew and damaged the ship. This would allow me to keep some of the vermin and undead, as well as the orcish druid.
Your concern about the swarms is a valid one, however since I'm making the PCs, I can be sure to include appropriate equipment. Perhaps I'll cut it down to a single spider swarm encounter, keep some medium spiders, but replace the large spider, centipedes, and other swarms with dire rats and surviving orc pirates. There could be a friendly encounter with a prisoner the orcs took before the octopus attack. Said prioner would be particularly happy to be rescued before he ended up as lunch.
What do you think?
I'm going to be running Salvage Operations (Dungeon Issue #123) as a one shot to introduce a couple new players to the game. I'll be running it for three 3rd level characters. I think it will make a good introductory adventure because it offers a limited space to explore, is an unusual setting, and has some really nice cinematic moments (such as the climax).
Before I start working to make sure it works as an introduction, I thought I'd get some input from people who may have run it. Here are the questions that spring to mind:
Are there any obvious things that need to be done to convert it from four 2nd level characters to three 3rd level?
I'd like to swap out some of the vermin to show off a greater cross section of D&D monsters. Any suggestions?
Salvage Operations has plenty of combat, but I'd like to add a non-combat encounter with a neutral or friendly creature to highlight other parts of the game. Any suggestions?
I'd appreciate any other suggestions you might have for using Salvage Operations as an introductory one-shot. Thanks.
Cool idea. I'm planning on using aspects of Shackled City in an unrelated campaign, and Oblivion is definately on my list. If my PCs start freeing the petrified heros, rather than creating new characters, I'm going to pull out my file of PCs from old campaigns. Since none of my current group played in those previous games I can use old characters without even changing their names.
I always wondered what happened to the retired heros from old campaigns. Now I know- they end up as glorified lawn gnomes.
I really like "The Styes"- A fun mystery, interesting foes, great atmosphere. Eventually I intend to use it in my Freeport campaign, changing the villains into cultists of the Unspeakable One. It will be a while though, the party is currently 3rd - 4th level, making their way through "Terror in Freeport."
Mike McArtor wrote:
Wilarue d'Cannith: Wilarue is a ranger/bard with favored enemy construct. Wilarue is a cigar-chomping, fast-talking and gruff construct killer. She's also a bit of a black sheep in the family (for obvious reasons if you know anything about House Cannith). She seems to get along pretty well with Amai, but Wilarue seems to enjoy tricking her younger cousin with clever (and sometimes not-so-clever lies).
Hey, no fair! James is reusing names from Porphery House Horror again! Somebody give the guy some name ideas or his next character will be "The Violated Ogre." Nobody wants to see that.
I've really got to reread Tammeraut's Fate. I didn't really give it much attention when I first saw it, but everyone speaks so highly of Greg's work that I need to give it another look. It sounds like a perfect fit for my Freeport campaign. Unfortunately I already ran Altas' Maiden Voyage. I could run ocean-going psuedo-zombie adventures pretty much indefinately, but I'm not sure how much variation on the theme my PCs can handle.
I wonder if Taan is jealous that Tyralandi is trampling all over his thread.
Anyway, Tyralandi don't listen to that ol' stick-in-the-mud. A little unholy power never hurt anyone and negative energy is very slimming. Besides, undead are people too. I say go for True Necromancer. Your more squeemish companions will understand when you explain that mastery of the undead will help you neutralize undead foes and protect the party from your enemies.
Richard Pett wrote:
It may be a while before they're ready for "The Styes" or "Pophery." Right now they're 1st level, dealing with rampaging sahaugin and undead pirates. They aren't going to be taking on aboleth or yuan-ti any time soon. I'm thinking about writing up their adventures and posting them over on ENWorld. If I end up doing it I'll post a link here.
I ran "The Styes" last weekend for my group and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I dropped in some hints regarding "The Porphyry House Horror" from Dungone #95 and plan on sending the PC's through that next.
I think that is an excellent idea. I'm starting a campaign set in Green Ronin's Freeport this month. If the game lasts long enough, I hope to use both The Styles and Porphyry House Horror, probably following them with Strike on the Rabid Dawn. I think they all have a compatible feel and setting.