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My players are about to go into Grazuul's lair and (hopefully) figure out how to operate the dam.

At that point, I can easily see them calling their job done and heading home.

They've shown no real interest in Lamatar, so getting them into The Haunted Heart will be contrived, at best. Thankfully, The Haunted Heart doesn't really seem important to the story at all.

More problematically, though, I see no motivator to get them into Harrowing the Hook. Even if they decide to figure out who sent the ogres to destroy the dam, I see no clues in the AP that would tell them to climb a ten thousand foot mountain.

"Now that the dam is fixed, let's randomly go mountain climbing for no reason in the pouring rain and falling snow!"

What am I missing?


So last night we began the Graul homestead, where Shalelu made herself valuable for the first time since pre-Thistletop.

So players started referring to her but some had a hard time remembering her name.

Until somebody accidentally called her Chalupa. Suddenly everybody could remember her name just fine because her name instantly changed to Chalupa.

Had to share.

That is all.


I'm about to run the Misgivings in the Skinsaw Murders, and it really looks like a serious meat grinder. It's hard to imagine it not being a TPK.

So I have a question for those who have run it:

The Carrion Storms outside are what make it so ominous. Without the ability to leave the house and return, is it even survivable? (I guess it must be, since plenty of people here post about making it through and moving into subsequent chapters. But it seems pretty rough.)

Has anybody tried running it without the Carrion Storms outside? That would seem to make it a lot more reasonable. Maybe come up with some hurrying factor instead so they don't take a week?


**Minor spoiler alert**

A question occurred to me as I was reviewing Thistletop Dungeon Level Two in preparation for running it in two weeks.

How can level two be sloped if level one isn't? I was assuming that level one was excavated in the centuries after the event that tilted level two. But if somebody in level one dug down and discovered the preexistng level two, then the stairs would be further from the edge of the map, one would think, and would probably come through a ceiling instead of a hallway at the proper floor level.

The entryway really indicates that level one must have already been there when the tilting event happened, and it's all one rock. So why is level one level?


Spoilers Ahoy ---

At the end of our last session, the party had cleared out all the threats in the goblin tunnels leading to Thistletop. Gogmurt managed to send off the animal messenger to alert Ripnugget, but he did it off-screen so the players are unaware a warning was passed.

They actually spared Gogmurt in the end, who ran off to the south after providing the party with a lot of intel about the fortress on Thistletop. He didn't mention the bridge trap, though. He also claimed zero knowledge of what was downstairs, other than "the b#@@@ Nualia with her messed up arm." He blamed all his misfortune on her.

Night was falling and the party was spent on spells, so they decided to move off to a safe distance and make camp. They'll return the following night after sunset to make a nighttime raid.

They are four characters: A monk, a cleric, a druid (with a velociraptor companion), and a ranger. They all have lowlight vision or darkvision. I've decided there is a half moon. There will also be a lot of fog. I'm unsure how to run this combination as far as visibility.

I'm also unsure just how alerted to make Thistletop. They will have found a lot of dead and looted goblin bodies in the tunnels, and will have noticed the conspicuous absence of Gogmurt. They'll also know that Gogmurt signaled a retaliatory attack from Sandpoint. But it has also been a full 24 hours since that warning. Perhaps they'll think the raiders got the vengeance they came for and were daunted by the sight of an easily defensible bridge leading to an armed fortress, and went home? Or perhaps they'll be anticipating the nighttime raid.

Would anybody from below be tasked with reporting to the surface and providing additional muscle in defense? Bruthazmus, perhaps? Would some of the defenders of the fortress be sent out to defend the approach in the tunnels?

When there is a battle on the surface, I'm unclear how well sound travels to the subterranean levels. Are people downstairs going to immediately hear that there's a struggle, or is the stone thick enough that they will be oblivious?

Any other thoughts you think I should be thinking?

I've got almost two weeks to prepare - our next session is 1/21/17.


I started KM with some friends and my wife. We got as far as finishing The Stolen Lands, and then I moved to another state, killing the game. Now we have some new friends to run though KM, hopefully all the way this time, but I need to change up The Stolen Lands so that my wife isn't just playing the whole same adventure a second time.

Most of the details are pretty easy to swap out for other things, but I need to do something new with the bandits and they're a pretty huge part of the module.

Thinking about them, there are a couple odd things. The whole area is practically unpopulated. Supposedly a whole gang of bandits is making a living robbing.... trees? The nearest big target for them is Oleg's, but it's really far to the north for a regular job. I'm thinking it would make sense to replace them with something similar that doesn't actually rely on having a lot of people around like bandits do.

Enter the Tengu. They set up a roost at the fort just like the Stag Lord and, like the bandits, they found Olegs and are regularly robbing him. Unlike the bandits, they aren't really terribly reliant on thievery - it's just a handy way to get shiny things. They are populating the area, and so can be run into practically anywhere, like the bandits, but they don't have to have a terribly strong reason to be there.

They are human-like enough to be parleyed with like bandits, but inhuman enough that the idea of going and clearing out an infestation of them isn't necessarily going to look like an evil act as long as the Tengu are attacking and robbing humans from time to time.

And their stats are similar enough to the bandits that it's nearly a one-to-one replacement.

Has anybody done anything like this? How did it go?

Any comments or suggestions on things I may not have considered?

m


In an attempt to flee a battle an NPC mounts a light horse. He has the ride skill. Before he gets the horse moving he is reduced to zero hitpoints. Thus, he is staggered. Can he stay in the saddle and have the horse gallop away? Does the jostling reduce him to -1? Does he fall? What happens?

And, does the ride skill even enter into it? Would a non-skilled rider be treated the same way?

Thanks,
m


I posted this in the Stolen Land forum last night, but realized this morning it's more appropriate here since it spans the whole series. So apologies if you've seen it already - it's too late for me to delete it there.
----

I had an interesting thought this month and have decided to run with it. My players have just begun. They chased off the bandits at Olegs, randomly encountered a group of Grigs, met Bokken, dealt with radish-defending kobalds, and discovered the giant trapdoor spider.

I'm thinking that here, at the beginning, is a good place to foreshadow that something is going on that's big.

So I started thinking about Nyrissa and her goals. She wants to steal the Stolen lands and bottle them up. It isn't explained terribly well exactly how that works. There are dribs and drabs, and the mechanics of how you tear a giant swath of land out of its dimension aren't terribly important, so it's okay that they aren't perfectly addressed.

But I thought of a way to address it and add good foreshadowing at the same time.

On very rare occasions (like, just once per book!) the PCs will see a metallic sphere doing something up in the air. They may see light being projected out of it onto what seems to be an invisible wall. They may see it sprout an articulated metal arm wielding a shining instrument like a small knife as it seems to cut the air, leaving a line of black scar floating there for a few seconds before sealing. Perhaps they see it doing the same kinds of things on the ground. If it senses them watching, it will cut a hole in the air and float into it, disappearing as the hole heals behind it.

If it turns to them, they will see that one side of it is blackened and dented.

This is an enslaved modron, given to Nyrissa as a gift from an ardent follower of hers some time ago. The one who gave it to her stole it from Regulus (Mechanis, whatever you want to call it these days), and selectively destroyed parts of it, removing its freewill and disabling any communication with other modrons and anchoring it to this dimension. Nyrissa is using its abilities to weaken the connection the Stolen Lands have with this dimension so that it can be more easily uprooted.

Of course, the players never need know any of that. They will simply know that a damaged modron is working in the area on something. They are knowledgeable players and will know that modrons tend to work on repairing rifts in the fabric of space.


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I have players that frequently ask about the weather, or how much moonlight is available, or things like that. So, prior to starting my KM campaign, I took the time to generate weather data.

Looking at the world map and where the greenbelt is situated, I chose a similar latitude on Earth with similar distance from mountains and water, and pulled realworld weather for a period of three years.

(Don't ask me exactly where - I did that part months ago. It was in Canada somewhere near the Great Lakes.)

Today I decided to add moon phases along with moonrise and moonset times as well as sunrise and sunset. So I took a similar area and pulled one year of data (2013, actually, because I couldn't remember exactly what years my three year weather span covered), and repeated that three times since those are cyclical anyway.

Then I fudged some of the moon phases to get them to line up a little nicer with the not quite a realworld-year-long calendar.

The result is a very handy chart. Now you can tell them that yes, there will be a full moon tonight but it won't rise until 10pm, and since sunset is at 7pm, it'll be very very dark at 9pm. (I didn't pull that example from the actual data, but you get the idea.)

It has average, low, and high temperatures as well as average and peak wind speeds. It also has amount of precipitation. Temperatures below freezing are highlighted in blue to warn that precipitation may take the form of snow.

And all of this is way to useful to keep to myself, so I've moved it into a Google Doc that you can see here: Kingmaker Weather

One house-rule I have is this: If somebody wants to know what the moonphase will be tonight (or some other night), or if they want to predict weather, they need to make an appropriate skill check. The base DC depends on how in-tune you feel the populace of your world is with the weather and lunar cycles, so just use what you think fits. I then add +2 to the DC for each day/night in the future they want to predict. I also give a -2 to the DC for each day (to a maximum of -10) that they have been keeping notes on the phenomenon that they are predicting. They don't know if they fail - they just get an incorrect answer.

Enjoy!


I finally got my game rolling last night! Woohoo!

The PC's arrived at Oleg's, absorbed the setup info, and defended the trading post.

In the battle, they managed to capture Happs Bydon but one of the bandits escaped on horseback to the south. Rather than pursue, the group focused on securing the leader and beginning their interrogation.

Through diplomacy and intimidation they have gotten information on the size of the Thorn River bandit camp and a warning that the escapee is sure to bring Kressle and the ten remaining bandits back to the trading post, and that they could arrive as early as the evening of the following day. Now they are preparing for that attack rather than going south and taking the battle to the bad guys.

(All the gory details, if you're into that kind of thing, can be found here: Session 1 Adventure Log.)

I have a little time to prepare since this is most likely a monthly game, so I want to put some thought into what will happen. I'd love any input others might have.

Kressle and Happs have a total of 12 bandits working for them. Two have now been killed and Happs is taken prisoner, leaving Kressle with 10 underlings. She could bring all ten for immediate reprisal and an attempt to rescue Happs, but that seems too simple.

I'm thinking that she might send two of her number south to notify the Stag Lord that somebody has taken it upon themselves to clean out a few of their number. (One is too likely to get killed, but more would deplete her forces too much.)

That leaves Kressle and eight bandits. It also ensures that the Stag Lord is less likely to be taken unawares.

Rather than immediately return to the trading post, I'm thinking Kressle might instead decide it's time to move camp. The escapee doesn't know how big the force was that took down his team, and might actually exaggerate it's size anyway to avoid being branded a coward. Faced with a potentially overwhelming force, a direct attack would be foolish. Not knowing if any prisoners were taken, the smarter route would be to lay some traps in the Thorn River camp and relocate. Maybe have somebody hang back in the trees for a few days to see if anybody comes, and report back.

Once relocated, Kressle could send one of her men to the trading post with some furs, disguised as a trapper with goods to sell, so that they can reconnoiter the forces present and come back with some intelligence of what they are up against. They might also discover Happs is alive, and depending on further diplomatic efforts on the parts of the PCs they could even witness Happs working with them and decide he's a traitor.

Other ideas?


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I rolled several million characters up tonight thanks to Excel, and learned something useful along the way that I know others may be looking for. :)

I have players who really like to roll for ability scores instead of point-buying. I have no problem with that per se, as long as I see them do it. (I actually prefer rolling dice myself - point buy creates min/maxed arrays. As long as the DM witnesses the rolls, I think it's a good thing to introduce more randomness.)

The problem is that Paizo's AP's are all balanced for a 15-point buy, and there was no obvious way to statistically mirror that with dice rolls. Google failed me.

So I thought for a bit.

Rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest six times is known to be pretty close to a 20-point buy.

Rolling 3d6 six times is known to give very low power characters which will be well-below the 15-point buy on average.

So then I thought, what if I blend it by having them roll 4d6 dropping the lowest 5 times, and rolling 3d6 once? What number of points would that be equal to on average? (Spoiler alert: About 18.6. And we'll get it closer to 15 in a moment.)

So I made a spreadsheet that rolled 100,000 stat blocks at a time using 4d6 drop the lowest six times, discarded any block with any stat of less than 7 (since Pathfinder's point-buy doesn't allow it, I couldn't compare those characters directly -- and I'm a nice enough guy I'd let them re-roll a six or worse anyway), calculated the points it would take to buy each character, and then spit out an average point cost for the 100,000 stat blocks.

This revealed that the average for 4d6 drop the lowest six times is 20.7 points. That's mostly just a confirmation of what was already known.

Then I zeroed one of the four dice on one ability score on all 100,000 blocks. This made it the same as rolling 4d6 dropping the lowest 5 times, and rolling 3d6 once. The average for that turned out to be 18.6 points. Still a little higher than my target 15.

Then I zeroed a die on another ability score and recorded the average. And again. And again.

Then I went the other way: One of the methods described in the core book is rolling 2d6+6 six times for truly heroic characters. So I did that and found the average to be a whopping 41.9 point value!

Then I replaced one 2d6+6 stat at a time with 4d6 drop the lowest.

So, several million stat blocks later, I give you the equivalencies for blended rolling methods. Anytime you see 4d6, that is shorthand for 4d6 drop the lowest. Also remember that it discards any stat block containing one or more ability scores of 6 or less.

2d6+6 six times = 41.9 point value
2d6+6 five times, 4d6 once = 38.4 point value
2d6+6 four times, 4d6 twice = 34.9 point value
2d6+6 three times, 4d6 3 times = 31.3 point value
2d6+6 two times, 4d6 4 times = 27.8 point value
2d6+6 one time, 4d6 5 times = 24.2 point value
4d6 6 times = 20.7 point value
4d6 5 times, 3d6 once = 18.6 point value
4d6 4 times, 3d6 twice = 16.2 point value
4d6 3 times, 3d6 3 times = 14.6 point value
4d6 twice, 3d6 4 times = 12.4 point value
4d6 once, 3d6 5 times = 10.4 point value
3d6 six times = 8.4 point value

So, if you want to run an AP with a 15-point buy but your players are addicted to rolling their scores, you can be just slightly strict and have them roll 4d6 drop the lowest three times and 3d6 three times and, on average, it will be the same as spending 14.6 point. Or you can be slightly more generous and let them roll 4d6 drop the lowest four times and 3d6 twice and it will be statistically the same as spending 16.2 points.

I tried fine tuning towards 15 points in a number of ways, but they got so kludgy that it wasn't worth it.

I think the sleekest and most natural-sounding way to go if you want 15 point equivalency is to tell your players to roll half their scores with 3d6 and half with 4d6 drop the lowest.

Hopefully somebody will find the above equivalency list useful.

Game on!
Mr.Grogg


I spent a good portion of today reading the GM threads for Rivers Run Red and Kingdom Building, and was surprised to find reports of so many errata. It seems, in particular, like a lot of digits were left out so that +16 became +6, etc.

Is there an errata document somewhere for Kingmaker? Before I start running players through it I want to ensure I'm not accidentally killing my villains by stealing away their 10s digits.


I sat down tonight to create a spreadsheet containing all the stat blocks in Stolen Land. My thought was that I'd use it to create encounter tracking sheets and manage battles. Having all the creatures and NPCs in a single spreadsheet would make life far easier.

I got as far as the fifth one (Tyg-Titter-Tut) before realizing that this was going to be a far bigger job than I'd anticipated.

So, instead, I searched the forum here to see if anybody else had already done it. I couldn't find anything indicating anybody had.

So I'll just ask: Has anybody consolidated all these stat blocks, either into a spreadsheet or maybe just into a document that would let me print out cards for each one?

It would sure make life easier.


I'll be starting a KM campaign soon, and have so far only read Stolen Lands. (I'll read the rest before beginning.)

SPOILERS AHEAD, sort of

Once the PCs start building their kingdom, probably after it's well-established, I was thinking there needs to be an assassination attempt made on whichever PC claims the title of King. (There may already be one or more assassination attempts written into later books, but this one is my addition.) What's a throne without some attempted regicide from time to time, right?

I was thinking about motivations while reading about the Stag Lord's keep, and I noticed that the keep seems to have a bolt hole that doesn't get used at all in the text. There's a hidden entrance from outside the palisade, but nobody ever uses it.

So now I'm thinking that the Stag Lord has a son. Maybe the mother is present as a bandit, or maybe she's long gone. Regardless, he's in the keep when the PCs attack. They never see him, though.

Instead, they find the bolthole from inside the keep, after they've been there for a while. Once they enter, they see walls of the bolthole covered with cobwebs, but none stretching across the hall. At the end they find the trapdoor outside the palisade with freshly disturbed earth around it. It becomes clear somebody escaped. If they try to track the escapee, they find that the person headed south but quickly the path grows cold. On a good perception roll, maybe they'll notice a smallish shoe size. Maybe they even learn the Stag Lord had a son living at the fort with him who seems to be missing now.

The son escaped, and then heard about the PCs slaughtering his father, his grandfather, and his friends. So he took off south.

While the PCs spend time doing the stuff in book two, he's off doing his own thing and gaining levels. His mind is bent on avenging the only family he ever knew (as as dysfunctional as it was), and he becomes a successful assassin, eventually to return and find the newly self-proclaimed "King" and do him in. He figures that if he can find somebody to hire him for the job so that it comes with money, all the better, but he knows he'll do the job eventually regardless of pay.

Is there anything in the later books that precludes all this happening? Any suggestions on improving it?

The thought occurs to me that he might try to create an alliance with Nyrissa eventually, and if she sends him then that will lend her some additional foreshadowing.

Any other ideas out there?


Apparently there was once a good thread here about tricks the Fey play, but the links I've found to it are all dead. So I decided to start a new one so we can share our ideas.

I'll start it off by listing the ones I've been able to think of from about twenty minutes of thought. Please feel free to add to the list.

These are all things that either Perlivash or Tyg-Titter-Tut should be able to pull off. Some are challenges one might pose to the other, others might be competitions to see who can do the most, others might just be ideas that one has and does. None are meant to endanger the PCs in any way, even if some might scare the heck out of them.

1. Using Mage Hand, how many sticks can you balance on the bigginses' heads before they notice?

2. Cast open/close on the bigginses' belt buckles.

3. How many leaves will fit in their belt pouches? How many rocks in their backpacks? (Using Mage Hand)

4. Cast Grease. Maybe on some equipment the bigginses are holding. Maybe on a biggins's face. (Them bigginses should have better hygeine!)

5. Perlivash casts Greater Invisibility on Tyg-Titter-Tut, who then sneaks up to the PC in front of the marching order and casts Invisibility on the leader. Hilarity ensues. To the other PCs: "Your party leader vanishes." To the party leader: "The rest of your party seems to be freaking out and they're calling your name even though you're right there."

6. Cast entangle when the party is among tall grass and no dangers are near.

7. Cast silent image and make the party think they are about to be swarmed by tiny spiders. Or tiny snakes. Or tiny spiders riding on the backs of tiny snakes. All of them wearing party hats.

8. Cast flare in the face of the guy on night time guard duty.

9. Cast sleep at the guy on guard duty, and once he's out, cast a Ghost Sound of four humans running through the camp yelling war cries at each other in order to wake up the rest of the party. They won't be very happy to see that their guard slept through the commotion.

10. How many coins can you move from the bigginses' leader's belt pouch to the belt pouch of the biggin with the shifty eyes?

11. Use Pyrotechnics to turn the campfire into a fireworks display.

What can you come up with?


I discovered Kingmaker yesterday morning thanks to a recommendation on Enworld. I looked it up, spent literally several hours going through the tons and tons of community support that has developed for it, and fell deeply in geek love with what I saw.

The next step is figuring out exactly what I need to really get started. I quickly had $150 worth of stuff in my shopping cart (thanks to non-mint sales on some things and pdfs on others, otherwise it would have topped $200), and decided that $150 was waaaay too much to spend on a product I haven't even started running yet.

So, I ask of those who have run it successfully, what do I really need? Obviously, the first module, The Stolen Lands. And the map folio looks to be indispensable. While ordering those, I went ahead and got the second module as well to save on shipping and also to help me know some of the upcoming things that I should try to foreshadow while running the first module. So those are what I have already ordered. But what else is worth spending the coin of an already sadly-depleted wallet?

Items I've considered, and decided to let wait for at least a while are:

- Kingmaker Part 3: The Varnhold Vanishing
- Kingmaker Part 4: Blood for Blood
- Kingmaker Part 5: War of the River Kings
- Kingmaker Part 6: Sound of a Thousand Screams
- Book of Friends and Foes: Assassins in the River Nations
- Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nations
- Pathfinder Chonicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms
- Book of River Nations: Complete Player's Reference for Kingdom Building
- Pathfinder Paper Minis - Kingmaker Adventure Path Part 1: "Stolen Land"
- Pathfinder Paper Minis - Kingmaker Adventure Path Part 2: "Rivers Run Red"
- Pathfinder Paper Minis - Kingmaker Adventure Path Part 1: "The Varnhold Vanishing"

How strongly would you recommend getting parts 3-6 before running part 1 in order to avoid creating conflicts and also in order to facilitate foreshadowing of future events? I guess it kind of depends on how flexible they are when it comes to avoiding conflicts. I've read that they are deliberately vague in some areas for that reason. It also depends on how many major things get tacked on without previous mention, like Nyrissa. If it's just a few, then I can probably glean enough info from forums to foreshadow it without even understanding quite what it is I'm foreshadowing. If it's a bunch, then I should get them and read the whole set before starting part 1.

Have you found any of those other supplements to be indispensable to running a good Kingmaker?

Are there any important ones I've missed?

Thanks!
Marshall