I like the adventure quite a bit and hope I can do justice to the excellent NPCs as a DM, but am a bit concerned about the beginning.
Basically, it's a flashback to a point where the PCs were bystanders watching the action of the silver dragon dueling the balor. One of my cardinal rules as a DM is to always have the PCs be the center of the action. However, since it's the opening of an epic campaign, it could work with the PCs playing what amounts to a cameo in the opening and it's kind of told via flashback. The PCs are the hobbits running away, while Gandalf faces the balrog in the background.
But, overall, it seems like a cool re-hash of that, "you wake up in the cell aboard a pirate ship..." and then get a flashback of how you got there, or "you wake up in a jail cell recalling the tavern brawl from the night before..." opening, and it could work. I'd have to see how it sounds if I read it out loud.
Overall, very good.
Well, if you intend for them to face the god of death, the best way to get the players thinking is to use something along the lines, “facing dangers of the gravest kind” – (“grave danger? Is there any other kind?”)
Grave danger can get them thinking a lot of things besides just the God of Death – you can think undead and liches, dracoliches and/or vampire lords, other powerful undead, Orcus, the demon prince of the undead, etc. (Works well if you have the Orcus miniature and you can dust it off as you read the prophecy, or a Warhammer Tomb Kings army…)
You can include something about “soon shall begin the Dark Lord’s reign”
(NewJeffCT, who once wrote a 76 line prophecy in iambic hexameter for a D&D campaign.)
several years back, I ran a 3.5E game and one player had similarly maxed out his defense, and also took a prestige class that allowed him to keep his full dex bonus while wearing heavy armor. Plus, he took the feats that allowed him to zap his base attack bonus to improve his AC (Combat Expertise? Don't recall exactly at work), and then the improved version of that feat. So, when the campaign was at its end at level 18, he could take a -18 to hit for a +18 dodge bonus to AC, and dodge bonuses stack. Plus, he had a defending sword +4, another dodge bonus. And, his mithral full plate armor +3. With some other magic items, he was up to somewhere around AC:60.
So, I would often let him not be hit, since he built his character that way. However, the campaign was against an evil cabal of clerics and wizards, who are obviously fairly smart... so, I would also toss area of effect spells at him, or else hit him with spells that imposed status effects, when I wanted to damage him or get him out of combat.
If your party is level 5, a level 3 mage could hit both the monk and rogue with color spray, requiring a Will save or be stunned for a round. Chances are at least one of them would fail, unless the Rogue has bumped his Will save up. Follow that up with Burning Hands, which is half-damage even on a Save. For a level 2 spell, Web, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Blindness/Deafness, etc.
nate lange wrote:
if you're looking for something really effective, you might want to use a weapon... a high dex and weapon finesse will get you a good attack bonus but won't help your damage. a temple sword with the Guided property has the same base damage as your unarmed strike with better crit chance, adds wisdom to attacks and damage, can be used to flurry, and costs half as much to enchant as an amulet of mighty fists (which is the only way the enchant is reasonable at that level).
Thanks - is the sword only available to certain archetypes?
I was thinking of going the unarmed monk route, but was considering maybe a quarterstaff monk or one of the monk-specific weapons.
This is for an NPC that will be helping the players out, so could be around for a couple of levels, hence the human monk would start at level 4 and end at level 5 (though, could end up being around another level...)
What would be a good build for melee damage, or for high AC? This would be a single-classed character.
I can max out one stat - so, an 18 in WIS or DEX? with a +2 human bonus to give them a 20. I can also give them a 16 in another stat.
What feat choices and archetypes are best, including the monk bonus feats? And, what fighting styles are best for either melee damage or high AC?
I searched on the advice forum here and most of the monk builds are monk multi-classing with another class.
thanks again everybody. One of my problems with 3.5E was that it was a huge chore for me to create encounters & run combats. I had a really big group of players (myself, plus 8 players) that could handle just about everything, so I needed to build really big encounters in order to challenge them.
However, it almost became like a second job for me.
I've recently moved and am hoping to find a new gaming group, or else form one of my own.
I was thinking about giving Pathfinder a whirl this time out, but wanted to see what sort of electronic tools are available to help out a GM/DM?
when I ran a 3.5E game a few years back, I was able to use heroforge in MS Excel and that was a big help to me since my players ended up going up against a lot of clerics and wizards the last half of the campaign. However, Heroforge wasn't perfect.
What sorts of electronic tools are out there to aid a DM?
(sorry if this is the wrong forum...)
Diego Rossi wrote:
Thanks - I typically add more bad guys and/or up the level of the bad guy leader to compensate for the extra player or two (my last campaign was 3.5E and had 8 PCs... talk about DM prep headaches)
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Thanks - I have a big group of players (six), so I don't think a single bear is going to be a big challenge, even if it is CR 3. I was debating if I should have two bears instead of just one.
Diego Rossi wrote:
I definitely agree that Jhod will stick to the temple once it is cleared, but I can't imagine my players not asking him to come along if/when they find the temple.
After the players defeat the initial wave of bandits, a few days later, some NPCs arrive. First is Kesten Garess and 3 warriors. While my plan is to have them stick around the trading post as guards to allow the PCs to explore the region, my guess is that there will be times the players will ask Kesten & company for help - i.e., attacking the Stag Lord's fort, potential fights against the mites or kobolds, etc. And extra level 3 fighter attacking the Stag Lord could make a big difference.
How have other DMs handled this? The book says that they can come to the aid of the PCs to rescue them (i.e., DM ex machina), but should otherwise stick around the trading post. Knowing my players, they'll impress upon Kesten and company the need to have as many men as possible to attack the Stag Lord's fort, even if it means leaving Oleg alone for a bit.
A day after Garess arrives, you get Jhod Kavken, a level 4 cleric when the PCs are likely still level 1, maybe just getting to level 2. I can just see my players finding the lost temple of Erastil, coming back to Oleg's and impressing upon Kavken the need for him to come along (after all, it's the temple of his dreams...) A level 4 cleric really tilts the balance of that encounter. From a somewhat dangerous one to one that is probably fairly easy. I'm kind of having trouble coming up with a reason why he wouldn't come along.
Do you just let these NPCs come along, or think of some excuse to have them stick around Oleg's?
Erik Freund wrote:
Thanks - good information.
I may look into the first two of them.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Personally I think Kingmaker would lose a lot if you didnt play through the first couple of adventures. I'd recommend Serpent's Skull as a better fit for your group (although the latter half has received some fairly mixed reviews, it must be said - so I'd read some of the subforum and reviews first). Rise of the Runelords would be my second suggestion.
Thanks, if I had run Kingmaker, I would have started from the beginning, but just upped the difficulty levels of the initial encounters and gone from level 7 to level 20+ or so instead of 1-18.
I was running my players through some adventures and realized I wanted something a bit different. The players mostly like their PCs, so they'd be hesitant to start from scratch. I like the adventure paths overall, but wanted to know what fits best coming into the AP in adventure 3 out of 6 instead of 1 out of 6?
I was thinking of retooling Kingmaker as a higher level AP, with the players starting at level 7 and adjusting the first adventure appropriately and move up from there.
As a caveat, my current group is not oriented towards the social skills - definitely an outdoors/nature type with a shaman & ranger, plus a figher who grew up on a farm. (OK, they do have a bookish wizard, a fighter/wizard type and an elf rogue, but none are diplomats)
Thanks for any input.
Has anybody come up with something like an Excel spreadsheet (or anything similar) to help people track kingdom building? I saw the thread on kingdom building and it was at 676 posts, so I don't know if anybody posted that in there, but I don't have the time to scroll through that many posts.
It doesn't fit all that well together to me - I've never seen "wanton" used as anything other than an adjective before. However, your definitions make it pretty clear that there is both a noun & a verb form of it as well. But, using wanton as an adjective is easily the most common usage.
And, while Xanesha is doing the work of Karzoug, she is also paying homage to Norgorber in the process by using the Brothers of the Seven/the Skinsaw Cult. Using Pagan it as irreligious/hedonistic is also an uncommon usage for pagan - #1 and #4 are far more common.
OK, what exactly does it mean? Does it relate to Norgorber? I don't really think it fits with a god of secrets, greed, poison & murder?
Is it just a name that Xanesha uses?
Pagan, to me, implies a religion that is either old & outdated, or well outside the mainstream. Norgorber is one of the deities listed in the core rulebook on Page 43. So, it implies that worship of him is not obscure/outside the mainstream (though, it may be outside of polite society...)
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
Thanks for the lengthy response - it was very helpful. I could even have Oleg's Trading Post as part of Turtleback Ferry maybe? Since it's a higher power level, I can put in bandits & ogres that threaten the small hamlet instead of just Oleg & Svetlana? (population 430, I believe) Having a few bandits show up is not much of a challenge for level 7/8 PCs.
Thanks for the posts. They've been informative.
I started RotRL last year and the party is currently just about to meet Aldern Foxglove below Misgivings at tonight's session.
However, I agree with you that the adventures overall seem pretty railroady (After Misgivings, the PCs most likely will face: (in order) the shapechangers in Foxglove's Magnimar townhouse, then Justice Ironbriar and then have their big showdown with Xanesha, fighting through a few obstacles on their way to meet her.
I like what I've seen/read of Kingmaker and like the aspect of it being more sandboxy. From what you know, is it feasible to up the power level of Kingmaker 1 & 2 to challenge the PCs, or should I skip Kingmaker altogether? Is it do-able to integrate Kingmaker at this late stage?
When I picked up The Skinsaw Murders last year, I thought it was an excellent change of pace for me to throw at the players – instead of the big epic battlegrounds of the last campaign, this would confine them to Stately Foxglove Manor, aka Misgivings. They would have to combat the haunts and traps within, which would be different for me as a DM, as I've hardly ever use traps over the years.
However, since I have been running them through bigger battlefields over the years, they are inexperienced with the the typical dungeon crawl where you open the door, enter the room, fight the monster within the room and then get the treasure. Then, you repeat for the next door and the next and so on & so forth.
How do you get players to go through the mansion and experience the various haunts within?
My guess about what is going to happen is: they enter through the front door and experience the manticore haunting in the main room. They’ll hear the woman sobbing upstairs, investigate and find the revenant of Iesha Foxglove. She will then streak off towards her late husband and the players will follow as best they can.
I am drawing a blank right now, but I believe she will head straight towards the caves beneath Stately Foxglove Manor, where the hotly pursuing PCs will then be stopped by some ghouls, who will ignore the dead revenant. However, once down in the caves, I am guessing the players will know they are close to Foxglove and continue on down there.
So, they will fight Foxglove and be basically done with Misgivings having experienced all of one or two haunts. Do I put extra treasure in the rooms to get them to keep searching?
Any ideas on how to get the players to experience the full wrath of Misgivings
DEWN MOU'TAIN wrote:
Maybe the note from Xanesha to Foxglove is found on one of the farmland ghouls now? Rogors Craesby, maybe?
The target of Aldern's obsession is a human fighter.
The remainder of the group:
I might give the shaman the wrathful one and the wizard burning. not sure on the elves. maybe insane for the ranger (hunter) and festering for the rogue.
the group had a bard that would have been perfect for a couple of them, but he had an out of game change of situation, so can't game anymore.
When the players go to investigate Foxglove manor in the Skinsaw Murders, the adventure instructs you to assign the various types of haunts to the appropriate PC. However, after we went through Burnt Offerings, I don't really see how any of them apply to any of my players, other than the object of Foxglove's obsession.
Should I just assign them randomly otherwise?
There are no female PCs in my group; none of them are in any way accepting of necromancy/the undead; none of them have a fire obsession; none of them seem real impulsive/spur of the moment types - perhaps the fighter who is Foxglove's obsession could be considered impulsive. None of them have had betrayel in their past. (I'm at work right now, so don't have the module with me, so not sure of each haunt's definition)
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
Thanks - that was pretty helpful. I was hoping to spread it out over a decent length of time in game.
I have the first four modules of the series so far, and the group just finished up in Thistletop last session. The ending of BO and the start of TSM mentions giving the players some time for celebration/relaxation in game so they can enjoy the thrill of victory... plus, it makes a nice cliffhanger ending to a session to have the sheriff come to one of the players and tell him, "We have a murderer in Sandpoint - and he seems to know you." And, then hand him the note from Foxglove.
It took them a month in game to get through Burnt Offerings (I made Thistletop a bit farther out of town, as I did not think it realistic a goblin stronghold would only be a few miles away.)
So, it is one month into autumn in game.
Is there a seasonal timeline I would need to adhere to going forward? (i.e., does Hook Mountain Massacre have to start on the first day of winter, or Fortress of the Stone Giants must start in mid winter or Spring, etc?) I would prefer to be a bit looser with the amount of downtime between adventures, but also don't want to open Fortress of the Stone Giants and find out about midwinter snows when the party just finished up Hook Mtn in early spring.
The three main villains perished - Tsuto, Nualia & even Malfeshnakor. Ripnugget escaped, but the party also offed Bruthazmus & the goblin druid. None of the major NPCs died, either. (I try not to read too far ahead so it won't bias my DMing too much.)
Dirty Rat wrote:
Thanks - good ideas from both of you. I did level her up a bit to make her more of a fitting final challenge for the group of six PCs.
My group should encounter Nualia in the next session - while I'm pretty organized as a DM and good at building interesting & challenging encounters, I'm somewhat less than adequate at coming up with pithy lines worthy of my villains.
You know, like:
Or, Darth Vader, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
That sort of thing.
So, the players fight through a bunch of bad guys & come upon Nualia... what is a good line for her upon meeting the players?
I was thinking something like, "Welcome to my parlor, little flies." Or something ominous like, "The town's fate is sealed - surrender now and pledge your souls to me and perhaps you will not share their doom."
Any other ideas?
1) In the initial encounter, one of the goblins got lucky & dropped a PC (who was healed the next round). However, upon dropping the PC, the goblin did a little jig & licked the blood off of his sword.
2) In the background, a goblin stole some bread from an elderly baker, who then proceeded to bash the goblin in the head with cookware.
3) One goblin tried to escape being cornered by the PCs and jumped into a rain barrel - headfirst. It then failed its wisdom check and drowned.
I know I had a few more, but I'm having a mental block
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Thanks for the update - I was wondering what had happened. I hope everything is okay with him.
James Jacobs wrote:
Thanks for the heads up on that. I'll definitely see if the PCs want to buy it now! ;=)
(I have RotRL 1-4, just have not done much with 3 and 4 yet)
Aeshuura - We finished up the glassworks not long ago (my party is about the assault Thistletop... see my post below)
I believe the goblins had killed a bunch of the workers there, if I'm not mistaken.
I could definitely see Ameiko selling the building to the players - even at a discount. The players managed to rescue her from there & not mess up their Diplomacy rolls in breaking the news to her that her father & half-brother Tsuto were dead (the PCs managed to surround him & one got in a crit to drop him before he could surrender/beg for mercy)
Thanks for the good advice. A few notes - the PCs already went through the briar maze and fought Gogmurt & Tangletooth last session - probably the best combat of the campaign so far. I made good use of the druid ability to move through the brambles & briars. The area was a charred mess afterwards.
The party was pretty banged up after the fight, so decided to rest & recover for the night outside the maze. In the AM, they went back into the maze & noticed fresh footsteps there, so they're pretty sure goblins from Thistletop came to investigate the fire.
Right now, the PCs are deciding between taking a boat & scaling the back side of Thistletop or trying to get across the bridge.
My players arrived in the Thistletop location at the end of the last session. However, in re-reviewing things between sessions, I can't see how it can be anything but a slaughterhouse with lots of dead PCs if I play it halfway realistically. Goblins are not geniuses, but also not stupid, and are led by Nualia, who would likely have them taking extra precautions as well. She has a pretty good wisdom.
It would be difficult for the players to get to the island without alerting the guards. To me, if goblins are attacked, they would all gather together in a secure location, or else counter-attack as a group.
Plus, not only do you have goblins and goblin dogs on the island, you have Nualia, Bruzthamus the bugbear, Ripnugget the goblin leader & his mount Stickfoot, the two other humans (Orik and Lyrie), Yeth Hounds... not to mention Malfeshnakor, shadows and the giant hermit crab, as well as the bunyip. I'm sure I missed a few things in there, too.
While I want the players to be challenged by a very tough encounter, I also want to try & play it realistically as well. If they try a hit & run attack, the goblins will be more prepared for their return.
The first few sessions have gone pretty well so far - the party was challenged a bit by the three consecutive goblin encounters, though not quite as much as I'd hoped (and, I'd made them into Level 2, 2 and 3 encounters).
Of course, my rolling was so bad, I could have made the encounters into a level 3, 3 and 4 and they'd still have come through relatively unscathed. (I had a pair of skullcleavers that were so worn down by the time they got to their turn, each got one attack before being slain... and, each attack missed, of course) The highlight of the combat was the goblin hexer blinding the elf ranger, but the elf ranger rolling a natural "20" anyways with his bow attack.
And, while Shayliss and the goblins in the attic scenarios were supposed to be group-wide, I made them into solo encounters and built it all into a big skill challenge for my 6 PCs (shayliss for one, a single goblin for another, and 4 other bits for the other PCs.)
next session kicks off with dinner with Mr. Foxglove.
Scott Betts wrote:
Well, we won't be starting for a few more weeks, but I'll make sure to post an update down the road. I just like the way the Burnt Offerings adventure starts with a bang with the big encounter. I've already been working with some of the players for reasons to be in town... I still need some more ideas to flesh out the Shayliss/Aldern group-wide skill challenge as well.
Just found this - as I was planning on running at least Burnt Offerings to start my upcoming 4E campaign. Thanks for all your work - this looks to be really helpful.
I was in the process of redesigning the encounters with both Shayliss & Aldern Foxglove into a group-wide skill challenge: Shayliss for the high charisma bard, Aldern for the group hero, and maybe a few others for the rest of my group. Turn it into a skill challenge for the whole group to maintain/enhance their reputation (discounts on food & lodging, goods in the local stores, etc) or lose it (perverts, losers who got lucky vs the goblins, etc)