Umber Hulk

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line is not discounted since they're already at a significant discount (compared to our other lines).
You probably should make that clear in the original blog post, because it currently says,
Every Paizo PDF release before 2015 is on sale for 25% off

Yeah, I'm very confused by this. Both the email and the blog post clearly state that EVERY Paizo PDF release before 2015 is on sale for 25% off.

In addition, if you click the link in the "Check out all everything on sale starting right here" line in the above blog post it takes you to a page where none of the items shown appear to have a 25% discount applied.

Can someone from Paizo please give some clarity on what is and isn't on sale as at the moment it is as clear as mud.

Thanks Sharaya!

Hi Sharaya,

I've got the confirmation emails. That's all that I'd like to order. So they are ok to ship. Is there something I need to do on my end to pay for them and get them on their way?

Ok, remove the Art of Dragon hardcover, Dragon #341 and, if needed Dragon #342 from the order to try and get it back to 2 packages.


Also, if I dropped the Art of Dragon hardcover from my order how much weight would that free up? Enough to drop it back to 2 packages?

How much is the shipping cost for 3 packages of roughly 12 pounds vs 2 packages of roughly 8 pounds?

Edit: Assuming I ship using Standard Mail, not Priority Mail.

No worries Sharaya. Thanks for the update.

Let me know if you need me to make any decisions regarding shipping or removing items from my order (or potentially even adding some if there is room).

Hi Sharaya,

I have reviewed those 2 suspended orders.

Can you please change the shipping address for the 2 suspended orders to the address that starts with Level 6, State... etc.,

Can you please remove Dragon #355 from Order #3323336. I have discovered that I already have that issue.

I have added several more Dragon magazines and the Greyhawk maps to my shopping cart. Can you please add them to my order until I get to the weight limit for both packages.

Since I have removed Dragon #355 from Order #3323336 at least 1 of the issues of Dragon in my shopping cart should fit in that order, possibly along with the 4 poster maps.

If you can't fit all of the Dragons in my shopping cart into the 2 packages, can you please advise me how many of them will have to be left out of the order?


Olaf the Stout

Sharaya wrote:

Other general notes about International shipping:

Our shipping options for International orders are USPS Priority and USPS Standard Post. Standard Post has a weight limit of 4lbs per package.

The system calculates orders to go using the cheapest method. In some cases, that is multiple packages going standard post. Usually, the system is supposed to be smart enough to calculate multiple smaller packages on it's own, but sometimes it has been having trouble with that. If you're placing a smaller order, and it seems like the shipping is high, we are happy to take a look.

That said, if you are placing a larger order, it probably is, in fact, cheapest to send it in one box going Priority. From what I can tell right now, it looks like the weight benchmark for Priority being cheapest is probably anything that's more than about 10-12 pounds of product. Which, on some of the larger sale order than have been placed, they have hit that weight pretty quickly.

Thanks Sharaya.

From looking at the 2 suspended orders you have processed for me, the postage costs for 2 packages sent via standard post is less than half the cost of the single priorty mail package (about $30 vs $63 from memory). So it's definitely cheaper (but slower) for me to ship via standard post for this order.

There may be a few more books/magazines that I want to add to the order. So I'll review what I've ordered, add any additional items I would like to my shopping cart and confirm in this thread when I have finalised my order.

Unless you would prefer I made any additions to the order via email? In which case, what is the best address to send any additions to?

I also would like to change the shipping address for the orders. I saw that I could do it myself, but I was worried that it might mess up the shipping option you have chosen, so I just left it for you to change manually.

Can you please ship the orders to the address that starts with Level 6, State...

The new address is also in Australia so it shouldn't impact shipping costs at all.

Anyone there?

I hope the forums aren't quicker. If they are you will be waiting a while. I've been waiting almost 48 hours for a response to my issue.

So, I still can't see any other shipping options. I'm not sure if this is related to the shopping cart issues others seem to be having during the Great Golem Sale, if I'm missing a button I should be pushing to get other options, or if there really is only one shipping options available to me.

I would have thought that USPS First-Class International Service or USPS International Surface Air Lift would be available as slower, but cheaper options. I remember having multiple shipping options in the past.

Anyone at Paizo able to help?

I'm having trouble placing an order. I want to buy some old Dungeon and Dragon Magazines (in hard copy) and have them ship to Australia.

It's been 2 years since my last non-PDF order here, so the Paizo ordering screens have definitely changed since then.

My issue is the only shipping option I can see for the order is US Priority Mail. That has a very short shipping time but, quite understandably, is very expensive.

Are there other shipping options available to me? If so, how do I select them?

When I click on the button for US Priority Shipping something loads on the page (a loading icon comes up on screen), but it goes away after a few seconds and nothing seems to change.

So excited to see Tact-Tiles are back, in Kickstarter form!

Backed for 2 deluxe sets.

So excited to see Tact-Tiles are back, in Kickstarter form!

Backed for 2 deluxe sets.

Another death last night. I think that brings the total to 7, but I may have missed a couple:

Character: Velan (Human, Bard 6 / Lyric Thaumaturge 2 / Virtuoso 2 / Sublime Chord 1
Adventure: Spire of Long Shadows
Location: Chamber in the Zigguraut
Cause of Death: Negative energy blast from a Sword of Kyuss

Details: The PC's took out the Wormcaller in round 1, but just couldn't deal with multiple blasts of negative energy from the Swords of Kyuss. Dealing 14d6 damage, those things are nasty. Eventually Velan was taken down, but was still caught in the negative energy blast area, so the next one took him from unconscious to dead.

The party eventually managed to kill the 3 Swords of Kyuss without any further deaths, but it was touch and go for a while. If Velan hadn't used his magic item from Tenser to turn the clock back 1 round (MIC magic item) the Wizard and Cleric would have died too.

Dennis Harry wrote:

I think the larger questions beyond the Ulgurstasta's rampage are:

(1) how will this effect the games, the arena will have been pretty well smashed by the beast breaking out and rampaging through of this monster and
(2) what does Loris Raknian do now?

Certainly Raknian will know that someone went somewhere they shouldn't have but would he even stick around to find out who? No doubt the authorities in Greyhawk will consider the presence of the Beast underneath HIS arena to be a questionable activity after all the beast is much more dangerous than the Froghemoth :-)

Interesting dilemmas to solve Olaf!

I've decided that the games will be called off and Loris Raknian will flee. There's too much dodgy stuff going on down there for him to risk being able to explain it away. Best just to escape while he can.

It has certainly shortened this adventure!

Olaf the Stout

Turin the Mad wrote:
Um ... a 60' cone that makes Kyuss spawn? The critter'd be barfing into every house in the neighborhood around the arena. The city would be overrun by Kyuss spawn in a matter of hours unless there are VERY powerful people in town able to stop both it and a few hundred to several thousand super-zombies...

The 60ft Cone is a one a day thing. So it can't do that for another 24 hours.

It can still swallow people, kill them with the necromantic acid and then spit them out as spawn though.

Olaf the Stout

Smarnil le couard wrote:
MrVergee wrote:

You might find some inspiration in this thread:

What happens if they fail?.

Well, unless I missed something, that thread is about the consequences of old Ulgur gobbling up the Champion and triggering its Necrotic Radiation Outburst power (tm).

Here, it's all alone in the night, without any Champion to snack on, and no chance to fulfill its glorious destiny. Just a plain old rampage for compensation.

And it's up to the DM to decide if he is 'ripe' enough to vomit spawns of Kyuss instead of the regular skeletons (or zombies? Can't remember). Depends on the level of challenge you wish (or in this case, on the level of destruction you wish to describe, as the PCs won't play any part in its demise).

You are correct Smarnil. I saw and read that thread, but it is about the Ulgurstasta being released during the final of the Champion's Games. So partially useful, but not really that relevant.

In my campaign the Ulgurstasta has been released on the night after the first round of combats have been completed (so just before the rest day). Being night time, no one is in the arena, so it will cause a bit of damage to the arena itself, before moving on to people it can feast upon.

Olaf the Stout

My group is halfway through the Champion's Belt adventure. They easily survived the first gladiator fight and Ekaym spilled the beans on what his real motives were. The party agreed to search for his sister.

After finding the palace too heavily guarded, the decided to look around the arena understructure. With the help of the deaf mute, they found their way down to Bozal's hideout. The Spawn of Kyuss and the Mohrg were easily dealt with. The fight with Bozal was almost even easier than that.

Bozal started with a number of spells up, including Anti-life Shell. One natural 20 Dispel Magic check and that was gone and the party's meat shield was up in his face. Bozal's first action was to bring out the big guns, Harm. I proceed to roll a 1 on the Concentration check, the spell fizzles and he takes 40 points damage from the AoO.

This is followed up by a Nat 20 critical hit with an axe that is confirmed with a second Nat 20 (making it x4 damage - house rule). This left Bozal with just enough hit points for the Wizard's Enervation spell to take him down so that the Crusader could then smash his unconscious body to death.

I had decided before the combat even began that the Ulgurstasta would be awoken if Bozal was killed (or he could activate it early if he wanted to). So, the party heard a loud roar and the sound of something being smashed coming through the double doors.

They opened the doors and saw the Ulgurstasta down the hallway. Immediately they realised that it was too big to escape the room it was in. However, for some unknown reason the Crusader still decided to charge it (without even bothering with a Knowledge: Religion check to see what exactly he was up against).

He didn't even get close as the Ulgurstasta chomped him with an Improved Grab bite attack, grappling him in it's maw. The Knight then charged down and attacked, only to have his damage completely negated by the 10/Magical Piercing DR. The Crusader managed to avoid being swallowed thanks to a Nat 1 on the Ulgurstasta's grapple check but copped 30 points damage when the Wizard decided it was a good idea to hurl an Orb of Force into a grapple (the attack is randomised).

At this point the party was nicely in place for a Necromantic Acid breath weapon attack. The attack hit everyone in the party, with only the Rogue and the Cleric making their reflex saves. I then proceeded to roll 16 Con damage on 3d6, killing the Crusader, Knight and Wizard outright! The Rogue and Wizard (wisely) fled at this point.

That stopped the session for the night and we talked about what the party could have done differently, and where to from here in the campaign. We eventually decided that we wanted to continue the campaign and the party (well the 3 that were left - the Bard was left back and the Conoeby as his player was absent) would try and get the 3 that were killed resurrected.

That part I have figured out. I'm going to hand wave the 3 remaining members killing the Spawn of Kyuss that their fellow party members have turned into and then recover their bodies (or part of them) for resurrection. They will also recover the (now powerless) Apostolic Scrolls and find Lahanka's zombie coprse.

The question is what happens to the Ulgurstasta? After it killed half the party it then burst upwards into the arena, where it would continue its rampage. It is about midnight, so the arena is empty. So I figured that the Ulgurstasta would continue on wreaking havoc and turning people into spawns until it was finally killed by some of the higher levelled NPC's that live in the Free City of Greyhawk.

So, what sort of damage should the beast be able to do before it is finally killed? I don't think it will be anywhere near as bad as turning 20,000 people into Wights, but it still should do quite a bit of damage and create a fair few Spawns of Kyuss that then need to be killed.

Any suggestions? My next session is a week away, so I have until then to decide just how much destruction it causes before being destroyed. This will all be handled out of game as the party will not be taking it on again, they will be recovering the bodies of the PC's who were killed.

Olaf the Stout

I had 3 deaths last session, taking the total number of deaths in the campaign to 6.

Character: Cirian (Grey Elf, Wizard 8)
Adventure: The Champion's Belt
Location: Arena understructure
Cause of Death: Ulgurstasta's necromantic acid breath weapon

Details: Cirian was standing in the prayer room where the Apostolic Scrolls were kept. Unfortunately he wasn't far enough away from the Ulgurstasta when it unleashed a 60ft cone of necromantic acid down the hallway at Cirian and the rest of the party.

One failed reflex save later and Cirian had taken 16 Con damage (yep, I rolled 16 on 3d6!) from the acid, killing him and turning him into a Spawn of Kyuss at the same time!

Character: Heloric (Dwarf, Knight 8)
Adventure: The Champion's Belt
Location: Arena understructure
Cause of Death: Ulgurstasta's necromantic acid breath weapon

Details: Heloric charged down the hallway at the Ulgurstasta, trying to help out Ezio, who had been grappled in the monstrosity's mouth. At that point the Ulgurstasta unleashed a 60ft cone of necromantic acid at Heloric and the rest of the party.

One failed reflex save later and Heloric has taken 16 Con damage (yep, I rolled 16 on 3d6!) from the acid, killing him and turning him into a Spawn of Kyuss at the same time!

Character: Ezio (Human, Crusader 7 / Cleric 1)
Adventure: The Champion's Belt
Location: Arena understructure
Cause of Death: Ulgurstasta's necromantic acid breath weapon

Details: Upon seeing that the Ulgurstasta had broken free of the sphere it was trapped in, Ezio charged down the hallway at the beast. Unfortunately for him the beast grappled him in his mouth before he could do any damage. The next round the Ulgurstasta unleashed a 60ft cone of necromantic acid down the hallway at the rest of the party.

Being grappled in the mouth of the beast, Ezio had no way of avoiding the acid. Between the damage he had taken already and the 16 Con damage (yep, I rolled 16 on 3d6!) from the acid he had no chance. He was killed and immediately turned into a Spawn of Kyuss.

Brutal Ben wrote:
I dare anyone to buy the Slumbering Tsar through this special and successfully run the entire thing in one weekend!

I don't think it is physically possible to get through that much material in 48 hours.

Olaf the Stout

I find it very fitting that March 4th also ended up being a great way to remember Gary Gygax, one of the fathers of roleplaying.

Olaf the Stout

I can understand a slightly higher price compared to PDF-only. However, I personally wouldn't pay too much more than the PDF-only price.

So I guess it would come down to a question of how much more.

Olaf the Stout

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Thank you! And also, this book is now available for Kindle.

Any chance of the PDF and Kindle versions being bundled together, either here on Paizo or on DriveThruRPG?

I have a Kindle, laptop and desktop, so I would love to be able to use it on all formats.

Olaf the Stout

My group is 1 from 1. I ran the Shackled City AP from start to finish. It took us over 3 years and 100 sessions (about 4-5 hours per session) to complete. We played once a fortnight, with a gap of about 7 months in the middle (I took a break from gaming after the birth of my second child).

It definitely got tough for me a DM at the end. By that stage, the players knew their characters well enough and had enough spells, magic items and abilities to walk over a lot of encounters, even though they were routinely facing CR's 2-3 higher than their level.

The final couple of adventures were heavily modified to give it a more satisfying ending for my group. Having said that, I made several modifications and additions throughout the AP, taking on board ideas from others that had run the AP. Being the first AP created, the ending was a little lacking and the various adventures needed more linking together.

I think the PC's were around 18th or 19th level by the end of the campaign.

After a group vote I'm now running them through the AoW AP. We're currently finishing up the last bit of the second adventure. Having said that, I did add Mad God's Key as an extra adventure at the start, so we're almost through the 3rd adventure of the campaign. Whispering Cairn is a rather large starting adventure though.

I fully expect that we'll finish this AP as well, although it will likely take just as long as the SCAP to finish. I'm not overly looking forward to having to DM high-levels again though. That was a lot of work and not as much fun for me as a DM.

Olaf the Stout

Looks like we're both around the same point at the moment then, but you will be overtaking me shortly as we only play once a fortnight.

Olaf the Stout

It took 4 x 4-5 hour sessions, but we finally finished off Mad God's Key a couple of weeks ago. The final two encounters were touch and go in regards to a TPK.

For the SCAP and AoW AP's I've been rolling completely in the open so there is no fudging in that regard. On top of that last session had an ex-player visting from overseas so I had him run the monsters in combat for me. Thankfully his dice went from hot to cold at the right time or it would have been a TPK.

In the end the party won the day and there were no PC deaths. The only thing that stopped there being some deaths (or more likely a TPK) was the fact that I have allowed the Cleric to use the Pathfinder Channel Energy rules, instead of the Turn Undead rules. The extra healing gained from that made the difference in the end.

Although no one died, PC's were knocked unconscious 18 times in the 4 sessions vs 31 PC kills (we keep track of PC kills, times PC's are KO'd and other things like highest damage dealt in 1 hit, highest save, highest skill check, etc). So the adventure was a tough one.

I ended the adventure with the party returning the book and then heading back to check on the sick members of the Green Dagger Gang (they had promised to try and get them cured). At this point I foreshadowed what is to come by having the sick members turned into Spawn of Kyuss due to the potions they were given actually having the slow worms in them (see the Encounter at Blackwall Keep for the rules).

I wasn't mean enough to have the PC's face the spawns. They had been dealt with by some Clerics of Pelor a couple of days earlier. Cyrathus did survive and told the PC's of what had happened and the Clerics of Pelor told them of how the green worms had come out of the bodies after they were killed.

So now we're into the Whispering Cairn. After 1 session there the party have found the Indigo lantern, popped up the Yellow elevator, ruined the Green elevator and fought 2 acid beetle swarms, the mad slasher and 2 bombadier beetles. The swarms caused a bit of worry as the party had no AoE spells to hurt them and were instead forced to rely on torches and some Alchemist's fire. Eventually they killed them off with only the Rogue being knocked out (twice).

Should be interesting to see how they go from here. Everyone is 2nd level, so that definitely helps in keeping them alive in the Cairn.

Olaf the Stout

Out of interest, is there a 3.5E version of this adventure. I thought there was for at least the first adventure, and can find mentions of it online, but the PDF's don't seem to be for sale here or on RPG Now.

Olaf the Stout

Yeah, I discovered the web enhancements. Very useful. I've used a screenshot program to cut and paste them for use in things like NPC cards and the campaign newsletter.

I'm also going to look at some arts websites like Deviant Art and the like for pics of NPC's that didn't get an official pic.

Olaf the Stout

Dawn R Fischer wrote:

You could try out the first chapter of the Slumbering Tsar Saga. At $2, it won't break your pocketbook. You can get a feel for the series as well as a nifty camp on the far edges of civilization that can be plunked down in any location in your game world you wish.

If you choose not to purchase the entire book there are other, but not necessarily cheaper, ways to slowly acquire the entire series, either via pdf or individual soft cover modules (chapters).

I am sure it isn't a surprise that shipping across the entire Pacific Ocean is expensive. That price is not up to either us at Frog God Games nor the folks at Paizo and none of us can do anything about it except perhaps to advise you to buy several things together to reduce the cost per item, or combine orders with friends.

It depends, I suppose, on whether you believe this massive tome, nearly 1000 pages in size, is worth the expense holding in your hands and plopping it down with a decisive thud on the game table or not.

I might do that. Thanks for the suggestion.

While the shipping was a fair bit more than I had thought it might be, I know from previous experience that it is expensive. I also know that it isn't Frog God Games or Paizo's fault either. You're just charging me what the US Postal service is charging you.

That still doesn't mean it doesn't suck though! ;-)

Olaf the Stout

Well I almost took the plunge and ordered the book/PDF bundle. However I got to the checkout and discovered that shipping on this bad boy will be $69.60! 8-O

I know shipping to Australia isn't cheap and the book is supposed to clock in at over 1,000 pages, but that was still higher than I had expected. :-(

Unfortunately I don't know that I can justify spending almost $200 on a product when there is no guarantee that I will ever get to run it. I know that there is the PDF only option, but $90 for the PDF still would be more than twice as much as I've spent on any other PDF (the Rappan Athuk Reloaded PDF cost me $40 on sale from memory).

Anyone care to try and convince me otherwise?

Olaf the Stout

Game is on tomorrow night.

jhilahd, are you placing the Tomb Of Everflowing Blood near Diamond Lake and the Whispering Cairn?

Olaf the Stout

TriOmegaZero wrote:

Most of the keys are mentioned in the room descriptions.

If they leave enemies below, and do nothing to seal off the entrance, you can certainly have more depredations on the city, maybe have Kazmojen's troops sneak up to exact revenge.

You could also have the Stormblades clear them out, collapse the tunnel, and gloat to anyone and everyone how the 'peasants couldn't be trusted to get the job done right'.


I just finished running the SCAP a couple of months ago. The party built up a healthy rivalry with the Stormblades, so use whatever opportunity you get to build animosity through the two parties.

This is where the Cauldron Chronicle (what I called the town newspaper) proved very handy. It allowed the Stormblades to antagonise the PC's, even when they weren't in direct contact with them. In some ways this was even better as the players couldn't respond.

The Demonskar Ball (the delvesdeep's came up with) is another great opportunity to build animosity between the 2 groups.

Olaf the Stout

My group finished the SCAP at the start of this year.

They to'd and fro'd on their party name before finally deciding to just steal their name and go with the "Knights of the Old Republic". It often got shortened to just "the Knights".

I'm glad they had a name though as it definitely added something to the campaign. I had something to call the group when they were mentioned in the Cauldron Chronicle (Cauldron's newspaper).

We've just started the Age of Worms AP now and I'm definitely getting the players to come up with a group name again.

Olaf the Stout

jhilahd wrote:

Great timing.

I'm starting my AoW campaign's first game tomorrow and I too am running the Mad God's Key.
So this is awesome.
Question, Olaf, when doing the dock did you follow it per the adventure or did you incorporate the chase cards or any other chase rules?

Sorry that I'm probably too late, but I ran it as per the adventure. I figured it was complicated enough as it was.

I did draw out the map completely on Gaming Paper before the game though.

At first it looked like Irontooth was going to escape pretty easily. However he got stuck in the netting on one boat for several rounds, which allowed the Crusader to catch up (failed a Reflex save and then several Strength checks to break out).

We play fortnightly, so the next session should be this Thursday, but I've had to reschedule to next week due to a suit fitting for my sister's wedding this weekend.

We'll just play 2 weeks in a row to catch up. I'm thinking it will take 2 more 4-4 1/2 hour sessions sessions to finish off Mad God's Key. 1 session for the Thieves Guild and 1 session for the Tomb of Everflowing Blood. I'm hoping it will be less than that, but my group tend to take forever trying to determine what course of action to take, so I'm not too optimistic! :-D

Anyone else run it know how long it took their group?

Olaf the Stout

Thanks for the heads up Wolf. I have EtCR, so I might give it a look.

Having said that, based on what you're saying about it, I think I prefer the lower damage, but ability to heal of the Channel Energy ability over the Destroy Undead ability.

Olaf the Stout

In the 1 session played of our campaign so far Channel Energy saved a PC's life. The Cleric was 25 feet away from the Ranger after moving and healed him from negative HP's to positives.

If he didn't the PC would have copped 2 attacks while unconscious from a pair of guard dogs, which probably would have killed him. As it was the Ranger was still taken into the negatives again by one successful bite next turn, but the healing saved him from death (and possibly stopped the second attack from hitting).

In my last campaign I had a Cleric for about half the campaign. In that time he managed to destroy 6 Zombies and make a few other low level undead flee. Other than that his turning did not work or was not used as there were better options to take with his action.

Olaf the Stout

Beckett wrote:

A few supliments in 3.5 already have them,so it is nothing new with PathFinder really, except that Pathfinder turned it into healing or damage.

I actually like Turning more, as I do not often play a healer Cleric. That being said, what you wrote is fine, though in PF, the +4 Turn Resist = +4 Will save vs Channel Energy to harm.

The things I don't like about the turning rules are:

1. It requires you to roll on 2 separate tables that are used for nothing else besides turn undead checks.
2. Turning either doesn't have any effect or is an auto-win button.
3. Turning against incorporeal creatures is useless, even when you do succeed. It only buys you some time unless you destroy them (very low chance) or have some way of following them through the walls to attack them when they flee

Do skill synergy bonuses still exist in Pathfinder rules? I couldn't see them in the PF SRD.

I was wary about the +4 Turn Resistance = +4 to the Will save vs Channel Energy being too good for the bad guys. Does that help to offset the fact that Channel Energy is a much better ability than Turn Undead though?

Olaf the Stout

I run a 3.5E D&D campaign, but I really don't like the 3.5E Turn Undead rules. So what I am doing is using the Channel Energy rules from Pathfinder RPG.

The slight problem I run into is dealing with things like the +2 synergy bonus having 5 ranks in Knowledge (Religion) gives to Turn Undead checks or creatures with Turn Resistance.

I was thinking of perhaps having a +2 bonus equate to a +1 bonus to the Will save for half damage. So the +2 synergy bonus from Knowledge (Religion) would increase the save DC by 1. A creature with +4 Turn Resistance would get a +2 bonus to their Will save vs Channel Energy.

Has anyone else tried using the Channel Energy rules with 3.5E? How did you mesh it in with the 3.5E rules?

Olaf the Stout

Steel_Wind wrote:
3.5 or Pathfinder RPG?


However there are 2 changes I have made to the rules that will have a significant impact on this campaign.

1. We are using the Pathfinder Channeling rules instead of the 3.5E Turn Undead rules.

2. I am allowing the Rogue to deal 1/2 sneak attack damage to corporeal undead. Incorporeal undead will still not be sneak attackable.

Olaf the Stout

Well we started the Age of Worms AP last night. I decided to open the campaign up with Mad God's Key before moving on to the Whispering Cairn. Having just run my group through the Shackled City AP, it wasn't until one of my players commented about the opening adventure again involving a locksmith (Mad God's Key involves finding a stolen key) that I even realised the coincidence!

I had the game start with the players acting as a caravan guard for Allustan (he is the mentor of the Elf Wizard in the party) on a trip to the Free City of Greyhawk. Howwever, I did make it clear to the players that they felt like Allustan could probably more than handle himself if there was any trouble, and that they were brought along for company and to let them have a bit of fun in Greyhawk. This gave me a chance to build the relationship between the players and Allustan early on in the campaign as I really want them to think of him as a strong ally (much like Jenya was in SCAP).

Just after sunrise on the second day of travel I had the party attacked by 4 lizardmen, foreshadowing the Encounter at Blackwall Keep, as well as allowing the players to have an early combat encounter to get into their new PC's grooves. The Crusader on watch spotted the lizzies when they were about 20-30ft away, avoiding a potential ambush. Combat was then on like Donkey Kong. The Crusader copped a fair bit of damage, but the party dispatched the lizardmen without anyone dropping into the negatives. I had Allustan stay back watching to see what they party was capable of and then burst out into applause and compliments once the players had killed the last lizardman. He also gave them a small GP bonus for protecting him so well.

From there the party safely made it to Greyhawk without any more trouble. At this point Allustan told them he was off to do his business, research at the library, etc. He paid for their room and meals at an inn and told them he would send someone to notify them when he was finished. Until then they were free to do as they wished. I gave the players a day to spend their lizardmen booty and explore the city before dropping the opening scene from Mad God's Key on them.

They kindly took the hook I laid out, stopped the 2 petty criminals from looting the locksmith and agreed to try and help him find his key for 5gp per person per day, at least until Allustan was ready to head back. They found out that the person they needed to speak to was a half-orc named Irontusk and head to Barge End to find him. From here it played out like a scene from Hot Fuzz, with the Crusader the Nicholas Angel of the party and the other PC's imitating Danny Butterman.

The Crusader climbed onto the roof of a nearby building and ran from rooftop to rooftop, including clearing a 10ft gap at one point, before dropping down and attacking Irontusk. 2 or 3 combat rounds later and Irontusk was well and truly unconscious after the Crusader confirmed a critical with his Waraxe, dealing 37 points of damage! Thankfully he was doing non-lethal damage or they would have been picking chunks of half-orc off the docks for days!

Meanwhile the Dwarven Cleric (20ft move and, unlike everyone else, in his armour) decided he was better spending 4 rounds running to the next dock than risk falling in the water and drowning. The Rogue (with a fear of open water chosen before the game began!) decided to do the same.

The aloof and arrogant Wizard spent 2 rounds cutting through a rope tying one of the boats to the dock (horrible damage rolls and he could have just untied the rope in the first place! :-D), then leapt on to the boat to slipped around in fish guts for a few rounds (4 consecutive failed Balance checks). When he finally got up and attempted to jump to the next boat he rolled a 3 and took a dive into the water! We were all cracking up laughing at this point (player of the Wizard included), commenting that at least the water should help clean off the fish guts.

While that happened, the Ranger jumped into the same boat as the Wizard, slipped on fish guts for a bit before regaining his footing and leaping across to another barge. He was going ok until he ran into a couple of guard dogs. 2 attacks of opportunity bites and 1 regular attack bite later and the Ranger was into the negatives and still getting gnawed on. So much for being a friend of the animals! That had the whole group splitting their sides with laughter once again at their own ineptness.

Thankfully the Cleric showed up at that point in time to heal the Ranger and get him away from the guard dogs. They then both went over to help pull the blubbering wizard out of the water, who at this point was clinging to the side of a barge.

Ah 1st level, I forgot how total failure can be so much fun sometimes! :-D

Olaf the Stout

I'm slowly making my way through reading all of the adventures. I'm almost finished Encounter at Blackwall Keep. I totally respect Sean K Reynolds, but damn that adventure would have to be one of his least impressive efforts.

The plot hook isn't great to begin with. Then Allustan buggers off as soon as they arrive at the battle. He really couldn't stay for a couple of extra minutes to help take out the Lizardmen? Because realistically that is all the time it would have taken.

Never mind the fact that he is taking off is to get reinforcements and if the PC's complain he supposedly tells them that they can handle the situation by themselves. If the PC's can handle the situation by themselves then why does he need to get the Diamond Lake garrison to help out?

Then we have the siege with the Lizardmen. Sean goes to great lengths to point out how attacking the Lizardmen head on is just asking for a TPK. Yet multiple posters on the boards have mentioned that the whole siege is one of the biggest cakewalks they have pitted their players against. I'm guessing no playtesting at all was done on that.

Then we move on to the keep itself. I hope Paizo learned their lesson with the map. Poster map = good. Not replicating the ground level of the keep in the magazine = bad and confusing. Not numbering the rooms on the poster map = just adding to the confusion.

Once you get past that there is the whole issue with the Spawn of Kyuss boarded up in the basement. Surely the soldiers must have thought they were re-enacting a horror movie. Hmmm, our friend is turning into some strange undead creature. I know, instead of killing this undead beast, let's board them up in the basement of the keep. We totally won't regret that decision at a later point!

Then we move on to the Lizardmen lair. Oh look, one of the Lizardmen has worms growing inside of him. If we cure him then the Lizardmen will be our friends and stop attacking. Except it requires us to make a heal check on someone that is likely to attack us on sight.

Somehow I don't see my players randomly asking to roll a Heal check on an enemy in the middle of combat. If they did I would ask them how far into the AoW AP they had read up to so far! So the first sign of the worms in the Lizardman is going to be after they kill him, at which point it is too late to cure him!

Looks like I'll be doing a fair bit of reading on the boards for this adventure to fix the problems with it. I really like Sean and Paizo, but this adventure really had me shaking my head as I read it.

It wasn't a good follow-up from the misnumbered rooms in the tactics section for the Hextor temple in Three Faces of Evil and the numerous stat block errors throughout the adventure. Here's hoping things improve in the next adventure. I'm certainly glad that I'm running the AP now and have the wisdom of dozens of other AoW campaigns to make use of.

Olaf the Stout

Dennis Harry wrote:
I know I have mentioned this in another thread. One of the ways that I disseminated information was by tying it to the character backgrounds. I used to run Vampire the Masquerade (in fact I am actually starting a Vamp PBP here on the boards) and one of the interesting features of that system is the Backgrounds system. The players start with a number of background points to spend in different categories. Through their choices I place selected bits of information into a back story for them which we collaborate on. I have used this technique to introduce most of the major NPC's to the characters so at least one character knows or has heard of the NPC prior to hearing their name in game.

What NPC's did you tie them to? I'm planning on having the Wizard be an apprentice to Allustan. I could have the Rogue or one of the other PC's have worked for Smenk before.

Any others?

Olaf the Stout

wraithstrike wrote:
One thing I noticed about AoW is that the GM gets background info that the players don't. I would find a way to get this info to the players. It makes the story more engaging that way.

I've got a few ideas in mind for this. Firstly, I used a "newspaper" in my Shackled City campaign. Basically it was a handout that I would provide the players every so often in game of the Cauldron newspaper called the Cauldron Chronicle.

It would have various stories about things that had been going on around town, including various rumours (some true, some false) that had been circulating as well as advertisements for various businesses.

I only ended up writing about 10 issues, but I found that it was a really useful way for me to introduce rumours and red herrings into the campaign in a way that didn't feel forced. It was also useful in fleshing NPC's out a bit more and giving out background information.

It also was a great way for me to foreshadow events in the campaign. For example, one of the rumours I put in an early issue was that Hookface, an ancient red dragon, had been sighted in the Cauldron area. Many game months, and a couple of real-time years, later and the party finally got to face off against him. The fact that I had basically called it out so far in advance made the encounter much more memorable.

Another thing I will be doing for this campaign is a wiki on Obsidian Portal. My aim is to have all the NPC's, locations, groups, significant items, etc., in the campaign included in the wiki. I'll also add background information included in the adventures into that (assuming one of the PC's has a high enough knowledge in an area/topic that would enable the party to find know that information). This should also help the players get a bit more invested in the campaign and help them to piece together the puzzle of what exactly is going on.

Finally, I plan to make use of Allustan as a source of background information. He will be the mentor for the party Wizard and I'll be introducing him into the campaign from Day 1 (the PC's will be travelling to Greyhawk city with him as his "protection", despite the fact he doesn't really need it). So whenever I feel it is appropriate for him to know some background information on a subject (or I just want to give some info to the PC's) I can use him as a DM mouthpiece.

I'm hoping those methods will be enough, but I'm grateful for any other suggestions. I hate campaigns where all this cool and interesting information is written for it, but there is no easy way of passing it on to the players.

Olaf the Stout

Callum wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
Given the high amount of undead, I'm just going with the simple solution for the Rogue. I'm just going to allow him to sneak attack corporeal undead. That should allow him to sneak attack a lot of the time still. It makes Rogues a little more powerful, but I don't think that's a huge deal as they generally aren't the most powerful class to begin with.

You might consider giving him half his normal sneak attack damage against corporeal undead, instead. The rogue in my AoW campaign outshines the mighty barbarian in combat, when he can sneak attack (which is most of the time), so it's nice that the barbarian is top dog when fighting undead.

Olaf the Stout wrote:
In terms of time, I am hoping that it doesn't take as long to finish this campaign as it did Shackled City. It was a lot of fun, but it was about 3 1/2 years of fornightly play to finish the campaign. The story was awesome, but running a high level game (we finished at 18th/19th level) was not the fun that I thought it might be.
I'd anticipate the same with AoW - it's a long campaign, and the PCs should be 20th level at least by the end. I'm not enjoying the high-level part of it as much, either.

I might go with the half SA damage instead. I just want to avoid having the Rogue be a bystander for all the undead combats (of which there are a lot).

And yeah, I am expecting the AoW AP to be as long as the Shackled City AP. Hopefully the story is just as cool as SCAP was and that offsets the extra work that high level play brings to DM'ing.

Olaf the Stout

Bump. I'm also interested in this.

I think I'll be scanning the NPC pics that appeared in the magazines and then use the Paizo NPC cards for those that don't have pics. I'd like to know what others have done though.

Olaf the Stout

Just been reading through a the threads on The Whispering Cairn and Three Faces of Evil. A couple of the ideas are absolute gold.

1. Alastor Land bloodline traces back to the Wind Warriors. He was "called" to the cairn and, because of his bloodline, he could get through the face trap without setting it off.

Him finally being laid to rest is also inadvertantly a part of the Age of Worms beginning.

2. Having the Faceless One and the Kenku be stalking the PC's in Diamond Lake. A PC will spot the Faceless One out of the corner of their eye in a marketplace or inn in Diamond Lake. Then, when they look again he will have disappeared. Kenku using their mimicry ability to impersonate the PC's so the PC's hear their own voice. Just generally freaking the players out and making the encounters with the Faceless One and kenku more memorable.

I love foreshadowing. It adds so much depth to the campaign.

Olaf the Stout

armnaxis wrote:
Jenner2057 wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
Edit: Why do you envy me though if you have already run the AoW AP from start to finish?
Again, apologize to Armnaxis for stepping in and answering, but I envy anyone sitting down to run this GREAT AP for the first time as well.

No need to apologize, you pretty much nailed it down.

You can build up that much foreshadowing, tense and sense of urgency; you can give them the feeling of overpowering evil at every corner; you can give them sweet moments of triumph... make it count :)

@ Olaf the Stout:
You say there is a rogue; when I played this campaign even before DMing, our rogue was at least mildly frustrated more often than not. When I DMed, we had a rogue/bard who could seldomly make his sneaks count. Will you use pathfinder rules for sneak attacking? Or help him/her out with items? And please tell him/her to pay attention to his/her willsave :)

Good luck!

Given the high amount of undead, I'm just going with the simple solution for the Rogue. I'm just going to allow him to sneak attack corporeal undead. That should allow him to sneak attack a lot of the time still. It makes Rogues a little more powerful, but I don't think that's a huge deal as they generally aren't the most powerful class to begin with.

In terms of time, I am hoping that it doesn't take as long to finish this campaign as it did Shackled City. It was a lot of fun, but it was about 3 1/2 years of fornightly play to finish the campaign. The story was awesome, but running a high level game (we finished at 18th/19th level) was not the fun that I thought it might be.

Olaf the Stout

armnaxis wrote:

Awesome, I envy you. I have DMed the whole campaign from 1 to 22, and it was terrific.

There are certain things you must pay attention to, and this board is your very best friend in this. Search for the titles of every installment, and read up. Many many good advice.

Overall, the right party setup makes the difference. Let them plan their party, and make sure they know it is about undead, among other nasty things. Make them pay attention to: Saves. You won't survive AoW without good saves. Teach them the lessons of teamwork, buffing others, delay and ready.

You should get your head around the WoTC splat books. It is easy for you to say: All of them, all content. But this opens up several severe gamebreakers, and lots of work on your behalf afterwards. My advice: Ban the most obvious nonsense. Open all non-core books "conditionally". Make it a policy to change/ban content that does not work in play; often enough, pathfinder has the right answer, especially in high-level play.

I agree with you on several points.

The players know that there will be a lot of Undead in the campaign. The party is looking like this:

Fighter/Barbarian/Bo9S class (player is still deciding)

So all bases are covered.

As for the splat books. I allow all of the WotC ones, but anything outside the core 3 rulebooks needs to be approved by me before I will allow it in the game. I also retain the right to remove anything from the game should it turn out to be too over-powered.

Our group has a set of house rules and table rules, which spells all that out up front. So it won't be a surprise to the players if I turn them down on something.

My players are also pretty good. There is only 1 powergamer in the group, and even then, if I say no to something he wants he doesn't complain about it. He just deals with it and finds something else to take.

Olaf the Stout

Edit: Why do you envy me though if you have already run the AoW AP from start to finish?

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