I think my goal for now is to keep finding places to break the action into small chunks. WIth other APs we try to play on the weekends when there's more time, but with a medically fragile toddler (heck, just with a TODDLER in general) that's hard to come by regularly. The upside is that, because we all live together, it's easier to utilize those spare snippets of time that wouldn't amount to anything if one or more of us had to drive somewhere.
I'm just really pleased with how easy In Hell's Bright Shadow has made playing this way.
Paul Watson wrote:
We've taken that same idea and run with it; my independent, free-spirited female rogue was NOT amused. She now flavors her daily Night Tea with mint.
I'm running a very informal game for my husband and roommate, and having the weekly rebellion activities helps tremendously with pacing. Both guys work second shift, so we've been playing an in-game week every other evening or so to help them unwind after work.
They're very conscious of building up the rebellion slowly ("how to boil a frog" and all that) and are focusing on fitting rebellion activities in around the daily lives of their PCs. Each week has consisted of an event and a mission, followed by a rundown (and relevant RP/bookkeeping where necessary) of what the PCs are doing on their own time. Then we run through the sheet together, with each person rolling for the teams their PCs are managing. It makes for great, two-hour mini-sessions that we've *really* enjoyed. The guys just finished dealing with Blosodriette, and will be heading to investigate the murders in the Nursery next time we play.
For us, the rebellion mechanic has allowed for a very freeform game while giving us just enough of a structured framework to stay on track. I think the cap on the rebellion's rank will help nudge the PCs forward when it's time so that they don't chase too many rabbit trails and get nowhere. I'm not sure if this AP (at least if you're using the mechanic in question) is the right choice for a group that needs an intense, punchy story for tight gaming schedules. But it makes an AWESOME "first sandbox" adventure for those of us who want to try something with a little more freedom but are intimidated by the concept of GMing a sandbox game.
I'm starting a new campaign tonight spanning a dozen modules, multiple adventuring parties, and years of in-game time. The one common tie between the various groups and scenarios will be the Umbra Carnival; all of the PCs will be members of the carnival, and each adventure will take place when the carnival travels to that location.
As such I want the carnival to be a living, breathing thing...more of a small, dynamic city-state than the settlement statblock presented in Murder's Mark allows. I like the idea of the PCs taking on more responsibility and growing the carnival as they go, with the end goal of eventually making it so large and so famous that it finds a permanent home.
I remember having a really hard time with the caravan rules when I ran Jade Regent, and the carnival already seems too big for those rules to accommodate. But the Kingdom building rules are too broad and seem hard to apply to a single settlement.
I'm guessing I'll need to create a hybrid of the two, but I was wondering if anyone had advice on either system as I go. If you were me, would you start with the caravan rules and build on with kingdom building rules, or vice-versa? Is there a third option I haven't considered yet? Any ideas I can steal would be greatly appreciated.
Today while passing through a city out of state, we stopped at an independent game store and purchased the Bard Class Deck. The packaging was legit and sealed, but when we got home and opened the cards we found that they were defective to the point of being unplayable. They were cut incorrectly and the text/pictures are badly blurred. All of the other products we purchased were fine (we...um...may have purchased ALL of the class decks *shifty eyes*) so I'm certain it was the individual product and not something shady going on with the store.
I wanted to check here before we make the long drive back to the game store just to be told that we needed to address the issue with Paizo directly. Do we need to make a special trip (or, more likely, eat the cost of the deck, since we'd spend just as much in gas to get back) or is it possible to do an exchange via mail?
Yes, there's a lot of S&M and Pinhead stuff involved, but he's also the god of Loss. I can easily see widows and orphans making offerings to him, and there being a kinder side to the faith.
While I agree that those who have experienced loss may sometimes be drawn to him, I see that aspect of ZK's faith not as a "softer" side of his personality, but as the harsh, painful side of loss. It's loss not cleanly mourned - the kind of loss that hurts so badly physical pain becomes a relief. A widow's offering to ZK, for instance, could very likely involve self-mutilation. A physical representation of the internal torment inflicted by life, if you will.
I'm building a witch (Cartomancer), and ran across a point of confusion with the Spell Deck ability.
The ability replaces the witch's familiar with a harrow deck, through which she communicates with her patron. The text says of the deck that "it's ability to hold spells functions identically to the way a witch's spells are granted by her familiar," and that "the cartomancer must consult her harrow deck each day to prepare her spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored in the deck."
That's all well and good...but how does a cartomancer learn new spells? Aside from the base 2 per level, a traditional witch can have her familiar commune with another witch's familiar, or she can burn a scroll, make a concoction out of the ashes, and feed it to the familiar, right?
If the harrow deck truly functions like a traditional familiar, does that mean a cartomancer's deck can somehow commune with another witch's familiar? How on earth do you "feed" a deck of cards? Magic or not, I don't think my witch is going to want to slather a "special brew" onto her hand-painted harrow deck in the hopes of somehow learning a new spell.
I really, really, *really* like the new format. Adore it, even. I'm already a fan of the fiction, but I felt like the change was a great way for me to get my players involved in it, too. Having the inn and the people in it fleshed out so nicely gave me all kinds of ideas to make downtime come alive, and I think it will help my players really immerse themselves into the setting. I've been a subscriber since Jade Regent, and while I love the APs as a whole, The Half-Dead City is the first book that I loved (and felt like I could use) every single piece of.
Oh wow, thanks! I really appreciate your input and the time you took to give it. You've made me feel MUCH better about the decisions we made in Carrion Crown.
"Our" Azra ended up as a special oracle built to suit, with a mute curse roughly based on the one used in Jade Regent. The early levels allow her to communicate empathically; I liked the idea that whatever Radovan might have thought, his ability to "read" her had less to do with his touch with the ladies and more to do with her magical abilities. We also gave her the bonded mount revelation, which allows an oracle to treat a mount as a druid's animal companion. That seemed to reflect her relationship with Luminita nicely.
I don't know why keeping to the fiction has become a sticking point for our group, especially when we've had no problem veering from the setting materials themselves. At least with Prince of Wolves, we all read it BEFORE we started playing Carrion Crown. For Shattered Star, I took the campaign trait that made you a disgraced member of a noble house, picked "Derexhi" from the list, and then bought a copy of Blood of the City to learn more about the family. I don't know if you've read that one, but if so you can imagine the creative acrobatics I had to go through to make it work. It was totally worth it, though!
I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I just capped off a day-and-a-half reading bender with King of Chaos, and I wanted to come say thank you. My house, laundry pile, and husband may not appreciate it, but glutting on Master of Devils, Queen of Thorns, and King of Chaos in such quick succession was definitely my idea of time well spent. That I read all three back to back when it's been months since I've found the time or motivation to pick up a book is a high compliment - promise!
If you don't mind, though, I have a couple of questions:
Poor Radovan has been through a lot throughout the last four books, but there's always been a pretty reasonable explanation for how he comes out alive on the other side. It's possible that I completely and totally missed it, but I was left confused this time around. One minute he's exploding into a fine mist of gore, and the next he's riding Bastiel butt-naked into battle. I kept waiting for an explanation for how he managed that one, but it never came. Am I just having a blonde moment and missing the obvious, or is this something that will be explored in more detail later?
And his love interests:
Prince of Wolves heavily inspired our Carrion Crown campaign. So much so, in fact, that when we needed an NPC to fill a temporary gap in our party, I suggested Azra and the GM went with it. Having read the other three novels, I'm beginning to think that was a bad idea. I know you can't/shouldn't/don't want to give away too much, but is it at all safe to assume that Azra will make another appearance in future stories?
We're at a crossroads in *our* story where we could part ways without ruining our enjoyment of future "official" appearances, I believe. We've found a fourth player to fill in, but she's new to TTRPGs, and while we were all thinking the GM would just hand over Azra's character sheet to her...we all sort of have a thing for keeping our campaigns in sync with the fiction line. We don't want to mess that up :).
On the topic of plausible races for WotR, would a dhampir work?
I've okayed the concept with my GM, but he doesn't have the first installment of the AP yet (we aren't starting for another two months). I wanted to make sure that my dhampir paladin of Sarenrae has a snowball's chance in hell of making it through the first book before I proceed. I've spent a lot of time making the build work and eliminating any hint of cheesiness from her backstory. WotR *seems* like a perfect fit, but I don't want to waste her on an AP she isn't suited for, you know?
Most of our changes have been little and largely accidental - the product of someone in our group making a decision when we needed to but couldn't find the "official" version of things.
The *biggest* change, as such, has been to the way gods and the afterlife work. In our Golarion, the gods are much more...meddlesome. For worthy adventurers facing an untimely death, they almost seem to hand out Sainthood like candy, with the caveat that the boon means eternal servitude to the deity in question, pretty much whether you like it or not. For good deities and their favorites, this is more of a partnership and a fast-track to the thousand(s)-year process that would happen anyway. For other deities, not so much. These chosen ones immediately become native outsiders, and begin a decades long process of transformation that allows them to mostly live out their time on the material plane before losing all sense of humanity or mortality and becoming a servant of the gods. We've used this as a tool to save beloved characters who for some reason can't be raised conventionally, with the understanding that no matter who your deity is, such a choice is not necessarily a good thing and WILL make your life more difficult going forward.
In our Golarion, even Pharasma's supposed impartiality can be bent in the right circumstances. She has sort of "sponsored" the party in my Rise of the Runelord's AP. Souls are coming to her shredded and incomplete, and this so angered her that she directly interfered by blessing a young oracle with abilities and visions meant to help him stop it.
Likewise, she adopted a PC in another AP as one of her favorites and sent him back to the material plane as a Saint after an NPC samsaran offered to give up her ability to reincarnate and surrender herself to Pharasma in exchange for his life.
Pharasma's Court really is a court...seemingly endless halls of courtrooms designated by region, world, and plane. The dead immediately "wake up" in this court, where they go over paperwork chronicling every thought, emotion, and deed, before waiting their turn to stand judgment before Pharasma. There is no time correlation between the courts and the material plane. Anyone who dies and is brought back would remember being there, but the amount of time they were there and what transpired during that time are different for each person.
I *hate* the notion that the deceased are stripped of their memories and personalities after being processed, but we've left that part as-is. We consider that to be a very obscure, well-kept secret. It wasn't until we had a Saint of Pharasma in the group that the idea got spread around, and now at least one of the PCs in the overarching campaign is so determined to keep that from happening to the people she loves that she's on the path to becoming a demi-goddess out of sheer stubbornness.
I'll echo the rather surprising sentiment that Shattered Star is great for role playing. I'm a player in that one, but from my side of the screen I can honestly say this is the rp heaviest game I've ever been involved in. Still lots of dungeon crawling, mind you...but the role play that came up *in* those dungeons has been really awesome. For example:
Shattered Star Spoiler:
The dungeon in the second book is full of traps that aren't terribly dangerous from a mechanical point of view, but which open up huge opportunities for character development. Like compelling PCs to swim naked across an underground lake, or launching a corrupted phantasmal killer spell at the PC who triggers the trap, potentially placing their soul into a clone of the Runelord Sorshen. I mean...if that doesn't inspire awesome role playing, I don't know what would.
As a GM, I found Jade Regent to be really great. There was a huge emphasis on character and relationship development, and it covered a long period of time. It took my players 2 years in-game to finish the adventure, with lots and lots of personal growth happening in those years.
I agree with Nullpunkt. Also, depending on how you've been playing Aldern himself, you seem to have a pretty good setup for making the PCs believe Aldern is a potential victim, and not the culprit. You could always leave off reference to "The Misgivings" if you think that will spoil things too soon, but otherwise I don't think you've given them enough to go on just yet.
I know I was terrified from the beginning that my PCs would figure out that it was Aldern early on...it seems really obvious when you have the advantage of reading it. But despite my concerns, I had the privilege of having one of my players ball up the final note and chuck it at my head when they FINALLY made the connection, lol. The fact that he's a ghast now really helps; promise!
Shattered Star, hands down.
My group is actually running both at the same time, set five years apart, and they're wonderfully connected. Similar themes, a similar feel, and for your group, at least, extra motivation to launch the campaign in the first place. I mean, what 1st level adventurers would understand better the need to prevent/prepare for more Runelords than the kids of the people who took down Karzoug?
I really love the idea, by the way...when we finish these two, we're going to jump twenty years and run Wrath of the Righteous using the children of our Shattered Star PCs.
I'm so sorry I missed this earlier! I know you're probably past that point already, but just in case, here's the original:
And here's my tweaked/expanded version, as a word file for easy printing:
thelesuit, your ideas are awesome!
My plan is unfolding nicely, with only one little hiccup. Things at Habe's went downhill fast, so all of the fighting was front and center and the party didn't have to explore the whole place. Andrezi, the pc with the most history with Nualia, decided he couldn't face her. After dealing with Habe, the orderlies, and the necromancer, the other PCs stayed in the foyer to make sure nothing happened, and Andrezi went to notify Hemlock of the developments there. Nualia and the other patients were taken to a facility in Magnimar, and Andrezi is trying to work up the courage to write her a letter.
What would ya'll do with that?
Jessica Price wrote:
I know this was waaaay back on the first page, but I thought I'd chime in because I also live in a place where ma'am does not imply marriage.
I live right on the Tn/Al line, and around here, miss/ma'am has nothing to do with marital status and everything to do with age.
"Miss" is attached to a name, and either refers to a child/teenager or a substantially older woman. You stop getting called "Miss" when you're officially a grown up and don't pick it back up again unless being addressed by a much younger person, as a sign of respect, and only in conjunction with your first name. While I would certainly write out "Ms." in correspondence with said older woman, there is no audible difference between "Ms" and "Miss" in my area.
For instance, my MiL is "Miss Sherry," my mother's friends are "Miss Heather" or "Miss Sandy," and my elderly friends are "Miss Frances" and "Miss Lily." It doesn't denote a lack of familiarity...I've known most of these women for at least a decade.
On the flip side, even my 19 month old niece is sometimes "Miss Jessa" (for example: "Hey, Miss Jessa! Come give me hugs!") But I'd NEVER call a woman around my own age "Miss" because that would be insulting. It would imply either that she was old, or that I considered her a child.
"Sir" and "Ma'am" are entirely different. They're absolutely required for pretty much everybody, and denote respect. You use them with "Yes/No" for anyone and everyone, or when addressing a person whose name you do not know ("Excuse me, sir?" or "How may I help you, Ma'am?")
To further complicate things, "Sir" and "Ma'am" are such a part of our cultural vocabulary that we use them in other contexts, too. I've worked with preschoolers since I was a teen, and when scolding a child, I and the people I learned from will often say something like "No Sir! We do NOT do that!" or "No Ma'am...you know better!"
And then there's "Sugar," and "Hun," and even sometimes "Sweetie," and "Darhlin." All four can be either polite, or a horrific insult, depending on the way you draw the word out and the kind of smile you wear when you say it...
The rule of thumb I try to live by is "don't assume someone from a different region speaks the same language as you, even if you're both speaking English." It's saved me from feeling needlessly insulted on many occasion, and I would hope that others would extend that same courtesy of the benefit of the doubt to me,should I accidently insult them by not understanding the unspoken rules of their culture.
He's not dead? Yay! I'll have to double check with my GM that this was a mistake and not one of those "special cases," but I doubt it was. Thanks :).
Oh, and sorry about the poor wording earlier; Clara is another PC...What I meant was:
Shattered Star spoiler:
In the second book of Shattered Star, one of the PCs has the very real possibility of dying and ending up in a different body. That did in fact happen in our game, so our party has already had some experience with dealing with the ramifications of a loved one suddenly not looking like themselves anymore.
Anyway, thanks for the responses, guys. This place has me kinda worried that the question might not be a moot point for long, for any of them :/. WHY did I forget to make proper "res kits" before leaving Magnimar?!
I'm playing in a Shattered Star campaign tonight, and I have a *really* big decision to make before then. Would ya'll please help me choose?
When last we left off, my level 12 Fetchling Sorcerer had just died from a strength draining poison. His strength is normally 13, but he'd taken 13 points of Str damage and 1 point of Str drain. He also had 3 points of Con drain and a severed hand. The hand was lost before he was poisoned, and he disintegrated it himself, because we've been running into examples of why it would be a really bad idea to let some of the baddies get a hold of our flesh. He wasn't happy about it, but he intended to pay someone to cast Regenerate on him when we got back to Magnimar.
Except now he's dead. Smack dab in the middle of a dungeon that we don't feel we can leave for any real length of time.
Am I correct in thinking that, mechanically speaking, Reincarnate would be better than Raise Dead in this situation? Both are available to me via the rest of the party, and we have the material components on hand.
We're using a modified table which has every 0 HD race released so far, so there's really no telling what he'll come back as.
Mechanics aside, there's the story to consider. If that's your kinda thing, then would this situation change your choice?
Nox joined the group in Nidal, where the PCs were sent to do an "easy" mission and use the long travel time as a chance to recuperate after a really harrowing first adventure. They ended up saving him from execution and smuggling him out of the country. He's developed strong bonds with everyone in the group, but especially the group's leader, who treats him like a brother, and one of the young women of the party, with whom he's in the beginnings of a serious relationship.
He's already died once, in Kaer Maga. Fortunately, we'd just established contact with an NPC ally (an oracle from our RotR campaign) who was able to bring him back via True Resurrection as a GM "freebie." That death was even more gruesome than this one...Nox tries to stay to the back, but he's squishy and when he DOES get hit...it's ugly.
He's painfully vain...the hand was a horrible blow for him. He didn't hesitate to disintegrate it because we've seen hints of what can be done with "1 cubic inch of flesh" and his upbringing in Nidal has left him with the opinion that if something can be used for evil, it will. But he was really, REALLY unhappy about it. Getting an entirely new body could be a good thing, or a VBT, depending on what it was.
There's also the hurdles a new form would create for his relationship with Clara. If you're familiar with Shattered Star, you know we've already faced that issue with another set of characters. It worked out really well for them, but I'm not sure how it would go for these guys. I mean, they've just gotten to the point where they're "official" if you will, after two months of dancing around their attraction to each other. They're young, and they've fallen so fast and hard that it's a little scary to both of them. Our group has a multi-AP, overarching plot we're following, and I fully intend for them to end up together long-term now that we've passed those scary early levels where death is more permanent. So I don't want to rip them apart with this.
If I *do* reincarnate him, how would you play that?
TL;DR: I'm bringing a PC back to life at the start of the next session. Reincarnate would (I think) be less detrimental to the party's survival. Raise Dead would be less detrimental to his personal story arc. Both are available right this second. Which should I choose?
ooooh...that's an awesome idea! Cruel to the PC, but awesome. I agree that I'd need X to have a reason for sending her to Habe. Hm...I suppose from X's perspective, that could kill two birds with one stone. It keeps her out of the way while plans are readjusted to account for her failure at Thistletop, and it punishes her incompetence at the same time.
The PCs have the full backstory up to the fire...I took the journal someone else posted on the boards, tweaked and added to it, and created a 10 page handout which resulted in Andrezi's player saying "Oh...man. You realize he's going to blame himself for all of this now?" The whole party feels horrible for her, and they want to see her get the help she clearly needs. I'm sure they'll be happy about the fact that she's being sent to an asylum and not prison...until they see the conditions there for themselves.
I don't think I'll let her become a cohort, just because I've already worked with Andrezi's player to create an NPC for that express purpose. But I love the idea of her eventually being redeemed and (maybe) even ending up at Windsong Abbey, after all.
I know there have been tons of discussions about what to do with Tsuto and Nualia should they live...I've gleefully borrowed from LOTS of them. But I've had something of a unique opportunity come up, and I'm curious as to how you guys would handle it.
One of my players wanted to be from Sandpoint, and he ate up the backstory for the town. His PC is Andrezi Valdemar, an inquisitor of Shelyn. Without telling him more than "what everybody knows" about the Late Unpleasantness, he decided that as a boy, Andrezi had something of a crush on Nualia. He stood up for her once or twice, but never got up the nerve to pursue a friendship or romance with her, and when she "died in the fire" that opportunity was lost forever. He's since moved on and is pursuing another NPC, but that whole situation shaped a lot of who he is.
Tsuto escaped at the Glassworks, and Andrezi's reaction to Tsuto's journal was absolutely priceless. Between that, Gogmurt's comment about Tsuto and Nualia "going at it like donkey rats," and the 10 page monstrosity of a journal I left in Nualia's room, Andrezi was an absolute mess by the time the party faced her. He kept trying to reach out to her, to trigger some tiny bit of remorse in her for what she'd done, but he doesn't believe he made any headway (he did, actually, and Nualia might very well be on the path to redemption, depending on how the rest of this plays out). It was pretty obvious to all of them that she'd completely snapped, and that she only barely recognized Andrezi.
The PCs managed to subdue and arrest Orik, Lyrie, Tsuto, AND Nualia. I've had them all sent off to Magnimar for trial, and will have news of their verdicts make it back to Sandpoint midway through book #2.
I'm sending Orik to Fort Rannick, and Lyrie to the Hells. Tsuto is going to be found "not guilty" by Justice Ironbriar (who is in fact his father) and will be encountered a final time as a skinsaw cultist.
But...what do I do with Nualia?
If she had no connection to the events in book 2, I'd have her locked away as criminally insane. I'm tempted to send her to Habe's, even...I think that opens up some interesting possibilities later on.
But would Ironbriar let that happen? She got caught, true...but not before proving herself to be a fairly valuable asset. Would she be sentenced, but then sprung by the cultists?
Because I only have two players (with two pcs each) I have the luxury of really tailoring hunks of the AP to their characters. That said, this isn't the Andrezi AP, and that player's done almost too good of a job integrating his backstory into the material...between being a Valdemar, the thing with Nualia, and the way he's made himself into the perfect scapegoat for the murders in book 2, I run the risk of boring my other player to death if I do too much more with Nualia.
Ideas? Pretty please?
For whatever reason, my PCs didn't want to have anything to do with the catacombs. Tsuto got away and ran down the tunnel, but they were more concerned about getting Ameiko back to the Rusty Dragon and taken care of than pursuing someone who was "clearly long gone, anyway."
Then, in reading the journal, they made the Nualia and Thistletop connections, but didn't "get" the references to the quasit under the town being in the tunnel. They decided they needed to collapse the tunnel just inside the entrance, so that it was taken care of for good.
They weren't ready for Thistletop yet, and I wanted them to encounter the references to Thassilon before they got there. So after having Ameiko subtly attempt several times to convince them to check it out, I got heavy handed.
One of the PCs is a haunted oracle (seer) with the time mystery. He plays his curse as being not so much haunted, as partially out of sync with time...sometimes his gear slips out of the "now" and it takes him longer to retrieve it, etc. So while they were headed to get permission to collapse the tunnel entrance, I had him slip momentarily into the future and see the group standing before a giant sink hole with Hemlock, who was saying "The sink hole opened up the catacombs. I sent a team of men to investigate...but they haven't returned. That was three days ago."
It's cheesy, I know, but it killed two birds with one stone...it let them know something was down there and made them think that if they went forward with their plan they would collapse part of the town, while neatly foreshadowing the ACTUAL sink hole.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Has anyone told you lately how awesome you are? Thank you SOOOOO much!!!!! That's above and beyond anything I could have expected...the CLOTHES! I love everything on that board. *goes to drool over the pretties some more*
My little three-man gaming group has just discovered Ustalav, and fallen madly in love. Since my husband and I are a little too close for comfort to most people's mental image of a table-top gamer, we've decided to use Pathfinder to motivate ourselves to get in shape. When we reach our fitness goals, we'll kick off a Carrion Crown campaign with ourselves as 15 pt buy PCs. To celebrate and treat ourselves for our hard work, we'll be making appropriate costumes.
I've flipped through the illustrations in Rule of Fear to try and get a good handle on the fashion of the country, but because that only shows key characters, I'm having trouble solidifying what typical adventurers in Ustalav look like. In particular, I'm having trouble finding an image of a woman not dressed for a ball. Could you maybe share a little about how you picture the people of Ustalav dressing, or maybe some ideas of films or regions/eras to draw inspiration from? It'd be greatly appreciated!
I've done a lot of digging about the same topic for a slightly different reason. I've already run Jade Regent, and now I'm going BACK and running RotR with the same group, partly because we absolutely fell in love with Ameiko and the other NPCs, and knew they made cameos in RotR. Trying to figure out how to make SURE I keep things consistent between the two has been fun, lol.
I know others have addressed the roles of the NPCs between the two APs, so I'll add just one more little thing: the ages given in RotR do not line up with the ages/dates in Jade Regent. That may be a complete non-issue for your group, but if that's something that bugs you or your players, you'll need to make "your" Ameiko (and probably Sandru, too) about 5 years older to account for the discrepancy.
And knowing the gate would close... I can't see Nadya sending her children, knowing she'll likely never see them again.
I can't imagine how hard it would be to send my children into the unknown like that. But having personally experienced the loss of a child, I know *I* would do anything within my power to protect my other children...even if it meant never seeing them again.
Nadya's daughter was brutally murdered for saying something unflattering about a White Witch. Imagine what they might do to the children of a traitor! Simply moving them to a nearby village doesn't seem good enough to me.
I'm running this for my husband, and I know he'll feel the same way. I'm assuming that he'll figure out the connection between Arbagzor and Tengezil, so I'm playing Arbagzor up as a friend of Nadya's who acts as a sort of eccentric uncle for her boys. Sending all three of them through the portal will still be a gut-wrenching choice for Nadya, but knowing they're being looked after by someone she can trust should prove the tipping point for her.
Nadya *might* end up accompanying the PCs (after all, what has she got to go home to now?) and I imagine that the first thing they'll do after the endgame is make sure Nadya is reunited with her children.
I really love your edits! In fact, I'm doing something similar to your first idea; I've added an NPC who is a childhood friend of one of the PCs and whom Aldern will develop an obsession with. His notes are written to *her* and the whole thing will culminate in her kidnapping, with a not insubstantial amount of circumstantial evidence pointing toward the PC in question. The fact that the NPC is Sheriff Hemlock's daughter is just the icing on the cake ;)
We've already run Jade Regent (we're going back in time for RotR) so Shalelu is firmly established in our setting. But I really love how you're working the PC's backstory into things! As written, Shalelu is just kind of "there" in Jade Regent, so she'd be easy to replace if you do decide to run the other AP.
Thanks for all the help trying to sort this out, guys.
Because of my players and the way Jade Regent went, I honestly believe I'm going to HAVE to make a 17 year old Ameiko work. Otherwise I'll "break the immersion" *insert eyeroll here* and that would be worse than stretching the limits of credulity with other things.
So...that leaves the problem of the Late Unpleasantness.
Would it be too much of a stretch to assume that Ameiko WANTED to leave after her fight with Tsuto and the mess at her mother's funeral, but she couldn't?
In our version of events, Ameiko has a little sister (a JR PC) who was 7 when Atsuii died, and was afterward sent away to an okiya in Magnimar because her father didn't want to fuss with such a young child. If we assume that he then put tremendous pressure on a 12~13 year old Ameiko as his heir - and perhaps even his shot at redemption - would that give her enough motivation to run away at 16?
It would certainly put even MORE strain on the relationships within the Kaijitsu family...their ages at the time of the fight makes Ameiko's seeming desire to reconcile with Tsuto make more sense, and Lonjiku's assumptions of ownership over Ameiko would be stronger because she's an unrepentant prodigal just recently turned back up. What would you do with that dynamic?
And how, do you think, would various townsfolk react to her and the Rusty Dragon, given those changes?
Hehe...actually, yeah - We DID in fact celebrate her birthday during Jade Regent. We needed lots and lots and LOTS of help, since we had very little tabletop experience (I had played a grand total of maybe 8 sessions of 3.5 before I started GMing JR) so the 4 key NPCs of that AP were secondary party members. Going back and seeing "the gang" before the events of Jade Regent was one of the reasons we chose to do RotR next.
And while I agree whole-heartedly that her actions at 16 and 17 make sense, the problem is that the timeline laid out in Jade Regent makes her 23 in 4712, not 4707.
If we go with that, then Ameiko is 17 and has owned the Rusty Dragon for less than a year when we meet her in RotR. How would you reflect that in the way things play out?
I'm slowly prepping to run the anniversary addition of RotR in a few months, when my group finishes up Shattered Star. We're all fairly new to Pathfinder - Jade Regent was our first AP - and we all agreed unanimously that we wanted to go back to where it all started.
Unfortunately, I've run into a bit of a problem with Ameiko. According to her write-up in the back of The Brinewall Legacy, she was born in 4689, became an adventurer in 4706, (which she spent a year at before returning to Sandpoint) and, after "some months," cashed out her earnings and bought the Rusty Dragon.
All well and good, except that that puts a 17 year old Ameiko buying the Rusty Dragon *in* 4707, whereas RotR says she's been the owner for six years as of Burnt Offerings.
I know there are probably a dozen ways to handle this, but I can't decide on what's best. We've so carefully tied our characters into the setting (with lots of cameos between APs) that I don't really have much leeway with my time line. What would you do?
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
More likely that the schizophrenic will alienate everyone close to him or her.
That's a fair enough point...it comes down to how long the behavior lasts, how severe it is, and how determined those close to her are to love her when she makes herself unlovable. Same as in real life, I suppose.
Except in a game, you can cast a spell and make it all better when the whole thing stops being fun.
Ah, what we do for the sake of the story, you know? I've been promised we'll correct the issue before it becomes game breaking, though, and I'm hoping that when she emerges on the other side of the whole ordeal it will have made her stronger as a person and them closer as a group.
lol...wouldn't THAT be something? No...she's just a plain ole' human rogue. Wisdom was already her weakest stat, but I rolled pretty well when I made her, so it was a 12. Not as crippling as it could be, granted, but with the penalty and her already low will save, I imagine she'll still get herself into a few tight spots.
Thank you all so, so, SO much!
I'll admit that I have very little experience with or knowledge of "real" schizophrenia, but *am* familiar with Bi-Polar and clinical depression. As such, I don't want to just "play crazy," as that seems horribly disrespectful, and your insight into the actual workings of the disorder is tremendously helpful in sorting out how Clara would see the world now. Thank you especially, Luna, for sharing your personal experiences. I know firsthand how difficult that is, and really do appreciate it.
This has sort of been done for me already, schizophrenia (as outlined in the Gamemastery Guide, which is where we're pulling the mechanics from) gives a -4 to all widsom and charisma based checks, and the PC has to make a save to avoid becoming confused during stressful situations like combat. So the part that actually affects the game has already been decided for me...I've just been trying to decide on how to RP those mechanics.
I loooove the idea of seeing her brother all over the place, and will definitely be using that...especially the bit about perception checks and the like. When she's confused, I think she'll also see the rest of the party as her deceased siblings; while being able to act normally, she'll believe that they're all together again, and when forced to attack one of them it will be because she's remembered their betrayal.
The one thing I'm still not sure on is what she would see/feel/experience that would make her believe she needed to harm herself, should I roll that affect on the confusion table.
I'm playing a very young PC in a RP heavy Shattered Star campaign. Right before the start of the first book, she lost her entire family in a pretty terrible way (and picked up the Alabaster Outcast trait as a result).
She's *barely* old enough to be an adventurer (she's a human rogue who turned 15 just weeks before the start of the AP) and the strain of the first book is taking its toll on her.
Shattered Star Spoiler:
She was the one who picked up the Shard of Pride. Then, on our first trip into the Crow, we as players didn't act in keeping with our characters - we went in guns blazing and killed everyone, rather than trying to work something out with the Tower Girls (it was a really late gaming session, and we were all tired.) Anyway, rather than retcon it later, we decided to let our characters deal with the fallout of their mistakes. It traumatized poor Clara, and she hasn't been the same since.
Apparently we all got the memo that this was the "bring out your most flawed PC EVER" campaign...so the group she's traveling with has plenty of demons of its own. Nevertheless, she's been adopted as the "little sister" of the party. Clara hero-worshipped her older brother, but he abandoned and later betrayed her before he died. In the short time the group has been together, she's come to see one of the other PCs as a sort of stand-in for that particular brother. They've become fairly close, but the other PC has serious issues, too, and has flown into fits of rage and almost walked out on the group (the PC, not the player). Clara, as a result, has started to sort of confuse the two of them in her head.
At the end of the last session, that PC was killed by sinspawn right in front of Clara, while she was helpless to do anything about it. One very badly flubbed Will save later, she now "officially" has Schizophrenia, as outlined by the Gamemastery Guide. Her slightly erratic behavior before the incident acted as the "onset" time for the disease, and she's now officially cracked.
I get, mechanically, how it works, but what I'm not really sure about is how to RP the effects, especially in stressful situations like combat, when the confusion kicks in. The dead PC *will* be raised, and I'm also not really sure how she should react to that. I know she'll continue to confuse him with her actual brother (probably calling the PC by the brother's name sometimes, or using the PC's name when talking about her brother.)
I guess I'm also worried about pushing things too far, because she *will* get well again. I've already talked to the GM, and he's promised that there will be enough "downtime" and enough people who care about her well being to make sure that she receives treatment before she's assigned any more missions. But we still have to finish the job we're on right now, first...and while I think it could be fun to play with the insanity rules for a session or two, I don't want to do anything that would irreparably damage her relationship with the other characters later on down the road.
My character failed a will save against insanity, and is now schizophrenic. The catalyst of the insanity was the death of a PC whom she closely associates with the brother she lost just a few months ago. That PC will be raised from the dead shortly and rejoin the party. If you were me, how would you RP that? And how would you RP the mechanics of the disorder (namely the confusion in battle and stressful situations?)
We did something similar, in that a modified version of Amaya was a PC in our JR campaign. We made her younger than Ameiko to avoid succession issues, and had her only recently returned from the okiya in Magnimar she was shuffled off to when her "mother" died. A stretch, undoubtedly...but it gave her some weight as a spare for Ameiko *and* allowed her to be a Bard (Geisha).
All of which is great fun now for me as a GM...having run our group through Jade Regent, one of the players is GMing Shattered Star for us while I go back and prepare to run RotR AE. I've been taking careful notes of everything we did/do to *hopefully* preserve continuity, lol.
I was kind of unsure about this character at first, since I stole a lot of her backstory, but she's fast becoming a favorite :).
Clara Derexhi - a 15 year old human rogue (trapsmith) with the Alabaster Outcast campaign trait.
I fell in love with the Derexhi family when I read "In the Event of my Untimely Demise." After reading over the players' guide for Shattered Star, I picked up a copy of Blood of the City in order to fit my character into the family somehow. I had all of these great ideas for how I was going to make that work...and then I read the book o.O.
In our version of things, the events of Blood of the City concluded at least six months prior to the start of the game, making Clara no older than 14 during them. She's the quiet, sneaky, "baby" of the family...an oopsie who was so much younger and so consistently ignored by her older siblings that she was completely left out of the events in the book.
While it felt kind of cheaty at first to just hand the GM a copy of the book and go "there's my backstory," dealing with the fallout of events in the book and seeing how it shaped Clara has been really cool.
My GM just chimed in with "Thanks, Weirdo, for putting it on me." In other words, he couldn't decide, either, lol.
Those numbers are my total bonuses. Both are class skills, and I have an intelligence modifier of 4.
My character is a human rogue 3 in the Shattered Star AP. Her campaign trait is "Alabaster Outcast" (she's a disgraced noble). She's exceptionally well educated and has acquired a certain item which grants her a +2 in both of those skills.
What would the DC be to identify a spoken language that you don't speak?
A member of our party has the tongues curse, and speaks in Infernal during battle. He doesn't feel like explaining himself to the rest of the group, and my character has been trying to piece his backstory together on her own. She has a base score of 12 in linguistics and 10 in Knowledge (Planes) but doesn't speak Infernal. Would she be able to recognize the language, or at least the type of language it is?
Like, for example, the way that someone who doesn't speak Italian (me!) can still go "Oh, hey! That's Italian!" when I hear it, or the way someone completely unfamiliar with the languages would be able to hear the difference between one of the romance languages and a Germanic language.
I replaced the Yeti caves, and had Maemi not currently engaged when we arrived. But you missed a couple in NoFS ;)
Two soldiers and a thrall are occupying the pantry at Asvig's Farm, and Kimandatsu seems to be engaging in relatively vanilla entertainment with a "favored servitor" in her lair.
So...7 or 8 times, altogether?
Hehe...yep. He's SOOO my "Designated Hitler" from now on ;). Actually, the way he GMs, that's not far from the truth :/.
Anyhoo, yeah..."Dear Husband." Sorry; I forget that not every corner of the internet is filled with Mommy Bloggers and/or house-wives.
I don't really feel like I'm qualified to offer a review, since I have nothing to compare the experience to. But off the top of my head:
Things I Loved:
The Brinewall Legacy - All of it. If I were to do the whole thing over again, I'd incorporate some of the awesome ideas I've seen posted here on the boards, but as a whole we really enjoyed it.
The NPCs - Again, I wish I'd done more...but as I got a feel for the whole GMing thing, the NPCs really came to life. Both the "main four" and the supporting NPCs were great fun. I loved having them there.
Plot Hooks and Tension the PCs were roped in early, and given plenty of reason to allow themselves to be pulled along by the story. The tension built well, ramping up nicely right at the end.
The Reward - it's hard to find a more satisfying conclusion than going from ordinary shmucks to nobility.
Things I Didn't Care For:
The caravan combat system - I think that's kind of a given for most of us, but...yeah. Once we got to The Hungry Storm, I started rolling up encounters ahead of time and making them standard combat encounters. I LOVED the idea of the caravan, but it didn't work in practice.
The Hungry Storm - The adventure itself was solid, but it was hampered by the caravan and seemed disconnected from the rest of the story. This was the first place I deviated from the adventure as written.
The number of times we walked in on things that made us go o.O Seriously...as written, it *seems* like you walk in on people going at it with multiple partners no less than three times. Maybe I was reading it wrong, and just have a dirty mind, but...um...it seemed like there was a lot of "entertaining" going on in private bedchambers. Once was enough, thanks.
Pacing Most of the time, it was great. But The Hungry Storm dragged, and The Empty Throne was over in two weekends. I think I especially had a love/hate relationship with that last book...it made sense that we were on a tight deadline and needed to ramp up the pace, but Kasai was so beautifully detailed and the situation so interesting that we all wished we'd had more time to explore it before the end.
I could be completely and totally off here, but the ritual came across as a private, lasting, dramatic form of a wedding band...a symbol of the nature of the relationship. I guess I figured that a culture which had a specific symbol for marriage would also have a common practice for those widowed.
A different kind of mark does seem appropriate, but I'm not sure what. I was thinking a single line across, either jagged or broken in the space between the original scars? I would think that making a jagged line would be much more painful than a straight one, and that seems fitting to me...loss is like that. But a break in the line could make sense, too.
I know I'm waaaay overthinking this. I was just hoping to establish a recognizable baseline, so that when another tiefling (or someone familiar with their culture) saw it, they would recognize the marks and know what they mean.
Wow. 12-16 hours game time on weekends? That'd be awesome. We're lucky to clock in 3-4 per week per campaign (3 different APs in total with 2 in the wings).
Wow, that's a lot of APs at once! I bet it never gets boring, though :).
Dedicating whole weekends to gaming is *mostly* really awesome. It was a LOT of work to prep that much material beforehand, especially since I'm new to all of this. I loved GMing and will definitely do it again, but it was exhausting and I'm glad we've agreed to a rotating schedule.
Also, a fair bit of that time was eaten up by things like rule checking and discussing mechanics. Now that we're more familiar with the game, I don't think that will be a problem, but trying to learn everything that goes into high level play under the time crunch of The Empty Throne really wore me out. I'm ready to sit back and just play!