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161 posts. Alias of Matt Goodall (Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010).



Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

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Now that Jason has announced Orphans of the Hanged Man, it's time to give some more details.

As you may have guessed, Legendary One on One Adventures are designed for one player and one GM. Sometimes it’s hard to get a group together and most adventures assume at least 4 players so this style of adventure fills that gap.

Orphans of the Hanged Man is designed for a skill based 1st level PC who has greater aspirations of becoming an influential figure in an urban setting. Investigators, rogues, stalker vigilantes, and so on are well suited for this adventure.

This adventure does stand alone and certainly works well as a prelude or sidetrek in the first book of Red Queen AP, which is why it has been initially marketed as an Adventure Path Plug In, however, we have greater plans for the Legendary One on One Adventures line.

Our end goal is to create the first One on One Adventure Path! The plan is for this adventure path to take a roguish PC from lowly beginnings of slums and gang fights to ascend through wit, guile, and a sharp blade, to the rulership of their own powerful criminal organisation. We've named this AP, the “Guildmaster Adventure Path”.

We even have long term plans to do similar things with other classes groups, such as the “Archmage Adventure Path”.

However these plans are well in the future and we have to start somewhere, and well as to see if there is a large enough market for this style of adventure/adventure path, so please feel free to comment and ask questions.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

More story please :-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

At Paizocon this year I was speaking with a gentleman who was telling me how much he liked Ekkie the goblin. When I told him I wrote Rise of the Goblin Guild, he asked if he could get me to sign an Ekkie card for him when the cards became available. Free RPG Day was last weekend so there should be plenty of Ekkie cards out there now. I've searched (taken 20 even) but the business card he gave me with his contact details is nowhere to be found.

If this sounds like you, please send me a message.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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  • Numbers greater than 999 need thousand commas. 1,000 gp not 1000 gp.
  • Don’t capitalize your spell names (except if the spell has a person’s name in it, or you manage to start a sentence with a spell name). Also italicize your spell names.
  • Do capitalize feat and skill names, but not concentration checks or skill sub-categories like Knowledge (arcana).
  • Apostrophes, talking marks, quotation marks, inverted commas, whatever you want to call them (the ' and " symbols) aren’t correct terminology for feet or inches in Pathfinder.
  • There is a space between a numerical amount and gp, lb, DC, and CL.

The last two are particularly bad because they may seem to save a word in your word count, but if you are right on the word count limit, you really don't want that to be the thing that takes you over the line into DQ territory.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

11 people marked this as a favorite.

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Goblin Sentry Song
Sung by the sentries in area A1. (if they get the chance)

    Silly longshanks in our pit,
    Do you like the smell of it?
    The slimy thing that eats our waste,
    Will grind your bones up into paste.

Nightsoil Marauder Fire Protection Racket Song
Sung by the lab helpers in area A4.

    The Nightsoil Marauders own this town
    Pay our price or we burn it down
    We’re the spark and you’re the tinder
    We’ll burn you up, to a cinder

    Give us your food, and your money
    Cos we’re rude, and we’re funny
    Or we come back in the dark of night
    And we’ll set your house alight

    We’ll grin with glee as it ignite
    Sing a song as it burn bright
    We’ll lock your doors
    As the fire roars
    Then eat your family, cooked just right

Versevosh’s Taunting Song
Sung by Versevosh in area A5.

    Ugly longshanks got no brain,
    Soon they tasting lots of pain,
    Kill that one and the rest will flee,
    So come here longshanks, come to me!

    You longshanks are all the same,
    You longshanks we hack and maim,
    We’ll make you squeal and make you cry,
    So come on longshanks, come and die!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

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For those of you preparing to GM this, here are a few extras.

Picture of Yarak

Picture of Versevosh

These awesome pictures were done by Andrei Buters (aka KesslerGunner on the boards.)

PDF of the young and advanced monsters in the scenario.
(I'm not a big fan of scaling monsters on the fly.)

Hope that helps and hope you enjoy it.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

... both from all four contestants and from the judges!

Good solid swings from all of the top 4.

Really amazingly informative critiques from the judges. I highly recommend anyone looking at pitching any adventure read through and use these to help them elevate their adventure to the next level.


First! Hey Ben, I'm keen to see an adventure with your name on it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

First! Looking forward to seeing this Jim.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Some advice for Round 4

This year’s round 4 is similar to last year’s, so here is some advice from someone who has been through the process. (I’m hoping that you can learn from some of my missteps in this round.)

  • Make it an awesome location, a location that PCs would want to tell tales of having been to.
  • Make it a Golarion location, give it the style and flavor of the part of the world it is set in.
  • Make it an awesome encounter, an encounter that is unusual and memorable for the PCs.
  • Make sure the villain gets the chance to show his/her style both in the location and in the encounter.
  • Make the map interesting, it doesn’t have to be super pretty in the artistic sense, but it does need to be clear and have to give the GM everything they would need to run the encounter.
  • Lastly, tie it all together so that it fits together, feels real, and has Superstar quality.

Hope that helps,

Matt Goodall

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

What is a villain?

I'm going to quote Clark Peterson from a previous year:
link

Clark Peterson wrote:

Clark Peterson wrote:


What is a "villain"?

You know what a villain is. A villain is more than just a "monster" or an "encounter," though your villain may be a monster (as in not humanoid) and you may in fact encounter him/her/it. A villain is more than just an NPC. We want to encourage a broad reading of what a villain is, but here are some guidelines. A villain:

*Is a unique NPC;
*Is an individual creature or entity;
*Is as much a plot device as an encounter;
*Is an antagonist for the PCs;
*Does not have to be a final boss, but he/she/it must be more than just a simple henchman;
*Must be capable of being a proactive opponent, not simply reactive;
*Must be capable of independent thought and be able to both come up with plans and take actions to thwart the PCs.

Can you give us some examples of what a "villain" is, or isn't?

Darth Vader is an excellent example of a villain.

Its clear to me that some people didnt follow this instruction and instead only created neat monster NPCs with little to no conflict with charcters other than as an encounter. We didnt just want a bad guy monster, we wanted a villain--a plot device.

We didnt say create a cool NPC, we said a "villain."

I definitely agree with what Clark has said.

This is my opinion, but to me, a villain has to have a goal, or goals (even if they are crazy or impossible), as well as an agenda and a plan to accomplish this. Basically, some way of achieving victory. This goal should be something that interacts with the PCs, and makes them want to disrupt the plan and defeat the villain.

The PCs probably shouldn't encounter the villain straight off the bat, beating up an NPC that you don't even know the name of, is nowhere near as satisfying as defeating a villain whose plans you have repeatedly foiled and who you have a personal reason to hate, despise, or even pity. If the PCs gain some insight into the villain's motivations as they thwart his/her plans, that's even better.

I also like a villain to have a background and motivation for their agenda. A reason that comes from some pivotal event or events in their life that made them what they are. As a player/GM, I want to have some understanding of why the villain is the way s/he is.

Dennis Hopper in Speed really chews up the scenery but he is a villain that really gets his villain on.

That’s my 2 cents. (Apologies to Neil for stealing his catchphrase.)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

If you are even vaguely thinking of submitting an entry for RPG Superstar, now is a great time to do it.

Even if you are not sure or don't know if you'll have time to compete, put something in.

If you compete or just watch the competition there is an incredible amount of advice, knowledge, and help for anyone who wants to be an RPG writer.

This competition really is good for the game.

Don't be the person who misses the deadline by five minutes because of an internet or web site problem.

Do submit something, because if you have the spark of imagination and the determination to create a written work of art then you have a chance to be the next RPG Superstar.

Trust me, there are very few feelings like checking the Paizo website and seeing your name in the Top 32.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Arcane Weapon is fine, but any ideas for an alternative feature for those who don't want to suck DC 20+ concentration checks to cast spells without their weapon in hand, or those who want to make a monk/magus?

Sovereign Court

Hi!!!

I'm Myffany Salvania, cleric of Shelyn. I like long walks on the beach, admiring fine art, strolling through beautiful gardens, hugging puppies, counselling young couples, and POWER ATTACKING the heck out of the bad, nasty, mean, evil villains.
I’m almost a high priestess (11th level), are there any adventures available for me to play at Genconoz? Are there any other adventurers who also want some high level action?

Myff

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Cult of the Ebon Destroyers
Enough!
Too long have the secret Vudran cult of killers known as the Yast-Maala (Ebon Destroyers) gone unpunished for their crimes of murder and assassination. Too long has the Isle of Jalmeray suffered from their deadly machinations. The Thukur of Jalmeray has outlawed the cult, and received in response an ultimatum stating that if he doesn’t revoke his edict, he and his family will die before the month is out.
Now is the time to bring down the Ebon Destroyers!

A Pathfinder module designed for four 8th-level characters. Using the medium XP advancement track, characters should achieve 9th-level by the end of the adventure.

The adventure starts with intrigue and espionage in the slums and palaces of Niswan. A perilous trek through the dense jungle and rugged hills of southern Jalmeray leads the PCs to the Ebon Destroyers’ hidden temple headquarters, carved into the side of a mountain cliff face. Here they battle the cult leaders in the depths of the diabolical shrine. Finally, the heroes must swiftly return to Niswan to save the Thukur himself from the last and deadliest of the cultists.

Adventure Background
In the many Mahajanapadas (kingdoms) of Vudra, the cult of Yast-Maala has a long history. They are organized cabals that infiltrate, rob, and ritually murder. These horrendous cultists are devoted to the Kalavei, the evil Vudran goddess of darkness, deception, and death. Their killings are in her name: cultists put out their victims’ eyes and cut off their tongue as an oblation to their goddess, showing their victims were unaware of their killers’ evil nature, and couldn’t cry out against them.

In Vudra, the cultists often join caravans, sometimes in several small groups to allay suspicion, waiting until they befriend the travelers and gain their trust. In the dark of night, at prearranged places, they strike, using garrotes or their bare hands to stealthily and systematically strangle their victims. The bodies are disposed of, and entire caravans disappear without a trace.

On the Isle of Jalmeray, the cult’s activity has been growing. Two weeks ago, one of the Thukur’s favorite cousins disappeared. With the help of divination magic, his corpse was found bearing the Yast-Maala’s ritual sacrificial markings. Incensed that the Yast-Maala would dare strike at his family, Thukur Kharswan called on the Maurya-Rahm (his legion of advisors and administrators), and demanded that they outlaw the cult and prohibit the worship of Kalavei. Soon after, the Thukur received the Yast-Maala’s death threat.

Worried for their leader’s safety, the Thukur’s advisors are employing every means possible to find and destroy this cult. Little are they aware though, that one of the Yast-Maala has already deeply infiltrated the Maurya-Rahm itself. Lord Naasim, one of the most loyal and influential advisors, recognizes how pervasively insidious this cult can be, and is seeking independent foreigners to help in the search.

Act 1: Scintillating Colors
The characters are in Niswan during Holl-Yatra, the ‘Festival of Colors’, and the whole city is celebrating. Many wear robes that were once white, but are now smeared and painted a myriad of colors. The normally reserved Vudrani rub multi-hued powders on each others faces and yell exuberant, joyful blessings. Grinning children splash each other with dyed water. The air is a heady cloud of fragrant flavors, and sounds of music and folk songs are all around. Mouth-watering delights are generously available, as well as large mugs of Thandi, a local drink, to wash them down.

The PCs could be in Niswan for many reasons; Jalmeray is renowned for its martial training colleges, and scrolls of unusual lore are widely available for the right price. They may have escorted a dignitary to the festival, or simply come to the city for the celebration itself.

The adventure starts as errand boys and girls scamper through the streets, reciting a message to each group of revelers. A youngster stops in front of the PCs and addresses them in Vudrani, and then in Common. “The zikhin has escaped from the Menagerie. It’s the Thukur’s magical sacred peacock. Please stay inside, or if you’re brave, catch it, but please don’t harm it.” At this moment, a large flightless bird with intensely dazzling plumage appears at the end of the street.

Whilst on display for the festival, the throngs of people and loud noises frightened the highly-strung zikhin. It broke loose and now runs wildly through the streets. Viewing the clashing, flickering patterns of a zikhin’s colorful tail plumage can either temporarily blind, or cause strange and dangerous behavior in nearby creatures. The zikhin normally suppresses this ability, but in its agitated state, anyone close who can see the creature may be affected.

The PCs pursue the panicked peacock through crooked and crowded streets as it leaves chaos behind it. They need to calm and capture the bird, but magically confused citizens may assail them, and blind or befuddled citizens putting themselves in danger could distract the PCs. When the PCs return the peacock to the palace, they receive grateful thanks, and a reward if the zikhin returns unharmed. Their actions also produce a palace audience. If the PCs accidentally kill the zikhin, eliminating the cult becomes their chance to redeem themselves.

Act 2: Dangerous Investigations
Servants show the PCs into a languidly luxurious sitting room; the Thukur sits at the far end of the room, painting a canvas whilst watching his baby son. The PCs speak with Lord Naasim, one of the Thukur’s most trustworthy advisors. Naasim is a pleasant host, and compliments his guests on their resourcefulness in recovering the zikhin. He explains about the cult of Yast-Maala and the threat to the Thukur’s life. Naasim reveals his suspicion there may be an informant in the Thukur’s guard, as current investigations into the cult have uncovered surprisingly little. He hopes that as outsiders to Jalmeray, the PCs may have advantages in uncovering the cult, and asks if they would consider giving their assistance. Naasim invites the PCs to name their price, cheerfully bargaining with them until they reach a consensus. He requests that they report only to him.

Naasim provides letters of introduction to several people who have knowledge of the cult. Pravezak, the Thukur’s spiritual counselor, knows much about the many deities of Vudra, including the cultists’ dark goddess, Kalavei. Prince Kanvar is a great student of Eastern history, and Varanassi, a high-caste merchant, is well acquainted with current regional politics. Lastly, Lord Mahindra is the city’s rumormonger.

The adventure now becomes investigatory, with the PCs gathering information about the Yast-Maala and discovering clues to their whereabouts. Speaking with Naasim’s contacts, they learn much of the cult’s background. Several of the contacts promise to contact the PCs if they discover more. As they investigate, the cult takes a series of measures against them, which can also provide the PCs with clues.

  • Warning
    In the street, an errand girl hands the PCs a note. The note promises death if the PCs keep interfering. The note’s ink is an uncommon dark purple, used in the dyeing of fine cotton and silk. On close inspection, the abnormal, flamboyant style of the handwriting reveals the writer has unusual hands, with long or very flexible digits. Lankesh the rakshasa (see below) wrote the note.

  • An Arrow
    As they return to their quarters, an arrow shoots towards one of the PCs. The sniper, Utkroza the garuda (see Silk Mill), flees and is likely to get away. A silken note tied to the arrow reads: “This is your final warning!” The arrow’s feathers come from the garuda himself and are identifiable. The silk of the note is distinctive, and traceable to its manufacturer.

  • Dead-End
    After resting, the PCs find the corpse of Mahindra, strangled, with his eyes and tongue cut out, on the front steps of their lodgings. A successful Heal check shows Mahindra died elsewhere. A close examination reveals traces of silk strands on the bottoms of his sandals.

  • Conflagration
    The PCs continue their investigation; on returning to their quarters, they find a note apparently slipped under the door. The whole place is a trap; moving the note triggers a fiery explosion which combines with highly flammable oil secreted in their quarters setting the entire building ablaze.
    PCs who question the neighbors obtain descriptions of several mill-workers who earlier delivered a crate to their quarters.

  • Dismissal
    While the PCs are out searching for clues, a young messenger finds them and says that Lord Naasim requires their presence. Following the messenger, they arrive at Naasim’s townhouse. In his parlor, a frowning Naasim tersely greets the PCs and explains that their services are no longer required. He states abruptly that the ringleaders of the cult are in custody. Found to be several lower ranked officers of the Thukur’s guard, they have confessed all. He tosses a bag of coin on the table and bids them good day. He leans back dismissively, waiting for them to take their money and go.

    Certain things about ‘Naasim’ might bother the heroes: the sudden change in his demeanor, that he doesn’t bother bargaining over the payment, or even the unnatural angle of his fingers as he tosses the bag on the table. If they see through the lies and disguise of ‘Naasim’, he reveals his true form, a bat-headed rakshasa, and attacks. Lankesh the rakshasa is an adhura - a novice adolescent (CR 8), and an exile from the East. After defeating him, the PCs discover the real Naasim is missing and his servants are dead. The PCs also find notes on the rakshasa’s body that reveal the location of the cultists’ hideout in the city: a silk mill in the low-caste district of Niswan.

    If Lankesh’s charade is successful, then it is only later, when the PCs hear of the disappearance of Naasim and his servants that they realize their mistake. They have lost valuable time and it’s much harder to track the cult to the silk mill.

Act 3: Silk Mill
At the silk mill, the PCs are confronted by the ‘mill-workers’ who are cultist rogues wielding exotic vudrani weaponry. The fighting takes place amongst the jumble of looms, silk racks, and vats of dye. Utkroza, an evil garuda, shoots arrows from high in the rafters.

Garuda:
A winged, eagle-like humanoid, with birds’ claws for feet; large eyes and a serrated beak dominate the face. Those native to Vudra commonly wear loose robes and golden jewelry. Usually noble-spirited and impetuous, garudas use bows or fight furiously with beak and claw.

The head of this group of cultists is Sarpini, a dark naga. In the mill’s mulberry gardens the PCs fight her, as well as a pair of low level monk acolytes. After securing the hideout, the PCs find Naasim imprisoned in the basement. They also discover a crude map showing the rough location of the cult’s temple headquarters near a small village in the hills of southern Jalmeray. Questioning prisoners reveals that there are three cult leaders; each a master of the School of Unfathomable Darkness, an obscure, secretive discipline of martial arts.

Act 4: Journey
Naasim provides elephants and a guide to help the PCs make their way south. In the thick jungle, they come across a small shrine tended by a dirty hermit and holy man named Citraka. He offers blessings in exchange for food or a few coins. If they accept, he paints the centre of each PC’s forehead with a smelly resin he claims will open their mystical third eye. The truth is that Citraka is an evil, flesh-eating savage who transforms into a dire were-leopard. The resin’s stench makes it easy for him to sniff them out when he stalks them that night. The cult pays him with living ‘meals’, to ensure safe passage through his territory.

The PCs reach the village on the map. The villagers welcome them and offer food and a place to rest. However, they are under the sway of the cult and try to strangle the PCs while they sleep. By interrogating villagers or by finding the well-disguised trail leading from the village, the PCs are able to follow a concealed path up into the hills. In a valley, the PCs come across an unmarked mass grave of the cult’s victims, haunted by a vetala. A landslide started by a malicious earth spirit impedes the PCs, but they eventually discover the cult’s temple headquarters set halfway up a mountain cliff face.

Vetala:
A ghostly, evil spirit that inhabits corpses and animates dead bodies. The corpse it inhabits doesn’t decay. Hostile to the living, they drive their victims mad, and attack with animated corpses. Performing proper funerary rites over its mortal remains puts a vetala to rest.

Act 5: Temple of Kalavei
The PCs storm the cliff-side temple to defeat the cult and its leaders. In the entrance hall, a throng of monk acolytes mob the PCs, but flee when they realize they are outmatched. A four-armed asura (variant beatific one, Pathfinder #9), an infernal representation of Kalavei, defends the main temple.

The first of the masters is Ikrimah, the Master of Mysteries, an ascetic wizard/monk. He resides in a series of tunnels known as the Web of Secrets. Sensing the PC’s approach via alarm spells in the Web, Ikrimah prepares by enhancing himself with a large amount of spells. In the tetrahedric chamber at the Web’s center, the PCs find Ikrimah floating cross-legged in midair, protected by a sphere of pure energy. He finishes with his most powerful martial transformation spell, transfiguring himself into a finely-tuned instrument of destruction. Ikrimah uses alchemical smoke to obscure the chamber as he emerges from the sphere; he’s well-trained to fight using senses other than sight. If badly wounded, a preset spell turns him invisible and he attempts to magically flee.

The second master is Deepti, the Shadowed Master of the Hail of Death. She is a shadowdancer monk specializing in thrown weapons. Upon encountering the PCs, she withdraws and keeps her distance, showering them with flaming chakram disks and explosive beads as she seeks to lure them through the cult’s dimly lit training corridors and into the grand training hall.

The hall is a large open area, four stories high, each story connected by ladders or ropes. Deepti has the ability to walk on walls, granting her exceptional mobility here. In the centre of the area is a large chasm with more than a dozen thin stone pillars rising out of it. Deepti leaps with perfect balance across the tops of the pillars, quickly jumping in to strike and then springing away. If near defeat, she fakes a fall into a deep pit. Using her slow fall ability and a convenient net to halt her descent, she makes her escape via a hidden tunnel.

Finally, in the cult’s large fighting arena, the PCs confront Zaafira, the third master. She is the War Master of Black Destruction, a monk/oracle of battle, and the cult’s spiritual guide. She and any other surviving monks make a stand here. She attempts to parley, describing the cult’s grand history, and offering the PCs valued places as Yast-Maala members. If they refuse, she challenges the PCs to a one-on-one duel to resolve the matter. Zaafira negotiates carefully as she intends to honor the terms of the duel.

When the PCs defeat the last of the cult’s leadership by either duel or battle, the remaining cultists in the headquarters flee or surrender. The PCs find prisoners that the cultists intended to sacrifice, including an angelic devá of peace (half-celestial) named Jalissa. In gratitude, Jalissa gives them her Padma blossom, which she hid when captured.

Padma blossom:
This perfect lotus flower formed from pink jade offers purity and spiritual calm. Whilst grasped, the blossom grants its holder a +2 competence bonus to concentration checks and suppresses the following on its holder: morale bonuses, fear effects, and the confused condition. Twice per day, the bearer can cast calm emotions.

But the threat from the cult isn’t over. By examining the cult’s records, interrogation of cult members, or talking with Jalissa, the PCs discover that the real leader of the cult is the Grand Master, whose true identity is Pravezak, the holy advisor to the Thukur!

The PCs must return swiftly to Niswan to stop Pravezak before he assassinates the Thukur. Jalissa has the power to call forth a Vidana - a celestial magical flying device shaped like a swan with a palanquin atop it - to fly back to Niswan. Also, Ikrimah possesses a scroll of teleport that the PCs could use to return.

Act 6: Save the Thukur!
The PCs rush to Niswan. They need to inform Naasim, and he exclaims that the Thukur and his family are in spiritual consultation with Pravezak right now. They hurry to the Thukur’s palace, with Naasim able to convince the guards to let them all through. In the wide multi-story meditation chamber, the PCs confront Pravezak.

Both Naasim and Pravezak hurl accusations and the palace guards are uncertain who to believe. The guard captain tries to have the Thukur and his family escorted out. With his sinister plans unraveling, Pravezak tries to assassinate them all. He hurls down crystal gems to summon forth elementals and attacks. Pravezak is a high level monk, his body infused with the power of the raw elements. In combat, he swathes his limbs in fire, cold, or lightning. He uses abundant step to teleport to the chamber’s various levels and slow fall to leap safely down.

With Pravezak’s defeat, the Ebon Destroyers’ power in Jalmeray is broken.

Conclusion
Thukur Kharswan rewards the PCs profusely. Wealth, fantastic objects, and exceptional pets are all available; even offers of a spouse from Thukur’s household are a possibility. The Maurya-Rahms’ blessings can secure a candidate’s entry into Jalmeray’s greatest monasteries. Lastly, the Vudrani people are great storytellers, and word of the PCs’ heroic deeds spreads to every Vudrani throughout the Inner Sea, presenting many opportunities in the future.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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The Lost Ziggurat of Amar Zedas

Rising above the choking crimson dust of the parched and scorched wasteland looms an edifice of immense proportions. A gigantic three-stepped ziggurat, constructed from a seemingly innumerable amount of earthen bricks. The turbulent winds of the mana wastes howl forlornly around the desolate structure, giving it a domineering appearance, while it holds a still vigil over the barren landscape. The ziggurat stands as a monument from a distant age.
Three vast ramped stairways all lead up to a massive gatehouse; two ascend from either side of the front facing, the third climbs straight towards the apex, entering the middle of the gatehouse. The steps continue from the gatehouse towards the top of the ziggurat where a tall fluted building awaits.

Located deep in the mana wastes between the borders of Geb and Nex, the Lost Ziggurat of Amar Zedas is a myth recounted by the residents and locals of the surrounding regions. Supposedly struck down in the cataclysmic war, the ziggurat is said to only appear at times of significant astrological convergence. It is unknown whether this phenomenon is caused by unstable fluctuations of the mana waste, or is the result of great eldritch energies unleashed between the two nations in the distant past.
The ziggurat appears for only a few days during the conjunction of certain stars. At all other times, it fades from reality, and the knowledge of the times at which the ziggurat is due to appear has almost been forgotten.
Whether the site originally belonged to the land of Nex or Geb is now lost to history. What is known is that the edifice was built as an astrological observatory, as well as a temple dedicated to a regal and destructive aspect of the god Nethys. The ziggurat was fought over numerous times; Gebbites supposedly occupied the ziggurat during the early days of the war, but abandoned it as the area became more and more magically unstable.
Atop the ziggurat is a shrine to Nethys with an open air observatory on the roof of the building. The interior of the middle tier contains priests’ quarters and places for personal contemplation and research. In the distant past, there were entrance passages to allow egress from this level directly outside but these have long since been filled in. The lowest internal level is made of stone, not brick, and appears to be the ruins of an even older structure; it contains a series of chambers build to a sacred spiraling ratio of mystical confluence.
It is said that if a powerful individual can perform an intricate and exacting ritual known as the Rite of Sublime Illumination at a preordained time within the ziggurat, then knowledge and understanding of universe is granted, albeit if only for a brief moment.
Each brick of the structure is magically treated to prevent weathering and erosion. The ziggurat is rumored to contain horrors from the time when the two archmages battled each other, deadly traps that require the victim to speak fluent Ancient Osiriani, and spirits of priests that cannot rest until they unravel one last conundrum.

1. Upper Temple Shrine
The walls of this ancient shrine are made of glazed midnight-blue brick. The polished bricks are so cleanly cut that only a thin crack marks the spaces between them. The ceiling rises forty feet above, and square tiles of dark slate line the floor. The center point of the chamber is a barren altar, formed from a single block of black jasper. To the north and south of the altar, thirty feet high soaring archways open into side chambers. Facing the altar from the east is an austere granite throne on a raised dais. Against the wall on the north side of the dais is a bed frame, and on the south wall is a table, both made from polished dark onyx. A pale statue made from gray alabaster bows in symbolic supplication before the throne. It is man-sized, and carved to resemble a soldier in dressed in antique cuirass and crested helm. Dust lies thick, and the very air is stale and lifelessly still, emphasizing the feeling of long sealed secrets that pervades this sanctum.

The featureless main doors lack a locking mechanism, but are sealed shut. Pitch and plaster block the gaps in the tightly fitted masonry, forming a near airtight seal. Each door requires a DC 28 Strength check to open. The bed, table and throne are for the use of the patron deity of this shrine (Nethys), should he choose to manifest in physical form. The altar radiates dim universal magic despite receiving no rites for thousands of years. The two areas to the north-west and south-west once held offerings and ritual objects but are now empty.

Creature: The bowing statue is an ossuary golem; a construct of ancient Gebbite origin set to guard this chamber against the enemies of Geb. This ossuary golem has orders to attack any creature that comes within 30 feet of it that doesn’t present a symbol of Geb towards the throne. It single-mindedly attacks a target until it destroys that foe. It pursues fleeing enemies throughout the interior of the ziggurat and as far as the stairs leading down to the second level of the outside of the ziggurat.

Trapped inside the golem is the wight of an antediluvian magus of Nex. Captured during the war between Nex and Geb, the Nexian was magically transfigured into a vicious undead creature, and then incarcerated in the stony prison of the ossuary golem for untold millennia. Driven irrevocably mad by this ordeal, the creature screams horrid curses upon Gebbites in ancient Osiriani while attacking all living creatures if freed from the golem’s stony shell. It focuses its attacks on those wearing symbols of Geb. If Zarek, the ghostly priest from area 13, is present in the chamber when the PCs free the wraith, it attacks him to the exclusion of all others.

Ossuary Golem CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 26 (+50) (RPG Superstar 2010)

Development: The altar in the middle of the chamber is where the first part of the Rite of Sublime Illumination must take place.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

CHAITRAKHAN

A mosaic framework of luminous sapphire ice rimes the forelimbs and backbone of this pale-furred feline. It has iridescent eyes and its powerful body ends in a long tail tipped with icicle-like spurs.

CHAITRAKHAN CR 6
XP 2,400
N Large magical beast (cold)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., heat sense 120 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +14
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Defense
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AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +3 natural, -1size)
hp 42 (5d10+15)
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +2
Immune cold
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire
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Offense
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Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d8+4 plus grab), 2 claws +8 (1d6+4)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, rake (2 claws +8, 1d6+4 and tail-spurs +3, 1d4+2 plus 1d6 cold plus ice netting)
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Statistics
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Str 19, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +5; CMB +10 (+14 grapple); CMD +13 (17 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Acrobatics +7, Perception +14, Stealth +6 (+10 in snow), +1 Survival (+5 scent tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth in snow, +4 Survival when tracking by scent
Languages pheromones
SQ pheromones
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Ecology
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Environment cold plains or hills
Organization solitary, pair, or pride (3-8)
Treasure none
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Special Abilities
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Heat Sense (Su) Chaitrakhans sense heat radiated by objects and creatures. Darkness, invisibility, or illusions that don’t include thermal components, are ineffective against them. Concealment is irrelevant to chaitrakhans, unless the creature and its concealment are the same temperature, or the creature doesn’t generate heat.
Ice Armor (Su) The ice that forms on chaitrakhans gives them a +3 armor bonus to AC. In darkness or dim light, it glows with the equivalent illumination of a candle. In environments above 40° F, the armor melts in an hour.
Ice Netting (Su) On striking an opponent, the unearthly magical cold of a chaitrakhan’s lacerating tail-spurs induces an unnatural extraction of water from both the opponent and the surrounding area. If the opponent is a living creature, it takes 2d4 non-lethal damage from having its fluids drawn out (DC 15 Fortitude halves). The water immediately coalesces and flash-freezes around the creature, crystallizing into an icy cocoon-like mesh. Unless the creature makes a DC 15 Reflex save, it gains the entangled condition and cannot move. A trapped creature can escape with a DC 20 Escape Artist check (full-round action). The ice has 6 hp and can be broken with a DC 15 Strength check. Chaitrakhans cannot use this ability in environments above 40° F. The save DCs are Constitution-based.
Pheromones (Su) Chaitrakhans secrete pheromones, allowing them to silently communicate with each other using a scent-based language. Being in pheromonal contact with other chaitrakhans heightens a chaitrakhan’s awareness and senses. It inspires audacious ferocity and staunch aggressiveness. A chaitrakhan that can smell (see Scent) another chaitrakhan, gains a +1 bonus to Perception checks, and a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and saving throws against charm and fear effects. These bonuses increase to +2 if it can smell at least three other chaitrakhans.

Chaitrakhans (pronounced CHY-truck-KARNs) are crafty and ferocious great cats that stalk the primeval tundra and snowy crags of the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. Chaitrakhans inhabit the hyperborean terrain near the great glacial wall of the Crown of the World. They live in small packs to endure in a harsh environment dominated by hulking prehistoric beasts.
Chaitrakhans are fierce predators possessing instinctive ancestral memories; this allows a pride of chaitrakhans to use strategic planning when stalking and ambushing their quarry. Chaitrakhans deliberately hunt in mist and snowstorms using their heat sense to easily ambush creatures, and often bury themselves in snowbanks to surprise prey.
Some scholars believe that chaitrakhans came from the Great Beyond with the Witch Queen Baba Yaga when she conquered Irrisen, but the wizened shaman elders of the Mammoth Lord tribes state that the ‘blizzard cats’ have always dwelled in their realm.
Candidates for Mammoth Lord leadership occasionally strive to singlehandedly slay a Chaitrakhan to prove their bravery. Chaitrakhan pelts are worth approximately 300 gp. Adult chaitrakhans are around 6 feet long and weigh about 400 pounds.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Looking at my Bestiary, it looks like the XP line is bolded. Should the stat block template have the b /b codes around it?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Churjiir
Description: The Churjiir is a two-headed, hairless, and rat-like beast with six clawed limbs. Over ten times the size of a normal rat, its body is two yards in length. It reeks of musty urine, and a haze of servitor fleas seethes over it.
The muddy gray hide of the Churjiir’s bald body stretches tautly from both muzzles to its undersized, malformed ears. Lumps and lesions mottle the skin on the creature’s back, and a ropey, ophidian tail twitches behind it. Yellowed fangs jut down from its snouts and both jaws are set with needle-like teeth. Its mouths slaver with luminescent spittle.
It crouches on four squat legs equipped with sharpened digging claws. If confronted, it rears up and uses its third, frontal set of limbs. These are elongated and gangly, terminating in three finger-like talons with wicked points.
Its cavernous, crimson eyes glint with a feral light. Churjiirs possess cruel and calculating intellects, allowing them to thrive in the cesspools and murky corners of settlements. They aspire to reign luxuriously, served by subjugated minions.
Powers and Abilities: Churjiirs can mentally control and communicate at a distance with rodents of any size. This includes intelligent or enhanced rat-like creatures, such as wererats. It has the magical power to scavenge through a nearby creature’s mind, feeding on and devouring thoughts, tainting the creature’s recollection, and often excreting diseased and foul memories in their place.
Its corrupted bite can unnaturally diminish a victim’s spellcasting ability, while putrescent saliva causes painful necrosis of the wound. Churjiirs can send forth hordes of fleas to torment enemies.
Despite their size, Churjiirs are adept at remaining unseen; like its brethren, it gnaws through wood and other barriers with ease. It can gouge a hole in a solid brick wall in minutes.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Spellstrike Vambraces
Aura strong abjuration; CL 13th
Slot wrists; Price 25,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
This pair of gleaming metal arm guards have spiraling sigils inlaid in them, and are polished to a mirror-like sheen. Once per day, as an immediate action, you can have the vambraces nullify and seize a spell or spell-like ability directed at you, provided it is either a ray or a single-target spell. The vambraces ring with the sound of crystal shattering against steel as they nullify and seize a spell. You instantly know the name of the spell you have just seized. Until the end of your next turn, you can place the seized spell on a ranged weapon as you shoot or throw it. The ranged weapon shimmers with an eldritch aura as it flies towards its target. If the ranged weapon hits a creature, then the spell affects that creature. The spell uses the weapon’s range rather than the spell’s normal range. You are considered the caster of the spell for the purposes of dismissing or redirecting the spell, and for controlling the spell’s target (with a charm or dominate spell, for example). For all other purposes (duration, saving throw DC, and so on) treat the spell as if it were cast by the original caster. If the ranged weapon misses, the spell is wasted. If you do not use the seized spell by the end of your turn, it dissipates harmlessly. You must wear the vambraces for 24 hours before they begin to function.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, spell turning; Cost 12,500 gp


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Looking for some clarification (hopefully something offical) about casting spells in a grapple/pin. The wording of rules in different parts of the book seem to be at odds with each other.

Can I cast a spell while grappled?

Grapple wrote:

Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you.

Hmm sounds like I can. Then I figure I better look up the grappled condition (at the other end of the book):

Grapple condition wrote:

Grappled: A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. Grappled creatures cannot move and take a –4 penalty to Dexterity. A grappled creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, except those made to grapple or escape a grapple. In addition, grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform. A grappled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level), or lose the spell. Grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity.

Ok, sounds like I can cast spells (including ones with somantic components) it just needs a Concentration check. Especially when I look at the Pinned condition.

Pinned condition wrote:
Pinned: A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

But then I look that the magic section.

Magic section wrote:
Grappling or Pinned: The only spells you can cast while grappling or pinned are those without somatic components and whose material components (if any) you have in hand. Even so, you must make a concentration check (DC 10 + the grappler's CMB + the level of the spell you're casting) or lose the spell.

This seems at odds with the other rules.

So how does it work? A table like this might be handy.
_____Grappler__Grapplee__Pinned
V
S
M

Given that grappling a wizard is a common way to try and stop them casting spells, I think this could all have been put together in one part of the book.


And so does Ride.

Swim only has a normal armor check penalty as well.

So yes it looks like a global ACP on all Str and Dex skills.

Given there is an exception for Acrobatics (can't tumble past an opponent in armor that reduces your speed), surely there could have been exceptions for these other skills as well.

Disable Device: sure take my gauntlets off, but not my entire suit of armor.

Ride: sure an ACP for Quick Dismount etc, but not Fight with a Combat-Trained Mount.

Swim: swimming in full plate was never easier, 3.5's double the penalty was actually fairly lenient considering the reality of what happens if someone dives into a deep pool with 50 pounds of metal strapped to them.

My thoughts, what do you think?


Here is a starting list of things that I think should be open access. Please feel free to add to the list or discuss:

+1 to +5 weapons
+1 to +5 armor and shields
(Here I mean a normal +5 enhancement bonus to an item, not flaming, shocking, fortification, etc.)

stat boost items (+2, +4, or +6 Gloves of Dexerity etc.)

Wand of cure light wounds


If the PCs ask the kids or Edgrin for details of level 2, which room were they held in? (And which rooms did they pass through to escape?)


Go to http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/20070420a.

I hope this may ease some of the pain and confusion that people are feeling.

Matt

To quote the Wedding Singer:
'Things that could've been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!'


How about no more comics, for me they don't add anything to the mag. As they say, if I wanted a comic, I'd buy a comic. Downer is really hard to follow, and the other two just aren't funny. I feel that they are not really what the old or new dungeon are/were about (adventures or DM tools). My opinion, just interested to see who agrees or disagrees with me.