Played this at GaryCon with my rogue & his twin. Chris Rathunde was also doing the grab/constrict one poor sap (me)while whacking others with the slam/gore. We knew there was a trap aspect to the "door" from 10 feet away, but couldn't deduce the actual problem until I was stuck. We were really hoping it would take a step forward into a bunch of precision damage, but sadly it didn't need to do that. Survived it, though!
I got a completely different view of this beastie, seeing it as more of an enormous soap bubble (which might have even been Isaac's source of inspiration). This isn't the first monster that has a fly speed but does not seem to actively "fly" - almost everything from the elemental plane of air does likewise. I like the unusual nature presented here. It is a unique entry against the other competing designs.
No offense intended to the other candidates, who have put forth their own great efforts, but we don't really need another iteration of an undead something-or-other. We do need to make examples like this that go a long way to keeping the sense of wonder alive in this game.
I personally feel that the strong focus on mechanics and presentation by the judges is secondary to what I look for in a new bestiary entry. This has loads of flavor and is more easily pictured in the mind's eye than many of the other entries. I call this a winner that merely needs a little TLC from the development side to fit into the Paizo format. You have my vote once again.
Halflings, hobgoblins, gnolls, kobolds, gnomes...there are a lot of PC races that are underrepresented. Also the 4 elemental-kin: undines, ifrits, sylphs & oreads - maybe a suli-jann?
From my smart-aleck side: how about swordsmen that are right-handed; male druids; male sorcerors; more choices for two-weapon fighters;
Assembled in this room are four of the Decemvirate's seekers - Giacomo diAngelo, paladin of Sarenrae (16), serving to found a new lodge in the Stolen Lands in spite of the collection of gnomes living there; and Menkhe of Sothis, senior Professor at the Academae in Korvosa, a wizard (17) rumored to command an exorbitant salary due to his non-academic knowledge; there sits Lord Peck, the halfling polearm master, renowned for his skills at giant slaying, even when knocked prone (12th), which is why no one asks where his supposed title originates; and the monk Yong Chen (12), whose mastery of the dungeons of Bonekeep has come with a fearful price. They are calm now, but it wasn't always so...
Requires that you put just the city there, and not the island, because that island is bigger than Lake Silverstep. I'm assuming that you are coming up with an alternate backstory, since this is pretty far away from Razmiran and much further from the lands where Tar-Baphon was active. It really fits better all around in Lake Encarthen, as written.
I definitely want to make the encounter with Ilthuliak to be quite epic, but I would also like to give her a bigger role in the campaign. I'm definitely adding a child of hers to the Hooktongue Slough (running a 6-player campaign, so I have extra xp to work with), possibly even living in his mother's former lair. I've also considered changing her morale away from fighting to the death, so she could return for a later re-match... or even to change the last bloom and have Ilthuliak come through along with the army of fey... and then retreat back to the First World if engaged by the party. (She does have teleport, after all.)
I "gifted" my crew with 4 black dragons in the slough (like #100 on the random encounter table, which I picked from and did not roll). It was a significant combat against my collection of broken PCs, but the most amusing part (to me) was that they had no clue that these were Ilthuliak's spawn and had no lair or treasure of their own. They spent game-weeks scouring the entire Hooktongue map looking for that lair. Ah, memories!
Don't be shy about inventing roving bands of NPCs, monstrous or otherwise, to refocus them. Sounds like they think it's a forest preserve instead of a wilderness. Daily random (or not so random) monsters will eat away at their supplies, even if they vanquish every foe.
There is a very sizable gnomish town not far off the south end of the map and Mivon is down there, too. Time for a river pirate attack? Maybe the nastiness on Candlemere Island is more widespread than the book says? The big bad monster near the lower right corner just might have a new mate as well...
Kadasbrass Loreweaver wrote:
That's the spirit!
To keep things simple, we will use the monsters as PCs, not the monster advancement by adding class levels. I do allow a change to one ability at the cost of Con.
We have a weekly group that switched over several years ago to running two simultaneous campaigns, usually adventure paths. Game "A" runs every other week with game "B" in the alternating week, each has a different member of the group as the GM. This gives each GM 2 weeks between games instead of one, which makes a HUGE difference in your attitude and thus reduces burnout. You might try that.
I like using the 4 page spread for the region in the ISWG, which I've done in another adventure path. This gives the players their "common knowledge" of the region, and in keeping with the medieval/renaissance level of information the rest of the Inner Sea map is by word of mouth only. Perhaps a look at the smaller fold-out map from the back of the book if there are "learned" classes among the party.
I've never needed to do a bullet point page, which is an excellent idea for your players, because mine have played a lot of PFS.
5 deaths so far, the ranger twice, the two gnome clerics once each and the overconfident dwarf barbarian once. The ranger's first was after sneaking up on the Dancing Lady (sucker!), second from bad perception rolls while leading the party into an ambush. The other 3 all died at the tender mercies of a white dragon that I've placed in the mountains east of Vordakai's Tomb. They drool at the treasure they could find there, but they're over 20,000gp in the hole so far on Raise Dead spells. (My PCs are way overpowered for most encounters, so a dragon to keep them honest seemed appropriate)
Having already vanquished the owlbear den (a tough fight) and the troll lair (a cakewalk), the party of 6 had only a few more hexes to map. To avoid a cakewalk encounter, I switched out the forest drake for a family of green dragons in the vicinity. Mom's an adult, plus 2 juveniles and a total of 30 of the 3 youngest age groups. Previously they had encountered 2 wyrmlings playing by a stream and 2 very young plus 2 young close by. The 3 surviving dragons of this group had fled.
With visions of gold dancing in their heads (especially the dwarf), they set out from Zurich 2 weeks later to find the lair, unaware of how many dragons were around. (2 gnomes, one the treasurer, hence the name Zurich) A sharp initial fight killed 5 dragons of 8 (young and very young), with the waves of channeling goodness making the difference - both gnomes are clerics.
An overnight rest and the PCs continue toward the general direction of the lair. Galan is 30 feet in the lead on horseback when he has the chance to "perceive" the lurking medium (very young)dragons in the trees across the stream (rolls a 1) and the large ones further behind them (rolls a 3). Only the 5 v.y spot him and burst from cover & breathe for a total of 20d6 - he misses 3 saves, his horse melts away, and he falls in the brush and stays prone with 4 hp remaining.
The battle carries to the other 5, a brutal affair, with both clerics and the bard down at one point, but they rally and the worst hurt of the dragons start flying away, so Galan gets up and starts picking them off! Brilliant! Er, not so much...the juvenile spots him and charges, leaving the dead hero on the ground. The surviving dragons again fly off, losing one more to another PCs parting arrow. A heroic death, and good luck attended on his reincarnation. I'm personally in awe that they only had the one death, displaying once again the power of healing when only one side has it.
When 3 of his companions made it to the top of the stairs looking for him, one of the gnome clerics, the dwarf barbarian and the dragon-disciple-in-training all failed their saves against her fascination effect, too! But then the baron, their bard, came up and countered all of her charms and they cut her to shreds.
As far as the tenements go, I've added a house rule (no pun intended) that each new town/city gets a free tenement in calendar months 4-10 for their first year only, representing the temporary housing that newcomers would throw up. These do not cause unrest in the month that they are created, but will thereafter. This is only a boost of 7 BP per new town, but it gets them started a little faster.
I'm running 6 PCs with 20 point buys, and I have upgraded all of the opponents as well. If you increase the encounter by 50% (where possible) then it still works out to the same xp per player. Actually, I'm hiding the xp in the background and telling them when they level - all go up at the same time either way. This does thin out the loot a bit, but they don't know that the $$$ isn't upgraded. It does make it less likely for them to die horribly at the hands of the random encounter chart, though.
A critical hit for max damage, rolled by the player whose character had just been killed by a critical hit from the same beast. The tengu was deader than dead, but it was an incredible moment, and happened right at the end of the session. Dave/Tickleback's player kept apologizing to Alonso's player, but he couldn't keep the smile from his face.
This will be one of those gaming stories that gets told many times. :)...And that's what it's all about.
Yes! Tickleback is the toughest thing in the first book until you reach the fort, outside of the random encounters according to my players. No deaths, but the 3rd level dwarf barbarian (toughness, 20 CON & raging = 44 hp) went past the mites looking for something tougher to fight. A few rounds with Tickleback and his rider, and the dwarf was bleeding out as his buddies arrived, saving him from a coup-de-grace. Second campaign in a row that this otherwise excellent player has made this mistake - and the abuse from the other players keeps the memory fresh!
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
I also love that you tied in one of my extra character's Gardener, thanks for the tribute. This is really good reading, and i'll certainly link it to my players.
Freehold DM wrote:
I agree completely! Excellent depth! Makes me regret that the barbarian PC has already killed Kressle. But there are several other ways to get deeper into this best of adventure paths, too.
The store is out of the way for me, but we have an increasing number of home games going on in the area. I will be coordinating PFS mods in all eight slots at the annual Stuffed COWS convention at the College of DuPage during Thanksgiving weekend, but we want to get as many people involved in Pathfinder play as soon as possible. We will be looking for 3 or 4 gamers for an evening table in Glenview on Wednesday 11/11, for example.
You can reach me at lordpeck (at) yahoo(.) com. Joshua, anything you can help us with for the local conventions would be a big help.
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Let me know if you guys get a game together at that store and I'll send you some posters to advertise Pathfinder Society.