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As others have said, there's a great deal of fascinating possibility in further efforts of diplomacy, foreshadowing of the other kingdoms, and working with the Stag Lord, Hagrulka, and others running off their own version of kingdom rules to expand their territory in response to the PCs. All the opposing kingdoms seem to end up too small - Varnhold is barely a village compared to what the PCs will have when they interact with it (for seemingly no reason, since Maegar Varn doesn't seem to be particularly weak or a fool); Fort Drelev is a single city; and Pitax is also a single city.

But these may be beyond the scope of the rewrite, since many of them involve heavily reworking the campaign itself.

On the just encounters score:

- The Dancing Lady is in the hard/frustrating category. She doesn't pose much of a threat, slowly clawing PCs to death, but she has multiple options that just remove PCs from combat immediately, leading to long, slow fights of whoever isn't dancing slowly beating her down while the rest of the players twiddle their thumbs for 12 rounds.

- Cephal Lorentus, Vordekai's undead wizard is a pretty consistent weak link. The terrain is interesting, but Cephal himself has almost no capacity to threaten the PCs, no defences, no minions, and no great tactics. He's easily mulched to the point of wondering why there's even a fight here.

- Vordekai is about perfect, a deadly threat if treated lightly, quite crushable by those who have done their research and come prepared.

- Hannis Drelev, to me, seems to be an overpowered encounter. Not compared to what CR the PCs can handle, but in terms of what Drelev appears to be. He's a whimpering coward who loses every fight he's in, backstabs the PCs, is hated by his own kingdom, and is barely maintaining control. But somehow in all this he's 12th level. Even the text itself mocks him, with Drelev "fancying himself a skilled swordsman". Even his wife, a diva who has never personally gotten her hands dirty, somehow stands as a CR6 encounter. I think Drelev should be around the same as her - a speedbump for the PCs to mow through, leaving Armag as the 'true' boss on Book 4.

Episodes 55 through 57 are now uploaded.

Episode 55

In which we meet the weird inhabitants of old Korvosa, and a million bad BDSM jokes are had.

Episode 56

In which our heroes see what’s become of Eel’s End, and meet the Emperor of Old Korvosa himself.

Episode 57

In which our heroes hurl innocent pigs into the maws of wolverines, abuse prisoners, and jiggle their breasts for the amusement of a manic. It’s time for a rousing game of Blood Pig in Old Korvosa!

Episodes 92 and 93 are now uploaded.

Episode 92

In which Kaylen sluggishly integrates Fort Drelev into his kingdom.

Episode 93

In which Kaylen meddles in peace, politics, pairing up, and piles of treasure.

GM RelicBlackOUT wrote:
Any chance this is on iTunes/Apple podcast app?

Not Kingmaker only as an individual podcast, but RPGMP3's podcast stream, which includes Kingmaker, can be found here. (If you look at the bottom of the RPGMP3 main page, it has links for Apple, Android, Google, and RSS feeds.

Episodes 51 through 54 are now uploaded.

Episode 51

In which we need a training montage, and Marcus Endrin takes his Officially Mandated Holiday.

Episode 52

In which it’s tournament time. Let the Blade of Korvosa tournament begin! (and end).

Episode 53

In which Zellara sees the future to come of Old Korvosa, and what our heroes will face next. Jac receives a mysterious letter.

Episode 54

In which our heroes get out of the frying pan of politics and into the fire of the Red Mantis Assassins.

I don't think there's a big public perception problem, as long as the Arkonas are suitably horrified (as, actually, they should be) at learning of the murder-for-hire business running insides All the World's Meat. The Arkonas don't even need to lie to the PCs.

Book 3 has a solid descriptor of Palace Arkona, along with the receiving room in which Glorio meets guests - and a spiel that should be reasonably suitable. He implies that the Queen is not doing a good job, that the guards will be used to oppress the people, and that Vimanda encouraged Verrik - the man she's "in love" with - to follow his conscience with some Arkona financial backing to help the poor. Done right, it should make the Arkona's look quite sympathic, and no Book 1 PC has any chance of overcoming their ludicrous social skills.

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Episodes 49 and 50 are now uploaded.

Episode 49

In which our heroes finally catch a breath after dealing with the plague, and get out what’s on their minds. Naturally, relationship drama ensues.

Episode 50

In which we duck in and out of inventory hell, and will Silvyr and Lucy be able to stop all the fussin’ and the feudin’?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Episodes 47 and 48 are now uploaded.

Episode 47

In which our heroes discover just how many feats Gaedran Lamm dedicated to beating up small children.

Episode 48

In which our heroes throw down with the Black Lamm of Korvosa. There’s just one problem… evil cheats!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Episodes 45 and 46 are now uploaded.

Episode 45

In which our heroes come face to face with Rakmoska Arkminos.

Episode 46

In which Silvyr attempts a cunning ploy, and our heroes inch closer to Gaedran Lamm.

I have a Paladin. I explained at character creation on that hundreds of people within the city would be evil, including guards of the various organisations and members of the nobility (and that various members of the nobility might have the means and inclination to hide it with magical items or spells), that "he was evil" was not a legal defense, and that he'd have to work with and occasionally for evil people as a part of living in the city. It's never been a problem. A Lawful Evil Gray Maiden force carries out their orders, and are above being casually attacked by a Paladin.

Is your fear that the Paladin will smite-on-sight, or that it will give away the mystery if every Maiden they detect is evil?

Slow progress, as life intervenes.

Episodes 87 through 91 are now uploaded.

Episode 87

In which Kaylen has the ride of his life.

Episode 88

In which Kaylen plans the taking of Fort Drelev, and runs afoul of the Clockwork King over an issue of morals again.

Episode 89

In which we prove that twelve heads aren’t better than one.

Episode 90

In which Kaylen invades Castle Drelev, and the climactic sword duel between him and King Hannis Drelev begins.

Episode 91

In which Kaylen decides the future of Fort Drelev, and the final fate of Grigori.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Back after a break for Christmas and New Years.

Episodes 39 through 44 are now uploaded.

Episode 39

In which the guests may be dead, but the party sure isn’t. It’s fun and games time at Carowyn Manor.

Episode 40

In which the fate of Lucy’s mother is revealed, and a midnight visitor pays call again.

Episode 41

In which getting out of hospital proves far harder than getting in.

Episode 42

In which our heroes investigate the wreck at the bottom of the Jeggare River and realise how deep the plot goes..

Episode 43

In which our heroes suffer up to four different attributes worth of damage at a time.

Episode 44

In which a grand melee occurs in the secret Urgathoan temple.

And if the moldspeaker proves unwilling to host Vardishal, there's no reason it can't move on to somebody else. Killing off the now-NPC isn't even required.

Persistent damage is pretty vile (acid or otherwise). Theoretically, you get lots of saves at it (since every time you take an action to address it, you get a free flat check). Of course, you only have a 25% max chance of passing the check, so it's very possible to just die, even when you aren't in combat anymore and can spare the actions.

John DeVita wrote:
3. Create one more stat called "Fighting Proficiency" which is simple to calculate as follow... While this system does add an additional stat, it is easy to calculate and use and only needs to be recalculated when switching targets.

Except that in a normal fight, you could easily be switching targets every round, making it another piece of math you need to do. The Goblin Bombardier changes your attack, then you take your Fighter Attack of Opportunity on the Goblin Wizard that runs past you, then you decide you'll make your second attack at the simpler-to-hit Ooze... each time, a recalculation. The math isn't hard, but it is tedious.

Base Attack Bonus allowed Fighters to be much better at hitting than Wizards without all the calculation involved.

Episode 38 is now uploaded.

Episode 38

In which our heroes receive valuable information from an underground source, and briefly change genres to plan Shadowrun-level-complex-plan to go to a party at Carowyn Manor.

A 'fake' beating from friendly NPCs might work. Or simply make it a 1 vs 1 one that the PC will easily win - a reward for their hard work of crew conversion.

Are there particular segments you're thinking of? The PCs start as relative nobodies, but are heroes of the city by the end of book 2 and deeply involved in what's going on.

The one 'cut-scene' that can only be observed I can think of is

Book 3 Spoiler:
Endrin's attempt to kill Illeosa

which explicitly takes place as a cut scene precisely to prevent PCs intervening and inadvertently derailing the plot.

Cenorin wrote:
This is particularly important because they're also considering having an NPC Ruler.

I'd make a strong effort at convincing them otherwise. With a PC ruler, the game flows smoothly. With an NPC, the story has to warp a bit - either the PCs are continually following the orders of an NPC, and all the hard decisions rest with that NPC; or the PCs ignore their king and do as they please, which can lead to conflict elsewhere.

If it's simply about the fact that their Charisma modifier is less high than an NPCs, the stats make relatively little difference. You can get your kingdom stats up with buildings fairly easy, and the difference between a +3 Charisma ruler and a +1 Charisma ruler can be only a single building away.

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Edge93 wrote:

I'm not sure I get the "Assist is harmful" bit when it only provides a penalty on a crit fail...

Though it would be nice if it didn't have the Attack trait, that does make doing it at a -10 unwise.

Your odds of crit failing are high enough to be an issue. Particularly since you want to help your buddy hit something that has high enough AC that he's having trouble. If you crit fail, you waste both your action and possibly his. Moreover, doing it at -5 or -10 drastically increases the chances of crit failing.

The odds roll out such that the best thing to do to aid your team is to use your third action to "assist" the enemy at hitting one of your own party members, since the likeliest outcome is that you'll crit fail and end up helping your own team by debuffing the very enemy you're assisting.

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We found attacks at -10 to be utterly pointless - you're only crit fishing for a natural 20 at that point, the only way you can possibly hit them. If you have nothing else to do, you might as well, but any other action - like raising a Shield or Parrying is better.

All of these options have been tried, mostly to see how they work. Take Cover, High Jump, Long Jump, and Point Out have all been used, and all work as intended. You don't Jump a lot - because why would you? - but it's used to get around disadvantageous terrain.

Shove, Trip, and Disarm won't be used again past the first time. The critical failure effects are nasty, critical failure is often a likely outcome, and the benefits aren't great. Additionally, the kinds of foes you'd use such tricks on because you can't hit their AC also have great defences against such tricks. Disarm is particularly bad, as a non-critical success only allows a +2 to Disarm until the monster's next turn... meaning you have to try and Disarm them again immediately, at the -5 second attack penalty, netting you a grand sum of -3 for your success.

Assist is actively dangerous. The odds that you'll make your buddies attacks worse are far more than the odds you'll help him, and for the same action you could just attack (since you need to hit the enemies AC anyway).

Demoralise, as a non-attack, is useful for a 3rd action because you don't take the attack penalty to it.

The Sugar Fuelled Gamers are also over at RPGMP3.com with Kingmaker as a solo game and Curse of the Crimson Throne as a group game, as well as Book 1 of Serpent's Skull adapted to a mini-campaign.

As for "best"... that's a pretty subjective quality measure. Is there anything in particular you're looking for?

A particular Adventure Path? A completed Adventure Path? Quick games, long games, games with heavy tactics, games with heavy roleplaying? Best quality audio? Group dynamics? Diverse group makeup? Regular updates? Lots of episodes posted?

More information might get better suggestions, where as it is you'll probably just get a group of groups to listen to and see what you like (which is, admittedly, a pretty good way of finding AP podcasts!)

Episode 86 is now uploaded.

Episode 86

In which we have a chuul of a good time.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Episode 37 is now uploaded.

Episode 37

Rats! Why did it have to be rats?

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Dire Ursus wrote:
What I think is the difference in playstyles is that Collette is running her monsters as if they are a full on hive mind. Meaning they will completely suicide and sacrifice themselves just to kill a single PC if they can so that the PCs will have more trouble in the next encounter. Regardless of their goals or motivations. That IMO is not a fair way to run the game and is providing disingenuous feedback for the average group. But if that's really how she wishes to run her game (not just in playtest) then I suppose it's good feedback for herself on if the game is right for her. But I'm just saying, if you run the game like that in 1e, I think you'll see similar TPK rates. In fact I'm willing to bet for sure you would.

Yeah, I would expect very few systems wouldn't generate TPKs under that style of play. But that's PF2 working as it should be, because the alternative is that monsters go all out, suicide themselves, and throw everything they have in a concentrated effort to kill the PCs by the end of the dungeon... and fail, meaning anything less than that is a completely foregone conclusion.

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Colette Brunel wrote:
I do not see why clinically and mechanically trying to eliminate the PCs using the adventure's resources should result in TPKs.

I've found the 'test to destruction' aspect of the TPK-fests to be useful information from Colette's group(s). "What happens to the system if you go as hard as you can (without outright cheating overmuch) to destroy the PCs?" is exactly the kind of question that some aspects of the playtest should be testing.

I believe it's valuable data... but I'm not sure why it's surprising data. I'd expect a GM trying to delibrately TPK the players to succeed in the overwhelming majority of systems I've played (mechanics like FATE, where the players can 'concede' a negotiated lose, can make this harder, but still not impossible).

If the PC lose, say, 1 in 10 fights - hardly an unreasonable number - then a TPK is a matter of time rather than anything else. Crank up the effort to ensure monsters do their best to ensure a TPK (rather than running on their own individual tactical priorities), and I'd expect to see one in any adventure where the PCs engage in regular combat (so, any PF Adventure, basically). GMs deliberately trying to kill off PCs should be able to do so, because the alternative is that all monster fights are so softballed it's impossible for PCs to die. It's up to individual GMs to set where they want that level to be. "Combat is war, and it's a matter of when not if you die" is as valid an approach as "Heroes can't die, period, so we give out lots of Hero Points".

Also, if an adventure assumes deliberately suboptimal tactics from a monster (not merely not focus firing, but actively not using their good spells and abilities), then the tactics should openly and clearly state this. "Tyrion, fearing a later betrayal from his allies, will refrain from casting his 6th level spells unless reduced to 5 or less HP". "The Guardian, bound for 10,000 years to a service it hates, seeks only death. It will make a token effort, using only one of three actions per round." Far too many monster tactics are simply listed as "appears immediately, fights to the death."

Printing them yourself is generally the cheapest bet.

It's not really a fixable one, because it's a matter of perception. The APs tend to account for the most common methods of player action, and provide enough details on who the bad guys are and what they're about that the GM can react appropriately if the players pull out an unexpected scroll of Etheral Jaunt.

If the GM adapts, then it looks like the AP expected the action. If the AP has pre-emptively written about the option the player is taking, then it is actually an expected action.

Players can delibrately try to break the rails, but this usually involves either outright stupid decisions ("Let's attack the vastly overwhelming forces head-on, because the AP doesn't expect us to!"), or actively endeavouring to break the game ("Instead of getting back this NPC's wedding ring, let's leave the River Kingdoms entirely and go become pirates in Mwangi!"), so players don't generally take such actions.

The best you could do is play out the player's unexpected plan, then copy the relevant text out of the AP and hand it to the players so they could see the characters have autonomy.

Starfox wrote:

I'm amazed how low people's regard for skills are. By applying a single ability score to all skills, that ability would be king at my table. In PF1, I've seen fighters with 18 Int - to get more skill points. Skills are the most important in our games, and the primary agency players use to affect the world.

I'm not saying to do different is badwrongfun, I am just amazed by how different different tables can be.

Skills are often king at my table as well, but there's a couple of important differences in PF2:

1. Int only grants more trained skills at character creation, not as you advance in level (making it infinitely less valuable, since it only pays off once)

2. The differences between a skilled character and an unskilled one are greatly less in PF2, since level proficiency contributes far more than your skill ranks in it.

Alas, that's the best setup we can afford - but also the first complaint we've received on it. Is anyone else having any issues (or not)?

Episode 85 now uploaded.

Episode 85

In which we finally return to kingdom turns, and Svetlana proves the fireball is mightier than the giant.

Episode 36 now uploaded.

Episode 36

In which we hit the books, Lucy and Sabrina hit Awkward Level 11, and Queen Illeosa makes a momentous decision.

In our game, Father Jackal become a Pugwampi-were instead of a Jackal-were. Much violence and hate ensued against him.

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
My suggestion: Your Player should be Ameiko's sibling, older if he wants to be heir to Minkai, younger if he wants a bit more freedom in putting his sister on the throne.

Seconded and doubled (or even by Ameiko themselves, or fulfil Ameiko's role and write her out). I've GMed solo-player Jade Regent, and the biggest stumbling block to the plot was why Ameiko kept deferring to the player's opinion (because otherwise it's an NPC driving the decision points).

Near anything can be made to fit, but a Monk, Geisha-Bard or a Samurai-esqe Fighter reconnecting with his lost heritage can be fun. But there's also a lot of fun to be had in completely inappropriate - a Varisian druid is such a fish out of water that the culture of Tian Xia looks very alien indeed, which is interesting to explore.

It took our group 36 hours, 14 sessions of roughly 2.5 hours each, with 3 players (I imagine 4 to 5 would take a little longer). We also adapted the plot to run it as a stand-alone adventure.

Episodes 34 and 35 are now uploaded.

Episode 34

In which Korvosa faces a Shoanti invasion and a simple grifter. In the end, which of the two is the bigger threat?

Episode 35

In which our heroes attempt to penetrate Vendra Logarri’s security, and face off against Korvosa’s Most Dangerous Man.

Episodes 83 and 84 are now uploaded.

Episode 83

To the Boneyard they must go… to face each man’s final foe.

Episode 84

The 1000-man strong Tiger Lord army have come to Stagthorn to fight… one way or the other.

Episodes 32 and 33 are now uploaded.

Episode 32

In which Lucy’s scenes are edited -seamlessly- into the DVD extras, Silvyr and Tanith play games, and Vencarlo Orsini learns why he lost his hand.

Episode 33

In which Silvyr comes clean with Lucy, Dad gets mad, the fallout is bloody, and plot hooks abound.

You'll need to ask your GM how they plan to run it. The timelines are deliberately ambiguous, leaving it in the GM's hands. We ran Book 1 as taking 4 months of in-game time to play through, with 11 months of downtime until book 2. But it would be easy to run Book 1 in as little as 5 days, if you were so inclined, then immediately follow it with Book 2.

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If the expectation is that the PCs will fight multiple enemies, multiple times a day, and that all enemies will try to mercilessly kill PCs at all costs, then the end result is going to be a lot of dead PCs.

Which is fine for a certain style of game. Paizo Adventure Paths are not built around that style, because they tend to assume that the party Helpful Questgiver met in Book 1 is largely the same party when Helpful Questgiver returns to assist them in Book 3. Repeatedly TPKing the party leads to a lot of story holes.

More broadly, assuming that all monsters will work as efficiently and dangerously as possible drastically alters the world building. All dragons should convert their hordes into magic items, making them vastly more dangerous. Humans should only ever level in top-tier classes. BBEGs should make an immediate effort to wipe out low level adventuring parties who cross their paths as fast as possible, before they can become a threat to the evil plan. A dungeon full of monsters should all descend on the first room when the sound of combat breaks out and wipe out the party, rather than fighting in conveniently CR-sized groups. Is this sort of world going to be more fun to adventure in that current Golarion?

A players-vs-GM game can be a great deal of fun if everybody's up for it, but it certainly isn't the standard default for Pathfinder.

It's a pretty corner case. You need somebody who is good at hitting enough to crit consistently (presumably with Finesse, using their Dex instead of their crippled Str), but has a horrible penalty to damage (so horrible they can barely deal any damage), but still chooses to attack anyway...

In that setup, I think a GM-call of "You may choose not to crit if you would rather not" would solve the problem.

Episode 82 uploaded.

Episode 82

In which Niska’s last surprise endeavours to consume Svetlana and Varn. Can hate ever truly die?

Clear communication might help.

"Guys, your characters are aware that Karzoug is near to awakening. Every moment gives him more power in the world."

"Pondering this, your characters realise that the extra day sent in Magnimar gave Karzoug time to fill this previously explored empty room with this demon."

"Guys, your characters are absolutely certain that taking that 10 day window to craft some more magic items will give Karzoug the time he needs to escape, and his power will be vastly increased when you face him. Doing it anyway? No problem. The sky darkens..."

Yakman wrote:
Maybe books 1 & 2 of Jade Regent are awesome and you should play them.

They really, really are. Book 1 is very good, but nothing extraordinary - but Book 2 is playing spies in a Viking city full of ninjas, and was one of the best parts of Jade Regent.

Episodes 80 and 81 are now uploaded.

Episode 80

In which Kaylen faces Malgorazata Niska and Armag Twice-Born. Which of the duo is a bigger threat to Stagthorn?

Episode 81

In which Kaylen passes the trial and lives the lie. Kaylen Twice-Born will never die.

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I also introduced Varn early, and I think it's a great idea to introduce every neighbouring kingdom leader - Varn, Irrovetti, Drelev - early in the piece, rather than the odd concept that the PCs only become aware of their neighbouring kingdoms at the moment they become plot relevant. There are numerous political events - weddings, dinners, festivals - where such meetings can become easy.

Given the length of kingdom turns, it wouldn't take long to pass 6 months in game. Have them meet Varn (and, if you desire, other NPCs from Book 3 like Maester Paedrod) and hit it off. Establish a trade deal between the kingdoms, giving the PC kingdom a small boon of +1 Economy or some Build Points. Offer a marriage proposal from Varn's now-invented child to secure relations between kingdoms. Then Varnhold vanishes, and the PCs are much more motivated to investigate. The plot hook can come right to them when a couple of PC Kingdom merchant caravans go into Varnhold and don't come back (victims of Vordekai, the centaurs, or the spriggans as you like).

If you want to avoid intentionally bonding the PCs to NPCs, then killing off the NPCs (which can sour players on bonding), there's nothing stopping you from leaving Varn or others alive in soul jars rather than killed by Vordekai. Varn can surrender his kingdom to the PCs, recognising he isn't up to facing the threats like Vordekai, and become a councillor, or mayor of Varnhold, or the like.

Carter Lockhart wrote:
You may find the obituary threads in each AP forum a useful tool for this, or at least finding the lethal chokepoints in an AP.

Second this - these are really consistent on warning GMs where deadly elements lay. If a ton of people are dying to the same encounter, that should be a warning (whether or not you want to crank it down is up to your GMing style).

It's an odd group that has two Monks, both of whom want Monk weapons, but only one is willing to invest the feat (by default, the second Monk won't be proficient with many of them).

Presumably in this scenario, Weapon Monk buys extra weapons for Weaponless Monk, in just the same way previous a Fighter would only need access to his Crafting Wizard buddy, not to actually take the item crafting feats himself. If a third PC also wants a Monk weapon, Weapon Monk can buy it for them as well. Although for a group this invested in Monk weapons, they're likely to be playing in Tian Xia and find plenty of them in treasure anyway.

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Making it a single check that requires 3 actions, rather than 3 -checks-, I feel would both reduce the comedy value of watching the rogue break pick after pick, and reduce the amount of table-time bypassing a lock would take.

Well, Daggermark might refuse. Assassinating the active general of an army - and the default ruler of the Tiger Lords - is a big deal, and one that might turn Armag's army Daggermark's way if the effort fails (or, frankly, even if it succeeds. In the absence of Armag, the next in command would step up - particular since Ovinrbaane will make the next guy essentially Armag anyway - to make way against Armag's murderers). So there's an easy out if you don't want to do it.

If you want to play something out on-screen rather than have it resolved in the background, you could hand the players a party of pre-generated Rogue types of level 9ish and send them on a one-shot mission to kill Armag.

I would think the Poisoner's Guild would either supply the Assassin's Guild, or team up directly with them. Simply assassinating a high level barbarian by putting poison in his food isn't a high success chance - knives in the dark will work better.

In terms of the charge for it, I'd call it a fairly high level quest for the Assassins and pay appropriately. The side quests from Book 6 that pay in direct cash are 40,000gp (that's around 10 BP, so not a big blink if paid for by the kingdom) - I'd call this a fair price, given the additional dangers and difficulties associated with killing a general in the midst of his army camp. Perhaps with the concept that the Assassin's Guild will refund half the money if unsuccessful, and could later be argued to return 10,000gp if a new Armag rises.

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