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RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber. Organized Play Member. 199 posts (1,422 including aliases). 11 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.

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Liberty's Edge

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There are many cool features of PF2 in Foundry VTT. There are many cool features of Foundry VTT for that matter - whether it is used for PF2 or not.

But far and away the most impressive achievement -- the thing which is FAR more difficult to do than writing software -- is to build the community around FoundryVTT in general and PF2 in particular. You could try and do that 100 times, and you would be unlikely to succeed as well or as brilliantly as the current community has. Truth is, you'd outright FAIL 98 times out of 100.

These things are once a decade or two events. The last time something like this happened around the RPG brand was BioWare's Neverwinter Nights 1. These communities are as rare as rare can be; so all readers here should treasure it and not take it for granted. Because when they come together? It's magic in a bottle.

Liberty's Edge

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I just took a look at both my print and PDF version of the 2nd book, and my pdf for the 3rd one, and they all fit? And the book 2 pdf on have not been update since January... I dunno how you pdf could get scrambled like that? But that seems like a very peculiar bug...

Just to make it clear:
My vol 2 (physical) and vol 2 (PDF): Same art between each other
My vol 3 (PDF): different art from the previous 2.
Note: I didn't look at the "file per chapter" version, only the one file version.

Look at your Interactive Maps for Vol 2. :P

Liberty's Edge

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Uhmmm... what is UP with the cover art on the PDF? The cover art on the printed product is as advertised; however, the cover art on Vol 2 of Gatewalkers: They Watched the Stars Interactive Maps is just ... wrong.

You have included as the cover art of the PDF for Vol 2 of the Gatewalker AP Interactive Maps the cover art which is for Vol 3 of the same AP.

I just noticed this today as I received Vol 3 of the PDF in my download section. James Jacobs is writing this one so I had to go look (even if only a cursory glance as I likely will be playing this) and I saw it was exactly the same cover art as for Vol 2!

Which art is correct? My physical copy of volume 2 indicates: the cover on the PDF for Vol 2 Interactive Maps is wrong!

Something's Wrong Here

This... this is an odd mistake for Paizo (there's a first time for everything) but uhmm... yeah. There it is, just the same.

Liberty's Edge

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
I want to return to Varisia and the new Runelords. After that, back to Lastwall and perhaps Ustalav, please and thank you. The two main BBEGs in this world require some attention.

The remaining Runelords haven't been BBEGs since 2019 (Sorshen is a force for good in the world for some reason, Belimarius is an upjumped has-been on the level of Abrogail Thrune, and less of a threat than Geb), and that seems unlikely to change. Lastwall hasn't been a state since 2019 either.

The Pathfinder Campaign Setting (as opposed to the Lost Omens Campaign Setting) is dead and buried, and isn't coming back.

Should we let James Jacobs know that his Runelord's a good guy and that the Whispering Tyrant is a punk compared to Geb? Geb will doubtless pass that on to his wife "the guy who killed you when you were the Herald of a god is a punk".

It's good to know that Lastwall is gone for good and hasn't mattered since 2019. It would be preferable if someone told Paizo though, who released the Lost Omen Book for Lastwall ten months ago, in May, 2022.

Alternatively, maybe trying to stir up a 1st vs 2nd Edition war isn't helpful?

Liberty's Edge

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What I want to see? Less Golarion travelogue and niche APs focused on making this, that, and the other corners of the fanbase happy.

I want to return to Varisia and the new Runelords. After that, back to Lastwall and perhaps Ustalav, please and thank you. The two main BBEGs in this world require some attention.

Yes, I know, how "boring, typical, and samey".

Pssst: the reason why Abomination Vaults was received so well? Because it was familiar red meat, served up medium-rare, just the way people like it.

There are a lot of new GMs and players in PF2 right now -- though most of them are 5e refugees who default to "strong home brew" in terms of what they run. Give them a reason NOT to do that.

Liberty's Edge

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To be blunt, Foundry's amazing support for PF2 is literally why I moved to PF2 from PF1. Without it? I doubt we'd be playing PF2.

In that chicken and egg game? Love for Foundry's PF2 support came first. It's that good.

Liberty's Edge

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James Jacobs wrote:
What I'm mostly hearing here is that our current methods of doing multiple Adventure Paths a year and varying the contents and themes and stories continues to be the right call.

So that I am clear on this, I was VERY pleased to see that Outlaws of Alkenstar was another lvl 1-10 3 vol AP. A heavy bias favoring level 1-10 in the 3 volume APs is preferred by me -- and it's not even close.

Leave the 6 volume APs for those who want higher level play. That is my STRONG preference as a customer.

Liberty's Edge

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It's the best AP Paizo has released in many years. This treatment is a good idea.

I have little doubt that it will be regarded as one of the best, if not The Best AP for Pathfinder 2nd Ed. To characterize it as simply a "dungeon crawl" misses the mark - as well as how adaptable the adventure is in terms of its structure outside of the Ruins below Gauntlight.

Liberty's Edge

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Here's the thing: I have Paizo's entire library of Map Packs, Flip-Tiles and Flip-Mats in electronic form. If this is Pokemon? I have quite literally caught them all. (I even have this physical product line before Paizo made them, going back to Steel-Squire's versions of them, for that matter.)

I use these products in digital form, not printed form and have for nearly a decade.

The problem I am now running into the past year or three -- and it is a problem now every single time I try and use these map making assets -- is that I find that I no longer can use them digitally, at least when it comes to the map packs/tiles. I just ignore the flip-tiles entirely now when it comes to map making. It's a damned shame.

The problem is simple: there are pre-existing grid lines on these digital map products that I do not want on my finished map image. And I have no way to turn them off. I don't want more than the digital product delivers -- I just need a little less

I appreciate that these products are primarily intended for physical use. Any digital use became an unintentional "bonus". That's entirely fair. And so in that context, a grid make sense.

But as a digital product, the grid is usually not desirable in the finished assembled map when used in a modern VTT. I could get into a lengthy technical discussion of digital map making, resolution independence, and VTT implementation -- but I don't think the specific technical reasons are terribly germane.

Suffice to say that while grids are helpful to help make a map, they are bad -- very bad -- with the finished digital product -in-use.

In the AP line, the interactive map packs exist so as to permit an end user to turn off the grid. This is super helpful to GMs using those maps for VTT play.

Bottom Line: Providing something similar, or simply just another PDF with the map images supplied **without the grid lines** would be greatly appreciated by subscribers who want to use these products for VTT play.

Because these grid lines are interfering with my ability to use what is otherwise an excellent digital product. I don't get any value-in-use out of them. Which is a shame given how awesome they otherwise could be in digital form.

Liberty's Edge

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Jedhed242 wrote:

I took to to a local print shop to see if they could make something on foamcore board or vinyl stickers that I could just tape down and while its a little pricey the resolution once is enlarged to scale is pretty blech.

Just wondering if anyone here has devised a good solution for converting some of the pdf maps in the adventures or APs into physical maps when they arent available for purchase from Paizo?


While your comment is several months old, the issue is a recurring one so this reply will be of use to you as well as to others.

The cost of printing maps adds up quickly. The simplest and most cost-effective approach is to not print anything. Instead, use a 40" inch flat panel TV and lay it on the tabletop and hook it up with an HDMI cable to your PC or laptop -- or cast to it from a tablet or phone if it supports that feature.

Display your map on the TV, either through the use of a VTT -- or simply the use of a graphics program or even Adobe Acrobat if you must. Put your minis on top of the flat screen and just play.

You can get fancy and add a wood frame or install it in a purpose built table if you like -- but just laying down an old TV on the kitchen table works just fine too. If it gets tippy -- use a bath towel scrunched up underneath the tippy side to stop it from doing that. Carry on gaming.

You may well have an old flat-panel TV you no longer use that could be repurposed for this (I have two of them in the 40" range we no longer use). If so, the cost of doing this + your old bath towel to prevent tipping is exactly ZERO DOLLARS.

And yes, it will look better than any printed map, too. And the ease of use of changing maps and so forth during play will take you less than 1 second to appreciate and come to enjoy.

On Craigslist, a used flat panel can be had for less than $100. Hell you can buy a NEW low Hz 55" model for $200-$300 or so. 60 Hz is totally fine for still images. High Hz resolution is a concern for showing movies and sports - not for Tabletop gaming!

Liberty's Edge

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So we customers can be a b+!~&y, pain-in-the-ass ever complaining group of customers, I know.

Still, it is gratifying to know that Paizo pays attention to the grumbling.

The problem, hitherto, (which was really just this past AP and the one before, tbh, as the Interactive Map Packs were not in place for Starfinder prior to that) was that the ship maps on the back page were left out.

While it is true that Starship Maps don't contain the secret door info that was, once-upon-a-time, one of the main reasons for Interactive Map Packs in the first place, their utility has grown beyond that narrow use case. In particular, the Map Packs ability to turn off the grid allows for easier importing of the art into a VTT -- and we never want grids on maps for *final* VTT use as that just makes it harder to use them. (We do need the grids temporarily for scaling purposes to get them into the VTT though).

Anyways, bottom line, Paizo listened to us and with Vol 6 of FFoD, they included The Risen in the Interactive Maps too.

So very happy for this development. Thanks to Jason and Jason (and their other brother Jason, too) and all the non-Jasons at Paizo for this.

Liberty's Edge

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Troodos wrote:
My players just finished up We're No Heroes, but they escaped from the rendezvous point without killing Deminda. The book says that Sinjin will kill her if she fails, but that feels like a waste given how much of an impression she made on my players. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to incorporate her into future adventures?

Well, the module anticipates that the PCs may not go the Golden League hangar and will instead attempt to make a run for it. "However, because the PCs never face Deminda, she could reappear in a future adventure—at an appropriately higher CR and accompanied by drow henchmen."

The time to re-emphasize this threat and re-insert the Drow, in my opinion, is not so much in Volume 2, but at the beginning of Volume 3. The perfect hook is the throw-away part of the intro to the adventure which follows up with a job offer while the PCs are still on Marixah - the planet where they finish Volume 2.

Marixah is the homeworld of the colonists the PCs probably helped on Vohxa (the labor camp) in their struggle with the Hobgoblins of the Gideron Authority. It is the GA which is the link back to the Drow. The GA are being supplied arms from the Drow on Apostae through House Zeizerer. Sinjin is from House Zeizerer, though he has largely "gone rogue" outside of the Drow matriarchy and has instead built up his criminal network with non-Drow in the Golden League.

Still, the links between the Drow and the Gideron Authority provides your opportunity to re-insert Deminda.

By this point, as the FFoD AP provides, the first contact with the GA was with Captain Harradan, Commander of the Gideron Authority Attack Vessel Falchion. This occurs as the PCs initially come into land on Vohxa in Vol 1. While in orbit, Harradan checks out the PCs bona fides, sees their arms shipment papers from House Zeizerer, and authorizes them to land on Vohxa. (At that time, Harradan's name is not mentioned - though his ship is.) He's potentially your recurring GA BBEG if you like.

At the beginning of Vol 3, Verran asks the PCs to bring a shipment to Absalom Station. The PCs don't know what this shipment is, but it's actually a fascinating collection of archaeological artifacts which underlie the conflict between Marixah and the GA.

The PCs take the gig and shortly thereafter, Captain Harradan in the Falchion and another GA ship confront the PCs in space above Marixah as the Oliphaunt leaves. Ideally, what you want Harradan to do is to board the Oliphaunt to take the archaeological relics back. Harradan's ship ordinarily has himself and five other Hobgoblins on it. (There is another GA ship out there as well).

Problem: The GA above Marixah is WAY too dangerous for the GA. They will get crushed trying that stunt above Marixah. Instead, have the shipment of cargo to be picked up on Sansorgis, a nearby planet outside of Vesk Space where the GA and Marixah are fighting. It's the setting for SFS 1-24 where the GA is introduced. Deminda sets up Verran as a fence to draw the PCs in - and get the GA Navy to help her do it.

Put Deminda and a group of Drow thugs on Harradan's ship. The entire delivery of the artifacts from Varran to the PCs is all part of her elaborate bait to catch the PCs, while using the military ships of the GA to help her do it.

So Harradan will board with his "crew", all done up in armor and with helmets on to conceal who they are. Some will be hobgoblin - others will be Drow thugs. The fight will be on board the Oliphaunt and it will happen even if the PCs comply with the GA's demands. Harradan brings Deminda aboard to verify the artifact cargo is the cultural relics. Deminda will use that opportunity to start a fight on the Oliphaunt.

Frankly, I consider the Gideron Authority and that entire subplot as being FAR more interesting than the underwater adventure that takes place in Vol 3. So much so that I may scrap Vol 3 as written in preference for some home brew with the PCs vs the GA.

Anyways, the drow will be on board the Falchion and will board the Oliphaunt if they get the chance.

Problem: They might not get the chance. Your PCs may choose try to escape from the GA vessels because the Oliphaunt has a Speed of 12 and the Sword Class Attack Vessels in the GA navy sent to interdict the artifact shipment have a speed of 8. Unless the GA ships get lucky and crit the Oliphaunt in order to slow it down, the PCs will get away.

If the PCs escape the GA, Deminda will use Sinjin's allies in the Golden League to attack the PCs at Absalom Station as part of Hafrigek's Xun's crew. Again -- that is the reason the Hafrigek family is attacking the PCs in the first place -- because Sinjin asked them to.

Well, Sinjin asked them to do it through Deminda. So either boarding The Oliphaunt with the GA or with the Golden League on Absalom station -- that is where the drow and Deminda re-enter your tale.

Why are the PCs going off to Entha for underwater adventures while this far more interesting intrigue with the Gideron Authority and the Golden League presents a more plot cohesive option in Volume 3?

Honestly, I think it's the biggest weakness in all of the FFoD AP. Volume 3 is detached by design from the rest of the AP and is intended to be a "palate cleanser" where the bad guys are the nameless, faceless EJ Corp. The AP is supposed to be about working class truckers and their former employer in EJ Corp, right? So that's why Jason Tondro made that choice and it makes sense from that perspective. This is a story not about "saving the Galaxy" but "woking class heroes". Vol 3 attaches its premise to the PCs former employers at EJ Corp - all vaguely wrapped around the idea of Big Corporate environmental exploitation. So in that sense - it fits the theme.

But if the politics of the setting appeals more to you, maybe you don't want or need to play up the heartless environmental destruction EJ Corp is involved in. Perhaps to you,the Gideron and Drow subplot is far more interesting and it also integrates well with Volume 1 and Volume 6 and Sinjin.

Pick your poison. I find the GA subplot to be so interesting, I may just scrap the Entha adventure in Vol 3 in its entirety and homebrew that part of the AP to go down that rabbit hole and just pick it back up in Volume 4 with the White Glove Affair.

Liberty's Edge

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Aaron Shanks wrote:
Please follow the April & May 2021 New Releases and Subscription Shipping thread for updates.

Starts shipping in a week?

"Not so sounded as we were lead to believe; so much the better"

Looking forward to this one! Oh hell, looking forward to all of them (except for Ruby Phoenix genre is not my cuppa - but I'll still get them of course).

Liberty's Edge

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Aaron Shanks wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Well damn, about the release being pushed back, but whatever still super looking forward to it! The August to September is gonna be insane if Guns and Gears doesn't also get pushed back, we're gonna have actual back to back rulebook releases.

I hear ya. Between Pathfinder and Starfinder we are looking at 2 hardcovers in June, 2 in August, 1 in October, 2 in November, and 1 in December. Subject to change of course.

And to clarify, I made some incorrect assumptions based on incomplete info about why it rolled. I now understand we hit our SofM deadlines and the delay was external to us. The point of the post it to confirm it rolled a month.

"Ill news is an ill guest, Aaron Stormcrow."

- Customer Wormtongue

Actually, ill news is appreciated and candid posts manage customer's reasonable expectations and assist in marketing and long-term customer goodwill. So all of this is really helpful.

And the best thing about all of this, to be perfectly honest, is that I find myself excited about both the PF2 and Starfinder releases.

I've subscribed throughout for both PF and SF, but during that time, I think it has only been in the past 3 months or so that I have come to get excited about all of these products again for both brands.

Sometimes, it takes the return of something to realize that its absence was bigger than I gave credit for.

Thanks for the updates Aaron.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
All my sympathies. You do not have an easy job, and I know keenly how frustrating this can be for everyone.

When the whole business is planned on regular subscriber income for cashflow purposes, my sympathies go well beyond those of warehouse staff.

Delays of this magnitude are craptastic for Paizo. In a year full of nasty Covid impacts, nobody foresaw how a 10 minute strong desert wind squall in Egypt could disrupt the economies of all businesses, great and small, around the globe.

Liberty's Edge

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Ixal wrote:

Another problem is that normally a heist means that you walk away undetected, or at least so that no one can proof that you are guilty, even when they know you are.

But that does not happen here. When the PCs cover is blown and they make a run for it, with the ship, it means their guilt is known which should have consequences in the form of investigations and arrest warrants (however that works in Starfinder).
But like so often Starfinder glosses over such details...

The activities on Fortune's Heart are not exactly all above board. The Kalistocrats are crooks, too. Their ability to Go. Run. Tell. is somewhat constrained by those realities.

The opponents of the PCs look instead to their civil remedies, rather than direct criminal justice for what has happened. And so Eline uses the lawyers (and good name) of EJ Corp (as plaintiff) to do it.

Doing just that, the PCs are sued for fraud and literally all of the PC's assets are frozen via court order across all of Known Space™ within 60 days of the event. That injunction is so extreme, they can't even buy a coffee using a creditstick. That's before a judgment is even granted or before they have had their day in court. It's a Sci Fi Mareva injunction on steroids with a reach that extends hundreds of light years in all directions. They are persona non grata and are wanted in some of those jurisdictions.

So, au contraire, for the first time in an Adventure Path or other adventure module since Gygax rolled dice at his sand table, there ARE actually adverse legal consequences for the PCs' actions -- and pretty drastic ones, too :)

Liberty's Edge

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Aliens threatening an Ice Planet, besieged terrified scouts/researchers huddling in the cold from an alien monster.

If there isn't a scene or three channeling John Carpenter's The Thing meeting Ridley Scott's Alien to produce a Swarm lovechild, I am going to be disappointed Jason! [Spoilers: I do not expect I will be disappointed].

Liberty's Edge

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

Do you feel let down by the fact that Eline automatically blows the PCs' cover once they win and they have to fight to escape instead of maintaining the scam and just flying the barge out before anyone's the wiser? They'd still have problems because the PCs know the check they're writing won't clear, exposing them as surely as Eline pointing at them and shouting "J'ACCUSE!" will.

What exactly were your expectations for the heist that The White Glove Affair didn't meet?

The point is that Eline's blowing the PC's cover happens within seconds of the transfer to them of the codes critically necessary to gain entry to the ship's computer and so be able to fly off with the White Wind. They can't steal the ship without all the maneuvering and machinations up to that instant in time. This is explained in the sidebar regarding the ship's security system on p. 18.

That's when the final action sequence starts, that's literally about 2 seconds after the heroes have the keys to the ship's computer -- all purchased with somebody else's ID and money as apart of an elaborate long con.

As for the squawking about Credits and BP -- Jason Tondro has explained all of this in his Developer Podcast/YouTube series on BAMF and either you get it - or you don't.

And if you don't get it? Frankly, Boedullus your opinion is being shaped by preconceived notions that are out of place in this AP and do not work with the Starfinder RPG rules system. I urge you to watch all of Jason's series on it so you can "reset" your expectations so that they are reasonable.

Because right now? They aren't.

Liberty's Edge

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I am in the midst of prepping Crash and Burn for Fly Free or Die and the more I read, the more impressed I am.

I used to review APs for Pathfinder, both in podcast and in print form - and I am pretty hard on most of the stuff I read and run. While I do not claim to have read each and every single AP volume ever published (I play in some and so prefer not to spoil all of them) I certainly have GM's (or read) about 75% of them across both the PF and Starfinder lines.

I already think Fly Free or Die is the best of SF AP (by far) but I want to say that Crash and Burn is itself, exceptional.

There are not many times that Vol 5 becomes a high water mark in an AP. Frankly, the "back nine" usually sucks compared to the the "front nine". That's just the nature of storytelling and the AP format.

I can only think of only one other AP where Vol 5 was the stand out -- Greg A Vaughan's Skeletons of Scarwall in Curse of the Crimson Throne (and the Anniv Ed is even better). And that's mostly about Greg's amazing map, frankly.

But Crash and Burn appears to have bucked the trend, too. I might be jumping the gate and Vol 6 will blow me away (spoilers: final volumes in ANY AP never do that but... who knows?).

Still, this is a really great module and I wanted to say publicly how impressed I was with it. Well done!


Liberty's Edge

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Dawn of Flame is awesome too. It’s got everything a decent SF Adventure Path needs, imo.

I know you are a subscriber Steve - but have you read Fly Free or Die?

FFoD is AMAZING. What a change and breath of fresh air into the Starfinder AP line. It made me excited to play Starfinder again -- and that spark was almost thoroughly extinguished by Dead Suns.

What this game needs is more FFoD hype -- and a lot of it being played on Foundry VTT, which is a natural software platform for the game and offers tweaks and differences which make Starfinder shine brightly. Yes, even starship combat, too.

Liberty's Edge

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MurderHobo#6226 wrote:
Same for Herolab Online, which is now almost a year out of date.

That's quite an overstatement, don't you think? And by overstatement, I mean DEAD WRONG.

I guess when originally posted - it might have been closer to being correct, but it's still very wrong now.

Note: The most recent addition was Alien Archive 4. Released by Paizo in January 2021 and HLO month before last. The only hardcover not offered in the system is the Starship Operations Manual. Everything else in the rules for Starfinder has been added. And SOM will be added, too, soon enough.

"Piling on" threads which are materially misleading stray into toxic fandom.

Liberty's Edge

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A bunch of fans, on Paizo's own Message Boards, speculating about why Starfinder (the game they are talking about) isn't talked about by more people.

The irony.

I will throw this out there: you aren't getting good numbers from Roll 20 -- because there are no damned Starfinder APs to buy other than AtAT for Roll 20.

Put down Roll20, come on over the Foundry VTT and play Starfinder. https://discord.com/invite/v9K2hKJ

What the game needs to be making a bigger splash is the same thing every game does to make a bigger splash: more fun adventures to play.

For Starfinder, that's Fly Free or Die or Horizons of the Vast. And giant mechs from Tech Revolution won't hurt the buzz, either.

Liberty's Edge

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Aaron Shanks wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Will there be some kind of way to get a free PDF when preordering this adventure for subscribers of some kind? Or will this be the first Paizo product that does not offer this?
To my knowledge, at this time, the Adventure will only be sold at full price at release in both print and PDF formats.

Aaron, in the past, for products that do not have a subscription those who have pre-ordered get a PDF along with it.

Anticipating this would be the case, I have pre-ordered both of the Starfinder modules. To be blunt, I collect in paper -- but I run exclusively online. The PDF is what I actually use.

If a PDF is available when pre-ordering, all is well. If not, that's not so good (understatement).

There is still some time to go here before July, but clarity on this subject would be appreciated.

Liberty's Edge

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Zaister wrote:
Klart McCather wrote:
Yes! Provide us the thr huge file size version then! This is a nightmare in my prep.
I agree, 300 MB is nothing these days.

On a computer it isn't; on an iPad, Android tablet or even a smartphone - it can be the difference between a usable product -- and not.

I think the approach they should have taken was a Large file and a Small file download option.

Whatever the case, here we are.

Liberty's Edge

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So my Druid PC asked today if he could give his proposed Animal Companion a command while in a wild shape battle form.

I responded that he could not. An animal companion has the "minion trait", which is commanded/invoked using the "command an animal" action which has the "auditory" trait.

You cannot speak while in a battle form, ergo, you can't do it. This is the generally accepted reasoning to the above question.

[Note: Please appreciate that while I am the GM, I am also a lawyer IRL.]

The player then persuades me that the above interpretation is wrong.

Player says his proposed battle form is that of a wolf. His companion will also be a wolf. Wolves communicate effectively enough as a pack to battle all the time IRL, while not "speaking".

Player also notes that while "command an animal" has the auditory trait, it does not have the linguistic trait.. It requires only noise, not language.

When we look to the auditory trait, we see:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 629 2.0
Auditory actions and effects rely on sound. An action with the auditory trait can be successfully performed only if the creature using the action can speak or ***otherwise produce the required sounds***.

Making a noise is a very different act than "speaking".

Source Core Rulebook pg. 633 2.0
An effect with this trait depends on language comprehension. A linguistic effect that targets a creature works only if the target ***understands the language*** you are using.

Druid player says "Command an Animal" doesn't require linguistic recognition. Druid need only be able to growl or bark to effectively coordinate with simple commands while in wolf battle form to his wolf companion. Druid can't speak, but he doesn't need to be able to in order to invoke "command a companion". A growl or bark will be enough. Auditory trait is not language trait. Growling isn't speaking.

Honestly? I think the player's interpretation, per RAW, is correct. He has found the loophole.

Moreover, on a common sense basis, wolf to wolf growl and bark seems sensible enough. It's a sound, it's not a word. He's not "speaking" as the term is used in the polymorph conditions, he's merely communicating in a limited way by producing a noise. By way of example, a polymorphed creature in a humanoid battle form might not be able to speak, but he could grunt.

Now, you could respond to the above by suggesting RAW is one thing, RAI is another. Problem is, I'm not even sure that the RAI is aimed at producing a negative result to this question.

While a wolf, to a wolf companion? I think I'm going to allow it.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, I do know this: lengthy 64 page "super modules" generally lack most of the back-matter inherent in an Adv Path. So they can almost be two APs in length in terms of "adventure content" if the custom stat blocks are kept to the low sider. And to be fair, 2 AP volumes is a LOT of gaming. If a GM adds a bit here and there to fluff it out? That's a full fledged campaign that can stretch for the better part of a year's play, depending on the material. I know - I played in one.

They aren't necessary lesser adventures than APs either in terms of quality. The best single volume adventure for PF1 was Mike Shel's The Dragon's Demand. That was essentially a campaign from 1st to 7th level and it was excellent; just an outstanding module.

In fact, The Dragon's Demand was so good, it deserves to be converted to PF2. After running it for PF1, my old podcast co-host Azmyth ran it TWICE more in PF1 - and then converted it to 5e and has run it under that system as well at least once (might be more, too. That guy GMs too much!) Maybe I'll convert it to PF2, too.

If Paizo is looking for something to aim for in a 64 to 72 page stand-alone super module? Yeah. The Dragon's Demand is the ideal prototype.

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Unicore wrote:
I think that the 1-10 APs in particular are really going to shine, and become popular if they are written as well as abomination vaults.

Well, AV1 is brilliantly written and designed and I do think it is Paizo's best work in more than half a decade. James Jacobs has also said that as he contributed so much to the back matter of the book as well, he ended up putting more of his own work into AV1 than any single issue of PF:AP, ever. All of which probably explains why AV1 is so strong, right there.

I guess there's Chris Perkins at WotC and Wolfgang Baur at Kobold; they've both been in the business longer than James by year count. But they also both have been out of the pure adventure writing/developing/editing as a full-time gig for quite a while. I don't think there is anybody actively employed in the business with more cumulative full-time experience at this than James Jacobs has now -- and if there is? It's a really short list. He's a master of his craft.

So the fact that AV1 is so good really comes down to that I think. I was not nearly as great a fan of Vol 2, but really, that's not being fair to Vanessa Hoskins. I take issue with a few of the extracurricular plots in AV2 -- and the squeaky wheel gets not only the grease, but the words spent on posts deconstructing it, too. Still, I enjoyed a great deal of her dungeon as well.

As for SRM's contribution? We'll know soon enough. I like Stephen personally and I generally like his work, so I expect to like it, too.

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As as a subscriber since Burnt Offerings back with Pathfinder #1, my attachment to the general format of Pathfinder Adventure Path is quite high.

That said, I was never a fan of the fiction elements in the volume and I do not miss its absence at all. I prefer different support articles, that's all.

As for support articles, they are an ongoing feature of PF AP and have been since the start. What the support articles feature varies with the AP volume and instalment, but they are all necessary.

With a new version of the game, especially after that vast plethora of options that existed in PF1, PF AP for PF2 has also presented new class archetypes and feats thematically consistent with the AP. That's fine.

Given the relative paucity of magical items in PF2 as compared to PF1, there has been more of an emphasis to include more of those in the Adv Toolbox section of PF:AP, too. It might be at some point down the road 2 or 3 years from now, that particular focus may change. By that time, there will be more of a history of publications and options to PF2, so we may not feel like we need more archetypes, feats, or magic items.

Nothing is carved in stone. The creative minds at Paizo are flexible.

That said, we have all seen posts like the OPs every year during the course of publication of PF AP. They tend to be born out of the same twin desire and misunderstanding, which boils down to this often voiced request:


"Dear Paizo,

Paizo needs to put in more "adventure content" and less "fluff articles" in each volume. If only Paizo understood that, you would surely put more of the stuff we want in those 96 pages and less of the stuff we don't want.


Your Customer"

The problem is that it doesn't work that way -- and it can't for very good reasons. The adventure text length in each volume of PF AP is determined by two things:

1 - That a Single Developer needs to Develop that Adventure Text; and
2 - That there are only between 28 and 31 days in a given month of the year. And Pathfinder Adventure Path publishes monthly. No exceptions.

Accordingly, there is simply not enough time for a single developer to do more than develop that amount of adventure text in a given month. So while epic stat block lengths and a few larger art pieces can effect the exact number of adventure pages, we get between 48 and 54 pages of adventure text per issue. That's the reality imposed by time constraints.

No, you can't have two developers develop a different part of the adventure. It doesn't work. It needs to be one person. So those are the rules of the road that apply, like it or not.

The back matter in a volume is principally developed by *another* developer working on the issue of the AP. That level of familiarity with adventure text is not required to the same degree. You can put more hands on deck to contribute to the back half of the book - but on the front end? One author, one developer. That's it.

So there's not more room in 96 pages to expand the Adventure Text and remove those things you consider to be fluff, because there's not more time to create it monthly. It just looks that way from the outside.

The reason why the other game products you refer to offer more of "X" and less of "Y" is for two reasons:

1 - They are not 96 page volumes which were created at that length at a time to satisfy the reasonable expectations of the then existing magazine subscriber base out of which Paizo's entire business model and existence depended; and
2- They don't have an inflexible monthly publication schedule and a large subscriber base like Pathfinder Adv Path does.

So there are good structural and practical reasons why PF AP is the way that it is. While it changes a little over time, it isn't going to change the way you want it to for sound commercial reasons.

At least now you've got the longer explanation as to why.


Apart from the removal of fiction from PF AP, the largest major change to PF AP we have ever seen is about to occur in a week's time as the third -- and final -- volume of Abomination Vaults is released. The move from 6 vols to 3 vols semi-annually was something that I initially reacted to rather poorly when it started in Starfinder AP.

In retrospect, I have warmed to the idea and now think it's a good one. In fact, the only thing I could say about it is that I hope the Level 1-10 3 volume APs outweigh the level 11-20 volumes by a factor of 2:1 -- or maybe entirely. I expect there will be many who disagree with that view. I also expect that those who will agree with mine -- and vote with their dollars in support of it -- will overwhelm those who feel differently by a large margin.

My guess is that in a year's or two, Paizo won't need much persuading on this, as the sales of the lower level APs will outperform the higher level APs significantly.

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James Jacobs wrote:

Remember that to a player, a near-death experience is more than enough to keep the fear of death in the game. A player character doesn't HAVE to actually die to keep that edge in play.

In particular to this case, milestone leveling really works poorly for an adventure like this. The element of being able to "grind" your levels up is a big part of sandbox play, and milestone leveling doesn't work as well. Unless you switch it to a milestone system like "Once the PCs do 10 encounter, or once they finish every 3 sessions, they level up" I guess. Tying a level to specific in-game events makes sandbox style campaigns kind of awkward to run.

Oh I have no problem with tough encounters. I agree completely that the game shines brightest where there is a real and palpable chance of death.

The reverse of that of course, is that in order for there to be that real and palpable chance... uhm.... there is a real and palpable chance. And that cuts both ways.

Deaths I don't mind. TPK's on the other hand, are problematic.

As for sandboxy play, yeah I agree. I had sort of expected that I might get away with milestones here premised on access to the 2nd level, just the same. I didn't crunch the numbers (as I sometimes do) to find the 2nd level break point. I was more focused on their hitting 2nd level before the cemetery. I wasn't paying attention as carefully as I should have to the hidden horror that is Mister Beak.

In other news: poisons in PF2 are pretty nasty! I had the stat block for the Giant Scorpion loaded -- but for whatever reason I didn't look carefully at it (you have to click on the entry to see all of it in Foundry). So when the character became poisoned, I just Googled it on AON in another window when I didn't see it quickly on the statblock (without clicking on the venom entry). And I clicked on the first link on my search results.

And therein lies a cautionary tale.

Turns out, there is an entry on AON for "Giant Scorpion Venom". It matches that of the stat block word for word -- except for one teensy weensy important detail. The entry is here: Giant Scorpion Venom

Yeah, on the monster stat block, the venom is the same, but DC18, not 22 as it is for the extracted venom entry.

This was entirely my fault. I own the book in both dead tree and PDF formats -- and I even had it entered in my stat block in Foundry, too.

I could have had it tattooed to my forearm for all the good it did me. You see, it doesn't matter how many times you have it if you don't actually look at it. When you look via Google and assume the AON entry is correct? Well it kind of is correct... and then again, it very, very most definitely wasn't :)

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So I had a chance to run through most of Gauntlight level 1 over the weekend for my players, and 2 of the encounters that have lead to TPKs for others were touch and go with my own as well.

I am referring to the Giant Scorpion and Mister Beak.

My main question James relates to design as I have not crunched the XP numbers yet. I have moved away from XP awards and have moved instead to milestone levelling. Usually it works out -- but sometimes there are issues.

Did you envision Mister Beak as an encounter for level 1 PCs, or for level 2 PCs at that point? Curious because... DAYUUM... that is one helluva nasty soulbound doll!

Mister Beak is nasty enough that most GMs need to be alerted to it and consider throttling him back from elite to normal for most PCs. The potential that, as written, Mister Beak presents a campaign ending encounter is problematically high.

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andreww wrote:
Today we had our first death in Abomination Vaults. The Paladin Tizoc fell to the appallingly awful Mister Beaky and his deadly Vampiric Beak!

Mister Beak is monstrous for a Lvl 1 party - and the poison on the Giant Scorp is horribad.

It's a tough 1st level!

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I have used another entry path to AV which bypasses Wrin and anything to do with the Roseguard.

I ran Menace Under Otari first, intending that the Stonescale Kobolds fled the 1st and 2nd level of the ruins when the Morlocks and Ghouls attacked. The Kobolds did not expect anything to come up from below and so that way was not trapped. They were taken unawares.

The Kobolds are unclear as to the nature of the foes that attacked them. Some could have been dead, but most were alive.

Boss Zolgran is female and lacks the "tessul" - a gold and copper ceremonial head band similar to a tiara used by the Stonescale Chief to designate rank. The haunt in A7 is mentioned as a latter day event not related to Belcorra's defeat. This haunt is new and represents the remains of the Stonescale recently slain in the attack by the Morlocks and Ghouls.

The tessul was taken as spoils during the invasion and was modified by one of the Morlock Engineers who now uses it as a headband on which to mount various magnifying glasses. It is worn by one of the engineers in the workshop located at B.22. Restoring this object to Zolgran will greatly increase her influence with the Stonescales and allows her to assert a true claim as Chieftain -- making the PCs task easier. They will be able to use the Kobolds to reoccupy the upper 2 levels of the Gauntlight Fortress - providing allies and a more secure base from which to launch their expeditions downward.

I otherwise removed the green dragon hatchling in Menace Under Otari and replaced it with a hatchling born from an egg stolen by Zolgran from the River Drake. Zolgran used it as a focus to rally the remaining members of the Stonescale and used fragments of the egg to create necklaces for the refugee survivors from Gauntlight.

In addition to the plight of the Kobolds and their concern that the "pale things from the dark" that drove them out of their home will come for Otari as well, I used the plot hook provided by the collapse of the Thirsty Alpaca as a key motive.

The owner of the Thirsty Alpaca is mentioned to be missing since the collapse two weeks ago, but no more is said about it in either the Gazeteer to AV1 or in the Beginner Box. The implication is that the kobolds caused the collapse and took him - but that's all that is said.

Instead, as I want the Stonescale kobolds to be more sympathetic, I explained through Zolgran how the collapse was an "very accidental" caused by a dropped wine barrel that fell, rolled on the ground and the impact of the barrel on a support beam brought the tavern down. The owner, Aaram Minkel was among those who was buried in the collapse and ensuing fire. Amist the chaos and smoke the kobolds tried to help and attempted to rescue him. As Aaram was pulled out in the darkness and smoke and he saw the kobolds, he ran terrified for his life through the tunnels beneath Otari. Knowing that the traps in the tunnels posed a threat to Aaram, some of the kobolds pursued him but Aaram got away and ultimately took the tunnel to Fogfen as he fled. Fearing he would kill himself on their own traps, the kobols let Aaram go and hoped he would come back.

Aaram didn't come back. He emerged in the fogfen, was attracted by a light and ended up guests of Volluk and the morlocks.

The PCs are there looking for Aaram -- and to scout out what threat whoever displaced the kobolds are to the citizens of Otari. Aaram is with the three thieves in B.24. They have all been consigned as "fallback victims" by Volluk should Lasda die under the strain of his torture.

You can see more about all of this as it played out in our twitch stream of the session here.

As for Wrin, I intend to use her as a conduit of concern and lore over the Gauntlight, but only later as the story unfolds organically. Wrin is not somebody the PCs have any dealings with initially, but she has one special role within Otari which will bring the PCs to her: Wrin is the only person in town who will be interested ion buying the very expensive telescope from Volluk's workshop at A23. (There is no way my players will let Tangltop keep that telescope -- it is plainly extremely valuable. Won't happen. If it does - Moriblint will be unable to answer some jey question and will recommend the PCs consult with her instead.)

Wrin will question the PCs carefully on the telescope, where they got it, remark on its construction, mention how part of the controls and how they turn counterclockwise -- together with the purple and silver clasp -- all clearly points to Drow work. Which is very odd for a subterranean people to be interested in the stars. That will also get the PCs focusing not just on Belcorra, but ultimately on Volluk as well. While the Voidgaunt may be the final boss monster -- it's just a thing. It has no personality, no history, no acting to kidnap fellow citizens hooded and cloaked with a lantern. It has no tragic female lover writing notes about translations of books and keeping a portrait of him in a "Lover's Locket" with his portrait in it. (The drow mentioned by Wrin will point to the drow in the locket when the PCs find it -- and Mister Beak can be used to foreshadow here as well).

I have a LOT more to say about Carman Rajani, as I don't think he was handled very well at all in the official adventure text. So it is up to the GM to furiously fill in backstory there and bring him to life before his scripted Holly wood Moment (as written) while posing real moral quandaries when dealing with Urevian.

I am creating two new quests at the end of Vol 1 to deal with recovery of the relics. The cooperative sword and Smuggler's Cave is being written out. (I hated it). Instead, I am having some of the undead created by the Gauntlight at the beginning of Ch. 2 burst open from the Rajani family vault. Carman will later loot it to get the blade, fair and square. He's not running from Otari -- he's running to be its Mayor. And if the PCs persuade him to help use the sword to open the seal, he will leverage that to paint himself as the Hero of Otari. If the mayor is tucked away at Menhemes Manor doting over his sick daughter -- it jut might work, too.

As my PCs are already close to Mayor Menhemes, I will move the broach to another branch of the Menhemes line -- a far less financially successful one. An old woman Garbi Newhook had the broach but it was left behind by her over-worked son in law when they moved from the Old Fish Camp last fall after the gale hit Otari and sunk Durvin's Query.

[The wreck of the Durvin’s Query interfered with the fisherman's ability to get to the squid fishery at low tide -- which explains why the Old Fish Camp was abandoned. The events surrounding the storm and wreck of the Durvin’s Query form the backstory to PFS 1-04 Bandits of Immenwood. Interestingly, that PFS scenario begins in the recently collapsed Thirsty Alpaca. I'll come back to this later, as I will tie in the fear of the return of the Bandit to help distract the Longsaddle and the town guard later on.]

Anyways, Garbi got the broach from her grandmother and her son-in-law was specifically told to make sure it was packed up and brought back to Otari when they moved. Garbi will be disposed to give it to the PCs after their role in defeating the undead -- and because she is partly of Garundi descent and is a supporter of the Mayor.

Garbi doesn't know that her son-in-law left it behind at the Old Fish Camp. The son-in-law doesn't really remember exactly where it was, they had to leave in a hurry as the wagons were at a premium and they weren't going to wait. He's an overworked fisherman trying to keep his family fed at a time when the fishing had been so bad due to the problems posed by the wreck, they had to abandon their home over it.

Use the Old Fish Camp flip mat in Troubles in Otari and populatre it with encounters you may prefer -- the locals know about crocodiles nesting there after the storm seemed to wreck the crocs usual nesting grounds. So they stay away from the camp now. [Fill it with whatever it is you want. Milestone levelling helps a lot here!]

I was dissatisfied with the possession subplot of Dorianna in the sense that it doesn't seem to have a payoff (I otherwise liked the idea just fine). My plan is to use Dorianna's possession as a matter so profound to Mayor Oseph that he is beside himself with worry, will not leave his daughter's side and won't participate in the election campaigning. Which leaves Rajani in a position where he can actually win - which could prove disastrous to the citizens of Orari.

So solving Dorianna's possession quickly enough will help the Mayor stay the Mayor. Otherwise, Rajani is going to win - and that will be BAD for Otari as Rajani is a self-absorbed, rude, and profoundly dishonest man who will make a terrible mayor -- and will be unresponsive to the dangers posed by the Gauntlight.

I am sure there will be more that will come to mind as Vol 3 gets released and we move forward with the campaign :)

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As I was doing map prep for Vol 2 of Abomination Vaults, at first I decided I was going to use the map versions which come with Pdf2Foundry. These are based on the higher res versions of the map in the Interactive Map Pack -- but there is a problem with whatever process Paizo used to arrange the layers in that PDF in Vol 2 (the maps in Vol 1 are fine). In Vol 2, the ungridded map won't properly extract - just the gridded map.
And so PDF2Foundry uses a gridded map image. I do not want one of those as it is more difficult to hide any wall errors or other map issues. There is a grid in the VTT if you want it -- you don't need the one on the interactive map other than to assist you with cropping and scaling initially.

I have now figured out a work around to this.

In Adobe Acrobat, go to the Interactive Map and turn off all tags, grid and secret doors. Print the map using Microsoft to Pdf as your "printer"and print it to an image under the advanced printing tab (doing this specifying "Print to Adobe PDF" as your printer will not work - it needs to be the Microsoft to PDF printer plug-in). Those maps will all be rendered by the print command in a new PDF without any grid or other tags, or secret doors (or any special layers) if you have all those options turned off first in the interactive map.

Now, open that PDF created by the printing command in PDF Image Extraction Wizard. You will not be extracting the .jpg normally as you would with maps and portrait images/masks typically. This is because Microsoft's print command breaks up the map image into a multiplicity of rectangular chunks that become a lengthy puzzle to reassemble. No. Don't do that.

Instead, use the "Render Page" output option displayed at the end of the Wizard to export the page as one .png file at 600dpi. PDF Image Extraction Wizard will dutifully comply.

You will then have a high resolution image at the end of that process without any grid to work with for use in your VTT. You can edit, resize it or convert to .webp as you may prefer.

Note: for those using these maps in Foundry VTT, you can crop the top part and resize that high res ungridded image to be the same size as the version that is extracted by PDF 2 Foundry so that the walls there *mostly* work on your new map image. Just use your new image instead of the one that PDF2Foundry specifies and Bob's Your Uncle.

The walls in PDf2Foundry for Vol 2 do need some work though, especially with the round elements in the map. Rather than hand fix them, you want to dl and use the Foundry Module "DF Curvy Walls" to redo those circular sections and other arcs. Your results will be much better using the Bezier curves and circles created by the DF Curvy Walls module (it keeps wall segments to create a circle/arc to a minimum and permits granular control over that aspect of curve creation; it is some slick code!). Then just delete the old curves and integrate your new circular wall sections/curves with the existing walls in the PDF2Foundry import and you are good to go.

PDF Image extraction Wizard may be found here.

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dracul104 wrote:

I like the idea of the festival to build that connection to Otari, but I don't want to bore my action oriented characters right off the bat. Inspired by Rise of The Runelords, I'm considering starting things off in a similar fashion with an attack on the town by mitflits in the middle of the festival. I think this could ratchet up the tension right off the bat, and give the party another reason to investigate Gauntlight (someone sees the retreating remnants of the mites heading there).

The reason I used something as light-hearted as a pie festival was to provide an excuse for introducing the Mayor, Carman Rajani -- and the fact there is an election for mayor now commencing. Show, don't tell.

The current mayor provides a diplomatic response as a judge of the "best pie". Oseph attempts to include all and alienate as few as possible even when picking a winner for "best pie". He's a politician - and a skilled one.

FAR more importantly, the pie festival allowed me to introduce Carman Rajani -- who is not provided an opportunity to be presented to the PCs otherwise. When he is finally introduced at the beginning of Book 2 - it is far too quickly, conveniently, and does not have the ring of truth. At all.

Put simply, as written, Carman Rajani is ... well... a failure as a NPC foil as written. There's no point dodging the obvious: he sucks. Rajani becomes an instant maguffin; a mere plot device summoned when needed and disposed of just as quickly. The moral quandary posed later in Volume 2 has no teeth; there is no air of reality to it -- because Rajani is not even a pretend person. Rajani needs work.

His role as oft-failed mayoral candidate - throwing his hat in the ring yet again - underscores that; the pie-judging bit (rude, brusque and demeaning) provides the GM to show the players what kind of man he is -- rather than simply tell the PCs.

And yes, I have changed where the sword is, too. I am putting that in the Rajani family tomb -- sealed for centuries and the priests of Pharasma will not let Rajani into it.

The Gauntlight's activation in the cemetery causes some of the dead within the Rajani tomb to come to life - burst open the Rajani Vault and attack the PCs. The PCs don't immediately recognize this, but they will hear about it later. This breaking of the seal provides Rajani with the excuse to go into the tomb -- the seal has been broken now but not by him, so the Pharasmite law no longer applies -- and to retrieve the Cooperative Blade of Vol Rajani. No fire, no theft - his blade by birthright. No hiding in any Smuggler's cave. It's Carman's sword, fair and square. I'll move another heirloom to the abandoned fish camp in ToI, up the severity of the encounter and let the PCs fight there instead. (I have the flip-mat for ToI).

The PCs will have a choice in Vol 2: prevail upon Rajani to join them in the Gauntlight to help open the seal by using the sword -- or to steal it from him. I'll roll with either choice.

If they persuade Rajani to help them, Rajani will in turn steal the PCs thunder in Otari and cast himself as the hero. He will sway the people away from Mayor Oseph - who can't campaign or even take minor steps to interact with the citizens of Otari during the election - as he is at home looking after a very sick Dorianna (she's possessed, right?).

[That's the other problem with Vol 2: the possession has no payoff. It's a clever bit of inside the dungeon/outside the dungeon plot-line that doesn't seem to have a plot consequence or go anywhere. It's poorly developed. It clearly needs more. The election provides that context.

So I have it so that if the PCs "do the right thing" and let Rajani help -- and don't manage to solve Dorianna's possession, Rajani is going to win the election. And make no mistake, he's a selfish jerk who will make a terrible mayor. He's not evil though, just an a$$.

This will, in turn, present the PCs with a choice to condemn him with Urevian as a way out to fix that. An interesting moral choice. Or they can choose to do the right thing again -- and resist Urevian's demands, leading to more chaos and unpleasantness in Otari under Mayor Rajani's awful administration as matters come to a head in Vol 3.

tl:dr: In short, I started with the pie festival not because Vol 1 of AV needs that revision, but because Vol 2 very much does.

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And within ~12 hours of release, there is now support for Sundered Waves on Foundry VTT via PDF2Foundry. Import that adventure, assign the jpgs contained within the Art Asset folder and *boom* = ready to rock in Foundry VTT.

Note: Requires Legal Paizo PDF registered to an e-mail address to import the adventure with PDF2Foundry.

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Lias kb22c wrote:
Where do I find the seperate clean image in my downloads ?

You don't. They need to be extracted from the Interactive Map PDF.

*Ahem*: You cannot just open a legal Paizo PDF in Photoshop. A Paizo PDF has security features which lock the file and prevent Adobe Acrobat or Photoshop from opening it without the password to do so. You might be able to do that with a pirated PDF, but not one you paid for and downloaded here.

Instead, you have to use brute force and rip the PDF open instead, using a software tool for image extraction.

There are a few tools to do this to extract the map image from the PDF.

I use PDF Image Extraction Wizard. It's available here: PDF Image Extraction Wizard.

There is a similar tool created to extract and reassemble PNG images for character and monster art as well as maps. It's a batch file which will tear apart an entire PDF if you tell it to. You can get that here Image Extractor.

If you just want to create portrait tokens and not maps, you can use Token Tool. (This is the easiest to use for beginners, but it not's for maps. I include it here for completeness).

After you extract that map art, that isn't the end of it. Ideally you want to one of two things:

1. [Standard] Crop off partial squares on the map edge so you are left with a perfect gridded off square or rectangle; OR

2. [Advanced] Create the missing map terrain in a partial square that is too important to crop. Typically, this is a process done in Photoshop using copy+paste and the Healing Brush and Patch Tool. It takes practice to learn how to do this, but it's not *that* hard.

To do these things, you can use GIMP (free), Photoshop (subscription) or a similar program, like Clip Studio Paint.

Then, when you have your base image, you need to count out the squares on your map. If your map is 22 squares wide by 30 high, say, you need to rescale the image to those dimensions using a pixel density per square that your VTT uses. In Roll 20, that's 70dpi. In a program like Foundry VTT - that is generally 100 dpi or 150 dpi. (Bigger means better map image quality)

So a 22 x 30 grid square image for Roll 20's 70 dpi should be scaled to:

1,540 x 2100

And the same image for Foundry VTT at 100 dpi:

2200 x 3000

Lastly, if you are upscaling your image in size, you want to use an advanced image scaler that creates pixels using AI to give you the best overall map image for use. Photoshop has this built in (Preserve Details 2.0 - you have to check the box to tell the program to use it though) or there are other AI scalers available online, some for free, but the better ones tend to cost $$.

For those with nVidia video cards, ESRGAN is a particularly excellent free open source tool to do this (it does not work with ATI or Intel integrated graphics though).

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I subscribe to this product line -- and I am in CANADA. The cost of shipping is vastly prohibitive and costs me more than the cost of the product itself, but I do it to get the PDF.

You continue to slice apart the images in your PDF to prevent them from being extracted form the PDF for use in VTT play. This matter was drawn to your attention in November of 2020. You appear to now be deliberately WRECKING the value-in-use I get out of the PDF subscription. As this has been drawn to your attention since November, I can only conclude you are continuing to do this on purpose to promote sales of Pawns via subscription or purchase of VTT products from Roll 20. There is no other rational explanation.

Innocent ignorance of the issue appears to no longer be a reasonable assumption given the passage of time since this was drawn to Paizo's attention more than three months ago.

I don't like accusing Paizo of deliberately doing shitty things, but right now? There seems no other reasonable explanation for this.

I run my games via VTT. I have for 8 years. Now, we are in a PANDEMIC. To cripple your products for use via VTT during a pandemic is unconscionable. You need to be BETTER than this.

I'm a full subscriber to this product line and have been a Paizo subscriber since you only published the magazines. There is literally NOT ONE SINGLE PRODUCT Paizo has ever made that I don't own -- not one. I've even got some really odd one-off Encounter products from back-in-the-day. But despite being a committed fan? If you don't fix this? I'll stop subscribing. It's pretty simple. I subscribe to get a PDF that is useful to me. You are no longer meeting my reasonable expectations as a subscriber, and explanations arising out of mere accidents is starting to vanish as a reasonable explanation for the continuing inaction. I am not paying a premium price at nearly DOUBLE the cost for your products for no good reason at all.

And you wouldn't do it if you were me, either.

If I am out of line or I have misunderstood some aspect of your products, I would LOVE to be wrong about this. Prove me wrong and I will shout it from the rooftops, gladly.

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Elfteiroh wrote:

Yeah, the grid is baked in the images used in the PDFs. The PDF of the first one had two images for each map, with only the non-grided one used for the actual PDF to add the "removable" grid on top of it. I guess they were "displayed" on top of each other? *shrug* I know I was surprised, and just deleted the non-grided version. xd
(I usually prefer the grided version to align it to the map with better guidelines and deactivates the grid in the VTT.)

They are separate layers in a multi-layer PDF.

Ideally, you strip both images from the PDF. You should be using the gridded version as a layer to help you align any cropping required and to help you rescale the image in a program like Photoshop. After you do that, then you hide the gridded version and just export the cropped/resized version without the grid to use in a VTT so it perfectly aligns as intended.

That way, you never have a grid getting in the way of the grid within the VTT software itself. Every VTT has its own grid you don't want another one on your map image.

End users *need* both images in the same size. One (gridded) as a technical guide, the other to modify and then actually use within the VTT (ungridded).

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Well, our problem is that we don't finish our AP runs. We usually do. Sometimes we have not because of a GM marriage, but that's been rare.

In one case though (Giantslayer), I shut it down after Vol 3. Now, to be fair, I added a lot to Giantslayer, but in the end, that AP is like most other APs over the course of time:

The Front Nine is Better than the Back Nine.

Simply put, the first 3 volumes of an AP tend to be where the best part of the APs are. The last 3 volumes? Rarely is that the case.

Yes, part of that reflects the "sweet spot" in the game rules itself. That speaks to a lot of the underlying reason, right there

Also, rarely doesn't mean "never". I think Vol 5 of Curse of the Crimson Throne (Scarwall Castle) was excellent and in the Anniv Ed., it's even better.

So it's not that later volumes can't be good; they just tend not to be.

Add on to that the very real intrinsic problems of high level play presented in PF1 (jury's still out for me in terms of PF2, we'll see), the length of a campaign, the attraction of the bright and shiny new...

And it might be that the 3 vol APs have much to recommend them. While I will still get the 3 volume high level APs, I have to admit, the chances I run them? Low; very low. High level is not my jam.

My guess is that over time, Paizo will see that the 3 volume low level APs are simply going to sell better. As the trend in the hobby seems to be away from longer epic campaigns and towards more casual play, my guess is that by 2023, we'll be seeing more 3 volume level 1-10 APs.

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Speaking of file differences, in this particular version of the Interactive Map pack, the file has been stored in such a way that it is not possible to extract the ungridded version of the map from the PDF, only the gridded version extracts using the ordinary image tools for that purpose.

While I know these sorts of tech variables is not something that perhaps Paizo digital support pays much attention to, the value in use to the end user for VTT play is wholly dependent on our being able to access both of these images (gridded and plain) in GIMP or Photoshop. Throwing roadblocks in our path to prevent this, whether intentional or not, degrades the value in use of these products GREATLY for VTT play.

Not cool guys.

The Interactive Map pack for AV1 allowed for both versions of the maps to be extracted (which is what we need); this volume? Nope. Whatever it is you changed? Don't. Go BACK to how you had it please.

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I plan to start with the scene set just two weeks after the mysterious collapse and fire at The Thirsty Alpaca -- with the PCs and half the town gathered at the Commons Market for a Fair Day.

It's a local pie contest and as many are preparing to tuck into some tasty pastry and coffee, Vandy Banderdash is reading out the nominees for Mayor in the forthcoming election: Oseph Menhemes, Carman Rajani and Pete "four-fingers" Newhook. There will be much guffawing and laughter at the later two candidates.

Following that, I'll be starting with a somewhat modified take on Menace Under Otari.

And yes, the forthcoming election needs to be underscored. Rajani's place in all of this needs to be dealt with... well, in a more elegant and less ham-fisted manner.

Suffice to say, I prefer a more organic approach.

And yes, I plan to weave in all of Menace Under Otari and a good third of Troubles in Otari into Abomination Vaults, too.

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Given how good the introductory volume to Abomination Vaults is, I'd really hate to be Vanessa tasked with following that one up.

Though I am really chuffed to see it, all the same! This AP has me as excited to read the next release since, well, since Age of Worms was being published in Dungeon Magazine back-in-the-day.

No pressure! :P

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There sure have been a lot of questions on reddit about Menace Under Otari these past few days! And from GMs that aren't exactly the ones you would identify as the target market for the Beginner Box.

That's The Abomination Vault Effect, a rising tide that lifts a lot of Beginner Box boats!

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trevco613 wrote:
I want to add to my disappointment about the map pack included witht he adventure paths. Is it to much to ask the cartogrophers to make the map a whole number of grids, and for each grid to be the same size. I have to do a ton of extra work to make this map usable for the vtt I use. I need to mess around with the pdf settings so that all the labels are turned off and the text at the top of each map that bleeds into the map. After that I need to use a map alignment tool to stretch out the map so that each grid is the same size and then finally I can import the map into my game. For the amount of money I pay for my subscription it should not be this difficult especially when Paizo already has high res jpgs available. If Paizo does not "roll out" jpg's for the AP's I am seriously considering cancelling my subscription.

I would like to apologize, in part, for my previous reply. Those comments were based on my experience building levels 1-3 in Foundry.

And then I got to level 4. *ahem*

There IS an error in the grid to level 4 of this map, both in the module itself and in the Interactive map. The error is in the X/Y axis on the grid. Whether the fault lies with Paizo or the map artist, Rob Lazzaretti (unlikely, this is far from his first rodeo and he's one of the most experienced technical map artists in the business) is unclear. But whatever the case, the grid on level 4 is screwed. I spent a lot of time trying to fix it in Photoshop, checking both the Interactive map and the map on page 99 of the module itself. In my view, it is unfixable without moving elements of the map and rebuilding it. I expect the underlying image has been scaled wrong and this error carried over to the Interactive map, or vice versa. Whatever the case, this map is broken for VTT use.

The most likely explanation is that somebody did a scale on this map without proportional scaling applied at some point in the process when importing the map from Adobe Bridge to InDesign. It can happen - and it is the most likely explanation for what happened here.

Even in the best of times, these errors are inconvenient; however, during Covid the only usefulness in this map for play is via a VTT. So the problem is significant and needs addressing.

This needs to be flagged and fixed within Paizo.

You can kludge around it in Foundry VTT by just taking off the lock to grid anchors within the program when drawing the wall. But yeah - it's messed up.

Paizo needs to fix this.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:

Upon reflection, I think it has more to do with the Players Guide than this adventure. I'm not sure I would have even noticed the gap if the Players Guide hadn't been written in such a way as to build up Wrin and the player's connection to her.

100% Agreed. Which probably says more about the space considerations in the AP volume itself as much as anything. At 63 pages? It's a long adventure, too.

The "backstory" to Menace Under Otari in the Beginner Box is three paragraphs! Exactly 195 words. And half of those are "fluff"!

That went too far, but Menace is really about teaching the game mechanics, focusing on new gamers. The backstory is paper thin. But there are a LOT of possibilities you can fill out to make it all work and fit the setting -- and segue right in to Ruins of Gauntlight, too. It all flows pretty nicely.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:

That Morlock Engineer illustration on page 85 is excellent, and give me ideas how to use inventor class as NPCs.

I'm still reading all this, but very well done.

Starting the dungeon literally at the dungeon did throw me for a moment. I don't mind it exactly, but given the player guide setting the expectation that you'd have ties to Wrin, I did expect a bit more in the beginning of what's going on with her and why the party wound up at the dungeon. I almost wonder if the couple paragraphs in the "Getting Started" section might have been able to more explicitly describe an opening. Even just "Sidequest: Your friend Wrin Sivinxi has seen a human sized lamp in her dreams, dripping blood and calling to her from Gauntlight. She asks you to investigate Guantlight keep and look for this lamp."

Demonstrably, I think any DM can come up with their own such hook, and having that freedom to tailor it to your party is useful, but like I said it did throw me. I felt like I was missing a page or sidebar somewhere.

I think it was J.J. being respectful of the creativity of GMs -- and the opportunities presented in parallel Paizo products. As it stands, there are Lego "bumps" to clip this into both Menace under Otari and Trouble in Otari at several points in the adventure. It's very Old Skool in that respect.

It's a stand-alone without quite being a stand-alone. I, for one, don't expect to use Wrin at all as part of the setup to my segue to Gauntlight. I'm going to go at it from the Kobolds in Menace under Otari. Those kobolds were displaced from the Ruins and they want to get their home back.

There's so much going on at low level in Otari right now from PFS Scenarios, Bounties, Beginner Box Menace and Troubles in Otari, one set way that "this is how the PCs come together and come here" seems needlessly exclusionary and limiting.

If Otari is a little sandboxy right now? Let the GMs tell the story that makes the best sense to him or her. I thought it was a strength of the adventure, not a weakness.

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I have been reading Abomination Vaults: Volunme 1: The Ruins of Gauntlight for the past week -- and prepping it for play in Foundry VTT.

[Note: for map extraction from a Paizo PDF, use PDF Image Extraction Wizard, available here: Click Here. Yes, the registered version is actually worth getting. (I don't buy much shareware, perhaps one program every decade -- but I did buy this one. It is an excellent tool for stripping PDFs.)]

To be clear, I never expected to be doing this. We had planned for our group's first foray into PF2 to be Menace Under Otari and the move to Troubles in Otari as an introduction to PF2. It was to end there and we were going on to another campaign entirely with new characters. That was the plan. We are all players with decades of experience and we have played PF1 for ~12 years.

TiO was to be our toe in the PF2 pool.

And then I got Ruins of Gauntlight. I never expected to like it, but as I came to realize it was also set in Otari, I started to read it and...

This adventure is not simply good -- it is excellent. I think it's the best adventure Paizo has released in 5 or 6 years, it's THAT good.

All of that explains my work cobbling away in Foundry VTT with this adventure. James Jacobs is at the height of his powers here. It is a treat.

I don't care if you "don't like megadungeons". I don't like them much either. That doesn't matter; this adventure is too good not to play. It will win you over.

The shame of it all is that this was not the first adventure released for PF2, but I guess such familiarity with the system takes some time to develop and acquire.

I do expect that Ruins of Gauntlight will become THE iconic adventure for PF2, just as Burnt Offerings was for PF1. As for whether Abomination Vaults as a whole will become PF2's "RotRL", well that remains to be seen. But the answer is -- *maybe*.

For now, that will have to do. It is off to a BRILLIANT start.

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Just bumping this. There were many comments concerning Foundry VTT that were made last summer.

In the meanwhile, the changes to the program and the expanded reliability and features of this software are nothing short of jaw dropping.

If you haven't looked at it in the past few months? You need to look at Foundry VTT again.

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