Ron Lundeen's page

** Pathfinder Society GM. 1,048 posts (1,625 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 22 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.


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Thank you for this shout out! I'm so glad so many people have liked my contributions to the Infinite program.


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This was so much fun to write!


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Myrryr wrote:


It might not be enough to cause a famine across Avistan/Garund, but it would definitely cause some serious economic issues if Geb is attacked.

Food for thought. Though sadly, it's not all that often that authors tend to think on a large scale political/economic level for APs sadly.

This is, in fact, a *critical* plot element of this AP.

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RoscoMcqueen wrote:
I'm starting this adventure next month. I'm looking for some tips. I have the PDF / Foundry version of the hardcover and I'm reading through it now. Because these originally came out in a 3 part adventure some of the information is spread out about certain NPCs. Aside from just general tips and advice, what sort of things can you foreshadow early on for the NPC's in Otari that maybe weren't shown in the first book when it came out?

I recommend giving each hero a connection to one of the Otari NPCs. The campaign backgrounds they choose suggest good connections, but make one even for those without a natural fit based on background. You should make it one of the NPCs who gives out a side quest later on, and I don't recommend that anyone have a connection to Carman Rajani. This will make some of the side quests feel more like natural connections.

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Adam Smith wrote:
Sold. Our project will be here on the blog -- but it won't be the party you'll expect.

Oh, that's EXCELLENT to hear. I love what you guys do!

Pathfinder Development Manager

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James Jacobs wrote:

To manage expectations: Until we decide if or how we want to support play that uses stats for characters who are canonically mythic, we won't be providing those stats for them.

Kortash Khain, for example, is mythic in 1E. In his 2E entry in the adventure he shows up in, I built an Influence stat block for him, but not a "fight him" stat block.

I don't know what Ron's plans for Geb are, but I suspect they might be the same.

James is absolutely correct. Geb doesn't get a stat block--you meet him (several times, in fact!) but not in a way that ever requires his statistics. This is the "work for Geb" AP, not the "fight Geb" AP.

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keftiu wrote:

I’m super curious about the outset of this AP, in terms of how the characters are actually employed. Are the Blood Lords formalized and centralized enough to have an organization of troubleshooters at their command, or are the PCs working for a specific one? Is there a government agency in Geb with adventurers on the roster?

They're working for a specific one. She's on the cover!

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CorvusMask wrote:
Sidenote, I do hope this book does come up with small fixes like "encounter says refer to map markings that don't exist" :'D

We caught as many of these as we possibly could!

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Patrick is a gift.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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CorvusMask wrote:
I am curious if this essentially ends the drift crisis or is more of "and if you don't succeed, it gets even worse!"

It doesn't solve it; this AP is not really about, "Here is a galaxy-wide threat that you wrap up!" it's about "You're victims of this galaxy-wide disaster and you are just trying to get home." If you succeed at this one--maybe you get home!

Pathfinder Development Manager

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Cadynce Delholme wrote:
Well... I'm not mad at this news. I am loving Abomination Vaults in 2e, and am quite interested in seeing how the 5e rules might handle a couple things we've run into so far. I assume the 5e hardback won't have the maps included (not expected either)... so I hope both versions can use the same maps.

The maps are the same in both versions. Some of the denizens had to change because the systems work differently, but the maps, plot beats, key NPCs, and fun are all the same!

Pathfinder Development Manager

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keftiu wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Will Paizo be releasing other 5E content in the future, or is Abomination Vaults a special case?
I imagine the answers depends on how well this does.

This is absolutely correct. We have no other 5E plans to announce at this time.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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Hooray! I'm excited to see this one announced, it was fantastic fun to write.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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I gave each of my characters a connection to someone in town. Some of them are pretty casual roleplayers, too, and that ended up creating some of the fun.

For example, the fighter had done odd jobs for the captain of the town guard, just because he was a fighter. But the player was a chaotic good anarchist sort, and the captain of the guard is a real stick-in-the-mud, so he got to gripe in character "I totally hate my boss, he's a real jerk, so I'm off to bash stuff in the dungeon." But when they needed the town guard for something, that connection was there.

I'd also encourage you to have "the next time you come back..." moments in town between forays to the dungeon. Morlibint is going to look some stuff up in books, but it'll take him some time, so remind the characters to come back to him.

Wrin Sivinxi makes the best "the next time you come back..." character because she can read the stars and answer their questions every night, but only once and at night.

Basically, throw in some connections and keep a casual "next thing to do" between the town and the dungeon. When they go to the dungeon, they should have some reason to get back to town. And when they go into town, it should give them some reason to get back to the dungeon. I hope that kind of thing can keep up interest in the game!

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Grankless wrote:
Gonna share any Moose Tips here, Luis?

What, we didn't give you enough moose tips in the adventure? :-)

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CorvusMask wrote:
...'s location is confirmed in Absalom book for those who are interested in alternate course for fifth book :D

Yep! Our original intent was to have the Absalom book out much closer to this Adventure Path, so it wouldn't require so much waiting to find out, but *gestures broadly at everything.*

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1. Give XP for winning fights ("winning" meaning overcoming, not always murdering) and also give XP for non-combat accomplishments, as indicated. Some chapters in this Adventure Path (like the first one) have almost no fights.

2. The Magaambya's student body fluctuates a lot, because so many students live off campus or even obtain their learning off campus as well. My sense is that the campus has hundreds of students at any time. This Adventure Path only focuses on a few of these (with more introduced in later books), but there's lots of opportunity to add in other students of your own invention, too.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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willfromamerica wrote:
Qaballa wrote:

Why does Jafaki have a wand of magic missiles heightened to 2nd-level? As well all know Magic Missile is a 1st level spell and it requires heightening by 2 levels to get the next iteration, so 3rd to get 2 missiles per action. As far as I can tell it shouldn't do anything more than a 1st level wand apart from be more expensive.

Maybe as a 5th level item it could be a wand of manifold missiles (1st).
What's the intention here, any ideas anyone?
I personally switched it to a 3rd-level Wand of Magic Missiles since I had the same thought, and it wasn’t too powerful of an item to hand my players.

Aah, it's too late for me to make a change to the hardcover version, but I would change this to a 3rd-level magic missile wand rather than a 2nd-level wand. That doesn't skew the treasure balancing by too much, and it makes more sense.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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Perhaps Belcorra instructs the seugathis to send the destrachan from area C9 into the central shaft, so it can be beamed into town? That's a Severe fight for them, which you might mitigate by having townspeople help out or something. A destrachan could probably wreak some havoc in a town, blasting sound every which way.

Pathfinder Development Manager

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Zapp wrote:
It really **would** be a breath of fresh air if Paizo would ever embrace "less is more" and create an Adventure Path with interesting limitations on race-class combos or whatever.

We do that all the time; you're looking at it now.

True, we're unlikely to say, "don't play an android gunslinger"; instead, we give you the themes of the AP so you can play within the themes and find something that excites you. Presenting themes spurs creativity; presenting limitations stifles it. I'd much rather say that Strength of Thousands is "the magic school AP set in a school known for training wizards and druids" than "don't play clerics or bards." Here, we've said this is a caveman/hunter-gatherer themed AP, not "don't play alchemists, gunslingers, or inventors."

That's not to say we never present a story as "No X." Hell's Vengeance was the "no good characters" campaign, and The Slithering was a "no humans" adventure. We've learned from those that the better path is to encourage themes rather than mandate restrictions.

There are always people who enjoy playing against type. They want to be a paladin in the Skull & Shackles AP, or a hobgoblin in the Ironfang Invasion AP, or a barbarian in the Strength of Thousands AP. Telling them they can't play against type doesn't let them enjoy being an outlier; it tells them they can't play at all. We want to avoid telling people they can't play at all--rather, we want the social construct of the table to do that, as the table sees fit.

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CorvusMask wrote:
Guess Mr. Beak with phantom pain is now a thing officially :O (if I run this campaign again though, I'm going to stick with Mr. Break with worm's repast because I love foreshadowing that spell going to show up later at use of Mr. Break's creator x'D)

That's an excellent substitution as well!

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Whew! I gave this its final approval pass on Friday, and it's off to the printer now!

There are a lot of tweaks in here. Some were just necessary for the revised layout (when a new piece of art made text on the page flow differently, for example), others are minor corrections and polishes.

We've got some new art for this, including the often-requested image of a certain ghost when she was still alive.

I want to thank everyone who weighed in on issues or fixes on these forums. I looked over lots of those and made many improvements based on those--thanks!

The hardcover is formatted a bit differently, as well. Instead of looking like three volumes between two covers, we rearranged this to have 10 sequential chapters, one for each level of the dungeon (along with a few other chapters for a campaign overview, the town of Otari, info about Nhimbaloth, the adventure toolbox, and so on).

People who aren't familiar with the three-volume nature of this AP are going to find the hardcover to be very accessible; people who already have the three volumes might prefer to have it in this more cohesive whole.

I'm proud of this, and it's going to look great!

Pathfinder Development Manager

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Daniel Arango wrote:
Hey all. I had a thought and I just can’t recall if I’ve read this or not but does anyone in Otari know about the levels beneath they runs? Like, is this common knowledge or privileged to a few?

They don't know much. Since level 1 has been picked over, and it contains about 4 ways down to a level 2, it's probably fair to say that specialists in the lore of Gauntlight Keep (like Morlibint, and maybe the mayor) know that there's a "basement" beneath it. They're probably wholly ignorant of even lower levels, though, and they don't know that Otari Ilvashti survived to stagger around within them for a bit before he finally died.

Having the townspeople react with shock and dread when the heroes come back with tales of horrid monsters on increasingly deeper levels is a great way to emphasize the hero's prestige, I think.

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thejeff wrote:
dharkus wrote:
Peenicks wrote:

Should the Mutated Sewer Ooze have a little bit more HP rather than 45? Considering it's level 1 variant has 40 HP this one has 45 at level 6? Was the intent for it to have 450 HP?

45 is def too low (it's low for a lvl 4), but 450 is def way too high (about right for a lvl 19-22 creature!)
Probably 145. Seems about the right ballpark.

I would go with 145, yes.

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Glaive-Dancer wrote:

Do your player's characters all come from the Mwangi expanse?

So far it looks like my players want to play characters from all around Golarion. Do you think that is a problem if they can generate some plausible story for why they want to study at the Magaambya? (I just told them to read the Player's Guide and then check in with me.)

We don't assume that all the characters are from the Mwangi Expanse, so feel free to have them come from wherever.

Note, though, that virtually all of the campaign takes place *in* the Mwangi Expanse, so they'll end up being quite familiar with it, even if they start the campaign as outsiders to the region.

Developer

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Asgetrion wrote:
Ron, I get that there won't be many changes, but it'd great to have a separate illustration and handout section at the end of the book -- with maybe a few extra handouts and illustrations, if I can make a modest wish! :)

We have some additional art going into this (as of right now; it's not off to the printer yet, so nothing's final!). We haven't put them into an "art section" in the back like I've seen some RPG products do; that's not our style.

Developer

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Kelseus wrote:
So we going to fight Treerazer in 2021/22 APs?

We're not going to stop you from putting Treerazer into your APs. He's right there in the Bestiary, after all.

Developer

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From the Office of Expectations Management: we have no plans to produce a Strength of Thousands pawn collection.

Developer

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
zonum wrote:
I'm going through this book to prep some foreshadowing about how Gauntlight works, and I wondered about its power source being centered on the 4th level - after Lasda is removed from Lasda's Lament, Volluk is defeated and the Forever Stairs are opened, what's to stop any of Belcorra's minions "re-powering" the lighthouse from another similar Gauntlight location within one of the various chambers where the blue light runs from floor to ceiling within the lighthouse structure? I'm struggling to suspend my disbelief that there would be no attempt to re-activate Gauntlight on the enemy side between the time the adventurers make their way into the training grounds and the time they arrive at the final level. Would love a second opinion on the various ways that Gauntlight is powered, and why Belcorra would turn her attention elsewhere after the finale of Ruins of Gauntlight.
I think you should reactivate it and start attacking again. The only plot reasons Belcorra might not do it again is she is waiting until she can attack Absalom. If she invites too much attention, some adventurers might show up to thwart her again.

This is my thinking. The test firing at the start of chapter 2 is successful, in that it both animates the dead and successfully sends in an aberration. Once the PCs get into the lower levels, Belcorra can't help but face them, as she did the Roseguard: "Again with meddling adventurers?!? HOW DARE THEY!?!?!"

Developer

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H2Osw wrote:
Will the original pdf receive the balancing updates as well?

We have no plans to do so, no.

Further, there's not a lot of balancing to do. We're tweaking some encounters that have proven a bit problematic, but beyond "give a certain soulbound doll the phantom pain spell rather than vampiric touch," there's not a lot of dramatic changes.

That said, if you've seen other huge balance issues, please let us know!

Developer

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xNellynelx wrote:
Ron broke me so hard. We do love the poppets Ron, rest easy.

Oh, whew!

Developer

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I just want to jump in here to talk about my running of this game. My players saw the locked door in the lighthouse and later found the key, but they were too battered by the corpselights to want to use the key right away--they just retreated to town to rest.

In town, the players learned that Wrin Sivinxi can "read the stars" for them and the asked about whether they should ascend to the top of the lighthouse during the day (as they knows it glows at night). I realize there's nothing up there but a vampiric mist--no treasure or clues or anything else, so the answer is "woe."

So they avoid it, do a little more exploring, and they see the paintings with the ghosts coming out of the lighthouse. So they rush back to town the next night to ask Wrin about whether they should ascend to the top of the lighthouse during the night. Since the blood of Belcorra haunt is active at night, that's just more danger, so the answer is "more woe. Even more woe than the day."

Now my players are assuming that the top of the lighthouse is where some big climactic fight of the entire AP is going to take place and there's NO WAY they are going up there until they're way, way higher level. At which point they'll find...just a vampiric mist chilling up there.

Developer

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This was a wonderful read! I'm glad you got such a connection to the current times out of it--if only magical solutions were readily available.

Developer

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GM OfAnything wrote:
I have to imagine that the statues on the map are meant to represent the ten terraced towers with mosaics.

They are towers with mosaics of the Ten Magic Warriors, but the towers are more ornamental than functional; from the top down, they could indeed be carved to look like people. But they are not statues, as depicted, they're towers.

Developer

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keftiu wrote:

A scholar can exist outside of a library, and the Magaambya places a strong emphasis on ‘field work.’ Most Magaambyan mages are traveling the Mwangi Expanse, and many more are currently aiding on humanitarian missions up north in Avistan; they’re hardly huddled up in Nantambu. Staying in one place long enough to finish your early studies is not the same as settling down and betraying your oath to the wilds.

Heck, look at the shape of the AP; fully half of the books take place well beyond Nantambu, and even the ones set there leave the Magaambya’s halls.

I agree with all of this.

Developer

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Golbez57 wrote:

Two things that feel missing:

1. Symbols for each of the different branches.

2. Colors associated with them.

Has anyone done work in this area, or Ron, are these things going to be established in later books? I would love to see an article further detailing each branch, but know everything has been set for some time, so may need to be homebrewed by the collective now.

No, we've presented nothing further about them in this AP. That's not to say we won't do so someday, but not here!

Developer

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As a quick point of clarification, the teachers the OP mentions at the very end of the post aren't Learned Ones; the only Learned One to play a role directly in the AP is, I believe, Janatimo (though at least one other is mentioned).

High Sun-Mage Oyamaba isn't a learned one, he's the head of the entire school. (I believe he used to be the Tempest Sun-Mage Learned One before leading the school). He has a large part to play in the AP, as you might expect.

Developer

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dharkus wrote:
anyone any idea what the stories at the start of the chapters are for? tell the players them? are they general fables? foreshadowing? spoilers?

They're meant to expand chapter summaries or backgrounds in interesting and visually appealing ways. Sometimes they'll be storybook stories; sometimes they'll be journal entries, or other things. We were looking to have a little fun with these, and let the authors get a little bit narrative in a way that normal adventure writing doesn't usually allow.

Developer

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Boardgamer88 wrote:

Question from a new GM about to run SoT...

** spoiler omitted **

Would their be anything problematic to this? Sadly I don't have much info to go on at the moment, but I like the idea.

This would be a fun twist, I say go for it. It will pay off a couple of times throughout the AP (including near the end!).

Developer

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Zapp wrote:

Page 55: "Volluk takes this lantern on his journeys above ground, where he’s unknowingly spawned the rumors of the lantern-carrying stranger."

What rumors of a lantern-carrying stranger?

(I looked for mentions of any lantern in the module as well as the player's guide, but didn't find anything)

Ah! I see the omission. Lasda was seen walking with a hooded stranger (page 72); you should also let heroes know that this stranger was carrying a lantern. This is the connection, made a little obscure when the lantern mention on page 72 was cut.

Developer

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KaiBlob1 wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Uchuujin wrote:

The sidebar on page 7 states "Throughout the Strength of Thousands Adventure Path, the heroes gain XP not from winning fights, but from solving mysteries, aiding others, or even just making friends."

Does this mean that combats should have no XP award? Or rather that there are many ways to gain XP in addition to combat?

You get XP for winning fights, just like in any Pathfinder game. But you'll get a lot of your XP for doing things other than winning fights, and you'll find that sometimes you get more XP for solving a conflict in a way that doesn't involve clobbering your enemy.
thats great, but in future if you're going to continue this (which I hope you do), maybe don't say "PCs gain XP not from fights, ..." because that makes it sound like fights don't grant XP at all.

That's fair. We'll work to clarify better in the future.

Developer

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WatersLethe wrote:

I have some thoughts/questions...

1. Where does Takalu Ot hold the group interview?

2. What do people think about giving all of the Service Projects upfront and letting the party decide how and when to do them over the 5 day period? I figure as-is it feels extremely railroady and fetch-quest-y. If they can plan out how to tackle them, they can potentially kill two-birds with one stone when out and about and not feel resentment for being sent to and fro without serious thought.

2.a. I'm also thinking of having the other students be less "quest givers" for the Service Projects and more "if you need some advice, come to us". As-is they come across less as fellow students and more as judgy order-givers.

3. How long have the other students at the Spire Dorm been initiates? It makes it seem like they've been there for years or months, but the Perquisite is supposed to be a year long, and they get their masks at the same time as the party.

4. I'm planning on letting the party take any free archetype as long as they have some access to Prepared Arcane or Primal casting. Does anyone see a good reason not to do that?

5. If everyone in the party is starting with some form of magic, would it hurt to skip the temporary bonus cantrips from the Magic Symbols step? It seems like a bit of unnecessary tracking without much use if everyone is already a bit magical.

6. The campaign is supposed to start in Arodus 4721, but when do the different Mwangi seasons fall on the Golarion calendar?

7. Is the gold cost of the Ojofiri Chicken chick correct? 4 gold per chick seems outrageous.

8. When should Umbo attack in the likely event that the party Mage Hands down the scarlet cap mushrooms?

9. How often do new initiates arrive? Do they come at a certain time of the year close to when the party does?

Lots of these aren't answered in the adventure, so you can make it up! But here's what I think:

1. Someplace nice, and out of the rain.
2. Sure, that works. The key piece is that the heroes learn first-hand about all the branches and meet their peers.
3. Months, maybe years (like for Chizire, the slacker)
4. I've talked elsewhere that this might end up limiting you down the road: later encounters assume everyone has Arcana or Nature, and there are some capstone feats for people with those two multiclass options only in the last adventure.
5. Wouldn't hurt. We just wanted to make sure that even the dwarfiest fighter felt magical from the beginning.
6. The seasons fly so fast with the academia subsystem that this will change a lot from table to table. It's rainy to start. In other adventures, it's assumed to be hot and sunny. So it varies.
7. Yes, they're really rare.
8. As soon as they pluck one, I think. Umbo wouldn't want them to get away!
9. Throughout the year; there's not a single "new freshmen orientation" time of year at the Magaambya.
I hope this all helps!

Developer

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The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Boardgamer88 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

So by default players do end up quite skilled.

** spoiler omitted **

Indeed, ** spoiler omitted **

I think this is an oversight and was not intended to bar PCs from taking other dedications, just like the free archetype.

This is not meant to bar anyone from taking a dedication feat in the usual way. It's like a free archetype in that regard.

Developer

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Uchuujin wrote:

The sidebar on page 7 states "Throughout the Strength of Thousands Adventure Path, the heroes gain XP not from winning fights, but from solving mysteries, aiding others, or even just making friends."

Does this mean that combats should have no XP award? Or rather that there are many ways to gain XP in addition to combat?

You get XP for winning fights, just like in any Pathfinder game. But you'll get a lot of your XP for doing things other than winning fights, and you'll find that sometimes you get more XP for solving a conflict in a way that doesn't involve clobbering your enemy.

Developer

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vagrant-poet wrote:
Hopefully Ron who is good at popping into these threads sees this. It's kind of hard to use an adventure pdf with no meaningful bookmarks.

Let me check on that bookmarking issue.

Developer

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Thrawn82 wrote:

a question mostly for Ron the next time he drops back in here:

Are there any school faculty members that play a particularly prominent roll in the adventure path as a whole? I'm thinking a hero forge model might be a cool way to put a spotlight on some important NPCs

Oh, goodness yes!

Koride Ulawa, most of all. But every faculty member mentioned in the Campaign Overview has some interaction with the heroes at some point.

If you were only going to do one model, though, Koride Ulawa would be my suggestion. She has a particularly big role to play in the sixth book.

Developer

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David knott 242 wrote:


Anyway -- It looks like that subforum has been set up.

You're welcome! :-)

Developer

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Someone wasn't paying attention in orientation! The top of page 52 says the other group was exploring Warden House, next to Archhorn Library. But Warden House isn't next to Archhorn Library! Instead, they must have been exploring Verdant House. If only they had a campus map on them!

Developer

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Darth Game Master wrote:
Maybe Strength of Thousands will have some more region specific maps?

A few, yes! The inside front cover of each volume is an overview map relevant to that volume (sometimes a city, sometimes an overland area).

Developer

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This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for the first volume of the Strength of Thousands AP, Kindled Magic by Alexandria Bustion and Eleanor Ferron.

The GM Reference thread for the other volumes are as follows:

Spoken on the Song Wind
Hurricane's Howl
Secrets of the Temple-City
Doorway to the Red Star
Shadows of the Ancients