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Sunderstone wrote:

1) Paizo folks (JJ in particular) stated they are going down a path lighter in tone with second edition.

I don't know what JJ and others mean by "lighter", but personally I like material that is more adult and edgy.

(I'm not calling it mature since to some folks it's immature, and that's fine)

I don't mind culture (books, movies, art, RPGs...) that take risks and might even offend. Much of our great art wouldn't exist if conforming to norms and precedent was the overarching goal.

Since WotC already covers the family-friendlier direction, I lament Paizo's move away from their earlier house style.


Remember it is to a large extent a classic dungeon. That is, monsters take few initiatives, and mostly just wait for the heroes to reach them.

There are exceptions, and I'm not complaining. Just reacting to "If I know Belcorra's intent and motivations and some of the other creatures intents and motivations".

In other words, there isn't much to miss out on. You're pretty much set if you just read rooms as they're uncovered.... and because it is meant as a classic dungeon, and a newbie friendly one at that (few moving parts). It is easy to overthink things if you start thinking too much!

Good luck with your game


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RiverMesa wrote:
This reminds me of the same conversation that was had some time ago surrounding the Quick Sort spell, from Secrets of Magic - that it's 'useless' and "clogs up the item/spell lists and making it harder to get to the useful things".

As I remember it, the only outrage was we got Quick Sort, but not Bubble Sort.


keftiu wrote:
I'm eager to see what advice the Player's Guide has for Ancestries

To be honest I expect the same advice every Player's Guide has given: you can play whatever you want.

(If a Player's Guide would ever tell players they can't play their favorite ancestry-class-background combo, because androids or shoony or druids just don't fit the adventure, I would be shocked to my core.)

Yes, I am sarcastic, but only slightly.

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.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Current word is that there’s no new material.

Just a heads-up.

While Aaron does say "My understanding is that this will be a straight reprint collection of the Adventure Path. There will not be any additional material. It’s the first time Paizo has done this."

...that does not necessarily discuss errata. "Additional material" could be interpreted as... well, new material.

Errata could be seen as new material. Or it could be seen as simply fixing old material :)


Steve Geddes wrote:
Hmmm….that link is supposed to take you to Aaron Shanks August 29th post, but it doesn’t seem to be working. You’ll need to scroll down a little…

It sure is strange - the url is identical to how Paizo's forum references its own posts.

My only explanation is that the page loads comments dynamically. At the time the page is populated with comments, it is "too late", since the html anchor needs to be in place already when the page is loaded.

The exact same url does work once you are on the page. We just can't use it to "hot link" directly to a given comment.


Nyaaarlathotep wrote:
I'm finally coming over to second edition after holding off on it for so long and I heard the Abomination Vaults is the best AP for starting with 2e. However, with the hardcover coming out, I don't know if I should hold off until its release to grab it or just grab the 3 PDFs. Especially since I've heard nothing about if the hardcover has any updates to the campaign.

If you like and want a physical product to hold in your hands, the upcoming hardcover is your only options since the initial three-book print run is sold out.

If you prefer PDFs, there's no reason to wait. Just purchase the PDFs when you want.

It's possible Paizo will be able to fix some errors in time for the hardcover, but I would only expect the most obvious ones in that case, and at any rate I wouldn't count on it.

Since you have found your way to these discussion forums, you already have everything you need to handle the few problematic errors there are.


Nyaaarlathotep wrote:
As a side question, do I just need the Core book and Bestiary 1 for this AP or does it require some other books?

First your side question: this AP is no different than any other in that it assumes players continuoulsy buy all core books as they become available.

So this AP contains references to Bestiary 1 and 2, since those existed at that time.

Of course you don't need the actual Bestiaries for stats since those are available for free at Nethys.


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James Jacobs wrote:

As for those necromantic energies... they follow the rules of magic (and plot) not scientific logic. If the PCs worry that those energies might animate the worm, that's as spooky as anything else. Maybe when they find it, the worm gives a great but ultimately harmless if spooky undead twitch?

Or maybe a purple worm's mind and soul are just not interesting enough to corrupt into undeath for the forces at play?

Of course, a group that likes logic (even if it's frankensteinian logic) could have it come to life.

Just do it slowly.

If it does nothing but twitch the first round, act Slowed 2 the second round and so on, most groups should get the hint and not stick around to get TPKd.

The decision to make the carcass actually dangerous might bereave the party of a certain piece of loot, but that's all.


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 had the Seugathi have four freshly fleshwarped Dreshkan bring up a Shanrigol Heap, in order to beam a new monster to attack Otari. That worked... kind of.

(This was during level 6ish)

But it drove home the point that, given time, the lower depths of the Vaults would rebuild all the damage done by the heroes to the upper reaches, negating their progress (if they just sit on their hands for weeks if not months). And also that many creatures are still influenced by the newly-rewakened Belcorra.


This is by no means a critical question, but still, fun to speculate:

The adventure features a Skulk or two. Notably one that dreams of getting fleshwarped.

So naturally I wonder what kind of creature that results from fleshwarping a Skulk?

The available write-ups only say Skulks are "humanoid". Unlike many other similar humanoids there is no information about the origin of the race. Are skulks degenerated humans? Some kind of hybrid gone wrong? Humanoids infused with... what? A created slave race? (I personally blame the Aboleths, like always!)

This is important because humans become Grothlut when fleshwarped... but other humanoids notably does not. Even something as minor a difference as drow elf vs surface elf yields drastically different results when fleshwarped.

So what does a Skulk change into, and what is a Skulk? :-)


Haydriel wrote:

Question regarding the dead Purple Worm in B35. In several of the adjacent rooms the necromantic energies spilling over out of Gauntlight have reanimated the dead monsters inside (the minotaur and Majordomo, for instance).

It seems unlogical that this huge dead worm (or the skeletal duergar inside it, for that matter) remains dead. Especially since it's actually on top of the 'ley line' of necromantic energy (the ribbon).

What is your question?


*shrug* I just ruled a worm is long and thin, and can easily move through single-wide corridors. It still needs 2x2 squares to fight effectively, though.

For something fat and wide, maybe a giant toad or something, it would make much more sense to apply the squeezing rules.

All in my opinion


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Frogehometh

Psst.. It's froghemoth

Deriven Firelion wrote:
If a player misses the DC 31 Greater Constrict save, they are knocked unconscious.

At least for characters, it's easy to wake them up again - just apply healing - which they likely will appreciate anyway! (Having dropped your weapon can still be inconvenient, however)


Deriven Firelion wrote:
The Frogehometh is super dangerous. Even at lvl 9 with a four person group, it was brutal.

The idea is that super brutal encounters are actually fine if they're only foreshadowed, so more timid groups can avoid them until later, and more clever groups can try to bypass them using something else than the usual deathmatch.

Again, the point is that lots of groups actually **like** how not every encounter is "reasonable".

What I'm saying is, if you and your players want and need a game where the party can expect everything to be eminently defeatable, *you* need to make that happen - it won't be written like that by default.

In other words, there is nothing necessarily wrong with encounters just because you and your players find them unreasonably hard.

You just need to learn your party's capabilities and inclinations. And once you do, it's decision time. Either choose to make sure they never bite off more than they can chew, or teach them sometimes you can and should avoid/run away/trick/talk yourself out of.

Cheers and good luck with your game!


BoscoDM wrote:
Would there be any major repercussions to just discarding the whole hag plotline? The idea of a sandbox adventure through bumblefudge nowhere to uncover the mystery of one dude's outstanding debt fills me with boredom.

To be honest, if you're filled with boredom, there aren't really any major repercussions to just dropping the entire Adventure Path, and instead go play a game you actually enjoy.


Ron Lundeen wrote:

I don't disagree. I'd further say that this book should have chapters 5, 6, and 7, rather than 1, 2, and 3.

Damn you for being agreeable and reasonable!!

Don't you know that forums like these feed on disagreement!?

;-)


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Ron Lundeen wrote:
At which point they'll find...just a vampiric mist chilling up there.

Of course, if they hold off all the way until they're level 8 or 10 or so, you can just confirm their presumptions by having Belcorra be there ;-)


Bardo_RS wrote:

The transparent walls written in Book 2 area C4, C5, C8 and C9 are really walls or more parapet. Is possible to go for C4 low-level to up-level?

I m confuse.

Not exactly sure what you're asking - perhaps it's a language barrier thing?

The transparent walls are really walls, yes. There are also transparent walls on the upper level ("Level 5: the Arena"), though much smaller:

- from B19 out to B10
- from the corridors leading to B20 into the B22/B23 rooms as well as into B25

Yes it should be possible to go from C4 back up to B12 and B13 on the upper level ("Level 5: the Arena").

At least you can go from B12 and B13 down into the water of C4. (And also down from B2 & B4 into C2 & C6). Whether it is actually possible to climb/fly back up again is for you to decide, maybe the trap doors cannot be opened from the underside?


masterslate wrote:

I'm confused about the actions taken by the seugathi researcher in C8.

A seugathi researcher observes the destrachan in the testing grounds and takes notes on a writing slate. Upon noticing the intruders, the seugathi
becomes eager to see how the destrachan performs in combat; they retreat as soon as possible to the east end of the gallery to turn the wall ethereal. Once the wall is no longer solid stone, the destrachan’s echolocation allows it to recognize the heroes’ presence and join in combat as the seugathi directs, together presenting a severe-threat encounter for 6th-level characters.

I'm not sure what wall is turning ethereal and where the researcher is supposed to be moving from and to. Does he start in the area by the table with the stairs to B21? Does he start by where C8 is labeled on the map?

The transparent wall separating C8 from C9. Yes, the entire thing - C8 runs all the way from the area close to C5 all the way down to the door into C23.

Yes, I interpreted it as the researcher starting by that table.

It runs all the way up and then east to reach the east wall just south of the secret door leading into C3 (right next to C5). That wall is described in the text (though not on the map) as having the control glyphs for the transparent wall.


Biztak wrote:
Hello I've been a pathfinder player for almost ten years and I've been a subscriber for all of second edition, and well, my bookshelf is running out of space. Am I the only one interested in a digital only subscription? with the option to opt in for physical books in a case by case.
keftiu wrote:
Paizo has repeatedly said this won’t happen, both in order to support brick-and-mortar stores and preserve their main source of profits.

You could always just throw the dead-tree books away as you receive them.


Astrael wrote:
Why has the above question never been answered when this is a very popular repeatable scenario for beginning players? Please, someone, anyone at all, answer this.

I'm guessing the lower DC is for subtier 1-2 characters and the higher DC is for subtier 3-4 characters


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I'm wondering if my party can handle that even with the weak template. That creature looks nasty.

Sure, but "utterly ridiculous" is not what a L+4 fight is.

If your party is weaker than average, you go right ahead and play up the foreshadowing. Maybe the party will avoid it until they're 9th level.

Of general note:

While a L+4 fight can be utterly crushing at low level, 8th level heroes aren't really low level anymore. A L+4 fight at mid level is IMHO totally fine.

There is a noticeable shift in the power balance heroes vs monsters from low to high level in Pathfinder 2 (something the encounter guidelines unfortunately pretends does not exist): At high level (15th and above) the heroes will eat a single L+4 for lunch.


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vagrant-poet wrote:

Belcorra is not a brilliant tactician, she's a ghost who hangs out in a ghost eating temple to enact a mad plan of hopelessly cruel misdirected revenge. She wants to bully and run off the heroes, and only cares more about them if they get a lens.

It also clearly involves ghost/horror stories into the adventure which gives it thematic variety.

I'm quite allergic to the "I'm only toying with you, letting you power up until you're strong enough to defeat me" trope.

So I won't have it.

Belcorra will not voluntarily retreat. If the players do retreat, she will visibly struggle and be unable to pursue them. If they don't, and I think they deserve mercy, I'll have an unknown force yank her away after, say the second round. (I don't have to explain this force any more than the adventure explains why the lighthouse doesn't work)

And, of course, if the players bloodthirstily assault her, I'll mercilessly do my best to TPK them.

After all, she's not exactly strong for a level 12 creature. She's a spellcaster in a game where teeth and swords rule. Apart from the odd high level spell she is eminently defeatable.

I fully know that the first encounter is her only real shot at routing the player characters. Later on, she might just be two or three levels higher. Alone, she won't stand a chance. At that time, it's time to break the instructions and have her attack when the heroes are down, for there to be any uncertainty about the outcome.


The "Bathe in Blood" ritual (page 148) should not have been a high-level ritual. That is all.

Spoiler:
Countess Bathory doesn't strike me as a level 15 character (the ritual is spell level 8).

Nothing about "get +20 years lifespan" is unbalanced at any level. While I can understand making the ritual unavailable to the lowest levels, there is nothing about the ritual that would have been unbalanced at even level 1.

Rejuvenating a low level target should be a low-level ritual, and rejuvenating a high level target a high-level ritual.


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I don't think giving orbs away should be an option. (Or rather you *can* give them away, but the Xulgaths are bound to be looted very soon indeed)

After all, the entire future of Absalom is at stake. Sure the heroes are "first responders", but I imagine if they fail (or voluntarily choose not to "follow the script") other high-level individuals and groups will forcibly take the orbs to place them where they are needed to ensure the food supply for the world's greatest metropolis.

Note the text saying "in lieu of the aeon orbs".

Cheers


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Ed Reppert wrote:
IOW, you don't like it. :-)

*shrug*

If you dismiss every concern like that I don't think there's anything left to discuss

Have a nice day


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keftiu wrote:

There’s a common-enough pattern of Adventure Paths taking a pretty wild turn in their penultimate book: Reign of Winter’s beloved trip to WW1 Earth is probably the most known, while Tyrant’s Grasp’s trip to Arcadia is very dear to my heart. The upcoming fifth volume of Strength of Thousands has me out-of-my-mind excited.

So I wanted to put it out there: please, never stop doing this! My favorite parts of Pathfinder are almost always those that push beyond the norms of traditional Western high fantasy. Keep Pathfinder weird!

If you're saying "keep at least 1/6 of every AP weird" I agree completely.

It's only if you specifically need the weirdness to happen in book 5 I think that would become too predictable.... and predictability != weirdness

Cheers :)


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SuperBidi wrote:
As a side note, maybe I like the Alchemist because it's a class full of dead abilities and crappy options. Building an Alchemist feels a bit like going to an antique shop.

The idea to play the class as a way of playing the game on a harder difficulty setting certainly has merit: "We succeeded, despite Bob playing an Alchemist! Awesome!"

And of course, in more laid-back games where combat challenge is less of a thing, there is obviously no argument against playing one.

It's not like it makes it harder to roleplay an interesting character. It's just subpar in terms of combat effectiveness.


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breithauptclan wrote:
But people who didn't like the Alchemist to begin with still don't like the Alchemist now. Go figure.

Instead of a snarky "go figure" as if these people's complaints were without merit, a more constructive approach would be:

But people who didn't like the Alchemist to begin with still don't like the Alchemist now. The class will probably never be able to compete; Paizo's goal is just to bring it up to minimal effectiveness.

I second those recommending new players to play something else first, and save their idea to play an Alchemist until they better know what they're getting into.

Cheers


Not sure what's the difficulty here.

Any time you're featuring a level+4 monster or above, use it alone.

Simple.

(And there's absolutely nothing wrong with going above the Extreme budget, especially as you seem to already know to avoid precisely that while still at low levels.

tl;dr: your level 15+ heroes will be just fine)


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Ed Reppert wrote:
IME, "unplayable" usually maps to "I don't like it". :-)

In this case, however, "unplayable" is shorthand for:

If the portals stay open for any longish amount of time, with no way of shutting them on-demand, then you simply stop using them.

Why?

Because delving into higher-leveled territory is incredibly dangerous as it is. Not being able to escape a pursuing monster that follows you through the portal is a complete deal-breaker.

If you can use the portals for semi-safe scouting, there is a point to opening up them to two-way traffic (i.e. dropping the RAW limitation that you need to have visited the destination before using the portal).

If you cannot, that is what I somewhat quickly would characterize as "unplayable".

Cheers


Saint Kargoth wrote:

So I looked at the GMG about building NPCs and would like to use the monster creation one instead of manually building them like a PC. However, when looking at the class road maps, some of the suggested ability modifiers indicate High and the High charts are way above what a PC could ever achieve. How do you usually handle building your class like NPCs using the monster creation rules?

Thanks in advance.

I give NPCs the suggested ability modifiers, including when they indicate High and the High charts are way above what a PC could ever achieve.


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Cordell Kintner wrote:
Could everyone please wait until books officially release before asking questions?

Ehm - no?


Seventh Seal wrote:

Here's more general information on the word targe

Hope it helps.

Thanks.

Just to flag you're using a Chrome-specific feature to highlight text. It does not work anywhere else.


FWIW, I think the image is very cool and evocative, and that you made the right decision to keep it!

(Making up unique stats for it would of course have been ideal, but having a canon entry for "regular people-looking shadows" being a legit variant shadow is a cool outcome of the incident. It opens up the door for a future Shadow player character race ;-)


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CorvusMask wrote:

its very much clearly meant to be like Malfeshnekor in Rise of the Runelord: Optional boss you return later when you are tougher.

Either way I want to reiterate: It is clearly meant to be boss you can't beat right now and need to backtrack later on

The problem with this theory is **the player's (and their characters) don't know this, and have no way of knowing this**

Don't rationalize dungeon design by meta information you just take for granted everyone has.


David Sims 464 wrote:
How much knowledge of Nhimbaloth has everyone else given Otari?

I can say I handed out the section on will o the wisp information and justified it by the heroes finding books on the subject in the library.


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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)


NECR0G1ANT wrote:
OP, is this your criticism of just 2E AP, or did 1E APs also have this problem?

While I played d20 extensively, very little of that was from any Pathfinder-specific perspective.

So if(?) what you're really saying I should not be surprised since this is just how 1E APs worked too, then fair enough.


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keftiu wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I reckon that the place to go for more experimental adventures are the Standalone Adventure products, not the company-flagship Adventure Paths.

Strength of Thousands has an incredibly specific pitch, gives characters a specific free archetype to help support the fact that it really wants you to be arcane or primal, features years of in-setting time, and goes to space. You’re sure the AP line isn’t experimental?

It’s been less than three years. They’re starting to get weirder.

Sounds promising.

Perhaps I am not the only one having made the observation above that they are essentially producing extremely standardized adventures with a wafer-thin layer of specificity?


Without checking I would assume this as a good thing.

Just about the only thing that can change file sizes to that extent is... bigger graphics. Assuming no mistake was made, that suggests a higher resolution; more crisp graphics.

And it isn't that a few hundred megs is an issue for a modern computer, so...


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Is it just me or are 2E APs missing something?

Extinction Curse: You're working at a circus... except every character class is welcome and you can have exactly the standard kind of adventures where you do exactly the same thing as in other adventures!

Agents of Edgewatch: You're working as members of the city watch... except every character class is welcome and you can have exactly the standard kind of adventures where you do exactly the same thing as in other adventures!

Fists of the Ruby Phoenix: You have signed up for a martial arts tournament... except every character class is welcome and you can have exactly the standard kind of adventures where you do exactly the same thing as in other adventures!

See any similarities...?

Do people really fall for this advertising, where different APs are made out to be... different when in reality they are very much alike.

If every AP were advertised as a semi-railroaded collection of dungeons where every bog-standard hero (from druid to monk, from wizard to barbarian) battles monsters to be neatly awarded one level per dungeon, it would be much closer to the truth.

Do people really like these (very) thinly skinned takes on the same thing over and over? Why do people need to pretend these dungeon collections are more than they are?

For instance, a martial arts tournament that *actually is a martial arts tournament* where a) you are a martial artist that b) participate in a tournament (akak you can win AND lose). Or a circus adventure where it actually matters that you are a circus performer? Or a law enforcement campaign where you actually act like a law enforcement officer and have law enforcey scenarios?

Sorry not sorry for asking.


Thanks.


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Basically: all your answers should be what results in the most fun.

I was inspired by it (it's one of the extra monsters in Extinction Curse) to place essentially a playful gnome girl (in grafitti form) in a church tower in the adventure.

A combat encounter that hopefully leads to a social encounter. Which it did - they recruited "her" to their circus :)

About my initial answer: this monster is so outside of the baseline you are much better off NOT going down the rabbit hole of trying to establish clear boundaries.

SO I was dead serious when I gave the above answer. There really is no alternative.

If you can't use monsters fast and loose I HIGHLY recommend you drop it and use something else. It's just not worth it to try to pin down exact limits to this monster, trust me.


Deriven Firelion wrote:


The teleportation portals are something that you can completely ignore and have no effect on the adventure.

This thread isn't about stating that fact.

It is about changing it.


Ed Reppert wrote:

One question came to mind last night that I haven't had time to research:

** spoiler omitted **

I had to give an answer off the cuff not immediately remembering if there's an official answer.

So I said "yes" since I hope to tempt the heroes into at least thinking about using one.

Saying no would have meant you're asked to jump in blind, and that would only have increased the players' hesitation.


Unicore wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I think they are very intentionally a fun side quest/narrative adventure element for parties that want to dig deeper into the story elements of the abomination vaults. If they were mandatory to use, or even highly advantageous to use, you would need to make sure that at least one player, but probably two are building to be good at rituals.

Zapp is asking how to make them more useful and integral.

I know they are some tacked on side element that you don't even need to think about. But Zapp wants to make them matter. If you want to make something matter, you tie it to encounters that the players have to engage with.

The portals themselves are not a tacked on element to the adventure. They exist because the dungeon itself needed them when it was built and it showcases that the PCs are adventuring in home/former home of a powerful caster. Saying they don’t matter is like saying the altar to empty death doesn’t matter, or the equipment of Volluk doesn’t matter either. The party can learn quite a bit about Belcorra and the dungeon as a whole just from learning about the portals.

If you want your players to have a reason for activating the portals, I think a better approach is to tie a character reward/rare or uncommon character option/treasure to activating them than letting them be activated from one side only. Having players trap themselves in levels of the dungeon way out of their league is going to feel like GM cruelty, not a fun plot element.

You still take how they work for granted.

I am asking: how should they work for the players to be tempted to actively use them?

The first thing is then obviously: you CAN use them without having to find the other side first, because as long as that requirement remains, they're functionally useless as anything else than background story and decoration.

Next, there needs to be playable limits that makes players think they can use them to scout - and retreat - safely. How would that work?

There must be an explanation why dungeon denizens aren't using them regularly.

And so on.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I think they are very intentionally a fun side quest/narrative adventure element for parties that want to dig deeper into the story elements of the abomination vaults. If they were mandatory to use, or even highly advantageous to use, you would need to make sure that at least one player, but probably two are building to be good at rituals.

Zapp is asking how to make them more useful and integral.

I know they are some tacked on side element that you don't even need to think about. But Zapp wants to make them matter. If you want to make something matter, you tie it to encounters that the players have to engage with.

I'm basically only asking:

How would a portal work that would be playable, given the adventure as written?

Playable = not something the players need to leave well alone or be TPKd

See random thoughts in the original post back at page 1.


Unicore wrote:
Zap started this post asking “what if?” The portals could be opened from only one side. I was responding to why that idea would take a lot of work not to lead to disaster for the party.

I started this thread to help doing that lot of work.

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