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Does anyone know if Paizo ever published a list of the common currency units in Sasserine and the surrounding region?


Spoiler Alert!

Seriously. Spoilers for Drakthar's Way follow.

If you don't want to know secrets I suggest you leave now.

Or you could stay and have all the secrets spoiled.

But that wouldn't be very sporting now would it.

Now be a good little player and run along (unless you are a DM or a player who has no intention of playing Drakthar's Way or simply doesn't care).

I am a little more than halfway through converting Drakthar's Way to Alpha 3 and I wanted to make some notes. My group is using the complete Alpha 3 rules. The only house rules we have affect combat, not statistics. With that in mind, I have noticed a few things about converting a dozen or so monsters that I would like to share. Some are surprising, others less so.

To begin with, the task of converting is a bit more difficult that I had envisioned. Because of my desire to try to stick to the letter of the rules as much as possible without violating the spirit, I have run into a number of conundrums, particularly with skills. First of all, there are a fair number of low intelligence monsters whose only skills previously were Listen and Spot and they split their limited skill points between the two. Now that the two are combined, I am left with two options: a) try to keep the new Perception modifier similar to the previous Listen/Spot modifier and find new uses for the skill points or b) simply combine those ranks into Perception, resulting in a higher modifier.

Additionally, it should be noted that MANY monsters have the Alertness feat, but after conversion have little use for the bonus to Appraise (as many of the monsters I am converting carry no treasure). For creatures like goblins, who value treasure, it is reasonable enough to leave the feat alone, but for animals, it is hard to justify (true story: my dog clearly failed his Appraise check to determine the difference in value between my cell phone and a chew toy). In some cases, I have been swapping the feat with Skill Focus (Perception) and trying to reduce the Perception bonus back to its 3.5 range by putting points into something else. This is easy for monsters with flight as I have simply been able to put any extra skill points into Fly. But not all monsters fly. I am hoping they will do away with the Fly skill anyway, so my optimism in this regards paves the way for fear that this will be but a temporary fix. In other cases, I am swapping Alertness for Weapon Focus, Toughness, or something similar that almost any monster can benefit from.

Next, for most monsters with class levels, I have been left with a preponderance of extra skill points. In the cases of rogues, I usually look to place the extra skill points into classic rogue skills like Stealth, Climb, Use Magic Device, etc., but the choice is not as easy for classes like the ranger.

I have also noticed quite a few creatures get more hit points. All humans do because of the Favored Class rule. And since many NPCs are written with iconic roles in mind (i.e. dwarf fighters, goblin rogues) a fair number of demi-human and humanoid NPCs are gaining bonus hit points as well. Not to mention where I figure Toughness is warranted as a replacement for Alertness.

In all, it seems the power curve is being boosted all around. My biggest concern is the rising bonuses in Perception making it harder for the PCs to sneak around. I have already heard enough complaints about the "fact" that "every monster in the MM has Listen and Spot as class skills." This was mitigated in 3.5 by the fact that monsters with low Intelligence scores could only max one or the other, but were usually written as having their points split between the two. Now it is a different game. I am left with the decision of whether to keep them split by putting points in a brand new skill (and potentially creating a new role for the monster) or making the monster more perceptive than before.

More to come as I continue working. This will be something of a blog-post for the time being. Thoughts are welcome.


One of the things that always seems to vary in the groups where I play is how obvious things like conditions and amount of damage taken are. Now I normally inform my players when a monster appears to be resisting energy damage, or if an unconscious character is still alive or not, however I have seen it done differently, and have even done it differently myself in the past. For example, I used to abstain from differentiating between and unconscious or dead character. I made my players of fallen characters remain mum about their condition forcing other players to guess at their condition. I also played with a group that required a DC 15 Heal check to see if someone was still alive (a pointless rule IMHO, as such a check could simply accomplish stabilizing the character). I, for one, would like these things spelled out for Pathfinder, if for nothing else than the sake of uniformity. Then groups using differing interpretations would simply need to use house rules. I believe it would prevent a lot of variance at games since these kinds of things are clearly open to DM interpretation.

1) We need a rule regarding whether a character who can clearly see a fallen character can determine if that character is alive or merely unconscious. Perhaps a DC 10 Perception check as a move action with modifiers to the DC if the character is obscured by cover, concealment or the like.

2) There should also be a rule regarding whether a character striking a creature with damage reduction recognizes that his weapon is dealing less damage than it should. Similarly, we need a rule for energy resistance. A DC 10 Perception check as a free action each time damage is dealt might be a sufficient way to deal with this, though the Perception check should probably be made in secret so as not to tip off the player.

3) Rules regarding other conditions would be helpful as well, such as determining whether a character is paralyzed as opposed to stunned, dazed, or held (as the hold person spell). Again, I think a DC 10 Perception check as a move action would be a good way for this to work.


With a DC 15 check, you can increase your base speed by 5 feet for one round. You may normally only attempt this check once per minute, however, if you beat the DC by 5 or more, you may attempt to continue the sprint by making another check next round.

For each full 5 points by which you beat the DC, you may increase your speed by an additional 5 feet.

What do you think? It couldn't hurt to have another Strength-based skill and this one seems like it would be a good way to nix the need for the Run feat. Let's be honest, no one ever took the Run feat anyway, but I could see PCs investing a few skill points in Sprint from time to time. Barbarian, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, and ranger would receive it as a class skill. Rogues might be worthy as well.


While I am opposed to the Fly skill in general, I believe if it is going to remain it should belong with the Acrobatic feat while Climb should belong with the Athletic feat. That is pretty much it. The reasons are fairly self-explanatory. The two Dex-based skills would fall under one feat and the two Str-based skills would fall under one feat.


Dead levels have been effectively worked out of every class but the cleric and the sorcerer. Now by popular opinion the cleric class is generally considered the most powerful class in the game so a few dead levels probably isn't too much of a concern there. However, the sorcerer class has three levels (5th, 11th, and 17th) where it doesn't even grant access to a new spell level. Could this be rectified somehow? I believe the simplest way would be to simply grant them a bonus metamagic feat at these levels. A more complicated way would be to include minor bloodline abilities at these levels.

I just can't help by wonder why they fixed the dead levels of every class but these two. The cleric admittedly doesn't need much help, but the sorcerer kind of gimps around as the red-headed step-brother of the wizard.


A lot of the Pathfinder changes did not surprise me, at least in the sense that I had heard of them before. But the Fly skill caught me completely off-guard. I have spent a lot of time over the years on various discussion boards discussing house rules. Not only have I failed to see even a vocal minority clamoring for a rule like this, I never even heard of it at all before Pathfinder.

Seriously, is this skill necessary? The rules were flying were not that difficult to follow before. I think it adds add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the game to have this as a skill. Does anyone disagree with me?


Due to the revamping of the bard class, I expect almost every bard to be trained in at least two types of Perform skill to maximize the potential of the class. Therefore, I recommend that there be at least two entries for Perform, just so players don't have to write it in at the bottom.

As an aside, it would be nice if there were a couple of extra blank lines at the bottom of the skill list for house skills (Endurance is a popular one) or those players who decide they want eight different professions.


This ability is pathetic. Let me list the problems.

1) Despite being a 1st level domain power, it is useless at 1st level since it grants a bonus of 1/2 caster level.
2) It is a standard action. For such a paltry benefit, a cleric will almost always have something better to do in combat.
3) It is an enhancement bonus, so it doesn't stack with magic weapons. A fighter with a +3 sword would only get +2 to damage if a 10th level cleric granted him this "boon."
4) It only applies to one attack. What this basically means is that at low levels it is not worth the time because a standard action is equal to an attack which is a valuable commodity at low levels. At high levels it is still not worth the time because it precludes iterative attacks which probably have a better chance of increasing damage potential.

My suspicion is that this ability was gimped with the desire to err on the side of caution. Understandable. However, I can't see this ability ever getting substantial use. Meanwhile a cleric with the Travel domain gets to telehop around the battlefield. Even the healing domain power will at least get used.

How to Fix
Make the damage bonus equal to the cleric level, make it an untyped bonus, and let it apply to any weapon. No character can benefit more than once per day anyway. It's better than making everyone carry a dagger just because that is your deity's favored weapon.


I'm currently running the Shackled City AP for my group and we are using the Pathfinder alpha rules, as well as planning to adopt beta and final rules when they are released. As I am making conversions for all of the creatures and NPCs that appear in the adventure to put them on par with the PCs, do I have permission to post my conversions so that others may use them as well?


So now the fighter gets an ability called Bravery giving him bonuses to save vs. fear. The barbarian already gets bonuses to Will saves while raging and the paladin has aura of courage. Every other class but the ranger and rogue have good will saves. To top it all off once a party reaches 11th level, it is my experience that the cleric writes down "heroes' feast" on his spell sheet in permanent ink.

I don't have too many ideas on how at the moment, but is there any chance Pathfinder could help rectify the fact that fear effects are becoming nigh worthless? Personally, I don't think Bravery is needed. The fighter makeover was already far and above what I think was needed to make the fighter an attractive long-term option.


First of all, I am a bit confused about how the first part of the ability even works. The bard picks one Knowledge skill and essentially has max ranks in that skill at all times; I get that. But the part about him getting an extra skill point confuses me. Is that an extra skill point for another Knowledge skill? Is it an extra skill point for any skill?

Second of all, I don't think you even need the first part. The second part, granting a bard +1/2 his level on all Knowledge skills and letting him make Knowledge checks untrained is a perfect way to deal with Bardic Knowledge. You don't need a separate mechanic and the bard essentially knows a little about everything, which is what I think the ability is supposed to represent anyway. The first portion is just overkill IMHO.


Do these abilities really need a 24 hour wait period to reset? I don't believe they do. Even the 1-hour reset time after the quarry is killed seems to strain credulity. What is the rationale behind this reset time other than arbitrary "game balance"? (I use the term in quotes because I don't think there is any game balance issue with removing the reset time.)

On another note, if the ranger kills his quarry he can declare another one in 1 hour, but what if he captures his quarry? I should think capturing should at least allow him the same rate of recovery.


Not one bit. Specifically the fact that spellcasters no longer lose a spell slot. I realize this was probably done to avoid clashing with the new raise dead rules (don't like them either), but spellcasters hardly suffer as much as less magic-dependent classes if things remain this way.

This is a simple plea. Nix the change to negative levels. They were simple and easy enough to handle in 3.5. They don't need to be "fixed." (Neither does raise dead and resurrection for that matter.)


The change for magical staves, namely giving them a recharge option, is great. But I noticed one issue that ought to be addressed because it will start causing head-scratching at higher-levels of play. The sentence on page 106 of the alpha 2 document "Imbuing a staff with this power restores
one charge to the staff, but the caster must forgo one prepared spell or spell slot of the highest level he can cast." should be reworded to read "Imbuing a staff with this power restores one charge to the staff, but the caster must forgo one prepared spell or spell slot of the highest level he can cast or the highest-level spell contained within the staff, whichever is lower."

It just doesn't seem right to me that a 17th-level wizard who, for one reason or another likes having his staff of fire around, should be forced to forgo a 9th-level spell slot today to recharge a fireball he cast yesterday.


To make this ability more useful, I recommend stating, "Sprouting the wings is a free action that can be done at any point during your turn. Once you have sprouted the wings, they remain until the beginning of your next turn unless you choose to continue using them, up to the maximum number of rounds you are allowed per day."

As is, it is a supernatural ability, which means by default it takes a standard action to grow the wings.


Make the minimum bonus to hit +4 (or higher if the paladin's Charisma bonus is higher). The paladin really needs something to make it more palatable at 1st level and many paladins have a lower than 18 Charisma at 1st level.

For that matter, it might also be good to make Lay on Hands a minimum of 2 hp per level, so that they are at least as good with it as an AD&D paladin. Divine Grace is probably enough incentive to have a high Charisma as it is.


Since we aren't going to get an official document listing the changes made in this release, I decided to start a thread for the posting of changes. When possible, please provide a page number to reference the change. If the section is not lengthy, please provide both the previous wording and the current wording.

This thread is intended as a reference for comparison purposes. It can be used as a reference for other discussions, but in discussing the actual changes, please post in another thread.


Where can I find a list of changes made? The new stuff is obvious, but do I have to read the entire cleric description again to see if anything changed in the cleric class? Hopefully not.


There is a fundamental problem with the barbarian class. There is no compelling reason a fighter should go without at least one level in the class. The ability to have +4 to Str and Con once per day is a phenomenal benefit for the fighter (not to mention the d12 HD and extra skills), and since the bonus hit points from Con are based on character level and not class level, a fighter with one level of barbarian gains the same benefit from a rage that a barbarian does until reaching 11th level. I could go on, but I'm not here to argue for the reasons why it makes the utmost sense for all fighters to do this (except the lawful ones I guess). I am here to argue that rage should be something that is heavily dependent upon one's barbarian level to keep the flavor of raging within the barbarian class.

Suggestion 1: Instead of a +4 to Con, rage grants 2 bonus hit points per barbarian level and a +2 morale bonus to Fortitude saves. Almost mechanically identical, but keeps a ftr19/bbn1 from gaining 40 hp from the rage or worse, the ancient red dragon/bbn1, who gains 70 hp.

Suggestion 2: Limit the number of rage points that can be spent on a rage power by barbarian level. Barbarian level + 2 seems like a good limit.

Suggestion 3: Greater Rage and Mighty Rage do not need to cost more rage points. I am willing to concede that playtesting might suggest otherwise though so I am more pliable on this one.

Anyway, as written, the barbarian is still too tempting of a cherry pick for most fighting classes, especially the fighter. I really hope they address it before the final release because in my humble opinion that was the only thing that was ever wrong with the barbarian to begin with.


If there is one thing I don't need to make my life as the DM more complicated it is a complicated XP system like Pathfinder's. 3e was already too complicated by requiring a chart. 3.5 made it more complicated by making different levels of characters get different amounts of XP. Now Pathfinder adds cross-reference charts and formulae. Sorry, but I'm not interested in that. Jason's attachment to the old Living Greyhawk ways of doing things is all-too-evident here. He needs to cut the umbilical cord.

I do like Pathfinder, but this is one portion of the rules I will not use. Simplify it, and I will consider it. I much prefer Erik Mona's ultra-simple XP system.


We're most of the way through this adventure and I have to say the loot has been pretty slim for 18th level characters. Compared to Dragotha's hoard in the next adventure this is a paltry offering indeed. Then again his CR is equal to Brazzemal's +4. Am I missing something?


Maybe my ability to think three-dimensionally is not working too well, but I cannot understand how the Crawler Cage in Kings of the Rift is positioned in the room. I am having problems specifically with understanding how Charlgar would be able to hurl characters over his shoulder into the room with Awesome Blow. In the first place, Awesome Blow does not work like that; the creature cannot move closer, so this prevent Charlgar from performing the illustrated attack below:

C = Charlgar
P = PC
D = Door to crawler cage
- = Wall
0 = empty space

Before
- - - -
0000|
00CC|
00CCD
00P0D
- - - -

After
- - - -
0000|
00CC|
00CCD
0000P
- - - -

I believe this is the writer is trying to describe, but it doesn't work. The opponent must be 10 feet farther away from the creature using Awesome Blow after the attack. Even if it was allowed however, it seems like it would take several shots with Awesome Blow to get the PC back into the cage, and by then Charlgar would probably be toast.

The issue with Awesome Blow does not affect my main concern though, which is how the cage is positioned. It seems to me like the cage is flush with the floor of Area 5 and rises up thirty feet from there. But if that is the case, then Charlgar would simply be throwing PCs against the bars of the cage since one wall of the cage bars would be blocking the door. The two openings in the cage are on the top and the bottom, so Charlgar clearly can't throw them through one of those without violating a number of laws of physics. The way I envision the cage from a side view (assuming each space is 5 feet) is as follows:

- = Walls
D = Doors
C = Cage walls
* = Cage suspension
t = Cage top window
b = Cage bottom

Area 7
|
v
- -|0*00*0 A
00|0*00*0 r
00DCt t t tC e
00DC0000C a
- - -C0000C 6
00|C0000C
00DC0000C
00DCbbbbC
- - -
^
|
Area 5

Remember this is a side view, not a top-down view.

Anyway, I just don't see how Charlgar could toss the PCs into the cage, even if I could wrap my head around getting Awesome Blow to allow him to toss PCs over his shoulders. Anyone else had hangups with this?


There were a few changes I wanted to make to my list of house rules and I did not feel entirely justified just foisting them on my players now that they are 17th level. So after drinking from the Fountain of Dreams and enacting the battle with the swords of Kyuss and boneyard, I informed them that subtle differences had taken place throughout the world, some things would now work a little differently, and they would be allowed to rebuild their characters (as per PH2 guidelines). Only two of them really took full advantage of it as the other two were pretty happy with their characters as is. I felt it was appropriate considering the nature of the Fountain, plus, I wanted to give them a chance to optimize their builds a bit since they had been having difficulty with some of the challenges. Brazzemal, Dragotha, and Kyuss are going to give them a run for their money to be sure. I'm not really certain they are ready to take on Brazzemal. I imagine he is going to eat their lunch, but we'll see. They continue to surprise me.

Anyway, I just thought I would share that with those of you who are running the AoW. After 17 levels, players sometimes wish they had done things a little bit differently, and a rebuild (within reason of course) seems a good way to let the players swap out things that weren't working out so well.


We are about to embark upon the third adventure and my character has spent a goodly portion of his funds investing in trustworthy, loyal, skilled hirelings to help the party out with mundane tasks like carrying loot, keeping prisoners from escaping, and making Heal checks for fallen comrades. The DM has agreed to allow them to gain 1 level for each 2 levels we gain (although hirelings must gain levels in an NPC class) as long as we reward them with better pay for each level gained, which I found perfectly reasonable. Thus far, I have employed eight hirelings consisting of the following:

-a lackey to serve as torchbearer, make Heal checks on fallen allies, and track, as well as various other assorted tasks
-two porters to carry our provisions and loot and to drive the mule cart
-four mercenaries and a mercenary captain to protect our base camp and the Sea Wyvern, guard our prisoners, and protect the other hirelings

Each hireling receives double the recommended pay from the DMG so as to ensure their loyalty. Additionally, I divide 1% of all cash earnings from my share of the treasure among them as a bonus (which practically doubles their pay again). So far, they have served us exceptionally well and I think it has been well worth the cost of equipping them and paying their wages, even though it has cost my character more than a thousand gold pieces.

Has anyone else been using hirelings in Savage Tide? What are your experiences with them? I for one am happy that I am for once taking advantage of an option that seems to be often overlooked in campaigns these days.


I'm playing through the STAP right now and I have to say that Lavinia is one of the most annoying characters I have ever met. It isn't really Lavinia herself (although her responsibility for the circumstances may be revealed at a later date), but rather the fact that it seems like everytime we turn around the tart is getting kidnapped or killed or whatever. And we are supposed to be working for her? Yeesh. My elf mage doesn't have a lot of patience for this kind of thing. We've already had to raise Lavinia from the dead once. If we have to do it again, he's gonna say screw it.

No spoilers please, since I'm a player.


Has anyone tried running the Age of Worms as a PBP? I am finishing my RL AoW campaign and have started a PBP one on Enworld. I'm just curious what your experiences were and whether you can relate any advice.


When they encountered Krathanos at our last session they almost wet their pants and spent the rest of the session kissing up to him to try to get him to give them the belt. Rather than slug it out, they eventually managed to take him to the Outlands where he gave them the belt. I figured after being a prisoner for hundreds of years, despite being CE, he would at least have had the decency not to look a gift-horse in the mouth. Besides, why waste time killing the PCs when there is the entire Outlands to conquer! He trotted off to go build an empire, happy as could be.

I was bit disappointed that they shied away from conflict though. It would have been fun, especially since he can deal massive damage quite easily.


I REALLY like the idea of the item packs. But I REALLY HATE the idea that they are randomized. I can appreciate randomization for something like miniatures simply because it makes them cheaper. But with item packs, I would much rather purchase a set of cards and pay a little more than get potential repeats of a whole bunch of cards I don't like.

I see they are coming out with Adventuring Gear soon. Non-randomized. Good to hear it. But in the meantime, I was planning to buy a display case of the first set for use in my campaign. Any thoughts on buying strategies from those who already have them? I want to have a wide variety of cards available for my players so that I can represent just about any item in the core rules that I need to. What would be the best way to go about this? How many packs would I need to buy to have a good chance of completing a set? Thanks.


It is not entirely up to date as we just started the Gathering of Winds, but I had forgotten I had such a nicely detailed journal. Enjoy, Age of Worms fans!

http://www.protocon.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=68


(I posted this over on EnWorld and got little response, but I am interested in feedback, so please comment.)

This is part 1 of my New Skill System. I want to bounce these ideas off others to get some feedback. This system was inspired partially by Spoony Bard on EnWorld. The purpose of the system is to simplify skills by combining similar skills with each other. Here are the basics.

The new skill rules contain 20 skills in all. Some have not changed or have not changed much. Others have been folded into another skill or combined with other skills to create a new skill. Still other skills have been split and some of their abilities moved to other skills. The names of the old skills (and the key ability for those skills) along with the new skill they have been converted to are shown below:

Appraise (Int) => Lore (Int)
Balance (Dex) => Acrobatics (Dex)
Bluff (Cha) => Chicanery (Int)
Climb (Str) => Athletics (Str)
Concentration (Con) => Concentration (Con)
Craft (alchemy) (Int) => Alchemy (Int)
Craft (all skills, taken individually) (Int) => Profession (Wis)
Decipher Script (Int) => Lore (Int)
Diplomacy (Cha) => Influence (Cha)
Disable Device (Int) => Disable Device (Dex)
Disguise (Cha) => Chicanery (Int)
Escape Artist (Dex) => Acrobatics (Dex)
Forgery (Int) => Chicanery (Int)
Gather Information (Cha) => Influence (Cha)
Handle Animal (Cha) => Handle Animal (Cha)
Heal (Wis) => Heal (Wis)
Hide (Dex) => Stealth (Dex)
Intimidate (Cha) => Influence (Cha)
Jump (Str) => Athletics (Str)
Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int) => Lore (Int)
Listen (Wis) => Alertness (Wis)
Move Silently (Dex) => Stealth (Dex)
Open Lock (Dex) => Disable Device (Dex)
Perform (all skills taken individually) (Cha) => Perform (Cha)
Profession (all skills taken individually) (Wis) => Profession (Wis)
Ride (Dex) => Handle Animal (Cha)
Search (Int) => Alertness (Wis)
Sleight of Hand (Dex) => Sleight of Hand (Dex)
Sense Motive (Wis) => Sense Motive (Wis)
Speak Language (none) => Speak Language (none)
Spellcraft (Int) => Alchemy (Int) and Spellcraft (Int)
Spot (Wis) => Alertness (Wis)
Survival (Wis) => Survival (Wis)
Swim (Str) => Athletics (Str)
Tumble (Dex) => Acrobatics (Dex)
Use Magic Device (Cha) = Use Magic Device (Cha)
Use Rope (Dex) = Acrobatics (Dex) and Athletics (Str)

Characters no longer put ranks into skills. There are three levels of skill training: non-proficiency, proficiency, and mastery. Characters who have non-proficiency in a skill can make a check using the skill but they use only their key ability modifier and any circumstance bonuses or penalties. Characters who have proficiency in a skill gain a bonus on skill checks equal to 1 + 1/2 character level (rounded up). Sometimes proficiency in a skill also grants additional uses of that skill. Characters who have mastery in a skill gain a bonus on skill checks equal to 3 + character level. Sometimes mastery in a skill also grants additional uses of that skill.

All characters have non-proficiency in a skill by default. However, a character can acquire proficiency or mastery in a skill by spending skill points. Classes no longer receive skill points at every level. Instead they gain a set number of skill points at first level (plus a bonus number of skill points equal to their Int modifier) and at certain levels thereafter they gain additional skill points. One skill point earns a character proficiency with a skill. Two skill points earns a character mastery with a skill. Any character, even a 1st level character, can have proficiency or mastery in a skill as long as the skill is part of that character's class skill list. A character may gain proficiency in a skill that does not show up on his class list, however such a character must spend two skill points and can not gain mastery in that skill.

Each class gains a number of skill points at 1st level equal to the number of skill points that character normally would receive at each level (e.g. 4 for a barbarian, 6 for a bard, etc.). Characters that gain 2 skill points at 1st level gain an additional skill point at levels 10 and 20. Characters that gain 4 skill points at 1st level gain an additional skill point at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20. Characters that gain 6 skill points at 1st level gain an additional skill point at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18. Characters that gain 8 skill points at 1st level gain an additonal skill point at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19.

The new class skill lists are simple to determine. If a skill changed, then a class gets the new skill as a class skill, even if it didn't have other skills that might have been folded into that skill. The Use Rope skill for the ranger is the only exception to this rule (although rangers retain Athletics so they still retain some of the benefits of the Use Rope skill).

A character does not gain bonus languages based on Intelligence. Instead, a character can learn new a new language by spending one skill point (except for bards who learn two languages for each skill point spent). Speak Language does not differentiate between proficiency and mastery, you either know a language or you do not. Languages learned at 1st level must come from the character's bonus language list. Languages learned thereafter (such as when a character gains a bonus skill point at a later level) may be any language.

Below is a sample new skill, Acrobatics, and how it differs from its component skills in 3.5. Otherwise the skill works exactly as described in its component skills. I've attached a Word document with the updated Acrobatics skill for those who wish to see what it looks like in its new incarnation.

Acrobatics (Dex; Armor Check Penalty)
-An Acrobatics check made to escape bindings is opposed by the binder's Athletics check.
-Any character can attempt a soft fall (as long as speed is not reduced by armor or encumberance) with an Acrobatics check as per old Tumble rules.
-A character can secure a grappling hook with an Acrobatics check as per the old Use Rope rules.
-Acrobatics proficiency is required for tumbling past an opponent without provoking an attack of opportunity.
-A character with mastery in Acrobatics is not flat-footed while balancing, gains a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively and +6 dodge bonus to AC when using total defense.
-A character gets a +2 synergy bonus on Acrobatics checks if the character has proficiency in Athletics. A character gets a +4 synergy bonus on Acrobatics checks if the character has mastery in Athletics.

That's it for part 1. I will elucidate some of the reasons behind these changes in part 2 as well as presenting several new incarnations of skills.


After the Champions Games, I'm thinking my PCs will need a little breather from the Age of Worms. For one thing, they have suffered three deaths so far in this adventure and could use a little boost to get them back on track. (Note, I use a variant raise dead that costs 2 points of Con instead of level loss so they haven't lost any levels, but letting them get a little more treasure and XP will help shore up the deficiency in hp.) Does anyone have any recommendations for Dungeon adventures to use as side-treks that would fit well between Champions Games and Gathering of Winds? I own all Dungeons back to issue 89 or so, but I was wondering if anyone had any solid choices for a party of 10th or 11th level PCs. I am currently running it in Greyhawk so something adaptable that wouldn't take them too far would be preferable.


My group really screwed up this time. Perhaps the situation can be salvaged. To give a quick background, my Age of Worms campaign is set in Greyhawk and the party includes a monk, a fighter, a healer, and a druid.

The party entered the Champion's Games and easily pushed their way to the final match. However, they became heavily side-tracked by the quest to find Ekaym's sister and the night before the big game they decided to breach Loris Raknian's palace. I figured I could find ways to subtly nudge them away from this rabbit trail, but they were persistent. Guard patrols did not dissaude them. Numerous locked doors fell to rusting grasp and stonebreaker acid. They were quite determined to get into Raknian's palace one way or another.

Once they were inside the mansion, I had to put on my poker face of bluffing because as you all know it isn't detailed. I began mapping out the place like it was all in the adventure (I had already had to do this with the ghoul warrens near the Coenoby so I had had some recent practice; lol). Of course, perhaps my deception lulled the PCs into thinking they were doing the right thing so they continued. After exploring much of the mansion successfully by taking 10 on Move Silently (the fighter wore a chain shirt) and making sure there was distance between them and any guards, they finally messed up. They decided to enter Loris Raknian's bedchamber (although they didn't know which room it was at the time). I set it up as a room with an antechamber which was being watched by a pair of his bodyguards with another four bodyguards stationed a few hallways down in a guardroom. The PCs didn't enter the antechamber sneakily enough, and on the first round of combat, the guards sounded the alarm.

Things went from bad to worse to terrible after that. At first things looked ok. The healer managed to calm the bodyguards from the guardroom with calm emotions and the fighter and monk made short work of the pair stationed in front of Raknian's bedroom (using non-lethal damage). Raknian stepped out with buckler and sword, not having time to don his breastplate, and went toe-to-toe with them. Meanwhile, Captain Okoral in an adjacent room preparing to head out to assassinate Eligos came to aid the situation by casting invisibility and trying to nail the healer with a death attack. Although his attack failed, it put the PCs on the defensive. The PCs had knocked out Raknian and were preparing to finish off the bodyguards when the death attack came. They had left Raknian's unconscious body in the room with the healer, and after the healer beat a quick retreat, Okoral began to administer a potion to him. The following round, Raknian pursued the healer himself while Okoral and another bodyguard attacked the fighter, bringing him to low hp. The fighter managed to take Okoral out, but after the healer put up a rejuvenation cocoon (Spell Compendium), Raknian went back to finish off the fighter, killing him outright with one last blow. The battle just went downhill after that. Raknian finished off the healer when she came out of her cocoon (non-lethal damage), then knocked the monk out as well even as the druid managed to knock out the last bodyguard. It fell to the druid and a very wounded and unarmored Raknian to duke it out, and needless to say, the druid won.

Despite the eventual victory, the long combat and the alarm had alerted the Nightwatchmen of Greyhawk, who were quickly converging on the palace and the PCs had to think fast after the druid quickly revived those still alive. They snuck back into the Coenoby with Raknian and the dead fighter's body and then tromped back to one of the abandoned caves where they couldn't be found easily. The tried to look for alternate ways out, but eventually decided that going back down the ghoul warrens (which they had cleaned out before, but hadn't fully explored) and eventually came to a passage to the sewer.

They finally found a manhole exiting the sewer and after scrubbing up at a nearby fountain (luckily they had soap) the healer rushed off to find Eligos for help. Since Okoral had been killed, Eligos had not been slain in his sleep and had already heard of some ruckus in the city involving a break-in to Raknian's palace. I decided Eligos had some contacts with the Thieves' Guild and managed to help sneak the PCs to the Temple of Boccob where they could have the dwarf raised. They interrogated Loris Raknian and were unable to learn much from the stubborn fellow who insisted he would soon be found and the lot of them punished. However, he did become quite the braggart about the coming Age of Worms and how he would be its harbinger and gain everlasting life. The PCs didn't quite know what to make of this, but put two and two together when reminded about the Apostolic Scrolls. They deduced that Loris Raknian was attempting to release an ulgurstasta made with the Apostolic Scrolls and release it into the arena during the final fight.

FINALLY! I thought to myself. I never imagined they would go on such a wild goose chase. They had been searching Raknian's mansion in the first place to find Ekaym's sister, having forgotten all about the scrolls. I shot this bunny trail down when the first thing out of Raknian's mouth regarding her was that he killed the @#$%& long ago. Now their plan is to recuperate at the Temple of Boccob for the night (which has temporarily agreed to hide them at Eligos' request since Raknian seems to be a menace to society). They realize they will be disqualified from the tournament once all the unconscious guards are revived and rat them out, especially since killing Okoral constitutes murder. So the next morning, before the final fight (between Auric's Warband and the runner-up to the finals), the PCs plan to infiltrate the Coenoby one more time and find the ulgurstasta. They have no idea where it is, but this time, I plan to send Eligos along with them. I've given him spells like knock and detect secret doors to help overcome their lack of a rogue in the party. Plus, his arcane talents will help them in other regards. They are hoping that finding the Apostolic Scrolls and destroying the ulgurstasta will exonerate them of Okoral's death (although the assassin's guild is likely to be pretty damn pissed). Think this plan will work? I hope so. It's been like pulling teeth to keep them focused.


The sorcerer on dragon special mini is likely to be as much in demand, if not more, than the special repaints for the RPGA and the convention special stamped figures. Drizzt is currently the most valuable mini by most counts (regularly selling for upwards of $100). Anyone have any predictions if this dragon will top the charts? With a print run of 5,000 (which I'm guessing is lower than the number of "preview" figs they give out at cons) and being a huge (a particularly cool huge at that), I imagine the secondary market cost of these babies will be enormous.

I'm not trying to encourage speculation here, I'm just kind of curious. I know I would have bought several if I could have. At $10 it was a steal.


The party I'm running came across the petrified pseudodragon in Zyrxog's lab today and they decided to take the statue with them. Lo and behold, the next day the healer prepared break enchantment and released the creature from the stony magical grasp. I've already developed the personality a bit for the creature, but thought I'd pick other brains for ideas. Following is what I've done so far.

His name is Zizizu and he comes from the Gnarley Forest. He was turned to stone several years ago when a basilisk came charging into his lair. Before being turned to stone by the basilisk (and later recovered by a couple of prospectors before eventually finding it's way into Zyrxog's hands after he had Telakin slay the prospectors) Zizizu had some contact with the elves of the Gnarley, but he has had little experience with the rest of the world and thinks of everything in terms of elvishness. For example, he thinks humans are just tall elves with round ears and that dwarves are fat elves with hair on their faces. Creatures like mind flayers are ugly elves with droopy lips. And of course, buildings are simply hollowed out trees and Greyhawk is just another part of the Gnarley Forest (although it certainly looks different). The elf sorcerer in the party quickly hit upon the idea of taking the pseudodragon as a familiar, which the pseudodragon agreed to (he liked the elf most of all his liberators), provided he would be allowed to explore on his own from time to time.

Zizizu is unusual in that he seems to possess the capability for speech, while most pseudodragons simply use telepathy to communicate, and he is fluent in Draconic and Elven as well as Sylvan and Common. I haven't thought up an explanation for this (and actually it was just a mistake since I forgot pseudodragons don't talk, but I don't think it is a anything to worry about and I've already got the voice down).

The sorcerer is waiting until he reaches 9th level (he's a couple thousand xp shy) to take improved familiar so in the meantime, the party is allowing Zizizu to enjoy his newfound freedom. My party is letting him flit about and explore the city of Greyhawk, as long as he agrees not to get into any trouble. The sorcerer is leaving his window to his room open so the pseudodragon can roost in his room at night, free of charge. I figure I'll have Zizizu start up some mischief at an inopportune moment. Perhaps he'll sneak down into the Coenoby while the PCs are resting and try to bug the other gladiators, or worse, Loris Raknian's associates.


The adventure, The Prince of Redhand, declares that Ilthane's Brood has not been able to defeat the acid wraith yet. This implies that they have tried. I find that most confusing since, by my calculations, it would take an extraordinary amount of luck for the acid wraith to kill even one of Ilthane's Brood, let alone all of them. Now my calculations assume a few things:

1) The acid wraith stays as far back in the room in the puddle as possible.
2) If the acid wraith wins initiative it delays (wishing to take a full/whirlwind attack against the dragons once they are all adjacent), meaning it doesn't care if it loses. It is quite intelligent and ought to easily discern that the dragons don't have ranged attacks.
3) The dragons use their flight ability to gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls for higher ground and aid them in flanking.

I feel these are all fair assumptions. All things considered, each dragon does an average of about 20 points of damage with a full attack. On the first round they each do about 6 points of damage since a) one of them (the first to engage) doesn't get the flank benefit and b) after moving in, each of them only get a single attack. Here's a round-by-round synopsis.

Round 1 - Acid wraith either delays or loses init. Dragons move in. Acid wraith takes AoO on each using Combat Reflexes, deals about 20 points of damage to each. Each dragon deals about 6 points of damage to acid wraith. Acid wraith heals 15 points. Acid wraith takes an attack against each dragon dealing an average of another 20 points to each. Total hp for each dragon ~
100. Total hp for acid wraith ~130.

Round 2 - Dragons full attack, earch dealing about 20 points of damage this time. Acid wraith heals 15 points, reciprocates with 20 points of damage to each dragon. Total hp for each dragon 80. Total hp for acid wraith ~65.

Round 3 - Dragons each deal an average of 20 points to the acid wraith again with a second full attack. Acid wraith is defeated and each dragon has taken less than half its hp in damage.

Now the first round seems brutal for the dragons because the acid wraith effectively gets two attacks (one for the AoO because of reach and one when it takes its action) on each dragon while each dragn only gets a single measly bite attack, but even a creature of average human intelligence (10, which the dragons have) should be able to figure out that once they start laying into the acid wraith, it can't resist their punishment for long. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that statistically, it is practically impossible fo the dragons to lose since they will still have about 20 hp each at the end of round 3 even if the acid wraith scores a critical hit EVERY TIME. The dragons may no know exactly how many hit points the acid wraith has, but they should quickly clue in to the fact that they are matching the creature 4 for 1 and its not like there wouldn't be some indication that the creature is taking a severe beating.

My statistical analysis accounted for the probability of hitting the various creatures' respective ACs, the average damage roll of each attack, the fact that the acid wraith would be using Dodge on one dragon each turn, and that the dragons would get a +1 to their attack from high ground and +2 for flanking (depending on what you consider flanking, the fact that the dragons are a bit off the ground might make them not flanking but this is the difference of about 1 point of damage per dragon-round). I ignored all acid effects since both are immune to acid.

To be honest, I didn't need to do this statistical analysis to realize the flaw. The analysis simply proves that my initial hunch was correct, overwhelmingly correct as it turns out. Not that there isn't that infinitessimally small probability that the dragons always miss and the acid wraith always hits, but it is statistically unlikely with over 99% confidence. So I pose two questions.

1) What was going on in the writer's head when he wrote this encounter? Did I miss something?
2) What does Paizo (and others) suggest be done to fix this little problem?

If you aren't a stickly for realism you can use whatever silly reason you want, but I honestly think my players are going to be savvy enough to realize that four dragons, even young ones, could probably have beaten this thing handily if they wanted. I've thought of making the acid wraith tougher, but it would have to be significantly tougher to even pose a threat to the dragons. The PCs will be given a run for their money because of all the acid effects (unless they figure out to cast energy immunity or similar spells), but the dragons haven't a thing to worry about.

One argument might be made that the dragons are CE. That's fine. It doesn't mean they are stupid or foolish. It would be obvious to them that it's pointless for them all to kill each other first because alone, none of them can stand up to the acid wraith. I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons they haven't already killed each other. They probably would find a way to cooperate long enough to kill an acid wraith. At that point they can all fight over Ilthane's hoard.

I'm assuming this is just an oversight. I hate to pick apart such a small issue, but to me it was blatantly obvious that the dragons could have beaten the creature.

I still love the AoW. I can't say enough good things about it. This isn't a b*%~! and moan thread where I call Erik and James and Jason and the others losers. I like the adventures a lot and my players have enjoyed it too. I just like it so much that I'm holding it to a high standard. So please don't flame me saying "you're just another whiner, don't buy it if you don't like it."

(I'm also an obsessive-compulsive person so I notice little details like this and they become egregiously magnified in my mind.)


I went through the animus description and found the following errata.

1) The Weapon Focus (flail) bonus feat from the war domain is not included in the feat list, nor is the bonus added into the attack bonus.

2) The +1 flail is referred to as a +1 light flail in the Possessions entry.

3) The Sense Motive bonus should be +10, not +8 (+4 Wis, +4 racial, +2 negotiator feat).

4) I count only 29 skill points when I there ought to be 36. Concentration +8 (8 ranks), Diplomacy +4 (1 rank), Heal +7 (3 ranks), Intimidate +2 (1 rank, cc), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +4 (3 ranks, cc), Knowledge (religion) +4 (3 ranks), Listen +10, Ride +2 (1 ranks, cc), Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +5 (4 ranks), Spot +10
Total ranks (ic): 19
Total ranks (cc): 5
Total points: 29
Theoretical points: 36
Missing points: 7

5) The saving through for greater command should be 16, not 14, since this is a spell-like ability (unless it is a typo).

The only one I can't figure out for myself is the skill points. Where were they supposed to go?


I went through the animus description and found the following errata.

1) The Weapon Focus (flail) bonus feat from the war domain is not included in the feat list, nor is the bonus added into the attack bonus.

2) The +1 flail is referred to as a +1 light flail in the Possessions entry.

3) The Sense Motive bonus should be +10, not +8 (+4 Wis, +4 racial, +2 negotiator feat).

4) I count only 29 skill points when I there ought to be 36. Concentration +8 (8 ranks), Diplomacy +4 (1 rank), Heal +7 (3 ranks), Intimidate +2 (1 rank, cc), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +4 (3 ranks, cc), Knowledge (religion) +4 (3 ranks), Listen +10, Ride +2 (1 ranks, cc), Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +5 (4 ranks), Spot +10
Total ranks (ic): 19
Total ranks (cc): 5
Total points: 29
Theoretical points: 36
Missing points: 7

5) The saving through for greater command should be 16, not 14, since this is a spell-like ability (unless it is a typo).

The only one I can't figure out for myself is the skill points. Where were they supposed to go?


I'm pretty sure that the cardinal directions are mixed up. It seems like north should be where east is indicated on the map. Is this right?

I have some others while I'm at it. The adventure says Moreto was wounded in his fight with flycatcher, but it doesn't say how he healed himself. Did he have more potions of inflict beforehand or spend some charges from that enervation wand? (expensive healing!)

Do the doors in area 22 open into area 22 or 23?

How high is the ceiling in area 23? It must be at least 40 feet up from where the PCs begin since one column is described as rising up that high.

The mist of area 23 is described as being 80 feet below the floor. Yet the air elementals are hiding 45 feet down. What are they hiding behind?

Is area 16 just a channel the river flows into and then back out again? It looks like a dead end, but then there is that seeming connection to area 17. The description of the ice implies that there is water underneath it, then there is some kind of gap, and then just an ice block above. Is this a fairly accurate idea?

Is that ridge around area 20 a ledge level with area 15?

Shouldn't the entry for the advanced wind warrior's off-hand attack deal 1d8+3 damage? I thought they weren't suppose to take a penalty on damage rolls.

The adventure includes a caveat for what the PCs will see if they sneak up on Moreto. Wouldn't his lifesense ability preclude any sneaking up at all?

Can an oculus shoot all three eye rays at the same target in one round? Do they have the same cumulative effect described in the entry if they do?

Wow, that's a lot of questions. I had a tough time with this mod.


I've read this over what seems like a dozen times and I still don't understand how it really works. The picture doesn't really help me either. From what I gather, the ghoul is trapped in some kind of extradimensional space between the two places and can reach out to strike either. But if the ghoul is magically bound, how is it able to reach outside? Wouldn't it be subject to the same miss chance the PCs are? For that matter wouldn't it be incapable of seeing the PCs? Or is this supposed to be like a two-way mirror where the PCs can only see the portal, but the ghoul can see the PCs? And why does the ghoul automatically get sneak attack? The adventure says it's because it has total concealment, but this seems rather confusing unless you are using the two-way mirror theory. Additionally, assuming this automatic sneak attack thing works every time, then that makes this encounter arbitrarily more difficult. Shouldn't an ad hoc XP award be in order? (I plan to award an additional 10-20% myself.) Can it grapple PCs by dragging them into the portal? If so are the PCs even capable of being dragged "between" the two areas like the ghoul is apparently trapped? If so, should the PC be able to get out? Would he or she be able to see the ghoul at this point? Would he or she be able to see those outside the portal?

This is a really bizarre mechanic and I wish WB had come up with something a bit more comprehensible. Maybe it's just me, but it seems rather difficult to visualize and adjudicate.


I had a problem with the idea of Ixiaxian being a rogue. For maximum flexibility, he ought to be able to fill in the shoes of any party member, not just a rogue. As it stands, he really can't impersonate any other kind of character very well besides a rogue. Since I feel that getting a player in on the conspiracy is the best way to do this encounter, I would prefer to have more choice in the matter to choose the right player. IMC, I just can't see the rogue player doing a good job with it. So IMC I decided to re-build him as a chameleon (Races of Destiny). Below is the stat block for Ixiaxian as a chameleon instead of a rogue. He has the same CR and ability scores (his boost at 8th level in this build went into Cha). IMC he will be taking the place of a dwarf fighter so his bonus feat is currently for exotic weapon proficiency (dwarven waraxe). Enjoy!

Ixiaxian, male doppelganger chameleon 2: CR 6; Medium monstrous humanoid (shapechanger); HD 7d8+7 plus 2d8+2; hp 49; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 touch 13, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +8; Atk +11 melee (1d6+4, slam); SA detect thoughts (DC 19); SQ aptitude focus 1/day (+2), bonus feat, change shape, immunity to charm and sleep; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +7; Str 16, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 16.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +15, Diplomacy +5, Disguise +15, Intimidate +5, Listen +10, Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +5, Spot +10; Ability Focus (detect thoughts), Able Learner, Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (dwarven waraxe)B, Great Fortitude.


I'm about to start up Shackled City for the second time. The first time we quit at about 10th level due to incompatible schedules. This time around I have the beautiful SCHC to work with. I've done some reading about background and I'm starting to wonder about "Greyhawking" the AP a bit more.

One idea in particular that I picked up from the canonfire boards (and which I'm sure is nothing original besides) is the notion of using Joramy as a central religion in Cauldron. It certainly makes good sense. The way I see it, there are two different ways to do this. The first is to just plop a temple of Joramy into the city and add in plot-hooks or references to it. This would be a lot of work and quite frankly I'm both lazy and already too busy. The second is to replace a temple in Cauldron with one of Joramy. I've considered the pros and cons of swapping each temple with one of Joramy. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Kord - Not the most obvious choice, but given the temple of Kord's sponsorship of so many athletic festivities, it would be relatively simple to replace this with similar events that also heralded the very location of Cauldron itself. Perhaps a festival of the volcano where people light a pillar to memorialized the dormant volcano their city is built on. Obviously, this would relegate Joramy's church to a relatively minor role in the AP, which may work well since little adaptation is necessary. However, converting the Stormblade Zachary Aslaxin II to a cleric/ranger of Joramy is a nifty idea.

Pelor - The temple of Pelor has possibly the most minor role in the AP. Therefore this swap would add a touch of flavor, but impact the story little. In this case, Joramites could simply be a small sect, maybe a remnant of the days of Surabar (who could have been a worshipper, influencing his choice of city location). Joramy becomes an old faith in this regard.

St. Cuthbert - I like this option simply because I never liked the portrayal of the church of the Cudgel in this AP much in the first place. Jenya is LN but she acts more NG which would be a bit more justifiable as a cleric of Joramy. This has the advantage of getting the PCs to interact with Joramites a lot, but also requiring me to do a fair bit of conversion. Jenya is easy enough, I only have to swap domains and alignment. Of course, Alek Tercival becomes a problem since I don't think Paladins should be allowed to be two steps away from their deity's alignment (and Joramy is Neutral with Neutral Good tendencies). Perhaps I could make him a sentinnel (NG paladin variant from Dragon 310).

Wee Jas - This one is truly interesting. In this event, Embril is actually a worshipper of Pyremius who only pretends to follow Joramy. This idea has a lot of potential what with the Cagewrights causing the eruption and everything. The Joramites think fire and flame beautiful, but not when it is consuming their homes, while Pyremians would get a total kick out of it and make natural allies for the Cagewrights. Plus it also seems to add more suspense. Once the PCs start to get suspicious of the Joramites, they are likely to guess that Cauldron may not be so dormant, putting them on edge just waiting for that lava to start flowing.

Any ideas? Thoughts? Comments?


First of all, Demonomicon is my favorite article series, and it just keeps getting better. I was rapt with Pazuzu, enthralled by Fraz urb'lu, and infatuated with Iggwilv's spells. I want more! The BoVD left so much in the realm of demonkind unexplored and I've been finding these articles gloriously information. An update on Grazz't would be spectacular. I can never get enough of the six-fingered prince.

I'd also like to chime in on how much I love the Ecology articles. The fact that they have become a regular feature really helped persuade me to renew my subscription again this year. It is always the first thing I turn to after reading the editor's letter. Bravo!


For those that can't seem to get enough of these harrowing tales of defeated heroes beneath the depths of the the Dourstone mine...

Chapter Two: Three Faces of Evil

Cast of Characters
Beorm - Male Human Druid of Obad-Hai
Drugan - Male Hill Dwarf Psychic Warrior
Halysthel - Male Raptoran Cleric of Obad-Hai
Throrethan - Male Grey Elf Wizard
"Stone" - Male Goliath Barbarian
Violet - Female Human Spellthief

Narrative

As fate would have it, Smenk contacted the party before they could contact him. When they went to see him, he told them a tale of woe that might have seemed preposterous had there been no evidence to confirm it. Smenk claimed he had been forced into aiding an evil cult operating in town against his will and that he had swiped the worm from their temple in order to see if he could learn more about what they were up to. He seemed to genuinely be fearing for his life and promised to provide the party with the location of the cult's temple if they would help him. Since it appeared the cult might be the source of these strange worms, and therefore the unkillable undead as well, the party agreed to investigate.

The cult had taken hold in a chamber beneath the mine of Ragnolin Dourstone, a dwarven mine manager who had apparently been in line with the cult the whole time without anyone's knowledge. The party snuck into the mine and found a secret elevator leading to the temple as Smenk had told them, and thereafter they discovered the temple.

Upon descent into the temple, they were immediately attacked by a pair of planetouched guards. These guards had fiendish blood and fought with ferocity but were quickly dispatched. The cult apparently consisted of three different factions, each worshipping a different dark god, the Whispered One, the Herald of Hell, and the Lord of Slaughter. These factions sought to bring the power of their gods together to create a super deity that would usher in a new era of darkness.

The party decided to approach the temple to the Herald of Hell first. The incursion was a bloody one. The priests and followers of the Scourge of Battle lived well up to their grim lord's name. Their response to the attack was swift and organized and the party soon found themselves in over their heads as they battled a dire boar, more planetouched, and a trio of powerful priests. Just as the battle appeared to be over, the party was saved as the three adventurers from the Free City of Greyhawk, the rogue Tirra, the warrior Auric, and the mage Khellek stormed into the temple and made short work of the remaining defenders. Although they claimed a majority of the spoils in exchange for the information recovered in the temple and keeping the party alive, it was better than death, and the party counted their blessings. The Free City Adventurers returned to the surface and the party licked their wounds. Unfortunately, the party was unable to revive Stone, and he became the first fatality of the group.

Returning to the surface themselves, the party immediately went to the authorities with evidence of Dourstone's complicity. Not trusting the governor-mayor's pet sheriff, the party went straight to the garrison and the temple of Heironeous with their information. After conferring with a lesser priest named Tasilo who appeared a bit fed up with his sedentary lifestyle, the party was allowed to speak with High Priest Valkys Dun and Captain Tolliver Trask. The Captain grilled the party for information and in the end requested that they return with more evidence implicating Balabar Smenk. Valkys Dun insisted that the party be accompanied by a temple paladin named Melinde on their return. While the party prepared to return, Captain Trask had Dourstone arrested for his involvement in the cult.

Below the Dourstone mine again, this time accompanied by the overly pious Melinde, the group made their way next to the temple of the Whispered One. They hoped they had arrived before the worshippers of the Spidered Throne were apprised of their arrival. The maze-like temple of the god of secrets was treacherous and inhabited by vile bird creatures called Kenku who used the dark corridors and a system of secret doors to their advantage. When they had been slain, the party discovered a pair of dwarven captives. One was Gar Blitzhame, nephew of Dulok Blitzhame, leader of the dwarven Greysmere Covenant. The other was a guard for the Greysmere Covenant named Drugan. The pair had been kidnapped by the kenku while guarding a shipment of gems. The party returned the dwarves to the surface. Drugan offered to continue the fight with them while Gar went to report to his uncle.

On their return, the party breached further into the Whispered One's temple. They found evidence of Smenk's duplicity. Much supplies was found within with his company's sigil upon it. It seemed he had been cooperating a bit more than he let on. Beyond, they found a worship chamber seemingly haunted by numerous mad souls. There, they were attacked by a pair of wizards and their allip guardian. Though the wizards were dispatched the allip brought on a terrifying fight and its maddening touch nearly drove several to insanity.

Finally, the party charged into the final chamber, a laboratory where many arcane experiments bubbled and boiled. A battle ensued with a faceless man and his two acolytes. Spells were slung left and right. Webs entangled friend and foe alike as monsters summoned from the pits of the Hells surged forward to attack the intruding heroes. Drugan had already succumbed to madness in the previous chamber, Violet was the next to fall as a fiendish ape thumped her over the head, and the battle went sour after that.

Fiendish apes hounded the remaining party members at every turn. When finally Beorm was brought low by a lightning bolt, Throrethan and Halysthel tried to muster up a retreat. They made it as far as the elevator, but the pursuing cultists caught them in a web and brought them low with their hellish apes. Finally, Halysthel felt his grasp weaken as a blow from an ape sent him reeling. He loosed the grip on the elevator train and as he did, the cultist who had cast the web spell dismissed it, causing the elevator to crash to the ground. Throrethan was the last to fall as he valiantly tried to stave off the beasts. They were never heard from again.


The AoW AP already blends quite seemlessly into Greyhawk. Many of the names and location are taken straight from the WoG setting, but I'd like to give the campaign a bit more of a Greyhawk flavor. The association of the Twilight Monastery with Xan Yae is a nice touch. I feel like with the Hall of Harsh Reflections there should be some more opportunities like this.

In the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, Andrade Mirrius, a priest of Nerull, is the owner of the Pit, a gladiatorial arena in the city. He is also the head of the secretive underground Cult of the Shriven Sickle. Three versions of him are presented in Folk, Feuds & Factions, one at 11th level, one at 14th, and one at 18th, depending on the progression of your campaign. I think making the events of the Free City Arena take place in the Pit is a fitting move. I think there should be a way to work Andrade into the politics of the Pit as well. Perhaps he was bought out several years ago by Loris Raknian, and might make an unlikely ally for the PCs. The evil gods are often bickering anyway, and as a priest of Nerull, he probably doesn't like the idea of three lower-ranking evil gods potentially outshining the Reaper.

Concerning Eligos, he's a servant of Manzorian (Tenser in GH) so this might work out to have some tie-ins as well. Is Eligos taken from canon or was he created for this AP? Perhaps substituting another from Tenser's retinue might be appropriate. Suggestions?


This thread is dedicated to discussing Prince Zeech and how he is going to be portrayed in the campaign, as well as ideas about how to use him properly.

Specifically, I have some questions about his depiction in the AoW Overload. I notice the Overload refers to him as a fallen paladin, yet the only 3rd edition reference to Zeech (LGG) has him as a Ftr/Clr of Hextor, not a fallen paladin. Is it a design issue that he needs to be a fallen paladin to satisfy the storyline, or is it an intentional deviation from the LGG for reasons unspecified? I'm thinking it's possible that he is listed as a fallen paladin in a previous source (there was a really old dragon magazine that details on the bandit kings, but I don't know how specific it got) but that seems unlikely; being a fallen paladin 2nd edition was suicide! You were totally hosed.


That stands for "total party knockout." Add the party I'm running to the tally of those that have been slaughtered by Three Faces of Evil. The party thought they were all badass sneaking into the temple after walking through Whispering Cairn like it was a breeze. The party makeup was as follows:

Goliath Bbn1/Rgr1
Grey Elf Wiz3
Raptoran Clr3 or Obad-Hai
Human Drd3 of Obad-Hai with riding dog companion
Human Spellthief3

They boldly marched into the Temple of Hextor and their barbarian got killed going toe-to-toe with the dire boar. Not stopping any longer than necessary to heal up their wounds and planning to take the barbarian back later, they walked right into Theldrick's trap in the main room. Theldrick wanted to take them all so he waited one round to see if they would all come inside the room before sealing the doors, but the wizard refused and stayed outside. The doors closed and hell ensued. Kendra cast bane, Garras cast bless, Theldrick began summoning, and the tieflings from the guard room ran up to the balcony and shot arrows down at the approaching party. Fortunately the party cleric of Obad-Hai had silence memorized and used it to interrupt Theldrick's spell. The wizard pulled out the wand of shatter found in the Whispering Cairn and blew the door away, allowing the party to get out, but not before having sucked up several ranged attacks, a sound burst, and a spiritual weapon. They were hurting, and could have pulled back, but instead, the wizard blew apart the door leading to the guard room and the group proceeded to try and enter the other way. This is where everything went FUBAR. The tieflings stayed behind in the main temple with their bows trained on all entrances while the priests and the troglodytes buffed themselves for the PCs' imminent arrival. What happened next was not pretty.

Garras and the troglodytes burst into the bedchambers between Theldrick's room and the guard room to face the PCs who were fast approaching. Having gulped down a potion of bull's strength he began kicking ass and taking names, tripping the cleric of obad-hai and the druid of obad-hai in successive turns. The wizard managed to gain control of one of the zombies with command undead, but Theldrick rebuked it and it cowered in the corner. The spellthief was largely ineffective except for the rare occassion when she managed to sneak attack and steal one of the buff spells from the bad guys, an event that only happened 2 or three times in what became a 26 round battle.

Things took a turn for the worst when the tieflings decided to abandon their post in the main temple and sneak around to the stairs leading down to the guard room and attack the party from behind. Hereafter, the wizard spent all of his efforts keeping the tieflings at bay with his wand of shatter, destroying two of their greataxes and one of their bows (poor Will saves didn't help at all). Eventually he got into a fist-fight with the tiefling who remained weaponless. However this effectively took his attention away from the main battle which was going sour fast. Theldrick tag-teamed Kendra and Garras and waded into melee after 5 or 6 rounds while they moved back to heal with Kendra's wand. He spent several rounds ineffectively swinging at the spellthief who was fighting defensively. But eventually he decided she wasn't going to hurt him anyway and began taking out the other characters. He laid low the druid while the tiefling who maintained his bow scored a critical hit on the wizard, taking him down. The spellthief was eventually hit and knocked down when Kendra and Garras moved back in.

So as all this is happening, I realized the party was getting nowhere fast. Theldrick had offered them a surrender several times in battle and they had refused (not like it would have helped much since he would have just given them a painless death as opposed to an excruciatingly painful one). Hence, they were likely to become worm food if I didn't do anything. I sure was glad the AoW Overload was released Friday because I was able to develop a plan. I decided the Free City adventuring party of Khellek, Auric, and Tirra had followed the party, thinking to clean up after they had died and loot the chambers for themselves. They came in from behind and the battlefield changed drastically.

Tirra sneak-attacked one of the tieflings and took him out while Auric handled the other the old-fashioned way. Khellek scorched Theldrick with a ray of fire and suddenly things were not going so well for the Herald of Hell's minions. Of course, at this time my party was on its last legs. The cleric was the only one left standing, and as Theldrick moved away to deal with the new invaders, Kendra and Garras spent the next several rounds beating the cleric into submission. Tirra snuck around the balcony while Auric went toe-to-toe with Theldrick in a glorious melee. With a little aid from Khellek, Auric managed to bring Theldrick down. Tirra loosed a well-placed arrow in Kendra's back and then darted away before Garras could catch her, performing hit-and-run attacks until the half-orc was finally brought to the ground.

My party awoke in the main entrance chamber watching Tirra sort loot as Auric hauled it out. Khellek watched the group with his wand of glitterdust and made sure they didn't try anything funny. Although he would have liked to simply loot them and leave them for dead, he figured he wouldn't like them to do the same to him, and they might even be in a place to return the favor one day. So he let them live, let them keep their things, and even let them keep the loot that he, Auric, and Tirra couldn't carry out of the temple (mostly scrap metal, a few mundane weapons and no magical items). He swindled them of looting rights by trading them Theldrick's journal, which he didn't much care about. I figured he didn't know a thing about the Ebon Triad and wouldn't really care if he did.

So in the end, the party got away with 4/5 of their lives and a pitance of treasure. But at least they weren't made sacrifices. After running this part of the adventure, I have to agree that it was tough, but there were plenty of mitigating circumstances. My party had three chaotic characters and none of them got along well with each other so they didn't coordinate too well. They often charged headlong into battle without making any form of a plan first, and they grossly underestimated the organized and efficient response to invasion that would be found in a temple to the Scourge of Battle. Had they cooperated a little bit more and acted with a little more caution, I have a feeling they would have been alright. Plus, the spellthief has a nasty habit of getting in the thick of things and being very ineffective while taking up very good tactical positions on the battlefield that could be more useful to other members of the party. Overall, I think this was mostly the PCs' faults, and not the fault of the module. But I will say this adventure is very unforgiving to mistakes. Make one, and you could be running or begging for your lives.

Incidentally, I could have swayed the tide of battle by fudging a couple rolls, but I don't do that for this campaign. I want it to be scary for the PCs, and that means maintaining the element of luck and chance is important. I'm not against fudging in general, particularly in campaigns where I focus on role-playing, but that's not the case here. I want the Age of Worms to terrify my PCs and threaten them with true danger. Death is just one lucky critical hit around the corner.


That stands for "total party knockout." Add the party I'm running to the tally of those that have been slaughtered by Three Faces of Evil. The party thought they were all badass sneaking into the temple after walking through Whispering Cairn like it was a breeze. The party makeup was as follows:

Goliath Bbn1/Rgr1
Grey Elf Wiz3
Raptoran Clr3 or Obad-Hai
Human Drd3 of Obad-Hai with riding dog companion
Human Spellthief3

They boldly marched into the Temple of Hextor and their barbarian got killed going toe-to-toe with the dire boar. Not stopping any longer than necessary to heal up their wounds and planning to take the barbarian back later, they walked right into Theldrick's trap in the main room. Theldrick wanted to take them all so he waited one round to see if they would all come inside the room before sealing the doors, but the wizard refused and stayed outside. The doors closed and hell ensued. Kendra cast bane, Garras cast bless, Theldrick began summoning, and the tieflings from the guard room ran up to the balcony and shot arrows down at the approaching party. Fortunately the party cleric of Obad-Hai had silence memorized and used it to interrupt Theldrick's spell. The wizard pulled out the wand of shatter found in the Whispering Cairn and blew the door away, allowing the party to get out, but not before having sucked up several ranged attacks, a sound burst, and a spiritual weapon. They were hurting, and could have pulled back, but instead, the wizard blew apart the door leading to the guard room and the group proceeded to try and enter the other way. This is where everything went FUBAR. The tieflings stayed behind in the main temple with their bows trained on all entrances while the priests and the troglodytes buffed themselves for the PCs' imminent arrival. What happened next was not pretty.

Garras and the troglodytes burst into the bedchambers between Theldrick's room and the guard room to face the PCs who were fast approaching. Having gulped down a potion of bull's strength he began kicking ass and taking names, tripping the cleric of obad-hai and the druid of obad-hai in successive turns. The wizard managed to gain control of one of the zombies with command undead, but Theldrick rebuked it and it cowered in the corner. The spellthief was largely ineffective except for the rare occassion when she managed to sneak attack and steal one of the buff spells from the bad guys, an event that only happened 2 or three times in what became a 26 round battle.

Things took a turn for the worst when the tieflings decided to abandon their post in the main temple and sneak around to the stairs leading down to the guard room and attack the party from behind. Hereafter, the wizard spent all of his efforts keeping the tieflings at bay with his wand of shatter, destroying two of their greataxes and one of their bows (poor Will saves didn't help at all). Eventually he got into a fist-fight with the tiefling who remained weaponless. However this effectively took his attention away from the main battle which was going sour fast. Theldrick tag-teamed Kendra and Garras and waded into melee after 5 or 6 rounds while they moved back to heal with Kendra's wand. He spent several rounds ineffectively swinging at the spellthief who was fighting defensively. But eventually he decided she wasn't going to hurt him anyway and began taking out the other characters. He laid low the druid while the tiefling who maintained his bow scored a critical hit on the wizard, taking him down. The spellthief was eventually hit and knocked down when Kendra and Garras moved back in.

So as all this is happening, I realized the party was getting nowhere fast. Theldrick had offered them a surrender several times in battle and they had refused (not like it would have helped much since he would have just given them a painless death as opposed to an excruciatingly painful one). Hence, they were likely to become worm food if I didn't do anything. I sure was glad the AoW Overload was released Friday because I was able to develop a plan. I decided the Free City adventuring party of Khellek, Auric, and Tirra had followed the party, thinking to clean up after they had died and loot the chambers for themselves. They came in from behind and the battlefield changed drastically.

Tirra sneak-attacked one of the tieflings and took him out while Auric handled the other the old-fashioned way. Khellek scorched Theldrick with a ray of fire and suddenly things were not going so well for the Herald of Hell's minions. Of course, at this time my party was on its last legs. The cleric was the only one left standing, and as Theldrick moved away to deal with the new invaders, Kendra and Garras spent the next several rounds beating the cleric into submission. Tirra snuck around the balcony while Auric went toe-to-toe with Theldrick in a glorious melee. With a little aid from Khellek, Auric managed to bring Theldrick down. Tirra loosed a well-placed arrow in Kendra's back and then darted away before Garras could catch her, performing hit-and-run attacks until the half-orc was finally brought to the ground.

My party awoke in the main entrance chamber watching Tirra sort loot as Auric hauled it out. Khellek watched the group with his wand of glitterdust and made sure they didn't try anything funny. Although he would have liked to simply loot them and leave them for dead, he figured he wouldn't like them to do the same to him, and they might even be in a place to return the favor one day. So he let them live, let them keep their things, and even let them keep the loot that he, Auric, and Tirra couldn't carry out of the temple (mostly scrap metal, a few mundane weapons and no magical items). He swindled them of looting rights by trading them Theldrick's journal, which he didn't much care about. I figured he didn't know a thing about the Ebon Triad and wouldn't really care if he did.

So in the end, the party got away with 4/5 of their lives and a pitance of treasure. But at least they weren't made sacrifices. After running this part of the adventure, I have to agree that it was tough, but there were plenty of mitigating circumstances. My party had three chaotic characters and none of them got along well with each other so they didn't coordinate too well. They often charged headlong into battle without making any form of a plan first, and they grossly underestimated the organized and efficient response to invasion that would be found in a temple to the Scourge of Battle. Had they cooperated a little bit more and acted with a little more caution, I have a feeling they would have been alright. Plus, the spellthief has a nasty habit of getting in the thick of things and being very ineffective while taking up very good tactical positions on the battlefield that could be more useful to other members of the party. Overall, I think this was mostly the PCs' faults, and not the fault of the module. But I will say this adventure is very unforgiving to mistakes. Make one, and you could be running or begging for your lives.

Incidentally, I could have swayed the tide of battle by fudging a couple rolls, but I don't do that for this campaign. I want it to be scary for the PCs, and that means maintaining the element of luck and chance is important. I'm not against fudging in general, particularly in campaigns where I focus on role-playing, but that's not the case here. I want the Age of Worms to terrify my PCs and threaten them with true danger. Death is just one lucky critical hit around the corner.


So what time of year should the Age of Worms AP start? I'm only curious because I'm an anal retentive DM who likes keeping track of silly stuff like that. I prefer to start my campaigns at the end of winter (in Fireseek) that way the PCs get to experience three seasons of relatively good adventuring weather and by the time they get to winter they have some better resources to deal with the cold. However, I don't know if that idea will work for this campaign. Any future events that take into account weather, like Flood Season did in SC? What time of year (if any) did Erik Mona begin his campaign in?


So what are the strangest concepts your players came up with for their characters and how did you work them in? I had a player who was really set on playing a raptoran from the Races of the Wild, but I was concerned about fitting the race into Greyhawk. I wanted the characters to all be local, but it didn't seem to me like there was any place nearby that really worked for raptorans. I think if they do fit into Greyhawk that they would inhabit mostly the western mountain chains, i.e. the fringes of civilization. But I needed a good way to work that in. I was also concerned about the power of a PC able to fly (once he's 5th level of course). So here's what I came up with. The character was captured in goblin raid when he was but a young hatchling. The goblins tortured him and cut off his wings to humiliate him. They quickly sold him off to wicked merchants who took him with them until they found someone willing to buy him. They found a buyer in the Free City, a mine manager named Tilgast who had pity on the poor creature. Tilgast allowed the character to purchase his freedom by working in the mines over a period of 10 years. Thereafter, he made his way to the Bronzewood Lodge and trained under Nogwier as a cleric of Obad-Hai.

What are your unusual PCs?

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