I can understand Vic's reaction from a business POV for a couple of different reasons as he has already stated. But I agree with you on this. Which has made this my favorite racial book released thus far. \mXm/
Thanks for agreeing with me Urizen. I too understand Vic's position. He's right. I only wish that no harm come to the artist for this. I'm certain that Dio's music touched him too.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Don't feel that way. A part of me died too when RJD died. Seeing that Dio inspired halfling gave me some closure that I was missing. When I hear or play a Dio song, it won't hurt anymore but I will think of this halfling and Ronnie's music and smile.
This is a good thing.
David Fryer wrote:
To me, Golarion is the new Mystara. It has a lived in feel that many of the other new settings out there don't.
I was going to post something along these lines. A campaign setting has to have recognizable countries in it. For example Osirion is the Golarion-Egypt (G-Egypt) much in the same way that Nithia or Thothia is the Mystarian-Egypt (M-Egypt). Ya gotta have those setting analogs! :)
Thanks to Paizo for giving me a new Mystara!
Todd Stewart wrote:
Thank you for the review, though I'm disappointed that you didn't enjoy it more. Good or bad, I really do appreciate the feedback.
Hi Todd (and everyone else who has posted since my review),
Sorry to take so long to tell you what I was expecting. I was looking for someting like the Savage Tidings, Beyond Sasserine (Dragon #349, p74-76, 78-80) with some addition PC information (PrC, feats, new spells). None of the areas are completely fleshed out but all of them have a short paragraph that provides a description and hook. It's a great article. A good DM could keep the PCs running in circles with red herrings for many a session with that one.
Todd Stewart wrote:
It's ok to have areas on the map that aren't described but make them areas that the DM would flesh out on their own (e.g. Pyramid of Doom is ok to ignore but leaving out a description of local mountain ranges, deserts, and customs is not). As for the word count, try doing more with less. It will make the player's minds go wild about what isn't said and give the DMs enough of a hook that they can make an adventure out of it themselves. Also remember that it's a product for the PCs so, if they are locals, they would know something about the local geography and customs.
Another way to say it is, if it is reasonable for the PCs to know about it, write something about it. Cut everything else to get the essential text in the product. That's really all you have to do with a companion product. :)
This is my full review of Osirion, Land of the Pharaohs as the reviews only seem to allow 2000 characters and I have much more than that to say about it!
The Pathfinder Companion, Osirion, Land of the Pharaohs, attempts to describe the region of Osirion on the continent of Garund in 32 pages. Sadly, it is an incomplete work and my first disappointment from Paizo.
This companion product outlines many cities, towns and adventuring locations which are otherwise just places on a map. Described are the cities of An, Eto, Ipeq, Shiman-Sekh, Tumen, Torta, and Wati as well as The Footprints of Rovagug, The Glazen Sheet, The Hungry Sepulcher, The Labyrinth of Shiman-Sekh, Lamashtu's Flower, The Lost Fortress of Mekshir, the Monastery of Tar Kuata, the Pyramid of An-Hepsu XI, The River Sphinx, The Ruins of Tumen, The Seven Stelae, the Slave Trenches of Hakotep, The Sphinx Head, Valley of the Pyramids; all the above are given major headings in the work. This is an impressive list until it is compared to the locations that are not described but available on the map. Junira River, Lamasara, Ruins of Akhenaten, Ruins of el-Amara, Klarwa Fountain, Alamein Peninsula, Cliffs of Kusha-ta-Pahk, Stepped Tower of Djedefar, Coast of Graves, Hor-Aha, Xefon-Ra, Parched Dunes, Tar Kuata, Ruins of Kho, Kho-Rarme Pass, Pillars of the Sun, Mount Osiki, Pyramid of Doom, The Swells of Gozreh, Garden of Shepeska, Burning Cape, Underdunes, Mount Na-Ken, Temple of An-Alak, The Scorpion Coast, Salt Hills, The Temples of Pharaoh Ahn, Sand Haven, and Brazen Peaks are either ignored entirely or mentioned only in reference to another location. If it is important enough to put on the map then it is important enough to describe it in the text. A single short paragraph would have been sufficient to fill the need. It also bewilders the mind why there is so much artwork using so much valuable real estate that could have been used for text when the product is incomplete. The top 50% of page 2 is an illustration of pyramids; almost half of page 4 is a drawing of some guy with a clay tablet; and half of page 7 is a Lamashtu orgy scene. There are other illustrations on pages 8, 11, 13, 16, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30. All of them use between 25% to 50% of the available page space. The inside of the back cover is a reprint of the front cover art. This is not to say that all art should be removed, but to point out that the overuse of art does not make a complete product. If Paizo had reduced the amount of art by 50% they could have completely described all locations on the map.
On pages 16-21 is the description of the city of Sothis. I can't say anything good about it as Paizo didn't see fit to include a map of the city! There is an interesting location called The Black Dome. This is supposed to be a titanic dead scarab beetle that has somehow been turned into the largest building in the city. A map, or at least illustration, would have been appropriate for this location, but it is not supplied. Also described are Azghaad's Spire, the Council of Sun and Sky, The Crimson Canal, the Malhitu Bazaar, the Necropolis of the Faithful, The Palace of the Forthbringer, and the Temple of the Eternal Sun. All of these are interesting locations but are somewhat useless without a map of the city.
There is a prestige class called Living Monolith. I'm not a fan of prestige classes as a general rule so I am biased; however, this one has an uncanny resemblance to The Thing from the Fantastic Four!
Following along behind the Living Monolith is a section on the cults of Osirion. There are three cults (demi-gods?), Wdjet, Apep and Khepri, but there are scant details on the faiths with the exception of a short description. Three magic items are listed with one being associated with each cult.
Also included are new Osirion necromantic spells, several new feats, and a full description of Khemet III, the Ruby Prince. All of these seem to be fine additions to the Osirion Companion; however, the feats are less so than the spells and the Ruby Prince, as five out of eight of them seem to be generic in nature.
The final page is the standard Paizo “Coming Next!” previews of future products.
There are some items missing from the product. Where's the timeline of Osirion? What exactly are Khamsin storms? What about other climate and weather? What about Osirion customs and dress? What about relationships between the classes of citizens (slave to pharaoh)?
Additionally, the entire product is printed on glossy paper. It would have been preferable to reserve glossy for the covers and use non-glossy paper for the interior pages. Paizo could have thereby increased the page count and included additional information in the product.
My suggestion is to save your money! In this economy this is ten dollars that should be better spent on some really good beer.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Psionics are not part of the current plans, but if demand is high enough, I might see what I can do about a future, stand-alone release. Time will tell.
This would be the way to do it. I've never been a psi fan but a separate release would be something I could easily ignore while the psi fans could just snap them up.
James Jacobs wrote:
In that case... what do we assume? Do we assume that the PCs enter when the monsters are awake or asleep? When the complex is on full alert, half alert, or no alert? That the monsters themselves can observe the PCs or not?
The answer is author's choice. If the GM needs to change it, they will.
James Jacobs wrote:
Including monsters pretty much guarantees that a significant portion of GMs will need to "redo" the read-aloud text or back up and correct himself in game, whereas boxed text that simply presents the basics of the room guarantees that this won't happen. GMs should be familiar with an encounter before they run it anyway, and as I mention above... if the encounter doesn't have a creature entry (or if the encounter title doesn't have an EL listed), adding in monsters after you describe the initial scene is simple enough.
The opposite is also true for the other 50% of GMs. Remember the GM isn't always looking at the module. They are interacting with the players. It's really easy to forget details in that situation. I'm always making the gaming experience the best that it can be. Anything that will make it easier is a good thing so including the monsters in the flavor text helps me considerably.
James Jacobs wrote:
Of course... not including monsters in read-aloud text mostly boils down to my personal preference. I hate when an adventure includes monsters in the text for the various reasons I've listed here. THAT SAID: If enough of Pathfinder's readers prefer monsters in their read-aloud text, I'll consider changing the policy. It'll have to be a LOT of people requesting that, though... :-)
Glad to hear you're open to putting them back. :)
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
But if I'm going to have to butcher the flavour text anyway why make it so that I'm forced to hum and haw while skipping over sentences because they don't apply. Sure its the responsibility of the DM to deal with changes to the flavour text but no one is doing the DM any favours by including flavour text that has a good chance of being simply inaccurate.
Simple answer here. Read then speak. No butchering required. :) It's better to skip over text that no longer applies (read: the party set off all of the alarms in the dungeon) then to miss important information. Granted, it's much harder to miss monsters these days with those insane stat blocks. :)
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Better to twig the DM on to the fact that this room probably have a monster and let the DM deal with the monster flavour text 'cause their just to variable. Chances are the wall drape is there no matter what else the players are doing but the Ogre Guards are going to be acting differently if their spied on by a hiding Ninja and have no clue that there are invaders or if the party has stopped in front of the door and just spent three rounds loudly casting buff spells. In most cases there is no hope that the flavour text can handle the vagaries of what the players are doing because different groups approach this in a very different way.
You're correct! Paizo should remove all references to wall drapes and send in the Pirates! :) Yes, monsters are the variables in the mix but it's good to set the variables to begin the encounter. If the GM wants to change it then so be it.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I also generally agree with the rather odd design of flavour text where the background is dealt with and then the main attractions are put in the forefront. My feeling is this is because, ultimately, we are involved in a story telling game and one gets better results, usually, if one sets the scene before giving away the climax.
Very true. I often have two sets of flavor text when I write a module. One for the "open door, see monster."; and another for the aftermath.
James Jacobs wrote:
2: Do not include monsters in read-aloud text, unless the monster is 99% of the time in the same position, and even then, only include the monster if it seems to be part of the room (such as a mimic or a golem hiding as a statue).
I don't agree. Here's why... The flavor text is a snippet of time in that room as if the party opened the door without alerting the monsters, so yes, the monster should be included in it. It is the responsibility of all GMs to adjust the flavor text as per the situation in the game as it occurs. It's simply too easy to forget a monster that isn't listed in the flavor text.
There are two tricks you can do if you're working with an image rather than a pdf.
Copy the image into the first cell of OOo Calc or M$ Excel and hit print. The map will be printed in sections with margins that can then be cut and taped together.
Alternately, you can open the image in The Gimp (There's a product called Photosomething that can do this too) and click on Image --> Canvas Size. There you can select the new size of the image and what part of the image to be set to that size. Breaking the "chain" icon in the Canvas Size window will allow you to set the height and width to anything you like. Keep saving the images as new files as you select new areas and be sure to overlap the images slightly so it will be easier to tape together.
Anyone remember the Red Steel setting? AIR, it was pretty hard to be smokestone (gun powder) in that setting and the guns stopped working after you left the Savage Coast. Legacies and the Red Curse really sucked (my face is melting!) but that's way off-topic.
How will firearms be implemented? Just pick up dirt and put in the chamber....pull trigger? Buy lots cartridges? Something different? Harder? I'm not against firearms in the setting but implementation would have to be very carefully done.
Actually, a new cosmology should be kept simple. Any DM that has to take their campaign to the outer planes isn't working hard enough. In other words, if you have to change the setting of the adventure, I think the DM has failed.
That said, there is a need for some kind of cosmology. I would suggest just two addition "planes" aside from the OGL planes. I think there should be an Abyss equivalent where the demons and devils live and "a place where the gods/dieties/immortals live" equivalent. Anything beyond that is unnecessary. Two good examples are the Mystara and Dragonlance cosmologies. They both are very simple and very effective.
Vague is better in this case.
James Jacobs wrote:
Thank the Immortals (or gods or deities)! Miserable is right! That format wastes paper and is DMing for the stupid. A description, a map and an imagination is all that a DM and players need (perhaps a good battlemat as well). On a lark I bought "Scourge of the Howling Horde" which contains a village and a 12 room dungeon. They used 32 pages for that!!!??? I could have done it in ten!
Will you be posting any "teaser" details on Varisia? I'd like to see the world map (Low resolution would be fine). I'd also like to see a short description of each country. Will I be able to equate the countries to real world cultures (Greyhawk/Mystara) or something weird and new (Eberron)? I don't want to see or have you create a huge document here. One or two pages and a map would do the trick...Just open up X1 - Isle of Dread and look at the page where the Known World is described and look at the continental map. That's what I would like to see for Varisia. It will help me decide if I want to subscribe to Pathfinder. An interesting world will hook me but one that is not....won't.