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Concerning the OP, I submit two related links for consideration:

This.

And this.

CJ


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I made a number of changes to Turtleback Ferry and Hook Moutain.

I removed the bridges across the Skull River. At the lower bridge site on the area map is now a turtle-back ferry run by two Shoanti brothers. A huge rope hawser extends across the river to allow the brothers to pull their boats across. They also row passengers across Claybottom Lake to Pendak and to Bitter Hollow (if desired).

There are numerous trails along the southern slopes of Hook Mountain. Trails extend from Bitter Hollow to the ferry landing and from the ferry landing to Fort Rannick and Skull’s Crossing. There is also a large track from the Kreeg Clanhold down to Coal Lake, around the north shore of the lake and a bit upstream to a ford, and through the foothills of the Iron Peaks – enabling Barl to transport weapons and armor to Jorgenfist. The Graul farm is now back in the weeds quite a ways and it is several miles from where Kibb encounters the party to the farm (rather than right off the ferry landing).

The Grauls got some beefing up and additions to their numbers. (They still barely proved to be more than a speed bump to my party!) If I had to do it again I would get Mammy out of the house so she has some room to fly (maneuver). Having her stuck in the back room was less than optimal even with Hucker coming to rescue her. She has The Kardosian Codex among her treasure (we’ll have to see if the party ever figures out what that is). I also gave her all sorts of necromantic toys – which the party will probably sell. Given the size of the party I killed off all the Black Arrows (I don’t need the extra NPCs) except for Tsuto who is kind of a scrub compared to the party – but he can provide them information about what is happening at the Fort.

Overall I’m giving each of the BBEG’s a unique magic item in addition to what they have listed. Mammy had a specialized necromantic runestaff (adapted from 3.5e). Lucrecia has a mirror (mostly for divination and enchantments – but keyed to Sihedron amulets). Barl has a rune-ring (works like a runestaff, but is a ring).

The village of Turtleback Ferry is surrounded by a wooden palisade. The school is now part of the Church of Abadar (rather than Erastil). The Bottom’s Up is little more than a rough shack and the Turtle’s Parlor owes its existence to the Paradise.

The encounter aboard the still floating (and operating) Queen of Paradise is pretty extensive. I beefed up Lucrecia a bit (as the party will be well rested when they encounter her) and gave her three faceless stalker assassins and several trained venomous snake swarms. She has some “enforcers” aboard the Queen, but I don’t imagine they will involve themselves much.

I typically have six characters at the table – so a number of the encounters have been beefed up. Fort Rannick is no exception. All the Kreeg ogres got a make-over as did the “scrub” ogres. I added a couple of “named” Kreeg Ogres: Kegal Kreeg (Advance Ogre Barbarian 5) in the Barracks, Unzgarm Ghostface (Advanced Ogre Adept 5) in the Chapel with Jaagrath, and Mossback Kreeg (Advanced Ogre Druid 4) in the Tribunal. Lorgus Fenker is a Dread Spectre Ranger (Skirmisher) 5/Rogue 4 who has a special hatred for one of the PC’s. As Lucrecia is down on her boat at Turtleback Ferry, area B36 (the Cells) is now occupied by a Hill Giant Ghast.

The ogre demotion crew at Skull’s Crossing are now led by a stone giant engineer-mason.

The party’s goal at Skull’s Crossing will now be to limit the water flow by shutting the now open floodgates. Rather than the whole pit fiend mechanism there is a now a malfunctioning “life-spark” construct. After all the fighting that goes on in the Chapter I want to give them a chance to do some RP – and Lever Guy who has been rusting here for 10000 years seems like a good option.

Prior to dealing with Myriana the party will get to play with a witchfire and some will-o’-the-wisps.

Barl brought some of his buddies to Hook Mountain. The front door is watched by Agronil Iceaxe, a stone giant ranger, and Blackclaw (advance lion). Nosrel Isgrim, the smith (Cyclops oracle 7) oversees the crafting of weapons and armor at the forge in the Clanhold (D6). Guarding Barl is Moantar Stonefury (Stone Giant Barbarian 4) and another beefed up stone giant (yet to be determined). Lamatar is now a Winterspawn and each of the hags (D7) is getting a make-over.

CJ


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Yeah, I’m not going to be able to resist. I’m going to extend Down Comes the Rain.

The ogres, now led by Nostendra, a stone giant engineer/mason, have done enough damage to the Skull’s Crossing to allow Black Magga to get out of the Storval Deep. She is now loose in Claybottom Lake – and I plan on treating it like a typical lake monster mystery.

I’ve done away with the bridges over the Skull River – and replaced them with a single giant turtle-shell ferry at the place where the lower bridge is indicated on the area map. This is the “Turtleback Ferry” and it has been run by a Shoanti family since before the coming of the tshamek to this area. A massive rope hawser stretches across the Skull, which brothers Chorkus and Beyus use to haul their boats across (dudes have enormous thews from all the hauling). They have two turtle-backs, so they also row passengers across Claybottom to Pendak or Bitter Hollow.

The first sign of trouble will be a snapped hawser – which should raise some eyebrows. This will be followed by some wrecked fishing nets and then an empty fishing boat. I want to gradually up the ante (so I’m looking for suggestions – bathers on the beach in January seems extreme).

As I have a couple of giant gars and a giant snapping turtle in Claybottom Lake – an epic kaiju battle might be fun. If the party chooses to get involved – so much the better. I have a rather reckless druid who has a thing for kaiju. I can totally see him shape-changing and jumping in the fray!

The village of Pendak isn’t very well protected – so having Black Magga ravage it might be fun.

In my campaign the Queen of Paradise, Lucrecia’s gambling boat, still plies the waters of Claybottom Lake and the Skull River (down to Ilsurian). Lucrecia hasn’t yet pulled the plug (so to speak) and drowned all the greedy souls for her Master. However it won’t be long before Black Magga does her work for her. I hope to have the party on the Queen while that is happening. I think having them fight Lucrecia and her faceless stalker assassins while Black Magga is sinking the boat will be a fun battle.

All of this will give me time to play on the rising waters of Claybottom Lake. The party will be able to see that if the waters get too high Black Magga will be able to more easily assault the village of Turtleback Ferry. This will give them impetus to go to Skull Crossing and halt the activities of the ogre destruction crew, stop the hag coven, and close the floodgates (rather than open them – duh – the problem isn’t releasing the waters – the ogre created spillway is already doing that – but rather limiting the amount of water that is being released).

If the party doesn’t do something and if she isn’t licking her wounds at the bottom of the lake, Black Magga will assault Turtleback Ferry crushing the log palisade (something I added) and running (swimming, wallowing) rampant through the streets. Given the rest of what is going on I will probably skip the night belly boa encounter. And the school encounter is now (more aptly) a church encounter. Should be a good time.

CJ


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For the AP's I've GM'ed and played in the key has always been having a backstory or premise that unites the players.

I've run Runelords twice. Both times the party has had compelling reasons to stay together and "care" about completing the AP. Once they were all members of the Dwarven Construction company that built the Sandpoint Cathedral. The second time, and more effectively, they were all members of the Magnimar Special Division of the Watch -- so fixing things in Sandpoint, Magnimar, and Turtleback Ferry was their job.

But even for other AP's (and I think) RPGs in general, having a compelling reason for the party to be together really solidifies a campaign.

As far as RotRL goes -- as a GM I would advise...

* Use the no XP option and level the party when needed. Tracking XP is a drag and this way you can freely have the party encounter whatever is cool and not have to worry about them being too powerful for whatever is next in the AP.

* The AP Railroad can get to be a bit much. Plan some side treks.

* Don't worry about Chapter One being largely unrelated to Chapter Two or Three. Burnt Offerings is the primer to let the PCs thrash some goblins and have fun.

* Expand the party's time in Sandpoint and let them get to know (and love) the local NPCs. This will make the dangers posed by the Skinsaw Man and the giant assault more meaningful.

* Adjust things as much as necessary for your players to have fun. Remember the old saw that the rules (and the scenario) as written are a guideline. Deviate freely.

* Make sure both YOU and your players are having fun.

CJ


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Well you could run some side stuff before you fully enter Chapter Two which would give you time to introduce Aldern to the party.

Pretty much anything out of the back of Dark Waters Rising makes for good "between chapters" fodder.

Let them run amok out at Shank's Wood or the Paupers' Graves. Aldern could easily get into trouble and need rescuing.

You don't have to follow the official timeline. Heck you could even play around with Iesha still being alive for a bit -- maybe the two of them visit Sandpoint and need rescuing. Maybe one of the party members single-handedly rescues Iesha. That would certainly set Aldern "off". He is all polite and smiles and then takes her back to Misgivings and confronts her about her feelings for "her rescuer".

Just some ideas.

CJ


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Given the age of civilizations on Avistan -- 4000+ years for some areas. I would tend to think that most of the easily accessible ores and minerals would already be out of the ground.

Look at our own world and the amount of effort required to extract minerals today -- and this is only after 2-3K years of civilization engaged in mining. And we don't even have magic available to us!

Unless there is some sort of magical replenishment tied to someplace like the Elemental Plane of Earth -- most of Avistan is a mined out husk (hence all the old mines now serving as dungeons).

CJ


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Butch A. wrote:
Why, exactly, does Turtleback Ferry have ferries?

For my part I am eliminating the road that runs along the eastern shore of Claybottom Lake and the bridge across the Skull River (just north of TBF).

The giant turtle-back ferries ply the Lake from Turtleback Ferry to Pendaka and across the Skull River (to a point that is mid-way between the current crossing and the bridge).

CJ


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I had read that originally the encounter at the Paradise was cut due to length and that Nick Logue later re-purposed it as Spider's End for his Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure. I decided that having Lucrecia appear as an afterthought at Fort Rannick was anti-climactic, considering my party had traipsed across the breadth of Varisia to find her. So, presented below is the revised Paradise encounter -- before being sunk. (This is still a work in progress -- but I thought I would post what I have created so far for the general amusement of all.)

Welcome to the Queen of Paradise!

The Queen of Paradise is Lucrecia’s lair upon Claybottom Lake at Turtleback Ferry. It is a large riverboat that cruises Claybottom Lake from a moorage at Turtleback Ferry and up and down the Skull River to the village of Ilsurian.

The Queen of Paradise is a 140 ft. long, triple-decked stern-wheel paddle boat. The main deck consists of an “engine room”, 8 small berths, a galley, food stores, and a dining/drinking hall. The upper deck consists of a large gambling hall, 10 berths, and an aft dinging/drinking hall. The uppermost deck houses steering, captain’s cabin, and a large executive berth (Lucrecia’s chambers) aft. The lower deck contains numerous small berths, crew’s quarters, stores, and the lower portion of the engine room.

Glowing lanterns the shape of serpent’s eyes hang from stanchions and posts along the outside decks, flickering through all hours of the night. During the day, the Queen is quieter, yet the place never truly sleeps. Here is a place that caters to the vices and base needs of central Varisia at all hours.

The Queen of Paradise, serves as the stronghold of Lucrecia and the administrative center of her entire operation. All of the crew aboard the Queen are thoroughly dominated by Lucrecia and within her thrall. Lucrecia operates the Paradise as her private domain and none vouchsafes her control. The staff of the Queen are unnaturally welcoming of newcomers and the games seem uncharacteristically rigged in favor of the patrons. The guards will be suspicious of the PCs, but still intent on introducing them to the vices the Queen has to offer.

Creatures:

Among the services Lucretia offers to her renters is security. She employs a dozen human Enforcers (Fighter 4/Rogue 3), all of whom started their careers as mercenaries, soldiers, or sailors but lost their jobs due to laziness, theft, or incompetence. Once they come to work for Lucrecia, though, they learn quickly the value of remaining alert and sober while on the job—those who disappoint are never seen again.

The enforcers bunk in hammocks on the lower deck. Once a week, an enforcer gets a day of shore leave, but never more than two guards at a time—at any one time, there are 12 enforcers onboard, ready to respond to an alarm. Of these, six patrol the decks, two receive visitors from the shore, and four sleep in their hammocks.

Three giant gars prowl the waters beneath the Queen. They are trained to heed Lucrecia’s call if summoned, but mostly just interested in anything that falls into the water.

Down in the muck dwells Black Tongue, a prodigious giant snapping turtle. The gars know to stay out of his way. But Lucrecia has a special bell she rings to summon Black Tongue to supper.

A1. The Quarterdeck:

The sound of carousing booms from the elegantly painted ship. A gangplank provides access to the forward part of the main deck. Attached above the bow is a canvas sign painted in gaudy colors announcing “The Queen of Paradise—Your Just Reward by Royal Decree”. A smaller wooden sign under it points aft: “Ghordozo’s—Wines, Spirits, & Gourmet Viands!”

Trappers, traders, travelers, drunkards, and prostitutes carouse amid the two decks, seemingly oblivious to the weather or time of day. Here and there, large men dressed in bright burgundy cloaks patrol the decks, with blackwood longbows in hand they are grim faces in a sea of revelry.

Apart from being propositioned by whores or accidentally shoved by drunkards, the PCs should have little problem exploring this area unless they attempt to sneak into the uppermost deck.

A2. Engine Room:

Port, starboard, and aft doors provide entrance to the “engine room”. This chamber consists of a large “boiler” with an access hatch, a head & piston, and a shaft (connected to the flywheel below) and a ladder leading down below decks.

The boiler consists of two chambers. An upper high-pressure steam chamber connected to a piston. And a lower "burn" chamber occupied by an enthralled captive fire elemental. Water is suction fed from a tank fore of the lower deck to replenish the upper chamber.

A3. Ghordozo’s:

Several drunkards, sailors, and revelers dance and drink in the open area to the aft of the Queen. Along the starboard bulkhead is a long blackwood bar behind which hangs a carved wooden sign, “Ghordozo’s”. Forward of the bar, a pass-through window provides access to the kitchen, where the masters of Ghordozo’s engage in the alchemy of mixology and gastronomy. The masters are two dark-skinned human brothers wrapped in red veils—these are twin Vudrans named Anpugit (N male human expert 6) and Rajeek (CN male human expert 4/rogue 3), entrepreneurs, traders, and chefs always looking for new delicacies and delectable to add to their offerings. Of the two, Anpugit is the more garrulous—he does most of the talking while Rajeek quietly hangs back and tends his creations.

Two stairs provide access to more private seating on the aft end of the upper deck. Here also there is a view over the stern of the Queen. Forward of Ghordozo’s, a thick burgundy curtains provides access to the Corridor of Sighs and beyond that the Smoking Jinn Passage.

A4. Corridor of Sighs:

A thick burgundy curtain shields this corridor running from Ghordozo’s forward to the “engine room”. Small, tight berths line the corridor – each curtained by a thick maroon drape. They contain little more than simple post bed with a straw-stuffed mattress and perhaps a couple of blanket. Above the entrance to each alcove is a red paper lantern – the air is thick with incense. The scent of anise, rosewater, and cinnamon pour forth from smoking bronze braziers hanging from the ceiling. Several scantily-clad men and women loiter in front of the alcoves indicating their availability.

The Corridor of Sighs is overseen by a madam named Halvara (CN female half-elf expert 7). A patron talks Halvara, pays and pays a 5gp fee to wander the corridor, seeking any of the men and women who work here until he finds one who strikes his fancy. The two retire to an alcove for 15 minutes of low-cost bliss. Halvara herself has been known to personally entertain wealthier customers (she charges 100 gp for her time, though). Rumor holds that she is Lucrecia’s sometimes lover—whether or not this is true, the rumor is enough and few patrons ever even think about causing trouble here.

At the forward end of the Corridor of Sighs is a doorway to the engine room and a stair leading below to the Smoking Jinn Passage.

B1. The Paradise Room:

A fine wooden stair provides access to the upper deck of the Queen of Paradise. From above the raucous sound of laughter and periodic roars of victory sound. The Paradise Room is a gambling hall. The forward upper deck contains tables packed with gamblers, drinkers, and carousers—dice clatter, cards are dealt, wheels spin, and coins aplenty dance and jangle to the fickle whim of fate. An enforcer is always found patrolling here, though fights are rare. Anyone causing trouble is cautioned by one of several Handmaidens. Persistent troublemakers are typically thrown over the side, and on lucky nights they don’t have to worry about the inhabitants of the dark waters of Claybottom Lake.

A small, neat white sign on the aft bulkhead announces “White Owl Passage—clean linens at cheap rates.”

A simple yet elegant stair leads upward to the uppermost deck (containing the wheelhouse and executive suite). Aft of the Paradise Room stretches the White Owl Passage that links to the upper level of Ghordozo’s.

B2. White Owl Passage:

A passage runs fore and aft centerline of the upper deck. Small private berths line the passage. Here, those whose endurance has been taxed by the wild cavorts of the Queen can retreat to sleep it off. The rates are good, only 4 sp/night, but the beds are lumpy and cramped – and mostly clean. Still, with Lucrecia’s presence, nights spent here are relatively safe. A lisping gnome named Tugginswardgil (CN male gnome expert 3/rogue 8) presides over the berthing. Tugginswardgil is a wall-eyed character with a crumpled hat, patchy beard, an extensive collection of keys (most of which he has no idea what they open), and a very, very sharp knife.

C1. Smoking Jinn Passage:

A sign depicting a leering smoky jinni points the way below decks.

A long, low ceiling passage runs the length of the lower deck. There are several small rooms containing padded bunks and couches. Thick, pungent smoke assails the nose below decks. Glossy-eyed patrons loll about and mewl, their minds burning with shiver, pesh, qat, flayleaf, and other exotic drugs. A skinny, short human named Bezzeraty (CN male human expert 3) wanders languidly about the smoky rooms, wheeling a large hookah to and fro on a cart and muttering “Get smoked!” at anyone who enters. Many people mistake 3-foot-tall Bezzeraty for a gnome or halfling, an error sure to incite his shrieking anger and bring several enforcers running. Likewise, he starts shrieking if visitors don’t pay him the 5 gp entrance fee to enjoy his wares.

Anyone who spends at least a minute in this smoke-filled area must make a DC 14 Fortitude save to avoid taking 1d4 points of Wisdom damage; each hour, a new saving throw is required. When a patron passes out completely, Bezzeraty rifles through the patron’s pockets to find gold to pay for his troubles, and if successful he calls upon a Paradise enforcer to drag the unconscious body to a berth above.

D1. Throne of Serpents:

This large room (aft of the wheelhouse) has been converted into a throne room of sorts. The walls are thick with brilliant and beautiful tapestries from Tian Xia and Vudra depicting sensuous and erotic displays—with an emphasis on nagas, serpent-folk, and other ophidian creatures. Numerous large wicker baskets line the walls. Fragrant smoke rises from a censor in one corner.


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P.H. Dungeon wrote:

The reason I said that is because for a lot of gaming groups it's a challenge/big accomplishment to see an entire AP through to completion, so the more time you spend doing side quests and the like the less probability you will have of actually finishing the AP, as most already require a minimum of around 40 game sessions to complete (without side quests). I've heard countless mentions on different threads of groups starting APs and not finishing them.

Yeah, I thought about this a bit more -- and you are probably correct.

So far we've been playing for 19 months and are only just starting Chapter 3.

I'm hoping AP fatigue doesn't set in.

Chapter 3 and 4 both seem pretty flexible in terms of staying on track. And so far my players have enjoyed the diversions I've given them. But there have been signs that perhaps I should speed things along.

Point well taken.

CJ


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I encounter this question quite a bit as my PCs are members of the Magnimar Watch (Special Division).

Aside from the violence issue – the greatest harm is to impede commerce.

Various pharmaceuticals, mind-altering alchemical concoctions, and potions of variable utility are commodities – and hence protected by law as part of the natural course of commerce.

Whenever they have an encounter, the first thing my party does is consider if the creature/monster/individual in question is impeding commerce. If so they are officially obligated to intervene.

CJ


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ShadowFighter88 wrote:
I think the easiest way to make that trope work, would be to make sure the players understand HP as Gygax originally imagined it - not actual health, but more like Plot Armour. So when the situation comes up and they don't back down, you don't use the normal rules for damage - roll to hit, but make them deal a lot more damage than normal.

Yeah...that totally worked in the Good Olde Days.

Now as soon as you whip out something that isn't backed and supported by five overlapping layers of rules your players freak out.

When I GM I generally have a table of pretty mature and experience role-players and I still get the fish eye when I pull some of my First Edition tricks.

*sigh*

I sometimes miss the less structured days of old.

CJ


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Magnimar to Wartle

The trip from Magnimar to Wartle is 182 miles by boat up the Yondabakari River – pretty much through the Mushfens (which lie to the south). Following along the north bank of the river is the Dry Way. The southern bank of the river is largely non-existent consisting mainly of marshy tributaries flowing southward into the Mushfens.

It is going to take a sizeable boat to get the party and their mounts through the Mushfens. The party has four choices:

1. The Scarlet Lamprey. Owned and operated by Captain Eismarche Oman (CN, Male Human), the “Lampy” is a narrow, shallow-drafted steam-powered river boat. An alchemical engine drives a stern-mounted paddlewheel at a rate of up to 30 miles a day (depending on the force of the downstream current) – for a roughly six day journey to Wartle. She is a fast boat and her crew is capable, however she doesn’t have nearly the room to accommodate any sort of large beast. The alchemical engine that drives the Lampy is also a bit finicky – each day of travel there is a 5% cumulative chance of a malfunction that will slow progress for 1d8* hours (there is a further 1% cumulative chance of a spectacular malfunction that will halt progress for 1d8* days – in both these cases a roll of an “8” explodes. Any mishap resets the malfunction percentage to half the previous value). Passage along the Yondabakari is chancy – for each day of travel there is a 5% chance of some sort of snag, sand bar, underwater boulder or log, or other hazard delaying passage by 1d8* hours. The crew of the Lampy is experienced and well equipped in dealing with hazards along the Yondabakari.

Best Speed: 30 miles per day
Cost: 200gp per person for "Medium Passage"
Magnimar to Wartle (182 miles): 6 days
Wartle to Whistledown (113 miles): 4 days
Whistledown to Ilsurian (64 miles): 1-1/2 days
Ilsurian to Tutleback Ferry (82 miles): 3 days
Total Duration: 14-1/2 days

2. The Rambling Bee. The “Bee” is a more typical river trader, operated by Captain Iva Stoneroller (LN, Female Dwarf) for the <insert trade company>. She is a shallow-drafted keel boat drawn upriver by a team of oxen, or by pole & paddle in some areas. A small square sail provides some additional propulsion. The Bee has cargo space and deck space enough to accommodate several large beasts (cost of transporting a beast is 250gp, not including fodder or care – though an experienced stock keeper can be hired for 1gp/day + Low Passage). Passage along the Yondabakari is chancy – for each day of travel there is a 5% chance of some sort of snag, sand bar, underwater boulder or log, or other hazard delaying passage by 1d4* days. The Dry Way is also not always the “dry way”. For each day of travel along the Dry Way there is a 5% chance of encountering mud, flooding, or some other weather induced impediment to travel (movement is slowed by to ¾ of normal. During fall, winter, and spring the chances increase by 5% per half-month.).

Best Speed: 10 miles per day
Cost: 50gp per person for "Low Passage"
Magnimar to Wartle (182 miles): 18-20 days
Wartle to Whistledown (113 miles): 11-14 days
Whistledown to Ilsurian (64 miles): 6-8 days
Ilsurian to Tutleback Ferry (82 miles): 8-12 days
Total Duration: 43-56 days

3. The Dry Way. The most commonly used overland route from Magnimar to Turtleback Ferry is the Dry Way which runs along the northern bank of the Yondabakari River. The Dry Way stretches from Magnimar to Ilsurian (360 miles). For the most part the road lives up to its name – it is dry. But for a goodly portion of the year (any time but summer), portions of the road are flooded or mired in mud. For each day of travel along the Dry Way there is a 5% chance of encountering mud, flooding, or some other weather induced impediment to travel (movement is slowed by to ¾ of normal. During fall, winter, and spring the chances increase by 5% per half-month.).

Best Speed: 28 miles per day
Magnimar to Wartle (182 miles): 6-1/2 days
Wartle to Whistledown (113 miles): 4 days
Whistledown to Ilsurian (64 miles): 2 days
Ilsurian to Tutleback Ferry (82 miles): 3 days
Total Duration: 15-1/2 days

4. Sanos Trails. It is possible to take the Dry Way overland from Magnimar to Wartle and then follow the New and Old Sanos Trails northward through the fringes of the Sanos Forest to Turtleback Ferry. The Sanos Trails are less likely to be encumbered by mud or flooding though there are other hazards. The usual chance for bad roads along the Dry Way are still in play – but along the Sanos Trails the chances of road hazards decrease to 1% per half-month since the start of fall.

Best Speed: 28 miles per day
Magnimar to Wartle (182 miles): 6-1/2 days
Wartle to Tutleback Ferry (200 miles): 7 days
Total Duration: 13-1/2 days

CJ


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What didn’t I change…

I made changes both large and small to this AP. I started with a different premise – my party are members of the Magnimar Watch Special Division. They are responsible for handling situations that are beyond the expertise or scope of local officials and law enforcement and are also the investigative arm of the Magnimar Watch. So pretty much Magnimar’s FBI.

At the start of Burnt Offerings the party was sent to Sandpoint to assist Sheriff Hemlock while he and his men investigated the local goblin problems. When the Sheriff and his men went missing the party (or C Squad as they are known) had to track him down and rescue him (from the dungeons under Thistletop). As I generally have a six player table I utilized a number of the changes presented by Joey Virtue (which I updated for Pathfinder) – Joey’s work was my starting point. I added additional goblin heroes into the Sandpoint Hinterlands (including the goblin-wereboar Big Gutmug) to keep the party on their toes when out wandering about. I restated Nualia and Malfeshnekor – Nualia as a Cleric 4/Fighter 4 and Mal-baby as a Fiendish Spellwarped Ettin. The Nualia changes were right on the mark – she was a very challenging fight and she and Lyrie managed to escape (though without most of their goodies). I might have beefed up Malfeshnekor a bit too much – but once the party realized he couldn’t leave his chamber they decided to leave him alone. On reflection, I wish had made the Glassworks a bit more challenging – the beefy members of C Squad made short work of the goblins and readily captured Tsuto.

After Burnt Offerings the party had great fun playing through Feast of Ravenmoor – even five months later it is still talked about. This too required a bit of “beefing up” to challenge the party. I rebuilt the cultists as 5th level Experts and the advanced the Squealing Cythnigot for the Greased Pig challenge. I also threw more than a handful of encounters along the way to and from Ravenmoor – including an additional ritual Sihedron murder (to hint of some of the things to come in Chapter Two) and a full-blown murder mystery in Galduria (which was totally unrelated to the core plot).

I turned Skinsaw Murders into a true murder mystery – adding quite a bit of content on the Magnimar side of things. I also turned the Brotherhood of the Seven from generic rogues into actual serial killers (with the 7 leaders being very nasty unique NPCs). The killings at the Sawmill drew the party back to Sandpoint, and they had a lot of fun trying to figure out how the Skinsaw Man tied in with the odd ritual murders in Magnimar carried out by the Seven. Aldern and the Misgivings were fun – but the bulk of my plot centered on the 7 Senior Brothers of the Brotherhood. I threw Dawn of the Scarlet Son into the mix as a brief four-hour challenge. For part of this Chapter the party actually received their orders from Justice Ironbriar (redone as Cleric 7/Rogue 3/Assassin 1 – more in keeping with his role as Elder Brother of the Seven) – which was fun. He sent them on a couple of wild goose chases – one of which led them into an ambush by another of the Senior Brothers – a particularly nasty alchemist. I also modified Seven’s Sawmill to include a full-on cult lair (which for the most part the party left alone). I also modified Xanesha such that she was truly a challenge for the party (Lamia Matriarch Rogue 2 Sorcerer 4 – fully CR 13!). It was an epic boss fight and the party was in trouble a couple of times due to her domination and charm monster – the party pretty much made their saves against most everything else. By the end of Chapter Two the party had unearthed the larger Lamia plot – though Ironbriar managed to escape their “justice”.

The party is still not fully into Chapter Three. The action in Turtleback Ferry against Lucrecia will play out in as yet “unsunken” Paradise (which I’m going to steal from the Barge End portion of Crimson Throne). Right now the party is about half-way to Turtleback. Just for kicks I inserted the old AD&D 1e module Expedition to the Barrier Peaks as a side-trek. It was amusing but probably not worth the trouble (I only ever got to run this module once since I purchased it in the 80’s and I thought it would be a good bit of nostalgia. In retrospect it is a largely pointless dungeon crawl – not really something I enjoy GM’ing much these days). I’ve added a number of encounters along the way to Turtleback Ferry – they have varied in scope and their ability to derail the party from their quest. I like presenting them with plenty of options and making them feel like they have a choice in what they do. For better or worse this AP is a railroad – but I don’t want it to feel like a railroad to the party. The various sidetreks really help with this. I’m really looking forward to Hookhill and the Graul’s. I’ll probably need to buff them a bit to compensate for 6 beefy PC’s. Of note I am also going to bring back Tsuto (from Burnt Offerings). Rather than send him to the Hells, Justice Ironbriar (his real father) sent him to serve at Fort Rannick in the Black Arrows. He will be among the survivors – it should be fun! Another contributor to this forum, TBUG, did an excellent job of expanding Skull Crossing – and I plan on stealing his ideas. I’m also going to heavily mine the various threads for ideas about the Graul’s and the Kreeg’s.

Beyond Chapter Three I have little planned. I’m looking to include the PFS scenario King of the Storval Stair as a side-trek and also inject the three original 1e AD&D modules from Against the Giants. The Steading of the Hill Giant Chief is a pretty easy port. I’m thinking of turning the inhabitants of the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl into undead and burying it in a glacier – I think that many frost giants would disrupt Mokmurian’s plans. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the Hall of the Fire Giant King. As my schemes mature I will endeavor to post them here.

CJ


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I had a similar problem: both Nualia and Lyrie survived -- though Nualia lost most of her cool gear.

Nualia ventured back to Magnimar where she got back in touch with Xanesha. Xanesha sent her back to the Sandpoint Hinterlands to mark more victims with "greed runes". Nualia went back to Thistletop, got impregnated by Malfeshnekor, and began calling herself the Beast Mother. Xanesha sent her some Faceless Stalker allies -- to work the greed sin angle in Sandpoint. Nualia thoroughly impressed the local goblins again and started marking the important goblin heroes with "greed runes". As these are goblins, having special runes (not writing) on one's chest turned into a goblin fad. So now all "important and significant" goblins have runes on their chests -- sometimes more than one -- few are actual runes tied to the Runewell. Due to her pregnancy and renewed ties to Lamashtu I gave Nualia some cool abilities -- but she is certainly looking for ruins to plunder to renew her gear.

Lyrie fled to Riddleport.

CJ


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Ernest Mueller wrote:
thelesuit wrote:

Thanks Ernest, it is so nice to see someone who does their nautical research.

CJ

Sure man! I find there's a lot of good gameplay in those realistic complexities. Heck, we've had whole game sessions where the dramatic conflict was "a long severe storm at sea," worked out hour by hour with sailors suffering from exposure and falling out of rigging, trying to keep the ship afloat and not be driven onto the land, and the players were left with the same fulfilling experience as having had a big ol' combat. Turning ships into the "cars of the sea" is a horribly missed opportunity for an allegedly naval campaign.

Totally agree.

Also, if you have any more of those tasty home-brewed campaign documents -- I'm very interested. Your campaign players guide was very well done.

CJ


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My party has just finished Chapter Two as well. I like to use the periods between chapters to take the adventure off the rails. I have two differing plans for the trip from Magnimar to Turtleback Ferry.

Spoiler:

1. Incorporating bits of Tales from the Old Margreve into the Sanos Forest -- too good to pass up.
2. Running the party through the Pathfinder-ized Expedition to Barrier Peaks -- though crashed into whatever terrain is handy rather than into the mountains.

I hadn't read that the journey from Magnimar to TBF only took 1 week by boat -- and my calculations according to the travel rules were somewhat different.

I gave the party four options:

1. The Scarlet Lamprey. Owned and operated by Captain Eismarche Oman (CN, Male Human), the “Lampy” is a narrow, shallow-drafted steam-powered river boat. An alchemical engine drives a stern-mounted paddlewheel at a rate of up to 30 miles a day (depending on the force of the downstream current) – for a roughly six day journey to Wartle. She is a fast boat and her crew is capable, however she doesn’t have nearly the room to accommodate any sort of large beast. The alchemical engine that drives the Lampy is also a bit finicky. The crew of the Lampy is experienced and well equipped in dealing with hazards along the Yondabakari.

2. The Rambling Bee. The “Bee” is a more typical river trader, operated by Captain Iva Stoneroller (LN, Female Dwarf) for the <insert trade company>. She is a shallow-drafted keel boat drawn upriver by a team of oxen, or by pole & paddle in some areas. A small square sail provides some additional propulsion. The Bee has cargo space and deck space enough to accommodate several large beasts (cost of transporting a beast is 250gp, not including fodder or care – though an experienced stock keeper can be hired for 1gp/day + Low Passage).

3. The Dry Way. The most commonly used overland route from Magnimar to Turtleback Ferry is the Dry Way which runs along the northern bank of the Yondabakari River. The Dry Way stretches from Magnimar to Ilsurian (360 miles). For the most part the road lives up to its name – it is dry. But for a goodly portion of the year (any time but summer), portions of the road are flooded or mired in mud.

4. Sanos Trails. It is possible to take the Dry Way overland from Magnimar to Wartle and then follow the New and Old Sanos Trails northward through the fringes of the Sanos Forest to Turtleback Ferry. The Sanos Trails are less likely to be encumbered by mud or flooding though there are other hazards. The usual chance for bad roads along the Dry Way are still in play.

I also calculated the distances and rates of travel along the way:

Magnimar to Wartle (182 miles)
Wartle to Whistledown (113 miles)
Whistledown to Ilsurian (64 miles)
Ilsurian to Turtleback Ferry (82 miles)

Scarlet Lamprey -- base speed: 30 miles per day. Cost: 200gp per person for Medium Passage. Total time from Magnimar to TBF: 14 1/2 days.
Rambling Bee -- base speed: 10 miles per day. Cost: 50gp per person for Low Passage. Total time from Magnimar to TBF: 43 - 56 days.
The Dry Way -- base speed: 28 miles per day. Cost: varies. Total time from Magnimar to TBF: 15 1/2 days.
The Dry Way to Wartle and then New & Old Sanos Trails to TBF: 13 1/2 days.

I also detailed out various interesting bits along the way.

As the party wants to take their horses and doesn't want to spend a month and a half -- they are opting for the overland route to Wartle along the Dry Way and then cutting northeast on the Sanos Trails to TBF.

CJ


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I have quite a bit of “future” fun planned for Tsuto and Nualia.

Tsuto:

Tsuto was arrested by the party and sent to Magnimar for trial. From the infamous tbug, I stole the idea that Justice Ironbriar is Tsuto’s father. Ironbriar is aware of this. He sentenced Tsuto to the Hells for his crimes. Tsuto’s sentence was remitted to transportation to Fort Rannick and service in the Black Arrows. Tsuto will be one of the survivors of the attack on Fort Rannick encountered by the PCs in Chapter 3.

Nualia:

After escaping Thistletop, Nualia and Lyrie went back to Magnimar. They parted ways. Nualia once again made contact with Xanesha who sent her back north to put Sihedron runes on goblins.

Nualia has secretly returned to Thistletop with some new minions. Xanesha loaned her a couple of Faceless Stalkers who are currently working to infiltrate Sandpoint and facilitate resupply of Thistletop. Nualia’s dedication to Lamashtu impressed some bugbears that have also joined her cause.

As the PC’s stole most of her gear and Xanesha didn’t re-equip her (trust and failure issues) – Nualia is on the lookout for a dungeon, ruin, or tomb to raid to get more stuff. Nualia’s transmogrification into a half-fiend has progressed giving her some spell-like abilities and physical changes that help to make up for her lack of equipment.

Nualia is working actively to free Malfeshkenor. She is also swollen and pregnant with his child and accordingly calls herself the Beast Mother of Lamashtu.

Nualia’s hooded acolytes walk among the goblins of the Wilds, bringing likely candidates back to Thistletop by boat (the rope bridge has not been rebuilt) to be branded with the Sihedron rune. Though this happens in secret, being branded with the Sihedron is now the latest fashion among the goblins of the Wilds. They seek to outdo one another with the complexity (number of points, etc.) and number of stars on their bellies. Only a very few have actually been given the Sihedron rune properly. This has led to some consternation on Nualia's part and the usual pummelings among the goblins.

Presumably the PCs will deal with Nualia at some point between chapters – if not her forces will be added to the army that comes to destroy Sandpoint in Chapter 4.


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I'm in the midst of running this for my Rise of the Runelords campaign and players. The campaign premise has the players as members of the Magnimar Watch (the elite investigative division) and we are currently toward the end of Chapter Two (Skinsaw Murders). I expanded the end of the chapter somewhat to add an element of investigation and the murders that start Dawn of the Scarlet Sun fold well into this. It actually made it really easy -- Kasadei approached them after murder #2 and I let the party do all the work (all of the work normally done by the Watch the precedes the normal PC engagement).

I did have to do some preparation to come up with more details on the victims -- and it wasn't readily apparent that all four were clerics of Saranrae rather than just devout worshippers. Not sure if anyone is interested but I've included that here.

Victims:

Murder One: Walid Thabet, half-elf adventurer (half Garundi), multi-classed cleric/rogue. He has Saranrae religious iconography tattooed on his arms and face. Easily mistaken for a “dark elf”. Dressed like a Varisian adventurer – but by the time the PCs find the body it has been pretty thoroughly looted by the local inhabitants. Not well known by the local community, so his name is unlikely to come up.

Murder Two: Zoubeir Mzali, was a grocer and a longtime resident of Underbridge. He was a family man and respected by his community of Kelish immigrants. He is a lay-preacher (2nd level cleric) to the Kelish enclave of Underbridge. He has two wives and multiple children.

Murder Three: Rula Merah, was a cleric from Absalom visiting the local Kelish community, there are some odd signs that she attempted to fire off some spells before she was slain.

Murder Four: Nadir Lumumba, another lay-preacher popular among the local Kelish/Garundi.

Having a copy of Magnimar, City of Monuments has made detailing the murder scenes much easier -- but it also lends itself to a lot of red-herrings and tangents (the cops immediately suspected the local Sczarni).

My only issue right now is that the party pretty quickly came to the conclusion both victims were Saranrae worshippers which in turn led them to the Abandoned Shrine well before the script calls for it. So, I'm having to do some adjustments on the fly (the Scarlet Son is going to attack them while they are poking around the graveyard at the Shrine).

I look forward to seeing how the party handles Avalexi -- I think she will serve as a good warm-up for when they get to tackle Xanesha at the end of the Chapter.

CJ


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It sounds like you need some big damn goblin heroes...

Big Gugmut:

Female Hobgoblin/Were-boar Fighter 3; CR 6
NE Medium Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapechanger)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, Perception +7;
AC 16 (+2 natural, +2 Dex, +1 armor, +1 AT), 12 T, 14 FF
HD 3d10+19 plus 3d8+9; hp 67
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +4
Spd 30 ft.
Melee MW Greataxe +8 (1d12+4, ×3)
Ranged Javelin +5 (1d6+3, ×2, Rng 30ft.)
During Combat Big Gugmut likes to get in and smack things with her axe for a round or two. She will then transform into her hybrid form for most of any given combat. She reserves her boar form for tactical withdrawals.
Morale Big Gugmut is a goblin hero. Only in boar form will she consider retreating.
Str 16(+3), Dex 14(+2), Con 16(+3), Int 9(-1), Wis 12(+1), Cha 13(+1)
BAB +3; CMB +6
Feats Weapon Focus (Great axe), Step Up, Power Attack, Cleave, Iron Will, Improved Initiative
Skills Climb +7, Stealth +6, Perception +7, Ride +6, Survival +4.
Langs Common, Goblin
SQ Bravery, scent, alternate form, boar empathy, ferocity
Gear Masterwork Greataxe, quiver of 6 javelins, dagger, and padded armor

Big Gugmut (Hybrid Form)
Female Hobgoblin/Were-boar Fighter 3; CR 6
NE Medium Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapechanger)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, Perception +7;
AC 20 (+8 natural, +2 Dex), 12 T, 18 FF
DR 10/silver
HD 3d10+28 plus 3d8+18; hp 85
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4
Spd 30 ft.
Melee MW Greataxe +12 (1d12+7, ×3), or
Melee Claw +10 (1d4+5), or
Melee Full Attack 2 claws +10 (1d4+5) and gore +1 (1d6+1)
Ranged Javelin +5 (1d6+3, ×2, Rng 30ft.)
During Combat In hybrid form Big Gugmut still likes to use her axe. She will generally remain in hybrid form as long as it suits her – this is the form in which she can do the most damage in combat.
Morale Big Gugmut is a goblin hero. Only in boar form will she consider retreating.
Str 20(+5), Dex 14(+2), Con 22(+6), Int 9(-1), Wis 12(+1), Cha 13(+1)
BAB +5; CMB +10
Feats Weapon Focus (Great axe), Step Up, Power Attack, Cleave, Iron Will, Improved Initiative
Skills Climb +7, Stealth +6, Perception +7, Ride +6, Survival +4.
Langs Common, Goblin
SA Curse of Lycanthropy
SQ Bravery, scent, alternate form, boar empathy, ferocity, DR 10/silver
Gear Masterwork Greataxe, quiver of 6 javelins, and dagger.

Big Gugmut (Boar Form)
Female Hobgoblin/Were-boar Fighter 3; CR 6
NE Medium Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapechanger)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, Perception +7;
AC 20 (+8 natural, +2 Dex), 12 T, 18 FF
DR 10/silver
HD 3d10+28 plus 3d8+18; hp 85
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4
Spd 40 ft.
Melee Gore +10 (1d8+6)
During Combat Big Gugmut generally uses her boar form to flee or cover vast distances.
Morale Big Gugmut is a goblin hero. If driven to her boar form, she is probably ready to retreat – though still unlikely to do so.
Str 20(+5), Dex 14(+2), Con 22(+6), Int 9(-1), Wis 12(+1), Cha 13(+1)
BAB +5; CMB +10
Feats Weapon Focus (Great axe), Step Up, Power Attack, Cleave, Iron Will, Improved Initiative
Skills Climb +7, Stealth +6, Perception +7, Ride +6, Survival +4.
Langs Common, Goblin
SA Curse of Lycanthropy
SQ Bravery, scent, alternate form, boar empathy, ferocity, DR 10/silver
Gear none

Narfsnu & Bones(Goblin Commando & Mount):

Male Goblin Ranger 2; CR 1
NE Small Humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +3; Senses Darkvision; Perception +5
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 22 (2d10+4)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Masterwork Dogslicer +6 (1d4+2/19-20/x2) and
Masterwork Horsechopper +6 (1d8+3/x3)
Ranged Shortbow +6 (1d4/x3)
Str 14, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 16
Feats Mounted Combat, Skill Focus (Ride)
Skills Acrobatics +4, Climb +6, Escape Artist +2, Fly +4, Perception +5, Ride +14, Stealth +14, Survival
+6, Swim +1
Languages Goblin
SQ Enemies: Humanoids (Human) (+2 bonus), Track +1, Wild Empathy +1
Combat Gear Arrows (40), Masterwork Dogslicer, Masterwork Horsechopper, Shortbow, Studded Leather;
Other Gear Potion of Cure Light Wounds
Enemies: Humanoids (Human) (+2 bonus) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs Humanoids (Human).
Mounted Combat Once per round you can attempt to negate a hit to your mount in combat.
Track +1 +1 to survival checks to track.
Wild Empathy +1 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.

Bones the Warpig
N Medium animal
Init +0; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +6
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 natural)
hp 18 (2d8+9)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +1
Defensive Abilities ferocity
Speed 40 ft.
Melee gore +4 (1d8+4)
Str 17, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 4
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Toughness
Skills Perception +6

Sporenose, the Warchanter:

Female Goblin Bard 2
NE Small Humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +3; Senses Darkvision; Perception +5
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 24 (2d8+4)
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +4
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +1 (1d4-1/19-20/x2) and Whip +1 (1d2-1/x2)
Ranged Shortbow +5 (1d4-1/x3)
Special Attacks Bardic Performance (standard action) (7 rounds/day, Bardic Performance: Countersong, Bardic Performance: Distraction, Bardic Performance: Fascinate (1 targets) (DC 12), Bardic Performance: Inspire Courage +1
Bard Spells Known (CL 2, +1 melee touch, +5 ranged touch):
1 (3/day) Hideous Laughter (DC 12), Cause Fear (DC 12), Cure Light Wounds (DC 12)
0 (at will) Daze (DC 11), Detect Magic, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Unwitting Ally (DC 11)
Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +1; CMB -1; CMD 12
Feats Bard Weapon Proficiencies, Combat Reflexes (4 AoO/round)
Skills Acrobatics +7, Bluff +6, Climb -2, Escape Artist +2, Fly +4, Perception +5, Perform (sing) +6, Ride +7, Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +4, Stealth +14, Swim -2
Languages Goblin
SQ Bardic Knowledge +1, Versatile Singing +6, Well Versed
Combat Gear Shortbow, Shortsword, Studded Leather, Whip; Other Gear Potion of Cure Light Wounds, Wand of Silent Image (5 charges)
Bardic Knowledge +1 (Ex) Add + 1 to all knowledge skill checks.
Bardic Performance (standard action) (7 rounds/day) Your performances can create magical effects.
Bardic Performance: Countersong (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sound.
Bardic Performance: Distraction (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sight.
Bardic Performance: Fascinate (1 targets) (DC 12) (Su) One or more creatures becomes fascinated with you.
Bardic Performance: Inspire Courage +1 (Su) Morale bonus on some saving throws, attack and damage rolls.
Combat Reflexes (4 AoO/round) You may make up to 4 attacks of opportunity per round, and may make them while flat-footed.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Versatile Singing +6 (Ex) You may substitute the final value of your Perform: Sing skill for Bluff or Sense Motive checks
Well Versed (Ex) +4 save vs. bardic performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects.
During Combat Sporenose inspires courage in all of her allies on the first round of combat. On the second round, she casts hideous laughter on the most heavily armored PC, then uses ghost sound to make it sound like more goblins are approaching from one of the southern doors to trick the PCs into wasting time reacting to that illusory threat. She casts cause fear on the largest fighter she can see. She may also use her wand of silent images to create an illusion of a curtain dropping down between her and the rest of the room, providing herself cover she can use to shoot arrows at anyone who fails to see through the illusion. She runs to Ripnugget’s aid with a cure light wounds (spell or potion) if she sees him reduced to fewer than half his hit points.
Morale Sporenose will flee if more than half the goblins go down or flee.

Korkbolt, Goblin Ranger:

Male Goblin Ranger 3; CR 3
NE Small humanoid
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +6
AC 17, touch 14, fl at-footed 14 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
HD 3d10+3; hp 30
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +2
Spd 30 ft.
Melee MW horsechopper +6 (1d8+1/×3)
Melee Dogslicer +5 (1d4+1)
Ranged MW Mighty Comp. shortbow +8 (1d4+1/×3)
Special Attacks favored enemy +2 (animal)
During Combat Korkbolt shouts a lot. He is prone to do more shouting and telling others what to do than actual combat himself.
Morale Korkbolt vainly wants to prove himself capable – as such he is going to fight to the bitter end and then attempt to surrender.
Str 12(+1), Dex 17(+3), Con 13(+1), Int 8(-1), Wis 12(+1), Cha 9(-1)
Base Atk +3; CMB +0
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Track, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Endurance
Skills Handle Animal +4, Knowledge (Nature) +3, Perception +8, Ride +13, Stealth +13, Survival +7.
Languages Common, Goblin
SQ wild empathy +0, Favored Terrain (forest)
Gear MW studded leather, MW horsechopper, small wooden shield, MW Mighty (+1) composite shortbow with 20 arrows, dogslicer.

Chuffrool, Hobgoblin Hero:

Male Hobgoblin Fighter 3; CR 3
NE Medium Humanoid (Goblinoid)
Init +1; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Perception +5;
AC 18 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +1 AT), 11 touch, 17 flat-footed
HD 3d10+18; hp 39
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +1
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Glaive +5 (1d10+3, ×3, 10ft. reach)
Melee MW Longsword +7 (1d8+2, 19-20/×2)
Ranged Mighty (+2) Comp. Shortbow +4 (1d6+2, ×3, Rng 70ft.)
During Combat Chuffrool will engage the largest threat with is glaive then switch to longsword.
Morale Chuffrool will fight until he is at half his hit point total and then look to find somewhere else to be. He is particularly interested in showing himself as a being “hero” material.
Str 15(+2), Dex 12(+1), Con 14(+2), Int 13(+1), Wis 10, Cha 11
BAB +3; CMB +5
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Weapon Focus (Longsword), Alertness
Skills Climb +5, Stealth +4, Perception +5, Ride +7, Sense Motive +2.
Langs Common, Goblin
SQ Bravery
Gear Glaive, Mighty (+2) Composite Shortbow, quiver w/20 arrows, Chain shirt, Masterwork Longsword, dagger, and satchel, potion of Cure Light Wounds.

CJ


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I chose a slightly different tact with the Skinsaw Cult.

The Brotherhood is a three layered hierarchy: at the top are the Senior Brothers (practiced murderers and killers of which there are only seven – including the Cult leader, the Elder Brother), in the middle are Junior Brothers (journeymen killers perfecting their art, often sent afield to reduce the chance of discovering. Some do assist Senior Brothers in their art), and at the bottom are Younger Brothers (apprentices learning their craft – serving as scouts and look-outs, “cleaners”, and various other key, but not over complex tasks).

Each of the Seven Senior Brothers are unique and deadly in their own right. Each has a specific specialty, mode of operation, “trigger” to prompt his (or her) engagement, and a special way of venerating Norgorber.

Brother Spills – an alchemist of some repute in Magnimar. He is new to his position among the Brotherhood having graduated to Senior Brother five years ago. He has few victims to his name (only one before the coming of Xanesha – whom he melted) and is still perfecting his methods. As a Junior Brother, he called himself Ploesi Grimm and preyed upon the village of Hattersfield, just upriver from Magnimar and now “home” to the Skunkworks. In Magnimar he is the reputable alchemist Armin Destok (Cleric 3/Alchemist 8), and quite accomplished in his craft. He has a special hatred for Shoanti (and most of his victims in Hattersfield were such).

Sister Dregs (gnome – Expert-Vintner 7/Cleric 3). Halite Tussywuggle. Sister Dregs has had many, many years to perfect her arts. She is one of the original Seven selected by Elder Brother. She has many victims to her name – but over very many years. Her signature is pickled, dismembered bodies. She generally prefers large, attractive men – particularly opera singers, bards, and actors. Her past is littered with such victims having disappeared only to reappear months or years later in pieces.

The Lumper, sometimes called Brother Lumper, is an unassuming bookbinder named Noeds Vatturn. The Lumper likes to compress his victims into square cubes of semi-digested, indistinguishable (and unidentifiable) flesh. Toward this end he employs a hydraulic press (powered by the same gears that drive the Seven Sawmill blades). The Lumper has not been terribly keen on Xanesha’s demands. He finds satisfaction, and reverence for Norgorber in his own personal rites and observations. He chafes under Xanesha’s demands for performing the Sihedron ritual prior to taking a life and isn’t convinced that the victims she indicates are most deserving of his special attentions. He generally targets innocents and those who lead blameless and charitable lives. He however, is cowed by the Elder Brother and not wont to court his displeasure. Victims he has been assigned from Xanesha’s list have yet to be targeted.

Sister Skintaker, is Melisai Hesani, a surgeon and healer of high repute and the Chief Coroner (Medical Examiner) for the City of Magnimar [use Vivisectionist Cleric from NPC Codex]. Sister Skintaker is not fooled by Elder Brother’s recent demands – she knows what Xanesha is and what sort of hold she has on Elder Brother. The good Sister currently schemes to remove Xanesha and Elder Brother and restore the Cult to the pure worship of Norgorber. Sister Skintaker flays her victims, saving the skins for various uses.

Brother Strings, is Alec Renatus, a weapon and instrument crafter [use Bounty Hunter from NPC Codex (p.135)]. His mission is to find the perfect instrument and then craft it to a higher purpose.

Unknown Brother has no name. He is the most feared of the Elder Brethren as he may appear as nearly anyone. Unknown Brother is the ghost of now dead Brother Harm, a truly vicious psychopath. As a ghost he has retained his deadly skills now augmented by his ability to possess his victims, or any unprotected body. Unknown Brother wears the Faceless Mask.

I don't plan to have the party encounter all (or perhaps any) of the Senior Brothers, except Ironbriar. The "cultists" in the Mill will be Junior and Younger Brothers.

There is also an under-city lair where the Cult keeps their archives and conducts their highest ceremonies.

CJ


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eXaminator wrote:

I'm soon going to run RotRL and am reading this adventure now. I've got 2 questions (which are based on the AE):

1) When did Xanesha arrive in Magnimar? I have read in another thread that she was wandering Varisia a few years and has only been in Magnimar for about a year. But I can't find anything like that in this adventure.

2) How exactly were those people in Magnimar murdered?

1) Somewhere in the various threads is a timeline for Rise of the Runelords -- Xanesha's arrival in Magnimar is noted there. I don't have it in front of me, but it hasn't been terribly long.

2) I'm going with a very different tact for the Brotherhood of the Seven. This is a cult of essentially serial killers. Each of them should be unique, rather than just generic fodder for the PC's to mow-down until they reach Ironbriar. I'm in the process of stat'ing them all out and I will post them when I get a chance.

For the many years that the Brotherhood of Seven has been operating in Magnimar -- pretty much since Ironbriar fled wherever he was -- they have been making sacrifices to Norgorber in the form of serial murders. Each of the Brothers has a unique style, victim profile, and method of worship. It was only recently that Xanesha has insisted on the incorporation of the Sihedron Ritual in the Cult's rites. The Brotherhood would still follow Norgorber in the way they have done so for decades, just with an added twist.

My Brotherhood are also very successful serial killers. They have never been caught -- or at least never publicly acknowledged ("outed"). So within the files of the Magnimar Watch are occasional references to weird unsolved murders. But by and large they are very good at covering their tracks and if necessary blaming any number of other criminals and blackguards. In my campaign the one thing that links all these otherwise seemingly unconnected murders is that the faces of the victims are missing. This is a pretty significant link even if the murder methods and victim profiles are entirely different. Now with the addition of the Sihedron Ritual -- there is a second link between victims, so the Brotherhood is having to be especially careful in carrying out their "worship".

All of this adds up to why the Brotherhood would be so very annoyed with Aldern/Skinsaw Man. He is sloppy and stupid, and could easily bring unwanted attention to the Brotherhood's activities. Which also gives them a reason to want to "clean up" lose ends (Aldern and the PCs).

I ended up rambling on quite a bit. Hope this helps.

CJ


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I decided to develop my own...

Sandpoint to Windsong Abbey is 58 miles along the Lost Coast Road. At 16-24 miles per day, this trip should take 2½ to 3½ days. The terrain is mixed woodland, coastal bluffs, and briar. The road is packed dirt for most of this stretch. 32 miles/day when mounted.

B@+@+ & Orm Inn – This ramshackle two story wooden and stone building perches atop the Dullscrape above the village of Dullstrand. By horse it is approximately half a day’s travel out of Sandpoint. A faded painted wooden sign depicting a tatzlewurm coiled around a black dog hangs at the entrance to the innyard. The doughty innkeeper, Silas Verge (CG male Chelaxian expert 5/fighter 4), a former knight’s squire, contentedly brews his own ale and tinkers in his workshop, leaving the running of the inn to his Varisian wife, Guerina. The two most popular ales on tap are Black B@##~ Stout and Orm’s Tooth Harvest Ale.

Village of Dullstrand (22 miles from Sandpoint, LN, pop. 275, mostly human) – A small fishing community nestled beneath the Dullscrape, an area of cliffs and bluffs overlooking the Varisian Gulf. Dullstrand sits on the Dullstream where it tumbles over the Scrape as it winds its way through the salt marshes and tidal flats. A well-worn trail crawls back and forth across the cliffs and bluffs from the village to join the Lost Coast Road at the B*!~$ & Orm Inn. Dullstrand doesn’t have a market and most fishermen take their wares by boat to Sandpoint (or even Magnimar). The populace of Dullstrand is mostly law-abiding, though most fishermen aren’t too particular how they make their “catch” and are more than willing to move goods and people along the coast for a handful of coins. The Avoretti Varisian clan, led by Banco Avoretti (LE male Varisian rogue 5), in particular is known to augment their income in this fashion.

Village of Snarestone (40 miles from Sandpoint, NE, pop. 385, mostly human and dwarf) – Snarestone is another squalid fishing village along the Lost Coast. Snarestone clings to the walls of the narrow Felsnaresund like some sort of grubby windswept lichen. The narrow streets of the hamlet wind among stone thatch-roofed dwellings, up and down the steep cliff sides connected by frequent stairs and switch-backs. Most of the village’s buildings are built directly into the cliff face. A drafty near derelict heap of black stones called Snarestone Keep dominates the highest point of the village stands as residence to the sheriff, appointed by Magnimar to oversee the village. Currently the dastardly Sheriff Umbro Aglioni (NE male Varisian fighter 5) rules the village with an iron fist, prompting unrest and outright dissension among the populace. His greed and cruelty are well known and he has few qualms about extorting travelers. But Magnimar tolerates him because the village’s taxes are always paid promptly and in full. The Sheriff’s primary opponent Benevolence “Benny” Ederok, a Shoanti-orc half-breed (NG male Shoanti half-orc rogue 7), keeps Aglioni off-balance with a stunning combination of imagination, guile, and trickery. As such, Sheriff Aglioni rarely ventures anywhere without his entourage: Ogmund (CE male Chelish sorcerer 2), Gili Fishgutter (LE female dwarf rogue 2), Tizrano Corsi (N male Varisian cleric of Pharasma 2), and 5 stout well-armed guardsmen (human warrior 1).

The Council of Elders in Snarestone is the small august body charged with caring for the needs of the populace, overseeing mercantile affairs (setting regulations, fees, and duties), an anything not pertaining to the enforcement of Magnimar law or the collection of Magnimar’s taxes (overseen by the Sheriff). Aglioni pretty much owns the Elders outright.

Larkspur Tavern – At the Sign of the Lamprey (don’t ask). This is owned half by Ederok and half by the Venetti family. It is a rough fishermen’s tavern filled with angry, surly, knife-carrying fishermen, who need little compunction to fillet their fellows. The local drink is called Lark’s Ale and comes from the brewers at Windsong Abbey.

Windsong Abbey (58 miles from Sandpoint) -- All faiths are welcome at the Abbey and all the brothers and sisters go masked so as to disguise which particular faith they follow. Holy symbols are worn – but they are contained within black silk bags to disguise their nature. All members of the Abbey obey the same rules of conduct and comportment. There is a strict rule of non-violence and in general non-involvement in worldly affairs (the adherents come here to focus on their faith and doctrine and inter-faith relationships). In essence there are two orders within the abbey: the Contemplative Order that doesn’t interact with the outside world and the Intercessionary Order, which has congress with the outside. The Contemplatives are generally barred from even speaking to outsiders – they spend most of their time in contemplation of their deity’s scriptures or in conversation and discussion with other members of the Order.

Windsong to Galduria is 80 miles along the Lost Coast Road –though the road does not actually follow the coast. Rather this road follows along the southern foothills of the Fogscar Mountains before crossing the Broken Heath to Galduria on the shores of Ember Lake.

Vhorcheater (43 miles from Windsong Abbey) – The village of Vhorcheater perches on the Klamount midway between Windsong Abbey and Galduria. The Klamount, depending upon your point of view is either the last and smallest mountain of the Fogscar Mountain, or the first and tallest of foothills before one gets to the mountains. Vhorcheater sits about half-way up the mount above the Fox Chase River (which flows eastward toward Ember Lake). The village is an independent fief held by the lords of Oldsword Keep. The keep looms over the village which is little more than a collection of hovels occupied by farmers and herdsmen. The Oldswords have a long and storied tradition of extorting local landholders and preying on travelers. They have put these funds to very good use in creating a fine toll-bridge over the Fox Chase here at Vhorcheater. Those choosing not to pay the toll are advised to take the less used Old Fox Road which runs along the Fox Chase until Henback Ford. Of course brigands frequently prey upon travelers on Old Fox Road.

The current Lord Oldsword is Lady Raevyan Oldsword. She is a rare beauty of mixed Varisian-Chellish blood. Her five full grown sons indulge in the family traditions of highway robbery and extortion with aplomb and enthusiasm.


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I was costumed as Drendle Dreng in his full festival garb.

Mostly I was trying to make sure nothing exploded. ;)

CJ
WA VC


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Warrant wrote:

Perhaps someday a future PaizoCon at one of the festhalls in Leavenworth.......? Kind of put a Bavarian medieval setting to the Con. What a time that would be! King Ludwigs has some pretty taster jagerschnitzel and some fun German folk music. I have had pretty tasty Spaetzle and Sauerbraaten at Cafe Mozart. Plus, Munchen Haus has some good bratwurst and beer (being from MN, I can definitely appreciate some good Brats!

Back to the brews. We should have quite the fun time at the con with all of the Northwest microbrews out here in Washington and Oregon. I have noticed a resurgence in canned micro-brews, with Churchkey actually going the Pop-top oldschool route, and Sierra Nevada Pale ale now launching in cans as well.

Now that sounds like an awesome site for a PFS Game Day.

CJ
WA VC


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The important thing is that the hotel bar has reasonable Happy Hour prices and Diamondknot IPA on tap.

CJ
WA VC


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Ævux wrote:
How the heck are first level characters suppose to deal with those kinds of things without the aid of some spell caster who has trained some first level aoe?

RUN AWAY!!

CJ


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Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Hmm. Is Pezhvak actually really genuinely dead (and not undead either) or is this some elaborate trap to lure food or unwitting sacrifices to the keep? And when will the monkey-goblins and Cerulean Sisterhood show up from distant lands? ;)

Thanks Charles. I've never had Rob as a GM -- so reading through this thread should be quite illuminating.

CJ/aka Derrith of Talon


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Its been an interestin' couple of weeks. Goblins. Goblin dogs. Half goblin ambush. Big freakin' wolves. And lots of wind, ice, and snow. Can't say I care much for Iobaria yet.

Not sure 'bout my companions either. Most of them seem afflicted with some form of insanity -- I heard that Brevoy has plenty of that to go around though. A couple of 'em are capable in a fight -- well capable enough to save my sorry hide anyway.

We're at the Priory of Iomedae now. At least it is out of the weather. I wonder how long it will take for something to go wrong.

D. of T.


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baron arem heshvaun wrote:
thelesuit wrote:
I plan on using the following "side treks" for Second Darkness...

I plan on using the Freeport 'side treks' as well, might I ask what

Afternoon Outing, 2nd level (flashback), Holiday in the Sun, 2nd level, Thieves and Liars, 4-5th level, Dark Wings, 9th level, are ?

I'm guessing the last is Dark Wings Over Freeport.

Thank you, and thanks to the 'padding out team'; The Paddies.

Yes Dark Wings is "over Freeport".

Afternoon Outing is an old Living Greyhawk adaptable. I plan on doing it as a flashback for the PCs.

Holiday in the Sun and Thieves and Liars are interlude adventures that come with the revised Freeport Trilogy.

CJ


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farewell2kings wrote:
You have to remember the intent of this piece. It's a 4 hour tournament adventure. Dissecting it to find unrealistic crew complements and ship design is unfair to the author. The adventure works for what it's intended for. If you're going to use it as part of an ongoing home campaign, of course it's going to need some tweaking.

I have pretty high standards, but one's that as a writer have always been willing to meet if I was being paid for my work. But generally I'm not paid to write...so perhaps as a professional writer you have a different perspective. PFS modules are going to get a lot of play. Everyone who comes into the Pathfinder Society is probably going to play this module. At least half of the players and GM's are going to ask, "where's the rest of the crew and why is Captain Darcy only a 4th level aristocrat?".

Most Paizo/Pathfinder products more than exceed what I consider my standards. In fact, I expect this from Pathfinder, which is why I continue to buy their products. I am a strong advocate for the PFS campaign. It has been stated that writing modules for PFS will serve as a training ground for future writers of Pathfinder/Paizo products. As such it is our duty to provide feedback and if necessary criticism. But I'm probably NOT going to be the Sunny Review Guy.

CJ


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Here is something that a PC in one of my campaigns once earned for service to the local ruler...

Spoiler:

Manor of Iaronwell, Holding of Nygoto Dal’Kimba

Before the Long Winter Iarondwell was a small manor in Chajista Dell on the Ilassis River. The holding consisted of:
*A small fortified manor house of the chateau style with a large eating hall and kitchen. There is a bake house, stables, a dairy barn, creamery, buttery, and a dovecote.
*Manor village with a smithy, lumberyard, and a pottery works.
*Pastures (usually for dairy cattle).
*A woodcutters’ settlement.
*A charcoal burners’ settlement.

Status after the Long Winter: The roof of the manor was almost entirely destroyed and there was massive damage to the interior rooms. The out buildings are in good shape but in need of minor repairs. The dovecote is in poor shape. The manor village is in good shape, though none of the tools associated with any of the crafts are present. All the dairy cows were consumed during the Long Winter. The village was abandoned during the Long Winter and a number of undead moved in.

Current Status: Iarondwell has had a slight revival. A number of people have moved into the village, about half of them are original inhabitants, half are new comers. There is some tension between the new comers and original residents—while the older inhabitants generally took up their old residences, the new comers moved into whatever buildings were in good shape and not occupied. Most of the new comers came from Beldan and are Orodradi. They are all of the Viponan religious sect (Orthodox). So beyond everything else there is religious tension among the manor folk. The woodcutters’ and charcoal burners’ are unoccupied. The dairy cows brought from Beldan are faring very well. The dairymen are prospering, but beyond the local area they don’t have much of a market for their wares. The river is thick with salmon and trout. The woodlands abound with game.

Financial Status: The amount of revenue generated or debt owed on Iarondwell Manor is calculated twice a year based on a Leadership check.
DC 5: The manor is in serious trouble. PC must pay 10d6 to cover maintenance, taxes, wages, and various other expenses at the manor. Failure to pay indicates the manor has been sold to cover debts owed.
DC 10: The manor did not do well. PC must pay 5d6 to cover maintenance, taxes, wages and various other expenses at the manor.
DC 15: Manor is holding steady. Income and debt are even.
DC 20: Manor is making a small profit. PC earns 2d6gd.
DC 25: Manor is making an average profit. PC earns 5d6gd.
DC 30: Manor is making a large profit. PC earns 10d6gd.
DC 40+: Manor is making huge profits. PC earns 20d6gd.

Adjustments to DC:
+1 for every 5gd spent.
+1 per 4 ranks of Profession/Herdsman or Profession/Merchant
+1 per 4 ranks of Knowledge/Local/Pfinnashire
+1 per 4 ranks of Knowledge/Nobility & Royalty
+1 per level of Noble

Leadership check is based on CHA modifier and the modifiers below. Characters without the leadership feat suffer a -5 to Leadership checks.

Adjustments to Leadership checks:
*Great renown: +2
*Fairness and generosity: +1
*Special power: +1
*Failure: -1
*Aloofness: -1
*Cruelty: -2
*No Leadership feat: -5


I'm fairly certain I have at least one other example in my files.

CJ


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This seems like the place to add this...

It is approximately forty miles from Sandpoint to Magnimar. Along the Lost Coast Road there are numerous villages (about every five-six miles or so). From Sandpoint to Magnimar, the villages will be encountered in this order:

Hardney has a smithy and a small herbalist shop. A large hill called Blue Tooth Tor looms over the village. The hill is said to be hollow and once home to a sapphire mine.
Morton’s Gale is dominated by a statue in the main plaza of an Angel of Death missing the right (sword) arm.
Swanspike has a moderately sized inn called the Gargoyle’s Cup. The village also boasts a wheelwright and a small flour mill. The village holds a monthly market throughout most of the year.
Detmond has a rather nice inn called the Three Hawks – it caters mainly to travelers on horseback and has a sizeable stable, farrier, and even a horse-trader. The village holds a small temple to Abadar honoring Saint Foursquare, the Patron Saint of Caravans and Wagons (represented by eight-spoke wheel).
Whirty has nothing of note except a ruined watch tower that is said to be haunted.
Gullskald is home to the Black Fish Inn. The Black Fish is a moderately sized inn, but has a somewhat shady reputation. Most folk in the village make their living from gathering sea bird eggs and feather from the nearby cliffs. The village is also home to a beacon to warn ships away from the treacherous shoals and rocks that pose a hazard to shipping.
Rhelmardin is built amid the ruins of some great dwelling (presumably Thassalonian). Structures in the village are made of large ill-suited stones and assembled in a very haphazard manner. The village has a very evil repute and the inhabitants are singularly lazy, slovenly, and shifty-eyed. Many of the folk of the village are misshapen and deformed from birth. Insanity and cruelty abound here, and the local Under Sheriff, Sir Teffrin Ardmoor (Chelaxian, LE-Ftr5), is hard pressed to keep the populace in line.
Lostspear is hardly more than collection of farms. Most folk here conduct their business in Magnimar. The village is home to an abandoned metal works.

This is a work in progress...and contributions are muchly desired.

CJ


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I tend to differentiate between Profession (more service oriented trades) and Craft (a skill that can be used to create a masterwork item).

If anyone cares here is the list of Professions I allowed in one of my more pseudo-medieval campaigns:

Apothecary
Architect
Barber
Beekeeper
Boater
Bookkeeper
Butcher
Butler
Cartographer
Chamber maid
Clerk
Coachman
Courtesan
Cutler
Dairyman (or dairymaid)
Distiller
Doorman/Door ward
Driver
Engineer
Falconer
Farmer
Farrier
Fisher
Footman
Forester
Fortuneteller
Fuller
Gambler
Gamekeeper
Gardener
Gong farmer (one who empties privies)
Groom
Guide
Hairdresser
Herald
Herbalist
Herdsmen
Horse trader
Housekeeper
Huntsmen
Innkeeper
Jester
Kennel keeper
Lackey/Dog's Body
Launder/Laundress
Lawyer/Barrister
Limner
Maid
Maid in waiting
Merchant
Miller
Miner
Orchardmen
Ostler
Perfumer
Plumber
Porter
Poulter
Ratter
Sailor
Sawyer
Scribe
Scullion/Potboy
Serving maid/man
Siege Engineer
Slater
Soldier
Stableman
Tanner
Teamster
Tiler
Trapper
Usher
Valet
Vintner
Woodcutter

In the spirit of completion, here are the crafts I allowed in the same campaign:

Armourer
Atilliator (crossbow maker)
Author
Baker
Basketweaving
Blacksmith
Bookbinding
Bowyer
Brewer
Buttonmaker
Cabinetmaker/Jointer
Calligraphy
Candlemaker
Carpentry
Cobbling
Composer
Cook
Cooper
Draper
Dressmaker
Fletcher
Furrier
Gem Cutter
Glassblowing
Glover
Harness maker
Hatter
Hosier
Illuminator
Jeweler
Leatherworking
Locksmith
Milliner/Lacemaker
Musical Instrument Making
Painting
Playwright
Poet
Pottery
Ropemaker
Saddler
Sculpting
Shipwright
Shoemaker
Stonemasonry
Tailor/Seamstress
Tinker
Wainwright/Cartwright
Weapon Smith
Weaving
Wheelwright
Woodworking

CJ