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Gorbacz wrote:
You do realise that "goals of societal changes" are triggers for many, and even as much as listing a sidebar would cause any discussion about this AP quickly descend into "why Paizo is shoving their political agenda down my throat?".

You do realize that variable goals of societal change does not mean "forced SJW messages" or "hardcore conservative dogma" ?

Especially for people who are actually from another continent ?

let me see :

- taxation of the middleclass versus noble classes
- land ownership for small landholders/peasants
- Dilution/concentration of noble houses by abolishing titles/creating new ones
- enfranchisement for regional rule with local parliaments/councils Y/N
- rework of Taldorian bureaucracy - say based on merit, seniority or purchase of title
- privatization of tax-enforcement Y/N/specific model
- peace/war with neighbouring states
- tradepacts, opening of trade negotiations
- changes of the legislative system, authorities involved or legal punishment Y/N/specific model
- permission of specific religions/cults/faiths or their exclusion from the borders of Taldor
- regulation of the working week. Y/N/specific model
- legality of bloodsports Y/N/specific model
- structure of the military / navy
all of 10 minutes work
edited : spelling

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Tangent101 wrote:

Actually? I'd be willing to go one further. And this works whether or not the Ravens are secretive.

Have a group of Thrunites waiting in the wings. If the PCs do not show at the end of Book 2? Barzillai has his team of lackeys step forward and accept the honor and claim full responsibility. Have them then be visible several times in "keeping the peace" and the like while declaring they are doing it in Asmodeous' name.

Now the PCs have a dilemma. If they remain in the shadows, Thrune will be claiming their actions for himself. It will damage the rebellion. If they come out of hiding? It plays into Thrune's hands once more as now he has a target.

Please note, I freely admit to being evil. ;)

Sound's like ... ahem.... hogwash. The commoners claiming to be the Silver Ravens to "get some free loot(ahem reward)" are lying about their identity in public,and hence end up possibly dead for their trickery. Unless the PCs intentionally use some people as decoys.

Unless you can plausibly reason that taking gifts from local rulers commonly leads to sudden unexpected death through assassination you are willfully penalizing the players for being careful and not playing the scene as "intended". Not my idea of a fair and fun game.

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Sprocket262 wrote:
Wow, it was actually pretty easy destroy it, we got the Alchemist into the powder stores and he blew it up, i'm guessing that was not supposed to happen and the Dominator was not played correctly.

No, not really played as written - methinks, the Dominator is not originally armed with Guns at all....no powder magazine.

And the "Dominator" is a heavy frigate of the Chelian Navy and will likely be crewed accordingly (there is far too little information on the crewing of the opposition warships in the whole AP) but there should certainly be a contingent of competent hell knights, some chelian clerics (to minister to the crew and supervise the commander) and some decent healing ability aboard. Nevermind the likelihood of an Alchemist. Possibly some competent boatswains, an expert master etc. plus a bunch of alchemical weaponry (which is great for handing out to the mooks)

keep in mind that the Chelian Navy caught hold of Harrigan and his "normal" crew pretty easily in the adventure's background, and I feel unconfortable if a heavy unit is actually manned in such a way that the players will assault it as a pushover...

Gunpowder-magazines are - just btw - usually well guarded (and well-locked outside battle) and to see 4-6 players overwhelming a full ship's crew to gain access to the magazine ?

Also - did the Alchemist (and everyone else) escape the explosion ? A ship blowing up will deposit its timbers anywhere and everywhere within a few hundred yards... the masttop of L'Orient which blew up at Aboukir was found on a British man-o- war 1500' down the line

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selfless *bump* ^^

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Maybe take a look at the Legacy of Fire AP (And some NPCs of RotR, part 1) , where there actually are some lamshtuan worshippers and some hints as to kust how the proceed (regarding fleshwarping) in their cultish ways.

Generally : if they can get away with it, the Grindylows will attempt to create new monstrous mothers, by impregnating females with more revulsive bloodlines (which might make the payers fidget or revolted, depending upon temper. It should certainly affect female NPCs ). Or even wish for the party's females to participate in the "act of creation". Tripanation for gaining the Third Eye i also is a fun staple of the cult (and I had wondered why it was not practised on the Grindylow Queen, as a priest)

Also, if the players sail into smaller harbours or coastal places, the Grindylows might see this as wonderful opportunity to raise some hell, capture more viable females and cause general chaos (and demonstrate how the players as their mighty guardians support them !).

Overall : many females on board (Rosie, Sandara etc.) should be more than spooked (or as in the case of Besmara, even antagonized) , since the Lamashtuans will basically regard them as breeeding mares or whatever term you use. This may very well lead to mutiny or sailing of with the unlucky ship while the characters are onshore . Hopefully on some unsettled and dangerous island.

Lamashtu's cults are pretty proactive, and will try to enact their ways of seeing the world on others. Which might not be to many females liking. Unless they are utterly and raving mad. Nevermind that many people do not really like strange religions intruding on their life.

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ciretose wrote:

I think to often weird exceptionalism is used as a crutch. It it intended to show how "creative" someone is, when in fact I think it demonstrates the opposite.

Wanting to play something strange right out of the gate with no context is a big red flag to me.

@trying to keep this on the original track (yeah, probably hopeless !)

Besides breaking possible campaign parameters, has anyone ever considered that other players actually have to play alongside your character (and supposedly have fun too ) ?
Their concept of "adequate" "reasonable" or "cute" might arguably vary.

Nevermind that non-powergaming exotics commonly are a cheap grasp for the social limelight e.g. "see how cute I am" or watch me, deeply awed, looking awesome !" (or totally avoiding all roleplaying scenes, by creeping in the shadows for being "unaccepted" by faux-medieval society), but not necessarily for an overall enjoyment at the table.

personally : i'd like to see the awakenend sentient mud-geyser in a scene involving the local powers court^^ (once)

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MrSin wrote:

Depends on the orc village? Its not impossible there's an odd family out or an adopted member. Heck, its a trait. Its not that unreasonable. In any game I run its unreasonable that anything is 100%. The evil society is 100% NE, and the orc village isn't 100% orc(they might have a goblin!).

There doesn't have to be sweeping changes unless the orcs have a 'we eat all elves' policy or something.

Oh yeah let's play stochastics. Nothing is 100%. But the extremely minuscule chance that there may be life in the corona of a star, does not mean it has to be permitted in a campaign. There is a point where stochastic improbabilty is not deemed relevant anymore even in hard science..

Yes, there MAYBE a tribe out there who will not eat the elf etc etc etc. Maybe they will initiate a human into the deeper mysteries of Orc Shamanism etc (looking at all the Orcish Witchdoctor human "raised ouside the race" guys here ).
If a player absolutely insists on it, let him/her run the campaign and deal with the follow-up consequences.

Because Creativity and long-term viability are two entirely different concepts.

And what is fine for the player to argue - is much more work for the GM to implement.
Nevermind it setting a precedent for the next utterly absurd character concept someone wants to implement ("yeah, you allowed the half-drider, now please allow me my orca-lycanthrope Half-giant Oread... *pretty please") .
Friend of mine build an entire subcontinent's racial structure and realms, invented a sub-race and re-worked several dieties to implement such a character. Say, around 30 man hours of work
Yes, he was pretty smitten with the player.

Yet, as he admits, nowadays, the character was the same typecast, skillset, powers qnd personality she has always been playing, so basically she could have cloned her old character(s), repainted, restoried, re-explained. Neither the player nor the world profited.

The player just needed something "special", e.g. fancy racial clothing, for vanity's sake.

The GM spend 30 hours to rework his world for it.

Besides :
For myself IMHO, what makes a character interesting is how it is played, not what a board thinks makes it more powerful or "flavour of the moment", how much of an odd-ball menagerie it is and how positively broken the rules for it are. Just my take.

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35a Wake me up : something is following the ship, its darker shadow being visible mostly at night in the luminiescence of the ship's wake.... Was that glance at tentcle or barbed fins ? Are those perhaps huge and luminscient eyes reflecting the light from the taffrail lanterns ?
Unfortunately...now something has happened to the lower pintel/pinnion of the rudder. So who is going to volunteer and check from below the surface ?

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Basically it is : Join the gang or fight the gang. The Shackles being their turf and looking at the power level of Harrigan, one might assume the other pirate lords having a similar staff of competent retainers.

Which makes the whole thing a very onesided affair

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some "unnatural" stuff from our campaign

Flatbottom Fish :
Any archipelagoe with a sandy lagoon. Crew had heard of "stinger" island, and also heard of some ships stranded - presumably with cargo. Island was reportedly a "ship sinker", and wrecks could be observed from outside the encircling reef.
Sandy bottom of the bay contained dozens of Stingrays though (up to "huge" size) which made swimming or paddling through the shallow waterway very dangerous indeed, with huge stingers rammed straight through the dinghy's bottom when they disturbed the ever-shifting rays who objected at the disturbance.

Ship of Worms :
Taking some inspiration from Age of Worms, this ship was both pretty rotten, sitting in the lee of an unnamed island. Decks had plenty of opportunity of dropping people to the hold below... which was filled with rot grubs and the remains of several previous pirates and the load of metal the ship had carried. Basically a one trick pony, though, but having the PCs drop through the deck into a hold filled with squirming maggots... priceless.

"Nominal Island"....
remainders of a smaller volcanoe since sunk beneath the waves, close to Drakhar Island. Posing a significant risk since only the reef remained, offering a good chance to rip out the keel and planking, depending upon time and tide. Sunken temple spotted in the deths, as yet unexplored (once a shrine to Drakhar, now populated by Deep Ones ?)
Position got noted down with the express idea of drawing any overwhelming force towards the reef and use it as a shipsinker.

Dinosaur cliffs :
Cavalier (Half Orc) in Group wanted a Pteranodon as a mount, mut got wary at some reports about Raptor Island. Player looked for any pinnacles or cliffs nearby where Ptenarodons might lair. Having dive-boming Petaronods shredding through their rigging and plunging onto deck to pick up crew... another priceless moment. very popular mount came off this though, as "Spotty" the mount has become one of the keenest eyes on the crew and is considered the RGDS (Rapid Gnome-Deployment System )

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Story Archer wrote:

As someone who ran this AP all the way through with three humans and a half-elf, I want to express my appreciation for avoiding the 'exotic race mania' that seems to have infected pretty much everyone else. I can't even imagine some of these menageries/floating zoo's on the high seas...

What's exotic in some place like the Shackles ?

They have "native" populations of Halflings (local and "imported" ), Tengu, Sylphs, probably Undines, Elves (and I suppose Half Elves), Half Orcs, Humans (of various ethnic backgrounds) and are a pretty good place for disenfranchised exiles. Tieflings (of Chelian origins) should be present in fair numbers ?

And having played through this AP with a night-blind Halfling, I can only state that frequent fights in the dark (say in AP#2 and AP#4) are a real bother, and I understand people don't like that disadvantage at all- picking half-whatevers.

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I always wondered if anyone ever saw the odd connection to Dragon Age (I + II )


Captain of a pirate ship ? General looks ? right..... Her early abductor's vessel named "Dragon's Dishonour" ?

Besides she is already a dig on "Cutthroat Island" with the tattoed-to-skin map.

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Vincent Takeda wrote:

I agree. GM's become better by being forced to improvise... It's why I always recommend taking whatever the players throw at you... If they're all in agreement about what they want to play and you want to be a gm.... GM what they want to play... Even if it's not what you want to play... Like Kirth says. Take it as a chance to stretch your limits, step out of your comfort zone and see if you can...

hmm, seems to me like a limited (and possibly self-serving - pardon me for being a cynic ?) view. I have played in some "free-forming" campaigns, which usually turned into straight chaos after a couple of sessions, because there was neither a straight or consistent plot and every player was chasing their individually different but incompatible goals. Yes as a player I got some inspiration that way, but usually the whole thing turned mostly to an individualistic " I trump you !" slugfest.

As for "GM's get better"... yeah only within a limited scope. GMs usually are better at improvisiing within a scene, but not through fiddling with the basic (and sensible) superstructure of the world.

One might also try to tae into account that there ARE players who actually prefer a structured setting. Sometimes they even have a long term story setup for their character, and really mind whether someone wrecks the game for them because the GM is "forcefully demanded" to change his tune and allow another player more elbow space and breaking of ingame fundamentals

They might even be sitting right beside you. Or in the next group you join.

Last but not least, as a player, you usually do have less insights in why some stuff in a campaign runs "this" way, and not in another.

Famous example from an old friends group : Player watched an NPC do something incredible and immediately started to protest "that said action" was impossible.
GM just smiled and repeated what they had seen.
Player wanted, nigh insisted, to do the same, GM refused and claimed that it was impossible by the rules as set for the campaign. Player quoted "rules apply to everyone"... Big row developed, broke the until then quite legendary campaign. The group never played again.
GM told me "the impossibility of said action basically was THE clue for the players that they were watching an illusion".... *shrug*

So, at times, trust your GM that his concept for the campaign (which might include NO ELVES or NO KITSUNE ) has some merit, and that forbidding you your inspired whims may have some long-lasting benefits ?

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simon hacker wrote:
Anyone comes seeking revenge they will have a hard time of it if you are holed up within (its the stairs inside that give the advantage, 2 ways in through the frontdoor and up a small ladder or through the roof, once you play out the assault you relise how effctive it is, The buccaneers in my game just ended up as piles of bodeis at the base of the ladder).

Well someone might just decide to

a) destroy the tower with a Trebuchet/Catapult fire. smash the foundation, watch it lean over, sift through the ruins.
b) blast the front door, than set alight some oil/combustibles (say, like the tar used for caulking and fixing ships) afire inside, and smoke everyone out. Or having the towers interior catch fire - wooden floors and all, since it will admirably work like a chimney...
c) simply blockade the tower, easy since there is no wildlife or foodsource ( gardens outside, seven (!) goats.. no water inside the tower on the isle and have the characters die from hunger

the whole "the tower is hard to crack" scenario is just nonsense from a more realistic point of view *shrug*

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Liraz wrote:
I need a way to keep the adventure on track and am having some issues. Can anyone help? I don't really know what to do here. I think I might have screwed myself.

Yes, you might very well have. Killing the initial premise, before the AP even stated is a bad thing.

You may also have noted that Harrigan dotes on Master Plugg and regards him as something like a son... so I find it hard to believe that Plugg gets demoted, and the players raised in his stead. After the PCs have killed 5 more pirates (which Harrigan can ill affod to lose atthat moment ).....

Why Harrigan actually "likes" them for it... well your call. IMHO : Harrigan goes into *chop chop* mode, settles the affair, recruits some other people in Port Peril and picks up two new PCs from a drifting raft a few days later ?

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Owlbear will easily be beaten by most main-line warrior oriented opponents, due to his miserable AC. Our dwarfish Barbarian beat him within an inch of his life on round 3 grabbing a windlass spar and battering him with that two handed weapon (and power attack).
The point to me was : he should be beaten, but spared. teaching them that some mercy will get them allies.

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Skull and Shackles : Player character ship and enemy merchant vessel utterly becalmed on the morning after a long "through the night" chase. No wind, no nothing. Both ships keep hurling stones until my PCs' group runs out of stones and start with rowing their cutter. The merchant, keeps on firing, hoping to cripple the pirate vessel, finally resorting to hurling wine-filled amphora with their onager, (heavy pottery, an amphora is^^). They start hitting the pirates with a couple of them, spilling "fluid red stuff" everywhere.

1st player : "What the He*l are they hurling at us ?"
2nd player (deadpan) . "Grapeshot !"

When plundering the selfsame merchant
3rd player :"There is no more wine aboard ?"
2nd player : "Oh Gods, we were beaten to the punch...."

Dealing with their fence, a longlegged, rabbit-eared tiefling (DON'T ask )
1st player : "Ahhh, there's the plunder bunny !"

Final battle (changed finale) against an avatar of Dagon

2nd player (uses Harrow, draws "the Fiend") : "Oh, this appears to be a Call from Cthulhu !"
3rd player : "We do NOT accept Calls from Cthulhu !"
2nd player : "F'taghn ?"

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Skulls and Shackles, spoilerish,


the "shanking" in the bilge gets pacified with Colour Spray (Stun) and Sleep (for further reference) . Female attackers get gagged, tied up and secured over some barrels. Nothing much untoward happens.
The PC finishes the normal workload groaning loudly leaves bilge, looks at the instigating boatsswain witing at the trapdoor and loudly shouts "Thanks for that fun threesome", followed by a great Bluff DC.
NPC reputation ruined, whipping for the PC due to "indecent conduct" and a table shaking with laughter and tears.

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Gnomezrule wrote:

I was always under the impression that under most circumstances that sails were not reliable enough to generate sufficient speed to ram other ships. There speed was better over the distance against galleys because the wind does not tire but in battle under short periods galleys could get up enough speed to do some real damage provided they have a ram. This method would be likely obsolete considering that the historical analog of the AP is age of sail not ancient Greece.

Sailing speed actually is higher than rowing speed. No galey I heard off could go to speeds of 12+ knots, which a good man-o-war could do. Both both types of vessel are limited through hydrodanamics according to the length of waterline anyways - no gliding/surfing effects on either.

But galleys could turn much faster and move at acute angles to the wind which sailing ships could not. And galleys were used as vessels up to the Napoleonic wars, the last large galley battle occuring at Lepanto in the 16th century. Xebecs etc had the means etc. to row as well in calms.
But rowed craft from the renaissance onward, with the advent of gunpowder artillery, replaced the ram with a huge calibre gun along the midship axis, which did similar damage, at a much safer range, without too much danger of the vessel foundering because a ram got stuck in a stricken vessel. Check on gunboats, armed galleys, and venetian galeasses

Nevermind the Mediterranean Sea being (perhaps the ultimate stomping ground of galleys) very calm and low-wind in the summer months so rowing was a good alternative in an emergency.

Plus, ramming with raised masts, an extended bowsprite and all the rigging up being very dangerous for the rigging (which if the vessel was brought to a dead stop could/would simply topple forward ). Soooo real danger there for the ramming ship as well.

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Gnomezrule wrote:
If feels like the Caribbean but it functions like Madagascar. A far a way pirate port that forces foreign navies to spend the cash to sail around the horn of Africa before getting close.

Don't work at home ? that might prove more difficult for smaller ships ( will they carry enough foodstuff for the crew ? ).... I'd differentiate between small scale local brigands robbing the coastal trade, and larger crew sailing afar and around half a continent on bigger ships.

Although even the later might attack small coasters simply to stock up on provisions. The man problem with the Shackles is, that the region is too small to not simply avoid by sailing around it. No real enforced gaps like north of Cuba along the Floridan coast, the narrow straits in the Windward Isles or between Cuba and Hispaniola whereone could reasonably lurk to catch the merchant trait forced through this gaps.

With the Shackles : sail west for 300 miles (easily done) and be far out in open offshore waters... where even a slow merchant will be hard to catch. The geography is just suboptimal.

But still, it begs the question whether any player will actually wonder about the traderoutes or simply immerse oneself in being piratish....

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BPorter wrote:

I look forward to the Nmeria AP but definitely as a "season to taste", instead of going the world-changing route.

So true. Although my main hope for "Iron Gods" will be that it does not turn too cyberpunkish, but keeps a japano-fantasy touch ( perhaps a light one, where it comes to the world in general ), and satisfies the itch of many of the forumregulars,.

Let's *lean back* and see what happens after that..... and yeah, I got into fantasy RPG on the common fantasy Tolkien track.. and via Cthulhu. Nevermind the classic sagas and pantheonic tales. oooops, no laserguns thereˆˆ

PS I shall hide my yithian lightning gun/staff of lightning

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Cojonuda wrote:
Laithoron...thanks. Most likely the players will think in the line of making the rudder not operational at all :)

Classic trick (European pirates) was to disable the rudder by soldering the pivots/hinges with hot lead/tin (pretty silent). Or ram/batter metal wedges into the gap between the rudder and the sternpost (muc louder, but faster.

If the ship is underway though, getting into place and remain stable enough to work will be the sort of "Fast and Furious " movie action in its naval incarnation. Or sneaking up at night

Best way - sonic attack spell with an AoE-effect (much harder to find without resorting to the 3.5E "Spell Compendium")

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thejeff wrote:

So why is "Desert adventure with dungeon crawls" so much more appealing to you than "Pirate adventure with dungeon crawls"?

Dungeons and Tombs in the desert ? Fits the genre ! Desert - Pyramids - nefarious traps and curses ! Dark caves, buried treasures and secret doors ! The lost palaces of the once mighty genies ? there goes "the Mummy", "Thousand and One Night" and a myriad of desert+ doom stories !

Pirates stalking through castles, looking for their enemies instead of facing them on the High Seas ? Where exactly is the overwhelming reference ? Let me ask - did the recent and pretty popular PotC feature any major dungeon crawling or even much indoor action ?

Well if they did only pirate APs, some dungeoncrawling might be welcome, but half of the only existing one ?

@J.Price Noted, the rest of the non-mummy stuff got spoilerised.


thejeff wrote:

Because it's really hard to figure out what you want. You seemed to like the first APs, but not the later ones. The only thing you say you actually don't like is dungeon crawls, but have those really been that much more common?

Yeah, they have, IMHO. Runelords had one major dungeon, and smallish crawls through another two. CotcT.. One major, two lesser dungeons ? Second Darkness (after AP#2). Legacy of Fire - two major dungeons. CoT. Carrion Crown, Shattered Star, Serpents Skull (and yes, I call the spatially limited underground/above ground cities dungeons ). Jade Regent (final parts). In between, the less dungeon-ish Kingmaker.

thejeff wrote:

What made the "adventures they did when they still made Dungeon and throughout the first six Pathfinder APs" so wonderful that the more recent ones haven't matched?

The sense of exploration (Savage Tides aka "isle of Dread II" ) , the "in between hexes and areas wanting to be filled", Shackled City with its very weird history. Age of Worms - I didn't like, but some of the content was actually pretty inspiring at least.

thejeff wrote:

Other points: I'm sure Paizo has at the very least sales figures on their own material, which is more than we have. I'm sure they can look at that to determine what's been successful and what hasn't.

Hmm, they do at best know the numbers sold directly and those they sold to the distributors ? But not individual sales at the FLGSs. Not the number sold in the stores or Cons, neither at what margins these have been sold ? Or sold "only" as a package deal (as in buy all six at once, at a discount price to get rid of stock)?

The only AP-Pathfinder , that currently seems utterly unavailable to physically purchase is a part of Kingmaker, AFAIK ?

thejeff wrote:

Do you actually have hard data supporting "fewer FGS shops are individually selling less and less books and APs" and "selling less of a quarter of AP-supplements these days compared to five years ago"? Or are you basing that off of a few local stores? Or less? A lot more stuff may also be moving online, that was sold in stores 5 years back. I know I order most of mine, but then I don't really have a FLGS.

Let me put it this way, and yes it is not an independent scientific study. I have a reasonably strong mercantile background which gives me some idea of margins, crediting etc.. In my area (the greater vicinity of a major German city, with 2 mil+ citizens), of the originally 10 stores (in 2000), now there are only two left, because the sale of hardcopies is down due to illegal/legal .pdfs. The rest went bankrupt. Cons are still packed, so customer interest prevails. I know the owners of both remaining shops. pretty well.

Neither orders more than half a dozen copies, a dozen at most for the earlier installments, after that, purchases only by prior announcement/pre-order. Original claim, when "Pathfinder" started out was a calculated sale of about thirty-something copies. My favourite FLGS sells for prices undercutting Amazon.uk.com and amazon.de, and is a major online dealer itself (diversification etc. ), so I guess, its not a question of economy.

Both shops actually had to strongly expand their business, because role-playing stuff alone does not support the owner and an employee. Both shops actually sell only Paizo and FFG stuff in any reasonable numbers anymore, some very limited collectors of Chaosium and Hasbro's 4E around. Instead of selling almost any new hardcover/major title by the pallet.
Everything else - not even worth doing customs over.

No, I am not doing their book, but I am on a first name base and get invited to their christmas parties^^ So far, my locally limited experience.
Other shops in Germany... I only know three shops being left (out of about thirty I knew first hand) , each strongly diversified (into comics, board games, tabletop material or LARP-equipment), to pay the rent.

*shrug*... give me the money, and I will fund a nice and more profound academic study^^

Last but not least : It seems like GMs buy Pathfinder, few players do, because the content is overwhelmingly aimed at GMs. Say, Core Rulebook or APG/UM/UC are stable and more reliable sellers for the FLGSs. And if a GM won't buy the path = less word of mouth, less stories, less recommendations. And fewer players actually ask about "doing that campaign".

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Andrea1 wrote:
Capcom seems to be getting ready to make a game about it.

Help ! We are now all officially doomed....

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Friend downplayed the swarms deadliness (group only had a Wind oracle as healer, so neither positive channels, nor particularly strong healing power ), by reducing the "bleed" damage to bleed-1. which made them less "instant killers" (3rd level chars, with a bleed-6 or even bleed-4 on them.... ouch !!!! )

He also added a distinct hum to the swarms (Perception DC12-15 I believe, he mused about a low number so, distance would not totally eat up the chance of the PCs being forewarned) , which usually scared the players' off very effectively.

A wand of Burning Hands should be slightly higher level, otherwise a meagre 1D4 (1st level spell, 1st level caster level) might be more of an insult then a real help^^

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Odraude wrote:


Having a cohesive story and aliens aren't mutually exclusive. You can have a well-done story that involves more "gonzo" things. Reign of Winter is a good example of this, especially looking at the ratings so far of the two off-planet adventures. Both have great plotlines and the adventures are well made. As for the classic nature of dungeon delving, that's YOUR opinion on dungeon delving being lazy. There are many people that love going through dungeons and find Tomb of Horrors and Rappan Athuk to be well-made classics that they enjoy playing. Not to mention that Shattered Star has very positive reviews and is much more than just simple dungeon delving.

They are "lazy" in the sense of nothing much really needs to be done around them and they do regularly resolve in a pretty linear fashion. As opposed to an open-Sandbox, which is far harder to design access-wise to keep the players in level-appropriate areas. Dungeons are places where monsters for hacking can almost always be found.

Odraude wrote:

To be honest, considering how many people speak highly of those adventures and the ratings they get, I'd reckon to bet that you and your group are in the minority of hating them.

Lol, there is a proverb that millions of flies speak highly of fecal matter, which does NOT it make more appealing. Millions of people listen to weird types of music... you see my point ? Quantity - even if there allegedly is any, does not mean better. And even being in the minority has it's appeal... the world-wide minority can well be a local majority ?

There are hundreds of people who enjoy "Dungeonquest" "Heroquest" and/or "Descent" (and the many games akin to them)... but none of them are long- or mid-term roleplayers. But they will speak highly of the boardgame. There is IMHO no depth of story or ongoing plot to a dungeon, there is the tactical choice of killing, but very little interaction, no playing of a role and long-term investment into anything but a more optimized character ?
My experience I take from visiting half a dozen conventions a year, hanging around friendly local game stores for the last twenty years and partaking in games there, or sharing a quick drink. Maybe its a local thing. I don't consider that as a viable transregional scientific study.
But what exactly are you basing your assumptions on ?
Simply put, players playing Pathfinder and Co in a purely tactical way, commonly get kicked/turned away from groups I know, hear off, debate about in forums or run by more or less distant friends of mine after a short while. *shrug* "How was the game?" "Quite good, since our 'boardgamer'alchemist did not show up.". Duh....

Odraude wrote:

And I daresay that people get an adventure not because they are classic, but because they want a good story that the players and GM can enjoy. I'd dare say that is how you actually get a classic.

Players consider adventures classic because they recall them. Nobody I ever met finished Tomb of Horrors, but everyone remembers it. It has become a trope - and be it from other people's stories.

Bragging rights =/= classic

Odraude wrote:

Basically, what I'm getting from you is that you have an opinion about how adventures should be and any adventure that deviates from that, no matter how well written, is of poor quality to you and any person that wants to see something different is just a jaded, immature player.

I could say the same about you. Differing points of view. the problem being.. paizo's publishing schedule has lately diverged more to your interest of published adventure. While in "the beginning" they might have appealed far more to my take

And "jaded + immature" - sort of contradictory. Make up your mind ?

Odraude wrote:

I get the feeling that you've never actually read these adventure paths (Shattered Star and Reign of Winter) and are simply making assumptions based on what you've heard and your own misconceptions. I'd suggest actually reading the adventures before judging them and belittling those that want something different from the standard.

Sorry, I read them intensely but without much joy, partially because I had a bad accident in winter and was happy to have the PDF's on my tablet... although, since I cancelled my subscription on issue 3 of Reign of Winter, I have only had access to a friend's printed copies to read about it. "Rasputin must Die"... omg, yes I do have it on my desk at home.

But looking at the dungeons from Shattered Star ? We get to tromp around in the "Lady Liberty" of Varisia ? A dungeon with a circular gate and a tentacular entity crawling through that ? A dungeon that is actually a gateway to the Plateau of Leng (I actually enjoyed the concept, but not how it was drawn up in the end) ? Oh, and the island from under the sea rising up from the bottom of the Ocean ? Nothing really original or spell-binding... Basically Hollywood movie stuff.

Anyone believes one will be talking about those dungeons twenty-five years from now like... say about the Sphere of Annihilation in Tomb of Horrors ? the demi-Lich ? Or the "negative Elves" (ahem Drows)in the final ìnstallment of "Against the Giants" AP ?
I don't think so.

Odraude wrote:
No one here is saying that weird is superior. In fact, if anything, you are the one that is putting down anything that deviates from the standard of fantasy.

Oh right - Cthuluesque crossover's are staple fantasy^^ Same goes for pirates-fantasy mixture. Nevermind Edgar Rice Burrough taking us to different planets ? Epic Fantasy in the Tolkien or Greek Myth's style ? Usually the crossovers are done in some subtle way, keeping the world as is in balance through making the cross an extraordinary occurence (which also adds much to the entertainment and sense of the unknown).

What I don't like are cheap/crude mixture of stuff like "more xenomorphs vs. gunslinger/alchemists" in the japanese manga style, or crawling around a mega-sized dungeon just for the sake of it. That's kindergarten style. Yes some people enjoyed kindergarten^^ Just add something cool, from a totally different take of the world and intermix. Godzilla vs. Superman... blah.. Let's add some stats to compare....
Kaiju vs. Giant Mecha, with some Wormhole dynamics thrown in...ok, that works as a movie (and keeping the logic of disbelief in the OFF position^^), but as an ongoing campaign ? And stuff like "Rasputin must Die"... creates major problems in this vein (witness the threads about gun-proliferation in Golarion) . So does the entire "Let's Change the World's climate" of the Reign AP. Or creating a gateway to a different planet.

Basically, failing such an AP means either reworking the world or reseting the players' experiences with said world. I'd rather have a First World invasion aka Kingmaker... weird enough for most, fantastic, with a world running by entirely different means and laws

And I don't like people claiming I fight from a corner which fits their view of the world and particular interests while actually I come froma totally different angle. One of the cheapest rhetorical tricks ever. Almost insulting.

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group enters the lair of a pack of fire breathing wyverns, with the "parents" off hunting, and baby Wyvern happily munching on some unidentifiable goblin

Bard (who is a pretty hardcore player most other times, gets gleaming eyes ): "Kawaii !!!" (japanese for very cute..yeah, she has been struck by too many animes)

and starts to stroke the little (dog sized) wyvern. Overly fond of cute reptiles, someone is....

Baby Wyvern sigh's contently (cute sound effect by the GM ) and breathes a searing gout of flame at the bard, setting her very much on fire.

Rest of the group (synchronously) : "KAWAIIII !!!"

"Kawaii !" has since entered our permanent repertoire of assessing something that does look "too cute" to be harmless^^

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Odraude wrote:

Considering that in the history of APs, we've only had two adventures on aliens planets (one of which is Earth), I think we could use some more Distant Worlds love in adventure paths. Hell, there was only one alien in Shattered Star and he wasn't even real...

hmm, we had the slightly weird First World Fey Realm in "Kingmaker", two trips to outside planes with specific planar rules in "Legacy", a quick visit to hmmm, what-do-we-call Plateau of Leng in "Shattered Star" (less so in "Runelords"), some odd visits to off-beat worlds in "Reign of Winter" ( just extrapolating from reading over the stuff published for that path, I don't actually have the issues), one could guess that "Wrath of the Righteous" might takes the PCs to the Abyss.

What would actually be fun if several installemnts of an AP would transfer the players... say to the Red Planet. Or the Green One. John Carter of Mars

Nevermind Golarion has so many continents as yet unexplored and not even roughly charted - lots of weirdness to be placed there.

Odraude wrote:

I feel with Osirion's roots in the Dominion of Black, the countdown clocks, and Aucturn, this was a missed chance at having a really cool dark alien cult themed adventure. There is (and always has been) plenty of classic adventures for everyone out there to play.

No, actually there hasn't been for about 18 months of APs (Star, Reign and Righteous - yes, no-one I know really wishes for the mythic rules... strange world.). Nevermind that several APs before that were/are of a more lacklustre quality and some needed much rework.

And yes, a weirdly alien cult might really have worked - nevermind that whole team harkening back to the great old days of Cthulhu and the old Egyptian campaigns from that era - Cairo Sourcebook etc...! But that does not have to include "other worlds", plane-hopping for the sake of it, or introducing 20th century weaponry.

I like the idea of "sands and ancient evil", especially since A.Scott, R.Pett and very-gobliny-Frasier are on board. Let's see how much strangeness they are goingt to wring from the desert.

Odraude wrote:

The most any of us have out right now is Doom Comes to Dustpawn. Beyond that (with the new change to modules) there isn't much else for us. And whenever we finally get an adventure, you get people like Sincubus that can't stand that others are having fun with "lazers" and "aliens". So yeah, it's pretty disheartening to again have to wait another six months for something even close to this.

I am not so sure whether too many players' and GM's outside these board's regulars do actually agree with you. Or would even participate in a suryey, so numbers would invariably skewed towards those posting most frequently on the forum... And even if you have one player saying "guns would be cool", several others on those groups will renege on such a plan or playstyle. My brother is currently "re-running" Skulls and Shackles-- now with gunpowder weapons added in, and all but one of his six players loath the whole idea... It's not yet splitting the group's cohesion, but the whole "gun thing" is a constant irritating nudge.

So to make a few players happy, many others will shake their head in disgust -off planet, different planet or cross-setting extravaganza. The few gaming groups I know off, and my own had a quick once over on the general proceedings of Shattered Star and Reign of Winter, and only in one case was there even a partially positive reaction. While "dungeons" and "alien technology" can be fun for the more jaded of us cultivating the forus, playing in several groups, many players are not as jaded. And will quickly desert a group, if the fare is too exotic.

Nevermind, there is hardly anything "really alien" racewise in a world, were two of the main races are refugees from the First World. Where Fox-spirits and frog-offspring are possible player races. Were the half-undead and reincarnated are probably choices for players.... Luckily, not too many things are hexamorphic, serpentine or tentacular yet^^

If I would ask for something "exotic".... let's hit the Azlanti archipelagoe, where basically every island could be magic-morphed into something special, otherworldly and unique, Landscapes shifted and transformed by magic or the far-off reaches of southern Avistan (let's live among the Gripplis) or even some exploration of the Western continent. Jade Regent hid some nice ideas for the Northern Reaches of the World, why not do something more exotic someplace else ? Undersea campaign anyone ?

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I'd like another Sandbox, almost regardless of where it is placed. It allows the players to shape the story (if they are into roleplaying) instead of being forced along by outside events or being outgloried by the spectacular surroundings like strange planes or planethopping. Even better if it allows one to explore a new region of Golarion, be it Casmaron, Garund or Arcadia

and yes, another real "urban" Adventure path in the vein of Crimson Throne would be a winner, too. Absalom ? Sounds good. Although I'd settle for a less civilized, more evil or cruel city. Say Katapesh ? Kaer Maga ? Or something in Thuvia or Ossirion.....

for me :

positive : (would make me re-establish my subscription)
Urban campaign ( CotCT IIˆˆ )
Exploration journey
something Dwarf-centric

Say how about an Urban dwarven campaignˆˆ

negative :
Numeria ( if I wanted to play Sci-fi Fantasy I could pull out my old Palladium books)
Underdark (never liked the concept anyway )

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RoninUsagi wrote:
vikingson wrote:

First-off, there is and never was "squibbing". There just was not, so taking an irreal process as the base for calculations is ... futile.

I kindly disagree. American did it.

To carry out this mission, the Continental Congress began to build up, through purchase, conversion, and new construction, a cruiser navy of small ships--frigates, brigs, sloops, and schooners.

The simple act of changing the name or paint (or adding weapons) could be considered Squibbing even though it probably wasn't referred to that way. Changing the design/decor is extravagant, but probably wasn't beyond the wealthy of the times either.

The rest of your points are great though.

we could call the painted on or canvas shrouding for a short period of time "squibbing". have a look at "master and Commander" - both the movie and the factual book. though - who would reallly purchase some canvas for 2000gp ?

BUT : a ship is a composite of its hull shape and size, the placement and size of masts, the location of holds and superstructure. affecting its performance. the IRL Admiral Alexander Cochrane, the man after whom fictitious Jack Aubrey was shaped, just as an example found out that placing two larger cannons on his foredeck both cost him 20% speed, and their actual firing through recoil tore his foreship apart. He never tried how the ship would handle in heavier seas... he went back to the much lighter original cannons.

pirates steal cargo... what precisely is keeping them from stealing the actual ships the cargo is on to hide their tracks ? taking a look at the "Whyddah" "Queen Anne's Revenge" or "Royal Fortune" here...

don't squib... steal !

An if you have 120 tons of capacity for the cargo hold... you ccan't put 120 tons of gun on deck, which would make the craft topple over. One may add hammocks and additional provision spaces below deck good or raiding, bad for endurance.
One may.... and that would be very hard, add some smugggling compartments... since the walls have no insulation, and are usually build to be detached for combat ( a classic place would be hatchway covers or smaller loads).
A heavier hull.....would mean major inhibiton to sailing through additionl wettened space (slowing) less freeboard, and of course slow wallowing in the sea further breaking things down.
A larger rudder... could under very specific circumstances be an idea but again here the pressure point (which would mean an alteration of the entire keel ) and massively reinforced pintels and rudder chains. Nevermind a much increased watch on the wheel which is still moved without hydraulics or dampeners.

Aft castle/stern castle. Nice for fighting but major hassles in a storm and affecting drift.

Higher/lower masts, changed sail......will wreck either the speed, maneuverability, trim ( chance to move windwards or speed on most courses ) and probably make the ship top-heavy.

Best choices : get a better plan for a faster ship, find some way to increase material strength while maintaining stability.... or stealˆˆ Enchant the ship versus fire ( a besmaran Hallowing might be a good idea) . Protect the helmsman at all costs ( wall of force, glasssteel cylinder etc.). Enchant the ship with a silencing field. In an emergency... use illusions.

yes, my ex-GF (10 years) was running a small wharf/repair yardˆˆ I know my boats and sailcraft *grin*

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methinks : you are

you seem to have gone far too easy on that android player,attempting murder ( i am not even consideing what would have happened in a IRL navy if someone attempted it ) and never really established where the cruelty aboard comes from.

And playing Scourge and Plugg as some sort of comical buffoons ? this is not a Gilbert and Sullivan play.

your campaign... and your chance to wreck it - looks like you have some heavy housekeeping to do.

some examples (and it seems a tad late for that)... our Harrigan casually stepped on sailors hands (crushing thmem on purpose) while scraping the decks or nailed a carpenters helper to the mast when a "1" was rolled for the skilll check. he chained the dead blasted corpse of our gnome thief to the foremast when that guy blew himself up stealing.

Harrigan is the BBEG and he is hardly to be seen for three issues so you really need to rampup the hatred

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Fletch wrote:
But I will say Skull & Shackles was my least favorite AP, possibly because I went into it wanting so much to enjoy it. I've a lot of small little problems with the volumes I have (I confess I stopped buying halfway thru), but I think the biggest handicap is that the Pathfinder RPG concepts (wizards and trolls and plate armor) don't map too well on a campaign trying very hard to look like a 17th century high-seas adventure.

I would then cordially invite you to grab a copy of Scott Lynch's "Red Sea under Red Skies" or Tim Powers original "On Stranger Tides" to have blast in (almost) cannon-free fantasy settings with brilliant pirate plots.

ok, no trolls in either, though

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another of the things I found rather mystifying about the whole "Wormwood" ploy was the supposed lack of "armament". At low levels, without many resistances, it is the damage bonus that mostly counts for effect

Prefered and specialised arms, yes. Thse might be hard to get, but overall weapons ?

Some GM's might (?) want to take note, if they intend to keep the players from weaponry, since there those groups that think " we can do the mutiny right away, if we get some weapons"

- Belaying Pins (all over the deck), any number of well balanced clubs, nice for throwing, nice for two-handed clubbery.
- Windlass arms (usually stowed apart from the windlass) - 6'long oaken or tropical wood staffs ?
- Rope end's as saps.. If its is good enough for Scourge and Plugg..... Especially given the rules about killings aboard
- the kitchen knives... or does anyone think Kroop has any idea how many knives he owns ? Or hatchetts' and cleavers' ?
- gambling for weapons. While gambling/card-sharking for money might not be permitted, gambling for a dagger/marlinspike or whatever seeems reasonable enough.
- stuff from the carpenter's chest... axes, small hammers, adzes...
- short chains securing barrels and other boxes...

- dangerous stuff from the kitchen : lamp oil (try using it on someone in the masttops), cooking oil (grease), pepper, flour (in small bags), and I know of at least one player (with an alchemist ) who brewed up poison from potatoes (decent enough char with about +11 in Alchemy ?)... - look it up - hallucination and nausea in the masttops. Same char made an improvised shield from a hunted turtle-back. before you ask, guy IRL is a decent workman, not a specialist in any scientific field. Went to a pretty normal school down in Bavaria w. some practically minded chemistry teacher. So it seemed good enough for Alchemy.

- combination of grease, tar (deckwork) oakum (deckwork) and some hot coals made for nice smokebombs.

We (as players) actually laughed finding the mace in the bilge... noone ever wondered how soaked and broken that stuff down there would be ?

oe thing that went terribly wrong for the group who tried it, was serving the piglet laced with shards of pottery, guessing that Caulky would only laddle stuff from the top.... after that.... they needed a new AP.

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nightwatch : a ship is in motion. even if all sails are taken down, there are currents and winddrift. drift oneor two miles an hour ? thatś like 12-24 miles of uncontrolled movement

anchoring : basic rule - you need 5-7 times the depth of water you are anchoring in as hawser... about 3"+ thick stiff rope..... at 50 fathoms ( 100 meters ) we are talking 2100´ of stiff drenched rope, with a 3+ ton weight of the anchor the crew would have to pull up every morning.
and good luck finding someplace shallow enough with only 50 fathomsˆˆ

And that is just about as unrealistically kind and easygoing as it gets. Ships sail at night, simply for safety reasons. nevermind the miles made good, even with reefed down sails.

also... so many nice roleplaying opportunities on deck. Slipping an enemy from the yardarms into the sea to.... say greasing the head (ship's toilets on the ropes besides the bowspirit ). exchanging goods and stuff in the darkness of the night. ... listening in on the officers

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sorry and late to chime in... some Easter holidays. Nevermind some de-motivating heart-breaking.

ship actions : first off many of the activities invcluded are either tedious waiting or actions spread out over hours. the rolls determine the moments' of crisis or final decisive action. Andyes, we had a shortlist for "events not potted in time" say by the lookout
We also use(d) them for determining who was actually around the characters to be influenced. Sandara is working the tops ? yeah hard to diplomacy her if you are pumping the bilges. Scourge had one watch under supervision Plugg the other

watches : we immediately went for a watch system of two watches, making some NPCs more or less accessible "at work" or for "helping them out of some trouble". Which made the " I can basically go anywere cook's mate a really atttractive job. A friends group actually got the bard into that position on day eight, after realizing the value and by "infecting" the current character with somecoice TBC lookalike.... *bah* )
Setting no watches at any time ? WTF, this is deep water sailing ! lookouts, maintenance of headway or even checking on the upcoming weather ? sure thing or does anyone actively intend to sink ? Even at anchor... a sudden swing of wind direction and an admirality anchor will give way rather easily. Or have a meeting with some local fauna. OK, I have no idea what Nicolas Logue was thinking, but.... yeah... some more research would have been fun

Lighting at night : two lamps one at the mainmast, one shaded at the binnacle. And as for spotting stuff - phosphorent wake, lighter sails and regular shadow can even be spotted on most tropical nights, even without low-light vision. Nevermind the stuff actually swimming up to the surface in the wake, drawn in by the light of the stern cabin. Which put a a quick stop to people considering swimming off. Or too feel some Deep Water monstrosity scrape against the hull.... then have the characters check on the "damage" the next day.... Care to swim ?

the swarms... beyond deadly. in my run as a player, we encountered one swarm near the beach ( which ended in some hours of determined snorkeling and the lifeboat as a safety turtle shell ). After that, we looked for the late afternoon rains as a deterrent, had a lot of oily smokers ready in clay pots ( mosquitoes and smoke ) but in the end were just lucky. Especially in the maize field.

in my own run as GM I tuned them down, also made them undead which will give the life oracle and elemental sorcerer some opportunity to shine. the undead swarms will also rise only at night.

Caves: our most deadly witch ( sleep at DC 18) and coup de grace combo....saved our sweet asXXes. But.... by the rules, another group jumped down the shaft and had two charactes die from AoOs and Con damage on their down falling by the Stirges..... no comment on that ruling.

as an afterthought (only re-reading it now, to prepare for GMing ) : have a good and hard look at Tim Powers original "on Stranger Tides" and Scott Lynch's "Red Seas under Red Skies".... I think little can be added to the foot-slogging, fantasy induced piracy theme beyond those two titles in the way of mood and "The Strangest Seas" fiction.....

Afterthought : Having heard of three groups who play the AP, having played it myself (we eliminated everyone who was even semi-suspect in four rounds), and now looking at my own group..... I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY GROUP WHO DID NOT IMMEDIATELY MUTINY BEFORE THE ISLAND. In one group, the GM had purposefully included Kipper and Patch as extras aboard the "promise" to prevent this... and even that battle was over in six rounds. To me, the assumption that the players will not go for the first reasonable chance at freedom, with a massive degree of surprise is probably the weakest part of the whole adventure design, since it does take lot of pressure out of the island. Thankfully, in a way.

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Fitzwalrus wrote:

Great idea, and very nicely written. I definitely will be using this when my crew reaches Bonewrack.

I like the idea of Ivy as a Haunt rather than just another undead ghoul, but can the PCs deal with a Haunt at their current level? I presume in this case Ivy's suicide would have succeeded, so what would you have as the method of finally laying him to rest? Getting word of his fate back to his mother in Cheliax? That could generate some interesting suspicions towards the PCs, if it was thought they were corresponding with Chelaxians.... Hmmm.

I meant the "haunt" more as a figure of speech, but... yeah, why not bring his bones/remains home to Cheliax ? Until then, he will haunt the ship, spooking the crew with "dire portents" about the chelian fleet. But anyways, the whole "stockade encounter is pretty deadly with the combination of swarm, creepers and the ghast in itself, so some reshaping feels necessary.

As a player (when we played the path), we actually visited Correntyn (yeah, to find out more about Harrigan ) and I could see some memorable moments with the PCs sneaking into that fortress harbour with the remains of Ivy, attempting to lay him to rest in his parish's temple ?

Guards : "tell us strangers, what do you carry in that urn"
Not-so-wily PC "just the remains of a sailor cursed by Asmodeus to eternal damnation, lest he returns home to rest with his mother !"

Then again, simply for reasons of sympathy, I would/will not paint him as a devil worshipper, but a follower of Gozreh or similar - a sailor who served on the wrong ship at the wrong time. Perhaps under the wrong oath, as well.

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KidDangerous wrote:
deathbydice wrote:

- Knifemaster : personally I don't think close combat rogues are a huge success in this AP. Daggers.. might work.
Some stuff about Kitsune

I'd have to disagree. There's a knifemaster in the group I'm running through it and she is killing EVERYTHING. d8 sneak is nice and the large selection of rogue skills make her good at social/stealth/swim/profession and all that other nice stuff. She stalks enemy crew through their own rigging and drops down to slaughter them when they're surprised or flanked before sneaking off again.

Interestingly there's also a Kitsune (Sea Singer Bard/Cloistered cleric) in our group who
** spoiler omitted ** and has done very well at masquerading as a pirate while seeking out knowledge and ancient relics. We don't play in Golarion so the race isn't a problem, but I can't see it being too much trouble in Golarion either.

If I were to play in the AP though I'd go Rogue, Gunslinger or Bard to fit in with the theme of the campaign (though not necessarily from a combat-optimised point of view). Take DEX and CHA and their related skills and you should do fine.

hmmm, knifemaster : To be honest, we tended to devaste ships both with ranged attacks and cleaving melees. Or simply by eliminating key personell aka the "steering crew" and/or officers with "sudden death" appearances on the afterdeck. The problem I see with knifemasters is that you usually will try to have and use two daggers, which... on ships... leads to falls... onto deck or into the water (and your ship will be moving - quite possibly away from you at some signficant speed ).

Although, daggers being far more useful, which I agree on, then say scimitars or other stuff - piercing etc. Besides gain a chance to sneak, and yes you will profit from the extra point per sneak die (average of 3.5 vs 4.5).

Oh, and nevermind that Rogue saves suck in so many major ways....

luckily few casters attacking in the initial stages

As for Kitsune. Yeah, the problem is the ARG and most other stuff never really "tell" you about races and how they are integrated into and integral to a world. But, I personally do see a massive problem with a fox spirits thousands of miles away from its home turf "randomly" appearing in a group just because it is convenient. I'd say the same thing for a pygmy juju shaman witch doctor in Irrisen^^
You get told a race or class exists - noone ever considers the implication and habitat. Point in case, a group (with my an ex-GF of mine, who actually plays the character), just started Jade Regent. Nobody as of yet has considered (yet) that her Grippli Alchemist, trekking both out from Sandpoint and out over the Northern Ice cap.... will turn utterly absurd. I personally envision a cold-blooded Kermit in the icepack, and that really sends shivers down my spine.

Next thing "cute orks" (and human - racial adepted - orcish witch doctors )... fluffy ogres ? Much like everybody and his half-brother playing "good" drows after the Drizzt books hit the market. Absurd, absolutely against the concept of the world, but right, it looked so cool and nobody else did it, right ?

Gunslingers : fine idea, but Caws did not mention those. Bard... having lived through to level 15 on a halfling bard (stuck with a fiddle), I do agree !

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Franko a wrote:

It seems that the AP's are only easy if you know what is comming.

(skull & shackles) swarms in book 1.

Yeppers. Nevermind, that especially item placement in the recent APs is very.... problematic, and will in several paths require an enchanter. Be it for specific weaponry ( Still laughing hard at the proposed weapons in Skulls and Shackles, or the utter lack of any caster items except for CHA until the middle/end of part 3... ahem, Yeah, sensible planning, all around ).

Player foreknowledge or heavy foreshadowing by the GM at character creation is often a lifesaver

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sailing speeds.... *sigh*

First, I'd either relocate the island if you WANT a longer trip. The Shackles map is horrifically small, too small by far for much of the stuff that is meant to occur there.... the"ilsand of Empty Eyes" is supposed to be slightly remote, inaccessible and hence ful of unknown dangers. Not the island you can easily reach with a short weeks sail.

otherwise... 48 miles a day is problematic as a speed, since we are looking at sails here. And their inability to sail straight into the direction of the wind, instead resuming to zig-zag tacking.... no-one is taking into account currents (should be strong in the narrow confines between the islands, growth on one's ships (algae, barnacles) slowing things down, reefs and sandbars and..... the vast difficulty of navigating betweeen the islands by sight alone, in the dark. While being able to sail fair and true in open waters.
With ship speeds depending upon size and wind speed. Yes, that would be a very complicated system

On the other hand.. running before the wind or at quarters, 48 miles a day is ridiculously low. If the ship travels at something like 8 or 10 knots (miles/hour), which is easy

I'd recommend using 36 + 3D6 for estimating daily gain (noone uses GPS etc anway^^), and factor in some penalties for bad navigation or being shifted by winds and currents. In an emergency, have a storm blow the off-course

So basically... paizo consciously volunteered in the direction of keeping things simple, but of course, feel free to grab a book on seamanship and make the journey longer and more realistic. Of course, you can always consider the "island" to be wrongfully placed on some maps, prolonging the whole trip even more.. (say... have it lie off in some direction by like 40-100 miles ? But which one ? Do the Pirates know ?)

The real Carribean Sea spans roughly 1100 x 500 miles, and was historically linked to the North with the American Main (and offshore islands like the Bermudas, the Brazillian shores to the South and the coasts of Western Africa... so the whole thing expands even more.

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basically : fiction always was the weakest part of any "Pathfinder" issue. Anything actually campaign related (and be it longer articles on the other subjects ) would be welcome.

Because, let's face it, it is not always very good fiction (sometimes it was^^).
And maps of mystery, larger maps (done inhouse, right) or repeated maps from previous issues would do the trick quite fine. Even extend the AP by a few pages of stats or descriptions if you do not mind.

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Brandon Hodge wrote:

This "master plan" and "overall supervisor" person already exists. It is the AP's lead developer. So if you'd love it, you've not only got it, but you've always had it! =-)

Taking the current Shattered Star AP an an example, the plotline was written and finalized by Paizo long before any freelancer ever got a look at it. Oftentimes, such as the case of Shattered Star, the author of that outline is also the lead developer (in this case James), so you already have a Paizo professional who is not only responsible for tying all of the elements together between books, but is also usually the author of the AP's basic story structure.

hmm. That might well be the plan.

Looking back at the AP's since Kingmaker, one wonders if the plan actually gets executed all that well, though. Intentions versus actual actions

"Serpent's Skull" : Started out seaside, the campaign traits were all seaward-journey bound.... then everything takes place in a lost mountain city.

"Carrion Crown" : no real cohesion between the AP parts. While some are lovely, there is hardly any visible interconnection.

"Jade Regent" : from caravan entrepeneurs to shapers of a Foreign Empire ? Yeah, worked, but as J.jJ noted some things might have been overdone.

"Skulls and Shackles" : hmmmm. I loved it in a way, but... cohesive ? Who was the BBEG again and when precisely did he turn up to become "the ultimate" challenge ? And btw,... the ultra-generic castleruns really chafed on th athmosphere. What again is the relation between PIRATES stumbling through dungeons ? Somehow, I expected ships... silly me. So where again was the leading hand ?

"Shattered Star" : Since the entire concept is such a turn down, I haven't read much of it yet. The only cohesion I see yet is "Varisia revisted". Howdy Ho, I'd like to go someplace else, too.

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Mostly I have added island trade-regions to the Shackles themselves.

South of Sargava, there are - in my Golarion - at least three sizable nations

Hydreja : A nation of Mwangi humans and elves ruled by a cabal of "eternal" druids, who feel open to the world, but for religious dogmatics do not think it wise, to have their kin live or even die too far away from their spiritual homeland. Elves are regarded as superior specimen in a cycle of reincarnation, with corresponding privileges. (yes, non-good elves^^). These guys are very good at pottery and glazing or exceptional beauty, as well as traders for major inland spices and competent sailors as well, even if they stick to coastal and shallow water craft which take them to Segoth and Sargava, but not much further. They are said to have "enslaved" rocs and various tribes of Strix to serve as airborne assailants armed with alchemy, and many pirates are... loath to haunt their coasts. Oddly enough Ships from hermia have been repeatedly sighted in their seas

The Purple Coral Bight: a federation of islands and sub-surface kingdoms stretching down the otherwise barren south western coast of Garund. Rich in Corals, all sorty of treasure from the depths of the Sea. Great trading partners, but their territory is riddled with all sorts of tabboos and tribal laws on passage through, so trade with them only exits around the outer rim of their territory. Passing through the Purple Coral Bight is risky, both navigational (few if any maps exist and orient themselves on strange phenomena) for the reefs jutting up unexpectetdly, and socially since tribal laws require frequent stops, reversal of courses after having viited certain territories and hard to judge (from the surface) zones of exclusion. Going by them out west is... adding another thousand miles or so to your cruise, IF you have a clear idea how far their rule actually stretches.
There are only a few nomadic tribal ares inland from the Bight, and Gnolls and Orcs roam (and rule) wide parts of these Hinterlands. About their leadership and organisation almost nothing is known

The Cape : Ruled by a less-than-friendly kingdom of dwarves who are (or feel ) under constant attacks by southern Gnolls and Orks. Who incidentally view the Cape as their holy ground. The dwarves speak an odd and disticntive dialect, an offspring of traditional dwarven speech thousands of years off, and have an utterly self-reliant attitude
The Cape is very rich in minerals and gems, with highland plateaus providing rich farming grounds and while its coasts are rocky and steep a few safe harbours ( and many craggy reefs ) exist, where trade could flourish and provisions be bought. There arerumours of slavery or indenture, but none have ever been confirmed.
The dwarves are notoriously suspicious and organized along stringend lines, making them inflexible if not outright hostile, claiming mostly anyone to be either a spy, or an infiltrator or a shapechanged entity. If a ship makes it into their waters, it is usually forbidden to land, and if provisioned, this is only done from barges. Only a few accounts exist of the land itself, secretly written down by mages teleporting inland and sneaking around teh countryside for days and weeks.
There is also wild talk of dwarven ships without sails who "thud" through the night and sink foreign vessels by simply barging through them with steel rams, but this is probably old sailors' yarn. Right ?
Climatically, in southern-sphere winters, the climate of the oceans around the Cape becomes pretty hostile, too, as storms wreck around the half of the globe, unimpeded by land,, and whip up tremendous swells going straight east, making traversing the Cape to the west a daunting task. In summer, the Dwarves have been reported to harvest seals on islands South of the Cape, and at least once, one of their ships has been reported in the icy waters far down south.

So basically I heavily channeled from real life Africa into my Southern Garund (about which so little is actually told in the books), but "the Cape" is actually the most significant block for any traders going south and west around Garund.
There is also the archealogical trade from the Atzlanti island to consider.

And... I don't know how dangerous Nex and Geb are in your campaign (they are definitely dangerous and utterly ruthless in our Golarion ), so sailing past their coast is... possibly just not really recommended

Also, realistically speaking take into account that high seas longtitudal navigation cannot be accomplished without a very (!) precise and fine tuned timekeeping device to establish your longtitude. nevermind being dependant upon spotting the sun at midday. This should make "high seas" and off-coast navigation very difficult without either powerful magic or the latest devices from Numeria. Making navigation off-coast... just stupidly dangerous

There ARE, after all dragons in the oceans. Nevermind the Kraken

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Chocolate Thief wrote:
I have loved dungeons ever since reading about Khazad-dûm / Moria in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Did Tolkein justify this dungeon or was it just part of a great story? Not sure but I still love dungeon adventures.

Sooo... to be frank, the group passes through Khazad-Dum, from west to East. Much like the passage through Rohan. Nothing dungeon-oriented in it, except for being underground. One "blockhouse" battle at Balin's tomb.

And taking a long and hard look at most publication aimed at DnD/Pathfinder, where exactly do we, the readers get an extended delving through dungeons and dark tunnels ?

Rarely if ever, because frankly, it is boring stuff to read about.

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James Jacobs wrote:
In the end, I suppose we'll have to look at the sales figures for Shattered Star to determine just how popular THIS dungeon crawl is.

hmm "looking at the sales", just how many copies are being sold via subscription and will be bought, regardless fo their eventual use ? Speaking for myself, I will never run "Second Darkness", "Bastards of Erebus" or "Shattered Star", yet I bought them.

I think, paizo runs a professional "by the numbers" take on this, but looking over at 4E, the things that strikes me about people who used it is :
"It's nice for dungeons but really not much else"

I just returned from a local Con, and hardly anyone went for "romp through the location" adventures, be they easy to set up or highly complex.

Does one really want to walk down that path of "dungeons everywhere" to yield to a, possibly small, minority of gamers ?

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Tem wrote:

Despite being an amateur sailor, I know very little about ships of this size and configuration. Thankfully, my players tend to know less so terms I throw out and generally just accepted and we move on. The narrative is more important than the technical details.

Regarding the chance to drop into the water rather than on deck, the PC in my game intentionally jumped, diving to the water some 60ish feet below. Thankfully, there's actually rules for this in the AP at the entrance to riptide cove (page 46).

The other reason I really like this modification is because 5d6 damage is almost never fatal to a level 1 PC *on its own*. I simply had the cleric in the party swabbing the deck while the event was going on, so had he fallen, the average damage would have been 17.5 but 23 damage would have been needed to kill the PC outright (Gunslinger with 12 con, so 11hp). Anything less, and the cleric is right there to stop the bleeding and save his life.

If the same sort of thing happens in the bilge, as soon as you're below 0, you might as well be rolling up a new character. So, despite how nasty it seems, I think it's far less cruel than what was written (and more cinematic/fun to boot).

Agree on that, though the bilging in our case was... a disaster for Scourge and Plugg.

What I like about this plan is the sheer terror for the player, facing an obviously harmful drop "by accident" and clinging on for life. The bilge shivving is pretty much a prison-style hit and players will accordingly deal with it as "combat". No hairs on edge. The simple question will be : what do you want the player to experience ?

Here, if one feels nasty, one might even go for a sleight of hand trick, so the PC might not even be aware just why the rope or sail "got loose".
And it really depends who is up in the mast. And on deck. No immediate healer = pulp ?

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Roberta Yang wrote:
Since you're using a scimitar, it might be worth mentioning that there is a scimitar-exclusive feat (Dervish Dance) that uses Dexterity for attack and damage. Probably not as good as Wisdom or Charisma for you, but perhaps still a step up from Strength.

Which also requires Weapon Finesse and 2 ranks in Perform.... hence slightly hard to take at 1st level for a Cleric unless he/she is human but yeah.

It is also not "Core" Rules.

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Basically there is not much to be said anymore :

If you can't stand to play alongside anymore, quit the campaign (or suspend playing) and explain, short, but concisely, why you take a leave..

Since by your own description, this will basically put the campaign on the rocks, this might finally convince your GM and Mr B to take sides as how to resolve the situation, instead of sitting out the crisis, hoping for a miracle to happen.

In the best case, Mr R cleans up his act.

Normally, this would put the gun onto the GM to keep the campaign afloat and either let Mr R go, or replace him with another player.

In the worst case, you are rid of a campaign which was joyless and frustrating for you and your son.

Overall : I like my friends. But not all of my friends are good soccer/basketball/hockey players and therefore I wouldn't want them on my team for that, because the'd affect everyone else, negatively. That does, or perhaps should, not affect the friendship, even if rejection smarts. The question is, will Mr R be up to face the sad truth but stay a friend ?

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- Actually printing up all the decks of the Wormwood to some scale, even full 1" scale if possible for the table... makes placement of miniatures more easy, and gives a better feel for "who is where". Possibly draw up the masts, masttops, yards and the crows nest too for this. This will become important once the first storm hits.

- Decide upon a stairwell from the lower decks of the Wormwood to the maindeck (without passing through the officers cabins )... and put it on the map. Same for the main windlass (winch), which should be... well someplace ?

- Draw up two watches for the crew, and have them work in alternate groups... since having the ship stop at night is.... yeah, not really realistic and such. Pretty nonsensical even. Assign the group to one watch, if possible. Cook's assistant is out, of course. Then assign some officers commanding the watch.

- Go through the "Sailor's Talk" threads and amend you lubberly ways.

- Assign some easy to remember quirk or habit to most of the crew, to make them more memorable. Narwhale cleaning his toenails all the time, Aretta pulling on her ear, Scrimshaw whistling tunelessly... helps with remembering everyone.

- Have some idea for an incident showing just how dangerous the officers are in comparison to the crew. Some combat sparring or extra "pressed" crewmeber who considers attacking Longfarthing or whoever is a good idea and gets hewn/hacked into pieces. Might also illustrate how ruthless the officers are... say have the poor sod keelhauled, after having his hands hacked off and the wounds sealed ?

- Get some naval sounds as a background soundtrack : winds, creaking timbers, the flutter of sails, splashing of waves... just as a murmur in the background.

- To scare players : have a short piece of thick rope at hand, and sharply bash it on the table for every "starter" or/and especially any whippings coming up as well.... The short sharp snap should become really.... a thing to hate. Make sure your table is up for it though^^

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There is another trade and merchantile endeavour that has occured to me, which reasonably makes sense for the Shackles

Shipbuilding. There is lots of hardwoods on the coast, enough water (in rivers) to turn mills for cutting and planing, there are reasonably enough customers needing ships refitted and basically, with captains seizing ships often enough, there is also a reasonable supply of used and refurbished ships (no, NO squibbing^^).
Which might mean there being a land-based trade for sailcloth, weaving and actually producing the fibres, as well as good hemp ("manila hemp" ringing a bell ) and a sizable trade for pitch, tar and copra (to seal the planks), much of which can be made from free-growing palms. We might also enter natural rubber and plantations for that.

So there might be a small scale (som cutters or luggers or small craft) seasonal community "grazing" islands for palms and their produce.

Just another idea.

And I guess, the Shackles would be a reasonably nice maret for most metal produce themselves : raw iron, weaponry, bronze guns (?)... unless one starts placing some healthy mines in the Shackles.

And this way, it might really make sense not to "plunder" every ship going into the Shackles, since that would strangulate trade the region actually needs.

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James Jacobs wrote:

This is very much a big dungeon crawl AP.

Part 2, Part 4, and Part 5 all REALLY focus on the big dungeon. Part 3 has a smaller dungeon spread out over 3 locations in and under Kaer Maga. Part 5 has a relatively small dungeon but it's a weird one.

But yeah... "Shards of Sin" is a pretty accurate portrayal of the amount of dungeon stuff you'll be seeing in 2/3 of this Adventure Path. By design.

If you're not a big fan of big dungeons, Shattered Star might not be the campaign for you, in the same way that if you're not a fan of pirates, Skull & Shackles won't work for you, or if you're not a fan of horror, Carrion Crown's a bad choice.

Feeling very much underwhelmed, but not surprisingly so, after I read the preliminiaries some weeks ago.

The problem is "dungeons" is not a theme, it's a setup. And to be frank, a very lazy one, because a "setpiece" Dungeon is far easier to conceive and pull off than a living town, village or small region.

Paizo dropped a surprisingly high, and not really campaign-furthering amount of dungeons into their "Pirates" AP. Heaven knows why Pirates and dungeons should go together..... And now we face another 6 months of dungeon + dungeon + dungeon.. and surprise, another dungeon !

It is not even relevant where these dungeons are actually set, it is the fact that dungeons are commonly more "hack-and-slayish" than say, the sandbox adventures from Kingmaker. It is the fact, that really great APs had less-than-sterling dungeons dropped into them for whatever reasons. Like say "Skeletons of Scarwall" which hit a previously (and afterwards) rather socially active and urban campaign, the blessed land of diplomacy, bluff and sense motive... with the motherload of undead castles ?

And now we get a full six months worth of ........ dungeons ? As the crowning achievement of five years of APs ? Excuse me, but is this the paizo or rather the "4E DnD/Descent 2E" party ?

Having looked over the first installment on the weekend (we actually had a readout of the AP with the whole grou, which has never happened before, because we found the concept so ludicrous), everyone handwaved it as "not really useful" and "uninteresting"... never mind two guys asking whether someone was "crazy"... "Boring" too.

And oh yes, noone cared for the PF society either, before somebody asks. The "society" has reached almost comedical status around here, sorry to say.

But since everyone is apparently asking for a "all-dungeon" AP... could we landscape-players please get an "All sand box - explore the Continent AP " next ?

feytharn wrote:
And then there are groups spending whole sessions withou a combat...

Roleplayers and roll-players. The old adage

Galnörag wrote:

Really if it isn't any of the above options (or variants their in, because most of those are actually just variants of one another) then your left with "So you all meet in a crowded tavern." Which actually now that I think of it was a cleverly done in Second Darkness.

And then there was "Curse of the Crimson Throne", which actually had a fantastically different take on that clichee. It's just a matter of trying and actually thinking hard enough.

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