The Legendary Playhouse Theater


Round 4: Design a villain's lair

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

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The Legendary Playhouse Theater

Originally built by her father, the Legendary Playhouse Theater passed to Sharina Legend-Singer when he died at Taxfest. His business barely fed their family, always struggling to sustain enough patrons. Rather than argue with him about the trade, Sharina secretly removed him with well-disguised arsenic so she could take over.

Now the equally-orchestrated success of Sharina’s adopted heroes allow her to not only keep the theater, but expand it, too. Her plays and ballads create such high demand she’s already planned new renovations. Unfortunately, the PCs’ discovery that she engineered most of their adversaries now threatens her success. To retain her prosperity and reputation, Sharina has arranged to recast them as villains instead. Writing a whole new ballad about their astounding fall-from-grace, she has invited the city’s elite to a special production to deliver all the sordid details. Sharina also backs these claims by planting evidence implicating the PCs in the very events she herself arranged.

Returning from their latest Sharina-inspired confrontation, the PCs learn of the Legend-Singer’s plan. But the theater’s doors have already opened and the show starts in mere minutes. If they want to keep the bard from turning every influential personage in the region against them, they’ll need to hurry.

A1. Marquee Entrance

Garish displays line the frontage of this massive playhouse with large parchment posters magically portraying figments of the upcoming show. Inside, two grand staircases rise to the theater’s second level. And three sets of lacquered, teak doors line the northern wall.

This area serves as the theater’s lobby, alive with enough sights and sounds to lure any passing onlookers to investigate Sharina’s performance. If the PCs observe the magical posters long enough, they’ll each see scenes of actors portraying them with a new, villainous twist.

A2. Theater and Stage (CR 6)

Rows of cushioned benches fill this enclosed theater, sloping gradually down to an elevated stage. Large wooden chandeliers hang overhead, their magical lights dimmed by small lampshades.

When the PCs arrive, Sharina starts her show with a mix of oratory, songs, and onstage pantomimes. This encounter provides an opportunity to recast every great deed or legendary feat the heroes accomplished in their careers. Sharina knows them all and spins different versions that make the PCs into manipulative, callous villains who duped everyone.
Creatures: Sharina uses her bardic abilities to fascinate the crowd and turn them against the heroes, employing enthrall to hold the PCs’ attention, too. She greets anyone closing on the stage with taunts, suggesting the heroes have only appeared to prevent her “truthtelling.” With her high Bluff and Diplomacy skills, she opposes any explanations the PCs offer. Sharina’s remaining strategy involves charm person and suggestion to turn the heroes against one another, have the crowd impede them, or influence the authorities to arrest them while she escapes. Several routes lay open to her. The trapdoors in the stage lead to the basement. Ropes at the sides of the stage will allow her to quickly ride into the rafters as the curtain closes. And, if cornered, her jann partner, Gha’zali can join her from the balcony at A5, fly her out, or hold off the PCs as she summons the understudies from A4.
Traps: If the PCs attempt to follow Sharina into the rafters, they may try using the ropes on the eastern side of the stage. Doing so proves disastrous. The coils on the floor prematurely release if anyone disturbs them, snaring and entangling the victim.

Sharina, Legend-Singer CR 4
hp 33 (see villain stat-block)

Sandbag-Weighted Rope Snare Trap CR 5
Type mechanical; Search DC 23; Disable Device 23
===== Effects =====
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect duplicates spell effect (snare, 1d6 damage, entangled, no save, DC 23 to escape once caught)

A3. Backstage

This well-lit, cramped hallway is filled with dozens of discarded costumes, assorted trash, and hanging props. A winding staircase dominates the eastern end of the passage, while several lanterns hang from ropes to the west.

Multiple dressing rooms and closets extend off this narrow hallway. The backdoor is always locked during performances (Disable Device, DC 25 to open).

A4. The Understudies (CR 4)

A round table dominates this room, surrounded by four chairs. A decorative Tien lantern hangs from a simple chain hooked to the ceiling above. And a variety of mugs, half-filled wine cups, and a well-used deck of cards lay on the table.

Actors often gather in this backroom before going on stage, or socialize here after a show.
Creatures: Mira Escadaru and her two companions, Shone and Rufo, wait here for the outcome of Sharina’s newest production. The bard promised to make them her next “heroes of legend” after discarding the PCs. Of course, Sharina also spent long hours discussing the PCs and their tactics, belittling their accomplishments, and dropping hints that Mira’s crew could handle them. The priestess of Calistria would love nothing more than to make a name for herself by defeating them and helping Sharina get revenge for duping her into creating so many “untrue” stories and songs.

Mira Escadaru CR 1
Female human cleric 3 (Calistria)
CN Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2

===== Defense =====

AC 16, touch 11, flat-footed 15
(+5 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 27 (3d8+11)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +5
Defensive Abilities copy cat

===== Offense =====

Spd 20 ft.
Melee light mace +3 (1d6) or masterwork whip +4 (1d3 nonlethal)
Ranged hand crossbow +3 (1d4/19-20)
Special Attacks channel positive energy 5/day (2d6, DC 13), spell-like abilities
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd):
1/day—disguise self, true strike
Spells Prepared (CL 3rd):
2nd—aid, hold person (DC 14)
1st—bane (DC 13), command (2, DC 13)
0—detect poison, guidance, light, resistance
Domains Luck, Trickery

===== Tactics =====

Before Combat At the first sign of trouble, Mira casts aid and invokes her copy cat ability. If given enough time, she also uses Calistria’s power to grant a bit of luck to her allies, including herself.
During Combat Mira prefers to stay out of reach and direct any fight. She uses true strike and the extra reach of her whip to disarm flat-footed opponents. She follows up with hold person or command to take out spellcasters.
Morale Mira flees when reduced below 9 hit points, abandoning her companions by mingling with the theater crowd or casting disguise self once she’s out of sight.

===== Statistics =====

Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +3 (+8 when using Improved Disarm with whip)
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Weapon Finesse
Skills Appraise +6, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +9, Heal +6, Knowledge (religion) +6, Sense Motive +6
Languages Common, Elven
SQ aura, bit of luck, channel positive energy, copy cat, orisons, spontaneous casting (cure spells)
Gear chainmail, gold holy symbol (25 gp), hand crossbow with 10 bolts, light mace, masterwork whip

===== Special Abilities =====

Bit of Luck (Su): As a standard action, Mira can touch a creature, giving them a bit of luck. For the next 3 rounds, anytime the target rolls a d20, they can roll twice and take the better result. The effect fades after 3 rounds or when the reroll is used.
Copy Cat (Su): Mira can create an illusory double of herself as a move action. The double functions as a single mirror image and lasts for 3 rounds (unless dispelled or destroyed). Mira may only have one copy active at a time.

Shone and Rufo – Twin Adventurers CR 1
Male human fighter 3
CN Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +0

===== Defense =====

AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18
(+6 armor, +1 Dex, +2 shield)
hp 36 (3d10+15)
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +1 (+2 vs. fear)

===== Offense =====

Spd 20 ft.
Melee masterwork longsword +8 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged composite shortbow +4 (1d6+3/x3)

===== Tactics =====

During Combat Not very imaginative, Shone and Rufo implement whatever strategy Mira provides. They form a frontline and use their Combat Reflexes to keep anyone from getting past them.
Morale Shone and Rufo fight for as long as Mira tells them. If she falls, they do everything in their power to save her and flee.

===== Statistics =====

Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +6
Feats Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Climb +4, Handle Animal +5, Intimidate +6, Ride +5
Languages Common
SQ armor training, bravery
Gear composite shortbow with 20 arrows, masterwork breastplate, dagger, heavy shield, masterwork longsword.

A5. Balcony (CR 4)

The benches of this large balcony overlook the main floor and stage of the theater below. Just a few feet from the railing, four wooden chandeliers hang suspended from the rafters.

This level of the theater contains extra seating for sold-out shows. Additional storerooms are located behind the benches.
Creatures: As Sharina’s closest friend, lover, and confidant, the jann Gha’zali, keeps watch over the legendary actress from the highest vantage point in the theater. At the first sign of trouble, he uses his telepathy to warn her. Then, he turns invisible and flies down to aid her escape. He holds off the PCs as long as possible, but resorts to ethereal jaunt if reduced below 10 hit points to retreat and rejoin Sharina.

Gha’zali, Genie (Jann) CR 4
hp 33 (MM 116)

A6. Overstage Rigging and Catwalk

Hidden from view by the upper drapes of the theater’s main curtain, a narrow catwalk stretches across the entire top of the stage. Ropes and pulleys for raising or lowering a variety of props and backdrops hang from the rafters. And many canisters line the wooden beams with buckets of multicolored lenses for controlling the intensity and mood of the stage lighting.

This area serves as one of Sharina’s primary escape routes. By using the weighted ropes dangling above, she can lift herself from the floor to the catwalk in a matter of seconds. From there, two hidden doors allow quick access to the upstairs loft at A7.

A7. Loft

This quiet, winding hallway looks well-kept and decorated. Paintings, trophies, and small plaques line the walls in appreciation of Sharina Legend-Singer.

Each of the bedrooms off this long hallway serve as living quarters for out-of-town guests and visiting performers Sharina books for her shows. They are currently unoccupied.

A8. Sharina’s Apartment

Bookshelves line this apartment’s walls. Every corner holds a stack of sheet music. And a plush, cushioned couch sits before an open pair of windows. A decorative Vudran rug also leads to a majestic four-post bed with silk sheets along the southern wall.

This luxurious apartment once belonged to Sharina’s father. She keeps her most valuable heirlooms, mementos, and masterpieces here. The room serves as a rendezvous point for her and Gha’zali in the event of trouble. Sharina spends at least 3 rounds packing items she’s unwilling to leave behind if chased here. Then, she counts on Gha’zali to plane shift them away from harm before plotting further revenge.

A9. Basement (CR 6)

This dusty chamber’s ceiling rises to nearly fifteen feet and smells of paint, lacquer, and musty disuse. Several crates, trunks, and barrels lie piled together, some covered by tarps. Two large piles of straw dominate the southern end of the room, positioned below obvious trapdoors in the ceiling.

Sharina stockpiles stage props and other playhouse paraphernalia inherited from her father here. The trapdoors act as drop chutes from the stage above for quick exits by her performers. Sharina may use them as well if accosted by the PCs. After safely landing on the straw, she casts expeditious retreat and races upstairs to her apartment at A8.
Creatures: Sharina also inherited some animated stage props from her father. Although they generally ignore Sharina as a member of the family, they’re still somewhat temperamental since her father’s death, so she keeps them locked in the basement. They immediately attack anyone else lingering here.

Stage Props, Large Animated Objects (3) CR 3
hp 52 (MM 13-14)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Initial Review

Hah! If there was one villain I said to myself that we would NEVER see a lair for it was Sharina! Mad props to you for creating a workable lair for the villain that I couldnt really think of a lair for. So lets see what you actually gave us...

Wait, a genie lover? Hmm.

I'm not sure that this is so much a lair as it is a final encounter in a story arc featuring Sharina. Yes, granted, that is when the PCs usually enter the villain's lair. But I guess I dont really picture Sharina here in this lair while she is hatching her plots. Its more just her final encounter location. That isnt the same as a lair, I guess. I'm not doing a good job describing a difference that my gut is percieving. I'm going to have to think about this one...

More to come...

Considering for Top 4 but not sure.

Final Thoughts

Neil, Neil, Neil. I have loved your work so far. You were the clear leader to me. You took a big chance here and I am not sure it was a big win for you. The voters will have to decide. If something saves you, it is your body of work. You did some good stuff here, that is for sure. You were in a contest for my final 4th spot and I wound up giving it to Matthew. We'll see if the voters agree. As a result, this submission is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Malhavoc Press

This is cool. At first I wasn’t crazy about the map, because I didn’t understand what I was looking at in each room (a key would have been nice). And even after I figured out that those were chandeliers and whatnot, I still can’t help but point out that beds are rarely 10 feet long (the beds on the upper floor could never have fit up the stairs you’ve shown us). This is a very minor quibble, though, and why sometimes in a design, less is more.

I’ve got some rules problems with the Understudies. You list them all as CR 1, when they’re all 3rd level.

I like the attention to detail you’ve provided with the various NPCs’ relationships and how they react to various situations.

I think that if the PCs encounter Sharina in area A2, but Gha’zali is watching from the balcony right above, this should probably be presented as the same encounter.

The DM would probably appreciate knowing how much of an action (move, standard, full-round) it is to use a weighted rope to get up to the catwalk. I’m guessing full round (you’d have to cut or untie the rope, right?).

Overall, though, this seems like it would be a fun encounter/set of encounters using this villain.

Malhavoc Press

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this a 7.5. It's really good, but for me, just not quite as good as four of the others. Unfortunately not recommended.

The Exchange Kobold Press

This is a really well-done semi-modern theater, but it lacks the sense of danger and (dare I say it?) drama that I want from a lair for Sharina. Part of it is the huge stat block for the cleric, but there's not a lot of other foes: just a trap, a genie, and not much else.

The second problem for me is that a theater is a wildly variable environment; ideally, a confrontation with Sharina here would happen during a performance or shortly before/after one. But there's not much advice to the DM about that (or even about what is currently playing). I was expecting more minions or a little discussion of innocent bystanders.

Giving Sharina a lair is a bold design, but I don't think you had quite enough room to pull it off.

Not quite recommended. Which is a shame.

Contributor

I can see this turning into a big, climactic encounter culminating weeks of games where the PCs have been dealing with the Legendsinger. I like the duped cleric of Calistia (who hopes to be the next "hero of legend" that Sharina creates) and her complete buy-in on the vengeance side of things. I like the rope trap and the use of trap doors.

I think you hindered yourself by choosing this villain, as she's a hard villain to build a lair for. As a final encounter this place is very appropriate, as a lair it doesn't quite have a lair-ish feel. You're also hindered because her allies are going to be humanoids with classes, meaning you need to use much of your word count statting them rather than pointing at a completed monster, leaving fewer words to describe interesting stuff about the lair.

Despite those two handicaps, this is a nice place for an encounter. Everyone knows what a theater looks like, and there should be many opportunities for rope-swinging, rigging-walking, and dramatic exits through trap doors... and with an audience to boot. Or boo. ;)

Is it enough of a "lair" to make it into the Top 4? I don't know. Picking this one showed some real chops, just as picking an incredibly complex monster for your stat block round showed chops, and I gotta respect that. Honestly, I think it would be hard for ANYONE to create a strong "lair" for this villain, and this is about as close as you can get.

I'm inclined to compare this to a footrace; the other seven people are stripped-down in running shorts, and you're carrying a backpack full of books... and you're keeping up with the pack. You may not be the lead runner for this qualifying round, but the fact that you're keeping up despite a big handicap is worth recognizing.

Rec: advance to next round... I want to see what sort of adventure proposal you'd do when not saddled with strange arbitrary restrictions.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Like the judges, I'm shocked and amazed that someone had the stones to try a Sharina lair. I like this one pretty well, but there is one huge omission: What about the crowd?

I mean, you have Sharina, her genie lover (nice way to work in an escape valve for her), her understudies, traps in the theater... but you set up the encounter as the PCs arriving during her performance denouncing them, and you don't give us anything but a bunch of empty seats. How does the crowd react when and if combat erupts? Do they flee? Do they surge up in a mob against the PCs? Do they count as "difficult terrain"?

You are floating in the land of "I'll think about it" for a vote, based on your past body of work and the great gumption to take on a very tough task of making a credible villain lair for a fun villain concept. Really, this is good stuff here, but the lack of what happens with the crowd could be a killer.


The level of quality is certainly high in this round! (As it should be, I guess). I'd be happy to vote for most of these... but I only have two votes. This is an original location, and all, but it just lacks quite enough to make it a truly entertaining lair - rather than just an encounter. So I'll have to pass on it. Good luck, though!

Star Voter Season 6

Monte Cook wrote:

I’ve got some rules problems with the Understudies. You list them all as CR 1, when they’re all 3rd level.

He's got the right CR: it's a new Pathfinder RPG rule for the CRs of NPCs who are not monsters, to account for their much reduced gear when compared to NPCs.

Star Voter Season 6

There was a solution to the stat block monstrosity of the cleric: use gnomes or elves. They have a SRD entry, so you could have just included a bunch of gnome warriors and experts (as gnome, but X skills with X attack bonus). That would have allowed more space for audience encounters, details on the performance, dealing with musicians and stage hands, etc.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka Anry

I'm just starting to read over the entries, so no yays or nays yet.

But when reading over the reviews, I'd like to point out inregards to Monte Cook's comment about the CR difference, that in the Pathfinder Beta rules creatures with class levels and no racial HD CR is their level -2

And a creature with non-player class levels has a CR = their level -3

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

That took balls Neil! Balls! You really showed your colors today. I really liked that Bard, and you obviously did too. Well done! This has got to be the climax that no one conceived. Where else would a Bard's tale end?

Zux


Initial Impression:
Ummmmm. <scratching head>
Well this is the first lair I have looked at.
I will come back to this one; I really hope you picked it because you have a feel for the villain, and not for any weird kind of metacontest reason.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

You magnificent bastard! I didn't think anyone would do it, but you put together a sweet lair for Sharina. Kudos! There goes one of my votes.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

I understand the comment that it seems more like a final encounter than a lair, but it reads beautifully. You've created a dynamic encounter in a lair and there wasn't one point in which I had to stop and go back to figure out what was what. Way to go, Neil!


Nice work Neil. You chose a lair (and I do think it's a lair, not just a final encounter- after all, it's where she has set up shop, so why wouldn't it be a lair?) that I did not think would be done. I didn't really think it could be done, so kudos for that.

I liked Sharina conceptually, but acknowledged the problems a DM would have in running her. Those problems haven't gone away, so I think the lair suffers a bit by association. Totally not your fault, but it was a risk in the selection you made.

Still reading the entries, so best of luck.


Well done Neil!

Liberty's Edge

This map is nice and clean, and gives the cartographer a lot of detail right off the bat. Everything I would need to get started on this map is plainly visible, which saves some time when one sits down to work on the finished piece.

The balcony and chandelier area is a little enigmatic at first, but I really like that you've included the chandeliers and the rigging over the stage in the map as these details just beg the PCs to start swinging and fighting from them. I can imagine a very exciting battle scene taking place here, and that's just not true of every theater map you come across.

One thing I would like to see different is the shape and structure of the building; a well-off medieval fantasy playhouse could be much more than a simple rectangle; you could include walls that curve out around an expanded seating section, or work in other fantasy elements that enhance the performance. Maybe an illusionist's booth near the stage where a specialist wizard can add his or her unique talents to the show?

That said, there's a lot of potential for fun in this place, and that's what makes a villain lair memorable, in my opinion. It doesn't have to be flashy if it makes sense for the villain and gives the players a good time. Nice work.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

First off, congratulations on making Top 8!

Sharina ... that took a lot of courage to choose here to make a lair for. I recall many folks saying she'd be nearly impossible to make a good lair for -- and you bloody well go and do it :)

Admittedly, Sharina was never one of my faves, and her very low CR is in many ways a hindrance for the true carnage I think you could have pulled off given more space and a freer hand, but I do feel that this is a great lair. Killing off her ol' dad to get her mitts on the theatre, her home is here, and it sounds like her plotting/planning notes as well.

As to the wench in question (not using a stronger word I want to) with your opening lines I want to flay her slowly, with much lemon juice and salt!

One more to read, and already four have grabbed my attention and enjoyment enough to be top runners ... gah, only two votes!


sharina wrote:
Sharina spends at least 3 rounds packing items she’s unwilling to leave behind if chased here. Then, she counts on Gha’zali to plane shift them away from harm before plotting further revenge.

That part is great. It really reflects her ego and further defines the villain- it's good reading for the DM and amusing roleplaying if the situation arises. She's holding off the party with one hand while packing with the other and her genie lover is imploring her to "hurry up" while she's busy packing just one more jar of rare scented oils, or one more book of obscure histories.

---
For Later- I think you did this on purpose Neil, did you consciously choose to pick a low CR villain after the comments and situation with Gulga last round. Congratulations if you did so, because I think it demonstrates your breadth of talent WHILE demonstrating a high degree of shrewdness.

Liberty's Edge

Oh no.

Oh no no no no no.

Why the hell would you…

I really want to see that Gulga Cench module. My group would probably have a blast with it. Going into voting this round I’ve already planned to automatically vote for your entry unless you absolutely fell on your face.

**SPLAT!**

Only two of the villains from last round sucked and for some reason, courageous though it may be, you’ve chosen to create your lair around one of them. I do think you’ve done as good a job as possible with a crappy concept, and if I judge this by how well you’ve worked with it rather than the final result then you’ve done well here. They say you can’t polish crap, but I guess that’s what you’ve managed to do. Even though you’ve slathered on the lacquer and coated it with paint it’s still crap underneath. Crap so dried out and lifeless it can’t even be used as fertilizer.

My group wouldn’t use this, at least not as it was presented here. They’d never meet words with violence and especially not in a public place and this theater at the start of a slanderous play is nothing if not public. This group of goody two-shoes would have the backing of several temples and call in any favors owed by local politicians to try to beat her at her own game. Actually I doubt I’d ever see this villain getting to this stage(ha!) with a smart party of good guys. I run D&D old-school almost sandbox style. My group plays their characters as they feel they would react to situations and have little tolerance for heavy plotting.

Anyway, you’ve won me over with your previous entries and I still want to see your adventure proposal. You may still have one of my votes. Analyzing all these lairs is going to take a while.

Oh, this doesn't effect my vote, but you may want to consider using a different color when you have empty space on a map like you do over the stage on the Upper Floor. I didn't pick up on that until I actually read the text. Using a lighter color would be a good visual clue for that.

Sam

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, I'm going to vote for this one because I want to see the adventure proposal.

Sam

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

Man. When the twist was announced in this round's rules, my first thought was 'If anyone has the cojones to do Sharina's 'lair', they automatically get my vote just out of respect.'

Then I saw the list of entries for this round, saw the title for this one, and immediately knew I'd have to see about living up to my word or not. Fortunately, your name was at the helm, so I looked forward to it.

I loved Sharina. Bigtime. I wanted Carl to go all the way just based on his round 2 entry. Even though round 3 wasn't as awe inspiring as it could have been... (okay, it needed much work), I still voted for it on potential. Sadly my wishes were thwarted there, but it's good to see the Legend Singer lives on.

I think you did the lady proud here. I'd initally assumed any lair for her would be a tavern full of charmed/fascinated patrons; clearly, I was thinking small.

It could be argued that this is more a set piece/event than an actual lair; and that's true. Some railroading, I think, is required to ensure that the PCs come charging in, swords drawn, right at the start of the performance, rather than attack at some other time. (And clearly you give them reason to, but it does come across as slightly forced.) Still, the payoff for that railroading...

Sharina. Mastermind galore. Not just planning on villifying the party by word of mouth, actually PLANS for them to come crashing in and incriminate themselves by deed. The promised 'performance' of the evening is the newly-tarnished group of heroes fighting each other on stage (under various enchantment spells) while boos (and tomatoes, perhaps) come flying up at them from the audience. And at the end, when they're weakened from the infighting, along comes a new group of heroes to save the day.

This could be so much fun.

Also massive points for the 'replacement' heroes being called 'The Understudies'. Made me laugh.

My first vote is committed elsewhere, but this is one of, if not THE, frontrunner for my second vote. I have to admit, I'm one of the jerks who's been acknowledging your stuff has been maybe a bit better than the ones I've been voting for till now, but I haven't thrown a vote your way because you seemed to be safe all along. And maybe you will be this round as well, but just so I'm clear here- if you earn my vote this round, it's for your work THIS round, not because of what you've done before.


Sharina? Wow, didn't see that one coming, even when seeing the title I thought it would be Rustin...

Generally a nice place but like Jason, I was left wondering what's with the audience. That's the part I was waiting for when reading the entry, and it never came.

Why do I get a feeling that you are a bit of a show-off, picking bizarre ideas and seeing how you can make them work...it has served you well so far, but the competition is getting tougher and I am quite sure I will find two entries I like better than this.

Dark Archive

I have to reread the other lairs, but you have my vote, not only because I wish a Gulga adventure, but because I'm impressed in the quality of your work so far and the how you always pick the hard route. Of all villains, the only I didn't expected to have a lair would be this one, and you not only made it. You give a fitting building and fascinating final encounter for the players (Confronting the source of their troubles in a Theater, cannot be more fitting!). Wow.

You are one of the most talented and creative competitors of this year's run imo , perhaps Boomer last year displayed a creative mind frame like yours, yet you keep trying to make things complex , and this is hurting your chances. I hope this time you haven't outwitted yourself.

Luck see you in next!.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

magdalena thiriet wrote:

Sharina? Wow, didn't see that one coming, even when seeing the title I thought it would be Rustin...

Generally a nice place but like Jason, I was left wondering what's with the audience. That's the part I was waiting for when reading the entry, and it never came.

Why do I get a feeling that you are a bit of a show-off, picking bizarre ideas and seeing how you can make them work...it has served you well so far, but the competition is getting tougher and I am quite sure I will find two entries I like better than this.

I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with show-offery if there's something to back it up.

I think Boomer got into the top 4 by being a "show-off" too. :-)


taig wrote:

I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with show-offery if there's something to back it up.

I think Boomer got into the top 4 by being a "show-off" too. :-)

True, though it might sometimes be a bit self-crippling, like when someone says that "flumphs don't make interesting adventures" a show-off just has to go and make a flumph adventure...

True, the results can be interesting and memorable, I did like that "Box of Flumph" adventure in Dungeon magazine time ago, and Modrons became cool when they found their way to Planescape, but as Sean pointed out, it is a bit like going to a race carrying a backpack full of books when others are in shorts...

Saying this, Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you. *flaps arms and makes chicken noises*

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

magdalena thiriet wrote:
Saying this, Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you. *flaps arms and makes chicken noises*

LOL!

Thanks for all your comments. You guys are what make this event so much fun. I'll reserve any further commentary until after voting ends.

In the meantime, I would very sincerely appreciate anyone's vote to send me into the next round so I can pitch a full adventure proposal. I have a feeling every vote is going to count. Please consider me if you will.

Thanks,
--Neil

Liberty's Edge Contributor , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

magdalena thiriet wrote:

True, though it might sometimes be a bit self-crippling, like when someone says that "flumphs don't make interesting adventures" a show-off just has to go and make a flumph adventure...

True, the results can be interesting and memorable, I did like that "Box of Flumph" adventure in Dungeon magazine time ago, and Modrons became cool when they found their way to Planescape, but as Sean pointed out, it is a bit like going to a race carrying a backpack full of books when others are in shorts...

Saying this, Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you. *flaps arms and makes chicken noises*

I agree with your point, and something like that can really blow up in one's face. Anyone remember "Castle Greyhawk"? (I personally liked it)

But, Neil, if you can use Bracht in your adventure proposal and somehow make it so he grafts a flumph to a modron, that would be incredible. Not that you would get many votes, though...

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Vote number 2:

I want to see an adventure proposal from you as well.

I love Sharina Legend-singer, and I like this lair...


taig wrote:
...But, Neil, if you can use Bracht in your adventure proposal and somehow make it so he grafts a flumph to a modron, that would be incredible. Not that you would get many votes, though...

Monte Cook featured Modron grafts in a couple of sections of his 'Great Modron March' compilation for 2nd Edition Planescape. :D


Back to the entry in hand.
There don't seem to be any boxes in the auditorium, but I don't know whether or not they would be a feature of such a theatre. If appropriate they would have added something to the encounter by offering high, protected positions, which could be used as sniper nests.
Hmmm. Interesting proposal, with thought given to how the inhabitants react to intrusion; there were at least a couple of Dungeon adventures featuring bards-as-villains-in-theatre-settings which I'm going to dig out for comparison purposes, before I come back for another look at this one, although those bards were much higher level than Sharina.
The assumption of the presence of an audience seems to me to be a minor mistake - unless there's railroading involved, the PCs could just as easily gain entry during a dress rehearsal or indeed when nothing is going on. I might have to make adjustments to use this for a game.

Sovereign Court

I am impressed - you picked perhaps the toughest lair to do, with a low CR villain, and did an amazing job of both capturing the spirit of the villain and designing an interesting and fun place for her to play.

There are three lairs that, standing alone, I like more than this submission. But given the complete body of work and the bonus credit for choosing such a challenging project, you're getting my second vote. I will be terribly disappointed if I don't get to see your full adventure proposal.

Vote "Last Leaves"! Vote "GULGA CENCH"!! Vote "Legend-Singer creates some villains!!!"

Let's see what Neil has next!

Dedicated Voter Season 6

magdalena thiriet wrote:
taig wrote:

I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with show-offery if there's something to back it up.

I think Boomer got into the top 4 by being a "show-off" too. :-)

True, though it might sometimes be a bit self-crippling, like when someone says that "flumphs don't make interesting adventures" a show-off just has to go and make a flumph adventure...

True, the results can be interesting and memorable, I did like that "Box of Flumph" adventure in Dungeon magazine time ago, and Modrons became cool when they found their way to Planescape, but as Sean pointed out, it is a bit like going to a race carrying a backpack full of books when others are in shorts...

Saying this, Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you. *flaps arms and makes chicken noises*

Splumfs and Geometrons, open license problem solved.

bold emphasis mine

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

magdalena thiriet wrote:
Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you.

Oh, that's way too easy. The adventure he could really never pull off is flumphs VERSUS modrons. With the PCs caught in the middle, of course.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Epic Meepo wrote:
magdalena thiriet wrote:
Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you.
Oh, that's way too easy. The adventure he could really never pull off is flumphs VERSUS modrons. With the PCs caught in the middle, of course.

Oh come on, those guys have almost the same alignment. They could never fight.

Could they?

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Jason Nelson wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
magdalena thiriet wrote:
Neil, if you make it to the next round, I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure). I dare you.
Oh, that's way too easy. The adventure he could really never pull off is flumphs VERSUS modrons. With the PCs caught in the middle, of course.

Oh come on, those guys have almost the same alignment. They could never fight.

Could they?

Sploomphies are to blame you see ...


Do flumphs actually possess any credible means to fight?

Ahem. We appear to be threadjacking though.
We need some way to get Sharina, the theatre and/or Gulga Cench or his minion Neil Spicer involved in this hypothetical fight.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
We need some way to get Sharina, the theatre and/or Gulga Cench or his minion Neil Spicer involved in this hypothetical fight.

Ahem.

Thank you for your comments. And please vote for me. ;-D

--Neil


NSpicer wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
We need some way to get Sharina, the theatre and/or Gulga Cench or his minion Neil Spicer involved in this hypothetical fight.

Ahem.

Thank you for your comments. And please vote for me. ;-D

--Neil

Are you allowed to bribe Gulga Cench to make an appearance in here to get the vote out for you? Your position is looking wobbly in the current exit polls, and I think you could do with a campaign manager. :)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

"Front row seats! I got front row seats here! 10 gp a ticket!!"


On the Subject of the Dungeon Magazine adventures....
Both the ones which I recalled (And Madness Followed #134, Swords of Dragonlake #141) feature much higher level bards, and PCs turning up after a performance has already started, so it seems to be an accepted feature in the Paizo canon that if there's a bard in the house, there can be an audience to get in the way of the PC's too.
Whether or not an audience should be a permanent fixture of a lair I don't know - does Sharina keep some of them chained in their seats, or perhaps an illusory or undead audience for when 'real' people aren't available? (There was a Ravenloft area of the Nightmare lands with a 'captive' audience in a ballet, and possibly even a pocket domain which was a theatre now that I think about it...) It might have been in keeping with Sharina to maybe have a few illusions around of people sitting in seats, in between performances, to watch her strut her stuff. She needs an audience so much that she makes up people to watch her, making her feel that she's the centre of attention.

Hmmm. Maybe this should have been developed or emphasised more as part of the villain's character earlier on.

What perhaps make Sharina tick: she wants to be the centre of attention, and she just goes about it in a slightly unethical way....

Shadow Lodge

First of all, cool. I like that you took her, even though she has been a handycap in all rounds. My concern is that i see a pattern arising. You like challenges, and bit off alot more than you could chew this round, and i think you will continue to go over the top. Which is hit or miss. I think that giving a pass for this round may be a bit much. But i think i am going to anyway because you have chops and ig risks tend to be the most rewarding.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Daniel Simonson wrote:
First of all, cool. I like that you took her, even though she has been a handycap in all rounds. My concern is that i see a pattern arising. You like challenges, and bit off alot more than you could chew this round, and i think you will continue to go over the top. Which is hit or miss. I think that giving a pass for this round may be a bit much. But i think i am going to anyway because you have chops and ig risks tend to be the most rewarding.

I think the surprise villain-switch in this round encouraged us to take risks. Neil jumped in and took that risk eagerly. I think he should be rewarded for that ... for his willingness to take on challenges and stretch himself as an author/designer. It sounds like you agree.

Star Voter Season 9

I loved the magical posters and the Understudies, plus the Jann is a great strategic choice for Sharina. Great lair.

Liberty's Edge

NSpicer wrote:
Thanks for all your comments. You guys are what make this event so much fun. I'll reserve any further commentary until after voting ends.

All the comments? Even the one where I said your lair was crap? Flaming your lair like that was way over the top. I shouldn't have done that. You have my apologies.

NSpicer wrote:
In the meantime, I would very sincerely appreciate anyone's vote to send me into the next round so I can pitch a full adventure proposal. I have a feeling every vote is going to count. Please consider me if you will.

I've already voted for you yesterday.

From the exit polls it does look like you're on the borderline. I suspect it's mainly your choice of villain that's holding you back. Maybe the railroadiness is partially to blame. Your lair may not have been top four work this round, but you're certainly within the top four for your overall work. I'm hoping you make it to the adventure proposals.

Sam

Liberty's Edge

magdalena thiriet wrote:
I am quite sure you cannot pull off a credible module proposal featuring flumphs AND modrons (they might be not-open content though, I'm not sure).

Flumphs are open content. Modrons are not.

Sam

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Samuel Leming wrote:
All the comments? Even the one where I said your lair was crap?

Most definitely, Sam. That's all valid feedback. I read and try to absorb all of it. And I appreciate what everyone's shared so far.

Samuel Leming wrote:
I'm hoping you make it to the adventure proposals.

Me too.

Very much.

Thanks,
--Neil


As someone who works in a theatre, it's great to see this idea as an entry. And unlike some, I kind of like Sharina. Gets my vote!

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