Dragonrest Isle

Round 5: Submit an adventure proposal

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 aka K. B. Carter

Dragonrest Isle

Dragonrest Isle is an adventure designed for four 9th level characters. The PCs should reach 10th level by the adventure’s epic conclusion, which unfolds in the heart of a tropical volcano. The adventure can be easily adapted to fit any isolated warm-water island in the DM’s campaign world.

Adventure Summary

Fifty years ago, two great wyrm dragons—one silver and one red—clashed over the ocean in a cataclysmic battle to the death. Both were mortally wounded and died on a remote tropical island.

Though both dragons are long dead, their warring spirits linger in the Ethereal Plane.

The PCs arrive on the tropical island and learn of the continuing struggle between the ethereal spirits of the red and the silver dragon. The heroes must survive the dangers of the island long enough to discover and stop a nefarious plot of the red dragon rider, Matron Dra'naga (female, lizardfolk, red draconic sorcerer, 10th), who now leads the red dragon's brood of surviving offspring (four juvenile red dragons).

Adventure Background

Gather Information and Knowledge (History) checks reveal the following bits of information about Dragonrest Isle:

DC 10: Dragonrest Isle is an isolated tropical island in the midst of a warm sea. It is largely avoided by seafarers as the isle's surrounding waters are notoriously temperamental, often giving rise to fierce storms that appear out of nowhere in a matter of minutes.

DC 15: The few individuals who have seen Dragonrest Isle report that it is infested with dinosaurs and surrounded by treacherous reefs, thereby making it an unsuitable port. These mariners also share tales of a colossal dragon skeleton resting in the clouds above the isle's main lagoon, thus giving the island its colloquial name "Dragonrest."

DC 20: Dragonrest Isle is the former roost of the great wyrm red dragon, Azzandra. Fifty years ago, a great wyrm silver dragon, known as Illustrond, came to Dragonrest after Azzandra had killed Illustrond's mate. Azzandra and Illustrond fought to the death, each dragon inflicting mortal wounds on other during an epic battle. In the end, both dragons fell from the skies. The red dragon, Azzandra, died in the isle's volcano while the silver dragon, Illustrond, died in the clouds.

DC 25: There is something supernatural about Dragonrest Isle. On the Material Plane, the isle's surrounding waters typically appear calm and sunny. But on the Ethereal Plane, an epic storm, some fifty miles across, circles the island at all times. It is believed that this ethereal storm is what's causing the sporadic appearance of storms on the Material Plane in the waters around Dragonrest.

DC 30: The ethereal storm centers around the skeletal remains of the fallen silver dragon, Illustrond. The silver dragon's vengeful spirit still lingers in the Ethereal Plane and generates the ghostly storm around Dragonrest.

DC 35: The last brood of Azzandra—a clutch of four red dragons—still lives on Dragonrest Isle. They have survived their mother and are cared for by Matron Dra'naga, a lizardfolk sorceress who served as Azzandra’s dragon rider during the battle with Illustrond.

DC 40: Illustrond's ethereal storm manifests on the Material Plane when any of Azzandra’s red dragon offspring attempt to leave the island. The storm also blocks all forms of teleportation magic to and from Dragonrest. Through this supernatural storm, Illustrond's spirit has contained his foes on Dragonrest Isle for the last fifty years, a period of time in which the trapped red dragons have since grown from wyrmlings to juveniles. Matron Dra'naga is now very old, even by lizardfolk standards, but she is still quite formidable.

DC 45: Deep within the isle’s volcano, the spirit of the great wyrm red dragon, Azzandra, also lingers in the Ethereal Plane. The island’s volcano is calm and serene on the Material Plane, yet spews ash and fire on the Ethereal Plane.

In addition to the above story points, the PCs will also uncover details of the following evil in the course of this adventure...

The red dragon rider, Matron Dra’naga, has hatched a plot to raise Azzandra as a lich. Any living thing thrown into an accursed pool of black magma has a fragment of its soul siphoned into Azzandra's soon-to-be phylactery, an obsidian spire at the heart of Dragonrest's central volcano. Eventually Azzandra's spirit will have mustered enough strength to rise as a dragon lich. Once that happens, there will be nothing Illustrond can do to stop his enemies from leaving Dragonrest Isle and beginning a campaign of terror across the mainland.

Chapter One: Voyage to the Isle

The adventure begins when the PCs arrive on Dragonrest Isle. The reasons for this voyage are up to the DM, but some possible adventure hooks include:

Treasure Hunt The PCs are seeking an item from the lost treasure horde of Azzandra, rumored to remain undiscovered somewhere on Dragonrest Isle. The party charters a boat and sets course to the remote island. In truth, most of Azzandra's horde was carried off by pirates long ago, but several items remain, including the one the PCs seek.

Castaways The PCs have been lost at sea for days after their ship was sunk by pirates/kraken/leviathan etc. The party eventually washes ashore at Dragonrest with no idea of what lies in store for them.

Illustrond Beckons The PCs are piloting their ship across open waters when a tiny sparrow alights on their gunwales. The bird—which could never have gotten this far out to sea on its own—flies back and forth across their prow, trying to get the PCs to change course and follow it to Dragonrest Isle. This sparrow is actually Illustrond’s spirit manifested (see below for details).

Chapter Two: Exploring Dragonrest

Dragonrest is an isolated volcanic island rising from warm tropical waters. The isle’s formidable volcano towers over the thick central jungles and steep seaward cliffs. The colossal remains of a skeletal silver dragon rest eerily in the clouds above the island’s main lagoon (as the bones remain suspended in air, even in death, by the silver dragon's cloudwalk ability).

Several of the isle's more dramatic features are only apparent on the Ethereal Plane. Any PC blinking or casting see invisibility or otherwise able to see into the Ethereal Plane beholds a terrible site. On the Ethereal Plane, massive storm clouds churn about the isle and stretch for miles overhead. Within this ethereal storm, windblown frost clings to the silver dragon’s remains and fist-sized hailstones pound the ocean’s surface. Similarly, on the Ethereal Plane, the isle’s volcano burns with a fiery red light and hurls ash and magma into the air. The rising ash and spinning storm clouds twist together, as though vying for control of the skies.

Perhaps the eeriest aspect of all this is that the apocalyptic scene in the Ethereal Plane unfolds in absolute silence. And, back on the Material Plane, everything appears balmy and serene once again.

Depending on what magic the PCs employ when they first approach Dragonrest, they may or may not notice this dual Ethereal/Material nature of the island. Regardless, it is assumed they explore further.

A series of game trails traverse the island's thick jungle interior. A successful DC 15 Track check reveals that the muddy trails were blazed by lizardfolk hunting parties. Points of interest that the PCs will likely discover in the course of their exploration include:

Dinosaur Lairs
The jungles of Dragonrest Isle support several species of dinosaurs: two tyrannosauruses nest in a vine-choked ravine; packs of mega raptors inhabit a bone-strewn cave behind a roaring waterfall; and herds of triceratops wander the island's western grasslands.

Illustrond's Rest
Illustrond’s skeleton lies high in the clouds above the lagoon, suspended there for all eternity by the silver dragon's cloudwalk ability. The dragon’s spirit can manifest in the Material Plane, but only as a tiny sparrow.

Shortly after the party lands on the island, this sparrow flies down to accompany the PCs on their journey. It perches on the shoulders of a chosen PC and generates an aura of good and an aura of courage (as a paladin) in a 10-foot radius. Any PC able to see into the Ethereal Plane beholds a colossal translucent silver dragon in the approximate location of where the sparrow appears on the Material Plane. This ethereal dragon cannot attack, talk or otherwise communicate with the PCs, but it stoically regards any PC that makes eye contact with it on the Ethereal Plane.

The silver dragon's spirit remains with the PCs until they either leave the island or banish the red dragon’s spirit to the afterlife (see Chapter 3).

The Lagoon
The following message—written in elven—is etched into a slab of volcanic rock overlooking the island's main lagoon.

Gannith was here for 13 days. Enemies closing in. Don't have long. Lost sword to creature in lagoon. Retrieve it and finish what I could not!

Anyone making a DC 20 Knowledge History check knows “Gannith” was Illustrond's elven dragon rider. He has not been seen on the mainland since he rode off with Illustrond to fight Azzandra. Anyone succeeding on this check by more than 5 also knows that Gannith's sword was a magical longsword named Coldfront.

The creature in the lagoon is a massive dragon turtle. Jammed into the creature's jaw, embedded in a massive lump of scar tissue, is the massive sword Coldfront. Forged by the sliver dragon Illustrond, this blade acts as a longsword of red dragon’s bane +2. While Coldfront is drawn, anyone within 10 feet of the blade takes half damage from red dragon fire.

Sunscale Village
A group of lizardfolk known as the Sunscale Tribe dwells in a seaside village near the island's main lagoon. The Sunscale lizardfolk are stolid hunters, and do not attack the PCs unless provoked. The lizardfolk begin the adventure as "unfriendly" to the PCs, but the heroes can attempt to gain the tribe’s favor with a Diplomacy check modified as follows:

+2 if the lizardfolk see the silver dragon's spirit sparrow with the PCs.
+2 for each ranger or druid in the party.
+5 if the PCs agree to retrieve the headdress of the lizardfolks’ fallen chieftain from the raptor lair.
+5 if the PCs agree to kill the mated pair of tyrannosauruses that have been preying on the lizardfolks' hunting parties.
+2 if the PCs are able to trade any triceratops eggs (which the lizardfolk hatch and train as beasts of burden).

Assuming the PCs are able to bring the Sunscale tribe to "friendly" or better, the lizardfolk can share ample information about the island. The tribe has inhabited Dragonrest for many generations and its oral tradition encompasses a somewhat mystic version of all the information from the Adventure Background that is a DC 45 or lower.

Matron Dra'naga and the juvenile red dragons have been kidnapping members of the Sunscale Tribe for years. As a result, the lizardfolk fear the dragons and refuse to go near the volcano lair for any reason. The lizardfolk claim that anyone captured by the sorceress and her dragon flight is forever corrupted by some dark ritual, though they do not know the exact nature of this change (more details in Chapter 3).

Once on good terms, the lizardfolk offer the PCs several doses of a rare jungle root that, if chewed, will allow the PC to peer into the Ethereal Plane, which the lizardfolk refer to as the “Realm of the Dead”. This root functions as a potion of see invisibility.

In addition to the information in the Adventure Background the lizardfolk can also share their limited knowledge of Matron Dra'naga and the individual red dragons (see Chapter 3 for details).

The Volcanic Rise
The cliffs leading up to the Dragonrest volcano are steep and treacherous. Charred dinosaur bones and smoldering fumaroles dot the volcano's rocky shoulders, perhaps warning the PCs that great danger lurks above.

If the PCs attempt to climb the volcano without first retrieving Coldfront from the dragon turtle, Illustrond’s spirit sparrow begins to chirp loudly and flutter behind them, trying to lead the PCs away from the dragons’ lair until they are ready to face the dangers within.

Chapter Three: The Volcano

The final chapter of this adventure unfolds in the vast cave system that extends throughout the volcano. Here, Azzandra’s four red dragon offspring toil under the strict leadership of Matron Dra’naga, and together they seek to raise Azzandra as a lich.

Hazards and villains of the volcano are as follows (text in purple indicates information the Sunscale tribe can share with the PCs before the heroes begin their assault on the lair):

Magma Pools, Geysers and Steam Vents
The volcano is active and many natural features of the lair can burn or scald would-be intruders.

Azzandra's Spirit and the Obsidian Spire
Azzandra’s skeleton rests near an accursed obsidian spire in a pool of black magma that churns somewhere deep in the belly of the volcano. Anyone who can see into the Ethereal Plane beholds a colossal translucent red dragon superimposed over the red dragon’s skeleton in the Material Plane. Azzandra’s spirit cannot attack, talk or otherwise communicate with those around it. It appears to be in a deep sleep.

An obsidian spire rises from the pool of black magma. Any living thing reduced to zero hit points while within the magma pool rises one day later with a newly acquired monster template called "cinderborn". This transformation siphons a fragment of the victim's soul into the obsidian spire, Azzandra’s soon-to-be phylactery. Soon, the phylactery will have gathered enough power to raise Azzandra as a lich.

Cinderborn Creatures (New Monster Template)
All lizardfolk captured from the Sunscale village are irrevocably corrupted by some unspeakable ritual. The cinderborn template changes the base creature's subtype to Fire, it's alignment to chaotic evil and renders it incapable of producing offspring. It also grants blindsight 60ft and +4 Str, +4 Con, -4 Wis and -4 Cha. When a cinderborne creature dies, it explodes into a cloud of hot ash, dealing 3d6 fire damage in a ten foot radius (Reflex Save DC 10 + [base creature's hit dice] for half damage). The lingering ash cloud blocks line of sight and provides concealment as a darkness spell for the next 3 rounds.

Matron Dra’naga (lizardfolk, female, red draconic sorcerer 10th)
According to the Sunscale lizardfolk, Matron Dra'naga was "cursed" to be born with red dragon blood and, as such, she was cast out of the tribe. Only later did she become Azzandra's dragon rider and seek revenge on her former tribesman. The old lizardfolk sorceress currently leads the last brood of Azzandra and has chosen Xoriath the Eldest as her new dragon mount. Matron Dra'naga's library, which lies deep in the volcano, is filled with clay tablets that detail the creation of the obsidian phylactery, a task that Matron Dra'naga has spent most of the last fifty years undertaking.

Xoriath the Eldest (young adult dragon)
The largest and fiercest of the red dragon siblings, Xoriath ate three of his smaller siblings while still in the nest. Due to his precocious size, Xoriath has the effective statistics of a young adult red dragon, even though he is technically only old enough to be a juvenile.

Rahna the Slaver (juvenile red dragon)
Rahna is particularly malevolent, even by red dragon standards. She is in charge of keeping the dragon’s cinderborne minions in line. If Rahna is slain, the cinderborne minions are much more likely to flee during combat.

Gannith (cinderborn high elf, fighter, 10th)
The rider of the silver dragon Illustrond was taken to the volcano and held captive for many years before finally being corrupted by the red dragons. The fallen knight has chosen Skywraith the Sorcerer as his new dragon mount.

Skywraith the Sorcerer (young red dragon, undead sorcerer 7th)
Skywraith is the runt of the litter, but he makes up for his limited size with an uncanny affinity for necromantic magic. Skywraith has the effective statistics of a young red dragon, even though he is technically old enough to be a juvenile. Unlike most dragons his age, his sorcerer caster level is 7th.

Draknock the Deformed (modified juvenile red dragon)
Draknock is actually two dragon twins that fused as the result of a birth defect. The freakish two-headed dragon is shunned by the rest of his siblings. Draknock's deformity allows him an extra bite attack, but it has also left him with crippled wings. Draknock cannot fly and his twin breath weapons never fully developed (shoots two lines of fire instead of cones). The vertebrate in his necks have calcified such that he must choose separate targets for each of his twin bite or breath weapon attacks.

The Epic Finale

The final battle plays out with the PCs fighting Matron Dra’naga and her mount Xoriath next to the obsidian spire. The only way Azzandra’s spirit can be permanently banished into the afterlife is to plunge Coldfront into the obsidian phylactery. And the only way Illustrond's spirit can be permanently destroyed is to immerse the sparrow in the pool of black magma. Illustrond has risked much accompanying the PCs here, but the silver dragon feels the party is his best chance of ever defeating his rivals and he wants, more than anything, to help the heroes succeed.

Epilogue: Concluding the Adventure

As soon as the PCs have destroyed Azzandra's spirit, the volcano begins to erupt and collapse. Assuming they are able to escape the cataclysmic eruption, the PCs are rewarded with a sizable story XP award and whatever treasure they can scour from the lair.

To celebrate, the Sunscale host an epic six-day feast that culminates with the PCs' induction into the tribe. Illustrond's sparrow spirit presides over the event, chirping contentedly from a nearby tree before finally fading away at sunset of the last day, departing forever to the Outer Planar happy hunting grounds shared by all silver dragons.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Initial Impression
Love the ethereal plane angle.
Good NPCs.
Looks like some fun fights and some good roleplaying opportunities.
Happy ending.
Doable in 32 pages.
But how much of this adventure really says "Pathfinder"?
Is the balance of content right? Is there enough for everyone to do?

Hmmm, this one really has my interest.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Two dragons die and fight beyond the grave? I'm not 100% sold on this premise, because it's not obvious to me why the PCs should care. And beyond-the-grave stuff can get kind of sketchy in the hooks, but ok, I keep reading…

And run right into the Gather Information check. I'm a fan of this approach *in the adventure itself*. I'm not as happy about it here in a pitch to the publisher. The actual hook (the lich threat) doesn't show up until the end of this section. So far, I'm not all that hooked.

Chapter 2 starts with yet another repetition about the warm tropical waters (the 4th mention) and the volcano (5th mention). Enough redundancy, already, bring on the details! And mostly, you do. I get a sense of how the island encounters might flow.

There's stumbles, as well: The sparrow/dragon spirit is really a nice touch here, but the fact that it can't speak is annoying. PCs have lots of spells and abilities to speak with dead spirits and will want to use them. Failure to let them do so is just punitive design; not a good idea. The red dragon spirit on the volcano has the same problem, effectively muzzling the DM from what could be a great roleplaying scene as the red dragon spirit mocks the PCs.

Then we come to the Sunscale village section and the cinderborn template. Putting the game mechanics into the pitch… At this point, as a publisher I don't really want the full writeup, I just want to know what happens from a gameplay perspective, a "most likely" scenario and set of challenges. Stats and templates should not be part of a pitch. That is, you're getting ahead of things here. Pitch me on the adventure tactics, story, and entertainment value. Don't write the adventure mechanics before it is approved.

Overall, this could be a fun adventure, though the pitch stumbles in a number of places. Mostly, the pitch makes me want to rewrite it (and that's a bad sign) to emphasize what the PCs can do and to remove some of the assumptions about PC action (does the party *have* to get coldfront? That silver dragon tagalong is pretty annoying about it). Overall, I think there's a lot of potential here but also several missteps.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

There's a lot of stuff to like in this adventure for me. I like dinosaurs, of course, and here they're used in the right way and in the right environment. I also like dragons and lizardfolk. And I like the fact that the module takes place on a volcanic tropical island. Very pulpy. Kinda like King Kong, but with dragons instead of gorillas.

That said, the proposal gets too caught up with the mechanics of what's going on on the island, and the adventure itself doesn't really come out. There's not really a reason for the PCs to want to go on this adventure, and the main villain is weirdly passive and only shows up in the final encounter.

Things I Like about this Proposal
Dinosaurs!: I do like dinosaurs. I'm biased here. I admit it. But still... dinosaurs!
Cloud Skeleton: A dragon's skeleton floating on a permanent cloud is a neat idea. Too bad there's not more going on with this thing... this'd be a great place for some combats and some rewards/clues.
Haunted Storm: And here's some more parallel development with another haunted storm. I really like the idea that this haunted storm and the silver dragon spirit is keeping the four dragon offspring stuck on the island. That makes for some cool personality stuff... I envision the four dragons not getting along all that well, and that could be a cool thing for the PCs to use to their advantage.
Cursed Black Magma: This is a really neat visual, and the concept of haunted lava or cursed lava is really cool.
Illustrond: The dragon manifesting as a sparrow is pretty cool, and I like the idea of a dragon's spirit following the PCs around. That said... the PCs are going to want to talk to the dragon/sparrow... what happens then?
Ethereal Plane Element: This is a really neat idea, and I like how it makes the island into two very different worlds... but see below in the stuff I didn't like for a problem...
Lizardfolk Quests: I love the idea of sending the PCs on quests to earn the trust and aid of the lizardfolk tribe. This could be a cool part of the adventure... as long as the adventure gives the PCs a REASON to go befriend the lizardfolk, of course. They need to know their goals first, and this adventure hides their goals from them. Frustrating.
Multiple Dragon Mini-bosses: I do like the fact that there's four dragon siblings to fight on the island. I'd like to see their personalities even better defined; how do they get along with each other? With the isle's other denizens? With the bad lizrdfolk? I also like the idea of giving each dragon a few different abilities to distinguish them, although this means that they'd all need their own stat blocks, I fear. Proximity to cursed haunted black lava can work as a great reason why these four dragons are, effectively, all mutants...

Things I Don't Like about this Proposal
The Title: The adventure needs a more exciting title. Even the word "Dragonrest" needs adjustment, since "rest" is not something I normally associate with adventure.
Gather Information: Adventure Proposals aren't adventures. You shouldn't use methods like "Gather Information" results to tell the editor what your adventure's about. Just lay out the info and don't hold back on secrets and avoid telling us things we don't need to know.
Needs More Golarion: This adventure's generic. The adventures in our module line are set in Golarion, and while it's good if they're easy to adapt to other game worlds... that should, in theory, be because Golarion is very close to "baseline fantasy RPG," not because the adventure seems afraid to nail down its location. This proposal needs to pick a location in Golarion for it to occur in, and needs to utilize more Golarion flavor overall.
Dragon Riders: We don't learn that the dragons had riders until well into the proposal. I'll be honest: I liked it a lot more when I thought it was two dragons having a grudge match. Giving them riders takes away from that, and starts to make the whole thing feel a bit too Dragonlancy for my tastes. If you have dragon riders, you need societies that ride dragons, is what I'm saying. Dragon riders take away from the adventure in my opinion.
Haunted Storm: Although I like the haunted storm... I don't like it when it takes away PC toys. This is for 9th level PCs; they probably JUST got teleport, if there are wizards in the group. It sucks to not be able to use your new powers on the first adventure you get them. Don't take away PC toys.
Dragon Lich: This is the same as a dracolich, and while dracoliches are cool... they're VERY Forgotten Realms. The dracolich itself isn't open content either. And the lich template in 3.5 can't be put on a dragon (this MIGHT change in PF RPG, but still...). A dragon lich just feels too close to comfort for me to closed content, unfortunately. The lizardfolk villain should have a different goal in mind, resurrecting the red dragon perhaps? Or maybe absorbing some of its latent power? Or even just a different type of undead. Just not a dragon lich.
STORY!: This proposal's greatest flaw is that it lacks a story. If it's just supposed to be a sandbox-type adventure where the PCs get to explore the island, that's fine, but if that's the case, I would have wanted to hear more about other things on the island beyond the whole dragon story. Personally... I would rather this adventure get a strong story, since "Isle of Dread" already did the dinosaur island sandbox pretty well.
Adventure Hooks: And the first step to giving the adventure a story is to pick a single hook to involve the PCs. This proposal's hooks don't do a great job at that. There's really no reason for the PCs to want to defeat the bad guy, especially since they don't KNOW about the bad guy. The lizardfolk villain needs to be more active, so that the PCs have a reason to come to Dragonrest Isle to confront him.
Pirates and Loot: There should be a nice treasure in the adventure, but saying pirates carried most of it away seems wrong. Pirates wouldn't stop at "most," they'd take it all. There needs to be another reason why the dragon's horde is diminished.
Castaways: This is too much boxed text telling the PCs what happens to them. One thing I learned from "Savage Tide" is that forcing the PCs to shipwreck on an island so that the adventure you have in mind can occur is a great way to annoy a LOT of your readers and players.
Ethereal Plane Element: This is a very high level barrier. Ethereal spells are beyond the reach of 9th level characters (plane shift doesn't count since it's sooooo inaccurate), and so the PCs have no real way to ever interact with this part of the adventure. The adventure DOES hook the PCs up with a good method to see into the ethereal world, but I'm not sure that's enough. That said... splitting the adventure between two planes can be tricky too, and can lead to inefficient use of word count when you have to explain encounters and areas twice too often.
Another Red Dragon?: "Blood of Dragonscar" is coming out soon, and it features a red dragon and a volcano. I like the volcano element in "Dragonrest Isle" a lot, but I think that perhaps red dragons in the adventure make it too close to "Blood of Dragonscar." Switching to a different dragon like green or black lets us use older dragons against the PCs, which is good, and also allows us to have the bad dragon fall into the volcano and die (a red dragon wouldn't, since it's immune to fire... unless it took enough falling damage to die, I guess...).
Cinderborn Template: Again, as I mentioned in my response to Fellnight, I'm kinda exhausted and worn out by template overdose. The game's got more than enough already, and I don't need to see more templates unless they really do something that a current template doesn't do. There's at least 3 templates in Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary that'd work great for this role, and there's plenty more in various other monster books. An even BETTER option would be to have the cinderborn be just a new monster, perhaps some sort of undead or lava construct fueled by souls or something. Or perhaps best of all would be to just use the ghost template for the cinderborn stuff, but with a few new, unique ghost powers. Still... if this is a template, you're artificially hampering your word count, since templated monsters always need full stat blocks.
Length: The adventure feels a little short. The various lizard folk quests can perhaps stand to be expanded, and the final volcano dungeon where the dragons live can stand for expansion as well.
Coldfront: While I like the sword's placement and role in the adventure, I don't like it having to be a requirement. It should help the PCs finish the adventure, but not punish them for not having it. Also, the name's a little silly for my tastes, especially with the adventure's haunted storm element...
Don't Kill the Poor Lizardfolk!: So... if the PCs win, the volcano explodes? That's certainly dramatic, but it's also too grim and un-fun if that means that the PCs' new lizard folk friends and all the other inhabitants of the island are killed as well. From the last part of the proposal, it seems like this certainly isn't the intent, sine the lizardfolk are still around to throw a party for the PCs... but still. Volcanoes do a lot of damage when they pop their tops.

Final Reaction: Assuming this adventure gets hooked up with some Golarion flavor, and has a stronger storyline attached to it that gives the PCs a reason to want to go to Dragonrest Isle and confront the evil lizardfolk, this proposal's probably my favorite entry of the four. Recommended.


This submission takes a while to get to the meat of the matter; you're not writing the intro to the adventure, you're summarizing the whole adventure.

I like the ongoing battle beyond death.
I like the silver dragon's floating skeleton.
I like the ethereal storm.

site !== sight :(

Dinosaurs are fun, though James may object to them living here. ;)

I like the roleplaying opportunities with the lizardfolk tribe.

Juvenile red dragons are CR 10 each; expecting 9th-level PCs to be able to defeat all of them together (CR 14, plus a sor10 lizardfolk handler) is pretty crazy. Oops, two of them have the stats of young adult red dragons, that's CR 13 each; individually, those two could probably kill all the PCs. With all four siblings, that's close to CR 16 altogether... total party kill.

Overall, interesting premise. Not sure how "Pathfindery" it is. Needs some mechanical work to avoid killing the PCs.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Again, its nice this year that we don’t have to exclude submissions for external reasons like including too much stuff for a 32 page adventure. All the submission in my view are “doable.” Sure, some could use some trimming. But this year it is all about the quality of the content. I’m going to refer to some stuff from last year just for reference, but the contest here is between these 4 contestants not last year’s contestants. Any reference to last year is for comparison’s sake only. So here we go…

Kevin’s Dragonrest Isle

Dragonrest. I get it. It’s where they died. But “rest” isn’t really calling out for adventure. Last year we had some great names. This year, not so sure. This is one of the weakest of the group (maybe only Boiling Beast being worse).

The remote tropical island is a classic hook. Maybe a bit overused in recent memory, but still classic. The trick for the remote tropical island shtick is to get the PCs to the remote tropical island. I’m not really feeling good hooks here for you. Not sure why the PCs come and, once they get here, why they stay. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

I like the ethereal overlay idea. That is cool.

Like the other judges I didn’t initially care for the Gather Info approach in the pitch. It’s a pitch to a publisher. But it doesn’t bug me as much I guess because this is a weird pitch to a publisher—it’s a contest submission. And using that approach does show some adventure chops. It gives the voting public a better glimpse of what they are getting in the final adventure if you are published. So I think perhaps this was sort of a smart move, despite my initial reluctance. In the end, I thought it was a concise way to give us some backstory and show some of the levels of secrets about the adventure. If this submission is more of a tease for the voting public, I think you did this right.

I just can’t get away from how much I dig that ethereal overlay gag. I love that! As a publisher I like the fun, and as a potential DM I can just anticipate how much fun I could have with this.

Publishers think in terms of the product. The cover art. The layout and design issues. The art orders that spring to mind for this adventure really warm my heart—dueling dragons, an ethereal overlay of an island in turmoil.

My biggest gripe so far is that I’m not seeing the Pathfinder/Golarion tie in here. I think that is a major weakness.

I love the four red dragons and the lizardfolk sorceress. That smacks of a great enocounter, or set of encounters.

I like the way the adventure pits the PCs as a part of the struggle between the spirits of the two dragons. That is fun, classic, epic D&D. Well done.

The hooks seem pretty cheap—highlighting the problems with the “remote island” shtick. Really? Getting to the island gets its own chapter? These seem like one page of hooks to me, at best. The treasure hunt bait and switch would piss off players. The shipwreck is really the best angle, but it feels so forced and railroaded. The sparrow is cool, but the PCs need to be far out to sea already which is a bit problematic. I think you need to bring the dragonrider stuff into the adventure more. Maybe the PCs are looking for him or his sword for some reason. That to me is a far better hook than the three you propose.

I absolutely love the remains of the silver dragon hovering above the island and the other ethereal effects. That is so cool.

I think you buried your lead a bit in this adventure, though. As I mention above, I think the hook to the dragon rider and his sword is really your best hook. And we don’t get that until the lagoon description. That to me is the driving force here. Unless the PCs are here for that, I don’t really see them staying. Heck, while I like the “befriend the lizards” approach and think that is fun, I think most groups spend their time making a boat to get off this rock. It’s the dragon rider and the sword that keeps them here. But the problem with the sword is that you whack the dragon turtle and get the sword and never have to deal with the dragons.

The lizardfolk really show the chance to have an amazing roleplaying session. I really wanted to have more about there here. Tease me. Sure, you give me some sample things that could happen. But I want something like the Demonscar Ball from SCAP. That is what you are going to need here and I need to know you can do it. I don’t feel you hooked me into why the PCs would befriend them. Give me a sample or summary encounter with the lizardfolk that get the PCs and the lizardmen interacting. You don’t ever provide that.

I will say this: I am a fan of the sandbox approach. I love that you will give us the island and basically let the PCs do things at their own pace. Presuming you get the PCs working with the lizardmen, this could be really fun. I like the multiple tasks. Who doesn’t like fighting dinosaurs (though it is a bit cliché)? And the PCs can do it in their own way. That to me is old school fun and it is too often missing from modern adventure design. So I like seeing this.

And then into the volcano we go. Not really sure why, I guess. Other than that adventurers are supposed to kill red dragons. And here is where my beef really comes into play. So what? Why? Why do the PCs care? If they were shipwrecked, they can build a serviceable ship by now. I need to feel more that the just can’t leave until the overcome this ethereal storm. But I’ll set this aside and talk about the fun to be had in the volcano.

I love the encounters. I love that the 4 dragons are all a bit different (though I’m not sure I understand Skywraith—is he actually undead? That’s what your text says, but the description doesn’t say anything about that).

I love the cinderborn. I know templates make for issues when pagecount is at a premium because of their statblocks, but I think you can get around that. In your “new monster” section you can include a few sample cinderborn and simply refer to them each time. You could make, say, 3 different ones and use them again and again. That would be cool and it would work.

I get a funny feeling about the end of your proposal though. I feel like you are a student that is taking a test and running out of time. It feels you were rushed for time to finish this and you gave short shrift to the epic climax. We wait this long to get to the end and you just give us “The final battle plays out with the PCs fighting Matron Dra’naga and her mount Xoriath next to the obsidian spire. The only way Azzandra’s spirit can be permanently banished into the afterlife is to plunge Coldfront into the obsidian phylactery. And the only way Illustrond's spirit can be permanently destroyed is to immerse the sparrow in the pool of black magma. Illustrond has risked much accompanying the PCs here, but the silver dragon feels the party is his best chance of ever defeating his rivals and he wants, more than anything, to help the heroes succeed.” Hmmm. I want more. How does Illustrond help the PCs? I don’t know. Maybe what you gave is enough. But somehow it feels rushed and lacking. I also think the idea of destroying Illustrond is a throw away. I don’t see this adventure being geared in any way to evil PCs. If the PCs choose to kill the silver dragon, then this whole thing falls apart. Not sure why you even included that.

I DO think the sword is key, which is why I think it needed to be more the focus of the adventure up front. It just turns out the PCs need it for more than they thought they did when they got here.

As for the volcano collapse, I just didn’t see that as a problem. I see it as collapsing in on itself and creating a new steaming lake in the middle of the island. Sounds good to me.

Final Thoughts

In the end, this is a cool, epic, self-contained adventure. It is certainly doable in 32 pages. The title is a bit weak and I think you buried your hook with the sword and need to rework that. I like the sandbox aspect. I love the enemies. I like the roleplaying opportunities with the lizardfolk. The big weakness as I see it is a lack of Pathfider/Golarion-specific content. It will be up to the voters to decide how important that is for the winner of RPG Superstar. But this is a publishable adventure, no doubt, and a very cool one.

I also think it is important to take your body of work into account at this point. How much is up to the voters. So let’s take a look. I’m proud of myself, because I golden ticketed the spider hook into the top 32 of the competition. So I’m glad to see you got this far (it’s also great validation for the golden ticket process). While your first version of Malgana needed work, and you slid into the next round despite those flaws, I thought your next two bits were absolutely masterful. Going into the last two rounds, I thought Neil was the clear leader. But your re-work of Malgana was a huge improvement, and I thought that inched you ahead of Neil. It showed that you could take criticism and improve your work, which is HUGE for a freelancer. I though the revised Malgana was among the best if not the best of that round. And then your lair for Bracht was just in a league of its own. So going into this round I really wanted to see what you could do because I felt you had a bit of a lead. And I must say you didn’t disappoint. You clearly have the chops. Win or lose, we will be seeing more from you, no doubt.

In my view, this is one of two possible winners of this competition.

For that reason, I RECOMMEND this submission be considered as the winner of RPG Superstar 2009. If I'm right, this contest will come down to a race between you and Neil. Let's see if the voters agree.

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

This is the third entry I read and I haven’t read any other comments:

The name isn’t exciting but is descriptive enough. Illustrond? He’s like a picture of Nyrond. Sorry… joking. Hmm…those DCs are pretty high for 9th-10th level characters, especially given those are not skills a character is likely to have a skill-booster magic item to improve. I might have shifted those downwards.

I kind of like the idea of the island that’s placid and serene in the material world but full of violence and crazy in the “spirit world” (Ethereal here), including the mystic root from the lizardfolk.

Hooks are decent and serviceable. The floating dragon skeleton is a pretty neat and creepy visual. I like that you provided a simple, level-appropriate means for PCs to actually SEE the ethereal crazy-storm going on; otherwise it’s just DM lily-gilding.

More dinosaurs. And another adventure for 8th-9th-10th level.

Wait… wait… a longsword is a “massive sword”? It’s funny what a difference just one word can make. You take a serviceable plot trope (the anti-fire-dragon sword and its Gygaxian placement with a creature that also is a fire (steam does fire damage) breathing dragon (turtle)) and you open yourself up to the anime haters out there fussing about “bishounen with massive sword” and stuff. That, and it’s a point where flavor text and rule text disagree – if it’s really massive, it oughta be a greatsword.

Anyway, I also notice that you made it a red dragon bane longsword. Given that a regular dragon bane is only a +1 weapon bonus, it seems odd to cut it down further in power; is this actually intended to make the item only bane vs. red dragons? The adventure also seems to assume that the PCs have no other decent anti-fire measures; sure, the sword will be very handy in the endgame dragon fight, but at 9th-ish level, the PCs might already have anti-dragon and anti-fire stuff. I’m probably just picking nits, but it reads like an adventure that assumes that ONLY through the use of the Mystic Dingus™ can the Evil Overlord™ be defeated. (ah, reading further on I see that is exactly what it is – the sword is both a “handy weapon” AND a Mystic Dingus™).

Another good example of diplomatic encounters and how to build up favor with useful NPC mooks. I think I like the Viking diplomatic encounters in the other proposal a little better, but this is good stuff to include and well done. I also like the parts in the endgame that specifically lay out the info the lizzies can give the PCs. Nice job there.

I like the cinderborn creatures – very neat, and with a “screw you” self-destruct feature like 1st Ed draconians in Dragonlance. The named bad guys are all nicely textured. This might be a TPK factory if they all hit the PCs at once. A little more on the general layout of the dungeon and how the dragons work together and respond to help one another (or not) if someone is attacked would have been helpful.

Honestly, on the TPK thing, ONE young adult red is CR 13. Plus juveniles at CR 10, plus the cinderborn elf fighter, PLUS the evil dragon-sorc. I think even if it's just the sorc and her dragon it's prolly a CR 14+ encounter. It just seems like overkill, literally.

Overall, though, I like it. It has some wobbles here and there, but it has a potentially great finish and it seems like something that could fit just about right in the space of 32 pages.

Best of luck and congratulations on getting this far!

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

This is an excellent adventure proposal and I'd love to explore this fascinating island. It's reminiscent of the Isle of Dread in that respect so good job there. I don't know, however, if I'd set it in Golarion. It seems a lot like the upcoming Dragon module as well as Guardians of Dragonfall which also focused on dead or dying dragons. I also don't get the Golarion dragon feel that began with Mike McArtor's article in PF4 and continued in Dragons of Golarion (though you can't be faulted for not having read the latter). The dragonrider thing screams Pern to me, and I want to keep that out of my Golarion, but others might enjoy it. I do feel that fighting a half-dozen red dragons would get monotonous after a while and would like to have seen some variation. In all, I think it's one of the stronger proposals this round, but I think it could have been more solid. You did great work this year Kevin, and it was a pleasure seeing your voice evolve from round one to your clear mastery the last two rounds. If I had two votes, you'd certainly get one of them. But I'm not the only voter, so I may just be exploring the Isle after all. We'll see. Best of luck!

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

Having read the judges' comments, one thing did pop up that confused me at first but then I thought about it again.

When it says Skywraith is an "undead sorcerer," it just means "sorcerer with the Pathfinder RPG 'undead' bloodline." Ditto for the bad girl dragonrider who is a 'red dragon' sorcerer - bloodline.

Nice little bit of PF flavor in an adventure submission that is otherwise kind of light on it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

There's a lot of things I like about this, and a lot of things that miss out for me. The title is "meh" ... not really grabbing me at all. The IMAGERY of the island on the other hand is very, very good.

I was reading a LOT of repetition of informatio, which wastes words that could have expanded other areas or added another thing for the players to do.

Hooks and why the players are doing this adventure - weak. If I've shipwrecked them, they were going somewhere else, and are going to be annoyed. If a fluttery sparrow shows up that they cannot speak to, even with all the potential magic at their levels, they'll be more than annoyed, they'll be pissed. Going to the island to find and raid a forgotten hoard is the best of the possibles, but then they go in expecting dragon(s), and will have gear ready for a red, which weakens the "need" to get the sword.

The "baby" dragons and their nursemaid are a majorly tough battle...I think they would have to be spread out in their own little patches of territory (and they don't work together because they are SICK to death of one another being stuck together all this time).

Dragonriders made me think of Dragonlance and Pern, and not Golarion, and that's also lacking from this adventure - things that make it Golarion.

Love the interaction with the lizardfolk and how to make friends. Love the undead making of the momma dragon, though not sure how to do it with the Dracolich being verbotten ...

Several things seem presumed on what the players will be able to do or not do, and some of them didn't feel right for my own playing experience ...

There almost doesn't feel like quite enough to do in this ... meet lizardfolk, make friends by doing a bunch of possible errands, go into volcano, battle baddies in a series of increasingly nasty fights and win, blowing the volcano up in the process.

This one just doesn't quite feel done, though there are a lot of really good descriptions and bits that make me want to play with the thoughts. Just not sure it's going to get my vote, though, sorry. Congratulations on making the top four!

"Passive (non punch-tastic) voice and too big backstory". Manoman, Ive heard that a million times. This is a note for all the entries for this round. Enjoy the amount of words you were given this round to bring your vision to life! In the real publishing world, you have about 300-500 words total to describe what you've been allowed to do in almost 3k words this time. Write for punch! Make the description sing, smash and grab all that you can with each word, killkillkill!

That said, I voted for you this round. I cant get the vision of the ethereal/prime material crashing together and the cool image of the dead dragon in the sky out of my head. The most metal "Mammoth Lords" entry was reallyreally close.

Generally this submission has quite old school feel to it, the most obvious comparison of course Isle of Dread. And I liked the name at least enough to check the back cover, it is an adventure after all so some action is given, not just wandering around a bunch of sleeping dragons.
And White Plume Mountain, Expedition to Barrier Peaks or Castle Amber would also be the ballad/instrumental titles on a typical power metal album.

But...I was kind of missing the story here. It doesn't really hook me, and I wish it would (since when going through the portfolio so far, yours is the one which came as my favourite).
So sorry, no vote for this submission from me but I will kick and scream and hold my breath if Paizo doesn't offer freelance jobs to you in the future.

This is the first entry I have read in this round. I have no problem with the name 'Dragonrest' since the place is the 'final resting place' of at least two dragons. I'm not sure if you knew quite where you were going when you wrote this presentation, however. I have a feeling that if you had presented this more clearly as a 'sandbox' it would have come over a lot better than it currently does.
Three more left to read.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8

"Though both dragons are long dead, their warring spirits linger in the Ethereal Plane." I know you can't comment yet but place holder this.

Did you intend to mean the actual ethereal plane? I stopped reading here to comment as it struck me odd. Dead spirits don't normally go to the ethereal plane. I had a minor grumble to myself after seeing that line.

edit 1:
"The PCs arrive on the tropical island and learn of the continuing struggle between the ethereal spirits of the red and the silver dragon."
Hrm possibly you did, as I see it reinforced here. What's to stop some PCs from trying to just go 'ethereal' via a spell or magic item and killing one of the dragons? What stops one of the dragons from simply killing the other on this plane? I hope this clears up before I'm done reading. :)

Finished reading:
It's OK. I have issues with the ethereal plane angle, and my PCs would want to use the many spells to roleplay with both dragons similar to what Wolfgang mentioned, but it's not bad. It didn't grab me by the face and slam my head into the stone wall of awesomeness though. I was hoping to be so blow away by my reversal on what I thought was a poor start out of the gate that I really expected more.

The Gather Info stuff really was a wall of text that distracted me too. I can;t see my PCs making a dc 45 anytime soon without using skill boosting items and buff spells just to get some info.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Winterwalker wrote:
Did you intend to mean the actual ethereal plane? I stopped reading here to comment as it struck me odd. Dead spirits don't normally go to the ethereal plane. I had a minor grumble to myself after seeing that line.

In theory, any dead soul goes to the Boneyard where Pharasma determines their final plane of existence and they are sent to hell, heaven, nirvana, etc from there. I guess dragons might not work that way. In fact, what happens to dragons when they die has already been covered in J2: Guardians of Dragonfall, but this assumes that dragons make a pilgrimage there when it's their time. These are both issues which would need to be ironed out for continuity with established canon, so it is worthwhile to consider.

Star Voter Season 6

In the ongoing effort to quantify judge and voter concerns about whether or not a submission will fit the 32 page module format, I'm counting the number of encounters in each submission.

Combat: 8 (3 sets of dinosaurs, dragon turtle, 4 dragon-themed encounters)

Noncombat/Skill: 3 (knowledge table, Sunscale Village, pools/vents)

Wandering monster tables: 0

Maps: 6 (Dragonrest, duh; Jungle interior; T-rex lair, mega-raptors' lair, lagoon, volcano lair)

Points for clear presentation. In Last Ride of the Mammoth Lords, it's hard to tell which passages are an indication of wandering monster tables. In Realm of the Fellnight Queen, it's hard to even FIND the encounters.

Star Voter Season 6

Kevin, I'm really sorry, but you're not getting my vote. I've been there for you every step of the way, so it hurts to say this now, but...

This is a sandbox with no sand.

There's not one thing to explore on this island. There's "Go kill these monsters in their lair if you want our help" and there's "Go find the plot coupon that lets you solve the BBEG permanently." There's no interesting flora or fauna to see and collect. There's no weird tribal customs. There's no trading with the natives. There's no building of rafts or shelter. There's no natural resources to exploit.

There's no character to this island. All that matters is the Ethereal Plane.

And then there's the final boss design problem. Because, as written, this is a TPK. Basically, you've got three separate encounters: Draknock (CR10); then Skywraith, Gannith, Rhanna and an unknown number of cinderborn minions (CR 13+, CR10, CR10, CR??); and Dra'naga and Xoriath (CR 13+CR10) for the last battle. Sean thinks they might all be there for one battle. I disagree with him on that, but battle number two is going to kill the PCs. They'll never get to the final battle.

You need to have these dragons each have separate lairs or indicate how the players might divide and conquer. You need to provide personalities for EACH of these dragons and routines for PCs to exploit. It's not like you have 20 encounters, like your competitors do. Ditch the dratted GI table and give these dragons some of your attention.

A kind of Isle of Dread with the ethereal remains of a great dragon-on-dragon battle. It's definitely more of a "sandbox adventure" than a plot-driven one, which leads to some concerns about "what if they do that out of order" and "how are they supposed to know X except by luck." For a sandbox adventure it's a little short on random fun sandbox stuff, but I reckon there's no reason a pitch needs every random encounter mentioned in it.

It's pretty generic and not real Golarion-ey, but I think that's OK, I think some folks overdo it on that front sometimes. Just because I'm buying a Pathfinder adventure to set in Golarion doesn't mean I necessarily need it to be so "deep into" the setting that I have trouble changing locales or plot points to suit my campaign. (And in fact two of the other guys get taken to task for not fitting into the rich world backstory.)

The pitch isn't brilliantly constructed, but the adventure it describes seems fun.

The Exchange

I don't think this one is for me.

But your work is getting better and better so I'm sure that one day I'll be buying one of your adventures. You are creative and the one of your strengths is the way you take an idea and go off in new directions (like the family of dragons, all with different abilities).

Good Luck and if you win I wouldn't mind one bit. Well done Kevin.


Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Two dragons die and fight beyond the grave? I'm not 100% sold on this premise, because it's not obvious to me why the PCs should care. And beyond-the-grave stuff can get kind of sketchy in the hooks, but ok, I keep reading…

I will have to read further... but I agree...

as a player I have to ask myself "what is my motivation?"

as a GM I need to think a reason why my players woudl care to go a dinosaur infested island to stop some dragon to keep them from reaching a goal that i don't think they would know that easily (high gather information rolls... but more importantly... if its not a good port, no one has stopped there and gathered information that would the players actually care)

Don't get me wrong... reason I can find even if they need a visitation of Bahamut...

the point is... I have no thread to work with :P

Second adventure I am reading. As noted, I've missed most of the contest. Bleah.

*While there are some visually stunning and evocative descriptions in this, it does borrow a great deal from the vibe of X1: Isle of Dread, Joe vs. the Volcano, and other island adventures. The dragon vibe seeks to bring it a cut above, but I found the juxtaposition a bit jarring actually.
*The adventure seems a bit thrust upon the PCs. You are automatically shipwrecked on an island that blocks teleport. You find a sword and a message. You must do something with them. It conclusively ends with a final battle. I don't get a great sense of What's There to Explore, which is _a_ point of island adventures.
*For lack of a better term, the adventure seems a bit thin and predictable. That's not to say that's bad. A big fight is fun. However, I would like to see more of a sense of what's to come.

*This one really gets a good format down pat. I like the approach from the beginning. The information up front provides a good flow for the adventure and lots of background.
*The biplanar volcano is cool, as are the interplays with the Ethereal Plane and all. Ironically, I would have liked more explanation on this.
*The dragon theme works. There are many cool draconic monsters and situations to deal with.


FYI, ghosts are tied to the Ethereal Plane, refusing to let go of their interests on the Material Plane, so there's nothing wrong, afterlife-wise in game terms, of the dragon spirits lingering on the Ethereal Plane.

I like the visuals of the ethereal plane. The dead ethereal dragons are great.

If you wanted them to like your title, you just have to make it like this "X of the Y" like "Island of the Sleeping Dragon" or something similar.

I HATE adventures where you MUST have this sword or whatnot to defeat the enemy. It is very railroaded in this fashion. Go to point A to get item, take item to point B and kill boss. Its a very tired RPG concept.

I like elements of this, but the thing that took my vote away most was the complete and utter TPK that the final encounter is. Good luck though, some good ideas here.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

While there's a lot of cool ideas in this proposal, too many of them don't seem likely to be accessed by the players, or could be easily skipped without knowing there's anything missing. The silver dragon body on the cloud is a great visual, but with it not an encounter location, it seems like a waste. Same goes for the ethereal plane stuff - if the PCs don't use see invisibility or blink, they see nothing. Even if they do see that stuff, that's all they do to interact with it.

In a way, the lack of compelling hook has the same problem. If the PCs don't wind up on the island in the first place, then everything is skipped. Specifically seeking the magic sword, or having their dreams haunted by Illustrond so they can't rest, unless they free his spirit would give a concrete reason to go there.

The lizardfolk tribe and ways to befriend them is good, but with the presentation of a sandbox style adventure, there's nothing that really compells the PCs to explore at all. They can simply go right to the volcano (especially if they're looking for red dragon treasure), and skip out on lots of the other encounter areas on the island - again, unless there's something in the plot that requires they go these places, or at leasts suggests that they go there.

Finally, as many others have pointed out, the volcano area seems too tough for the PCs to handle at the suggested level. The best solution would probably be to increase the recommended levels, so that this threat could be faced, and then upgrade the rest of the island encounters to be challenging for 11th/12th level characters.

Your previous two rounds entries were top notch, and I hope to see your work published by Paizo and others in the future even if you don't become the 2009 Superstar. Good luck to you!

I am currently waivering between this one, and Neil's entry.
Neil's is way ahead of you, in my opinion, in terms of presentation and idea, but I have seen the effect of that '32 page limit' on Clash of the Kingslayers and I am uncertain how easy it would be to get Neil's idea into 32 pages without making sacrifices.
I'm not clear on if you could achieve Neil's level of 'awesome', however, if you did win this; I wish you had identified that the main strength of your entry was as a Crucible of Chaos-esque (or Isle of Dread?) sandbox and presented accordingly.
My not knowing if you could present a sandbox more effectively than this entry suggests may be what in the end costs you my vote.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

I am currently waivering between this one, and Neil's entry.

Neil's is way ahead of you, in my opinion, in terms of presentation and idea, but I have seen the effect of that '32 page limit' on Clash of the Kingslayers and I am uncertain how easy it would be to get Neil's idea into 32 pages without making sacrifices.
I'm not clear on if you could achieve Neil's level of 'awesome', however, if you did win this; I wish you had identified that the main strength of your entry was as a Crucible of Chaos-esque (or Isle of Dread?) sandbox and presented accordingly.
My not knowing if you could present a sandbox more effectively than this entry suggests may be what in the end costs you my vote.

this is it exactly, this entry was one of my two favorites... but I decided to vote for Neil for exactly the reasons that CE25 mentions

In the end I have given Neil's entry the benefit of the doubt on page count (and my vote) ahead of Dragonrest Isle, but congratulations on making it to the last four.

Commiserations on not coming out at the very top, but I repeat congratulations on making the last 4.

Liberty's Edge

Damn. You had my vote 2 rounds ago at Malgana. Shame to see you lose.


Kevin, please email me at sean@(TheDomainShouldBeObvious).com


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