The Rotting Kremlin

Round 4: Create a Golarion location

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RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Nick Bolhuis wrote:

Serious; your map key references areas 11 and 16, which are clearly not here. This makes me feel like I'm missing something.

I actually thought this was neat. This is only the first floor of a larger area, and the maps for other levels would be included in a full submission. I think including the numbers there shows information that would make the DM's job easier in that scenario (and might be critical for a cartographer, though I don't know that) and normally you'd be able to turn to the next page in the adventure to get the information about those two areas (and the others in between).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I've definitely done a double-take when reading real adventures because of that (wait, area 12? I don't, uh, I can't find an area 12, it looks like it only goes to.. oh, another map!).

I can appreciate that this is a little different, because there isn't a second map, and so "area 11" doesn't refer to anything. But even then I don't really see why this would be confusing in this case; all he does is label the stairs as "Down to basement (area 11)" and "up to second floor balcony (area 16)". It's not like there's any ambiguity as to what he's referring to; he's just implying that if this were a real adventure there would be more map.

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

Whew. There were absolutely no rounds where I've been as nervous to see the judges & voter's comments as this one. I felt like I made a number of serious missteps even before I submitted this entry; I anticipated what most of those would be while waiting for the votes to go live, but still got hit by a few surprises after the fact. All in all, I'm grateful that it was still fairly well received, and while advancing is by no means assured, I'm just happy the whole week wasn't the long tar-and-feathering session I'd thought it would be.

First up, thanks to Scott Fernandez for:
a) creating a cool villain that clearly inspired not just me, but Trevor & Ethan as well. Apologies for heavily modifying Hoarfrost's M.O. for my own agenda. And that brings me to:
b) not throwing a fit that I turned your cool BBEG to a lieutenant for a bigger badder evil guy. (For what it's worth, I like to think that if this were a full blown adventure, this would be the final of several encounters with the Throat-Tearer, starting from about the time that the party crossed over into Koschei's lands. There would have been a much more 'standard' Hoarfrost Hunt earlier on, presumably ending with a few dead worgs before the pack pulled off to regroup and attack another day. Then maybe a non-combat but still menacing encounter with him in the town itself where he warned them they were still his rightful prey and that he looked forward to dipping their severed heads in tar and mounting them on spikes. The guardian of the gate stuff would just be the final act involving this particular villain.) While this was not the Hoarfrost entry that earned your vote, mad points for being classy and cool about it. You truly do vrock, man.

Now, addressing the general mis-steps that were addressed repeatedly this week.

A fairy tale villain by any other name would smell as sweet
Koschei=Kostchtchie? Holy CRAP, I feel dumb that I never realized this before this week. I've been aware of the existence of Kostchtchie since the 1st edition MM2 (well, technically since The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, but I owned the MM2 first.) and Koschei the Deathless some time after that in a college mythology & folklore class and still have never put the two similar names together. I did google Koschei + Pathfinder to make sure he wasn't in use in the setting already but it didn't come up spelled out clearly enough for me to notice, unfortunately. Honestly, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have just bulled on ahead heedlessly, since 'inspired by' does not quite equal 'in use' in my book, but at least I wouldn't have been near as dumbstruck by the first person to point that out. Or else I might have just played it safe and subbed in another Russian figure of legend. (Is Czernobog already in use?)

In Soviet Russia, Kremlin lives in YOU!
This one I did expect some flak on; honestly, my instincts said "Go with 'The Rotting Tower' and call it a day". I think between this and 'glossolalia' from the evangelist I earn the 'irides' award for controversial word usage this year. Unfortunately, while I fully stand behind Glossolalia, I really can't do that with this one; I should have listened to those pesky instincts. My thought process here was basically that 'Kremlin' is too cool sounding a word to fall into disuse and that maybe enough time had passed since the cold war that it wouldn't be a big deal. It's still a big deal, though. :-) On the other hand, I have always said that if I have a son I'd name him 'Judas' just because a decent name shouldn't be ruined for all time because of one guy, so obviously this is a consistent problem in my life.

Do they sell 10' poles in town? Okay, I buy one and vault over the maze.
This was another problem I realized late in the development process and just decided to push on ahead rather than deal with it. Yeah, the maze definitely needs to take flying or otherwise airborne parties into account. Having the hedges weave together to form 'tunnels' would help, but still leave the coutyard in the middle a big gaping (literal) hole in the defenses. (It would just feel weird to have that be roofed over). Having the hedges lash out at people flying overhead seems a much stronger idea (maybe incorporating some of the idea behind Marie's cool verdant vine wondrous item?) Alternately, an idea that came to me during the past week was having a big 'ol bank of fog come up surrounding the tower when the maze grows; either solid fog to keep those pesky adventurers on the ground, or else maybe layering in a random movement effect so you can't tell what direction you're flying in and PCs have a good chance of continually exiting on the wrong side of the courtyard walls. Or both, for double the fun.

Yay! More worgs fighting our 10th level party! Free XP day, guys!
Another problem I didn't forsee until the last minute, mainly because I decided that the actual denizens of the encounter (aside from Hoarfrost) would be easy to pick out in a short cramming session and I didn't need to worry about it till late Thursday night. Hah! Honestly, this is where my 'haven't GMed in a long while' weakness shows, unfortunately. Ever since the intro of 3rd edition and everything after, I always figured 'Oh, there are actual mathematical formulas to determine level appropriate encounters now; it's not a guessing game anymore.' But no, I would have to say it's still as much an art as a science. Problem was, I didn't want to veer too far from Hoarfrost's villain entry, which pretty much indicates Hoarfrost+Worgs=encounter. (I contemplated subbing in barghests and greater barghests.) The math, strictly speaking, adds up, at least as far as the CR & experience tables go, but obviously math isn't the only thing to factor in when designing an encounter, especially a tiered one. Even before I hit submit I could see the worgs just weren't enough of a challenge, even with the terrain advantage the maze gave them. What I should have done was what Ethan did in his Hoarfrost encounter; bite the bullet, level up the worgs and use the space needed to provide their adjusted stat blocks. I'd like to say I explored that possibility, but the truth is I just ruled it out as being to wordy without even trying it in a draft. Now I see it would only have used about 200 words, which I think i could easily have trimmed from the location description. Oh, well. (Ethan earned one of my votes for pulling that off, by the way.)
Oh, well. This definitely gets added to the live & learn column.

Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map
Actually this is less a 'answering a commonly cited issue' and more a 'wow, I dodged a bullet here' thing. I was enamored by the idea of a hedge maze from the getgo; maybe one too many viewings of The Shining when I was younger. I honestly didn't think making a map would be a big deal; back in the days when I did DM a lot, mapping a dungeon was always one of my favorite parts. (I had a study hall teacher in high school who got sick of me always asking him for a couple sheets of graph paper at the beginning of the period.) My first map was just a full-page maze (with a central clear area for the fountain); on the north end were the stairs and doors leading up to the keep itself. Fortunately I did that early on and realized it felt like a cheat; my LOCATION entry was for the Kremlin itself, and here I was just giving a map of the freaking maze leading INTO the Kremlin. So the Kremlin which was originally a full castle got reduced to a tower and I made a new map, this time with it in the center of the maze. Visually, I still like this one the best, but the tower taking up so much room in the middle of the map made the maze corridors kind of boring, espeically on the two sides of the tower- there just wasn't enough room to have them be properly 'mazey'. (Partly because I insisted on uniform 10-foot 'corridors', admittedly...) Plus doing that left the inside of the tower the only logical place for the marrow-wine fountain, and since that was key to the villain tactics for the encounter, that would mean I'd have to extend my description of the encounter into the tower interior, which seemed weird, at least for a standalone entry. (if I were to redo this as an actual adventure/game session, I'd probably revert to the central tower and allow myself 5-foot corridors where needed.) So ultimately went with idea #3, which was the map here. Still not perfect; the maze is pretty simple at best, but honestly I didn't want it TOO complex; if a party wants to smash and burn their way through it, that should be an option. I am happy that I got no real flak for not giving a FULL map of the Kremlin, though; I wasn't sure if my choice of encounter location was going to be viewed as skirting the actual rules.
And I have to say- I'm surprised only one person called out the missing numbered location inside the Kremlin proper. I thought I was absurdly careful after I scanned the map and started adding in all the information via photo programs; I'm pretty sure I added the number to the butler's pantry and just deleted that layer somehow before saving the file. And then just somehow didn't notice it in the half a dozen times I double checked the final file before sending it in. But later that night, I sent the map for after-the-fact approval to my friend who's been doing my proofreading (Yes, I should have sent it to him prior to submitting, but our timing was off as far as being around at the same time.) and his first question was 'Where's room number 8?' I'm pretty sure even Charlie Brown never let loose with an 'AAARRRGGGHHH!' as anguished sounding as mine was. I mean, it's minor as far as the encounter proper goes, and since it's the ONLY missing number it's easy enough to figure out what the room is supposed to be from the key, but still.... it's embarrassing. Kind of like realizing your fly has been unzipped all day long.

Anyway, thanks again for everything, be they questions, comments, criticisms, votes or well wishes. I will go question by question to answer non-general concerns when I get some more free time.

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

Thanks again to the voting populace for letting me advance!

The downside is that it'll be a bit longer before I can get around to answering specific feedback here, since my conscience starts yelling nasty obscenities at me anytime I'm doing anything besides working on my next submission, (in fact, it's doing it right now...) so I have 10- well, at this point, 9.5 days worth of conscience-compelled adventure submission to compose, but I'll be back to do that when all is well!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Hey Sean,
Just wanted to give some advice for the finals. What you write is interesting to read and I’ve enjoyed reading all your entries. Your punctuation and grammar need more proofreading. Sean and the other judges have mentioned it in the previous rounds as well as the last one. Find people to proofread your work, it can be your mum, it doesn’t matter if they game or not, but find people! (My advice for anyone is to do at LEAST a dozen proofreads through a document.)

I like that you go for solid evocative pieces that don’t have to be over the top to make an impression. I know this is superstar and you are looking to wow an audience, but Kremlin and Koschei the Deathless really worry me. Koschei worries me because he is RW mythological figure and I don’t know how much you tweaked him to make him Golarion based and how much of what you wrote is just from Russian folklore. If you had just jumbled his name a little (so I couldn’t google it straightaway) I would have been happier. BTW I can get over Glossolalia from round 2. However, these things weren’t needed to make your entries great. You don’t have to put stuff like that in to shout ‘look at me!’, we are already looking. :-)

I would much rather have a beautifully crafted and subtlety flavorful adventure, than one that goes gonzo but is very rough and lacks polish. Again that is me, and I’m not all of your target audience.

I can see that you are pushing yourself and finding your stride, work to accelerate that improvement of your process. Give yourself the time to polish your proposal to a mirror shine.

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

So THOUGHT I'd be able to get back to this a lot earlier, but then after submitting my proposal on Friday I've been busy doing things that don't involve my head being buried in a document for six hours at a stretch. It's been.... liberating. :-) But, let me see if I can swoop through some questions before the next round begins and my attention focuses elsewhere:

Neil Spicer:
Neil Spicer wrote:
I have noticed, however, that you've fallen in love with the semi-colon.

Ack! I've been discovered! Yeah, that's a failing of mine that I need to work on. Admittedly, it's also due to squeezing into word count by being clever and stitching sentences together while still saving on words by replacing 'and' 'but' and other links with a semicolon for brevity. Not that that's a problem that would go away in an actual professional submission, of course. I'm sure I could still eat up 10,000 words and wonder why there isn't just one more page for me to play with.

otherwise... well, I'll leave it here because I could otherwise cut and paste every sentence you wrote and just follow it with 'yup, you're right.' So I won't do that. :-) The big issues you raise I addressed in the post a couple previous to this that, while not really justifying poor choices, at least explains why I might have made them.

Mark Moreland:
Mark Moreland wrote:
From a stylistic standpoint, I notice a ton of semicolons in this piece. Don't get me wrong, I love semicolons, but like any non-period, non-comma punctuation, they should be used sparingly. In this case, many of them could be full stops, commas, or even em-dashes. Another little nit to pick: "villager's grandfather's grandfathers" should probably be "villagers' grandfathers' grandfathers" unless you mean to say that there's only a single villager. You could also save words there and simply say "for generations."

Yup; see my mea culpa above to Neil re: semicolon overdosing. Hopefully I managed to avoid that in my adventure proposal without giving you guys a whole new slew of grammar and punctuation nightmares, but I'll get to find that out tomorrow. :-)

And guilty as charged with pluralized possessive apostrophes, but I found "villagers' grandfathers' grandfathers" too neat (and flavorful for the location) a phrase to squish into a two word summation. (Considered it, several times, and always rejected the notion.) It's kind of funny, the places where I will and won't allow myself to touch for word count thrift.

Looking at the rules behind this, I also notice you have the fountain functioning as a potion of false life—which doesn't exist. Potions may only be made for spells that target one or more creature; false life is a personal spell, and thus can't be made into a potion.

Okay, I'll admit, that one floored me, since it just seemed such a given that false life would be a potion-able spell. My fault for making assumptions and not double checking. (In a lame attempt at defense,I distinctly remember Filge from Age of Worms having one on him, but that's not much of a defense since that was back in 3.5 and it might have been different, or else it was just an error back then.)

Swamp Druid:
Swamp Druid wrote:
I wish you had made the thorn trap and tent symbols more distinct from each other.

Yes, that was something that made me go d'oh late in the map editing stage. Especially since the tent wasn't even neccesary, strictly speaking.

drayen wrote:

The only thing I would have done differently would be to make the flagstone paths only five feet wide thus further hampering the invading player characters and making it easier for my mobs to wreak havoc on the party. Then again, I'm an evil GM.

A valid point about overflying the hedgemaze. A thought would be to think larger. Make your hedgemaze a wood, or even an entire forest, that has the party twisted about as they head toward the manor only to realize too late that they are actually the hunted.

For some reason- which escapes me now, two weeks later- I was adamant about all the maze paths being ten feet wide. I actually tossed out an earlier draft that had the Kremlin at the center of the maze (which was a layout I preferred) because doing so made me squeeze a lot of the paths down to five feet.

As far as making it into a small forest- while it's an idea I like, I felt like this challenge required having a tactical map where the scale was in fives or tens of feet. I suppose it would have been possible to have a larger scale map, then a smaller 'encounter area' map as an inset or soemthing, though. But I suppose the problem with using Hoarfrost is that as a villain he DOES require a large area to hunt over, but then it's hard to pin down where exactly the fight takes place because it feels railroady if you do- since the PCs could well decide to make a stand anywhere rather than let the wolves harry them into Hoarfrost's preferred killing jar. So I just compromised his concept a bit and gave him a 'hunting ground' of sorts that was already on the small size. Still, if I were ever making this into a full adventure location, I could see him being the 'huntsman of the hungry woods' or something.

chavamana wrote:

You have my vote. Hoarfrost makes a very good minion for Koschei. My only complaint is that I really, really want to know more about Koschei and his sisters.

I hope you pass this round and that when you do, you will provide more background. (Something that made me enjoy Lady Rosiline even more)

Huh. Well, if you appeal to my vanity like that I pretty much have to respond, right? Unfortunately, I don't have a LOT extra of my own, since Koschei is just ripped from Russian folklore. The RPG specific elements I assigned to him were making him an ogre mage (while in legend, he tended to be just a old, white bearded guy, there was always soemthing ogreish about him, and he could certainly do magic...), and while it's not explicitly spelled out in the summary, I had in mind that he'd be a lich. (The whole thing with his death being hidden in a needle in an egg in a rabbit in a duck in a box just screams phylactery.) Now, by my math, a ogre mage lich would be, at a minimum, CR 17, which is a bit much for the presumed adventure here; maybe he's a dessicated lich to keep him lower CR. As far as his sisters go, well, they only showed up in one of the stories I read for research, and even then they only showed up after his death to toss curses at the hero for killing Koschei in the first place. But they did all turn into doves, which gave me the idea for them to be druids of a kind. Plus opened the doorway for them to be plucking off villagers for blood rituals off in the forest. The whole Bluebeard element with the wives was added by me; the actual Koschei seemed to be a more-or-less jerk as far as being a husband went, but only ever seemed to be into killing the guys that came to steal his women away from him, rather than the damsels in distress themselves.

As far as backstory or whatever goes... well, sorry to disappoint, but don't have too much. Ogre mages being Oni these days, it's possible he's from Tien Xa and came over the mountains when word got around that Baba Yaga had turned the lands to the south into a flesh-eating monster's playground. Being an ogre mage rather than an ogre, he feels himself more civilized and genteel than the majority of the irrisen monsters, so carved out his little feif to be genteel in. And has failed massively, but I don't think he knows that. The hastened decay of the castle is a side effect of whatever magic he lichified himself with; but the thing is, he doesn't KNOW the castle is decaying. Initially I imagined he was a deluded Ms. Havisham; the castle was just rotting around him and he was insane enough that he didn't see it. Then I decided it would be more fun if the reason he didn't see it was because illusion or transmutation magic accompanies him wherever he goes. Which is why he flies into a rage; as far as he's concerned, he has the most luxurious palace in all the land, and how DARE these PEASANTS try to imply otherwise, why, don't they know how HONORED they should be to BE your serfs? If it weren't for you, they'd be NOTHING, just a pile of broken bones like THAT!...Huh. Time to have the servants clean up that bloody mess on the floor.
That kinda thing.
I'm not sure how the sisters and other palace inhabitants deal with living in trash; maybe they're actually deluded Ms. Havishams themselves, or else they're just smart enough to keep their mouths shut.
And while I had to take it out of the write-up due to length, I originally had a bit in there about how he has a habit, when taking a new bride, of assigning the poor girls your standard impossible fairy tale task like emptying all the water from a well in one day using only a thimble, picking all the dust out of a mountain of grain, waving a tapestry using only spiderwebs, etc. Probably as a penalty for making an offhanded comment about how the place needed repairs done. And of course, failing at a task=making Koschei a widower, again. Again, as part of his delusional mania, I don't think he even realizes how many wives he's gone through; he might remember two or three back, but every time he takes a new bride I'm sure he thinks that THIS will be the right one who won't fail him.

Scott Fernandez:
Scott Fernandez wrote:
I could easily see Hoarfrost stalking a wood or small forest surrounding this castle. You could easily use a flow chart style map of encounter areas to provide a running encounter of sorts.

Huh. Actually, yeah. So I stand corrected that there WOULD have been an easier way to have a larger scale hunting region. Still might have been hard to achieve with one full page map, though, at least as far as creating tactical sized encounters.

And again, thanks for the use of Hoarfrost, even if I didn't allow him to live up to his potential. :-)

Joel Flank:
Joel Flank wrote:
I'm guessing that you had the idea for your location and tried to shoehorn in a villain from R3, but it still feels a bit forced.

Well... Yes and no. It's a longish story, one I'll go into later if anyone's curious, but suffice it to say that while Koschei and the Rotting Kremlin are ideas I've had for a while for Irrisen, dating all the way back to last years contest, I wouldn't have dug them up if there hadn't been an Irrisen-centered villain in R3 of this year. And while the backdrop location was more or less predfined, the specific encounter location (the hedge maze) was definitely built around Hoarfrost as a villain.

Nit pick time: First, on your map, you have Hoarfrost's yurt as a rectangle. I'm no expert on this, but I always thought yurts were round, and at least agrees with me.

Huh. And this is why I should check wikipedia before using unfamiliar objects in an encounter. I always thought yurt was just another word for any kind of tent. And I made it WAY too small as well. As mentioned above, I probably should have just ditched the yurt altogether, although I like the notion that Hoarfrost probably has a room in the Kremlin that he rarely if ever sleeps in, because he might have sold out to work for 'the man', but he's still not THAT soft and pathetic that he needs a BED.

Second, you say that if Hoarfrost is killed the unseen servants ring the bells - but how would they know? They're described as being able to do whatever an old Str 3 servant can do, but that shouldn't include x-ray vision out of the minarets to see if someone is killed.

Victim of word count; originally, I mentioned that the unseen servants were all facing out of the tower on the central courtyard, and the original text read something like: "Development: If Hoarfrost is killed in the central courtyard, the act is seen by the unseen servants in the minarets, who immediately sound the carillon bells." (Admittedly, STR 3 is probably not enough to go tugging on bell ropes, but let's just dance right on by that one...) But since space was tight and the encounter assumed that Hoarfrost would be killed in the courtyard, I scrapped that. Yes, that violates part of the prime directive of never try and design around a presumed PC action, but it's minor enough (given the height of the minarets, I can imagine having a row of windows at the top giving a 360 view so the servants could look down over the whole maze, for instance...) that I just shrugged and went with it.

Demiurge 1138:
Demiurge 1138 wrote:

For one thing, the flavor text mentions that the PCs automatically trigger the eruption of the hedge maze. There's no maze at first, but when the PCs enter, it erupts and they do the navigating most-dangerous-game game. Then other sections of maze will erupt to split the party later

But what if they search for traps before they enter the courtyard?

Well, strictly speaking the main hedge maze isn't a trap; yes, that's a little chesy and unfair, but since there's no given chance for a party to get snagged/harmed by it, plus it could easily have been left as a permanent actual hedge instead of just springing up because it looks cool, I honestly don't feel the need to give the party the ability to bypass the whole 'challenging terrain' aspect of the encounter. The rogues and trapfinders have plenty of places to shine with the mini-hedge walls inside.

Never assume that the PCs will do one particular action. Especially since the PCs at this tier will have access to flight. In that case, they'll have a big open courtyard and half the fun of this encounter will be lost.

As far as that goes, I did specify that the maze forms even if the walls are flown over, admittedly, that doesn't make a whole lot of difference, as was pointed out by many. :-)

"Quandary wrote:
You hinted at Undead aspects (mostly directly related to Kotschie and his Sisters, of course, which aren`t directly part of this encounter), and those also seem ripe for inclusion... Ghosts or Haunts emerging within the Maze, etc... (they can`t attack drinkers of the Marrow Wine?)

Hah. Nice that you picked up on Koschei being potentially undead, since I dropped all mention of the possibility of his being a lich. As far as haunts in the courtyard- wow, very nice scrying on your part. That was actually part of the intended encounter that never made it past the first draft/scribbles on a notepad stage. Initially it was going to have the slightly more evocative name of 'The Widower's Walk', and in addition to the hedge maze there was an 'inner' maze withn the walls made out of ice, in which the PCs could see the frozen/preserved bodies of every wife Koschei has ever had. Hoarfrost was still featured, and the ladies didn't actually manifest as ghosts, but I was going to have a bunch of haunts around the maze to make the PCs lives harder. Then I became slightly more sane and realized I was being a bit overly ambitious, so dialed it back to 'just' the growing hedge maze, traps, and hunters. Still. Woulda been fun.

Eric Hindley:
Eric Hindley wrote:
Fortress in Irrisen with hedge maze? Ok, seems odd. No ice in the maze walls? I see frost, but why do they spring up? Seems like a reasonable fit for a "fresh" location, but weird for the frozen north.

I'll admit I was pulling imagery right out of the Shining here, as far as what i imagined the maze hunt would play out like.

I love the idea of the fight in the hedge maze, but at the listed levels it just seems like it won't matter. I mean, according to the text, a fireball eliminates a 20-ft radius of it. Wall of thorns specifies that it takes 10 minutes, but the encounter doesn't; I assume it would work the same, but time usually doesn't matter to high level PCs.

The intent was that it would be the same as the spell for purposes of burning it away; and while time doesn't necessarily matter to a party just trying to get through a maze, I think ti would matter slightly more if standing in one spot and waiting for a patch of hedge to burn leaves the wolves time to circle around and surround you in a through-the-walls ambush, which is what would happen here. Admittedly, that would be slightly scarier if the wolves were a bit more level appropriate, but still, the idea is there as to why just torching the maze isn't as solid an option as it would seem.

Steven T. Helt:
Steven T. Helt wrote:
I think if you're gonna advance a monster, you have to change its stat block.

Well... yes and no. As far as the rules for this round went, adding the 'advanced' template as just a one-liner was permissible. Preferable, maybe not; like I mentioned above, I should have done what Ethan did with his Hoarfrost and add extra barbarian levels to the rage wolves to balance things out and let that eat up my extra word count. But for the advanced template? No.

The advanced winter worgs have better attack stats, saves and treasure.

Treasure, for one, was specifically left out of the encounters in this round as part of the rules. Obviously, in a full proposal, I'd include that. For a full proposal I'd also likely do the same with the advanced winter wolves stat blocks, but again, not required here.

"Curaigh wrote:
I tripped up on some of the descriptions (decrepit and well groomed hedges?). What is the point of the tents?

The contradictory hedge description was basically trying to sum up that, while they're patchy with browning leaves, they still form neatly squared walls, as though someone has been going around with clippers but neglecting to water them.

As for the tent... yeah, should have skipped it. The yurt was in Hoarfrost's description from R3, so thought it made sense to have it here, but really, it just cluttered up that edge of the map for no reason.

Okay, that's it for now and I have an early (for me) day tomorrow so got to get some sleep. Thanks again for voting or commenting, and I hope you'll all repeat the process for my final entry. :-)

Dark Archive

Sean, thank you for taking the time to reply to each of us. I have enjoyed all of your submissions and look forward to reading your newest entry. Good luck!

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