Menkaure's Zombinarium


Round 3: Design an encounter

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

Menkaure’s Zombinarium
==========
Sitting on the southern shore of the Axanir river, on the outskirts of Mechitar, one can find Menkaure’s Zombinarium. This blackstone oblong pyramid is the headquarters of a zombie trade empire that stretches across Geb and which is run by the necromancer Menkaure (LN male human wizard 12). Overlooking the Zombinarium is Menkaure’s home, a whitewashed and repurposed temple once dedicated to Abadar, from which he can observe his zombie slaves working the fields and being overseen by his ghoul underlings. A gangway stretches from the hill to the slanting roof of the Zombinarium, providing Menkaure with a relatively short commute for the occasions when he comes to the Zombinarium personally. In front of the Zombinarium is a breakwater made of coquina with a cobblestone and mortar surface which serves as a dock, where one will frequently see Menkaure’s large dhow, Urga’s Redeemer, when it isn’t out procuring raw materials or delivering finished product. The Redeemer is captained by Menkaure’s chief lieutenant, Ahmose (N male half elf fighter 5), a disgraced former member of the Osirion navy, and manned by a mixed crew of ghouls, zombies, skeletons, and even a few humanoid toughs who accompany Ahmose when he is ashore. Ahmose regularly sails the Redeemer to various slave markets of the Inner Sea, particularly those of Katapesh, where he purchases the dregs of the slave trade, including those who didn’t quite make it to market with breath in their bodies, to use as raw materials for the Zombinarium. If his crew eats a few along the way, Ahmose turns a blind eye to what keeps the crew happy.

As a necromancer and aristocrat, Menkaure has been aided by Arazni, the Harlot Queen, to obtain his preeminent position in the zombie trade, but her assistance comes with a cost. He is charged by Arazni with monitoring the trade that enters and leaves Mechitar, paying particular attention to transactions that might indicate impropriety by other officials and aristocrats (living or undead) which could be used to blackmail them at a future date. To this end, Menkaure maintains a ring of spies and informants throughout Mechitar who regularly report to him, and he provides this information, or most of it, to Arazni.

Menkaure leaves the day to day operations of running the Zombinarium to Senbi, a ghast. Senbi oversees a staff of three ghouls that manage fourteen zombies who provide the manual labor to support the zombieman’s trade. General business is conducted in the Front Foyer. Completed contracts and shipping records are stored in the Records Room. Newly arrived corpses and other supplies (such as herbs for the transformation process) arrive via the large double doors into the Receiving Room, either carried by zombies, or in the handcarts. Any corpses that are so damaged as to not make for good zombies, are tossed into the “lunch parts” pile, for the employees to eat as necessary. Skeletal remains are stored in a pile out on the dock for Menkaure’s business associate, Q’eena (NE female human oracle 7), who runs a local Skeleteria in Mechitar and regularly brings a boat to the Zombinarium to pick up Menkaure’s leavings. Corpses are moved from Receiving and sorted into piles within the Sorting room based on the overall quality of the corpses. The better specimens are intended to be used as household servants, whereas the rougher ones will be relegated to work as soldiers, porters, field workers, and ship’s crew. From the Sorting Room, corpses are moved into the Cleaning room and cleaned using a variety of methods depending on their quality. Batches of corpses are then tossed into the Reviving Room cauldron along with shovels of rare herbs that activate the revival process. Revived corpses climb out of the cauldron on their own as zombies, and are directed into the Quality Control and Intermediate Preparation Room. Within Quality Control, zombies are checked for blemishes, strength, looks, and other qualities which might differentiate them. The very best specimens might make it into the pleasure harems of Geb’s elite, whereas the lowest of the low may be condemned to spend time as oarsmen on river barges. In Dressing and Final Prep, zombies are provided with whatever garb might be appropriate for their designated occupation. Some zombies are provided protective gear: gloves, shoes, and helmets. Some are provided with a client’s livery. Some are provided with nothing but modesty garb, recognizing that their future owners will clothe them. In Storage and Shipping, some zombies are kept for immediate purchase, while many are turned out into the Zombie Pens behind the Zombinarium. Those zombies planned to be shipped overseas, are grouped into bunches and marked appropriately. While the Zombinarium can process over 500 zombies in a day, a typical day has just 50 zombies being processed.

Menkaure’s Office (CR 3)
==========
This comfortable room contains shelves of books along the south wall, and a large mahogany desk with a swiveling chair that faces out the western window towards the river and Mechitar beyond. The south wall is adorned with various collectibles from around the world: Tian vases, Taldan portraiture, Mwangi masks, Ulfen helmets, and a brass ship’s bell can be easily identified among the flotsam and jetsam of a collection owned by a man with wealth and access to a wide variety of trade goods from the world’s seafaring fleets. Prominently displayed on the north wall is Menkaure’s diploma from the Ebon Mausoleum. The desk is covered with papers, maps, a globe, and various implements of the zombieman’s trade. The couch along the north wall appears well used.

The door leading to this room is locked (hardness 5, hp 20, Break DC 25, Disable Device 20), although there is a key that fits it in the north desk in the Front Foyer, as well as the one carried by Menkaure. Included among the papers on the desk are two pieces of paper carrying the sign and seal of the Harbormaster of Mechitar, Vernetta Xenopha (LE female mohrg fighter 12), but are otherwise blank. These can no doubt be used for a variety of purposes by crafty PCs. Beneath a false bottom in the desk drawer (perception DC 20), there is a metal box (hardness 5, hp 20, Break DC 25) with a lock (hardness 15, hp 30, Break DC 30, Disable Device 25). The box contains detailed incriminating documents about the Harbormaster of Mechitar, and several other local officials. Among the many books on the shelf detailing zombies, skeletons, and other undead, Menkaure keeps a worn and dog-eared copy of Order of Numbers. On the back of a map of Okeno are some handwritten notes in a code, which can be read with a DC 22 Linguistics check and translates as “Come Sarenith at the Sign of the Ebony Lantern. Captain Hector will have the girl at the Blue Grog Tavern.” PCs can determine that Captain Hector is a fairly vicious member of the “Zombie Pirates” with a DC 20 Knowledge (local) check. An additional Knowledge (local) (DC 25) or Profession (sailor) (DC 20) check allows PCs to recognize the “Sign of the Ebony Lantern” as a euphemism for a solar eclipse.

Creatures: The two portraits of Taldan nobility on the south wall are in actuality portrait phantoms charged with protecting Menkaure’s privacy. If anyone other than Menkaure or other Zombinarium employees enters the office, the portrait phantoms will wait long enough to determine the intruder’s intent before taking action. Casual interlopers will be ignored and permitted to leave, but if they stay for more than two minutes, or if they start searching, looting, or in general demonstrating they are up to no good, the portrait phantoms will step out of their pictures and attack the nearest enemy.

Portrait Phantom (2) CR 1
XP 400 each
hp 13 each (R2)

Development: If one of the portrait phantoms is destroyed, the other will attack for one more round before moving to the ship’s bell on the wall and starting to ring it. Once the bell has been rung, Senbi will arrive in 3d4 rounds with two zombies from the Receiving Room. It is unlikely that Senbi will be in a talking mood when she arrives.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

Hi! I’m Crystal and I’m one of your judges this round. I’ll be looking at your encounter not just as a GM and writer, but also as a professional cartographer, to see how much fun it would be to run and if the map helps or hinders the experience. For a little background, I’ve been writing for RPGs since the late 90’s, and am the author of The Harrowing and Pathfinder Adventure Path #80: Empty Graves, and I try to apply the standards of pitch, challenge, fun, and map design to my own writing just as I’m applying them here.

Criteria Details:

Pitch
Is the idea clear, evocation, and easy to sit down and run without a lot of extra prep time. If it needs extra prep time, is it worth it? This also includes whether or not the formatting adheres to Paizo’s standards.

Challenge
Is the challenge level-appropriate? Does the presumed challenge players face match up with the numerical CR? If not, is there a good reason why not?

Fun
Is the encounter going to be memorable, or is this just a speed bump on the way to the treasure room?

Map Design
The map doesn’t need to be vitally important to an encounter, but it should never, ever ruin an encounter. And if the map or environmental elements can add to the flavor of an encounter, or give players more options, all the better.

Pitch
“Zombinarium” is an attention-grabbing title, but the location’s description is far more grandiose than a 3rd level party should be dealing with. The background goes into far too much detail about Mekaure, his trading empire, his ship, his personal relationship with Arazni, and even his neighbor, while never explaining why PCs would ever be breaking into his office. This pitch would be good for a higher-level party, but the scale absolutely does not fit the encounter level.

Challenge
Two portrait phantoms is an appropriate challenge for a party of level three adventurers, but I have difficulty understanding why a 12th level necromancer would leave the heart of his trading empire guarded by two portrait phantoms, a ghast, and two zombies, especially since the text calls out that the zombinarium produces 50 zombies a day.

Fun
The name is catchy, but the encounter is fighting two monsters in a 15x20 foot room. Some of the items that can be found in the desk would be fun adventure hooks or plot devices and show creativity.

Map Design
Despite the catchy name, most of the map is nondescript square rooms. The gangway leading over from the mansion needs to be called out as being on a higher level (and that level given a callout of its own) or omitted entirely. Thios encounter doesn’t need a map, and the map adds nothing to the encounter.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hey Tripp, congratulations on making it to the top 16.

I am the developer of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, which means I see lots of short adventures and self-contained encounters over the course of a year. It’s a developer’s job to read through, revise, and fact-check pretty much everything, so it’s tough to boil down what I’m looking for into a couple of clever headers. Essentially, I’m approaching this round like I would a scenario turnover, which involves marking up a copy of your encounter and providing feedback on what you did and how you might improve—my teaching experience in action.

My Style:
Since tone is a little hard to express while in this medium, I encourage you to read my comments in a friendly way; it’s how I intend them. As I warn many freelancers, I ask the question “why” a lot. Sometimes I do this because I am legitimately confused. Sometimes I do this to get the freelancer thinking in a certain way. Sometimes I know what the answer is, but I want to illustrate that there’s not enough information for the GM to understand what’s going on.

That said, this is a tough round, for we're going from 16 to four contestants.


My Criteria:

Setting: Does your encounter fit in Golarion? Is it an urban encounter? Is the CR appropriate for the setting and the encounter? Is it clear how a GM might use this encounter?
NPCs and Creatures: How well did you incorporate the Round 2 creature into your encounter? Does it feel like a natural fit, or was it forced? Does the creature have a chance to shine? Do your NPCs fit in the location? Do their motives make sense? Is there an opportunity for roleplaying (appreciated but not essential)?
Numbers: Are all of your statistics and calculations correct? Are your skill check DCs reasonable?
Style: Did you watch Paizo’s styles, both in terms of writing and formatting? The more closely a writer can match Paizo’s styles in the turnover, the easier it is for me to develop. The easier it is for me to develop, the more eagerly I assign that author more work.

Setting
Menkaure’s Zombinarium is a name that jumps out at me, and I immediately wanted to investigate it further. I went in thinking that we’d be looking at some heavy use of animate dead or perhaps some alchemical zombie action.

Choosing Geb for your location is a gutsy move for a 3rd-level encounter. Not only is Geb a dangerous location, but we’ve even gone so far as to point to Mechitar as an excellent location for using mythic rules. There are ways to mitigate the danger, but it’s tough work. That said, if you pull it off, the adventure could be really cool. I’m seeing lots of powerful creatures mentioned in the background, which fits for Geb but also makes it increasingly difficult for the PCs to bypass these threats and encounter something more suitable for their level.

It’s rare that I consider the particulars of how one would go about mass-producing zombies for wholesale, and you’ve done a nice job of explaining the different steps that go into the process: cleaning, sorting, quality control, etc. What I’m not seeing is any means of controlling the zombies once they’re created. Menkaure can only control a dozen or so zombies, and he can’t command them effectively once they’re sold. The necromancers of Ankar-Te in Kaer Maga (Pathfinder Companion: City of Strangers) address this issue by providing customers with a death’s head talisman which allows even a non-magical client to control one or more mindless undead.

NPCs and Creatures
I have a good understanding of why Menkaure does what he does, although I’m a little skeptical that his implied daily regimen of animating a dozen zombies or so has not pushed him to lawful evil. I find it a little strange for this operation to be run by a non-undead NPC, but canon supports both living and undead business owners. Ahmose is a puzzle to me. Why did being disgraced drive him to Geb, where he is now an ambivalent accomplice in the creation of thousands of undead? Why is he still neutral, especially given his turning a blind eye to undead crewmates eating live captives? I can see some ways for him to be neutral, but they all require some extra context. Being neutral is nice because it makes the more approachable as a social encounter rather than a combat encounter, but the character description and actions should back up the alignment.

As a side-note, although it’s a good strategy to adapt real-world names to fit the region, I would avoid actually using unaltered names. Naming your necromancer and his assistant after real Egyptian pharaohs is a little much.

Your other undead fit the setting well, though the encounter presented seems to assume that the PCs have somehow bypassed the hordes of zombies, the gaggles of ghoul overseers, etc. Your treasure in the room is fairly interesting.

I’m not thrilled with the use of the portrait phantoms, which serve as basic guardians. It’s interesting to think that they’re practically immune to damage by zombies, but there’s not enough context for these animated portraits being here for me to get excited about the encounter. I appreciate that there are repercussions for the bell ringing.

Numbers
Everything appears to be in order here. The skill check DCs look fine, though they might be a little high for the typical 3rd-level party to hit reliably.

Style
Avoid the use of future tense, except in dialogue or in exceptional circumstances in which the outcome really is 100% guaranteed. Where you are using future tense, Paizo typically uses present tense, sometimes with the subjunctive or conditional mood. Also, police your use of passive voice. Passive voice has its uses, but active voice is strongly preferred in all other circumstances.

You hit most of the formatting requirements. I recommend not using two sets of parentheses in a row, as you did with “An additional Knowledge (local) (DC 25) or Profession (sailor) (DC 20) check…” Instead, break up the sentence so that it’s clear which DC is which. When writing a creature call-out (a name followed by class, level, gender, etc.), bold the name,

Closing Thoughts
Geb is a dangerous place, and I feel this encounter does not do enough to mitigate the danger without cheapening the peril of the region. I would have rather seen a fraction of the background in favor of receiving more information about how the PCs are expected to actually reach the office without being eaten by the local undead. There’s a lot to the map, but the encounter really only uses a fraction of it.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

Cartographer

ok map reference, not a huge fan of the furnishings and how they are labeled. Somewhat un exciting design overall.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.


I don't care for this on top of what others have said the name just feels goofy to me. Also considering how many zombies get made in a day id think there would be some casters hanging around the place, actually now that i think about it more employes period it looks like only 4 intelligent creatures are operating this entire building.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

Holy wall of text batman! Kidding but it is a lot in big paragraph chunks.

Hmm. I dunno about a zombie trade empire. I don't really know how they could make good servants when they are constantly trying to eat you.

Starting to tread into the too much backstory area.

Aaaaand I'm starting to get a little bored by paragraph 3. I'm still not buying the whole zombie trade thing. Lunch-parts made me laugh though.

This is really starting to suffer from formatting. Too much paragraphy stuff makes it hard to quickly find pertinent information.

Portrait Phantoms...I guess it fits but there's not much hinting to this. Kind of feels disconnected.

Why are the PC's here?

Overall, this is just not interesting enough and the blocks of text make it hard to find what I need to find.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

The Good: You made it to round three, that's an accomplishment.
The Bad: Portrait Phantoms were the payoff...
The Ugly: I tried reading this... I stopped. Multiple times I stopped. Formatting might have helped but this is just plain gonzo and logically goofy. If this place cranks typically 50 zombies the portait phantoms are an afterthought at best. There should be some bad ass spell casters in there somewhere too.
Overall: 3/10 - I'm not going to whitewash it this is just not at all good. That's a shame because I really liked the Bosun's call and the grymp was fairly solid as well, I suspect you can do better. Deadline or nerves...

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

First Impression: "Zombinarium?" I'm intrigued. From the map, it looks like it's a zombie factory. In Geb? Not sure how 3rd-level PCs could stay alive in Geb for long, but I'll keep reading...
Upon Reflection: Huh... that's a whole lot of very dense background. The workings of of a zombie factory seem interesting, but they are hardly relevant to an encounter for 3rd-level PCs. Espcecially since the owner is a 12th level necromancer. I also fail to see how a 12th-level necromancer who creates undead for a living would not be evil; but that's a moot point because 3rd-level PCs won't be tangling with him. As for the encounter... break into the office of a high-level necromancer? Why? And portrait phantoms are the guardians? Wouldn't a high-level necromancer use a bunch of undead he created as guardians? This seems a real let-down for the set-up
Overall: The location and setting are far too high-level for 3rd-level PCs, even if they're sent on a relatively mundane task. I get the distinct impression that you designed this encounter before the design criteria were released, then tried to shoehorn it into the requirements. While I'm certainly not above repurposing previously-written material, cutting down a 12th-level encounter area into a 3rd-level area rarely works-- you should have started from scratch. This encounter area really doesn't work for me at all, and I don't really see a way to salvage it for the required 3rd-level party. I liked your magic item and your monster, but I'm giving your encounter a D.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

Hi Tripp! You've got a really cool core idea here - a zombie factory. I think there are lots of ways to play this, and there's something really eerie about the literal soullessness of the enterprise. I do agree with the general sentiment that this seems like it ought to be an encounter and location for much higher-level PCs, and the portrait phantoms don't really seem to fit the vibe I got from reading the background; those are some big issues, but I definitely dig the location and the idea. Best of luck!

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

Wow, I felt like I was reading a dry business process document for how a factory worked. Not my idea of a fun RPG encounter to read at all.

In addition to the extreme cases of being overpowered for 3rd level PCs as an encounter site, as detailed by others, I'm not sure why the necromancer would leave the bones for a skeletorium company. Isn't casting animate dead to create skeletons about the same as to create zombies? Couldn't he therefore sell both instead of helping a competitor in the mindless undead marketplace? Once you have me thinking of this as a detailed business, that became the most interesting tidbit in the entire write up, I want to make his zombie business bigger and better, not break in for unknown reasons and fight some chump guards.

The portrait phantoms also seem completely out of place. They're intelligent and sitting around as guards doesn't seem to fit their MO at all, especially when there's so many undead associated with the business, why aren't they guarding the place?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

As I have done in the previous two rounds, I wanted to take a moment to answer some questions and explain my thought process.

The Concept: Despite how late we were given the full rules for Round 3 and despite Liz's statement, or implication, that we shouldn't expect it to be urban, I wasn't convinced, and was always considering a lower level urban encounter because of the Round 2 assignment. My encounter wasn't "shoehorned" into a lower CR, but more on that later. My original idea was to do the Harbormaster of Mechitar's offices, and have an early draft of text with that, and it includes mention of the Zombinarium right next door. With some more research, I determined the Harbormaster is a canon NPC with a race and stats (I reference her in my encounter), and I just felt that the Zombinarium itself would be a better fit. One comment used the word "gonzo" which in many ways was my plan. I didn't write a gonzo item, or monster, and figured I might try busting something like that out for round 3, mission accomplished I guess, but maybe gonzo isn't my thing. The Zombinarium was intended as a light hearted handling of an obviously gruesome subject. Keeping it at PG-13 is my goal in Pathfinder. With that said, as I explored the zombieman's trade in my head, I could not help but think how similar some of the portions of it are like the slave trade, and worse. The slave trade is well documented in Golarion, in particular Katapesh, which I incorporated as well, but I still wanted to keep it light hearted, and not overly gruesome.

The Wall of Text: In retrospect, I don't regret giving the amount of detail on the various stages of making zombies, but I should have done what others did, and broken it up into different rooms, describing what happens in each room, rather than cramming it all up front. I felt that would be like writing up the whole location and imply more encounters, which didn't seem like the assignment. Anyways, that's what I'd do differently: "box text" for each room, and a brief description of what happens there for the GM, keeping things light, for example the pile of lunch bits for the help.

The CR: I will defend the CR by stating several things. 1) many adventure have low level characters invading a small part of a high level character's domain 2) PFS has a scenario that sends 5th level PCs to Geb (yes, 5>3, I can do the math, but not by a lot) 3) as part of a larger module or scenario, I'd have provided the PCs timing, and goals to avoid the higher level NPCs (Menkaure is on travel, so go now) 4) the Zombinarium is waterfront, and on the outskirts of town, so legions of vampires and mummies need not be avoided to get there. Nothing specifically described as being there is beyond a party of level 3s, and I don't see why the Zombinarium would need high level defenses, it's just not a "sexy" target for hostiles.

The LN Zombieman: I'm a sucker for redemption stories, or ones about folks stuck where they don't want to be. Poor Menkaure, the zombieman, is such a person in my mind. We don't question the LN shopowner in a LG society, but a LN one in Geb we do. I get it, making zombies is EEEEE-vil, right? I'm not sure that's RAW though. Menkaure was born in Geb, he has an aptitude for this line of work, and he's a closet follower of Abadar. Sure, no reason for anyone to assume it, but he lives in a temple of Abadar, and has a copy of the holy text. Making zombies is all about doing commerce for Menkaure. Menkaure also has other stuff going on making him not so bad, but that's kid this back story.

The Names: Hmmm, two pharaohs? I knew Menkaure was, but not Ahmose? Stupid baby naming websites. I take full responsibility for this, I should have checked the name.

The Portrait Phantoms: I actually felt I used the Phantoms in a fashion Mark would have approved. I clearly described them in box text, but glossed right over them among other items, thus hiding them. They were there from the start, you're hard pressed to not encounter them, and with Menkaure, it had to be undead? Somehow a Chwal wasn't going to work right?

The Map: Geb builds pyramids. Pyramids are square. I at least made mine a rectangle! Warehouses and work spaces tend to have rectangular rooms. I'm a victim of how people build. Not liking how I labelled my map? The rules were pretty clear that artistic merit was not being judged, but it needed to be "legible, readable, neat, and contain all of the necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map." I maintain that Robert's being "not a huge fan of the furnishings and how they are labeled" feels like I was judged differently than the Round 3 rules claimed on that quality at least, especially since it seems he only looked at the map. In any event, there are better encounters than mine, so his commentary could not hardly have been a game breaker here.

The Motivation for the PCs: It's obviously my fault for not providing a true backstory for the PCs I guess, but the assignment was "location and encounter." I have read and retread the Round 3 rules, and nothing was said there about giving either an overall context, and I didn't interpret a need to do so. My bad. With that said, the loot found in his office provides numerous reasons to send the PCs there: blackmail material, blank signed shipping documents, artifacts on the wall, and of course several plot hooks that scream to be explored. Anyways, my bad on not reading more into the assignment, or if I actually missed it in the assignment, the I definitely screwed up.

Controlling Zombies: I'm not familiar with John's reference, but my concept was similar. Canon makes it clear that Geb has solved this problem, but it provides no clues as to how. I had in mind that Menkaure creates small beads that are "attuned" (a word we love in RPGSS Round 1 right?) to 20 or so zombies for controlling them. Make a necklace of 50 beads, and control 1,000. Simple, effective, and boring. Still, I should have written it in there, but that's in another room. Live and learn.

The Encounter Itself: I can't even begin to argue that it is exciting, dynamic, or anything else. I suppose it is rather blah. In an exciting place like a Zombinarium, I guess it needs more pizazz. Small room, yes. The combatants will fit though, and terrain will favor the phantoms. Most other rooms would seem even more boring I guess. Now the house on the hill is exciting! Yes, I guess I failed here, which was really the assignment.

In Summary: I enjoyed creating Menkaure's Zombinarium. Given the chance, I had a module in my head for it, or just a PFS scenario (or two). Of course, Round 4 doesn't have Mechitar as an option, so I had to go in another direction. I think some of the readers enjoyed the idea, but not the execution of the Zombinarium. That, at least makes me happy. It makes me even happier to see grymps in two encounters, and used well in each I thought.

I very much appreciate Crystal and John's comments, as well as those from the voting public. While the reveal won't be until tomorrow, with three "do not recommends," a 3/10, a D, and a "Holy wall of text batman," it is probably safe to assume that I won't be advancing. I'm fine with that, as I agree there are many better encounters (and better designers behind them) than mine, and I'm pulling for my own favorites to advance. It's been great, and I've enjoyed it. So I'll come back next year with another Wondrous Item and give it another swing.

I'd love to play some PFS with people at GenCon, so hit me up!

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Hi, Tripp!

Thanks for the feedback on the feedback! I write technical documentation as a big part of my day job. One of the biggest "soft skills" you need to develop if you're getting into writing is taking constructive (and less-than-constructive) feedback, and learning from it without getting too defensive. I think you're doing exactly that, and I commend you for it.

Your entry shows a great deal of creativity, and the workings of a commercial zombie factory is something I'd never considered.

Keep writing, keep designing, keep submitting to design contests, and keep playing! I really hope to see you here next year.

Best of luck!

--Hal

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

Haladir wrote:

Hi, Tripp!

Thanks for the feedback on the feedback! I write technical documentation as a big part of my day job. One of the biggest "soft skills" you need to develop if you're getting into writing is taking constructive (and less-than-constructive) feedback, and learning from it without getting too defensive. I think you're doing exactly that, and I commend you for it.

Your entry shows a great deal of creativity, and the workings of a commercial zombie factory is something I'd never considered.

Keep writing, keep designing, keep submitting to design contests, and keep playing! I really hope to see you here next year.

Best of luck!

--Hal

Thanks Hal, I'm far too old, and the Paizo.com community is much too nice, for me to be taking offense from constructive criticism honestly offered.

I'll come back swinging with another Wondrous item in next year's open call, and we'll see where Ponch and John lay then.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Tripp,

If someone sent me a submission that included Bosun's Call and the Grymp as a cold contact to a 3PP I'd give them an assignment. I may have rated your encounter a 3/10 but I do not think that you are a 3/10 designer. Everyone has a miss from time to time, with a good editor or writing circle to help I suspect you can be a rather good freelancer.

The way you carry yourself in the light of some tough to swallow criticism shows your character and that is also an asset.

Kudos,
Frank Gori

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

GM_Solspiral wrote:

Tripp,

If someone sent me a submission that included Bosun's Call and the Grymp as a cold contact to a 3PP I'd give them an assignment. I may have rated your encounter a 3/10 but I do not think that you are a 3/10 designer. Everyone has a miss from time to time, with a good editor or writing circle to help I suspect you can be a rather good freelancer.

The way you carry yourself in the light of some tough to swallow criticism shows your character and that is also an asset.

Kudos,
Frank Gori

Thanks Frank, I appreciate it.

As an interesting tidbit, I was actually contacted by a 3PP recently (in the last week) and asked to provide some content, so we'll see where that goes.

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