Pentraeth House


Round 3: Design an encounter

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Pentraeth House
==========

Pentraeth House’s gleaming white masonry and sculpted dragonesque chimneys command the attention of visitors to Kintargo, Cheliax. The ostentatious mansion features a grand two-story ballroom with one of the Inner Sea’s most magnificent works of stained glass art: A nearly floor-to-ceiling curved window featuring a wondrous seascape.

Home to Sir and Lady Vastin, minor nobles with growing influence in the city, Pentraeth House is quickly becoming a major hub in local politics. The couple host frequent parties, and each opulent affair increases Vastin influence and prestige.

Sir Vastin, a shipping magnate, uses the parties as a way to flaunt his success. Meanwhile his wife, the rumored leader to a group of revolutionaries known as Kintargo Unbound, quietly nurtures sedition against House Thrune among her attendants.

Encounter Setup
Tonight’s party is a growing nightmare for Sir Vastin. Kabe, a hired assassin, murdered one of the noble’s best men, Captain Caecilius; evidence uncovered by the PCs indicates Sir Vastin is Kabe’s next target and that he will attack at tonight’s party. Kabe’s identity remains a mystery; all that is known is he’s an arsonist and a murderer.

Sir Vastin retains the PCs’ services again. Tonight they will provide security, supervised by Vastin’s halfling valet Mr. Atticus. The valet leaves all necessary planning to the PCs as long as it doesn’t involve canceling the ball, inconveniencing guests, or increasing costs. Mr. Atticus is resolute on these issues — he is equally invested in protecting Sir Vastin’s reputation and life.

Complicating matters, Captain Caecilius promised bribes to a guttersnipe crew. Since his death, the guttersnipes have not received their tribute. Unbeknownst to anyone, two guttersnipes are coming tonight to forcibly collect on Caecilius’ promise.

Part Three: Uninvited Trouble (CR 6)

==========

The massive ballroom swirls with color and motion. A string quartet plays an up-tempo melody as a cosmopolitan array of revelers dance and mingle. The guests’ attire blends the classic Chelaxian styles with a smattering of Varisian flair.

A floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window dominates the curved western wall of the ballroom. Its images of emerald sea-dragons and tall masted ships are backlit by magical daylight. Tables arranged beneath the window host several men in age-worn finery talking quietly. The ascending spiral staircase in front of the group leads to an ornate catwalk made of pale wood that seems to bisect the stained-glass windows where cobalt sea and clear blue sky meet.

Midway down the hall, two private balconies overlook the dance floor from the north and south walls. Sir Vastin and a young nobleman share drinks in the northern balcony alcove. The eastern wall opposite the great window features a larger balcony where the severe Lady Vastin sits in a trim Andoren-cut gown while her flock of attendants gossip and laugh.

Investigating the Ballroom


  • PCs’ search attempts for Kabe requires a successful Sense Motive Check DC 18 to detect his suspicious behavior amongst all the other guests. A PC gains a +5 circumstance bonus if they know they are searching for a dwarf. The character may attempt this roll every ten minutes.

  • PCs questioning guests at the party discover most guests lack any useful information. There is a cumlulative 5% chance for every ten minutes spent questioning guests that someone remembers a strange behaving dwarf. The group of sea captains under the catwalk do remember the suspicious dwarf and his “malarky story.”

Once the PCs spot Kabe or when all the PCs have had the opportunity to take an action read or paraphrase the following:

With a sudden crash, a large stone bursts through the rigging of a stained-glass ship, raining down multi-colored shards. Partygoers scurry for cover as a small but portly draconic silhouette flies through the open glass on four overworked wings. A second sleek dragon follows closely behind. Both yellow-gray mottled dragons perch on the catwalk’s rail. The slim one menaces onlookers with his beak-like mouth and a hiss.

Creatures: This is a complicated encounter with a number of NPCs.

Sir and Lady Vastin - When the guttersnipes land Vastin assumes its an assassination attempt. He shouts to the PCs, “deal with these creatures!” he then flees to area f the obligatory shrine to Asmodeus.

Lady Vastin calmly ushers her entourage into the upstairs family rooms of the house and bars the doors.

Guttersnipes - Known around Kintargo’s waterfront as Gnar and Boll, the pair are vandals and extortionists. Gnar is the rotund crew leader and Boll is his enforcer.

Gnar imagines he’s clever, charming and superior to other crew leaders. He tires of the paltry scores his crew brings in. He believes it’s time for Vastin himself to pay up.

Boll is lithe, muscular, and frighteningly fast. Despite his silent obedience, Boll is deceptively cunning. A psychopath, he prefers the simplicity of senseless violence to the responsibility of leadership.

If any dock toughs escaped after the warehouse raid in Part Two, they reported to Boll. He recognizes the PCs from these reports and quietly notifies Gnar before attacking the PC identified as least dangerous.

PCs may attempt negotiations with Gnar. If the PCs can shift his attitude to Friendly, he and Boll will agree to leave and deal with Sir Vastin later. Gnar’s starting attitude is Hostile, offering a bribe of at least 100 gp his attitude shifts to Unfriendly and if the bribe exceeds 300 gp it shifts to Indifferent.

The Assassin - Hired to kill Sir Vastin; Kabe is a dwarven sorcerer with a reputation for arson and the occasional murder. He infiltrates the party as a minor noble traveling from the Five Kings Mountains to seek his fortune in Varisia.

Kabe is carefully considering his options and planning his approach when the Guttersnipes arrive.

Crowds - (Core Rulebook 436) If combat breaks out the guests panic. Crowds of guests, staff and musicians move toward the front exit. The map denotes the starting locations for the four crowds of panicked guests. Each crowd moves 30 feet towards the main double doors. The crowds cannot move through one another’s spaces but they can move together becoming a larger single crowd. A crowd larger than Large size counts the five feet on either side of the door-frame as two squares each.

PCs may attempt to direct a crowd as normal.

Gnar CR 3
guttersnipe
XP 800
hp 30 each (R2)

During Combat: Gnar is prone to pontificating even while fighting. He prefers to perch and focus on causing property damage with his breath weapon. If forced to fly, he attempts to maintain the high ground. The banisters of the catwalk and balconies are his favored perches, if PCs close to melee range he will ascend to land precariously on the chandeliers.

Should Boll require his assistance with a difficult foe, Gnar will swoop in and flank with his enforcer. Also, if the attackers have wooden bows or crossbows, Gnar will cease his wanton destruction of Pentraeth House in favor of unleashing his rotting breath on as many archers as possible, softening up bows for Boll to sunder.

Morale: A coward at heart, Gnar flees if reduced to 10 hp or if Boll is slain.

Boll CR 4
advanced guttersnipe
XP 1,200
hp 34 (r2)
AC 15
Melee bite +9 (1d4+4 plus flensing bite), 2 claws +9 (1d3+4)

During Combat: Unlike Gnar, Boll seldom stops moving. Silent and cruel, Boll prefers to attack with his claws and flensing bite, using wing trick whenever possible. Boll doesn’t fight fair; his tactics include upending drinks into an opponent’s face or grabbing stray bits of clothing to maneuver into better biting position. He prefers to eliminate spell casters and archers quickly. Boll will attempt to sunder any previously damaged wooden weapons with a vicious bite.

Morale: Boll is fearless and enjoys every opportunity to inflict pain. He fights to the death.

Kabe CR 1
dwarf sorcerer
XP 400
hp 18 (gem sorcerer - NPC Codex 160)

During Combat: Kabe moves from his starting location k and takes the most direct route to the spiral staircase and the second floor. PCs should deduce that Kabe is the assassin as he is the only guest running towards the fight. Kabe fights whomever gets in his way, guttersnipes and PCs alike.

If Kabe makes it to area f, he attacks Sir Vastin preferably with burning hands if he has any remaining.

Morale: If reduced to half hit points Kade surrenders.

Sir and Lady Vastin
human aristocrat 3
XP 400
hp 19 (squire - NPC Codex 251)

Development: If the PCs negotiated with Gnar and managed to improve his attitude to Helpful, Gnar decides he likes the PCs and could become a valuable ally when the PCs return to the waterfront in Part Four.

Kabe still carries his written orders. The unsigned parchment bears the unique sigil of his employers, a revolutionary group called Kintargo Unbound and contains specific information on tonight’s events.

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
I like the initial setup for this encounter; the breakaway from the typical “here’s a room, fight this monster” in favor of “there’s an assassin at the party; find him.” But the encounter writeup itself glosses over prep options, any information about party guests, or any substantial ideas for identifying the assassin beyond asking around, and then the bulk of the word count is dedicated to a completely unrelated guttersnipe attack. From the text’s references to “Part Two” and “Part Four,” this is obviously clipped from a larger text and the encounter is confusing and without a larger context the guttersnipe attack seems pointless and distracting from what could otherwise be a fun roleplay-leading-to-combat encounter, and there’s more information describing the random dragons than the actual assassin player’s are hired to stop.

Challenge
The setup for the guttersnipe attack is actually fun and CR-appropriate, but again the assassination takes a back seat to the draconic protection racket. At CR 1, Kabe is little more than a fly to a team of level 3 PCs and may simply be killed in the crossfire. Meanwhile, the guttersnipes who make p the bulk of the encounter’s CR can be bribed into leaving without a fight relatively cheaply and easily.

Fun
If the players had context for who the guttersnipes are or why they’d be attacking, the encounter might be memorable or interesting, but as written it’s confusing and distracting

Map Design
The manor layout is actually very nice; the building’s layout is both interesting and functional as a home. I like the balcony level over the ballroom where part of the fight with the flying creatures will take place and that the guttersnipes can affect the environment, so overall the map is the strongest aspect of this encounter.

The map and basic tactics are sound and could be solid if the pitch were rewritten, but as-is I don’t think this encounter is superstar. I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

Cartographer

Good map reference and building design knowledge. Everything is easy to read, no confusion at all.

I do recommend this encounter for advancement.

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

Hey Andrew, 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
Kintargo! Excellent! I recently finished writing a bit of freelance tied to the citiy’s history of quiet rebellion. I’m also excited to see that this is a potentially social-heavy encounter that takes place at a formal party, which is a growing and proud tradition in Pathfinder Society scenarios. You have captured some good Kintargo flavor with your brief descriptions of the Vastins; however, it doesn’t seem like there’s an explicit explanation for why an assassin is targeting Sir Vastin. I also don’t have much description of the guests, and I suspect that would disappoint players who are looking forward to a social encounter. By dedicating only a hundred words or so to setting up the actually event, you are (intentionally or not) signaling that the party’s not important; just gloss over it to get to the fight.

Seeing the “Part 3” header is troubling because it suggest this is not a stand-alone encounter but is instead part of a larger adventure. I wouldn’t mind except that I seem to be missing much of the background information covering why this encounter is relevant and how much the PCs might know ahead of time.

I just reread the end, and I’m see a really cool development at the end. Did Lady Vastin hire Kabe to kill her husband? The plot thickens, yet it also makes a little less sense. It seems to me that the shipping magnates are among the more rebellious citizens of Kintargo, for they benefit the most from relaxing the rules.

NPCs and Creatures
A sorcerer makes for an interesting assassin, and Kabe does have some offensive spells that fit his personality. That said, how many dwarves are at this party? Once the PCs know to look for a dwarf, are there that many culprits to watch? I’m left wanting for the results of the PCs’ successful identification of the assassin, as finding him quickly (perhaps due to my character investing heavily in social skills like Sense Motive) ultimately accomplishes nothing special; it just makes the combat happen earlier, taking away my opportunity to do some roleplaying at the party. Once the fight starts, why does Kabe favor burning hands (average damage is 5 before a saving throw) to kill his target instead of shocking grasp (average damage is 7)? Statistically speaking, Kabe cannot kill Sir Vastin using only burning hands. This is partly a result of Kabe’s low level, but it feels off nonetheless.

Including two guttersnipes—especially two with very different combat abilities, personalities, and strategies—really helps to bring out the creatures’ flavor. I would really enjoy GMing their in-combat trash-talking and describing the dirty trick antics. I have mixed feelings about the PCs being able to bribe the guttersnipes into submission, but in the grand scheme of things it makes sense. Just keep in mind that for a one-shot encounter, being able to lob some gold at a problem to end it is unsatisfying.

There’s a lot of potential for collateral damage here, but I don’t see any text to help the GM manage it. What happens, for example, if Gnar collapses a wooden wall with his breath? What about if he targets roof beams? Is Kabe’s use of burning hands going to set the house on fire? These could give the encounter a lot of depth.

To reiterate here an earlier observation, I really would have liked to receive more information about the party’s guests and how the PCs might interact with them.

Numbers
Most of your numbers seem good. Boll’s AC has not increased as a result of his receiving the advanced simple template; it should be 19. Sundering weapons might not be the best combat option for Boll, given his fairly low CMB and his lack of Improved Sunder.

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 watch your capitalization, especially in your shortened stat blocks. The creature names right about the XP entry should be capitalized.

The long strings of short paragraphs are really jarring. I would really like to see many of these combined into larger paragraphs. Not only would this help with flow, but it would give me a better sense of how you handle transitions, segues, and overall organization. Please excuse my hypocrisy in the short paragraphs I’m writing as I jump between very disjointed topics.

Your headers are a little confusing because you’re using bold type for lots of things. Instead of having a bolded “guttersnipes” entry, “the assassin” entry, and so on, organize the important information into individual paragraphs. That way the “Creatures” header stands out as it should.

Closing Thoughts
I was excited about the prospects for a social scene, but this encounter bypassed several excellent opportunities in favor of adding more to the combat. The guttersnipes work well, but the second feature—Kabe—is not quite strong enough to accomplish what he set out to do even in the event that he reaches the door to area F unchallenged.

There’s some evidence that you pulled this encounter from a larger adventure, and the loss of context damages the overall presentation and execution. Social encounters (or at least encounters set in a social-heavy context) can require a lot of development to correct, and this would require a lot of development.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

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

This uses my favorite creature from Round 2, but I feel that they were meant to be the real thing of this encounter...even though it is written to feature the assassin.

I found myself wondering the whole time how would they know it was a dwarf assassin, why is this happening, and where is all the back information. I think you made a mistake in taking this from a larger Adventure Path style instead of making this a standalone encounter. This encounter has a lot of goodness about it; social encounter in nature, a race against the clock (more on this), and my favorite creature from R2. But it falls short because of the lack of background which ultimately stems from this being part of a larger whole.

I think you also mishandled the guttersnipe entrance. I think of Rise of the Runelords when I think about something that is time sensitive; the part where Sandpoint is getting raided by giants and a dragon. There should be a mechanic following time for when the guttersnipes come as opposed to a "Once the PCs spot Kabe or when all the PCs have had the opportunity to take an action read or paraphrase the following" I especially dislike it happening if they spot the assassin. How would the guttersnipes know they spotted the assassin? Why would they wait until then? It would have been so much more satisfying if they could have had an encounter with the assassin and the guttersnipes come in the middle.

The stained glass window was extremely obvious that it was going to be used for something like this. I personally don't like it being that obvious but others might.

Overall, I don't think this will make my vote list for the reasons listed above.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

Can I just say one thing that this encounter has that is lost on almost every scenario I've played: the roof is taken into consideration.

The idea of a swinging on a roof beam using a rope and grappling hook is such a favourite idea of many a player as soon as they hear they can buy a grappling hook, but it's so rarely used because only the floors, doors and walls are ever considered - rooves are usually lifeless.
(Edit: on a reread - John mentions roof beams; Andrew doesn't).

Even the chandeliers. One of my favourite experiences in early tabletop play was when my wizard ran out of his damaging spells, the evil king was completely surrounded by other players, and I turned to one of my few remaining spells - mage hand - to help me assist them. This was the very first game I played. I asked the GM if, in the throne of this castle we'd invaded, was there any chandeliers that I could maybe drop down onto the king's head? There was not.

The tactic probably wouldn't have worked if you think about the mechanics too hard - we were playing the rules relatively loosely at the time - but the idea of the world feeling more real is the important part of the game.

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Great map! I like the setup-- I've always been a fan of a good "ballroom brawl" encounter. But the meat of this encounter, the guttersnipe attack, feels pasted in to a very interesting but unrelated role playing encounter. With the references to other parts of a larger adventure, I get the distinct feeling that you re-purposed a section of an adventure you'd previously written, and shoehorned in a Round 2 monster to meet the Round 3 requirements.

I'm certainly not against repurposing stuff you've already written (I'm doing it myself for a Wayfinder submission), but this encounter would have been much stronger without the seemingly random guttersnipe attack.

That said, the guttersnipe attack itself is interesting, and I like the interplay between the two dragons. As a GM, I'd have fun with that. It just doesn't flow with the setup.

If my suspicion is correct about the genesis, I would have picked a Round 2 monster that could have meshed directly with the "find the assassin at the fancy party".

But I'm totally stealing you map!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

I really liked the setup for this encounter, how it was clearly part of a larger story and adventure. It works a little against you for this round, because there's places where you have to handwave not having enough info, but that's okay.

I don't think the setup and the encounter play nicely together. The PCs are all outfitted to catch an assassin, and he's a level 2 sorcerer? The fighter could kill him in one blow! Sure, it makes the guttersnipes the stars of the fight, but the fight and the encounter aren't the same thing.

If, on the other hand, the assassin had hired the guttersnipes and they were part of his plan that he could signal in for help (and they just happened to have a grudge against the PCs for a different reason), that would have been awesome.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

Congrats AGAIN Andrew on an awesome entry. I love how you used the guttersnipes and gave them cool personalities and set this up to be a social encounter with the chance for a cool, multilevel fight! It doesn't bother me that this is part of a bigger picture since it shows us that you can create something more complex than just some monsters in a room for the PC's to fight.

The challenged asks for a location and this one adds something to Golarion...not just a place but some intrigue happening there that creative DM's can use to build adventures off of. I like the twist that the assassin is probably working for the wife and would love to see the rest of this story unfold.

Sure the Fighter can kill this dwarf in one blow, but it seems to me that the assassin is not the threat, just a small part of the bigger picture so I don't care that the PC's could take him out quick, the challenge of this encounter is to balance the mission of protecting the noble from an assassin while an even bigger threat shows up wanting a piece of that noble. Depending on how the PC act and the DM I could see the guttersnipes and the PC working together, I could see the PC's helping the assassin survive the guttersnipes...I mean he has info and they probably will want to interrogate him.

This encounter is not just black and white and I think the complexity of it is extremely cool. Add in the balconies, chandeliers, creative villain personalities with tactics that fit the way they think shows me this is not a MIN/MAX situation and that means characters have a chance to shine and players/DMs can be creative.

I am voting for you, not because this is the perfect start to finish encounter that is wrapped up neatly in a bow that stands alone, but because this is an encounter I would like to see in a published module. I think this shows us you can design creative encounters, rememberable NPC's, and that the final product will be cohesive.

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: Love that guttersnipes are crashing a party and there's an assassin using the encounter as cover. Map is one of the best.
The Bad: where's part 2 and 4?
The Ugly: Why nor a class level in rogue if you're upping the CR by 1?
Overall: 7.5/10 - Pretty good but there's a song that goes "little less conversation, a little more action." The guttersnipes could drop a chandler, the arsonist could commit arson near an exist to further panic the crowd. Great set-up missing some more action in the execution for me.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Well done Andrew,
Is the encounter fun? yeah, lots of crowds this season, but the multiple levels, and two different stories this will be fun.
Is the encounter difficult to interpret? Map is clear, critter motivation is clear.
Does the monster fit? Yes, but it seems almost incidental. The real encounter is a dwarf assassin. Hey while I've got you here, let me drop this two guys on you.
This way to Dragathoa (I like to see beyond the encounter :) Very much, nice job. The references to Part 2 & Part 4, reference to the docks, and the bonus if the party has already discovered the assassin is a dwarf holds this as a small piece of a larger adventure.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Andrew I think there's some real genius here, but you bit off a little more than you can chew. Not that you out-designed yourself, but you crafted an encounter that needs a lot more words than the round affords you.

An encounter like this is memorable for the beginning roleplay with the assorted NPCs. There are opposed skill checks, etiquette to observe, politics, maybe even hints for an upcoming adventure sprinkled into the evening conversations. The premise of "find the assassin discretely" is also a tall, memorable order. But then you don't give us a sequence of events that transpire throughout the evening (other than the attacks) or special snippets of conversation that give the moment real flavor.

Added to that error is the fact that you have combined a random attack with a planned asassination, so one encounter is going to steal the other encounter's thunder. James Jacobs said of one of my entries last year "I don't like it when the PCs just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and two monsters randomly converge on each other [total paraphrase]". I think this encounter helps illustrate why. The assassin (or redundant assassins, or (!) competing assassins) should be the main focus. You drafted an encounter using a great round two monster, but a plot that must either fail to develop because of that monster, or overshadow the monster you used.

This encounter, with full context and resources would be really memorable, and I will try to credit you for that during voting. It has the makings of a great night of gaming, but as an entry with limited wordspace, there might be others who pulled it off more smoothly.

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

Hey Andrew,

I want to see if I can go through and comment on some/all of the encounters, and while we've talked a lot via email, I thought I'd make some public comments.

I was surprised this didn't get more support, since I really liked the encounter. I thought the map was awesome, though you know I thought the location was a little run of the mill -- it's a mansion, which could be anywhere.

That said, I thought you embraced the challenge of an urban encounter. I was impressed that you offered plenty of role-play possibilities as well as combat.

I wonder if perhaps having had the guttersnipes attack BECAUSE the party was going on (a last straw, perhaps, after they were denied their bribe, or set up as a distraction by the assassin) instead of it seeming they just came as the same time might have made people accept that a bit more.

Speaking of the guttersnipes, thanks so much for using them. That made my day. I loved the personalities you gave them -- I just wish you had had them plan to drop chandeliers on unsuspecting combatants. I think that would have been a lot of fun.

I know you've got some freelance irons in the fire (irons in the freelance fire?) so I'm looking forward to seeing what else you do.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Haladir wrote:
But I'm totally stealing you map!

By all means!

I'm quite proud of this map. I've been working a little bit on my cartography skills over the last year...I have some bad habits that make for pretty uninteresting maps. I think with this one (particularly given the time frame) came together amazingly well. It may very well be my favorite. So I'm glad you like it.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

First of all I'd like to thank everyone for all the feedback and support I have received through out my Superstar run this year.

Steven Helt wrote:
Andrew I think there's some real genius here, but you bit off a little more than you can chew. Not that you out-designed yourself, but you crafted an encounter that needs a lot more words than the round affords you.

I think this succinctly sums up what went wrong here. It was too big for the word count.

Curaigh wrote:
This way to Dragathoa

This was something I was shooting for. It was my intent to draw connections to a larger adventure and I had hoped it be better received. I'm glad a few voters at least liked it even if it didn't play well with the judges.

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
I wonder if perhaps having had the guttersnipes attack BECAUSE the party was going on (a last straw, perhaps, after they were denied their bribe, or set up as a distraction by the assassin) instead of it seeming they just came as the same time might have made people accept that a bit more.

If I had to do it over again I'd scrub the assassin and make this the motivation of the guttersnipes.

Steven Helt wrote:
This encounter, with full context and resources would be really memorable, and I will try to credit you for that during voting. It has the makings of a great night of gaming, but as an entry with limited wordspace, there might be others who pulled it off more smoothly.

I think you're right and I would not have been the /right choice to advance to the top 4. Not that I'm not proud of the work I did here. I think even with it's flaws it is an awesome encounter. Which just goes to show how cool some of the other encounters were.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Just a quick comment: I really like your map! Very clear, and nice use of colors and textures. I especially like the little arrows that indicate "down" in stairs. Probably the most professional looking map in R3.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2014 / Round 3: Design an encounter / Pentraeth House All Messageboards

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Recent threads in Round 3: Design an encounter
Astugr Lighthouse