The Hanging Gardens of Karexin

Round 4: Design an encounter

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The Hanging Gardens of Karexin
Located on the edge of the Court of Ether, The Hanging Gardens of Karexin provide visitors with a quiet place to reflect and enjoy the ambiance of despair and suffering of the gardens’ living topiary and the novelty of the undead. Necromancer Zorih Totek chose this location to research the mysterious veins of glowing blue crystals that reanimate the dead. Zorih Totek seeks to understand and harness the crystals’ magic. The gardens are tended to by his dread glutton devotees, Darox, Kuza, and Selidar. The gardens are comprised of an interconnected ring of eight platforms suspended on stalactites 20 feet above a cultivated ledge. The lower ledge of the gardens are planted with a wide variety of colorful flora of Nar-Voth, and is accessible by stairwells found on some of the platforms. Rope bridges span the distance between the platforms. Metal cages and larger planters hang from a web of chains 20 feet overhead. The cages contain living creatures that have been implanted with dread glutton spores and other fungi to create beautiful glowing arrangements that fill the area with a sense of hopeless dread.

When the caged topiary subjects expire and Zorih Totek is ready inspect the remains, the hanging cages are lowered and emptied. Newly acquired fertilizer, in the form of living creatures, are kept in the hanging gardens in the spring cages, which must be reset before a creature is placed on the pressure plate to be drawn up into the cage.

The PCs arrive at the Endless Gulf in pursuit of Duergar slavers and their captives, who disappeared from Longacre. En route the PCs encountered injured svirfneblin scouts outside Court of Ether who reported that 4 of their own number were captured after a skirmish with the slavers and taken into the garden as well. The svirfneblin were unable to assist the PCs with the rescue, but they do verify the presence of new human slaves in the gardens and provide information that will allow the PCs to reach the gardens undetected.
Releasing the Captives (CR 10)
Read or paraphrase the following upon the arrival of the PCs to The Hanging Gardens of Karexin.

Faint luminescence radiates from hanging topiary baskets, cages and planter boxes lining the edges of the open platforms. Several of the cages sway gently, and the sounds of crying and moaning can be heard across the open space of the garden. Glowing lights from the Court of Ether can be seen in the distance, as can the open darkness of the Endless Gulf below.

Svirfneblin and the human captives the PCs are searching for are in the hanging cages marked C on the map; empty hanging cages are traps, and all other occupied cages contain humans. There are free-hanging cages and planters on the outer edges of some platforms that do not connect to the chain web or stalactites. Freestanding box planters are 2 feet tall and 2 feet deep, and are filled with fungi and plants. Cages hanging in the open space over the lower level hang 15 feet below the suspension chains and are lower than cages hanging over the platforms. Climbing along the chains is a DC 10 Climb check, while climbing the stalactites is a DC 30. Hanging planters and cages may be used to swing between platforms at a character’s normal movement with a DC 17 Acrobatics check.

The cage-release mechanism is a series of levers used in combinations to open, close, lower and reset the hanging spring cages as well as open the walking cage on platform 1. A successful DC 10 Knowledge (engineering) check allows a character to activate the cage mechanisms as desired.

Captives are humans or svirfneblin with the shaken and sickened conditions when combat breaks out. They call out to the PCs for help and rescue. If they are released during combat, they are all considered frightened. There are more captives than those the PCs seek.

Large veins of glowing blue crystals run through several of the stalactites that cause the reanimation of any creature that dies within the garden within 1d6 rounds of death. Crystals removed from the veins are inert and have no reanimation properties.

Creatures: Darox (A) and Kuza (B) begin the encounter tending to the garden and loading captives into some of the empty cages. Selidar (E) begins on the chain web tending to raised planters.The zombies are located in the walking cage on the same platform as Darox.

Advanced Dread Glutton (3) CR 5
XP 2,400 each
AC 21
hp 68 each (R3)
Melee 2 claws +10 (1d6+4 plus spores)
Gear gardener’s tools
Darox’s Tactics Darox makes every effort to reach the mechanism (D) to open the walking cage and release the zombies. Once the zombies are released, Darox enters melee to defend his master’s garden from the invaders.

Kuza’s Tactics Kuza destroys the walkways between the platforms to isolate PCs before engaging in melee, using the chain webbing to move between platforms before descending to cut the rope bindings.

Selidar’s Tactics Selidar uses ranged attacks to slow the PCs’ advance and swings through the garden using the elevated planters he is tending. He engages in melee combat by swinging down to platform 2 in order to lure PCs into the trap; he lands in a square adjacent to the (T) that is most advantageous to trap a PC.

Dread Glutton Group Tactics Once a dread glutton reaches 20 hp, he or she climbs any of the stalactites to access the chain web between platforms and uses his or her ranged attacks.
Once one of the dread gluttons falls and the remaining two are both at less than 20 hp, they make every effort to reach the cage mechanism and release all of the captives in hopes of escaping in the confusion.

Captive Humans
hp 17 each, currently 6 (NPC Codex 257 Barmaid)

Captive Svirfneblin
hp15 each, currently 5 (Bestiary[/1] 261)
Captive Group Tactics Due to their infected status, all captives begin with the shaken and sickened conditions. If they are released during combat, they are all considered frightened. If set upon by dread gluttons or zombies, they become panicked. Escaping the garden is their only goal in the encounter, and they lend no aid to the PCs.

Infected Zombie (6) CR 1/2
XP 200 each
hp 12 each ([i]Bestiary
Melee slam +4 (1d6+4 plus incubators)
Special Attack
Incubators (Ex) Infected with dread glutton spores, infected zombies release spores as a ranged touch attack and increase the chance of infecting targets by spreading spores (Will DC 16 negates). An affected creature takes 1d6 points of Charisma damage as the fungi burst and release drained emotions. This is a mind-affecting effect. If the affected creature is shaken, frightened or panicked, any creature within 10 feet of it also gains that condition for 1d4 rounds (Will DC 14 negates). This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DCs are Charisma-based.
Tactics Zombies are free to wander the cage that encircles the stalactite on platform 1. Once the cage is open, the zombies engage in melee with the closest living creature, including any freed captives.

Spring Cage CR 1
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 25
----- Effects -----
Trigger proximity;
Reset manual;
Effect Any Small or larger creature walking or standing directly under a spring cage activates the pressure plate. A claw drops from the top of the cage and pulls the creature up into the bell-shaped metal cage. A Reflex 25 save negates capture by the claw. Latticed floor panels fall down to secure the bottom of the cage and the creature is released by the claw, which retracts to the top of the cage. The cage can be escaped with a DC 20 Disable Device check, a DC 22 Escape Artist check or a DC 24 Strength check.

PCs may release some or all of the 21 living captives, only 9 of the total are originally identified as possible rescue targets: 5 humans from Longacre and 4 svirfneblin. If the PCs did not agree to rescue the captured svirfneblin, they may avoid encountering the injured svirfneblin, who are in no condition to fight the PCs.

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

Welcome to Round Four of RPG Superstar 2015! You've worked hard and pleased the voters to get here, and your chance to get into the finals depends on whether you took risks and pulled off a big idea. Let's see how it goes!

I'm looking at each entry as a developer, as a GM, and as a player. If you can please all three of those crowds, you are a Superstar!

Encounter, Location, Prose A dangerous encounter, in three dimensions, in a scenic and memorable place. Folks, this is a location AND an encounter. I think this entry and the Gloomsworn Path take full advantage of an exciting unique location and then place an organic encounter inside it.

Come on...a twist on 'hanging gardens' like this can't be ignored. There are plants, there's a diverse and weird garden below, and the necromancer's subjects are hanging from chains suspended from stalactites. The vision to see that kind of creative environment is rare, and you have really delivered the mojo.

There's a big questions left, though. Why isn't the necromancer part of the encounter? "The CR wouldn't allow" isn't a good enough answer. If you make a splendid and dangerous location, we need at least a short bit on why the boss isn't around. Could he show up if combat sounds out? Is he away on business and that's the only window the PCs could hope to sneak in and free the captives? The guy who made this location sticks out as an evil genius. GMs are gonna want to know what they can do with him.

You keep the encounter order according to Paizo standards, but include some development details in the earlier part of the text.

You need to immediately address the use of awkward and passive language in your prose. Subjects should be active—doing things instead of waiting to do them or having things done to them. If you burned through your text to clean up the passive voice and replace or eliminate 'is' and 'are' in most instances, I bet you'd find it a much easier read and save a hundred words. The good news is that best practices when writing, coupled with a high standard for active text, can develop good habits and strengthen your language. It's something you can learn so developers don't have to clean that up for you. It will also make you a significantly better first draft writer.

Is it original? Hanging Gardens would be fun and scenic no matter what. But the genius here is you've given a unique, sick and twisted location a name everyone will recognize, and that accurately describes the area, even though it's not what we think of when we hearken to the image of lush Babylonian greens. It's original, and very clever.

Do I want to run it? Totek is just a vicious, magnificent jerk of an NPC. I like him so much I would add him to this encounter. I don't understand why he's not here. However, the scenery and grotesque details are fun, and the combat is treacherous.

Do I want to play it? A disturbing garden of shaped plants, feeding off countless humanoid corpses? With cages suspended on thick chains attached to a network of stalactites? I do not care what I face or if there is no treasure, I am bought in.

Full Disclosure

I totally care about treasure, but I'll play this anyway.

Overall: I think your entry best incorporates a round three creature into the encounter and location. I think the marriage of location and encounter is great, though I wish there were more about the guy who created the site. I think this is one of the top two entries of the round, and by a respectable margin. Clean up that language, though. It's glaring.

Recommendation: I recommend this entry advance to the final round of RPG Superstar.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Map: The map is workmanlike and acceptable, but it's not nearly as good or interesting as your round 2 map. While it gives you the info you need to create a fighting area, visually it's just a bunch of circles. Once your developer know what you CAN do, never give them less than that.

Monster: The monster is a perfect match for your encounter. Even though there is another (offscreen) mastermind behind all this, the tone and set-up of this encounter make dread gluttons great choices, and they easily take center stage for this encounter.

Encounter: This is a fairly straightforward rescue operation, which has used terrain, traps, and good monster choice to become much more interesting. The set-up is a bit pat (why can’t the svirfneblin help? What if PCs can heal them?), but that's a minor issue. This encounter is brimming with opportunities for PCs to be heroic, do interesting things, and feel like they aren’t on the surface of Avistan anymore. Very well done.

Trap: This is a lot of fun. It makes perfect sense for the encounter, but will still surprise and worry a lot of players.

Tips: In some sections the prose gets very awkward, and feels like something that got cut and rewritten several times, needing one more pass to be made clear and natural to read. "Captives are humans or svirfneblin with the shaken and sickened conditions when combat breaks out." What are the captives after the combat breaks out, wombats and rhinos? "They call out to the PCs for help and rescue." Both help AND rescue? What do they consider help if no one will rescue them? "If they are released during combat, they are all considered frightened." Why? Was there an intimidate check we missed?

There are some areas that need improvement, but the encounter itself does an excellent job of coupling good monster choice, an atmospheric setting, and interesting terrain and threats to form a great opportunity for adventure.

I do recommend this encounter for advancement to Round 5.

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

Hey Monica, congratulations on making it to the top 8.

I am the developer of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and the Pathfinder Society Open Call, 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, but I have attempted to distill my feedback into several major 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 Criteria:

Setting: Does your encounter fit in Golarion? Is it an encounter appropriate for Nar-Voth? Is the CR appropriate for the setting and the encounter? Is it clear how a GM might use this encounter? How effective is the map?
NPCs, Creatures, and Traps: How well did you incorporate the Round 3 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)? Does the trap fit the encounter? Does the trap add to the encounter?
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.

The overall setting concept draws directly from the dread glutton’s description, making this a natural fit for Nar-Voth. There’s enough of a hook provided by the svirfneblin and what I infer is an ongoing rescue mission to pull the PCs to this area. I also really like the idea of a garden dedicated to an emotion rather than just visual/olfactory beauty, so a despair garden tickles my curiosity.

I’m not so keen on the necromantic crystals, which seem to fight for the same design space that lazurite fills. Given the despair garden, presence of a necromancer, and neighboring evil allies, it seems like there’s plenty of opportunity for the undead to form through other means.

There are lots of little features here that the PCs might use, and you have done well in giving them all at least brief call-outs and descriptions. As a GM, I feel pretty confident about how the chains work, though figuring out the elevations took some rereading.

The map leave me with some concerns, most importantly the trap placement. If the cage traps target the creature that passes underneath, they should each clearly occupy a square on the grid so that it’s clear when a target does or does not pass underneath. I can clean this up in development.

NPCs, Creatures, and Traps
The dread gluttons are a nice fit for a despair garden, and I like that they have a fun playground to clamber over with their spider climb ability. I also have no quibbles with the use of captives, which adds an element beyond “kill everything in sight” to the encounter.

Releasing a horde of zombies is also good, yet they have received abilities that raise big red flags. Why does a CR 1/2 infected zombie have the same Charisma-damaging attack at will as a ranged touch attack that a CR 5 dread glutton only gets when it dies? What is the range of this ranged touch attack? How is the DC calculated (not 1/2 HD + Charisma modifier)? What is the effect a cage full of six Charisma-damage cannons has on the encounter (not good for the PCs, I imagine). Why is the incubator special ability tied to the slam attack when it’s described as a ranged touch attack? I like the synergy of forcing nearby fear conditions onto the targets, but the mechanics here are messy.

The traps are thematically fun, but look again at those numbers. DC 25 Disable Device increases CR by 1, and a DC 25 Reflex save is pretty intense (+1 CR) for a CR 1 trap. I suspect each of these traps would be CR 3 or 4, based on your numbers.

Make sure you add 1 to the dread gluttons’ CR when applying the advanced simple template. It looks like you advanced the XP total but not the CR. Overall, the encounter’s CR seems about right for your creatures and XP total, though modifying the traps’ actual CR could change that a bit.

Passive voice (the Object is verb-ed by the Subject, rather than the Subject verbs the Object) shows up all over the place—enough so that I find my self very distracted while reading through the encounter. There are reasons to use passive voice on occasion, such as veiling the actual subject (“Mistakes were made”), but active voice is so much more engaging to read. I strongly recommend working on converting passive voice to active voice in your work.

I like that the dread gluttons have slightly different tactics, but I would like to see it organized slightly differently by giving each glutton its own short stat block and a custom tactics entry. Any shared tactics you could place in the Creatures section.

Closing Thoughts
This is a thematically solid adventure with a few moving parts to keep things interesting. I have major concerns about the mechanics of the creatures and traps, but they’re all things I could correct really quickly during development.

I weakly do recommend this encounter for advancement.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

Thank you judges for your comments.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

The Court of Ether, an upside-down fey city in the stalactites above the Endless Gulf; necromancy, the magical school of manipulating essential life forces; the duergar, also known as gray dwarves and Nar-Voth's most prolific slavers; the svirfneblin, tho͙͘s̘̟ͅȩ̹͕͍͈̺͈̬ ̥̞̱͟g̸͉̳͔o̞o͓͈̥͔͜d͘y̬̤͚͡-̺̲̭̥̞̤g͇̣̭͓̘̹̀o͎͇̻̞̰͓̳͠o͚͙̲d̷͕̘̳̗̲ͅy̳̭̦̝̯̠͝ͅbzztCLANK secretive Darklands gnomes; zombies, or mindless animated corpses; and the Chelish town of Longacre.

The dread glutton was Kalervo Oikarinen's Round 3 monster.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

9 people marked this as a favorite.
PFW1-K1 wrote:
BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

I love that you do these posts, by the way. I think it's a real addition to the community.

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

Way to go Dear!

Unlike the other entries, I'm not seeing Monica's map for some reason. Am I alone in this?

Edit: Never mind. I navigated away from the page and came back 45 minutes later and it is showing up just fine. Weird. I could see every other map but this one. Anyway, problem solved.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I see the map fine.

Here's a direct link to try

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

5th review:

The CR of your trap is incorrect, it is a CR 3 trap.

That said, there is a lot going on here, I'll check the last 3 encounters to see how you add up.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

Maurice took the words right out of my mouth. DC 25 Reflex save seems pretty high for a CR 1 trap. But that's a minor issue.

I actually really like the encounter. There's a lot going on. The premise is pretty evil in a fascinating way: an undead lord that uses living creatures as "soil" for his garden. That's such a delightfully evil thing that I gotta use that in my campaign. I also like how each enemy has their own tactic.

This will get a vote from me.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

This is definitely a cool and twisted location- I really like the idea of the planters. The traps that go with them is an also an excellent idea but it seems a little weird to me to have a CR 1 trap and a CR 10 monster encounter. I think you could have upped the lethality of the trap.

The map is pretty good but I'm unclear as to what those different colored areas are (the yellow, blue, brown colored portions of the map). Is that representing the gardens below?

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

The map is a bit of a letdown; I have to admit I expected more detail and interesting forms instead of a bunch of connected circles. The colours in the background also serve no purpose that I can see. Why put them in if they don’t represent something or are part of finished artwork? It’s fairly clear and easy to follow, but some item symbols are not included in the key and a certain amount of extrapolation is required from the text to fully understand what we are looking at. The different levels of the cages are also difficult to visualize, so some sort of cross-section image could have helped here considerably.

The Hanging Gardens as a concept is wonderful. I love the imagery of a necromancer and three dread gluttons developing a garden of fungi, undead, and despair. It is an evocative and well developed location that fits beautifully into the Court of Ether in Nar-Voth. The crystals are rather unnecessary, though they do add the horror of having fallen comrades rise up to join the fight against the party. Just having a necromancer experimenting with the fungus ridden corpses in a dread glutton’s garden should have been enough for fungous covered zombies.

The encounter itself is very dynamic, with each dread glutton doing something different than the others, but still coordinating their assault. The cage trap is great, but the CR is too low for a Disable Device DC of 25. Also the lack of the necromancer somewhat diminished the encounter from what could have been a boss fight to something that would have to be topped when Totek finally does appear. I really like the zombies capable of infecting victims with dread glutton spores. Very cool! However the CR of the zombies should have been higher as a result of this added special ability.

Not having the svirfneblin help is a bit old-school “only YOU can save us, great heroes!” There were many reasons why the adventurers might be in there solo without having to fall back on that, from the scouts had to complete their mission separate from the rescue or the encounter could be the important part of an assault with the svirfneblin drawing off enemy guards to make the rescue possible.

All that said, I find myself wanting an adventure built around the Gloomsworn Path leading into the Court of Ether to effect a rescue from the Hanging Gardens of Karexin. Possibly with svirfneblin PCs.

This was my second favorite encounter of the round in spite of the map, so I will be voting for it.

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

That thematic tightness really made this encounter the most evocative of the bunch for me, even despite the passive language. There's clear goals for both the PCs and GM and plenty of ways for either side to achieve them, and it wastes very little text or action.

I also love how perfectly this encounter fits the setting. This encounter and Brian's Gloomsworn Path take the most advantage of Nar-Voth and deftly evaded tropes to deliver something unique.

But more than anything else, this has mojo in spades. Boil all eight encounters down to their elevator pitches and I have to vote for emotion-eating monsters guarding a stalactite-mounted glowing fungus garden fertilized by caged captives.

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

I don't have time right now to give a detailed review so I'm just going to write something quick.

This is getting one of my 2 votes for a variety of reasons but heres the highlight reel:

-Map while note great doesn't detract and I like use of color.
-Monster choice also not my favorite from R3 but it's how you use them that makes me smile.
-The tactic section is where this really shines. The enemies are supporting one another and using the home field advantage in a dynamic and clever way and that makes this a memorable encounter for me.
-Sense of story is also a trend in your work, I always want more from you which is exactly what you want in a Superstar.

Stuff to work on:
-There's a little tell rather than show in your writing, the judges beat you up on that a little so I won't.

Nice job.

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

Monica Marlowe wrote:

The Hanging Gardens of Karexin


Congratulations Monica!

Map: + a tad confusing, mostly on the color (scanning/lightness?). Interesting connections between the points.
Monster (homefield advantage): + the chains make excellent use of spiderwalk. The infected zombies mesh well, and captives already panic/shaken will make much.
Trap: + critters obviously know to lure victims, I can't believe there are not more Hungry Hungry Hippos traps in this game. I was wondering if the a trap could grab a second target, good call on manuel reset.
Tactics: + lots for the critters to do and addresses options for different PCs actions. This makes it very organic from the players end. Freeing the captives will actually hinder PCs by taking up valuable positioning squares.
Challenge my players: ~ maybe not fly and acrobatics may shorten the distance, but I think it will make up for it by making sure they use fly and acrobatics.
Memorable: + yes. good location, good traps, interesting terrain and nice synergy with all the critters.

Well done.

Whew! This is the first round I have finished dotting every thread before voting closed! :)

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

Overall, great job, lots of dynamic action in the encounter, and an interesting locale for one. Other than the trap DC as others have noted, my biggest quibble is that the doesn't really feel like a location, only an encounter. The location would be something like Zorih Totek's House of Horrors or whatever, and the hanging garden is a single room on that map. Also, what is Karexin? It's odd to mention that proper name in the location's name, but not say what it is.

So, overall, awesome encounter, but feel a bit is missing on the location.

That being said, I'll likely be voting for this.

Star Voter Season 6

My Comment/Voting Process and Rationale for this Round:

Composed on Wed. 2/25:

Last round, I just barely had time to read and comment on all 16 monsters before voting closed. I make my comments right after carefully and thoroughly reading an entry, while the information is still fresh in my mind. After starting to read and comment last round, I really wanted to be fair to all 16 entries before voting, so I really pushed myself that final Monday to finish.

This round, due to an even busier family week and no Monday off work, I may not have the time to give all 8 encounters full consideration.

So, my plan is this:

At bare minimum, read, critique, and consider the three encounters earning triple judge recommendations (Brian's Gloomsworn Path using the Gloomwasp, Monica's Hanging Gardens using the Dread Glutton, and Chris's Darkblight fallow also using the Dread Glutton), and, if I don't have time to evaluate more encounters before the deadline, I will simply choose my two favorites from those three encounters for my votes.

If I have the time to read, critique, and consider two more encounters, I will add the two encounters that each earned one judge's recommendation into the mix for my vote consideration. (Steven also recommended Scott's Barca's Haven using the Wimblewyrm, and Owen also recommended Kalervo's Fellforge Chapel using the Geomaw. I don't think John recommended a fourth encounter for advancement.)

If I do end up with enough extra time, I will happily read, critique, and consider the three remaining entries, but it's possible I won't have a chance to fully read and comment on them until after voting closes.

Although not ideal, I think this system is at least fair, since I'm using the weight of expert opinion to select the pool from which I choose my votes.

That said, when I vote, I'll be looking for a mix of exciting ideas with technical proficiency, with some consideration given to entire body of work.



---Pardon me for being VERY frustrated right now, but I just spent the last 45 minutes writing you an extremely detailed (and well-worded, if I do say so myself) critique of this encounter, Monica, only to have the technology goblins in my iPad eat my words in their entirety before I could save a copy and hit submit. Tearing my hair out here...---

It's a school night, so I can't recreate that whole post here now.
So, instead, here's a brief summary, with less regard for proper English:

Great first impression, I like hanging gardens, beauty at a terrible cost is great for a dark fey encounter, so the living human topiary victims are awesome, some credit goes to Kalervo's dread glutton write-up, but you did a nice job of pulling gems from that entry and making them shine, neat creative tactics for all three different dread gluttons

Some sloppy English grammar in the opening section (I quoted and gave fixes for several examples in my previous lost post... PM me if you would like me to recreate that part sometime), some confusion between the text and the map, the map could use a side-view for elevation clarity, I bet you were suffering from time crunch with the short deadline and couldn't submit your best work

An atmospheric and memorable encounter. Definitely a contender for my vote. Nice job! :)

Responses to Others' Comments:
Despite Steven's concern, I think you needed to keep the necromancer out of this encounter to let the focus be on the dread gluttons, which you did. However, I agree that a brief comment on his current location or a reason for his absence would be nice.
I assume the random background colors serve as a general representation of the Nar-Voth flora to be fixed up by the cartographer. I think they are a fair way to add color to your map to make it more visually appealing for this contest, but now I'm confused about whether the players would actually see the "colorful flora of Nar-Voth" below or the "open darkness of the Endless Gulf below."

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Unlike in rounds previous, I have not spared time for my responses for this round, with an adventure module looming in the possible future I have had to spend a lot of my free time reading, researching and planning. So my response here is off the cuff -

My map: It is not what I had hoped to produce, but given that I had to conceive and write an encounter and craft a map, workmanlike had to suffice. I had originally planned for a more dynamic leveled map, but putting a cutaway in the tight space made that impossible, so two single levels and word count dedicated to describing it to the best of my ability was the solution. The colors in "the background" were to represent a lower less distinct level. The original encounter was a TPK location where there was no "safety" net below and only blackness between platforms. Clearly not a CR 10 encounter for level 5 - 7 characters, where fly may not be an option.

There are some great suggestions and thoughts among the comments, thank you all for your support. In case I do not go on I wanted to make sure that you knew how much I appreciate the time and thought that you put into your feedback. Excellence does not happen in a vacuum. We cannot grow and improve if we don't know where our strengths, weaknesses or blind spots are.

Thank you voters, judges and Paizo, this has been a fantastic journey that has shown me things about myself that I would have never discovered on my own. I am truly a fortunate woman today for having found you all! Peace!

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

Congrats Honey! Top 4!

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

Andrew Marlowe wrote:
Congrats Honey! Top 4!

Thank you!

Thank you everyone who voted for me and challenged me. Congratulations to Brian, Kalervo and Chris!

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2015 / Round 4: Design an encounter / The Hanging Gardens of Karexin All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 4: Design an encounter