Eizenholt, Abandoned Duergar Mining Outpost


Round 4: Design an encounter

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Amanuensis

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Eizenholt, Abandoned Duergar Mining Outpost
==========
Located in a system of secondary tunnels several miles north of the Long Walk, this small and secluded mining outpost was established by the duergar capital of Hagegraf more than twenty years ago to supply the toiling servants of Droskar with a steady flow of iron (Pathfinder Chronicles: Into the Darklands 28). Grey dwarf metallurgists smelted the ore with enormous blast furnaces and shipped their produce in small barges along an underground river to Hagegraf. However, the duergar had to abandon the site after a heavy earthquake several years ago, when the rich iron lodes suddenly developed powerful magnetic properties, making mining with metal equipment all but impossible.
Recently a clan of dark folk claimed the place as their home. It did not take them long to stumble upon the geomaw which had in the meantime taken up residence in Eizenholt, where it contented itself with feeding upon the occasional underground dweller that found its way into the forsaken ruins. Awed by the geomaw's disturbingly beautiful light, the dark folk soon began to worship the strange creature. In order to keep the geomaw docile with regular sacrifices, the clan leaders sent out raiding parties to the surface with the mission to abduct uplanders.

Encounter Setup: When the dark folk kidnap the influential Drumish kalistocrat Caradoc on one of their nocturnal raids, the PCs are offered a significant reward for the merchant prince's safe return. Having tracked down the abductors into the tunnels below the surface, braved the dangers of the Darklands, and overcome the dark folk guards, the PCs arrive at the very last minute at the ritual site to stop the bloody sacrifice. The PCs should be 7th level at this point.

Blood Crystal Pit (CR 10)
==========
A rusty iron bridge spans from the masoned retaining dam on the southern shore to the opposite side of the river. There, a huge telescope crane mounted on a massive octagonal stone base towers over the northern part of the cave. A flight of stairs on a shaky iron scaffolding rises to the crane's cockpit thirty feet above. At about the same height, a bulky container affixed to the crane hook sways lightly in the air. With the sluice gates opened, the two huge waterwheels connected to the crane's base barely move.
Assembled around a huge pit in the northeast, several dozen small humanoids wrapped in black rags dance and sing frenetically.

The PCs start the encounter in the southwest, on the southern shore of the river. Once the PCs can see inside the pit (A3), read the following:

This pit measures about fifty by twenty feet. Rusted tools and weapons cling to its steep-sloped walls. On the bottom of the pit ten feet below, two humanoids squirm helplessly in their bonds, their once-fine clothes bloodstained and torn by crystal shards and bone fragments.

A PC who succeeds at a DC 20 Knowledge (local) check can identify the two victims as the Drumish kalistocrat Caradoc and one of his Mercenary League bodyguards (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide 62–63). A PC who succeeds at a DC 15 Knowledge (dungeoneering) check recognizes the magnetized ore in the pit's walls (see hazards below).

The duergar moved their produce with the help of a waterwheel-powered crane (A2). Despite rust, negligence, and the dark folk's tampering, the device is still functional and can be operated from the crane's cockpit once the sluice gates (A1) have been closed (a full round action). By succeeding at a DC 20 Disable Device or Knowledge (engineering) check, a PC can perform one of the following maneuvers as a move action:

  • Rotate the crane in an angle up to 90°,
  • raise or lower the container by up to 60 feet,
  • extend or retract the boom by 10 feet (minimum 10 feet, maximum 30 feet),
  • drop the container's content (see trap below).
A PC who rotates the crane with a lowered container can sweep opponents in its path off their feet and possibly into the pit, as if performing a bull rush (CMB +15). Creatures inside the (emptied) container must succeed at a DC 15 Acrobatics check or suffer 1d6 points of falling damage whenever the container is moved horizontally.

The dark folk are focused on the sacrifice that is soon to take place, allowing the PCs to advance unnoticed unless they have a source of bright light with them. One minute after the PCs have entered the encounter location or once the dark folk are aware of the PCs (whichever comes first), the ritual reaches its climax (see encounter timeline below). All creatures start at the indicated locations and follow the tactics described below once combat breaks out.

Encounter Timeline

    Round 1 The dark creepers' gibbering chant rises to a crescendo.
    Round 2 The geomaw emerges from the ground near the Blackjacket, attracted by the dark creepers' incantations.
    Round 3 The geomaw bites and swallows the Blackjacket (considered a coup de grace), thereby killing him. All dark folk within line of sight are distracted by the geomaw's blood lantern ability and do not act for one round.
    Round 4 The geomaw moves towards the closest target inside the pit, if any (it does not discriminate between Caradoc, the PCs, and any dark folk inside the pit).
    Round 5 The geomaw bites its target (performing a coup de grace against a helpless victim). If confronted in melee, it focuses on its attacker.
    Round 6+ The geomaw continues to attack for as long as there are viable targets inside the pit; otherwise, it digs itself back into the ground.

Creatures:

Blackjacket Bodyguard CR —
XP —
hp 80 (currently 42) (Sellsword, GameMastery Guide 285)
Tactics The Blackjacket is tied up and helpless, unable to free himself without assistance.
Gear

Caradoc CR —
XP —
hp 58 (Merchant Prince, GameMastery Guide 285)
Tactics The kalistocrat is tied up and helpless, unable to free himself without assistance.
Gear

Dark Caller CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 52 (Bestiary 4 42)
SQ bleed (2)
Melee mwk blood crystal dagger +10/+5 (1d4+2/19–20 plus bleed)
Tactics The dark caller uses shadow conjuration to hinder the PCs, then joins the dark stalkers in melee.

Dark Creeper (60) CR 2
XP 600 each
hp 19 each (Bestiary 53)
Tactics The dark creepers focus their attention on the ritual and do not engage in combat unless attacked first (but see hazards below). They refrain from using darkness as they do not wish to obscure the light the geomaw emits when feeding.

Dark Dancer CR 1
XP 400
hp 13 (Bestiary 4 43)
Tactics The dark dancer does not engage in combat (but see hazards below).

Dark Slayer CR 3
XP 800
hp 22 (Bestiary 2 75)
Tactics The dark slayer uses its spell-like abilities and its wand to hinder the PCs.
Gear wand of shatter (CL 7th, 12 charges)

Dark Stalker (4) CR 4
XP 1,200 each
hp 39 (Bestiary 54)
SQ bleed (3)
Melee 2 blood crystal short swords +6/+6 (1d6+2/19–20 plus bleed)
Tactics The dark stalkers engage any intruders in melee under the cover of deeper darkness.

Geomaw CR 7
XP 3,200
hp 85 (R3)
Tactics See above.

Hazards:

Dark Mob (CR 4)
A mob of 20 dark creepers instigated by a dark dancer in its center (recognizable by its crude crimson jewelry) tries to stop any intruder from interfering with the sacrifice. The mob has a space of 15 feet and acts each round at initiative count 0. It can move up to 30 feet and attempt a disarm, grapple, or steal combat maneuver (that does not provoke an attack of opportunity) against one adjacent PC (CMB +12). A pinned PC is tied up with rope and dragged towards the pit in order to be sacrificed to the geomaw.
If the dark dancer is slain, the remaining dark creepers flee in panic.

Magnetized Ore (CR 2)
See GameMastery Guide 245.

Trap:

Falling Iron Ingots CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 13; Disable Device DC 20
----- Effects -----
Trigger touch; Reset manual
Effect Atk +15 (6d6 bludgeoning damage), multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. square)

Development: Once all dark folk leadership (dark caller and dark stalkers) and/or the geomaw are slain, the remaining dark folk withdraw and the PCs can leave unhindered. Otherwise, they are pursued by a small army of enraged dark folk.

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 The company hosting the contest is Paizo. If you proceed next round, make sure the encounter format meets with Paizo's format. An example is your rules for operating the crane. Those belong in the development section because they are actions the PCs may or may not take, that affect the outcome of the encounter.

Some other trouble with the encounter text includes giving no context for the trap. We get a stat block and a map location, but no history or purpose for the trap. Do the dark folk know about it? Is it left over from the duergar occupation?

The magnetized ore hazard needs a defined area or size for its CR 2. A significant amount or carefully located hazard makes a big difference. I note the PRD doesn't define that area or size, so that shouldn't count against you, but it's an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of encounter dynamics.

Finally, the timeline for the encounter is fairly bland and doesn't include much action by the darkfolk. The stat blocks offer a different tactic for each type of darkfolk, but the varying types and strategies becomes a lot to keep track of. The creepers apparently don't want to use darkness because the geomaw is pretty, but they have see in darkness AND the stalkers throw down deeper darkness anyway.

Some of your text is passive. Remember that passive text doesn't just mean that something is being done to it. It can also be ambivalent or waiting for something more exciting, and in dire need of a better verb. Remember also that cleaning passive text is a great way to improve your vocabulary and reduce word count.

Example:

Spoiler:

Instead of "The dark folk are focused on the sacrifice that is soon to take place...", consider "The dark folk eagerly await a pending sacrifice..". Fewer words convey the idea in more active language.

Is it original? Naturally, folk flocked to duergar when they saw Nar-Voth. The good news is you side-stepped the duergar reference with a cult of dark folk in an abandoned duergar setting. The setting has some original ideas—the sudden magnetization of the ore, the crane as an option in combat, and the use of different dark folk in a large crowd setting.

Do I want to run it? With some cleaning up, this could be a fun encounter in a unique location, but I would have to contribute extra work to make that happen.

Do I want to play it? If run by a GM that compensated for the holes in the design sure. The raw idea is fun. But if I only had to deal with the encounter as written, I think I'd end up a little confused. It's fun to drop a few area effect spells on a mob and encounter brand new creatures, but this encounter could be more challenging and memorable. There's also no reward for this encounter. There should be treasure (side form the wand) with this many humanoids around, and any boon gained from the kalistocrat should be mentioned in either the development or a reward paragraph.

Overall: The location and encounter are not Superstar execution. I think you can grow to a place where full development of raw ideas really makes an impression and gains you fans. I don't think this entry shows you're there yet.

Recommendation: I do not recommend this entry advance to the final round of RPG Superstar 2015.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Map: This is my favorite map of this round. It's clear, interesting, and crucial to running the encounter.

Trap: A crane that drops things on people during the fighting is an awesome idea. It is not, however, a good trap. It is much closer to a siege engine. No explanation is given as to why, no matter who operates the crane, its attacks are at a flat +15. Also, if a mechanical trap has no other reset rules, it's assumed to take a minute, That means this very interesting element of the encounter is only going to come up once in the vast majority of groups playing through this.
It's a very, very neat idea, but this is absolutely the wrong execution. The whole trap section would have to be scrapped and rewritten, and that would leave this encounter without a trap, so a new trap would have to be created. That's a ton of work.

Monster: The geomaw is fine, and a major element of the encounter, but thematically you could have used anything, since the dark folk just give it sacrifices.

Encounter: The timeline highlights a fairly serious problem with this encounter. No matter how long it takes the PCs to get here, they arrive exactly when things get interesting. That seriously strains credibility, and really isn't necessary. Reworking this encounter to not have a countdown would be a major effort, but also the best way to preserve the neat ideas in it.

Tips: I feel like you had to pull and push some neat idea to fit into the contest's requirements, and the details and natural flow of the encounter suffered as a result. Sometimes, and awesome idea isn’t the right awesome idea, and needs to be scrapped to accomplish the writing task at hand.

As much as I love some of the ideas behind this encounter, I do not recommend it for advancement to round 5.

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

Hey Gabriel, 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.

Setting
This site has some history and several phases of occupation, which I appreciate. The geography between the Long Walk and Druma also overlaps pretty well, making the abduction fit nicely. There’s enough of a hook to get things moving, and there’s enough context for the encounter for it to feel like the Epic-CR fight that it is.

You haven’t done anything too gutsy by introducing major canon or spinning a complex story, but you have pulled together just enough pieces to make a compelling stand-alone encounter. It’s a nice balance, albeit a subtle one.

So…what are the DCs to climb the pit or swim in the river?

NPCs, Creatures, and Traps
We don’t get a lot about the Kalistocrat and his bodyguard, but given their role as helpless hostages in this encounter, that’s okay.

The dark folk chanting and rushing about make for a good visual. Also, the dark creepers have one of my favorite reasons not to use their darkness spell-like ability, but the dark stalkers cancel that out by using their own deeper darkness. The dark folk horde is pretty neat, and I like the image of a dozen of the fellas tossing Alain into the pit. Mechanically, I have some concerns. Does the mob occupy its space (i.e. can a PC move through it)? If so, what does it take to use Acrobatics to move through the area? If it takes up an area, how do I reach the dark dancer in the middle? Do I provoke an attack of opportunity for trying to push through? There are lots of unanswered questions with this feature.

The geomaw does feature prominently, both as a combatant and as a lynchpin for why the encounter is taking place at all. That’s a really good amount of depth that really cements that part of the Round 4 instructions. I also like how the geomaw’s starting position leaves it just the perfect amount of space needed to perform a coup-de-grace (full-round), double-move (full-round), and then take a five-foot step before performing a coup-de-grace again.

I am not a fan of the trap—not because it isn’t fun. It’s because it doesn’t feel like a trap. We have a payload of things a crane can drop, which isn’t much different than letting the PCs push rocks down a slope or use an ornamental vase as a weapon; each one requires an action to trigger, unlike virtually all traps, which have responsive triggers. It’s also a difficult trap to understand because it doesn’t have an actual description. In order to intuit how it works, I need to reread the first half of the encounter. Even a sentence after “Trap:” would have been really helpful and saved me a minute of frantically searching the map reference for a marked trap area.

That said, the crane as a weapon is fun. I just cringe at trying to figure out what direction a creature is bull rushed when hit by an object swinging in an arc over an orthogonal grid. Giving the GM some guidance might be nice.

Lastly, you have a round-by-round scripted encounter. Speaking from experience, these are tough to write and perhaps even tougher to develop because of the many moving parts. When they’re done right, they are amazing. When they’re not done right, they’re really awkward for a GM to use. I think you’re on the better end of the spectrum because the timing is both generous enough for the PCs to save the kalistocrat (if not the bodyguard) and also keeps things moving at a reasonable clip.

Numbers
Your CR calculations seem to be a little low. I’m getting 13,800 experience here, which is a fair margin over CR 11. Many of these enemies are fairly low CR, so the actual feel of the encounter might not be quite so dangerous as the numbers suggest. On the other hand, you have creatures wielding deeper darkness; any CR calculation gets tougher when that spell’s available.

Style
Either place a summary of your subareas in one place (i.e. identify what A1, A2, et cetera are early on) or break the encounter areas into different headers. For this particular project, the former is likely the better choice.

Thank you for correctly structuring your skill check to identify the magnetized ore! It may be a little bland to use the “A PC who succeeds at a DC XX check does YY” construction, but it’s really clear and matches our style.

Closing Thoughts
The geomaw is a great fit with the dark folks’ motivations, and the encounter’s script seems like it should work well. I am deeply troubled by the non-trap nature of the trap and possible issues with the encounter having gone over the required Challenge Rating. There are also ambiguities regarding the crane and the mob that leave me as the developer with a lot of extra explanation to write.

As a stand-alone encounter with no design criteria, I think it’s great. Were this a turnover based on an assigned outline, I would have to do some significant work to make it fit what I needed. And that’s a key part of this round.

It is only with regret that I weakly do not recommend this encounter for achievement.


BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

The Long Walk, a major travel and trade route through Nar-Voth; Hagegraf, capital of the duergar in Nar-Voth, which is situated on the Long Walk's eastern end; Droskar, evil god of endless toil and a patron deity of the duergar; the ex-Azlanti dark folk, who feed on light (among other things); the Kalistocracy of Druma, a nation ruled by the Prophecies of Kalistrade and defended by the Mercenary League (aka "blackjackets" because they're stylish as hell!!); and magnetism, which can affect at least iron, mithral, and adamantine.

The geomaw was Brian J. Fruzen's Round 3 monster.

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

1st encounter under review.

That is one great map, you are really good at that, maybe someone should hire you to do more of them.

I do like the visual of your trap, it should however have no reset: you drop the ingots and that is it.

Your encounter has several likeable elements, I will go through the other encounters and see what they have to offer.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

The Map: The map is clear and the location has a lot of cool dynamic stuff going on. So far so good.

The Idea: The location is alright. Abandoned mining facility in the darklands is not as exciting as it could be, but the magnetized ore is a neat touch. At least you went with darkfolk over duergar. The Geomaw isn't doing it for me, it's just not that dynamic of a monster. That said I think you used him a little better than other people because the PCs have a reason to get up in his grill to save those NPCs

The Encounter: The crane is cool, I wish the bad guys would use it in case the PCs don't think of it (or to hint to the PCs what might be super cool for them to do), and I like a good darkfolk ritual as much as the next guy. Some stuff is a little fuzzy for me, like what's the deal with that mob? Why do 20 CR 2 monsters equal CR 4? Where are the other 40 dark creepers? I really don't like anything about that.

Will I vote for it: I have not decided yet, I've only got two votes so it's a tough decision. You were my favorite going into this round, and I will certainly take that into account. If I do vote for you it will be based off of the strength of your previous 3 rounds.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Crane!!! Such a neat idea. But I don't get how the iron crane isn't affected by the magnetized ore?

The map looks great too. I wonder if there is enough space if action moves to the top of the map, around the pit.

Good luck.

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

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

First off I like the map. Very clear, well-drawn, and with interesting terrain. The labelling is clear although I think a more consistent letter system would have worked better. Just keeping everything A1 through to A11 or having the areas listed with A’s and the creatures listed with B’s or some such. Just to even it out as there seemed little to connect the positions on the map with the labelling. That is what people are used to and it is a little jarring when that format is only partially used.

The connection to the Duergar is very good and connects this location and encounter to Nar-Voth without actually using the grey dwarves. Well done! The dark folk and the sacrifices to the geomaw make for a decent encounter set up that ties into the location on Golarion and a motive for all the action. So far so good.

The encounter is well thought out, but it essentially the old "twisted people sacrificing victims to some terrible beast" trope that has been around forever. The scripted rounds are OK, but a bit confining; the best scripted combats are very open and flexible with their timing to take into account party actions. While the geomaws reactions are well documented in that timeline, the dark creeper leadership—which makes up a significant part of the encounter—has to be determined elsewhere and spread out. You can find bits in the hazard section and by each monster entry.

Since the leadership uses deeper darkness, the fact that the dark creepers don’t use their darkness abilities becomes somewhat irrelevant. While there is a certain amount of dynamic play here and I can see this being a very entertaining encounter with some work, it really is all over the place instead of having a concentrated location. The pit seems to be the focus, but when it is the crane requires an action from the dark folk to come into play.

The crane is a great touch, but using it as the “trap” was a big mistake. The whole encounter can run with the dark folk and party never involving the trap at all. Then the crane and its load of iron ingots become backdrop and nothing else. I am continually reminded of Chekov’s Gun in situations like this: make sure that if it is included that it is an important part of the scene.

I love sandbox style encounters and adventures, but individual encounters require focus and this encounter feels a little too diffused for my tastes. As such I will not be voting for it.

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

I felt that this encounter showed a lot of stuff going on, but not a lot was actually used by the encounter. The crane is there, with rules for how to use it as a trap or weapon, but there's no dark folk manning it, so it likely won't come up. It takes 2 rounds minimum if not more to really effectively use, so it's pretty unlikely a PC would spend that much time using it, especially when they don't even know what they can do with it.

There also seems to be a lot of dark folk there who don't really do much. If the PCs don't attack, most of the creatures here don't seem to do much.

Finally, the big glaring plot hole is that the PCs are hired to rescue a kidnapped merchant, have to figure out where he is, go there, and then rescue him, and then they get there just as he's been put in the pit to be eaten? I don't buy that. The dark folk had presumably multiple days lead, or at least one - why wouldn't they put him in the pit once they get him to their base?

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

This cinematic encounters work great for movies but are much harder to pull of in RPGs (as my own R4 entry can attest to). The crane is a neat addition but I worry that 7th level PCs will rely on their own class abilities (especially the spells they have access to at that point) to save the day.

The map is excellent but the overall location when compared to some of the other entries is not that exciting.

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

Gabriel Almer wrote:
Eizenholt, Abandoned Duergar Mining Outpost

Congratulations Gabriel!

Map: + Nicely done, the crane has me intrigued and the pit will play to a creature with burrow.
Monster (home field advantage): - The burrow ability should let the gewmaw take advantage of the pit, since it can enter and exit without checks, but a 10 drop is not much to slow down many level 10 players.
Trap: + interesting, but not something the critter can take advantage. I had to double check to make sure the ingots weren't magnetic (adding encumbrance to metal-armored folks would have been cool).
Tactics: - geomaw no, dark-folk yes. I think this takes the focus from the geomaw.
Challenge my players: - not really. Darkness has been the worst part of darkfolk and these don't use their primary ability.
Memorable: + crane, yes; magnetic ore, hopefully; darkfolk, probably; Geomaw, no.

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 not getting one of my 2 votes for a variety of reasons but would be a contender for my 4th vote if I had 4 here's a highlight reel of my reasoning:

-Map enhances the encounter, love the crane
-Monster choice hurt you especially here because there's just too many geomaws
-The field is a little crowded in terms of numbers to a point that detracts from the Geomaw which should be the main attraction.
-The best thing you have going is that I actually believe this encounter would be challenging.

Stuff to work on:
-If you make it to the final I need the person that made the wasp and that mushroom map not this designer that threw a ton of low end monsters at a 7th level party with a modest big bad and hoped it would stick.

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

Like others, I love the map (I wish I could map like that!) and the concept of the crane. I wish the latter especially played a bigger role. I really love the idea of giving PCs options to use things like this, but I think most often players will stick with their tried and true tactics. As others have said, the crane needed to be used in some way to get the PCs to be involved with it. And the sluice gates for that matter -- that's another spot where you could have had a cool trap.

My other big concern is there are a LOT of moving pieces for the GM to deal with, with about 8 opponents (treating the mob as a single one). I know there's the breakdown of tactics and many of them won't react unless attacked, but I still feel like I'd be juggling a lot, maybe too much.

Like others, I'm afraid I probably won't be voting for this one. I'm sure you're sick of reading this, but if I had 4 votes, I might consider it, but it just doesn't reach my Top 2. That said, there seem to be three favorites who appear likely to move on with the final slot open to any of you, so good luck.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Amanuensis

I would like to thank the judges for their critiques and I am very grateful for everyone else who took the time to comment. I think I understand where I failed and what I should have done differently.

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