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MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Subjunctive posted:

"Other types of programs"? Like programs that produce additional world and mechanical material to help people play the kind of game they want to play? Or perhaps a program that is honest about errata and repairs mechanical issues found in the game so that people don't end up trapped (Beastmaster, Frenzy Barbarian)?

No of a different type.

Red Metal posted:

dude just own up to the fact that you were wrong, repeatedly going "no i was right if you use a different definition from what everyone else uses" doesn't help you

Mors Rattus posted:

The way you are using it is not the way anyone else in tabletop gaming uses it.

Yes I know that. It was a mistake in language I used and I replied to Serf thinking he was using the same terminology as me. Which was incorrect.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Also, 'has the most players, therefore is best' is rather like declaring McDonald's the best restaurant.

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

MonsterEnvy posted:

No of a different type.



Yes I know that. It was a mistake in language I used and I replied to Serf thinking he was using the same terminology as me. Which was incorrect.

you're still doing it

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I suggest a new framing of this argument where the various fantasy games can only determine their superiority by having their respective mightiest wizards fighting it out.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Mors Rattus posted:

Also, 'has the most players, therefore is best' is rather like declaring McDonald's the best restaurant.

Never said that. Just that it has the most players and places to play it, therefore it's easiest to find a game there. I also said play what you want.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I suggest a new framing of this argument where the various fantasy games can only determine their superiority by having their respective mightiest wizards fighting it out.

I also believe Ars Magica is the best game.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Red Metal posted:

you're still doing it

I already said I was wrong. I misunderstood what Serf meant when he said Shadow of the Demon Lord had the most support. Thinking that it was by the definition I thought I was using.

Serf
May 5, 2011




It's weird to judge a game by its install base. I could go over to the game room and post a recruit thread for loving Warbirds or Hollow Earth Expedition and get a game together. Having the most players is meaningless in 2018.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

I also believe Ars Magica is the best game.

But... I thought it was a historical RPG...? :confused:

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Serf posted:

It's weird to judge a game by its install base. I could go over to the game room and post a recruit thread for loving Warbirds or Hollow Earth Expedition and get a game together. Having the most players is meaningless in 2018.

For in person games it's a bit harder. But yeah for Online games it does not really matter.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



MonsterEnvy posted:

the definition I thought I was using

A lot to unpack there.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



God drat it thread, pull up.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




we all know the most supported game is Ballads of Eldoru. new supplements are being created all the time

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




hectorgrey posted:

Which one, 3e or 4e? Personally, I think 3e is a perfectly serviceable RPG up to around level 6-8. Beyond that is where its problems really start to show up, which is probably why someone decided that E6/8 was a good idea. Pathfinder solved most of the problems I had with it (though it did admittedly add a few of its own, like how you have to wait until you have BAB +4 for Combat Expertise to give you the same boost to AC that you could already get by fighting defensively (+8 if you put a few ranks in Acrobatics)). That said, if I were playing core only and wanted to play a single class Fighter, I'd play Pathfinder over 3.x in a heartbeat.

Both kinda, just that the warrior classes had many more nice things in 2e.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Everyone getting Fatebound to the Flawless Debater over here

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

PurpleXVI posted:

The point is, as a level one character, I had... four tricks, I think, for abilities. And two of them, the Daily and the Encounter ability, were gone once used, at least until the next big event. Which left me with a grand total of two things to do. As I remember it, for my class, one of them was being able to mark enemies, and the other was being able to take advantage of that mark.

Disregarding your one Encounter and one Daily power at level 1, a Fighter is going to have Combat Challenge to inflict marks and make MBAs against people who violate the mark, and then Combat Superiority to halt the movement of anyone struck by their OA ... and then they still have their two (if non-human) At-Will powers on top of that, so you definitely must have had more than two things to do even after blowing your Encounter and Daily power.

Night10194 posted:

I wonder when, exactly, they decided a fighter should get -25% to hit for every attack they've had the temerity to make that round.

TSR-era Fighters gained extra attacks, but first they'd get "two every three rounds", and then two-per-round, and then "five every two rounds".

If you had 2/3 attacks per round, you'd attack once every odd round, and then twice every even round. It kinda sorta worked as far as granting the Fighter extra attacks without going immediately to 2 attacks-per-round flat, but it was likely considered to be excessively fiddly and unwieldy.

3e's solution was to give the Fighter a second attack per round immediately, but then plant a penalty on it so that it's not as effective as a flat second attack.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Shut up nerds, it's time for Sex and Violence AMPED UP in:



Blossom of Wounds
:nws:Headless disemboweled torso with gut-ropes all hanging out.:nws:

Okay, this thing is basically an anti-adversary. It's summoned, then joins some rebellious organization and works to undermine and destroy them from within.

Now first, let's get this straight: This thing's design is poo poo. See that picture? That's it's actual body. The bleeding torso and the flower are parts of it. Now, HOW does that thing... move? Like, physically do stuff? Who knows!

It's modus operandi is that it uses vague magic to somehow become a wealthy patron of a rebellion (where does it get money and weapons and property? Doesn't say.) and then it proceeds to personally commit atrocities in the name of the rebels, blaming it on their enemies, and escalating the rebellion more and more while working to discredit and betray them. Eventually the movement it joined falls apart into infighting or is destroyed by the authorities cracking down on them. 0



More torture. Woo. It has no killing blow or does anything else interesting. If you fight it, it uses psychic attacks to do damage.

While the base concept is kinda cool, so much of the rest of it is just useless fluff or wasted potential.

Bruchsal



Yes, that is in fact a tepee made of flayed human skin. This is also our first NARRATIVE MONSTER! This sucker is Unique and has a Backstory!

So. Bruchsal was once a quiet village in Germany. Oh, yeah remember that Legend of the Flame Princess, and therefore this book, for some baffling as gently caress reason takes place on earth in historical times. Does that make sense? gently caress no! But this book sure as hell follows that stupid rear end paradigm!

Anyway, Bruschal was a village. The inhabitants of the village were rounded up the Malison (Basically this books version of Cthulhu/Shub Niggurath) and then it stripped their skin and their skin was turned into a tent. The people were still alive and conscious in their skin. Intentionally. Why? gently caress if I know! The Malison is evil or some poo poo!

Anyway, it was given to a Necromancer (Why? Wait till we get to Malison to find out!) where the necromancer slept in the tent for a single night, which lasted one thousand years. What the gently caress does that mean? Who knows! But this apparently made all the skin tent people totally insane. More insane.

So now this flying skin tepee... flies around the world attacking people. Because it's crazy. Like, literally flies, max height of 900 feet. So... it's a bloody UFO tepee made of skin.

It's also Complete Bullshit.

This thing has 3 attacks, all are giant gently caress-yous.

First off is Brain Rot! Save vs. Magic or else you lose 1-8 points of Intelligence, if it lowers you to 0 you fall into a coma for 1-4 days. Save negates. So gently caress you fighters hope you didn't dump Intel! gently caress you Magic Users hope you didn't need that prime stat!

Memory Scourge is an absolute fucker because it actively removes XP! It removes 1d100x10 EXP and 1-3 HP per attack. Save vs. Magic to avoid but still, gently caress you permanent XP loss.

The last one just look at this nonsense.


Ok first: Stat malus is bullshit, gently caress you. Second, anything with a random chance of instant death is bullshit, gently caress You.

Oh wait, but that's not possible! Because this moron told you to roll 1d10 for the Bone Result! On a chart with 12 entries. Skull and Referee's Choice are literally impossible to get as written.

Also, is this just confusing or am I an idiot? Does this mean that you need to save not to lose a bone, but then if you make another save your bone *poof* goes back in your body? If you have enough HP could you eventually be totally de-boned and then have to roll tons of saves to re-skelefy yourself?

Okay, a talked to an OSR Guru from another source and no: This is permanent. This monster will give you permenent stat de-buffs on a failed save, and can do this attack repeatedly. Holy poo poo.

Wow, this thing sucks. No special things if you kill it, just whatever treasure the GM wants to stick in the thing. I hope your GM doesn't wanna inflict random encounters with a flying tepee that steals your bones, XP, and IQ!

Cain

:nws:We got penis boys! Our first dick! Full frontal male nudity! IT'S A COCK!:nws:

This is one weird rear end confusing loving monster. OK so appearently this is literally the Biblical Cain as a demon. I think? It mentions he's seen the Garden of Eden, which is nonsense but let's roll with it.

Cain is a very confused boy. He wants to do good, he's not evil at all! Except he has two bafflingly random compulsion.

First, he has a fetish for making people complete in asymmetrical gladiatorial death-battles. Like, he literally gets his jollies off by capturing people and making them fight to the death in elaborate gladiatorial matches with gimmicky asymmetrical themes. OK?

His other thing is he's compelled to find random villages, kill everyone there, and then leave one young survivor. He then approaches the survivor in disguise and teaches them to become adventurers and heroes.

Yeah. I have no idea what the gently caress is up with this guy. He's just... really confusing. Like, he's got two solid ideas there? But not in the same enemy, not at all.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



Tibalt posted:

Hey, so, last week I started writing an essay about the 4e release, trying to put all those arguments from 10 years ago in context. The idea being that, after 10 years, we could discuss the edition war in an academic manner.

So what I'm trying to say is, when I post it, I'm not aiming it at anyone here in this current discussion.

This is pretty much where I'm coming from with my 4e PHB review - I hope people aren't reading it as "you like 4e so you should feel bad". I think people in the thread may have guessed I prefer 3e, but I will pretty much agree with most of the 3e fault arguments out there. Really, at this point I'm just disappointed in D&D's design as a whole.

hectorgrey posted:

Which one, 3e or 4e? Personally, I think 3e is a perfectly serviceable RPG up to around level 6-8. Beyond that is where its problems really start to show up, which is probably why someone decided that E6/8 was a good idea. Pathfinder solved most of the problems I had with it (though it did admittedly add a few of its own, like how you have to wait until you have BAB +4 for Combat Expertise to give you the same boost to AC that you could already get by fighting defensively (+8 if you put a few ranks in Acrobatics)). That said, if I were playing core only and wanted to play a single class Fighter, I'd play Pathfinder over 3.x in a heartbeat.

Don't do this, you're much better off playing a 3.X straight fighter with splats than anything you can do in Pathfinder. Pathfinder buffed wizards and nerfed fighters, it's actually kind of hilarious. I give 4e crap for trying new things and not getting them right, but that's much preferable to Pathfinder doing nearly everything wrong. I can do a Pathfinder review after this if people want.

I'm gonna be a lot meaner than I'm being to 4e.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Pathfinder is 3.5 with all its worst impulses turned up.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

How does a setting with all of those type of monsters around even survive?

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Hunt11 posted:

How does a setting with all of those type of monsters around even survive?

Who knows. Normally in settings there is a good number of benevolent creatures as well to even the odds.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Or, in the case of the other 1600s Germany But With Hell Demons setting, friendly elves, dwarfs, and a shitload of guns.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Wapole Languray I think you skipped the Blood Red Head on Fire.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Or, in the case of the other 1600s Germany But With Hell Demons setting, friendly elves, dwarfs, and a shitload of guns.

Also common is "They're too busy fighting each other to present more than an occasional threat to the good guys."

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

Don't do this, you're much better off playing a 3.X straight fighter with splats than anything you can do in Pathfinder.

I have to agree with this. Whatever meager bonuses Fighters gained in Pathfinder from the Bravery and Weapon/Armor Training abilities is completely overshadowed by the Combat Maneuver change completely loving-over their chances at pulling off those special attacks, as well repeated nerfs to the maneuver feats themselves, and losing all of the fairly effective feats and abilities scattered all around the various 3.5 splats, such as Dungeon Crasher or Shock Trooper.

Hell, there's a Fighter variant in one of the Dragon Magazines called a Targeteer that gives the Fighter Dex-to-damage, and Pathfinder still doesn't have something that basic.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I suggest a new framing of this argument where the various fantasy games can only determine their superiority by having their respective mightiest wizards fighting it out.

Which would probably mean SenZar wins.


gradenko_2000 posted:

TSR-era Fighters gained extra attacks, but first they'd get "two every three rounds", and then two-per-round, and then "five every two rounds".

If you had 2/3 attacks per round, you'd attack once every odd round, and then twice every even round. It kinda sorta worked as far as granting the Fighter extra attacks without going immediately to 2 attacks-per-round flat, but it was likely considered to be excessively fiddly and unwieldy.

3e's solution was to give the Fighter a second attack per round immediately, but then plant a penalty on it so that it's not as effective as a flat second attack.

I wonder if iterative attacks were also a response to the perceived OPness of fighters with multiple attacks, especially after UA introduced weapon specialization and all those elves with double bow specialization started mowing down hordes of enemies.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



TheGreatEvilKing posted:

Don't do this, you're much better off playing a 3.X straight fighter with splats than anything you can do in Pathfinder. Pathfinder buffed wizards and nerfed fighters, it's actually kind of hilarious. I give 4e crap for trying new things and not getting them right, but that's much preferable to Pathfinder doing nearly everything wrong. I can do a Pathfinder review after this if people want.

We've already had several Pathfinder reviews, thanks.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Selachian posted:

I wonder if iterative attacks were also a response to the perceived OPness of fighters with multiple attacks, especially after UA introduced weapon specialization and all those elves with double bow specialization started mowing down hordes of enemies.

Yeah they probably also wanted to firm up the number of attacks a character could make so that you didn't have darts as an outlier, and then they also made it based on BAB so that it would be "modular" and "formalized" across multi-classing.

I do also have a vague recollection that in AD&D, any multiple attacks would happen at the bottom of the round (or possibly on a separate initiative count), so it's possible that the "full attacks limit movement" issue already existed way back then, but I'm not 100% sure.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








gradenko_2000 posted:

I have to agree with this. Whatever meager bonuses Fighters gained in Pathfinder from the Bravery and Weapon/Armor Training abilities is completely overshadowed by the Combat Maneuver change completely loving-over their chances at pulling off those special attacks, as well repeated nerfs to the maneuver feats themselves, and losing all of the fairly effective feats and abilities scattered all around the various 3.5 splats, such as Dungeon Crasher or Shock Trooper.

Hell, there's a Fighter variant in one of the Dragon Magazines called a Targeteer that gives the Fighter Dex-to-damage, and Pathfinder still doesn't have something that basic.
I forget, what got changed with the Combat Maneuver implementation beyond the feats getting stretched out?

As for that bit on Dex-to-damage, my group just houseruled as part of Weapon Finesse because it wasn't going to break anything in the slightest when we still had casters around to stomp poo poo. I'm always surprised when people claim innovation on Paizo's part because their work is actually more regressive than the works they're aping. (The guy who used Weapon Finesse is also by far the most batty and scatterbrained of my Sunday group, so if he ever actually tried being overpowered the rest of us would immediately suspect outside help.)

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

NGDBSS posted:

I forget, what got changed with the Combat Maneuver implementation beyond the feats getting stretched out?

In 3e, you Trip a dude with a successful touch attack, and then an opposed Strength check [d20 + STR].

In Pathfinder:
* They eliminated the touch attack, which is fine, since it was a mostly extraneous step anyway
* The attacker rolls their Combat Maneuver Bonus, which is [d20 + BAB + STR]
* The defender defends with their Combat Maneuver Defense, which is [10 + BAB + STR + DEX]

If it was just eliminating the touch attack, that would have been fine
If it was just turning the defender's role from a Strength check to a passive 10 + STR score, that would also have been fine
If it was just turning the defender's role to a passive score, and adding BAB to both sides of the equation, that would probably have also been fine (it would wash-out in most cases)

but then they also added the defender's Dex to it, which makes pulling off maneuvers significantly harder.

and just as an extra gently caress YOU, they changed it so that instead of a flat +4 bonus for anyone that has more than two legs, Pathfinder instead has a +2 bonus for every leg past the second.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

Or, in the case of the other 1600s Germany But With Hell Demons setting, friendly elves, dwarfs, and a shitload of guns.

And really fancy hats.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



NS 3: The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist



Oddly enough, this is the only Northlands adventure with unrelated cover artwork; there is someone chained to a rock in this adventure, but not a bearsarker. It's also for levels 7th to 9th.

After two adventures in Ulnataland, the Northlands Saga goes back to the heartland...literally, as the PCs are invited to winter at the hall of Jarl Anud Cursespear in Storstrøm Vale. The man is one of the most powerful men in the region, who although loyal, brave, and generous has also used various shady dealings to get more political power for himself. The adventure makes several suggestions as to why the PCs would be staying here (winter travel is hard and dangerous, owe a debt, family relative, etc) as well as a list of pre-adventure winter pastimes and random encounters while out hunting.

One of the encounters is notable. Whereas most are varieties of dire animals, owlbears, and Northlands aurochs, one involves five bandits ambushing the party. They use the Highwayman stat blocks from the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide and are incredibly well-equipped, armed with magic spiked chains and potions of invisibility even though they have "fallen on hard times."

What I Changed: As Inga (now Jarl of Halfstead) was married to Anud's son, she was visiting the hall to meet her husband's relatives and requested the PC's presence. This also helped provide another strong hook for the PCs finding a way to undo the curse, as now she is part of Jarl Anud’s family and thus affected as well. My PCs also noticed that the bandits were extremely well-armed for common ruffians and became very inquisitive as to where they came from and who hired them. On the spot I made it so that Granny Ǽstrid, a senior of the Gat clan, was behind their employment. Jarl Anud was making several favorable trade deals with the Hrolfs, and the Gats did not like this one bit. This also helped highlight the legendary feud between the two families, which plays a major role in NS5: Raven Banners Over Gatland.

The actual adventure begins as an uninvited guest bursts open the doors of the hall with a deathly chill as Sven Oakenfist makes his presence known. A massive 8 foot tall, clearly undead Viking strides up to Jarl Anud. He accuses the man of being an honorless cur, followed up by a threat that on the Feast of Freyja he will return to the village and slay everyone there. And then he leaves just as suddenly by a gust of wind. Everyone in the hall is spooked out of their wits, and Jarl Anud is the first to speak. He explains of how Sven Oakenfist was the leader of a vicious band of bloodthirsty raiders who sought to attack while the men of the village were away a-viking, and how he as a boy slain their leader by striking at Sven with a spear. The raider, who has the blood of Odin coursing through his veins, laid a dire curse to gift Anud with wealth and power for fifty years, only for it all to be taken away in due time.

Anud also mentions that the accusations of dishonorability aren't as bad as any other jarl, and that Sven is the real honorless one for going after women and children. After a motivational speech of how it would be terrible to send his sons to die for him and how he's now an old man, if there are any heroes among the hall willing to put a stop to Sven Oakenfist's dire premonition.

Naturally, the adventure assumes that the PCs will rise to the challenge.

What I Changed: I also had it so that the community's Thing was taking place, and the longhouse had Anud resolving various disputes between local families. When Sven Oakenfist burst in, he taunted Jarl Anud into attacking him in a blind rage, which during the Thing is a major faux pas (violence is only acceptable via holmgang). As a powerful spirit his blows were useless. The party skald saved the Jarl's honor by complimenting his supposed canniness:

quote:

Good thinking my Jarl, checking to see if he held such a trick. How can one duel something that is not of flesh and blood. I'll get right on crafting you a weapon that can deal damage to your challenger! Had you not done that, a most dishonorable trick would have been pulled on you!

I also changed the backstory so that Jarl Anud, as a twelve-year-old boy, snuck up to Oakenfist's camp while he was asleep. Taking a spear and coating it with animal dung, he snuck into the raider's quarters and stabbed him in the heart before making a run for it. He could not win in a straight fight, but Anud wanted vengeance, and vengeance he got when Sven died an ignoble death in the wilds as his feet finally felled him. I also deleted the whole "well I'm not really that honorless" part of the speech and made it so that Anud had a fear that sending members of his own hall on the quest would fold into the curse (if they die on the journey, then Sven is reaping what he sown). This was to make his part seem more justified and throw off cases of suspicion (“maybe the crooked jarl really the one in the wrong?”), as Anud’s “dishonorable past” doesn’t come into play here or in later adventures.

The Daughters of Skuld



Fun fact: this was the original 2011 map of the Northlands.

Given that a death curse by a divinely-descended being is super-strong, it will take equally-divine power to undo. Via the rolling of one of many Knowledge checks and/or the hiring of sages, the PCs can learn that the only people capable of this are the Daughters of Skuld, half-divine women living within the Northlands along with their locations. The majority of this adventure involves visiting them and overcoming their trials and can be visited in any order. The PCs can even visit one , two, or none at all and head directly to Oakenfist's barrow. This is inadvisable as the specific undead monster he is depends on the amount of Daughters which have been visited (from a mighty CR 17 winterwight to a meager CR 6 specter). Each Daughter has a theme: they are all quite mad, and their obsession is acting out a certain folkloric archetype which the PCs must cater to in order to secure their cooperation. The PCs will also need a ship to visit them (Yrsa and Old Meg are on islands) which can be rented out.

The first Daughter listed is Yrsa the Fair, who is chained to a rock on an island between the straits of Hrolfland and Estenfird. She is quite literally a Damsel in Distress, and takes note of any PC who acts chivalrous in trying to come to her aid. But just like in the storybooks, a simple breaking of chains won't do as a shadowy dragon known as the Shrieker of the Dark attacks the island! Once the beast is slain Yrsa allows herself to be freed. She rewards each party member with a magic item personalized to their role if they were courteous, along with a tale of a nimble bird who tricks a serpent into biting itself as a hint to use the very spear which slain Sven Oakenfist. Personally this is a bit counter-intuitive (it sounds like one needs to trick Sven into attacking himself) so I'd suggest rewording the tale if the PCs don't pick up the meaning with a Knowledge check.

Also Yrsa will visit one PC who stood out as courageous alone at night. She basically offers to have sex with that character as a reward, and if the PC accepts they gain a divine boon where up to 3 times they can reroll a single d20 and take the better result. But if they turn down her advances for any reason, she curses them with the opposite: the GM can force a reroll and take the worse result up to 3 times.

What I Changed: Aside from the coercive nature of "have sex with me or I'll curse you" the whole reward-sex trope is kind of creepy to do especially when it's from an NPC who's a complete stranger. I merely had her kiss the forehead of the troll-blooded PC as a sign of affection and thus give the boon that way.



The next Daughter is Mother Hengrid, a woman whose cottage is located within the wild forests of Seagestreland. When the PCs set foot on shore they are attacked by Mongat raiders, fantasy counterpart Mongols from the Sea of Grass. The Mongat all ride on horseback, but their superior mobility is hampered by the many trees preventing charge attacks. PCs lassoed or captured will be taken back to their camp to be put with other prisoners there. The camp is also its own encounter.

What I Changed: I replaced this encounter with a Northlander trader negotiating with some Seagestrelanders versed in rune magic. The trader was one of the followers of Hengrid Thorsdottir, an NPC who plays a major role in the next adventure, Blood on the Snow. A group of Jomsviking raiders hunting for loot and slaves ambushed the negotiations, causing things to fall into a free-for-all. The PCs who stumbled upon this learned the extent of what was going on, and the Jomsvikings were none too friendly so it wasn't hard to take sides. After saving the trader and Seagestrelanders, they met Thorsdottir in the village of Dnipirstead, where they learned she was gathering hired help to fight the Beast Cult up in Estenfird. Due to being on a current adventure, they could not join her at the moment.

After several days of forest exploration, the PCs stumble onto Mother Hengrid's Cottage. It has no true location and often moves of its own accord to make it easier to find for those seeking it. Mother Hengrid acts very much like a doting parent: she believes that the PCs are children playing at adventurers and alternates between supplying them with good food and cleaning their equipment, while also ordering them to clean themselves up in a giant hot bath and do various chores. As a half-divine woman she is incredibly powerful, and attempts to refuse her cause "naughty" PCs to teleport into her basement for a time out. A basement which can spawn giant insects as random encounters (but are not too tough CR wise).

Mother Hengrid will not discuss the PCs' quest or Sven Oakenfist's curse, saying that now's not the time and instead asks them to help out with three chores. The first chore involves fetching firewood...guarded by an angry lumberjack troll; filling a cauldron with water from the river...where 10 giant frogs wait to attack the party; and feeding the dogs out back...who happen to be yeth hounds who only fight momentarily before running off with their morsels. PCs who point out the danger of the tasks meet the excuse that they are things "big boys and girls can handle easily." She is kind enough to use healing magic on the party if they get injured, though.

Only once the chores are done does Mother Hengrid explain a way to undo the curse: find the hand that slain Sven Oakenfist, and have it slay the wight. Before sending them off, she gives each PC a stew-stuffed gourd which is able to heal the drinker as well as restoring spell slots and days-per-use abilities. However it spoils in a month, meaning you should encourage the players to use it during the course of the adventure as the next one takes place several months afterwards.

Continued in Next Post

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 08:46 on Apr 4, 2018

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist, Final Part



The final Daughter is Old Meg, who lives in a cavern on the southern end of the Isle of Jomsburg. She is not a member of the Jomsvikings and has no relationship with them, but the location of her home and the island's dire reputation make it so that she never has to deal with unwanted visitors. We get a brief description of the island: tall cliff walls on all sides and a fortress-city up above. Plenty of siege engines, plus sea caves at the water level are used to store their ships for a highly defensible location. As for Old Meg's Cavern, it is up a 300 foot high cliff face above a rocky reef which requires Profession (Sailor) and Climb checks to make it up safely.

The cave has no defenses aside from a pack of ice drakes who attack anyone who does not drop an offering of a marked token (there's a bunch of them in an alcove) in the pool at the entrance. The flash-frozen corpse hurriedly dunking his hand into the pool, token in hand, provides a hint of what to do. Further inside, the party comes face to face with a frozen menagerie of legendary heroes of the Northlands thought dead or missing. The adventure gives a detailed write-up of their names, heroic deeds, and magical items encased within them.

In my game, this caused the party skald to hate Old Meg with a passion.

Old Meg huddles in a small chamber with a fire, and she very much acts like the Creepy Old Woman Who May Be a Witch archetype. She offers to help the party, but only if they abide by the laws of her house: speak not of what occurs here beyond that they ventured into her cave and later came out, nor tell others of the boon they sought and gained from her. Only after swearing an oath will she present her challenge.



The PCs must beat Old Meg in a game of Hnefatafl, a real-world ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy board game. However, the pieces used are all but one Player Character shrunken down to fit on the board (excess tokens are allied bugbears), and the opposing side are bugbears. The PC tokens are moved about by a character who elected to be the player (who I’ll refer to as the chessmaster), and Old Meg controls the bugbears at the north, south, east, and west ends. There are several rules to how the game is played, but I'll boil it down to the essentials:

1.) The PCs win if the central "King" piece escapes to one of the four corners of the board, which takes on the visage of Jarl Anud. Old Meg must kill the PC tokens to win the game.
2.) The minigame uses the PCs' real abilities and attacks, but their movement is controlled by the chessmaster who moves them around like tokens on the board.
3.) In lieu of initiative the chessmaster goes first, moving one token. Old Meg does the same with her own pieces. After both sides go, the chessmaster may move the king.
4.) Pieces must be adjacent to each other to attack, even with spells and ranged abilities, and attacks of opportunity are not triggered for movement. The king cannot be attacked.
5.) When a token attacks an opposing piece, the attacked can make a single attack to counter.
6.) Old Meg interrupts the game six times. Three to ask a riddle, and three times to cheat. If the chessmaster guesses correctly, he gets to take two turns. Guess wrong, and Old Meg takes an extra turn. Old Meg cheats by casually bumping the table, sending 1d4 pieces to move up to 3 squares away of her choice.

Now bugbears are quite easy to fight at this level of play. As the party goes first and the king cannot be destroyed, they have things in their favor. The only difficulty I can foresee is for players who have a naturally low AC/HP combination and may be easy targets for the bugbears, or whose abilities are tied up in being mobility or save-or-lose. The odds are good, although if Old Meg wins, the defeated PC tokens become permanent board pieces and the chessmaster is told to leave or join the other frozen heroes of old.

If the party win, each PC may ask one boon of her: either the taking of a magic item from one of the frozen heroes, or ask about the Death Curse (one PC can ask while the others get treasure). Meg gives a premonition which basically states that there's a chance the curse may be lifted if Jarl Anud sacrifices himself.

Remember that oath Old Meg made the PCs swear? If any of them go back on it, the entire party's teleported back to the hnefatfl board and must win to gain their freedom.

Riddles posted:

1. “A wonder on the wave, water becomes bone.” Answer: ice on a lake or sea
2. “I’m told a certain thing grows in the corner, rises and expands, and throws up a protective crust. A proud wife carries off this boneless wonder, and the daughter of a king covers that swollen thing with a cloth.” Answer: bread
3. “What lives on its own substance and dies as it devours itself?” Answer: a candle

What I Changed: I made the dire mistake of revealing the rules for this minigame during the game session rather than beforehand, making it so that a few players had to stop in-media-res to get a proper sense of things. I also discarded the riddles and 2 of the cheating features on account that the addition of new "rules" was forestalling the flow of play.

The Barrow of Sven Oakenfist


At some point the PCs must confront Sven Oakenfist, right in his barrow which is conveniently several miles away from Jarl Anud’s hall. This is not to be undertaken lightly; depending on the information they found, they may need the presence of Jarl Anud Cursespear and/or the spear he used to kill the undead wight. The power of the curse is that Sven will rise again at full strength in 1d4 rounds if defeated unless one or both conditions are met. There's a 25% chance of slaying the wight permanently if someone other than Anud uses the spear, but if Jarl Anud wields it the chance increases to 75% or 100% if he strikes a flat-footed Sven. The other 100% chance is if Anud is convinced to willingly sacrifice himself to the wight. Fortunately the spear is still in Jarl Anud’s possession and doesn’t require its own quest to find.

If Anud accompanies the PCs, he takes a group of huscarls and several sons to accompany him, but waits outside until the PCs cleared each room but the final one. At this point he follows them inside.

What I Changed: It feels a bit cowardly to have a jarl show up with a small army only to make the PCs do the dirty work themselves. I had him accompany the party inside the dungeon on the first room. This made him seem more of a proper leader and added in the complication of ensuring his health to reach the final room.

The dungeon itself is small and linear, with several undead vikings and thralls animating to attack. In Sven’s life he was egoistic enough to be buried with his own ship, which has some secret compartments containing treasure. The quest’s villain awaits our heroes in the final room, accompanied by 10 skeletal huscarls.

quote:

"Hark, for I see you have come to seek your own wyrd, that to die at the hands of the Jarl of the Sea and his loyal huscarls. Have then, and let the battle-dew fly from our thirsty steel serpents! Commence the slaughter, my brothers, and let none escape!”

Gotta hand it to Oakenfist. He's the most eloquently-spoken bad guy so far in this Adventure Path. Once he is killed for good, his minions de-animate and the very tomb begins to crumble. PCs can take the time to grab 1d6x10 hacksilver worth of valuables per round, although the entire structure collapses in 2d12 rounds and instantly kills all within (no save). Now I do not know if by "tomb" they meant the final room or the whole complex; 2d12 is a very swingy number. Although it's possible the party may have access to Dimension Door (mine did) or teleportation effects, given the length of the dungeon low rolls may as well spell the death of the party if it’s meant to be the entire complex.

What I Changed: I did not roll for the time limit. I only would have if PCs got greedy or dilly-dallied. Also not a change per se, but one of the PCs grappled Sven Oakenfist to expose his wound to Jarl Anud to strike the killing blow. It was within the flat-footed parameter ruleswise, and it worked well.

If the PCs are successful, Jarl Anud (or his heirs if he's dead) awards the PCs magic items according to their personality: the greatest warrior gets a Frostbrand sword, the slyest PC gets a rust-covered bag of tricks, etc. Each magic item also has a small explanation of how the jarl came upon it in his earlier adventures. But there is one treasure meant for the whole party: the Tusked Whale, a fully outfitted longship complete with a crew of 50 from the jarl's household now in the PCs’ service!

Concluding Thoughts: The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist rates highly. It is an open-ended sandbox where just about every major task has some puzzle-like element to solve or quirky plot element in the case of Mother Hengrid. The battle with Sven Oakenfist is a definite highlight, as it forces the PCs to hold their ground for proper conditions rather than batting the enemies' health to 0.

Next time we wage war on the Beast Cult of Estenfird in NS4: Blood on the Snow!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 08:47 on Apr 4, 2018

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








gradenko_2000 posted:

In 3e, you Trip a dude with a successful touch attack, and then an opposed Strength check [d20 + STR].

In Pathfinder:
* They eliminated the touch attack, which is fine, since it was a mostly extraneous step anyway
* The attacker rolls their Combat Maneuver Bonus, which is [d20 + BAB + STR]
* The defender defends with their Combat Maneuver Defense, which is [10 + BAB + STR + DEX]

If it was just eliminating the touch attack, that would have been fine
If it was just turning the defender's role from a Strength check to a passive 10 + STR score, that would also have been fine
If it was just turning the defender's role to a passive score, and adding BAB to both sides of the equation, that would probably have also been fine (it would wash-out in most cases)

but then they also added the defender's Dex to it, which makes pulling off maneuvers significantly harder.

and just as an extra gently caress YOU, they changed it so that instead of a flat +4 bonus for anyone that has more than two legs, Pathfinder instead has a +2 bonus for every leg past the second.
Sounds like it would've been less prohibitive if both your CMB and CMD just had +STR or +Dex. Unfortunately that doesn't get around the original issue (inherited from 3E) that all those inputs had to scale higher than for PCs just to keep up with attack bonuses...because 3E's monster design philosophy really wanted you to build monsters "organically" instead of having decoupled stats in the manner of MM3-on-a-business card. One of these days I need to come up with an equivalent for d20 games, just because enough people in my gaming circles are far too anchored to it to try much else without massive prodding.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





gradenko_2000 posted:

and just as an extra gently caress YOU, they changed it so that instead of a flat +4 bonus for anyone that has more than two legs, Pathfinder instead has a +2 bonus for every leg past the second.
Wait so does that mean that in Pathfinder it's completely impossible for a mythical hero to flip over a centipede

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





NGDBSS posted:

Sounds like it would've been less prohibitive if both your CMB and CMD just had +STR or +Dex. Unfortunately that doesn't get around the original issue (inherited from 3E) that all those inputs had to scale higher than for PCs just to keep up with attack bonuses...because 3E's monster design philosophy really wanted you to build monsters "organically" instead of having decoupled stats in the manner of MM3-on-a-business card. One of these days I need to come up with an equivalent for d20 games, just because enough people in my gaming circles are far too anchored to it to try much else without massive prodding.
Speaking as a three-legged organism, I appreciate them not requiring bilateral symmetry in mobility limbs.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




megane posted:

Wait so does that mean that in Pathfinder it's completely impossible for a mythical hero to flip over a centipede

It depends. If they're treated as just having a ton of legs then you can still trip them on a natural 20, since it's an attack roll and natural 20s always succeed on those. On the other hand, if they're treated as being in the nebulous "can't be tripped" category then you're SOL. Either way is stupid.

Der Waffle Mous
Nov 27, 2009

In the grim future, there is only commerce.


megane posted:

Wait so does that mean that in Pathfinder it's completely impossible for a mythical hero to flip over a centipede

I mean neither can I, they're gross and creepy.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

NGDBSS posted:

One of these days I need to come up with an equivalent for d20 games, just because enough people in my gaming circles are far too anchored to it to try much else without massive prodding.

This is something I've been working on:



It still needs a bit of work to get the different save configurations set the way I like, but it should be okay.

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Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



megane posted:

Wait so does that mean that in Pathfinder it's completely impossible for a mythical hero to flip over a centipede

On the other hand, as they have no legs at all it should be really easy to trip an ooze or slime

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