Monday, March 25, 2013

Campaign Thoughts on Pathfinder Barrowmaze

The last session of my Pathfinder Barrowmaze campaign saw the death of one of the PC's, Boyd the barbarian.  We must have spent a good hour of game time with the players discussing whether or not they could afford a Raise Dead spell. The player debated whether to make a new character or not, but decided on seeing if they could Raise his character.  Making a new character would put him at least a level behind the others and he did not want to lose ground on all the XP he had gained on his just slain character.

The consequences of Raise Dead (according to Pathfinder rules) meant the player's character would have 2 permanent negative levels after being raised.  The player did not want to be brought back to life and play a gimped character, so the cost of 2 Restoration spells needed to be added.  This amounted to around 10,000 gold pieces.  And this entire process mechanically would take 2 weeks of game time.

So yes, having a character die sucks.  But I think I missed a role-playing opportunity of what instead boiled down to a mechanics discussion.  We never determined which temple they went to to get Boyd raised.  There was no role-play between any priest and the characters to determine the cost of the raise dead.  We just went through the mechanical motions of the rules to solve a situation without role-playing it.  This has been bothering the heck out of me.

The only comfort I have is that the whole process has cost the party nearly all their gold and they even had to sell a few magic items to make up the difference.  So, they have a motivation to adventure some more.

I haven't run a group through a true megadungeon before and I always wanted to.  Barrowmaze fits the bill, but there really hasn't been much room for role-playing with NPCs and there is no real plot at the moment.  I've been wanting to transition the group to the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, and I think now is the perfect time to do so while they are in a 2 week downtime.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Petty God Submitted

Wow, this Petty Gods community project that Greg over at Gorgonmilk has decided to take over is just getting better and better.  And now with a submission from author Michael Moorcock himself!  Awesome.

So I made my submission today, which I will share below.  I hope there isn't any similarity with any other entries in the book.  Can't wait to see if it is accepted and what the illustration will look like.  I used to draw a long time ago, but alas, my skills are pretty feeble these days.

The Ghoul Queen
Goddess of Ghouls

Symbol: A gnawled bone
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120', 90' (tunneling)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 100 (HD: 12)
Attacks: 3
Damage: Bite (2d6), 2 claws (1d10 + paralysis)
Save: C12
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: XVIII
XP: 3,600

Khorissa's natural form is that of an emaciated woman of almost skeletal countenance, greenish skin stretched tight over her bony frame and with sagging, pendulous breasts. Despite her appearance, she has supernatural strength which allows her to rend flesh with her long dirty, blood-stained fingernails and crack bones with her teeth.   She is covered with dirt, stinks of decay, and accompanied by a swarm of flies. This stench is similar to a Ghast's but is -4 to any saves to resist. The swarm of flies act to distract anyone wishing to attack the Ghoul Queen by imposing a -5 to-hit.

She may shape-change to appear as a beautiful, if pale-skinned human female with long, dark hair.  She usually takes this more pleasing form to get close to her prey before striking. In this form, she does not have her stench ability or the swarm of flies.  It takes her 1 round to change between either form.

Khorissa is usually hungry and always seeking a meal in the form of any nearby dead corpses or live prey. She does not like the taste of elves and will refuse to eat their corpses. She is worshiped by ghouls and ghasts.

Khorissa can be encountered stalking graveyards or other subterranean places where there is ample supply of dead bodies to feast on. There is a 15% chance that any PC's attacking ghouls in their warren will attract the attention of Khorissa and she will appear.

Khorissa Reaction Chart (2d6) (+4 if recently attacked/killed ghouls or ghasts)
Roll     Result
  2        Friendly: Will cast 1 Necromantic spell for the party if that will help them.

3 - 5     Indifferent: Allows PCs to leave unharmed and may answer 1 or 2 questions about the dungeon or graveyard they are in.

6 - 9     Neutral: Ignores nearby creatures.

10-11    Unfriendly: Attacks any nearby creatures unless appeased. Appeasement is usually an offering of a live victim.

  12       Hostile: Attacks any nearby creatures. Summons additional 2d6 ghouls.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Barrowmaze Pathfinder Game 7

It seems like a long time since my players and I got together to play our Pathfinder game. I believe it was January 27th was the last time we played.  February was a busy month for all of us as we each had some activity already planned.  We tried to set up a game around March 2nd, but one of the players had a stomach illness and another had taken their dog to the veterinarian to treat a virus infection.  It is a virus that isn't contagious to humans, but it can be passed on to other dogs from humans.  So my player didn't want to possibly infect my dog.  I appreciated the thoughtfulness.

So we did manage to play our 7th session of Barrowmaze using Pathfinder tonight.  At the end of last session, we froze the game in the dungeon and picked up where we left off.  The party traveled east down the corridor flanked with funerary curtains that covered the entrances to several burial crypts.  They didn't encounter any monsters, as these crypts were empty, except for a few coins and a jeweled bracelet of low worth.

Our cast of characters:

Boyd - 3rd Level Half-Elf Barbarian
Vermithrax - 3rd Level Half-Orc Cleric
Zaid Draakson - #rd Level Human Monk

The passage ended in a T-intersection heading north and south.  In the south passage there was an open 10-foot deep pit blocking the passage with continued into a chamber.  The north passage had four alcoves containing stone statues before it ended in a door.  Deciding to head north, the party investigates the statue in the first set of alcoves.  The statues appear to be of beautiful women wearing togas and bearing swords.  Boyd the barbarian notices the statue seems to be alive before it lashes out at him.  His two-handed waraxe breaks and subsequently is destroyed in the encounter.  Vermithrax's magical Undead Bane mace is also broken, but not beyond repair.  When the statue (actually a Cayatid Column) is finally destroyed, the sound attracts a rat swarm from the door at the end of the passage.  The bottom 3 feet of the door had been chewed away at some point, most likely from the rats.  The party threw flasks of oil and alchemist's fire, slowly burning the swarm.  Boyd ran up with his great-club and smashed many rats before the swarm broke up and the remain rats fled.

Investigating the room where the rat swarm came from, it contained many square burial niches, which it took Boyd and Zaid about 2 hours to search thoroughly and they found some treasure.  Vermithrax used his Mend spells to repair Boyd's greataxe and his magic mace which were damaged by the Cayatid Column.

The party then decides to head down the south passage.  They use their Rope of Climbing to descend the 10' pit blocking their path and then use it to climb up the other side.  Boyd prepares to continue when another pit opens immediately next to the one he just exited.  He jumps back, avoiding falling into another 10' deep pit lined with iron spikes and coated with a green substance.  Judging that they would not be able to cross the bottom of the spiked pit without injury or risk being poisoned, they look at their map and they believe that the chamber past the pits can maybe be accessed by going back to a section of the dungeon that looks like it might connect to it.

So the party heads back to this part of the dungeon and head up an angled hallway going northeast that ends in a door.  Boyd opens the door and a horrid stench wafts out.  Boyd gets sickened by the odor, however Zaid and Vermithrax are not affected by it.  They enter the room and find a large pile of offal, dung, cadavers, trash and other refuse inside.  They begin looking around the chamber when the pile shudders and a large creature with three tentacles, three legs and a very large mouth emerges and begins to attack.  Two of the tentacles have flattened ends that are lined with spines.  The third tentacle has several eyes set in it.  This is an Otyugh.  This was the major battle of the night that led to Boyd being killed.  Zaid and Vermithrax decide to head back to Magnimar with Boyd placed inside the Bag of Holding.  Their perception rolls weren't good enough to find the only treasure in the room (a +1 Ring of Protection).

What followed was a long discussion between the players as the best course of action.  Whether it was feasible and/or sensible to bring Boyd back to life by a Raise Dead spell and having two Restoration spells placed on him (to remove the two permanent negative-levels from Raise Dead) or roll up a new character.  Since I ruled that bringing in a new character would start at 2nd Level, the player of Boyd didn't want to have to have to spend several sessions to get to 3rd level (which is where the other two characters are at).  I'm using Pathfinder's Slow XP progression for that Old School feel.

So the players decide to get a Raise Dead spell and the two Restoration spells cast on Boyd.  This cost them around 8,000 gold pieces, which meant they practically had to sell many of the few magic items they had and almost all of their gold.  They are practically poor again.  Yippee!!!  Now they have a greater motivation to go back to Barrowmaze and replenish their wealth.  They better hope that nobody else dies, because they won't be able to afford another Raise Dead anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pathfinder Comic LotFP Cover

I haven't read comics in years, at least the dead-tree versions.  And occasionally I might read a web-comic here and there.  But today, I was browsing Paizo's website and came across the Pathfinder Comics they have for sale.  Looks like they are having fun coming up with alternative covers for the same issue, much like the collector's craze back in the '90's that really glutted the market.

But I came across this cover for their 5th issue and the first thing I thought of was "This cover wouldn't look out of place in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG product."  It's kind of erotic and disturbing at the same time.