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1  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Help me whip up some Special Orc NPCs? on: June 11, 2014, 01:27:47 PM
The Rager should be the one with the sword -- nothing says cunning less than something that basically compells you to charge unthinkingly head long into battle.

I was thinking Big Freaking Axe (to give some of the higher DR types a bit of a scare), but Massive Sword with takedown sounds equally fun.

The captain should have the Cheap Shot trick as suggested by the cunning talent.

Ghost feats for the stalker. Maybe even consider pinching some stuff from the mist dancer

Caster: Give them Skrillex as an attack

Ooooh, that's nasty/fun, I like it.  I think I'll reskin it as some kind of blood demon totem, and save the originally planned summoning of an actual big bad demon for the Chief Shaman they'll eventually encounter.
2  Products / Fantasy Craft / Help me whip up some Special Orc NPCs? on: June 11, 2014, 11:19:08 AM
Hey folks -- file this under "busy GM needs help" but I wanted to ask if the forum would be up for helping me stat out some interesting Boss/Miniboss type Special Orc NPCs before running game this evening for a large group (8 PCs, 1 Spriggan personal lt, 1 tiger animal companion)

I've had the time to stat out one of these (the cunning captain) but I'm open to suggestions on tweaking it, the others I haven't got more than concept notes.

Any help or suggestions welcome

Cunning Captain (orc chief/captain type)

This is a pretty lazy attempt, feel free to make wildly altering suggestions.

War Leader of the Blood Rune Clan (Medium Folk Walker — 74 XP): Str 17, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ M (1ื1, Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init V; Atk IV; Def IV; Resilience IV; Health IV; Comp III; Skills: Intimidate VIII, Resolve IV, Tactics VIII; Qualities: always ready, banned action (Calm, Influence), class ability (Captain: battle planning I (crush them!, press on!), take heart), fearless I, feat (Battlefield Trickery, Coordinated Attack, Coordinated Move), frenzy II, grueling combatant, light-sensitive, menacing threat.
Attacks/Weapons: Blade of the Berzerker (1d10 lethal 20 AP 2 S/1h Hard 2 10D 4 lbs. Blade of the Berzerker TL4 (+1 Damage, Rage Basics: You gain a +2 morale bonus with Intimidate checks. Also, you gain a stance. Berserk Stance (Stance): Your Strength and Constitution scores rise by 3 each. You may not make skill checks while in this stance (but you may still oppose them as normal). When you leave this stance you become fatigued.))
Mounts and Vehicles: War Pig (Spd 40 ft. ground)
Gear: Moderate scalemail with light fittings (DR 5; Resist Edged 3; DP –2; ACP –2; Spd –5 ft.; Disguise obvious), standard
Treasure: 1A, 2C, 1M


Hateful Rager (straight-forward alpha barbarian rage & intimidation type)
Less a commander than a champion. Would be cool if they had some kind of memorable/cool combat schtick beyond simply 'Rage and pound', but that's a totally valid fallback plan.

Stalking Slayer (sneaky orc assassin/backstabber type)

Smarter, sneakier, and more cunning than the average orc. Tends to keep to the shadows and wait for chances to strike while the PCs engage the pack of standard orc cannon fodder. Sneak attacks, cheap shots

Blood Disciple (Summoner/Blood Magic Shaman/Witch Doctor type)
The one they'll encounter tonight is an assistant to the Chief Shaman and has been practicing torturing a captive celestial to harvest blood and tears in order to create demon-pacted magical weapons.

- Bonus points if someone can come up with a good and easy conversion for this Pathfinder spell into an ability for this NPC.
Quote
BLOOD BLAZE
School transmutation [fire]; Level alchemist 2, antipaladin 1, cleric 2, magus 2, sorcerer/wizard 2, witch 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range touch
Target creature touched
Duration 1 round/level (D)
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)
The target gains a 5-foot-radius aura that causes the blood of creatures in that area to ignite upon contact with air. Any creature (including the spell's target) within the aura that takes at least 5 points of piercing, slashing, or bleed damage from a single attack automatically creates a spray of burning blood. The spray strikes a creature in a randomly determined square adjacent to the injured creature. The spray deals 1d6 points of fire damage to any creature in that square, and 1 point of splash damage to all creatures within 5 feet of the spray's target, including the target of this spell. A creature can only create one spray of burning blood per round. Creatures that do not have blood (including oozes and most constructs and undead) do not create blood sprays when attacked.

Big thanks to anyone who can help in the next few hours.
3  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: The Brute on: June 11, 2014, 06:46:29 AM
Let's see:
Lvl 9 Soldier
Strength score 18+2 (lvl. 4 and Cool
Oger +2 Str

Feats needed:
Elf blooded/Wolf Nation +2 Str
Rage B/M/S +7 Str
Hurl B/M 2x Str mod dmg. 1 handed Weapons gain return

Sword B/M Keen +10
Bulls Eye +8 Dmg
Blessed: Path of Death I +2 Dmg

Magic superiorKatana made of Hycosian Steel with Keen and Hurl (Keen 12)
Essence: Damage substitution: Divine or Sonic
Charm: Brawn II +5 Str

You now have a strength of 36
Your thrown katana does 26 (str)+8(bullseye)+2(path of death)+2 to 11(1d10+1 katana)= 38 to 47 dmg
+Keen 12 (weapon)
+Keen 10 (optional from sword mastery trick)

=50 to 69 dmg for determining massive damage effects = Instant kill for most characters unless they manage a fort save with DC 25 to 35


I was just looking to stat-up this guy -- and Ares has already done the work for me.
4  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: May 06, 2014, 03:21:22 PM
The psion specialty was something I saw on these boards about 2 years ago, can't seem to find it right this moment.  I can see those comments working though.

The change to have at least 1 rank in search makes sense, I'll definitely tweak that.

The character bio definitely falls in the "nice to have" category, but for my purposes, I have a binder of pre-gen characters as a set of available swiss-army pregens that can be dropped into basically any game in case we have a new player drop in or don't have all the usual players so we can instead run a 1-shot with no prep, so my tendency is to leave that bit alone and if a player decides they want to keep playing a given pregen, they can write their own backstory.

5  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: May 02, 2014, 12:37:56 PM
Well, at the theater there is rehearsal and dress rehearsal. I guess Mr. A (and me too) expected something like the latter.

To extend the same theater metaphor -- I was treating this playtest as a basic walkthrough and blocking rehearsal specifically for scene 3 that was only partially written. Tech rehearsal and dress rehearsal are still weeks off, and the actors have mostly never met before and had no opportunity to develop the chemistry and rapport that, come opening night 2 months from now, will seem natural and flowing.
6  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: May 02, 2014, 09:16:40 AM
Heh, what I tend to do is try to do is identify the obstacles/problems/objectives for each scene and then brainstorm ways PCs may attempt to solve these problems via Brawn / Brains / Stealth / Social means (somewhat derived from something Equinox wrote up on these boards years ago).

That flow chart definitely handles the Brawn approach Smiley
7  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: May 02, 2014, 06:56:36 AM
Ok -- we simply don't share the same understanding of the meaning of the test (and expectations for maintaining interest when testing) -- to me at least, it seems relatively obvious that if you're volunteering to test something and then losing interest within the first scene because they're not catering enough to what you want vs what they are looking to test, the problem is on the player, who should not have volunteered.

I certainly don't feel bad about insufficiently catering to player interest, because that was not my objective for the test -- testing out the part that I wasn't sure how it should work was -- and as a result, I'm thinking of how to find an easy mid-ground between the open sandbox with a clump of available man-hours to spend and something more structured along the lines of something driven by action points as you suggested. So that's the positive outcome for me, it gives me something to go work on.
8  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: May 01, 2014, 08:13:52 PM
Quote
"I think the fundamental structure of your scene needs to be rethought. Having the PCs show up then be immediately shut in a box that drastically limits their agency -- and is then followed by a minigame that more or less stymies RP -- is entirely sub-optimal. "

I think here's the disconnect, and I've tried to explain it a couple ways.

The entire point of the playtest -- the only reason I was doing it here, was to do unit testing specifically on the "minigame" portion of this scene and the associated actions and player responses that occurred around it. It was never intended to be an end-to-end stress test or playthrough of the full adventure.

That's why you were specifically railroaded to the point that I was trying to test, because I wanted to get to the test I was interested in before too many of the players inevitably flaked out per the unwritten law of PBP games.

That's why I didn't give the players the chance to disrupt the opening ambush, or play through any of the previous scenes, or spend much time prompting the PCs to RP, or want to go down the path of how the Freeholders would react to your Personal Lt -- because I had a specific element that I wanted to test on some guinea pigs outside my usual campaign.

In person, run from the beginning, it would be a very different experience. The names will be changed, etc. In fact, the names (and the opening ambush) were all stolen from an old Dragon adventure.

So that's the explanation -- it should feel like you were being forced into a contrived circumstance to test something out, because that's exactly what I was doing.

I've been running FC since it came out, I suspect there's very little I would learn from running a few more rounds of combat against some orcs
but what I had no clue about was how to structure the siege "minigame" and so I decided to playtest it in the sandbox as it were.

Quote
out perform a flight speed of 85'
This is partially an oversight, as I was referring to the speed listed on the first page of this thread which still has Zuul's speed at 35 ft ground, 45 ft winged flight -- I lost track of the point where you re-specced your character after the opening curtain and forgot to update the reference.

Quote
Looking back at the lead-in to the scene you gave us, it suddenly strikes me that Zuul (and not just her player) should have a reasonable idea what this "unknown foe" actually was given a member of the party has encountered them just hours before hand. That omission is rather critical.

In the full storyline of the adventure, the first meeting of 1 member of the  party and the fae occurs 10ish days prior, does not involve the rest of the party, and includes a perilous test and other RP elements -- it's likely that the PC would be hesitant to speak much about it.
9  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 30, 2014, 06:52:30 PM
As I see it, the whole siege scenario forces the characters in a more or less reactive role. Unless outside forces act there isn't much the players can do, except scouting and a more or less classical skirmish.
Underlying this is a classic investigation adventure: Why are the Orcs acting like they do?

Having responsibility for so many civilians does curb the players enthusiasm for risky ploys. A lot of downtime checks also bind any initiative that could be found.

The reactive criticism is fair, and I think a secret passage / bolthole  is a good addition, hopefully that would encourage the players to take the risk of infiltrating the enemy camp to gather intel, take out sentries, locate the commander's tent, sabotage preparations and siege weapons, etc, while leaving the bulk of the siege preparation to the NPCs.

BTW, here's the timeline for the orcs
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AoTR5rppCdAYdHVKaHY2UDZYTmhwR2Y0RFZmZFcteUE&usp=sharing

Tarran Kratys is the name Urzog has grown up hating. Largely due to Kratys' leadership, the Blood Rune Clan was basically swept out of the valley and forced back into the mountain caves by the army. The Freehold was one of Kratys' first major victories, smashing a Blood Rune settlement in the same ruins.  Remember that character in Hitchhiker's guide with the temple to hating arthur dent? Same ballpark.

Urzog has gambled big here, taking a relatively small warband into the valley hoping to score a few quick victories to raise his status further and bring more warriors to his banner.

Here is what Urzog considers success/failure
Failure -- The Freehold holds out and the Orcs are forced to retreat and Tarran Kratys still lives.
Partial Success -- While unable to take the Freehold, Urzog's forces manage to kill Tarran Kratys (the Warband's stated goal)
Minor Success -- While unable to take and hold the Freehold, Urzog's forces kill Tarran Kratys and raze the Freehold. Burning the Freehold means there's not much left to loot, but at least the Orc bloodlust would be satisfied.
Moderate Success -- While unable to take and hold the Freehold, Urzog's forces kill Tarran Kratys and his entire family and are able to loot the Freehold
Great Success -- Urzog's orcs exterminate or enslave all the defenders and loot the Freehold.
Fantastic Success -- Using the Kratys Freehold as a base, Urzog's Warband sacks another Freehold
Epic Success -- Using the Kratys Freehold as a base (and the remaining siege weapons) , Urzog's Warband sacks another 2 Freeholds, then escapes back into the mountains
Legendary Success -- Bolstered by bands of orcs rallying to his banner, Urzog's orcs raze or enslave all the Freeholds in the Valley, besieging Regional City to the North and pillaging the valley they claim as their ancestral homeland


Urzog thinks he has a fortnight (Depending on PC actions, he actually only has 10-12 days and has already used 6) to slip into the valley, kill the patrol, build his siege engines and plunder as many of the Freeholds as he can right in the middle of harvest, and then slip away back into the mountains before human reinforcements arrive.

However, the Blood Rune Clan and Urzog more specifically is being manipulated by

Goomjaba, Orc Shaman [Shapeshifted Shao Xan, Ogre Mage]
who would like to recapture the valley under his own control, but failing that, sacking and pillaging a few Freeholds is a nice start to swell the army for greater conquests.  The Blood Rune have a particular hatred for Kratys, which makes sense since he was largely responsible for about a 15 year period of crushing and embarrassing defeats, so this target of opportunity (as opposed to one of the other Freeholds within a few days travel) was not one of his choosing -- he would have preferred to hit 2 or 3 of the other Freeholds, easier targets, rather than tempt fate and tangle with Tarran Kratys, but in for a penny, in for a pound, the crafty Shao Xan worked in the shadows to bring additional allies to Urzog's strike force

When the Orcs stumbled on the Doom Fairies, it could have gone badly -- until Goomjaba (the shapeshifted Fire Oni Mage), Shao Xan placated the dire fey and tempted them for the ‘Sport’ of raiding the Freehold and the promise to help them find their Doom Box. 

Fun Twist - Tarran Kratys actually has the Doom Box, hidden within the keep and magically shielded from scrying.

It could be used to summon (moderate strength) outsiders to fight for him, OR heroes who discover this secret may think to negotiate with the Malfeasian Doom Scourges and drive a bargain with the dread fairies to turn against the orcs at a crucial moment

Quote
Our scouting mission was shot down hard with only very little solid information gained and no incentive to do so again in the near future.

Your scout aborted the scouting mission in favor of tangling with an unknown foe that outnumbered it. Player choice kinda screwed you out of getting better intel

In retrospect, I shouldn't have had the doom faeries encounter Zuul until after more scouting opportunities.


Quote
In my opinion you should encourage the exploration aspect a bit more or alternatively flesh out some of the NPCs more and interact with the PCs, so they are more invested in their rescue.

I can't comment on the implementation of the tactical combat rules, but with all our forces concentrated in one spot and without much room to maneuver, I'd expect them to be a tad boring. Something like a secret passage from the Hold could add an option for more agency for the PCs. 

It certainly didn't help that I dropped you into scene 3 of a 6-7 scene adventure w/ very little context. While I think my reason for trying it was good (player attrition is absurd in PBP games and I wanted to see how this siege scene idea worked), it obviously didn't work well.

In my campaign when this occurs, the PCs will have had a few sessions based in the valley, and have had the chance to interact with the NPCs. I will have had time to develop personalities (right now basically limited to 2-3 words per NPC, as notes to eventually come back to).
Also, in person, the players will have a 2' x 3' fortress and minis for the freeholders
10  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 30, 2014, 03:21:59 PM
At this point, I think it's reasonable for me to conclude that I'm not going to get the kind of playtest I was looking for here.
I think I'll probably need an in-person group for what I'm looking for, and probably one that has played through the earlier scenes rather than been fast-forwarded through them.

But I want to thank you guys, you've given me a lot to think on before I try running this scene again.

My initial thought was to run it as something of a sandbox and GM the player ideas on the fly (with some forethought to what I thought the players might come up with) -- but that didn't flow very well. Any thoughts on how I can structure the Siege preparations phase so it's less overwhelming?

By design, the attacking army has a timeline of events that they're following (unless/until disrupted by player actions) and the defenders have limited resources and intel  until they take actions to learn more.  Like what happened here, it seems likely that the PCs may be quick to jump to the barricades

11  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 23, 2014, 01:19:17 PM
We've already resolved that if you were the GM, you would be doing many things differently, including using the wrong action dice.

That was Paddy asking about the dice, not me.

Quote
I'd feel a lot worse about it if I hadn't already err'd on the side of ruling that they only get a single charge attack rather than harrying you for their maximum number of Charge attacks until you got back to the castle. It would have been mean if I'd done that in addition to the critical.

I even gave you the opportunity to escape without fighting, but you insisted you wanted to fight them, and the dice fell as they did, you got a critical hit on 1 roll, they got 1 in 3. They put a hurting on you, you put one of them in the morgue.

You're playing a dragon -- and now you're whinging because the GM isn't wearing the kid gloves when you try to solo a quartet of doom fairies. They weren't trying to warn you off, they were trying to murder you, and one
got a good hit on you after you killed his kin. 

Actually, copping a beating in and of itself isn't a problem.

Straight damage is a sub-optimal choice because (a) having a situation potentially killing your players off before the final act of a convention game is a design and resource management mis-step -- people have paid money to participate for however long the slot is, not twiddle their thumbs for half a session or more while everyone else but them has fun and that has to trump every other consideration especially given you folks  from what I hear run 4-5 hr slots -- and, (b) when compared to the possibilities of critical injuries & the Table of Ouch, it's just kinda the more boring option.

Sorry about the confusion

Honestly, I threw the extra AD at the damage was because I was thinking about the damage getting high enough roll to trigger a Table of Ouch, but the threshold for that is 25 damage unless I activate the Hewn Limbs campaign feature for 2 more AD, which I ultimately didn't do.
12  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 23, 2014, 01:15:52 PM
Sorry about my rule confusion.  I agree that it's dangerous to go alone.  I also sympathise a tad with Mr A, although I think that otherwise that was handled well, in terms of keeping it brief (the trouble with recon missions is they can turn into mini-adventures for just one player...)

Right - I was hoping to wrap it up quickly since everyone back at the ranch was kind of on hold until the recon returns, and because I didn't think a 1 on 4 knock-down drag-out fight would go well for Zuul

So, moving on: doom fairies.  These seem to be flying standard NPCs with treacherous, scythes, and a fear aura.  I've a feeling we should make these things something of a priority target when we see them again.  Besides the fact that they've established they can lay the hurt, that fear aura could really do a number on our allied NPCs.  Also, it would be in character for any tactically sensible character to do so.

Those are all pretty good assumptions. I'm not saying they're all true, but those are all things I'd have assumed as well.

Well, maybe we'll find out when you get back, apparently there's some connection between the doom-fairies and my earlier encounter with the pesky little whatsits.
They are one-and-the-same.  You are immune to their Doom Aura, which may prove valuable.  You ALSO are the only one to have previous negotiations with them, and at-least know that they were looking for something they called a Demon Box -- perhaps they have a reason to believe the Freehold knows it's location?
13  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Game on: April 23, 2014, 12:10:36 PM
(What'd you take subdual damage from?  I only saw Stress)

That's 2 subdual, 3 vitality, 3 wounds
Since there's some uncertainty, go ahead and make that +4 VP, +4 Wounds, we'll track the Stress damage separately
14  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 23, 2014, 07:17:38 AM
Also, ouch.  Let's see what can be done for Zuul with cross-species medicine checks.

Spending an action die to confirm a crit then immediately throwing another at it to ramp up that damage to what could easily become potentially lethal lethal levels -- 5 more damage and Zuul'd be unconscious and then dead the next round due to falling damage -- isn't what I'd do as a GM, but eh.
We've already resolved that if you were the GM, you would be doing many things differently, including using the wrong action dice.

I'd feel a lot worse about it if I hadn't already err'd on the side of ruling that they only get a single charge attack rather than harrying you for their maximum number of Charge attacks until you got back to the castle. It would have been mean if I'd done that in addition to the critical.
I even gave you the opportunity to escape without fighting, but you insisted you wanted to fight them, and the dice fell as they did, you got a critical hit on 1 roll, they got 1 in 3. They put a hurting on you, you put one of them in the morgue.

You're playing a dragon -- and now you're whinging because the GM isn't wearing the kid gloves when you try to solo a quartet of doom fairies. They weren't trying to warn you off, they were trying to murder you, and one
got a good hit on you after you killed his kin. 

It's dangerous to go alone. Even for a dragon.
15  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: [Playtest by Post] Siege of the Freehold - Characters and discussion on: April 23, 2014, 04:51:14 AM
What sort of weapons are they using?

The Malfeasian blades seem like something between a glaive and a small scythe
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