Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fires Over Brinestump: The Final Confrontation

Paz's new catchphrase
For a behind the scenes look at the setup of this adventure, check out Behind the Screen: The Final Confrontation.

After their first real fight as a group, the party finds their confidence shaken, though working through their personal issues restored some of their resolve. The party returns to Sandpoint for healing, Walthus Proudstump in tow.

As thanks for his help, Paz gives Walthus a gem from their earnings. Antax, having seen Walthus' love and appreciation for his serpentine form, asks Locke (Keiko) to collect a vial of his blood. Antax gives the vial to Walthus with great reverence. Walthus couldn't be more honored.

Home Again, Home Again

The party visited Koya for healing and advice. Koya revealed that the Soggy River Monster was actually a Wrath Sinspawn, a remnant of the Runelords rule thousands of years ago. Sheriff Balor pays out 1000gp to the party for goblin ears and Gutwad's head, as well as a bonus of 300gp for killing the Soggy River Monster. He's shocked at seeing such a creature up close. During the conversation with the party, Balor accidentally calls Antax a lizardfolk. Antax has heard this kind of insult before, but it conflicted with his growing respect for the sheriff. Antax verbally explodes, his anger and fear seeping into the rest of the party. Horrified, Balor sincerely apologizes; he'd never seen any reptilian humanoids that weren't lizardfolk.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fires Over Brinestump, They Be Goblins

The original map of the Licktoad Village, suspended on 10' stilts.
My version of the Licktoad Village, 10' stilts left to the imagination.
For a behind the scenes look at the maps and encounters from this adventure, check out Behind the Screen: They Be Goblins.

The players accept Walthus' help and the group paddles through the swamp toward the goblin village. Adrezi smells goblins in the distance so the group disembarks, only to find the ship once occupied by the goblin Vorka (see We Be Goblins, Parts 1 & 2). The ship is empty, but Locke notices that the name of the ship is the "Kaijitsu Star". Shocked by seeing her last name on the ship, Locke and Paz take the nameplate off the ship to show Ameiko.

The group also locates the lair of the S.R.M. (see The Beasts of the Bog), filled with humanoid bones and several personal items, including a locket engraved with the name "Claire" (see the Rumors and In-Character Knowledge sample for the rumor about Harold Olver's sister).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fires over Brinestump, The Beasts of the Bog

A = Old Fish Trail; E = Soggy River Bridges; G = Walthus Proudstump's Cottage

After the party decides to venture into the Brinestump Swamp to pursue the psychotic and firework-armed Licktoad goblins, they spend some time buying supplies and investigating their rumors, including interviewing fisherman Thomas Bain about his recent encounter with the cryptid Soggy River Monster (see Rumors and In Character Knowledge in last week's Behind the Screen).

Brinestump's infamous Soggy River Monster
Into the Swamp

  • Even the party's scout, Rillka, hasn't spent much time in the Brinestump. Though she knows that the Licktoad tribe lives there, she doesn't know the location of their settlement.
    • Rillka suggests they visit her "friend" Walthus Proudstump (see Rumors link above).
  • The party eases their way through the swamp along the Old Fish Trail, their imaginations fueled by Thomas' horrifying and alcohol-addled description of the Soggy River Monster.
  • The party's paranoia causes them to watch every step of their journey to Proudstump's.
    • Noises in the distance, the waxing and waning din of swamp sounds, and bizarre scents on the wind raise their anxiety.
    • They carefully cross two bridges on the way to Walthus', but the third and final bridge is washed out.
  • Rillka locates a tree fallen across the river to use as a ford.
    • Antax and Adrezi swim across just upriver of the log.
  • When Rillka crosses, a pair of pasty white, three-fingered hands reach out of the water and pull her under.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fires Over Brinestump, The Rusty Dragon Inn

For a behind the scenes look at the maps, miniatures and other props used in this adventure, check out Behind the Screen: The Rusty Dragon Inn.

At the time of the first game most of the characters are acquaintances, having grown up in Sandpoint with mutual friends (see What Came Before for details). Antax is the only PC new to town. As the opening scene unfolds:

  • Antax has been working for Ameiko at the Rusty Dragon for a few months. Though his food is excellent, his presence disturbs the more vocal regulars.
  • Paz has just returned from a 3 month trade trip with friend and caravan owner, Sandru Vhiski.
  • Rillka and her mentor Shelalu have returned to town for supplies and Rillka is enjoying a drink at the bar while catching up with Ameiko.
  • Keiko (aka: Locke), has been in Sandpoint for only one socially-awkward night. She sits in the dining area, journaling and examining her feelings about her sister, her recently deceased father, and her place, if any, in Sandpoint.
R -> L: Harold Olver, Liam and brothers (in red), Antax, Keiko (Locke), Paz and Adrezi, Rillka

Conflict at The Rusty Dragon

    Apprentice blacksmith Harold Olver, his friend Liam, and Liam's younger brothers are eating and drinking in the Rusty Dragon's dining room when Antax slithers by to serve Locke.
    Harold Olver wrinkles his nose. "Do you smell something? Smells like dead fish."
    Liam Cooper and his two younger brothers laugh into their ale.
    "Yeah. What is that?" Liam asks. "Is it this nasty soup?"
    Harold sniffs the air, then his gaze falls on Antax. "No, it ain't the soup. Hear that, Anthrax? Liam thinks your soup's nasty."
    "I am ssorry," Antax says. "Would you like ssomething elsse?"
    "Want nothing from you, snakehead," Harold snaps.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jade Regent, What Came Before

Rillka Troutwood
Original image Neverwinter Nights
It's rare for a halfling family to settle in one place for long, much less be accepted in the role of noble. Twenty five years ago: The human nobelman Lonjiku Kaijitsu, thought lost at sea during the most violent hurricane in decades, was found adrift in the Varisian Gulf by the eldest sons of the Troutwood clan. The Troutwoods were a small family, eking out a living fishing the deep and dangerous waters of the gulf. Weeks of dehydration and starvation had taken its toll on Lonjiku, but the gentle healing skills of the matriarch, Lily Troutwood, nursed the nobel back to health. Lonjiku returned to Sandpoint several months later to rebuild his shattered family. As thanks for saving his life, Lonjiku gave the Troutwoods a home to live in and two fully stocked ships. The Troutwoods have since grown into one of the most respected traders and fisherlings in Sandpoint. Though not every member of the family is happy about it.

Two years agoRillka Troutwood inexplicably left her family's fortune behind to live and train with her childhood hero, the elven ranger, Shelalu Andosana. 

Click for original image
Three months ago: Antax, a deformed ophidian, was brutally beaten and left for dead in the swamps near Sandpoint. He would have died if he hadn't been found by Ameiko Kaijitsu, daughter of Lonjiku and owner/proprietor of Sandpoint's Rusty Dragon Inn (as well as the town's renowned Sandpoint Glassworks). For reasons yet to be uncovered, Ameiko took in the wounded ophidian and nursed him back to health. Antax recovered, at least physically, and has repaid Ameiko's unexpected kindness with odd-jobs around the Dragon. At first reluctant for the help, Ameiko quickly discovered Antax to be invaluable. His lithe body has allowed him access to areas desperate for repair, and his delicate sense of smell gives him a mastery of flavors that the Dragon's kitchen has never seen. Unfortunately, the ophidian's innate psionic abilities, fed by a life of fear and abuse, manifest themselves as a palpable unease in those around him.

Pasara "Paz" Elezandru
Original image Wizards of the Coast
Meanwhile: The charismatic Pasara "Paz" Elezandru signed on for a three-month trade caravan with his dear friend Sandru Vhiski. Paz was born with an unquenchable curiosity and a deep connection to the otherworldly. Raised in Sandpoint and guided by the teachings of Koya Mvashti, Paz has cultivated a bond with families of celestial wolves and eagles from the wilderness plane of Nirvana. Paz's near-constant companion, though, is the curious and insightful serpentine spirit known as Adrezi. Paz and Adrezi fight like an old married couple, but it's unusual to see them apart for long. Sandru took Paz under his wing not long after his brother Alder died, and though uncomfortable around Adrezi, Sandru reluctantly accepts the giant snake's insight and welcomes Paz's planar allies on his longer trade missions.

Two months ago: Ameiko's father suffered a debilitating stroke after hearing of the death of his only living son, Ameiko's half-brother, Tsuto. Now the eldest of her line, Ameiko sent word to her younger sister in Magnimar, hoping she would return home and help rebuild their shattered family.

Keiko "Locke" Kaijitsu
Yesterday: Keiko Kaijitsu returns to Sandpoint a changed woman. Keiko, now going by the Varisian name Locke, spent years studying the sciences in and around Magnimar. Locke is not the smiling, introspective, bookish little girl Ameiko chose to remember. Living in a cosmopolitan and often violent city, along with years of medical and biological experimentation, has left Locke changed, physically and mentally. Needless to say, the joyful reunion Ameiko dreamed of faded after the first awkward hug.

Today: The Jade Regent begins.

Images in this blog have been collected from a variety of sources over decades, including screen-captures from video games such as Neverwinter Nights, support products for 3rd and 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons, open-source sites, artistic friends, and who knows where else. Some have been modified by players using Photoshop and other programs. No copyright challenge is meant by the posting of any images in this blog and links to original source material will be provided whenever possible.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Prologue: We Be Goblins, Part II

The Final Battle

After defeating Vorka's "guard horse", Stomp, Reeta smells dogs on the ship.
  • Full of righteous rage (and foolishness), Poog charges up the gangplank to find two guard dogs on chains.
    • The closest dog sinks its teeth into Poog while Poog catches the dog on fire.
      • This will be the extent of Poog's righteous rage.
  • Reeta shoots at the second dog with her shiny new crossbow and rolls a Natural 20, followed by another Nat 20 crit confirmation! Victor draws two cards from the Critical Hit deck. A Punctured Lung, huge damage from her Dog-Sniff-Hate feat, and some other brutality from the crit deck later, the second dog is down.
  • Cuddles, Vorka's monstrous pet hound, charges from below decks and tears a hole in Poog.
  • Vorka and her animal companion, the giant frog Lord Longtung (LLT) are quick to follow.
    • Vorka lights up Poog with Produce Flame.
    • Poog begins to doubt Zarongel's love for him
  • Chuffy closes with Vorka and lands a nasty blow.
    • Vorka cackles about how Chuffy's pustulant face will add just the right spice to her dish of roasted goblin!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prologue: We Be Goblins, Part I

As I mentioned in a recent Behind the Screen, the reasons I chose to run the We Be Goblins prologue for Jade Regent were:
  1. My players are relatively new to Pathfinder (some are new to RPGs in general)
  2. I'm using several optional rules (Wounds and Vitality, Armor as DR, etc)
  3. Aside from the rules, I wanted to give the players the opportunity to roleplay the group of silly, extreme goblins without worrying about playing their own characters 'right'.
The game worked out better than I could possibly have imagined. Absolutely hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard at a game in years. Here are a few highlights.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Little Sister's Lament

From the Journal of Locke Kaijitsu
by Lauren Perkins

Don’t call me Keiko. That name does not suit me.  Of all the things that I am, I am least a ‘respectful child’. I chalk my naming up to a running joke my parents must have had; their mockery of their youngest daughter her immortalized ball & chain.  But as I fed my intellect, the more I found their opinions of me fading into irrelevancy. If only I could find the words to make them understand my work, my talents, and my place in this world, releasing the potential inherent in all living tissues! The very secrets of life itself lay ahead of me now. They are mine for the chase, and I am a woman possessed by…but I digress, as words do what they’ve always done and betray me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

New & Updated Campaign Traits

Several ideas for Campaign Traits have come up during character generation for Jade Regent. In addition, a few established traits will have altered effects.

New Traits

Hero Worship (Sandru): You model your fighting style after the charismatic caravan leader. +2 trait bonus to Acrobatics checks and Acrobatics is always a class skill for you. You also gain a +1 trait bonus to attacks against foes that threaten Sandru.

Hero Worship (Koya): Koya's healing skill, alchemical knowledge, theology or spellcasting ability impressed you as a child and you go to her for advise whenever possible. You gain a +2 trait bonus to Heal or any one Knowledge check of your choice. That skill becomes a class skill for you. You also gain a +1 trait bonus to attacks against foes that threaten Koya.

Rescued (Sandru): Sandru pulled you from the clutches of a life of Scarzni crime. +2 trait bonus to Sense Motive checks and Sense Motive is always a class skill for you. You also gain a +1 trait bonus to attacks against foes that threaten Sandru.

Rescued (Ameiko): Ameiko found you wounded or homeless, helped you get back on your feet and allowed you to stay at the Rusty Dragon for a discounted rate. You return her kindness by cooking and making repairs at the inn. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Profession (cook) and Craft (carpentry) checks. When acting as wainwright, the caravan heals an additional 2 hit points. When acting as cook, you reduce the caravan's consumption score by 3 instead of 2.

Altered Traits

Caravan Guard: In addition to the listed effects, the bonuses gained when you act as guard, guide, or scout for Sandru's caravan increase by 1

Friend of the Family: The bonus to Perception checks is +2

Hero Worship (Shalelu): The bonus to AC against AoO is +2

Rescued (Koya and Shalelu): The bonus to healing gained from being rescued by Koya is +1 WP or +2 VP when using either the Heal skill or magical healing. Heal is also considered a class skill for you. The bonus to Acrobatics checks is +2 when rescued by Shalelu.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wounds and Vitality (ie: Vigor)

The Wounds and Vitality (or Vigor) system was introduced in d20 Modern and d20 Star Wars many years ago to add verisimilitude to D&D's normal hit point system. Rules for Pathfinder's W/V system were reintroduced in Ultimate Combat.

Why use the W/V system? The problem with Hit Points is that they are an abstract interpretation of something critical to tabletop RPGs. When a 1st level rogue gets hit for 15 hp, they are dying, but when a 15th level rogue takes the same damage they don't bat an eye. What does that mean? Did they actually get hit or did they slide out of the way at the last second? Maybe they rolled with the punch?

Wounds and Vitality attempts to answer those questions. The system below is house-ruled to include a version of second wind which allows players a very limited form of self-healing. I've changed the wounded threshold to bloodied threshold, introducing the bloodied condition which can be affected like other conditions and may trigger certain effects (such as granting attack bonuses or targeting preferences to blood-thirsty creatures like vampires and sharks). Also included are rules for the Healing skill which were not included in the original.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jade Regent Character Generation

You will need to read through the Jade Regent Player's Guide before creating your character. I've provided print copies for each player, but you can also download the Free Jade Regent Player's Guide PDF from Paizo.


1st, any class (see Player's Guide for help). The alt builds of samurai (ronin only) and ninja will be allowed, but talk to me about your background. Psionic classes from Dreamscarred Press' Psionics Unleashed and its supplement will also be allowed.

Ability scores

16, 15, 14, 12, 10, 8

You may trade 1-for-1 with other scores, but no score may start above 18 (not counting your racial bonus).