Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

ScareFest preview 2016

September 20, 2016 Comments off
Scarefest 2015 - no filter

Scarefest 2015 – no filter

Fall is here! That means that AVLscarefest is only about a month away. Last year was a really fantastic time, and the organizers are going out of their way to apply feedback and make this year truly fantastic! From October 21-23 add set in the picturesque mountains of Montreat, NC, the old stone buildings of the campus and convention center set the mood for some spooky games of all types. Beyond the truly staggering amount of Pathfinder Society games, you’ll find thematically appropriate games of Call of Cthulhu, Dread, Ghostbusters, D&D adventurer’s league,  Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lankhmar, Cryptworld, Savage Kingdoms, Bolt Action, and many more! Get your ticket and sign up for games at the warhorn.

Last year I had an absolute blast trying games I had never tried before like Deadlands Noir, Bolt Action, and Shadowrun. I also ran a pretty creepy table of Star Wars which became the impetus to get the Star Wars bounty hunter game going. This year I’ll be running Masks of Lankhmar and two sessions of Star Wars bounty hunters. Mike will be running the Shambling Un-dead and the Arwich Grinder!

sf-dccNew this year is a token system, in which players and GMs are all provided tokens that can be used to reward awesome role-playing, helping out around the con, and can be used at the end of the con to win some awesome prizes from local vendors. This encourages both excellent games and excellent community spirit. I can’t wait to see the results!

Don’t miss out on this fantastic con in the mountains. Try a game you have never played, or bring your favorite game to run. I’ll see you there!

Scarefest Preview

October 20, 2015 Comments off

scarefest3-logo2-horizontal1This weekend in Black Mountain, Scarefest 2015 brings an awesome weekend of gaming to the campus of Montreat! Tons of RPG sessions and board-gaming from the 23rd to the 25th, and a $10 pass gets you a seat at the table for all three days. The outstandingly active Asheville Pathfinder Lodge would hold a Halloween-themed costume game event that started as one day at our Friendly Local Gaming Store the Wyvern’s Tale, in subsequent years grew in to a weekend of gaming, and this year has expanded to it’s own location.

Like previous years there will be lots of Pathfinder Society sessions, including the “specials” that are typically only run at big conventions and include coordination of several concurrent tables of players working together towards a common goal. This year, the scope of Scarefest has expanded to include other RPGs like D&D Adventurer’s League organized play, as well as Dungeon Crawl Classics and Star Wars (both run by yours truly), and World of Darkness (can’t get more on-theme than that!), Shadowrun, several flavors of Savage Worlds, Bolt Action, Dread, Numenera, and a truly impressive collection of board games. Once you’ve purchased your ticket, sign up for games on the event’s warhorn.

Scarefest-MainPromo-webI’ll be representing DCC with two adventures: The 13th Skull and Bride of the Black Manse.

13th Skull synopsis: Thirteen generations ago, the ambitious first Duke of Magnussen made a fell pact with an unknown power, who asked for but one thing in return: the thirteenth daughter born to a Magnussen duke. Now, generations hence, the daughter of Duke Magnussen XIII is stolen away by a hooded executioner riding a leathery beast. As it wings back across the city walls to drop behind the Duke’s mountain-top keep, all who watch know it alights in the Magnussen family crypts, where the devilish secrets of thirteen generations have been buried and forgotten – until now…

Bride of the Black Manse synopsis: Centuries past, Lady Ilse ascended to scion of House Liis by trading the archdevil Mammon what he wanted most: her immortal soul – and a diabolical betrothal. The triumph proved hollow, for every year on the eve of her fell covenant, she was beset by visions of Mammon and her foul promise. Seeking to save herself, she was buried alive, swaddled in the holy symbols of a dozen divergent faiths. This desperate ploy held Mammon at bay for centuries…but a devil can afford to wait a very long time.

After hundreds of years, the last of the holy wards has fallen. The devil has come to collect his due. Tonight a storm crashes against the ancient manor house and forgotten spirits rise from the muck and mire. The fallen belfry tolls once more, announcing the hellish fete. As the adventurers arrive to explore the Black Manse, Mammon calls for his winsome bride. He will leave with a soul at the end of the night. The only question is: Whose?

The Star Wars adventure I’m running caught my ear on the Order 66 podcast from d20 radio. They created a horror-themed Star Wars adventure that features the “fear check” mechanic, and should be really fun to run! Not many people would associate Star Wars with a creepy Halloween gaming event, but Ice Station Zulu does well to bring some darkness and fear to a galaxy far, far away.

It looks like quite the impressive line-up, and is a pretty awesome value. Come out this weekend and roll some dice! Costumes are highly encouraged, but not required. See you there!

Pathfinder Unchained: Barbarian

June 8, 2015 5 comments

This week we will examine the revamped classes and new options from Pathfinder Unchained for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. This book takes four classes (barbarian, monk, rogue, summoner) and tries to address the problems of their previous edition versions and fix them. There are some clear cut winners and losers while some are change with only mediocre results.

Today, we will examine the new Unchained Barbarian, one of the mediocre ones. The biggest change to the barbarian is its rage ability. The new version of rage takes out the attribute bonuses, simplifying the need for players to have to recalculate everything associated with strength and constitution, including extra hit points, and replaces it with a version that gives static bonuses to attack and damage and grants temporary hit points. By getting rid of the increased hit points through the constitution boost and givng temporary hit points instead, the risk of death when a barbarian comes out of rage is eliminated. While the temporary hit points may be the best thing to happen to barbarians since Conan, having increased strength replaced by the static bonuses (attack and damage) leaves them unable to show off said strength while in a rage (breaking down doors, etc.) and less of a bonus when wielding two-handed weapons. That is where this rage loses.

Unchained also adds a plethora of new rage powers for the barbarian. Stances, activated during rage with a move action, are new rage powers that give abilities that last over the course of a rage and not just once a rage (or even a day). Stances look like variations of the D&D 4th Edition Essentials fighter class who had stances instead of powers. Some of the stances are good and scale nicely over levels and some just do nothing for the barbarian. Examples are powerful stance which adds increasing damage over level progression but others like accurate stance just do not give much of a relevant boost. Of course, some of these stances are the beginning of rage power chains that gets more powerful at higher levels.

Overall, the Unchained Barbarian tackles the disadvantages of the original barbarian, but opens up new problems created by the new rage power and stance powers to get a grade of C+ (which may be higher than any grade any barbarian has ever gotten).

Since Unchained is different than the original, we decided to go with a non-tradtional race and direction. Instead of a half-orc with a greataxe, we have a tengu with two swords in a more finesse type of build than a hard hitting smasher. We provided some background information, a level 1 character sheet (click the link on his name) and progression (feats and rage powers) to level 8.

** Cawsus Blackfeather **

Hailing from the far, far east, Cawsus joined the Pathfinder Society after being rescued by field agents there. He wields a traditional pair of daisho with deadly efficiency but often leaves himself open when he ‘loses’ himself in battle. Although a little flighty, Cawsus considers himself one of the best swordsmen and uses his abilities to protect his fellow Pathfinders.

Level 1 – Two Weapon Fighting
Level 2 – Powerful Stance
Level 3 – Power Attack
Level 4 – Knockback, +1 Dexterity
Level 5 – Tengu Wings
Level 6 – Ground Breaker
Level 7 – Improved Two Weapon Fighting
Level 8 – Crippling Blow, +1 Constitution

What do you think? Did they ‘fix’ the barbarian? What other issues do you think need to be fixed? And come back next week for Pathfinder Unchained: Monk as we take a look the new monk.

Korsairs of Kortos – Pathfinder Swashbucklers

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Here’s another themed adventuring party by yours truly. This week we take a look at the swashbuckler playtest class. I am probably behind presenting anything with playtest material, but I thought I would give the class the same treatment as I gave the gunslinger party (Thundersmoke) since the two classes are close cousins. I wanted to show everyone what types of characters you could create as a swashbuckler and break the traditional mold of The Three Musketeers.

I normally only create six characters for a party, but Grogg the half-orc came to me late to make seven. Out of this group I think that Taichyu may be the deadliest (Daisho at level 3 with Improved Critical for both blades at level 5) and the Princess may be the most fun to roleplay. Take a look at Bashir to see how Improved Trip would work with a swashbuckler then at Baedley and Johnas for the more Golarion-specific duelist types. And do not forget about Friedl the rabble rouser; he may be the most interesting of them all.

Now presenting for all you fun-loving swashbuckler-types; the Korsairs of Kortos!

Baedley Leafrunner (Male Half-Elf Swashbuckler)

A recent product of the academy in Taldor, Baedle Leafrunner has brought his formidable dueling abilities to Absalom in a sort of wanderlust. Wielding his falcata Chakre and buckler in the traditional Taldan style of Rondelero, he has subtly altered his style to focus more on blade speed than brute strength.

Advancement – Weapon Focus: Falcata (3rd), Taldan Duelist (4th), Endurance (5th)

Class Advancement – Horizon Walker (7th CL)

Johnas Northsun (Male Human Swashbuckler)

Hailing from the northern nation of Brevoy, Johnas Northsun took up dueling early in his life. After defeating many of those his age with his blade Excuri, he has sought out new challenges and adventure in Absalom at the Grand Lodge.

Advancement – Piranha Strike (3rd), Weapon Focus: Aldori Dueling Sword (4th), Dazzling Display (5th)

Class Advancement – Aldori Swordlord (6th CL)

Friedl Baredas (Male Human Swashbuckler)

The witty and carefree Friedl Baredas lives for the open sea and drinking the latest ale. Sailing the Inner Sea for Andoran, he sometimes (inadvertently, of course) blurs the line between pirate and privateer. With his rapier Geonal raised up high, he has pledged his blade to ending slavery on the open waters.

Advancement – Combat Reflexes (3rd), Extra Penache (4th), Sea Legs (5th)

Class Advancement – Inner Sea Pirate (6th CL)

‘Princess’ Furasha Busha (Female Human Swashbuckler)

The beautiful and intelligent Furasha Busha is a fiery swordswoman from Qadira. Trying to stand apart from her two hundred and eighty-eight siblings, she has become quite the master with her scimitar Jakia and strives to become the princess that she is destined to be.

Advancement – Retrain Slashing Strike with Dervish Dance (3rd), Combat Reflexes (3rd), Dodge (4th), Mobility (5th)

Class Advancement – Duelist (7th CL)

Bashir Narenan (Male Human Swashbuckler)

The quiet Bashir Narenan secretly revels in the dangers of explorating the unknown. He was once wrongly imprisoned in Osirion for exploring the wrong tomb and is now more attentive to who hires him and his khopesh Dread Talon.

Advancement – Combat Expertise (3rd), Improved Trip (4th), Piranha Strike (5th)

Class Advancement – Pathfinder Delver (6th CL)

Taichyu (Male Tengu Swashbuckler)

The pious Taichyu hails from the Far East and lives a code that almost mirrors that of the samurai. With his well-honed katana Yurashi, he intends to spread goodwill in the name of Grandmother Crow, Andoletta, and the Silver Crusade.

Advancement – Two Weapon Fighting (3rd; purchase wakizashi), Combat Reflexes (4th), Piranha Strike (5th)

Class Advancement – Paladin (6th CL)

Grogg Ironfist (Male Half-Orc Swashbuckler)

While growing up in the slums of Absalom, Grogg Ironfist did whatever he had to do to survive. Having been an enforcer, a gladiator and now an adventurer, he bears his morningstar and gladius seeking fame and fortune in the Worldwound for the Sczarni families.

Advancement – Piranha Strike (3rd), Weapon Focus: Gladius (4th), Mounted Combat (5th)

Class Advancement – Low Templar (6th CL)

Check out some more Pathfinder Adventuring Parties:

And some product reviews:


Exercise in Character Creation, Part 2

May 5, 2014 1 comment

In last month’s ARTICLE I asked for help in creating my next character who would be the son of my very first PFS character, Danaris Redfeather. Over 50 people took the survey and the RESULTS came out great! After analysis, the proud and determined Adrian Redfeather will be a quick and agile (yet physically weak) swordsman from Andoran who is secretly joining the Pathfinder Society contrary to his parents’ wishes. Such interesting possibilities for this character! But we are not quite there, just two pieces of the puzzle remain; Adrian’s secret identity and his final class.

So, onto the final voting (only 2 questions this time!). This will determine the secret identity (and signature weapons) that Adrian will adopt and the class that he will proceed through his adventuring career through. Two of the classes are playtests and this could give me an opportunity (or excuse) to play one. We will not be worrying about a prestige class since voting was so close, but it could come up later if I think he needs some sort of boost. I will post Adrian’s final character sheet next week along with another one of my famous Pathfinder pre-gen parties – The Korsairs of Kortos.

 **** SURVEY ****

Thank you again for voting!

Exercise in Character Creation, Part 1

April 5, 2014 Comments off

Several weeks ago at MACE West in Asheville, NC my very first Pathfinder Society character, Sir Danaris Redfeather, Knight Captain, (character sheet + background) reached 12th level. For those who do not know, this means that he is basically retired from the Pathfinder organized play program. It has been a blast to play this character as he was my first real Pathfinder character. I say ‘a blast’ because he exclusively used a musket. Yes, a musket… in a fantasy setting. Besides being the bane of all GMs, he will be missed.

Let’s get down to business. As you may have noticed from my other posts on Skyland Games, I love character creation. The entire process is enjoyable for me as I take numbers and raw ‘stuff’ and mold them together into a rich, detailed character. With me retiring two characters at MACE West (the other was Master Matsunagi, a nagaji cleric), I wanted to make a new one and I wanted to do it a different way.

That is where you, the readers, come in. Below is a link to a 10 question survey that I will use to create Adrian Redfeather, son of Danaris; my next Pathfinder Society character. I will share the results at my next posting next month.  And thank you for taking a moment to do the survey.  I think the results could be very interesting and fun to play!



Kicking and Screaming

October 21, 2013 Comments off

So as to not bore you all with another set of Pathfinder Pregen Parties, I decided to go with an article about Kickstarter.  As a group, we at Skyland Games all have new ideas gushing out of our heads and no way to produce a decent product without having large sums of cash on hand.  And yes, it can get messy in the man-cave with all those ideas just lying on the floor of the man-cave.

The advantage to Kickstarter is that you do not need a lump sum of cash handy or try to find an investor that will loan you what you need without taking a large chunk of the profits.  I am more inclined to donate a little money for an idea that I think is neat and could go farther than just the Kickstarter campaign.  Crowdfunding works on so many levels, whether the project is big or small, with the possibility of your idea exploding and reaching many more people after the campaign.

I love the idea of crowdfunding.  Well, I love the idea so much that I am starting my own Kickstarter campaign in a couple of weeks.  But I am breaking off from our group for this project and going with a comic book.  Being that I severely lack in drawing skills, I have found an awesome artist and I can concentrate on telling an amazing story with complex interesting characters to entertain millions.  Well… maybe a couple hundred folks. 

What I have figured out from following other Kickstarters is to be prepared for anything and everything.  Make sure you provide examples and samples in your campaign to build excitement and have good, meaningful rewards to show appreciation to your backers.  But the one thing that backers need to understand is that you are not purchasing the product, you are donating funds and receiving a reward.  Also be prepared with a couple stretch goals so that you are not caught without the ability to add a little more to the project, whether it is another item or upgrading the quality of the product.  And be prepared to go through with it.  Don’t be afraid and just do it!

I think this is hitting a high note with me today because I just got the preliminary character sketches back, and… let’s just say – ‘Wow!’

Pacifist Pathfinder Pregens

September 9, 2013 Comments off

Even though Pathfinder Society agents are part of a larger organization they tend to group themselves into smaller factions based on nationality, religion, race or ideology.  Some of these parties are easier to play and some take a more experienced role-player to accomplish the goals set forth in a scenario or module.  Here is one of those more difficult to play parties of pre-generated characters.

One of the foundations of the majority of role-playing games is combat, but what if a party does not believe in violence and chooses to focus instead on the exploration duties of the Society?  Do the players use diplomacy or intimidation when dealing with others?  What happens when presented with situations that only combat could accomplish?  Do they automatically give up or do they find another way?  Do they rise above and become legends of the Society?

This balanced party presents unique challenges and opportunities.  Everyone has impressive social skills and can still hold their own in actual combat.  In combat they do only deal non-lethal damage so as to not break their oaths and corrupt their values.  Look them over and let us discuss them; this is a very interesting group.  And now to present the Pacifists:

Gaerk Hardrock (Male Dwarf Cavalier – Huntmaster) : This tough, grizzled old dwarf and his trusty old dog joined the Society’s Silver Crusade after years of struggle with orcs, giants and goblins.  Gaerk is just tired of the fighting and has taken up the Order of the Blue Rose to help point him in a new direction in his life.  (Possible Prestige Path : Stalwart Defender)

Tarkhun Marxion (Male Human Cleric – Hidden Priest, Separatist) : Born and raised in Taldor all his life but keeping his worship of Sarenrae a secret, Tarkhun poses as a sorcerer and uses his blunted morningstar to promote peace and goodwill throughout the Inner Sea.  (Possible Prestige Path : Dawnflower Dissident)

Ping Jing (Male Human Monk – Ki Mystic, Sensei, Monk of the Lotus) : From the Far East, Ping arrived at the Grand Lodge looking to learn more of the world so that he may in turn pass it on to his students.  He seeks perfection and peace for this world and wishes to share all of the knowledge he gathers in this life.  (Possible Prestige Path : Pathfinder Chronicler)

Selene (Female Aasimar Paladin – Warrior of the Holy Light, Tranquil Guardian) : Hailing from the deserts of Osirion, the tanned Selene claims a distant ancestor as a celestial being.  Drawing on her inner light, she intends to bring peace and tranquility to the world while serving the Ruby Prince.  (Possible Prestige Path : Living Monolith)

Eagilis of Forest Green (Female Half-Elf Witch) : As a stalwart champion of freedom and peace, the aging Eagilis uses her gifts from her magical dove to promote her homeland of Andoran.  Wearing her somewhat suspect fullplate and brandishing her shiny spear, her knowledge of the world and magical abilities complement her goals.  NOTE: The patron of peace is not legal in Society Organized Play, so pick another and the dove familiar would the just a re-skinned thrush to complement the theme.  (Possible Prestige Path : Steel Falcon)

ACE 2013 – Asheville Comic Expo Gaming

September 8, 2013 Comments off

flierround1It is nearly time! Join us at the 2nd Annual Asheville Comic Expo! Skyland Games is in charge of organizing the tabletop RPGs, and we’ve got some great tables this year! Check out the full schedule and guarantee your spot at the table by registering at our warhorn for the event.

Admission is $5 for all day, and kids 12 and under get in free!

The venue will be the same as last year in the expo space at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. The easiest parking is at the civic center parking deck, and the entrance to the Expo will be off Hiawassee St. on the North side of the center.

Sure you’ve read about Star Wars: Edge of the Empire here, well now is your chance to charge up your blaster and hit the hyperdrive! Maybe you’d like a more traditional dungeon delve, with a twist: check out Dungeon Crawl Classics. Like your Worlds nice and Savage? Try Slipstream, a sci-fi adventure world full of jetpacks and rayguns! Pathfinder more your speed? Why not try it from a Goblin perspective in We Be Goblins, or discover who has claimed an ancient siege castle in Master of the Fallen Fortress. New to Pathfinder? Sign up for In Service to Lore, an awesome introductory adventure to Pathfinder Society, the organized play version of the Pathfinder game. Want to get the next generation of gamers off on the right foot? Sign up your younglings for the Pathfinder Kids table, offered in both time slots, and featuring the excellent Pathfinder Beginner Box!

Last year the costumes and costume contest were fantastic! Dust off you capes, and practice your best hero pose because the cosplayers will be out in force. It also makes for some excellent people watching! All kinds of comic and toy vendors will be on hand, as well as artists, and a Friendly Local Game Store or two!

Show your support of our local comic convention, and maybe play an RPG or two! See you there!

Snake Cult – Pathfinder Pregens

July 9, 2013 Comments off

This month’s group of pregenerated characters are a cult dedicated to the evil snake god Ydersius that has taken their veneration in a much different direction. As young upstart adventurers, they have discovered Ydersius’ message of immortality and have long admired the snake’s power and charm. Since worship of Ydersius is not welcomed by all in the civilized world, they have tried to keep their true identities secret and adopted serpentine nicknames for themselves. They have also taken to wearing black hoods (to emulate Ydersius’ headlessness) and green hued clothing and armor (to emulate a snake’s green body).

Click on a name below to view their character sheet:

Cobra : As the unofficial leader of the cult, Cobra is tough, charismatic and wise. He believes that his devotion to Ydersius will bring the gift of immortality to him and his fellows. Using his contacts within the Sczarni, he wishes to get his fangs deep into the city to expand the cult’s power and reach. (Suggested Advancement: Versatile Channeling (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))

Python : While Cobra is the heart of the cult, Python is the muscle. Hailing from distant Qadira, this half-orc is more comfortable on the streets of civilization than in the wild. Wielding his spiked chain with a masterful prowess, he is more than capable of defending his fellow cultists from disapproving human society. (Suggested Advancement: Two-Handed Weapon Combat Style with Power Attack (2nd), Shield of Swings (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))

Sidewinder : From the dry wildernesses and deserts of Osirion, Sidewinder has long been connected to the serpentine and seems to be on the cusp of discovering how to morph into a snake. He enjoys control over others, whether it be in combat or everyday life.  This half-elf seems more driven than the others and may vie for leadership of the cult if something were to happen to Cobra. (Suggested Advancement: Serpent’s Natural Weapons: Bite (2nd), Natural Spell (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))

Viper : As the smallest of the cult, the gnomish Viper has large coils to fill. Under the advice of his larger totem guide, he has sought out the Grand Lodge in Absalom with his fellows so that he may continue growth in the arcane and study his obsession with poison and snakes. In combat he tends to stay on the defensive; hidden from those who may hurt him. (Suggested Advancement: Boon Companion (3rd), Go Unnoticed (5th))

Anaconda : The only female in this otherwise masculine cult, the nobly-dressed Anaconda is possibly an aristocrat from Taldor temporarily stripped of her title and wealth by her family. Or at least that is what the rest of the cult has surmised. Cobra brought her into the fold after it was discovered that she could summon a creature that they all believe to be an aspect of Ydersius. (Suggested Advancement: Resilient Eidolon (3rd), Extra Evolution (5th))

Behind The Character Sheet : As you can see from the multiple Boon Companion feats, each character in the party will basically have a large-sized constrictor snake or medium-sized poisonous viper at 5th level. I recommend the constrictor because they will be large, have reach and can constrict. Do not forget to make them even more deadly by giving them feats such as Power Attack, Toughness,  and Combat Reflexes.

Last Month’s Article : Eyes of Lamashtu – Cooperative Summoning