Unofficial Slave Pits of Absalom: Redux

Recently, at Paizocon, I had the good fortune to meet Rob McCreary, author of Legacy of Fire #6: The Final Wish, in which my first set piece appears. Rob mentioned that he used some of the unofficial variations on PFS#8: Slave Pits of Absalom that I posted here, and his group enjoyed it. That was awesome, but when I asked how they liked the alternate, non-canon version of the Slave Pits I'd designed, Rob raised an eyebrow. D'oh! I never posted that stuff up here. Shame on me. So, Rob, as promised here 'tis, 2 files. Maps and original draft as submitted.

Original Draft Maps
Pre-Editorial Slave Pits of Absalom

I'd just like to state again that NOTHING IN WHAT FOLLOWS IS AUTHORIZED, ENDORSED, OR OTHERWISE SUPPORTED BY PAIZO. AND NONE OF THESE IDEAS OR MATERIALS ARE FOR USE IN PFS OR ORGANIZED PLAY. This is just me posting up some cool stuff for people to play around with at home. It's not canon, it's not anything. Shites and gigglies, nothing more.


PS Won't someone please tell me how the mammoth plays out?! I'm dying here - no one has ever reported trying it.


Blogging Paizocon - Sunday - The Late Edition

I feel I've held off blogging about Sunday because, well, it was Sunday. Last day of Paizocon, and, as usual, the end-of-con-blues crept in. The crew shut down the booths. Everyone moved a bit more slowly. As the day rolled on, more shoulders slumped, fewer people roamed the halls. Goodbyes everywhere.

Best thing to do is grab a game! We grabbed a Call of Cthulu game run by James McKenzie (Sir Wulf). I adore James and his writing. His Cthulu games are intricate and detailed, rich with history, and peppered with interersting NPCs. We went pulp. Skeeter and Shirak played twin Irish brothers. Ms. Em was Ms. Porter, a linguist whose delicacy was all an act and who'd as lief speak with her sword cane -- in your back. Myself, Greg Ragland, and this awesome dude whose face I can see but whose name now escapes me (Damn you, memory!) played Indiana Jones type professors with varying degrees of ethics (or lack thereof) and many guns. Set in Egypt in the 30s, Wulf writes pulp Cthulu like no other!

Unfortunately, it was an 8 hour game, minimum, and we had to bag after 3 or 4 hours. This con's goodbyes proved especially difficult as I had a plane that day and a 7:45pm pickup. My advice, oh con goers: always arrive earlyish the night before and leave the day after. Less hassle, cheaper plane flights, more time with friends -- especially during that exhausto-relaxed after-con crash.

As it was, we had just enough time to grab some good-bye Sushi with Sir Wulf, Shirak, and Em. On the return trip we bumped into a great crowd at the Pumphouse (tons on tap, all the food fried) : Ed Healy, Neal Spicer, Greengrunt, Gavgoyle, Boomer -- on whom we deposited Miss Em his GF -- Jason Nelson, and more. Semi-drunken goodbyes all around.

Sitting at the airport alone depressed me, so I'll stop here.

More pictures to come! Maybe video too. Bye Paizocon II!


Blogging Paizocon - Saturday - Part II

Others on the Paizo website have detailed the confirmed changes and crunchy bits revealed at the PFRPG preview banquet. Frankly, I was having so much fun, I didn't take enough notes to do a better job, so I'm not going to try.

Most everyone at the con packed into the hotel ballroom -- plates of juicy food goodness, deserts and drinks in hand -- and grabbed a table. Every table had at least one spot for a special guest and a Paizo employee, which was a great idea. My table had only me for special guest, but we got Wes Schneider (who rocks) so all was good. In fact, there really was no way every table wouldn't rock with the reserved seating laid out that way. Of course, my brother, the Eagle from Beast Master, was with us. Five other great-spirited, Paizoans joined us. I suck, because I can't remember their names.

Lisa Stevens opened the event with a delightful and welcoming speech, focusing on the fans and the unexpected success that is Paizo. Hearing her sincere enthusiasm for the game, for Paizo, for Paizoans -- marvelous. She sees the PFRPG as her chance to witness yet another seminal evolution in the history of the game (little things like TSR, WotC, Magic the Gathering, and Vampire being others), and I for one, agree.

The room darkened and Jason B. then reviewed the PFRPG section by section on the big screen. He hit us with highlights, confirmed changes, and touched on the final resolution of matters oft debated on the boards. I distinctly overheard a senior Paizo employee (who shall remain nameless because I want to write for them more) say, "Uh oh. He's [Jason] drinking beer. I hope he doesn't reveal more than he should..." Hilarious. Jason's presentation was spot on and no, he didn't reveal too much, but he did foster a growing excitement in my belly. The PFRPG book is gorgeous, all 578 pages of it, and I can't wait to get it into my hands.

Erik closed with another inspiring, warm speech and a few product announcements: yes to a PFRPG subscription, yes to a heavy card-stock-designed-to-survive GM screen, and he announced the PFRPG Gamemastery Guide, confirming Paizo's dedication to putting adventure tools in our hands as opposed to fixing their permanent imprint onto the game. Awesome!

Finally, Josh announced the evening's final festivities: a ballroom-wide Golarion quiz game. Every table became a team. Categories included Society, Combat, etc. etc. Questions included: what was the name of the Andoran revolution? What country outlawed religion? and the like. The prize was a $50 gift certificate per person at the winning table. Perfect.

Again, more attentive note-taking folks on the Paizo boards have done a better job of recounting the exact questions, answers, and contest results. Eventually it came down to a three-way tie, broken by two final-death questions: "Name the most continents on Golarion..." and "Name the most planets in the solar system shared by Golarion..."

The purpose of having an employee and a special guest at each table, other than spreading the love, became clear. Unfortunately, I proved woefully inadequate. Tables with the likes of Kortes and Vaughan (yeah - both at one table, practically cheating if you ask me!) or Liz Courts rocked out. Josh Frost and Erik Mona read the best answers aloud and generally ranked on all of us.

Lacking sufficient Golarion knowledge to compete I had not choice but to make it fun. Lets just say one of our sheets contained "Damn you Eric Mona!" for all five answers. Erik promptly ranked us for spelling his name wrong: "All the product I send you and you still can't spell my name right? What's wrong with you?" We mixed it up a bit with "Bite me Josh Frost!" and answers like "Dumf*ckistan", "The Dread Elric Mona" and the ever popular "Frosty McDelicious". Hysterical to hear Josh read the latter aloud, claim it for his rap name, then point me out. "Oh, of course. Lou Agresta's table. I'm watching you, Agresta!"

And we weren't the only humorists in the bunch. Name of the Andoran revolution? Dance, dance. Who is the Whispering Tyrant? Hard to say. Hard to hear him.

Great, great fun. Well done Josh, EriC, and Paizo at large. Go Bristlesticks!

We rounded Saturday night out with a 12 or so person game of Werewolf. Cosmo joined us. Liz Courts, Jason Nelson, and tons others. Again -- much, much fun. I'll try and post a video Miss Em took of an entire round. Not sure if I'll succeed, as the vid is big, so I'll make that a later post.

Finally we popped over to the infamous Room 247, more of Ted's outrageous home brew and food, a late night showing of Blade Runner, and great conversation to the wee hours all around.

And that was Saturday at Paizocon. Sunday to follow.

Blogging Paizocon - Photographic Interlude

Some pictures I thought you'd all enjoy.

Sunday Werewolf game. Gavgoyle aka "Wolfman", Lilith, Cosmo (Paizo customer service), Timitius

The Lovely Miss Em and Liz Courts!

I told you I'd do it!

Josh Stevens, Scott Gable, Me, Ed Healy, Em & Boomer, Shirak, and Ashton


Blogging Paizocon 2009 - Saturday - Part I

What a day! What a fun, fun day!

Started off at 8am with Greg Vaughan looking Marine happy and all perky behind his screen. 4.5 hours of Slumbering Tsar preview. Awesome! For those not in the know, Slumbering is Vaughan's 500,000 word Orcus mega-adventure, commissioned, written and ready to publish. With luck a Paizo/Necromancer games publishing collaboration is in the works. Cross your fingers, pester Clark Petersen and Eric Mona without letup because if this was any indication...it rocks.

We headed into the bone dust desert (literally a desert, literally of bone dust from an ancient battle, long ago) in search of the Silent Watcher who Points the Way, seeking the lost tomb of an Asimar hero reputed to await awakening in the world's time of need. In Slumbering that time has come; only, the forces of darkness have managed to sabotage the awakening. Now its up to us.

Giant sand creatures, a domed lost tomb, secret entrances, flaming outsiders, rhasts, once mighty companions of good rendered into ghast-hood, a drow, a broken clock mechanism, a giant black pudding behind the wrong door (slain from inside with a punch by our Scottish-accented dwarf hero) and a freed hero later -- wow. Good times.

Even if he's the author who writing has killed more of my PCs than any other, I love Vaughan's work for its classic 1E feel that somehow never ceases to be 3.5 and never ceases to make sense. We experienced, as Greg put it, "1/7th of 1 chapter" in a mega-adventure that'll take you all the way to 21st level. So yes, folks, you heard it right - there is 1/2 million words of this! Pray it sees print. Soon.

* * *

After Slumbering we had some time to kill, so off to lunch I went with Greg, Mike Kortes, and a great bunch of Paizo crew. Jeff Alvarez, Cosmo, Brock, Chris, and Allison. These are the folks who make our products show up in our mail boxes (amongst other things) -- great folks and a great lunch. Especially since Greg had never tried Sushi before (applause - he was game) and Mike Kortes is just a grand man and spanking good writer.

* * *

Later that evening, the premier event -- the preview banquet for the Pathfinder RPG. All 578 pages of it. Let me say that again, 578 pages! Plus, Erik Mona (hah Erik -- see, I can spell it right) announced an upcoming 350+ page book revealing all Paizo's secrets of adventure path, world and campaign bulding. A book specifically designed to bring the DIY back to D&D, just as the PFRPG itself is NOT Paizo campaign-world specific.

And now, I'm going to be a little mean. The hotel gym, a shower, coffee and breakfast all call. I'm going to leave y'all hanging a bit, go sneak in my last day of gaming and blog about the second half of Saturday (banquet, book details, Werewolf, and party) later today!


Blogging Paizocon 2009 - Friday

The day launched about 11am as gamers wolfed their food in the hotel's somewhat over-priced mediocre grill. But who cared? Paizocon begins!

Everyone's morning strated awesome: registration seemed to go without a hitch, events started on time, but the swag?! Holy crap. Put Gencon to total shame. Every swag bag came with the complete Key Largo board game, a copy of Yetisburg, the latest PCGen, Item cards -- the list goes on.

The con's fanzine rocked. Solid material by great authors. Everywhere you looked people actually reading it and not a copy that I saw tossed aside.

The only complication came from Sean Reynolds whose car apparently went into a ditch. Sean was ok, great thanks. His windshield cracked. He had to wait for the police after action report and the tow. Even this only slowed things down, as he kicked off his event a mere two (or so) hours late.

For myself, things started slow. After hobnobbing, I set up in the open gaming room with my signs, crafted from unneeded cardboard Paizo product boxes. Sign one: "Special Guest Lou Agresta" Sign two: "Will Game for xxxFoodxxx. FREE!"

And proceded to wait as precisely no one showed up. Lots of laughs. No game. Given the registration snafus I really expected more people without a game. Not so.

And not to worry, though, a few hours later my table was full. I ran a 5-player game of The Bloody Fix, from 0onegames, by Rone and I. Great game. Players included: Miss Em, Shirak, Greg Ragland, and two awesome Paizoans whose name escapes me. Why? Because I can't stop thinking about them as Corey, Rogue 1/Wizard 2 and Throk, no-shit-taking, great-sword wielding Dwarf fighter with a magic black top hat. 9 hours later they had cut through 2/3rds of the adventure, bypassed a 1/3rd with a totally unexpected deduction and bearded the BBEG in its lair. Hah! Did that throw them for a loop!

Well I don't want to throw out any spoilers, but a few players nearly wet themselves in terror and a good time was had by all! We wrapped up at 2am or so, skipping all the after hours festivities.

Now its 7:30am, and I'm off to Greg Vaughan's Slumbering Tsar preview. More soon!


Blogging Paizocon 2009 - Thursday Night

Paizocon kicked off with a blast. A late arrival at SeaTac followed by drinks at the Coast Bellevue. Settled in with Ed Healy, Clinton Boomer, the lovely Miss Em, Scott Gable, Josh Stevens. Drinks and jokes all around.

The night really took off when we hit Ted's (Zuxius) room -- this guy makes some of the absolutely best home microbrews I've ever tasted. And generous? The man laid out a late night feast of snack and beverage. We talked games and movies into the wee hours suckling on Zirnakayin Dark Lager among others. Ashton (N'wah -- of Pathfinder paper mini fame), Sean (Greengrunt), Dane (ahg - can't remember his board name) and other Paizoans rounded out the mix.

The reveal of the day? Clinton Boomer does a nigh perfect Christopher Walken impression. Good times!

Gaming starts today and more reports to follow.

PS The memory gaps are not my fault. Blame Ted's outrageous cream ale.