And the Festivities Begin (Hathus’s Journal pt 2)

Dear Diary, the last couple day have been uninteresting.  The town is exactly as I remember.  No words can describe the dullness of this place.  I can see why I was so hesitant to return.  This festival is the same as every other year and nothing changes.  The hero comments will never cease and it only returns the memory of what happened.  I hate it and the suffering will never end.  Someday I will make up for <unintelligible writing that seems to have smeared onto the back of the previous page>

Addendum: Suddenly there is excitement in this town.  Goblins have attacked and I was able to begin repaying the town.  Soon I will earn the title I have been given.  I have to admit, my mothers scream technique was less than effective on the goblin as it barely twitched an ear.  Perhaps I was too distracted by thoughts of the lovely Shayliss Vinders. Or perhaps it was the jumping frog-faced goblin attacking its larger brethren.

There were others fighting for the town worth noting: Samael Thrune a forceful follower of some evil god.  Osanna Redbreeze another follower of one of the towns deities and claims to be a paladin.  There is also a half stone creature with a bow named Kalia.  The poor thing must have been the subject of a failed flesh to stone spell and never recovered.  The ‘froglin’ as the kids have taken to calling him is named Ko, a strange creature claiming to be a grippli.  I have never heard of such a thing and am convinced a goblin had its way with a toad.  That would explain the meaty legs, small head, and constant hopping from place to place.

There is also Xander, the local slow grower.  Seems to have turned into something of a sword mage and has a particular reckless nature.  He cast a spell and caught Ko with it despite its need to kill its own kind.  Luckily, Xanders abilities are quite weak and Ko did not succumb to the dazzling display of color.

Then there was Shayliss.  Oh my sweet Shayliss.  The heavenly fields grew something astounding.  She stood bare to the eyes and I was entranced.  As I gazed upon the celestial form, an ogre bared his teeth in protection of his divine child. He gnashed teeth, brandished arms and dimwittedly succumbed to quick thought.  His bulk cut the view and forced a retreat.  But, I shall return for the prize.


House Rules

While I’m running the game fairly close to standard Pathfinder rules, there are a few things I’m tweaking.  I’ll document them here for the sake of posterity…

Hit Points

When you level up, you can choose to either gain hit points PFS style (take the average, rounded up) or roll for them.  There will be no re-rolls if you roll poorly.

Knowledge Skills

I strongly dislike how using knowledge skills to identify monsters works.  Specifically, I think that being allowed to ask a number of questions based on your check makes it too easy to identify all of a creature’s abilities and weaknesses, especially in situations where there is no realistic way that your character could know that information.  Instead, when you roll, there will be no questions; I will tell you what you know based on how high your skill check is.

GM Intrusions

Stolen from Numenera and integrated into Pathfinder, the GM Intrusion is a way for me to announce that I am going to break the rules, usually either for dramatic or comedic effect.  When I announce that I’m using an intrusion, if the player I’m using it on allows it, I will break the rules in some creative way, and in exchange the player will get a token.  Players can later hand in tokens to get a +2 on any die roll, even after you’ve rolled and seen the result.  Alternatively, if you already have tokens saved up, a player can turn one in to refuse to allow the GM Intrusion.

I’m still open to tweaking how the rewards work, depending on how people feel about them after seeing them in practice; I might also hand out tokens to other players who were involved in the intrusion, or maybe allow a player to turn in three tokens at once to get a re-roll instead of a bonus.


If your character is knocked unconscious, don’t tell other players how far under you are or if you’re stable.  Their characters would need to examine you and make heals checks to figure out how badly you’re doing.

May the stars guide me (Ko’s Journal pt 1)

Rova 22, 4707 AR

The Swallowtail Festival begins tomorrow.

If only it could be like it was a year ago.

It has been nearly six months since I left home.  I wish I could return.  I wish I could find a way to make things the way they used to be.

I am near Sandpoint.  I should arrive in the city tomorrow afternoon, just in time for the festivities.  I could have stayed on as a guard with the Umbra Carnival; they were heading up the Yondabakari River from Wartle toward Whistledown.  The pay was decent enough, but it did not feel right to follow.  When I look up at the stars, I feel them pulling me toward Sandpoint; perhaps Desna wishes me to go there for some reason.

Or perhaps I can find some way to atone for what I have done.

Welcome to Golarion!

The setting that our campaign, Rise of the Runelords, takes place in is the high fantasy world of Golarion.  Golarion is Paizo Publishing’s official main world for their Pathfinder Campaign Setting.  Specifically, Rise of the Runelords takes place within a region of Golarion known as the Inner Sea; more specific still, within the country of Varisia.

Varisia Continue reading

Dear Uncle Stonespike (Kalia’s Journal pt 1)

I wanted to write you to let you know I made it to Sandpoint. Nothing eventful happened, though. Now it is time to settle in and secure the cache so I can ready it for sale tomorrow. It’s been a few months since I’ve been here and amazingly nothing has changed. They are readying for a festival to Desna. I think it’s called the Swallowtail festival, so hopefully this means new people to meet and buy our gems.

I pray all is well with you and the clan. I will keep you posted as things change and send the money as soon as I have it.

I miss you greatly.


Look for her to the east on the 1st day. The dawn will herald her coming. (Osanna’s Journal pt 1)

1st Rova, 4707:

Sandpoint at last!  To have been on the road for so long and having been granted the rare blessing of literally traversing half of Golarion, I can say that I’m glad to have arrived at this new place that I will call home for the foreseeable future.  Ah, but the stories and memories made!  I will cherish them the rest of the days given to me.  The different ways of life, the senses of community, the applications of religion…all priceless!  Especially when analyzed from the points of view of the different races.  I feel that these lessons will be invaluable while ministering to the good will and prosperity of the fine citizens of Sandpoint.

Back to the business at hand.  I help the caravan hands unload the cargo and I can already feel the eyes upon me.  A great many pairs of eyes.  Analyzing.  Scrutinizing.  Watching.  Judging.  The one constant I’ve come to know and expect as a result of my heritage is that the typical first reaction inside the minds of new onlookers is one of trepidation and fear:  They think that I’m a predator.  An otherworldly fiend sent to snatch up their children in the night and do unspeakable things to them during unspeakable rituals.  I’m used to it by now.  It fortifies me.  I smile in anticipation of the day, hopefully soon, that they will know that I am very much the opposite and I will have the privilege of sharing their joy with them.  Of walking the Eastward Path with them.  I heft my pack onto my shoulders, my shield onto my arm, and turn to look back.  I see them all, the eyes.  I look at all of them.  The fathers.  The mothers.  The old.  The young.  My smile is genuine and welcoming.  I am relieved, as I always am, by the courage of the children.  Their reaction is typical.  Fear leads to caution.  Cautions leads to curiosity.  Curiosity leads to wonder.  It’s as if their souls sound clarion calls in their minds and they instinctively know that yes, this one is different, but certainly not the monster under their beds.

I take in all the sites.  The architecture.  The winding paths of her streets.  The bustling merchants displaying their goods after filling their bellies with a good breakfast.  The smell of fresh bread, of bacon, of the wharves, of the sea, and the colorful clothing of the fabled Varisians.  I find it all to be familiar and comforting.  The newness of it all reminds me of how different things are from home and how many new experiences I have to look forward to with my new family.  “One day at a time,” I tell myself.

I continue walking north until arrive at the new temple grounds.  It is here that I was told that I would find who would likely be one of the most important people in town and one that would aide me in finding my way.  “Young man.  I’m looking for Father Abstalar Zantus.  I must needs speak with him about a matter of great import.  Is he about?”  I forgive him, of course, for staring at me with the wide-eyed look of adolescence before he comes to his senses and responds.  “Ye-yes, m’lady.  He’s just inside.”

I can say that our first meeting went very well, indeed.  One might even say that was elated to have me here.  He informed me that a cleric of My Lady was indeed present in Sandpoint, and that he also served as caretaker of the cemetery in the absence of one of Pharasma’s followers.  “So much the better to keep the dead where they ought be.”  He also told me that, while of course the few clerics about had a modicum of skill at arms, he was pleased that one with my skill would be about to aide in defending the temple and allow the people to worship in peace.  “Yes, Father.  In peace.  Gods be good.”

“You have freedom to meander about the temple.  There are shrines to the various deities that hold sway over over the hearts of Sandpoint’s people, the Dawnflower included, but the greatest, of course, is to the Song of the Spheres as this is her house.  I bid you welcome and offer you a modest room should desire to stay here.”  “Thank you, Father.  I would like that very much.  I belong here, if anywhere, awaiting Her followers.  You have my word that I will pay all due respect to Lady Luck and to you during my stay.”  “Of course you will, child.  Of course you will.”

I visit them all.  Every one of them.  I bid them greeting and offer my genuine respect and offer them a promise to not offend any of their faithful while I help to spread the faith of The Healing Light.  And at last I find her.  Her shrine is well kept, polished, but far too lonely.  Is it just me?  Did it brighten as I approached?  I fall to my knees and smile up to her as I have so many times before and will so many times in the future if it is her will.  “I’ve found you at last, Evenlight, in this most distant place from the land of my birth.  I will find your faithful priest here, my brother in arms, and we will show the people the value of the strength they have inside of themselves.  To love and to live selflessly.  To guide the weak so that they might one day be strong.  I pray that you show me where to shine brightest.”

“Oh and child.  Forgive my untimely interruption, but I thought it would be pertinent to tell you of a great festival honoring my lady Desna in 3 weeks time.  I would see you attend.  I think it would do well for the town to see you and for you to see them, not that you won’t be doing so in the time between then and now.”  “Yes, Father, I think it would do well for all of us to enjoy some good natured frivolity.  And I do love to dance.”

Returning Home (Hathus’s Journal pt 1)

Dear Diary…Today I should arrive back in Sandpoint, the town of my youth.  Will they recognize me after two years? I grew a beard and have gained 30 pounds.   Will they think I completed my studies at the Twilight Academy?  I’m sure my father heard by now, but would he want others to know?  She was a divine being…no, another time.

I hope they don’t throw a celebration for their great hero’s return.  It was horrific the first and though to the fifteenth time.  I was digging through my pack this morning and found the gold holy symbol they gave me.  I forget which it belongs to now.  My father was so proud when they gave me that thing for saving some of the children from the temple.  I swear I threw it in the river time and time again, but that is just one of the dreams that haunt me.  At least the screams in the night have gotten quieter since I decided to come home.   I could not save them all, but soon I will discover some way to earn my heroic bns goldbuy bns gold

Back to walking.