Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Three Reviews

For today's post I have three reviews. Two are for adventures, while one is for a short story anthology.

Sails & Sorcery

The short story anthology is one I found while searching online, and I ordered it used. (It's even autographed by the editor, albeit to someone named Jeremiah.) This book includes twenty-eight tales. Some take place in mostly historical settings, while others are more fantastic. All share the common element of centering on sailors and their vessels, and in this way it can be source of inspiration for a GM running a nautical campaign. While some of the tales made less of an impression on me, some of them are really interesting; I particularly liked the last one, "The Spinner," and how it dealt with the question of faith.

Spices and Flesh

This scenario is part of the Pirate Plug-Ins series from Legendary Games. I initially bought it when I was going to fill in for the GM of my monthly campaign, who's running the Skull & Shackles adventure path from Paizo Publishing. Instead, I ended up using it in my current Freeport campaign. We'd finished the "Fury in Freeport" adventure from the rules supplement, and needed something to pad our experience and level before starting in on The Lost Island. Spices and Flesh tied in nicely to one of the plot elements from "Fury." It provided a challenging series of encounters, first aboard ship and then in a sea lair. I had to make some modifications in order to run it with second-level characters, but all in all it was fun. I recommend it as a scenario that can easily be dropped into a nautical campaign.

Thormek's Mansion

This is the scenario that I did end up running when I filled in for the monthly session. It's a sequel to Terror in Paradise, which I reviewed previously. In many ways it's like that adventure,but even more so. By this I mean that, while it has a lot of interesting elements in it, it takes some cleaning up to access them. For one thing, the mansion in question has seventy-five rooms in it. Some of them have important enemies, clues or other things in them, but many don't. The plot has a great Island of Dr. Moreau feel to it, but it can be hard to dig out from the scenes. The stat blocks are not very complete, either, and many of them are just nuisances for a party of third-level characters. Even so, it can be fun if one wants to do the work to make it playable.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Interstellar Travel

Although aetherships are impressive things, they have their limits. Such are the distances between stars that, even at cruising speed, the voyage can last for years. Luckily for spacefarers, the elves have devised a means of making such journeys possible. They have built massive vessels known as ark-ships, ones that carry all of the plants, animals and other life forms needed to maintain or create a habitable environment. What is more, their lengthy lifespans make it possible for them to crew the ships that travel between stars.

Interstellar Portal
Aura strong conjuration; CL 17th
Slot --; Price 400,000 gp; Weight NA
Much like ring gates, these devices are always created in pairs. In fact, they are essentially larger versions of those devices, being 150 feet in diameter. Each is crafted from a single chunk of nickle-iron asteroid, in the shape of a hollow, flat, circular structure. The surface of each is engraved with mystic symbols related to its system of origin. Together they allow aetherships to pass into one and out of the corresponding other.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, gate; Cost 200,000 gp

The interstellar portals are, of course, closely guarded by the elves. Some say that they keep them hidden amidst the rings of a gas giant planet, concealed by a fog shroud spell and protected by elven ships along with more formidable defenses.