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Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month November 2022: The Curse of the Crimson Throne

“Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten.” Thus, will you read as you enter the kingdom of this Pathfinder campaign set in the frontier land of Varisia. The inns are plentiful, the adventurers bold. GM Mogo‘s frontier city of Korvosa is both resplendent and magnificent, but a dark secret hovers over its royal bloodline, with many of the citizens whispering in hushed tones of what they have come to call The Curse of the Crimson Throne.

First off, feel free to tell us about the person behind the GM screen. Where are you from? What do you do aside from gaming?

Mogo: Well I’m Mogo and I’m from Indianapolis, IN I’ve been GMing for 16 years now, outside of gaming I do IT work for clinical research. I’ve been playing tabletop rpgs since I was 12 and in college I slowly became the forever GM for my friends. I don’t mind the title or role, I love weaving stories together and ensuring everyone is having fun.


Tell us about your version of “Curse of the Crimson Throne”. The Campaign is a well-known Pathfinder Adventure Path, but how much does your campaign stick to the structure of the book and how much is your own home brew? Also, what made you choose a Pathfinder campaign in the first place?

Mogo: That’s the great thing about Pathfinder 1e’s campaigns, there’s a lot of space to expand and fill in with your own content. For the overall plot/story I’m probably around 70/30 on keeping to the books and my own material with where we are now (Book 2). That’s going to be subject to change depending on the decisions and actions of my players. I figure that by the end it’ll be around 50/50 – a lot of being additions to the story but I do have a few BIG changes planned for the plot.

I’ve been running Pathfinder 1e since its beta days and my friends I are all still in love with the system. I’ve run and am running several other campaigns but Crimson Throne has always been on my list to run. It’s definitely one of the best ever published by Paizo, it gives you such a rich setting that can be made to feel so alive.


How regularly do you play, and where do you play? Tell us about your current group of players.


Mogo: We play once a month in person at my place. I’ve basically turned it into a nerd’s dream space for gaming within my size and budget limits. Our sessions are usually around 7 to 8 hours with a break for dinner – often times we pitch in and/or get some sort of meal that fits the theme setting of the current session. Recently they were at a cattle ranch and one my amazing players fixed a giant barbecue feast!

Speaking of my players I have four regular members and two who drop in when they can:

Sarcy plays Dagi and Taice – they’re our group’s resident artist. All of the original art on our site is their work; they’ve also helped me with making props, maps, and painted miniatures. This is their first ttrpg and they’ve really gone all out using it as a creative outlet, even as far as making amazing themed meals for several sessions.

Konquerer plays Estha and Jaier – he’s probably our most experienced player and has been my best friend since grade school, he’s been one of most prodigious writers and has been creating an amazing amount of short story content to fill in the background of our world.

Rob plays Aventus “Pip” Thorne, and Darby Goodbrew – Rob is the king of puns and bad jokes. His writings and roleplay are often a trap for me as at times they’re powerful and compelling then suddenly blindside with a joke that can leave the whole table laughing.

Jake plays Volturio Sura and Floriano Bellucci – I sometimes suspect he thinks he’s the hero of the story. (I’m kidding! …mostly) He’s also contributed write ups for the story and his penchant for accents (good and bad) crack us up and keep us immersed in the story.

There is a lot of great artwork in your campaign. Although some of it seems to be drawn from lore on the internet, much of it seems to be original. Who is responsible for this and how integral is this original artwork to your campaign?

Mogo: There is a lot of internet inspired lore but all of the original art is from our resident artist Sarcy. Their art draws us all deeper into the game and gives it a feeling of being alive/real that’s hard to fully put into words. Any art you see in the adventure logs from them and are considered part of the official canon for how our world looks. Their comics are drawn straight from the shenanigans of our group (often using the actual facial expressions of the players as guides for how to draw their characters.) In addition to the “canon art” they also make a lot of funny/meme humor art for us – I think at this point there’s over a hundred pieces. We’re lucky to have them in our group. (They’re open for commission as well if people are interested: [email protected])


Your campaign seems very much focused on the trading city of Korvosa and the wiki shows great detail of this. There is a particularly wide range of Inns, Taverns and Shops described. How important are these in your roleplaying? Do you have any great “tavern tales” or “role play moments” to share with us?

Mogo: Oh lord, where to start? The Inns and Taverns and Shopping in Korvosa come up quite a bit. I’ve tried to make Korvosa as “alive” as possible instead of just a flat background. The players are all currently residents of Tenna’s though one of the best tavern tales happened at a place called Bard’s End. There is an adventure log of it on our portal but to tell it in short I had let them all know at the start of the game that they should probably think up a name for there group as word is going to get around the city about their exploits.

If they didn’t want a name to be given to them by one of the newpapers they best think of it themselves. They had been debating for over a year with no clear decision when one of them took it into his own hands. Rob/Pip took advantage of an award ceremony following a jousting contest he had won to announce to the world that that they are the Wyldcats. We’re three or four games down the road from it and I don’t think anyone has forgiven him for it though the laughs and jokes about it are flying back and forth – no hard feelings in the real world but in game I think he’s lucky they didn’t lock him in a trunk for it.

Sarcy: Probably Dagi’s best tavern tale was winning a city wide drinking contest against a duergar black smith at Bard’s End during the end of our infamous “festival episode”.

Jake: One that really stands out to me is at the start of book 2 when the party escorted Trinia out of town to safety – something about a group of friends on a long roadtrip together in the form of a wagon ride, lots of idle time spent chatting, playing cards games in the back, trading off between driving the cart, hanging out in back and bonding really paints a vivid picture. The fact that to some (Volturio in particular!) it’s a super fun roadtrip vacation and to others (Pip especially!) it’s a cloak-and-dagger smuggling of Korvosa’s Most Wanted in direct defiance of the law of the city really adds depth and dimension to the experience. Sarcy’s comic really sums it up well!


Who is responsible for your campaign WIKI design? Can you share any useful “design tips” with other OP members?

Mogo: I build and maintain the wiki; I spent about two months before our game started building the obsidian portal website. The forums and various guides were a huge help, the community overall was fantastic in providing support and advice on building everything – I’m still learning new tricks all the time. Tags and hyperlinks are super useful. The biggest help for a GM has been the ability to have a GM secret for each entry as well as whispers for when I want to secretly share something out to a specific player or if they want to give me a little bit of secret intel.

Some of the other great tricks for me have been the ability to embed images, pdf’s, and expanding drop downs of information. Check out my front page and house rules sections for some of my favorite organizations:

Main Page
House Rules

Something else we really like even if the edges are rough is the items tab, it’s been super useful!

The Adventure Logs in your campaign are very rich and very varied, and all seem to have good involvement from your players. How important are the Adventure Logs to your campaign?

Mogo: The Adventure Logs were actually the entire reason we started using Obsidian Portal. We wanted a shared space where I could prep everything and to which everyone could add their own notes/content. They’re absolutely vital, I use the GM sections to write out my notes pre and post-game, we go back to check on previous events and I love that I can set them to GM only and use them to plan ahead. They’re a life saver for a GM with a knack for frying hard drives and/or losing his notes.


There is also some great Art and Cartoon work in the Adventure Logs? Who does this? How much time is spent on it? Both the art and the writing seem like great fun, do you discuss it in during your gaming sessions?

Mogo: Like I said all the original art is from Sarcy – have I mentioned lately how amazing they are? The art comes up all the time in games as reference, commentary or sometimes all of us just fanboying over it. We’ve been known to group text each other when Sarcy posts something new.

How long have you been using Obsidian Portal? What brought you to the site and what keeps bringing you back?

Mogo: I’ve been using Obsidian Portal for about 5 years now. I first learned of the site through a couple friends after a fiasco with One Drive and a dead laptop lead to a massive loss in content I’d been writing for multiple campaigns. This site is such a fantastic mashup of a blog and wiki data base for games which can be used as heavily or lightly as you like. It’s been a life saver for me in helping me keep track of logs for games and keeping all my notes together and linked to each other with tags and hyperlinks. As the world’s unluckiest gm when it comes to hard drives you’ve no idea how grateful I am for it. I have four campaigns on here as well as a space I’ve made just for one-shot modules.


If you had to pick just one thing, what would you say Obsidian Portal helps you with the most?

Mogo: For me, the biggest thing is keeping my notes in organized and in one place. As a forever gm who’s always running at least three campaigns at once it’s been a life saver.

Sarcy: As a player my favorite part about having OP is having a place to put my Character information, we can do Adventure logs, secrets, planning of our own, and having reference to SO MANY things in the campaign for whenever the creative mood strikes is amazing, all in one well organized place.

Jake: My favorite feature of the OP site is with the adventure logs – there each of the players and DM can add the vignettes, background stories, details of things we don’t necessarily see during the sessions and so on. When the game only takes place once per month, having someone in the group post something every week or so really helps keep the game fresh and interesting to where everybody’s super excited once it’s time to get back to the table.


What would you say is the biggest highlight of your game so far?

Mogo: Do I have to pick just one? I think the thing I’m proudest of is my in world newsletters that I write up, post, and print out for my players. They always insist on starting the game by having Jake read them aloud in character. But the biggest highlight for me has got to be Sarcy’s poster they made to commemorate our 1 year of gaming together. It’s not often the GM gets to be in the artwork and depicted how he sees himself.

Newsletter Link!


Sarcy: There has been so many! I absolutely have a couple favorite sessions but what I really enjoy are moments when I get sucked into the story and forget I’m just rolling dice at the table. There was a session where Dagi’s love interest was threatened and the panic and blind rage I felt was really a testament to Mogo’s story telling. The second time was the panic and fear when the big bad from Dagi’s past came back as a ghoul and nearly did her in. I visibly paled when I saw the pawn go out on the table.

Jake: The daily ritual where the group settles around the breakfast table and Volturio reads out the two newspapers while they all hold their breath with dread or excitement to see what kind of shenanigans ended up with good exposure, bad exposure or if they managed to skirt beneath the radar. One thing particularly strong about this campaign taking place mostly in the same city is that we get to see direct consequences of the things the party does – relationships with NPCs build and grow out into depth and nuance you don’t normally get with adventures that just go from set point to set point and just return to a home base briefly between books.

Okay, as a last question, we always ask for the GM’s “pearls of wisdom”. What GM insights can you offer the community this month?

Mogo: I’ll pass on the best lesson I ever learned from the GM’s who taught me:

“Make the players feel like they’re the heroes of the story.”


It’s such a simple thing but it can often be overlooked.

Remember as the GM your biggest responsibility is to ensure everyone at your table (including you) is having fun. We’re playing that’s the whole point. Sure you can write up gut wrenching emotional scenes, create horrible, enraging villains but at the end of all of it the point of this whole hobby is to have fun. Check in with your players and with yourself now and then to make sure it is, you’ll thank yourselves later.

That’s all for this month folks! Don’t forget to head on over the the OP forums to nominate your favorite campaigns for our next Campaign of the Month!

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