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DM Stephens Serpents Skull Campaign - Chp1:The Smugglers Shiv (Inactive)

Game Master terok

With the defeat of the dark Dryad and surviving many of the islands others challenges, the party is well on their way to becoming the Shiv's masters...only Ieana stands in their way...


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Azlanti luck...insight is a good change and you are right they need more lower level divination spells..."Azlanti Foresight"?

Yep, none of the comments bother me, trust me I would rather have onest feedback that tears the spells apart than hear "oh its fine" and they suck!

I did think the spell was a little strong which is why is was looking for ways to keep it but lower the power level a bit.

I had thought the effect on larger creatures was balanced by the fact that a huge creatures can usually get out of a DC 20 STR check pretty easily but it's worth addressing when fixing the spell.

Entangled: The character is ensnared. Being entangled impedes movement, but does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an immobile object or tethered by an opposing force. An entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –4 penalty to Dexterity. An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) or lose the spell.

The spell "entangle" basically affects all creatures in the area with this condition and even if you save you are still in difficult terrain and must get out by the end of your turn or face another save. It is a first level spell.
Mine you have to hit, it only effects one creature, and it is a 2nd level spell. That being said, it does need to be altered. The mechanics I was going for don't translate well into the spell of trying to target the spell on movement of combat so few thoughts to make the spell better:

1. Remove the to hit and just make it a close range spell.
2. Change the spell save effect. Remove the target arms stuff and it just glues people to the ground. Save becomes your DC not a flat DC 20.
3. Gain the entangled condition on a failed save. Make the save and you get -2 on attacks and half movement for one round as the glue wears off.
Creature can make a new save each round as a standard action to break free and remove the condition but still have the after effect.

Basically this becomes a debuff spell for one target. I guess the question is, is this good enough for someone to take it as a 2nd level spell? If not I need to improve it some more.


I like the Azlanti Luck spell; it looks reasonably balanced in my opinion, and gives a wizard a reasonable alternative for a low level buff for a group. It doesn't scale well into upper levels, which is appropriate and consistent with other first level spells.

I think AK's comments on the glue spell are pretty comprehensive and I wouldn't have anything to add there.

Sovereign Court

Male

I can't stress enough that the DC20 strength check is an odd mechanic (for a spell). I'm not looking at the spell right now but does it also allow an escape artist check to get out of it too? DC should be set by the spell and caster, not arbitrarily decided to be 20 :).

DM, I like 1, 2, and 3 all together :). I think it would still be ok as a level 2 spell with those changes. Entangle is very strong for its level, but its also not a fair comparison. Its a Druid/Ranger goodie.


With those changes, for level 2, I think it should give grappled instead of entangled. (Compare with web.) Now I'm picturing a great big glob of glue, not just a little globe.

Sovereign Court

Male

Web is something of a legacy spell and to be honest, I really dislike that it totally disregards CMD when applying grappled. Entangled with no movement possible is my preference.


Nim, here is your bonus feat from Sasha. I know it is pretty much precise strike...except it is better since they don't also have to take the feat. I think it is more in line with the combat focus you seem to be going for with your character.

Pack Hunter:

Due to your training with Sasha and her knowledge with Mantis tactics she has shown you new ways to harm and bring down you opponents.
When you are flanking with Sasha or Wic you deal an additional 1d6 points of precision damage with each successful melee attack. This bonus damage stacks with other sources of precision damage, such as sneak attack.
This bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit. You can only have two people at a time that you are trained with to fight as a pack hunter. You can replace either of both parts of your pack by training with that creature for 8 hours per day for 7 days.

Dark Archive

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

After reading my last post, I hope no one took it as being snarky. :)

I now seem to have missed most of the discussion anyhow... but am in general agreement with the assessment done so far.

Thank you for the feat... my only concern is the lengthy retraining time, specifically with regards to my animal companion. It is my expectation that Wicewakan will be "replaced" quite regularly, either through death or by story elements. Although you have had no way of knowing, I had not planned on keeping any of Nim's individual animal companions long term, releasing them frequently to take on another.

I am mostly concerned that finding a week's worth of 8 hour a day training sessions may be very hard to come by for some long stretches in the future. Alas, I have no idea if this concern is valid with regard to this AP. This also applies somewhat to Sasha to some degree, as being an NPC raises longevity concerns for her as well. ;)

Just my thoughts.


There will be plenty of opportunities for short periods of downtime to re-train with someone other than Sasha and Wic. If it becomes an issue we can look at it again.

Dark Archive

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Good enough for me! :)


DM, I updated Tragershen's memorized spells. Just FYI.

Currently Memorized:
Cantrips: Detect Magic, Presdigitation, Light, Disrupt Undead.
1st level spells: Mage Armor, Burning Hands, Sleep.


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

For the dagger - Anton might be interested?


It's not a small dagger unfortunately...


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Ah - that could put a dampener on his enthusiasm... maybe a few days with a whetstone could fix that? :P

Unless Nim wants it I'd suggest one of the casty types.


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

Aedalis doesn't do melee. Could Anton use it as a short sword? Its definitely a house rule but it is a logical one.


Male Human Magus 4(Bladebound)
Attacks:
Asilande +9(1d6+4/18-20x2), Dagger +6 (1d4+2/19-20x2), Longbw +7 (1d6/20x3)
Spellcasting:
CL 4 +6 melee, +6 ranged, Conc +9
Stats:
Init+3, Perc+2,AC19/14/15 HP 37,Frt+5,Will+4,Ref+4,Spd 30',CMB+5,CMD 19,Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10

Sorry been away a couple of days. Baby not sleeping well thus wife and I are not sleeping well. Those of you with wives may know how hard it is to get away to do posts when your wife is cranky.


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Sorry to hear Corbius - hang in there they do eventually start sleeping better.


If all of our medium sized combatants have a magic weapon to use, Tragershen can carry it for his hand of the apprentice ability. But if we hit a monster that is high DR/Magic, would Anton be better off using it with the size penalty?


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

Anton is in the middle of re-re-evaluating his abilities and how best to contribute. (Regardless, you probably won't see him use Power Attack again.) At this time, his primary interest in the dagger would be as a replacement for his trident.

If it's treated in his hands like the Medium dagger that it is, then he would have 1 less attack bonus than with his trident; but then it would also be useful for overcoming DR/slashing, so his mundane Small dagger would be relegated to whittling tool and hidden backup. Either way, it would still have the same average damage per hit as his trident (but with a higher minimum), while adding the ability to overcome DR/magic (which he has no other way of dealing with).

So basically, if anyone else wants it, it's theirs; if not, Anton will be happy for the modest upgrade.

Sovereign Court

Male

How come your trading out power attack?


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

Me and my big mouth! Now I have to explain.

A bunch of blather:
I initially envisioned Anton as a ranged specialist. (That's why the high Dex and the Swift as Shadows for sniping.) That bumped up against the harsh reality of a move action to reload a sling staff, short visibility in the dense jungle, no 5' steps, and having the best armor in the group.

Anton ended up using his reach weapon more than anything, and after Nora's death, I made the somewhat emotional decision to take the Two-Handed Weapon style. However, it has shown its limitations in the need to constantly step back to make use of the AoO potential, not being able to hit flyers, needing to close at his slow speed before hitting anything, having difficulty finishing faster opponents who simply walk away, and just not playing to his strengths.

I made a good case, and our DM has generously granted one absolutely, positively last and completely final change: his ranger combat style. I've been driving myself crazy with it actually. Ideally, I'd rather not even do it, if I could see how to make it work as-is.

Combat Reflexes and Stand Still seem like a good combo for a high-Dex front-liner... except for his low Str that would hurt the combat maneuvers, as it's hurting his attack rolls. And any animal companion tough enough to tank for him wouldn't be able to keep up with him stealthing in the jungle, which would irk me, due to thinking of them as virtually inseparable.

Anton also started out as a mounted character, before Clopper sank with the Jenivere. But now he has magic boots that make him one of the fastest things in the jungle (if he isn't wearing his breastplate, backpack, lucerne hammer, or javelins). Maybe someday he'll end up mounted again; but for now, he'd be better off just getting lighter armor once they get off this island, shuffling his gear around some, and letting his animal companion carry the backpack.

I could be wrong, but right now it looks to me like Archery is the choice that fits him the best. He's seen the importance of battlefield mobility, and I don't want to spend two feats just to load a sling staff as a free action -- not even one-handed and without provoking. Point-Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Weapon Focus (longbow) and Point-Blank Master by 6th look to me like they'd fit his front-line nature and lust for damage, while using his strengths instead of trying to shore up a (literal) weakness.

But seriously, I've been driving myself crazy with this. Now that I've spilled the beans, I wouldn't mind feedback, preferably spoilered (and gentle).

Sovereign Court

Male

Reply to a bunch of blather:

Just on the subject of the Sling Staff, a style I consider myself something of an expert on :). Its an absolutely brilliant weapon IMO, for several reasons-

1. Scaling strength. You get strength drained, you don't take a penalty to hit like you would with a composite longbow. You drink a potion of bull's strength or enlarge person, you can immediately use your higher strength (no messing around with a separate bow), same for rage.

2. The ammunition types available are cheap and allow for non-lethal damage as well as slashing damage (sharpstones).

3. The enhancements you place on it also apply when you use the weapon in melee (without the additional cost). Granted, its doing the damage of a club and with a poor threat range but essentially the versatility this grants means you rarely have to spend actions switching weapons and it makes you an ideal switch hitter- something rangers naturally excel at.

4. It takes a little feat investment, but using your switch hitting weapon in one hande while simultaneously wielding a shield in your other hand is hilarious at higher levels.

5. The Large Target feat makes your damage better than a composite longbow (take Big Game Hunter at mid-high levels too ;)) against a medium opponent and only gets better as you face larger opponents.

The only real two negatives is that you can't take Manyshot with it (although I don't see why you couldn't house rule that you can, your just putting more sling bullets in the cup at one time) and you can't get all the Ranger spells that focus on bows (Gravity Bow etc., although again an easy house rule, why would Halfling Rangers have not tailored the spell for their own unique weapon?).

It seems to me your problem would have been most easily dealt with by simply switching out Swift as Shadows and taking the Warslinger racial alternative. Theres never been an official yay or nay, but almost everyone applies it to a Sling Staff too. Paizo have been absolutely terrible and completely inconsistent in how they refer to slings in various feats, traits, etc.-

Warslinger

Halflings are experts at the use of the sling. Halflings with this racial trait can reload a sling as a free action. Reloading a sling still requires two hands and provokes attacks of opportunity.

This replaces the sure-footed racial trait.

And as your not relying on Sneak Attack damage, a high dex halfling should still easily be able to snipe with it if he so wished.

Tldr- I believe Halfling Sling Staff Ranger is better than Halfling Archer Ranger, although there are tradeoffs. Either way, take the Archery combat style.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

Blather to a bunch of reply:
Thank you!! I'm a huge fan of the sling staff too, for reasons 1-4, even though it's all theory for me so far. (In fact, it was my original plan for the character, which is why he has one.) I appreciate your feedback, and here's a few of my takeaways.

A. Swift as Shadows fits the character's other roles really well, and Warslinger would work poorly with Point-Blank Master because it provokes on reloading. And I think that's where he needs to be. Up front.

B. If he takes the sling reload feats first, then he wouldn't qualify for PBM in time and wouldn't get it all together until 10th. However, it would take until 9th the other way anyway, and it would just be frustrating to have Point-Blank Master (sling staff) without even Ammo Drop yet.

C. Anton won't get Ranger spells anyway, so there's no opportunity cost between longbow and sling staff in that regard. (A heavy sacrifice for what he got, but it made sense for the character.)

I'm still working on the order of which feats when, to make it work with a sling staff and be having fun with each feat at the time (instead of having to wait for it to pay off later). But I'm feeling a lot better now about the general choice, which is really just bringing it back to the original concept.

Sovereign Court

Male

Reply to Blather:

One of the perks for Ranger bonus feats is you don't need to meet any pre-requisites for them. This is usually used to get TWF on a low dex Ranger :P. The exception to this is actually Point Blank Master, which has a funny 'Special' pre-req.

Without taking Warslinger, a sling staff build is very, very painful. Swift as shadows is nice, but if you did want to go sling staff Warslinger was always the way to go. Halflings can afford the stealth penalties.

If it helps, I have a Halfling Ranger for a PbP. Hes performing extremely well with Warslinger trait, Rapid Shot, Large Target and Big Game hunter. I do plan on taking Ammo Drop and Juggle Load later, but only so he can reload one handed (and sport a heavy shield :P ). The fact Warslinger threatens is a very minor problem; if a 5 foot step doesn't solve it, I can always use the Sling Staff as a club instead :).

Belril Leokas

I actually find Point Blank Master a little redundant with a sling staff build, but I do enjoy whacking people with the staff a lot :P. If you want to purely focus on firing sling bullets, I suppose its a useful feat. Belril is also on the archery combat style.

Without spells, I definitely think the Sling Staff comes out on top.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

A clever title that somehow continues the theme without getting confusing:
That's an excellent point about the redundancy of taking Point-Blank Master when the ranged weapon is a whacking stick. Never mind!

Anton's focus is on his above- and below-ground scout roles, so the sling staff aspect is going to have to work around that. (Meaning possibly not being used; I'm back to the drawing board on the details.) Anyway, I really do appreciate your feedback very much. 8)


Updated the loot log. Who wants the ring of protection +1? Anton will pass, already having the best armor in the group.


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

I'll take it, only if no one else does though. Aedalis has no intention of being in melee or being targeted very often, so its far better on Anton or Nim.


Male Human 5th level Druid
Stats:
Init +1 Perception +11 AC 20 Tch 13 FF 19 HP 50 Fort+6(+7 vs disease) Ref+2 Will+7 Spd 20' CMB +8 CMD 21 Acro-2*Climb+6*Esc Art-2*Spellcraft+5 Stealth-2*Swim +6 ACP -2 (shield)

Nim could definitely use a bump to his atrociously low AC...


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

I agree. Also, let's give it up for our support characters! (Having played some, I know that they often don't get the recognition that they deserve.) Aedalis effectively did the most damage of anyone, by bumping up one of Anton's shots by 11; and Mihai both enabled Corbius to free himself, and cured the resulting damage (that would've been worse if he'd been pulled up farther). Well done and thank you!!


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Support characters: It's not just for Bards!

Thanks are not required, it is my duty to serve...

I think this is really Anton lobbying to make sure that he gets the Fortune hex next time as well ;)


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

Heh, as long as next time isn't today. Anton's had his share for today- can't use it on him again now.

Truthfully, Aedalis underperformed due to spell choices and the range the cave fisher was at. That and i'm very conservative by nature with low level casters. Glad Anton got a 20 out of fortune though.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3
Mihai Soarta wrote:
I think this is really Anton lobbying to make sure that he gets the Fortune hex next time as well ;)

I cannot lie, I wouldn't mind it. But I also have to admit that Nim is probably a better choice in most situations. :p

Dark Archive

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

I know that Nim climbing the rope was a good insurance plan for if Corb got reeled in all the way to the fisher... but I thought I should point out for future DMNPCs that Nim carries 4 spears for ranged attacks if needed. :)

Am I to add the ring to Nim then?


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

DM had Nim throw one spear.

Yup.

Dark Archive

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

I saw... just wasn't sure if he thought that was it for Nim's spears. :)

Ring added to Nim...


Yes, the range was perfectly outside of Tragershen's regular bag of tricks.

I have no objection to the ring going to Nim.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

I had no idea that Anton was so self-aware until that post wrote itself.

That reminds me: I've noticed the power of small, consistent habits before -- a little bit every day turns into a lot, just add time -- but I didn't put two and two together when I started PbPs. I always wanted to write stories, but didn't have the skill; and now I have found that writing a little bit every day is developing that skill a lot. I assume that's a common experience?

And now I need to figure out what to do with it...


FWIW, I looked up a few recipes first, and it's quite a bit more complicated IRL. At the very least, you'd cook the vegetables for 20-30 minutes first, and then another 5-10 after adding the crab. Of course, Anton is a halfling, sitting with a bunch of magicians in a birdman's shack, which is the carapace of an enormous crab. So, I've just been having it all cook at the speed of plot.

Sovereign Court

Male

Is the Advanced Race Guide going to be an allowed source? Will any retcons be allowed?

Not necessarily wanting any. Just want an FYI request.


Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:

Is the Advanced Race Guide going to be an allowed source? Will any retcons be allowed?

Not necessarily wanting any. Just want an FYI request.

I don't have a copy so I would prefer not to use it unless someone dies and then comes back as a different character and I have had a chance to review it.


It's actually a pretty cool book; and the core classes have new favored class options, feats, magic items, and spells that wouldn't even require any retcons. (Nothing that immediately appeals to me for Anton, though.) I recommend at least the PDF.


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

The Stonelord Paladin archetype for dwarves is a highlight for me. Goes a long way to making a Charisma poor race a decent Paladin.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

Not the greatest tactician. Could really use some feedback (or pushback) if it's a bad plan.


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Latest plan is fairly consistent with the imminent peril of sacrifice... I'm cool with it.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

Cool. The only alternative that I can see is basically the same thing, except that we all go up the center and you call for help if you need it.

That might actually be a more optimal plan, but it would take someone else to champion it, since Anton would want to protect the squishies.


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

We didn't honestly have enough information to make a decent plan and besides, its not a great idea (IMO), to split this party with our group makeup.

We'll improvise :)


Take out the bad guys, rescue the good guys and get the girl. If that plan is good enough for nearly every action movie for the last fifty years, it is good enough for us! :)

Sovereign Court

Male

What was the end ruling on interaction between Fortune and Bit of Luck?


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5
DM Stephen wrote:

As far as stacking I am going to allow that as well for the time being with the right to change my mind. They are two different abilities and as Alex has mentioned, Bit of Luck seems to be a little more powerful than Fortune anyways. Here is how it should be laid out.

You have been given Bit of luck by Mihai as well as Fortune by Aedalis. You know you will be rolling 2 d'20's for each roll. You are hit by a Slay Living spell (please expect this quite often).
You choose to use Fortune on this roll as well. You get the Regular roll, followed by the Bit of luck added d20, followed by the Fortune roll. It is still a crap shoot somewhat, but you get 3 rolls taking the best of the three. Thanks!

Repeated ruling for clarity - stacking to give best of three rolls on the roll chosen for Fortune.


It's July 4th tomorrow so I probably won't be around to post since I am running a 10K in the morning then celebrating life with family and beer for the next 12 hours after that....


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

+14 to concentration! Yikes!

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