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Magnimar Special Investigations Unit One (Inactive)

Game Master Nazard

A serial police drama set in Magnimar - unit One.


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Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

Thanks guys!

I'm all caught up in my reading of the in-character thread now - amazing stuff all round.

Quote:
Wonder if your hawk and my owl will get along?

Depends... are Harry Potter jokes allowed? ;)

By the way, is the owl a male or a female (I wouldn't want to insult the bird when we do meet up)?


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

Nazard: I've updated Garidan with his prestige stuff and stats for his hawk Zova. I think that's everything now, but let me know if I've missed anything.

Megan: whilst copying and pasting Tylluan's stat block off your sheet as a basis for doing Zova's ('cos I'm lazy like that...) I noticed you seem to have shortchanged your owl buddy in a couple of places: I think he should be a magical beast with an Int of 6, as well as the same ranks as Calatin in any skills Calatin has ranks in (as well as his normal owl skill ranks from page 132 of the Bestiary), and a fly speed of 60ft. Just thought I'd let you know. ;)

EDIT: oh, and Nazard - I don't seem to have access to the google site (although all that's a bit new to me, so I guess I may be doing something wrong - I created a google account and all that stuff, but no access yet - any advice?).


Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:


EDIT: oh, and Nazard - I don't seem to have access to the google site (although all that's a bit new to me, so I guess I may be doing something wrong - I created a google account and all that stuff, but no access yet - any advice?).

Yeah...kick me in my lazy butt to get you added!! I totally forgot, and will hopefully get you added tonight. Sorry about that. Post your gmail address, since it works better with the site than non-gmail ones.


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2
Nazard wrote:
Yeah...kick me in my lazy butt to get you added!! I totally forgot, and will hopefully get you added tonight. Sorry about that. Post your gmail address, since it works better with the site than non-gmail ones.

No problems - I was just worried I was being all computer-illiterate and doing something wrong! I've not got a gmail address, but I guess I can look into it if my normal e-mail address doesn't work...


Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:
Nazard wrote:
Yeah...kick me in my lazy butt to get you added!! I totally forgot, and will hopefully get you added tonight. Sorry about that. Post your gmail address, since it works better with the site than non-gmail ones.
No problems - I was just worried I was being all computer-illiterate and doing something wrong! I've not got a gmail address, but I guess I can look into it if my normal e-mail address doesn't work...

Mine's not a gmail address, just associated with my Google account, and it works okay.


Auriel, the party starts at seven, but if she heads to bed now, she can get enough sleep to recover her spells.


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

I can access the site fine now, cheers Nazard! :)


Nazard wrote:
I guess folks are waiting for Markiv to take the lead...

Kill him off bloodily. That'll learn us. :)


So I've been thinking over some of the social interaction stuff. For a lot of these NPCs you've been encountering, there are specific consequences written into the adventure depending on your Diplomacy results during your initial or subsequent meetings. I figure there are two ways of going about getting these results.

Option one: I could ask you for a Diplomacy check anytie one of these NPCs comes on the scene. This is problematic, as it alerts you folks to the fact that this is an important NPC, and asking you for the rolls for every NPC just to obfuscate the important ones will really bog down game play (even in a live game, that would bog things down).

Option two: whenever you engage socially with an NPC you can choose to make a Diplomacy (or Intimidate, if you prefer) check as a matter of course during your first post with that NPC and I'll use the results when needed. If you don't make a dedicated Diplomacy check, I'll assume you've taken 10.

Thoughts?


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

You could just make the rolls for us, in secret... of course that's a bit more work for you (keeping track of everyone's Skills and all that), but it's an option.


I like option 2 personally.


I like the opportunity to take 10 on Diplomacy, just so we don't roll a 1 and make people not like us unnecessarily. If we feel like an NPC, and thus a Diplomacy roll is important, we can take the risk of rolling it ourselves. I'm assuming we can still make a better effort at influencing someone who turns out to be more important than we expect by making a purposeful Diplomacy roll later if we've let it slide by taking 10. So, yeah, a long way of saying option 2.

Shadow Lodge

I like option 2.


What's diplomacy?

Whatever you think best Nazard. I don't mind posting provisional rolls.


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

I'll do what I'm told...

... because I don't normally use dice for things I can role-play. As a DM, I sometimes make a roll to help me decide on my NPCs' response to what a character says to him, but in general I keep die-rolling for the things that have to be simulated, like combat, lock-opening and the like.

Happy to roll as directed, though, if that's what Nazard wants.

Meanwhile, what are we going to do about this enjoiner doo-dad?

How long would it take to knock up a fake? Then switch out the real one under the nose of the Lord's henchman, and take it off somewhere more secure than a mansion that's hosting a big bash. Or do I just sit here all night clutching it whilst you beat off the Bad Guy?


Calatin ab'Halla wrote:

I'll do what I'm told...

... because I don't normally use dice for things I can role-play. As a DM, I sometimes make a roll to help me decide on my NPCs' response to what a character says to him, but in general I keep die-rolling for the things that have to be simulated, like combat, lock-opening and the like.

Happy to roll as directed, though, if that's what Nazard wants.

Meanwhile, what are we going to do about this enjoiner doo-dad?

How long would it take to knock up a fake? Then switch out the real one under the nose of the Lord's henchman, and take it off somewhere more secure than a mansion that's hosting a big bash. Or do I just sit here all night clutching it whilst you beat off the Bad Guy?

It would probably depend on whether or not you could find a helpful jeweler in time to assist you in creating the fake.

I tend to prefer role-playing to die-rolling too for social situations, but on the other hand, doing so unfairly penalizes the players who choose to specialize their characters in social skills. Also, finding information in a suspect/witness' brain is akin to finding a clue in garbage dumpster, but we still use Perception for that.


Nazard wrote:


I tend to prefer role-playing to die-rolling too for social situations, but on the other hand, doing so unfairly penalizes the players who choose to specialize their characters in social skills. Also, finding information in a suspect/witness' brain is akin to finding a clue in garbage dumpster, but we still use Perception for that.

If there's a mechanic for determining the success of a social encounter (which there now is), it ought to be used or else Charisma reverts to the dump stat it was in 2e. We don't let the skill and detail with which someone describes their attack roll determine whether or not the attack hits and how much damage it does.

I'm in favor of circumstance bonuses and penalties for Diplomacy and Bluff rolls, but to put it entirely in the realm of "the DM decides how well you spoke" only means that the PCs of people who write (or speak, in a face-to-face game) well are better at Diplomacy than PCs played by people who don't, no matter what their stats are.


While I understand where Megan's coming from, I have to agree with Joana. When 3rd Edition first came out, it took me a little while to adjust to the presence of a Diplomacy skill, as I really enjoy role-playing such situations, and the first thing I thought of was the one down-side to using a skill check: Some people will use the skill check in lieu of roleplaying. I have encountered the following type of situation:

Player: I talk nice to the king. [Rolls Diplomacy check.] Twenty-five! Does he agree to help us?

However, I soon came to realize that downside is minor compared to the benefits of having the skill exist. Without the skill, it was far too easy for naturally charismatic players to dump their Charisma scores and still have their characters talk and behave as if they were highly charismatic. Also, players who weren't particularly charismatic themselves could role-play their socks off but never manage to achieve what their high-Charisma characters should have been able to achieve just because they're not good with words. Alas, I saw these things happen all the time in the days of 1st and 2nd Edition. I'm even ashamed nowadays to admit that I let them happen at the time. It created a situation that was incredibly unfair to people who just aren't good with words. If the fat, lazy slob can play a fit, dextrous character, why can't the socially awkward person play a charismatic one? Providing a skill check that affects social situations provides a way to resolve the issue that is fair to everyone.

As for the downside of the skill check...well, I see it far less often than I saw the problems of not having the skill check and the way to handle the above situation is as follows:

DM: Twenty-five is a great roll, but if you don't actually say something, the king can't respond. So what do you say to him?

You can then role-play the situation out. If the player doesn't give a very awe-inspiring speech, it doesn't matter. You can say the character said the same meaning but used better words. It allows the fun of role-playing while keeping the fairness of the mechanical die-roll.

Andoran

Female Depemds on the game system (human in the real world)

Good points... I guess it really depends on how much you let the mechanics influence your role-playing. I tend to keep 'formal' die-rolling to those occasions when we need to discover the outcome of something that we have to simulate... even in a tabletop game I'm not usually going to provide a dumpster for you to investigate, so Perception checks are in order; while of course spell-casting, brawling, wall-climbing, etc. are better simulated than acted out.

That said, I see what you mean about the way that you 'build' your character, but at the most any rolls you choose to make are an adjunct to role-play, not a replacement for it. As a DM, I know who has put effort into developing Charisma and Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate and the like, and use that to modify any rolls I make 'behind the screen' to determine how the NPC they are interacting with responds. If players choose to make a roll, that will be taken into account as well. Actually interrupting them to ask for one tends to spoil the moment, or it does for me... but I am given to more abstraction of the mechanics than many.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Stafford mansion guys. A thought, if Nazard OKs you reading this:

Spoiler:
Someone needs to protect the enjoiner fragment. Someone needs to protect the building foundation. Hopefully you can push foundation duty onto Stafford's guards.


Taverson has already arranged for Stafford's guards to watch the foundations, as well as guard the guests.


Haven't looked at the map yet, as Auriel's snoozing through all this, but is there a basement? If so, will the Stafford guards be watching from in there or outside, or both?


I'm not finding the map to Stafford's house on the site. I know you've linked to it from the game thread, but is it not on the website?

EDIT: Ah, never mind. There it is on the Battlemaps subpage.

EDIT again: The daughter, Lady Bessa, doesn't have a room?


Joana wrote:

I'm not finding the map to Stafford's house on the site. I know you've linked to it from the game thread, but is it not on the website?

EDIT: Ah, never mind. There it is on the Battlemaps subpage.

EDIT again: The daughter, Lady Bessa, doesn't have a room?

She would. Let's say it's the room off the sculpture gallery. Don't know how I could have missed that. Her older brother has his own townhouse in the city, but she would still have a room. I grabbed that map from somewhere, and it's far from ideal. I can never design decent manor houses on my own.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

We have a lot to talk about strategy-wise. Faster to do it out of character, or would we rather roleplay it?


therealthom wrote:
We have a lot to talk about strategy-wise. Faster to do it out of character, or would we rather roleplay it?

I would rather see it done in character, even though it would be faster out, as I feel it's an important element of the party's growth. At the moment, this group is the most disparate, uncommunicative "adventuring party" I've ever encountered! :D

We just have to get Auriel and Garidan back upstairs. Perhaps we can ret-con in a request to Garidan to find Auriel and bring her back upstairs for a pow-wow!


Well, if Auriel succeeds in getting that stained uniform, she's headed back upstairs to Calatin anyway to have it cleaned so she can change into it. :)


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Nazard wrote:
therealthom wrote:
We have a lot to talk about strategy-wise. Faster to do it out of character, or would we rather roleplay it?

I would rather see it done in character, even though it would be faster out, as I feel it's an important element of the party's growth. At the moment, this group is the most disparate, uncommunicative "adventuring party" I've ever encountered! :D

We just have to get Auriel and Garidan back upstairs. Perhaps we can ret-con in a request to Garidan to find Auriel and bring her back upstairs for a pow-wow!

I think we're uncommunicative because we're all working hard at playing the character concepts and not jumping into feel-good instant best-friends relationships. I think it will work out in the long run. We would probably integrate faster if we had a leader.

Maybe a meta-game conversation about who's going to be leader is in order. Or Percival could appoint an acting leader once a week until we see who makes the best one.

Short term, even though it doesn't help get us all in one place -- Garidan's animal interviews are a good recon of the area. I like Auriel's plan to mix in with the guests.

Tangent: Sending could be the most useful spell ever for us.


I love how organically things are evolving, don't get me wrong, the game is working out great. With the CSI Absalom game, the GM basically put one character in charge, which I didn't want to do. If I had to guess, I'd say Heward would make the best leader (once he gets some confidence built up), or, oddly enough, Garidan, once he meshes in with the group better and presumably joins the team - one thing I can't stand with some serial police dramas on TV is the "liason" trope, where the character is part of the team, but isn't.


I love how organically things are evolving, don't get me wrong, the game is working out great. With the CSI Absalom game, the GM basically put one character in charge, which I didn't want to do. If I had to guess, I'd say Heward would make the best leader (once he gets some confidence built up), or, oddly enough, Garidan, once he meshes in with the group better and presumably joins the team - one thing I can't stand with some serial police dramas on TV is the "liason" trope, where the character is part of the team, but isn't.

I've been considering introducing a magic item that allows communication between party members, but I want to avoid the magic item as technology pitfall (ie cell phones) as being fairly cheesy.


I feel sorry for Heward if he ever gets put in charge. Auriel would never give up trying to undermine him.

Auriel isn't a fan of authority in any form, but Garidan would probably be able to deal with her better than Heward, as he's more likely to let her insubordination roll off his back.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Markiv might have been the man, but he's gone missing. Calatin could have a shot, in a Nero Wolfe sort of way. As played so far, Garadin seems to have the best mix of talents for the job. Heward and maybe Awgin make sense from Percival's point of view. Heward especially would be loyal and protective of the Watch.

As for Auriel, just wait. Once Heward pulls her skinny butt out of a couple jams, she'll see his real worth. Or vice versa.

Nazard, you're right about the cell phone thing. It could get out of hand or old. Sir Jack Bauer in Four and a Score.

Shadow Lodge

Awgin is not a leader. He would be a good right hand man and general thug, but not a leader. He has no desire to lead.

Andoran

Female Depemds on the game system (human in the real world)

If you are after a not-completely-cheesy communications device, might I recommend a ioun stone? There's one in 30 Ioun Stones from Rite Publishing that would fit the bill:

"Powder Blue Sphere Ioun Stone
"Aura strong enchantment and transmutation; CL 12th Slot —; Price 10,000 gp; Weight —
"Description Infused with the willing spirit of a dying animal, this ioun stone forms a unique bond with its owner and those, within 1,000’, who are designated by its owner. Acting as a relay messenger, this ioun stone moves from owner to designated party and imparts a spoken message of up to 140 words. Once completed, this ioun stone may be sent to the next party with the message, a new message, or back to the owner with a reply. Any new message or reply removes the old message from the ioun stone. This ioun stone does not fly between targets, but instead appears in orbit of them."

Else one of my players in a game I am running has a neat trick with message spells, he acts as a communications hub when the party splits up.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Megan Robertson wrote:

If you are after a not-completely-cheesy communications device, might I recommend a ioun stone? There's one in 30 Ioun Stones from Rite Publishing that would fit the bill:

"Powder Blue Sphere Ioun Stone
"Aura strong enchantment and transmutation; CL 12th Slot —; Price 10,000 gp; Weight —
"Description Infused with the willing spirit of a dying animal, this ioun stone forms a unique bond with its owner and those, within 1,000’, who are designated by its owner. Acting as a relay messenger, this ioun stone moves from owner to designated party and imparts a spoken message of up to 140 words. Once completed, this ioun stone may be sent to the next party with the message, a new message, or back to the owner with a reply. Any new message or reply removes the old message from the ioun stone. This ioun stone does not fly between targets, but instead appears in orbit of them."

Else one of my players in a game I am running has a neat trick with message spells, he acts as a communications hub when the party splits up.

Willing spirit of a dying animal? What animal would be willing? Only one smart enough to know the benefits to its master .....

10,000 gp is a lot of cash. Maybe someday.

The communications hub idea is a good idea, but one of the casters has to be willing and there won't be enough spell slots until higher levels.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Dax Thura wrote:
Awgin is not a leader. He would be a good right hand man and general thug, but not a leader. He has no desire to lead.

Heward would want it, but he's still pretty green. He'd back up any choice made by party consensus or Percival.


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

LOL! I've tried hard to make Garidan not act like a leader, more an advisor! In any case, it'd be really weird for the newcomer Shoanti to wind up leading the team, and I don't think it's the sort of thing he'd want to do either.

My vote would be for Heward - he's a 'career' Watchman after all, and seems like the type who'd put in the required effort (hey someone has to get all that paperwork filed, right? ;) ).


What paperwork? Or you mean all that trash on his desk was important? Auriel used it to help start a fire. ;)


Laya's a bit too scatterbrained to be the leader and doesn't really have the inclination for it. However, she has been taking a slightly more directorial role recently simply because no one else is! :)

I agree that Heward is probably the best choice, even though Auriel won't like it much.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

I can completely see Laya kicking everyone's butt into line.


No offense, but shouldn't Garidan have had to make a Diplomacy check to get the non-familiar animals to be so forthcoming? Or did you roll it for him? Seems like the little lapdog ought to be as stuck-up as Her Ladyship. :)

If he can just walk around like a Disney princess and get all the woodland creatures working for the watch, the case ought to be closed pretty quickly. We have to make Diplomacy checks to get people to be friendly to helpful, after all.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure how one improves the attitude of an animal. Diplomacy specifically calls out that it can't be used on creatures with Int less than 3, Handle Animal is only used to teach animals tricks, and only druids get wild empathy. But the Speak with Animals spell that Feral Speech refers to specifies that it alone isn't enough to improve the animal's attitude beyond indifferent.

Feral Speech (Su):
This hex grants the witch the ability to speak with and understand the response of any animal as if using speak with animals, though each time she uses the hex, she must decide to communicate with either amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, or reptiles, and can only speak to and understand animals of that type. The witch can make herself understood as far as her voice carries. This hex does not predispose any animal so addressed toward the witch in any way. At 12th level, the witch can use this hex to communicate with vermin.

Speak with Animals:
You can ask questions of and receive answers from animals, but the spell doesn't make them any more friendly than normal. Wary and cunning animals are likely to be terse and evasive, while the more stupid ones make inane comments. If an animal is friendly toward you, it may do some favor or service for you.

Wild Empathy (Ex):
A druid can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person (see Using Skills). The druid rolls 1d20 and adds her druid level and her Charisma modifier to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.

To use wild empathy, the druid and the animal must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

A druid can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she takes a –4 penalty on the check.


And nothing says that by the time Garidan walked upstairs, the little critters with their 1 Intelligences hadn't already forgotten that they were supposed to be on the lookout for an invisible attacker and gone back to licking their privates, either. ;)


Well, knowing nothing of the matter, Auriel will take Garidan's word for it that the animals have the whole keeping-watch thing covered and not bother trying to communicate with the upstairs. We have cats for that. ;)

Andoran

Female Depemds on the game system (human in the real world)

If you are good with animals, a handbag dog can be as friendly as any other... although I have been known to distract police tracker dogs by my mere presence, they'd rather lick my nose than put their own to the scent they are supposed to be following :)


Domestic animals start at indifferent, although I imagine giving a dog a treat would provide you a pretty hefty circumstance bonus, if you can use Diplomacy. Cats, on the other hand, are far less easily impressed. :)

The problem as I see it, is that there is no mechanic given by RAW for improving the attitude of an animal except Wild Empathy. That is, there is no measure of "good with animals" unless you're a druid. Any PC can claim to be "good with animals" despite their Charisma score or Diplomacy ranks. It's like a PC with a 10 Cha and no ranks in Diplomacy saying, "Well, people just like me; I'm a likeable guy." You'd think Handle Animal should fit this, but it doesn't; it just means you can make an animal do tricks, either because you're "good with animals" or because you're ruthless and terrify the animal into it.

I think they ought to put a line into the speak with animals spell that allows the use of the Diplomacy skill while the spell is active or add something to Handle Animal that allows you to improve an animal's starting attitude. Otherwise, unless you're a druid, you can speak with animals but can never convince them to do anything for you, which makes this spell much more useful for druids than for any other class.


Nazard wrote:

Everyone - Downstairs Millis Manor - District A - 18h45

So, Auriel is positioning herself in the kitchens, nicely disguised as a server. What are the rest of you doing? I know Calatin the (exceptionally) squishy wizard is holding onto the fragment for the big bad villain who can summon nasty monsters at the back of the group to come after, or are you going to entrust the enjoiner to a familiar with the ability to fly?

Edit: ninja'd by only 27 minutes. Am I good or what? So we have Laya and Calatin in the library itself, with one person outside the room. That leaves three others to account for.

We need at least one of the guys who hit hard with Calatin to defend him. If we suspect Mikobar won't enter the house itself but wait outside for his eidolon to bring him the fragment (a smart move, considering he intends to knock the building down), we ought also to put at least one of the melee guys outside, watching for hiding places someone can see the balcony from. Heward, Awgin, and Markiv are all pretty formidable in battle; just depends on how we want to split them up. If we can knock Mikobar out, the snake ought to disappear as well, whereas killing the snake does nothing to either the eidolon or the summoner, so if we suspect Mikobar to stay outside, maybe we ought to put 2 PCs in the yard and only leave 1 with Laya and Calatin.

Qadira

Joana wrote:
No offense...

Oh boy... that start is never a good indicator... ;)

Joana wrote:
If he can just walk around like a Disney princess...

Disney Princess? I wish! Those gals all took a level or two in badass a few years back - no hulking barbarian could ever compete! Jasmin alone is, what, a level 20 Ninja or something? ;)

No, but seriously, I know what the hex can and can't do, and I've no reason to suspect that Nazard doesn't know as well. At no point has Garidan tried anything other than basically just chatting to the animals. If a friendly chat requires rolls or not, then that's Nazard's call, and I imagine he'd either ask for 'em or roll 'em himself if they were required. On the other hand, since Garidan's whole Doctor Dolittle bit was handled in a brief OOC sentance or two, I suspect that you've not got anything to worry about as far as the whole 'Shoanti's animal communication superpowers stealing the show' bit goes... ;)

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that, despite appearances, Garidan has the lowest Hit Points in the group, so as soon as a fight starts you'll probably be rid of him for good...


Sorry, Megan; I'm an idiot. Was just updating Auriel's character sheet and realized that she can cast prestidigitation. Next time, Calatin can just tell her to do it her own self. :P


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

I may be exceptionally squishy, but I am far too polite to refuse a lady's request for aid...


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Surprise business trip keeping me offline yesterday and today.

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