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RPG Superstar 2015

Magnimar Special Investigations Unit One (Inactive)

Game Master Nazard

A serial police drama set in Magnimar - unit One.


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therealthom wrote:

Hey, Auriel picks up random guys for one night stands. Surely someone taught her how to use a whip?

:-)

See, and now we're back to Calistria territory. ;)

Honestly, I think Golarion itself is part of the problem. If the whip weren't so solidly tied to the goddess of lust, I don't know that I'd have the same view of it, but living in a society where it's most visibly the favored weapon of the goddess of lust and whorehouses really flavors my perception of PCs who use whips. If we were in a different campaign setting, maybe I'd just think of circuses and lion tamers.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Auriel doesn't have to be associated with Calistria. She could be a talented independent artiste.

BTW, if you don't want a whip, it's fine by me.


therealthom wrote:
BTW, if you don't want a whip, it's fine by me.

Considering she'd have a +0 to hit, could do no damage (not even nonlethal), and also has a +0 CMB, I don't see what good it would do anyway. She'd have to be within 15 feet and roll two consecutive unmodified 15s or higher.* It's hardly an instant win button. :P

Tripping is something a PC has to be built for, not something you can just pull off the back burner and be good at. Plus, if she had been focusing on getting close enough to Veristan to trip him, she'd have been the focus of his summonees' attacks and probably be dead now. She doesn't have the AC or hp to draw that kind of attention to herself.

*:
Or at least that's my understanding. I could be missing part of the process. No one ever trips in my home games. While they occasionally run into wolves and such with automatic trip attacks and remark on how handy it is, but no one's ever been willing to invest the required feats to get good at it. They've always felt themselves better off doing damage with their attacks. And no one's ever had a whip. They ran into an enemy with a whip once and did nothing but laugh at her pathetic weapon while they killed her.

Grand Lodge

It's just one roll, but you do have to be built for it.


So it's not one roll to hit and then a separate CMB roll, like a wolf? Like I said, my group's never used a trip weapon, and when I had to run one as a DM, I probably did it wrong. I tried to look it up in the PRD and couldn't find step-by-step instructions for it.

Grand Lodge

All of the combat maneuvers are one roll. Rather than
Attack Bonus + d20 v AC
it is
CMB + d20 v CMD
That simplification is one of the improvements Pathfinder made over 3.5.

Most maneuvers can even be subbed in for attacks during a full attack. They'd still take any relative penalties though, like the -2 for two weapon fighting or -5 iterative.


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

The last time I DMed a whip-wielding bard, he did trip his target... unfortunately the chef at the casino he was in entered at just the wrong moment with a big bowl of Eton Mess and the results were highly amusing for all concerned.

Well, the chef was a bit grumpy. He made the bard mop the floor afterwards.

And thanks for the trig. Same conclusion I'd reached with some quick'n'dirty 3D visualisation... Good that classic math is not completely defunct!

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Calatin ab'Halla wrote:
And thanks for the trig. Same conclusion I'd reached with some quick'n'dirty 3D visualisation... Good that classic math is not completely defunct!

Oh, it is completely defunct, except for us poor saps that still have to teach it in the school system to the future of tomorrow.


Dax Thura wrote:

All of the combat maneuvers are one roll. Rather than

Attack Bonus + d20 v AC
it is
CMB + d20 v CMD
That simplification is one of the improvements Pathfinder made over 3.5.

Most maneuvers can even be subbed in for attacks during a full attack. They'd still take any relative penalties though, like the -2 for two weapon fighting or -5 iterative.

So with a whip, you're basically choosing whether to use it to attack (assuming you can find an unarmored soul to use it on) or to trip? That does make it less of a long shot. I thought it was like wolves and things that get to make an attack, do damage, and then roll a free Trip attempt if their attack hits. So using a trip weapon is fewer rolls but more all-or-nothing. That makes sense.

I guess if she'd grown up around horses or caravans, I could see her using a whip. Maybe she'll run across one in the course of her career and pick it up and just have an uncanny knack with it. ;) (Well, not without Weapon Finesse and a better CMB she wouldn't anyway. Even with the nonproficiency penalty, Heward or Awgin would be better with one than she is, just from BAB and Str bonus.)

EDIT: I seem to have completely lost all memory of my Trig class. I know I had Geometry with Mr. Stewart, Elementary Functions with Mr. Powell, and Calculus with Mr. Davis. The other year has to have been Trig, but I can't even remember who my teacher was. Apparently, I've blocked out 10th grade. :P


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

If it helps, Auriel Vs the fire elementals (assuming Bestiary stats for the sake of argument) works out as:

Melee: +0 BAB +0 Str Vs AC 16 = 25% chance to hit
Ranged: +0 BAB +2 Dex Vs AC 16 = 35% chance to hit
Trip with a whip: +0 BAB +0 Str Vs CMD 13 = 40% chance to hit
Disarm with a whip (if they were actually carrying anything): +0 BAB +0 Str +2 bonus from the whip's disarm quality Vs CMD 13 = 50% chance to hit

Trips and disarms are both great for combat support characters, as they tend to generate extra AoO for the front-line melee guys. A successful trip gives your allies in melee with the target both a bonus to hit (since he's now prone) and an AoO against him (with that bonus added as well) when he tries to stand up. A successful disarm often means the bad guy provokes by attacking unarmed (and un-skilled...), or by trying to pick up his weapon. Even if they don't provoke, the bad guys often waste actions making sure they don't provoke, or are forced to fight with less effective weapons or from a disadvantageous position.

CMD is often (much) less than AC, and the creatures for which that isn't true are usually obvious (as they're giant-sized and / or multi-legged). Medium and small humanoids usually have pretty poor CMD compared with their AC (since BAB and Str are added in, the full BAB classes are usually better off in that regards, of course). Caster-types in particular often have sucky CMD (as they have sucky BAB and Str scores), and a timely disarm of a wand or holy symbol can do wonders for turning the tide of a fight. Ready an action to disarm any spell components the enemy caster pulls out of his spell component pouch and watch him flounder!

The main impediment to using combat maneuvers isn't that they're particularly difficult - it's that you provoke when you attempt them. Since a whip allows the trip and disarm combat maneuvers from up to a 15ft range, it neatly sidesteps that problem (they can't AoO you if they can't reach you).

Since a whip has the trip and disarm qualities, you also get to add any other bonuses you get on attacks with the whip onto using those maneuvers with it. So if Auriel (as an example) had Weapon Finesse then she could replace the Str part of her CMB calculation with her Dex in regards to trips and disarms when using a whip - without the need for the Agile Maneuvers Feat. If it was a +5 Whip, then she'd get +5 to those two maneuvers with it as well as just with normal attacks.

But that's just the numbers - and they're pretty meaningless next to a character's chosen fluff. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to play their character here, just trying to illuminate available options. :)


Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:

Melee: +0 BAB +0 Str Vs AC 16 = 25% chance to hit

Ranged: +0 BAB +2 Dex Vs AC 16 = 35% chance to hit
Trip with a whip: +0 BAB +0 Str Vs CMD 13 = 40% chance to hit
Disarm with a whip (if they were actually carrying anything): +0 BAB +0 Str +2 bonus from the whip's disarm quality Vs CMD 13 = 50% chance to hit

So what the numbers really say is that Auriel has no business attacking in the first place. I'd much rather be casting spells, but she doesn't have enough of them yet.

Honestly, I don't really like bards. I've only played one other one, and while the rest of the party loved the morale bonuses she handed out like candy, I was bored out of my mind. And with combat being so slow in PbP, when I only get one chance to do something every couple of days maybe, I hate spending it on an option that has a 50% or more chance of doing nothing.

I thought the Street Performer archetype switched out some of the more passive options for more interesting ones (albeit, probably not as helpful to the party as a whole) -- it's more fun to me to make someone invisible than to give everyone a +1 to hit & damage -- but it's a very niche-y ability: really handy sometimes and utterly useless others. So that's probably why I make Auriel pretty outrageous fluff-wise, to keep me from getting bored with her mechanics.


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

Auriel and Garidan seem a bit similar, Ability Score-wise, in that neither character has maxed out their casting stat, so neither is going to be much good at save or suck spells or effects. While disappearing act can be awesome, a DC 13 save is pretty easy to beat, I'm afraid - especially when caster classes tend to start with +2 to their Will saves and get better from there.

Assuming Versitan is a 5th level Summoner with no other bonuses to his Will save, for example, he saves against Auriel's disappearing act on a 9 or more - so she'd only have a 40% chance to effect him with that anyway: pretty much on-par with her combat abilities as far as the numbers go.

Again, purely from a numbers point of view, casters without maxed-out (or at least near maxed-out) spell DCs are much better off sticking to spells and effects which don't allows saves. That's one reason Garidan likes his enlarge person spell - he knows it'll do what it's meant to do when he casts it. After all, spells and effects which end up doing nothing, because the other guy made his save, are even less fun than buffing your teammates... IMHO, naturally.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Auriel, if it's a direction you were interested in going in, but need an in game reason to try, it's easy as pie to have Mrs. Briggespan suggests such a course.


Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:
Auriel and Garidan seem a bit similar, Ability Score-wise, in that neither character has maxed out their casting stat, so neither is going to be much good at save or suck spells or effects. While disappearing act can be awesome, a DC 13 save is pretty easy to beat, I'm afraid - especially when caster classes tend to start with +2 to their Will saves and get better from there.

As opposed to a DC 14 which is what she'd have with an 18 in her stat? I've never been much of a fan of the philosophy that a PC has to have a 20 in their prime stat to be more than mediocre. Especially in a point-buy game, it implies that PCs have to be one-trick ponies who are really good at the one thing they do and terrible at everything else.

Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:
Assuming Versitan is a 5th level Summoner with no other bonuses to his Will save, for example, he saves against Auriel's disappearing act on a 9 or more - so she'd only have a 40% chance to effect him with that anyway: pretty much on-par with her combat abilities as far as the numbers go.

A 5th-level Summoner is also an APL + four encounter, which is epic. It's supposed to use all our resources and leave a few people dead, as demonstrated by how much he's been dominating us. No one's even touched him but the higher-than-1st-level NPC Taverson. I'm not going to judge her abilities based on how she does against an encounter that's way out of her league.

Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:
Again, purely from a numbers point of view, casters without maxed-out (or at least near maxed-out) spell DCs are much better off sticking to spells and effects which don't allows saves. That's one reason Garidan likes his enlarge person spell - he knows it'll do what it's meant to do when he casts it. After all, spells and effects which end up doing nothing, because the other guy made his save, are even less fun than buffing your teammates... IMHO, naturally.

And now we're back to her problem of not being a team player. As discussed above, all her background is based on stuff that helped her survive alone on the streets. At this point, it would make no sense for her to have buff spells, as she has never had anyone to buff. Assuming we survive long enough to make a level, she might be able to learn something else ... assuming she's persuaded enough that the rest of the group is competent enough for her to trust them to protect her instead of focusing on protecting herself, which, again, the ongoing fruitless struggle against "one simple barbarian," as Lord Stafford says, is not doing anything to promote. Everyone's just fortunate she wasn't conscious to know they were totally willing to let her get crushed to death last night. :)

EDIT: And, honestly, I'm too much of a drama queen to be happy very long in a support role. Unsung hero is not a part I like to play. I'd rather be doing the flashy stuff. Which, I guess, is why I thought I might like a Street Performer bard better than a regular bard: while she's making someone else invisible, she has to be the center of attention. :)

Nazard wrote:
Auriel, if it's a direction you were interested in going in, but need an in game reason to try, it's easy as pie to have Mrs. Briggespan suggests such a course.

What, whip usage? Meh. If she ever takes that up, it would probably be through a religious converstion to Calistria. Shelyn and Calistria are battling for her allegiance through her experiences, and thus far, the path of revenge seems a lot more rewarding than the path of goodness and love.


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

Sorry - I was just pointing out that Auriel's combat and casting abilities are roughly on par... which is one of the things that a class like the Bard is all about: jack of all trades and master of none. Bards get a good selection of weapon proficiencies, the ability to use (and cast in) armour, shield proficiency, a d8 Hit Die, and a ¾ BAB progression. To rule out any sort of combat role utilising that stuff seems a little self-limiting... but again, only IMHO. YMMV. ;)


Well, casting has the benefit of usually not putting her 14 AC and 9 hp in melee range. At higher levels with better gear, sure, she can afford to mix it up a little. At first level, as Garidan knows from harsh experience, getting into melee is a quick ticket to unconsciousness or worse, even for fighters (as Heward knows from harsh experience).

But Auriel doesn't really have buy-in on this mission. She doesn't really care for Captain Percival and the Guard, and they don't really care for her. She doesn't like Lord Stafford or Rav Kinman and doesn't mind if they get robbed. And she hasn't made any personal connections with the rest of the MSI unit, either. She has to have a reason to put her life at risk. She did it last night to save Lowcleft -- but even then, everything she had didn't even make an impression. So she's pretty fatalistic about the team's chances and just hopes to live to see another day.


Nazard wrote:
No worries, Auriel. The elemental will just continue to pound away at the downed wizard you just abandoned.:)

I guess she could have tried to knock the elemental unconscious with her sap. Or, you know, cast dancing lights or something really useful like that. :P

I mean, c'mon, she doesn't have one of those really powerful attack spells like obscuring mist.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Was that a Gilfroy dis or something?


No, I was really looking forward to seeing him blast the goblins menacing his pony with obscuring mist. I wish Old Foofelah or Reta had known Umbral was out there; we could at least have chased him off and made you go looking for him. :)


If he manages to get away while Staggered after all this, Auriel is quitting the force. She'd rather be in jail. :P


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

If he exits via the front door you can jump down on him. Getting yourself to the window may have been prescient. (Unless my memory of the layout is wrong.)


Except that she has a burning wizard and a fire elemental to deal with at the moment. And I'm fairly certain that she can't see enough through the doorway to be aware of exactly what Veristan is doing. Maybe Taverson can get off another shot before he gets to the door. Or one of Garidan's cats can save the day by scratching him unconscious. :)


Humor me, Nazard: Roll a d20+0.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Okay...1d20 ⇒ 18
Edit:
Ha! Okay, now I get it. I always read discussion thread posts before gameplay posts (usually because I have this unnatural fear that every time I see a new discussion post, somebody is either mad at me for some ruling, or leaving the game). I guess that elemental was making his save regardless.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

"Old flame." Quality dialogue. heh heh. Puts me in mind of OOTS when Elan takes the bad-joke prestige class.

Nazard, I don't think you have to worry about anyone leaving this game. And if we get mad at you, what are we going to do, post in capital letters? You're cool, man.


therealthom wrote:
"Old flame." Quality dialogue. heh heh.

Oh, shut up. I told you I never play bards. ;P

On the question of whether to read the Discussion thread or the Gameplay thread first, I usually go to Discussion first based on the principle of eating your vegetables before your dessert (i.e., the fun stuff's in the game thread). A lot of the time it backfires, though, as the posts in the discussion thread are referring to something that just happened in the gameplay thread that I don't know about yet.

EDIT: At least I wasted an 18 on the DM's die he could be pounding one of us with. :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Oh, that was going to be the 1d20 x 10 roll for how much treasure Veristan had on his person. Now the new roll is...
1d20 ⇒ 17

...damn! Well, that joke could have been a lot funnier.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

I still have 25 minutes to go back and edit that 18 out of that post, though, so everybody behave yourselves.


Nazard wrote:
Well, that joke could have been a lot funnier.

Still better than Auriel's repertoire. :)


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Joana wrote:
therealthom wrote:
"Old flame." Quality dialogue. heh heh.

Oh, shut up. I told you I never play bards. ;P

...

I should say I loved that bit. I also liked when Tarquin counter-jokes. Good times for Elan.


Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:
Handing off an object to someone waiting for it can't be a move action, surely? That would imply it takes as long as picking up an item, moving a heavy object, or retrieving a stored item. In action-economy terms that would mean it's faster for everyone involved to drop something at an ally's feet as you run past than actually passing it to them, which would seem weird... to me at least... :/

The problem is that everything in Pathfinder has to be codified as a type of action: standard, move, swift, immediate, and free. Handing a weapon can't be a free action, like speaking; it does, after all, take some time and coordination. (Witness the US relay teams at the last few Olympics repeatedly failing to hand an object to someone else.) Is it fair to allow someone to hand a weapon to someone else, draw a weapon himself, move thirty feet, and attack with his new weapon in one round? Probably not, so that rules out swift. All that's left is move.

I suppose you could make it a half of a move action, but then you'd have to come up with a list of other stuff that is also half a move action so you'd know what else you could do in a round besides hand over a weapon and move or attack.

EDIT: Doesn't look like either one of you hit anyway, whether you technically got to attack or not. That means Veristan gets his first stabilization roll; then it's Auriel's turn. She wasn't a witness to Garidan's experiment so doesn't know the elemental won't attack her. Even if she did, I think it's stupid that elementals can apparently sustain nonlethal damage, so it wouldn't occur to her to hit it with her sap anyway. She can try to distract it again....


Travelling for work. May not post for a few days. DMPC Heward as needed.

Star Voter 2013

Well, Laya's career in the Watch is over. :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Hi all.

Thanks for a great run at adventure number one. Casefile: 1MSI001 - The Case of the Ghoulish Enjoiner.

Welcome to level 2! DING
Once you've had a chance to rest up, you may level your characters as you see fit. Best hold off for the moment, however, as who knows what sort of fall-out may be about to occur.

If you have a chance, I have added a file to the website Library called "Post-Adventure Survey". It's just a few questions to rate from 1-10 (10 being good) about the adventure, NPCs, etc. It's not an ego-stroke, rather I'm just looking for feedback about how you liked the adventure and how it impacted your characters. Of course, if you can think of any other pertinent questions that I should add to this survey, please let me know. Other comments are welcome, too. There are certain challenges to doing a mystery as a fantasy RPG adventure, and I hope this can help me overcome them.


Laya wrote:
I know of a man who brought down an entire government with just four words. I think the words were, 'Doesn't she look tired?'

I always thought that was cheating, after going on about how important her term in office would be. He wouldn't let anyone else change history. :P

Star Voter 2013

I was wondering if anyone would recognize the reference. :)

Star Voter 2013

Nazard wrote:

Hi all.

Thanks for a great run at adventure number one. Casefile: 1MSI001 - The Case of the Ghoulish Enjoiner.

Welcome to level 2! DING
Once you've had a chance to rest up, you may level your characters as you see fit. Best hold off for the moment, however, as who knows what sort of fall-out may be about to occur.

If you have a chance, I have added a file to the website Library called "Post-Adventure Survey". It's just a few questions to rate from 1-10 (10 being good) about the adventure, NPCs, etc. It's not an ego-stroke, rather I'm just looking for feedback about how you liked the adventure and how it impacted your characters. Of course, if you can think of any other pertinent questions that I should add to this survey, please let me know. Other comments are welcome, too. There are certain challenges to doing a mystery as a fantasy RPG adventure, and I hope this can help me overcome them.

This is where Laya gets her real chance at revenge! It SUCKED! Fails across the board!

;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Navior wrote:
Nazard wrote:

Hi all.

Thanks for a great run at adventure number one. Casefile: 1MSI001 - The Case of the Ghoulish Enjoiner.

Welcome to level 2! DING
Once you've had a chance to rest up, you may level your characters as you see fit. Best hold off for the moment, however, as who knows what sort of fall-out may be about to occur.

If you have a chance, I have added a file to the website Library called "Post-Adventure Survey". It's just a few questions to rate from 1-10 (10 being good) about the adventure, NPCs, etc. It's not an ego-stroke, rather I'm just looking for feedback about how you liked the adventure and how it impacted your characters. Of course, if you can think of any other pertinent questions that I should add to this survey, please let me know. Other comments are welcome, too. There are certain challenges to doing a mystery as a fantasy RPG adventure, and I hope this can help me overcome them.

This is where Laya gets her real chance at revenge! It SUCKED! Fails across the board!

;)

Now that the peanut gallery has spoken, the rest of the unbiased masses may chime in. Here is fine, or pop me an e-mail if you don't want it public (or feel free to completely ignore the survey, it won't result in much of a reduction of treasure and xp).

gmnazard at gmail dot com


Male Human (Shoanti) Witch 2

A couple of questions on leveling:

How are we determining Hit Points?

and...

Are the characters ever getting any ca$h?

... the answers to those two will probably have an impact on the choices I make...


I'm actually pretty sure we're in debt by the time the Guard has to pay for all the destruction we're being held responsible for.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Garidan Hawk Dancer wrote:

A couple of questions on leveling:

How are we determining Hit Points?

and...

Are the characters ever getting any ca$h?

... the answers to those two will probably have an impact on the choices I make...

Roll here for hit points. If you don't like your roll, I'll roll for you, but you have to take mine, even if it's worse.

As for cash, you weren't around for the beginning, but any gearBeristan possessed is yours, in addition to your weekly stipend of ... Something we all agreed to back at the beginning of the discussion thread. The enjoiner fragments have to be returned to their original owners, of course.

The Exchange

To Garidan's mind, returning the enjoiner fragments to their original owners means giving them back to the Shoanti... mostly 'cos it seems really dumb to leave the parts of a potential WMD in the hands of private collectors.

For ca$h I was asking because my original plan was to take the cauldron hex and use it to brew up alchemical gear and potions to help equip the group. If we're going to be ca$h-strapped, then that seems a waste of time and valuable character resources, so I'd rather have an idea now, if possible, if we're going to be anywhere near WBL, or if being poverty-stricken civil-servants is all part of the campaign. Where it comes from I'm not so concerned about...

... Having said that, considering recent events, I may just take a level of Ranger instead and slowly totter towards ElK (I know Witches are sub-optimal for ElKs, but still workable, I think).

It's a pity about the rolling for Hit Points... it's the one thing in the game I really hate - that everything is balanced, apart from the roll of a die can make one character better or worse than another, through no fault of the player. Just my opinion, mind you - possibly fueled by the fact I always roll terrible Hit Points. ;p

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

On the other hand, statistically, this method yields higher than average hit points. I know it's weird to be so pro-stat buys like I am, but also pro hit point rolling.

As for cash, you'll definitely be at least WBL...or at least, the opportunity is there to be WBL and above, if the group plays its cards right... You may be a bit cash strapped in the beginning, however, at least until you start bumping those Prestige Points up.

Originally, I had thought to run the campaign at the rate of three mysteries per level. Obviously, I was (unbeknownst to me) on some sort of opiates when I decided that, as that pace would be excruciating in real life, let alone PbP. However, in deciding that, I placed treasure for a third of a level, not a whole level, in this adventure. Realizing my mistake, though, I have made provisions for increased loot for the PCs...it just hasn't come to pass yet.

Also, the Shoanti wouldn't be considered the original owners, or at least, no self-respecting Shoanti who knew what they were would want them attached to his heritage.


See, I dislike taking average hit points. It's like wrapping your own Christmas presents. If you already know what you're getting, where's the excitement? :)

(Obviously, I fall on the Chaotic side of the alignment scale in real life. My husband, who is Lawful and likes living inside his box where it's safe and predictable, loves average hp.)

The Exchange

Thanks for the info' Nazard... hasn't helped me make a choice though...

On the one hand, the rolled Hit Points tends to steer me away from classes where a bigger Hit Die is part of the class features (a d12 can roll a '1' just like a d6, statistics be damned, and once it has the fact that it once had the potential to be so much more doesn't do you any good whatsoever... Especially when the guy who took a class level with a d6 Hit Die then went and rolled a '6'. How is that ever fair in a supposedly balanced game? One bad roll screws over your character for ever? No... it may be a pet peeve of mine, but that's never going to sit well with me... but then again, I refuse to have characters use bucklers because they're so completely the opposite of what an actual buckler is and how it was used, so I guess I have issues... ;) ).

On the other hand, not having any ca$h now, when we've the best chance for some downtime and crafting, steers me away from the cauldron hex too (it's a PbP - waiting six months just to use a class feature isn't fun...).

On the enjoiner thing - are we really handing this thing back? That seems a somewhat moronic thing for our characters to do with the information they have at hand. Either it's far too dangerous to let it just float around on the open market, or the danger was exagerrated and it's really harmless after all.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Hit points -- I like to roll.

Campaign review. The investigative phase went very well. We had some good RP and some nice twists.

If I have a complaint, it would be with the combats. (Admittedly the group has kind of nerfed itself for combat on many levels. I'll come back to that later.) The elementals, especially the augmented earth elementals, were potentially one-shot killers. They had comparable AC to our front-liners, delivered more damage, better to hit modifiers, and more hitpoints. And Wisp was a ridiculously powerful melee opponent for first level characters. (Let's face it, without Taverson we would have been toast.) I would have preferred opponents with less one-shot lethality, and maybe slightly more durablility to compensate. In two fights, three PCs were laid hors d' combat early on and spent a large portion of the fight trying to stabilize or RPing unconsciousness,

On the other hand, in the second fight I did enjoy the tension of not knowing if any round was going to be Heward's last. I also recognise that in a campaign of this nature where things will build to a single climatic combat, that single combat must needs be way tougher than the "normal" level-appropriate encounter.

You're saddled with a good bunch of role-players. And we all try to stay in character including continuity to our backgrounds. And we want to shine in the investigative phase, so we put a lot of resources into non-combat abilities, feats and skills. Therefore we are not going to be as effective a group of hard-core optimizers intent on maximizing their combat synergies. Heward has a few ideas for improving this.

Regarding advancement I like going to 2nd level right now. I think 3rd level will be a pretty sweet spot for this type of campaign. We would have pretty good survivablity, but still vulnerable to "average citizens".

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

yeah, if I had a redo, it would be to make Veristan a 4th level Master Summoner. That way, he would be able to summon multiple earth elementals with his SLA to bring the buildings down (crucial point, and why he had to be a 5th level normal summoner) Wisp would only be a 2nd level eidolon (much more manageable), and the encounter would be not so deadly.

On the other hand, it had to be hard to justify why the regular watch couldn't just handle it!

Garidan, when I said money will be coming, I did mean very soon (probably the next game day), so the cauldron hex would benefit you.


Nazard wrote:
On the other hand, it had to be hard to justify why the regular watch couldn't just handle it!

You mean the regular watch is less competent than we are? How is Magnimar still standing? :P

ProfPotts wrote:
On the enjoiner thing - are we really handing this thing back? That seems a somewhat moronic thing for our characters to do with the information they have at hand. Either it's far too dangerous to let it just float around on the open market, or the danger was exagerrated and it's really harmless after all.

Doesn't seem like it's really our decision to make. If we were to destroy it, we (or the City, which would just take the money our of our pay) would be even more in debt as we'd have to reimburse the law-abiding folks who owned or recently paid good money for these things. I can see why Garidan would want it destroyed, due to his ethnicity; Laya and Calatin are also smart and/or wise enough to have an opinion; Heward is law-boy who is going to hand it over to his superior and trust the judgment of the authorities; and Auriel just doesn't care. But in the grand scheme of things, we're first-level characters; who are we to destroy an artifact?


Adventure feedback: The bad guy was way too strong for first-level characters. For one, as I'm already on record as saying, I think summoner is an overpowered class. It's like the difference between a solo BBEG and one with minions -- except that the minions actually contribute to the CR and XPs, whereas with a summoner it's just considered one guy rather than a whole encounter. For two, I'm assuming he had something approaching WBL, and that ate our lunch, too. He has a suitcase full of potions for every occasion, and we have ... a borrowed +1 weapon. There's all kind of equipment that would have come in handy that we just couldn't afford.

Which kind of leads to the next thing. What are we, the super-elite team called in to handle what the ordinary Watch can't, or the group of flunky oddballs who are given these tasks because we're expendable? The breezy way NPCs wave their hands about what we should be able to do "with our resources" or "if we put our heads together" makes me think we should be the former, but the fact that we're completely in over our heads makes me feel like the latter. Honestly, we ought to start out as the latter and work our way up to the former, but Captain Percival seems to lecture us as if we're already there. I'd rather have him give us tasks he doesn't think of as terribly important because he's sure we'll screw it up, only it turns out to be much more dire than it originally seemed to be by the time we get to the bottom of it. Then, when we succeed, we can feel like we really accomplished something and proved something to him, instead of getting lectured when we fail. It's more rewarding from our characters' perspective to feel like we've succeeded against the odds instead of just managed to do what was expected of us after initial failures.

The other thing: I know I came in a little late, but this whole case seemed to move really fast in game-time. What was it, three or four days in-game? I think a more drawn-out case, where Veristan was stealing one enjoiner fragment a week rather than one a day, would have been better from a team-building perspective. We wouldn't have had to play out every hour of every day, but it would have given our characters some time to gel instead of "Nice to meet you, time to go fight now." I think we would have been more likely to work as a team, too, if we didn't feel like we were on such a tight clock. We could have taken the time to really come up with a plan instead of everyone panicking and running around doing our own things because we were always in a hurry.

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Well, for one thing, you came in on the very end of the case (the whole group, I mean). Veristan has been working on this whole thing for almost a year by this point. In the end, it seemed like the group was going to close in before the Millis party. If there had been a week between, you probably would have tracked him down sooner. I can see spacing things out more, though, especially since the next mystery will have a serious time crunch built in, taking our time with the first mystery would have made better contrast.

As I've said before, on the redo I would make him a 4th level master summoner, which would have made things a ton easier while still keeping it challenging.

I like the idea of the misfits starting out, though. If it helps, that's certainly how Stafford sees the group.

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