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I ran it this afternoon and we had a good time. I thought it would be far too easy, but the final fight (high tier) was rather tough on my players. The barbarian got sneak attacked to unconscious-rage-death while flanked by Davian, and then the swashbuckler and magus both got paralysed.
Bottom line: while the normal ghouls don't have very impressive to-hit, fighting ghouls is always risky with the paralysis. Davian's 3 attacks at +8 to hit and DC 14 paralysis save is particularly scary; if one of the first attacks hits he might get sneak attack damage on follow-up attacks even if he didn't have a flank already.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I think that the best way to keep enemies alive, would be to deal a lot of nonlethal damage, if enemies drop unconscious, chances of survival are significantly better.
True enough. An enemy that's still fighting back is a bigger target for the PCs than one that isn't. More chances to suddenly take a lethal crit.
I agree on technical terms with Andrew Christian; a non-sentient can't be a worshipper.
That said, I think that ruling (animals are non-sentient no matter how smart they are) was a bad ruling. For every other creature type, Int > 2 signifies sentience; why not animals?
If animals were not meant to become sentient, why can they gain Int > 2?
Re: Tarxx and Remove Paralysis;
I generally enjoy reading your analyses and find them insightful. However in this case -
1) Remove Paralysis targets up to 4 creatures. Trading 1 action to unlock the actions of 4 PCs is a good trade.
Also a meta-argument: I think we should award a small premium to any choice that brings "locked out" players back into the game sooner, because being able to participate is important to enjoying the game.
Obviously not every condition is equally dire. Nobody bothers to spend an action in combat against Dazzled. Shaken is not necessarily worth removing, although it may be worth it if you suspect enemies can upgrade it to Frightened or Panicked; a fleeing PC takes a long time before he can rejoin the fight, and might actually flee in a direction that triggers additional encounters. Dropping your best weapons and provoking AoOs for fleeing is also a hassle and bad action economy.
If a condition is imposing serious disadvantage on your party (action economy, health risks, effectiveness of actions) then not removing it requires a good argument. Those could be: "I could instead do something worse to the enemy". But make sure you critically assess whether your other action is really that powerful in comparison.
Can't each player take care of emergency (i.e. I have a strong chance of dying the next round) healing with potions, or just avoid fatal damage with tactics? There's absolutely value in being able to remove nasty status effects from party members who can't do so for themselves (e.g. paralysis) but if the simple issue is "HP loss" it seems unreasonable to expect another player, who might have something better to do with their actions ("better" as in "ends the fight quicker, with fewer resources consumed") than to do what you could do with a 5' step and a healing potion (carry some in case of emergencies, they keep you not-dead).
To hear some people say it, you should be able to avoid all serious harm with good tactics. I strongly disagree with this. For example, recently we played the 8-9 tier of an adventure and ran into an edavagor. That's supposedly a CR 12 monster (yeah right), but it has 5 attacks at +25 to hit, DR 10/good, high SR, high AC, high HP, reach, and a 16d6 breath weapon (reflex 24 halves). You fight it in a 20ft wide corridor with very little to hide behind.
You're going to get hurt. It went to town on our optimized paladin/monk/misfortune oracle/champion of Irori that's normally unhittable and then tore into the gunslinger behind him.
We actually managed to survive rather handsomely, but this was due to receiving a lot of specialist buffs. Communal Resist Fire (20), Blessing of Fervor, Communal Align Weapon (Good) being the most significant. This was all coming from the support cleric. Some emergency healing also helped to keep both those PCs in the fight.
In my experience the players who are most insistent about "someone must be the healer" are the ones who get indignant when the cleric doesn't spend their turn healing them when they're down less than 25% of their total HP. It's not like there are penalties for being wounded in this game, so it's not any class's job description to keep anybody else topped off on HP. It's reasonable to ask party members to drop what they're doing and stabilize you, or fix things that you are incapable of fixing on your own that will take you out of the fight, but that's only a fairly small part of what "heal me" covers.
IMO the best reason to heal someone would be "he's better at defeating this monster than I am, and if I don't heal him he can't full attack next round". You don't need to heal every scratch, but if you can prevent someone from dropping to 0, going prone, dropping weapons, and not getting a full attack, that can be very economical. So if you see an enemy focus-firing on an important teammate and that teammate is going into the danger zone, it may be time.
I recently almost fried a PC in Returned To Sky;
Those auto-resetting laser/plasma traps are nasty. You're disoriented by the gravity trap, but +16 touch attacks for 6d6 damage per round is just mean.
As it turned out, Trap Sense got the PC's touch AC against it up to 23 and he took only 85 damage in two rounds instead of 135. Which is enough to scare a L9 PC...
Orfamay Quest wrote:
It's gonna have to be pretty tricked out to be sure of meeting that DC 27 to do a caster level 7 cleric spell. And he's also going to need to make a roll to fake a wisdom of 14 (DC 29). Those are pretty high DCs if you can't afford to fail.
On top of that, he's spending a move action to draw the scroll, and FoM and DW are both touch spells, so he might not manage that in a single round. But if you need either of those spells, you really can't wait. Because that's either a Swallow Whole (and little to none of your 2H stuff works while swallowed whole) or another round of negative levels or con drain. Which you'll need another consumable to cure. At this point it's getting pretty expensive, L4 spell scrolls are 700gp at least.
You can afford to do that every other fight at level 15, sure. But at level 7 it's not certain you can make the DC, and it's a hefty WBL tax even if you do.
First Aid Gloves are pretty sexy, but a scroll of ear-piercing scream is 1d6 damage, DC 11 save for half. Not so sexy. Same for the scroll of Remove Curse: do you really think a caster level 5 is going to cut it?
One of the reasons First Aid Gloves (talk about awkward acronym) are so sexy is that they're fast to use. Many consumables are pretty hard to use in the middle of a fight. Drawing a potion provokes. Drinking a potion provokes. And it's explicitly permitted to strike at the potion with the AoO.
I'm all for using good consumables, but I don't think they're a complete answer. If I'm going up against a dragon, I'm much more interested in that high-caster-level Resist Energy. And there aren't any Death Ward potions, and a ring of Freedom of Movement is pretty expensive. You can get them on a scroll, but who's gonna cast it? Right, the divine caster.
Since 4E they've been playing around with giving some weapons a higher to-hit bonus for proficiency than others. Which isn't the craziest idea.
Personally I wouldn't mind a strongly consolidated weapon table, where you have say 20 statblocks for melee weapons and many marginally different weapons just use the same statblock. That makes it much easier to engineer things so that each of those 20 statblocks really has something different going for it.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
That wasn't Davor you're quoting, that was me.
What I'm getting at is, that if you can routinely keep enemies from getting to you with a summoned critter, those enemies weren't really challenging. If you can usually keep enemies at bay that way, there's some challenge, but it also means that sometimes you don't succeed and get hurt.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
My point is that if you do get hurt in combat and need the healing, the CLW wand doesn't cut it. And while the CLW wand is cost-effective, the higher-level wands that would heal "fast enough" are not so cheap.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
That wasn't me, now you're quoting Davor under my name.
I think you're both also misinterpreting the point by focusing on a narrow definition of the word "tank". My point is that nobody expects a party to do very well if they can't somehow keep enemies from getting to any party member they like, or eventually destroy enemies. I'd call a wolf tasked with keeping enemies from getting to the party a tank as well, and a sorcerer destroying enemies with Scorching Ray spam is also a striker.
My point is: you don't expect a party succeed if they leave a major hole open such as:
I think Tarxx's article is very interesting, but I get a bit uncomfortable when you start talking about it like it was an absolute decree handed down from the heavens. Further, I think "striker" and "tank" are widely known terms that make it easy to get your point across. The traditional understanding of "striker" and the "hammer" also aren't all that far apart; they're someone who kills enemies somehow.
So what I was getting at, is that you don't expect a party to do very well if there is nobody in the party that's actually good at killing enemies, if all they can do is keep them at bay.
But the other side of that is that it's naive to think that you can almost always prevent enemies from doing serious harm to you. If you can really consistently stop the enemies from doing real harm, they're by definition not challenging enemies.
PC healthcare is not merely casting cure spells like walking CLW wand. It involves several layers of safety;
1) Lifestyle choices. Well-built PCs, sound tactical maneuvering. This is mostly up to the other players.
In Tarxx's parlance, you're the hand in surgical latex glove. It is NOT a dumb role.
What makes this a powerful paradigm is that you work to avoid single-point failures. If something goes wrong, you don't lose, you start fixing it at the next line of defence.
I disagree with this sentiment. You wouldn't expect a party to fare very well in a fight-heavy scenario where nobody wanted to play the "mandatory role" of striker/tank to stand between monsters and squishies.
If you're going to be facing challenging monsters, they'll probably manage to hurt you a couple of times while you're fighting them. If you can consistently stop monsters from hurting you, are they really challenging?
The amount and type of hurt also changes as you level up. At low levels, you can often remedy it with some quick wand charges, but at higher levels, enemies do so much damage that a wand just doesn't go fast enough, and also wears out very fast. In addition, enemies inflict many different conditions. Like paralysis, blindness, severe ability damage or drain. Some of these can wait until the end of the adventure to be cured; some need to be cured immediately or there'll be corpses.
What also changes is that at low levels, PCs are relatively well able to substitute for each other. Melee fighter goes down? Archer ranger draws a sword and goes switch-hitting. Cleric steps up from second to front line with his mace. Wizard spends his blast spell in this fight instead of the next one, and the fighter will have to work harder in that one.
But at later levels, as everyone develops more special abilities, it's much harder to do that. If the archer goes down, the melee fighter doesn't have the feats to really be all that impressive against the enemy that's too fast to keep close to. And the caster cleric isn't doing enough melee damage to really replace that fighter that just dropped.
So keeping the enemy team from doing some focus fire and taking down a PC becomes much more important.
The term "healbot" also suggest a rather low-tactics appproach to being what I think is more properly called a "support cleric" (or other class variant). The SC does heal a frontliner if it looks like he might otherwise have to stop full attacking enemies, but he's also checking to see if it's time to break out the Communal Align Weapon spell to get through that DR/Good, or the Communal Resist Fire against the breath weapon. Should he lead with Blessing of Fervor or is it better to cast Freedom of Movement so the two-hander paladin can't be Grab-Constrict-Swallow Whole'd?
Such a support caster is a very full-scale role and starts to become very nice to have around level 5, and hard to survive without at level 9 or so. Before that time hitting a lot and very hard can be extremely effective, but enemies start throwing stranger and stranger attacks at you and a 2H melee dude often needs some help handling that.
The thing is, even back in 3.0 the need for a cleric that went beyond healbot was very clear. That's what the Spontaneous Cure Spells class feature comes from. Before, clerics might get angry comments from other players; "why did you prepare X instead Cure Annoying Wounds?". Clerics were guilt-tripped into being only healbots. Spontaneous Cure Spells circumvents that, because a cleric can provide healing without the "guilt" of preparing non-healing spells.
For some people who's very much into the RP side of things, overshadowing tactical sense, maybe it'll help to engage those people in RP instead of OOC discussion.
After the fight, you walk up to her.
"Hey, lady, we were feeling a bit abandoned during that fight. When we were packing in the Lodge you told us you were a warrior, but all you did was protect yourself and let the monsters past to get at our wizard. Look at what they did to him."
"I don't like fighting."
"Well, those orcs sure did. What were you going to do about that? I mean, if you can talk them down, go ahead. But it looked to me like they weren't going to stop until they'd killed and eaten us - not necessarily in that order. What were you going to do about that?"
Thing is to at once keep it wholly IC, and present your objections from a character, not player, perspective. But at the same time, restrain yourself; your character is probably pretty outraged, but it might not be a good idea to play all of that.
Re: fog tactics;
In my experience, most gamers aren't the tactical geniuses they think they are. More specifically, they're not good at Plan B. They have a very finely tuned Plan A but sometimes you run into an enemy that outguns you so much that Plan A is suicide. People are often bad at going to Plan B.
Spellcasters aren't much better; they tend to pick some spells and then often try to solve everything with those spells. "Physical" solutions might not even occur to them anymore.
Going for fog tactics is a good example of this. Concealment would give the party a 20% miss chance. It would give the enemy a lot MORE disadvantage, but that bigger picture may get overlooked by players who see the fog frustrating their Plan A. But in this case it's worth it because the enemy's Plan A was scarier.
Talking about my personal view now;
On the one hand, sometimes you play a non-bloodthirsty character and try to prevent fights when they're not necessary. But the way scenarios are written, it's not necessarily the pathfinders starting the fight.
"But I don't like violence" is IMO fine if violence can be avoided. A good reason not to start fights, and to push other players from starting them. Might even be a good reason to hang back at first if other PCs start a fight you thought wasn't needed.
But if the party is being attacked, then I would expect everyone to join in the defence. There are a lot of ugly words for people who leave their mates in the lurch.
In addition, if it's obvious that it's necessary to start a fight in order to have a shot at succeeding on the scenario, I would also expect people to cooperate (although grumbling is fine!). Sometimes a writer just requires you to be a murderhobo (which makes me sad) but often enough it's something like "a horrible monster is lairing on our dig site" or "go into the woods to slay the thing that's terrorizing the peasants".
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Oh really? Let's read the OP again.
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
As an aside, I know the OP IRL, and he's pretty mild around people with different playstyles. He's actually done some good peacekeeping when people got off on the wrong foot with each other.
Depends on whether they can correctly guess which square/vicinity to aim in. Splash radii aren't that big, a lot smaller than obscuring mist.
I would think that a sorcerer or witch should be able to demolish an NPC alchemist at range fairly easily. Alchemists have questionable Will saves (especially if using mutagen to boost Dex), tend to have only 1-2 types of energy damage on their bombs (Lesser Metamagic Rod of Reach -> Communal Resist Energy).
Then again, for every meh-built alchemist you'll sometimes run into a cleverly built one with extreme defences and massive damage output. Alchemists are a nova class, which means that as NPCs who only have one fight in their life that matters, they get to unload all of that very fast. They rank just behind magi as NPCs that can be way OP because nothing that balances the class for PCs matters to NPCs.
I'm not so sure you can feed a potion to a willing non-helpless ally;
A character can carefully administer a potion to an unconscious creature as a full-round action, trickling the liquid down the creature's throat. Likewise, it takes a full-round action to apply an oil to an unconscious creature.
I'd extend that to feeding a Potion of Remove Paralysis to a paralyzed ally. (Or just about any other potion you like...)
But I think for someone to drink a potion, they have to "stand still"; even if you're not going through the motions yourself, you probably have to spend actions to stand still long enough for someone else to pour it down your throat. Not an issue for helpless PCs, but it does prevent extreme action advantage shenanigans like ErrantPursuit describes.
I was impressed by flying kick when I was GMing and saw it in use. There were a lot of fairly cramped fights, but the player was able to use it to often be the first one to close the distance AND be the first to get a full attack.
UnMonk doesn't have a lot of things I'm super excited about, but that thing really made it seem much more dynamic than old monk.
Tricky question. I think the rules for immediate actions are not precise enough to answer it with 100% certainty. It hinges on what "can be performed at any time" means. Are there any "indivisible/atomic" things in PF that can't be interrupted by immediate actions?
We know that a lot of things that at first look like one big whole "task" (avoiding the word "action" for clarity) but that this task has sub-parts. For example, an attack has steps; declaring a target, rolling a d20, determining the final to-hit number, establishing whether than number hits, determining if any attack-cancelling abilities are used, rolling damage, applying DR/resistance, checking to see if any damage got through and rider effects are applied, rolling d20 for saving throws, determining result of save, applying effects of (failed/passed) save. For just about everyone of those steps there exists an ability that should be applied after one step but before the other one.
But not everything is divisible. For example, I don't think you can use an immediate action in the middle of a dice roll, after you've rolled about half of the dice and don't like the result so far.
In this case, your player waits until the blades appear, and then tries to stop them from appearing fully. I think that's just too late. There are some abilities that can be used "when you're targeted with a spell", so casting EFS when the BB is aimed at him is probably fine. But waiting until after the blades appear is too late. If he didn't make his spellcraft check, he'll have to make his decision without knowing what spell is being targeted at him.
Counterargument: if a fireball is flying towards you, you see the little red bead streaking, that would certainly be the cool (hehe) moment to cast EFS and block the bead's progress through the room - and making it detonate closer to the caster than he may have intended!
The difference between fireball and BB is that with fireball, the bead clearly spends some time travelling through the room (possibly including a to-hit roll) while BB appears in its whole area simultaneously.
What happens if EFS is cast while the BB is already there? Spells can't pass through an existing wall of force, but what if the WoF intersects an already existing spell? The rules don't quite say, so here are some possibilities:
A) It's too late, the spell has already "passed through".
Maite Donker wrote:
2. I'm wondering if my players will understand when the scenario is over. Usually there's a journal or something at the end that gives the information they are looking for, but in this case there is no specific information that they are looking for. They're just there to "excavate" which means that after they make the area safe they can spend ages there if they wish. And not find anything of note, which might be a disappointment - or it might not be, I'm just not sure how this will work out....
They're supposed to capture Davian, who will probably survive due to Regeneration. He can be brought back for interrogation.
Maite Donker wrote:
I agree that Zefire's info is meager, but "starvation" should be an instant clue to experienced players.
Magic takes a long time to learn, but once you have, it can be much faster that implementing scientific solutions. I invite you to take some time reading Shadowrun forums bemoan caster/techie disparity :P
I prefer the idea that the Androffans really didn't have a clue magic was real, that the first couple of planets they visited likewise didn't have magic anymore, but still had legends of angels and such, and so they started using that image. Vorlon style.
It's the player's permission that matters to me.
So far I've only seen people die because NPCs did unusually much damage. Sniper on a tower with favored enemy (you), fastbombing alchemist, harpy archers buffed by a high-level bard.
In the case of the alchemist saving throws played a role (he had a buddy with a wand of fireball), but that was just brutal and afterwards we discovered we could've played down but miscalculated.
I've been looking for any text about orcs in Numeria; they're found all over, but with no description about whether orc tribes openly exist there. I think the barbarian tribes would probably make short work of any orc settlements; the plains don't afford a lot of cover. The Technic League uses them as slaves/mercenaries.
My conclusion is that there are probably several Darklands orc tribes beneath Numeria. A significant portion of half-orcs probably escaped from them.
@James: thanks, knowing the answer isn't out there is a comfort, means I don't go crazy looking for it.
The way I see it, Androffa perhaps being in a no-magic zone actually protects it from direct assault by the Dominion of the Black, much of whose technology depends on magic to keep it all working together.
That would be a good reason for them to pursue Divinity to Golarion because that might be their key to Androffa..
I like that in MtA, but I don't really want it in my PF :)
The forum is a fickle mistress.
I agree with Ferious Thune. "Don't harm without consent" is a nice clear principle.
I've been at odds with my GM when he claimed that using a single magic missile to wake up my Fascinated L3 PC would constitute illegal PVP, while I actually wanted it to happen to me.
The spell seems very clear. You get a bonus to YOUR check to ESCAPE a grapple, and YOUR CMB to AVOID being grappled.
There's nothing in there making it harder to escape or avoid your grapples. The only weird side-effect is that you might have an easy time reversing grapples. However, once you've done that you get no more bonus to maintain it.
Hmm. Hadn't noticed that.
The confusion is because there are three things that usually go together:- Whether you get Dex to AC at all
- Being able to make AoOs
Grappling disables AoOs, but doesn't alter the other ones directly. However, to threaten you often need 1-2 hands free depending on your weapon, but trying to grapple with less than all your hands has a penalty. So in practice many (amateur) grapplers stop threatening.
I'll see how far I can get. Next time you post such a wall of text though, try using some bold to mark titles. Makes it easier to read :)
Unclear. Breaking free from a pin seems to be just a special case of breaking out of a grapple, so I think Yes, you can.
Maintaining the pin is a special case of maintaining the grapple. You don't have to re-establish the pin every round. On a succesful maintain check you can do damage/tie up. With greater grapple, maintaining a pin becomes cheaper because it's maintaining a grapple.
Now there are some creatures/class powers/abilities (like grab) that say that you don’t get the grappled condition yourself while being the dominant grappler and/or can make AoO.
To be more precise, a creature with the Grab ability can, instead of performing a normal grapple, try to grapple with only one appendage. If it does so it gets a -20 on the grapple check (and subsequent maintenance) but doesn't gain the grappled condition.
It would appear so. You're not making a separate attack roll so don't apply a -4 to hit.
About armor spikes. In the armor page it’s noted they deal “extra piercing damage on grapple attacks” What means “extra” comes the 1d6 damage on top of a natural/unarmed attack? And are the spikes only dealing damage when using the damage action? Like not dealing damage, when you pin your opponent aka hugging tight?
This one is quite vague. CRB and UE use the same text. I understand it to mean the following:- When first establishing a grapple ("a grapple attack") they do extra damage if you manage to establish the grapple. But if you're not proficient, they make that harder to accomplish.
- When you're maintaining a grapple and choose to do damage, you could use the spikes instead of another weapon, natural weapon or unarmed strike.
Yes. Round 2 is when it needs to decide who to swallow and who to let go.
Grab special Attack == improved grapple?
No. They're different abilities with different names and mechanics.
Many monsters can make a free grapple check when hitting with a certain limb without provoking AoO and gain a +4 bonus on that grapple check. But what about simply STARTING a grapple like normally? For example when the foe has so high AC that the grabbing creature decides to just directly start a grapple, circumventing the AC it can’t possibly hit and instead target the CMD of its foe? Does the creature with the grab ability provoke an AoO when it tries to start a grapple without hitting its foe prior?
Not provoking an AoO is listed as a side effect of using Grab as follow-up to a successful attack. So it only gets that benefit when it uses it that way.
The +4 bonus is a separate paragraph and it always gains that, regardless of how the grapple is established.
Also if a druid/ranger wants their companion to be a grappling monster and get them improved/greater grapple (after increasing the INT of the companion to 3) does having natural attacks that can grab already meet the prerequisite of the feat unarmed strike, or would one still need to get: improved unarmed strike > improved grapple > greater grapple?
It needs Improved Unarmed Strike. The Grab ability is not listed as an alternative way to satisfy the prerequisite.
That's generally true, but it matters a lot who you're grappling. Most 3/4 BAB classes have a good shot at keeping a wizard grappled, but not a barbarian.
Escape Artist is not a grapple check, so no bonus.
Also the spell grease: Would a Grappler who uses grappling as the main thing to fight profit greatly from being under the effect of a grease spell? Because it raises the CMD against grapple by 10 and would foil any attempt to escape her grip.
No. The bonus is on checks to escape, and to avoid being grappled yourself. The spell is clear on that.
It's not the grappled condition stopping you from flanking; you flank if you could make an attack, provided you had an action. You still flank even if you have no AoOs left this round.
What stops you is that you (probably) used both hands to grapple. If you have some other attack remaining (bite, improved unarmed strike head-but) you can still flank.
Note that you don't have to use both hands, but take a penalty if you don't. And the grappled condition you get as a grappled would still stop you from making AoOs.
The rules say you are adjacent to each other and NOT in the same square like it used to be in 3.5 Does that mean, when you’re grappled by a big ugly monster your friendly rogue can stroll around and sneak attack it in its back? Or does the rogue only get to make the sneak attacks if the ugly monster pins you and loses its DEX bonus to AC? (which is another situation a rogue may deal sneak attack as we know)
No, he can just stroll around.
If the monster pins you, you can't attack it anymore and therefore no longer flank. But if the monster pins you, it still doesn't gain the pinned condition itself, so it doesn't lose Dex. Only you do.
And even the other way around, when you’re the active grappler and have someone grappled, can your party rogue sneak attack your victim, when going into flanking position to you? I know the rogue doesn’t get to sneak attack just for attacking a grappled creature, since it’s only a DEX penalty and not “lose your DEX bonus blablabla” But I’m talking here about getting into flanking position, because normally a grappling creature shouldn’t? be able to provide flanking bonus.
If you still have some attack you can make, despite some/all your hands being busy grappling. Since Improved Unarmed Strike is a prerequisite for Improved Grapple and IUS can be done with kicks and head-buts, this is not uncommon.
Also since you aren’t on top of each other the ranger with Precise shot (no malus for shooting into melee) can fire arrows at her leisure as long as you don’t give the ugly grappling monster soft cover towards the rangers attacks?
You probably meant Skill Focus (Escape Artist). Greater Grapple has a BAB +6 prerequisite.
You seem to be applying the Pinned penalties to the controller as well as the controllee. That's incorrect.
Apart from that, yeah, combat maneuvers favour big hulking monsters.
Here's how it should go:
A) "No way, I've seen your DCs, that would probably kill me. I'll take my chances with the swarm."