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Destroying the array as a PR stunt against the LoR sounds plausible. That's a good point. If I'm not mistaken the PCs are actually hanging at just enough scrapworth that people don't randomly fight them anymore, but also kind of out of scripted encounters to get it high enough that the arena will take them over the edge.
I think I need to emphasize to them that if they actually defeat one of the LoR, that at that point there'll be no more pausing, that if they do so they need to push on before the LoR regroup and come after them en masse.
I see only one ability that might cause another runescar to appear (arcane surge), and it can only be used once per day. I'd say she has "a few" runes because it's been going on long enough for the sane head to get scared. But it looks like she's not gonna reach 20 during the encounter and keel over.
I remember saying "I am indeed your general! Follow me!" and promptly flying off on my roc steed. The rest of the party then got dim-doored into position. By the time the Averakans arrived at the battlefield the enemy was already routed.
I suspect you're actually better off without them there as a liability.
Was there a rule question in there somewhere?
Lore Master (Ex): At 7th level, the skald becomes a master of many different types of lore, and can take 10 on any Knowledge check for which he has ranks. Once per day, the skald can take 20 on any Knowledge check as a standard action, instead of spending the normal amount of time that taking 20 requires. He can use this ability to take 20 on a Knowledge check twice per day at 13th level and three times per day at 19th level.
Skalds don't need a library for that. Neither do bards for that matter, who gain this ability at level 5.
Lord Fyre wrote:
I still need to work out the chariot encounter. I think that even right now the party could quickly vanquish it. A troll with no elemental protection to speak of stands little chance against a party with a serious evoker in it. I'm thinking that she has Nalakai cast Resist Energy on him before arena battles just to be sure.
I'm a bit hesitant to put the League on the stage, because I've portrayed Scrapwall as a place that's basically not on their radar. I'm planning to feature them heavily in part III however. I've made up some new gangs, among which is the Waywards. They're crusaders from the worldwound who've fallen into disgrace. Their leader, Alistair of Lauterbury, is hoping to provoke a conflict between the League and Ghost Wolves and then swoop in to "teach the barbarians a lesson". He's hoping that the League will appreciate that, and that the crusaders on the Sellen are happy to have a crusader "guarding the route".
It may be time to start some foreshadowing on that however. Maybe give them a prominent spot in the arena. He could try to get some influence over the Hawks by supporting their bid for renewed independence.
The party does not need to destroy the receiver array. It would make sense as short-term sabotage to keep the Lords of Rust out of Torch, because with no receiver array to receive the power stolen from Torch, the Lords of Rust have no reason to return to Torch. But really the party is going to remove that problem permanently by removing Hellion.
This was basically my problem. Why would they go after the receiver if at the speed things are going, they're gonna go after Hellion shortly after?
However, I do want to motivate them to go after the haunted canyon because it's important to the exposition of the Divinity story.
You've given me an idea here. Make the Smilers the new motivation for going to the canyon.
Given that the main headquarter of the Smilers is compromised and the Hawks and rats are out for blood, the PCs could also be asked to retrieve the cylex to blow up the Smiler's hideout where they're currently withstanding what approaches a siege - before the Lords make up their mind to relieve the Smilers or something. The Hawks have the initiative for the moment but they'd need to win fast, or else the Lords might rally the remaining gangs against them.
This will amount to using the cylex to bury the Smilers in a rockslide of collapsing Scrap. It's quite possible the players will balk at that. But then I've already told them that there's something of interest in that canyon. In fact, it may be worthwhile to get the cylex to help breach the Lords' compound.
That's also an interesting idea. I'd kinda planned on using the arena as a chance to open talks with Borunizhev - while he's guarded, he can be reached with Message spells or anything else the PCs come up with.
If the PCs beat some mid-level Lords talent and a few Smilers, that could also contribute to a building atmosphere of "at last, here is credible opposition to the Lords".
I've already started hinting that this is important, if only to try to sway the ratfolk that had switched to Hellion into standing away during their assault.
Yeah, I think that's the best solution given the constraints we have to work with ("we don't errata softcovers").
I don't think it's really desirable that what is supposed to be the same item has significant functional differences depending on what book you get it from.
For the sake of sanity, a jingasa from one book should do the same as a jingasa from another book.
(This is different from options that were never intended to be the same thing, such as the different dueling weapon properties.)
It's laid out in the core rulebook here:
natural attacks wrote:
The second part, regarding Multiple Attacks, applies to everyone, whether they're using manufactured weapons or natural attacks.
Redfang is in The Choking Tower. You mean Redtooth, the leader of a ratfolk gang in Scrapwall. :-)
Ugh. I think I'll just rename the guy in Choking Tower. If I'm confused about those names, it'll be worse for my players :P
I should probably give a bit more detailed account of what the party's been up to.
At just fresh level 4, they arrived at Aldronard's Grave. Ran into the smilers which I'd rebuilt as level 1 unchained rogue/level 1 savage technologist barbarian. Tough fight, especially with the portcullis splitting the party. Rescued the crusaders and laid Aldronard to rest.
Went up to the gate and had a talk with Sevroth. She let them in and they bonded over mutual dislike of the Smilers. The party agreed to take on Birdfood in exchange for an introduction to Dinvaya, which I'd described as being someone who hides in a lair behind lots of traps. You know, a single attractive female cleric of a deity that's big on clockwork, in a town full of scumbags. Lad's gotta take care of herself.
I'd redrawn the map of Hawk Palace because I couldn't make sense of the floor levels in the book map, so I made it a bit bigger. Big fight, what with the whole party being human or half-elf. But they eventually cornered Birdfood and then he got critted with an elven curve blade.
After that they went to Dinvaya, figured out the door and fought the golem and met her. She didn't really want to go on the offensive herself, but provided them with some healing and pointers on two places to go next: Red
Borunizhev is my own invention; a Triaxian captive of the Androffans who recently escaped from a stasis pod. He's a Skyfire Mandate wizard, intended to be an interesting conversation partner for the evoker wizard in my party. He's working for Hellion to figure out a way to use lightning storms to provide a new power source but it's under duress; he was promised a cybereye to replace a missing one (awkward for an evoker who wants depth perception), but now he's got two "bodyguards" shadowing him. He might become the PCs' ally depending on whether they can talk him over, but to do so they'll also have to get rid of the bodyguards.
The party decided to go to the rats first, because they'd heard the rats where under attack from the Smilers and my players want the Smilers all dead. That's when I rolled a random encounter for the manticore, so at level 4 they fought the manticore. Tough fight, but the evoker's angry thundercloud spells did a number on its electricity vulnerability.
Over at Red
I figured that since they'd been accumulating scrapworth quite fast and basically shown their competence, the rats would be forthcoming too. I gave them the map of the Smiler compound, location of the laser rifle trap, and warning about what sort of enemies to expect. The rats would organize a distraction while the PCs assault Marrow.
So with an Invisibility spell the rogue crept up to the laser rifle and took it. Then they fought Gunshy, who promptly sundered the laser rifle after eating a point-blank shot. He was succesfully tanked with mirror images and sheer luck and beaten, along with the Smiler reinforcements.
Trying to eke out the remaining time on a Communal Protection From Evil, the party hurried on but ran into the lobotomites. Although they posed no credible threat, that took time and the CPFE ran out.
I'd respecced Marrow a bit to really indulge in making a hateable necromancer, with spells like Aura of Cannibalism, Excruciating Deformation and so forth. In addition, she joined the fight with the rust-risen immediately from around the corner, using Spectral Hand to harass the PCs. Tough and tactically interesting fight ensued, in which Marrow used a Darkness spell and the PCs took the dark-ratiating object and folded it away, restoring light. All the while the PCs fought their way through rust-risen and the occasional lightning bolt.
After the PCs got back to Dinvaya, she stopped the radiation poisoning on the cleric (manticore bite is brutal), removed the evoker's blindness and healed up the nearly dead roguebarian. The PCs then went back to the rats to discuss the outcome.
Currently the Smilers are in disarray and the rats and Steel Hawks are discussing an alliance against them. However, there is a new issue in the air: now that Birdfood has been defeated, the Steel Hawks need to get a new leader. But given how Birdfood was installed after intervention from the Lords of Rust, the new leader will probably be challenged as well.
So now the players are discussing acting as champions for the Hawks, and going into the arena with that. Problem is, they just turned level 5.
I'm struggling a bit to justify the quest to destroy the receiver array and go to the haunted canyon for the cylex. It looks like the players are moving to the endgame already. Right now they're gonna talk with the Hawks about stuff and then gonna catch a show at the arena, so there's still opportunity to try to sway them. But I'm a bit lost on a good pitch.
The unchained barbarian is about even with the chained one. Not strictly necessary, if you want to minimize differences with Core.
The unchained monk is fine, it's basically got a lot of the ways monks got helped with archetypes consolidated and sanitized into one package.
Unchained rogue looks like a lot of fun. The Finesse abilities make it viable in combat. Debilitating injury is a real team player ability, it lets a rogue facilitate flanking by nerfing an enemy's movement, or debuff attacks or defences as needed. It really brings home the idea of the rogue as a dirty fighter.
Fighter wasn't fixed in Unchained, but the big problem is just giving them an out of combat role. With a more generous helping of skill points, you can play them as credible professional soldiers, mercenaries, career officers, knights, strategists, bodyguards or whatever, instead of only as a lummox that can beat people up.
Given that fighter's combat-related class abilities are roughly as strong as those of the barbarian, it makes sense that their out of combat abilities should be similarly high too.
As for a few other proposals floated here:
Finally, a thought about class balance: you don't need perfect parity, you just need everyone to feel valuable.
That means that outside combat, everyone can contribute, from an an angle fitting their class. Wizards and bards tend to win the knowledge game. Bards, rogues, monks and rangers are best at stealth. Clerics, sorcerers, rogues, bards are strong at "nice" social stuff. Although fighters should be able to play there too if they're "officer material" or knight-like. Hence giving fighters Diplomacy and Sense Motive as additional class skills.
And inside combat, fighting classes should be best at actual fighting. In the nice party, the wizard supports the fighter rather than trying to kill-steal. Working together they're stronger than everyone trying racing to steal glory on his own.
Okay, let's identify which classes we're talking about, and what to do about it.
If that isn't an option, then you could grant monks the benefits of Flying Kick as soon as they get Fast Movement. That at least gets them started.
Finally, you might want to exempt them from the "end your turn" clause on Dimension Door when they use Abundant Step.
I noticed in the Ultimate Equipment errata threads that there were quite a few people who kept asking how everyone knew errata had come out. The main sources of information for that are clearly:
For someone who has a book only in physical version, the first one never comes. Blog posts can be tricky to miss too; in this case it was John Compton trying to steer the impact on PFS. As for forum outrage: that's not really the ideal medium either.
We could use a more structured way of reaching people to inform them a book has been errataed. Therefore I propose the following:
This is a rough draft of course, but I believe it would be useful to have and possible to implement, given that Paizo.com already does comparable things for PDF buyers.
Intro: I'm now running Lords of Rust. The PCs are a party of 5, 20pt buy, and they've picked up the cerebric fungus from Fires as a mascot/cohort in training. I've reworked the fungus a bit to make sure it doesn't usurp the stage, but it's still another body with tentacles and fast healing. All in all a fairly sizeable group.
Meanwhile, I use milestone leveling; PCs level up at roughly appropriate times in the path. I'm doing this somewhat conservatively, because they're bigger than the AP was written for so they can face some stuff at a level lower sometimes. I also want there to be enough stuff happening between levels that the players get a chance to try their new toys before they get even more toys. Mostly it's going fine.
However, at level 4, a brutal roll on the random encounter table had them bumping into the CR 6 mutant manticore, right before they met with Redfang, who gave them the quest to save Whiskifiss from Marrow. So in a hurry to save him, but still a bit sore from the manticore fight, they beat their way through the Smiler compound. I did help them by letting the rats have schematics of the compound, so they went in somewhat informed of where to look, and with warning of the laser rifle trap.
Big fight, and afterwards the PCs leveled to 5. The problem is, apart from the wreck in the haunted canyon, I'm out of scripted material before going to the arena to face the Lords themselves. And taking on that whole compound is sort of assumed to happen in one big rush (before they escape/regroup). And though my players are competent, I don't think a L5 party can take that on.
So I need some filler material, that'll fill a couple of days and provide a bit of space for them to flex their muscles. Then they can level up to 6 and start in on the final crawl.
Does anyone have ideas for some nice side quests/encounters? As for hooks, the PCs are on good terms with the Steel Hawks, Meyanda and Redfang.
Investigator. Studied combat works just as well on your off hand. Those are significant to hit/damage bonuses. You just need a weapon proficiency. Either as a feat or an 1-level dip; ranger is a decent choice. That gets you Favored Enemy, the class skills you didn't have yet, and wand access.
Detect Thoughts is on your spell list, and the Empathy talent would probably work for you as well.
If only a few of your players are there, you can also give the other players NPC roles to play. Having a few people subbing in as NPCs allows you to portray conversations between multiple NPCs and the PC with much less schizophrenia. Plus, some players really get into it.
This works better for RP-heavy stuff of course, because you can just tell them "you're so and so, known for [something], and you want the following in this scene" and let it roll.
So if you're using a physical book, also bring a printing of the errata document for that book. That's what it's there for.
Thinking about it, I think I like the design of the buffering cap a lot more than that of the jingasa. Negating crits entirely gets into the realm of "everything bounces off" characters that can become boring to GM for - if nothing ever seems to stick to them, how is it even exciting anymore?
The buffering cap provides a solid defense against sudden death by crit, but doesn't take away the monster's chance to do something impressive (including applying some cool rider effect).
That's not to say I like the jingasa nerf, but I'll live with it.
It sounds like fun. The elephant of the room of course is: what if events in the flashback don't go "as planned"? For example, if someone is supposed to have run away during the flashback but gets tripped and beaten unconscious. That sort of thing can happen if you actually play it out.
That's not a disaster, as long as you and your players are okay with it. Just say that what was previously "known" may be the version the PC likes the remember, while what exactly happened wasn't quite the same. Maybe the PC is ashamed to tell that after being captured he was interrogated and betrayed some secrets, but later managed to escape.
The trick then is to keep your flashbacks short enough, and have some offscreen time between the flashback and current history, so that there's time in which all that can have been fixed.
There's Hosteling Pricey but it works.
Oooh, that's nice for my huntsmaster inquisitor.
The stored animal appears as a symbol emblazoned upon the armor or shield, either one that mimics the appearance of the animal or that is more symbolic and abstract.
This is giving me Care Bears vibes though :P
Since the prices for most magic items are (bonus^2 * some amount of 1000gp), you can buy many low-bonus ones for the same money or one big one. Generally, lots of small bonuses add up to more.
So for Big Six, if you don't know anything else, just start with whichever option is cheapest to upgrade to the next level and you'll end up evenly covered.
Another way is to just buy items as you play and level, based on whatever seems to be lacking. Having trouble hitting? Get more weapon/strength enhancement. This way doesn't work so well for defence though; with defence you need to get to a high enough number before it starts to count. At level 10 there's little practical difference between AC 10 and 20, but a significant one between 25 and 30.
Among the Big Six, the best one to focus on I think is the Cloak of Resistance. There's no substitute for adequate saving throws, and it's one of the cheapest ones.
Other stuff I usually end up picking are a handy haversack (especially on casters who worry about grabbing the right strength or encumbrance) and one of the +5 perception items.
To elaborate on my earlier post.
Theoretically, if your stats are okay, you can just grind a library forever, and eventually you'll wear it down and get the info. Once players realize that, rolling dice becomes just a chore. If the PCs have an unlimited schedule, don't bother, just state that after an arbitrary number of days/weeks they get the info.
Where it gets interesting is if the PCs don't have unlimited time. If every day or couple of days, the Opposition moves further along the time table. So the PCs are trying to make progress fast enough to keep up or get ahead. What happens outside, and what they look for in the library, goes back and forth.
During the night, the ghouls stalk the streets and the PCs need to be out there to protect the civilians. During the day, the PCs huddle in the library and continue to research the city's ancient history to figure out where the ghouls come from, what they may want, how they can be beaten. Every night, the knowledge gained that day is used, to track the ghouls to their lairs, counter their rituals, undo their curses.
I think the thing for a library campaign should be the interplay between research and other things happening. The research mechanics from UI/Mask basically give you a way to eventually drag from a library what you want; the big question is how many days it takes.
So suppose every night the monsters come out, and every day you're reading up, trying to figure out what to do about them. Can you come up with a new weapon for tonight? Can you deduce the endgame before the monsters complete it?
I don't think "loophole" is the right term; I see it more as an "emergency release valve".
Yes, someone could theoretically abuse it to shortcut a character to L20. But that's a lot of work, for not really that much reward (some bragging rights right up until someone asks you for a L12 war story).
I think plugging that abuse isn't worth the lost option of cleanly handling the bona fide case.
There's Tide of Morning as well.
The common thread is: whenever you see a fire, you put it out, because most of the time it's related to the secondary success condition.
Basically, soon enough your players are going to be combing the place with Take 20 and that's okay!
Because the point is to encounter the trap and the story it tells, not to reach an injury benchmark for your table.
With Take 20 most parties should be able to find the traps, but actually getting past them one way or the other is the challenge. Not nearly every party has a trap-remover that can take on these traps. (Although spamming summons gets you quite a ways through since the traps don't reset immediately.)
As someone who used to use a lot of house rules in his home game, I'm not sure this is the right way to go about it. A major difference between tabletop games and computer games is that in a computer game, most of the effort of processing a rules tweak falls to the computer. The player just notices their effects in the interface (and maybe reads patch notes to alter his tactics). But in a tabletop game, all the players need to re-learn all the changed rules. This leads to a kind of mental fatigue that causes people to basically check out.
So while I agree that the volume and heftiness of the changes were bad, I think your proposed solution is hard to implement.