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Ascalaphus's page

FullStarFullStar Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden. 7,102 posts (7,142 including aliases). 87 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 10 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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Sovereign Court

Quite a few people use the Innvulnerable Rager archetype for barbarians, which gives you DR instead of trying to keep AC competitively high. The idea being, you hit harder and can take more punishment than your enemies, so you'll come out on top.

It's quite hard for barbarians to keep AC high enough, because they tend to 2H weapons so no shield, and only medium armor proficiency. So it seems better to pick another horse to bet on (HP).

Then again, I've seen Uncanny Dodge be very useful. Quite often barbarians are at the front of the party when a bunch of NPC rogues burst out from ambush and try to sneak attack the PCs. But with Uncanny Dodge the front PC is not flat-footed so no sneak attack damage.

So, suppose you're going Invulnerable Rager, how much dex to you need? Well, it still has a few uses: Acrobatics (jumping over obstacles), Reflex saving throws, ranged to-hit (thrown weapons are a good addition to a 2H weapon build). Also, if you're using a polearm and Combat Reflexes, you'll want some dexterity as well.

All in all I'd say 10-14, depending on how much use you have for ranged attacks and combat reflexes.

Sovereign Court

Isn't it better to make daytime raids on orcs? They have light sensitivity but can see in the dark far better than humans can.

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The original source is Pathfinder Society Field Guide, and that's not race-related. And it's a legal source for PFS. It's actually quite tailored to the PFS game, what with swapping out poisons for precise bombs ("no PVP") and such.

The newer source is Monster Codex and is racial-bound. And not a PFS-legal source.

Sovereign Court

Rage denies only the things it explicitly denies. That's a lot less than some people think at first glance.

If it's any comfort to you flavour-wise, when my investigator goes into combat mode, his mutagen drops his Int for Strength and the voice becomes a bit more Schwarzenegger-like, and people start dying left and right. You shouldn't think about investigators as dainty butterflies only; some of them are vicious people who'll investigate their way through your vital organs in alphabetical order with longspears or claw/claw/bite/gore routines.

Sovereign Court

I would allow firearms to use deadly aim normally, including energy weapons. Their damage output really isn't that high, and between hardness and energy resistances and immunities, they really aren't out of control.

Also, in this AP, you want the technological weapons to be as good or better than traditional weaponry.

The Technic League is supposed to consist of wizards and magi hogging all the tech for themselves. Now consider: are laser pistols actually anything for a magus to get excited about, in terms of damage output? I think they need all the help they can get.

Sovereign Court

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It's a Exceptional ability and those don't require concentration unless they specifically say so.

As for requiring patience: it takes somewhere between a swift and a move action to do, altogether 3 seconds or less. It takes as much time as standing up from prone or drawing a weapon, and I've never seen anyone try to argue that Rage makes you too impatient for that and that you should just make untrained unarmed strikes from prone. So I don't think it requires patience.

Finally, it's not a skill.

So, there's nothing stopping you.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Not the first thing I thought about when I read Pride :P

Will these also be available at PaizoCon UK?

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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.

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I would say that it's powerful armor, but that the cost is proportionate. A +2 bonus is expensive enough that it means giving up on other options. So a PC that covers himself with this item is not covering himself against something else.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The fact that spell storing specifically references scrolls suggests that there is a difference compared to things not listed, such as wands.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

But isn't it usually hard to complete the module without also touching on the "goal" of the module?

If you run away as soon as initiative is called at the final bossfight and thereby skip the "coming home as heroes and wrapping up" text, have you really completed the module?

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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.

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Was there a rule question in there somewhere?

Skald wrote:
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.

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

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.

A couple of things:

  • Use the "Show" at the arena to demonstrate them how brutal Helskarg's Ogre-chariot is. There allies may suggest that the PCs will want something to counter it.
  • You may need to add to the canyon encounters (see my suggested Technic League team above).

    But, at a certain point you need to let them progress as they see fit.

  • 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.

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    Mathmuse wrote:
    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.

    Mathmuse wrote:

    The plot hinges on the party's motivation. Recently, your party's actions in Scrapwall have been motivated by disgust at the Smilers. The Smilers are easy to hate.

    The module gives a possible motivation of being hired by Torch to stop a future raid on their reactor. The party in my game was motivated partly by that, though without being formally hired to do it, but also by curiosity what Scrapwall and their cult of Hellion wanted with the power. Another possible motivation is that they could hate Hellion sight unseen because of their battle with Meyanda and her minions.

    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.

    Mathmuse wrote:

    At this point, I emphasized that the Lords of Rust had had an alliance with the Thralls of Hellion for a few years, but to all the other gangs, it appears that the alliance has broken because the Lords of Rust are attacking the Thralls of Hellion. Really, this is Hellion punishing the Thralls because the power transmission stopped and he blames them. This would seem the perfect time to the Steel Hawks to select a new leader for themselves without interference from the Lords of Rust. But just in case, they will want the party involved to protect from interference. And you seem to be playing on that:

    Ascalaphus wrote:

    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.

    Not all battles in the arena are to the death. The Lords of Rust are using the arena as a test for recruits and having one person die, either the recruit or the Lord of Rust opponent, for each recruit would not increase the size of the Lords of Rust. Perhaps arrange a non-lethal battle in the arena between individual champions of the Steel Hawks, i.e., individual party members, and individual champions of the Lords of Rust to decide which group will select the new leader of the Steel Hawks.

    Of course, since the Lords of Rust are led by Hellion, and Hellion is evil and insane, some sinister twist will occur, such as, "Hey, for our second champion we have Pegleg Smiler here. He doesn't seem to like you guys." But overall, keeps the powerhouses of the Lords of Rust, such as Draigs and Kulgara, out of the fight and keep the fight to the rules, so that the party will want to leave peacefully after their victory instead of pressing on to face Hellion.

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    It looks like an oversight.

    Sovereign Court

    Now I have the term "locally linear wizard" stuck in my head :P

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Kalindlara wrote:

    I prefer updating the Campaign Clarifications document so that, if someone IS using the more obscure source, they don't have to buy a new book either.

    Other than that, yeah. Consistency is good. ^_^

    Yeah, I think that's the best solution given the constraints we have to work with ("we don't errata softcovers").

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    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.)

    Sovereign Court

    It's laid out in the core rulebook here:



    Natural Attacks: Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks). If you possess only one natural attack (such as a bite—two claw attacks do not qualify), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus on damage rolls made with that attack.

    Some natural attacks are denoted as secondary natural attacks, such as tails and wings. Attacks with secondary natural attacks are made using your base attack bonus minus 5. These attacks deal an amount of damage depending on their type, but you only add half your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

    You can make attacks with natural weapons in combination with attacks made with a melee weapon and unarmed strikes, so long as a different limb is used for each attack. For example, you cannot make a claw attack and also use that hand to make attacks with a longsword. When you make additional attacks in this way, all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks, using your base attack bonus minus 5 and adding only 1/2 of your Strength modifier on damage rolls. Feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting and Multiattack can reduce these penalties.

    Multiple Attacks: A character who can make more than one attack per round must use the full-attack action (see Full-Round Actions) in order to get more than one attack.

    The second part, regarding Multiple Attacks, applies to everyone, whether they're using manufactured weapons or natural attacks.

    Sovereign Court

    Mathmuse wrote:
    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: Redfangtooth and Borunizhev.

    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 Redfangtooth they heard Whiskifiss had been captured, and that there was little time to waste before Marrow might do something horrible to him. While some players muttered a bit about being out of resources after the fight with the manticore, this turned out to be just fine. They had a lot of tech items that so far they hadn't really used, and now was a good time to start lobbing some grenades.

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    You mean they get iteratives, instead of every weapon once at full BAB? In that case you should be focusing on beasts that get a single extreme attack, like the arsinoitherium.

    And if you're going there anyway, may as well pick up Vital Strike for those times when you can't full attack.

    Sovereign Court

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    Bonus points if you can get some of the other players to pick "gang names" as well. A campaign where everyone has over the top names has a charm that's lacking when people are just called sensible names like Bob and Joe.

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    When we played this we had an undine watersinger bard in the party. Those waterbending abilities are sick in a sewer level.

    Sovereign Court

    alexanderb wrote:
    Ascalaphus wrote:
    ...
    Looking at the Unchained classes, it looks like these are drop-in-replacement-friendly for the Core Rulebook. I might just print those from the d20pfsrd, and tell people to use them. :) Thanks a lot for the suggestions!

    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:


    • Full attacks on a standard: if everyone can get it, it won't change anything about the gap between barbarians, rangers, paladins on the one hand, and monks and fighters on the other hand. If only fighters and monks get it, that just means you need a fighter dip. Besides, the problem with fighters isn't that they can't fight well enough, it's that they're not good enough at other things than fighting.
    • Better saving throws for rogues and fighters: that's not a crazy idea. Many classes get two good saves. And generally, Will saves are rated most important (save vs. killing your party), Fort also high (save vs. immediate death) and Reflex last (save for half damage). Rogues as envisioned as crafty and independent operators could stand to get a good Will save. Fighters can be imagined as either disciplined or as good with rolling with the punches, so either Reflex or Will as a strong save makes sense. We don't want to steal monks' thunder by giving them three good saves, so maybe let fighters choose?
    • Giving all non-int-caster classes 4+int skill points: also not a bad idea. It provides another incentive not to dump Int too much because now you'd lose out more. (If you get only 2+int skill points, there's no difference between Int 8 and 7.) This is good if you want to expand the non-combat part of your game and want all classes to participate. Paladins, clerics and sorcerers are generally imagined as being good at various skills, but tend to lack to points to make that a reality.

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    Okay, let's identify which classes we're talking about, and what to do about it.

    Fighter
    Fighters are okay at fighting. The problem with fighters is that they can't do enough outside combat. So let's do something about that:


    • 4+int skills or even 6+int skills.
    • More class skills; at least Acrobatics, Diplomacy, K(local, nobility, history), Perception and Sense Motive. That gives you a more well-rounded warrior.
    • Perhaps also a choice to gain either Will or Reflex as a second strong save.

    Monk
    The big problem with monks in core is a disconnect between their presentation as a high-mobility class along with needing a full attack to really function. A good solution would be to use the Unchained Monk; that'll get you up and running without anything else.

    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.

    Rogue
    Just use the Unchained Rogue. Or at least the Finesse, Dex to damage and debilitating injury abilities. That way, a rogue doesn't pay a Finesse feat tax to have a chance at hitting and AC at the same time; and the debilitating injury gives the rogue more tactical stuff to do.

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    I suppose Team Evil has attempted to kill the Watchers Council before, so they probably have fallback strategies in case any of their known libraries gets destroyed.

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    captain yesterday wrote:
    They're all available in the free download section I believe.

    I know. The point is: how do you know there's something new there?

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    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:
    - Email that your PDFs have been updated
    - Blog post
    - Forum outrage

    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:


    • When errata happens, an email is sent to anyone subscribed to a mailing list dedicated to this purpose. The email contains a link to the errata download page.
    • Only Paizo sends emails to this list. The styling of the emails is deliberately different from the more regular promotional emails so that people immediately notice the difference. It'll be low-traffic by nature.
    • Membership is voluntary and can be opted out of with a link found in the email.
    • Anyone making a new Paizo account has an opt-in checkbox pre-checked.
    • Existing accounts are either added to this list if it's reasonable to assume they'd be interested, or not. (It seems reasonable to expect interest if someone has bought a PDF from Paizo or has a PFS number that's been reported to at least once.)

      Existing accounts get an email about signing up/off depending on the preference guessed for them.

    • Errata notifications are sent for any Pathfinder books errataed, regardless of what's known about the book ownership of list members. They can all get the same email. After all, Paizo doesn't know what books people own physically.

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    We had a Kyra7 pregen who cast Fire Shield and then got swarmed by rust monsters. She lost everything - every last delectable metal coin - but we also had lots of crispy monsters.

    Also, Make Whole can undo a lot of damage.

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    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.

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    SmiloDan wrote:
    Also, Buffy's Scoobies were always looking stuff up in the library.

    Good point indeed.

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    I think it used to be that you couldn't get the harrow power and had to use a domain, but after re-publication of the harrow deck it was flipped and now it looks like you won't get a domain if you don't use the deck.

    Sovereign Court

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    There's a way for your player to achieve his aims with stronger rules coverage:

    dye arrow
    marker dye
    glowing ink

    Invisibility doesn't stop you from emitting light, so now it should be possible to track the invisible enemy.

    Sovereign Court

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    There's Hosteling Pricey but it works.

    Oooh, that's nice for my huntsmaster inquisitor.

    Hosteling wrote:
    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

    Sovereign Court

    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.

    Sovereign Court

    Come to think of it, this sounds a bit like vigilantes with scholarly social identities. Like a club of "armchair" scholars that covertly oppose occult forces.

    Sovereign Court

    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.

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    Given that you need to fill in the feat when you get the sheet, I think this one may have been intended as a "make a spot decision and live with it". After all, it's an extra, unanticipated feat so getting one more shouldn't disrupt your build.

    Sovereign Court

    For some weird reason I've actually only gotten a crit once (in 9 levels), but that was for 83 damage. Not too shabby for a "simple" weapon or a "skill monkey" class. High strength and power attack on a 2H weapon are sustainable resources that let you keep going all day long.

    Sovereign Court

    Longspear, but I ignored inspiration almost completely. Enchanting weapons is expensive and Bane (evil outsider) was far more important.

    Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    Yeah, I figured that out in the car beck when looking at his statblock. I think if our spellcraft had told us that SM-VII was being cast we'd have made interrupting that more of a priority than SM-IV.

    Sovereign Court

    My paladin never really got that good at intimidate, so lots of examples had to be made.

    "Do you accept the light of Sarenrae into your heart? No?"
    *slash, crit*
    "So, goon #2, do you repent your evil ways?"

    Sovereign Court

    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?

    Sovereign Court

    With a strength-based investigator at L9 I was getting up to AC 37 and 50% displacement. That was for an extreme fight with prebuffing though, normally I'm at 30 or so. So don't worry that going Str-based is suicide.

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