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Ascalaphus's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 5,454 posts (5,455 including aliases). 36 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Sovereign Court *

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We played this last weekend (GM Monkhound), and didn't find it to be unusually hard. We had a nodachi paladin 9, sunder-barbarian 9, falchion bard 10, support cleric 10 party and chose to round APL to 10 so we could play the high tier with 4-player adjustment.

We started out by using some vials of Djezet to finally get my paladin the level 4 continual flame he's wanted since level 6. As a result the darkness didn't bother us throughout the adventure.

We suppressed the haunt with channels and lay on hands. Got a vague clue to go to the swamp. We go there and wait and wait but with no other leads, eventually meet with a swamper. Apparently the swamper is scripted to be immune to bargaining or threats and will only sell for a fixed price. The cleric eventually caves and pays. "Yeah, we saw some people there, and would like you to hurt them for us" hardly sounds like 3000gp worth of information, so the bard wanted to kill the swamper, but paladin.

To the Elusia building. The fight with the clockwork mages was tough because they surprised us and dropped my paladin before he got to act with a lot of fire and bad save rolls. Eventually we regrouped and won.

Okay, so the dude the swampers saw wasn't actually the one (why are we paying people for these stupid leads?) and he "just knows" we should go to the lodge. Okay.

We find some passive-aggressive notes scattered accusing us of stuff. I haven't played Darkest Vengeance so this is coming across as rather silly. If the goal is to frame the PFS, why are you scattering notes saying "how does it feel" all over? Rather defeats the point of trying to make it look like the PFS did it.

The dancers upstairs were easily beaten.

Getting to the cellar we used an Invisibility Sphere to enter the room, so the bad guy is monologuing to empty air. Can't blame the writer for that. We fail to spot what's wrong and the barbarian rushes in to Greater Sunder the "knife". Which kills the diva. We rush in the cleric who Breath of Life's her. (We had a disagreement about whether a sunder attempt at something that's not even there could really damage the "holder" of the insubstantial item, but moved on.)

Everyone saved against the sacristan's scream, and after a hit from the barbarian followed by a smite critical from me it died.

The barbarian sundered the BBEG's single weapon and we resisted a few spells, and at that point the boss was all played out.


Can I just petition that bosses get at least a dagger as a backup weapon? Enemies' minimalistic gear blocks makes sundering ludicrously effective.

Sovereign Court *

Nefreet wrote:

Perhaps we should come to a consensus on *how* this question can best be answered, since new weapons keep getting released.

My Sohei is still hoping that the Fauchard counts as the polearm it is described as.

Would the best answer be to...

1) Make a master list, sticky it here in the Forum, and update it every time a new source gets released?

2) Have a GM notate their opinion on the player's Chronicle X number of times?

3) Release an FAQ about "common sense", and to avoid possible extreme interpretations?

4) Rule that "Not all weapons belong in a Weapon Group"?

I think we can all agree that an answer is needed, as the 30+ FAQ hits can show, but I'm not sure what form that answer should come in.

I like #1, perhaps it could be done in the Additional Resources entry for the weapon's source though, to keep a limit on the amount of documents to keep track of? Technically you're already supposed to have it with you...

Sovereign Court *

I've moved away from physical books to PDFs. I've printed the relevant pages from my watermarked PDFs, which is still a sizeable pair of folders but is transportable now.

Or if I know the place is laptop-friendly, I can bring that.

In addition, I like to bring a physical CRB, I look up more stuff in there than in all the other books combined, and often want to show it to other people.

Sovereign Court *

I'd say that a reasonable minimum is a sheet that a GM can grab and read and understand without any special preparation.

I agree with the requirement for a physical sheet; I don't own a tablet and if someone shoves one on herolab my way, I'll have to spend quite some time finding out how to read it. That's not acceptable.

The ordinary sheet provided by Paizo is fine although some much better models exist.

I prefer skills to be fully calculated, so that if I (for example; cam up yesterday) have to judge secret sense motive checks for people, I can look at their sheets and see what their skill modifier is, without giving away what's going on.

Clarity about choices made (what archetype, feat selection etc.), and convenience of the GM, should be the measures of a good sheet.

Sovereign Court *

I think Chain Challenge was a bit ridiculous, but cavaliers could use some more love, just more balanced love..

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Apart from what I may think about those errata themselves, I think the way John has been handling the impact of it on PFS is exemplary.

Sovereign Court *

I'd be more upfront about the AoOs for reach weapons and sizes. These things are clearly observable for the PCs.

If someone is about to trigger an AoO because of some weird hijink of the cover rules, tell them. These rules are not ambiguous, but they are obscure, so you can't expect people to know the details. Playing Gotcha with rules is not nice.

Also, we should always be up to snuff on cover rules. There's soooo much tactical advantage to be gained if you use them well.


By the way, the inquisitor has access to a truly nasty tactic. His Growth subdomain lets him Enlarge as a swift action, but he shrinks again at the start of his next turn. Consider carefully into which of the 4 squares he occupies to shrink, and when you grow again, where to grow. Consider this situation:

P _ _ _ I _ _

Now the inquisitor grows and takes his attack;

P _ _ I I _ _

PC thinks he's gotta suck it up, moves closer and provokes;

_ _ P I I _ _

Inquisitor's turn, he shrinks again;

_ _ P _ I _ _

Takes a 5ft step;

_ _ P _ _ I _

And grows, and attacks;

_ _ P _ _ I I

So now to attack, the PC will again have to provoke by moving; and if he tries to walk away, he also provokes.

As you can see, with the right build, the Growth version of Enlarge is better than a continual spell.

Sovereign Court *

I'd say that a crossblooded dragon disciple only advances the dragon bloodline, not the other one.

Sovereign Court *

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think you're better off not spacing out those errata over time. Not only does Macchiavelli recommend doing all the horrible things at once, and spreading out kindness over time, so people are reminded of it frequently... It's better to rebuild once, than to rebuild, face another errata, and have to rebuild the same character again.

Giving more time before big Cons on the other hand, might've been handy.

Sovereign Court *

I recently ran a game where a certain high-powered Allip 5ft-sank into the ground, whereupon the barbarian used his adamantine earthbreaker to hack away the ground, exposing the spirit, who then got killed by the rest of the party before he got another turn too move further away.

Sovereign Court *

I agree that it's a neat location with lots of potential for cinematic action. I can imagine however that people on the ledge do get cover against attacks coming from below, it's a sort of hard corner after all.

Sovereign Court

I've been meaning to work on this too. I got a bit of a Deadwood vibe from the book.

I think what it needs is some kind of interlude story set in Torch between Fires and Lords.

And yeah, "hooray, you lived" parties are good. I think there needs to be more town life.


My players just fought the drones guarding Khonnir and Hardness 10 gave them serious trouble. I kind of expect them to ask the townsfolk if there's any adamatine weapons on loan - this town is famous for smelting adamantine after all, and they are trying to save it.

It doesn't make much sense to me to flatly refuse, but that'll make things a lot easier later on. Anyone have ideas for a spin I can put on it?

Sovereign Court *

I don't get the hate against RMA wannabes. We have lots of priests of evil gods, too. And people wanting to play something because it's cool - isn't wish fulfilment the whole point of RPGs?

It should be noted that the iconic Slayer is a pretty effective assassin/"will it blend" kitchen machine. Though not dex-based, he still gets off lots of off-hand attacks.

Sovereign Court *

I remember a discussion about tiefling starting ages about two years back, when it was brought up that several APs feature tieflings/aasimars that are around 16-25ish and acting all grown up. Apparently the result of some miscommunication between writers.

Back then it was said that the ARG age table would be altered to fit the story, not the other way around.

Personally I think that's the right way: given all the stories about most parents being unhappy with tiefling births, if they're mewling kids for forty years, I think they don't stand a chance.

Anything that's not loveable needs to grow up fast.

Sovereign Court

I've seen an abyssal bloodrager in action before, and between the Enlarge-on-Rage ability and Reach weapons, I've seen him get lots and lots of AoOs. Enemies just didn't have a choice, the threatened area was just too big.

However, this is for PFS, so mythic stuff doesn't really work.

Line in the Sand is only within 5ft, and the casting time isn't helping either.

Sovereign Court

I'm working up an Abyssal Bloodrager build. They grow up so fast, and get lots of reach for AoOs. However, going big is bad for Dex and so bad for Combat Reflexes. And AC.

I was thinking about using Lore Oracle to use Charisma for AC instead Dex, since it doesn't go down when you go Large. However, that doesn't help for AoOs.

So, does anyone know good ways to get at more AoOs per round?

Sovereign Court *

Yeah, those Alarm spells really do earn their keep, especially in that adventure. Gave us a couple of extra rounds to set up the gauntlet for the Aspis waves.

The Inqy can reach the walkway while enlarged? That's kind of evil :P

Sovereign Court *

outshyn: interesting analysis, but consider this counterquestion: what if the PCs are ranged-heavy? Then they're on top of an awesome position to gattle down the Aspis forces before they even get close.

We found the final fight rather easy, but the inquisitor did get to use one round of his chicanery and insta-dropped (not killed) the playing-up wizard, so there was still an "oh crap" moment to liven it up.

Sovereign Court *

You could conceivably score a "tourist destination" on a Grand Lodge card from one season, and score another goal on the other card.

Sovereign Court *

The S6 and S7 faction cards for Sovereign Court have an identically named capstone, but they don't do the same thing;

S6 wrote:
SPYMASTER (7+ goals): Once per adventure, you can coach up to seven other creatures in the use of a skill that you select when you use this ability. For the duration of the adventure, those creatures gain a +4 competence bonus on checks using that skill and halve their armor check penalty when using the skill.
S7 wrote:
SPYMASTER (7+ goals): Once per adventure, you can coach up to seven other creatures in the use of a skill that you select when you use this ability. For the duration of the adventure, those creatures gain a bonus on checks using that skill equal to half the goals you have completed (rounded down) and halve their armor check penalty when using the skill.

So how does that stack?

Sovereign Court *

A while back I was looking for line of sight rules, but all I could find in PF was line of effect rules. LoS and LoE are often the same, but not always.

Sovereign Court *

Earth glide doesn't allow his spells to pass through the rock, that's the thing. He has to emerge to cast.

But I'm glad he didn't do the earthgliding when we met him. Then again, we tried not to give him time/chance to do much of anything.

Sovereign Court

I do think the Spell Trigger thing needs to be addressed. There's nothing in the Investigator talking about what items they can or can't use. But they use spells in the same way as Alchemists, so it's reasonable to let them use the same set of items.

And in the Alchemist, they're spoken of as basically "because of the way alchemists use magic, they can use Spell Trigger but not Spell Completion".

I've gone into this before and people half-remembered that there was a designer comment somewhere in the playtest saying Investigators couldn't use Spell-Trigger. But I wasn't able to actually find that comment, so I had to dismisss that as being too obscure that actually use.


So should investigators get to use wands? I think they should.

1) Flavor argument: investigators use the same kind of magic as alchemists. They should be able to use the same items. Also, investigators are quite flavored as a tool-using class, so wands are appropriate.

2) Consistency argument: investigators use the same kind of magic as alchemists. They should be able to use the same items.

3) Balance argument: investigators are not stronger than alchemists, probably a lot more limited even. There's no need to take this away from them.

4) Uniqueness argument: wands aren't some feature that's highly specific to alchemists that should be reserved for that class alone.

Sovereign Court

I'm not a fan of unrestricted dex to damage. It is generally intended that smaller monsters deal less damage, so they get penalties to strength and bonuses to dex. Allowing dex to damage on a full set of natural attacks would blow that out of the water.

But the new slashing grace looks very awkward to me.

Sovereign Court

It looks like you actually coast it, since it talks about how this also counts for spell completion items (alchemists extracts normally can only do spell trigger).

Sovereign Court *

I just didn't see the change to Arcanist's Consume Spells/Magic Items coming at all. Was this something that was talked about beforehand?

Sovereign Court *

I'm going through my book with a pencil making notes on what's changed. I'm nearly halfway now.

Sovereign Court *

The Fourth Horseman wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
The Fourth Horseman wrote:

I'm also disappointed about the limitation on Rogue Talents that Slayers can take.
Can you clarify what you mean by this? I don't see any restriction.
From the errata, Slayers can now only take one of the available Rogue talents from the list given to Slayers.

Check again. The original entry has two lines in it saying you can take Rogue Talent more than once. The errata only removes the redundant line.

Sovereign Court *

I don't think you get any more than the text says you get - no extras like special materials. Otherwise, why stop at darkwood? Why not adamantine?

Sovereign Court *

John Compton wrote:

As a heads-up, Monday's blog is going to release the updated Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, which contains expanded ways to retrain your character following a playtest or errata. It doesn't fix every concern, but it does address numerous concerns.

These include more generous reselling of obsolete equipment, broader retraining of feat prerequisites, and clearer instructions for how to handle an item whose price has changed.

I'll be studying it to see if I can rebuild my occultist arcanist. Suddenly I need charisma.

Sovereign Court

Hetuath has a raft of resistances and immunities, good touch AC, good AC, tricky DR; all in all it's mostly the 2H crew that can threaten him. If my dice hadn't been stone cold he would've done a number on my players. As-is, they were impressed.

And now they just fought a collector and two medbots, are quite drained, and they don't know yet that Hetuath just rejuvenated...


I ran the Entrap as a constant that happened to anyone ending movement in the zone. It scared my players considerably. However, the Ghelarns both died quite quickly to 2H attacks.

Sovereign Court

What about if the familiar sneaks off, warns Khonnir, and Khonnir sets up a diversion that draws away Meyanda c.s., so that the PCs get a chance to escape?

That way, you take a lot of the sting out of the "saved by NPC" thing, because the NPCs work off-screen to give the PCs the chance to do some on-screen stuff. But the heroes do get rewarded for saving Khonnir, which is also nice. And it rewards the effort to conceal the familiar.

Sovereign Court

Arachnofiend wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I've got two copies of a boon lying around that does much the same thing, granting earth breaker proficiency. It turns out it's really very circumstantial, most characters that "need" it already have proficiency.
You could give it to an Inquisitor. There aren't any gods that grant Earth Breaker proficiency. Bards and Investigators could make good use of it as well.

That was my original plan, but my Inquisitor ended up preferring to wear a shield to be tankier. The Investigator turned out to be a longspear specialist.

Sovereign Court *

We played this a while back at high tier with a party containing a gunslinger5/inquisitor of Gorum1; paladin 7 pregen; investigator 5 (mine, strength longspear build); and ranger archer 4.

It was fun, especially with the GM hamming up the cultists. But I should warn: these old adventures with lots of clerics in heavy armor can't stand up to gunslingers (and presumably, alchemists) that target Touch AC.

Sovereign Court *

This is interesting (let's call it "qualitative" instead of "anecdotal") experience for the next time someone suggests bringing old scenarios out of retirement.

And props on being such a good sport about it :)

Sovereign Court *

I find this to be a handy page: r

Sovereign Court *

One thing I do miss in the pregens, especially at level 1, is a dedicated archer. Some of the pregens have a bow, but none of them have Precise Shot at level 1, and that's a showstopper.

"Elven archer" isn't the most original concept ever, but it's something that quite a few new players express interest in.

Bonus would be a picture on the backside of the sheet explaining the (ranged) cover rules with a simple picture. I think the tactical depth of moving to shoot without cover is a nice taste of that side of PF, without being overwhelming. But, Precise Shot really is required for the pregen to feel effective in often cramped low-level dungeons.

Sovereign Court

I think it's best to interpret the movement of teleportation spells as something different than "moving your feet" like that limiting 5ft steps.

I'd be inclined not to apply Freedom of Movement to Dimensional Anchor, because DA isn't stopping you from moving your body freely, it's just keeping it in this dimension. But it's a grey area.

I just wanted to point out that if you're going to classify teleportation as movement, then it probably can't be combined with 5ft steps anymore - which screws over casters a lot more I'd say.

Sovereign Court

If teleportation is movement, does it interfere with 5ft steps, or vice versa?

Sovereign Court

There's no explicit rule saying you can't full attack with crossbows, guns, or slings for that matter.

There's only some reminder text that points out that this or that ability removes the reloading obstacle that would normally make it impossible to fire more than once.

You're inferring a rule that doesn't exist. Such a rule would be significant enough that if it existed, it would be called out explicitly, in the description of the weapon, or the firearms rules. We shouldn't have to read crossbow feats to discover that we can't full-attack with firearms.


Re: deadshot:

PRD wrote:
Dead Shot (Ex): At 7th level, as a full-round action, the gunslinger can take careful aim and pool all of her attack potential into a single, deadly shot.

This implies that the gunslinger has a multi-shot potential that can be pooled into a single shot instead.

Apart from that, it does quite a few things; conserves ammo, efficiently handles DR, and increases the chance of a critical hit.


Re: balance:
I see your "gunsliners are OP" and raise you a Zen Archer, Ranger Archery Style and Paladin Smite.

Sovereign Court

It wouldn't be difficult rules-wise, but I have my doubts if it's a good idea style-wise to just make a carbon copy but divinify it. I would prefer more differences, substantial and cosmetic.

I do think Brigh's faithful should have an interesting PrC, but I'd slant it a bit away from electronics, Brigh seems more clockwork-oriented. The stuff that fell onto Numeria is alien to her to, even though she's more appreciative.

I'd say focus more on Constructs (including but not limited to robots) and less on guns.

Sovereign Court

When Rapid Reload was written for the CRB, the CRB was the only book. Gungslingers didn't exist yet. Also, Paizo's policy is to not have the CRB refer to stuff in other books.

There's nothing in the gunslinger writeup that suggests you can't make full attacks, except that reloading would be a problem without aids like feats or cartridges.

I believe it's the same with Rapid Reload by the way: the only reason you can't normally full attack with a crossbow is because you'd need move actions to reload. If you had a magic crossbow that automatically reloads you wouldn't need Rapid Shot. That text in the feat is just a reminder of the consequences of reducing the load time to Free.


Besides that, guns can't be both in line with crossbows and normal bows for power level, since there's an ocean of difference between those. Crossbows lag behind composite (Str) bows for damage, and require feats to get the same firing rate. There's far more material published for bows than for crossbows, too.

Given how hard dedicated archers hit, I also don't think gunslingers are ahead of them, more like just on-par.

Sovereign Court *

Maybe the player was used to lower treasure amounts, and therefore more need to be thrifty?

Sovereign Court *

I've brought scrolls of Silence to loan out to divine casters, but the 1-round casting time combined with a move action to draw means they don't see much use.

Sovereign Court *

I like the T.S. bussiness card, I'm gonna copy that for my alchemist. Very convenient.

I've had some success with my alchemist pulling remedies against sundry things, but improving the process is always nice.

Sovereign Court *

I don't think it was intended that something as basic as how SLAs work was intended to differ between monsters and players. If it was really intended to be different it would've been called out with more fanfare. Rather, I think it's a case of word count woes.

If something is defined differently in Bestiary and CRB, I think it's usually wisest to go with the longest, more detailed writeup.

Sovereign Court *

Auke Teeninga wrote:

Suppress charms and compulsions?

Way cheaper and more useful than the ioun stone trick.

It's a good after-the-fact complement to Protection from X, but I have to wonder. It's a Save Negates (Harmless) spell.

Would a dominated character try the save? As I understand Dominate Person, it doesn't actually change someone's attitude, it just forces the person to carry out orders. So the dominated person would be aware of what's going on, and probably resent the domination, and be willing to accept Harmless spells from the people he still knows are his allies.

As a significant bonus, Suppress Charms & Compulsions also works against Confusion.


If the saving throw is giving you trouble, there's also the more exotic solution of using a medlance loaded with [url=]essence of independence]. Touch attack to deliver the Essence; the only save your ally will be rollling is the one to shake off the Dominate, and at a whopping +4 alchemical bonus.

Sovereign Court *

Taja's solution is practical though. Masterwork Transformation is available and affordable.

Sovereign Court *

With regard to nonlethal damage, it's important to remember that it drops people when it's equal to their current HP, but only overflows into lethal damage when it's equal to their total HP.

When you keep that in mind, it gets a lot easier for barbarians and paladins to subdue people without accidentally killing them.

Sovereign Court

Karui Kage wrote:
2. Search - I developed the entire engine myself for fun, but if there are better already made engines out there that I could plugin, I'd love to know about them. I've thought about sticking a google search engine on the site for one.

In general I like the search as it is now, as opposed to the google model. While google search is pretty clever, it gets harder and harder to do non-fuzzy searches. Your search engine allows "solid" searches which are really convenient if you know what you're looking for.

One thing that does irritate me: if you click on a search result such as an alchemical discovery, you go to the top of the list of discoveries, rather than to that specific one. I've noticed the same behaviour with rogue talents and rage powers. If you used anchors and linked the search results to those, we'd arrive more on-destination.

Apart from that, the new search interface is more user-friendly. Great work!

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