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Varisian Barbarian

Ask a Shoanti's page

284 posts. Alias of Michael Kortes (Contributor).


1 to 50 of 284 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's kinda a toss up for me as to what's cooler here - a story with Jasilia and Ojan in it or the chance for fiction by Chris Carey!

Loved this:

"She would never forgive herself if she got him killed."


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am very happy to be digging into Jim Grove’s “The Half-Dead City”.

One thing that has just jumped out at me is the footnote to “Twilight of the Phoenix”, the adventure proposal from 2008, which was from the final round of the original RPG Superstar competition.

Anybody else remember the camel chase, the collapsing tower of glass? Or the eclipse event?

That brings back great memories. If you happen to be an Osirion junkie who came into Pathfinder post-08, I would look it up. It might be among the ‘awesomest’ of adventures to remain in concept form and you can already see its formative influence in "Mummy's Mask".

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I never go anywhere near Osirion without my trusted copy of Sekmekh Binwari's Most Reputable and Honest Truthful Guide.

(That was awesome)

P.S. Many folks just don't appreciate how good an ab workout summoning actually is.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I appreciate the Player's Guide has some marketing value, but seriously, this is an insanely nice guide for free. I would add this to my downloads even if I wasn't going to run this campaign.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Very much looking forward to this volume and the kick-off of this series. Jim Groves will be exceptional as always.

I especially look forward to an adventuring party (preferably all-Shoanti) making sure the Half-Dead city stays only half-dead.

Green Blood on a Black Rock, now franchising. Sounds awesome!

Adam Daigle, Brandon Hodge and some of the veteran players are probably the people you most want to tap. But as to one point. . .

Lord Snow wrote:
4) Why was the ruling made that monsters keep their injuries from round to round? not only does this sort of rule out any monster with fast healing (it would have a significant advantage of healing fully after each fight while others don't), it also ensures that the further you go into the tournament, the shorter and more luck intensive matches are going to get. For example, in the linked tournament report, the finals was described as unexciting due to low HP pools on the combatants. Is there a reason I'm missing why the monsters don't just heal entirely from match to match?

I don't know if this quirk is still in the tournament, but at one time every monster healed a specific amount between rounds - and it wasn't a lot. When your monster took a big hit, you felt it.

There were indeed fast healing monsters, in particular the troll. The troll was a lot lower CR than the average beastie in the competition, but its ability to start every round at full hit points was supposed to compensate, maybe even making it a potential tournament favourite. ("Outwit, outlast, outplay. . .")

This was complicated by strategic considerations. There were also monsters in the draft such as a juvenile black dragon (acid breath) and a fire elemental. They were likely to perform quite well against a troll and a bad bracket match up would spell an early exit.

This made for some interesting considerations. When you picked your monster, you had to pay attention to how much it healed inbetween rounds. This was written on every monster's card.

So yes, this could easily be run with full healing inbetween each round - I think that would be cleaner and I agree it would lead to longer battles in later rounds. But it would also change the way you evaluate your creature choices. A high hp, low AC beast who gets to heal up for free might becomes more valuable than a low hp high AC monster for example. Hard to say.

Cool beans.

"Always bet on Bulette"

Man! Some of those more panoramic pictures bring back memories!

<raises klar in salute!>

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:

Hey, thanks for coming to answer my questions!

If I may ask a few more...

1) Would you still limit them to 2 rings?

Yes, there is unfortunately nothing in the description that gets around that limit. If you could afford the expensive hand of glory you could increase it to three. Otherwise just keep trading up for better rings.

In retrospect, I'd like to have seen a feat that lets a PC take an extra ring, a feat which can be taken more than once.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:
2) How often do you see them going into humanoid form? Reading the race, it really seems like swarm form will be the form in use 99% of the time, even in combat.

I would have thought the opposite. It's likely problematic to be travelling around town as a swarm. Whereas in combat, I would probably want to take advantage of the swarm's characteristics as soon as possible.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:
3) What role in the party do you see one of these characters, if they only take Coalesent levels?

A lot of that depends on which abilities for the swarm is selected - you can go a lot of different ways. In general, coalescents are reliable (auto)damage dealers and de-buffers (distraction). They excel at hitting multiple opponents at a time and are an extreme minion-bane. They also help shape the battlefield, as most opponent try to avoid sharing the same space as the swarm, which gives a bit of battlefield control and great protection to spellcasters behind them. Their damage against single targets is far from the highest though, especially when compared to front-line fighter-types and until the DR and AC get rolling, the defence is not always front-line worthy either.

4) What classes do you see multi-classing well with this racial class?

Non-fighter types, mostly. Cleric is helpful as the more channel energies the better. Any spellcaster is fun, just pay attention to which spells can benefit you and which can't. At low levels, I'd be tempted to just keep grabbing coalescent levels, at least to level 4 or 5.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:
Thanks again for taking the time. I'm going for a swarm of the microfauna of a jungle, and trying to figure out party role and placement.

Sounds groovy - I hope its a fun game!

I'd actually love to see some sample coalescent builds. I'll have to post a few of mine some time.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:

I have a few questions about Coalescent Characters. When they are in Medium Humanoid form, it loos like a swarm of (Whatever) clumped together.

Where does the voice come from?

That raspy sound you hear is the swarm grinding against itself to simulate a humanoid voicebox. It takes years and advanced coordination to develop the skill, but hivemind is very handy.

Or, if you prefer, I'd go with something that involves 'magic'.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:

Is there any reason if my swarm is a mass of 1" tall gorillas, my Medium Humanoid form can not or should not be in the shape of a gorilla? Or my swarm of snakes being a snake-body with a tail and no legs?

Obviously it can't give mechanical boost, but I'm wondering the authors intentions.

If there was no mechanical change resulting in a game effect, I would think most GMs would be fine with it. "RAW" the humanoid form is required to be humanoid.

P.S. A 1" tall gorilla swarm is just awesome.

ThatWeirdGeckoGuy wrote:
How does this race balance out not being able to have, basically, any gear? The concept is AWESOME, and would work great in a low magic setting, but it's restrictions on carrying gear make it appear to be a serious handicap once magical gear comes into play.

You are right - it is a disadvantage, though one that helps to balance the race. Coalescents have some heavy-duty abilities.

A couple of tips to help:

Remember a lot of magic items can be used when it is in humanoid form. Just watch out for "buffs" that target a single creature as they are useless in any form.

Magic rings operate in both humanoid and swarm form - do what you can to trade for magic rings.

That's my two cents.

Lilith wrote:
Green blood! Black rock! Green blood! Black rock!

Green Blood on a Black Rock is coming!?


I am so jealous of those Free Captains who enter. Can't wait to learn what monsters will be put forward in 4713!

[Joins Lilith in high-octane blood sport chant: "Green Blood! Black Rock!. . ."]

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I just wanted to give props for the subtle use of the number 56 in the Adventure Background in this fun mod.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

All money goes to Wayfinder? How surprised am I that Paizo is doing something swell for the fans who do great stuff for Paizo? Not very. Nice synergy guys - or should I say stacking bonus.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TwilightKnight wrote:
This premise just sounds weird. I can't wait to play it! :-)

I dunno, sounds to me like a bit of a snoozer. [/cymbal crash]

Quiche Lisp wrote:
This new base class looks really interesting ; I remember reading the original version in KQ and liking it.


That was a good article. A good choice for an expansion.

Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'd be getting this one just for Castle Everstand. It'll be interesting to see what a castle made (originally) by a draw from the Deck of Many Things looks like!.


Castle Everstand is getting the big treatment?!

That is awesome. Very exciting news.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree. Not only do I not mind the ads, I typically read them all.

It's been said before but back in the pre-internet days of Dragon and Dungeon that was a key way to learn about new products. They're not selling me toasters, they're typically advertising the very types of things I'd be interested in as a KQ reader.

Some of the ad art is really high quality - it's almost like bonus content. Well maybe that's pushing it, but I expect a healthy industry magazine to carry at least some ads for me to peruse.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man! Seems like it was just yesterday that those two were teaming up to co-author "Shut In" in Dungeon #128:

"Not all evil spawns in ancient ruins or on fiendish planes. Sometimes all corruption needs to take root is a jealous memory, cultivated bitterness, and a lonely place to bloom. . ."

Still awesome. Congrats to you both!

4 people marked this as a favorite.

It is of course a real coup to have Rich Pett come over to the US, but the return of Steve Greer is also a big deal, in my view. He worked on some of the very earliest Pathfinder modules and it would be great to hear from him on his experiences.

My last bump - just two days to go.

Thanks to the many of you who have helped out!

2 people marked this as a favorite.

With less than a week to go before this expires, I am upping the ante.

If you hit that like button I will:

1. Psychically send you an imaginary klar, personally autographed by the jothka of every major Shoanti tribe.

2. Jump a hell knight and dispense with him in an exotic fashion, while dedicating it to you.

Many thanks,


Magnum opus is an excellent way of describing this - it is awesome that it has been compiled into one volume. Is it really the largest ever?

Hey thanks guys!

I appreciate those extra likes.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dear Paizonians,

There is a company that donates a dollar to a charity each time someone hits the “like” button on its charitable facebook page . < ---- that’s the link!

Currently, the featured charity is one that is very near and dear to me: Bond Child and Family Development.

Could you please take a half second and hit that “like” button?

Bond Child and Family Development (AKA Bond Street by us old timers) is a charity that targets two very poor neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada by focussing on the youngest of children. The crown jewels of the charity is an award winning day care program which is teamed by specialists trained to work with kids with special needs, particularly autism. They also have a park with actual grass in the middle of the concrete jungle and something called a Snoezelin room. The kids are adorably cute and totally worth an electronic click.

Like everywhere these days, money is tight. In fact Bond almost had to close shop recently and so every fundraising drive matters. Over the years I’ve learned that gamers are unusually charitable and typically above the curve on tech savvy. Please prove me right and hit that button. But I’d love it if you could do more – if everyone just alerts one other person to this, we could really set that like button on fire. (DC 22 Will save against chain letter - no need to go crazy!)

Lastly, for the sake of disclosure, I should mention I am well familiar with both Bond as well as the company doing the donating, but those are both good things.

Now in order to satisfy the traditions of a truly off topic posting and to add some Paizo-inspired content, here’s a collection some of my favourite old Paizo threads that I got to play around in over the years (sniff, sniff). This one pertains to one of my favourite gaming sessions during the 3.5 Paizo Dungeon era arising from an old Paizo contest, from a time long before rpg Superstar. This one is about what happens if the Were Cabbages foolishly attempt to conquer True Dungeon. This one is the chronicle of the first Green Blood on a Black Rock tournament, an event which thanks to Adam Daigle and Brandon Hodge has since become a really awesome event. I hope it will continue to rock houses at PaizoCon to come. And of course, as long as I am reminiscing, here is the thread where Ask a Shoanti finally got his start as an advice columnist (thanks Liz!). Where has the time gone?

1 person marked this as a favorite.


This is awesome.

Enjoy your newest adventure.

zylphryx wrote:

So during Paizocon 2009, one of my characters was given the title of Abra Duchess. The form I received did not spell out any specific benefit (full text in the items found section of the form states "This certificate establishes that the character _______ is a full noble of the right and honorable Empire of Taldor, having gained the noble title of Abra Duke.")

Aside from not having to make a bluff check if she needs to "pose" as nobility, is there any benefit whatsoever or is it just flavor?

There is this thread here but it is not official. Approximately three years later, I think the answer is that it is just flavor, but it would be cool if they did have mechanical benefits - some of those guys worked pretty hard for their titles.

That and Taldor does love its titles. Maybe some day!

Very cool log Radu! Sounds like you got yourself a fun group.

I just like listening to the ever-delightful Rone and Lou.

Iron GM rocks.

That is a fun cover! Which one is Rich?

01 Maps are awesome. . . and now with 50% more Willie Walsh? More awesome.

But, but, the article has end notes! It can't be refuted.

This is such an early 80's throwback.

Congrats everyone!

Awesome stuff all around!

Raises klar to salute the new Coordinator and VC's.

Make us proud guys!

Steel_Wind wrote:

In the meanwhile, here I am looking like a frikkin noob.

*mutter mutter*

Don't worry Steel Wind, I'll help you figure out how that d4 pyramid thingie works!

Major props to Steel Wind for making this happen. (And cool site Feegle!)

I am going to try to swing by to say hello and scope it out, but I think my glorious PC is ineligible for the Devil series. It sounds like there will be some quality GMs there, so if you were on the fence, don't skip it.

Well this is just incredible.

Thanks to Sozin for taking the time to write this up.

How did you make those images?!

Congrats to the victors. ("Damned dinos!")

Hmmmmm - sounds like the dinosaurs are cleaning up! That's 2 years in a row.

Crystal Frasier wrote:
This book rocks! I just got a copy today and it's got 21 new dragons from CR 1 to CR 14, plus a bunch of thematically-appropriate spells, feats, and class variations. I smell a dragon-hunter campaign in my near future!

I've been waiting for this book for a long time. It reminds me of the awesomeness back in the early days of Dragon magazine when we discovered there was a class of neutral dragons named after gem stones. I think I was sold by the preview on Kolbold quarterly.

Awesome Spacelard.

I love that the spell names have their true and original titles.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
I liked this idea so much that I shamelessly stole it. While my PCs were travelling through the Cinderlands, I presented them with what seemed to be a boy in mortal danger... and sure enough, they bit down hard.

Love it!

"Burn Runners: being inappropriately rescued by adventurers since 4702 A.R."

Glad to hear Eando's scene inspired an encounter.

I'm actually getting a lot of mood/scene inspiration from the current fiction storyline in Carrion Crown. I love the atmosphere and look forward to seeing where it will go from here.

I can't tell for certain, but from the picture, it looks like it's a dark blue box, which is a crazy awesome detail for an old 'blue boxer' like myself.

Best wishes for the launch.

Einmaliger wrote:
Very interesting and very inspiring. Keep it up!


There is a lot of coolness here.

I love that the players were making up stories of old times with Petros - quality players.

Hexcaliber wrote:

Instead of altering Harrowstone, instead add a haunt that teleports people to other rooms when they pass through a doorway.

I think we might actually do that, since it's pretty cool.

Very cool - there even was something like that in Harrowstone at one time.

The pro is that players can get spooked real quick when they find themselves alone - takes them right out of their comfort zone, especially if they are playing a PC who is specialized and relies on others..

The con is that in the wrong spot, PC death can result if they wander into an encounter balanced for a full party. And there's the usual sluggishness in real time whenever a group splits.

With the right group dynamic it can be worth it. Rock that out!

Cralius the Dark wrote:
In the Council of Thieves AP #28 The Infernal Syndrome, there is an article on possession. If you can, check it out. It might be what youre looking for.

Ya, tis an excellent article.

Steel_Wind wrote:

As matters stand right now, as written? Ravengro just isn't the focus of this adventure. At all. While you may have a disagreement with the design philosophy, the implementation of this part of the Carrion Crown AP outline is not Mike Kortes' "fault".

Steel_Wind - thanks a ton for your many comments, suggestions and solutions especially the above. However, my family feels it necessary to clarify that in point of fact: everything is my fault, including everything in general, at all times.

As to some of the comments by other posters, I think it is great that people would have liked to see Ravengro further developed or to have more NPCs who tie into the prison itself. There are a lot of different directions a project like this could be taken.

As James has kindly beat me to the punch on, much of the word count was strategically devoted to the prison. With more space, one can achieve more, but now that I'm reading through it, I like to think we did pretty solid in any event.

If folks have cool ideas of how to further develop Ravengro and make it their own - which is usually the case where your audience is a sea of high-end GMs - I think that would be awesome.

ruemere wrote:

I have three additional questions, as I run games for gals and guys who care about such details:


I'll take a shot at a couple of these:

Re: Water Logistics

Q. The large body of water filling sunken cemetery is on the same level as dungeons. Why aren't the dungeons flooded?

A. While the chamber was once level, there's now a depression where the pooling has occurred in area U1. The water is seeping away on the eastern side where it is draining into the water table below - the path of least resistance.

Re: Vesora

Q. Finally, is there a way to explain how Mrs V. became the secondary guardian of the prison? I know her case, but her gaining this ability to resolve problems immediately after her ex-husband disappears, is somewhat difficult to fit into d20... after scenario, me and my players have this custom of talking over adventures, and asking about details.
I'd like to be able to provide logical and believable background.

A. It's not quite immediate. The PCs need to connect her to her husband's legacy. He's a powerful symbol as Hawkran has held the prisoners in check for a very long time. The PCs are to bring a symbol of her husband's office - Vesora recommends his badge of office (area U8). She becomes the new 'sheriff in town' so to speak. She finds new purpose by taking up his legacy instead of continually mourning the tragedy of their past. Though I take your point, it's not a d20 game mechanic, it's just hardwired into the storyline.

Nice one Neil!

That sets the stage and takes it up to 11! It also lets the GM get their horror on without ending the campaign in a sudden TPK. Awesome on several levels.

Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:

One of my soon players said he wanted to
** spoiler omitted **

That is a really great idea! Thanks for sharing that.

Ice_Deep wrote:

3. The hooks, storyline, and general story are excellent. It had me feeling very much for the NPC's in the background and gives me great inspiration to make them come to life for the PC's, and give them real emotion.

I love the sound of the approach you have described Ice Deep. If the PCs get attached to the NPCs - either because they actually care or just because the NPCs feel "real" to them, there's so much more opportunity for atmosphere.

I think what the OP actually meant was he wants a little buddy NPC who rides in his backpack, firing shots at his foes. Maybe use the Leadership feat, if available, to acquire a Diminutive fey? (Not an option for Society play.)

The thread title was though, somewhat unfortunate. : )

The art is tremendous - particularly the opening and closing shots for the adventure. It's evocative in a way that really makes you really want to DM the thing. Compliments to the artists!

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