Name of PC Wesh
The party encountered Elyrium in her sanctum, and during the fight, Wesh was put to sleep. And then the nearby Sinspawn dropped a coup-de-grace on our poor fighter ...
Name of PC Meylom
The party dealt with the goblins in the thistles rather handily, and then they came to the bridge. After scoping it out, they decided the best course of action would be to charge across it in one go, so as to minimize exposure to any arrow fire from the keep.
Maybe I didn't describe it well enough, because no-one thought to search for traps, and sure enough they all go over, bridge collapses, and the only person to fail his save was the wizard.
A few rounds later, the poor guy drowned, despite his party members best efforts to dive in and save him ...
Hmmm. It seems logical that you would need some indication of who the person was beyond a vague description, especially since we're dealing with an animal.
For example, a piece of clothing for scent.
Or, you could specify a location; but the location would have to be one the animal knows.
The animal messenger spell is what you want if you're delivering to a vague person place or thing.
just my two cp
Well, the Lycanthrope template is what you're looking for: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/templates/lycanthrope
right away, RAW, this won't work because a sperm whale is a gargantuan creature, and the human dude is presumably medium :P
HOWEVER! It's your creation, so you can ignore that little rule and otherwise use the template as written.
Thus, his human form remains basically the same (just +2 wis/-2 cha). His hybrid form would be a gargantuan meld of man and whale, with the better of the stats of both. Animal form would be that of a whale.
but bear this in mind: in animal or hybrid form, w/out raging, your dude will have a strength of 40! For E6, that may be a little much. Or a lot much, depending on your crew :) Mix in DR, lots of natural armor, a ton of HP, and rage powers, and it could probably take on an entire ship single handedly without much trouble.
A lot of the posters have already hit the highlights! I especially like the wizard | alchemist (mindchemist) build, that's pretty swanky.
A bard (animal speaker) | ranger with a dire rat animal companion seems fun! Rock some sweet archery, summon rat swarms :P
Ranger | Fighter switch hitter build using the ranger sword and board combat style for early Shield Mastery, regular feats shore up will save, and fighter feats for achery/combat maneuvers/whatever.
And, I know arguments have been made re: bab and saves, but ...
what if you go fighter 1/rogue 19 | alchemist (vivsectionist) 20? I think (in theory) this nets you sneak at every level.
As Ninja in the Rye (great name btw) mentioned, you could try the old "roll equal to or lower than your statistic" method. I.E. the fighter with 18 str needs to roll 18 or less to pass strength checks, etc.
Then, you add modifiers (like what Auxmalus suggested). Something like:
The modifier applies to their ability score (so that figher trying to do a legendary feat of strength needs to roll 8 or lower, etc).
Next, get rid of opposed rolls; just set the difficulty based on the opposing party (for example, sneaking past a sleeping guard might be trivial or even automatic; sneaking past a dragon, on the other hand, might be very hard or even legendary).
And you're still rewarding players with super high stats skill wise; makes it easier to do harder and harder things as your stats increase.
If you want to reward players for playing "against type" (a low charisma wizard who wants to hold his own in most social situations), you can leave in skill feats basically as they are (the bonus would apply to their stat in those situations). Upon reaching level 10, the bonus would increase.
I don't know how different this would end up being in play, really; rates of success might work out roughly the same, but hopefully the math/paperwork is a bit easier.
Also, you can still use traits as a means of providing background bonuses; it just adds to the stat, same as the feats.
I like it! It's very cool. Not too overpowered at first blush (especially for a 7th level spell).
For the hypnotic dance part (which I think is great), I would note that it is a mind-effecting effect; also, can this effect be used in combat?
Here's another thought: what if we replace summon monster w/animate objects? still 3+int mod/day, CL equals your Mechanist level, etc. and in lieu of gate we can animate collossal objects (which you can't do until CL 32, which isn't going to happen, for the most part).
Would that make up for the stronger eidolon?
I have found my paladin to be fairly fun to play in Carrion Crown. I even went with the Undead Slayer (i think) archetype. However, aside from book 1 and book 5/6, there isn't as much undead as you might expect. /shrugs/
Also, a lot of our interactions past book 3 really did turn into "kill 'em all" encounters, but I maintain that was totally not my fault. I blame the fighter.
And we didn't really have a problem with the "talking to evil" bit:
book 5 spoilers:
When we got to Celaph (sp? the big city in book 5), we had no real leads. So we worked with the temple of pharasma (our DM didn't dick us over here, which he could have done i think; and we traded in the mace from book 4. We were paranoid enough to teleport it to another city and put it under magical protection, too) and got some divination spells cast. Like commune. Which led us straight to the tailor, and from there to the winery, bypassing a pretty heafty chunk of the book and any worry about my paladin not wanting to work with evil vampires :P
Or they can just hit you with a spell that doesn't need components, or this is when you find out that you're facing a sorcerer, not a wizard.
Idea ... if you are playing a sorcerer in a game where this is a common tactic, buying a spell component pouch is a GREAT investment. Provided your enemies don't always have super secret DM knowledge.
Although, unless whoever built the dungeon put different locks on EVERY door, once you make the key you can open other doors in the dungeon. Which seems quite fair since you cast a spell on top of making a skill check. And there still might be doors with unique locks (say to a treasure vault or the like). Plus, no evidence the lock was picked!
This is the fight that TPKed our group when we played Rise of the Runelords back in the 3.5 days. My wizard was the only survivor, and that's because he of dimension door+teleport ...
The way Mokmurian is written, he can VERY easily wreck a party. The ranges in the room are rough (you have to spend time closing to get into close range for spells, for example), and Mokmurian has things like Solid Fog to get in the way of that.
We had a team of five; favored soul, blaster sorcerer, wizard, ranger archer of doom, and i forget the last guy; great stats (generous rolled), decent gear, good spells, etc. Just as a point of comparison with your group.
Now, our group wasn't able to fully buff before fighting him (while he was), so YMMV. We also had to contend with some more of those Hounds of Thindalos things (the ones that teleport in corners); they escaped when we first encountered them and came back to murder our archer halfway through the battle.
It might not be a bad idea to have the PCs fight Lokansir FIRST; maybe they encounter him patrolling the halls on Mokmurian's level. This could force them to expend some resources before fighting the big guy.
If they fight them both at the same time, it may be a TPK even if they buff first.
Kingmaker is ... swingy in difficulty due to the nature of the random encounter charts.
Our group of five (with VERY generous rolled stats overall) has lost ... 5 characters :P
Most of the time we stomp encounters, but every so often you get in over your head. Will o' Wisps are a good example of this; early on (and even later) they are just deadly, and they can show up right away!
But, to better answer your question:
adding a CR is not a bad idea for those times when you have 6 players. For five, might not be necessary.
The best way to make it challenging is to keep players on their toes; have encounters come at night, or in adverse weather conditions, or in challenging terrain that benefits the monster, etc.
If you run things as presented, the party will likely find out very quickly that they're only going to have 1 or 2 encounters a day 90% of the time; which means they're likely to blow all their resources pretty fast. That's one of the reasons this adventure path can be easy; you don't have to worry about resource management as much.
But if you keep them guessing, they'll play more conservatively and that should help keep the difficulty more where you might want it.
Finally, this has little to do with difficulty but its REALLY useful for running Kingmaker (or any hex-crawl based game):
@cheapy forgot Dancing Lights was evocation ...
earlier posts: yeah, the radius of "light" would have to be confined to the limits of the spell.
@Foghammer: illusions are really powerful when combined with other effects that are NOT illusions, too; either causing paranoia or complacency.
I would say yes; nothing in the spell description states otherwise.
Also, Dancing Lights is a 0 level spell; it seems perfectly reasonable to me to allow a 1st level spell to emulate or improve upon a cantrip.
the fire would appear to be as large as you can make it (four 10-ft cubes + one 10-ft cube per level). so if you have a sufficiently high CL, yeah you could make a house appear to be on fire.
As soon as anyone gets remotely close and realizes there's no heat, jig is up however.
as for Stealth, it would work as any other light source. theoretically you could hide INSIDE the flame (if it is big enough), however.
There's probably no amount of information that will satisfy him.
I would either a) just tell him straight up "this is my game, and NO."
or b) make a feat that lets him do it. He's about to hit 5th level, so that should take care of things w/out being super unbalanced IMO (especially since archers tend to be feat heavy already).
Thing about Blindsense, though, is that all it lets a monster do is pinpoint your location. They still can't SEE you if you are invisible or hidden or whatever.
Now, if you're trying to sneak past something, that's an issue; but the monster also needs line of effect ... maybe wall spells?
Or go incorporeal through something like Ethereal Jaunt ...
but yeah, this is why pseudodragon's make great guard dogs ;)
huh, that's tough. Always hard to deal with having your character concept nerfed. However, two things:
One, if you're grooving on the Destined Bloodline, talk to your DM about what you could get instead of Leadership at 7th; maybe something like augment summoning (to reflect a greater class of creature called by your blood or something).
Two, don't stress about cheesing your DM. As you say, he's probably pretty savvy on what can be abused and is trying to avoid stuff that might break his game; the last thing you want to do is TRY to break it. Puts everything on the wrong foot.
So, play what seems fun! Sorcerers are pretty cool, if you're smart with your spell selection, and core has a TON of juicy spells. Rangers are outstanding out of the box. Wizards are always good, but it will be difficult to get extra spells for your spellbook unless you make regular trips back to Restov. Bards are a GREAT addition (buffs, social skills, neat tricks) to any party, and make natural councilors or rulers when the time comes.
Tremorsense is fairly simple; fly, levitate, air walk, etc. Get off the ground, basically.
Blindsight is much, much trickier; but you can fool it. Since it cannot differentiate color and visual contrast, similiarly shaped creatures could confuse it.
If the Blindsight is hearing based, you can deafen the creature (thunderstones, blindness/deafness spell, etc) to negate it.
Hiding behind a rock still works, too.
I'd run two games. I'd run a silly parody filled game for the fun of it. Then I'd run the more serious game. I've done this in the past. Sometimes you just need silly to get it out of your system.
You can also mix both styles into the same game; plenty of examples of this in popular episodic narratives (from Star Trek to Cowboy Bebop).
You can drop Weapon Specialization for Toughness, and put your Favored Class bonus into HP.
Improved Weapon Focus is nice, but Iron Will is probably better with regards to the overall survivability of you and the party.
I might go fighter 3 first for Armor training if you really want the move bonus; better earlier than later.
Items: if you can get Boots of Striding and Springing, that will help move speed. Otherwise, ask for any and all AC boosting items you can get.
1) not sure
I blush to disclose that I have been guilty of skimming emails on occasion.
As have I ;) it happens! And you add a good point to my post above:
I agree that there's a big difference between "I discussed the tone of the campaign in person with everyone and they all agreed" and "I sent out an email with my ideas and I didn't receive any objections".
Your players honestly may have had no idea what kind of campaign you wanted to run before that night, and that night they were tipsy and tired. :)
Here's the thing.
You said you guys were doing this at 10 PM after a couple of beers. OF COURSE IT GOT SILLY. A group of friends with full time jobs getting together late at night for drinks and Pathfinder? Yeah, it got goofy. And because you guys all know each other, and because you take it so seriously, of COURSE they were punning all night.
Not because they're bad gamers, or a bad match for your play-style; it's because (IME) that is just how things go sometimes :P
SO you have two options: run the silly game you suggested (which might be a lot of fun if you embrace it), or run the original game and let them deal with the consequences!
I've been DMing for a LONG time, and I have really pulled back on my prep work because of things like this. I have several groups I DM/play in (I'm lucky this way), with some crossover, playing Pathfinder and 4e, and some nights are just goofy.
And yeah, sometimes it's frustrating. REALLY frustrating. But you have to let that go, because gaming is about getting together to blow off steam; some days you do that by really investing in the world and getting emotionally connected to your story and characters, and sometimes you do that by making silly names and antagonizing the DM.
Also, with full-time jobs and social lives and other hobbies there's a fairly strong chance none of them READ your player's guide. Which sucks. But there you have it. It is absolutely not personal; it's just a matter of time. Not many ways around that, honestly. You might just stick to your guns and let them find out in game what's up for a session or two and then allow them to make some changes; adventurer's retire, after all, some long before others, so it can happen in game without too much fuss.
tl;dr: nothing wrong, here. I think you should 1) say to them: hey guys, the other night is bothering me; can I get a straight answer about what you want to play? And approach them INDIVIDUALLY; if you do it in a group, they may not be as honest/open/helpful because they're each expecting someone else to say something first.
2) think about what YOU would enjoy doing, and then do it! See what works and change it up if need be, but there's a middle ground that both sides need to play in. It's not just you tailoring everything to them :)
and REMEMBER: all of that work? Was not wasted. It's good creative exercise, and you can plumb it for material for YEARS. Nothing survives contact with players for long anyway ;)
Rather often, honestly. Cities, for example, are full of vertical surfaces to climb. There are monsters who can trip (wolves, werewolves), and NPCs who might use that tactic. There are also times where you fall off of something.
Being prone might not come up all of the time, but when it does, being able to five-foot step and stand up and attack/drink a potion/whatever could save your life. /shrug/
EDIT: ha, ninja'd all over!
Age of Worms:
This happened during the arena section.
Our DM has converted Age of Worms to Forgotten Realms, so we are in Waterdeep. We've been investigating and trying to find out where the worms are going, and we're pretty damn sure that the arena is involved.
The leader (owner?) of the arena is this noble and former champion, all scarred up and badass, and almost certainly guilty as hell. But we can't prove anything.
We are hired to go fight in the tournament, and while we are there we do some more digging and find a bit scary temple under the arena with a big scary worm monster.
2 PC deaths later we are running off with two bodies and our buddies soul trapped in a chest to the nearest temple to fix it.
Back to the arena, it's time for our last fight, only ... well ... we failed to stop the worm under the area from spawning, it erupts out of the ground during our last match, and the noble in charge turns into a death knight or whatever and starts monologuing.
At which point my friend shouts: "HEY! THE JIG IS UP! WE KNOW IT WAS YOU!"
It probably doesn't translate well in text, but man, we were in tears. I still laugh about it.
8) archery contest (better for low-levels).
9) feats of strength: set some thresholds for automatic success based off str. scores, then have players roll str checks and con checks (for lifting and endurance) as contestants are weeded out and the objects get heavier.
10) dueling arena - fight to first blood (in this case I would say first to get dropped to 10 HP or less loses, since HP loss doesn't directly correlate to taking physical damage).
11) wrestling (first to pin their opponent wins, maybe best 2 out of 3).
12) eating contest (fort saves, failure indicates you are nauseated for a number of minutes equal to the amount of food you ate :P)
Yeah swarms will wreck house, so use carefully.
Illusions are a good idea.
Also, use the environment! weather (particularly rain and wind) can really change the dynamics of an encounter; fog, darkness, narrow passageways, low ceilings, traps, rickety bridges, secret doors, etc. can all hinder the party and make it hard for them to just splat everything.
As to story reasons:
political connections. legal connections. money. powerful friends. access to powerful magic. lots of henchmen. has something the players need (information, mostly). is likable. party doesn't realize they're an antagonist (villains in disguise!). And so on.
Basically, make it MORE inconvenient or dangerous to kill the person than to let them live. Likely, the party will do what seems the simplest or best for their characters in the moment; you want that decision to fall on the side of "let them live" more than "kill 'em all." This means you might have to do some more legwork leading up to the encounter, so the party KNOWS what kind of sh**-storm they're conjuring if they go of half-cocked and kill everyone.
Magic can be your friend here; even if the party kills everything living there are still ways for the masterminds to know it was the PCs.
Example: low-level druid in the mook squad casts animal messenger in the back while the party is killing everything, sending a bird or whatever off to inform the big boss.
party finishes their work only to notice a scrying sensor ... but how long has it been there? answer: long enough ;)
invisible creature/person watching what's going on (say an invisible stalker contracted to shadow someone), reports in. Party might get it, but they might not ...
Speak with Animals/Plants might be a way for someone to start tracking down the party.
Something more mundane: guards write down who enters/exits the compound in a ledger. badguy leaves a message scrawled in blood in a language the PCs can't read (they may clean it up, but still). bloodhounds pick up the PCs scent. beggar or nearby shopkeeper saw the PCs meet with X, and so on.
As for escaping, magic and the environment are good ways to set that up. running for a secret door, popping invisibility, dimension door, teleport, expeditious retreat, fly, disguise self, polymorph, alter self, wild shape, and so on. open/close cast by a mook, even. something as simple as a shut door can buy the villain enough time to escape. flying mounts, regular mounts, teleportation circles, planar portals, and on and on. Even just running far enough to get behind a huge new group of guards or minions might make the players think twice (or give the villain more time to book it while the party hacks through the new mooks).
But you have to be careful here, because it can be SUPER FRUSTRATING to have no way of dealing with a recurring villain; you don't want your players to get fed up or make them miserable because they feel powerless all the time.
tl;dr: fight dirty. If the party keeps pasting everything in a stand up fight, have some enemies refuse to engage them in a stand up fight! come at them where they are weak. And let them paste stuff every so often; it's hard to do (at least for me) but it can be very rewarding as a player.
I like the idea of taking the deceased characters equipment and, in effect, getting rid of it; there are any number of ways this can happen (church, family, buried in it, what have you).
Consumable equipment (magic ammunition, wands, potions, scrolls, etc) are probably best considered "party treasure" and can be absorbed by the other team members.
Plot items stay is just good sense.
DrDeth's idea of bringing in the new character at PC level -1 for wealth is smart, I think, especially for adventure paths; too easy to very quickly optimize the new character above what the party has otherwise.
As for having the new PC come in without being Landfill 2:
one of the things a fellow DM has done recently is have us create 2 or 3 characters at the start of the campaign, with some kind of tie between them. Logic is, if the unfortunate happens you have a backup ready to go who is already part of the story (however distantly).
Another option to consider is organizational ties. Is the PC a member of a Church? Order? Mercenary band? Academy of Magic? Any of those could be fodder for new PCs, and they allow some flexibility.
Recruitment: depending on the mission or cause the PCs are adventuring for, they may be able to simply travel to a large city and try to recruit a suitable adventurer to fill in the ranks. Can be a fun roleplay opportunity, too, for GM and players alike; one of those classic montage scenes you get in movies where the heroes are trying to find help (this guy is crazy, this guy is a wimp, this guy is terrifying, this guy will do!).
:) hope that helps!