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Cintra Bristol's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,038 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


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There are a few things out there. Not sure which are still in print, but many should be available as PDFs.

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue - Not available on Paizo. Should be available from as a PDF. Has a wide variety of mundane items and prices in categories (laborer's tools, wizard's workshop, bulk foodstuffs, wilderness survival tools). By far my favorite sourcebook of this type.

And A Ten Foot Pole - Not seeing this one on Paizo, either. I don't remember the publisher, and my copy is in a box somewhere. If you can find it, it lists items and prices by category, but goes a step further and applies time periods (stone age, bronze age, renaissance). However, take the prices with more than a grain of salt; for example, it adds in the "iron bit" as a lower-than-copper-piece denomination, and I don't remember if it uses the silver or gold piece standard.

A Magical Society: Silk Road - This one is available on Paizo. While this is mainly intended to help you create realistic trade routes, it has a massive list of commodities and prices. It includes an extremely thorough listing of standard commodities (gems, foodstuffs, herbs and spices, livestock, metal ore) but only certain categories of finished goods (pen and paper, vague categories for cloth goods musical instruments).

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If you haven't already, let your GM know that the game, while great, has been adding to your stress rather than helping you, recently, and that you're hoping he can dial back the emotional, heavy-consequences-for-failure stuff for a few weeks to let you get some balance back.

Also, seriously consider whether it's the tension in the game, or another player's responses to it, that are causing the stress. If you're feeling like you don't have a lot of control over things in your life, and then someone at the table is making "wahoo, don't care about the consequences" decisions that drag the whole group into these sorts of scenarios, then maybe you need to enlist that player to approach things differently for a bit. (Although if that is the issue, my experience says that sort of player isn't very good at changing that sort of behavior.)

Finally, you need to find some way to regain a feeling of control over your life. Outside of work, increasing the amount of exercise you do can help improve your mood - get outside and walk daily, if nothing more. And in particular, if the work environment has been frustrating for a while, consider if it's likely to get better anytime soon. If not, it might be worth exploring other job opportunities in your area - even if you don't end up jumping ship, you'll feel better once you establish that you could if you needed to. Also look into professional networking opportunities in your area - if there is a networking group for your profession, someone there might be able to suggest a way past the current low-results work issue (depending on what kind of work you do - most likely to be helpful for technical fields), or it might just be helpful to talk with other professionals about the daily frustrations of your line of work.

"Sentient" is probably the correct term in English.

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There's nothing wrong with members of a protected class having a meeting space that excludes people who AREN'T in a protected class.

I went to one of the last remaining all-women's colleges. An all-male college is an abomination because men are the privileged group, so excluding women is a sexist holdover. An all women's college is an acceptable thing in our society, because women are a protected class, and studies continue to show that females in a mixed-gender environment participate less, and females in an all-female environment are much more assertive during and after that experience, and tend to achieve more/better for the experience.

This is similar. If POC want a place to meet that has only POC, and be able to discuss POC issues there, they shouldn't be criticized for that, and it isn't racist. Because they aren't excluding a protected class.

If caucasians want to go somewhere where there are predominantly caucasians, I expect they'll have no problem - pretty much anywhere at the con, they'll be the majority of the crowd. So they don't need or deserve the same consideration.

chaoskin wrote:
i used hero lab that means there spell the hero lab did add then the core book only

I have no idea what you were trying to convey here. Guessing - HeroLab only included the Core spells???

In any case - For most GMs, third party books are usable only with GM approval. So it would be completely reasonable for you to refuse to let him use anything at all from 1001 Spells. In-game, Wizards have to learn all their spells, and the 0-level spells in the core rules are the ones they routinely learn at wizard school (or from their master).

If you want to be generous, you can let him pick a small number (say, equal to his Int mod) to add from that other source - but you should still get to approve each of them. Alternately, you can occasionally add some of them into NPC spellbooks and he can learn new ones that way.

Ultimate (incl. Strongholds)
Righteous AP
Kingdom Building AP

So how much of this product is Pathfinder-specific, and how much would apply to any D&D edition?

After many years of no maps for 1E and 2E, I switched to requiring maps for 3E, 3.5, and 4E. These last few editions (like Pathfinder) have a lot of rules and class features that convinced me maps were indispensible. In fact, 4E probably has a greater reliance on maps than 3E/PF.

Then I ran some playtests of 5E, without maps as per the playtest instructions, and rediscovered the joy of being able to start a combat without saying "Take 5 everyone while I sketch this out..."

Now I'm running a 4E campaign (Mummy's Mask) and for the most part, I'm not using maps for combat. Instead, I'm giving a narrative description of the area and the combatants, and as folks move around, I try to clarify how they're positioned in relation to area features and allies and foes. When there's doubt about where people are and whether they can use class features, I try to err on the side of the PCs. Sometimes I go ahead and use a map for a particularly intricate area - but the further I get, the less often it seems necessary or useful.

There've been some rough spots. None of us are in the habit of describing and visualizing clearly after 10+ years of relying on maps. But the game is also going much faster - I'm completing an Adventure Path chapter in about a month of real time (it took more like 3 months when using maps). Part of the time savings is a smaller group, but a lot of it is the time we save by eliminating the drawing of maps and the counting of squares to plan PC movement or to place spell effects.

And I do still frequently dig out minis (or more often these days, Pawns) to give the visual idea of the foes, and their size relative to the PCs. I just don't orient them on a map.

So I encourage you to give it a go. As long as the GM and players are all willing to help each other and play cooperatively, it can really speed up game play and make the game's story (as opposed to the tactical exercise) much more memorable.

As best as I can remember, my PC's readied actions for when she became visible, charged and grappled her, then drowned her. (Before that, they backed off and talked with her for a bit - she stayed invisible for that, of course.)

And yes, this one should be a struggle. Erylium is meant to be very frustrating, and to force your players to think about how to deal with her, rather than just wearing her down with damage. If your players are new, you can help them as they discuss their next moves by reminding them of the room features and asking if there's anything there that might help them. You can also encourage them to retreat and get advice from their friends in town, who might then mention drowning as an option.

(Flagged to move to the Rise of the Runelords forum.)

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Very cool! I'm glad you clarified that you don't allow easy resurrection magic for PCs, that was my one concern reading through your story. I'm really hoping you'll share with us how you plan to use Rhoswen.

In my campaign:
I borrowed the name of Rhoswen, but after reading the module where she appears, I decided it overlapped too much with the adventure path itself.

Instead, I adapted the very old "Castle Amberville" adventure (written for basic edition D&D), recasting Stephen Amber as fey archlord Ranalc, and making the reason for the castle's exile to a demiplane as the failed love story of Ranalc and Nyrissa. Ranalc's capacity for love was removed from him and forged into a sword, and he and his court were banished to the demiplane. Nyrissa's was likewise forged into a separate sword, and she was banished to her separate demiplane.

Their daughter Rhoswen was young at the time, and was raised by her father Ranalc who, with no remaining capacity for love, ended up being more than a bit abusive/neglectful. When Rhoswen was all grown up, she ended up meeting and falling in love with a visitor to their demiplane, Nex (the arch-wizard), who was really just charming her in order to steal much of the power of Ranalc himself. Nex convinced Nyrissa to kill her father and drain his power. She suffered a retributive blast from the attack that left her a blasted skeleton (in Catherine's place in the adventure), and Ranalc was trapped between life and death, and sealed into his tomb.

The PCs were drawn into the demiplane and the castle itself because they came to rescue folk who'd been taken there - the Wild Hunt would ride out from the demiplane and capture people from the Stolen Lands. Those prisoners were brought back and entrapped in green mirrors by Rhoswen, who used the potential of their lost lives to build a power framework which she hoped would let her restore herself to full life. When the PCs reached the throne room, they met an apparently ghostly Rhoswen seated on the throne, surrounded by the mirrors, who bargained with them. They'd already by that time found the library with its lore about what had happened, and they'd recovered the sword that was Ranalc's love from the big tomb on the southeast portion of the greenbelt map before ever entering the demiplane, so they figured out that they could restore the sword to Ranalc and thereby restore him to life. But they had to convince her... (NOTE: I removed the entire visit-to-a-foreign-country midsection of the Castle Amber adventure. They just had to navigate the basement level and that took them to the tomb.)

After the PCs restored Ranalc, he was able to restore Rhoswen to life, but he also said he was forced to exile her to the mortal world for her betrayal - with obvious regret, and great concern for her future safety and happiness. She ended up marrying one of the PCs, and I was able to have a number of kingdom events based on the fact that a depowered-daughter-of-an-archfey was in the kingdom. (The month that her first child was due, there was a sudden influx of pterodactyls; it became a running gag that when she gave birth, new critters would appear, such as cows giving birth to baby mammoths.) I played Rhoswen as mysterious and tempermental; she pretended to have more remaining power than she actually did, to keep people from threatening her. (Her actual power level tracked just a bit lower than the PCs.)

So all the above let me connect to a few other items in the Adventure Path. The green mirrors were similar to the green bottles I had Vordakai use to capture the people he took. The PCs also found green mirror shards near the dead unicorn and in a few other places where Nyrissa had visited, or where her minions were. I think the dancing lady had a mirror, for example. Nyrissa could use them to communicate with her minions, or to project herself briefly into the mortal world or draw people through into her demiplane. More important, there were green mirror shards in the entrance to Vordakai's Tomb, because Nyrissa dropped the Eye off there when she arranged for him to be awakened by another of her charmed lovers (the Varnling guy who disturbed the tomb).

At the very end of the campaign, they found among Nyrissa's treasures a whole collection of green glass bottles containing all the living descendents of Choral the Conquerer, who had been stolen from their beds by Nyrissa, using green mirrors placed in their households by charmed servants, and the Eye of Abaddon plus Choral's blood to summon them (and only them) to her that fateful night. So the PCs had to decide who they wanted ruling Brevoy, and whether or not to release all (or any) of Choral's descendents.

Paizo doesn't accept American Express, per the FAQ. My understanding is that Amex fees for retailers are higher than the other options.

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I'm running Mummy's Mask right now, and I can highly recommend it for a group like you describe. It does a good job of presenting things in a way that would work very well for new players and for more experienced players alike. It also doesn't make major expectations about who the PCs are - they just need to have made their way to a town in Osirion where some tombs are being opened up for adventurers to explore. For an adventure path that starts out with tomb-raiding, there are surprisingly frequent (and very cool) opportunities for role-play interactions, from other adventuring groups to (at one point) an absolutely hilariously fun section where you need to cultivate an important NPC as a patron.

Reign of Winter is said to be extremely good, too, from what I hear and from my initial read-through when it was published (but I don't have the experience of running it to give much advice there).

I agree with you about avoiding Wrath of the Righteous or Kingmaker. Probably avoid Iron Gods for similar reasons - keeping to more typical fantasy is probably better for a group that includes newer players.

Lou - Why does crafting take too long? I'm currently DMing the AP, just finished the 3rd chapter (so a bit behind where your group has reached), and I'm not seeing anything yet that puts my PCs on a clock. If the PCs decide to camp for a week or two, they can do that. If they decide (as mine did) to take a side trek up to Sothis when they leave Tephu, or to travel over to Eto (a city not far from the Parched Dunes) during chapter 3 and 4, as far as I can tell, they can do that.

You probably should talk with your DM about expectations. Your DM may be enforcing time limits that aren't in the original adventure, which is completely within his/her purview - but if so, he/she ought to ensure that the gear your group finds has useful items for all PCs. Or you may be misunderstanding and assuming there are time limits when there aren't, and your DM may say, "Go ahead and take a side trek to the capitol" (or "Camp and do some crafting"). If the time limits are important to the story your DM wants to tell, maybe he/she can put in an encounter with a traveling merchant who can let you trade stuff you've found for more useful items, or even handwave things a bit to let you swap for some useful items. If your group tends more towards being sticklers for stuff like that, maybe you can list a few items that your PC could use, and the DM can choose a few to intersperse with treasures listed in the adventure over the next few levels.

Ultimately, though, this is something that can only be addressed by talking it out with your DM. And frankly, seeing what any other group's PCs look like won't be that helpful, because you don't know what their DM has done to allow/encourage/discourage/adjust magic item creation, sales and purchases, swapping items in the text, etc.

I received the two boxes that should have contained this order today. Unfortunately, instead of one box containing one item (Inner Sea Pawn Box) plus one box containing the other 11 items on my order, I received two boxes each containing just one Inner Sea Pawn Box. So it looks like my other 11 items went to someone else?

Normally when an item is left out, I'm fine with waiting for the next subscription shipment, but that doesn't make sense for this one. Can you re-ship me the 11 missing items, please? And let me know what you want me to do about the extra Inner Sea Pawns Box I received. Thanks!

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The Storval Plateau is dry and arid. Farming will be a lot closer to subsistence level without extensive irrigation - which your PCs are equipped to provide thanks to the bard's instrument. Even so, I'd expect that a lot of foodstuffs would need to be imported up the Storval Stairs, if only to provide some variety. Since you have a platinum mine, you can subsidize food imports, and just incur a set of standard expenses off the mine's profits.

Getting goods up and down the Storval Stairs is a chore - that's a LOT of stairs. Most draft animals aren't able to handle stairs, so you're likely looking at people working as porters, with some number of guards to escort them. (All those side-galleries and excavated abandoned living spaces make for easy ambushes.) Since there's not much population, the PCs may have to foot the bill for getting the merchant/porter service started. Since you're between the Lampblack and Chevali rivers, you have to cross the Lampblack and then make a sizeable hike to get to the Stairs - consider if the PCs have the resources to create some other way up and down the plateau. Even building a long staircase/tower might be worth it, but at (give-or-take) 1000 ft. height of the plateau (pulling from memory, may be way off), that's a considerable engineering marvel, not something that should be done just with hand-wave-ium because "we have a magic instrument" - make them figure out how to build something that tall and safe.

Look at what are the nearest sizeable communities, both above and below the Stairs. The mountains make it improbable that they can trade with Kaer Maga or Turtleback Ferry, at least not without going far too close to Urglin, which would make it likely that the orcs might decide to start raiding the settlement. The shoanti tribes on the plateau are Sun Clan, not friendly with outsiders - gaining them as willing trade partners might require a heck of a cool diplomatic adventure for the PCs. Below, via the stairs, are smaller communities like Ravenmoor and (at a sizeable distance) Wolf's Ear. If the PCs create their own path down the plateau, they might be able to create a trade route to Riddleport.

On the other hand, if the events of Rise of the Runelords are past events in your campaign, the PCs' town might be a good waystation for those traveling to and from Xin Shalast. In that case, they simply need to get the word out that they can accomodate travelers. At that point, it's actually even more important that the town be properly supplied with goods that will be needed by those travelers.

Final thoughts - what it really comes down to is Marketing. If the PCs want people to trade with their town, or visit it, or even relocate there to increase the population to something viable, they need to get the word out that they exist, and they need to make their town sound good. Think Iceland and Greenland - when they settled Iceland, they had a heck of a time getting settlers to move there - who wants to move to someplace called Iceland. So when they found a landmass even farther north and far more inhospitable, they named it Greenland and had lots of people sign up to move there. Your PCs need to think about how to convince people to move to the (relatively inhospitable) Storval Plateau. If the PCs are keeping all the profits of the mine, it'll be a lot harder to get more miners than if they offer some sort of profit-sharing to let the "strike-it-rich" crowd to flock to the area. If they make sure the inn is luxurious and they subsidize it (so visiting merchants can get resort-style service for little or no cost), they'll get more merchants to make the trip. And so forth.

And as the PCs increase their town's notoriety, and as more merchants travel there, more greedy types will hear about the platinum mine (and other trappings of wealth the town has built), and it's likely some warlord or orc tribe or rival adventuring group might make an attempt to raid or even take over the place...

I had my PCs go to Magnimar to testify at the trial or Orik and Lyrie, with Ironbriar as judge. I didn't allow my PCs to figure out Ironbriar was charmed, per se - if they do, and they figure out some way to get him un-charmed (won't Protection from Evil do this), then he can give away way too much info, way too early. Let them sense motive to figure out he has ulterior motives and probably some patrons he's beholden to - it's pretty natural to assume that's political rather than something like Xanesha.

Anyway, Ironbriar found the convicts guilty and gave them a choice - death, or a life sentence as members of the Black Arrows of Fort Rannick. When the convicts chose the latter, he asked the PCs, as the people who had brought the convicts to justice, if they would consent to accompany the guards that would escort the convicts to Fort Rannick and see their oaths taken.

I borrowed heavily from Denek's Rise of the Runelords Campaign Journal at this point. In my campaign, the PCs and a handful of guards traveled by river barge for several days up the Mushfen (?) during which they fought off a minor (level-appropriate) boggard attack, and then up to Turtleback Ferry, with the prisoners shackled and a chain from the shackles bolted to the barge planks. Plenty of roleplay interaction here. They stayed overnight in Turtleback Ferry, with the prisoners in the town's jail and the PCs on guard. I may have had an overnight attack on the PCs at this point, I think, but they fought it off. (I don't recall who the attackers were...) The next day they and the guards took the prisoners to the Fort, where the Black Arrows had a special ritual that functioned like a Geas - the prisoners swear to obey the orders of the Captain of the Black Arrows for the rest of their lives, with it clearly stated in the ceremony (prior to accepting and making the oath) that willful disobedience, escaping, or otherwise violating the oath at any point would result in lingering death.

The PCs were then free to leave and return with the guards to Magnimar.

This entire interlude let the PCs see Turtleback Ferry and the Fort ahead of schedule, so it meant more to them when they go there in Chapter 3. I also had to decide where to place Orik and Lyrie during that chapter's events - at least one of them ended up at the Graul's homestead, as I recall.

Thanks for sharing these.

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My half-sister had a real gem when she was little (maybe 3 years old?). She announced to her mom, "I love you, Mommy, but I love Daddy more."

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Did someone forget to serve the nuts on a plate again? Shame!

Imbicatus wrote:

I want to get something like this for home storage. Clear plastic drawers for easy labeling, and the minis are safe and easily organized.

I actually tried something like this before moving to the plastic boxes I described about. I ended up throwing it out - the little drawers don't hold things as conveniently as you'd expect, as drawers can jam against what you put in the adjacent bins (incl. the bin below).

I use clear flat rectangular plastic boxes with dividers - the sort you find as "tackle boxes" at places like Academy Sports or Dick's Sporting Goods. The standard size ones hold Medium and smaller minis pretty well. There's a larger one from Flambeau (or similar offerings from other companies) that works really well for Large minis and even some Huge ones. Sterilite storage boxes or drawers work well for huge minis. All of these are stackable, so I can organize the bins on bookshelves.

I put labels on one end of each box to let me know what category of minis are in each box (undead, elementals, giants, etc.). And I actually keep an Excel spreadsheet that lists all my minis and tells me what bin they're stored in, so I can find them quickly.

Craft stores sell boxes like this too, but those sold as craft storage usually cost at least 50% more than similarly-sized boxes from the sporting-goods-type places. Dick's Sporting Goods has a 4-pack of the boxes I use for Medium minis at a good price. There are a lot of different styles, and wildly varying prices, so look around a bit and make sure you're getting boxes you like. (I haven't found a good online source.) For example, I have a few of the Plano-brand boxes, which have nicer latches, but I dislike the dividers (which can be very difficult to trim from the sprues and then lock into place in the bins when you are first setting it up).

EDIT: Oh! As an added bonus, if you have to carry minis to another site to run your games, these tackle boxes are a very secure way to do that, too.

The Dyson Sphere (see Wikipedia) is a hypothetical structure that advanced cultures might build around a star in order to harness all the energy output of that star.

See also Larry Niven's novel Ringworld, which posits a ring-shaped structure (with the star at the center), with the civilization built on the inner surface, which is concave (high-walled) so that centrifugal force can keep the air "in" the inner surface. Kind of cool because he answers the question of "always high noon" (a ring of vast metal-looking plates and cables rotates much closer to the sun, alternately casting shadow or letting the light through cable-linked gaps have no solid plates, creating zones of light and dark to create day and night). Because the ring is the circumference of a planetary orbit, rather than of a single planet, the view of the "ring" up above is extremely different from what you might see inside a hollow world.

Continuing with Ringworld - I recall there are also meteor-impact sites viewed from "outside" (under) the ring that punch through the surface; when the characters in the novel view the inner surface, they see the ring material deformed to create "mountains" taller than the ring wall (some open at the top like volcanoes) where the meteor punched in (or through), so that no breach would let all the air bleed out.

I realize a lot of that doesn't apply to a hollow world, but it might be helpful for ideas as you think through:
1) Is there a functioning day/night cycle? How does it operate?
2) Does air fill the entire space inside the sphere, or only up to a certain height? If it's all air and you fly all the way "up" to the "sun" at the center, what is its environment like? (Air to the center, and a gate to the plane of fire?)
3) Are there seasons? How do they function? (Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter? Dry/Monsoon/...)
4) Speaking of weather, does it rain? What other weather patterns might be unique to the interior of a hollow sphere?
5) What form does the passage (if any) between interior and exterior worlds take? (Volcano-like mountains on the inside, the openings of which lead to the passage between surface world? Are the openings only at the north and south poles (a la Hollow World)? Does the world have a Darklands/Underdark equivalent and only passage through it lets you traverse between surface and hollow world?)

I did one successfully a couple of years ago by pre-drawing the entire thing on grid paper. Then, I made a handful of separate map sections on flat circular discs. They were designed to fit into specific places on the main map, and "rotate" so that the walls of the maze could actually shift as the PCs moved through. When the first "rotation" was triggered, I lifted any minis on those sections, placed the discs so the map exactly matched what was on the main map sheet below, re-positioned the minis, then did the rotates - and then I left the discs in place and could just rotate them every time a rotate was triggered.

This was a pretty high-level adventure, so I also included some teleport gates at various dead-ends in the maze, and a rotating key for where the portals led - that is, the portals were labeled as #s 1 through 10, and to start with, they connected to their portal # + 1 (portal 1 led to 2, 2 led to 3). But each time someone passed through a portal, the "add" number incremented by 1. (It was the same add number for all portals.) So if three people in a row ran into portal 1, the first would emerge from (+1=) 2, the second would emerge from (+2=) 3, and the third would emerge from (+3=) 4. And if the guy who emerged from 4 then jumped back into portal 4, he came out of (+4=) 8.

The combination of predicatable rotation (although they had to figure out the rotation trigger) and destination-variable portals made it so that even though I displayed the complete map right from the start of the encounter, it was still a cool and challenging encounter area.

I'm running Mummy's Mask right now and having a blast. The players seem to be enjoying it a lot. I highly recommend it.

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Thing is, when you watch your kid ride the bike that first time, you don't want them to fall - but you also don't want to reach out and hold them up before they really need it.

Time to let go.

Tell the player you support his choice to make his own character. Maybe tell him that since he's newer to the game than others, you're okay with him tinkering with the character a bit more than usual until he likes it. But he can only learn by doing it himself, so if that's what he wants to do, you really need to let him.

Then wait and see how he does. If he does reasonably okay, you won't have quashed him for no reason. If he's having fun, he's good enough. If he's not, you can offer the most minimal amount of advice possible to help him.

Another thought - There are a lot of way besides absolute damage output etc. to win spotlight time, by the way. Depending on the campaign you're planning to run, make sure you collect good PC backgrounds that connect to your story, then make sure you work this particular player's background into your campaign story a bit more than the others. If he gets plenty of spotlight time from the story elements, it won't matter as much if his combat effectiveness is below average for the group.

No, they're two entirely different games. 5E is a lot closer in feel to 1st edition D&D, with some features of later editions added in. (Pathfinder is based on D&D 3.5, which is quite a different animal.)

I have the 5E adventure (and the one that precedes it, Hoard of the Dragon Queen). There is a free version of the 5E rules available on, with a lot of the monster stat blocks, plus there are a couple of web enhancements that have the rest of the needed stat blocks for creatures and NPCs in the adventures, so you can get a peek at how they differ from Pathfinder.

If you wanted to do a conversion, you could probably modify it by replacing the 5E stat blocks with Pathfinder stat blocks. However, be aware that there are a fair number of NPCs relevant to combat situations. (I always find that hunting for a good replacement stat block for an NPC is harder than for critters). Also, 5E encounters are balanced differently, so you'll generally want to reduce how many foes you throw at your players for Pathfinder, as compared to the 5E version.

Sara Marie - Thanks for posting the update. Lets me know I don't need to worry. I'm just at the back of the pack this time.

Although if someone happened to throw in some of the older PACG promo cards into my shipment as a "thanks for waiting" gesture, I'd be delighted! No pressure, though... ;)

Tactically, deaths should be very rare. For almost all scenarios, if someone's deck is getting low enough that damage can kill them, they can just go to a "safe" location (i.e. anyplace that has no harmful location effects and that no one else is exploring), and do no more exploring, waiting out the blessings deck.

So to me, it sounds like you may just be playing too aggressively. The official penalty for death is starting all over from scratch - the game designers expect you to play in a way that avoids character deaths if at all possible. Losing a scenario isn't harmful, and in fact it can garner useful cards for the next attempt at it. Death is disastrous.

Since you weren't playing that way here, my advice is to just house-rule this time that they didn't die after all. The game is supposed to be fun, and with as much replaying of scenarios as you're already doing to advance all the characters, going back to the beginning doesn't sound like it will be fun for you. Make these characters repeat this scenario to complete it, and move on with the game - but in future, don't push characters that close to the edge.

I had a debate like this at work, some years back. A team leader in my department stated that if you flip a normal penny 49 times, and it comes up heads all 49 times in a row, that the probability for the 50th flip is...

What do you think he said?:
It will come up tails. Because probability says it will even out.

Several of us said this was nonsense. That if the penny was a real penny, it was still 50/50 for the next flip.

Some argued that if it came up heads 49 times in a row, it wasn't a normal penny. He said it was.

Eventually, people tried to end the argument. He wouldn't let us. He kept insisting we admit he was right.

This argument went on for about 3 hours. Additional people joined in, others walked off in disgust. He was my boss. I couldn't leave.

Three hours of my life I will never get back...

Initial thoughts:
I like the idea of the massive bloodstain and the missing nobleman. And I agree Latrecis that plenty of people should remember exactly who Aldern left with. A drow rogue is just too distinctive, unless the entire party are drow.

With the amount of blood that should be there, the suspicion ought to be that someone was murdered. Unless the rogue is up and about early the next morning, people should go looking for the drow rogue to find out if she's dead - when she turns out to be alive and Aldern is missing, the sheriff should treat this as a murder investigation and question the drow rogue pretty thoroughly about the evening's events. With no body, the evidence is weak enough that he may not be prepared to make an arrest (after all, he's not yet certain of the crime), but he can certainly ask plenty of questions. and not just of the drow - he's going to want to know where the other PCs were and what they were doing. (Does the drow rogue seem strong enough to carry a dead body out of town by herself?)

At this point, the players could take this in any of several directions:
1) The drow admits what she did - probably with plenty of justifications. This may actually be the worst case in one sense, as she should immediately be arrested for assault and mutilation of a noble. See below for suggestions about dealing with an arrest.
2) Obfuscation. "When I left, he was fine!" No evidence, and no witnesses to what really happened, so the rogue may be under suspicion, but can't be arrested. Some people in town may be uncomfortable with all the PCs, especially the rogue, as various rumors spread of what might have happened.
3) PvP. The rogue denies, unsuccessfully, and the other PCs distance themselves or even turn her in. Time to make a new PC. But you need to think about how this will affect all the players involved. Will they be able to handle this, or will it create hard feelings and wreck the entire campaign?
4) Blame someone else. If one of the PCs is really on the ball, they might come up with a different person and even frame them for the alleged crime. Which means framing an innocent party. Plenty of fun to be had here.

If the drow rogue gets arrested:
You have a couple of options to keep the campaign going:
1) The sheriff might release her on condition that she (and maybe the PCs as a group, depending on whether he thinks they are culpable) turn in 50% of all treasure she gains until such time as she has provided enough to pay for the magic needed to undo the harm she has done (or 2x or more of that amount; this should definitely merit an additional fine for "pain and suffering").
2) Send her to Magnimar for trial. (Stretch out the timeline so there's plenty of time to resolve this and then come back and pick up the rest of the adventure where you left off.) They end up in the courtroom of Judge Ironbriar, who probably doesn't have any particular interest yet in the PCs. Either outcome can work. If Not Guilty, well, Ironbriar is pleased that the mutilation helped push Aldern into his organization's hands. If Guilty, Judge Ironbriar gives the PC a choice - execution, or a life sentence as a member of the Black Arrows at Fort Rannick.

If you go this way, either the whole group will head to Fort Rannick to break out their guy, or the convict becomes an NPC and the player creates a new PC. In the former case, check out this guy's Rise of the Runelords Journal for ideas. I found it very useful. Let the PCs make a trip to Fort Rannick and back, and chapter 3 will be even cooler. Or in the latter case, the now-NPC can be part of the group at the Fort - you could even let her take the role that is filled in the published version by Kaven Windstrike.

Next steps:
So the immediate investigation is done. The sheriff can't take the time to pursue this further right now. He can take some guards with him, and (as in any case they won't be sure if Aldern I still alive) he can dispatch one or two en route to check on Aldern - no answer at the door could serve to support the belief that Aldern must be dead. But still, no proof - and with no certainty of the crime, they won't break into Aldern's house when no one opens the door. Meanwhile, word might go around town to look for recent graves. Someone might even find one eventually, and several townsfolk might form up a crew and end up digging up someone's dead mastiff (or something similarly unrelated).

So Aldern follows his path - he goes home and gathers the fungus, gets infected by it, goes to Magnimar to give it to Xanesha, and by the time he returns to Sandpoint he has become a ghoul. Have him follow the PCs and/or break into the drow rogue's residence and steal things (as per wrath), and so that in Chapter 2 he can leave some of those objects at the sites of the various murders he commits. Hair from her hairbrush, for example. If Aldern's specific mutilation became known, mutilating some of his victims the same way might also point suspicion at the rogue. Because there is already suspicion due to the bloodstained bed (unless the rogue comes up with an AMAZING story when first questioned), the townsfolk should be ready to believe the rogue is guilty, making their task of investigation that much harder.

If you're feeling kind, you might have him accidentally leave some contradictory evidence that can help to offset the suspicion a bit. (This might be necessary if you find yourself walking a fine line to avoid imploding the campaign.)

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Sara Marie wrote:
Everyone at Paizo is at about 110%, from customer service to editorial. Lisa (CEO) and Jeff (COO) do head down to the warehouse when they can, but they've also been doing that for years. Shipping logistics isn't just about tossing things in boxes. Adding untrained bodies down there can easily end up negatively impacting the warehouse's ability to get things shipped efficiently and effectively.

I used to be responsible for monitoring shipment quality at a parts warehouse for a major automotive manufacturer. When the UAW went on strike one time for a few days, we had every non-union person in the building come pack orders. I heard so many comments from them about how they were going to be so much more accurate than the union folks.

They weren't.

When I pulled the statistics afterward, we shipped about five to ten times the usual number of mispicked items, wrong quantities, etc. Unfamiliarity with the task has a huge impact on accuracy.

It sounds like it ought to be a really simple thing to pick and ship orders with any degree of accuracy, but it really isn't. And when most of your products are exactly the same general dimensions and have similar overall appearance, it becomes exponentially harder to prevent errors.

So although I'm in the not-yet-shipped, says-it's-210-lbs-order group, I know that simply throwing more warm bodies at the problem isn't the answer. (Although I'd love to come visit the warehouse someday and compare notes on best practices...)

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I was a child taught by adults in a game designed for or around kids.

When I was 10, my church put together a six-week summer program, with young adults teaching various hobbies to the middle-school-aged kids. Two young adults taught a group of (I think) ten of us to play D&D. This was in Georgia, which may quite possibly make us the only ten kids in the bible belt ever to be taught D&D in a church-organized official class.

After that, my next few opportunities to play were when some teens (peers of my oldest sister, who by the way didn't play or attend) invited me to play a few times. Since they were sixteen-ish and I was ten, I (still) think that was pretty awesome of them to put up with me...

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I picture a few things as I read your post:
- Go ahead and have the lights at irregular intervals. Find a way to let them realize at some point that the dwarves didn't need lights, and that the lights are a later addition. Who added them???
- A wide chasm cutting across the main passage. Some ancient mechanism that can be used to extend a bridge across the chasm.
- A side-passage large enough to hold a small village or way-station, apparently home in the distant past to up to a hundred dwarves. The bones of the inhabitants are still in the village, perhaps amidst scorch-marks and rubble, perhaps with no sign of what killed them (maybe a poison gas attack took them all in the middle of the day as they went about normal business).
- Another wide chasm, but this time the bridge mechanism is smashed and unrepairable. A pair of cables span the gap, such that a person could walk on one and hold the other for balance. (Who put the cables here???)
- The sound of a woman screaming, echoing down the tunnel from far, far away. (Eventually they might learn this is nothing more than a subterranean Cougar hunting.)
- Swarms of stinging insects infesting the rocks and lichen around a small stream of fresh water that runs down the wall of the main passage.
- The main passage slants up and down at different times. After setting this expectation, they reach a place where it slants down into a flooded section, the entire passage disappearing into black, stagnant water. To continue, they must grope blindly through the gap and hope to reach a rise on the other side where there is air before they run out of time holding their breath. Remember the water will be incredibly cold; they'll need to get warm again as soon as they emerge. (Perhaps the first time this happens, the water isn't opaque, and it's obvious light is shining through from some point up ahead, and reflecting off a surface up ahead. The second time, the water is black and they have no idea how far they need to go.)

They hear someone yell "Gardayloo!" from a window from a window above the street about a block away. A few seconds later, a woman empties a chamber pot out the window. A country man (i.e. someone who is obviously gawking about and unfamiliar with the city) is walking beneath the window and gets splashed, and starts cursing at the woman.

A caravan comes down the main street. In a small village, this could be a few wagons and a dozen outriders. In a big city on a trade route, it could be dozens of wagons and a hundred mounted riders keeping anyone from approaching or cutting between the wagons (to stop urban thieves), and could take twenty or thirty minutes to clear.

A small child is crying. As the PCs notice, they see a guy in robes notice the child and approach, asking "Are you lost? Do you need help?" (Your decision if the guy is genuinely helpful, or is creepy and dangerous. If the PCs don't bother to intervene, they might hear rumors later of a bunch of missing kids - which may or may not be related.)

The sound of laughter up ahead attracts the PCs to a town square where two men are locked into the stocks. A group of townsfolk are pelting one of them with rotten vegetables. (Decide ahead of time what minor crimes they committed, and why the townsfolk are angry with one but disregarding the other. Good minor crimes might be theft, public indecency, performing a lewd play, insulting a noble, etc.)

A small troupe of actors are performing a play - very badly. As they flub the lines, the audience laughs and starts shouting out insults. The actors on stage insult the crowd in turn. The crowd responds by throwing rotten vegetables. The lead actor dodges, then insults their aim, and more rotten foodstuffs fly. A small child comes darting out from backstage, collecting up the thrown rotten food. (If the PCs have approached, they might hear the little girl whisper "carrots" at the lead actor.) The lead actor begins pronouncing how anyone can throw a potato, but it takes real skill to hit someone with a carrot. A few half-rotten carrots fly. (Backstage, the little girl delivers the carrots to a woman who is cutting off the worst bits and preparing to cook a stew.)

Summon a large number of creatures that surround the bad guys, and only use their actions to Aid Another on the various PCs fighting those bad guys. The PC gets flanking plus a guaranteed unnamed bonus on their next attack, and the enemy has to decide whether to ignore them (and keep facing massively powerful attack rolls) or "waste" its actions taking out the small fry. Combine with a martial type using Power Attack to pump up the damage.

Be aware that the Trust Points values, as printed in the scenario, need some fixes. There aren't enough points available to let the PCs earn trust even if they do everything right. So if your PCs do good deeds, treat people politely, etc., give them bonus trust points to even things out.

On the other hand, what you're anticipating is behavior that would alienate the entire town. Don't give them a free pass for that. If they do indescriminate killing, they should earn the consequences. If they do indescriminate killing in the very first scene, it may even be worth a TPK, and that's okay too - they can come up with less extreme interpretations of their characters (or brand new characters, if their concepts won't allow that flexibility) and start over. (By TPK, I'm really thinking "knock them all out, lock them in jail, then ask the players whether they want to continue with these characters or if they want a do-over." One scene into the campaign, that can be appropriate.)

Problem is, in order to do well in this adventure path (especially the first couple of adventures), the PCs need to be prepared to work with people, avoid unnecessary offense, etc. where appropriate. So you may want to consider letting the players in on the Trust mechanic. You don't need to tell them how many points they've earned, or what actions will gain or lose points; but let them know you're tracking Trust and it affects how the entire party is treated. That lets the other players help reign in someone who gets out of hand.

And you didn't mention what kinds of characters the other folks in the party are planning. Are they "damn the consequences" types as well? Do they enjoy this kind of roleplay challenge? Some groups would have a really good time coming up with ways to get the mission done under adverse circumstances; other groups would get really irritated at one player for sabotaging their fun, resulting in destroyed friendships. If you and the other players can handle it, cool! Run with the consequences. If not (or if it will make the game too difficult for you as a newer GM), it's reasonable to talk to the one player ahead of time and explain the Trust mechanic to them, and give them the opportunity to adjust their character concept before the campaign starts.

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Height of the wave, a feathered mane,
Top of the peak, symbol of the name.


Peak of rock or water, of feathers or of bone,
Bearer of the family arms yet can't defend the home.

A gaming store in my area sells white cardboard boxes that are designed for storing collectable cards, both sleeved and unsleeved.

Taking a quick look at the bottom of the boxes, they are apparently made by "BCW" - and looking up "BCW Card Storage Box" it appears they're sold by Amazon, among other places.

The "Shoe Box" size has two rows with an integral divider in the middle, and is perfect for holding one game worth of sleeved cards (including all expansion chapters and the character add-on deck. (The rule book doesn't fit, however.) I use the Ultra-Pro sleeves (mentioned because sleeve thickness varies), and I use cut-down index cards for dividers. Be aware that this box's listed capacity is 1600 cards, but with the sleeved cards, it's a good fit (not overly snug) for the approx. 1160 cards (game plus expansions plus character add-on).

The next size up is called the "Super Shoebox." It has 3 divided rows instead of two, and is proportionately larger. I'm expecting it to hold one game plus all add-on chapters and the character add-on deck plus all seven Character Decks - but until everything comes out, I won't be sure if I estimated it correctly or not. It's listed capacity is 3,000 cards, so proportionately, it'll probably hold about 2175 sleeved cards, which is over 200 more than what I estimate to need with the Character Decks added, so I'll probably have a bit of extra space once I get all the sleeved cards in there. Maybe I'll put a dice box in there... And this size is definitely big enough to include the rule book without folding it.

The listed card capacities always seem off to me. The 300-count small box is exactly right for holding two sleeved decks (Character decks, or 2 chapters, or whatever), but it seems like it would hold well over 300 unsleeved cards. Also, be careful about the smallest box (maybe listed as 100 or 150 card capacity) - it's really hard to open and close without destroying the cardboard, so I don't recommend it. But the ones listed as 200 or 300 card capacity work pretty well.

I'm currently running Mummy's Mask. We're in chapter 1, about two thirds of the way through. They've had one session so far in their third lottery assignment.

They investigated only the middle path and library on the main floor, then found the stairs down, and they're planning to head downstairs next. They found the various footprints indicating several people went down and only one person came up, and they have a number of theories about what it means - all of which are wrong. FUN!

If they don't take the time to shore up their tunnel with timbers or other supports, they won't be able to keep it from re-collapsing, possibly burying them partway along. Depending on where the collapsed tunnel is located, the PCs might have some real work just getting appropriately-long timbers to the site.

IIRC, digging a new tunnel and shoring it up is relatively straight-forward. The ground/rock/whatever is packed tight, and you can shore up the passage you make every however-many feet along. Once a collapse happens, it's actually a lot harder, because what's above the collapsed section is no longer densely packed; it's cracked and shifted and dangerous. That's why it can take so long to rescue trapped miners, and why they often choose to create a whole new shaft rather than clearing the debris from the original shaft - and also why they're always concerned as they dig the new shaft that the vibrations of their digging might cause the earth to shift again, collapsing additional sections where the miners might have taken refuge.

So if you're the DM, and you don't want them to be able to dig out the collapsed section at this time, it's perfectly reasonable to tell them they can't safely excavate the collapse without using something like Stone Shape to solidify the walls and ceiling as they go.

I looked everywhere I could think of, and can't tell if I'm automatically going to receive the Case Premium with the upcoming case subscription to Pathfinder Battles, or if I need to do something in order to receive it.

The following is for your reference in case you want to clarify wording somewhere:
* Subscription page indicates when I subscribe I can choose how many case premiums to receive - but I don't see anywhere that I can view my selection afterward.
* Subscription FAQ indicates I have the option to get it, so maybe I have to do something to opt in.
* Case premium itself indicates it's part of the subscription, so maybe I don't need to do anything...

Can you please advise me what I need to do? (Or just make sure I get one.)

Thanks! Love you guys!

john wood wrote:
Is it possible for the PC's to narrow down the location of Nefra with two operating elegiac compasses? I am looking at the map of the Necropolis and it would seem that the small area two of the compasses would easily bisect right over the Temple.

Yes, I think this would work. However, if I remember correctly, there is only one elegiac compass that is possibly repairable, so the PCs will need to locate and obtain that one, and then fix it, to be able to do this.

I just spotted this card, and came to see if there was any discussion. I'm interested to see how this one gets ruled. If it's just once per turn, it's really not as good as the Eagle. Perhaps if you had to recharge a card each time you use it?

I'm currently running Half-Dead City. I posted some critical comments (as well as compliments) earlier in this thread, so it's time I came in and posted an update based on actual game play.

We're about halfway through the second exploration site.

The PCs explored the mausoleum, then the grounds, of the House of Pentheru, and have now evacuated back to the living city to recover before exploring the house itself.

One of the things I'm particularly enjoying is the mix of logical-consequences (reasonable explanations for the church running the lottery, and their attitude toward it; reasons for why all the critters are at any particular site) with a liberal spicing of misdirection and the twisting of expectations.

No undead at all in the initial tomb. Non-animate mummies that (literally) pour out from behind a secret door during a particular death trap - OMG! Mummies! Places they suspect to be trapped that aren't. Places they don't even think about traps, that might be. The ubashki swarm was great fun, and got a particularly good reaction from our cat-hengeyokai sorcerer.
Not to mention the sheer paranoia the players feel whenever they're moving through the necropolis, even in broad daylight. They're just as worried now about competitor teams as they are about lurking undead.

The first encounter in the Pentheru mausoleum was absolutely a delight.

OMG it's a mummy! And then the gradual realization that it wasn't, quite, but all the players rolled low-single-digits on their knowledge rolls to try to figure out what it was, so they got to figure it out by trial and error. One PC is a swarm-form druid - my favorite moment was when he did a swarm attack that sprayed the adherer with bugs, and had all those parts of him attach like, well, bugs, on flypaper. Priceless!

This adventure has so far resulted in a level of clever (or, sometimes, "oops-we-really-wish-we'd-been-more-clever") play, without ever tilting over into boring over-caution. The players are thinking more, and having tremendous fun solving things by interacting with the scene in the adventure, rather than just through dependence on reference to specific character powers. (That is, everything isn't "I can solve this with this spell" or "I beat it into submission," it's much more frequently "hmmm, what's going on here, and how to we want to approach dealing with it.") And it's great fun listening as the players come up with their own theories for why certain things are where they are (such as a certain cut rope, or a certain axe and its wielders).

My group has been playing together for years, so it's not like I need the adventure to teach them how to play the game - and yet, it is, in a wonderful way, doing just that. It simultaneously sets expectations and rewards a style of play that is incredibly fun.

Jim Groves, with this adventure, you've moved up into the top of my list of preferred adventure writers. And the best part is, we still have the second half of this chapter to look forward to!

I've considered - although not actually tried out - a House Rule that once a Loot card is passed up, it goes into the box as the type of boon it is (Weapon, Item etc.) so that it can re-circulate into future scenarios. I'm not really sure why this would break anything. I don't think this would break anything. It certainly wouldn't give any guarantee that you'd have access to those cards ever again...

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Regarding burning wooden doors - just because they're made of wood and therefore flammable, doesn't mean they burn quickly. When you build a fire in a fireplace, and put a couple of little pieces of wood in there, it takes a LONG time for them to burn to the point where they're breakable. And they're usually positioned on a rack to allow for proper air flow, with a chimney above for ventilation.

A door stands upright in a tight-fitting frame. A fire spell would do half-damage of the expected damage amount. To get the door to actually catch fire at that point shouldn't be automatic. Lighting a wood fire generally requires some easily-ignitable tinder to catch and keep the fire burning there for a while, allowing the larger blocks of wood have time to catch. Is he taking the time to position tinder? Probably needs to be something more substantial than just a few pieces of crumpled paper...

Even if you decide to allow the door to catch fire at that point, the fire is going to burn upward on the surface of the wood, and cause lots of smoke that has nowhere to go except into the room where the PCs are standing.

In other words - your player is apparently very good at fast-talking you into accepting reasons for letting him get away with stuff, much of which is outrageously unbalanced. And he also apparently looks only for interpretations of rules and situations that are in his favor, not what makes for a good game for the whole group. Stop and think about whether what he's proposing at any given time really makes sense, and don't be so willing to let him get away with stuff like this. It's okay to say no - and based on these examples, he's being abusive of the rules and spirit of the game, so it's important for the group's enjoyment that you do say no to him on stuff like this.

And let him know that he shouldn't be trying so hard to abuse the spirit of the rules and to outshine all the other players - this is a group cooperative activity.

Please cancel my Player Companion subscription. Thanks!

I've posted a review. See it for some information about the set contents.

WotC has clearly already benefitted from the lessons WizKids has learned doing Pathfinder minis. The smaller minis are separately bagged and tucked into the hollows of the plastic shell holding the large minis. Between that and the separate bases and posts for flying minis, I had no damaged minis in my case of this set, and no bad paints either.

A comment for Paizo - the lower MSRP for each booster means my local FLGS is willing to stock these on speculation - and they're selling rapidly - where he can't stock the Pathfinder boosters because people in my area just won't buy a booster at that price point.

Paizo should examine this set and have some serious talks with WizKids about options for quality improvement. Both the separate-flying-bases, and the fewer paint steps (and resulting reduction in paint-step-related flaws).

Yikes! Glad you're okay.

As a person who suffers from frequent heartburn, but who has also suffered a pulmonary embolism (blood clots that block the arteries in the lungs), I know how frustrating the medical run-around can be.

Hopefully this was a one-time thing, but if you still have symptoms in the future, and you don't think it's just heartburn, another possible cause to consider is panic attacks (yup, I've got those too), which can present as a feeling like your heart is racing combined with pressure in your chest.

Thanks, Sharaya. I got the email, and I appreciate the quick response and resolution!

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