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Ckorik's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 418 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Sure - but he's not in Rise of the Runelords :) I haven't read that adventure and have no idea, however I've read (and had to transcribe) every one of the RotRL adventures so I'm happy to give opinions on that (in the RotRL section of the MB anyway).... ;)

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Rob - regarding the ghost on page 43 - should they have an additional +8 on the flight skill for having (perfect) flight?

I'm unsure if the ghosts flight ability would be considered natural - based on the stat block it's not - but I was wondering if you would comment on that.

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Sub-Creator wrote:

Just a couple things:

Mogloth wrote:
Yeah, as a player, if I ever get the sense that the GM is out to kill my character simply because I made an effective character, then I'm out. Too many other things to do than play with a GM who has to prove that he can 1up me.

I agree. If the GMs purpose involves showing up the players to the point that they look to eliminate those characters they don't agree with, it's not worth playing a game with that GM. A spiteful GM is not a fun GM by any stretch. I want someone willing to work with me as a player, and that's what I try and do as a GM for my players.

I don't have a problem with a GM banning classes or oddball races flat out - as long as it's upfront. I (as a GM) only have a problem with exceptional characters if it's only a single person at the table - and then it's not the character - it's a question of everyone else - at some point a discussion has to be had - if everyone else is having a ton of fun it's no big deal, however if having a super character makes everyone else bored the group needs to discuss how to move forward (either with the others getting build tips/help from the super optimizer or the optimizer toning it down). That's also not a GM problem.

If everyone is having fun and or the entire table is optimizers - then it's my job to up the challenge to the group - nothing else is to blame.

That's just my opinion.

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So the biggest thing I like about 5th edition (from the free online PDF anyway) is the idea of ritual spells.

To summarize - using the same spells/day magic system we have in pathfinder but reducing the # of spells per day drastically - however many spells have a new 'ritual' tag. These spells can be cast without having to memorize them, with the caveat that they take 10+ minutes to cast.

I like this thought - this makes *all* the spellcasting classes a bit more versatile and allows the idea that some spells/magic/'stuff' should generally always be available to a party outside of combat - which changes the idea of how to build encounters and adventures - with the idea that given some time the cleric can always ask for some advice from their deity - or that the wizard can always setup a circle of protection if given enough time/etc.

Also by limiting the # of slots for 'combat' use the casters are made less 'god' and reigns in the power creep - although I don't have any practical knowledge of how this plays out at higher levels.

I'm interested in what other people think of this system, vs other attempts at changing the caster progression that have been attempted.

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I subscribe to the AP's for many reasons... being a single coherent story is only one of them.

Other things I love:

* The adventures are typically fantastic stories even if they get ugly in the encounters/rules dept. (see Wrath of the Righteous - while my group is gimp and struggles - even the people who *hate* mythic and find the AP too easy agree that the story and adventure plot itself are worthy)

* Rules come and go - but the stories can move from system to system - have you gone back and looked at some of the old adventures that were published prior to the pathfinder monthly? They suck. Seriously - they were pretty lack in terms of art, presentation, maps, etc. The Pathfinder volume includes fantastic layout - a good adventure with generally well laid out locations and motivations for the NPCs - fantastic maps - usually an article about a location/god/system that can be transposed to another ruleset - a little slice of fiction that typically sets a bit of mood you can use to help envision the type of environment the adventure is set in (helps with roleplaying the atmosphere and npcs) - and new monsters which again can be system independent.

* Many of the volumes can be (with very little effort) adapted to another campaign without the adventure path tie in - in fact sometimes the complaint is that they don't feel tied into the overall story enough - but (for example) take rise of the runelords - perhaps when your players are level 6ish they are in a city and you need an interesting diversion - the

seven's sawmill and encounters leading to lady X could be thrown in with the PC's disrupting a murder in progress - without the ties back to the mansion, or the ties forward to Turtleback Ferry - the disrupting of an evil cult of murder and the Lamia that took control of them could easily be lifted for any adventure in Magnimar
and that's just an example - almost every AP has decent sections that can be lifted with very little effort into a homespun campaign much like any module.

* Back to the quality the existence of the AP line has affected the entire industry - more and more you see companies adapting to the idea that RPG's actually demand a bit more thought into layout, content, and presentation. The exception to this seems to be D&D which still has (though improved) very poor layout and design. Look at the reviews for the D&D 5th edition starter set - then look where they compare the Paizo Beginner Box - almost universally the D&D product gets panned for lack of presentation. I will also note that the pathfinder products are well done enough that it's caused many friends (personally) that otherwise weren't interested to pick up and actually read one of my RPG books - they catch the eye and draw a reader in. That's powerful stuff.

Anyway just saying - the subscription for me is worth every penny - unless someone else in the industry starts to produce a product that has stories and ideas laid out in a superior manner - (and I have the cash) I'll continue to get them.

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Ckorik wrote:

HP's appear to be wrong: Listed as 154 (15d8+83) assuming averages

15d8 = 8 + (7*4)28 + (7*5)35 = 71
Cha 16 (+3) and +1 hp per level up so 4*13 = 52
Zombie Lord gives 2d8 (4+5)9 + 6 for Cha so 15

71+52+15 = 138 + Toughness (+15) = 153 + 10 for the temporary from the ghoul = 163

Bleh I messed that up - lemme try again...

13d8 (cleric) = 8 + (6*4) 24 + (6*5)30 = 62
Cha 16 (+3) and +1 hp per level up = (4*13) 52
Zombie lord is 2d8(5+4) 9 + 6 (3 cha * 2) = 15
Toughness is 15
62+51+15 = 144 (prior to temp hps
10 hps from dead bodak
= 154

So correct - I see what I did (silly me)

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Page 47-48 - Heqet

Stats are:
Str 18, Dex 14, Con -, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 16

Remove the +2 profane bonus for the dead bodak:

Str 16, Dex 14, Con -, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 16

Now remove undead lord:

Str 14, Dex 12, Con - , Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 16

Now trying to fit her into an elite array:


She has +2 for human, +3 for 13 levels of cleric.

So figure the best I can figure...

Str 13, Dex 12, Con 8, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14 (prior to undeadness)

Give Wis +3 from levels, leaving a single +2 left. Ok I can get Cha to 16 and Str to 15 or vice versa - but not both. I think she's got an extra +1 to one of these stats not accounted for - IMO remove the +1 from Str (which leaves her DC's and HP's and such alone - and requires the least amount of rework) - OR (I actually like this better):

Str 13, Dex 12, Con 8, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 15

Now assign +2 to Wisdom, and 1 from level up into Str, Cha, and Con and give her a headband of inspired wisdom +2 (4,000gp) - the cost of the item at this point doesn't really swing things - it makes her stats what they should be - and gives her another neat item for the PC's (who at this point in the adventure are swimming in +2 belts - why not some love to the casters...)

HP's appear to be wrong: Listed as 154 (15d8+83) assuming averages

15d8 = 8 + (7*4)28 + (7*5)35 = 71
Cha 16 (+3) and +1 hp per level up so 4*13 = 52
Zombie Lord gives 2d8 (4+5)9 + 6 for Cha so 15

71+52+15 = 138 + Toughness (+15) = 153 + 10 for the temporary from the ghoul = 163

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Just to add this - if you *do* use the city guard response - don't go at them with low level guards.

This is a huge city with very high level casting available - I had a 'strike team' setup and ready to respond to any major thing (like burning down the mill) that consisted of very powerful spell casters and other such - this was something the city didn't keep on hand so there was a delay in response - but it *was* something like a volunteer EMT squad in that powerful allies of the city were recruited to handle very big threats that a big city can draw to itself - with the idea that overwhelming ability to get the party to *stand down* would (hopefully) keep the entire situation from getting worse.

Also - most parties will tend to get shy when faced with lots of guards and obvious spellcasters all wearing a uniform. Even still it *can* go bad if your players want to 'turn the story on it's side'...

Lots of good suggestions above - personally after how my party reacted I left them alone until they finished off big X and as they were hurt/dying/out of resources from that fight is when the guard showed up - but in the course of finding the party they also investigated on their own and already had a good idea of the real threat - the assassination list (evidence burned in the Mill can be found in the tower to help) with the mayor's name on it sealed the deal - with the reward being an apology/thanks/and keep your mouth shut all in one.

Hope it works out for you - don't be afraid to change directions if your players don't co-operate - another option is to have shattered star as a backup - change the pathfinders to the Aspis Consortium and have their agents rescue the PC's from the guard or the attempted arrest and send them after an artifact.... :)

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ThreeCrows wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:
Caderyn wrote:

Why is your Div acting like a melee brute?

You are primarily a debuffer and should be kiting (using your at will DDoor) to get out of sight and then slap them with at least 3 curses (-6 ST, 50% chance not to act, -6 Con, - 6 Wisdom first if they have good saves), never allow the PC's to get a full attack until you have the advantage and then pressure them when they are weakened (they get quite a few free rounds to hit him with single attacks but if you cripple the frontliners you should last at least a couple of dozen rounds).

With his DR10/Cold Iron mooks occupying the low damage melee fighters (preferably people with natural attacks so they cant bypass the DR easily), you can easily make the fight seem much more impressive despite it actually being quite easy (and low risk) for the PCs.

The risk here to the PCs is fairly low, but to the continuity of the AP itself? Very high. Chance of death is low, I'll grant you that, but the curses are permanent in duration. The cost to remove them is significant and the disruption to the AP "timer", such as it is, is also very significant as well. Food for thought.

We cover this design issue in detail in the most recent podcast review of this volume of the Mummy's Mask AP. The Div encounter is far and away the biggest potential pitfall in the Half-Dead City.

First time listener to your podcast, and enjoyed it a lot. I'm getting ready to run Half-Dead City this coming weekend. The fix for the Aghash Div you come up with is great... I'm planning on using the planted wand. Thanks for pointing out the pitfalls before I walk into them with my campaign.

I wanted to chime in here - that encounter was the only one my players hated - ended up with one cursed and a death (because one got bored and wandered off alone) - the dimension door really frustrated them. They eventually got him - but mostly because I decided that rather than have a table full of angry players I'd play him a bit stupid.

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A trash can appears with a full pizza scattered throughout medical waste.

A large man in a kilt walks up and hands you an authentic scottish bottle.

Every TV you turn on for the rest of time plays Cobra (starring Sylvester Stalone.)

I wish for a glass of clean water.

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Classic fantasy with no weird stuff... what exactly do you define as 'weird stuff'?

If you want really classic (IMO) Second Darkness is about as classic as it gets - although the transition from the first book to the second book is a bit ham fisted - the story has a ton of elves, drow, ancient magic, and saving the world in it.

Shattered Star is like *the* ap if you want lots of dungeons - it has some tie in's to the other AP's here and there - nothing heavy handed - but if you've played the others it's a nice wink and a nod thrown in.

Legacy of Fire is very very classic - with (IMO anyway) two very huge dungeons, and yet still has a decent mix of non dungeon stuff outside of that - out of all the AP's I've read however - this one is the most railroady for your players - but still a great story if your players don't mind having limited options for a good chunck of it.

Jade Reagent - well the name says it all - it is really decent adventure about travelling around the world - part of the adventure that most of the time is glossed over - and then at your destination it's in the game equivalent of the far east - if you don't like Oriental mythology it will fall flat at that point.

Mummy's Mask - good adventure - some odd transitions between the books but nothing outrageous - solid locations and plot throughout, your players should enjoy the idea of a desert setting though...

Reign of Winter - I'm assuming you won't like this - weird stuff

you are trying to rescue baba yaga (this is a fact by the end of the first book) and her 'hut' helps - it crosses dimensions - time - and everything else - including a trip to earth during world war 1

Wrath of the Righteous - how min/max are your players? This one is a pretty damn epic story - very classic fantasy - and honestly if you want you can ignore mythic - people have done so (with 15 point buy characters) and beat the AP - Mythic is fun (IMO - although our group also likes the occasional superhero game so YMMV)

Iron Gods - again depending on what you consider weird this one is most likely out - very much old school (Gary Gygax style) with a mix of alien tech and fantasy - not for someone who doesn't like robots.

I've not actually read or played Carrion Crown so I'm going to leave that out of my list.

Skull and Shackles - do you like pirates? Do you like ocean adventures? If so stop reading and play that. I'm not a pirate fan - even still this adventure is pretty interesting story wise.

Curse of the Crimson Throne - interesting story with some odd pacing - pretty classic and no weirdness - biggest complaint seems to be that just when your players get invested in one area - they get shoved into another area for 1/2 the AP.

Council of Thieves gets a pretty poor review by many - I've not read through it but the general feeling is that you need to read the AP - and then weave your own version of it to pull it off.

Serpents Skull - from what I've heard this one can have a pretty high random death rate at the beginning. That's about all I know of it.

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dot'ing - although this topic (IMO) deserves it's own thread - 'Items redesigned for the wow factor' or 'bringing the magic back to magic - items unleashed'

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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

This is a brilliant approach, but I'd like to see it expanded, actually. Good thinking!

I have to admit - I didn't come up with the idea - I found it when looking for how to deal with my rise of the runelords party - at one point it was 7 people strong...

I use DM's familiar for combat tracking - and some nifty counters for monsters (little sticky numbers that I pop on the mini/pog/pawn) - so when I have an encounter I just 'drag' it to the combat board and it sets up the monsters for me (I have the players already on there - just for initiative) - the program auto-numbers monsters (so it says goblin #1, goblin #2) which matches up with the number trackers. It also rolls hp's per monster (it will do average if you want - I prefer a bit of random that the computer can handle where the average hps are because rolling each is a PITA).

I then click a button and it gives each an initiative - so the combat is pretty fluid between players and mooks usually.

The above rules worked out well for me - I've lost players to RL reasons which happens and I'm down to 5 - which is much more manageable.

What exactly are you interested in expanding on the idea? This (admittedly is more of a 'simple' template) - I see it more as a start - you do have to adjust for your own party if you have a player who spends 90% of the time working on social stuff and roll playing and really tanks in combat situations (they don't really make much difference after all).

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Quick adjustment rules:

AP's are based on a 4 person party - 1 full BAB, 2 3/4, 1 arcane

Based on above:

Full melee = full BAB
cleric/rogue/etc = 3/4
arcane = Sorc/Wiz/etc.

After you fill those 4 roles - figure out who's left then adjust:

For each full BAB class over 1 - add 50% hp's to the monsters

For each 3/4 BAB class over 2 - add 1 to *mook* DCs and saves

For each full arcane over 1 - add 1 party CR equivalent to the monsters

Apply these rules at level 2 and up - at level 1 everyone is still to squishy to affect the game much.

:) Works fairly well.

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Rob McCreary wrote:

This is because we use the term "advanced" for both the advanced simple template and for advancing a monster's HD and abilities. If we use the advanced template, we cite the Bestiary page number for the template, and since it's a simple template that can be added during play, we don't print a full stat block. A full stat block for an "advanced" creature, such as Sargota, means that its HD were advanced (according to the rules on pages 295-296 of the Bestiary), which increases all of its statistics and abilities that are based on HD (therefore requiring a full stat block).

Ok this makes a ton of sense - not knowing offhand why the difference I was very confused.

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Rob McCreary wrote:

Improved Natural Attack increases her slam damage from 1d8 to 2d6 (Bestiary p.302).

Increasing HD does increase save bonuses (see Table 1-6 on p.293 of the Bestiary). Base saves for a 13-HD outsider are Fort +4, Ref +8, and Will +8.
So the totals are Fort +10 (+4 base +6 Con), Ref +13 (+8 base, +5 Dex), Will +14 (+8 base, +4 Wis, +2 Iron Will).

I missed the improved natural attack - thank you - as to the saves - wow - I feel like I missed something large there - I need to recheck how I handle monsters that have an alternate form from now on - thank you again.

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Page 38 - Sargota

I can't figure this one out at all.

He's supposed to be an advanced shadow demon.

He has too many HD for advanced (or shadow demon)
He has too many feats for shadow demon (advanced or not)
His stats are way too low for the advanced template.

His SR is too high for shadow demon (with or without advanced template) - I get the feeling that he had class levels at one point - thus the 14 HD instead of 7. After that I'm unsure.

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Page 34 - Rathos

Agonized wail - DC is listed as 19 - however the DC should be 10+(1/2 broken soul level - so 5)+Cha(his Cha is 6 so -2 = 13, now he gets a +4 racial mod due to the twisted wish = 17


Baleful gaze (same as above)

Torturous touch (same as above)

Unless I am missing where the extra +2 is coming from.

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Page 24 - Picasi

Stunning Fist DC should be 20 - the DC isn't limited to monk levels only - the # per day is correct (6 for monk 2 more for the 9 racial) - the DC should be 10 + (1/2 of 15 - so 7) 7 + 3 (wis) = 20

Her melee line for flurry assumes she is using ki flurry but it's not noted in her tactics.

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After the first two books and learning a bit about how they do monsters I think I'm getting better at this :)

Onto the show:

Page 22 - Kixexa - Her attack should read:

Melee 1d8+8 plus 1d6 fire (it's listed as 2d6+8)

Efreeti nobles don't get a new attack - and the slam attack is 1d8 base - if she were using the falchion it might be different, but she's listed as slams and her tactics mention slams specifically. I considered she might be using her enlarge ability - but it would still be wrong (see below), and she's not listed as using her enlarge ability in the tactics.

For the record - if she's using enlarge it would also affect her AC, init, saves and such - stats:

Size huge
Init +8
AC 23 (T13, FF 18 CMD 39) (+4 Dex, -2 size, +10 natural, +1 dodge)
Fort 10, Ref 12, Will 14
STR 29, DEX 19, CON 22, INT 16, WIS 18, CHA 19
CMB 24; CMD 39
Melee 2 slams +20 (2d6+9)
Space 15; Reach 15;

Now - big question I have is how her saves are figured...

Looking at the Efreeti - base saves are 7 10 9
Efreeti noble only adds 3 HD and casting to a creature - no save changes

Looking over her stats - she *seems* to conform to the normal rules (as far as I can tell) - that is - base Efreeti - add 3 HD and casting for noble - add advanced rebuild template (+4 to all abilities, +2 to natural AC) - but somehow she gained +1 fort, +1 Ref, and +3 Will to her saves.

I can't figure where these came from (those increases are above the increase from advanced). If anyone knows the difference I'd love to know.

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Does anyone have experience with lulu and perhaps some photos of the finished work - looking it over it seems like a very attractive option to get a 'don't care if the mtn. dew spills on it' copy.

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Well the key to a recurring npc that you want to stay alive is to remember npc's don't have to be 100% rules perfect.

That is to say if you want one that is hard to kill - make him CR 5+ whatever the party is - give him something that lets him get away - and then use him.

Now - the typical rule of thought is that a typical recurring bad guy should get beaten (even if not caught) 3-4 times for every time he 'gets one up' on the PC's - this gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride at frustrating them without feeling hopeless.

Secondly - it's always a good idea to have the bad guy really 'beatable' within around 4 levels of PC growth (just based on my own experience here) - after the beatdown giving the characters a level or two without seeing them if they come back another way (raise dead, resurrection, reincarnation, etc.) - or keep them down and show the bigger nasty behind them...

Things that work well for getting away...

Word of Recall
dimension door
cloud spells (fog and up) enlarged (anyone inside can't see more than 5 feet) and any number of mundane hiding tricks.
Improved invisibility + run action + withdraw action
ring of free action + any of the above
overland flight
fly and or combined with above
mundane running away + Illusion of demon/dragon/pit/etc.
gaseous form
magic mouth
programmed image
project image
mirror image
ethereal jaunt
limited wish
ring of spider climbing
flying mount
earth glide
shape change (varies - something to get away or something very small to hide)
spells\magic items of nondetection
spells\magic items to hide magic auras
spells\magic items to hide alignment

From a GM perspective - if I want my bad guy to taunt *only* (such as they see him and he give a brief story monolog and then runs off) I do not feel like it's a cheat *if* he doesn't actually fight - sometimes I make the call that as GM story and or description scenes can happen as long as it doesn't 1) do anything to the characters or 2) cause anything to happen that takes away the players ability to act. If I want a bad guy to enter combat I do so with the full knowledge that the players could kill the guy no matter what I do unless I cheat - I won't do that - I'd rather re-work a plot and give the players a big reward if that happens. At the same time - I don't send vastly overpowered NPCs directly at the PC's unless they have a specific goal and an escape plan in place, i.e. grab 'item', burn 'item', deliver 'message', give 'warning', etc. then leave. That kind of encounter can setup a much more interesting and satisfying victory when the PC's manage to corner and take down the bad guy :)

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Taking a monk archtype that replaces stunning fist as a bonus feat at first level (such as flowing monk) if I were to take the feat later after meeting the pre-requisites for it - would I still get uses per day as a monk or would it act like a non monk taking the feat?

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I just wanted to chime in and say (after finding the thread from the RSS of JJ's posts lol) reading the OP I (from past experience) thought this was going to be a troll thread - I am 100% surprised and grateful for not only the questions - but the answers - several of them were non-obvious and in fact generated some interesting adventure plot hooks.

So thanks to the OP and JJ for the answers.

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'll consider it, but developing adventures hasn't been a thing I've done much of for about four years now (even in the context of RPG Superstar, by the time we get to that round, I defer to the expertise of James Jacobs). I think Adam, James, John, Mark, and Rob would do a much better job of teaching it than I would.

Hah - well fair enough - now just to convince *them* to do it :)

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
You can now purchase tickets to my RPG design class on my Etsy store!

Sean - would you consider a similar class or workshop even for help with adventure design?

I stick with pre-published material - frankly because I get overwhelmed trying to get my own ideas to come together - I'd love a similar type of thing to pay for your time helping me organize a plot hook for my players - just wondering.

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Oops - forgot they don't include the most important part:

Open your favorite pdf reader and click the options you want for the map (player view/grid on) and then enlarge in the viewer to about 200% - then highlight the map and copy it - paste into a new image within your image program and use the instructions on that page to make the map to scale (i.e. each square is 1 inch) - when I print I use posterazor and the 'economode' of my printer to save ink - still works great.

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Instructions are here: 1-scale/

You can use the resulting image without making it a battlemap - note that instructions on how to do this with only free software (if you don't have photoshop) are in the comments of the same page - using gimp as the image software.

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magnuskn wrote:
How exactly am I to go about this, outside of putting an impassable barrier between the opponent and the PC's everytime I want the guy to have a good "Mwahaha!" moment. And it really takes people out of the moment of kicking in the door in a dungeon when the bad guy goes on a "I am the Bandit King, hear my lamentation about my sucky life!" rant. Try to think for a second how a scene like that would look in a real life fantasy dungeon scenario. No, not actual "real life", but try to imagine yourself as an adventurer in a party, you kick in the door to a room and the chief cultist tries to stop you with "But wait! I need to expound on who I am and what I am doing here!".

Yeah I hear that - after having the 'charge' happen enough I finally just made a table rule that my players were happy with:

Rule: When fighting a BBEG roll initiative and unless you get a surprise round combat will hold and any and all role playing that the GM wants to happen will happen - this will not alter the initiative count - change positions of anything, or anything else like that.

This lets me do a 'expound' if I want to - and play it as the bad guy would in terms of verbosity - some bad guys just attack - a few (especially if they have a plot clue or red herring to toss) might just say something.

The players have seemed ok with that - about half the table wants to just 'ATTACK' and the other half wants to talk so it was causing table tension as well - this seems to have hit the right mix - as the 'ATTACK' crowd seemed to worry more about loosing tactical and position related advantage by waiting around for dialog - so by rolling and freezing movement it takes that fear of 'getting the drop' away.

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Epic story:


A stone giant is born with deformities that mark him as a sorcerer - his power doesn't show however and he turns to books and becomes a wizard - this is a taboo in stone giant culture - and he hides the fact pretending to be a sorcerer - his wife finds out and he kills her - causing him to be banished. He wanders the land and finds an ancient city hidden by a magical barrier for 10,000 years - inside he finds a wizard in stasis and wakes him.

Waking the wizard ignites old magic that had lain dormant and forgotten about - a series of rune wells that focused the magic and power of the cabal of wizards that controlled them - one of these is buried under the town of sandpoint - it's focus is tied to wrath - and it has a demonic caretaker that is immortal - however she has gone slightly insane of the 10,000 years of being stuck in the same place - she starts to make plans for the return of the wizard.

At this time a young girl - a child born with an angelic parent, and orphaned - is being almost tortured by the local town - she finds a boy who likes her and they go to an old smuggler tunnel to make out - and she gets pregnant. The boy doesn't want anything to do with her after this - and she is filled with shame and hatred - because the tunnel was too close to the now active runewell - she miscarries as the child was warped by the magical energy - she has a fight with her father and in wrath (fuelled by the well) she kills him - and then burns the chruch she was living in - the town assumes she died in the flames.

She goes to the tunnel again to hide - and is met by the caretaker of the fountain - who takes her in and starts a plan to take revenge on the town that was harsh to her - using the local goblin tribes as a pawn.

Back at the wizard's place - the stone giant is made a minion and told to go and find souls to feed the wizards device that will allow him to come back to his full power - the wizard expected his nation to be ready for this effort - and instead he is now frustrated to wait on others. He also sends out some of his other faithful minions to feed greedy souls to his effort.

The stone giant goes home with much more power - takes over his tribe and starts to unite the giant tribes under a single banner - feeding the greed from conquest into souls for his master.

Twin sisters go to human settlements and start plans to feed greedy souls to their master the old fashioned way - murder and trickery.

In Magnimar one of the sisters takes over a cult of nogorber - and has them start focusing on greedy victims.

In Turtleback Ferry - the other sister starts a gambling den.

The take over some ogre clans and start them working on destroying the damn to turtleback ferry - they also make plans to march on the local garrison Fort Rannick.

The young girl takes over a local goblin tribe and starts getting ready for an assault on the town she grew up in.

The Heroes:

Stop the goblin raid - track the source - take out the local tribe and the young girl turned to evil.

After this they find the source of the magical power under the town and kill it's guardian.

Asked to investigate murders by the local sheriff (impressed by how they handled the goblins) they find a link to the murders that leads back to the cult in magnimar - there they find one of the twin sisters and kill her - with a note from her twin taunting her for the lack of success.

Heading now to turtleback ferry they find the fort overrun - and save it - only to find plans to flood the area with the dam - they stop it's destruction and manage to release some pressure on the now weakened dam - and then find the source of the ogres and put and end to them.

They make it back to Sandpoint to stop a raid against the city by the giants (looking for the runewell and other things under the city) - and follow this back to a giant stronghold - where they face down the wizard and kill him. Here they find a library that outlines much of the past civilization and clues to where they can find a place called a 'runeforge' to make weapons that should help them kill the wizard behind it all.

Going to another realm they fight through a place lost to time full of minions of the ancient civilization who are at full power - eventually creating weapons tuned to kill the Runelord who they know they must fight.

They track down the lost city of the Runelord and find it's now awake and full of dangerous minions the wizard has been drawing to himself. They fight their way to the very edge of his prison - and then the Runelord himself - now at full power thanks to the numbers of giants they slew along the way - all dedicated to powering his return.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
I just wanted to chime in here with a comment about fighters being able to dispel\interrupt magic - while on the outset I don't mind this type of thing - I would point out that being able to disrupt or counter a spell is *very hard* even for another caster
I'd be pretty okay with the people who don't use magic being the best at disrupting it.

They already are with a bow - there is no reason that you need to give them more free ways to do it - that kind of idea leans on punishing the casters for being casters - if a martial wants to lock a wizard down *now* they can with 0 feat investment and a readied action - (the same action another caster would need to use to attempt a counterspell, or disruption btw).

I thought you said this should focus on things that melee - can't - do. Disrupting casters *isn't* one of those things - dispelling is - thus my suggested dispel type ability for higher level melee that gives them personal quick dispel - in fight action eating dispel - and a freebie 'in case you need a dispel in the adventure' type of deal - none of which make them any more powerful at *disruption* than they already are.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

I just wanted to chime in here with a comment about fighters being able to dispel\interrupt magic - while on the outset I don't mind this type of thing - I would point out that being able to disrupt or counter a spell is *very hard* even for another caster - at least currently the counter spell rules are pretty difficult - and for a caster to 'disrupt' casting at range requires either a readied spell or a quickened one - and quicken takes high level slots to use. For these reasons I think the melee spell disruption equivalent of 'step-up' feat chain to be fine at lower levels - and perhaps something that requires a readied action or 1/day at range would be ok at higher levels - but I think anything that lets you disrupt spellcasting at range to be *very* powerful and unless it's very limited it will quickly make casters worthless.

As to dispel - well spell sunder barbs are already considered a 'must have' - to me that indicates it's a bit too powerful - when I see caster spell lists even at high level play I rarely see more than 2-3 dispels at most - and those require a caster level check to remove an effect (or more for greater) - or the ultimate bomb with a level 9 spell - but that requires very high levels and giving up a wish to use it (theoretically).

I don't really have a problem with the idea of melee having some kind of spell disruption - but it shouldn't be at will or unlimited honestly - my idea would be something like this:

Feat Spell-Bane : You have fought through spells time and again and have started to 'see' how magic forms - although others think you are a bit daff this has allowed you to become attuned to magic in a way that lets you disrupt and cancel magical effects.

BAB +9 - you can use this ability in the following ways: 1/day as an immediate action you can make a melee level check (1d20 + BAB) and compare that to the caster level of a spell effect that is targeting you - if your result is higher than the effect unravels on you and you can ignore that spell for the rest of it's duration. You may do this ability 1 more times per day for every 3 points of BAB above 9 you have.

1/day as a standard action you can unravel the effects of a ongoing spell effect as per dispel magic - use your BAB in place of caster level. You can do this 1 more time per day for every 3 points of BAB above 9 you have.

3/day taking 10 minutes to study an ongoing magical effect you can attempt to dispel it as per dispel magic - using your BAB in place of cater level.

These uses per day are not exclusive.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

Handwraps - after playing a monk in DDO handwraps just seem obvious - pluses are that it is a single weapon enchant - that applies to all monk unarmed attacks - downside is that a real TWF can get double the number of enchants, and swapping weapons is much quicker than changing wraps (which should be like swapping armor), end result is the ability for monks to get weapons that help them keep up with the rest of the martials without funky antics.

The fact that the monk gets 'two' weapon enchants for the price of one is offset by the 'but they are always the same enchant' portion - and with the flurry errata it doesn't make a difference really. Just let monks in your game get handwraps for the same price as an equivalently enchanted sword.

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Lamontius wrote:

Stop bringing up Isabella Locke as an example of the hypersexualization of women in the material.

** spoiler omitted **

She is. Fact.

Fact: Isabella Locke is a character in a game written as being abused, maimed, and branded with ugly tatoos, with a death look.

Fact: The art is victoria secret level sexy.

Fact: These two things show a wickedly out of place art that is hypersexualized and goes against everything the character is shown to be in print.

That is the definition of art that is made sexy for no reason.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

Hrmmm well in terms of opinions here is a list of things I think we could do better on:

  • More hot\made for female type pictures - there are a lack of them - if you really need an example I think I can point to the guy that played the Red Viper in Game of Thrones for an example of someone who can exude sexuality and still be a strong fantasy archtype.

  • Less outright gore (I've seen this complained about also) - now I love gore myself - I own every saw movie - love the hostel series - I own almost all the final destination movies - heck I used to sub to fangoria - so if you did a horror themed product and it's in theme I'm all for it - but I realize most people don't like gore - and gonna be honest - I don't even notice it when its there, because the market has made me a bit numb to 'toned down gore' and so if the guy who loves that kind of stuff is going 'meh' and the people who hate it go 'eeeck' that to me shows that the gore isn't really doing anything to help - and thus doesn't need to be there.

  • No sexed up characters that should be 'rough' from their own description/backstories - if a character is written as weathered/scarred/been through hell and back the art for that character shouldn't be a pinup - ever - this is so far removed from the topic of sexy/gender/whatever type are - this is just simply don't make art that is opposed to the writeup.

  • I get the idea that it makes a compelling backstory - but no more (ever) women captured and used as slaves when they were children and then beaten/etc. - it's ick. It's un-needed. Isabella Lockhart would have been a compelling character had she been a self made pirate captain with a heart of iron and a cruel streak that loved tatoos and had ranged the entire coastline for the best tatoo artists. She could have still joined up at 12 - voluntarily - and increasingly become distant from humanity - see how that simple change explains her tatoos without being 'ick'. No men for that matter either - it really is a lazy trope at this point (if needed I can link to the female writer who was harassed at a convention because her books didn't feature this trope - I didn't even notice this was a thing until I read about this incident and it's sad how female story arcs so frequently need assault to show 'growth' - just don't go there - it's tired).

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

    I just wanted to point out that the worst example I've seen of this is from Skull and Shackles #2

    Isabella Locke is the only character portrayal in all the adventure paths that I think goes too far with the issue. She is illustrated twice - once on the front cover and a different image on her writeup - both are model quality beauty with plastic surgery quality features. Then you read her history. spoiler for those who don't wish to know - if you have played through it - you should learn this though because the module really doesn't give any way to find out about this so it's easy to not know.


    She wears almost nothing to show off her tattoos - fine - pirate - I get it. BUT.....

    She was abducted at age 12 - most of her tattoos were (not my words) 'crudely rendered'. Her flesh was 'defiled' by the tattoos by the guy who took her captive - her teeth were knocked out with a hammer and she uses wooden teeth filed to points. This is not a woman who should look like a swimsuit model - even if by some means her 'defiled' flesh filled in with the right proportions - she should be scarred (physically) and carry a look in both her stance and her eyes that show 'no lingering remains of human compassion or mercy'.

    Neither image shows that - indeed handmade wooden dentures filed to look like shark teeth should STICK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB AND BE A PRIMARY FEATURE OF ANY IMAGE OF THIS WOMAN.

    Instead she could be a pinup model for the tattoo magazine cover.

    I've looked at the other issues - and honestly a disparity of seductive male monsters vs the females is bad - it didn't take me out of the game and actually dislike the images for an NPC like the above did.

    I haven't read *every* adventure path (yet) but that was the very worst thing I've noticed.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

    Like this...

    Unnamed Hero CR 11
    XP 12,800
    Half-Fiend Treant
    NE Huge outsider (plant, native)
    Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +24
    AC 23, touch 8, flat-footed 23 (-2 size, +15 natural)
    hp 138 (12d8+84)
    Fort +15, Ref +4, Will +11
    DR 10/magic, 10/slashing; Immune mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, stunning; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 22
    Weakness vulnerability to fire
    Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
    Melee bite +18 (2d6+11) and
    . . 2 claws +18 (1d8+11) and
    . . 2 slams +19 (2d6+11/19-20)
    Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
    Special Attacks double damage against objects, rock throwing (180 ft.), smite good, trample (2d6+16, DC 27)
    Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +14)
    . . 3/day—darkness, poison
    . . 1/day—blasphemy, contagion, desecrate, unholy blight
    Str 33, Dex 10, Con 25, Int 14, Wis 20, Cha 15
    Base Atk +9; CMB +22 (+24 sunder); CMD 32 (34 vs. sunder)
    Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
    Skills Bluff +14, Diplomacy +14, Fly +15, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (nature) +14, Perception +24, Sense Motive +21, Stealth +7 (+23 in forests); Racial Modifiers +16 Stealth in forests
    Languages Common, Sylvan, Treant; treespeech
    SQ animate trees, hero points
    Special Abilities
    Animate Trees (Sp) A treant can animate any trees within 180 feet at will, controlling up to two trees at a time. It takes 1 full round for a tree to uproot itself, after which it moves at a speed of 10 feet and fights as a treant (although it has only one slam attack
    Blasphemy (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    Kills, paralyzes, weakens, or dazes nonevil subjects.
    Contagion (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    Infects subject with chosen disease.
    Damage Reduction (10/magic) You have Damage Reduction against all except Magic attacks.
    Damage Reduction (10/slashing) You have Damage Reduction against all except Slashing attacks.
    Darkness (3/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    20-ft. radius of supernatural shadow.
    Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
    Desecrate (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    Fills area with negative energy, making undead stronger.
    Double Damage Against Objects (Ex) If this creature makes a full attack against an object or structure, it deals double damage.
    Energy Resistance, Acid (10) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Acid attacks.
    Energy Resistance, Cold (10) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Cold attacks.
    Energy Resistance, Electricity (10) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Electricity attacks.
    Energy Resistance, Fire (10) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Fire attacks.
    Flight (60 feet, Good) You can fly!
    Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects You are immune to Mind-Affecting effects.
    Immunity to Paralysis You are immune to paralysis.
    Immunity to Poison You are immune to poison.
    Immunity to Polymorph You are immune to Polymorph effects.
    Immunity to Sleep You are immune to sleep effects.
    Immunity to Stunning You are immune to being stunned.
    Improved Sunder You don't provoke attacks of opportunity when sundering.
    Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
    Poison (3/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    Touch deals 1d10 Con damage, repeats in 1 min.
    Power Attack -3/+6 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
    Rock Throwing (180 feet) (Ex) You can throw big rocks. They hurt.
    Smite Good (1/day) (Su) +2 to hit, +12 to damage, +2 deflection bonus to AC when used.
    Spell Resistance (22) You have Spell Resistance.
    Treespeech (Ex) Members of this race have the ability to converse with plants as if subject to a continual speak with plants spell.
    Unholy Blight (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.

    Harms and sickens good creatures (1d8 damage/2 levels).
    Vulnerability to Fire You are vulnerable (+50% damage) to Fire damage.

    Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at
    Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    zylphryx wrote:
    Ckorik wrote:

    ** spoiler omitted **
    ** spoiler omitted **...

    Heheh non spoiler stuff finally really - I agree with you as to the tactics - however when reading about where people get frustrated because the boss went down with a whimper - overwhelmingly the posts go 'running the monster as written they died in the (1st, 2nd - pick one) round - I get the feeling that many of the monsters (especially if they have multi round tactics blocks) get run as written often. That's just how it seems from reading through the threads - I like to read through these because it helps me to figure out how I can avoid 'dumb boss' syndrome.

    I try to play my encounters so that monsters with intelligence lower than 10 are a bit random in targeting - and or focused as they lack the wits to think about 'biggest threat' - those with low wisdom I try to play up making tactical mistakes. That being said the rest of it I try to base on my group - tactics to me are just a starting point to think about how the big bad is going to react, not a script.

    Regarding the differences in the stat block - we can disagree, the world won't end - I just don't think those differences are what make or break the TPK she was. If the stat changes make or break the encounter James Jacobs advice to apply the simple (nonrebuild) advanced template to monsters for advanced groups should be more than fine - as is the most vocal state that it's worthless because higher AC HPs DCs and saves just aren't enough. For the sake of argument however - ignoring that point - would you agree that looking at pre-AV and post-AV snake woman is a great place for any GM that feels the AP's aren't challenging to look at in terms of how just a few changes to a single encounter, changes the difficulty level drastically?

    That was my underlying point. It's a great way to look at how to make things less like a meatgrinder as well (as in how to tone down things when a party is getting stomped).

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    leo1925 wrote:


    Can you respond to your comment about big K in the anniversary edition?

    Don't forget that the PCs are 1 level higher when they face her in AE than in the original.

    Regarding big K....


    In the original he's flying above the platform when the party enters - in the AV he's sitting on his throne - while flying by itself isn't a make or break issue for PC's at this point of the game (or it shouldn't be anyway) - it does prevent a quickened DD with your melee comrades followed by full attacks should they happen to win the initiative - Big K is not really mean to stand toe to toe with a melee so a party that gets the drop on him in the AV pretty much instantly wins - for an example check the Runelords subforum with nobodyshome's thread on the final fight. Again for the entire course of the fight - it shouldn't result in a instant win for Big K - regardless it *should* give him the opportunity to last more than a round if the party rolls well. Given his abilities two-three rounds more of him living will at least make the party feel like the were in mortal danger - depending on party makeup and defensive buffs it could make a big difference.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    zylphryx wrote:

    Fair enough, but

    ** spoiler omitted **


    No it doesn't lamia-matriarch

    Wisdom Drain (Su) A lamia matriarch drains 1d4 points of Wisdom each time she hits with her melee touch attack. The first time each round that she strikes a foe with a melee weapon, she also drains 1 point of Wisdom. A DC 21 Will save negates the Wisdom drain. Unlike with other kinds of ability drain attacks, a lamia matriarch does not heal damage when she uses her Wisdom drain. The save DC is Charisma-based.

    But you have a point on the original - I failed to notice they changed it. The original matriarch was a template - oddly the template calls for 2d4 wisdom drain in the statblock but then under special abilities it is listed as 1d6.

    They changed it again with the 'pathfinder' rules to 1d4. Go figure.

    You are arguing over using things that aren't in the monsters tactics - the point I'm making is for the people who say they don't do that. To reiterate the point they make it is (paraphrasing) "I pay money for the AP so I don't have to write the adventure - I run the monsters and tactics as written".

    My point is *as written* it's not a huge change between them - I still say the bigger part of what makes this a TPK are the tactics - most parties at this point aren't going to be able to deal with a flying nuking sorcerer that can go invisible and backstab.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    zylphryx wrote:

    for RotR:

    ** spoiler omitted **


    "which was an error."

    The wisdom drain still happens - the fact that it's not there is an error (just like the first book and the AC). In both versions the wisdom drain from getting hit by a lamia matriarch's weapon is limited to just once per round - so that's a wash - 39 damage vs 48 damage again - very small change - the bigger change with the weapon damage is the range for 2d6 vs 1d8 will not only have a higher max but a higher curve as well.

    The wisdom drain is a wash if you played it correctly - and if you are pointing out errors from the first book then it's fair to say the wisdom drain isn't 'missing' as it's also an error.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    leo1925 wrote:
    Ckorik wrote:
    leo1925 wrote:
    scadgrad wrote:

    Funny, but our group curb-stomped her.

    ** spoiler omitted **
    Judging by what you said i am pretty sure that you played the anniversary edition, try it in the original version and you'll see why she is such a TPK.

    You know it's funny - they didn't change her that much - a single different spell and a very slightly modified tactics block - and she went from a TPK to a average boss.

    Just goes to show what very slight changes to the monsters and tactics as written (note her DC's and hit pionts and such didn't change - the thing that most people jack up when they try to make a boss harder), can be the difference between a really hard encounter and a not so much one.

    Food for thought for those wishing to make the game more of a challenge - RotRL has two modified encounters (offhand) that make huge swings in how the fights are handled - this one at the end of book two - and the final fight stick out for me like a sore thumb - both are much easier in the newer version without having modified much in the way of the monsters - good reference for design in how you can make the stuff published harder (or easier) for your groups.

    Are you kidding me? The changes (or nerfs) they made to the monster were major and were on top of making the AP easier, i will go in detail but i will do so in a spoiler tag.

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    I'll use the tag as well then.


    1) the one in the original version to have one higher spell level and more known spells of lower spell level.

    Yeah but Dimension door wasn't what made this fight killer - the big change was removing fly from her list of spells. Haste is arguably the second most significant change, so I'll give you that.

    2) the one in the original version had more hitpoits and one more point of BAB.

    142 hps in the original - 133 in the new - that's not enough to make a single round of difference in a fight - but seriously if you think that 9 hps make the fight a TPK (instead of a meh) go for it. The BAB is one lower though - again I'm not sure that it swings the fight from TPK to 'meh'.

    3) her tactics in the original version was to attack with extreme prejudice (petrifying a PC standing near the edge as the opening move) where in the AE her tactics aren't that aggresive.

    old: During Combat Xanesha activates her Sihedron medallion’s false life
    ability and casts divine favor (enhanced by Silent Spell if necessary)
    on the first round of combat. If she’s stillinvisible, she casts a major image to make an illusory flying demon appear in a cloud of smoke that then begins to circle the top ofthe tower. On round three, hopefully as the PCs are distracted,she attempts to petrify a PC near the edge using her mask; this, of course, makes her visible. After this attack, she prefers to fight in melee. She may try to topple a petrified PC off the edge to smash into fragments on the ground 160 feet below. If reduced to less than 60 hit points, she flies out into the sky around the tower to continue the fight using her spells.

    new: Xanesha uses major image to make an illusory flying demon appear in a cloud of smoke that then begins to circle the top of the tower. She then moves to make a sneak attack on the nearest PC. After this attack, she prefers to fight in melee, saving her medusa mask to temporarily petrify any particularly dangerous foe. If she is reduced to fewer than 60 hitpoints, she casts cure serious wounds on herself.

    I marked the differences - old version she spends 2 rounds casting spells - new version she has pre-buffed and starts attacking on round 2.

    Old version she petrifies with first attack and tries to smash the statue - new version she saves the mask for a 'dangerous foe' - this *could* be interpreted as GM's discretion with the removal of smashing the statue (I guess so as not to be so mean?)

    Old version she flies out the window - and attacks with spells - new version she tries to heal (which any 'optimiser' knows is a waste of action).

    Simply put - the only real modification with her spell selection and *tactics as written* between old and new is the fly spell, and divine favor - her tactics didn't use dimension door - they didn't use haste to buff herself (although I'm sure many GM's used this). You can change her 3rd level spell selection to fly, change level 1 spell sanctuary to divine favor and run her *exactly* as written in the old book. I'll note the saves on the mask and her most dangerous spell ability (charm monster) are the same in both books.

    These changes weren't 'massively nerfing' the monster - it's a few small changes that make her go from TPK to 'average boss' - I see people arguing all the time on how they have to max out hps on boss encounters to have a challenge - 9 hps difference here doesn't seem like that makes the swing difference.

    I see other posts arguing about giving a solo boss against a party more actions is the only way to balance things - yet here you are arguing that a *slightly* different spell loadout and 1 point of BAB is 'major and were on top of making the AP easier'

    My point here is that the monster as written with very minor mods becomes a much bigger threat.

    If you regularly go through the AP's you'll notice that the NPCs as written almost always have poor feat selections and odd choices - it's too common to not be intentional - poor spell selection is also very frequent. Many monsters could be juiced up just by getting rid of 'skill focus (doesn't make any difference)' with something a bit more appropriate - and getting rid of 'spell selection '3 spells that will never be cast' with more interesting ones. I'm very sure the designers that make these guys up know about treamonk's guide - yet you rarely see a caster with a spell loadout including black tentacles (until the PCs are so high that it doesn't matter) - or a large amount of battlefield control - you see almost every melee monster take vital strike (and upgrades) - despite the overwhelming evidence that it doesn't really help that much (although with monsters it's arguably better than PC's)..

    I am making the point that this encounter shows clearly 'arms proliferation' in terms of HPs and damage aren't the *only* ways to make you monsters and encounters more of a challenge.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    leo1925 wrote:
    scadgrad wrote:

    Funny, but our group curb-stomped her.

    ** spoiler omitted **
    Judging by what you said i am pretty sure that you played the anniversary edition, try it in the original version and you'll see why she is such a TPK.

    You know it's funny - they didn't change her that much - a single different spell and a very slightly modified tactics block - and she went from a TPK to a average boss.

    Just goes to show what very slight changes to the monsters and tactics as written (note her DC's and hit pionts and such didn't change - the thing that most people jack up when they try to make a boss harder), can be the difference between a really hard encounter and a not so much one.

    Food for thought for those wishing to make the game more of a challenge - RotRL has two modified encounters (offhand) that make huge swings in how the fights are handled - this one at the end of book two - and the final fight stick out for me like a sore thumb - both are much easier in the newer version without having modified much in the way of the monsters - good reference for design in how you can make the stuff published harder (or easier) for your groups.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    Richard Pett wrote:
    captain yesterday wrote:

    who hasn't TPK'd their group in part 2 of Rise!

    CURSE YOU PETT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (not really it is an awesome adventure)** spoiler omitted **

    Plus, Captain, I hope you'll enjoy Shifting Sands for something similar.


    You know what. After going through SS and all - I got to the end and went OMG - this is insane - AGAIN?

    I didn't even connect that it was the same author until I read this thread.

    /hats off - that encounter scares me and I'm the GM.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

    teleport trap stop teleports - either you go to jail or the spell fails - it also stop dimension door and other type effects unless you know the password - so it's an awesome BBEG tool.

    It's also able to be made permanent - I learned about this spell in the Reign of Winter AP.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    CWheezy wrote:
    Rob McCreary wrote:

    Tetisurah's stats are correct. Her ability scores are reduced to either 10 or 11 to get her racial ability bonuses (which are always even numbers). This gives her Str +12, Dex +2, Con +6, Int +8, Wis +8, Cha +8.

    Those 10/11 base scores are then replaced with the elite array, with the ability score modifiers applied.

    So you end up with Str 20 (8+12), Dex 18 (15+2+1 ability score increase for 4 levels), Con 16 (10+6), Int 20 (12+8), Wis 22 (14+8), Cha 21 (13+8).

    Her CR is 10 because druid levels are non-key levels for a gynosphinx, meaning +1 CR for every 2 druid levels (8+2=CR 10).

    What? The rules don't say anything about that for giving monsters class levels:


    Step 2: Add Class Levels

    Once you have determined the creature's role, it's time to add class levels. The first step of this process is to modify the creature's ability scores. Creatures with class levels receive +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and –2 adjustments to their ability scores, assigned in a manner that enhances their class abilities. Creatures with NPC class levels do not receive adjustments to their ability scores.
    They don't actually get heroic array, they just get these numbers

    Yeah it's confusing (to be sure) - but you'll notice for the monsters with class levels they all have the elite array. Oddly in many cases this can be applied without all the hoops - but for reference (after the explanation I looked this up - and then applied this to a few test NPCs and... what do you know... it is how they do it)...

    PRD used for the quote...

    Ability Scores: The creature's ability scores are listed here. Unless otherwise indicated, a creature's ability scores represent the baseline of its racial modifiers applied to scores of 10 or 11. Creatures with NPC class levels have stats in the standard array (13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8), while creatures with character class levels have the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8); in both cases, the creature's ability score modifiers are listed at the end of its description.

    Important sections in bold. Once I saw the explanation and the above paragraph it all 'clicked' for me.

    This is also how a monster advancement works in Hero Lab *if* you create the monster as an NPC - and you click 'customize' next to the race (which only shows up for NPC's) - this is also how you can delete 'stock' feats and rebuild the monster as you want.

    I honestly don't know why they have two conflicting sections on class levels - I think it's an oversight - which honestly doesn't surprise me because the monster creation rules are ... not really intuitive. One of the reasons why I really appreciated Rob offering up explanations in this thread and the empty graves thread.


    Another oversight - would be the line in both cases, the creature's ability score modifiers are listed at the end of its description - *cough* the process would be easier if they did this - but I'm guessing due to word count they don't as apparently only a very few of us are interested in this stuff - although I find it full of inspiration in terms of custom encounter design.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    Rob McCreary wrote:

    Tetisurah's stats are correct. Her ability scores are reduced to either 10 or 11 to get her racial ability bonuses (which are always even numbers). This gives her Str +12, Dex +2, Con +6, Int +8, Wis +8, Cha +8.

    Those 10/11 base scores are then replaced with the elite array, with the ability score modifiers applied.

    So you end up with Str 20 (8+12), Dex 18 (15+2+1 ability score increase for 4 levels), Con 16 (10+6), Int 20 (12+8), Wis 22 (14+8), Cha 21 (13+8).

    Her CR is 10 because druid levels are non-key levels for a gynosphinx, meaning +1 CR for every 2 druid levels (8+2=CR 10).

    Thank you - I think I was missing a step without realizing it - this helps quite a bit.

    CR's still baffle me more than they should - but I think I'm getting the rest of it licked :)

    BTW (I mentioned this in the RoTRL thread but have no idea if you've read that) doing the deconstructs has helped me understand quite a bit more about the game and monsters than when I started. I really do appreciate your willingness to explain.

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
    Callum wrote:
    Thanks! I suppose what interests me about that approach is why clerics and druids aren't considered casters.

    Look at their spell lists - they do (typically) one of two things: buff/debuff or help make the character more martial for a combat - while it's entirely possible to make a nuking cleric - it's not easy and rare to see, if you have a cleric that goes down that path and takes spell focus evocation greater spell focus evocation (or enchantment - honestly) and devotes his spell list to holy smite/command/greater command/hold person/sound burst with nothing else - you may want to consider him a full caster for these adjustments.

    What I find in practice though is that the cleric will usually have a mix of group buffs/enemy debuffs - flashy cool spells (like spiritual weapon) and a cure or two in case of a really bad day. Even if the cleric goes full on blaster he's still not going to do as good of a job as a wizard or sorcerer though.

    Druids... they can be a bit tricky - I'd put a full on feral druid with animal companion on the edge of full BAB - and a full on caster druid (with the right domains) can come very close to a nuker - while one that walks the line (say has an animal but doesn't like to shape change or summon) is right there with the cleric - much comes down to how the player is using the character.

    These are just fast and loose rules - I will say the only time to be careful is when doing boss fights - you are almost always better off with boss fights to do HPs and add critters for balance than DC's\saves - bosses tend to already be much higher level than the players and a point or two swing can make it very very dangerous - as always though try to figure out what your group is capable of.

    Another thing that can help is (assuming you have any of the bestiaries) look in the back at the simple templates - use of these sprinkled into an encounter can juice things up - some of them are easy enough to do at the table if you realize your encounter is just a tad too easy...

    Advanced template - quick rules:
    Add 2 to all rolls (including damage and DCs)
    +4 to AC and CMD; +2 hps per hit die (so a 4d8 creature gets 8 hps)

    Nothing flashy but it's easy enough to toss on something to make it a bit more of a challenge.

    If you guys make it past level 12 - this is when you might want to take a 1 session break to run some trial combats - use some higher level encounters to get a feel for how to GM them - the game changes at this point and a fighter at level 11 does typically around 38 damage - at level 12 it's like 88 points - this break is where most GM's get frustrated and games putter out - there are so many abilities - spells - buffs - debuffs - it can get really complex to keep track of. Generally things to watch out for is - make sure spells do what they say they do - and take the correct casting time - a full round cast can't be used as a quickened spell and doesn't come into play until the start of the casters *next* turn (for example - silence is a biggie). Other things would be to make sure you take into account things like perception taking a -1 per 10 feet. Even a guy with 30 perception can fail to see a dragon if it's far enough away to start - don't be afraid to use situational modifiers if they seem reasonable (dragon is smart - it's flying with the sun at it's back, -20 to see it).

    End rule is though - have fun - the players at the end of the day are supposed to win - you are doing it right if your average 'adventuring day' between rests sees the party have 1-2 cakewalks - 1-2 'that could have been bad if you failed your save and turned to stone bob' fights - and 1 'ooh I think I might want to ignore that the creature just crit *again*' fight, reality is however - that if your group is like mine - the cakewalk with be the party rolling 1's for 30 mins straight wondering why they got out of bed this morning to be beaten up by goblin wives - and the big boss fight will see your fighter crit followed by a the wizard rolling max damage dice on his spell and the group wondering what the big deal was.

    But I'll guarantee you that 6 months later they'll still talk about that goblin wife fight with big grins.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

    Page 50 - Jamirah - bungle should be DC 18.


    On a side note... I'm excited to play this one - I don't know what it is about the designers at Paizo - but when they build a Lamia Matriarch boy do they make a mean monster.

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

    Another thing - how many players do you have?

    The AP's are meant for a 4 person party - they are balanced with the idea of one full BAB class - 2 utility and 1 caster.

    If you have a different mix - it means adjustment.

    Just from your example a fighter and a gunslinger (which is a big damage class) means that stuff will die fast - the *simple* rules I use to *start* balancing is as follows:

    For each full BAB class past 1 (i.e. damage focus) add 50% to the hps of each creature.
    For each utility class past 2(i.e. 3/4 BAB - this includes clerics, rouges, etc.) increase all saves, dcs, etc. by 1.
    For each caster past 1 - add one APL CR monster to each encounter.

    That's a start, then adjust from there if things aren't quite happening.

    When I started running RoTRL I had a seven person party - these changes kept the combats pretty much in line without any other major adjusting. And the nice thing is they can be done without a ton of rebuilding encounters.

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