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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 444 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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You can check out the anniversary edition players guide if you want to see - but yes they are traits.

The guide is free to download.

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People who like 'low-magic' don't have to be egomaniacs as someone above suggested...

They might just pine for the days of AD&D - where a +1 sword was awesome and valuable for a long time. The idea that a caster had to use experience to make a magic item - made them really rare to make. You can easily do the same thing by requiring rare ingredients to make stuff (want a ring of fire protection? Get a scale of a red dragon willingly to make it).

This can also bring back the old rules of no automatic spells for wizards and a hard cap to # of spells known per level. The latter did make scrolls more interesting and deciding to put a spell in your spellbook was something to really ponder.

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Latrecis wrote:
lots of good points

but... I figured she was in the process of trying to turn into a demon - she was down there alone because she was working on that process and wanted to be alone.

I also figured that goblins (being goblins) and yeth hounds (being yeth hounds) made one hell of a racket at all times so lots of noise wasn't going to really cause her to perk up.

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Yeah he's supposed to have access to any spell printed in the core book and more (ancient forgotten magic) at the GM's discretion, with the exception of illusion.

Honestly of all the casters in the AP he is the one I'd be most tempted to break out 3rd party spell lists (deep magic, 1001 spells, etc) and mess with his spell list a bit. If you plan to stop after his defeat - there really isn't any harm in tossing some oddball stuff into his book and it has the opportunity to give the players something a bit unexpected instead of what they *think* they know.

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This is a bit of a change in the newer version vs. how it worked in the older version.

They changed the letter to make things a bit more 'tied together'.

I looked at the timeline

* players start the adventure at the end of summer
* players are supposed to end book 2 at the beginning of or in 'winter'
* the stuff in book 3 has nonstop rain.

The third part to me didn't fit.

So I had the mayor tell the PC's to rest up as guests of the city for the winter as a reward - made winter out to be pretty miserable - gave the players time for 'downtime stuff' such as crafting - and the mayor said he'd send a contact out to the Fort to get a report.

So... when the mayor gets worried it will be the beginning of spring - i.e. the start of the rainy season. Fitting what should be happening weather wise.

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You can skip the Graul's 100% - if you are using exp just add in a few encounters - if not then just ignore it and move on - I'd keep the encounter with the graul and the firepelt - outside of that you could put the rangers in the fort still (less help) or move them to a typical camp in a forest - without any of the squick being present.

Up to you honestly - the rest of the adventure doesn't really have the 'ew' factor.

Changing the descriptions is alright as well...

Take for instance the description for A3
(spoiler obviously - and for those who might be sensitive as well)

This dark room stinks of putrefying flesh.
Eight wooden chairs with grinning bleached
skulls crowning their backs circle a monstrous
four-foot-high oak dining table covered with a
crude tablecloth of crinkly human leather. The
centerpiece of the dining table-a rotting human
head, its stringy red hair thankfully draped over its
mutilated face-serves as a gathering place for a
host of buzzing, bloated flies.

So take that and change it to the following:


This room is dark and smells horrible. Eight wooden chairs are crowned with what look like skulls. They circle a monstrous four-foot-high oak dining table covered with a tablecloth that looks like it may be animal skin - or worse. The centerpiece of the dining table is the head of a human victim - recent.

I think this gets the same 'horror' factor without being too nasty - but that's me - everyone has different tastes - if you wanted to tone it down even more you could do this:


This room is dark and smells horrible. Eight wooden chairs are arranged around a large four-foot-high oak dining table covered with a leather tablecloth. The centerpiece of the dining table is a vile abomination.

Now IMO the third only really works well if you establish *once* that they eat humans - just as a dry fact - this lets you cut *all* the nasty out of the descriptions and let peoples imaginations run with the idea, but you could leave that out as well if you want - but I think you can back off what's written until you find a comfort zone for your group if you want - it *will* take more work for you - and I'd go through and rewrite the spots into a document to reference while you play so you don't have to be creative about it on the fly.

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CWheezy wrote:
As a follow up, pathfinder has the worst balance of any game I have played, and it isn't even close really.

Oh my - D&D 2nd edition - after the players options came out (shudder).

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FanaticRat wrote:

Ok, thanks for the input (but quickened time stop plus prismatic sphere? That's some SMT level stuff right there).

Another slightly unrelated question, but how dramatic is the fight usually? What I mean is, by this time has karzoug really built himself up against the PCs so that there's a lot of tension and personal reasons for winning, or does it tend to just be a sort of here's the final boss type thing?

Well - by the time they get there - they should know the following:

* who he is
* what he represents
* that he is trapped but almost free
* that they are working against a clock of sorts
* that he was one of the most powerful beings on the planet prior to the age of darkness
* spent a *very long* adventure just making weapons to help them defeat him

All of that should really ratchet up the tension - if your players don't seem to be spending time looking for that you can push the info as the GM - Big K wasn't just some schmoe - he had armies of giants - unlimited wealth - and a nation at his whim.

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Tarantula wrote:
2) is just GM fiat all around. I guess that works if everyone is in agreement. Not so great for PFS.

PFS has GM fiat all the time - I realize that many people hate that but if the rules are vague (as the designer himself pointed out) then it's up to the GM to adjudicate.

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RAW they really went out of their way to remove the feats and such that allowed a caster to hide what they are doing.

There is one way (to the best of my knowledge) to hide your casting -


False Arcanist (Ex)

At 1st level, a hidden priest is able to disguise his cleric spellcasting, presenting it as arcane magic of some kind. Typically, this is as alchemist, bard, sorcerer, or wizard magic, and the cleric disguises the words and gestures of the cleric spell with accoutrements appropriate to his apparent profession.

He must make a skill check (DC 10 + twice the level of the spell) to disguise his casting and successfully cast the spell. The type of skill check depends on the type of caster he pretends to be: Craft (alchemy) for alchemist, Perform for bard, Knowledge (arcana) for sorcerer or wizard. Using Spellcraft to identify the spell works normally, though unless the observer beats the DC by 10 or more, she doesn’t suspect the source of the magic is divine.

For example, a hidden priest pretending to be an alchemist wants to cast cure light wounds on a wounded townsperson. If he makes a DC 12 Craft (alchemy) check, he disguises his spellcasting as the mixing of an alchemical extract or potion (perhaps with the words disguised as reciting an obscure formula or talking herself through the list of ingredients), which he gives to the target. An observer making a DC 16 Spellcraft check can identify his spell as cure light wounds, but doesn’t realize his “alchemical” methods are a sham unless her check result is 26 or higher.

When the hidden priest uses this ability, he must still provide any divine focus components for the spells he casts. However, the divine focus doesn’t need to be an obvious symbol of his faith. It could be a small coin, tattoo, or garment bearing the symbol, whether presented openly, disguised, or hidden within a larger picture.

For example, a hidden priest of a god of dawn or light could use a coin with an ankh or sunburst, a complex tattoo or scar that has an ankh shape hidden within it, a glove with an ankh stitched on the inside of the palm, and so on. He must use this replacement divine focus just as he would his true one (for example, he couldn’t leave the coin in his shoe). If a spell requires a divine focus with a specific or minimum cost, the replacement divine focus must be of similar value to be used as the divine focus.

A hidden priest adds half his class level (minimum +1) on all Bluff skill checks to send secret messages about religious matters, and on all Sense Motive checks to recognize similar messages. He also adds this bonus on Perception and Sense Motive checks relating to agents of the laws against his religion (including city guards in lands where these laws are in effect).

This ability replaces one of the cleric’s two 1st-level domain powers (her choice).

I'm unaware of any other options that help along those lines.

As pointed out by RD the 'rules are silent' - the debate goes both ways in terms of metamagic (a silent, still, no component spell) and so it really rests in how your table want to run it - people can argue both ways - but considering SLA's are all the above (that part is certain) whichever way you play it - affects those metamagics as well.

Wands and SU abilities are totally different - they aren't listed as being silent, still, and requiring no component (by default).

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And thus the ambiguity - some feel that a silent/still/ingredient spell that is activated by a single thought shouldn't be able to be identified.

The RAW is you can - how is left to 'it's RAW'

SLA's work like a spell except where it's called out different - thus - they can be identified by spellcraft - RAW.

RAW aside many feel that this is too much incongruity and so they don't allow it.

RAW says - yes - you can tell - if you can make the spellcraft check - with distance rules applied.

Jason B. who wrote the rules admits that it seems a bit too easy - and thus would but a -4 on the check for each thing missing. (that's a houserule) so on an SLA it would be at a -12.

Others think if it's just a mental action - nope can't figure it out unless the spell has a visible effect.

YOU will honestly need to figure out how you will handle it (any of these honestly is fine - none of them will break the game) and try to make sure it's always how it works *in that game*.

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Cuup wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Cuup wrote:
Detect Evil is definitely noticeable, as it's a Spell-like ability, and therefor functions exactly like the spell Detect Evil; it requires a Standard action to activate, requiring somatic components. Onlookers would therefor see him waving his hands in catsty-like movements for a couple seconds before directing his attention to them one by one.

Not really correct. Spell-like abilities do not have any components, verbal, somatic, or material. Paladin looking at a single target is also only a move-action.

I agree it's fairly obvious in general, at least for standard actions.

My mistake. Spell-like abilities provoke attacks of opportunity while casting though, correct? It must be moderately obvious, then, when someone's casting one if while being flanked by 8 creatures, you would still be able to notice (no Perception check required) if one of them casts a Spell-like ability with enough awareness to be able to react with an attack.

Spell-Like Abilities: Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability's use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

If a character class grants a spell-like ability that is not based on an actual spell, the ability's effective spell level is equal to the highest-level class spell the character can cast, and is cast at the class level the ability is granted.


So - yeah - it can be disrupted - but within combat it would be the 'mental' activation distracts them enough I'd say - outside of combat I have a hard time figuring out how you notice that someone used one - without GM fiat about the spell in question

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As an aside - remember that the only things that ping on detect evil are clerics of evil deities and stuff with high HD - also (if using the official setting) any decently large city most likely has someone from Cheliax around with a priest high enough to ping and 100% legit and non-touchable - just pinging evil doesn't make something a target.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

It's up to the GM - if you want it to be detectable - explain how it works (some GM's have the eyes glow on any detect spell for example) *before* the situation comes up - now that it's happened if you want to change it - you must ignore what went before and explain the change and just move forward.

That being said - be consistent about whatever way you rule - and if you make it work as a big 'flag' be consistent about all detection like things - not just one you don't like.

If you want examples from how it may not be - check out the fiction section of the store and get 'King of Chaos' - it describes paladin detect evil as being 100% non-detectable - and different for every paladin - the main protagonist gets the 'butterflies of evil'.

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Ssalarn wrote:

That's actually incorrect. Using a swift does not prevent you from taking an immediate, taking an immediate outside your turn prevents you from using your next swift. "Effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn". So what I described is, in fact, the result of the proposed rules change.

No - you are incorrect.

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action and counts as your swift action for that turn.

If you use a swift - you can't use an immediate on your turn. You technically could use the immediate after your turn - it would then burn your swift for the next turn. RAW what you proposed couldn't work, you'd have to wait for initiative to pass and then burn the immediate. Pedantic perhaps but this is the rules forum after all.

As to if this really results in being overpowered for the inquistor - I'd have to playtest to see how it really pans out - it looks good on paper - but so many things do that turn out meh.

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Hawktitan wrote:

Not sure how this is a 'FAQ' as it's pretty clear you can't.

What is really being asked for is a rule change.

I disagree - it's clear enough once someone takes the time to point out the details of the action types and why they are so important - then it's clear - but it's not clear on a normal reading of the rules for most people.

If it was you wouldn't have people making these kinds of assumptions in home games without realizing it's a deviation from the rules.

For that reason alone - rules change or not - this should get a FAQ and errata for cleanup in future printings. Surely you are for making the combat rules more clear and easier to understand? Take 'vital strike' for instance - if the 'attack action' language was cleaned up we wouldn't see people trying to use it with other things all the time.

Note a FAQ about a confusing or non-intuitive section of the rules doesn't mean the rule has to change - but it sure would be nice for them to clean up rule language that trips up *so* many people - especially if the rule doesn't change but the resulting text makes things clear.

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barry lyndon wrote:

Sorry, I'm quite an inexerienced GM, the questions keep coming!

Further to this level: Malfeshnekor.

[1] The brief is that he casts rage, but I don't see that on his/ Greater Barghest's list.

[2] He has Charm Monster for the range N/Pcs hanging outside the door but he only speaks goblin, infernal and worg. Presumably he gets one shot at guessing which of those 3 languages his target may speak?

1) That's a typo due to his spell list having rage in the 3.5 version. Ignore it.

2) His original write up had full stats and a custom build - he had the following languages:

common, giant, goblin, worg, infernal.

I'd personally give him the languages in the new version.

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Nualia is a fine example of the map being a big part of the encounter.

If the party is able to bypass the trap in front of her lair - and sneak up on her - *then* avoid running from the hound - she isn't too bad.

If however they trigger the trap - manage to get feared into the trap and or have other issues like that - and she moves into the hallway - or the hound does and she uses her bow... it becomes a much harder fight.

the hallway prevents her from fighting many at one time - the odds are you *might* only have a single PC able to use acrobatics to move through her square - and then it's a single BBEG up against a single PC - and the stats at that point don't lean in the PC's favor.

So in reality - it depends. This one in particular a stealthy, careful party shouldn't have an issue.

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wraithstrike wrote:

The point is that the rules apply certain actions(game term) to certain acts. As I said in a previous post there are times when this would not be a problem but the intent is to use the listed action type barring certain cases which I gave examples of. If the intent was to use _____ or a longer action it would have been stated. If you(general statement) allow this then I would suggest it be on a case by case basis.

While I don't disagree with you - and actually like the 1 swift per round limit as is - I did FAQ this for one reason:

Any rule that goes against common sense, and is opposite of how most people will *think* about the rules - should be laid out in a more specific and direct manner.

That is the concept of the action round - swift is faster than standard - common sense says you could accomplish the faster action in the longer amount of time. The rules as written are not exactly clear about this - as in a reader not steeped in the idea of actions as discrete bits - but rather as concepts - will not understand the change. For that reason *alone* I hit the FAQ - I am 100% behind any question that helps remove rules that are active and defy a common sense reading.

The rules to this game are already vast and (for the most part) impossible to know 100% - making the combat actions clearer and easier to parse is always a worthwhile goal - as combat is where most players are exposed to the chunkiest parts of the rules, the most frequently.

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Ssalarn wrote:

A smart Inquisitor in a group with another melee opponent could, under the proposed houserule, swift to activate Bane, drop standard to swift to activate Judgement, and the when the Barbarian/Cavalier/Fighter/etc. charges into the fray, use their immediate action

Under the proposed change they could convert a swift to standard - under your example the inquisitor uses:

1x swift
1x standard
1x swift (immediate)

Using a swift stops you from using an immediate. Being able to convert a swift action to a standard doesn't let you get an extra swift or immediate action in addition to that.

Under the proposed change the inquisitor could use:

1 swift
1 swift converted to standard

They couldn't attack (standard) or use an immediate (counts as swift).

So the attack couldn't happen.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

What's the DC he's working with? The Grauls have a decent Fort save and the ogres have +13.

Is he really rocking a 23+ DC on that spell?

If not the ogres should be saving way more than the stuff they've fought so far.

As it's a bard song (in essence) you could toss in a couple of bardish ogres for countersong (giving a huge bonus to the save) - perhaps after seeing this tactic used against them they call for their 'ogre rhymers' to shout back...

If it's a rush situation - as in everything notices the thunder and rushes them you can spread the ogres out - stay in initiative - and use delay/ready actions to stay out of range and rush\charge the bard if they spam the ability.

Also I'd have the really stupid ogres (the ones without class levels) start stuffing bit's of ranger/grass/whatever they can in their ears if they see this happen giving a +1 or 2 circumstance bonus on the stun save (not on the damage).

As to other critters - silence works as a counter, as does surprise and range.

I do have to agree - that ability seems pretty nasty, if it's *really* giving you fits perhaps a sit down with the player and ask them if they could avoid spamming it - or possibly changing the effect to staggered instead of stunned - which would at least allow things to either move or attack/defend themselves.

Other things immune to stun...


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Tangent101 wrote:
When people complain about sluggishness of the PDFs, they're not talking about the PDF of the books or the AP. They're talking about the "interactive map" which uses layers so you can turn off grids and remove such things as secret doors and the like. Unfortunately, this has the effect of turning the PDF into a glacier.

I disagree - some of the older products are horrendous the newer stuff including the interactive maps aren't so much. I have 32 gig of memory so it's not really a memory issue - I find PDF X-change viewer works with the pdfs much better, but has issues with some formatting and images so I have to resort to adobe if (for example) I want to print something.

The text is funky in the older stuff as well - I copy\paste the text into DM's familiar for help running dungeons - and while the newer stuff (like mummy's mask for instance) has been pretty much flawless - going back to say shattered star cut/paste would get lots of issues, more like adobe had to OCR the text.

I'm guessing they've switched tools recently - resulting in better PDF's.

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Un-winnable - change his spell list around a bit and add:

Teleport trap to his entire demi-plane, anyone without the password gets teleported directly into the fire.

Start him like the old AP flying above the battle.

Quickened Time stop along with sphere as above - anyone outside the sphere have the minions bull rush the party into the sphere.

It'd be easy enough for him to have given his minions the ability to fly (besides the dragon).

Just having the teleport trap active gives him a huge advantage - he can dimension door around while the party (including monks etc.) can *not* - if they save they don't move - if they fail they get punted into the fire.

There are other things you could do - he's only a super genius that has been watching the players for a while now - I'd be surprised if he didn't use his wish to mimic spell immunity and make himself immune to the 3-4 most used offensive spells the players cast for example.

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I user a computer and a program called DM's familiar to run combats - and while I copy\paste the text from the PDF into that program I still find having the physical book (or printouts of things like maps) helps me when I'm at the table.

As with others I find the PDF's to lag and have a hard time jumping around the material (although the ones over the last year are vastly better than the earlier ones).

I also use the images and such to create handouts for my players. I find the PDF's really useful but tend to rely on printed more so at the table.

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NobodysHome wrote:

Honestly, I think this whole derail about optimizers/efficient players/whatever you want to call them is a major cause of the frustration seen here.

The complaint from GMs who have gotten the PCs to 3rd tier and above is that it's effectively impossible not to optimize the PCs in such a way that they're one-rounding supposed BBEGs.

My fighter's player finally gave up, and asked if he could rewrite his character as a Guardian instead of a Champion because all the Champion options that made any sense at all were too overpowered.

So here we are, over 1000 posts in, and people are still saying, "Well, it's your fault as a GM that you have a bunch of over-optimizing players."

Having just finished Book 3, my major complaints are:
- The Champion path is too focused on massive damage so a melee character on the Champion path ends up outdamaging everyone else combined.

- The encounters would be under-CR'ed for a non-mythic campaign. In Books 2 and 3 you see many, many fights between 9th level characters and CR 5-7 enemies. As Piccolo has said, the PCs SHOULD feel like they can curb stomp anything non-mythic. But three or four such encounters would suffice. Fifteen or twenty is just plain frustrating.

So we've played a grand total of 21 AP books, including 9 with the classic "4 15-point PCs" where I ran all the encounters as-written. The *only* books where I've had major issues with repeated underpowered encounters have been books 2 and 3 of WotR.

So the continuing, "All APs have this problem," or, "Your players are too optimization-heavy," posts are definitely a bit frustrating.

Though as Chris pointed out, the hostility level does ratchet up beyond what is polite or proper.

I hope you didn't take my post as that - I was just commenting that given my usual group (5 people - only 1 of which is an optimiser, however plays really goofy concepts so it's not much different in the end) if they suddenly got into heavy optimization I wouldn't be upset - I'd just have to up my game. That was in response to the comments about GM's getting all bent out of shape over people with good builds - My group uses hero lab - with every book option purchased. The only class I ban outright is summoner - races are based on the campaign (I didn't allow goblins for RotRL for example). I have pointed my GM to this thread for the wrath campaign to make him aware of potential issues (we are only on book 2) in the future - and hope that we can work around them in terms of power creep.

I do feel like I missed the boat though - as my champion build (as I have a tentative plan for up to 20) took neither power attack or the mythic version.

And I'm the worst optimiser in our group.

Honestly when people make comments that 'all other choices are so bad it forces you to take these' - I feel like you are saying my build is horrible and I must be stupid.

Perhaps a bit of less assuming how many people play the game - and more understanding that there are all flavors out there, some of us don't focus on overwhelming damage.

As an aside we got together as a playtest for really high level play with the intention of making uber powerful characters - and even still we were not seeing anyone put out the kind of damage people talk about in high level play. I go through Ravingdork's characters for ideas and such - and seriously I just don't think I could find it *fun* to be a druid that does 150+ damage with a bite at level 13. I mean - could I do it? Sure - but my table just doesn't quite play that way.

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Personally from *your* post FanaticRat I assumed you meant Big K at the end - but after Ashkar pointed out there is a runelord named Krune that has an adventure around him I wasn't 100% sure.

As to Big K - he's easier in the new version - and much of the fight will depend on how your party is comprised and how prepared they are going into the fight.

That being said there are easy things you could do to make the fight almost un-winnable for a group of players - so it's a bit of a mixed bag.

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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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