I'm a big fan of Lore Warden Fighter + Crane Style for this. Possibly with a level or two of Master of Many Styles Monk to season the pot.
Don't have Paths of Prestige yet, so I can't comment on the Aldori Swordlord mechanically...but that would be pretty thematic.
A Man In Black wrote:
You didn't read them, then. The countries were Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the US. South American countries aren't generally too hit on liberalizing prostitution because of Catholicism. Canada is just now liberalizing prostitution, so there aren't a lot of studies of its effects. I'm also unsure what definition of "consenting adults" includes a job people only take for fear of utter destitution and where literal slavery is commonplace.
*sighs* Not who I'm talking about, here. Also, what part of "I don't want to have this argument" in bold was unclear?
And I read what you linked and did a cursory search on areas where prostitution is legal. I didn't hunt down all the cited sources. For reference.
As for definition, I have a friend who once engaged in a sex act for money. She only did it once, and didn't enjoy it much...but she wasn't raped or severely traumatized or abused. That's a possible example of what I mean by consenting adults. People have the right to make their own choices...even wrong ones, or ones you or I might not agree with. Having sex for money is such a decision.
Now...that decision being made by someone other than the woman in question is a definite problem, and one that needs to be eliminated completely before this kind of thing is widely accepted, but that's a practical matter, while I'm talking specifically about principles here.
The practical matter is definitely a far more important one than the principle I'm espousing...but the two aren't mutually exclusive in the way you seem to be implying.
A Man In Black wrote:
In fact, you make the libertarian "writing and enforcing just laws is hard, might well legalize it all" argument twice. It is possible for drug and prostitution laws to not be a colossal train wreck, and it's not an either/or decision between the laws the US has now and full legalization. Decriminalizing and helping the victims of drugs and prostitution (addicts and prostitutes) while going after those who actually benefit from these black markets is an option. It just involves helping a bunch of poor people get out of exploitative relationships, so it's not terribly popular.
Now that we're getting away from prostitution, I'm actually willing to discuss this a bit more:
Just to start with, I'm actually entirely comfortable with making being a pimp (or running a brothel) illegal. Indeed, I think the idea of helping the victims of human traffocking while punishing the offenders is wonderful, and wholeheartedly support it. There are some logistical problems with the idea, but nothing insurmountable.
But it's when you start saying "You, woman over there, this is not a reason you're allowed to have sex." that I think you're stepping on people's fundamental right to decide such things for themselves.
I am also, for the record, all for beating sex traffickers to death with a shovel, as I find the things they do profoundly disgusting on every possible moral level. Rape, torture, and long-term abuse for profit? One of the most awful things I can think of.
Now, onto the more general point: I'm not being lazy or saying writing just laws about drugs or when and why an individual can have sex are hard. I'm saying that doing so is both fundamentally wrong on a moral level (maqking a 'just law' on it impossible), and that in the entire history of mankind, no such laws have actually served to stop the behavior in question. And that, well, as prohibition showed, when you make a desired comodity illegal, a new class of criminal will arise to provide it, and (being criminals already) will engage in various other criminal ventures such as murder and extortion.
A Man In Black wrote:
Also, why is your "right" to overthrow the government more important than my right to democratically elect one, again?
Because power is force. You have the power to democratically elect a new government for precisely as long as the government lets you. They are a great deal more likely to keep such a right available if, were they to not, they would face violent overthrow. It's a matter of the balance odf power between a people and their government.
Or to put it another way: The right of the people to overthrow the government is the root of the right to elect it. If they can't do the first, their ability to do the second rests on a set of promises made by politicians...not something I'd choose to base my freedom on. Especially not on a generational basis.
I'd a million times rather elect a government than overthrow one...but as long as the people as a whole can overthrow it, that election is vastly more likely to be a legitimate one, and even to actually occur.
I'm not a lunatic, I know that, even did we lose all our guns tomorrow, the US has a long history of peacefully transitioning power, and that social trend would likely persist...but social trends can change, and strike me as a vastly shaky foundation for something like one's fundamental liberty, thinking long-term (and I mean generationally here).
I'd go with Deadmanwalking's build but Mongol archers have got to be CE at best NE.
Why? They're perfectly nice to each other and those they respect, they just see nothing wrong with hurting or killing strangers they do not.
That's pretty typical CN barbarian tribe behavior. The Mongols were just so crazy-badass that they got the chance to do that second part to more people.
The Mongol Empire was extremely safe, well run, and even instituted a comprehensive set of laws and complete freedom of religion. It was only during conquest (or when they were defied) that they, say, made piles of the skulls of everyone in a village.
All that screams Neutral alignment. Very few real-world cultures are actually Evil when examined as a whole (though, similarly, few are truly Good). There are some, but for all their savagery, Mongols probably aren't among them. Certainly not on an individual basis, anyway.
As mentioned, Luring Cavaliers are made for this (as the 15th level Cavalier Khan of the Mongol-equivalents in Golarion demonstrates).
Personally, that's definitely what I'd go with.
Mongol Raider CR 2
N Large Animal (Horse)
Note: Gear all based on this page.
MY bad on the swift, but I don't see how someone can maintain a Performance (Oratory) while casting spells. Maybe dance or instruments, but not oratory. I try to limit myself before the DM steps in because they usually go overboard.
It says so right in the Bardic Performance description.
Thematically, it can be seen as incorporating the verbal components into the Oratory. I mean, verbal components for a Cleric are suposed to be prayers anyway, and something like "Oh great Sarenrae bless us with your light, crown us with your glory, and smite down our enemies with your righteous flame." sure sounds like both a verbal component for a spell and an exercise in oratory to me...
Astral Wanderer wrote:
Astral Wanderer wrote:
Ah! Gotcha. The answer is no, she isn't the Goddess of the Sun, just a Goddess of the Sun. As Shizuru demonstrates, there are others (also Gods, Demon Lords ala Nergal, etc.) Who are worshipped in other places. A place without such a deity might be odd, but one simply following a different one is more or less normal.
You're thinking too big when it comes to Gods (sorta anyway). No God in the universe of Golarion is the being that defines a concept, instead being defined by said concepts. They are vastly powerful, but killing a Solar Deity doesn't put out the sun, y'know?
Astral Wanderer wrote:
Plus, she was once an Angel, and Angels are Humanlike (yes, they too can use magic to change shape, but their basic forms are Humanlike); since she seems to be older than Golarion, Angels in general must have been older than it, and... well, that brings a huge series of implications with aliens of Golarion's solar system...
Most dominant aliens in Golarion's solar system appear roughly humanoid...so angels are no more divergent from them than they are from humans. Non-humanoid aliens presumably have different kinds of Angels to look out for them, who are a bit more physically suited to interacting with them.
Astral Wanderer wrote:
Nothing, of course, but it's not just Rovagug's ravagings. As said, Sarenrae is the Goddess of the Sun, and the Sun shines upon all the planets of Golarion's system, so they should care about Sarenrae. As well, Asmodeus is the God of Devils, and Devils crave for any soul, not just those of Golarion's inhabitants. As so on for many other Deities; Pharasma, Urgathoa, Torag, Abadar, Zon-Kuthon... they're not just Golarion-focused. Or at least, they have no reason to.
Some deities can be strongly argued to be pretty well known over various areas...but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be frequently worshipped in all of them. The Dragon Empires' dislike of Asmodeus might have a hundred reasons...and the moment 20 other Gods have more worshippers...he's out of that 'Top 20' list.
How many cultures have a witness, judge, and executioner all be the same person?
In utterly unclaimed wilderness? Most of them.
Thats some fairly wild west stuff for most settings, and most of the time, paladins aren't the local sheriff... They're independent wanderers with a self-given mission.
Anywhere where there's a sherriff, a Paladin shouldn't be performing executions. Anywhere where there isn't (or any other law), they've got as much right to do so as anyone.
Ryu Kaijitsu wrote:
Well, in a world with objective Good an Evil, it either is or isn't. I'd say the evidence supports 'is', but that has little to do with this argument, which is basically about how a GM is going to decide his particular world works, and that's really where this discussion comes in.
What kind of world do you want? Personally, I don't want one where a Paladin or Celestial, the purest Good there is, can brutally torture people. But maybe that's just me.
Ryu Kaijitsu wrote:
Then again, a lot of nations consider killing murderers an evil and inhumane act too, and that is why death sentence is abolished in so many places.
Indeed! But that's a subjective viewpoint...and one directly contradicted in the game world by things like Smite Evil. Torture has no such support as a non-evil act in the rules, and is, IRL, generally considered somewhat worse than execution of criminals, morally speaking.
Start a cult. Or, better yet, coopt an existing one.
Use of Dominate Person will allow her to casually get a credible local figure under her personal control, and Charm Person will allow her to establish herself as such a figure rapidly as well. Once she's done that, she can really get to work.
With some established trust as a power base, she can start to bring people into the fold using al the tactics real cults do (Charm Person makes for some of the best 'love bombing' ever if used properly, for example, and some indescribably good sex can only help).
These steps can be skipped if you can, instead, coopt an existing cult (easily done if their leader is susceptible to either Dominate Person or a bit of a succubus's gentle persuasion).
Once they're in, and the cult's going, she has them commit increasingly depraved acts, culminating in an initiation ritual that is something so taboo (cannibalism, the murder and/or rape of children, etc.) that the new member will never be accepted again outside the cult if it's found out. Once this has been started, you can even force people to do the initiation and they'll still be bound to the cult, or feel that way, since they'll feel on some deep level, that nobody else will ever accept them. This is another tactic used by real groups with great success.
Then, of course, they spread the cult.
Or that's the one that leaps immediately to mind.
Well, I was interested in the people at Paizo's opinion on this, so I asked James Jacobs, in the thread of that name.
Here's what he said:
James Jacobs wrote:
I basically agree with that, so it's what I'm going with.
Shades of grey are fun and wonderful. Dealing with potentially dirty business and morallly ambiguous characters tends to be the order of the day in my games, actually.
But torture is not a shade of grey, it's black as hell. Not all characters who engage in it are evil, but it sure as f*## is.
Don't blame Atarlost for how the setting is written. The rules about Petitioners clearly say what happens to most creatures in Golarion who die. Perhaps there should be qualifications about how a soul's alignment changes after being made into a Vampire, but I do not see any in the RAW.
There are no RAW regarding souls, really. There's fluff, but no crunch beyond 'They exist, petitioners and certain other Outsiders used to be them.' Oh, and Daemons can eat them.
James Jacobs has said that a Paladin who was made an intelligent undead, slain, and ressurected, would then be LG and a Paladin again without the need of any magic to make his Alignment different...so that implies that the soul's alignment probably doesn't change.
Not according to James Jacobs, whose opinion is, in fact, controlling on these matters. In Golarion, Pharasma judges all souls and sends them where she sees fit. This is based on how well they live up to their own ideals and intentions...which caqn result in souls going to Planes other than the one their Alignment says (a Paladin of Sarenrae or Shelyn might easily wind up with their deity despite the Alignment diffference, for example...as might an Antipaladin of Gorum or Calistria), and can also wind up as something more than a mere petitioner sometimes. Hell, one serial killer wound up a nascent demon lord almost immediately..
But none of that matters, morally. You control what you do, not what others do. You torturing someone is a choice, and it is a choice to do something Evil. Whether others will later torture that person or not is immaterial, it's what you do that matters.
If you see a beggar on a street corner, and see others kicking or abusing him, and know others will continue to do so in the future, you are in no way absolved of the sin of doing so too. Just because someone will be mistreated by others gives you no moral right to do so.
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
OK wow... I am GMing a party with a high level gunslinger people are forgetting that alchemical cartridges iirc adds +1 to misfire. And when it comes to their balance you have to remember unless guns are readily available then the gunslinger will be hurting to have enough ammo. In fact even at level 17 my groups gunslinger refuses to be caught without his back up shortbow. Another of my groups is playing in a more modern mana-punk world similar to some Final Fantasy games and has a gunslinger and guns are actually easily obtained. Heck we houseruled in automatic guns and the gunslinger is still hurting for damage and ammo. He falls back on a rapier fairly often to avoid running out. So even in an optimal world gunslingers have a hard time keeping up. Unless they find some loop-hole or gimmick and even then they might have a hard time. Especially since they only get touch AC in first range increment.
Uh...ammo shouldn't be that difficult, as they can make it themselves. And by even 4th or 5th level 300 GP for 50 paper cartridges is very affordable.
The kitten has hidden a nuke that will detonate one hour from now in LA and is the only one who know where it is.
As I noted in my first post here, this is, in point of fact, not a situation where torture is remotely useful, all morality aside. That's simply not how torture works.
Uh huh. Did you read my original post? Because it actually specifically addressed this.
Basically: If you're living in a world where it's a remotely effective option, I think it's the kind of Evil act Good characters might perform without shifting Alignment. Still Evil, though, and thus not Paladin-safe.
But quite frankly, the lie ("We'll let you live if you tell us.") seems to me to be just as likely to work all by itself, and to not even be an Evil act (I don't classify lying to Evil people as Evil). Which makes the 'necessity' of the torture somewhat dubious. Indeed, outside of hypotheticals there are almost always other alternatives at least (if not more) effective and far less morally repugnant.
Could be considered Chaotic as well. Got to check the local laws on necrophilia. ;) I'm having flashbacks to Oblivion's Falanu Hlaalu.
I'm not finding this all that funny. Though I have never played Oblivion.
Ignoring the 'vampires' actions don't impact the original soul's afterlife' bit, and the fact that not all Evil people wind up in a nasty afterlife according to Pathfinder, this whole attitude is still very problematic.
Indeed, this attitude justifies literally anything you do to Evil people or creatures. Literally anything. It thus rather makes any system of morality largely pointless, and is profoundly disgusting to me on a moral level.
I'm always disturbed by the number of people who think torture is justifiable or acceptable.
I'm going to draw a really unpleasant analogy here to highlight how messed up that is. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone. Really. I feel bad about doing this...but somebody needs to emphasize the awfulness of that position.
Because let's look at why rape is evil (and I think we can all agree that it is):
It's traumatic, painful, and done in violation of the consent and rights of the victim, it is profoundly damaging psychologically (and sometimes physically) in the long term.
I could go on, but those are enough, right?
So. What else fits all those criteria (including the unspoken ones), why, torture does. Indeed, looked at objectively, rape is just a specialized form of torture. Indeed, sexual assault of some kind is common when people are tortured in the real world, and often part of what breaks them.
So, is raping a vampire Evil? I certainly think so.
The reason for the percieved difference has to do with the way our society and particularly media has shaped our views on both rape (always* a horrible, unforgivable, crime) and torture (totally justified against terrorists or the equivalent)...but looked at objectively any moral system you'd care to name should regard the two crimes as more or less equivalent.
So...think about what you're saying is justified, folks.
At least, when it's a man raping a woman. Discussions of our society's messed up attitudes towards other forms of rape don't belong here.
Torturing someone for information is pretty much the definition of an Evil act, and a Paladin should fall for doing such a thing.
Now, assuming it works and important things are at stake, it's the kind of Evil act that a Good being might resort to without necessarily shifting Alignments (as long as it doesn't become a common occurence, anyway).
But, morality aside, it also doesn't work.
In the real world, torturing a lone enemy for information is a notoriously bad and unreliable tactic for information extraction, as they will say anything to make the torture stop...but that includes blatant and subtle lies as well as true statements. Torturing enough people who all have the same information is a viable tactic...but the numbers required (usually in the dozens...all of whom have to actually have the same info) make it even more morally repugnant. And a long (not short) term tactic as well, since you need to check every detail of all their stories against both the others being tortured and outside information sources. Even then, there's not any real evidence it delivers better information than other, more humane, interrogation methods.
In the game, there's no mechanical support for torture as a means of interrogation, and it is thus just a fancy description for an Intimidate check, which can be done in a number of other ways that are, in fact, not Evil acts.
So, in any game going by either the rules as they are, or following how the real world works, it's pointless and thus always an unjustified Evil.
In a game following the rules of certain media, where the Jack Bauer interrogation method is actually more effective, it's still Evil, but the kind of Evil that a Good character might occasionally perform in order to accomplish a greater good.
Turin the Mad wrote:
Note: This is not a joke. The Lovecraft Mythos are alive, well, and a canonical part of Golarion, so Nyarlathotep really is a viable option.
There are also numerous Demon Lords available...though we're likely to need more info on what specifically you're looking for in a villain in order to make a good reccomendation on who or what specifically you might want to use.
You can easily play a Paladin with quite a lot of out-of-combat utility. In the folowing ways:
1. Detect Evil - Handy in roleplaying situations as well as combat. Knowing that Evil folks are untrustworthy is exceedingly handy.
2. Lay on Hands - Being able to heal people is a great way to make fiends and influence people. Many GMs may ignore this...but they really shouldn't.
3. Skill List - While Paladins have crappy skill points, their actual skill list is quite good containing a number of useful skills and serving to make Paladins who put some investment into it worthwhile. Assuming more than 2 skill points per level (either Int 12+, some Favored Class investment, or being Human) you can max out Diplomacy and Sense Motive, making a solid face character, and still put a few ranks in other stuff as necessary.
4. Spell List - While vastly less so than a Cleric, Paladins do have a number of spells with non-combat applications.
And all that leaves aside the actual roleplaying that a player can do with any character to make them awesome and effective out-of-combat.
Are Paladins as out-of-combat useful as a Bard or Rogue? No. Are they more so than a Fighter? Probably. Than a Barbarian? Maybe. It's all a matter of the particular Paladin and who they are beingg compared to.
I, for one, actually GM a lot more than I play.
GMs have, by default, all the power in a game. This is in no way abrogated by being bound by the rules. The ability to drop something on the PCs they have no prayer against always remains, after all. I'm also not even arguing against changing the rules (as my 9 page House Rules document will attest). Heck, I've even been known to change or add rules on the fly...but openly, and with the players' full knowledge and agreement.
What I (and, I believe, others) are arguing against isn't absolute GM power per se, but, basically, dishonesty. If a GM is going to be deviating from the books (which are the base assumptions of the game, after all) it seems to me that the players are, in fact, entitled to know more or less how he's doing so. As long as all such deviations are agreed upon, everything's cool. I'm arguing against doing them on-the-fly without telling the players what you're doing, because that's basically lying to your players, which strikes me as uncool.
And you're right, you can indeed just leave a bad GM's game. If you know. I mean, I've played in games that were bad...and I didn't realize it for a while. To give a (true) example: the game seemed good on the surface, and if we failed, well, maybe that was just bad luck, and then we kept failing, and the NPCs all knew our every move before they made it, and never made any mistakes...and it became obvious we were never going to win, because the GM wouldn't let us. And sure, then I stopped going, after literally months of wasted time, frustration, a several page character background and details on said character's entire family written out. Plus a fair degree of emotional investment.
Would've been nice to know that I was in a no-win scenario up-front, y'know?
Dishonesty severely curtails the players' ability to know about what's going on, and thus to know when they should leave the game. And that's a problem. A GM shouldn't need to resort to tricking the players in order to keep them in the game, and if they are, something is deeply wrong.
Or, to simplify: It's not about 'being protected from the GM', but about staying informed so you can make accurate evealuations of whether you still want to participate in the game and to what degree.
Check those out.
For homebrew worlds it is, of course, entirely up to you. Feel free to work it out however youlike, just think through the implications for different levels of PCs and apply them logically.
Belle Mythix wrote:
Neither of them mention they stack. so by RAW it should be houserule.
There are no stacking rules on reduced action times. Therefore no such mention is needed and they do stack.
Find me anything anywhere that says differently and I'll be shocked.
Indeed, why is there even a listing for what Alchemical Cartridges redue a Move Action to in reload times if they don't? No firearm reloads as a move action without Rapid Reload.
To the OP: Use Alchemical Cartridges (paper ones specifically), they'll reduce your reloading to a Move Action. Gunslingers are only even potentially broken at higher levels, anyway.
'Powergamer' is a weird term. It's highly subjective and what, in one group, would be considered a powergamer build, might well be thought of as an extremely weak character in another.
To rephrase something I just posted in aqnother thread: The important thing isn't how powerful a character is taken in a vaccuum, it's how powerful they are compared to the other PCs. I mean, if the whole PC group is more powerful (or less powerful) it's relatively simple for the GM to compensate (with either harder or easier encounters)...but if one PC is vastly more effective than the pothers then they're considered a powergamer. The problem's actually just as bad if they're less powerful, but that's usually called something else. The important thing is to ensure player parity of power, and nobody is a powergamer in any meaningful sense except compared to the other members of the group.
Additionaly, people use the term to mean at least three different things (1. Someone who undertstands the system and uses that knowledge in their character building, 2. Someone utterly focused on rules at the expense of roleplaying, 3. Someone who likes powerful characters, or 4. All of the above). People like shoving things in these neat litle boxes in their heads, putting labels on things, and that has a whole host of problems even under ideal circumstances, and in this case we can't even all agree on what the label means.
Am I a powergamer?
I was once told I could play anything in the Bestiary and spent several hours finding something that would be powerful, effective, and fun (and wound up playing a Doppleganger Paladin with a Str of 26, a Cha of 20, and no stat below 14), I have more system mastery than most of my group, and use it to make my chareacters effective, and I love playing characters who can readily defeat their opponents in almost any arena. My Drow Bard in the Evil game I played in was more feared by the GM than the melee Druid, since he was more effective
On the other hand, I've played a Halfling Rogue with no Archetypes and high Charisma in what I was ensured was a deadly game, just because that was the concept that drew me, I crafted a backstory for that Doppleganger Paladin that was both epic and tragic (and more than a bit messed up), I never have Intelligence or Charisma below 12 because I can't justify roleplaying the way I like to without high ratings in both, and I love games with minimal combat as much as (if not more than) those that are combat heavy.
Where do people like me fit? Do we need to be 'controlled'?
The only complaint I have with the ARG is the race-exclusive nature of the Redeemer (it fits one of my homebrew races perfectly) and the Ironskin Monk (same issue as with the first). Other than that and the whole Catfolk appearance issue, I found the book rather enjoyable.
The Archetypes are designed explicitly so you can ignore the racial requirements if you desire, and if we're talking about a homebrew race...
Okay, wait a minute here, dubious rules uses aside*, what was the wizard's plan here? I mean, as was established earlier in the thread, reading the message would only trigger a single Explosive Runes. That's 6d6 (maybe more like 9d6 with Empower, possibly 36 +3d6 with Empower and Maximize) so that's a max of what, 36-54 damage with decent odds of taking only half that? That's...a really inefficient and chancy assassination tool vs. any mid-level character (and if he's low level there are vastly easier ways to kill him). And the message is from the Wizard officially, and he's presumably been seen with the PCs (or at least is known to employ them), so the king will know who just sent him an exploding postcard. Making him angry at the Wizard. An extremely counterproductive thing to do.
So, why is the Wizard doing this again? The only actual reason for more than one Explosive Runes per missive is to do precisely what it's used for here and kill the party...but if that was his goal, why not do it as soon as he gave them the missives? I mean, them getting delivered is actually bad for him...so why would he let there be a chance of that happening? Even if he's not known as it's source, it'll likely only annoy the king (54 damage is nowhere near enough to prevent Raise Dead), so what's the point of investing all these resources into it?
The Wizard's plot makes no sense IC, making this a purely metagamed "I want this to be a TPK" GM trick, and I would thus be very upset with it.
I'm actually reminded of the time when five NPCs, each individually significantly more powerful than my PC showed up with the express purpose of killing my character (which was highly implausible...he was badass and hadn't pissed anyone new off recently...we're talking the equivalent of five 15th level CE Fighters being sent after a single 12th level Paladin here) in a LARP I played in once. It was clearly not for any actual IC reason, and had no real justification, and is the only time I've ever walked out of a game. Now that was motivated by petty interpersonal s@@& (I suspect), while this seems more story guided/railroady, but the principle is still the same.
NPCs trying to kill you in logical ways, even if those ways are cruel and clever? Absoutely fine. The GM trying to kill you, even if that violates all logic? Not fine at all.
Now, if there were an actual, rules-legal, magical trap on each letter only activated by command word (or when read) that could actually kill the king...there might actually be a plot here that made sense (and the TPK would be the PCs own fault for not checking the damn letters, an admittedly crucial error on their part)...but the actual scenario presented, the spells don't actually work right for that to make any logical sense, so it's just the GM (not the Wizard) wanting to kill the players.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
For the record: I (and many others) disagree with this post in its entirety. Or pretty close anyway.
There probably is a bit more accounting, and some adventures or NPCs have certainly (and inevitably) been less than stellar...but the rest of it? Nah.
IME optimization and powergaming (while around) are nowhere near as severe a problem, balance is vastly improved (though, again, not perfect), and most of the NPCs are fun and effetive at their intended purposes.
Pathfinder is cool, welcome aboard. :)
Mostly what Erik said, though the degree to which players enjoy Dungeon Crawls for their own sake and will thus enjoy part 5 is gonna vary a lot between groups, and thus so should the degree to which you cut it short.
A few other notes:
As Erik mentioned, you don't get a lot of shopping time in this one. You can shop after Book 1, in mid to late Book 3, and at the beginning of Book 6...and that's basically it. Having a spelcaster PC pick up Craft Wondrous Item helps this a lot and might thus be worth suggesting to your players. You should also probably have a PC who uses Great Axes, and another who uses Scimitars, both for flavor and because those crop up a lot (almost to the exclusion of others). Maneuvering one who uses some other weapon into taking on the role of moldspeaker is probably worth doing if you think the player can pull it off.
Due to the same circumstances, those times plus the majority of Book 1 are the only times you have access to healing from outside the party (Wands of Cure Light Wounds, Raise Dead spells, etc.) so it might behoove you to have a character in the party who can do that stuff when needed. They don't need to be really focused on it (any Druid or Cleric, or any Oracle willing to put a little effort in, as well as most truly focused healers of other classes), but having them around will make PC deaths a lot less likely, and, frankly, this is an AP where replacement PCs are a bit hard to introduce in volumes 4 and 5, so that's something you want to avoid to some degree.
In Book 2, the PCs can very easily wind up fighting the Carrion King very quickly in the adventure, due to the way it's set up. Be aware of this, and that they'll probably try to leave thereafter if they win (since as far as they know, killing him is all they're there for).
Additionally, don't buy too far into the idea of the Carrion King being an unstoppable monster. He's very dangerous (he took out the party Barbarian in a round when I ran LoF)...but by no means unbeatable. I mention this only because the players I ran this for took him down really fast and, having heard how terrifying he was (repeatedly) I was somewhat at a loss as to what to do afterwards (the Djinn-blooded Sorcerer burned all his 2nd level spells to make everyone invisible and they ambushed the poor bastard en masse...it lasted about a round after the surprise round and the Barbarian he took out was the only PC to take damage). I'm aware my experience was atypical, but it's still good to be aware that it can happen.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
Yes. Or sort of, anyway. The reason Port Peril has 8th level spells at all is a holy site to Besmara, so a 15th level 'high priest' of some sort seems a reasonable assumption, and being apolitical and basically mercenary seems entirely in character for a Cleric of Besmara. He or she's not listed because, frankly, they aren't a 'player' on the political stage, or liely to hang out with the PCs. Arcane spellcasting is probably available at a slightly lower level due to the superstitious nature of the place (maxing out at 6th or 7th level spells from a similarly disinterested Wizard or Sorcerer) but 8th level scrolls are likely available due to the the town's nature as a base of trade.
Or to put it another way: Only the ruler of a place and NPCs that the PCs are likely to interact with in a meaningful fashion are statted up. This often correlates to power (especially in the case of rulers) but the power is hardly the deciding factor in who's statted up. I mean, surely you didn't think that, in a city of over 46,000 people, there was nobody between 9th level (the highest listed NPC in the write-up of Port Peril) and the Hurricane King's 18th? Right?
The Master of the Gales is one of the rulers of the shackles, and it's that, not his level, that grants him a full description and stat-block.
Or that's the way I've always interpretted such things, anyhow.
All the listed examples seem good to me.
That said, there's a very simple alternate possibility:
He's a NE guy who just happens to be a worshipper of Pharasma. Take the motivations of a NE fighter, Rogue, or Wizard (greed, ambition, revenge, virulent racism, etc.) and just also have him dislike undead and keep scrupulous birth records.
One of Pharasma's key features is her utter indifference to things outside her very limited concerns. A Pharasmin Cleric in Ustalav could attempt genocide of all non-humans (or maybe just Half-Orcs) and Pharasma would keep giving them spells all the same.
Think Hunchback of Notre Dame, the spanish Inquisition, every horrible excess committed by members of the clergy in the real world, and realize that (unlike a Good deity) a Neutral Deity has absoutely no reason not to allow their followers to do the same if they wish it.
But I think the question's basically irrelevant, because you're coming at it backwards. No one is arguing you can't develop a concept to fit a random roll. The issue is that, with a random roll, you can't develop a concept until after you see the rolls...
What if I want to play a Barbarian, and get an 11, 13, 8, 14, 16, 12 (in that order)? Yes, that's technically 19 pb, and I can use it to make a decent Dwarven caster-Cleric (or Empyreal Bloodline Sorcerer)...but what if I hate playing full casters, and prefer melee characters as a rule? If so, why should I be forced to play something I don't enjoy? How does that make the game better or more fun for me or anyone else?
Rolled stats, in order, can work if you don't already have something to play in mind (and, indeed, can inspire ideas fairly readily)...but you can't go in with a concept you've been wanting to play (not even something as simple as Barbarian or Paladin...never mind something like Monk) and expect to get stats that let you play it effectively.
My personal philsophy on optimization: Take a concept, build it. Then optimize it in any ways that don't detract from said concept.
I think that's a happy middle-ground for people to work with.
And for people who want stats for the iconics (specifically some that have had a lot more time put into them, I'd suspect) they are coming in the NPC Guide. So people will get a good look at them there. We can all argue about it then (if we want to...I'd rather not).
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
Nah. It means he lied a bit to get elected.
Like politicians do.
Apparently this is a problem for some people...did nobody but me vote for Obama because he was a smart, competent, fairly ruthless, politician who I agreed with on a fair amount of stuff?
Am I the only one who looked into his previous political career while he was running for office? I mean, he was a politician in Chicago by all the Gods. You don't get elected in that city by playing nice in the political arena.
Seriously, folks. Anyone who feels betrayed that Obama's an actual pragmatic politician wasn't paying sufficient attention.
I think you're really looking for two different things here.
See, by all accounts, Rise of the Runelords is a perfect scenarion to be Big Damn Heroes in. You can be shining paragons of all that is good and right easily. The same is true of all the other APs though some (Jade Regent and Legacy of Fire leap to mind) are more conducive to it than others. That's no problem. Indeed, it's the norm, even in something like Skulls and shackles, where you're easily able to be CG heroic pirates.
But you seem to also not want the villains to be terrible monsters who perpetrate all manner of atrocities. That's a bit rarer and harder to find in the APs...to the point that I'm having a hard time thinking of one where that's not gonna be at least something of an issue.
See, I disagree with your assessment of Golarion as particularly grim or dark. There are bad things, but there are also shining beacons of light and good. Lastwall and Andoran, for example, really are great places people would want to be a part of. And Paizo doesn't go out of it's way to make things overly hopeless and depressing ala Warhammer. No, what they do is very simple: They make the villains truly villainous.
If you're the main villain of a Paizo AP...odds are you're a real monster of some sort. Same for most of the lesser villains. In my opinion this is a good thing, and allows for more and better opportunities for someone like a Paladin to demonstrate their righteousness as well as lay low the wicked. But it also results in some fairly dark plots (which is very different from a dark world) as the PCs see evidence of the horrors committed by the villain.
So the question you asked? Yes, all the APs allow it easily. The other one you implied? Gonna be hard to come by.
Okay, I got inspired, so these got done early.
A proper CR 10 encounter with these guys is 12 Warriors and one each of the other three.
You have to bear in mind on these guys that after Bless and Bardic Performance on round one, +2 to hit and +1 damage on all attacks, and can make use of Aid Another when necessary or useful.
15 attacks at +10 per round, even only doing fairly weak damage (and if they all slug back their potions of Enlarge it gets a lot less weak), are pretty good, and the lieutenat is a lot less weak, especially if he gets Bull's Strength on him.
In terms of gear, the Warriors are a little under and the officers a little over, so I think that works out.
Dwarven Soldier CR 2
Dwarven Lieutenant CR 3
Dwarven Sergeant CR 3
2nd: 1/day: Heroism, Mirror Image,
Dwarven Chaplain CR 3
2nd: Bull's Strength, Bull's Strength, Spiritual Weapon, Shield Other* (has tokens for lieutenant and sergeant)
We are 12th, i could spare for celestial armor tho, 22k for 9 AC and max dex of 8, pretty good deal, not so with BoA, even 25k one is only +5. Now i am really starting to regret picking up Tiefling =/
Wait a minute here, what in the world makes you think Tieflings can't wear Celestial Armor?
I mean, if you're evil that's a little different, but a Good or Neutral Tiefling is every bit as capable of wearing Celestial Armor as anyone else of those alignments. The armor is not racist.
Okay, Mites are...weird. As a base CR 1/4 I think that technically I can make one 5th level (plus his Mite HD) and still be CR 3. But I think that's b$@+@!++ and doesn't fly. So I'm going with their sub-par stats and extra HD cancelling each other out, making the CR 3 4th level and the CR 2s 3rd, if you want to add another level on to those you can do so fairly readily, I think.
Here's the leader, a vicious little bard who can actually do okay in combat, as well as buffing his minions. Who will be a 3rd level Order of the Dragon Cavalier (Beast Rider), and a 3rd level Druid (both with insect companions). And will be up later. Maybe after I sleep.
2nd: 1/day; Glitterdust (DC 13), Mirror Image,
Personally, when I get involved in a rules argument, it's usually to make it clear to third parties observing that whatever the person I'm arguing with is saying is not universally accepted, or the way the rules actually work.
I don't think I've ever argued that people shouldn't play a certain way as long as everyone was having fun, just that (depending on what we're talking about) they should note that how they are doing it isn't the actual way the rules work, and thus might not apply in other people's games.
I have also argued game balance, which strikes me as a reasonable continuation of 'as long as everyone's having fun' as, IME, unbalanced rules are less conducive to fun than balancd ones, all other things being equal.
This is especially relevant in the Rules and Advice forums.
Eh, Edison stole some of 'his' best work from Tesla.
Now there was a genius.
If that's not your call, why is whether two men can get married?
So, uh, blowjobs are against natural law?
Man, natural law sucks.
Lloyd Jackson wrote:
I honestly don't see why this is a contentious issue. Not saying this to be troll, just seems to me that if you want to be married to more than one person it should be fine. In the States at least, it used to be legal, law was passed to make it illegal, so just repeal the law and let the divorce lawyers have a field day, or weep in despair.
Alright, here's Big Daddy Treant. He fights in the form of a Treant, has a Treant Companion, and summons (and has on hand) an additional Treant with Liveoak He also summons large numbers of, say, Grizzly Bears, Dire Wolves, or Tigers to harrass his opponents.
His AC and HP are awful for his CR, but Barkskin helps that a lot, and stacking Cat's Grace on top doesn't hurt either. He also comes with a free Treant, a Treant Companion, and a backup Treant. And Greater Magic Fang and Bull's Strength. Fully buffed he's good to go, and his potential host of critters help give him time to do that. Stoneskin also helps his defenses a lot.
If given a few rounds to buff (Barkskin and Bear's Endurance, plus Greater Magic Fang each on him and his Companion) he's a lot nastier, and can then summon and buff a few things.
Gear +1 Wild Hide Armor, Cloak of Resistance +1, scythe, sling w/10 bullets,
Note: Has a Treant made with Liveoak following him around.
N Large Plant
Cavaliers definitely work.
Paladins work pretty well, though they're a little light on skills.
Oracles can do pretty well too. As can Inquisitors (especially with the Conversion Inquisition).
But the best class for it? The Bard. Expert on every question he's asked, able to charm the birds out of the trees, and a deadly warrior when need arises, and in a way that inspires his troops to fight harder.
There was a whole thread on this pretty recently, check it out.
Whew, alright, here's an Undead Lord Cleric of Urgathoa. He's a little low on AC and HP, and has a really low Reflex Save, but with a couple of turns to buff (and Sanctuary might help with that), HP and AC go up quite a bit. His undead should buy him those turns. And his offensive Save DCs are actually high.
6th: Harm, Create Undead*,
Pet Undead: One 11 HD Skeleton Undad Companion, 60 HD of other zombies and skeletons, 11 HD of Commanded Undead (Ghasts are a good choice),
Deadman, if you think Nightbane is balanced you should look at between the shadows. Most of the characters are normal humans. I've probably run more Nightbane than any other game - and the game to me is rping the characters and coping with the horrible environment.
Oh, I wasn't saying it was balanced at all. It's really not. Nor are many of the games I run and/or play in and of themselves.
As far as being serious about screwing with people, not really.
Cool. Glad to hear it. :)
When I gm for strangers at my college, I tell them when we meet that I run a simulation, don't care about the rules, don't care about their feelings on the rules, and throw RAW out the window. That complaining about other peoples characters or how I run the game, during the game, is unacceptable, and that they can expect me to make things up on the fly. I've had two people decide not to play, but that's fine, because I can do whatever I want without them and there are literally too many people anyway.
Well, I've actually done quite a bit of freeform games myself, but if you're doing that it seems to me you should just throw out the system as such entirely (or at least use a much less rules intensive one), and just have character descriptions and die rolls as appropriate, and avoid the illusion that you're playing something as rules-involved as D&D.
I've seen a lot of posts from various people regarding how underpowered NPCs are for their CR. I, personally, think that's a load of crap. At least for PC class NPCs, and even for NPC class ones at low levels.
I've stated this a few times, but nobody's ever responded in any meaningful fashion. Their contempt seems unassailable, and I feel like proving a point. Also, I'm a little bored.
So, I'm putting a challenge out here:
Ask for an NPC of a particular class and level, and I'll build a CR appropriate version of it. You can even specify things (like 'finesse Fighter' or 'Pirate Captain') as long as they aren't completely unreasonable.
Well as long as it's not over 8th level as NPC classes, and doesn't have completely horrible multiclassing on it, anyway (and I'm talking really horrible here, not just less than ideal). I probably won't be working out full spellbooks or anything for these, but at least a fair selection of their current spells will be done.
Okay, first your numbers are off.
Let's look at what a real Rogue has by 6th level. He's definitely got a Mithral Chain Shirt, and at least Dex 18 So that's a +13 and a 50% shot.
By 12th his Dex is more like 24 and his armor still has no armor check penalty so we're talking +22 and a 40% chance.
By 18th a proper Rogue will have Dex 28 at least, probably more like 32 and a total that's +30 minimum, more like +32 in all likelihood, so a 10% or 20% chance.
And those are somewhat misleading simply because so many high CR creatures are so large. If your GM uses NPC enemies, or monsters with class levels, or indeed anything but Gargantuan stuff, those later numbers get a lot better.
Second, there are ways to improve those odds: Off the top of my head Boots of Elvenkind give +5 Acrobatics (and thus +25% chances to all of the above) and are cheap as hell (they can be addedc onto other boots for under 4k GP). Skill Focus gives a +3 bonus (+6 at 10th level and up) a +15% (or +30%) chance on top of that.
The boots alone make the chances 75%, 65%, and 35 or 45%. With skill Focus as well they become 90%, 95%, and 65 or 75%.
Third, your assumptions are faulty: You seem to be assuming that Acrobatics to avoid AoO should be automatic at higher levels, it shouldn't, at least not against all oponents. It's a skill (and one with other uses) not an 'I win' button. You need to invest things (like the extremely cheap Boots) to have good odds, and a more meaningful investment (lie Skill Focus) to make it close to a sure thing.