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Douglas Muir 406's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 9,985 posts (10,723 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excellent review, SP. My PBP group is only 1/4 of the way through Book One (PBP, good luck finishing a module in one year...) but already we see some of the strengths and weaknesses.

Firm agreement that the amnesia start was both daring and brilliant. Also, Book Three looks bloody amazing -- I can't wait to get to it, even though it's literally years away in RT. On read-through, it looks like one of the two or three best individual modules Paizo has ever published. Also-also, agreement about the Big Occult Item; if you're not a wizard, it's a bit meh. It should whisper to the players, you know?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Responding to this late, but a couple of quick thoughts.

1) The Harrower is flavorful but underpowered. It's not so underpowered that it doesn't work, but be aware that it's not one of the optimized PrCs. Strange Aeons is a challenging AP, so that's another thing. Discuss this with your DM.

2) From a mechanical POV, crossing a Harrower with a Magus is a terrible idea. Magi generally don't do well with PrCs or multiclassing, because so many of their class attributes are enhanced by leveling up as a magus. Also, Magi usually need to hit to hurt; crossing a magus with a 1/2 BAB caster doesn't help with that. So, Card caster / Harrower is super flavorful, but moves you from "a bit underpowered" to "uh oh". You're much better off going Cartomancer witch. Or, seriously, just play a sorceror. Not as flavorful, but builds on Cha! The witch gets kind of MADdy because you need good Int but also decent Cha.

3) Oddly, from midlevels onward the Harrower makes a pretty good blaster. True thing. That's because the Tower of Strength ability (3rd level Harrower) gives you +1 damage per die for each card you draw from the suit of Strength. The Tower of Charisma (4th level) gives you +1 on the save DC for each card you draw from Charisma. So, a midlevel harrower build could reasonably concentrate on damage-dealing save-or-suck spells -- your classic Fireball and Lightning Bolt, and the like -- because these leverage your abilities. After all, you have about a 40% chance of getting an extra point on each die every time you cast, and a ~40% chance of getting +1 or more on the save DC. That works out to, on average, about 10-12% more damage from blasty spells with d6es. Not huge, but nothing to sneeze at either. Tower of Charisma also encourages enchantments and other save-or-sucks, especially if you have a debuffer in the party -- combining a Harrower with a Mesmerist or Court Bard could be a lot of fun.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I'd be more interested in SS than in Second Darkness or WotR, to be honest

Firm agreement. WoTR has an excellent opening and there's much to like in the first half. By the back half, though, the Mythic rules really turn it into rocket tag -- and if the players are competent, then it's rocket tag that they're always going to win.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Smith wrote:
Based on what you both are saying and what I've seen on the boards for SS, it seems that there might be some interest in seeing an AP that the community finds difficult to run as-written, played in its entirety by a group that specializes in running material as such?

Well if that's what you're after, there's always Second Darkness...

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Smith wrote:


It's interesting that you mention Souls for Smuggler's Shiv, since as GM I am constantly tearing through published material trying to figure out where we'll go next. I stopped immediately when I hit Jacobs's adventure, and read the entirety in one night. I've been considering Serpent's Skull as a fun throwback for a while now after being so inspired by PF37; you may have just helped me sell the group on it, since we all loved In Search of Sanity, as evidenced here. Thanks again!

1) Souls for Smuggler's Shiv is amazing. There's general consensus on this. It's one of the best AP modules ever, and might be the best Volume 1 of any AP. The only reason I say "might" is because there are some players who won't love the hardscrabble, bare-hands aspect of the first half of the module, where you're starting with no equipment and have to worry about stuff like diseases and tropical rainstorms. But IME those guys are a minority, and anyway this module offers so much more -- cool encounters, all kinds of tropes. It's just really solid and well done.

AFAICT this is the general consensus on the forums: most people like SfSS a lot, and many people absolutely love it.

2) BUT. BUT BUT BUT.

The rest of the AP is a very, very mixed bag. Volume 2 is (IMO) okay to good, a race against rival factions across the savannah of not-Africa to find a lost city. But after that it gets wildly uneven and famously grindy. There's some good stuff in there, including a cool fight with, basically, King Kong. But pretty much everyone agrees that there are also major flaws. The back half in particular is notorious for being super grindy.

Again, AFAICT this is the general consensus on the forums: many people like SS, but a large minority are very critical of the later modules.

3) My understanding is that you Amber Dice guys run the APs absolutely straight, as written, with no DM adjustments or tweaking. If that's how you plan to play it, then ask around first, because a lot of people think the latter part of SS, as written, is... troubled.

Whatever you do, I'll be watching with great interest!

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Got a PC who was bitten by a wererat and is ready to embrace the curse. He's evil anyway, so that's not an issue. Becoming a wererat gives a pretty sweet package of mechanical benefits, though, to the point where it's almost OP:

-- complete immunity (!) to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage unless silver is involved (and if I'm reading this right, that applies in all three forms);
-- the scent ability
-- darkvision 60' when in your rat form, and
-- a free bite attack when in hybrid form.

The only real disadvantage is that your alignment must change to LE, and as noted the player doesn't mind that a bit.

I'm okay with this overall, because the player is halfway through a 5e adaptation of "Call Forth Darkness", volume 2 of the Way of the Wicked AP. This is a module where, frankly, balance isn't a major issue. The PCs are up against so much craziness, especially in the back half, that little things like immunity to weapon damage aren't going to be that big a deal. If you're familiar with CfD, you know what I'm talking about.

That said, I don't love the idea of just handing over a package of free abilities. (For starters, if there are no strings attached, then the rest of the party will be clamoring to become wererats too.) So: I'm looking for suggestions about balancing, whether RP or mechanical. How can I keep this interesting for the PC, without making it so OP that it's disruptive to the game?

Thoughts?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's more or less the method used in "The Thing". Not clear if it would work on a creature using Alter Self, though.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's a system I posted back in November on the Strange Aeons subforum. I used it IMC and the players liked it. YMMV.

* * * * *
I love the amnesia aspect of ISoS. What I don't like so much: that the PCs, after the opening encounter, immediately find all their stuff and start off pretty much unscathed. I think the horror aspect is likely to be ramped up if the PCs have a more realistic "wake up naked in an asylum" experience. Yes, ISoS is a pretty tough module. But I have a party of six, so I'm okay with handicapping them a little. I think this system would also work with four 20-point characters (since the module assumes 15 points).

Before starting, I'm going to tell the players that they have six Starting Points, which they can distribute among four categories: Stuff, Physical, Mental, and Fugue. They can spend up to three points in each category -- so, for instance, a PC might start with Stuff 2, Physical 3, Mental 1, and Fugue 0. What I'll tell the PCs: "Stuff 3 means you start with lots of stuff. Physical 3 means you're in great physical shape, Mental 3 same. Fugue 3, you have the least possible effects from the fugue. Lower numbers are less good." No details beyond that.

So what will these mean? Well:

Stuff:

Stuff 3: You find all your starting equipment in the first room. Since your character used to be a favored servant of Lowls, I will add a useful item of up to 2,000 gp value into your stuff... a magic weapon, minor magic item, a spellbook with extra spells up to fourth level, or the like. Your stuff will also contain a clue to your past (embroidered initials on fine clothing, or some such.)

Stuff 2: You find all your starting equipment in the first room. It's the normal equipment for a 1st level PC, with no clues.

Stuff 1: The DM determines one item that is definitely present -- a weapon, spellbook, or holy symbol, whatever the character most needs. Everything else, have the player go down his character sheet and roll: 50% chance it's there, otherwise it's marked "missing". Missing items will be found with Winter and the refugees, and can be claimed as soon as they trust the PC (attitude friendly or better).

Stuff 0: You got nothin'. You'll find one critical item (as above, weapon or spellbook) in the possession of the first ghoul or doppelganger you encounter in area B. After that, the refugees may have some of your stuff: roll for everything else, 50% there, 50% lost forever.

Physical:

Physical 3: You were dosed with a powerful stimulant that will temporarily increase either your Con or your Dex by +4. The stimulant wears off four hours after you wake up.

Physical 2: You're fine.

Physical 1: You have an injury (half your hp) that also affects your movement: either one arm isn't working, or you're at -10' on your move. The latter effect will disappear once you have healed the hp AND have a night's good rest (i.e., in the chapel... there's no good rest anywhere else).

Physical 0: You have the Sickened condition, and will have it until you have a night's good rest AND someone makes a DC 15 Heal check on you. You also have either a disease or an addiction (DM's choice); if a disease, you're already past the incubation period.

Mental:

Mental 3: You awake with your mind strangely clear and strong. You are immune to San damage for the next four hours. If not using the Sanity system, then you gain +4 on Will saves for the next four hours.

Mental 2: You're fine.

Mental 1: You're disoriented and distracted. You are at -4 to either Wis or Cha,and whenever confronted with a stressful situation (such as combat) you must make a DC 15 Will save in order to place yourself in danger. (If you fail the Will save by 5 or more, you can do nothing but cower.) You can retry the Will save each round; once it's made, you can act normally for the rest of that encounter or situation.

Mental 0: You seem fine at first, but in fact you have gained a madness as per the DMG -- either paranoia, mania, or phobia (DM's choice). The madness DC is 15. The madness passes if you can get a good night's rest and then make the Will save, OR you get a good night's rest after someone has made a DC 20 Heal check on you. The Heal check DC is reduced by 1 for every ten minutes the healer spends sitting with you and speaking calmly.

Fugue:

Fugue 3: You still get occasional flickers of memory from your past life. The DM may use this to give you hints or clues at any time during the first two modules. Additionally, during the first week after waking, you may reroll up to three attacks, saves, or skill checks, as the fading memories of your past self briefly inspire you to greater competence. These rerolls are a limited resource; once you've used them, they're gone.

Fugue 2: As per normal.

Fugue 1: You no longer remember your name. The DM or the other players will give you a name based on some characteristic ("Scarface", "Twitchy", or the like). Also, some of your memories are slow to recover. Whenever you attempt to attack with a weapon, use a skill, or cast a spell, there is a 20% chance you are unable to bring those memories to the fore. For a weapon or a skill, you are treated as non-proficient (-4 to attack rolls, no +3 bonus on skill checks). For a spell, you are unable to cast it, but you do not lose the spell or slot. Once you have used a particular weapon or skill, or cast a particular spell, you no longer have to make this roll. You can try to reroll a failed roll after at least ten minutes have passed. This condition passes after a good night's rest.

Fugue 0: As above, except the failure chance is now 50%, and you don't remember how to read or how to speak any languages but Common. The condition persists until you can get a good night's rest and then make a DC 15 save, OR you get a good night's rest after someone has made a DC 20 Heal check on you. The Heal check DC is reduced by 1 for every ten minutes the healer spends sitting with you and speaking calmly.

If you do use it, please let us know how it works out!

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You know, I like 5e a lot as a system -- but there's just so much less stuff available for it, whether in hard copy or online.

There's no equivalent to Ravingdork's NPCs? No forum with a collection of NPC builds?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there such a thing? I'm throwing a bunch of NPC parties at my PCs (running them through a conversion of Call Forth Darkness), so this would be super useful.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The first module is basically a gigantic dungeon crawl, except that it's an insane asylum instead of a dungeon.

The middle two modules are pretty railroady. But the railroad is cleverly set up: you're chasing someone! Also, the third module is one half very good (a trip down a river, having loosely connected encounters) and one half *amazing* (the Dreamlands), so that mitigates the railroadiness a lot. The last two modules include some insane sandboxes that can be taken in different orders; they're not railroady at all.

(For the record, my take on the six modules of this AP goes something like Very Good -- Okay -- Holy crap, that was amazing! -- Eh -- Very Good -- Very Good.)

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Any healing she does would be a standard action. Being gimped this much means she can't heal at all even with a heal check, or a wand,or dumping a potion down someone's throat.

DC 20 means she'll succeed about a third of the time. So, she can still provide support... just not in a combat situation, or if time is tight.

Doug M.


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Here's my own version, spinning off the half-demons from Demons Revisited. Start with the standard half-fiend template, then modify as follows.

* * *

Type: The creature’s type remains the same but it gains the shapechanger subtype. Do not recalculate HD, BAB, or saves.

Armor Class: Natural armor bonus improves by +4.

Defenses/Qualities: Gains darkvision 60 feet; DR 5/ good or piercing; and SR equal to creature’s CR + 11 (maximum 25).

Speed: No change; the creature does not gain a fly speed.

Melee: A half-rakshasa gains two claw attacks and a bite attack. Damage depends on its size.

Special Attacks: A half-rakshasa does not gain Smite Good or any other special attacks.

Alternate Spell-Like Abilities: Instead of Darkness 3x/day, Enlarge Person or Reduce Person (either) once/day. Instead of Desecrate, Detect Thoughts 3x/day. Replace Unholy Blight with Suggestion. Replace Contagion with Lightning 3x/day. A half-rakshasa gains no spell-like abilities for having more than 10 levels or hit dice.

Abilities: A half-rakshasa gains Str +2, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +2, Wis +2, and Cha +4.

Shifter: The half-rakshasa gains the SQ change shape (any humanoid of its own size category, alter self), with the limitation that it can only change its shape up to 3x/day

Deceiver: A half-rakshasa gains +4 racial bonuses to Bluff and Disguise checks.

Vicious Heritage: Once a half-rakshasa reaches 10th level, it ceases to gain spell-like abilities and its SR can no longer increase. However, if it seeks out and kills an actual rakshasa with at least as many hit dice as the half-rakshasa, then it takes that rakshasa's place on the Great Wheel. The half-rakshasa immediately becomes a full rakshasa (keeping all its earned experience and character levels), while the rakshasa is reborn as an ordinary mortal.

* * *

Notes: Trying to use the Paizo half-demons as a model here. This guy has no fly speed and no smiting; to balance, he gets better SLAs than most and a nice natural armor bonus. The "enlarge/reduce person" SLA is a nod to Ghatotkacha, the most famous half-rakshasa from the Mahabharata. The Vicious Heritage is my own addition, but it does help explain why there aren't a lot of these guys around, and it gives many (though not all) of them a built-in motivation. A sufficiently arrogant rakshasa might deliberately spawn a half-breed to be a terror to his relatives or rivals, and the Fearless Rakshasa Hunter may actually be a half-rakshasa with an agenda of his own...

Thoughts?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A-ha: it looks like the text of the article is available at the Forgotten Realms wiki. And there's another version -- 3PP? not clear -- at the Spheres of Power wiki.

...hmm, I don't actually love either of these versions. Ah well, if I really need one I can whip up my own. Thanks much anyway, Kalindlara!

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
One of the 3.5 Dragon Magazines (done by Paizo) had a number of half-monster templates, among them the half-rakshasa.

Aha! Does anyone know which issue? Is the article available somewhere?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:

The problem with that, Douglas, is that according to lore Hobgoblins hate arcane magic and distrust everyone who uses it.

Maybe a Cleric of Hadregash?

Ha, forgot that. I had an evil wizard all ready to go...

Well, could still use a mercenary wizard hired by the hobgoblin leadership (and that much more cranky because the troops dislike and distrust her). But alternately, sure, an evil cleric. That works too.

-- Why do this? First, because it gets rid of the rule-bending ballista; I join with the posters who are murmuring their dislike of this. Yes, sometimes you can handwave rules for drama's sake, but this verges on a bit much. And second, because there's never any harm in adding another evil NPC to give the players someone to hate.

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Has anyone ever done a half-rakshasa?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm considering adding an evil human wizard to the hobgoblins' force pool. He should be MUCH too tough for the PCs -- at least 7th level, maybe higher.

In this scenario, we still have the ballista, but what cripples Aubrin long-term is the wizard strolling in and zapping her with Bestow Curse. "-4 on everything" or "50% chance each round to do nothing" are good starting points, but I'm pretty sure a creative DM can come up with a curse that would effectively incapacitate here. Here's one possibility: whenever Aubrin attempts to do anything other than take a move, free, or immediate action, she must make a DC 20 Will save or be Nauseated for d4 rounds. That means she can't usually fight or cast spells, but can still serve as a backup healer and advisor. That's a first pass; I'm sure you guys can come up with something even better.

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Demons Revisited gave us a bunch of new templates for half-fiends: the half-balor, half-succubus, half-marilith, and so forth. These play with the standard half-fiend template in various ways. However, AFAIK this was a one-off -- nobody (not Paizo and not any 3PP) ever did any half-fiend templates for devils or any other sort of fiend. Correct?

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Big Amber Die fan, love these reports.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just got an e-mail that these two will drop on the 29th of March.

Doug M.


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WagnerSika wrote:


@Douglas Muir 406
Your version of Kargeld was really intimidating, do you have some stats for him? And what exactly was the statue of Two Queens? If Kargeld had maanged to set it off what would have happened?

As it happens, we had a conversation about building the good Captain over in the campaign's discussion thread. Here are the relevant posts.

Designing Captain Odenkirk (Mechanics):
The original Captain Odenkirk was a Neutral Evil barbarian. No change there. But he needed a significant power-up and redesign to give him a chance to face this party. With eidolon, dog and ogre you have a total of nine characters who can act every round. That tips the action economy far in your favor. So I knew that mechanically I'd have to build him carefully if I wanted him to last past the first round.

I made him a Bbn 8 / Expert 1. The Expert level was to reflect his captaining skills and long experience at sea, and also to nudge up his skills and Will save. His feats started with the usual barbarian trio Toughness, Power Attack and Cleave. I gave him Iron Will because I knew he'd be facing a lot of spells targeting his Will save, and also because it was thematically appropriate.

After some consideration, I gave him Improved Sunder. The Sunder CM doesn't get a lot of play because it's so cruel -- it targets your beloved weapons, and leaves the fighter types standing helplessly with nothing. But the Captain *is* a cruel bastard, and I felt it would be totally consistent for him to smash your weapon, render you helpless, laugh at you, and then kill you. I gave him an adamantite axe so that he could sunder all day long and, well, you can see how that's worked out.

For barbarian powers I gave him Defensive stance to nudge his AC from bad to mediocre, followed by Spirit Totem and Superstition. If you're following along, this meant that his Will save would gain up to +2 expert +2 Iron Will +3 Superstition +2 rage in addition to the normal +2 for a barbarian and whatever his Wis bonus is. His other saves would also be respectable. Very important when facing four spellcasters at once! (I don't love Superstition for the same reason I don't love Haste -- it's so good that almost everyone takes it. But, hell, you guys took Haste. What's a DM to do? It's an arms race, you gotta keep up.)

He got some special powers from his connection with the Kraken. After some consideration, I decided that (1) he would get regeneration like a troll as long as he was near salt water, and (2) he'd get a better version of Spirit Totem -- among other things, it has a 10' reach and does 2d4 instead of d4.

There was no way to make his AC better than so-so without redesigning the whole character. Ultimately I shrugged and decided that he'd rely on Toughness and raging to bring him through.

He has a 10 Int and only put a single rank in Sense Motive, which meant that -- up until the final boss fight -- you guys were able to scam him pretty effectively. This was deliberate. If I'd made him smarter or cranked his Sense Motive up to the max, he might have seen through you, and that could have been lethal. Putting you on a boat with a powerful hair-trigger paranoiac who was *also* incredibly sensitive and perceptive would have been unfair.

Now, Bag'o'Bones had a high Sense Motive. Luckily for you, you decided to kill him as fast as possible, and his lizard too. (Yeah, the lizard could have been trouble.)

Designing Captain Odenkirk (Roleplaying):
One thing about running an evil campaign is that you guys get to spend a lot more time in the company of evil NPCs. In a standard campaign, you'd just be killing them. Here you get to hang out with them first. So, I've been trying to present different kinds of villainy for your consideration. The Cardinal, Tiadora, Irin, Zargo, and now the Captain... they're all evil, but they're evil in very different ways.

The Captain was mostly straightforward, but there were subtleties. I made him cruel, domineering, paranoid, violent and greedy. Not randomly or recklessly so -- he'll keep his oath to deliver the weapons, and you, to your destinations -- but he's ultimately too selfish and greedy to be trustworthy. In other words, pretty much pure Neutral Evil. Displaying his character to you was a mix of "show" (his constant brutality towards his sailors) and "tell" (the kraken backstory with him sacrificing a shipload of refugees, Nimpy's story, the first mate).

Does the Captain have positive aspects? Well, he's utterly fearless (as seen in the encounter with the Mountain That Swims). And I did give him a faint hint of a softer side: his melancholic yearning for Homeland. He loves his cruel, savage native land. But his brutality and violence got him exiled, and his greed means he'll never pay the blood-prices that would let him go home. So he's really a man trapped by his own character. You could almost feel a tiny bit sorry for him. Of course, this just makes him more violent and cruel. So, maybe not so much.

The Captain's drinking was almost a throwaway line -- he goes onshore sometimes and drinks, but not on the ship because it makes him ill tempered. (As opposed to his normal kindly mild-mannered self.) You guys somehow got the idea of a drinking contest. That's a common fantasy trope, it's true, but not in this case. The Captain is not a social drinker! Quite the opposite.

Anyway. I wanted him to be a fairly well realized NPC; and then I wanted you guys to be wary of him, if not outright frightened by him. You can tell me how well that worked or not.

Depending on your party, you may want to adjust the details. For instance, if you have a standard party of four (mine was six), then lose at least one level of barbarian. But the Captain's low Sense Motive means a clever party *should* be able to get him into a bad situation, and then action economy takes over.

Thank You For Sailing Frosthamar Cruise Lines!

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Skorn wrote:
The culmination of the prestige class is when you get level 6 and gain Infernal Transport, which moves you, and possibly some allies through hell on the way to your destination. So you dimension door or teleport with your party paladin, he sees he he moves momentarily through a place like hell, and you vehemently deny you saw anything of the sort. :)

Becoming a Diabolist requires calling a devil using Planar Binding or Planar Ally. Since these are 5th level spells, normally you must be 9th level (if full caster), meaning you must enter Diabolist at 10th level.

The good news: you are allowed to use a scroll to cast these spells, so you can enter Diabolist earlier -- as early as 6th level, if you're willing to spend a scroll that's a bit expensive at that level, and also risk a spell failure roll. The bad news: I believe this tactic is not allowed in building characters for PFS play. So, if you're playing PFS, you can't enter the Diabolist class until 10th level.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A data point: yesterday there was a special election for the Connecticut State Senate. It was for the 32nd District, which is the reddest district in an otherwise purply-blue state. The 32nd is rural and exurban, and demographically it's oldish and very white. It hasn't sent a Democrat to the Connecticut State House since 1891.

(Why do I know this? Because I used to live in that district, and I spent some time phone banking for the Democrat over the weekend.)

Nobody expected to win this one -- and we didn't. However, the numbers are interesting. In November, the 32nd District went 66-34 for the Republican State Senate candidate. Yesterday, it went 55-45. That's an eleven point swing. This is the second special election in two weeks, and the last one (in Delaware) also saw a swing towards the Democrats. In that case, the swing was about seven points; since it was a purple district to begin with, the Democrat won comfortably.

Special elections happen all the time, and usually nobody pays much attention. But over the next few months, they're going to be a lot more important. If you live in Pennsylvania or Louisiana, you have special elections coming up in March; if you live in Alabama, Kansas or Georgia, you get your chance in April. The Kansas and Georgia elections are for the US House of Representatives, so they'll get extra attention.

Throw a few bucks at a candidate, sign up for a phone bank and make some calls, maybe go knock on a few doors. What the hey.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Daedalus the Dungeon Builder wrote:
DM_DM wrote:
bitter lily wrote:
I'm hoping for a guide on summoning creatures willing to help out for a good cause -- and some reward that makes sense to them!

You're thinking of the Planar Ally spells. That's exactly what they are for.

Doug M.

Which are unavailable for wizards, sorcerers, summoners, etc. Occultist arcanists get them, but so far as I know, the rest are divine caasters.

Yes, divine casters get Planar Ally, arcane casters get Planar Binding. It's been that way since Second Edition which is, yikes, going on thirty years now.

"But I want to play an arcane caster who can make win-win deals with friendly outsiders!" Yes, and maybe you also want to play an arcane caster who can channel divine energy and heal. But the game doesn't allow every possible combination of "character class" and "thing you want to do". You're forced to make choices. Yes, sometimes that's annoying. But it's literally the way the game is played.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Meanwhile, let me try to answer your questions.

-- How quickly can you do the opposed charisma check? I would say immediately. In fact, my interpretation is that it MUST take place immediately. Otherwise, the balance of the spell tips in favor of the caster, who can leave the creature stuck in the circle for ten minutes while he goes to powder his nose and cast a bunch of buffs on himself.

-- What kind of action is it? Normally this is not an issue. Planar Binding takes ten minutes to cast, so whether you do the subsequent check as a free, standard, or full-round action is pretty irrelevant. However, the Blood Summoner's Fiendish Calling Ability happens in a single round, so now time becomes a concern. If you can do it as a free action, that's great. If it requires a standard, then effectively this spell requires two rounds (one to call, one to do the check), making this ability almost useless outside of combat. RAW gives no guidance, so you're on your own here.

Personally, I think requiring a standard or even a FRA is completely reasonable. Yes, it nerfs the Blood Summoner a bit. You know what? The Blood Summoner is pretty cheesy to begin with, and Fiendish Calling is super abusable. Requiring a round of bargaining isn't going to break it -- you can still require your called creature to stick around for days, after all.

-- "If you can immediately make a check is the trap even necessary?" Yes, because if you FAIL the check, the creature is then free to do as it pleases -- attack you, teleport away to wreak chaos on the material plane, or simply roll its eyes and plane shift back home. The trap prevents these things... the creature is stuck for up to days/level, and you can come back and attempt a new check every day.

Note that this is another reason not to use the Blood Summoner's ability in combat. In a normal planar binding, you can accept a failure chance of (let's say) 30%; if you fail, you just try again tomorrow. Use Fiendish Calling in combat, and that's a 30% chance that you've just added another enemy.

-- "So, is the trap part of the magic of the binding, or is it only highly-advised?" The latter.

-- "And what if you want to call a creature, but not bind it (e.g. an allied outsider from a different plain, or a creature that you worship)? Can you in this case leave the trap away?" Normally that's impossible, because a normal Planar Binding selects a random typical creature of that particular type... you get a randomly selected ice devil or whatever. The only exception is if you have the creature's true name, in which case you can summon it again and again.

-- "Does the creature have to inform you when its task is done? Can it not inform you and stay on the current plain indefinitely?" -- Oh, clever. Well, let's see: the duration of the spell is days/level, so at that point the spell would expire, sending the creature back home. Most called creatures WANT to go home; they have lives and jobs, and they don't want to hang around on the material plane. But, okay, there will be exceptions. Presumably most summoners will include a "report back promptly" instruction, but this is not required. So *if* the summoner forgets or neglects to include this instruction, and *if* the creature has some reason or motivation to hang around on the material plane, then yes, it could stay here for up to days/level of the caster.

-- "What does unreasonable mean here? Such commands that are not logically consistent? Otherwise what marks an unreasonable command?" The RAW is not clear. However, one definition of unreasonable is "extreme". IMO, this includes commands that would cause the creature to die; or to have a very high likelihood of death; or that would cause it to violate its alignment.

Good questions. The Planar Binding spells are not very well written, and the Blood Summoner just adds another level of complication.

Doug M.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I addressed most of these questions in DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, which can be found here and also here (second part) Where rules and FAQ don't give clear answers, I try to fill in the blanks as best I can.

If you're looking for things to call with the Planar Binding spells, google "Crowdsource Planar Binding" -- there are three threads, one for each of the PB spells, with dozens of creatures discussed. If you're playing at high levels, or planning to, google "miniguide Gate".

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First Choice: CotCT. It has everything -- urban intrigue, dungeons, wilderness, well developed NPCs, and even a Deck of Many Things. It was good to begin with, and then the hardback collection is even better -- they cleaned up some minor problems and added some good stuff. There's a reason this got collected; it's always been one of the top three APs. Unless you have a very unusual group of players, you can't really go wrong with Crimson Throne. (Also, it has one of the more active forums on this board, so you'll always have a chance to ask questions and bounce ideas.)

Second Choice: Strange Aeons. Lovecraft Lovecraft Lovecraft. Very well done -- I'm running it right now and having a fine old time. It is a horror AP and, as noted, four of the five modules involve a very protracted chase. If your players don't care for horror, or aren't cool with the somewhat unusual way it starts, then no. But otherwise, it's a strong contender.

Third Choice: Iron Gods. People tend to either like this a lot or... not. I'm in the not-group. I don't love the concept to begin with; I also don't think the implementation was all that great. (Like, an archer build is always going to be better than a laser pistol, type of thing.) As others have noted, it's really three plot-arcs that are only loosely connected. There are a number of annoying plot holes right from the start. ("Okay, so four other adventurer parties have gone down that hole, including the high level wizard. None have come And as to PC motivation, when a module's intro basically says "well there's no compelling reason for the PCs to go through this module except to grind and get stuff, so they may want to skip ahead", then you know there's a problem. If you think your players will go nuts for WOW D&D plus groovy sci-fi high-tech, and also your players will grind ahead without worrying too much about plot, then maybe. But honestly, I'd pick either of the other two in a flash.

Doug M.


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Reduxist wrote:
@Douglas Muir there are also the Caller's Feathers which are one-use items that can boost your HD limit. At 2,000 GP or 1,000 if crafting it, it's a steal at 15th level. There also racisl traits that augment Planar Ally such as the Aasimar's Planar Negotiator, which reduces bargaining prices by 10%, or the Drow's Blasphemous Covenant , which specifically targets demons, but reduces the cost by a whopping 20% on top of giving demons you summoned via Summon Monster additional health.

Someone has read my Guide to the Diabolist!

Or if you haven't read it, and you knew that stuff anyway - then go read it, please, and tell me if you have any comments. Well-informed input is the very best kind.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Kneller, it's a balance issue. You're correct to say that the spells tend to be either weak or situational. That's because the diviner's Forewarned power is either really strong, or crazy strong, depending on just how combat-heavy your campaign is and how closely your DM follows the initiative rules.

If you build towards this power -- for instance, by SADding up your INT, cranking your spell DCs as high as possible, choosing a lot of save-or-suck spells, and then taking Improved Initiative -- you can end a lot of combats before they begin. An enemy pops up, bam you probably get at least one SOS spell off before it can do a thing. Tactically, this is awesome. So it's only fair that it's balanced by forcing you to take a lot of situational or suboptimal spells.

-- Oh, and the Diviner's Fortune power gets overlooked a lot, but it's not half bad. You use this whenever someone is making an important skill check -- disarming a trap, making a critical bluff, whatever -- or when you know someone will have to make a save. Unlike the bard's Inspire Competence power, it's silent and unobtrusive. And of course you can zap yourself with it: I really need to make this Knowledge check: zing!

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
the Diviner wrote:
A binding focused Mythos Cultist should consider going Darkfire Adept. Especially with the new prestige class feats that makes you not lose casting progression or CL.

I have to disagree. I wrote the Mini-Guide to the Blackfire Adept (aka the Darkfire Adept if you're using the PFSRD), and my conclusion there was that this PrC is painfully underpowered. If you add in the feats from Path of the Righteous... well, here's what I wrote:

Quote:

Okay, so I've just been made aware of the new feats (from Paths of the Righteous) that return casting levels lost from taking a PrC. First there's Favored Prestige Class, which lets you treat one PrC as a favored class. That's obviously suboptimal -- you'd be better off taking toughness -- but not completely useless. Then there's Prestigious Caster, which has Favored Prestige Class as a prerequisite. This feat restores one lost level of casting! And you can take it multiple times to restore multiple levels.

This isn't amazing, but it does make the Blackfire Adept slightly less miserable. Burn these two feats and you're still pretty weak from sixth to eighth levels, but at ninth you start using Lesser Planar Binding to call 12 HD creatures.

One slight complication: since it already costs two feats to become a Blackfire Adept, if you want to enter this class immediately but not lose a level of casting at 6th level, then you'll have to play either a human (bonus feat) or a wizard (bonus magic feat at 5th). Otherwise you'll have to take your two prerequisite feats at 1st and 3rd levels, then Favored Prestige Class at 5th, and Prestigious Caster at 7th.

I'll stand by that, except to add a couple of minor points: in order to get full value out of this combo you really want Augment Calling. That's the whole point of the exercise -- you get to abuse the Planar Binding spells (and Gate, if you live that long) by calling stuff up to 4 HD above the limit. So Augment Calling pretty much has to be your 9th level feat. So unless you're playing a human, that's your first five feats locked in. Also, the Blackfire Adept has to throw 5 skill ranks each at two skills and also pick up two languages. Since clerics only get a miserable two skill ranks/level, you really want to either play a human, or invest in an INT of 12 or higher -- otherwise you can't enter this class at 6th level (nor invest in any other interesting or useful skills).

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Whoops: found the magic item that makes Energumen work for you. It's the Padma Blossom.

The Padma Blossom wrote:

Aura faint abjuration and enchantment; CL 3rd;

Slot none; Price 8,000 gp; Weight —.

DESCRIPTION

This perfect lotus flower formed from pink jade offers purity of mind and spiritual calm. While grasped, the blossom grants its holder a +3 competence bonus on Concentration checks and suppresses the following on its holder: morale bonuses, fear effects, and the confused, dazed, or stunned conditions. Twice per day, the bearer can cast calm emotions.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Wondrous Item, calm emotions, remove fear; Cost 4,000 gp.

That's from the 2011 module _Cult of the Ebon Destroyer_, and frankly I think it's kinda OP for the price. Perhaps they thought it was balanced because it shut down morale bonuses too? But anyway, there you go -- pick up one of these babies, if your DM will allow it, and your Confusion issues go away.

Doug M.


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Reduxist wrote:
Just realized something (again); this was probably coincidental and a bit of a reach, but due to the charisma dependency and the fact that you can use the Void domain, you can also specialize in Planar Binding spells.

Wait, the Void domain gives you *all three* Planar Binding spells?

Oh hell to the yes. Suddenly this Archetype makes all kinds of sense. Right now, all the core planar binders have a problem: wizards usually have crap Cha while sorcerors are handicapped by their low spells known. And clerics, of course, can't use planar binding at all -- they're stuck with the distinctly inferior Planar Ally spell instead. But this cuts right past all those problems. AND you have access to the human or tiefling FCB, which lets you pretty much ignore SR! Sweet. Sweeeet.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matt2VK wrote:
A cheap and mean tactic is wizard using vermin repellent and standing in the middle of a swarm of vermin. Players HATE swarms. *GM call that the swarm failed save on the repellant.*

My PCs once stumbled across a drug laboratory run by a gnome alchemist. The alchemist immediately began drinking extracts (buffing) while alternately offering long-winded explanations and begging for mercy. The PCs were just about to charge him and cut him down when he drank one last extract, said, "Ugh... that one was... I don't think..." and then, well, the extract was Vomit Swarm. That one makes you puke up a swarm of spiders, which will attack anyone in range while leaving you alone.

Standing in the middle of the vomited swarm, he gnome coughed a couple of times, swallowed, then looked up and said brightly, "Well then! Better out than in, right?"

The PCs stopped cold in their tracks. By the time they had recovered their composure, the heavily buffed gnome had turned invisible and was launching his first salvo of bombs...

Yeah, swarms are good.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WagnerSika wrote:
I read the gameplay of your PbP game on these boards. Incredibly well done! All those backstories and expansions to an already well written campaign were really good. I envy those players that participated. My hat's off to you sir!

Aw. Thank you.

That was a really fun campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Additional thought on multiclassing: if you start as a Ghoul bloodline sorceror with at least a 12 Str, then the weapon issue is less troublesome -- you're going Mystic Theurge so you'll never be very good in melee, but two full attacks for d4+1 and a +1 to natural AC mean you're not quite as pathetic as a typical Theurge. And, of course, it's nicely thematic.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah let's just leave this be. If anyone wants to discuss whether Guides are a good idea? That's fine, it's a totally reasonable topic for this forum -- but start a separate thread instead of threadjacking. Meshaka put work into this Guide; it deserves its own discussion.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The whole Guide question probably deserves a thread of its own. I will note that Paizo does publish a lot of... trap options? Well, let's say, stuff that is clearly suboptimal in actual play. That's a thing.

Doug M.


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Dreikaiserbund wrote:
I suspect it will never be particularly optimal, but a Cleric (Elder Mythos Cultist) / Sorcerer (Aberrant, Impossible, or Ghoul Bloodline) / Mystic Theurge would be thematic as hell.

Oh, heck yes. A Bad Touch Cleric with a 10' reach? SAD everything on Cha, go Aberrant. Yeah, you have to wait until 8th level before you get your Theurge on, but you get oh, so many spells to play with. Even if weakish as a PC, you'd have an awesome NPC cult leader or something.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Idle thought: being Cha-based does open up some new possibilities for multiclassing. Dipping bard is still suboptimal, of course -- but it's thematic for a cleric of Azathoth, and does open up some nice synergies. If you're a bad touch cleric, dipping Mesmerist may hardly be suboptimal at all, if you're hitting people with a lot of save-or-suck Will saves.

Doug M.


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I have to disagree about the racial Favored Class bonuses for humans and tieflings. +1/level against Spell Resistance is flat-out amazing. As a very general rule, outsiders have SR that's around your level +10, so that you have around a 50% chance of getting through. So once you hit +10, you can _pretty much ignore SR_. This is totally worth 10 hp or 10 skill ranks! Think of it this way -- you can get +1 hp/level from Toughness, but you'll only get +2 against SR from a feat (Spell Penetration). So this Favored Class bonus is like getting Spell Penetration over and over again every two rounds.

It's great for any cleric, but it's *even more* great for you. Evil outsiders are like your whole thing! You'll be probably be going against them even more than normal clerics. So anything that gives you an edge is solid gold.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

IIUC this is a failed port from earlier editions. (It used to be nastier.) There aren't a lot of these, but a few crept in.

In its current form, it would be a good solid 3rd level spell or a very weak 4th level spell. As a 5th level spell... yeah, no. It's thematic and cool, but mechanically it's just too pathetic to ever be worth the bother. Using the spell DC as the swarm save moves it from ridiculous to just very weak.

If you could move the swarms, now. But no, it's RAW that they're stationary. Which is annoying, because the darn things normally have a 40' Fly speed. And the swarms called by Summon Swarm -- 2nd level spell -- can move, albeit automatically and not under your control. And they also must be contiguous, which nerfs this even further. About the only thing to work with here is that it's long range, meaning you could cast it from so far away that nobody knows you're casting. But, meh, by the time you're throwing 5th level spells that's not usually much of an issue.

Quick comparison: Summon Swarm gives you a choice of three swarms, two of which are CR 2. So to be balanced, this should give you a swarm that's around CR 5. A naive analysis might say "well it gives three CR 3 swarms, that's at least CR 5". But if the swarms don't move, then no, it's not. It's like comparing three orcs standing immobile, so you never have to fight more than one at a time, to three orcs who can dogpile you.

Comparison #2: Summon Monster V lets you call stuff like the CR 5 bearded devil, the CR 6 babau or the CR 6 salamander -- mobile, intelligent melee brutes with a bunch of useful abilities and SLAs. (And you get to choose from a list.) There's pretty much no situation where you're going to prefer the wasp swarms to casting SM V.

TLDR, your initial assessment unfortunately correct.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Devilkiller wrote:
Having the devil report back to Hell definitely seems like a good idea. If the players find some other form of "scry and fry" to use it might not be hard to lure them into a trap or two. Maybe when they Teleport in to murder the boss they find that the boss in the bed is actually just a simulacrum/doppelganger/etc, but he's protected by a bunch of murderous bodyguards who hop out from behind curtains/pillars/secret panels. Alternately or in addition, perhaps the whole room is a trap, like a magic Roach Motel - PCs check in, but they don't check out...

I'd hesitate to do this unless (1) the boss is high level, or (2) s/he is already aware that invisible magical stalkers and/or Dimension Door-ing assassins are a thing. Personally, I would let the PCs have some successes with their "invisible flying scout + Dimension Door" tactics before hitting them with something like this. Behavior that's rewarded, tends to be repeated... until it isn't.

Also, I'm wondering how Dim Door got them in? They're, what, 7th or 8th level? Each casting of Dim Door lets you bring one medium creature / three levels along, so at 6th through 8th levels the wizard can bring himself and maximum two friends. Is it a small party?

Also, note that unless you're holding another 4th level slot in reserve, Dim Door might get you *out* again so easily. And even if you do have the slot, if things get unexpectedly lively, then casting may require a Concentration check.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:

@Douglas, check this link: summoned creatures are not real.

The ruling is intentionally vague so you can easily adapt to your setting. In golarion summoned creatures are made of magic, conjured creatures are real.

I'm aware the James Jacobs has said so. But that's not /quite/ the same as an official ruling.

I'm actually fine with this being the rule. I'll usually accept a designer statement _faute de mieux_, and it's the version of the rule I go with in my Guide to Planar Binding and Guide to the Diabolist. That said, AFAIK Paizo has never quite clarified this. I had hoped they would in the Summoner's Guide -- you'd think, right? -- but, nope.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shadowkras wrote:
A summoned accuser devil is not an actual, existing, accuser devil, but a construct of magic. So this accuser devil ceases to exist once the spell's duration is over.

IMS this was true in 3.0 / 3.5, but I'm not sure Pathfinder has a canonical ruling on this point. (Anyone?)

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's a well designed feat. It makes dipping Spiritualist a lot more intriguing, and opens up a lot of interesting character concepts both thematically and mechanically. However, the four-level limit means it's not munchkin bait.

In this particular case, if you're going to take more than one more level of Bloodrager, you probably want the feat -- it'll be worth it.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, so I've just been made aware of the new feats (from Paths of the Righteous) that return casting levels lost from taking a PrC. First there's Favored Prestige Class, which lets you treat one PrC as a favored class. That's obviously suboptimal -- you'd be better off taking toughness -- but not completely useless. Then there's Prestigious Caster, which has Favored Prestige Class as a prerequisite. This feat restores one lost level of casting! And you can take it multiple times to restore multiple levels.

This isn't amazing, but it does make the Blackfire Adept slightly less miserable. Burn these two feats and you're still pretty weak from sixth to eighth levels, but at ninth you start using Lesser Planar Binding to call 12 HD creatures.

One slight complication: since it already costs two feats to become a Blackfire Adept, if you want to enter this class immediately but not lose a level of casting at 6th level, then you'll have to play either a human (bonus feat) or a wizard (bonus magic feat at 5th). Otherwise you'll have to take your two prerequisite feats at 1st and 3rd levels, then Favored Prestige Class at 5th, and Prestigious Caster at 7th.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, Crimson Cadaver! Welcome to the wonderful world of guides. And you've done a good one, so congratulations! Here are a few comments.

-- Trivia: this class was formerly the Demonic Initiate back in 3.5.

-- Your demonic mark lets you recast any spell once/day, but this time with the chaos and evil descriptor. Note that there are a number of traits, feats and items that build on this. For instance, there's the Maleficium feat chain from Champions of Corruption:

Quote:

Maleficium (Damnation)

You are a master of dark magic.

Benefit: You cast spells with the evil descriptor with increased potency.

One Damnation Feat: Add 1 to the DCs of all saving throws against spells with the evil descriptor that you cast.

Two Damnation Feats: When you apply a metamagic feat to a spell with the evil descriptor, that spell takes up a spell slot 1 level lower than normal (to a minimum of 1 level above the spell’s actual level).

Three Damnation Feats: Add 1 to the DCs of all saving throws against spells with the evil descriptor that you cast. This bonus stacks with the earlier benefits of this feat.

Four Damnation Feats: Treat your caster level as being 2 higher for all level-dependent effects of spells with the evil descriptor that you cast.

There's also the Dark Magic Affinity trait (tieflings only, +1 ECL on evil spells), the Orb of Foul Abaddon (same), and so forth.

-- So the succubus and the babaus.

Digression -- short rant about PrC design:
Paizo had this annoying thing they did with most of their early PrCs: at level X of the PrC, they would give you a fixed ability (like summoning a particular creature) that would not scale with level. This was doubly annoying because (1) it forced characters towards a rigid "you MUST enter this PrC as soon as possible or you won't get the full benefits" build, and (2) the ability would usually become useless after a couple of levels. To add insult to injury, a few years back one of the Paizo designers stood up at a con and delivered a talk where he used this as one of the justifications for PrCs being a bad/outdated feature of the game. No, dude -- that doesn't mean PrCs are bad design concept, it means you're bad at designing PrCs. Paizo has gotten somewhat better at this, but there's still an ambivalence about PrCs in the design team, and this annoying non-scaling class ability thing still pops up all too often.

Anyway! Don't mind me. The succubus and the babaus, right. A thing that's unclear is whether you can use metamagic (specifically, Extend Spell) on these. That's relevant because succubi and babaus both get better if they can hang around longer. Babaus are scouts and assassins. Succubi are spies and manipulators. If you only have 12 rounds or whatever, that's not a lot of time for them to work. Still, the babaus do make fine flank buddies, even at high levels, and the succubus' ability to fly plus her suite of high-DC SLAs will keep her useful for a while. If you're going to be doing a lot of summoning, consider Academae Graduate or the Sacred Summons feat. (SS is normally kinda useless, but it'll work with your demons. Acadamae Graduate can leave you fatigued until you're able to acquire a Cord of Stubborn Resolve.)

-- So Energumen. This encourages save-or-suck spell builds, and also investing in Spell Penetration (because nothing is more annoying than throwing a great SOS with a high DC and then watching it bounce off SR). It also has other uses, including a barbarian-like temporary boost to Str in melee, temporary hit points (bump your Con as a free action) and emergency AC bonus.

The big negative is the Confusion effect. DC 25 is pretty brutal even for classes with strong Will. Annoyingly, the Demoniac class itself emphasizes Fort and has a weak Will save. Well, okay: your base class is going to be strong Will, meaning that at 7th level you'll have +5 and another +2 for Iron Will plus probably a cloak of resistance or something. If you're not a Wis-based caster, keep your Will at minimum 12 anyway (it's just good to have good Will and Perception), so you'll start at +8 to +10. Seriously consider throwing a feat at Improved Iron Will -- it's a decent feat anyway and this really improves your chances of making the save. Invest in Wis- and save-boosting items. Note that it's never a bad thing to have one PC in the party who has a sky-high Will save -- when everyone else is following the siren's song off a cliff or whatever, it's good to have one guy who resists the enchantment and sees through the illusion. Even if that one guy is a chaotic evil maniac sworn to the service of the Abyss.

Anyway: yeah, a wand of Protection from Evil is an important early investment. Give it to another party member who can use it, and have them zap you on the initiative after Energumen wears off. (Doing it yourself is less good, because it means you lose the last round of Energumen.) If you don't trust your fellow PCs -- and, um, if they're chaotic evil too, then maybe not -- consider investing in an improved familiar or Leadership. Worst case scenario, I believe there's a trait somewhere that gives you +10 on your d100 Confusion roll.

-- Note that this is a somewhat feat-hungry PrC. You need Demoniac Obedience and Iron Will to enter, then you really should take Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Caster. Add any one of Improved Iron Will or Leadership or Spell Penetration and bam, that's your first five feat slots gone. Not necessarily a bad thing, but players who love fiddling with elaborate feat chains should be warned off. If you're going for the Maleficium damnation feat chain, start as early as you can.

-- Just for fun, here's a demoniac NPC from an old campaign of mine. Good times, Father Joe. Good times.

Anyway, a fine Guide. Congratulations on the good work!

cheers,

Doug M.


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Heretic_CrossbowmaN wrote:
Oh, and here is another question! How can contract devil go onto Material Plane to contact party?

Contract devils have Plane Shift plus Greater Teleport as SLAs. In fact, this devil has a lot of SLAs that are designed to help it find people. Behind the scenes, it can work like this:

-- Contract devil gets a notice from Hell's bureaucracy that someone is abusing the Summon Accuser Devil spell in [location of PC]. The notice includes whatever the accuser devil knows about the PC, which presumably would include a name and basic description.

-- Devil plane-shifts to Golarion (or wherever), then use its Locate Creature SLA to get the PC's precise location. Then it uses Teleport to move close to PC.

-- Devil can now use Arcane Eye to spy on PC, or Vision to get information about PC's needs, desires, and vulnerabilities. If you really want to twist the knife, have the devil bring an accuser devil along with it -- this bends the rules slightly, but you could IMO justify it, and now the contract devil has a little invisible flying scout. This is not strictly necessary, but you want to see the look on the player's face when the accuser devil that it's been summoning materializes on the contract devil's shoulder, or crawls into its lap to be petted like a cat...

-- When the devil is ready, it uses its at-will dimension door, i.e. to PC's room a few moments before PC walks in.

-- Once negotiations begin, don't forget the contract devil has Detect Thoughts at will and +26 Sense Motive (but is itself completely immune to enchantments, suggestions, and all other mind-affecting effects).

-- If the PCs attack, remember this is a CR 10 creature with a lot of useful SLAs, including a 50% chance to summon a bone devil. In fact, if the PCs seem likely to challenge the accuser, it might use its summons ability in advance, and then have the bone devil lurking invisibly nearby -- bone devils have good Stealth and quickened invisibility as a SLA. Alternately, it could use the bone devil as part of a "good cop, bad cop" act -- bone devils are vicious torturers and inquisitors, after all. If negotiations go very badly, the devil can just shrug, drop a delayed blast fireball (13d6 damage, DC 23 save, and the devil itself is immune to fire) or a bestow curse, and teleport away.

Some of the Paizo fiends are kind of goofy, but the contract devil is actually pretty well designed -- its SLAs work neatly with its game function. Also, they have Int 24 and Wis 23, so you're justified in playing them as smug know-it-all bastards who always have a backup plan. They're a lot of fun IMO. Good luck!

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

1) Pets are a good, cheap, "low-tech" way to protect against invisible creatures. However, anything with the Scent ability will work just as well. Give your kidnap victims a couple of wererat bodyguards: voila. Or several large, vicious dogs. The devil can fly above them but they'll go crazy with barking and howling, possibly scaring it off.

2) Invisible or not, Little Buzzy has no way to get through a locked door.

Doug M.

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