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Judge Tohram Quasangi wrote:
You might also have forgotten that you and Trik were (briefly) good buddies -- he scored some Inflict Wounds potions off Zargo for you. Mind, it's also perfectly possible that the Judge is evolving beyond that sort of thing.
Elise looks across the table at you, her expression neutral. "Watch the Ninth Knot's back. I think we can do that."
Tiadora nods curtly. "Very well. One last matter.
"The Ninth lost a member, and needs a new recruit. Fortunately, one is available. I brought him with me." A gnome steps out from behind her. "This creature is not, in fact, a gnome. He wears an illusion-casting collar, as you do. He is a member of the vermin-race known as kobolds. He studied alchemy with Doctor Zargo." Once again, Tiadora's expression speaks volumes.
"So far, the creature has been a loyal servant of the Cardinal, and he has signed the same Compact as you. Many mortals who choose the path of alchemy eventually go insane. If this becomes an issue, you have permission to kill him. Otherwise, treat him as a full member of your Knot, with the same value as the rest of you." Not a very high value she does not quite say out loud.
"If there is nothing further... meet me tonight before the guard post outside Calliver Green."
I don't generally offer mulligans, but Judge are you *quite* sure that openly insulting the other team in front of the management representative was what you wanted to do here? Especially given that (1) your lives may depend on the other team, and (2) the management representative is a violently authoritarian sadist with a hair-trigger temper?
Judge Tohram Quasangi wrote:
Tiadora can move very quickly when she wants to. She is suddenly standing next to the Judge and grasping him by the throat.
"I said that you were to cooperate. It seems you took this as an invitation to test the boundaries of acceptable insolence. In that sense, you are to be congratulated." She lifts one red-nailed hand...
Wait, didn't we play pretty much EXACTLY this same scene a while back? [checks] Why yes... yes, we did.
Jax Naismith wrote:
The sword is silent for a time. Then it speaks again. You say my purpose is that of my wielder -- that is to say, yours. Yet I am not certain that you know your own purpose. It is silent again for a time, then says I know my name. It may change later, but I know what it is now.
Call me... Brink.
Buying stuff for you, certainly not. Scouring the town to locate stuff for you, or taking your money to get a potion cooked or a scroll written while you're stuck in the Tower doing whatever, maybe.
Second, what about intelligence gathering or missions at our direction to support our mission to the tower?
Elise's lip curls slightly. " 'At your direction'? I think not." She turns to Tiadora. "We two Knots are peers and equals, correct? Neither of us has been placed in a position of authority over the other."
"Correct." Tiadora nods curtly. "It is expected that you will cooperate. If you do not, I will send the Sisters, or come myself. And then you will beg for the release that only merciful death can bring." This last is delivered in a perfectly matter-of-fact tone.
"Are there any questions?"
Across the table, Trik's handsome face is twisted into a rueful grin. Trak looks a bit mournful, as usual. Dostan's face is a frown of concentration. Elise Zadaria's expression has gone very blank.
DC 20 Sense Motive:
She is not happy at all at being consigned to backup. Really pissed, actually.
Tiadora continues. "The Seventh Knot departed Farholde almost a month ago, heading into the Caer Bryr. Their next to last message stated that they believed they had found the location, variously known as the Dark Tower, the Horn of Abaddon, the Catademnon, or Night Hill. It was supposed to be about a day's ride somewhat south of west, just north of a small river. Their last message stated that they were departing overland for the Tower.
"No further communications were received from the Seventh Knot. As best we can determine, they are all dead.
"Ninth Knot, you will retrace the steps of the Seventh -- obviously, with greater care. You will locate the Dark Tower, break the seal that closed the portal to Abaddon, summon the daemon prince Vetra-Kali to this plane, and acquire the Tears of Achlys.
"Whatever killed the Seventh may be waiting for you. You will evade, defeat or destroy it. There may be other obstacles and difficulties. You will overcome them.
"The Cardinal has had a number of divinations cast regarding this expedition." Tiadora's lovely features take on an expression of contempt. "Our... soothsayer claims, that divination around the Tower is extraordinarily difficult. Remarkably, the Cardinal has accepted this excuse." You can see in Tiadora's eyes what is unspoken: I would have had the dirty little animal slowly flayed alive for her failure. Some day... "However, one thing became clear: breaking the seal will require time. Certainly days, possibly longer. Therefore," she turns to the other side of the table, "Eighth Knot, you will backstop the Ninth. As far as we know, the seal has been forgotten by the descendants of the Victor. But it is possible that tampering with it may activate some long-forgotten alarm. Your duty is to stay here in Farholde and watch the Ninth's back. You will prevent anyone from traveling to the Tower and interfering with their work."
Elise Zadaria raises one finger. "So, we will not be directly involved in the assault on the Tower or the breaking of the seal? Our duties are to remain concealed here in Farholde, to watch and to support?"
"Precisely." Tiadora turns back to you. "Should you of the Ninth fail as well, the Eighth will be activated to take your place. Understand that death is the only excuse for failure."
Yeah, they're really trying to push some of their older stuff out the door. Right now they're selling hard copies of 3.5 modules for $2 each, which is basically "take these off our hands, please".
(And here's a plug: while many of the 3.5 modules were so-so, Nicholas Logue's "Hangman's Noose" is an overlooked gem. If you've been thinking "I want an unusual horror-mystery for 1st level PCs, with lots and lots of NPCs and role-playing potential," then $2 plus postage for this is really a steal.)
Mind you, this also kind of precludes the idea of a hardcover compilation for Second Darkness or one of the other APs people have bandied about - at least, for a while. Because why remove a product that wasn't selling from the warehouses only to replace it with a new version that might not sell? Runelords had the benefit of being hugely popular. The next hardcover compilation, if there ever is one, will be another of the popular APs in all likelihood.
This. What you want is something that there's plausibly a demand for. Honestly, if they do an AP (who knows) my money would be on Kingmaker. It's already selling out faster than all the APs before it back to RotRL. It provides a really unique experience that a lot of potential buyers would find interesting. About the only strike against it is, if they do a hardcover of it then they can't do another kingdom building AP for several more years.
Of APs that are either OOP or heading that way, the two most popular are pretty clearly CotCT and Kingmaker. I'd be delighted to see a CotCT hardcover, but I suspect Kingmaker (1) might have an edge in popularity, and (2) might be slightly better in business terms, as it ties in with more other products.
Edmin, were you trying to say something there?
-- So the gameplay may get slightly nonlinear for a bit. We potentially have Jax talking to his sword; possible interactions en route (with the bugbears or the Fourth Knot, or on the barge with Tiadora); teatime with the Eighth Knot; and/or poking around Farholde (especially once a link to the gazetteer is posted).
All of these are optional! It's perfectly okay to say "never mind, let's just fast forward to dinner with the Baron.
Before dinner with the Baron, you will have a brief meeting with Tiadora and the Eighth Knot.
The Eighth, it turns out, have been in Farholde for a few days already. The four of them are seated around one side of the table. They look well groomed and well dressed. The three males are wearing Talirean colors, blue and white. Trik greets you with a broad smile -- "Hello again!" His brother Trak gives you a solemn nod. From Dostan the half-elf, you get a glare of smoldering dislike.
Elise Zadaria is wearing red. (She looks fantastic.) She idly strokes the feathers of her white bird, which is perched on the arm of her chair. "Yes, I see you survived your little expedition. Well, mostly." She leans back in her chair, a glass of wine in her hand. Her eyes sparkle with amusement and malice. "We'll be fascinated to hear all about your trip... the accommodations, the company, the food..."
"Silence." Tiadora stands at the head of the table. She delivers a cold stare to Elise, and then another to Zimu. "The Cardinal is aware of your petty rivalry. It does not interest him. If you allow it to interfere with your mission in any way, you will be subject to Correction. Do you understand?"
"Of course, Lady Tiadora." Elise casts her eyes meekly downward. But is there the hint of a mocking smirk at one corner of her mouth?
DC 12 Sense Motive:
Yes. Yes, there is.
DC 17 Sense Motive:
They're tanned, they're rested, they're ready. Whatever the Eighth Knot may have been through, at the moment they are exuding good health and quiet confidence.
DC 16 Perception:
You notice they have several new items of equipment. Elise is wearing a little circlet or headband. (It looks fabulous.) Dostan has a new sword, with a very fancy-looking scabbard.
After ten days' travel, the barge docks at Farholde. Tiadora has already contacted Baron Vandermir and arranged for you to have dinner
This gives you some time to investigate Farholde (if you like). The Judge and Sir Edmin both know the town, so you can serve as guides.
I have a short gazetteer of Farholde, which I can send as a doc to whoever wants to post it. Contact me by e-mail at 'vormuir' in the domain men call yahoo dot com.
Any advice on the best of the 3.5 adventure paths? I've got the PF Runelords anniversary book and pdf already and I'm considering grabbing all of Legacy of Fire.
The current sale covers the first four APs -- Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Legacy of Fire. If you've already got RotRL, I'd personally put CotCT above Legacy; they're both fine APs, but I think Curse just has more interesting stuff going on. But YMMV; you won't go wrong with either of those. As to Second Darkness, most people would put that one pretty far down the list -- the first two modules are perfectly okay, but the AP as a whole is not considered one of the better ones.
Dren of the Dark Tapestry wrote:
He began to finally understand the name of one of the beings of the vast darkness, he could almost picture its unworldly biology…HAVERO...
Ah heh heh heh.
Edmin Al'Roth wrote:
Well spoken. -- You and the Eighth will have different missions; Tiadora will be giving you mission briefings shortly.
Jax Naismith wrote:
That will involve a lot of take-20s. What's your Linguistics again?
Jax Naismith wrote:
The sword suddenly speaks, clearly and coherently, for the first time. Why did you do that? Its voice hums and thrums, rises and falls oddly, as if each word were spoken by a different person.
After several villages have been tormented he steps out from the utter darkness when she appears back on the ship, What is it you hope to attain from what you do? Is this a need that drives you, flitting fancy...I am curious about why people do what they do.
Tiadora's recent exertions have left her in (for her) an unusually expansive mood.
"I walk among the rabble, dearest, wearing a form of authority and respect -- a senior Inquisitor of Mitra, or an Alerion Knight. I announce that this community has been infiltrated by the diabolical followers of the fiend-god Asmodeus, and that I will root them out.
"At first, most are eager to help. But then I turn my attentions to the helpless, the innocent, pillars of the community who obviously cannot be guilty. I bring them screaming torture and fire, and when they do not confess, I affirm this as evidence of their guilt. Eventually... oh, very eventually, because the rabble are slow to doubt their masters... but eventually, someone questions, someone protests.
"And then..." As noted, Tiadora rarely smiles. But she smiles now. She nods towards the flames, still burning along the shore. "To protest the work of one of Mitra's chosen is to defy the will of the King and the God himself. Surely the entire community must be infected with the taint of Hell! There is only one thing to be done."
She leans one arm on the railing, looks contemplative. "I leave most alive, of course. Injured and terrified, but alive. It's careful work." And, indeed, she has the look of someone who has spent a few hours at some slightly difficult but not uninteresting task, and who has attended to it with diligence and care.
Huh! Between yesterday and today, they adjusted a bunch of prices upward. They're still on sale, but are no longer crazy cheap. I'm guessing that $2 figure was an error on someone's part.
That said, you can still pick up all of Curse of the Crimson Throne for $6.99 per module. (At least, for now you can. Maybe not for much longer, as two of these six modules are now on the "just a few left" list.) AP modules currently go for $23 each, or about $16 with the subscriber's discount. And CotCT is a really good AP; even though it's 3.5 and several years old, it's still firmly lodged on most people's top five. An entire AP for less than the current retail cost of two modules... that seems pretty attractive.
I notice that some of the 3.5 modules were going for just $2 each yesterday, but have bounced back up to $4.49 today. Was that deliberate, or was the original $2 price a mistake?
Tiadora is not idle. Though the barge is adequately provisioned and never docks, every night or two it anchors within sight of a village or keep. Tiadora can step across half a mile of water with a moment's thought. As night falls, she does so. Soon, you hear screams from the shore. After a little while, flames rise. Tiadora reappears a few hours later, not smiling exactly -- she rarely smiles -- but with an air of satisfaction about her.
The barge, while not luxurious, is infinitely more comfortable than the Frosthamar. There are four two-bunk cabins, plus a large captain's cabin (which Tiadora occupies, of course). The food, while basic, is decent stuff -- far better than the wormy biscuits, ancient smoked meat, and green water that sustained you on your journey north. There is a crew of three. Their speech is vague and their eyes are haunted; they are quite thoroughly under Tiadora's control.
You see Tiadora only occasionally -- she seems to spend most of her time inside her cabin -- but when you do, she is exactly the same as ever. The trip takes over a week.
The weather is cool and rainy but not unpleasant, and it gradually grows warmer as you head south. (Spring has come to the North now.) The trip is placid enough -- for you. It is not, however, completely without incident.
First comes the overland trek with Sakkarot and his horde.
Actually, "horde" may no longer be the word. Sakkarot has done an impressive job of organizing this disparate gang of monsters. They are still wild and only partially disciplined, but they are not a rabble. They are becoming something like an army.
You march several days to the west. There is another watch-tower there. They have only half a day's notice of the monsters' arrival, and are not prepared for an attack from the south. The battle is bloody but brisk. When it is done, a second pass has been opened to the North. More monsters pour through, to swell the ranks of Sakkarot's force.
The next day, you depart. A barge is waiting to take you south along the coast to Farholde. Tiadora will accompany you.
"You will not be without assistance. First, the Eighth Knot will remain behind in Farholde while you investigate the site. They will backstop and support your efforts, and also ensure that anyone who tries to follow you and interfere with your work meets an unhappy end. With the Eighth watching your back, you'll be able to step forward with confidence.
"Second, there is another who may be able to aid you. Once a thriving cult of Asmodeus existed in Farholde. It was led by a half-elvish noble – the Baron Arkov Vandermir. He is treacherous and decadent, but wealthy and well-connected. Tiadora will accompany you to Farholde, and introduce you before she departs.
"I know not what aid the Baron can provide, but his family is old and long has dwelt in Farholde. Never trust him but know this – he’s afraid of me. And with good reason. If he does try anything remind him that you are in Farholde on my behalf. That should keep him in line.
"With this assistance, you should have little difficulty succeeding. Your mission is straightforward enough! Find the lair of the Sons. Find the seal and shatter it. Call Vetra-Kali back to our world. Bargain, trick, or bind him to your will and force service from the monster. And then bring his gift to me."
You'll be meeting the Baron shortly.
The Eighth Knot:
You met them back at the Cardinal's. At that time, they seemed to consist of Elise Zadaria (Zimu's cousin), twin brothers Trik (cleric of Asmodeus) and Trak (ranger?), and Dostan Alfson (half elf with a big sword and a temper).
You'll be meeting up with them in Farholde.
So, there's another sale. By itself no big thing -- Paizo has one every few months. But this time, a bunch of 3PPs have joined in. That's less common. It leads to the reasonable question: what here is a real jewel that shouldn't be missed? And what is there that is intriguing, but you'd like to know more? Here, I'll start:
Shouldn't be missed (Paizo): The Hangman's Noose, by Nicholas Logue. One of Nicholas Logue's best works, and also one of his most underappreciated. A horror-mystery for first level characters (!). 3.5 but converts easily. You can buy the hard copy for an astonishing $2 -- I'd guess Paizo wants to free up some warehouse space, and is trying to move the 3.5 stuff. Very strongly recommended.
Shouldn't be missed (3PP): Panataxia was a steal at $4 and is even more so at $3. It's a terrific planar adventure... for 2nd level characters. And it works really, really well. The encounters are either level-appropriate, or they provide various ways for intelligent players to deal with them. And it's engaging and interesting, and written with a real sense of fun. I'd also recommend Tales of the Old Margreve, which is a collection of short adventures of varying level along with various other stuff, including a really interesting forest that's part setting, part NPC. TotOM is set in Kobold Press' Midgard world, but adapts easily to pretty much any campaign.
I am curious: Razor Coast (Heart of the Razor) -- I'd like to check out Razor Coast, and three adventures for $14 seems like an okay deal. But do you need the main Razor Coast books to play these? And are they as good as you'd guess from the author's list? Also curious about the Fantasy Shards and Bits. It seems like a potentially nifty idea, but even with the discount some of these seem a little pricey. Are you really getting $7 worth of cool here?
Okay, over to you. What do you strongly recommend, and what would you like to know more about?
Cуровую зиму wrote:
You already got a glimpse of Elise at work. While you were sailing through the icy waters of the North on the dear old Frosthamar with Captain Odenkirk and his merry crew, Elise was looking fabulous, sampling an astonishing range of great desserts, and arranging various murders, grand thefts, and the framing of various people for those same murders and grand thefts. She has fled the North along with the rest of her Knot (following her own successfully faked death as part of a murder-murder-suicide pact) leaving chaos behind her. This chaos will significantly slow down the kingdom's response to Sakkarot's invasion, giving him time to pick off several lightly defended targets and grow his relatively small force with new monstrous recruits.
Cуровую would actually like very much to speak with Irin in the few minutes before she leaves with the cardinal.
You can do that. It will necessarily be a brief conversation, though -- as noted, they're on a clock.
I'm intrigued -- anything with Nicholas Logue as a writer always gets my attention, and the writeup makes these guys sound pretty interesting. That said, the price point seems a little high. Rubbing my chin over this one.
Does anyone have more information? How many writeups are there, and what did you think of them?
Flynn Greywalker wrote:
Well, I will be spending a good chunk of my bonus to get these in the next week at my local store, Madness Games and Comics. I would like to make a request of the team in the future. Please run these titles for a 4-7 year run. Then, announce their retirement and give others a year to get them before closing them out.
See, that's not how it works. What happens is, when they come out with a new book or module, they print (let's say) 10,000 of them. They know that 5,000 people have subscribed, so those are guaranteed sales. Another (let's say) 3,000 go to the distributors and get put on sale in your friendly local gaming store.
That leaves 2,000 in the warehouse. Those may sit there for years, depending on demand. If a bunch of gaming shops sell out, the distributor may ask for a few hundred more, but that's a bit unusual. Most of these are going to be sold gradually, over time, to people ordering off the Paizo site. If they sell a hundred per month, then in 20 months they'll run out. If they sell only ten per month, then their supply will last for many years. They almost never do reprints (there are a few exceptions, which people have cited in this thread) so once stuff is gone, it's gone.
TLDR: Paizo doesn't really control how long stuff stays in print. Strange but true.
And when I say "harder", I mean "harder to play through and have fun with", not "harder mechanically for the PCs". While it is possible to do mysteries in PF, the system isn't really designed for it. It's easy to end up with a bunch of annoyed, frustrated players making random attacks on the butler or whoever.
Also: note that in combat, high level rogue builds tend to be glass cannons -- good at dishing out sudden shocking amounts of damage, but fragile both in terms of AC/hp and saves. So, the most likely outcome of a melee is "rogue build pops up out of nowhere, gains surprise and wins initiative --> rogue build cuts one PC's throat with massive SA damage --> other PCs dogpile rogue build with attacks and spells --> rogue build dies in a round or two."
1) What level are your PCs? Because a group of well built PCs of 14th level or higher will quickly locate this guy and take him down. No offense, but he has no ranged attacks and very mediocre Will and Fort saves. So once they find him (and with medium-level divination spells and skills, this shouldn't be a challenge), they stand off and zap him with ranged attacks and save-or-suck spells.
2) What's your intended role for this guy? BBEG at the end of a dungeon crawl? Secret mastermind behind an evil organization? Or just a Jack the Ripper type killer that the PCs must track down and defeat? -- If the latter, think long and hard first. You're setting up a detective/investigative/mystery type scenario, and those are much harder than they seem.
Dm will they be able to cash out the captains notes of credit here? I would like to keep my books accurate
Yes, they will -- there's a branch of the Chartered Royal Bank in town.
That should work, yeah. Though it should be noted this combination would be a lot more powerful with one more level, since they'd then get 4th level spells, and the ability to summon minions with Summon Celestial.
I think it could be a really interesting build, but it's not what I'm going for here. Right now this gal, plus a few mooks, will be an interesting challenge for my PCs. At CR 11 she'd be moving into boss territory, which is not where I want to go.
As should Sinashakti (Azata lord of journeys, joy, and messengers), his Obedience gives a +4 bonus to saves vs. spells that would impede movement, and his first boon is Longstrider 3/day, Forest Friend 2/day, or Good Hope 1/day.
I think that's a go. Thanks!
As for spells, well, at 3rd, you need Haste and Good Hope. Maybe throw in Confusion for offense, and either Charm Monster for enchantment, or Dispel Magic for utility. You could skip Good Hope if going with Sinashakti's Good Hope boon.
Haste for sure, because of the mooks. Also, my PCs love spamming Haste, so it's only fair they get it back at them now and then. (I dislike Haste a lot, but what can you do.) -- Hm, I see Haste stacks with Good Hope. Tasty! Must try to make sure she has a few rounds to buff.
I'd swap the modifiers on Int and Wis, and possibly on Dex and Str as well... not really seeing her as a melee character. But max on Cha for sure.
Uncertain about Power Attack -- if she melees, the PCs will likely swarm her and action-economy her to death. I think standing off and helping her mooks (until they're all dead) makes more sense. Maybe Flyby Attack?
Yeah, good saves are a must with a large party flinging save-or-sucks. -- Okay, this has been very helpful. Thank you! Do you want to throw in any ideas on equipment? CR 10 heroic NPC, and her longsword doesn't count; that would let her have a bit of stuff. Thoughts?
Okay, that's the end of the cutscenes.
You get to Farholde as follows: you'll travel for a few days with Sakkarot's army, then you'll peel off to travel south and west with Tiadora accompanying you. That'll take another week or so. And then Tiadora will introduce you to Baron Vandermir, and things will proceed from there.
Feel free to post looking backwards to the recent slaughter, forwards to Farholde, or just about anything you please. Regular play will begin tomorrow or Thursday.
Part 4: The Importance of Hand Lotion
"This is pointless!" Spite-Captain Ghemessa may be little more than a shadow with teeth -- but those teeth are bared now, and sharp. "Cease your maundering, you insolent fool! The Two Queens demand your attendance!"
Doctor Moon sighs, shakes his head. Then he turns and swims away through the air, oddly graceful despite his vast bulk. As he moves, he calls over one shoulder. "Dear Captain, you haven't even had a chance to look around!" He opens something like a flap or a lid in the wallfloor, reaches inside, rummages. There are bangings and clatterings. Then he pulls out a large jar made of what looks like greenish glass. "Ah-ha!"
(Behind him images seem to come and go at random in the translucent gel-thing. It glows blue and white for a moment, and there: Inquisitor Matthias is packing for a trip. It won't take long; the Inquisitor's needs are simple. The odd scar on his face is prominent. His expression is serene, almost happy. These are bad times for Talingarde, but Matthias is a man who has dedicated his life to rooting out evil. The work awaits.)
The Spite-Captain comes slinking up behind the Doctor. "Enough delays!"
"Almost done, Dear Captain! Just one more... yes, there we are!" The Doctor holds up a small vial. "For the hands!" In demonstration, he pours the liquid over his massive, meaty hands, rubs them vigorously together. The liquid is translucent and faintly luminous. When he is done, his hands glow faintly too.
"What is the point of this, fool?"
"Oh, dear Captain! It's a soothing balm, very good against chafing and chapping! And it has such a pleasant smell, don't you agree?" The Doctor smiles broadly. "And also, it lets me touch things that are untouchable. Like, for instance, yourself." Doctor Moon lunges forward and seizes the Spite-Captain in both huge hands. There is a brief struggle, and then the Doctor is holding a shrieking, wriggling mass of darkness in both hands. A little clumsily, he juggles the green glass jar and begins stuffing the shadowy mass into it. "You must excuse the cramped quarters -- this was the biggest I could find -- we don't really get much call for these -- oh, dear Captain, whatever have you been eating? -- well then, just a moment." Doctor Moon pulls out a single limb from the frantically squirming darkness that is now three-quarters crammed into the jar. He holds it up to his mouth, bites, chews. "Mm, rather stringy and gritty and, oh dear, so bitter. Still, I think that does the job. In you go!" Doctor Moon shoves the last bit of shadow-stuff into the jar, attaches the lid.
(The gel-thing has turned red. Inside, Cardinal Thorn sits in his study in Horn House. There is a fire in the fireplace, but nobody else is present. The Cardinal is staring intently at something held in one hand. It is a locket. Very slowly and with infinite delicacy and care, he begins to open it.)
Doctor Moon puts a label on the jar and, humming to himself, writes on it. Then he hands the labelled jar to one of the winged things. "For the Right-Hand Queen, dear fellow. No dawdling, now!" The winged creature takes the jar in one of its malformed limbs, utters a low croak, and flaps heavily across the space towards one of the window-lenses. It seems to dwindle very rapidly; in a few moments it is tiny, in a few more it has disappeared from view.
(The gel thing flickers, more rapidly, changing colors. A band of adventurers, all in green, march through a forest, arguing and laughing. The Mountain that Sails bellows hatefully across a frozen ocean. Zargo bends over a corpse, muttering irritably to himself, and raises a blade to cut. In a dark place beneath the earth, a woman summons light, then casts a spell to create food and water. She is trapped, but she survives. Pilgrims march along the road that leads to the Vale of Valtaerna, singing a hymn, their faces alive with anticipation and joy. A silver dragon flies over the Northern Wall, looking down at the burning and wreckage below in the trail of Sakkarot's horde, its expression hardening from curiosity to horror to wrath. Half a mile below, Raisa is trying to make dead Enver turn a cartwheel.)
Doctor Moon smiles. The Queens will be enraged, but then "enraged" is their natural state. They sent him a message; he sent one back; things will go on. He turns back to his work. So much to do! So many things to watch!
It's all so endlessly interesting.
There's no reason an azata couldn't be a mystery cultist, right? I'm thinking particularly of a lillend. Those gals cast like a 7th level bard to begin with. So if you give one three levels of cultist, that results in a CR 10 creature who casts like a 9th level bard. (Which is not actually a big deal for a CR 10 creature, but she has enough other stuff going on to make this a viable NPC build. I think.)
So, a couple of questions occur. (1) I'm away from my splatbooks today. Which empyreal lord would be a good patron for a lillend? Specifically, a lillend who wanders around a fixed area as a sort of unofficial guardian and protectress. (It's a mostly wilderness area with a single large town.) (2) Assume she's specialized for buffing, enchantment and battlefield control in that order, not blasting. Any suggestions for spells or items?
Thanks in advance,
So we're starting this, and I think I need to beef up some of the encounters a little. My party has six sixth-level PCs. All the players are experienced, and a couple of them are serious powergamers. In a fight they have nine characters acting per round (6 PCs, Grumblejack, the Summoner's eidolon and the antipal's fiendish hound), so any single opponent below CR 10 is going to get action economied to death pretty fast.
Jurak is a melee brute, but unless he crits he won't last long enough to knock out even a single PC. So if I want him to be more than a speed bump, I need to toughen him up a little. I was thinking to give him a couple of druid levels; they don't stack well, but they do give some more HP, slightly better saves, and another feat. Also, he could have an animal companion -- a squirrel or something -- who could be watching the trail and who might give him warning of the PCs' advance. Might be too much trouble to build, though. Alternately, I could just give him a fighter level (which would stack very well) or just make him Advanced (which would be the easiest).
The azata, bleah. My PCs will take her down fast if she's foolish enough to enter melee with them, and they'll win a spell duel at range just as easily. She's almost no threat at all. However, there are some intriguing builds possible with her. I'm toying with the idea of giving her NPC stats (-2/0/+2/+2/+4/+4) and two levels of Mystery Cultist. This would give her another spellcasting level and the Glorious Aura power for a couple of rounds. Likely she'll still go down quickly but this improves her survivability a little.
Oh god yes I would buy up the supply of that stuff in an instant. Where is it from?
Dragonslayer's Handbook. I don't really recommend the book overall -- as splatbooks go, it's pretty meh. But it has a couple of mildly interesting bits, and that's one.
I have to say, those perfumes do not strike me as well balanced. 75 gp for a one-hour +2 buff on some of the most useful spells and skills? That would be a great deal at any level, but at high levels -- where 75 gp is literally pocket change -- it's just silly. If I let dragon perfumes into my campaign, I'd make them very rare. (Which they really should be, unless someone's running a dragon breeding farm with attached slaughterhouse down the road.)
That said, they're now a RAW-legal item you can give to your builds. Shrug.
Why from level 4 onwards?
Also, an item she'd probably have hanging around: Dragon Perfume.
Those are unlabeled bonuses, so they stack with everything. The duration is one hour and the cost is a mere 75 gp a dose. At higher levels, that's a very sweet-smelling deal indeed.