Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ

Douglas Muir 406's page

9,616 posts. 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

1 to 50 of 367 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm adjusting the dryad encounter to match the general African / Caribbean flavor of the island. The tree is now an immense Banyan, with a trunk at least ten feet across and a broad canopy that's a miniature jungle in itself. The dryad is now a large brown-skinned woman of mature years, wearing a brown skirt and a green shawl. She'll have a strong Caribbean accent. My inspiration here is Mother Thames from the Rivers of London books; she's basically friendly, but no-nonsense.

Not sure it'll have any effects on the game -- TBD!

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm trying to make sense of the proclamations. I get that they're supposed to oppress and enrage the people, and also to convey a sense of Thrune's malicious whimsy. But...

1) ...why in Asmodeus' name would Thrune do this? He's got a clear goal: turning into a genius locus. Surely the smart play is not to rile up the population, but rather to rule quietly and efficiently while setting up his transition to immortality. Why buy trouble this way?

2) Also, if you're a Lawful Evil tyrant, random proclamations about mint and whatnot don't seem like a good thematic fit. Curfew, sure. Crank up taxes, absolutely. Nasty public torture and executions, you bet. But "nobody can drink tea at night" and other pointless proclamations that serve no purpose but to flaunt your power and annoy people? I know arguing alignment is a mug's game, but that realy seems more Chaotic.

3) What's so enraging about the final proclamation? I mean, other than that it is ONE MORE completely stupid and pointless law. But nobody in the crowd seems to be a ship's captain, and it's never mentioned whether this will be a serious problem for the city. (Also, any DM using this will have to pause and explain what "squassation" is.) I could accept it as a straw-that-breaks-the-camel's-back type thing, but surely the author could have come up with something more thematic and/or connected to the main plot?

Am I alone in this?

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Part 7: Magic Items:

This is a short list, because as a general rule anything that’s good for an ordinary spellcaster will be good for a Diabolist too. These are just a few items that are particularly noteworthy.

Abjurant Salt (600 gp/dose) – This stuff is amazing: under the RAW, no called or summoned creature can cross a line or circle made of it. It’s an open question whether teleportation is allowed (I’d say no) but even so, this is really a must-have item. Buy it in bulk and use it liberally. Of course, once your DM knows it exists, he’ll probably use it against you at some point. But that’s only fair.

Alchemical Reagents – Little known fact: casting abjuration spells with cold iron gives you +1 ECL, while ginger extract gives you +1 ECL on transmutation spells. Both these reagents cost just 5 gp per spell cast.

Amulet of the Spirits [Heavens variant] (8,000 gp) – “Whenever the wearer can see the open sky at night, she can… add her Wisdom modifier to her Charisma modifier on all Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks”. If you have a positive Wis modifier, install a skylight in your conjuration chamber. If you’re a Diabolist cleric, this is a must-have!

Bracelet of Bargaining (13,500 gp) – Gives you +5 competence bonuses on Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive, plus the funny handshake power. Good for anyone, but a Diabolist will actually use these skills regularly.

Caller’s Feather (2,000 gp) – This is an expensive one-shot consumable. It raises the maximum hit dice of creatures you can call by +2 – so Lesser Planer Binding can call creatures with up to 8 HD, Greater Planar Binding creatures of up to 20, and so forth – and gives you +2 on the initial Charisma check. Then it crumbles to dust. Pricey at lower levels, but at higher levels it’s a bargain. Unclear if it stacks with the +2 from Augment Calling, but I don’t see anything in the description that would forbid it, so probably yes.

Candle of Invocation (8,400 gp) – While the candle is burning, creatures of the same alignment as the candle within 30’ of the flame add a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks. Have one of these burning whenever you call something – 25’ behind you, mind, so that the called creature doesn’t get the benefit. At 10 minutes per calling you’ll get 24 uses out of it, but if you’re clever you’ll save the last use so you can break it and get that free Gate spell.

Circlet of Persuasion (4,500) gp – A +3 competence bonus on Charisma checks? Sweet. You definitely want this. It even stacks with Eagles Splendor (enhancement bonus), though not with the Bracelet of Bargaining above. Just remember that it takes up your headband slot.

Demon Blood (800 gp) – You want a decent Fortitude save to avoid the side effects, but for one hour it gives you +2 to overcome demons’ spell resistance, and demons get -2 on their saves against your spells and SLAs. Definitely worthwhile if you’re playing Wrath of the Righteous or otherwise going up against large numbers of demons.

Dweomer’s Essence (500 gp) – At 500 gold per shot, this stuff isn’t cheap. But each dose gives you +5 on a single spell to overcome SR. Use it while you’re saving up money to get a Metamagic Rod of Piercing Spell, and then keep a dose or two around in case you hit the 3 spells/day limit on the rod (or in case you meet something with crazy high SR).

Darksire Amulet (9,000 gp) – Only usable by tieflings, but for them it gives +5 to one energy resistance and a +4 insight bonus on Diplomacy checks against evil outsiders.

Goblin Drum (2,000 gp) – If you do a lot of short-range blasting? This item increases the damage output of all fires within 30’, whether magical or natural, by +1 hp/die. It can also make unattended flammable items explode! It has to be played as a move action, which is fine – you give it to your imp.

Hamatulatsu Robe (14,000 gp) – You might want this for the coolness factor and the +1 untyped AC bonus. The d8 of unarmed damage and the weird monk feat are fun if you’re the sort who enjoys beating minions to a pulp with your bare hands.

Iron Flask (170,000 gp) – Crazy expensive, so of interest only to high level characters. Lets you entrap a single outsider inside. The creature gets a DC 19 Will save (with no SR) to resist. If it fails it’s stuck in the flask until you release it (and then it has to serve you for an hour). Useful as insurance against a calling gone bad, as a last-ditch defense in a pinch, and possibly (if the DM allows it) as an aid to negotiation – “You can do my bidding now, or you can take your chances with Mr. Flasky here.”

Ioun Stones – Most of these are good for anybody. A few would be of particular interest to Diabolists.

-- Mossy Disk (5,000): If you can find one that boosts Knowledge (Planes), the +5 competence bonus is great for researching those True Names.

-- Orange Prism (30,000): Expensive, but it gives a flat +1 caster level to everything, including penetrating SR. If you’re high level and do a lot of blasting, well worth it.

-- Pale Green Prism (30,000): Also expensive, but +1 on attack roles, saves, every one of your skills and also ability checks – which includes contested Cha checks – makes this worth getting once you can afford it.

-- Pale Orange Rhomboid (200,000) – Very expensive, but saves you from death once/day. If you’ve invested heavily in the Damned feats, or anything else that makes raising you difficult or impossible, this is probably worthwhile once you can afford it. (AFAICT this, unlike the Breath of Life spell, saves you a moment before death rather than a moment after, and so avoids the damnation rules. Make sure your DM agrees.) The Flawed stone is a one-shot version that saves your life a single time and then burns out. If you have damnation issues, I’d say it’s a steal at 12,000 gp.

Master’s Perfect Golden Bell (20,000) – When struck, reduces the SR and DR of all outsiders within 30’ by 5. Requires an unarmed strike to activate, and lasts d6 rounds. Potentially useful against recalcitrant creatures. Of course, a DM may also use this against you and your servants…

Metamagic Rod [Piercing Spell] (3,000 for Lesser, 11,000 for standard, or 24,500 for Greater) – Bite the bullet and spend the money. This plus the spell penetration feats = you can pretty much ignore SR. That’s huge.

Orb of Foul Abaddon (18,000 gp) – The thing’s dread bolt power is pretty useless, but that’s not what you want it for – it also gives +1 caster level to all spells with the evil descriptor. Remember, every spell you use Hellfire Admixture on counts as evil, so this is an extra die of damage on blasting, plus an extra day of service from whatever evil creatures you may call and bind.

Otherworldly Kimono (67,000 gp) – Grants a +4 resistance bonus to all saves, +4 on caster level checks, and an odd Maze-like trapping power that increases both these temporarily to +6. The Robe of the Archmagi is superior overall, but for a Diabolist both the bump to ECL and the trapping power are pretty attractive.

Prayer Beads, Standard (45,800 gp) –Pricey, but you want this for the Bead of Karma, which gives you +4 ECL for 10 minutes/day. (Non-divine casters will need a UMD check.)

Ring of Mind Shielding (8,000 gp) – You are continually immune to detect thoughts, discern lies, and any attempt to magically discern your alignment. Good at all times, and a must-have if your diabolist is spending a lot of time in places where devil-summoning evil wizards may not be welcome. (“I told you, Mr. Paladin. I’m a dentist.”)

Robe of the Archmagi (75,000 gp) – If you’re rich enough to afford it, this is actually cheap at the price. 75k is a lot, but for that you’re getting a +5 armor bonus to AC, a +4 resistance bonus on all saves, SR 18, and a +2 enhancement bonus on checks to overcome SR. That’s a lot of goodness in one single body-slot item. Just make sure the bonuses stack with whatever you already have – i.e., this will make Mage Armor useless, and you’ll be dropping that Cloak of Resistance in the Goodwill box.

Robe Blazing/ Shocking / Voidfrost (11,000) – Each of these gives you Resistance 5 to one energy type and +1 caster level with that energy type. That’s an extra die of blasting damage and +1 against SR. So if you blast a lot, these are a great way to use your body slot for a few levels until you can afford that spiffy Robe of the Archmagi.

Summon Bane weapon -- +2 against summoned or called creatures, and +2d6 damage. Pick one up for your meat shield servant or cohort. Another item that the DM may use against you, of course. Oh, these DMs.

Part 8: The Devil at the table -- Playing a Diabolist:

This Guide assumes that you're going to call up monsters. Once you're high enough level to start casting Lesser Planar Binding, you're going to call up lots and lots of devils. The class supports it -- this is the only Paizo PrC that gives bonuses to conjuring and binding things -- so you're going to do it.

This means you could have a lot of creatures working for you. At 10th level, it would be totally plausible for you to have your imp companion, a brute squad of four bearded devils, and a zebub devil flying ahead to scout. In game terms, that means a LOT of action economy. That's great! You'll be running seven different creatures, so you can do seven different things. Sounds good, right? Well, yes and no.

If you're in a tabletop game... well, you know how some people don't like playing with summoners, because the guy who is playing the summoner is really getting to play two characters, and so is taking up twice as much time as everyone else? This is like that, only potentially worse. Oh so much worse. If you're playing as many creatures as the rest of the party combined, you may be taking up as much game time as the rest of the party combined. The other players and the DM are going to get sick of this toute suite. So if you don't want to be That Guy, here are some suggestions.

Talk to the DM first. If you make it clear where you're going with the character, your DM will be a lot more likely to let you give it a try. (DMs generally dislike being surprised.) Getting DM buy-in is always a good idea.

Start slow. In theory, once you can start casting LPB you can very quickly have a squad of half a dozen devils working for you. In practice, start with one for a while. Not only will that get the DM and the other players used to having new pieces on the board, it'll also give you a chance to ease into the organizational and tactical challenges -- see below.

Be organized. If you have four bearded devils, have a short character sheet for each one in front of you. Alice, Barney, Chuck and Dan -- track their hits, track their status, know what their AC and bonuses are as well as you know your own. If the game uses miniatures, bring your own miniatures for your monsters. If all your creatures are acting on different initiatives, blow a few bucks on one of those initiative trackers and volunteer to be Initiative Person. (Trust me, your DM will appreciate this.)

Be decisive. Have a default plan. Round one, the zebub throws grease and then flies to safety, two barbazus charge while two others flank with the fighter and the rogue, the imp pulls out the fireball wand. Round two, while the other players are acting, you are thinking about what to do next. You're not texting, you're not flipping through a splatbook -- you're planning. So when your turn comes, bam bam bam, you can rattle off what each of your creatures is doing.
Understand that this means your decisions won't always be optimal. If you're one of those players who always has to get the maximum mileage out of every feat and every spell, who always has to place the miniature in exactly the right square, who NEEDS to have every possible bonus? Do not play this class. It's not going to be a happy experience. Lots of creatures means you need to play fast, and that means sometimes you'll miss stuff. Alice and Barney will move just out of range of the cleric's healbomb channel. Chuck will neglect to take an AoO he was entitled to. Dan will forget that the bard's Inspire Courage is still giving him an attack bonus. The zebub devil may simply disappear for a couple of rounds, forgotten. You either play fast and a little sloppy, or you try to play optimally and take twenty minutes to complete one turn and everybody hates you. Play fast.

(One way to make this fun: when you play suboptimally, roleplay it. Alice and Barney? they don't think they need a stupid mortal cleric's pathetic healing magic. Chuck? is sulking because he wants to go back to Hell, so he let the enemy get away. And the zebub devil found a rat in a corner and spent the last three rounds giggling and slowly pulling it to pieces.)

Make it work for the other players too. Don't hog the glory -- share it. Make sure one of your creatures is always a flank buddy for the rogue and the fighter. If there's another squish caster in the party, make sure she always has a meat shield. If your creatures have useful skills or SLAs, use them for the party. If the party antipaladin just acquired a castle, offer her some bound devils to help guard it while she's out committing crimes. In general, act like your conjured creatures are party resources, not yours.

Here's a trick: if you're not decisively certain what to do with one of your creatures? Ask other players. "Alice goes here, Barney teleports next to the caster, Chuck... hey, do you need another hitter on that giant? Chuck could charge him." Boom, you're turning your turn into their turn as well. Don't overdo this -- you don't want the whole party voting on every move -- but if you do it at least once per combat, it will help reinforce that these creatures are there for everyone, not just you.

Part 9: Odds and Ends:

The Diabolist’s capstone 10th level power is super-situational and is largely dependent on your DM’s willingness to give you access to the True Names of powerful creatures. The 9th level power is just another +2 on researching devil’s true names, and the 8th level power is only interesting if you enter this class early and/or if you’re very blasty. So you may want to view the Diabolist as a PrC with seven or at most eight levels, not ten.

The Diabolist can shine in any setting, but it’s particularly good in campaigns where the PCs have a solid base of operations and/or are regularly fighting good or chaotic opponents. Fire Mountain Games’ Way of the Wicked is an AP for evil characters, and a Diabolist can be tremendous fun here. Among the Paizo Adventure Paths, a Diabolist could be particularly fun to play in Rise of the Runelords (base yourself in Sandpoint, and allow no evil from the past to interfere with your evil plans), Kingmaker (where once there was wilderness, now rises a great cathedral to Asmodeus), and Wrath of the Righteous (chaos must be fought!). That last one gets tricky if there’s a paladin in the party, but if there isn’t, you can have some insane fun pitting Evil against Different Evil. Oh, and then of course there are the two new Cheliax APs that are coming out. A Diabolist seems like she might fit right in...

The Diabolist is technically legal for PFS play, but you can’t enter the class until 9th level for wizards, and your Hellfire powers are nerfed by a distinct shortage of good-aligned opponents. (On the other hand, being damned doesn’t matter so much.) Dipping one level for the imp is probably the best option for PFS.

There’s not a lot of synergy between the Diabolist and other PrCs, but if you’re willing to give up a level of spellcasting, three levels of Darkfire adept give you an interesting mix of options including Sacred Summons and the Darkfire Pact. The Pact is very nice; it raises the HD limit on your conjurations by +2 (another way to get that Pit Fiend…) while making your conjured creatures noticeably more powerful. Whether it’s worth that lost level of casting is up to you. Meanwhile, a single level of Cyphermage won’t hurt much and gives you Focused Scroll, which if you’re an Int-based caster gives you a whopping bonus to overcoming SR once/day.

The Genie Binder PrC is sort of like the Diabolist except it’s specialized for binding genies, has fewer interesting powers, and you can’t start on it until 12th (!) level. If you want to go that route, most of this guide would apply to the Genie Binder as well.

I doubt any DM would allow you to take the Devilbound template for yourself. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t negotiate this for some other creature, especially if you’re on good terms with a contract devil. A melee character or monster can gain some serious value from getting bound to a barbed or host devil -- +2 to all physical stats, and +4 natural AC, and some handy SLAs.

While you’re best at conjuring devils, don’t forget other monsters too. Elementals in particular make excellent frontline troops. They have low Cha, making them easy to boss around even without Infernal Charisma (and you can get bonuses against them by doing things like lighting bonfires around the circle for a water elemental, surrounding it with ice for a fire elemental – yes, really, that will give you +4 on your Cha check). They have useful special abilities like setting stuff on fire or Earth Glide (great for scouting and flanking). And – maybe best of all – they are stupid and usually have no Sense Motive, so you can lie to them freely. A discussion of different outsiders and their strengths and weaknesses is included in DMDM’s Guide to Planar Binding.

At higher levels, the Infernal Binder subschool of conjuration specialists has the obnoxious power of being able to hijack your control over conjured creatures. Would your DM throw one of these guys at you? Surely not.

Late in the game you may get access to Gate. Gate is its own interesting thing. It’s discussed in more detail in DMDM’s Guide to Planar Binding, but the key points are (1) you want to boost your ECL as high as possible and then (2) you want a pile of cash on hand.

Questions and comments can be directed to Douglas Muir 406 on the paizo forum.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Part 5: True Names, and how to get them:

You want True Names. You want as many of them as you can possibly get your sweaty little hands on. Why? Because when you know an outsider’s true name, it gets -5 on its Will save against your spell, and then another -5 on checks to escape your circle. And you can call that same outsider, over and over again. The outsider probably won’t like this much, but what do you care? You have its true name. And you can very plausibly threaten to publicize it, causing the outsider’s life to become unbearable as it’s endlessly called to service.

All devils have true names, as do most other outsiders. (Proteans, aeons and qlippoth do not. You don’t want any of those anyway.) There are three ways to discover them. First, you can simply be a wizard and take the True Name arcane discovery. That’s only available at the 11th wizard level, though, so it’s not a great choice for diabolists.

Second, you can beat, bribe, or otherwise crowbar it out of another devil. According to RAW, “Lesser devils [12 or fewer HD] typically know 1d4+1 true names and sigils, while greater devils usually know 2d8+2. There are certain exceptions such as lemures that never know any true names, osyluths that usually know as many names and sigils as true devils, and gelugons and certain other highly manipulative greater devils who might know double the typical number.” To get a true name out of a conjured devil, you need to make a second opposed Cha check – that’s in addition to the one you made to summon it – and if that works, you get the name but nothing else; the devil promptly pops back home to Hell. The name will always be the name of a weaker devil than the one you called. The RAW doesn’t go into more details, but presumably the DM can either roll randomly or just decide what sort of devil it is.

Don’t be surprised if names obtained this way (1) are of fairly weak and minor devils, and/or (2) come with serious strings attached. After all, you’re basically asking the DM to get creative here. When it turns out that the osyluth gave you the name of a particularly intelligent barbazu who is chief torturer to Lord Humongus, a powerful pit fiend? And that Lord H. will quickly miss his favored servant, and come looking for him in person? You can’t say you weren’t warned.

Third, you can research it. You discover a true name by spending at least a month in a well-equipped library (or three months for a devil of 13 or more HD) and then making a Knowledge [Planes] check. The DC is 25 if you’re looking for a random lesser devil; otherwise, if you’re looking for a specific name, it’s 20+the creature’s HD. That can get up pretty high, but with max ranks, good Int, aid from another, Heresy, and the right feats and items, it’s actually not at all hard to get +35 or so by the low teen levels.

Note that the DM rolls the check secretly, and if you fail by 5 or more, you get the name wrong, with potentially horrific consequences. The RAW doesn’t spell out those consequences, but it’s not hard to think of some nasty ones. After all, it’s canon that fiends salt bad names out there as bait for uppity mortal spellcasters. A bad name might call up something much stronger than you intended, or cause your protective circle to malfunction, or act as a signal flare to powerful and hostile forces, or open you to magic-jar style possession. Do you really want to give your DM a chance to exercise his deranged imagination? Just don’t try to research anything whose DC is greater than your modifier +5.

Part 6: Spells for a Diabolist:

This is a partial list of spells that are likely to be of interest to you.

Level 1

Grease – One of the few first level spells that’s useful against at least some midlevel outsiders; it ignores SR and targets Reflex, most outsiders’ weakest save. No good against flying creatures, of course.

Protection from Evil -- Kind of a no-brainer. You must have this spell. Protection from Good too, since you’re likely to be fighting Good creatures more often than most.

Snowball – A fine low-level spell for a conjurer. Not likely to be much use at higher levels, but it does ignore SR!

Level 2

Ballad of the Homesick Wanderer – Actually a bardic masterpiece, but it swaps for a second level spell. “Called outsiders who fail their Will saves against this masterpiece take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws for the performance’s duration.” If you have a bard cohort or party member, this is definitely worth having in her repertoire – have the bard start playing while you’re finishing your summons, and that -2 penalty can be applied on the initial Cha check. A low-minded DM might throw a bard with this against you, especially if you’re using squads of outsiders – it’s a mass debuff with a range of “can hear”.

Bestow Insight – For 1 minute/level, get an insight bonus on all checks with a single skill, ranging from +2 to +6, and you can reroll one skill check (though this immediately ends the spell). Useful for your circle-drawing Spellcraft check, for Knowledge (Planes), for bluffing a called creature, or really all sorts of things. Keep a scroll or two around.

Eagle's Splendor -- Once you're 11th level (or 6th with Extend Spell) you can cast this before casting Planar Binding and get the benefit of it on your opposed Cha checks.

Fox's Cunning -- If you're an Int-based caster.

Misdirection -- If you're living someplace where having an evil aura is an issue.

Owl's Wisdom -- If you're a Wis-based caster.

See Invisibility -- Many devils can go invisible at will. Once you have the money, pay the 5,000 gp to have Permanency cast so you have this at all times.

Shared Sacrifice – Called outsiders may not be willing to have this spell cast on them, and unwilling targets get SR and a Will save. However, it works just fine on summoned creatures or – heh heh heh – your imp companion. The rounds/level duration is a nuisance, but it’s a fine buff for casting before big combats if you have time.

Web – A fine utility spell that targets Reflex, a weak save for most outsiders.

Level 3

Agonize -- A spell to punish outsiders that... allows SR and a Fort save, which is most outsiders' best save. Still, worth a try, especially as it's the only spell that specifically addresses this need for you.

Blood Transcription – This creepy but thematic spell allows you to learn new spells by drinking the blood of dead spellcasters. Yes, this also works for learning SLAs from a dead outsider.

Haste -- I hate this spell, as it’s clearly overpowered for third level. Which is why everyone uses it, of course. Nonetheless, if you're leading a bunch of called creatures into battle, it's a very useful tactical mass buff.

Magic Circle Against Evil/whatever -- You must have this spell.
Protection from Energy -- Get it if you're regularly conjuring elementals or other creatures that use a particular energy attack.

Vision of Hell – Pleasantly thematic, this is really a simple area-based debuff: Will save or be shaken. The good things about it are long range, wide area (50’ radius) and minutes/level duration. The bad thing is, lawful evil creatures are unaffected. Oh, and it also affects your allies. Not an issue if your allies are lawful evil, mind. Not a bad spell, but more about cool factor than mechanical advantage.

Level 4

Dimensional Anchor -- You must have this spell. Most obviously, you need to cast it as part of conjuring anything that can teleport. Also, the Bestiary is full of outsiders that can teleport or dim door, both on your side and on Heaven’s.

Enervation -- A fine spell for dealing with difficult outsiders. You did take Spell Penetration, right?

Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain – A bardic masterpiece that replaces a 4th level spell. Lets bards cast a modified version of Planar Ally. Somewhat better than Planar Ally in that it allows creatures of any sort to be called. Unfortunately there are no Lesser or Greater versions, so it’s really only useful from Level 11 (when a bard can first cast it) to level 15 or so (at which point 12 HD creatures are not all that helpful).

Lesser Planar Binding -- You must have this spell.

Sacrifice – This spell is very thematic, but only occasionally useful. Spending 100 gp/HD to get a miserable +1 on your DC or Cha check isn’t usually that good a deal. Sacrificing a captive enemy for +2 is a bit more attractive. (Certainly it’s a lot easier than some of the crazier creature-specific offerings, like the marilith and her military hand sashimi.) Of course, having to subdue and capture the wretched paladin instead of just killing him is kind of a pain. But on the plus side, anyone you kill with this spell can’t be brought back except by a wish or miracle, so it’s a good way to make sure the paladin is out of your hair for good. (DMs, this spell gives your bad guys a good reason to want to take the PCs alive.)

Scrying -- If you're sending your conjured creatures out on missions, you'll want to be able to keep track of them. Make sure you get a toenail clipping or something.

Level 5

Magic Jar – In theory this could be used to transfer your consciousness into one of your called creatures, thereby opening up all kinds of fascinating possibilities. In practice it would be a bit challenging, as this spell is affected by SR, grants a Will save, and requires the target to hang around within range. (And intelligent outsiders would probably be very, very unhappy about this.) That said, it’d be an impressive trick if you could pull it off somehow.

Planar Adaptation -- If you're planning to visit Hell at some point.

Planar Binding -- You must have this spell.

Dismissal -- This should be a great spell, but is merely an okay one, because it is affected by SR and also grants a Will save. That said, if something gets loose, this is a spell to have at hand. At a minimum, get it on a scroll.

Spellcasting Contract, Lesser – Unfortunately, this is a cleric/oracle-only spell. Take it if you’re a diabolist cleric. “You gain a profane bonus to your Armor Class, saving throws, and checks equal to the highest- level spell you have imbued.” That includes Cha checks to bargain down the cost of Planar Allies! And for a combat cleric, trading spell slots for AC and saves makes a lot of sense anyway. Even if you’re not a combat cleric, casting this on your allies (or your imp companion) opens up all sorts of interesting new possibilities in terms of action economy. Finally, note that it’s totally appropriate for you to trade spells in return for actions or favors, especially ones that may lead to someone getting damned.

Level 6

Antimagic Field -- Works to banish summoned creatures but not called ones. Still handy for shutting down dangerous spell-like abilities. Great if you have a melee-type ally or cohort.

Geas-Quest – You really want this spell, because it allows SR but *no* saving throw! Use this to make sure your creatures are staying in line, especially the high Will-save ones. If you pile on the bonuses against SR by Piercing Spell, Dweomer’s Essence, and so forth, you should be able to Geas even very powerful outsiders.

Contingency -- At 15th level, this can be used to auto-teleport you away from danger. At lower levels, it can be used to auto-activate a wide range of buffs and other helpful effects.

Legend Lore -- You can use this to get information on named individual outsiders. Worth considering if you’re calling something really powerful.

Level 7

Banishment -- More powerful version of Dismissal.

Greater Planar Binding -- You must have this spell.

Teleport Trap -- If you've made some enemies among outsiders (and by this point in your career, you probably have) cast this on your living quarters every couple of weeks. Be creative about what's waiting at the destination, but a permanent Alarm spell and some symbols or other outsider-affecting magical traps are probably good.

Spellcasting Contract – See above.

Level 8

Binding -- A powerful bargaining tool. I'd rule that the demonstrated ability to bind outsiders of a particular type would give you a bonus on your Cha checks against outsiders of that same type -- "Do you want to end up like Bob here?" Check whether your DM agrees.

Dimensional Lock -- If you're high enough level, and don't care about whatever attention the "shimmering emerald barrier" attracts, cast this periodically to ward your quarters against unwanted visitors from other planes.

Euphoric Tranquility -- No Will save! Does get SR, unfortunately. Still worth taking.

Moment of Prescience – A great utility spell that's partiularly useful for planar binders. Win that Cha check!

Polar Ray -- Swap in hellfire to make this a very flexible ranged touch attack.

Sympathy -- If you cast this on your conjuring area, it can make the called creature happy to be there; I'd rule that this would move its attitude a step or two to the better. Unfortunately the creature gets a Will save and SR too.

Trap the Soul – This is expensive (1,000 gp per hit die) and not really worth doing unless you know the creature’s name, and have lots of money to burn on shattered gems from failed attempts. But if you do know its name, you can boss it around anyway. Sure, it’s thematic and cool and all, and it’s convenient to have an outsider trapped indefinitely in a gem that you can carry around. But it’s probably not worth the cost and risk unless someone is willing to pay you to do it. I'd say this spell, like Binding, is only really useful if the DM allows you to use it for attitude adjustment purposes (i.e., getting modifiers on rolls against your conjured creatures.)

Level 9

Gate – Discussed in some detail in DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding. Make sure you discuss this with your DM in advance, as it’s a spell that leaves a fair amount of room for rules interpretation. Note: if your campaign is going to the highest levels, this spell will partly replace Planar Binding / Ally, and in ways that could affect your long-term build plan.

Spellcasting Contract, Greater – See above. Note that this can give you a profane bonus of to +5 on AC and saves, 24/7 all the time. The only reason this isn’t utterly awesome is that you may have other profane bonuses, and they may not stack. It’s still pretty solid.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Part 4.1: Building Towards a Diabolist (Skills):

Like most Paizo PrCs, the Diabolist is skill-starved, with a miserable 2+Int points per level. So if you're not an Int-based caster, and not human, you're going to be placing every skill rank with exquisite care. Here are some of the skills you may want to consider.

Spellcraft -- You need three ranks of this to enter the class. But keep piling on the ranks, because you have to make that DC 20 Spellcraft check every time you conjure something. (You can take 20, but then you're on your knees with that stupid powdered silver all the dang morning. And time will sometimes be an issue.) Once you can consistently get +19 before buffs, you can and should ignore this. It’s not that useful at high levels, and you’ll have better things to spend those ranks on.

Knowledge (Planes) -- You need five ranks of this to enter the class. After that... well, technically, you need this in order to make Knowledge checks about the creatures you conjure. As a practical matter, let's face it, you're going to have the stats for bearded devils memorized PDQ once you start running around with them. But this still gets a thumbs up, because (1) you never know when the DM is going to throw you a curve with some bizarre new sort of outsider, and (2) this is the skill you use for researching the names of outsiders. Which is a thing you’re going to want to do; see below. So, keep putting ranks in this, every level.

Knowledge (Religion) -- You need three ranks of this to enter the class. Once you've got that, unless you're a cleric, walk away and never look back.

Diplomacy -- Hey, this skill works on evil outsiders too. And after all, you don't WANT to fill up the Outer Planes with creatures who nurse festering hatred and resentment towards you. As a practical matter, at the end of their service you’d prefer them to be reasonably content -- or dead. So dropping a rank or two in this isn't a waste, especially if you don't have a "face" character around to help you. And it's a class skill for Diabolists. Note that the human alternate trait Silver Tongued, or the Fiendish Diplomacy feat, let you shift a target’s attitude more than two places. How that might interact with turning hostile, hateful conjured outsiders into happy, productive employees is left as an issue for you and your DM.

Intimidate -- The way this skill is structured makes it less useful to you than Diplomacy. Avoid.

Ride -- What is this doing here? It's not a class skill for diabolist, nor for any class that's likely to become a diabolist. True… but: there are a few conjurable outsiders that can be ridden. If you have ranks to spare, and you like the idea of commanding your fiendish minions from the back of a rearing nightmare, throw a rank or two at this.

Sense Motive -- Believe it or not, evil outsiders are not always perfectly forthright when dealing with the spellcasters who are binding them to service. Catching one of your devils in a dangerous half-truth could be a literal lifesaver. Put some ranks into this, and use it regularly.

Bluff -- Lying to devils is probably not a great long-term career strategy: at higher levels, too many of these guys have sky-high Sense Motive skills. But you may conjure up things other than devils, after all -- elementals, for instance, have zero Sense Motive so that even powerful ones are painfully easy to fool. And at midlevels, this can actually be quite useful even with devils. "Yes, I conjured you up to be my bodyguard going into the Temple of Horrendous Doom. A formality, really -- it's almost certainly entirely safe." If you manage to fool the creature, you should be able to lie your way to a better check DC. (Of course, if you fail, you should get the worst DC possible.) This skill is also very useful if the campaign takes you into regions where devil-summoning is viewed askance. "No, actually I’m a dentist."

If you can cover these and still have ranks left over, spend on skills as for a normal PC -- Perception, Knowledges, what have you.

Part 4.2: Building Towards a Diabolist (Feats):

If you're playing a blast-y Diabolist, then go and look at some of the guides for blasters. No rush, we'll wait. Meanwhile, here are some other feats you'll want to consider.

Augment Calling -- Choose a subtype of outsider, such as angel or devil. When using planar ally or planar binding spells on that subtype, you can call 2 additional HD of outsiders. That’s pretty sweet! At low levels you can call 8 HD creatures with the Lesser spells. At high levels, hey, the pit fiend is just out of range of a normal Greater Planar Ally or Binding; this lets you snag one. But there’s more! This feat also gives you 25% off the cost of Planar Ally and/or +2 on opposed Charisma checks for Planar Binding. The 25% should stack with the 50% discount from Infernal Bargain, meaning that if you win your Charisma check you pay only 25% of list price. So, this feat is very good for anyone, but a must-have if you’re relying on Planar Ally.

Boon Companion – This probably should work on your imp (RAW says the relationship is "similar to a druid's bond with her animal companion", which is what this feat affects) but confirm with your DM. Makes your imp a lot tougher: a Wiz 5 / Diabolist 1, for instance, would have an imp companion with 9d10 hit dice, BAB +6, and AC around 22. Attractive at midlevels, fades a bit later on as the imp is competing with ever more powerful called creatures.
Breadth of Knowledge – A fine feat that’s unfortunately restricted to elves and gnomes, this gives you +2 on *all* Knowledge checks. If you’re playing a wizard who’s a knowledge monkey (as many wizards are), this is pretty attractive. Also, every bit helps when you’re researching those true names.

Conversion Channel – Consider this if you’re a cleric of Asmodeus who uses channeling, especially if you’re just dipping Diabolist for a level or two: it lets you healbomb fellow worshippers (presumably including all devils) once/day, and also may occasionally cause a foe to convert to Asmodeus’ worship.

Craft Wand -- Take this if you're doing the "wand-wielding imp companion" thing.

Cypher Magic – This is a fine feat for any arcane caster, and +1 caster level is good both for blasting and for overcoming spell resistance. Also, if you take this at 5th level or lower, it will help you read the scroll to become a Diabolist early. It also opens the option of dipping one level of Cyphermage, if you want to snag Focused Scroll.

Damnation feats – The Maleficium feats (from Champions of Corruption) are amazing if (1) you’re playing a blaster, and (2) your DM agrees that Hellish Soul trumps the damnation rules given for those feats. Otherwise they are thematic but probably too much trouble.

Damned (story feat) – This feat is amazing. If you take it and accept damnation, you get a +2 on all cha checks against evil outsiders, +1 DC on spells cast against them, a +2 enhancement bonus to one stat and, almost as an afterthought, +2 to penetrate good outsiders’ SR. This is just crazy good, and it’s almost a must-have for any would-be Diabolist.

I say “almost” because there’s a kicker: that whole “If you die while under the effects of this agreement, you can't be brought back from the dead unless your devil-boss permits it” thing. As a player, you really want this feat – subject to some clarification on the dying business, of course. As a DM… well, this is pretty powerful, and you’d be within your rights to prohibit it. I would certainly prohibit it if the player was building a Diabolist from scratch at a high level; that wipes out the whole point of story feats. If a player wants this, my advice would be (1) allow it only if the character takes it early, either at character creation or no later than 3rd level; (2) roleplay hell out of it, making contact with the evil outsider a side quest and playing out the negotiation; and (3) add terms and conditions to keep it interesting. What kind of terms? “The agreement is renewed at the dark of each moon. By then, you must have killed a champion of Good or Chaos (i.e., a creature of at least your CR) and brought its heart to burn at the altar of Asmodeus.” “Every week, you must either shed the blood of an innocent, cause an intelligent creature to be enslaved, or bring a new worshipper to the Dark Lord.” The usual. Another way to balance this is to roleplay that the PC is making a deal with a particular powerful devil – which may then have plans of its own. So, Don the Diabolist is now serving the pit fiend Lord Humongus, Baron of the Seventh Circle and Second Deputy Minister for Internal Infernal Affairs? Well, one day Don may wake up to find that Lord H. has a job for him. Let’s see how he likes being jerked around by some creature from another plane…

Diabolical Negotiator -- You can add your Intelligence or Wisdom modifier (whichever is higher) on Diplomacy checks in place of Cha, and you can shift a creature's attitude more than two steps with Diplomacy. That last is potentially quite powerful, as at high levels you could build a Diplomacy monkey with the power to turn hostile creatures (including called creatures!) friendly or helpful. Unfortunately it imposes a feat tax – you must have Skill Focus [Diplomacy] first. (But note that if you have access to the second level Peaceful Parley spell, you can use Diplomacy to short-circuit combat.)

Divine Protection – Used to be bright blue (you could add your Cha bonus to all your saves, like a paladin. Yes, really.) Alas, it got nerfed in the .pdf errata.

Esoteric Advantage – Lets you reduce a creature’s DR, SR, or energy resistance by 2 if you first make a Knowledge check. As a practical matter, this would be an extra Spell Penetration feat, except not quite as good as Spell Penetration because you have to check first. On the other hand, your Knowledge (Planes) should be high enough that you autowin checks on most outsiders. If you really want to blow past SR, pile this on top of the two Spell Penetration feats.

Extend Spell -- Consider either this feat or a Rod of Lesser Metamagic (Extend). The Rod is less of an investment and is probably your better bet, but OTOH this is one of the better metamagic feats. Anyway: you want this at levels below 11th, so that you can cast buff spells with a duration that's longer than the casting time of your Planar Binding (10 minutes). Cast Extended Eagle's Splendor at 9th level, and you now have another +2 on your opposed Charisma checks (and on your Bluff and Diplomacy rolls, too, if you're going that route) all through the casting and for 8 minutes beyond. And then cast Extended Protection from Evil and Extended Shield on yourself and any helpers, just in case things go terribly wrong.

Fast Study (wizard discovery) – This lets you restudy Planar Binding and the associated utility spells fast, effectively allowing you to cast it in the middle of a dungeon. This is situational, but could be super handy if you suddenly need the abilities of a particular outsider. Under RAW it would also allow you to restudy and cast this spell many times per day, allowing you to very rapidly raise an army of outsiders. That’s potentially unbalancing, though, so talk to your DM first.

Leadership -- If the other PCs aren't forthcoming with help in your conjuring rituals, go and get it yourself. See below for discussion of how this can play out.

Noble Scion (Scion of Lore) – The poor cousin of Breadth of Knowledge, this gives you +1 on every knowledge feat you have a rank in. Oh, and +2 on Knowledge [Nobility] (eyeroll). Still, if you can’t get Breadth of Knowledge, might be worth a feat.

Piercing Spell – Lowers your targets SR by 5 in return for using a slot one level higher. If you’re a spontaneous caster, this is a must-have feat; you’re going to be dealing with outsiders a lot, and SR is going to be an issue. Everyone else, it’s not bad, but you’re probably better off investing in the metamagic rod instead.

Sacred Summons – Normally there’s a two-feat tax on this one (SF: Conjuration and Augment Summons). But since Diabolist clerics get Augment Summons for free, this is actually quite attractive for them.

Steward of the Great Beyond – 9th level wizard discovery. Lets you block teleportation or summoning effects near you once/day. Since you plan to spend a lot of time around potentially hostile outsiders, it’s certainly possible to imagine situations where this could save your bacon in a big way. But it’s very situational, and it doesn’t even always work – there’s a contested caster level check. Dark orange to red, don’t bother unless you’ve got some kind of teleportation theme going. (Watch for a DM using this against you or your creatures, though.)

Superior Summons – I’m honestly not sure if this is worthwhile or not. On one hand, you don’t have to pay the normal feat tax on this because you’re getting Augment Summons for free. On the other hand, is summoning large numbers of lower level monsters really the way you want to go, especially when you already have large numbers of conjured creatures running around? I guess this is green if you’re comfortable with running lots of creatures at once.

Skill Focus (Knowledge [Planes]) – Is it worth spending one of your precious, precious feats on this? Maybe! It’s not immediately useful, but at higher levels, the +6 this gives you can really be leveraged – you use it to research the true names of powerful outsiders, and then you use that to abuse them mercilessly. I mean, call them to serve.

Spell Focus (Conjuration) -- You want this to crank up the Will save DCs on your Planar Bindings, especially at higher levels. And at middle levels there are lots of perfectly excellent spells that it works with, including web, glitterdust, sleet storm, hungry pit, and cloudkill. Take this at 3rd or 5th level and you'll get lots of use out of it.

Spell Specialization – A fine feat for a blaster. If you’re going the Evocation Wizard route, grab this for sure. Turns blue if you ever get high enough level to cast Gate, because Gate is all about ECL.

Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration -- Is this even a question? Not only will you regularly be dealing with evil outsiders, but you'll inevitably sometimes be giving some of them reason to hate you. You absolutely must have these feats. The only question is when to take them. I'd recommend taking SP at either 7th or 9th level, and GSP no later than 13th. The only exception is if you're a human or tiefling cleric -- your favored class bonus will do the job instead.

Varisian Tattoo – +1 ECL on conjuration spells does help towards spell resistance. +1 ECL on blasts is nice, but you have to pay the Spell Focus feat tax first; probably not worth it unless your build is very blasty. Nice as part of the Tattooed Sorceror package, maybe less great by itself.

Vile Leadership – Leadership except you get to be a jerk to your followers.

Part 4.3: Building Towards a Diabolist (Traits):

There are just a few traits that might be specifically useful to you. If none of these look interesting, take something that gives you a bonus to Knowledge (planes), Bluff, Diplomacy, or to Will saves. Or, heck, just take Reactive. You’re never going to go wrong with +2 Init.

Asmodean Demon Hunter -- You gain a +3 trait bonus on Knowledge (planes) checks about demons and a +2 trait bonus on Will saves against mind-affecting spells and effects from demons. Take this if you’re going to occasionally walk on the wild side and call demons, or if you’re playing Wrath of the Righteous.

Charlatan (gnome) – Sacrifice a spell or spell slot to gain an instant bonus to one Bluff check equal to the level of the spell lost. Situational, but fun. At higher levels you’ll have spells and slots to burn, and you’ve chosen a profession where sometimes you’ll just really need to make a convincing lie.

Dark Magic Affinity (tiefling) – Whenever you cast a spell with the [evil] descriptor, you act as if you were one level higher for the purpose of determining that spell’s effects. That’s an extra damage die on your Hellfire spells, and an extra day of service from your bindings.

Family Connections (tiefling) – You get +2 on Bluff and Diplomacy against evil outsiders.

Inspired – Once per day as a free action, roll twice and take the better result on a skill check or ability check. A good-to-great trait for anyone, but excellent for a Diabolist or any other planar calling character. Win those Cha checks!

Planar Negotiator (aasimar) – Whenever you cast one of the planar ally spells, you receive a 10% discount on the monetary cost required by the summoned outsiders. A very nice trait indeed for a diabolist cleric.

Planar Savant -- Use Cha instead of Int when making Knowledge (planes) checks. Good for sorcerors!

True Name Caller – “Choose a plane other than the Material Plane. When attempting to discover the true name of an outsider from the chosen plane, you halve the amount of research time required and gain a +4 trait bonus on the Knowledge (planes) check made to learn the outsider’s name.” If you’re planning to research true names, this is a must-have.

Wicked Leader – Benefit(s): You gain a +1 trait bonus on Charisma checks against evil creatures. If you select the Leadership feat or the Vile Leadership feat, you can recruit a cohort who is up to 1 level lower than you (instead of the normal 2 or more levels) as long as your cohort is evil.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Part 3.1: Who Should Play a Diabolist? (Classes):

Arcanist – The Arcanist makes a perfectly respectable Diabolist, but if you want to play an arcane caster, you’re probably a bit better off with a wizard or sorcerer. Like the sorcerer, the arcanist has slower spell progression and a limited number of spells, but like the witch and wizard, he has to split his stats between Int and Cha. While there are many interesting arcanist exploits, none of them are specifically useful in calling, binding and otherwise dealing with conjured outsiders. (The Potent Magic exploit does allow you to add +2 to your spell DCs, which is handy when dealing with creatures with high saves.) The arcane reservoir does help you build an interesting blaster, so there’s that. If you want to play an Arcanist, consider the Eldritch Font archetype, as it is mildly helpful both for blasting and for dealing with conjured fiends.
Alchemist -- The alchemist is a very poor choice for playing a diabolist, as alchemists do not have access to the Planar Binding spells. An alchemist could still get some benefit from this class by dipping 1-2 levels in order to gain the imp companion and the Channel Hellfire power, but there would be little point in continuing further.

Bard -- The bard is another poor choice for playing a diabolist, as bards do not have access to the Planar Binding spells. (Bards can take the Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain masterpiece, which acts like a modified Planar Ally spell.) That said, there are some interesting possible synergies here. Like the alchemist, a bard could still get some benefit from this class by dipping 1-2 levels. Also, as a Cha-based caster, bards will be able to leverage their Charisma in dealing with devils, even if they cannot themselves conjure them. Bards are also better able to pay the skill taxes to enter this class, and skill such as Diplomacy and Sense Motive are always going to be useful in dealing with intelligent and powerful outsiders. The bard moves from red to orange in a campaign where devils are common anyway, even if she can't call them herself.

Cleric – You’re stuck with Planar Ally, and the Diabolist’s poor BAB progression will hurt you in melee. If you can live with that, there are things to like about the cleric: fast spell progression, lots of useful utility spells, and you can leverage other aspects of this PrC. Enter it early, enjoy your imp companion, and blast a lot with Hellfire admixture.

There are basically two good ways to build a clerical Diabolist, and both use domains. One is to pick up the Void domain. (In Golarion, the only way to do this is via the Lawful Neutral deity Maat. Alternately, you could play a Separatist cleric and take Void as your second domain.) That gives you access to all three Planar Binding spells! It also gives you two useful domain powers – the 8th level one in particular is pretty brutal if you build toward it. The other option is the Devil subdomain (accessible via the Law and Evil domains, so there are about a dozen different ways to get it). This is very thematic, but gives you access to Planar Binding only. Still, that’ll keep you happy from levels 11 through 15, and after that the Planar Ally spells will start to be useful at higher levels as their (relative) cost starts to drop.

If you do play a cleric, you should play either a human or a tiefling, because both of these get the same favored class bonus: an astonishing +1/level against the SR of outsiders. Take this at every level of cleric. As a Diabolist, being able to consistently hammer outsiders with spells will be far more useful than a few extra hp or skill ranks. (And since most outsiders have SR equal to CR + 10, once you have +10 or more on your SR checks you can go back to taking hp or skill ranks anyway.)

Magus -- The diabolist's slow BAB progression and d6 HD make this PrC unattractive to any class that spends time in melee. Taking diabolist levels also means giving up Arcane Pool points and losing many useful class attributes, such as the Knowledge Pool, medium armor proficiency, and so forth. And, of course, the magus does not have access to Planar Binding spells. Like the alchemist, the magus can gain some interesting benefits from dipping 1-2 levels of diabolist, most notably the ability to swap Hellfire into a normal touch attack spell -- very useful when fighting (for instance) an angel with resistance 10/electricity against the magus' normal Shocking Grasp attack. However, even this is limited by the fact that it relies on Charisma -- not usually a magus' strong suit.

Inquisitor – No access to Planar Binding, and slow spell progression. Dipping a couple of Diabolist levels for the Imp Companion and Hellfire could be viable. Note that while the Inquisitor is a bad class for becoming an advanced Diabolist, several of the Inquisitor class attributes -- Monster Lore, stern gaze, the teamwork feats – make the Inquisitor a fine companion or cohort.

Oracle – A Cha-based caster, which is good, but otherwise basically a feebler cleric, with no access to Planar Binding and a lot fewer spells. Unfortunately, most revelations and mysteries don’t add much value for a Diabolist. The notable exception is the Outer Rifts mystery: it gets all three Planar Binding spells, and has two or three moderately useful revelations. It’s demon-themed, but could still make a perfectly respectable Diabolist. If you combine the Outer Rifts with the Seeker archetype, you’re now more blue than green, because the Seeker gets +4 on all checks to overcome SR. Combine this with the Outer Rifts revelation that gives you another +4 against SR (yup, they stack), throw in Spell Penetration and you can pretty much ignore spell resistance. That’s huge, and almost offsets the Oracle’s weakish spell list. I think it’s still half a notch behind the wizard and sorcerer, but if you want to play an oracle Diabolist, this is the way to go.

Sorceror -- The sorceror enjoys one huge advantage in entering this class: she is a Cha-based caster, and so will already have a high Cha for making opposed checks against devils and for gaining extra uses of the Channel Hellfire power. This is such a great convenience that it might seem to make the sorceror the obvious "best" class. However, the sorceror faces some significant disadvantages as well.

First, the sorceror is relatively starved for feats and (especially) skills. The wizard will get a very useful feat at 5th level, just before becoming a Diabolist; the sorceror must wait until 7th level, which means either delaying entry or giving up the feat. (More likely the latter, as most bloodlines do not provide feats that are specifically useful for a Diabolist.) The sorceror also gets only 2 skill points/level and is not likely to have a very high Int. A nonhuman sorceror with a 10 Int, or a human sorceror with a 9 Int or lower, will not even be able to become a Diabolist until 8th level because of the class's skill requirements. Even a sorceror who gets 3 skill ranks/level will find herself painfully starved for skills throughout her career.

Second, the sorceror's slower spell progression and limited spell selection impose real constraints on a Diabolist, especially for the first few levels in the class. The sorceror must wait an additional level for each Planar Binding and Summoning spell. So while the 9th level wizard is marching into the dungeon surrounded by his retinue of devils, the poor 9th level sorceror is stuck casting Summon Monster IV and the very occasional Planar Binding from expensive scrolls. Things don't get much better when the sorceror reaches 10th level, because if she takes Planar Binding it will be her only known 5th level spell -- and if she uses one of her precious 4th level "spells known" slots on Dimensional Anchor, that leaves a grand total of two other spells known over third level. This class gets a lot of use out of utility spells (see below), and that can place real pressure on a sorceror’s limited spell slots.

To be sure, there are workarounds for these problems: scrolls, wands, cohorts, party members. But the restrictions on the sorceror are stringent enough to move the class from "clearly the best" to "competitive". Broadly speaking, if you’re playing a character up from 1st level, it’s probably better and easier to go with a wizard or witch. If you’re creating a high (14+) level character from scratch, then a sorcerer can really shine.

Summoner -- Although the summoner has access to Planar Binding spells, this class is still a weak choice for a diabolist. Diabolist levels do not count towards the evolution of a summoner's eidolon, and the summoner's slow spell progression means that access to higher-level planar binding spells is greatly delayed.

Witch -- A witch can make a respectable diabolist if one problem is overcome: the witch’s painfully limited spell selection, which skips most of the spells that are important and useful for Diabolists. Witches typically do not have access to the Planar Binding spells and/or other spells (Magic Circle, Dimension Anchor, etc), so they have to use scrolls and wands for the bindings and items, allies or cohorts for the associated utility feats. The notable exception is the Dimensions patron, which gives access to all three spells. This patron (and the associated Dimensional Occultist archetype) make fine Diabolists. The Boundaries patron is also worth a look.

Like the sorceror, the witch will be short on feats. Entering a prestige class at 6th level means giving up hexes and patron spells. This is particularly annoying since many witch hexes get a "bump" in duration or power at 8th level. On the plus side, the witch has at least two basic hexes that can help with conjuring devils. The Fortune hex can be used to "reroll any ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, taking the better result". Under the RAW, this would appear to allow the witch to double-roll an opposed Cha check to compel a conjured devil to service. Check to make sure your DM agrees; if he does, this becomes an extremely powerful tool, especially at higher levels. The Evil Eye hex can also be used against devils to tip the scales even further in your favor -- while it only affects a single check, it ignores Spell Resistance and does not allow a save.

Finally, note that a Diabolist witch will now have an imp companion and a familiar too. This opens up some interesting options in terms of action economy. If nothing else, the imp can take a shape identical to your familiar, making it harder for enemies to target your precious, precious spellbook.

Wizard -- The wizard is the mirror image of the sorceror: he enjoys a number of advantages (an extra useful feat, many more skill ranks, faster spell progression, better spell selection) but has one major disadvantage: wizards usually dump Cha. If you want to play a Diabolist wizard, you need to have a respectable Cha: certainly 10, preferably 12, and 14 if you can somehow swing it. On a point buy system, this means losing out somewhere else, and that hurts. You’ll also want to throw some money at Cha-boosting items, which will detract from the funds available for other stuff. But otherwise, the wizard is a very strong pick, and is probably the best class for this PrC overall.

Most of the wizard archetypes are not very useful for a Diabolist, but the Spell Sage does provide a +4 ECL spell one to three times per day plus access to cleric, druid and bard spells. Normally the price for this (giving up both arcane bond and a school) is so high that it’s unattractive, but for a Diabolist this is actually a plausible option – yes, you’re losing a lot of spells, but you’ll hit extra hard two or three times a day, and you’re in the kind of career where that’s a real plus. Also, lacking a familiar hurts less when you have an imp companion. I’d say this is a less attractive (though still viable) option if you’re playing a character from 1st level, but a very intriguing option indeed if you’re building a high level character.

Part 3.1.1: Bloodlines for Sorceror Diabolists:

There’s no bloodline that’s clearly superior for Sorcerors who want to be diabolists. Infernal is thematic, and gives you Planar Binding as a bonus spell, but otherwise it doesn’t really give you anything special. (Well, okay, you can cast Charms at +2. Devils have good Will saves, but you could try.) The bloodlines that are usually considered good (Arcane, Fey) are still good. The bad ones are still bad. Rakshasa’s +5 to Bluff when lying is maybe a bit more attractive. Celestial is thematic and has good spells and feats. Destined’s Touch of Destiny can be useful for skill checks and if you ever get to 9th level in sorcerer, the ability to reroll against SR once/day is a good thing to have. The Harrowed bloodline is respectable – better saves, free lesser confusion, and the bloodline arcana really should apply to your imp divinations. Deep Earth, build your conjuring room underground – if both you and the target are underground, you get +1 DC to all spells.

The tattooed sorcerer archetype is potentially interesting: you get a familiar, and Spell Tattoo is handy. Remember, that +1 ECL counts towards overcoming spell resistance!

Part 3.1.2: Schools for Wizard Diabolists:

Abjuration -- This is a weak school for most purposes, but for a Diabolist it's actually just fine. You're going to be taking a lot of abjuration spells anyway. And if you take the banishment subschool, at 8th level you get the Aura of Banishment, which from your POV is a highly desirable safety buff. (Of course, this means you have to be a wizard for eight levels before starting on Diabolist.)

Conjurer -- Obvious, right? The Infernal Binder subschool, while not as great as you might hope, is pretty good for you... +3 to Knowledge [Planes] (a very important skill once you start researching true names), the chance to grab other peoples' summoned monsters, and an imp familiar. (Once you get the imp companion you end up with an imp on each shoulder. One serves you, the other serves Hell.) The teleportation subschool is also fine, though limited by the fact that it uses wizard levels, so your dimension door power will probably never get beyond 15'.

Divination -- This is a bluish-green. It’s almost worth taking just for the Prescience power of the Foresight subschool. You get to double-roll every Cha check, and things like rolls to overcome SR as well. This is huge. Throw in the ability to act in a surprise round and a nice little Init bonus, and this school is surprisingly strong for you. It would be solid blue, except that in order to gain these benefits you have to take a bunch of Divination spells. Nothing's perfect.

Enchantment -- Not a strong school for a class that's blasting a lot and dealing with creatures with SR and high Will saves. Still, unlike most wizards you actually use Bluff and Diplomacy.
Evocation -- A solid school for you. The Admixture subschool is great for a blaster, and you'll end up with five energy types instead of four.

Illusion -- Thematic, but not a good choice mechanically. Devils have good Will saves, and none of the school or subschool powers will help you do what you do best.

Necromancy -- See Illusion.

Transmutation -- +2 to Con or Dex by the time you become a Diabolist is pretty sweet. Then you take the Enhancement subschool and use Augment to buff your minions. If you take 8 levels of wizard, then the Perfection of Self power -- +4 to any stat for one round -- has all kinds of uses; check if your DM will allow it to affect opposed Cha checks.

Part 3.2: Who Should Play a Diabolist? (Races):

Picking a race is pretty straightforward: you want a good casting stat and decent Cha. That eliminates anyone who takes a Cha bump – sorry, dwarves and standard tieflings. For witch and wizard diabolists, the good core races in order are human (stat bump, feat, skills), elf (int bump, spell penetration), half-elf (stat bump, de facto feat, two favored classes), and half-orc (stat bump). For sorcerers, the list goes human, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, halfling. Minor but helpful alternate racial traits include eye for talent, dual talent, and focused study (human), sacred tattoo and skilled (half-orc), and academician, explorer, gift of tongues, and pyromaniac (gnome). If you’re an elf or gnome and have a feat to spare, consider Breadth of Knowledge – a fine feat for any character, but especially handy for making those Knowledge (Planes) checks.

Of the noncore races, the dhampir makes a respectable sorcerer or oracle and some of the variant tieflings have potential (grimspawn, beastbrood). Drow have good Cha, a bit of spell resistance and the interesting blasphemous covenant alternate racial trait. The aasimar alternate racial traits of celestial crusader and exalted resistance are potentially very useful to a diabolist, and several of the variant aasimars can make fine diabolists, particularly the idyllkin, angelkin, and the peri-blooded. Finally, a kitsune sorcerer can make an interesting diabolist if you pick the fey bloodline, take the favored class bonus and go all-in on enchantment – by 12th level your compulsion spells will be at +6, making you one of the few casters who can regularly compel high-Will outsiders with magic.

Oh, and then there’s the Samsaran. The Samsaran should be a simple green, good but not great: Int boost, no Cha boost, +2 on two skills. However, nobody plays the Samsaran except to get access to the Mystic Past Life racial trait. Personally, I view this trait as broken and would discourage players from taking it… but if your DM is a softie, then yes, this opens up all kinds of strange possibilities. Most obviously, it gives Planar Binding and Planar Ally spells to classes that don’t normally have access to them – inquisitors and oracles for Planar Ally, witches and magi and bards for Planar Binding. I suspect this could be very abusable, but the details are beyond the scope of this already lengthy guide.

Part 3.3: Dipping a Diabolist:

The Diabolist is unusual among Paizo PrCs in that it is very dippable. A single level of Diabolist gives you +2 on all Cha checks with devils and an imp companion. The imp companion is a very attractive, as it advances along with your character class levels. (Further discussion of uses for the imp companion can be found below.) A second level of Diabolist gives the Channel Hellfire power, which is very nice for blaster characters and/or anyone who is regularly facing good-aligned opponents. This second level is particularly attractive to magi and other touch monkeys, ask they can swap in Hellfire when facing creatures that are resistant to their normal touch spells. It also gives Infernal Bargain, which is good for clerics and oracles.

The only significant disadvantage to dipping? You’re going to stay Damned. Try not to die.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The Diabolist is one of the most interesting of Paizo's PrCs. It's a bit specialized, and comes with several strings attached. But if this is the kind of character that you want to play, the Diabolist is both flavorful and surprisingly powerful. Do you want to sign deals in blood with the servants of Hell? Do you want to go into combat behind a wave of glaive-wielding barbed devils, with a nasty little accuser devil scouting out your enemies, and a snickering imp companion perched on your shoulder? Do you like burning paladins with hellfire? Then this may be the prestige class for you.

[This document originally included a long discussion of the Planar Binding spell. That’s been split off into DMDM’s Guide to Planar Binding.]

Part 0: What does a Diabolist do?:

A Diabolist can do various things, but here’s the big one: she calls up outsiders to do fight her battles and more generally serve her needs. That’s what this PrC is all about.

Part 1: Class Requirements:

The Diabolist has the following class requirements.

Alignment: Lawful neutral, lawful evil, or neutral evil. From a mechanical point of view, there is a slight advantage to being lawful neutral. After all, you also get many of the benefits of being evil (bossing around devils, throwing hellfire) without being vulnerable to spells and effects that target evil characters (detect evil, protection from evil, paladin smites). Hanging on to a neutral alignment may be difficult, however. You're already damned to Hell just by dint of being a Diabolist, and you're going to be regularly calling up creatures who actively want to commit evil acts. Alignment is a tricky issue that varies from campaign to campaign, but don't be too surprised if you find that after some time playing this class the "N" in your alignment is looking more and more like an "E".

One oddity of the Diabolist is that there’s nothing in the class text that specifically says you lose your powers if you change your alignment away from the permitted one. (By way of comparison, the Souleater and Demoniac PrC descriptions both specifically include text that says changing alignment costs you all your PrC powers.) This suggests that, under RAW, you could enter this class as LE and then switch to LG or whatever. However, you would still be Damned, summoning devils is still an inherently evil spell, and you have to imagine Hell would have some fairly severe in-game checks against defection. A White Diabolist might make an interesting (if short-lived) NPC, but unless I had an abnormally mellow and forgiving DM I wouldn’t care to try this as a player.

Language: Infernal. Note that this means you must either be a race that has Infernal as a starting language, or have a positive Int modifier, or put one rank into Linguistics.

Skills: Knowledge (planes) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 3 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks. This is a total of 13 skill ranks, which means that if you are playing a character with less than 3 skill ranks/level (a nonhuman sorceror, a human cleric who dumped Int, etc.) then you won't be able to enter the Diabolist class until 8th level.

Special: Must have conjured a devil using lesser planar ally or lesser planar binding (or a similar spell) and successfully coaxed the fiend into performing a task longer than 1 day. You are allowed to do this by casting from a scroll, which means it is possible to start on your career as a Diabolist at 6th level. You should seriously consider this, as the Diabolist's class attributes are noticeably more powerful if you can access them at lower levels.

Entering this class at 6th level, while legal, is not as easy as it might seem. You'll need to buy a scroll of Lesser Planar Binding and probably a scroll of Magic Circle Against Evil as well. Assuming the scroll was cast at 9th level, you'll need to make a DC 10 caster level check, meaning you'll make it on a 5 or higher -- 80% of the time. But then the conjured devil must fail its Will save; must also fail a special Cha check (DC 15 + 1/2 your level + your Cha modifier); and then lose to you on an opposed Cha check to be forced into service. For this reason, you should swallow your pride and summon a lemure (+0 Will save, 5 Cha) instead of something like an imp (+4 Will save, 14 Cha). Yes, the imp is much cooler. But the lemure is much less likely to make its Will save or Cha check and disappear amidst a cloud of brimstone and a peal of mocking laughter, leaving you with a botched conjuration and a couple of painfully expensive wasted scrolls. So go with the lemure -- you'll be calling up cool things soon enough.

Damned: When a diabolist is killed, her soul is instantly sent to Hell. Any character attempting to resurrect her must succeed at a caster level check equal to 10 + the diabolist's level or her spell fails. That character cannot attempt to resurrect the diabolist again until the following day, though other characters can attempt as they please. Strictly speaking this is a class attribute gained at first level rather than a requirement. I group it here because it means that "must be willing to be damned" is a requirement for this PrC. Also, from a mechanical standpoint, it means that for the next four levels -- until you get your Hellish Soul on -- you need to live very, very carefully. You should discuss the implications of this with fellow party members, as they're the ones who'll be raising you. If they end up failing a check to claw your black soul back from the clutches of Moloch, they’re the ones who will have to cough up another 5,000 gp out of the party treasury to try again. It may go down a bit easier if they're aware of the possibility in advance.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t: Damnation feats and the Diabolist:

The Champions of Corruption splatbook has rules for damnation if you want to take the “Damned” feat chains. Since at least one of these chains is really attractive for a Diabolist (see below), you might be tempted to. Unfortunately, the damnation rules there aren’t consistent with the damnation rules given for this PrC. The biggest difference is, the more of those feats you take, the harder it is to bring you back from the dead – whereas a Diabolist’s Hellish Soul (see below) says you can be raised and resurrected as normally once you have it. Then of course the Damned story feat (which is excellent for Diabolists – see below) has yet another mechanic for damnation: it just says that you can’t be returned to life unless whatever outsider you’ve pledged your soul to allows it.

If you’re thinking about any of these feats, make sure you get a rules interpretation from your DM first as to which rule prevails. (At this writing, there is no FAQ or official answer from Paizo.) You wouldn’t want to get this wrong and end up, you know, damned to Hell.

Part 2: Class Attributes of the Diabolist:

Imp Companion – You get this excellent class attribute at first level.

The imp companion is one of the most popular class features of the Diabolist class, and with good reason. The imp is a useful tool to begin with – it can fly, turn invisible at will, is telepathic, has constant detect good and detect magic, and a number of useful SLAs including augury once/day and commune (6 questions) once/week. This alone makes it an excellent companion for low and mid-level PCs. But the diabolist’s imp scales with level – it gains HD, feats, skills, and new SLAs as you level up. And it advances according to your combined caster + diabolist levels, which means it doesn’t care if you weave in and out of this PrC.

One popular option is to give the imp a wand and use it to make wand attacks. Activating a wand is a DC 20 Use Magic Device check, with +2 on the check if the user has activated that particular device before. UMD is not a class skill for imps, and the creature’s Cha is only 14. So, if you want your imp to fly around delivering wand attacks, it may be worth investing one of the creature’s feats in Skill Focus: Use Magical Device. The DC does not scale with the power of the wand, so you can equip the imp with a “golf bag” of wands of various levels (fireball, grease, etc.) for use as needed. If you’re going this route, investing a feat of your own in Craft Wand is worth a look. In any event, make sure you have your imp cast augury and commune regularly – knowledge is power, and these are very useful spells.

At lower levels the imp can be occasionally useful in combat. With Beast Shape II it gains +6 to strength (and you can bump that to +8 if you’re human and take Eye for Talent). Have it turn into a deinonychus and pounce on people. Once you start conjuring devils regularly, the imp can retire from combat and go back to perching on your shoulder and giggling evilly.

Losing your imp: If you lose your imp companion, the ritual to get a new one takes 24 hours of your time, but costs NO money. That’s right – replacing your imp is absolutely free! So unless you’re up against a clock with no chance to take a day off, don’t be shy about putting your little buddy in harm’s way… he’s expendable! Hard cheese for him but, hey, that’s life in Hell. And, really, what's more fun than greeting a new companion with a friendly, "I hope you don't fail me as pathetically as your late predecessor"?

Infernal Charisma – At 1st level, diabolist gains a +2 bonus on all Charisma checks made when interacting with devils. This bonus increases to +4 at 4th level and to +6 at 7th level. This is just fantastically useful if you’re going to use the Planar Binding spells regularly. Are you a mopey little wizard with a 10 Cha? By 12th level you can be a Wiz 5/Diabolist 7 and devils will act like your Cha is 22. And that’s before buffs. This class ability makes devils listen to you and do what you say, and it’s a big part of why this class is so great for wizards.

Channel Hellfire -- At 2nd level, a diabolist can alter spells that deal energy damage to instead deal hellfire damage. You can do this as a free action a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Hellfire is a special energy type that does half fire damage, half unholy damage. Unholy = no damage to evil creatures, normal to neutral creatures, and double damage to good-aligned creatures. So if you throw a six HD fireball at a paladin, but swap in Hellfire at the last moment (free action!), the champion of goodness takes 9 HD of damage. Obviously this is very situational – your target has to be Good-aligned, and you have to know that – but when it works, it’s awesome.

A note here on blasting. The Maleficium feat chain from Champions of Corruption gives you bonuses to spells you cast with the Evil descriptor. Alas, only a relative handful of spells have the Evil descriptor… except for you. When you Channel Hellfire, whatever spell you cast gains the Lawful and Evil descriptors. So if you take the first two Maleficium feats, you can potentially add +1 to the save DC and +2 to the caster level of any blast you throw. So, there’s some potentially great synergy here! Three cautions, though. One, make sure you’re clear on which damnation rules your DM is using (see above). Two, the Diabolist is already a feat-hungry PrC; make sure you have the feat slots available to exploit this. And three, you Channel Hellfire number of times/day equal to your Cha modifier, so to really exploit this you need to either be a sorcerer or be a wizard who’s willing to invest in a decent Cha.

Infernal Bargain -- At 2nd level, a diabolist making use of planar ally (or a similar spell) can make an opposed Charisma check against a called devil. (This of course includes your Infernal Charisma bonus.) If you succeed, the devil reduces the price it demands to serve by half. This is a sop to those poor divine casters who have to use Planar Ally instead of Planar Binding. It moves Planar Ally from being a not very good spell to being a mediocre-to-okay one. Unfortunately it only works against devils.

Augment Summoning -- At 3rd level, you gain the Augment Summoning feat even if you don’t meet the prerequisites. This is nice, but this class emphasizes calling creatures, not summoning them. Still, it’s a fine feat, and you’re getting it for free. Basically this encourages you to keep an occasional Summon Monster spell for when you suddenly need low-level mooks or creatures to test a corridor for traps. Note that this fulfills the requirements for the Sacred Summons and Superior Summons feats, if you’re interested in those.

Heresy -- Also at 3rd level, you gain a +2 bonus on all checks made to research specific devils' true names or sigils. This bonus increases to +4 at 9th level. If your campaign allows for this sort of thing (and it should), this is a nice little sweetener. Only works on devils, alas.

Hellish Soul – “At 5th level, a diabolist has been deemed useful enough to the cause of Hell to be allowed a brief respite from damnation. If killed by any means outside of the will of Asmodeus, the archdevils, or another influential force in Hell, the diabolist can be resurrected as normal.” Basically this undoes the mechanical issue with the “Damned” status. Breathe easy.

Infernal Transport (Sp) – At 6th level, you can transport yourself through Hell in a burst of brimstone. You may use this ability twice per day as per dimension door, or expend both uses to travel as if using teleport. You cannot use this ability to enter or leave areas warded against evil creatures. – Yes, you get to “bamf” like Nightcrawler. By the time you get this (minimum level 11th) it’s not nearly as amazing as it would have been at lower levels, but it’s still a nice tactical ace in the hole. Note that while a spell-like ability does provoke AoOs, it doesn’t have verbal or somatic components, so you can use it to escape from grapples. It also lets you teleport along with your conjured creatures. And it’s a handy escape hole if things go terribly wrong. You summon something powerful, roll a 1 on your Charisma check, and it breaks out of your circle, crits your barbarian cohort and comes after you with blood on its talons and death in its eyes? Poof, you’re out of there.

Hellfire Ray (Sp) -- At 8th level, a diabolist may use hellfire ray twice per day. Another ability that would have been amazing at lower levels but is merely okay by the time you get it. Still, let’s not turn our noses up at the chance to do 22d6 of damage to a good-aligned enemy with a ranged touch attack.

Master Conjurer – “At 10th level, when a diabolist calls a devil whose name she knows, she may cast the calling spell as a standard action and bargain with it as a move action. She adds half her Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate modifier on the bargaining Charisma check (if any).” This implies that you’re skipping the whole magic circle and dimensional anchor thing and cutting straight to business. You call, make a Cha check, and either win or lose. If you lose, well, you might have a small problem on your hands, especially if you were casting Greater Planar Binding. (And don’t forget that a 1 is still an autofail.) OTOH, if you win… well, at 15th level a Summon Monster VIII will summon monsters that are CR 10 or 11. With this, you can use a Greater Planar spell – same level, same net casting time – to call a CR 16 cornugon. Put another way, this lets you situationally use Greater Planar Binding or Planar Ally as a cheaper and better alternative to Gate.

Unfortunately, this is extremely situational: you must know the devil’s name, you must have the spell ready or on a scroll, and you have to be in a situation where you need the devil right now instead of 20 minutes from now. If it ever all came together, it could be quite something. And goodness knows it’s thematic – you snap your fingers and, poof, something horrible appears. But it’s so finicky that you might want to ignore the 9th and 10th levels of Diabolist and go back to progressing in your main class.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Man, this thing just keeps growing. It's about 30 pages in Microsoft Word, and it shows no sign of shrinking. Paizo keeps printing splatbooks with new feats and items! What can you do.

Also, to be fair, this is not just a guide to the Diabolist. It has metastasized bloated evolved into a general guide to building a character around the Planar Binding or Planar Ally spells. Taken together with DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, this should allow you to either build some extremely cool and fun characters, or (if that's your thing) some extremely overpowered ones. There are also some tips for DMs, since Diabolists and other planar binders can make fun and dangerous NPCs.

Going to post this in chunks, since it's very long. Comments are of course extremely welcome.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Sacred Grove has had two Keepers for centuries. One is always male and one is always female. Their races vary; they may be a human and an elf, or a dwarf and a gnome, or whatever. Even monstrous races like gnolls and orcs have occasionally been represented. The general assumption is that when one Keeper gets old, he or she lies down and merges with the Grove, and a new Keeper appears as a pilgrim, right on time.

The general assumption is wrong. It's been the same two Keepers for all these centuries. They're high enough level to cast Reincarnate, yes? Here's a little-noted thing about Reincarnate: it reboots you in a young adult body, restarting the count towards the next age category. So whenever one of the two starts slowing down a bit, the other takes a sacred sickle, cuts his or her throat, puts most of the body in the compost pile -- waste not, want not -- and then casts Reincarnate on a finger or whatever. A week or two to shake off the negative levels, and voila: a new Keeper has arrived.

The two Keepers have a relationship that has lasted through the centuries, in part because swapping bodies every decade or two helps keep it fresh. Whether this is adorable or pervy is up to you.

-- Plot seed: One of the Keepers has information from centuries ago... the true name of a wizard-king who's now a powerful lich, the location of the magic sword that can save the kingdom, what have you. The PCs must first find the Keepers and then persuade him or her to help. (For best results, the Keepers should be comfortably more powerful than the PCs, and not an exact match in alignment.)

-- Plot seed: One of the PCs serves Pharasma or a similar god of death. And Pharasma has had it with these two -- Raise Deads are one thing, but these guys have been in and out of the Boneyard so many times that some of the junior psychopomps have started a betting pool on when the next pass will be. It's an affront to the dignity of Death, is what it is. It's time for these two to move on...

-- Plot seed: The Keepers' relationship has been growing gradually dysfunctional. Now one of them desperately wants out... s/he has fallen out of love with the other Keeper, is tired of the cycle of rebirth and wants to live a life beyond the Grove, even if it means accepting true death. But of course, the other Keeper doesn't see things that way. What was once a loving symbiosis has now become an increasingly abusive relationship. And just then, the PCs come along...


Doug M.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Gate is a 9th level arcane spell that goes all the way back to First Edition. Oddly, nobody seems to have done a writeup on it for PF yet, so I'm going to give it a shot.

Using Gate as transport. Gate has has two distinct functions. One is to open a gate to another plane. This one is pretty straightforward -- it's a gate that you and your party (and a bunch of other people, if you like) can walk through. It can go to any other plane that you're aware of, including demiplanes; a deity or other planar ruler can choose to block you, but otherwise it's auto-success. You arrive exactly where you like, with none of the annoying imprecision of Plane Shift. No holding hands, either -- you just walk through.

Drawbacks? Well, you can't use it to move between points on the same plane, oddly enough -- it's interplanar only. This is a slightly silly restriction, because if you cast Gate twice, you can step across a continent via the Plane of Air, some convenient demiplane, or wherever. And, as noted, a deity or other planar ruler will instantly be aware of your attempt to open a Gate to their plane, and can choose to block you. So, no, you can't Gate into Asmodeus' treasure chamber. (Or more likely, you can, and there's something unspeakably horrible waiting for you. But you can't unless he lets you.)

While a Gate can put you in a demiplane, it's unclear whether you can Gate into an extradimensional space such as exists inside a Portable Hole, Handy Haversack, or Rope Trick. I'd say no, myself, but it seems a judgment call. It's also unclear whether the 6th level divine spell Forbiddance would stop a Gate. It says it stops "all planar travel", but then it lists the spells that are included and Gate isn't on the list. I think a 9th level spell would trump a 6th level spell, myself. By way of comparison, the 8th level spell Dimensional Lock does specifically say that it will stop a Gate.

Note that while Gate puts you down exactly where you want to go -- half a mile outside of the walls of Demogorgon's fortress, 50 feet in front of the north gate of the City of Brass, whatever -- it tells you nothing about what might be waiting for you there. Also, while you hold the Gate open, it's two-way connection: things can come through from the other side. Your DM would be perfectly justified in, at a minimum, rolling a wandering monster check. And if you have enemies with access to good divination magic, an ambush is not out out of the question.

Otherwise, this form of the spell is pretty straightforward: a combination between Plane Shift and Teleport, the cool kids way to backpack around the multiverse.

Using Gate to call and control powerful outsiders. allows you to call any outsider you can think of, with no restrictions as to alignment and no opposed Cha checks. It does not allow a saving throw or spell resistance: you call the creature, it comes. Casting Gate is a standard action that costs you 10,000 gp on the spot. That's just for casting it, before you start bargaining -- so you can't even cast this spell if you don't have 10,000 gp worth of "rare incense and offerings" on hand. When you cast, you can call either a kind of creature ("a pit fiend") or a known individual ("Lord Humungus"). Either way, the spell automatically succeeds -- no save, no SR -- and the creature immediately appears. That's the good news.

There's actually a bit more good news. For creatures whose HD is equal to or less than your caster level, you automatically "control" it. The spell is blurry as to what "control" means here, but I'd say that it's probably comparable to the control exercised by Planar Binding after you've won a Cha check. So the creature does your bidding within reason, as long as you're not ordering it on a suicide mission or to do something that grossly violates its alignment. (The spell is unclear on this point, though, so check with your DM.)

Now the bad news. First, you can't ever get deities or "unique beings". Second, even if you control the creature, you have to pay it for its service. The spell text says that the Planar Ally spells are a guideline here, which suggests that we're talking 500 to 1,000 gp / hit die. That would be 30,000 gp (20,000 plus the 10,000 ante for casting the spell) to gain the services of a 20 HD pit fiend for a while, which doesn't actually sound unreasonable. It's unclear whether feats or other abilities that would affect the cost of Planar Binding would affect this payment.

The spell text says that "Immediately upon completion of the service, the being is transported to your vicinity, and you must then and there turn over the promised reward... Failure to fulfill the promise to the letter results in your being subjected to service by the creature or by its liege and master, at the very least." Again, the details are vague, but I would rule that you would instantly be subjected to the equivalent of a Gate yourself: teleported to the creature's home plane, with no save. What happens after that is up to the DM but, honestly, if you're dumb enough to summon a pit fiend and then try to stiff him, I think you deserve whatever you get.

What else... oh, if you Gate in a creature that has more HD than your level? It is uncontrolled. "An uncontrolled being acts as it pleases, making the calling of such creatures rather dangerous. An uncontrolled being may return to its home plane at any time."

Now, this does not mean that Gating such powerful creatures is always always a bad idea. I can imagine circumstances where this might perhaps work out okay. One might be, you're giving it the chance to do something that is absolutely in line with the creature's goals and ethics, and you're also sweetening the deal with a huge pile of cash and goodies. Another might be, you're turning it loose to do something it would want to do anyway -- i.e., you're calling up a demon or a qlippoth and releasing it on the world to do as much damage as possible. But both of those sound pretty risky; at a minimum, you're giving your DM a huge opportunity to get creative. I'd stick to creatures of your HD or less, myself.

An interesting question is whether, if an uncontrolled creature chooses to assist you, you must then pay it or suffer the consequences. The spell text is not really clear on this point. My inclination would be to say yes -- if the creature helps you in some way, you're on the hook and must pay. Otherwise you end up with lots of legalistic wrangling: "Yes, we were cornered by demons, and yes I gated in a solar angel to save us, but angels kill demons! That's their nature, right? So really I was doing it a favor by giving it an opportunity!"

So, to summarize:

Advantages of using Gate to conjure things: You can get whatever you like, up to your level in HD. It's a standard action. No saves, Cha checks or SR. Creatures with HD equal to or less than your level are automatically called and controlled.

Disadvantages of Gate: It's expensive. Creatures with more HD than your level can be called but are not controlled.

Note that if you have the Augment Calling feat, you can get 20 HD creatures via Planar Ally or Planar Binding without using Gate. That's not always better -- Gate can be cast on the fly, and is far more flexible than Planar Ally. But it does save you that 10,000 gp casting cost.

This is a mini-Guide, so I'm not going to list the creatures you might want to call. There are a lot of them, and while they're all crazy powerful their specific abilities vary greatly. This is a spell that rewards doing your homework.

One last thought: the sorts of creatures you can get with Gate -- Pit Fiends and Solars and whatnot -- are major powers in their own right. They may have minions -- in some cases entire armies -- at their beck and call. Your DM would be perfectly within his rights to give these creatures unexpected resources, including direct connections to deities, artifacts or other hugely powerful magical items, and/or the ability to strike at you even on your home plane. Every campaign is different, but I'd say that Gating in such powerful creatures should never become routine or casual; even at very high levels, this should be a major, game-changing event. Discuss with your DM and see what he thinks.

Thoughts and comments welcome!

Doug M.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

As part of DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, I want to include an appendix on creatures that you can call and bind. Since there are a lot of outsiders, it's a big chunk of work. So I'm looking to crowdsource it.

We already did Lesser Planar Binding, which lets you summon and control outsiders of 6 HD or less (post and thread right here) and plain vanilla Planar Binding, for creatures of up to 12 HD (post and thread). Now let's do Greater Planar Binding, the last and most powerful of the three, which gives you access to outsiders of up to 18 HD!

Here follows a partial list of targets. It's heavily weighted towards evil outsiders, because it grew out of my Guide to the Diabolist. You'll notice it's in order from lowest CR to highest; within a CR, it's alphabetical. Please feel free to either amend or expand existing entries, or create new entries (but in the same format, please, for consistency).

Many thanks in advance,

Doug M.

* * * * *

At these levels you're no longer calling mooks. These creatures are powers in their own right, with minions -- in some cases entire armies -- at their beck and call. Your DM would be perfectly within his rights to give these creatures unexpected resources, including the ability to strike at you even on your home plane. Handle with care.

Imentesh Protean [CR 10, Will +14, Cha 21] – One of the weaker creatures you can call with this spell; for combat purposes you’re better off casting Planar Binding and calling a kolyarut or a hamatula. However, it does have the crazy warpwave power, which has an astonishing 100’ radius, so it’s great for taking out armies or inflicting random mass chaos in population centers. It can also cast Major Creation at will, all day long, which means it’s basically your Minecraft monster. The stuff it creates eventually disappears, but you can have stone walls for 10 hours, or chests full of silver and gold for 100 minutes.

Elder Fire Elemental [CR 11, Will +7, SR 0, Cha 11] -- These guys are very easy to call for a creature of their CR. Of course, by the time you can conjure them, a CR 11 creature may not be all that useful. Still, potentially useful as a terror weapon, especially if you call them in groups.

Malbolgian Cerberi* [CR 12, Will +6, SR 0, Cha 8] -- These are Paizo creatures, but 3.5 (from the Council of Thieves AP, Pathfinder #28), never converted to Pathfinder. If you can convince your DM to allow them anyway, they are wonderful. Not only are they ridiculously easy to conjure for a creature of their CR, but they have the Cerberus' Jaws ability, which prevents bitten creatures from leaving the plane as a curse effect with no save or SR. Are you likely to be facing angry outsiders that can teleport? Well then: invest in three titanium feeding bowls and a couple of tons of Devil Chow, and keep Rover here constantly at heel. Otherwise they're a decent melee creature, basically the next step up from a Nessian Hell Hound.

Ice Devil* (Gelugon) [CR 13, Will +12, SR 24, Cha 20] -- Am I the only one who thinks the Paizo illustration looks like Jiminy Cricket? Anyway. The Gelugon's SLAs are no great shakes, but AC 32 and that nice slow-spell debuff make it very respectable in melee. Interestingly, the ice devil is immune to both fire and cold -- it's a devil, after all, and it does not have the "cold" subtype. So it walks right through fireballs and such, just like every other devil. Its 25 Int means that it can probably out-think you, so be careful. But note that this also means it has a bunch of crazy-high skill and Knowledge bonuses. So if you've got one of these guys around, you can totally to use it to google things.

Marut Inevitable [CR 13, Will +13, SR 26, Cha 24] -- A solid melee brute, and one of the few outsiders to use a sonic attack. Like all inevitables, the marut has that annoying "can't be forced to act against its nature" thing. The marut's particular obsessions is "eliminating those who have unnaturally extended their lives". So if you're going up against a lich or a vampire, the marut should cheerfully cooperate. Well, "cheerfully" by the standards of a giant stomping lawful neutral death robot. Like all the inevitables, a specialized tool.

Handmaiden Devil* (Gylou) [CR 14, Will +10, SR 25, Cha 20] -- Although the Handmaiden has a higher CR than the Ice Devil, it's just about as easy to call and bind. In terms of combat power it's perhaps half a step behind -- but then, the Gyllou isn't really a combat monster. It's a spy, excellent at deception, diplomacy, and disguise. And its weird tentacle cage makes it an excellent kidnapper, too.

Divine Heralds: Heralds are unique servants of deities (Basileus for Asmodeus, the Stabbing Beast for Norgorber, the Old Man for Irori, etc.). They are all CR 15. Unfortunately, they can't be summoned by Planar Binding, ever -- only by Greater Planar Ally, and then only by a worshipper of that particular deity. This is one of the very rare cases in which Planar Ally is better than Planar Binding.

Astradaemon [CR 16, Will +14, SR 27, Cha 24] -- "Astradaemons can only be bribed into service by two things — a feast of souls and the promise to spread death." Since this thing is really only useful as a melee brute, that shouldn't be a problem. Note that its Soul Siphon ability stacks with itself, meaning that if enough creatures die within 10' of it there's almost no limit to how much its Str can increase. Seriously, that's RAW. If it plunges into battle and kills six low-level warriors? It immediately gains 6d8 hp and +12 Str for the next 10 minutes. And it can keep doing that. And if you feed it a 5 HD creature soon after it arrives -- a warhorse or a grizzly bear or something -- it gets +1 on all attacks, saves and checks for the next 24 hours. (Obviously you do this after it's bound.) Call this guy when you expect lots and lots of combat against living foes, especially against piles of low-level mooks.

Horned Devil* (Cornugon) [CR 16, Will +13, SR 27, Cha 23] -- The cornugon is another pure melee brute. You call it up to smash things and commit carnage. It's not terribly bright for a creature of its raw power (14 Int) so it's less likely than some other devils to come up with a viciously cunning scheme to entrap you. The astradaemon is somewhat better in combat thanks to its soul siphon and energy drain, but the cornugon is a bit easier to call and bind.

Belier Devil* (Bdellavitra) [CR 16, Will +20, SR 28, Cha 24] -- The Belier's sky-high Will save makes it a difficult fiend to catch. And when you do catch it, you have a 3,000 pound leech-slug with three human heads growing out of its backside. Okay, well. You would use the Bdellavitra to possess someone with its magic jar ability. Sure, you could possess them yourself -- but the Bdellavitra is a face monster, with around +27 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Perception and Sense Motive. Use the Gyllou to kidnap the prince, then use the Belier to replace the prince. Note that this is another super-genius Int 25 devil, though, so handle with extreme care.

Apostate Devil* (Deimavigga) [CR 17, Will +20, SR 27, Cha 28] -- Emphatically not a combat monster (its attacks are quite weak for a creature of its CR), the Deimavigga has an array of strange powers that can be used for all kinds of creative effects. Most notably, given a few days to work, it can permanently change creatures' alignments! Call up this guy if you want to destroy the kingdom; he murders the vizier and takes his place, then with a few words in the king's ear gradually and permanently changes the kindly monarch into a raging tyrant. But have a care -- this devil can directly and physically attack you all the way from Hell. Unless you want to spend the rest of your career cowering inside your Forbiddance-protected private apartments, don't tick off the deimavigga. Only call it up if you can offer it something it would reasonably want, like turning an entire kingdom Lawful Evil or wiping out the local churches of the good gods.

Immolator Devil* (Puragaus) [CR 19, Will +14, SR 30, Cha 24] -- This is the biggest, baddest devil you can get with any Planar Binding spell. And guess what? It has (for a creature of its CR) a mediocre Will save and unimpressive Charisma. It's only a bit harder to call up and bind than a cornugon, but it's much more powerful. I think its official CR of 19 is a bit high, but even at CR 18 this is a pretty good deal. Note, though, that the Immolator has a 24 Int, and it's RAW that they're often commanders of legions of lesser devils. So if you make an enemy of it, the Puragaus is definitely capable of making long-term problems for you.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I note that the print version is now in the "less than 100" category. Despite being several years old, and 3.5, this is an absolutely terrific module that is well worth the few bucks. It's early Nicolas Logue -- that should tell you most of what you need to know right there -- and it's a truly atmospheric, disturbing low-level module.

Highly recommended.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Don the Diabolist has a problem. Some years back he took an apprentice, Sally the Sorceress. Don is LE and Sally is NE, but that didn't seem a big deal at the time and, gosh, that Charisma score!

But alas: people change. The two evil casters have grown apart. Don has a public identity as a respectable member of the community -- the whole devil-summoning thing is a deeply secret sideline. Sally, on the other hand, has become more malevolent and sadistic over time; she's taken a couple of levels of Souleater and is getting into the whole soul gem thing in a big way. Don has become seriously worried that she'll blow his cover. He's decided that it's time to terminate the apprenticeship. Unfortunately, being Lawful Evil, he has a contract with her, so he can't simply kill her himself. So instead he's bending over backwards to give her free rein, trusting that the usual plucky band of heroes will show up to etc. etc. etc.

This assumes a group of PCs around level 5-7, but can be adjusted for higher levels easily enough.

Encounter 1: the PCs encounter a couple of swaithe demons running amok in the countryside, terrorizing animals and what not. Don summons these guys regularly to "help" Sally; in fact he's counting on her losing control of them, which is exactly what has happened. If the PCs are higher than 6th level, give the swaithes class levels or a template.

In town: the PCs are harassed by Sally and her coven. The base version of this is Sally (sorc 5 / souldrinker 2), a green hag and another swaithe, for a total CR around 7. Fending off Sally's attacks could be a quick encounter or two or a mini-campaign, depending, but this is a chance for you as a DM to give the list of hag coven abilities a real workout. Previous enemies of the coven have ended up Balefully Polymorphed, killed and reanimated as zombies, or stuck in forcecages. Innocent townspeople are being affected by curses and bizarre weather. There are all sorts of weird options here. Note that it's easy to upgrade this by giving Sally more levels, promoting the hag to an annis or even a night hag, and giving the swaithe levels in rogue or assassin.

Don can't act directly against his wayward apprentice, but nothing prevents him from working indirectly to help the PCs: he's a respectable local figure who is worried about these strange events, harumph harumph. Meanwhile, he'll encourage Barbara and her coven to attack the PCs, but in ways that are unlikely to succeed.

Boss fight: the coven should make an interesting tactical challenge for a group of PCs, especially if you play them intelligently and throw in some minions. Again, this can be a straight simple encounter or the end of a dungeon crawl as the PCs fight their way into the coven's headquarters in the town's sewers, in a cave complex a mile outside of town, etc. Note that the coven's treasure will include some soul gems, which could present an interesting problem -- good aligned PCs should want to smash them to free the souls, nongood PCs will know that those things are worth serious cash, man!

Of course, Sally isn't really the boss; that's Don. Whether you want to pick up that thread or not is up to you.


Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
This Side wrote:
Are there any recommendations for how to use the Harrow Deck? I can see how it can be kind of cool, but also kind of gimmicky and not particularly useful at the same time, so I am hesitant to spend my money on it

It... depends? You can do readings and, yes, it's a cool way to foreshadow things. If you're comfortable assigning impromptu meaning to randomly drawn cards, great. If not... well, stack the deck! Pick the cards you want in advance, put them on the top of the deck in order. Then put the deck in the middle of the table and (playing Zellara) ask each player in order to draw a card. Do it like "Draw... explanation... Player #2 draws... gets an explanation" and so forth.

Also, if you use the Harrow points, INCREASE them. By a lot. As it is, they're marginal, minor benefits that are easily forgotten. Make them big enough that players are watching out for an opportunity to use them.

Doug M.

6 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a system I whipped up for my PCs to cover a year of "down time" between Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw. It assumes that they'll spend their time in and around Sandpoint, and tries to bind them a bit closer to the town.

There is of course a system in Advanced Campaigns for dealing with down time, but (1) not everyone has that book, and (2) that system is pretty detailed and involves a lot of rolling. This is much simpler: the PC chooses, maybe there's one die roll, something happens (or not).

Comments and input welcome!

Doug M.

* * * * *

What to do with down time? How should the PCs spend a year off? Well...

Tell the PCs they can each pick one or two of the following. If a PC picks two choices, he gets the "basic" benefit for each choice. If he picks just one, then it's a double pick -- the PC is investing all his time towards that exclusively -- and he gets the "double" benefit.

Not all benefits are equally good. This is deliberate.

This list is not exclusive. PCs may wish to spend time on other matters: crafting items, for instance. That's fine, but if it's going to take more than 10% of the PC's time, then it counts as one choice.

The choices are:

Combat Training
Explore Personal Mystery
Explore Sandpoint and region
Party / Relax
Research (historical)
Research (magical)
Skills Practice

Administration: The PC becomes part of the town administration, serving as an assistant to the Mayor or the Sheriff (PC's choice).
Basic: All town leaders become Friendly to the PC. PC learns all basic public information about Sandpoint (who all significant NPCs are, what's available to buy, etc.).
Double: Everyone in town becomes Friendly to the PC, and the Mayor and Sheriff become Helpful. PC gains 200 xp. PC adds +2 to Knowledge (local) rolls in Sandpoint.

Business: The PC opens a business in Sandpoint.
Basic: If the PC has a business-related skill, then make a skill check. Over a year, the business will return 100 gp x the amount of the check. If the PC has no business-related skill, then the business returns 500 gp.
Double: Double the above amount, and the PC gains a +2 circumstance bonus to that skill while in Sandpoint.

Combat Training: The PC regularly trains and practices.
Basic: The PC gains 400 xp.
Double: The PC gains 1000 xp. All martial characters in Sandpoint become Friendly. PC is known throughout town as "that guy who practices all the time", giving him a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks in or near Sandpoint.

Church: The PC must be a faithful adherent of one of the six gods at the Sandpoint temple (Desna, Erastil, Abadar, Gozreh, Shelyn, Sarenrae). The PC devotes large amounts of time to helping with church ceremonies, bringing food to the poor, etc.
Basic: Father Zantus becomes Helpful. The PC's reputation for piety spreads across the region; gain +2 to reactions from loyal servants of your god anywhere within 100 miles of Sandpoint. If the PC is a cleric or oracle, gain 300 xp; otherwise, gain 100 xp.
Double: As above, plus the PC can select a trait from that god's list of traits.

Crime: The PC befriends the local Sczarni, getting involved with smugglers and crooked merchants.
Basic: Jubrayl Vhiski (the local gangster) becomes Friendly. Make a DC 10 check against the PC's highest skill that is a rogue class skill. If the check succeeds, the PC makes 100 gp x the amount of the skill check. If the check fails the PC is captured, all money is lost, and the PC's reputation is damaged; all nonchaotic NPCs in Sandpoint become Unfriendly. If the PC is a rogue or bard, or is both chaotic and nongood, gain 200 xp.
Double: Double the profit and xp above, and the PC's knowledge of Sandpoint gives him a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff and Stealth while in town. However, a check failure causes the PC to lose all profits and spend 30 days in jail, and all lawful authority figures become Hostile. Life in Sandpoint may become uncomfortable, as everyone will know the PC is a criminal.

Explore Personal Mystery: The PC spends the off-year focusing on a personal mystery.
Basic: Answer any one question the player has about the character’s past or fate, or tailor a special short campaign segment featuring this mystery. You don’t need to handle this at the table in front of the other players -- e-mail or a short trip to the other room will work. Keep it short and tightly focused on the mystery at hand, and avoid setting up a parallel campaign in which one player gets significantly more attention than the others. PC gains 100 xp.
Double: Not permitted; tell the PC he has reached a dead end in his researches and can pick another choice.

Explore Sandpoint Region: The PC spends his or her time exploring Sandpoint and the area around it.
Basic: PC knows the map of Sandpoint and the surrounding region and gains +2 on Knowledge checks (local, geography, history, etc.) in or about Sandpoint. The DM may give the PC one (1) otherwise hidden or unknown true fact about Sandpoint and its environs.
Double: As above, plus PC has access to all nonsecret information about Sandpoint (i.e., everything in the Gazetteer). Make a DC 15 check against a stat of the PC's choice. On a success, the PC has had an encounter that gains 300 xp; otherwise, the PC gains 100 xp.

Party/Relax: The PC just kicks back and enjoys life.
Basic: Everyone in town becomes Friendly. (DM: roleplay this! Like, when the party meets an NPC, have the NPC greet the party PC first, slap him on the back, offer to buy a drink, etc.). PC must pay 100 gp if he has that much; otherwise, not. PC gains 100 xp, or 200 if chaotic. Make a DC 15 Cha check. If the PC succeeds, he now has a casual girlfriend or boyfriend. (If he succeeds by five or more, he has a couple of them.)
Double: As above, but PC must pay 300 gp. PC gets +2 on the Cha check. Make a DC 15 Wisdom check. If it fails, PC is part of a famous party that leads to property damage; pay another 200 gp (this amount must be paid). PC becomes mildly notorious. NPCs as far away as Magnimar may have heard of him, and he may get +2 or -2 on reaction rolls depending on how that NPC feels about wild parties and slacking.

Patrol: Although the goblins have been soundly defeated, they were but one of the numerous tribes in the Sandpoint region. A PC who decides to spend his time patrolling gets into regular skirmishes with small groups of goblins and other minor monsters. There’s no need to play out these combats — you can assume that the PC in question survives each with little more than a few bumps and cuts.
Basic: PC gains 200 gp and 500 xp and becomes familiar with the region around Sandpoint. Shalelu the ranger becomes Helpful and all other martial NPCs become Friendly.
Double: As above, but PC gains 400 gp and 1,000 xp. PC can attempt to start a romance with Shalelu (DC 15 Charisma check; failure means you're still friends).

Practice Magic: The PC practices spellcasting. (Must be a spellcaster, of course.)
Basic: PC gains 300 xp.
Double: Make a DC 20 check against your spellcasting stat. Failure means you gain 500 xp. Success means you make a breakthrough and gain a magical trait.

Reconstruction: The PC spends his time helping repair the damage done to Sandpoint -- rebuilding the houses and shops that the goblins built, tending to widows and orphans, etc.
Basic: The PC comes across a forgotten magic item of his choice, worth up to 2,500 gp.
Double: Same, and the PC also gains Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) as a class skill.

Research (historical): The PC spends the year investigating inscriptions in Thistletop and the Runewell, learning the history of Sandpoint, and interviewing its inhabitants.
Basic: The PC learns a great deal about the recent events. Feel free to fill the player in on any aspect of the backstory of “Burnt Offerings” he may have missed while playing the adventure. He gains a +2 circumstance bonus in the future whenever he makes a skill check to uncover additional bits of lore concerning backstory to the Adventure Path.
Double: As above, and if nobody has picked the Reconstruction option the PC finds the 2500 gp magic item.

Research (magical): The PC spends the year in magical research. (Must be a wizard, magus, or alchemist.)
Basic: The PC can add three levels of spells to his spellbook or formulae list, and gains 200 xp.
Double: The PC can add six levels of spells to his spellbook or formulae list, and gains 500 xp.

Romance: The PC can choose an NPC on which to focus his romantic attention. Alternately, he can just say he's looking for a serious relationship. (Note that casual sex is covered under "Party/Relax", above.)
Basic: Make a DC 10 Charisma check. Success means the PC has a serious relationship. Failure means the NPC is Helpful but just friends; failure by 5 or more means the NPC is Unfriendly. (Either way, all good-aligned NPCs in town become sympathetic and Friendly to the PC, as long as the PC is nonevil.)
Double: DC of the check drops to 5. If successful, the character’s romantic interest can be treated as a cohort for the PC, although s/he should remain under GM control. Failure means the PC's heart is broken; the PC must make a DC 15 Will save each morning or suffer depression (treat as Fatigued). This effect will continue until 3 days into the next major adventure, at which point the threat of constant death will provide a welcome distraction. PC adds 1 point to his Wisdom score.

Skills practice: The PC picks a single skill and decides to hone it by relentless practice.
Basic: PC gains a +1 trait bonus on the skill. If the PC already has a trait bonus, this has no effect; give the PC 200 xp instead.
Double: PC gains a +2 trait bonus. If the PC already has a trait bonus, the PC instead gains a +4 circumstance bonus to that skill while in Sandpoint only, and 300 xp.

Travel: The PC travels away from Sandpoint. It is assumed that the PC pays his way by acting as a caravan guard or something similar, so this costs no money.
Basic: The PC is exposed to all manner of customs and sights. He can pick a single skill in which he already possesses at least one rank; he gains a +1 circumstance bonus to that skill check from now on.
Double: As above, plus the PC gains 500 xp. The PC can take Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (geography) as a class skill, or learn a single new language.

8 people marked this as a favorite.

A kitsune doesn't make a particularly great blaster. You get +2 Cha, which is nice if you're a Cha-based caster, but otherwise none of the kitsune traits help you blast. Catfolk, same-same. This is not to say you CAN'T play a kitsune or catfolk blaster. You totally can! Just, unless you're playing a sorceror you won't be quite optimal. (And if you're playing a kitsune, you'll want a sideline in enchantment spells.) If you're starting at first level, it will take a while to come in to your own.

A ratfolk, now, could make a fine blaster. +2 Int, +2 Dex, small size... oh yeah. You could go alchemist, sure. But I'd suggest looking up Brewer's Guide to the Blaster Wizard, because it's insane fun, and would work just fine with a ratfolk build. If that's too much trouble, I attach below a variant of a build I developed a while ago. It's a wizard, not an alchemist, but it uses alchemical power components. Most of the alchemical reagents give pretty modest benefits -- +1 to damage here, a caster level here, an extra but of duration over there. But if you pile them on each other, you can get some interesting results.

Ratfolk blaster wizard build:

Ratfolk wizard, 15 point build: Str 6 Con 12 Dex 16 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 8.

Evocation specialist with the Admixture subschool -- this lets you swap energy types (fire, acid, cold, electricity) on your spells 8x/day. Bonded object instead of a familiar. Traits: Magical Lineage (fireball) and, oh I don't know, Reactive. (You'll carry that Magical Lineage trait for six long levels before it's useful. But then it will be very useful indeed.) Feats are Spell Focus (Evocation) and Spell Specialization (Burning Hands). Skills, meh, the usual; you get racial bonuses to Perception, Stealth, Craft (alchemy) and UMD, so you might as well throw some ranks at those. If you think you might do the cyphermage dip (see below) don't forget to throw some ranks at Linguistics.

First Level -- Starting spells: Burning Hands, Grease, Mage Armor, Summon Monster I. If your party lacks a meat shield for you to cower behind, you cast Mage Armor before entering the dungeon -- AC 18, and when that runs out, you leave. Otherwise, Burning Hands, baby. Your feat and your specialization = basic Burning Hands for 3d4+1 damage, DC 16 Reflex save for half. That'll sweep the street clean of most first level opponents.

But wait -- there's more. You invest in some alchemical reagents. 40 gp gives you a flask of liquid ice, which you can use as a spell focus for Ray of Frost, making it do +1 damage. 40 gp is a lot at first level, but the flask is not consumed, so you can use it endlessly. Together with your evoker bonus, that means this endlessly spammable cantrip now inflicts d3+2 damage on a +3 ranged touch attack. That's almost always going to be better than messing around with a silly crossbow. For your first couple of levels this will be your default attack; use it to pick off goblins, finish off injured foes, and the like.

For your main blast, use your admixture power to turn Burning Hands into Cold Hands, toss in some urea and you're now doing 4d4+1. Why? Because for just 4 gp/dose, urea gives you +1 caster level on cold spells. That's crazy good, and you're going to leverage hell out of it. At first level, it means 11 average damage, which will seriously dent most nonboss opponents and will simply wipe out a mass of low level opponents even if they save (which at a DC 16 Reflex, they probably won't). In the unlikely event you meet something that's immune to cold, you keep some other reagents in your back pocket -- brimstone (+1 damage on acid spells at 2 gp/spell) and saltpeter (+1 damage on fire spells at 3 gp/spell). For when you just want to add a little something extra to show you care, there's black powder (+1 damage on all evocation spells). At 10 gp/spell it's a bit pricey for you, but sometimes you just want to make the moment special. So if that cold-resistant creature shows up, you just shrug and throw Acid Hands for 3d4+2 or 3d4+3.

Oh, and you also carry around some spirits of wine in a flask. Those give +1 to spell level on summoning spells for duration purposes only -- so for 3 gp you can make your Summon Monster I bring something for 2 rounds instead of 1. At low levels that's a big deal and totally worth 3 gp.

Finally, when you have a little money pick up a couple of flasks of acid. For 10 gp per casting you can use these with your Grease spell to inflict 1 hp/round of acid damage on anyone that stays within the spell's area of effect. And for just 5 gp/casting, alchemical grease adds 1 to this spell's save DC.

Second Level -- Pick up Magic Missile and a utility spell. You won't use MM very much for a while, but one day you'll be spraying a bunch of Dazing Magic Missiles around at a bunch of mooks. Meanwhile, your Cold Hands now do 5d4+2, or 5d4+3 if you blow the 10 gp for black powder. This is a quiet level for you. Don't worry about it; things are going to get interesting fast.

Third Level -- Take Intensified Spell (allows five more levels of damage on spells, +1 spell slot) as your third level feat. Learn Flaming Sphere and Summon Monster II. In your second level slots you can now carry Flaming Sphere for 3d6+2/round, or Intensified Cold Hands for 6d4+1 -- remember, the feat lets you go past the normal 5 die limit on this spell. In your first level slots, Burning Hands with saltpeter / Acid Hands with brimstone = 5d4+2.

But wait! If you throw in a flask of alchemist's fire as a material component (20 gp), your burning hands will set one enemy who failed his save on fire. This is only an additional 1d6/round of damage, but it's totally worth it just for the visual.

Fourth Level -- Put your +1 boost on Int, raising it to 19. Get a utility spell, like Web or Glitterdust or Invisibility, and then also take Fox's Cunning. Because, oh hey: that's a transmutation spell, so for 3 gp/casting you can use magnesium to make it last as if you were a level higher, five minutes instead of four. No big thing, but that should get you through a couple of encounters, and as a blaster you want those save DCs as high as possible. Pick up a first level Pearl of Power. Intensified Cold Hands now do 7d4+2, or Intensified Burning/Acid Hands do 6d4+3, or Flaming Sphere does 3d6+2/round.

Fifth Level -- Fireball, baby. (Take Haste for your other spell, so that the other players will shut up about how you never buff them.) Take Greater Spell Focus and Varisian Tattoo, aka Mage's Tattoo on the PFSRD -- +1 caster level on all evocation spells. From here on out you can probably afford to add black powder as a default. Buy it in bulk, you'll be using it a lot. So now Fireball (or Acidball, or Lightningball) does 6d6+4, while its urea-powered Freezeball variant does 7d6+3. In your second level slots, Intensified Cold Hands do 9d4+3.

Sixth Level -- Take Communal Resist Energy. With a pinch of cold iron, you cast this at +1 caster level, meaning that at 6th level you can now grant 20 points of resistance. But wait! If you throw in a flask of liquid ice (40 gp) or of alchemist's fire (20 gp), you can add 20% to the resistance granted by this spell to fire or cold respectively: 24 instead of 20.

You're now high enough level to afford an Int-boosting item; get one, raising your Int to 21. Switch Spell Specialization from Burning Hands to Fireball. Your Fireballs now do 9d6+5 damage, average 36.5, or 10d6+4 for Freezeballs. In a pinch -- say, if the party is being swarmed by very large numbers of weak foes -- you can cast Communal Resist Energy on the party, then Fireball them and yourself. The party will still take damage if they fail their saves, but you'll clean out the enemies toute suite.

Seventh Level -- Take Empower Spell. Take Dimension Door -- you need the tactical flexibility and it's grapple insurance. There are several okay fourth level evocation spells... I'm fond of detonate (at this level it's 8d8+5 damage to everything around you, or 9d8+4 if cold) but yeah, you're probably better off with Ice Storm or something. Pick up a rod of Selective Metamagic. (This will finally stop the other PCs' pathetic whining about you catching them with your fireballs.)

After six long levels, Magical Lineage finally kicks in: you get Empowered Fireballs as 4th level spells. That's 10d6 (x 1.5) +5, or average 57.5 damage. With your Fox's Cunning on, that's a DC 22 Reflex save. Your 2nd level spell slots have Cold Hands for 8d4+4.

Eighth Level -- You're going to start meeting things with SR, so pick up a rod of Piercing Spell while you're shopping for a better (+4) Int booster. Put your level-up point on Int, so you're now rocking an Int of 24. You can now throw Intensified Fireball as a 3rd level spell for 11d6+6, or Intensified Freezeball for 12d6+5.

You now get the goofy Elemental Manipulation aura, which is mostly worthless but could be situationally a lot of fun if everything clicks. Here's what you do: before entering the Glacial Rift of the Ice-Themed Monsters, you set your aura to convert cold attacks to fire. Then you cast Communal Resist Energy (fire) on the party, throwing in a 40 gp flask of liquid ice to give everyone fire resistance 24. So, 24 points off the monsters' ice breath or other cold-themed attacks... and then you get right in among the monsters and cast Fireball centered on yourself. Okay, the party will still take average 23 points of fire damage each, but the cold-based monsters will take average 70.5 each. (And, come on, the party rogue will probably evade.)

Finally, pick up Black Tentacles. Not only is this a fine utility spell for those confusing moments when you can't immediately blast something, but for 50 gp/casting you can use a tanglefoot bag as a component, allowing you to reroll your grapple check against one opponent.

Ninth Level -- Icy Prison and Fire Snake are both fine 5th level evocation spells. Icy Prison is suck-or-suck; if the enemy fails a DC 24 Reflex save, it's helpless, and even if it succeeds, it's entangled and taking damage -- 15 on the first round, and then 11 per round thereafter, until it makes a DC 26 Str check to escape. Meanwhile, your Intensified Enhanced Freezeball is up to (13d6 x 1.5) +5 or about 73 points.

For your feat, Quicken Spell is tempting, but it's just a bit too soon -- you'd be using a precious fifth level slot to throw a simple 5d4+5 Quickened Burning Hands. It can wait until 11th level. An interesting option is to take Cyphermagic so you can dip a level or two of Cyphermage. Casting from scrolls now gives you +1 caster level -- more dice of damage. For one level of Cyphermage, you take Focused Scroll; basically this means that once/day you can ignore SR. If you were to dip a second level, you'd take Enhance Scroll, because you can save just a sick amount of money with this one.

But for now let's keep it simple and go with Spell Penetration. SR is starting to be a common thing at this level. You're a blaster; if something at resists your magic, you've just wasted your round and accomplished nothing. So you need this feat. It stacks with your Piercing Spell metamagic rod, so you're always at either +2 or +7... and those will get doubled when you get Spell Perfection, heh heh.

Tenth level -- Speaking of Spell Penetration, it's probably time to invest in a few doses of Dweomer's Essence. Though not formally an alchemical reagent, this acts just the same way: it's a one-time consumable that you mix into your spell to add +5 to your spell penetration check. At 500 gp /shot, it's not cheap, but sometimes you want to be very sure that you're taking that bad guy down.

For your 10th level bonus feat, there are a couple of attractive options. One is the Alchemical Affinity arcane discovery. This neglected gem gives you +1 ECL and +1 on DCs for any spell you cast that is also on the alchemist's spell list. Tragically, this does not include Fireball, but it does include a bunch of fun spells from Detonate to Magic Jar. And it's pretty solidly thematic. That said, if you're playing strictly by the numbers then you're probably best off taking Dazing Spell. It's everyone's favorite metamagic feat for a reason. Your Dazing Fireballs will only do 10d6+6 damage, but anything that fails that Reflex save is SOL. And it's not like you can't do raw damage -- your Intensified Enhanced Freezeball is averaging 80 points of damage, and you can throw 13d6+6 Intensified Fireballs around like Mardi Gras beads.

Phew. -- But you asked for a blaster, and this guy would probably fit the bill. Let me know what you think.


Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

-- I see you posted twice, here and on the Advice forum. Not really necessary... if it's a CotCT question, here in the CotCT forum is the right place to ask. No big deal, but if you do it regularly the mods will notice. Anyway, I'll just repeat what I posted over on Advice here.

* * *

1) Don't worry too much about 3.5 vs. PF. The differences are pretty minor. Also, a lot of the adjustments have already been made by other players, and can be found easily enough. Go to the CotCT forum (you can find it right here) and ask around.

2) The first module is broken up into smaller chunks that will make it easy for a new DM to run. (This is deliberate on the part of the designers.) So, for instance, the business with Lamm and Zellara is a short adventure that should cover your first play session.

3) The CotCT Players Guide is a free download or a buck fifty in hard copy. You can find it right here. Feel free to pass it around to your players for background information.

4) There are some products you could buy if you feel the need. There's a Guide to Korvosa splatbook that you can guy. I think it's okay, not amazing. It's definitely not required to run the module. Consider picking it up if you really want to add more depth and detail to the city. You might also consider a physical Harrow deck. The original $12.99 deck is OOP, but they've brought out a Deluxe version which is $18. I think that's a bit steep, but OTOH it's pretty lovely, and it could definitely add to the game. Up to you. Finally, there's the Harrow Handbook, which is just $9 for the .pdf and which contains some cool and thematic material.

5) Read the first module _thoroughly_, then read ahead a couple of modules. There are some twists that you can add if you care to. For instance, someone suggested that the insane Emperor from volume 3 should be Lamm's son. IMO that's an inspired idea, and one that could be planted in the first adventure -- you can mention that Lamm had a ne'er-do-well son who used to come sleazing around asking him for money. You can drop this as a detail, or weave it into a PC backstory.

6) Finally, congratulations on picking this AP. I think it gets a bit less love than it should because it's 3.5 and also because it's standing next to the classic RotRL. It's not perfect (if you go on the forum people will be happy to point out its flaws) but it's a fun, complex urban adventure with memorable NPCs and a cool overarching plot. I've run it a couple of times, and it's never failed to deliver. Enjoy!


Doug M.

8 people marked this as a favorite.

As part of DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, I want to include an appendix on creatures that you can call and bind. Since there are a lot of outsiders, it's a big chunk of work. So I'm looking to crowdsource it.

We already did Lesser Planar Binding, which lets you summon and control outsiders of 6 HD or less. You can find that post and thread right here. Now let's do Planar Binding, which gives you access to more powerful creatures of up to 12 HD.

Here follows a partial list of targets. It's heavily weighted towards evil outsiders, because it grew out of my Guide to the Diabolist. You'll notice it's in order from lowest CR to highest; within a CR, it's alphabetical. Please feel free to either amend or expand existing entries, or create new entries (but in the same format, please, for consistency).

Many thanks in advance,

Doug M.

* * * * *

So, you have your circle drawn, your sacrifice ready, your nervous apprentice close at hand... it's time to start conjuring and binding! Here I list some of the outsiders you're most likely to conjure up. This is by no means a complete list; consult the pfsrd for more. An asterisk (*) means a creature that's a devil – a Diabolist can use Infernal Charisma against it.

There are three statistics you have to think about here: Spell Resistance, the creature's Charisma, and it's Will save. Its Will save is what it uses to resist being called in the first place, its SR will resist your spells, and its Cha can both get it out of the circle and be used to defy you. Remember, the more times it can defy you, the more rolls it gets to escape! So you want to win those Cha checks.

Planar Binding: Who You Gonna Call?

Bralani Azata [CR 6, SR 17, Will +6, Cha 15] – If for some reason you want a chaotic good outsider that’s respectable in ranged and melee combat, the bralani is your lad. It doesn’t do a lot of damage, but DR 10/cold iron or evil and at-will Blur and Mirror Image make it annoyingly hard to hit.

Ceustodaemon [CR 6, SR 0, Will +8, Cha 15] -- Go and look at the ceustodaemon's monster description. What, too busy? Okay, here's the good bit: "When brought to another plane with a [planar binding spell], ceustodaemons take a –5 penalty on the initial Will save and on their Charisma check to refuse service. Ceustodaemons also take a –5 penalty on saves against binding, planar binding, and other spells designed to bind a creature to a particular plane as long as the daemon is commanded to serve as a guardian for a single area or small complex." So there you go... for your purposes, the ceustodaemon has Will +3 and a Cha around 4 or so. And, oh yes, no SR. It's a CR 6 creature that's easier to summon and bind than an imp! These guys are going to be your melee shock troops for a level or two, and even at higher levels you'll occasionally be calling one up to mind the store while you're out of town. Don't forget to read the full flavor text, though: "Ceustodaemons find themselves on the Material Plane more often than any other daemon, as they are easily pressured into service—many call these creatures “guardian daemons” as a result. Yet in the back of their wicked minds, ceustodaemons always think about escaping their bonds and ripping to shreds the ones who summoned them."

Choral Angel [CR 6, Will +9, Cha 17, SR 17] – These small angels are useless in melee, but have a number of excellent SLAs: they can go invisible, Dispel Magic at will, or Plane Shift you and your friends somewhere. (And then back again, because they can Plane Shift at will.) And groups of them get enhanced abilities; call two and you get Heroism twice/day, call six and you get Greater Heroism or Holy Word 6x/day.

Erinyes* [CR 6, SR 19, Will +7, Cha 21] -- With flight and her +1 flaming long bow and feats, the erinyes is one of the few devils built for dishing out long-range hurt. Call up a couple of these angry ladies to provide air cover on an overland trek or other outdoors adventure. True Seeing + high Perception makes them good searchers, spotters and bodyguards, too. Note that you can get a +2 on your charisma check relatively cheaply (200 gp a pop) by giving them a holy symbol or some nice religious art to destroy.

Kyton (Chain Devil) [CR 6, SR 17, Will +3, Cha 12] -- Despite the name, kytons are not true devils; mechanically, they don't have the "devil" subtype. So a Diabolist’s Infernal Charisma won't work on them. Slightly more powerful in melee than the magaav or ceustodaemon, but still probably not worth the trouble unless you happen to have some very specific task involving sadism and lots and lots of chains.

Magaav* (Greater Host Devil) [CR 6, SR 17, Will +3, Cha 11] -- The Magaav is only just a bit more powerful than the Barbazu. (They do about the same amount of damage, but the Magaav can fly and has a better AC.) Probably not worth burning the higher level spell, especially since the ceustodaemon is about as powerful and much easier to call and bind.

Hellcat [CR 7, Will +5, SR 18, Cha 10] -- Sky-high Perception and Stealth + near-invisibility in light + pounce/rake make this cat your assassin in broad daylight. It's a very good melee combatant that's even better when the lights are on. The RAW makes a big deal about how this creature will plot revenge on you if slighted. This is a rare case where I think you can ignore the RAW if you want to, because the Hellcat is an Int 10 creature that can neither fly nor teleport nor plane shift and has no mind control powers or other alarming SLAs. I mean, you don't /want/ an invisible pouncing hell-feline running around with a grudge against you. But compared to some of the other creatures on this list -- at the same CR, consider the Shadow Demon or the Succubus -- the Hellcat's ability to deliver horrible surprises is pretty limited. This is one of the rare called outsiders you can hold off with a sturdy locked door while you fire up a Scry and then contact the local paladins.

Huge Fire Elemental [CR 7, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 11] -- "Burn everything. Leave no witnesses." Foul-tempered and not too bright, call this guy up when you just want to burn it all down. Like all elementals, it’s kinda dumb and has no Sense Motive, so it should be pretty easy to fool if you want to go that route.

Huge Water Elemental [CR 7, SR 0, Will +3, Cha 11] “When summoning a water elemental, remove sources of water from the room and prepare a bonfire. A ring of fire around the magic circle exposes the elemental to its hated enemy the instant it appears on the Material Plane, distracting it long enough for the binder to seize control. This is an opposed Will check, granting a +1 bonus to the caster for each large fire in the room; success grants a +4 bonus on the Charisma check.”

Levaloch* (Warmonger Devil) [CR 7, SR 12, Will +5, Cha 15] -- The Levaloch is a strange construct-devil hybrid. It's a pure combat brute with no SLAs at all, and its presence gives +1 on attacks and AC to adjacent devils. When you're tired of pushing ceustodaemons around, this guy is probably your next step up.

Shadow Demon [CR 7, SR 17, Will +7, Cha 19] -- You call up a shadow demon when you want to have something possessed by a demon. It's a challenging summons for a creature of its CR, but you can get +2 by offering it "the shell of a beautiful person to wear". Demons are chaotic and shadow demons are pretty much creatures of pure jealous malice, so don't count on exercising fine-tuned or lasting control. However, if your instruction is something like “kill the Duke, collateral damage not an issue”, the Shadow Demon’s possession ability makes it one of the best creatures you can call with this spell.

Shaitan [CR 7, SR 0, Will +8, Cha 15] – The Shaitan is a fine combat brute with a number of solid SLAs, including Stone Glide, which makes it an excellent scout and flanker. “Should the caster offer services in exchange for a throw of the dice or a wrestling match—and go through with the offer—he’ll receive a +2 bonus on his Charisma check.” Don’t do this unless the services you’re betting are trivial to you, or you’re quite sure of winning the contest. If you’re thinking of having your rogue buddy shave the dice or stack the deck, note that shaitans have +14 Perception and a 14 Int.

Succubus [CR 7, SR 18, Will +10, Cha 27] – Think hard about this one. Look at that Will save. Now look at that Charisma... the number, look at the number. Succubi are quite difficult to call and bind for a creature of their CR. They're also very smart and very chaotic. Yes, if you can bind her she has all sorts of excellent SLAs, and you can use her to wreak havoc in various interesting ways. Unfortunately, her SLAs and skills can also be used by a clever DM to mess with you all too easily. It's probably not worth the risk. Go find yourself a girlfriend and then conjure something that won't end up laughing its way back to the Abyss. But if you absolutely need to have a mind-controlling infilitrator, then give very clear and detailed instructions, and always have Protection from Evil ready to go. And don’t take that Profane Gift unless you have a dispel evil or dispel chaos spell handy.

Axiomite [CR 8, SR 19, Will +14, Cha 20] – The Axiomite has high Will for a creature of its CR, making it hard to catch. If you do get one, it’s not a combat monster but it is a fine backup caster, especially if you know you’ll be fighting large numbers of chaotic creatures – it has Telekinesis, Dispel Chaos and Empowered Order’s Wrath as 3x/day SLAs.

Nessian Hell Hound [CR 9, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 6] -- There's nothing complicated about the Nessian Hell Hound. It's a fire-breathing wolf the size of a horse. No SLAs, no teleportation -- this is a totally straightforward combat monster. And for a creature of its CR, it's ridiculously easy to call and bind. The only drawback is that they have Int 4, meaning you can only give them simple and clear commands. If you think tactical complexity is going to be needed, look somewhere else. But if all you need is a pack of brutes you can unleash to breath fire and rip stuff up, these guys are solid.

Night Hag [CR 9, SR 24, Will +11, Cha 17] -- There are only three reasons to call up a night hag. One is to discuss trading in soul gems -- say, if you've just successfully ambushed a Souldrinker and are trying to fence his hoard. The second would be sic her on someone to Dream Haunt them to death. And the third is because you're planning to murder someone and want to cast Soul Bind -- normally a 9th level spell. It won't be easy: the hag's high intelligence, solid Charisma, and crazy high SR make her tough to deal with. Also, a night hag is exactly the sort of creature that will carry a grudge forever and look to get revenge. Not that many of these other creatures are full of sweet forgiveness, but the night hag is a creepy, malevolent loner who's optimized for sneaking and murder. So, don't mess with the night hag unless you have some really compelling reason, or are confident you can kill the hag fast before she can go ethereal and escape.

Osyluth* (Bone Devil) [CR 9, SR 20, Will +7, Cha 18] -- The osyluth is a strange duck. It's slightly underpowered in melee for its CR. Its mix of SLAs goes back to first edition, which means, they don't make a lot of sense. It probably works best as an ambush specialist, using invisibility and major image to line up on its victim. It does have Dimensional Anchor as a SLA, which means it's useful to have around if you're fighting things that like to teleport (like, say, other outsiders).

Vrock [CR 9, SR 20, Will +6, Cha 16] -- The vrock is an odd choice, but it has its points. It's a combat brute, noticeably more powerful in melee than the osyluth. If you summon more than one, you can get some serious Dance of Ruin action going. And it's relatively easy to get that +2 Cha bonus against it -- "The vrock loves to despoil and befoul things of great beauty. Artwork worth at least 250 gp or a living, intelligent creature to destroy are equally desirable sacrifices." Call up a vrock when you want to inflict swift destruction on masses of low or middle-level enemies.

Zelekhut Inevitable [CR 9, SR 20, Will +10, Cha 17] -- The zelekhut is another good choice for melee; it does less raw damage than the vrock, but has more useful SLAs. Unfortunately, it's RAW that inevitables can simply refuse to serve if ordered to do things against their nature. (They're the only outsiders with this option, thank goodness.) So you only want to call up a zelekhut if you're doing something that serves the cause of Law -- and if your party goes off message and starts acting chaotically, be prepared for the creature to simply shut down. Ideally, you'd want to summon one or more of these guys for going after someone who is trying to escape punishment, since that's their particular area of expertise. This could be a perfect fit for some particular adventures -- "The Whispering Tyrant was justly imprisoned. Now his minions seek to end his punishment by freeing him. We work to stop them, so that his lawful punishment may continue forever." -- but probably not for most "kill the monsters and take their stuff" type dungeons.

Bebelith Demon [CR 10, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 13] – The bebelith is actually pretty easy to summon and bind for a creature of its CR -- mediocre Will save, low Cha, and no (!) SR. It’s an excellent melee brute that also loves killing demons. Oddly, it can’t fly or teleport, nor does it have a dimension lock or any other way of dealing with teleporting outsiders… but it’s still a pretty good bargain. Huge sized, so make sure you have room.

Phistophilus* (Contract Devil) [CR 10, SR 21, Will +16, Cha 22] -- Mechanically, the phistophilus' high Will save makes it hard to call up. However, once you get it, you have a potentially very interesting encounter. The phistophilus is a surprisingly competent melee fighter, but that's probably not what you want it for. No, you call up a phistophilus to talk about making deals. You may want to sign one yourself, of course – three wishes in return for your soul, and all that. But also, there's no reason you can't act as a go-between or broker, connecting the contract devil to mortals who are greedy or foolish enough to accept a deal. Obviously, if this works out, you'd be within your rights to negotiate a reasonable commission... The phistophilus also gives you a rare opportunity to deal with a devil who is intelligent, well connected, and at least potentially friendly. If you want to work out some sort of special deal with Hell, summoning one of these guys is a good starting point.

Cauchemar (Nightmare) [CR 11, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 12] -- See the entry on the nightmare, because this is just a bigger, meaner nightmare. (In fact, it's a Huge size creature. Make sure your circle is big enough.) Very easy to summon and bind for a creature of its CR.

Hamatula* (Barbed Devil) [CR 11, SR 22, Will +8, Cha 18] -- At first glance the hamatula looks like the high-level version of the bearded devil: a tough combat fighter, and with a bunch of useful (if somewhat random) SLAs. Unfortunately, we're getting up to the levels where devils have distinct personalities and agendas, and the hamatula is kind of a jerk even by the standards of Hell. "Hamatulas despise being summoned away from their duties in Hell for any reason. A devil summoner who offers a hamatula rare treasures and exotic gems valued at more than 2,000 gp gains a +2 bonus on all Charisma checks made to compel the devil to service, but only if the task takes less than 24 hours to complete. Those who try to compel hamatulas to longer terms of service, whatever the service might be, take a -2 penalty on their charisma checks." Well la dee dah. The hamatula is a special snowflake. If you have the firepower to enforce your will upon it, it makes a fine bodyguard, but given the flavor text your DM would be justified in making it a grudge-holding long-term enemy if you keep it away from Hell for more than a day.

Akhana Aeon [CR 12, SR 23, Will +14, Cha 18] -- It's RAW that the neutral Aeons are difficult to understand or control (though the flavor text doesn't explain how that works mechanically). Still, the Akhana makes this list for one reason: it can cast Raise Dead and Restoration. So if you have a dead PC and no 9th+ level cleric on hand, you conjure up one of these guys. NOTE: it’s RAW that what one Aeon knows, every Aeon knows. So think twice before you bully, abuse or kill a conjured Aeon. It's not clear that the guardians of neutrality would hold grudges, but on the other hand it's not clear that they wouldn't.

Kolyarut Inevitable [CR 12, SR 23, Will +11, Cha 16] -- High SR and Will make this a tough summons, and the kolyarut, like the zelekhut, can shut itself down if ordered to act against its nature. But if you have an adventure goal that fits with the particular obsessions of the kolyarut -- punishing oath-breakers and seeing that contracts are kept -- then this becomes a very attractive option. "The Queen swore before the gods to protect and serve the city, but instead she has unleashed pestilence and monsters upon her blameless people!" If you can make the rolls to call and bind it, you might gain a CR 12 ally who not only is a very powerful melee combatant but can throw enervation at will.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

An NPC in my campaign recently quoted from the Asmodean Book of Nursery Rhymes. I immediately realized that this was a thing that had to exist, in Cheliax if nowhere else. It's a large volume of highly instructive poems and stories for children, with diverting illustrations; every well-raised child in Cheliax grows up with it.

Here's the one rhyme that got quoted:

When peril comes
That threatens all
Then the weak and the wounded
Must go to the wall.

So: who can come up with some more simple rhymes for children to help them learn the basic moral rules of life in Cheliax? (Riddles and simple stories are good too.)

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

BTW, I am very much still interested in comments and other input, because I want to post a version 3.0 of the Guide later this year. Basically I'm waiting for the Cheliax AP and its associated stuff to come out, because I expect it will include all sorts of interesting and useful Hell-themed goodness.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Takka of the Toad

Takka sleep on a bed of straw on the floor. (For kobolds, this is luxury.) Tonight his sleep is restless; grief still gnaws at him, and he misses the comforting presence of Sleek. Still, eventually deeper sleep comes...

The Wardstone is a tall, slender pyramid, very slightly curved like a great claw or hook. It is taller than a man, twice the height of a kobold. It is made of some unknown marble-like stone, tremendously hard and durable. Three metal bands encircle it. Runes of power are incised into them.

The mere presence of the Wardstone is immensely comforting. You can feel the arcane energies around it, immensely powerful yet held in perfect tension. Pure law and pure benevolence suffuse the air. It is like being in the presence of a stern but loving parent. The wardstone is the kindly teacher who will help you earn your grade, the dutiful priest, the honest cop on the beat. It is order and light. Against the festering horrors of the Worldwound, it holds the blade of Law. You could stand here and soak in its wonderful presence for hours, and you are sure you'd be better for it.

But all is not perfect here. You notice a small crack near the base of the Wardstone. That by itself is alarming. But the crack seems... active. It seems to crawl a little in your vision, and there is a faint green glow or flicker that seems to come and go. Seeing this fills you with a deep unease. The Stone should not be cracked, and there's something very bad and wrong about that green light.

The demons attacked it, let by their Storm King, says a great calm voice. They failed. The Wardstone was damaged, but the damage has been contained. Repairs are under way. Soon it will be intact again.

Relief floods through you. It will be all right!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you and/or your DM think that using racial SLAs to qualify for prestige classes is cheese,* then there's an interesting alternative: a one level dip of Snakebite Striker Brawler gives you a head start towards qualifying for any PrC that uses Sneak Attack as a prerequisite. This is nice for an Assassin build, and it's well beyond nice for an Arcane Trickster. In fact, IMO dipping a level of Brawler moves the Trickster PrC from "flavorful, but be prepared to kinda suck for like six levels" to "totally viable!" A level of SS Brawler, a level of rogue, three levels of wizard and you're off to the races. There's nothing not to like.**

Doug M.

*it is totally cheese.

**Okay, you're giving up 4 skill ranks, Evasion, a rogue talent and trapfinding. In return, you get +1 BAB, +2 Fort, +2 hp, the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, the ability to do d6 damage with your bare hands, and an earlier SA die. And if you're going Trickster, you're getting a full! extra! level! of spellcasting. That is beyond a no-brainer. You want evasion that badly, buy the ring.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The robed man gapes at him. "There is? Where?"

"The grave, you treacherous son of a b$$*!!" Don lunges forward. That was a Bluff check above, part of a feint check to catch the robed man flat-footed.

1d20 ⇒ 11

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sleek charges into action! The mighty toad and his valiant kobold rider surge forward into the room with a mighty hop!

The green-armored dwarf turns to face his attacker... and blinks in astonishment. "What is this, I don't even... Is that a slurk?"

1 person marked this as a favorite.

With Zimu's departure, the "flatter and lie like crazy" evil face niche has been left empty. The "intimidate and threaten" role is well filled, though.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Recruiting 3-4 people for a Wrath of the Righteous campaign. Got a DM (me) and one player already.

What it is: A Wrath of the Righteous campaign, but with a twist or two. At this point half the world has read WotR, right? So. Events may unfold differently, NPCs may be added, subtracted, or swapped, and so forth. The basic premise is still the same, though -- you're fighting demons at the Worldwound.

Who I am: Experienced DM, longtime poster. Some of you may have seen my Way of the Wicked PBP, which is now in its third year.

What we'll do: We'll run a short introductory scenario, which will probably take a few weeks. When we're done with that, we'll pause and see if we want to continue. There's no commitment beyond that -- but if you want to do this, you're expected to commit to playing through that first scenario. "Commit" means the usual stuff -- you try to get a post up every day, you let us know if RL is going to interfere, etc. (That includes me, obviously.)

How we'll do this: Recruiting is open for the next three days, which takes us to the morning of Monday 23 February, let's say 9 AM EDT. If you think you might be interested, click on the spoiler and start writing.

So you want to fight demons, eh?:

Player's Guide: There is a Player's Guide for this AP, and you can download it for free right here. It is not mandatory but is recommended.

Stats: 15 point buy.

Starting level and hp: 1st level. Max hp on the die at 1st, roll thereafter.

Race: All races are allowed, but if you're playing something weird you'd better have a good explanation. The setting is majority human.

Alignment: Any nonevil.

Classes and builds: All base and core classes except summoners. Be aware that while I am perfectly happy to see you optimize your characters, cheese is discouraged and minmaxing may prove counterproductive. The goal is not to build towards a ragelancepounce barbarian who can deal 3000 dpr. The goal is to have a game that's fun and interesting. Think fun and interesting.

Equipment: Standard 1st level. You may roll for gp or take the average, as you please.

Traits: You get two traits. It is recommended (though not required) that one of them be a trait from the WotR Players Guide. No drawbacks.

Setting: Assume the setting is default Golarion.

Mythic rules: I haven't decided, but I'm leaning towards "no". As you may know, this AP uses the Mythic rules, but they don't kick in until the end of the first AP. I have no idea if we'll reach that point. And if we do, experience shows that it takes an average PBP group at least six months and more typically about a year to finish a module. So we'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it. Some people absolutely adore the Mythic rules, while others say they turn the game into rocket tag. Let's not get into that. For now, just design your character as if there was no such thing as Mythic rules.

Backstory: Give us some backstory, broadly defined. It doesn't have to be personal history per se, but tell us something about the character. Be interesting.

Not gonna lie: spelling, grammar and presentation all matter. We may be locked in a small virtual room with each other for months. If you write that demons killed your character's parents by "burning they're house down", well, I just know that over time that sort of thing is going to drive me slowly nuts. Sorry. (N.B., if you're not a native English speaker, say so -- that's different.)

We're going to be WRITING for each other's entertainment. So show me what you've got!

Character description: Give us a brief outline of your character's personality and motivations. Likes, dislikes, fears, loves, what have you. Again, here's your chance to make it interesting.

3PP: Nope. Paizo stuff only. Yes, there's some great 3PP stuff, but I just don't have time to review new races and classes and whatnot.

I think that covers the high points. Come Monday, I'll decide among the submissions based on character ideas, backgrounds, general presentation, and how interested/engaged you seem. Well-written, interesting character descriptions and backstories are likely to catch my interest.

If you're interested, post your builds and backstories here. Again, recruitment closes Monday morning and I'll make selection shortly afterwards. Thanks much, and I look forward to unleashing the Wrath of the Righteous with you!


Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Bard sounds like an entirely reasonable choice. A face and a skill monkey will be more valuable than additional damage output.

Also, a bard lets you play around with different sorts of evil. Let the others be rampaging monsters of destruction; the bard can be sleazy and slimy.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

To be clear, I think a paladin could have a wide range of relationships, up to and including love and marriage, with any nonevil alignment. LG paladin / CG spouse would probably lead to some interesting marital disputes, but it's (1) canon-legal, (2) not IMO inconsistent with the concept of a paladin, and (3) not obviously and necessarily doomed. LG paladin/CN fling or FWB is a stretch but it's possible to imagine a paladin of one of the more liberal and sex-positive deities taking a walk on the wild side. LG paladin / CN spouse strikes me as really stretching things (and also asking for trouble if it's actually carried out), but it's not actually forbidden and who knows? maybe there's some paladin out there who really wants to be Marge Simpson.

Nonevil characters who are worshippers of evil gods, now... under canon, a paladin could associate with such a character, as long as s/he wasn't actually committing evil acts. So you could, for instance, have a paladin and a LN worshipper of Asmodeus in the same party. You have to figure it would be uncomfortable, but it's allowed.

But marrying or having a deep and serious loving relationship with a worshipper of an evil god? No, don't think so.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
mourge40k wrote:

But on to an actual serious answer. There's obviously only one way for this to play out. A gets involved with demons, who offer to help make the triangle just a line and do away with that obviously evil hypotenuse. Or devils. Or another noble family. Paladin doesn't fall this way, A isn't directly implicated at first, and the love triangle can continue until the next threat on said individual's life.

This is one option: A falls through jealousy, becomes evil and converts to being a villain -- albeit a tormented one whose existence is arguably to some extent paladin's fault. Absolutely a cliche, but could do.

Doug M.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

NPC A loves paladin. A is Neutral Good and has gone to considerable trouble to be near paladin. Paladin really likes NPC A as a friend -- they've been comrades for a long time, and have shared many experiences -- but just Not That Way. A is rather emotionally fragile, so paladin has not gotten around to breaking the news yet.

Paladin is actually in love with NPC X. Really fallen hard. It's first love -- Paladin, being a worshipper of Iomedae, never had much time for that sort of thing -- but damn if it isn't true love, the no-kidding real thing. X is also is inclined to love paladin back, though it's a bit tentative and not yet a two-way street.

Complication: X is the scion of a noble family of Cheliax, all of whom are devout worshippers of Asmodeus. X's father (to whom X is loyally devoted) is Lawful Evil and pretty horrible -- Dad worships Asmodeus, has a mansion full of slaves, consorts with devils, sports a goatee, you name it. The rest of X's family is even worse. Now, X is Lawful Neutral, not Lawful Evil. X is not cruel or evil and does not participate in the family wickedness. But being Lawful means holding to honor and tradition, and X is really, really Lawful. So X is a loyal adherent of Asmodeus, and that's just not going to change. Paladin and X have not had That Conversation yet, but they're getting there.

A is aware of X and is just starting to suspect what's going on. As noted, A is emotionally fragile, so possible responses may range from potentially suicidal depression to potentially murderous jealous rage.

I'm not looking for a solution to this: obviously, there is none. Rather, I'm looking for interesting ways to have it play out. "Interesting" can certainly include "horrible for paladin" or "just horrible generally". I don't want to screw anyone over and I am not interested in forcing any particular outcome. OTOH I'm not averse to complicating things and/or dropping some tricky choices in paladin's path.


Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

1d100 ⇒ 18 IMAGEthecardinalwasasackofwetmeatwrappedinmembranesbathedinliquidfromacentr almeatpumpthecardinalunderwentoxidationreactionresultinginmasslossdesiccati oncentralpumpnolongerneededautoremovedforencodingandstorage{{HE ROSE AND TORE OUT THE REMAINS OF HIS HEART}}chargedwithsymbolic/semioticrelevanceencodedwithinformationallowingu ploaddownloadduplicationofcardinalviaextraplanarconnectiongivenpreservation toextenddurationalongthetimeaxisitsappearanceremainsthatoftheoriginalfluidp umpsubjecttodesiccationandalbedochangepostoxidation


Like a tentacle withdrawing from an orifice, the presence of the Havero slithers offwards into some angle of nonspace and is gone.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you're looking for "a fun %, if not 100%", then may I modestly recommend my own "Blaster Wizard With Alchemical Reagents" build? It's pretty much exactly that, and it's a straight wizard with no dipping.

Alchemical Reagent Blaster:

This grew out of reading Brewer's Guide to the Blockbuster Wizard right after reviewing the "alchemical power components". Most of the alchemical reagents give pretty modest benefits -- +1 to damage here, a caster level here, an extra but of duration over there. But I wondered: if you piled them on each other, could you get some interesting results?

It turns out, yes.

* * * * *

Human wizard, 15 point build: Str 8 Con 12 Dex 14 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 8. Evocation specialist with the Admixture subschool -- this lets you swap energy types (fire, acid, cold, electricity) on your spells 8x/day. Bonded object instead of a familiar. Traits: Magical Lineage (fireball) and, oh I don't know, Reactive. (You'll carry that Magical Lineage trait for six long levels before it's useful. But then it will be very useful indeed.) Feats are Spell Focus (Evocation) and Spell Specialization (Burning Hands). Skills, meh, the usual. If you do the cyphermage dip (see below) don't forget to throw some ranks at Linguistics.

First Level -- Starting spells: Burning Hands, Grease, Mage Armor, Summon Monster I. If your party lacks a meat shield for you to cower behind, you cast Mage Armor before entering the dungeon. Otherwise, you take nothing but Burning Hands, baby. Your feat and your specialization = basic Burning Hands for 3d4+1 damage, DC 16 Reflex save for half. That'll sweep the street clean of most first level opponents.

But wait -- there's more. You invest in some alchemical reagents. 40 gp gives you a flask of liquid ice, which you can use as a spell focus for Ray of Frost, making it do +1 damage. The flask is not consumed, so you can use it endlessly. Together with your evoker bonus, that means this endlessly spammable cantrip now inflicts d3+2 damage on a +2 ranged touch attack. That's almost always going to be better than messing around with a silly crossbow. For your first couple of levels this will be your default attack.

For your main blast, use your admixture power to turn Burning Hands into Cold Hands, toss in some urea and you're now doing 4d4+1. Why? Because for just 4 gp/dose, urea gives you +1 caster level on cold spells. That's crazy good, and you're going to leverage hell out of it. At first level, it means 11 average damage, which will seriously dent most nonboss opponents and will simply wipe out a mass of low level opponents even if they save (which at a DC 16 Reflex, they probably won't). In the unlikely event you meet something that's immune to cold, you keep some other reagents in your back pocket -- brimstone (+1 damage on acid spells at 2 gp/spell) and saltpeter (+1 damage on fire spells at 3 gp/spell). For when you just want to add a little something extra to show you care, there's black powder (+1 damage on all evocation spells). At 10 gp/spell it's a bit pricey for you, but sometimes you just want to make the moment special. So if that cold-resistant creature shows up, you just shrug and throw Acid Hands for 3d4+2 or 3d4+3.

Oh, and you also carry around some spirits of wine in a flask. Those give +1 to spell level on summoning spells for duration purposes only -- so for 3 gp you can make your Summon Monster I bring something for 2 rounds instead of 1.

Finally, when you have a little money pick up a couple of flasks of acid. For 10 gp per casting you can use these with your Grease spell to inflict 1 hp/round of acid damage on anyone that stays within the spell's area of effect. And for just 5 gp/casting, alchemical grease adds 1 to this spell's save DC.

Second Level -- Pick up Magic Missile and a utility spell. You won't use MM very much for a while, but one day you'll be spraying a bunch of Dazing Magic Missiles around at a bunch of mooks. Meanwhile, your Cold Hands now do 5d4+2, or 5d4+3 if you blow the 10 gp for black powder. This is a quiet level for you. Don't worry about it; things are going to get interesting fast.

Third Level -- Take Intensified Spell (allows five more levels of damage on spells, +1 spell slot) as your third level feat. Learn Flaming Sphere and Summon Monster II. In your second level slots you can now carry Flaming Sphere for 3d6+2/round, or Intensified Cold Hands for 6d4+1 -- remember, the feat lets you go past the normal 5 die limit on this spell. In your first level slots, Burning Hands with saltpeter / Acid Hands with brimstone = 5d4+2.

But wait! If you throw in a flask of alchemist's fire as a material component (20 gp), your burning hands will set one enemy who failed his save on fire. This is only an additional 1d6/round of damage, but it's totally worth it just for the visual.

Fourth Level -- Get a utility spell, like Web or Glitterdust or Invisibility, and then also take Fox's Cunning. Because, oh hey: that's a transmutation spell, so for 3 gp/casting you can use magnesium to make it last as if you were a level higher, five minutes instead of four. No big thing, but that should get you through a couple of encounters. Put your +1 boost on Int, raising it to 19. Pick up a first level Pearl of Power. Intensified Cold Hands now do 7d4+2, or Intensified Burning/Acid Hands do 6d4+3, or Flaming Sphere does 3d6+2/round.

Fifth Level -- Fireball, baby. (Take Haste for your other spell, so that the other players stop going on about how you never buff them.) Take Greater Spell Focus and Varisian Tattoo, aka Mage's Tattoo on the PFSRD -- +1 caster level on all evocation spells. From here on out you can probably afford to add black powder as a default. Buy it in bulk, you'll be using it a lot. So now Fireball (or Acidball, or Lightningball) does 6d6+4, while its urea-powered Freezeball variant does 7d6+3. In your second level slots, Intensified Cold Hands do 9d4+3.

Sixth Level -- Take Communal Resist Energy. With a pinch of cold iron, you cast this at +1 caster level, meaning that at 6th level you can now grant 20 points of resistance. But wait! If you throw in a flask of liquid ice (40 gp) or of alchemist's fire (20 gp), you can add 20% to the resistance granted by this spell to fire or cold respectively: 24 instead of 20.

You're now high enough level to afford an Int-boosting item; get one, raising your Int to 21. Switch Spell Specialization from Burning Hands to Fireball. Your Fireballs now do 9d6+5 damage, average 36.5, or 10d6+4 for Freezeballs. In a pinch -- say, if the party is being swarmed by very large numbers of weak foes -- you can cast Communal Resist Energy on the party, then Fireball them and yourself. The party will still take damage if they fail their saves, but you'll clean out the enemies toute suite.

Seventh Level -- Take Empower Spell. Take Dimension Door -- you need the tactical flexibility and it's grapple insurance. There are several okay fourth level evocation spells... I'm fond of detonate (at this level it's 8d8+5 damage to everything around you, or 9d8+4 if cold) but yeah, you're probably better off with Ice Storm or something. Pick up a rod of Selective Metamagic. (This will finally stop the other PCs' pathetic whining about you catching them with your fireballs.)

After six long levels, Magical Lineage finally kicks in: you get Empowered Fireballs as 4th level spells. That's 10d6 (x 1.5) +5, or average 57.5 damage. With your Fox's Cunning on, that's a DC 22 Reflex save. Your 2nd level spell slots have Cold Hands for 8d4+4.

Eighth Level -- You're going to start meeting things with SR, so pick up a rod of Piercing Spell while you're shopping for a better (+4) Int booster. Put your level-up point on Int, so you're now rocking a 24. You can now throw Intensified Fireball as a 3rd level spell for 11d6+6, or Intensified Freezeball for 12d6+5.

You now get the goofy Elemental Manipulation aura, which is mostly worthless but could be situationally a lot of fun if everything clicks. Here's what you do: before entering the Glacial Rift of the Ice-Themed Monsters, you set your aura to convert cold attacks to fire. Then you cast Communal Resist Energy (fire) on the party, throwing in a 40 gp flask of liquid ice to give everyone fire resistance 24. Then you get right in among the monsters and cast Freezeball centered on yourself. Okay, the party will still take average 23 points of fire damage each... but the cold-based monsters will take average 70.5 each. (And, come on, the party rogue will probably evade.)

Finally, pick up Black Tentacles. Not only is this a fine utility spell for those confusing moments when you can't immediately blast something, but for 50 gp/casting you can use a tanglefoot bag as a component, allowing you to reroll your grapple check against one opponent.

Ninth Level -- Icy Prison and Fire Snake are both fine 5th level evocation spells. Icy Prison is suck-or-suck; if the enemy fails a DC 24 Reflex save, it's helpless, and even if it succeeds, it's entangled and taking damage -- 15 on the first round, and then 11 per round thereafter, until it makes a DC 26 Str check to escape. Meanwhile, your Intensified Enhanced Freezeball is up to (13d6 x 1.5) +5 or about 73 points.

For your feat, Quicken Spell is tempting, but it's just a bit too soon -- you'd be using a precious fifth level slot to throw a simple 5d4+5 Quickened Burning Hands. It can wait until 11th level. An interesting option is to take Cyphermagic so you can dip a level or two of Cyphermage. Casting from scrolls now gives you +1 caster level -- more dice of damage. For one level of Cyphermage, you take Focused Scroll; basically this means that once/day you can ignore SR. If you were to dip a second level, you'd take Enhance Scroll, because you can save just a sick amount of money with this one.

But for now let's keep it simple and go with Spell Penetration. SR is starting to be a common thing at this level. You're a blaster; if something at resists your magic, you've just wasted your round and accomplished nothing. So you need this feat. It stacks with your Piercing Spell metamagic rod, so you're always at either +2 or +7... and those will get doubled when you get Spell Perfection, heh heh.

Tenth level -- Speaking of Spell Penetration, it's probably time to invest in a few doses of Dweomer's Essence. Though not formally an alchemical reagent, this acts just the same way: it's a one-time consumable that you mix into your spell to add +5 to your spell penetration check. At 500 gp /shot, it's not cheap, but sometimes you want to be very sure that you're taking that bad guy down.

For your 10th level bonus feat, there are a couple of attractive options. One is the Alchemical Affinity arcane discovery. This neglected gem gives you +1 ECL and +1 on DCs for any spell you cast that is also on the alchemist's spell list. Tragically, this does not include Fireball, but it does include a bunch of fun spells from Detonate to Magic Jar. And it's pretty solidly thematic. That said, if you're playing strictly by the numbers then you're probably best off taking Dazing Spell. It's everyone's favorite metamagic feat for a reason. Your Dazing Fireballs will only do 10d6+6 damage, but anything that fails that Reflex save is SOL. And it's not like you can't do raw damage -- your Intensified Enhanced Freezeball is averaging 80 points of damage, and you can throw 13d6+6 Intensified Fireballs around like Mardi Gras beads.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Plot seed: Pit the PCs against a Diabolist who is using Lesser Planar Binding to call up all sorts of monsters to fight for him.

The Diabolist is a Wiz 8 / Diabolist 2, detailed below. Lesser Planar Binding (LPB) gives him access to a whole menagerie of creatures with a wide range of abilities and tactics. Check out this thread for ideas; he doesn't call up good or chaotic creatures, but that still gives him all sorts of crazy possibilities. You can throw a wide range of CR 2 through 5 creatures in various combinations at the PCs, and have fun watching them try to figure out why they're fighting barbed devils, Ja Noi Oni, a death-kissing (but not evil!) catrina, a couple of aghash divs, an umbral shepherd, and some guy on a nightmare.

There are two ways you could run this, I think. First, as a one-shot for a group of level 5 to 7 PCs. You take the wizard, pick a bunch of monsters, give the PCs some excuse to come breaking down his door, and then sit back as the PCs try to carve their way through. Second, you could run this as an extended adventure or mini-campaign: the PCs come into town not knowing that the Diabolist is the local kingpin. (I'm thinking behind the scenes, though I suppose he could also rule openly if it's that sort of kingdom.) So then they disrupt one of his plans and earn his enmity... This one would make more use of deception; there are a bunch of LPB creatures that can change shape and look human, after all. If the PCs refuse to be chased out of town, the Diabolist can escalate. The PCs, meanwhile, may have to figure out just who is launching these attacks -- the Diabolist is a respected member of the community, after all, and only some elements in the local underworld know what he really is up to.

The Diabolist:

Wizard (conjurer) 8 / Diabolist 2
CR 9
XP 6,400
Male middle-aged
LE Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception 0

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +1 Dex)
hp 53 (10d6+10+8)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +9
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk alchemical silver dagger +6 (1d4–1/19–20)

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 10th; concentration +15)

5th — acidic spray (13d6+1 acid or hellfire, DC 22) x2, summon monster V
4th — black tentacles x2, confusion (DC 19), fleshworm infestation (DC 21), greater infernal healing
3rd — aqueous orb (DC 19), fireball (10d6 fire or hellfire, DC 18), haste x2, nauseating trail (DC 20)
2nd — eagle's splendor, fog cloud, fox's cunning, glitterdust, resist energy, web
1st — alarm, grease (DC 18), mage armor (pre-cast), mount, shield, summon monster I
0 (at will)— acid spray (3x/day), dancing lights, detect magic, prestidigitation, read magic

Opposition schools: illusion, necromancy

Str 9, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 14

Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 16

Feats: Cypher Magic, Greater Spell Focus (conjuration), Iron Will, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (conjuration), Spell Penetration, Spell Specialization (acidic spray), Varisian Tattoo (conjuration)

Skills: Appraise +9, Bluff +18, Diplomacy +18, Fly +5, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +9, Knowledge (local) +18, Knowledge (religion)+13, Knowledge (planes) +18, Linguistics +9, Sense Motive +13, Spellcraft +18

SQ: Imp Companion, Channel Hellfire (change any energy damage to hellfire 2x/day), Dimensional Step, Shift (teleportation subschool power, 20' range dimension door as swift action 8x/day), Summoner's Charm

SQ arcane bond (ring)
Combat Gear: brimstone (5 doses), potion of cure moderate wounds, scrolls of create pit (DC 19), infernal healing (2x), invisibility (2x), glitterdust (2x, DC 19), protection from evil, see invisibility, shared sacrifice, web (DC 19).

Other Gear masterwork alchemical silver dagger, circlet of persuasion, cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +1, Lesser metamagic rod (extend), Abjurant Salt (two doses), spell component pouch, spellbook, writing equipment

Spellbook: all of the above plus (1) snowball (2) misdirection (3) agonize, blood transcription, magic circle, protection from energy (4) enervation, dimensional anchor, sacrifice, scrying (5)lesser planar binding

Tactics: The Diabolist does not like fighting alone. In his world, he should always have the action economy advantage! He wants to be surrounded by conjured creatures, summoned creatures, and allies. His go-to spells are acidic spray and black tentacles; his go-to tactic is using his shift ability to move around. (Remember that it's a swift action, so he can take a step, cast, and then go somewhere else. If encountered on his home ground, he'll teleport through a wall into a nearby room, giving himself time to buff and summon more allies. He's also fond of casting nauseating trail on his imp companion, turning the creature into a disgusting little battlefield controller / cropduster.

Depending on how challenging and complex you want to make this, the Diabolist may have anywhere from a few to a great many conjured creatures around. Part of the fun of this setup is that you can throw a bewildering mix of outsiders at the PCs, so feel free to get creative. He may also have non-outsider allies. Season to taste, but I imagine him having a barbarian bodyguard and an apprentice. The bodyguard gets to ride on a nightmare sometimes, which he thinks is just the most metal thing ever. The apprentice is a creepy little guy who wants to conjure outsiders for all the wrong reasons; think neutral evil serial killer type. He works as a sub-boss. The Diabolist is planning to kill the apprentice at some point anyway -- he's useful but a bit of a loose cannon, and the Diabolist has no intention of teaching him planar binding -- so won't go to much trouble to keep him alive.


Doug M.

13 people marked this as a favorite.

As part of DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, I want to include an appendix on creatures that you can call and bind. Since there are a lot of outsiders, it's a big chunk of work. So I'm looking to crowdsource it.

Let's start with Lesser Planar Binding, which lets you summon and control outsiders of 6 HD or less. Here follows a partial list of targets. It's heavily weighted towards evil outsiders, because it grew out of my Guide to the Diabolist. You'll notice it's in order from lowest CR to highest; within a CR, it's alphabetical. Please feel free to either amend or expand existing entries, or create new entries (but in the same format, please, for consistency). If this works out, I'll post the other two spells later.

Many thanks in advance,

Doug M.

* * * * *

So, you have your circle drawn, your sacrifice ready, your nervous apprentice close at hand... it's time to start conjuring and binding! Here I list some of the outsiders you're most likely to conjure up. This is by no means a complete list; consult the pfsrd for more. An asterisk (*) means a creature that's a devil – a Diabolist can use Infernal Charisma against it.

There are three statistics you have to think about here: Spell Resistance, the creature's Charisma, and it's Will save. Its Will save is what it uses to resist being called in the first place, its SR will resist your spells, and its Cha can both get it out of the circle and be used to defy you. Remember, the more times it can defy you, the more rolls it gets to escape! So you want to win those Cha checks.

Lesser Planar Binding: Who You Gonna Call?

Lemure* [CR 1, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 5] -- The lemure is feeble, stupid, and has no useful skills or SLAs. If you’re playing a Diabolist, summon one of these at your initiation to start your career and then never bother again. Everyone else, don’t bother ever.

Imp* [CR 2, SR 0, Will+4, Cha 14] -- These little guys have their uses, but for a creature of their CR they're actually pretty hard to call and bind. Go with a zebub devil instead – they’re dumber and creepier, but are easier to conjure and make better scouts.

Gaav* (Host Devil) [Cr 3, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 8] -- These guys are pretty easy to call and bind, but for combat purposes the bearded devil is just going to give you much more bang for your buck.

Zebub* (Accuser Devil) [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 12] -- The zebub isn't terribly bright, but it has at-will invisibility, at-will teleport, +15 stealth (the imp, for all its other fine qualities, has no stealth), whispering wind for reporting back, and a variety of useful SLAs including that weird Infernal Eye thing. Summon these guys regularly for use as spies and scouts -- in particular, if your party doesn't have a rogue, you want one of these flybabies bobbing invisibly down the dungeon corridor in front of you. Despite their low CR, they'll stay at least occasionally handy well into higher levels.

Hell Hound [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 6] -- Fairly easy to summon, and their low Int means they're not too hard to please -- if you regularly give them meat and stuff to burn, they should be happy. If you're just getting started with planar binding, or you need to call up a lot of monsters fast with a high chance of success, go with these guys. A pack of them can be fun, but their low CR and lack of useful skills or SLAs means that before long you'll be moving on to bigger and better monsters.

Hound Archon [CR 4, SR 15, Will +5, Cha 12] – The hound archon is a respectable melee combatant, but his Aura of Menace makes him particularly attractive… it’s always a good debuff, but at this level it’s particularly nice, since a lot of low level foes will fail the save and then have trouble hitting him. If you're facing a bunch of mooks, consider turning him invisible: his Aura still works, and it will be very difficult for them to hit him and shake the debuff. He’s also one of the lowest CR creatures that can teleport, giving him wonderful tactical flexibility. And he’s got constant detect evil and magic circle against evil, and can throw aid spells all day long, meaning you and your allies should always be walking around with +1 to hit and an extra 8 or 10 hp.

Ukobach* [Cr 4, SR 15, Will +7, Cha 13] -- These little pyromaniacs are Paizo, but 3.5, not PFRPG -- they showed up in Pathfinder #25 (Bastards of Erebus) and have never been converted. Check whether your DM will allow them. A specialized tool, call these if you want to burn stuff down. Note that they're unusually "friendly" for devils, and may show up with gifts or information.

Barghest [CR 4, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 14] -- Call one of these when you need to get rid of a body.

Shae [CR 4, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 17] -- A decent bodyguard and scout for a creature of its CR. The Barbazu is much more powerful, but the shae is not inherently malicious, and has great stealth and some decent SLAs.

Barbazu* (Bearded Devil) [CR 5, SR 16, Will +3, Cha 10] -- These guys are your go-to, meat and potatoes devils for your first few levels of conjuring. They're relatively easy to conjure and bind: once you overcome their SR, their lowish Will save and weak Cha are unlikely to present problems, and you can raise the odds still higher by giving them something to kill (+2 on the Cha check). A single bearded devil is only CR 5, but four of them are CR 9 and a group of six is CR 10, so you can have squads of them running around into the low teen levels. They have respectable hp, AC 19, and the ability to dish out large amounts of damage quite fast. They're the lowest CR devils with at-will teleportation, which means that for their CR they're incredibly flexible tactically; they can pop up next to enemy casters, swarm opponents who think they're safely distant across a chasm, your party rogue will always have a flank buddy, you name it. Once you're able to cast LPB regularly, you should always have a few of these guys hanging around. Print out a copy of their stat block... you're going to be using it a lot.

Catrina [CR 5, SR 16, Will +9, Cha 19] -- The catrina is a tough creature to call for its CR, so you'll really only call it for one reason: to kill some particular target. It's about the best assassin you can find at this CR. It has invisibility and greater teleport at will, so it can teleport to its target invisibly, gain surprise, and then use its Compel Condemned power to command a deadly kiss. That's basically a save-or-die, and you can boost the DC 17 save by buffing the catrina before sending it on its way.

Cayhound [CR 5, SR 0, Will +6, Cha 13] -- If the barbazu is just not a fit for you alignment-wise, consider a pack of these guys. They're not quite as tough, but they're respectable in combat. The cayhound has the Dimensional Assault feat, which means it can charge up to 80 feet by means of Dimension Door, ignoring everything in between. That's very nice for getting at enemy bosses and casters who are hiding behind a screen of mooks, or enemies who are on the other side of a pit or a wall. Also, as a Medium creature, the hound can be ridden by a Small rider -- and it's been ruled that if your mount uses Dimension Door, you still retain all your actions. So if you're a small sized caster, you can drop a rank or two in Ride, call up a cayhound, and have unparallelled tactical mobility. The hound bamfs you wherever you need to go, you rain death upon your enemies, and next round the hound takes you somewhere else. The hound can't be grappled or Dimension Anchored (although you can -- take care) and its Dimensional Agility feat means that it can Dimension Door and still take a move or swift action.

Lar [CR 5, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 13] -- There aren't a lot of LG outsiders accessible with this spell. Fortunately the Lar is a good one. It is naturally invisible and is able to possess and animate objects of up to Large size. If its host is destroyed, it takes a bit of damage but can promptly possess another object next round. Since large inanimate objects are CR 5, this makes the Lar sort of like a continuous Summon Monster V spell as long as there's a steady supply of stuff for it to inhabit. Oh, and it can also throw DC 17 suggestions all day long -- pretty sweet. (Note that this can combine with its possession power in interesting ways. Put a lar in your desk, and everyone who sits down across from you gets hit with a suggestion every round.) Oh, and when you're not out adventuring, it has a bunch of SLAs it can cast to make your home more comfortable. If you're LG or close to it, put one of these guys in a suit of armor or something and keep it close at hand.

Nightmare [CR 5, SR 0, Will +3, Cha 12] -- There are two reasons to call up a nightmare. One is if you want to travel to the Outer Planes, as the nightmare can Plane Shift itself and one rider once/day. This is quite risky, since you have to travel alone and you can't come back home for a full day. But if for some reason you really need to go, this is the fastest way to get there. The other reason is, of course, to lend it to the party antipaladin, cavalier, or other steed-crazy fighter type. It's a great way to thank the party tank for standing next to you all those times. A few levels later you can offer him the chance to trade up to a cauchemar -- see below.

Umbral Shepherd [CR 5, SR 0, Will +8, Cha 15] – These guys are creepy but full of interesting possibilities. They can possess bodies as if by magic jar… in fact, they have to do so, because once conjured they quickly wither and die (d6 damage/round) without a body. Note that this means that, once called, you can kill an umbral shepherd simply by keeping it in its circle for a few minutes. In theory, this could make it easier to bind. In practice, your DM might rule that a creature of pure evil that serves the god of suffering isn’t going to just roll over for some schmuck mortal caster. In any event, if you’re going to call one, make sure you have a suitable host body ready for it. Once in the body, the shepherd is an excellent servant; not only can it hop from body to body, but it has a nasty Con-damaging touch attack.

Shadow Mastiff [CR 5, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 13] -- Give it a dog collar and cast Darkness on the collar. Voila: the mastiff now has 50% concealment, turning it from a mediocre melee combatant into a very good one. The mastiff's other useful trait is its bay, which can panic everything within 300 feet, but does not affect evil outsiders -- or you, if you make sure to expose yourself to it every morning before breakfast. The evil outsiders exception means the mastiff makes a nice mascot for you and a band of devils.

Venedaemon [CR 5, SR 16, Will +8, Cha 21] – For a CR 5 creature, the venedaemon is remarkably difficult to deal with: good will save, spell resistance, and a really high Cha. And after all that, you get a creature that’s basically a 6th level sorcerer with better hit dice and some immunities. It’s almost useless in melee and it doesn’t have particularly useful SLAs. Unless you have some really specific need for a daemon – someone has to swim through an acid-flooded underground tunnel, or some such – it’s probably not worth it.

Yamah [CR 5, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 20] -- Also hard to call, but at least you get a decent combat creature with an interesting debuff ability: the yamah can cast dispel magic as a touch attack, all day long. This ability would be awesome if it didn't require the relatively fragile yamah to wade into combat. It's still pretty good. If you know you're going to be fighting something with buffs, call up two or more of these butterfly-winged outsiders and have them dispel, dispel, dispel.

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
A fun read.

Thank you!

-- As to Bob being chaotic, I don't see it myself. He chafes under the Lawful regime, but it doesn't drive him nuts. He sticks it out at his hell-job until circumstances drive him over the edge. In fact, look how he deals with his job at the insurance company: he helps customers *figure out* the rules, but without *breaking* the rules. A chaotic character would have quit in disgust, or would have gone for full-on forging stuff and lying (or quietly ambushing the evil boss) instead of giving people advice on how to work within the system.

Further: he's faithful to Helen and a good, loyal husband and father -- as long as he's able to do good. It's not the rules that are driving him crazy! He doesn't love rules, but he can live with them. It's the not-doing-good part.

Finally, note that -- despite his "I work alone!" at the beginning -- Bob is an instinctive team player.* He partners with Frozone, then he's enthusiastically part of Syndrome's organization, then he's part of the Incredibles. He's not a loner, nor does he suddenly rush off on wild impulses. And he doesn't feel the need to be in charge -- he's happy to submit to Mirage's mysterious boss, or take good advice from Helen. His main motivation is not freedom or self-actualization, but just Doing Good.

Arguing alignment is a mug's game, and YMMV. But to me he really looks Neutral Good, right on the money.

Doug M.

*One of several clever things in this movie: everyone becomes the opposite of what they claim to be in the first ten minutes. Helen wants to save the world; she ends up being a housewife. Frozone is a player; he ends up married and settled down. Bob says he just wants some peace and quiet; he ends up getting it and it drives him nuts. And Buddy wants to be a hero.

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Yes, yes, an alignment thread. I'm going somewhere with this. -- So, just watched The Incredibles with the kids, and it occurs to me that some aspects of this movie fit the classic D&D alignment system neatly.

Bob (Mr. Incredible) Parr is Neutral Good. He just wants to be a hero and help people and save the world! He's neither lawful nor chaotic -- he is, purely and simply, a do-gooder. He literally can't bring himself to do an evil act (killing Mirage).

The regime he lives under for most of the movie is Lawful Neutral. Superheroes are chaotic and messy, so let's get rid of them. What matters is not right or wrong, but order and following the rules. Notice Bob's government handler's reaction? He's not upset with Bob for crippling the evil boss, but neither is he understanding of Bob's frustration. He's weary and annoyed because Bob is _not following the rules_.

Helen (Elastigirl) Parr is completely Lawful Good. She's not delighted about the regime they live under, but she doesn't chafe under it the way Bob does. She, not Bob, is the one who's always giving rules to the kids; she, not Bob, gets annoyed when people don't do what's _correct_ (as opposed to what's right). Notice her complete disbelief at the possibility that the island might fire missiles at an unarmed civilian aircraft. That's why she spends five minutes going CAN'T YOU HEAR ME? instead of getting the hell out of that plane. And then the first thing she does after crashing on the island is sit the kids down and explain the new rules to them.

She's not Lawful Stupid. She bounces back from that and does a much better job of rescuing Bob than he was doing of rescuing himself, and in general she's at least as smart and competent as he is. But being Lawful does give her a bit of a blind spot. See also how easily she's suckered by Bob's tales of promotions and conferences.

Bob's evil boss is of course completely Lawful Evil. "He's hurt!" "Well let's hope he's not insured with us, heh heh." Notice that he commits the classic LE error of overdominating and pushing a minion too far.

Most of the other characters are not sketched out in enough detail to provide an alignment (and, of course, the classic alignment system is a very imperfect tool at best). Syndrome is probably NE, the utterly self-centered sociopath variant, though I supposed you could argue for CE. Maybe Edna is true Neutral (good bad law chaos, bah I serve ART!). Leave that bide.

What's interesting is that Bob and Helen are both flawed characters, and flawed in ways that fit neatly into alignment. Bob's flaw is that he's frustrated (because he can't do good) and frustration makes him cranky and ill-tempered for most of the first third of the movie. (This is one of several places where the movie does a really good job of threading a needle -- they had to emphasize Bob's frustration and despair without making us dislike him. Harder than it looks.) NG characters aren't all sweetness and light, and that's doubly so if they're not being allowed to express their nature. Bob never does anything really bad, but he gets shifty and dishonest and kind of unpleasant to be around.

Helen's flaw is that she's gullible: she's following the rules, so she reflexively thinks everyone else will too. (And she gets pissed off when they don't, in a way that Bob doesn't.) Again, both psychologically plausible and consistent with the alignment system.

TLDR: you could totally grab these personality types for your campaign, either as a player or a DM.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
cnetarian wrote:

Grant her the ability to mask alignment through 2 levels of the spy PrC, or giver her an 8,000gp ring of mind shielding. I favor mask alignment though since it can make her appear to be LG and worthy of help.

Oh, that's a good one. That PrC doesn't require rogue levels, either -- just skill ranks. So she could be a Sor APL+3 / Master Spy 2. And a +2 bonus on Bluff and Sense Motive to boot. Very nice.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, if your PCs are really that level of crazy paranoid, then don't bother with this scenario. (You might, however, consider a scenario where they encounter a hysterical injured girl who really is running from a monster -- and who is the child of a powerful, influential and extremely thin-skinned local nobleman. "You threw my daughter in a *what*?" Season to taste.)

Doug M.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

If the PCs ABSOLUTELY refuse to take the bait... then they do. Any paladin in the party should be very ashamed, but a party of standard PC murderhobos can probably shrug and move on.

Don't punish them for this! In fact, quite the opposite. A few sessions later, the PCs encounter an adventurer who tells a horrible story: he's the last survivor of a party who met a desperate young woman in the woods. The rest of them followed her inside the house, but he stayed outside to keep watch. He heard them screaming... and then he heard the Girl's voice. Laughing. Laughing.

And then a few sessions after *that*, have the PCs travelling along, when suddenly Last Girl runs out into the path in front of them, screaming, "Help! My friends!" And then she looks at the PCs, says, "Oh, crap." And turns around and runs back to the House and in the door.

You won't have the advantage of surprise with that one, but you can still have a rousing adventure through the House, culminating in a fun boss fight with the Girl and her demon pal. Never waste a hook, amirite?

Doug M.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ascalaphus wrote:

I like the idea!

I just worry I wouldn't be able to pull it off, I think the PCs would immediately suspect the girl.

I think there are a couple of ways to inoculate against this. One, red herrings. The girl is part elvish; that's not relevant to anything, but it's a distraction. The House just moved here from Varisia (or wherever): again, not necessary, but it distracts (and also ups the weird factor).

Second, you want to sketch out a role for her that makes sense at a metagame level. First, she's a low-level adventurer (or adventurer wannabe) that walked into something much too powerful. If you like, you can nudge this a little: have her be very impressed with the party caster. "How long did it take you to learn that? I can do the Dancing Lights! Well, sometimes. Usually sometimes."

Alternately/additionally, you can get the PCs used to thinking of her as the infodump. Have her feed them information. If she's telling them what's in the house -- and, by implication, the shape of the adventure -- they'll be a bit less likely to suspect her. Let the PCs try Diplomacy and Sense Motive. "She's more comfortable with Billy Bob the Bard now. Still a little freaked by the rest of you." "Sense Motive -- panick, touch of shock, really worried about her friends. She seems sincere." Again, crank her Bluff to the moon. If she's APL+4, then her Bluff -- assuming precast Eagle's Splendor, and either Rakshasa bloodline or skill focus -- should be at least APL +20. That's not unbeatable, of course, especially if the party has a Sense Motive monkey on tap, but it should carry her through.

If the PCs seem suspicious, play her intelligently -- she won't want to face them outside. If they're really reluctant, have her announce, with trembling lip, that if they won't go in... *she* will save her friends. She saw someone cast the Protecting from Evil spell, once, so she's pretty sure she can do it.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
SlimGauge wrote:
I've been in one too many parties with a pyromaniac. The usual response to haunted houses is "One arson house-fire, coming up.".

"My friends! My friends are still in there!"

If it seems your party might go that route anyway, consider hinting at treasure. Don't be obvious about it! Hint. Like, "It was a mess inside, and smelled bad, but there didn't seem to be anything dangerous... until we got to the room with the books. I told Bob, I told him not to touch anything, but..." I promise you, if there's the slightest possibility of a cool, interesting, dangerous, or valuable magic book in play, your PCs will not burn anything until they find out what it is.

Unless it's Call of Cthulu.

Unless it's Call of Cthulhu. In which case "Burn the books, burn all the books, scatter the ashes and then run run run" is the logical response.

Doug M.

10 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a plot seed for low to midlevel PCs. It is unashamedly stolen from The Librarians, because it's a cool idea. Hat tip to John Rogers.

* * * * *

The PCs are travelling through a forest or similar wilderness area when they hear the sound of distant shouts or screams. Investigating, they quickly encounter a young woman staggering through the underbrush. She is disheveled, covered in blood, and almost incoherent with terror.

"That... that thing! It has my friends! Oh, gods, they're still in there!" [breaks down sobbing]

Upon examination: she is well but not expensively dressed, and shows signs of elven blood. (She is, in fact, a half-elf.) Although her clothes have been slashed by what look like claws, her injuries are minor -- there's a lot of blood, but most of it is not hers. A simple Diplomacy check will calm her down enough to get her story.

She and her friends were a group of young people who dreamed of becoming bold adventurers. One day, they encountered an empty house in the woods and decided to explore it. Adventurers in training, right? And this seemed harmless enough... Alas, they had hardly entered the house when horrible, terrifying things began to happen. They tried to leave, but doors locked, windows suddenly looked out on vast terrifying otherplanar landscapes... and then the Bad Man came. One by one, they were taken. Except for the Last Girl: she remembered that she carried a magical scroll, a spell that opened doors. She's had just a little magical training (she wants to go to the Academae someday), so never dared try it before, but... it worked! She escaped!

But her friends are still in there.

(Additional wrinkle: she may mention in passing that they're from [city] in [country]. However, the PCs are traveling through [other country], and [city] is hundreds of miles away from here! If this is pointed out, the Last Girl will become a bit hysterical for a while. "We -- we can't be in Varisia! That's a /foreign country/!")

Okay, so the PCs investigate the house. Right off, this place looks creepy as hell; it's an ancient house, with a design from a couple of centuries ago, but the walls are cracked and stained, the yard is choked with weeds, strange fungi grow out of the woodwork, and so forth. Possibly some oversized moths are flapping slowly around... season to taste.

Above the door are wooden letters spelling out the words "R E F U G E". Give the PCs a moderately difficult Knowledge (history or local) check. If someone succeeds, they get


The Legend of the House of Refuge

Centuries ago, a kindly wizard built a house to be a refuge for those in need. The poor, the hungry, the desperate, those fleeing from war or persecution... they would find the house magically appearing across their path. Once they stepped inside, all their needs would be attended to; it was warm and safe and food, drink and clothing would magically appear. The House of Refuge could move somehow from place to place, arriving wherever it was needed.

But then one day, the House went bad. Nobody knows why, but it changed. Now it wanders the world, luring victims inside, and then slowly and horribly killing them.

So now what? Well, greed and curiosity should nudge the PCs inside. If not, Last Girl will begin weeping: "My friends are still in there! Oh, can't you please help them? You're adventurers... isn't that what you do?" If the PCs still hesitate, she'll rummage through her pack and pull out a scroll -- "This is all I have. Take it! Just, please, help them!" The scroll should be a random first or second level spell. The goal here is not so much to bribe the PCs as to emphasize Last Girl's pathetic desperation.

Into the House:

Once the PCs go inside, stuff starts to happen. Things fly through the air and just miss them. Doors open or close when they're not looking. There are horrible disturbing visions. Words like GET OUT and DEATH appear in blood on the walls. Animated objects attack them, then fall to the ground. And they can hear something moving around upstairs...

Last Girl clearly does not want to go back in the house, but she doesn't want to be alone either. So she'll go in with PCs. At some point a muffled shriek will be heard from another room; Last Girl will yell, "That's my friend! John, are you all right?" and will run through a door. If the PCs follow, there will of course be something dangerous and horrible on the other side. In fact, Last Girl will show a positive talent for wandering off stupidly by herself. If not followed, she'll disappear, leaving only a pool of blood and a torn item of clothing.

Efforts to escape the house will be fruitless; opening the door reveals a formless grey void, or worse. In fact the House is its own demiplane, and can move from place to place or world to world. And it doesn't want the PCs to leave...

What's actually going on here:

The House of Refuge never changed; it's still a good place. Unfortunately, it's been taken over by a very bad person. Some years back, a very wicked young woman made a pact with the Abyss. She gained the services of a powerful demon... but in return, she had to murder an innocent at least once per month. This worked great for a while, but finally justice caught up with her. She fled, with the forces of good right behind her... and encountered the House of Refuge.

The poor House foolishly let her in, and since then everything has gone to Hell. The House is something like a construct; it's programmed to respond to need. And she *needs* to kill people -- if she doesn't, she dies and the demon takes her soul to the Abyss. That's a very powerful need! So the hapless House, thanks to a glitch in its programming, has been turned into a mobile base of operations for a Chaotic Evil serial killer and her demonic sidekick. The panicked, hapless Last Girl is, in fact, the BBEG.

Last Girl:

I see Last Girl as a sorceress with a level of rogue, but season to taste -- if you think something else will work better, go for it. I'd put her three levels ahead of the APL, plus the rogue level. So if you have a party of 3rd level PCs, she's a Rog 1 / Sor 6. If your party is bigger than the standard four, or the players are very experienced, add another level of sorceror or two levels of rogue. Her Bluff should be sky-high -- rakshasa bloodline is good here -- and she should have lots of illusion and misdirection spells, along with something to conceal her alignment. She'll probably have Still Spell and Silent Spell too. She's cocky and overconfident -- this is all a fun game for her. But part of the game is to stay concealed until the last possible moment, so she will make every effort to do that. If she fails a Bluff check, or the PCs become suspicious otherwise, her first trick will be to burst into hysterical tears and then faint.

As for the demon companion, at APL 1 or 2 it's a quasit. At higher levels it can be a babau, a shadow demon (recommended!) or a vrock. Add PC levels and/or templates to adjust, but you want a CR that's APL +3 or so. The demon is the sub-boss; the PCs should not confront the demon and the Last Girl at the same time.

Inside the House:

The PCs should be encouraged to think "haunted house, inhabited by a monster / magical serial killer". In fact there are three things going on here. First, the House of Refuge is trying to warn the PCs. Unfortunately it's not designed for talking, so it's limited to cryptic messages in blood and the like. It locks the PCs in and plane-shifts because it senses that they are powerful adventurers, and is hoping they will prove Last Girl's undoing. It will try to warn them if it can, but its programming won't allow it to attack Last Girl directly.

Second, there are restless spirits of Last Girl's previous victims. These can be anything from minor haunts up to seriously dangerous undead. The House reluctantly protects Last Girl from them, but they can be very threatening to the PCs.

Third, of course, there's Last Girl and her demon pal. Last Girl will try to lure or maneuver PCs into danger, softening them up; the demon will strike from the shadows and then retreat, using hit and run tactics. The demon's nature should not be immediately obvious; it should wear a dark hooded robe, cloak itself in shadow, make use of illusions, or otherwise take care to disguise what it really is.

For most of the session, Last Girl and the demon will be toying with the PCs. Only once the demon is revealed and defeated will Last Girl realize that there's a serious problem here, pull the gloves off and start striking to kill.

Environmental issues:

All light in the house is reduced a step -- normal darkness acts like no-darkvision magical darkness, low light requires darkvision to see, and so forth.

Oddly, the House does not radiate evil. (Clue!) Attempts to smash walls or doors will work, but the House will "heal" the damage within a minute as soon as the PCs backs are turned.

Healing spells don't work here. (It's a side effect of the House's extraplanar nature.) At your discretion, a paladin's Lay on Hands and healing potions might still function -- but normal healing, nope, you got nothin'. If these seems too much, you could allow healing to be impeded instead -- but keep in mind that this is an excellent way to crank up the tension. PCs suddenly get a *lot* more cautious when they can't just be healed...

Wrapping it up:

If the PCs manage to kill Last Girl, they win! A search will now reveal a cupboard full of treasure, taken from Last Girl's previous victims. The House quickly recovers, becoming a normal looking small house surrounded by a lovely garden. It rewards the PCs with hot baths and a Hero's Feast and then drops them off wherever is most convenient for them. The House is now an ally of the PCs, and may show up again some day when they are in particularly desperate need.

Phew. Thoughts?

Doug M.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Obviously you have to play Orff's Carmina Burana at /some/ point -- it's pretty much the classic "portentous music of doom".

BTW, the (long) thread for KoT contains a number of interesting suggestions for the module. I found it a little easy, myself, especially for experienced players or larger parties -- in fact, based on PBP, almost half of all parties end up killing most of Branderscar. That seemed a bit wimpy for "Talingarde's toughest prison". So IMC, I beefed things up a bit.


1) Added an anti-magic ward: DC 15 concentration check to cast any spell, and if you fail twice in a row you're nauseated for 10 minutes. It operates only inside the main building, so once the PCs are out of there it's no longer relevant, but it makes it bit harder to get out with simple magic. (If you really want to get into detail, I decided that the ward was a 300 pound lump of obsidian, heavily engraved with runes, located in a locked and trapped closet in the downstairs supply room.) Right at the beginning, you can tell spellcasting PCs that they have headaches and hear a faint distant whining noise; casters who make a DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) check will know that there's an anti-magic ward up.

(2) Added a third guard to the two in the cell block. (Makes this encounter a lot tougher. If that seems a bit much, have the third guy be asleep.)

(3) Added an alarm bell on Blackerly's office door, a simple trap on his bedroom door, and another trap on his chest. (The DCs on these were all low, but high enough to catch and injure ordinary soldiers. Blackerly seems like the kind of guy who'd take precautions against anyone messing with his stuff.)

(4) Added a barracks along the wall (where the dog kennel is) with a dozen guards. The guards are off-duty and unarmed, and at night they're asleep. They will take three rounds to clothe and arm themselves, or six if it's night and they're asleep. Still, just by existing they force the party to be more thoughtful, and make it a lot less likely that the PCs will just kill off everyone.

(5) Gave the Warden another level, made him a specialist illusionist, and had his owl sit in a window of the tower (giving him a Perception check against PCs trying to enter the tower).

(6) Added two more guards to Blackerly's game in the gatehouse.

(7) Gave Blackerly one expert level: better Will save, some skills, a few more hp, and +1 Str.

Season to taste, but you want the PCs feeling a little desperate... this should not feel like a standard dungeon crawl.

It's a great module and a great AP. Enjoy!

Doug M.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Second part of the ever-growing Guide to Planar Binding! Part 1 can be found right here.

Part 6: You and Your Bound Outsider:

What can you do? You can order your bound outsider around, within the limits of the service you've demanded from it. (Which may well be simply "Accept my orders". You can cast spells on it, good and bad (though see below). But you can't order it on suicide missions, and you can't demand it do things it cannot do -- "Impossible demands or unreasonable commands are never agreed to". A called creature is not a summoned monster. You can't send it down the corridor to set off traps, nor can you order it to heroically hold off the demi-lich for a couple of rounds while you make your escape. It gets to protect its own life and continued existence, above any orders you might give it.

In terms of fighting for you, I would say that you can order it into combat against creatures of a lower CR, or more generally into combats where it's not at serious risk, whether because it's fighting alongside you and your party or for some other reason. But the RAW implies that there is a point where combat becomes "unreasonable", whether because the creature is badly injured or just because it perceives that its life is at serious risk. At that point, self-preservation kicks in and the creature seeks to flee. It is still bound to service -- "never agreed to" does not mean "breaks loose". But it's not going back to that particular fight, or at least not until things change to its advantage.

Finally, you can't order the creature to take actions that are obviously inconsistent with its nature or its alignment. The planetar just isn't going to massacre a bunch of paladins for you, amusing though the notion may be, and the azata isn’t going to help you enslave a bunch of people. The service you require may be difficult, unpleasant, and even somewhat dangerous, but it can't be something the creature would regard as morally abhorrent. That's "unreasonable" and it's not going to fly.

What can it do? The creature can still use all its SLAs skills, feats and abilities. And it will, for its own motivations and purposes, unless you specifically bind or instruct it not to. A succubus may use her Suggestion on your fellow party members. A shadow demon may possess an NPC. Devils will want to tempt people to wickedness. Daemons will want to hurt and kill people; fire elementals will want to burn stuff; angels will want to help, heal and rescue. That's their nature. You'll need to keep them on a short leash.

And, of course, the creature may well resent being bound, and may connive at your downfall and destruction. Note that called creatures get to use their SLAs and skills; a conjured devil can use Bluff to lie to you, Sense Motive to figure out what you really want, and so forth. The brighter ones are perfectly capable of pretending to be fine with the situation while quietly plotting something truly horrible for you down the line.

One way to think of this is as something like a hierarchy of motivations. Remember Asimov's Laws of Robotics? Something like that:

I. A bound creature will act to preserve its own life and will act consistently with its alignment.
II. A bound creature will obey the terms of its binding, except where this directly conflicts with Rule I.
III. A bound creature will seek to carry out its own agenda, except where this directly conflicts with Rules I or II.

Enchantments and other tricks. An interesting question is whether you can cast spells on your bound outsider -- Dominate, say, or Geas/Quest -- to make it safer and less troublesome. I'd say you can, but you can't command the creature to fail its save and accept your spell. That would be pretty obviously "unreasonable". You could even argue that being Dominated could potentially endanger the creature's life and/or force it to act against its alignment, and thus an unsuccessful attempt to cast Dominate would break the binding right there. I think that's an extreme interpretation, myself, but discuss this with your DM in advance. Certainly any attempt to Dominate or otherwise enchant a creature is likely to ratchet its resentment factor way, way up.

Does anything break the binding? The RAW doesn't mention anything, so I'm inclined to be conservative on this point. That said, I would say that if you attempt to kill the creature, either directly or by ordering it into a near-certain-death situation, then that would probably do it.

Part 7: Sly Tricks:

I think these are cheesy as hell, myself, but James Jacobs has said the first two are legal IHO. If you can think of others, please let me know.

The succubus trick. You call a succubus and get her to grant her Profane Gift. Then you zap her with Flesh to Stone. Since the RAW says that petrified creatures are treated as "unconscious", you keep the Gift. You stick the stone statue in a basement room, hang a sign saying "Accounting Records -- Sz through Ta" on the door, and walk away whistling with +2 to your prime stat. James Jacobs says this would be a chaotic evil act (I agree). I'd add that it would eventually attract notice from senior and powerful succubi. That said, if you can pull it off, it's RAW-legal.

The efreeti's Wish trick. You can call and bind an efreet pretty easily with Planar Binding and demand a Wish from it. This means that by casting a 6th level spell, you can get the benefit of a 9th level spell (and save the 25,000 gp component cost as well). Obviously if done repeatedly this will blow game balance right out the window, to plummet flaming to the rocks far below. That said, it's RAW-legal. The DM's only recourses are (1) to aggressively and creatively pervert any Wishes that are granted, and/or (2) to eventually cause greater powers among the efreeti to take notice and act against this insolent mortal.

The lantern archon continual flame trick: bind a lantern archon, and use it to cast continual flame on 1,000 nails. Try to sell them "at cost" (50 gp each) to a city as street lanterns. I expect you’d crash the market pretty fast, but you could probably make some money with this.

Kill Them and Take Their Stuff: If you study the monster listings carefully, you’ll spot a few that have good treasure for their CR. For instance, the bralani Azata has a +1 scimitar and a +1 composite longbow. At higher levels you can conjure a bralani before breakfast, straight up murder it – they can’t plane shift or teleport – and then take its weapons and sell them for a fast 2,000 gp. (A totally evil act, of course, but hey – 2,000 gp.)

The Reward of Service trick. Worried about your creatures conspiring against you once they get back to Hell or wherever? Well, why let them go back? On their last day of service, kill them.

Part 8: Aftereffects:

Planar Bindings are so potentially powerful that we can reasonably ask why the campaign world isn't full of arcanists commanding legions of bound outsiders. In-game, two explanations suggest themselves. One is that any caster who constantly binds outsiders will, sooner or later, make some irrevocable and lethal mistake. The other is that sooner or later these casters will bring themselves to the attention of powerful planar forces, ancient and mighty creatures that don't take kindly to uppity mortals snatching their servants or children away. Both of these ideas should be in the DM's toolkit for balancing against a PC who is getting carried away with Planar Binding.

As to the attention of powerful outsiders... absolutely yes! In fact, this is really the only recourse a DM has against some of the cheesier tricks that can be played with this spell. So, if you call lots and lots of outsiders, be aware that sooner or later Hell (or the Abyss, or Nirvana, or wherever) is going to notice you... either because the outsiders themselves are talking once they get home, or because someone realizes that a bunch of them have gone missing. The DM is completely justified in having senior outsiders take corrective actions -- whether direct (one fine morning just after breakfast, a Cornugon Plane Shifts into your living room with a blast of flame and a roar of rage) or more subtle (three advanced Shadow Demons are dispatched to begin an elaborate conspiracy against you, working through NPCs and other party members). This sort of thing will IMO be likely to happen faster if you're regularly forcing your targets to do stuff that ticks them off. I’d also say that Lawful creatures would seem more likely to tell their bosses about you, while Chaotic creatures would seem more likely to carry lingering grudges and/or come up with creative or bizarre ways to seek revenge.

On the plus side, if you survive, word is going to get around. If you're very scary, very fair, or both, your reputation might grow to the point that you get an occasional bonus on opposed Cha checks just because everyone knows about you. I'd say that could only happen after you'd called a lot of creatures and survived at least one major attack or conspiracy, myself, but it's theoretically possible.

In general, my recommendation to fellow DMs would be "be liberal in what you allow this spell to do, but be equally liberal in coming up with ways for it to go horribly wrong". To be fair, let the player know in advance that this is a dangerous spell that's famous for going spectacularly pear-shaped. Then going forward, when in doubt, apply the Rule of Cool.

Two pieces remain: a section on how to build towards a specialized planar binder character (that will overlap a lot with the Diabolist guide) and a long list of outsiders that you can call with this spell. I'm thinking to crowdsource the latter.

Anyway: thoughts?

Doug M.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ah, found it.

* * * * *

The Sisters Market; or, making the Succubus more trouble

What makes the succubus different? No, no, besides the obvious.

I'd say it's this: succubi are, by their vary nature, social creatures. Other demons are solitary top predators, or slithering connivers, or rampaging monsters of pure destruction. But succubi need a social context to work.

So: succubi have a network. You could almost say an organization. Oh, it's a very chaotic organization, full of lies, jealousy, plots and treachery. Succubi don't actually *like* each other. But they have a lot in common, and as noted above they're social creatures, and also they can find mutual profit in working together.

How? Why, through the Sisters Market.

The Market is an informal network of succubi. It reaches all across the Abyss, and well beyond. Think of it as a Craigslist for demons. Though the current incarnation of the Market is fairly recent, something like it has existed for millenia. Because demons are demons, the network regularly gets crashed by cheating and abuse; but because it's so damn useful, it keeps getting recreated.

Succubi trade some physical stuff -- magic items and the like, and of course dominated slaves -- but mostly they trade information, roles, and hooks. Roles are identities that they've taken over. A "hook" is a Suggestion or Domination that a succubus has placed on a victim. (Yeah, it turns out that these things can be traded between two willing demons.)

So, say Candi has infiltrated a small mortal kingdom, dominating the queen and planting suggestions in the King's mind, and is driving the kingdom towards war and utter ruin. But suddenly she has to to away. Maybe she has a better job offer somewhere else; maybe she's suddenly become bored (this is the eighth kingdom she's ruined, frankly she'd like to try something different now); maybe she just got the news that the Shining Crusade is about to come to town and the palace will be crawling with good clerics and paladins. Whatever the reason, she contacts the Sisters Market and offers her role and her hooks -- the suggestions on the King, the domination on the Queen -- for sale. Tanya, who's been hanging around the Abyss torturing the same damned souls over and over, jumps at the chance; she offers an interesting magic item and, oh, the true name of a minor devil. An agreement is reached and, boom.

(Context: my PCs recently defeated a succubus; she got a Suggestion into one of them but then flew off because they were obviously too powerful. She's now traded the suggestion-hook to a more powerful demoness, who has just joined the party undercover.)

The Sisters Market also trades information. Much as they dislike each other, succubi tend to be gossips, and they love nothing better than a good, juicy secret. And they trade tactical information: I serve this demon lord, but I've noticed a weakness in his defenses. I'll trade it for information about the powerful good party that's rumored to be preparing an expedition to my plane of the Abyss. From a PC's point of view, this means that once you've encountered a single succubus, any subsequent one you meet may suddenly know much, much more about you. (This is especially true for characters who have embarked on a career of fiend-hunting, demon-binding, or anything else that seems likely to bring them into conflict with the sisters more than once. Demons are chaotic, but intelligent; they're not going to sit in rooms waiting for you to show up and kill them.)

The Sisters Market isn't only for succubi. Other fiends, and even high-level characters, can occasionally try buying or selling something. Just making contact would be a minor challenge in and of itself, and then of course you're dealing with a bunch of millenia-old chaotic evil outsiders with high Wis, very high Int, and very high Cha indeed. Good luck negotiating with the gal who can read thoughts, cast suggestions all day long, and -- oh, you have Protection From Evil up? -- talk rings around you anyway, because she has +27 Bluff.

Anyway, the Sisters Market. Thoughts?

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love this spell.

Yes, it's a hangover from first edition, when Things Were Different -- you wandered from room to room, and some rooms had 10,000 gp guarded by two kobolds while the next room had a Gygaxian insta-death trap or an ancient red dragon. People forget, but the whole concept of "level appropriate encounter" simply did not exist in 1e. It was expected that you would have to run like hell sometimes, and still PCs died a lot more often. (But then, it only took about two minutes to roll up a new one.)

But it can still be used to great effect even today. IMCs, I haven't found Weal / Woe to be a problem. Thoughtful players will pretty quickly figure out what sorts of situations are good for asking. "Should we pull this lever?" is a classic example, but there are many more.

Oh, and it's also a great way to explain unlikely coincidences. Enemy NPC party shows up at just the wrong time to snatch victory from the PCs? "Yes well, Donna here cast the bones and divined that we should climb up the mountain instead of following you directly. Oh, you don't have a diviner of your own? Tsk."

Doug M.

6 people marked this as a favorite.

It looks like this is finally coming together. Originally this was part of DMDM's Guide to the Diabolist, but it fissioned off into its own separate document. There will probably end up being a lot of redundancy between the two... I'm still working on that.

But anyway, here's the first part of the current draft. Comments, criticisms, brickbats, questions and feedback of all sorts, please... the last Guide was hugely improved by your input, so I'm hoping this one will be too.

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

* * * *

Why this Guide? Three reasons:

Why write a guide to the three Planar Binding spells? Three reasons.

First, these spells are powerful. As in, potentially game-changing powerful. There's no limit to the number of creatures you can call with them, so you can potentially have a dozen or more outsiders hanging around at any given time, acting as scouts, bodyguards, and muscle.

Second, these spells are iconic. The wizard calling a powerful, dangerous creature from Beyond into a magical circle and trying to compel it to service... that's an image that's hundreds of years old, and the concept has been part of D&D from the very beginning.

And third, these spells are vaguely written. That's not really Paizo's fault -- they're legacies from earlier editions. But there are a lot of fuzzy areas and things that are simply not explained. In this Guide, I'll point out some of the vague bits and do my best to come up with reasonable interpretations. Hopefully people will find this useful, or at least amusing.

The Planar Binding spells bring outsiders to the material plane to serve you. The outsiders are not volunteers and are generally not happy about this. As a practical matter, Planar Binding is almost always cast together with two other spells: Magic Circle (against Good, Evil, or whatever) and Dimensional Anchor. In theory you could cast Planar Binding alone, but that would be dangerous and foolish. This Guide assumes you’re always casting the three together.

Once you’ve caught the outsider, you can then engage in a contest of wills (simulated by an opposed Charisma check) to force it to serve you for a period of time up to 1 day/level. Once you win, it has to serve.

There are a LOT of details -- see below -- but that's basically it.

Part i: Who You Gonna Call?:

Before anything else, you want to pick which outsider you're going to target. If you've managed to get the true name of some outsider, great! That gives your target -5 on its Will save to resist binding, -5 on its Cha check to resist binding, and (at the DM's discretion) possibly other advantages as well. Otherwise, you ask for a general type ("a Barbed Devil", "a Zelekhut Inevitable", etc.) and you get a typical representative of that type. In game terms, a nice high Knowledge (Planes) is useful for determining the powers and weaknesses of whatever you're calling. In metagame terms, you the player should be familiar with the relative entries in the Bestiary.

Alignment and Planar Binding

This is a complex topic. Conjuring an outsider with a particular alignment causes the PB spell to take on that alignment: calling a devil makes it a spell with the Lawful and Evil descriptors, calling an archon makes it Lawful and Good, and so forth. This means that calling an outsider of an alignment opposite to your own is a morally fraught action. Clever players may of course look for workarounds – “I’m calling this devil to help us fight the Whispering Tyrant, thus serving the greater good!” “I’m calling this angel in order to murder it and take its stuff, hahaha!” But a DM would be justified in prohibiting characters – especially lawful ones – from bending the rules in this manner.

There’s also the interesting question of what happens when a good-aligned caster conjures a good outsider. After all, Planar Binding is ultimately a spell of compulsion – the creature is forced to obey you, whether it likes it or not. Should a Lawful Good character be interfering with Heaven’s will like this? Should a Chaotic Good character be compelling intelligent creatures into what’s effectively slavery?

Well, arguing alignment is a mug’s game, and the rules do allow good characters to use this spell just the same as everyone else. And you could argue that Chaotic Good characters could plausibly call LG outsiders without feeling too bad about it (those guys need to be yanked out of their comfort zone!) while Lawful Good characters could call CG ones (they need to stop hanging around singing songs and having fun, and get on with the serious work of smashing evil). That said, when the archon frowns sternly from out of the circle, or the azata’s beautiful eyes are filled more with sorrow than with anger, a good-aligned character really ought to have a very compelling reason – more compelling than “we’re going through the fifth level of Emerald Spire tonight, and I think we need more firepower” – for forcing them into service.

Part 2: Drawing your diagram, and other preparations:

The Diagram. Unless you're summoning something really small and weak, you always start by casting Magic Circle and then drawing a trapping diagram. (See the Magic Circle spell description for details.) The diagram has four effects: it allows you to precast Dimensional Anchor on your calling circle, thus preventing the outsider from teleporting away; it gives the target -5 on a Cha check to escape (not on its opposed Cha check against you -- that's different); it prevents it from using its Spell Resistance to escape; and the creature cannot use any of its SLAs or other powers across the line of the diagram. All those things are very good! So always do this and do it right.

It's a DC 20 Spellcraft check to draw a trapping diagram. The DM rolls the check in secret, so you don't know if you've succeeded. So you want to either take 20 (which moves the time required from 10 minutes to 20x10 minutes, or three hours and 20 minutes) or make sure you have at least +19 on Spellcraft. This is not actually too hard -- with buffs, Aid Another, an assist from the party bard, etc., you should be able to swing it by 10th level or so. (Remember, a 1 is not an autofail on skill checks.)

The Room. Note that it's RAW that the tiniest disturbance will break the circle -- a leaf falling on it, a beetle scampering across it, anything. So if you're casting Planar Bindings regularly, you want to invest in a house or tower, ideally not in the middle of a city, that contains a nice clean room with soundproof stone walls, a lockable door and no windows. The room should be large enough to contain yourself, an assistant or two, plus the biggest creature you can call -- probably a Huge creature, so say at least 20' x 30'. You might additionally consider a set of sturdy bars with a lockable gate around the circle. This won't stop creatures that can teleport, but if things go wrong they'll have to burn a standard action to get at you. Finally, if you're that sort of caster, you'll want an area for sacrifices and offerings -- see below.

If you're calling something "on the fly" -- say because you're halfway through a dungeon and you really need more firepower -- then at least get someplace quiet and have the rest of the party do their best to secure the area. Otherwise, having a rat scamper across your magic circle at exactly the wrong moment is just the kind of jerk move that some DMs will find irresistible.

Other preparation. Casting alone is a bad idea, especially if you’re calling something powerful. In a perfect world, you should have the rest of the party standing by for buffs and general support. Failing that, have a cohort or an apprentice or some acolytes close at hand. Make sure you have the right spells memorized, and have scrolls and other useful items ready and at hand. Don't forget to have defenses in place against whatever special abilities the creature may possess. Have Plans B and C (see below) prepped and ready.

An interesting question is, if you do a lot of calling and binding, can you use bound outsiders as backup when calling? (Well, to be precise, obviously you /can/. The question is whether you ever /should/.) On the plus side, if you've already called and bound four Ice Devils, having them standing around could be a good way to make sure that #5 doesn't cause trouble -- even if it breaks loose, it promptly gets dogpiled. On the other hand, this is exactly the sort of situation where clever fiends (i.e., a cunning DM) could interpret your instructions in such a way as to get you in some serious hurt. I think it's asking for trouble, myself, but YMMV.

Part 3: The Call:

Calling a creature. This is pretty straightforward: you call the creature and it gets a straight-up Will save to resist. If it makes the save, your calling fails, the creature stays on its home plane and the Binding spell is wasted. Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from casting the spell again. So failing to call something, while disappointing, is usually no more than an inconvenience. An open question is whether you have to redraw your diagram if the creature makes its Will save and doesn't show up. The RAW is not clear on this point. I'd say no, but check with your DM.
As noted above, if you have a creature's true name, it gets -5 on its Will save to resist being called. Normally Planar Binding brings you a random creature of the sort you asked, but the true name means you can keep calling the same one over and over again. And if you're that sort of caster, you can also punish it for its insolent resistance.

Slipping through the net. A called creature can immediately try to escape one of three ways: by teleporting away, by forcing you to make an SR check, or by winning a special Charisma check whose DC is DC 15 + 1/2 your caster level + your Charisma modifier. (This is NOT the opposed Charisma check for binding. That's different.) A correctly drawn calling diagram makes the first two of these impossible and the last one much more difficult (-5 on its check). However, if it does succeed, it's loose! Skip ahead to Part 4. The called creature gets to make another attempt to escape the circle every 24 hours, so hurry up and get it bound before it makes a successful one.

Part 4: The Binding:

In order to bind a creature to your will, you must win an opposed Cha check against it. That sounds simple enough, but of course there are wrinkles.

When and how does binding happen? The RAW does not make clear exactly, so I think a reasonable interpretation is that it happens immediately, on the round after the creature arrives. Not only would this seem to make sense – if it’s not immediate, then when? – but it also fits the Rule of Cool… the creature appears, and you’re instantly locked in a struggle for dominance.

An alternate interpretation would be that the struggle begins only when one of you chooses. This allows time for discussion, negotiation, and threats… but it also means that you could spend several rounds buffing yourself and/or trying to debuff the creature. I think this interpretation tips things too much in the summoner’s favor, myself, but check with your DM.

Either way, at some point you attempt the binding. If you win, great -- the creature is now bound to your service. If you fail, the creature is not bound, but it's still stuck inside the circle. You can make another check in 24 hours, and you can continue trying every day for days/your level. However, the creature also gets an escape check (see above) every day. So you want to get it bound ASAP. If you're high enough level, you can use the 8th level spell Moment of Prescience to add your level to this roll, which should make victory pretty much certain.

There's a really important caveat: if you fail your contested check with a natural 1, the creature immediately breaks free of the circle. There is no way around this -- no matter what you do, this spell has an irreducible 5% failure rate. Sooner or later, this is going to happen. When it does, skip ahead to Part 4.

What modifiers apply? Depending on the circumstances, you can get a bonus on your Cha check ranging from +0 to +6. The RAW doesn't give details, except that certain creatures will accept offerings that give you a +2. These offerings range from trivial (for a lemure, some pornography) (yes, really) to "you must be kidding" (for a marilith, the severed hands of six generals who are still alive and commanding troops) (yes, really). Personally, I'd say that you either get the +2 or not depending on whether you do the offering, and then you can get another +1 to +4 depending on things like how well the task aligns with the creature's alignment, temperament, and goals; whether you offer any attractive bribes; whether you make convincing threats; and whether you have a reputation that precedes you. My take is that bonuses should not be easy to come by, especially for more powerful creatures, but discuss this with your DM.

Buffing yourself. It makes perfectly good sense to buff yourself! However, if we accept that the binding happens immediately after the calling spell is complete, that means you have no time to buff between completing the calling and making the binding check. This means you have two options. First, you can get someone else -- apprentice, cohort, other party member -- to buff you while you are casting the spell. (Make sure your DM is good with this first! Some DMs might rule that the casting of Planar Binding requires such absolute focus that having another caster throwing spells could break your concentration.) Second, before you start your Planar Binding, you can cast buffs that last more than ten minutes. Note that a number of useful buffs, including the attribute boosters like Eagle's Splendor and Owl's Wisdom, have a minutes/level duration. So they'll be available from 11th level and up, or earlier if you have access to Extend Spell. And, of course, you can always prebuff yourself for later checks on subsequent days, if it comes to that -- "You defied me once, creature, but now I will break you!"

If you don't accept the "immediate binding" interpretation, then you can spend an hour buffing before you enter into a contest of wills with your captive. Personally, I think this is kinda cheesy and I wouldn't allow it, or at least not on the first check. After all, one way is "The creature appears, and you're instantly locked in a deadly contest of wills for dominance!" The other is "Just wait a few minutes while I powder my nose..." YMMV, but I know which I'd prefer to play.

Debuffing your target. A much-discussed question is whether you can cast debuffs on the target creature in order to make it more amenable to your demands. If you accept the "binding happens/fails as soon as the creature appears" rule, you can't cast debuffs for that first check unless you have some sort of area debuff up and running in advance. However, if you fail that first check, can you cast debuffs on the creature for the second check, 24 hours later? Well, there's no question that you can cast one spell -- Agonize, which is specifically designed for the purpose of convincing unruly outsiders to cooperate. Otherwise, though, can you cast Enervation? Dominate? A question to James Jacobs provided the following answer: "You can cast any spell you want at the outsider in the circle, but those that create physical effects that cross the circle would let the monster out. What entails 'breaking the circle' is left to the GM, but you could certainly argue that the beam of black energy from a ray like enervation counts, or even the faint mist produced by mind fog."

FWIW, here's my interpretation: spells that involve energy, that do damage, or that create any sort of physical area affect will break the circle. Spells that produce purely mental effects (like Dominate) or that produce effects on the target without a ray or any other connection to the target (like Baleful Polymorph) will not break the circle. If you're planning to go this route, try to get a ruling from your DM first.

Duration. The maximum duration is one day/level. If you require a service that can be completed in less time, then the creature departs once the service is done. If it hasn't broken loose from your control, it automatically "bamfs" back to its home plane. If it has broken loose, it can hang around on the Material Plane for as long as it likes.

The Binding spell allows you to keep an outsider around for longer, but not in a way that's directly useful. That said, I would rule that having an outsider bound into a paperweight or something would constitute a plausible threat against outsiders of the same type, granting you +1 on your opposed Cha check -- "Do you want to end up like Smithers, here?"

The Creature's Attitude. The RAW is silent on this, but it's pretty clearly implied that most creatures will arrive Hostile. Makes sense, right? There it was, doing its evil business in the pits of Hell or enjoying its adoration of the ineffable wonderment of Heaven, and then suddenly -- YOINK -- it's jammed into a nasty little circle in some mortal wizard's back room. You'd be ticked, too. Some unusual creatures may be merely Unfriendly or even Neutral, but it seems reasonable to assume that Hostile is the default.

Never forget that while the Binding forces the creature to serve, it doesn't mind-control it or change its attitude towards you. It'll probably come out of the circle hating you and wanting to kill you (or, if you’re both good-aligned, being very, very disappointed) and it will probably continue in that vein unless something changes. You may be able to change its attitude using Diplomacy or other methods, but I'd say that would be quite difficult (+5 or more to the DC of the checks). After all, you're basically enslaving the creature, and it's going to be hard to gloss that over. Also, note that even if you somehow improve its attitude all the way to Friendly, an intelligent outsider is still going to have its own agenda.

What can you demand? This is a critical question, and one that the RAW is maddeningly vague on. It says that you can ask for "one service", and also that "Impossible demands or unreasonable commands are never agreed to". If you assign some open-ended task that the creature cannot complete through its own actions, the spell remains in effect for a maximum of 1 day per caster level, and the creature gains an immediate chance to break free (presumably, a new opposed Cha check).

So, where does "Be my bodyguard for one week" fit in? What about "Obey my every command for one week"? Personally I would allow these, under a liberal definition of "service". Otherwise, Planar Binding gets nerfed down into a niche spell, useful only when there's a single, clearly limited task. I don't think that's the designers' intent -- and also, it's much less cool and interesting. Rather, I would seek to balance this by having bound outsiders seek to creatively pervert your instructions whenever possible. This is more challenging for both DM and player, but also more interesting and fun. Make sure you know what your DM's view is on this point before you start building towards a Planar Binding specialist.

Next installment: You and our bound outsider, When Things Go Wrong, cheesy tricks, and aftereffects and consequences.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My "Guide to Planar Binding" might be splitting off a shorter "Guide to Planar Ally". These are some preliminary first thoughts on that.

Casting the Planar Ally spells:

These are spells that let you call a friendly outsider, of your own alignment, to come and help you. They're strictly cleric/oracle spells, though in theory an inquisitor could get access to them through a domain. They take 10 minutes to cast, plus at least one round of negotiation with the conjured creature. Once the outsider arrives, you have to pay -- often quite a large sum of money -- for its services.

These are very different from the Planar Binding spells. Those are arcane spells, which force an outsider to serve you. In Planar Binding, the outsider is probably aggrieved and hostile, and may well plot revenge against you! On the other hand, its services are free. With Planar Ally spells, the outsider is not hostile, it's a fellow servant of your god, and serves you more or less cheerfully... but you're paying through the nose for the privilege. This guide will help you get your money's worth.

What you get:

When you cast this spell, you get a creature of the deity's (i.e., the DM's) choice. You can specify the number of HD that the creature has, and it will have the right alignment to be a servant of that deity. Beyond that, you have no control. You can certainly *ask* for a particular creature or creatures -- the spell specifically says that -- and if you've been a loyal servant that should count in your favor. But it's a request, not a command. Your deity will send you what s/he thinks is appropriate. You could ask for a 12 HD couatl and get a 12 HD celestial werebear paladin instead.

Now, whatever shows up should be a creature that can help you... and if your DM is creative, it might be a creature that can help you in some surprising or unexpected way. For instance, you might ask for a 6 HD hound archon to help you explore a dungeon. But the DM knows the dungeon is partly flooded with deep cold water... so your deity sends you a 6 HD celestial advanced giant otter instead. This would be completely legitimate, and indeed would be a reasonable way for your deity to reward good behavior.

How it responds:
: The creature should arrive friendly or helpful. Even evil creatures should not be worse than indifferent. This creature is a servant of your deity, after all, and it's there to help you. You're on the same side. As long as payment is made, and the demands placed upon it are reasonable and consistent with the spell, the creature should serve you and carry out your instructions. As a general rule, even evil creatures should not seek revenge upon you -- you're both doing the god's work, after all, and you're paying for the creature's time.

Caveat #1: This spell conjures up an actual outsider, not a temporary duplicate like Summon Monster. If it dies here on the Prime Material Plane, it's destroyed. So the creature is not likely to obey suicidal or extremely dangerous commands. You can order a summoned monster to jump into the dragon's jaws to distract it for a round or two; a planar ally is just not going to do that.

Caveat #2: The creature will serve you in a manner consistent with its alignment and personality. Evil creatures probably won't betray /you/, but they could easily be dangerous to your fellow party members. Good-aligned creatures will strive to minimize collateral damage; may want to attempt converting or redeeming monsters instead of just killing them; and may demand some higher justification than "it will serve the greater good if we kill these creatures and take their stuff". Chaotic creatures may get distracted, wander off, or creatively misinterpret your instructions if they think they know a better way. Lawful creatures will carry out lawful orders, perhaps a bit too literally, but may hesitate to defy lawful authority. If the creature's flavor text says it is fiercely righteous, or a scheming conniver, or a ravening engine of destruction, it'll want to act that way, and will insofar as it's consistent with your instructions.

What it costs:
You have to pay for the creature's help. First, there's a flat fixed fee for casting the spell -- 500 gp for Lesser Planar Ally, 1250 gp for Planar Ally, and 2500 for Greater Planar Ally. Presumably that's for incense, sacrifices, or other costly spell components, though in mechanical terms you just spend the money. Whatever else happens, once you cast the spell, this money is gone and you don't get it back.

Second, you pay the creature for its services. "A task taking up to 1 minute per caster level requires a payment of 100 gp per HD of the creature called. For a task taking up to 1 hour per caster level, the creature requires a payment of 500 gp per HD. A long-term task, one requiring up to 1 day per caster level, requires a payment of 1,000 gp per HD. A nonhazardous task requires only half the indicated payment, while an especially hazardous task might require a greater gift." My personal take on this is that "follow me around and be my bodyguard" would be medium, not especially hazardous unless you're doing something extraordinarily dangerous, but your DM's opinion may vary -- check first.

This payment can be in the form of a sack of gold or gems handed over to the creature; a donation to the appropriate church or charity; or "some other action on your part that matches the creature's alignment and goals." This "action" should cost you at least the equivalent value in cash, and must take place before you get the creature's service: "this payment must be made before the creature agrees to perform any services." Alas, no IOUs! Forging a magic item in advance might work; if you're summoning something evil, having a captive paladin (of high enough level) to feed to it might perhaps count. It's a judgment call, but the DM should not make this easy -- the "some other action" clause shouldn't be an easy way for players to avoid paying the piper.

Now, the nature of power scaling in D&D/PF means that paying a 6 HD creature 6,000 gp to follow you around for a week or two is a horrible deal. A 6 HD creature is just not that powerful, and there are probably better uses for your money. However, paying a 12 HD creature 12,000 gp to work for you for a while is not so bad. And paying an 18 HD creature 18,000 gp is actually really good. So, Lesser Planar Binding is a mostly pretty worthless spell except in some very specific situations; Planar Binding is meh to okay; and Greater Planar Binding can be amazing, especially if your DM is willing to give you a creature that you ask for.

Looking for a discount:

"If the task is strongly aligned with the creature's ethos, it may halve or even waive the payment." Note that (IMO) "be my bodyguard" or "help us clear out the dungeon" is not going to count as 'strongly aligned'. Fighting enemies of an opposing alignment won't do it either, thought it's a good start. It has to be something that's clearly the sort of thing this particular creature would groove on in a big, big way.

Notice that it says "ethos" rather alignment. "Ethos" isn't a formally defined term in PF. Reasonably, it should mean some combination of the creature's alignment, it's particular personality, and the nature of the deity you and it are working for. So, if you're working for a Chaotic Good god whose portfolio includes Liberation, then you might get that discount on a mission to free a bunch of slaves. If you worship a Neutral Evil deity who specializes in spreading diseases, getting a leukodaemon to start a plague around the city should reasonably come cheap. And so forth.

Other than this, there are just a few ways to cut the price. If you're a Diabolist, you get half-price devils, and if you take the Planar Negotiator aasimar racial trait, you can shave another 10% off the cost. (Oddly, this doesn't seem to care whether you're calling up good or evil creatures.) The Agonize spell (3rd level) lets you cut the price by an additional 20% to 60%, but at the cost of deeply antagonizing the creature and making it likely that it will seek revenge. This doesn't seem like a great idea under most circumstances, but it's possible to imagine situations where it might be worthwhile.

A continuing relationship?:

If you ask the creature to serve you, and pay the price, it will serve you. It answers to your mutual deity, or some servant thereof, so it will do its best to carry out your instructions. As noted, it won't commit suicide for you, and it won't mindlessly follow your every command. If you consistently order it to do things against its "ethos", or generally treat it badly, it may at some point simply quit. On the other hand, if you work together well, you could ask for the same creature back again.

More to come, but that's a starting point. Thoughts?

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Angry Wiggles wrote:

Slings. I have played a fighter dedicated exclusively to slings, so far to level 10. It is quite challenging and I have managed to avoid being dead weight, but I am regularly out-classed by other martials.

Another vote for slings. Historically a very dangerous weapon; in PFRPG, pretty worthless. You have to burn a bunch of feats to be as good as a plain vanilla archer. Even halflings have trouble making this a good option, and for everyone else... bleh.

Doug M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Whatever you do, advance the story with it. Or at least, don't *retard* the story. If it were my campaign, I'd consider something like the following:

1) Have him apologize and then promise to repay the merchant -- double! 1500 gp should be enough to make him think twice about doing this again.

2) Have him spend one, single night in jail as a token punishment. (And have everyone be clear that it WOULD be a month or more, except that he's a hero and they understand he was desperate, blah blah blah).

Now, as to advancing the story: you can either use this as an adventure hook or as a RP hook. "Adventure hook" means this leads the PC into combat, like the Night of the Ghouls mentioned above. I don't think that's a perfect fit, myself, but you know what suits your campaign.

RP hook means a chance for roleplaying. Have a couple of townspeople be sympathetic, while others condemn the PC. You can even stage an argument between two of them -- "They're heroes! They're protecting us!" "Oh, so HEROES don't have to obey the law like us mere mortals?" "He really needed it!" "Well, he could have asked!" etc. etc. This can establish that certain personalities are lawful (and/or like the PCs a lot) while others are more neutral or chaotic (and/or don't like the PCs).

Similarly, if the PC spends a night in jail, you could have ghouls attack... or you could just have him meet Otis, the town drunk. Maybe Otis will eventually have significance (he wanders around outside the town and knows about the mysterious ruins). Or maybe he can tell some rumors (wild alcoholic ravings about pink elephants mixed in with an absolutely true story of seeing the Sandpoint Devil or Nualia). Or maybe Otis is just comic relief, and now every time the PC is in town good old Otis will show up, staggering and slurring his speech, wanting "my good buddy, my man, my man" to come and drink with him. Because "We went through Hell together, man... prison... living hell... brings out the steel in a man... brings real men together... a bond that lasts a lifetime... you can't understand if you weren't there, maaaaan."

Doug M.

1 to 50 of 367 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>

©2002–2015 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.