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Douglas Muir 406's page

7,749 posts. 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Everybody argues about builds, but with 20 points I'd suggest:

Str 8 <- because at low levels 7 Str means you can't carry your own backpack
Con 12
Dex 12
Int 15 <- add +2 for human =17, level 4 boost to 18.
Wis 12
Cha 15

This is rather MADdy for a wizard character, but Diabolists are kind of MADdy -- you need a good Cha score. Also, you'll have a perfectly okay 18 Int at 4th level. Getting a better Int modifier requires Int 20, which means putting 13 BP into Int. Cha needs at least 5 BP, so that would leave you just 2 BP for everything else. Doesn't seem worth it to me -- especially with a build that will do a lot of summoning. (Because summoning spells don't care about your Int. No spell DCs!) Take your 8th level bump on Cha, because you'll need it and also because it's cool... how often do you play a wizard with 16 Cha?

Again, I'm sure other people will disagree -- that's the nature of these things -- but that would be my suggestion.

Doug M.

Okay, a paladin is a problem. A serious problem.

1) If you're evil, he will detect it, because he has Detect Evil at will. Once you hit 6th level, you radiate mild evil all the time. You can invest in a device that blocks alignment, but still -- if you're evil, he will eventually figure it out.

2) Even if you block alignment detection, you still ARE evil, and you'll still be inclined to behave evilly and do evil things. You can invest ranks in Bluff and lie to the paladin, but eventually he'll figure it out. (Also, you have an imp companion who radiates evil. And you're constantly conjuring devils.)

3) Paladins CANNOT knowingly be in a party with an evil character. If they do, they lose their paladin abilities! So once he knows you are evil, one of you will have to leave the party.

4) In theory, you can solve the problem by being Lawful Neutral -- that's an allowable alignment for a Diabolist. However, the whole point of being a Diabolist is to conjure devils to serve you. A paladin is not going to like that, especially if you have the devils traveling around with the party. (Which you should if you want to get best advantage from the Diabolist class.)

TLDR: playing a Diabolist in the same party will be very difficult. Are you sure you want to try this?

Doug M.

Cуровую зиму wrote:

Suuuure the kids made you stop running.

They're very time-consuming.


What would you think about during those long runs?

What does anyone think about anytime? I never was much into music while running -- too much hassle fiddling with the earplugs and whatnot. Running with a group is good, especially if you find a group that's about at your level.

The Worst Of The Plagues wrote:

not really what i'm asking.. i wanted some tips about how to role(and how kind of) evil PC

Role-playing is personal, what works for me may not for you, and so forth. Still, here are some ideas.

-- Play it hard. If you're going to be a diabolist, be a DIABOLIST. Grow a pointy little goatee and wear red and black. Worship Asmodeus. Have minions. Say things like "Fools!" and "How dare you!" and "I shall destroy you all!" Gloat.

-- "Evil" is a slippery concept, but in game terms it means you have a lot of freedom. _You don't have to be the good guy_. You don't care if the princess is rescued or the hostages are freed. You may sometimes *act* like a good guy... but you're killing the dragon to gain its treasure, not to save the poor villagers from its fiery breath.

-- On the other hand, "evil" doesn't mean "sick bastard". Most of us are not looking for graphic descriptions of rape and torture at our gaming table. Most people do not want to game with King Joffrey or Hannibal Lecter. There are many different kinds of evil. You're looking for the cool pulp evil, not the creepy sick evil. You should aim for "I find your lack of faith disturbing" instead of "Leave her face... I like her pretty".

-- Also, evil does not mean COMPLETELY evil. You may be perfectly willing to torture captives for information, sacrifice minions for your own safety, lie, cheat, steal, and worship an infernal god of darkness... but you may have lines you won't cross. Maybe you don't hurt children. Or cats.

-- Finally, don't use evil as an excuse for PvP. (Playing a Lawful Evil character helps here. LE characters are natural team players!) I

Are these the sorts of things you're looking for?

Doug M.

Gregory Connolly wrote:

Spell Specialization is a very strong feat, but more for Evokers than Conjurers. You have to pick one spell, and it has to have some part that scales with level. Then you end up taking Intensified Spell and you want Magical Lineage and Empower and it starts consuming your whole build. I either build for it specifically or skip it entirely.

I would agree with this. A diabolist makes a good blaster because of Hellfire substitution, but if you have a lot of conjured minions you'll want to use spells buffing and defending them too.

There is no "best" build for a wizard diabolist, but here's one possible list of feats for your consideration.

1 Scribe Scroll (Wizard bonus feat)
1 Improved Initiative (Human)
1 Craft Wand
3 Spell Focus (Conjuration)
5 Craft Wondrous Item
5 Fast Study (Wizard bonus / arcane discovery)
7 Leadership (if DM is OK with it; otherwise Extend Spell)
9 Spell Penetration
11 Greater Spell Penetration <- trust me, if you're dealing with outsiders a lot you want this


Doug M.

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Okay, going to post some excerpts from my guides here. You can find the different pieces by searching, like so.

Entering the Diabolist class:

Entering this class after 5th 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.

If you think you can hack it, go for it at 6th level. But starting the class at 7th is also okay. If you're going to wait until 8th, then -- as a wizard -- you might as well wait until 9th, since 8th level will give you a wizard school power.

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.) Once you hit 12th or 13th level and can consistently get +19 before buffs, you can ignore this.

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 you never know when the DM is going to throw you a curve with some bizarre new sort of outsider. Also, you can use it to research true names, which is a thing you should do.

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

Diplomacy -- This skill works on evil outsiders just like everything else. 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 want them 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, hey, it's a class skill for Diabolists.

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. On the other hand, there are a few conjurable outsiders that can be ridden. If 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 and honest 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 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, which means 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 get 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, I'm an optometrist actually."

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

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.

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. And spell resistance is one way a called creature can break out of your circle. 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.

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.

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.

Craft Wand -- Take this if you're doing the "wand-wielding imp companion" thing; you'll save a lot of money.

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.

Wizard Schools and Spells:

If you're a wizard, what schools are good, and what spells should you take?

Abjuration -- This is a weak school for most purposes, but for a Diabolist it's actually okay. 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), 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 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. Of course, now you have to be a Diviner and 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 fine school for you. The Admixture subschool is great for a blaster, and you'll end up with five types instead of four.

Illusion -- Thematic, but not a good choice mechanically. 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.

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

Level 1

Protection from Evil/whatever -- Kind of a no-brainer.

Level 2

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 Cha checks.
Fox's Cunning -- As Eagle's Splendor if you're an Int-based caster.
Misdirection -- If you're living someplace where having an evil aura is an issue.
Owl's Wisdom -- As Eagle's Splendor 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.

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.
Haste -- I hate this spell; it's way overpowered for third level, which is why everyone uses it. 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.

Level 4

Enervation -- A fine spell for dealing with difficult outsiders. You did take Spell Penetration, right?
Dimensional Anchor -- You must have this spell.
Lesser Planar Binding -- You must have this spell.
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

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 ready.

Level 6
Antimagic Field -- Works on summoned creatures but not conjured ones.
Geas-Quest -- SR but *no* saving throw. Use this to make sure your creatures are staying in line, especially the high Will-save ones.
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 range of buffs and other helpful effects.
Legend Lore -- You can use this to get information on named individual outsiders.

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.
Trap the Soul -- Not actually that great unless you know the creature's name, or have lots and lots of money to burn on gems that shatter when the spell fails.

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.
Moment of Prescience -- 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.

Level 9


Your Imp Companion:

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. (Under the RAW, you could argue that it your diabolist levels count double, since diabolist is a caster class -- in other words, that a wizard 5 / diabolist 5 would get a level 15 imp familiar. But this seems to be one of the rare cases where sloppy language made it past Paizo editing. A companion who advances with your level is plenty good enough. Don't be greedy.)

One popular option is to give the imp a wand and useit 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 recommended.

Whether you go this route or not, make sure you have your imp cast augury and commune regularly – knowledge is power, and these are very useful spells.

CAUTION: Do not use your imp as a wand platform until its UMD bonus is up to at least +10, as otherwise you are in danger of a wand mishap – i.e., the imp fireballing your party instead of the enemy.

NOTE: 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 your new companion with a friendly, "I hope you don't fail me as pathetically as your late predecessor"?

As to the job market, oh yeah. I'm currently employed and making a decent wage, I've spent four of the last six years as a freelancer. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to make that work, but it wasn't easy, and it was very stressful on my family. I was freelancing (and actively looking for work) when I started this campaign. Who knows where we'll all be when it ends?

Anyway, congratulations Jax!

I used to be a marathon runner. I would literally run 10k before breakfast a couple of times a week. Go me!

Then I had kids.

Don't forget that feat is from a 3PP campaign, Way of the Wicked. I like WotW a lot, but some of its feats are (quite deliberately) overpowered.

Demons and devils are about equally powerful for the same CR. Maybe demons are slightly more powerful in melee because they tend to have higher Str and more destructive SLAs. Devils tend to have higher Int and more skills. But the difference, at any given CR, is small -- a CR 9 vrock demon is not much more powerful than a CR 9 bone devil.

The big differences are in role-playing and tactics. Devils are lawful; they are organized, they work as a team or dominating a group of minions, they have plans. You can make a deal with a devil and it will honor its part of the agreement -- although, of course, it will always try to honor the letter instead of the spirit, pervert the agreement to its advantage, etc. Demons are chaotic; they love destruction for its own sake. They can have minions and plans and even crude organizations, but those things will usually be secondary. Demons are individualists and inherently unpredictable.

A devil disguised as the King's minister? Wants to corrupt the King and turn the kingdom into a brutal tyranny, a place of cruel oppression and slavery, with himself as the secret ruler manipulating the King that he has tempted and corrupted into evil. A demon in the same disguise? Wants to bring war, civil war, fire and riots and chaos, with the final goal of standing laughing on the balcony while the capital city burns and the royal family are bludgeoned to death with clubs in the courtyard below.


Doug M.

Ipslore the Red wrote:

It's the one you actually can't use Lesser Restoration to recover from, genius.

"Some attacks or special abilities cause ability damage or drain, reducing the designated ability score by the listed amount. Ability damage can be healed naturally. Ability drain is permanent and can only be restored through magic."

Am I missing something?

Doug M.

Still in that holding pattern at work. Will try to get something up tomorrow.

LazarX wrote:

No it doesn't. It causes 2d6 of Charisma DRAIN.

Wait now -- is that the one that everyone uses Lesser Restoration to recover from, or is it the one that everyone uses Lesser Restoration to recover from?

How is the succubus communicating telepathically while she is unconscious (as per the Flesh to Stone spell)?

As noted upthread, she got rescued and un-stoned by another, more senior succubus.

Doug M.

Also, doesn't removing the PG cause 2d6 of Cha damage on the spot? Yeah, I can think of some times where that might be a little inconvenient.

Doug M.

The next time my wife and kids are out of town for a few days.

Doug M.

Also -- does he have a bound object? If yes, then you need to find a way for the succubus (or someone under her influence) to steal it. And at the worst possible moment. If he has a familiar instead, then right after the big reveal, you should have the familiar's voice speak in his head. "Master! Help me, Master! Something is -- " And then it's cut off. And then a moment later, the stone statue that is the familiar -- petrified, of course -- falls out of the air to land at the Magister's feet... crash.

Actually, now that I think of it, petrifying people close to the Magister and then smashing them could be a recurring theme.

Doug M.

Good point about using the Profane Gift to give Suggestions from a distance. So you could totally work this as "every night he makes three saves, and if one is failed, he writes in his diary". That's fair under RAW and it's also nice and simple.

But I think it's more fun (if more complicated!) if the succubus can get close to him and become someone he likes and trusts. It's not necessary, but it will crank up the drama for the big reveal. (And it also means she can be privy to all sorts of other secrets.)

As always, season to taste.

Doug M.

If you are playing a character below 9th level, then summon. If you're summoning, play a Summoner or a Conjuration specialist wizard.

If you're playing 9th level or higher, then you want to play a Diabolist. Trust me. Search this forum for "DMDM's Guide to the Diabolist" (several entries) and "DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding". If you play the Diabolist right, it is both flavorful and *very* powerful.


Doug M.

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Don't forget that the wizard gets a saving throw. Now, if she casts it on him while he's sleeping, you could reasonably say she just zaps him two or three times until it gets through. (And IMO a sleeping character wouldn't notice something being cast on him.)

You'll need a good cover ID for the succubus. "Lady So-and-so is an ambitious, intelligent young woman. She's the widow of a knight who got killed doing something or other, leaving her a modest estate. Make her short and blonde. (Nobody suspects a petite blonde of evil.)

You'll have to season the approach to fit your player and his PC, but I'd do it like this: (1) introduce her in some way that will make the PC like her... she brings him evidence of a minor but obnoxious conspiracy against him, or some such. (2) Emphasize that she's attractive, intelligent, ambitious, and poor-ish. (3) Give him the opportunity to hit that. (4) Have her make him a business proposition -- in character -- that goes something like this: "Last night was great, Bob. Now listen. You'll need a Queen; that's not me, I'm not high enough nobility. But you'll also need a Royal Mistress, and I'd be absolutely outstanding at that. I'm good at reading people, and I'm loyal. Courts can be snake pits. Take me on, and I'll watch your back." Or something like that -- you know best what will appeal to your PC.

A couple of tips. One, introduce her gradually (if time allows). If you throw this NPC at the PCs and spend a LOT of time with her all at once, it could be suspicious, so try to spin it out a bit. Two, give her a clear persona _in game terms_ -- like, she's an Aristocrat 3 / Rogue 3, or something like that. Have her act into that, visibly making skill checks on Bluff or Sense Motive or Knowledge, so that the PCs can interpret her actions that way. Three, note that the sex is great, but don't dwell too much on that -- you want the PC smug and happy, but you don't want him thinking Super Freaky, because that might turn his thoughts towards "succubus". Pitch the great sex as one part of an overall excellent package.

Finally, give her a chance to prove herself in a way that emphasizes that she's around the PC all night most nights. Have the PC offend some minor but self-important knight or noble. (Do this in a way that makes it the noble's fault, not the PC's -- Sir So-and-so is a pompous buffoon who believes his blue blood makes him superior, the kingdom is better off once he's dismissed.) Then set up a crude assassination attempt, with a couple of low-level rogues sneaking into the PC's bedchamber. Have him suddenly awaken to find himself under attack -- and his near-naked mistress (who woke up before him, so gets to act on the surprise round) throwing herself in front of him to take the assassin's sneak attack! Blood everywhere, but she's alive and screaming and has pulled out a dagger from somewhere to defend him, and -- now be a jerk and, if he tries to spellcast, ask him nastily if he takes his spell components to bed; you have a pouch of bat guano around your neck while you're making love to your mistress? I don't think so, Bob. Okay, it's on the night table, that's a standard action to pick it up, that's your move, now their turn, they're trying to flank you -- and you run a little combat, but of course in the end the assassins are easily fended off. And there she is, wrapped in a bloody sheet, tottering from loss of blood (poor thing, a hit that did just 12 points of damage left her hardly able to stand) -- but triumphant. "I said I would... watch your back... my King."

Of course she set the whole thing up with clever Suggestions and slander, but she's bright enough to have hidden her tracks. And while the PC is busy setting up defenses around his sleeping quarters, he's going to make sure that she's inside it with him...


Doug M.

Busy week at work -- I may be down for a day or two before I can give the Judge's poetry the review it deserves.

@Skaldi, great list of bonus items! Thank you! How did you put that together?

@TLO3, I see the attraction of the brutal pugilist, but the point is to build around the strangler feat. Dipping a level or two of something, okay. Dipping five levels... well, at 12th level doing 4d6 damage is nothing special. The character might as well grab a battleaxe and start hacking.

@Koujow, I could see a level or two in Tetori. Of course, the problem with dipping monk is that it's so damn MADdy. Also, if you're dipping two, the temptation to dip up to four for the ki pool is hard to resist...

Note that the whole point of the Strangler feat is that it lets you get sneak attack damage while grappling even if the target still has his Dex bonus. That's what makes it interesting!

Doug M.

And by "decent" I'll settle for "doesn't actually suck, and could make an interesting NPC". I'm not looking for something that can take on the Beastmass, here. -- So, the Strangler feat:


Throttling the life out of enemies is second nature to you.

Prerequisite: Dex 13, sneak attack +1d6, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: Whenever you successfully maintain a grapple and choose to deal damage, you can spend a swift action to deal your sneak attack damage to the creature you are grappling.

This is flavorful as hell, but some obvious problems arise. In order to get any mileage out of this, you need to be a rogue, or something that's based on a rogue. And then you need to burn two feat slots on feats that rogues don't usually bother with, and that aren't terribly useful. And *then* you need to find ways to raise your CMB, because rogues tend to have pretty crap CMBs.

That said, there are a couple of interesting directions you could go with this. (1) Take Greater Grapple; this gives you another +2 on your grappling CMB check, and lets you maintain the grapple as a move action. So you can do your SA damage twice per round. (2) Take the Body Shield feat; this lets you attempt, as an immediate action, to use a grappled foe as cover. (3) Consider the Thug archetype, which lets you give up 1d6 of SA damage to sicken your victim. (A sickened opponent is at -2 on rolls to escape your grapple.)

So, a possible build might look something like, human rogue (thug), 15 point build -> Str 14. In theory you could dump Str, throw everything at Dex and take the Agile Maneuvers feat (use Dex for CMB) but I suspect this is suboptimal -- you're burning a feat for a rather modest gain, and Str still counts for CMD.

1 Improved Unarmed Strike (might as well get it out of the way)
H Improved Grapple
2 Strangler (combat trick rogue talent)
3 Dodge (improves CMD)
4 ?
5 ?
6 ?
7 ?
8 Greater Grapple (combat trick)
9 Body Shield

You could also throw the Chokehold feat in there, but Chokehold is kind of a crap feat -- it's really something you should be able to do without a feat IMO. I guess it's thematic for a strangler character, and it does let you completely shut down casters, which is nice. "Ha ha, Dimension Door is verbal only, HURK" But it's awfully situational and probably not worth a feat slot.

Anyway, a 9th level rogue with a 14 Str and the two feats is going to have a base CMB of +13. That's pretty weaksauce. Are there any ways to improve on this? More generally, can we make this build interesting?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

Well, when rolling diplomacy you should generally say something, yes. (Or at least say what you're saying -- "I'll make some genial insults" -- if you don't feel like spelling it out.) It's more like, is the rest of the party good with this approach?

I note that you're throwing your voice to make Edmin say stuff that's almost 180 degrees opposite from what he was saying earlier -- viz., he's going from "stand down, we're all friends here" to "ha ha, tiny dick".

If that's what you want, go for it. Just sayin'.

Mikhail wrote:

So what our little ambitious Magister do? He conspires with another player (lets name him Tick) who plays an assassin, and pays him to permamently exterminate lady Katrina. It's a success, the old ruler is dead, let's live the new ruler?!

Sounds like someone has been watching Game of Thrones!


1) Can she use her Suggestion to make her victim publicly admit he commited crimes?

Let's go to the RAW. "You influence the actions of the target creature by suggesting a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two). The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the activity sound reasonable. Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell."

So. Can this suggestion be made in a sentence or two? Sure. Can it be worded in such a way as to make the activity sound reasonable? That's a judgment call, though I'd guess probably yes. Is this an 'obviously harmful act'? Well, that's trickier. If the enraged crowd is going to tear the wizard to pieces, and he knows this, then clearly the Suggestion won't work. OTOH, if all it does is ruin his reputation and trash the kingdom's morale, I'd allow it. Being embarrassed, even humiliated, is not harmful.

Also, note the weasel word -- "obviously" harmful. You can make a victim do things that are harmful, as long as it's not obvious to them. So, you could Suggest they go and stand on that X. If the victim does not know that X marks a trap door that will drop him 100' into a spiked pit, the Suggestion will seem reasonable under the RAW and he'll do it. By the same token, even if the victim's secret is incredibly destructive and harmful to him, you could Suggest that the victim tell his secret to Bob -- when you know (but the victim does not) that Bob will promptly tell the world. Or you could Suggest that he write it in a diary, and then steal the diary. And so forth.


2) Could she Suggest him in his sleep, without his knowledge to act as suggested only when he'll be crowned? (this will be a trigger to act)

Yes, you could, but only subject to the one hour/level limit. So you'd probably need the caster to be in bed with the victim, so as to cast before he wakes up in the morning. Given that the caster is a succubus, this doesn't seem impossible.


3) Is it a harmful act? (which breaks Suggestion) We are talking political suicide here.

Ending a political career _by itself_ is not harm. If it also causes people to attack him, or has him put on trial for murder with the hangman's noose if he is convicted, it's harm. So, if you want to pull this off, you want to structure it for maximum humiliation (and PC frustration), minimal chance of actually hurting the PC.

Doug M.

Jax Naismith wrote:


He looks up and pushes off from the tree, hand on his blade. "You must be mighty bloody bored to be sitting around in a f*@%in' swamp year after year. Harrassin' the few passer-by that come through must be a damn highlight. I'm want to bet you followed the others who came and giggles while polishing that blade as each of them died slow, painful deaths."

Its a fey and it told us how to "ask" questions from it already. No questions, right? :)

Nice! Still, he's already disillusioned with your group -- two question-askers and the Judge. So, you'll have to make a DC 15 Diplomacy check, straight up, or he's done wi' yer.

@Bart, this guy is nominally CR 12, but if played thoughtfully he could give a party of 10th level characters some serious problems. Especially if he's in familiar terrain and/or has allies.

@Zenith, Shatter Defenses is a great feat, but OTOH it requires Dazzling Display. That means giving up two feats. Also, there's that whole annoying "shaken from being Intimidated doesn't stack with other sorts of shaken" thing. Since he forces everyone within 30' to make a DC 26 Will save or be shaken anyway, that makes Intimidate kinda superfluous. (More's the pity, since it's pleasantly flavorful.)

Yes, a bogeyman. You know, the monster from Bestiary 3? That guy.

NPC seed: some eccentric fey ruler back in the First World decided it would be funny to have a bogeyman as executioner and enforcer. It's not clear whether she made Carl, or found him, or somehow shaped him from an ordinary bogeyman -- but anyway, eventually her rule ended, and now Carl is a free agent.

Personality: Carl is a bogeyman, so he's all about terrifying people, but he's not really interested in hiding in closets. No, he likes the raw terror of combat. Carl likes hurting people, letting them run away and think they've escaped, and then hurting them again. Against powerful opponents, he enjoys fighting with his axe; against weaker ones (or spellcasters), he prefers sneaking up and then using his grappling and Strangle feats.

Bogeyman Carl
NE Bogeyman / Fighter 4

CR 12

Medium fey
Init +10; Senses low-light vision; Perception +26
Aura deepest fear (30 ft., DC 26)


AC 29, touch 24, flat-footed 22 (+5 armor, +7 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 161 (17d6+4d10+84); terrible rejuvenation 5
Fort +16, Ref +18, Will +14
DR 15/cold iron; SR 21


Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 keen battleaxe +19/+14/+8 (d18+11, 19-20 x3) and 1 claw +17(1d8+3, 19-20) and one bite +17 (d6+3, 5x/day)
Special Attacks sneak attack +6d6, striking fear
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +17)

Constant—detect thoughts, tongues
At will—darkness, gaseous form, ghost sound (DC 18), invisibility, suggestion (DC 21)
3/day—crushing despair (DC 22), hold person (DC 21), quickened phantasmal killer (DC 22)
1/day—nightmare (DC 23)


Str 16, Dex 23, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 27
Base Atk +12; CMB +15; CMD 39

Feats Dodge, Great Fortitude, Greater Grapple, Improved Critical (claw), Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (phantasmal killer), Skill Focus (Stealth), Spring Attack, Strangler, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (axe), Weapon Mastery (axe)

Skills Acrobatics +7, Bluff +27, Diplomacy +20, Disable Device +15, Escape Artist +20, Intimidate +28, Knowledge (local) +16, Perception +26, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +40; Racial Modifiers +4 Intimidate, +4 Stealth

Languages Aklo, Common; tongues


Deepest Fear (Su)

A bogeyman is cloaked in a 30-foot aura of fear. This aura manifests as a shifting haze of images that reflect the viewer's deepest fears. The first time it ends its turn within the aura, a creature must make a DC 25 Will save or become shaken for as long as it stays within the aura. If the creature succeeds at the saving throw, it cannot be affected again by the aura for another 24 hours. This is a fear effect. The DC is Charisma-based.

Striking Fear (Su)

If a bogeyman confirms a critical hit or a sneak attack with one of its claws on a target currently suffering a fear effect, that effect automatically becomes one step more severe (shaken creatures become frightened, frightened creatures become panicked, and panicked creatures cower in fear). A DC 25 Will save negates this increase. In addition, a critical hit from the bogeyman's claw forces any target that has successfully saved against the creature's fear aura to make another Will save against its effects, even if 24 hours have not yet passed. This is a fear effect. The DC is Charisma-based.

Terrible Rejuvenation (Su)

A bogeyman gains fast healing 5 while any creature within its deepest fear aura is suffering from a fear effect, including any fear effect created by the aura itself.

Gear: Carl has gathered a bit of equipment and treasure: a +1 keen cold iron battleaxe (which he is inordinately fond of), +1 black spiked chain mail, a Cloak of Fangs (like a cloak of resistance, but gives a bite attack 5x/day) and two potions of Haste.

Appearance: Carl isn't the usual emaciated, needle-toothed bogeyman. No, he's burly and solid, with long greasy hair and a massive black beard. The visual here is Boris the Animal from Men in Black III. (Not a great movie, but watchable for Josh Brolin doing young Tommy Lee Jones and Jemaine Clement's Boris...) At a casual glance he could appear like a rather ragged human, perhaps some sort of barbarian. Closer examination will show that he's no normal humanoid, but it takes a DC 22 Knowledge (Nature) check to spot him as a fey and DC 27 to realize he's a bogeyman. (Note that his ability to go gaseous may lead some to mistake him for a vampire. Carl thinks this is hilarious, and may use Bluff to play it up.)

Tactics: Carl likes terrifying people, and he has absolutely no concept of a fair fight. He enjoys using his sky-high stealth and at-will SLAs to make sure he can gain sneak attacks. (It's damnably hard to ward against an enemy who has +40 Stealth before using invisibility or gaseous form). Enemies who insist on attacking from a distance, or who seem dangerous in melee, get targeted by his phantasmal killers. (Note that he can throw a phantasmal killer while fighting or grappling.) Hacking enemies to pieces, strangling them, frightening them to death with spells... it's all good. He's equally happy doing hit-and-run guerrilla attacks or charging in roaring and waving his axe; as long as his opponents are feeling the fear, the /terror/, he's happy.

Just don't ask him to go hide in some little kid's closet. He's done with that.


Doug M.

IME this is the sort of situation where players, reluctant to take instruction from a mere NPC, may spend a lot of time shifting from foot to foot. So let's break it down:

A) Okay, we're done here. We leave hobo gnome behind and head on down the trail to the next thing.

B) We'll go, but not before throwing some snarky comments and whatnot just to make it clear we're not being ordered around here.

C) No, let's not go -- we want to do more here. [specify]

D) Screw it! We attack this guy!

Edmin Al'Roth wrote:
"Stay your hand Sir, and we may come to assist each other."

"Ah now, there's a lad wi' a civil tongue in his head. Bit late in the day, an' it doesnae speak well that yer travellin' wi' yon company o' bletherin' gomerils. Still, it's nice ter see a young person try, like." He scrunches up his face into a thoughtful scowl, reaches into an inner pocket of his jacket, and takes out a small glass flask of some brownish liquid.

"Arright, it's a rare fine mornin', an' I'm nae hungry. Gaun yersel', get movin'. I'm too relaxed to fash myself wi' killin' yer just now, pleasant though it might be." He waves the flask at you dismissively. "Along wi' yer, afore I change my mind. Git."

Dren of the Dark Tapestry wrote:
IOther than insulting us, do you have a purpose for your visit? We have places to be.

"An' now wi' the questions, not twenty feckin' seconds after I said no questions. Nobody listens no more, that's another thing."

Ulp wrote:
a scythe and spiky boots

I never said they were spiky boots.

The little man pulls out a filthy-looking rag and begins wiping the edge of his scythe. "Ah heuch. See, there's a lesson. Try ter be nice, talk pleasant an' sweet like, passing the time o' day all couthie. An' some pasty-faced bufty bamstick midgie-raking windae-licker comes swaggerin' up sprayin' spittle, all yappin' about how he's the biggest nugget in the chamber pot." He shakes his head, still polishing the scythe. "It's a sad feckin' commentary on the modern world. It makes me boak ter think on it, yes it does."

Judge Tohram Quasangi wrote:

The Judge throws back his head and lets out a gurgling sickening laugh:

You think we are like the others? Perhaps you should crawl back into the hole from whence you came. I have tasted the blood of many. I have not had the honor of sampling fey blood yet, I bet it is quite sweet.

Wow, the Judge is really feeling his oats these days. First that business with the Seventh, and now this. Well, if you say so...

The little man observes this with a mordant smirk. "Oooh, look. Yon peely wally got a flyin' beast. It's gaun up in the sky ter look roun' like an keep edgie. It's magic." He shakes his head. "Them other lot did exactly the same. 'We're far too important ter go paddin' about in dungeons, like! There's nae profit in that! We'll use magic like, ter fly ourselves straight up ter the top. Because that's where all the good treasure is, aye! All magic stuff and jewels, like! That's braw!'" He snickers. "What a gang o' feckin' muppets. Yeh people, yer all the same."

"Booger, he doesnae have my patient kindly good nature. He's my friend like, but, heuch, he's got ae long streak o' nasty. I cannae deny it."

The little man snickers nastily. The greasy, shabby creature is not interested in the niceties of courtly language and diplomacy.

"I already know yer purpose, yeh daft bint. Yer here teh rip th' Victor's seal from the hole in the world, like a scab off a wound, like. We got tha' from the last bunch." He grins. His teeth are yellow and very sharp. "I tol' yeh already, tha' din' work out so great fer them. Yer lucky Booger ain't around. He left early fer the summer hollies."

Zimu only:

This looks like a redcap -- a type of fey best known for murderous violence. You're not sure, though. You never heard of one having a conversation before; usually they just sneak up, jump out, and start taking heads. This one has the hat, the boots, and the scythe, but he seems awfully relaxed and mellow for a redcap.

The little man's wrinkled face twitches in what might be a grin. "Yer a canny hen. Me an' Booger, we don' bend a knee to yon Unseelie Court."

He speaks slowly, in his creaky, scraping voice. (There's something about that voice that's just nasty. It has a fingernail-on-chalkboard quality, but that's not it. It's like there's a shrill insane giggle just beneath it, waiting to cut loose.)

"From Skelf-hill, the Cauldron still
The Victor's children yet can show
And on the spot, where they broke the pot,
The Rose and Rush nae more shall grow."

He waves the scythe in your general direction. "Skelf-hill, that's all here, see? An' they did a deal wi' the Queen, them. Seventy mortal souls, like, to get a feckin' Ankou. An' a feckin' Night Cauldron wi' it. Who'd think some little mortal King would stand up teh the likes o' that? It was right over there -- " he points with his scythe at a spot a few feet away from you -- "where it was a standing and a stirring. An' up comes the Victor wi' his sword and, crash, he breaks the cauldron wi' his first blow. An' then wi' his second an' third, chop chop, he cuts the Ankou's legs off. Yeh don't see one o' them look surprised too much. So that was something. Feckin' Victor." He hawks and spits. "Heuch. Anyways, I ate a frog yesterday, so'm nae hungry jest now. Lucky fer yeh." This last is stated nonchalantly, as a matter of simple fact. He pauses a moment to pick something from between his teeth. You notice that his hands have long, dirty claws instead of fingernails. "Don' ask me nae questions, though. I ain't yer feckin' tour guide."

The little old... gnome?... is sitting rather casually on top of the pile of stones. He has long white hair and a long, tangled grey beard. His face is intensely wrinkled, like a withered old apple. He is dressed in old, dark, dirty looking clothes, and he wears a greasy leather apron over a long jacket with white buttons. His hair is stuffed into a shapeless cap of dark red wool, and he wears heavy, massive looking boots. In on hand he holds the handle of a scythe that looks rather too large for him.

Think "gnome hobo". Except that there's something distinctly menacing and unsettling about him. Okay, "creepy gnome hobo".

Judge Tohram Quasangi wrote:

A wicked smile creeps onto the corners of the Judge's lips, not a pretty sight.

Within that is a creature that may unleash mass pain and suffering upon all the fool of this petty land. It will be an honor to release the creature.

"Yeh, that's wha' the last ones said, too." A shrill, scraping voice pipes up from behind you. "Din' work out so great fer them."

You whirl. A small, wizened humanoid -- a gnome? -- is sitting on the opposite, right-hand pile of stones. You're pretty sure he wasn't there a second ago.

Cуровую зиму wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
The Dark Tower
CR 18 give or take?

Well, if you're foolish. Or careless. Or roll really badly.

However, as you climb to the top of the pile, the clouds before you abruptly part, and suddenly you can see some distance ahead.

Before you, the ground begins to slope more steeply down. You're at the edge of a great depression or basin, miles across. It looks like the forest turns more swamplike down at the bottom (where you're going).

But that's not what catches your eye. No. Looming through the mist, just a mile or two ahead, are a dozen or more immense stone towers. They're natural, not made -- jagged scarps of limestone rising up out of the boggy lowlands. They look something like this. In the center, a single tower stands twice as tall as the others. It's almost covered with a blanket of green, but somehow you know that underneath it, the stone is a flat and lifeless black.

Before you lies your destination -- the Catademnon. The Horn of Abaddon.

The Dark Tower.

Edmin Al'Roth wrote:
Edmin glances back over his shoulder at the Judge and shakes his head as he turns back to the dead area. "Let's see whats in the rocks."

[roll roll]

The left-hand pile of rocks was once some sort of tower, but it has been completely destroyed -- there's nothing left but rubble. You can't even tell what it might have looked like.

DC 18 Survival:

Normally you'd expect a rubble pile like this to have a lot of small animals lairing in it. Nope. And nothing is growing on the rocks but a few unhealthy looking lichens. The general aura of blight and sterility seems a bit stronger here.

Well, for the record my personal email addy is "vormuir" in the domain men know as yahoo, dot of the com. I have no objection to you guys e-mailing me directly.

[roll roll]

As you move downwards, the road enters into a broad clearing in the forest. Only a few plants grow here, and they look stunted and sickly. Up ahead, the road passes between two piles of stone rubble.

Zimu only:

Hey, you get to use that Survival roll. Something blighted the soil in this region a long time ago -- some poison or magical effect that killed everything in a radius of a couple of hundred feet -- and it's only now, very slowly, recovering.

Yeah, Paizo's PM system is pretty crap. It lets you send and receive PMs, but AFAICT you can't sort and you can't search.

(Also, a search function for a campaign would be nice. Currently, if you're looking for something but not sure where it is, you have to do separate searches on the gameplay and discussion threads.)

Someone roll the dice!

Meanwhile, you continue trekking through the forest. The ground is now definitely sloping downwards. On the plus side, the rain has stopped, and the clouds are thinning.

IMS Edmin took 60 points of damage.

Did anyone actually roll Edmin's healing yet?

Ulp wrote:

Ulp stealths to the side of the path and watches as they travel after Edmins healjng

I assume the same party marching order as before.

The road is still pretty walkable. It slopes gently upward for a half mile or so, then begins to head down.

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