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

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 9,966 posts (10,614 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


RSS

1 to 50 of 9,966 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Big Amber Die fan, love these reports.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Doug M.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WagnerSika wrote:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You For Sailing Frosthamar Cruise Lines!

Doug M.


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

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

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

Doug M.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

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

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

Doug M.


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

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

Doug M.

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

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

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

Doug M.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Meanwhile, let me try to answer your questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doug M.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

Doug M.


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

Someone has read my Guide to the Diabolist!

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

Doug M.


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

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

Quote:

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

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

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

The Padma Blossom wrote:

Aura faint abjuration and enchantment; CL 3rd;

Slot none; Price 8,000 gp; Weight —.

DESCRIPTION

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

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

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

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

Doug M.


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

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

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

Doug M.


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

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

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

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

Yeah, swarms are good.

Doug M.


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

Aw. Thank you.

That was a really fun campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Doug M.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dreikaiserbund wrote:
I suspect it will never be particularly optimal, but a Cleric (Elder Mythos Cultist) / Sorcerer (Aberrant, Impossible, or Ghoul Bloodline) / Mystic Theurge would be thematic as hell.

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Doug M.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

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

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

TLDR, your initial assessment unfortunately correct.

Doug M.


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

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

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:

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

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

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

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

Doug M.


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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

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

Quote:

Maleficium (Damnation)

You are a master of dark magic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- So the succubus and the babaus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cheers,

Doug M.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Heretic_CrossbowmaN wrote:
Oh, and here is another question! How can contract devil go onto Material Plane to contact party?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Agree on Erylium: she's not super deadly, but she is annoying and non-fun.

WRT Strange Aeons, nothing is perfect and most APs require at least a bit of work, even if it's just to adapt it to your particular party. I think the first module is overall really good, so I'm willing to invest a little time.

Also, note that the Tatterman as written is not *that* tough. The main problem with him is his Frightful Presence, which can eliminate some party members in Round One. If you can get past that -- and paladins, fighters with Bravery, and high-Will save types like clerics should have a good chance -- then he's not actually that deadly a boss. He's a CR 5 monster with mediocre AC and not that many hp. He doesn't even get surprise -- you have a d4 of rounds to prepare for him once Zandalus falls. Against four well-played third level PCs, he should go down pretty fast. Even if you lose one PC, it's still a fair fight as long as you have either a heavy melee hitter (smiting paladin or raging barbarian) or have picked up on the silver weapon thing.

If you want to make an adjustment, here's a quick-and-dirty idea that Spastic Puma came up with back in November: if you fail the Frightful Presence save, then instead of panicking you're forced into the Dreamlands for 10 rounds. You can return to the combat sooner, but in order to do that, you must either solve a riddle or puzzle (could be an actual riddle or a couple of skill checks) presented by a dream creature -- a hookah-smoking caterpillar or whatever -- or, you must defeat something. For an individual 3rd level PC, a CR 2 encounter would be about right here; for two 3rd level PCs, CR 4. That way, the players have something to do besides sitting around while their character runs away for ten rounds.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, and also this:

Quote:
When you use a summoning spell to summon a creature with an alignment or elemental subtype, it is a spell of that type.

So this is an evil spell. Which makes sense, right? It's bringing creatures of pure evil to the mortal plane. Nonevil PCs will of course try to use ends-justify-means arguments ("we needed the devil's help to save the orphanage!") but in this case you have RAW on your side: it's an evil spell, full stop.

Now if the PC is evil, no big deal -- though it's all the more reason for Hell to take an interest. To, you know, cultivate this promising young person. But if the PC is nonevil, then they're putting themselves in peril. Point out that they're repeatedly casting a spell with the evil descriptor. If it doesn't make them thoughtful (or if, as is more likely, they start going into save-the-orphanage contortions about how this isn't really so bad), shrug and don't argue it... but start thinking about how Hell is going to respond to someone who's not even properly evil daring to play with Hell's toys.

cheers,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
BUT, there's no reason they'd generally be bound to confidentiality, for example, and I'd absolutely assume that as soon as the spell ends and they go back home to Hell, they're reporting everything to superior devils, too. And how they use that information is a lot more up to you.

This.

The accuser will certainly be reporting to someone higher up in Hell's hierarchy. Exactly who or what is up to you, but you're totally justified in having Hell take an interest in the PC's activities. The gentlest thing you could do would be to have a Contract Devil appear in the PC's quarters one evening, politely offering to open a negotiation. (And as it sits down, the accuser devil appears, buzzing happily, and settles on its shoulder...) The intervention could of course be a lot less gentle than that. Note that Hell has plenty of agents on the mortal plane -- diabolists, followers of the church of Asmodeus and cultists of the other top devils, pretty much the entire nation of Cheliax. So there are lots of things you could throw at the PC.

Quote:
Also - it's 10 minutes per level. For, say, a level 7 character... that's still barely more than an hour. Which means they have to be close enough to wherever the target is that the accuser can get there in time, AND they're still only getting that much time per casting.

Third on No Teleportation.

That said, yeah, the accuser devil is still a pretty powerful scout and spy. But note that it's a devil, and pretty cunning -- Int 9 but Wis 15. So unless the PC is giving it very careful instructions, it's perfectly capable of giving skewed or incomplete information, or doing stuff like going off mission and talking to NPCs. If the PC is being vague -- like, "scout ahead and tell us what's in the dungeon" -- you're perfectly justified in having the accuser tell the PCs about some traps or monsters but not others, or having it warn some monsters to run away, or whatever.

Mind, you shouldn't do this sort of thing randomly just to screw the PCs and/or nerf the spell. Roleplay the devil. It's an intelligent, lawful evil creature; it's bound to obey the PC, but it serves Hell's interests, not his. In an ordinary dungeon crawl it might serve more or less faithfully. But if you're playing through (let's say) Curse of the Crimson Throne, it might decide that it prefers the Lawful Evil ruler of the city to the PCs, and act accordingly.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
'Sani wrote:
I am massively confused by people saying Strange Aeons is just a dungeon crawl.

My bad. I should have said, the *first* module in that AP is a big dungeon crawl. After that, yeah, it mixes things up a lot and there are a lot more NPCs and interaction. Point.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What Tony said. He needs mooks. He's a half-fiend, so some lesser demons would be thematically appropriate, but minor undead work too (and stack with his desecrate power and death-variant channelling).

Paladin vs. anti-paladin is tricky, because they can smite each other, which can make even mid-level melee combat kinda rocket tag-y. You've given him Power Attack, which is reasonable but makes the rocket tag even worse -- when smiting, he's hitting for d10+16, which means that against most of your PCs he needs either two hits or one crit to drop them.

He can fly, which helps. Work out ways to use that.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It would IMO be totally legit to have the Tatterman toy with the PCs like a cat with mice. Suboptimal, yes, but legitimate. He enjoys instilling fear just as much as he does killing.

I agree that his fear aura means that it's possible for half the party to fail their saves, leaving the others in a very sticky situation. If you like, you could replace this with some weird/creepy terrain effects -- undulating surfaces, time slowing down (maybe instead of fleeing, PCs get hit with a Slow spell), bizarre sensory effects, you name it. That's the good thing about being on the borders of the Dreamlands: you really have carte blanche to get weird and creative.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, Emerald Spire is just a mega-dungeon without a lot of roleplaying. If that's really what you're after, bam -- there you go.

If you want to stick with an AP...

1) Giantslayer is pretty solid hack-and-slash. There are some problems with the first module (assassin encounter, waves of orcs) but most of these can be solved by appropriate character design. No subsystems, pretty simple. In fact, the biggest complaint about Giantslayer is that it's TOO straightforward and "old school". So, could be a good fit for you!

2) Strange Aeons is basically one big dungeon crawl but fair warning: it's a horror-themed module and a Lovecraft-themed AP. As noted, you wake up with no memories (and locked up in the basement of an insane asylum gone bad), so if your players want to develop RPing, they can do so organically. I think this could either work amazingly well for your group or not at all. No subsystems.

3) Carrion Crown, same same: it's the other horror-themed AP, and most of the first module is a dungeon. That module has some roleplaying but it can easily be skipped without affecting play much. (It's MAW that almost everyone in town is suspicious of strangers and disinclined to talk, so just run with that.) No subsystem except for the Trust Point mechanic in volume 1, which the designers acknowledge is broken, which works behind the scenes anyway, and which can and should be ignored. I guess Trial of the Beast and the werewolf one have some roleplaying. The werewolf one has a game of Werewolf with actual werewolves, which is cute.

4) I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Serpent's Skull. Yes, it gets super grindy in the back half. But that might be good here! Also, it starts with the PCs shipwrecked on a tropical island that has every tropical island trope in the book, from pterodactyls to diseases to a cannibal tribe. Very little roleplaying in the first book, because you don't meet a lot of NPCs and most of the ones you do meet are evil and trying to kill you. Also, while it's sandboxy like Kingmaker it's *not* lather-rinse-repeat. You wander around the island picking up plot tokens and hooks, but you have a plot thread pulling you along (find the SOB who got you marooned) and stuff happens that has consequences. Book two is a race across wilderness to a lost city, very Indiana Jones. Again, not much roleplaying. Best of all, the first module is unusually standalone -- you're just trying to get off that darn island. So if it's not working for your players, then at the end of part one you can switch to something else altogether.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

An exciter spiritualist should indeed stack with Fractured Mind, which seems like a bit of an oversight. If a Mesmerist dips one level of this and then throws a feat at Phantom Ally, he gets a scout / meat shield / flank buddy that'll be useful for many levels, plus the ability to surge his spell DCs. I wouldn't call this OP -- you're giving up a level of casting and a feat, and after a few levels the phantom becomes less useful -- but for a while, it's pretty amazing; you stack this with your Stare and watch foes try to make their Will saves at (effectively) -4 or -5.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Awesome.

Suggestion: blow the ten bucks on MinionQuest, and play it as a palate-cleanser between Part Two and Part Three.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, since we're in necro mode, I will respond to this two year old post!

FatR wrote:


WotW has its problems.

Yes it does. I was editor for the last four volumes -- I think I'm credited on 3 through 6 IMS -- and Gary McBride and I went over some of these exact issues. On most he talked me around, with one or two notable exceptions.

Quote:
It is places more demands on players. You cannot run it for a party that expects to be railroaded, you cannot run it for a party with murderhobo tendencies, and it has a very specific premise that requires player buy-in or else it doesn't work (PCs must lack conscience or be driven by revenge, but remain reasonably loyal to each other, and willing to work for a boss who doesn't take "no" for an answer until it is the plot time to get their Sith promotion).

I would argue that most of these are features, not bugs. In an evil campaign, you need buffers against PvP, and then more buffers against players just going random LOOK AT ME I AM EVIL murderhobo. (Not all players want to do that, of course, but IME it only takes one.) I've run WotW three times, twice FtF and once PbP, and I think the setup makes a lot of sense. Designing an evil campaign is harder than it looks!

Quote:
At some points it is possible to pretty much fail the whole plot without dying. The end of the first adventure comes to mind.

Fail, and under the AP as written the Cardinal hunts you down and kills you horribly. In WotW, you're on notice from first level on: Failure Is Death. Personally I like the raw, brutal do-or-die atmosphere this adds. It feels different from the usual "well, we failed... I guess someone else will have to save the village from the goblins... or even if they don't, meh, one village." Normally you don't get players really worried about the consequence of failure until they're 15th level and confronting the Runelord or the core of the Worldwound or whatever.

Quote:
Extensive adaptations for specific player groups are needed more in WotW more than usual.

True; fair point.

Quote:
And it still disregards certain basic properties of DnD. Like, a part of Part 3's premise doesn't seem to take into account that most of the angels that the targer of your attack is filled with can bloody teleport, therefore hunting for runaways and stragglers is entirely pointless and the enemy relief force should invariably be expected as soon as the road is physically passable.

This is one of the exceptions I mentioned above. I went back and forth with Gary on this. He did add a number of justifications for why particular angels wouldn't just blink away, but in the end I wasn't really convinced, and clearly I'm not alone.

That said, I won't criticize him too hard for failing to solve a problem that's hardwired into the system. There kinda had to be at least one angel-themed module in the AP. I mean, if you're capital-E Evil, you're going to have to go up against angels at some point. He wisely chose to get most of the angel stuff out of the way as early as possible in the AP. But since almost every angel with more than 6 HD has teleport (and so do most non-angel good outsiders), he was really fighting the system here.

Quote:
Early parts also retroactively get a bit silly after you see what all the overleveled enemies from the later parts, this is perhaps more grievous than usual in WotW than in most adventure paths, which often feature the endgame baddies only just making their reappearance in the world after long dormancy or whatever.

This came up, but note that the PCs aren't on anyone's radar until, at the earliest, Book Three. And you can come up with plausible reasons why any single BBGG is staying out of action -- the copper dragon is having fun with planar travel and his wives, the princess is a semi-recluse, and so forth. Whether it's plausible that they *all* are is a separate question, but I think Gary made the good faith effort.

Quote:
I'd hesitate to call WotW the best adventure path ever.

Obviously I am biased here! That said, a couple of points.

1) Do keep in mind that Gary was writing the first evil AP ever. And he didn't have a whole development team behind him... he wrote all seven adventures almost entirely by himself. (Jason Buhlman gets co-credit on a couple of the modules, but IMS Jason was mostly writing backmatter, not adventure.) He had to work a lot of this stuff out for himself, from scratch. I think on the whole he really excelled, but it was no small task. The game allows an evil campaign, yes, but really isn't set up to make writing one easy. I had a close-up view of how the sausage was made.

Say what you like about Gary's actions / inaction in the last couple of years, but he sweated blood over WotW, and I can't really think of anyone who would have done a better job on WotW.

2) Deciding who's "best" is a mug's game. But I think you can make a strong case for WotW as the single most ambitious AP to date. Not only is it an evil path, but it

Spoiler:

-- has the PCs running a "reverse dungeon" for most of a module
-- not only lets PCs become vampires or liches, but positively encourages it
-- ends with the PCs as Evil Overlords, and lets them indulge themselves in sandbox mode running a kingdom for an entire module; and,
-- adds a seventh bonus module, MinionQuest, which is very well done and funny as hell.

Is it perfect? No. Is it for everyone? Surely not. But it's crazy damn ambitious, and I think it succeeds really well. Again, I had a hand in it, so I'm not a neutral observer, but... yeah, I think it's pretty good.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Shackled City does include one of my personal all-time favorite adventures from Dungeon Magazine: Test of the Smoking Eye. That one is nuts, in a good way. Without spoilers... (1) it takes you to a place you wouldn't normally visit at this point in your career; (2) it makes that place really atmospheric and interesting; and (3) it can take the campaign in a really interesting direction (albeit one that may require a bit of work on the part of the DM and/or players).

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
So let it be written, so let it be done. Daigle is sent by the Chosen One.

or he's one of the MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bump?

I can't be the only person who's contemplated this?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

True, fair enough.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
I do kinda wonder what they should do about Second Darkness though if they were to update it. Would they focus more on the path set by first two books or the latter four? Or would they split the ap into two different ones? Would they just rewrite the entire thing? Or would they just rewrite the middle books to make it less bait and switch?

Spoilers for Second Darkness:

There's general agreement on what's wrong with SD.

1) Do something to fix the weird right-angle turn between "urban adventure where you're running a casino" and "you're in the underdark saving the world from the drow". Some groups adjust to this smoothly but many report a sense of whiplash. This is worsened by the Player's Guide, which encourages you to roll up a bunch of sketchy urban rascals, not spelunking drow-fighters.

2) The elves are treacherous and, worse, annoying. There are multiple posts in the Second Darkness forum with people saying stuff like "and then the elves screwed us over and we said, forget this, we're going home. And that was the end of this AP." This is consistent with the survey I linked to above, which shows a very high number of groups quitting the AP because of "loss of interest". Fix the elves.

3) Completely rewrite Book Five, more or less from scratch. At this point someone will pop up and say "but I *loved* Book Five" because that always happens. Dude, I am sorry, but: you are in a minority. Most people find Book Five a hot mess at best, a disaster at worst. And based on the forums, probably a plurality would call it the single worst AP module ever.

So, totally fixable. But it would be a fair amount of work.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Would there ever be a reason to do this?

The drawbacks are obvious: you're combining two 3/4 BAB partial-spellcasting classes, which means you're going to gank both combat and casting. On the other hand, there are some synergies. For instance, a 3rd level Mesmerist / 7th level Spiritualist with the Nightmare Stare and a Fear phantom = a lot of foes running away in terror; the phantom's slam attack plus the stare forces the target to save twice at -2, taking the worse save, or be shaken, and then do it again immediately or be frightened and flee. That's pretty sweet. Or: dipping a single level of Spiritualist gives a Mesmerist a +4 Shield bonus to AC, two Skill focuses, and one or two cool special abilities i.e. a Dutiful phantom also gives you Iron Will. Even a first level phantom is useful through midlevels as a scout and ectoplasmic meat shield.

Given the number of different phantoms, stares, and archetypes, there should be lots of interesting possibilities here, even if the overall package ends up being somewhat underpowered.

Has anyone played around with this?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's Vic's most recent, from November 2016:

Quote:
Just as Runelords was when we compiled it, Crimson Throne is now almost sold out in its original form (as of our last low inventory blog in November, the first three volumes were completely sold out, volumes 4 and 5 were under 1000 copies, and volume 6 was under 500), and it benefits from being updated to the current ruleset. While a couple other APs meet one or the other of those, there are no other APs that meet both.

So there's no AP that's both 3.5 and sold well. That means their options are (1) Never do another AP collection -- possible; or (2) Do one that's PFRPG, but that has sold well and that promises to sell well -- possible; or (3) do either Second Darkness or Legacy of Fire, because those are the two remaining 3.5 APs.

Second Darkness can't be considered a promising candidate for collection and republication. It's one of the weakest selling of the first dozen APs, so they still have a pile of unsold modules in the warehouse. Also, it consistently scores low on surveys of which APs were most popular / well liked. Here's a link to the most recent survey I'm aware of. As you can see, Second Darkness scores the lowest of the first dozen APs in terms of things like "how did you rate the roleplaying/combats/plot" and "how likely would you be to recommend this AP to someone".

Furthermore, the Paizo staff themselves acknowledge that Second Darkness is seriously flawed. It was early days, and they were still figuring things out. (They've also acknowledged serious design flaws in a couple of other APs, most notably Serpent's Skull, so this isn't to pick on poor Second Darkness.) This is not to say it's horrible. There are things to like in that AP. If the stars were right, and my players were looking for something Underdarky, I might run it someday. (There's a definite shortage of proper Underdark stuff in the current set of APs.) But from a business POV, Second Darkness is pretty clearly the least promising candidate of the early APs.

So what does that leave? Either they don't do another collection at all (in which case all this is moot) or they do one that's already PFRPG, or they do Legacy of Fire. Well, Legacy doesn't fall as flat as Second Darkness. AFAWCT it's a respectable midlister, with decent survey scores and pretty good sales. However, if you set it against the other eight APs from that first dozen, there are several that have pretty clearly outranked and outsold it. And of those, the top performer seems to be Kingmaker.

So, if they're going to do another one, then we'd reasonably expect it either to be Legacy (because 3.5) or Kingmaker (because AFAWCT it's the most popular and best selling of the first group of Pathfinder-rules APs). I think business logic would strongly suggest Kingmaker. Also, although Kingmaker is PFRPG, it could certainly benefit from what Vic calls "reinvention". While it's a very popular AP, there's room for improvement; there are (as many people have pointed out) holes in the plot, and the kingdom-building rules have a couple of loopholes that are very exploitable. And of course, adding later rulesets (thinking Ultimate Intrigue here, but there are several other that could apply) means that reinvention is possible for pretty much everything.

YMMV, but that's my reasoning: expect nothing for at least a couple of years, then either more nothing or Kingmaker.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, that makes sense. When you get to the 5th and 6th volumes of an adventure, the enemy stat blocks start getting pretty long. So, being able to refer to the module's Bestiary could save a page or two of space.

Three words: Anomalocaris... in... spaaaaaaace.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Er... why would it not qualify?

Doug M.

1 to 50 of 9,966 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, 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.