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Douglas Muir 406's page

9,538 posts. 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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So, takeaway: if you want a hard copy of something? Buy it now, because Paizo generally doesn't do reprints. Once it's out of print, it's gone.

To Paizo's credit, they do periodically (2-3 times per year) do a post on the store blog listing which items are sinking low in inventory: "Less than 1,000 left", "Less than 500 left", "Less than 100 left" and so forth. So if you're dithering whether to pick up a particular module, you can look up one of those posts and see if it's in danger of disappearing.

No. They have a policy of not re-releasing hard copies once they're sold out. IIUC there are two reasons for this.

One, doing a small print run costs more (and is also a bit of a PITA). So, either they'd have to increase the cover price, or they'd make less money on each copy. Not attractive either way. And two, the market for selling hard copies is only so big. So if they keep reprinting the old stuff, that may take sales away from the new stuff. That's undesirable for various reasons.

They are keeping the .pdfs up for sale forever, so you can always get your hands on the material. Just, not in hard copy form.

Doug M.

Hello all.

So, it's been a combination of work distraction and /really bad internet/ here in Tajikistan. Every time that one ISIS guy posts a video, they pretty much shut down the internet for a week or two. A high ranking Tajik defected to ISIS a while back -- google "Tajik ISIS" and maybe "tomato" and you'll get him -- and the government here is super crazy paranoid about political Islam, so whenever he posts they just shut everything down. Which, okay, we're next door to Afghanistan, but honestly guys, this is not going to do it.) VPN can sometimes get around, but you have to play find-the-server tag.

Honestly not sure how to proceed here.

I ran the Pathfinder version of this back in 2011. It's an excellent high concept adventure. I gave it five stars, and so did every other person who reviewed it. You can find all those reviews right here.

I assume that you didn't change much about the adventure other than converting it to 5e?

Doug M.

Laurine turns and scuttles away across the ceiling like a great insect. In a moment the faint green flow fades and is gone.

The thing stumps forward and begins pawing at the wreckage with two thick, boneless limbs. It's digging something out: a body. (One of the young women who was rushing back and forth bringing beers to the festival. If the fall didn't kill her, several tons or rubble falling on her did.)

The thing tries to pull the body from under the rubble, but there's a chunk that's too big to move. It makes a grunt of irritation, then wraps a tentacle around one limp arm and pulls it up as far as it will go. Two bites: elbow, shoulder.


MannyGoblin wrote:
Do you double-dip your chips?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Doug M.

Oh, and if you're short a hag, you can always call up a swaithe demon to replace one member of the coven. The bad news is, the swaithe is a demon and chaotic evil. The good news is, it's a relatively feeble CR 4 creature -- not at all difficult to call and bind with Lesser Planar Binding, and relatively easy (for a demon) to Dominate or otherwise control.

Doug M.

Planar Binding would in theory work great. If you call a night hag, once bound she is compelled to obey you for the duration of the binding (up to 1 day/level). So, no need to mess about with mind control or what have you.


1) The Night Hag is, for a creature of its CR, unusually hard to call and bind. It has SR 24, a +11 Will save, and a 17 Cha. If you run the numbers, that means you're going to have difficulty calling it and binding it unless you have invested some resources in optimizing your PC for planar binding. (For tips on how you might do this, see DMDM's Guide to the Diabolist.)

2) Sadly, if you're not evil you will probably lose out on some of the night hag's best abilities. What's a night hag normally good for? Trading in soul gems; or using Dream Haunt to drive someone insane or kill them; or helping you murder someone permanently by casting Soul Bind. All of those tend pretty strongly towards evil. You can still use her to build a coven around, but you won't be using her strengths.

3) A night hag is exactly the sort of creature that will carry a grudge forever and look to get revenge. Not that evil outsiders generally are full of sweet forgiveness, of course. But the night hag is a creepy, malevolent loner who's optimized for sneaking and murder. Your DM would IMO be perfectly justified in turning the hag into a recurring enemy. A recurring enemy with high intelligence and the ability to travel the planes and go ethereal and will. Just sayin'.

Doug M.

Mind control on hags? Not as easy as you might think. They all have SR and they all have good Will saves for their CR. The night hag, for instance, has SR 24 and a +11 Will save. A 10th level caster throwing Dominate with a +8 modifier and Spell Penetration would have just a 22% chance of success. And that's before the second "against its nature" save. So, you'd better be able to spam Dominate. (You also better first hit the hag with Dimension Anchor so she can't just go ethereal or Plane Shift away while you're spamming.)

Sea, Green, and Annis hags are easier to deal with, but they're still quite tough for creatures of their CR. The green hag, for instance, is only CR 5, but it has SR 16 and Will +7. A sixth level caster throwing Suggestion with +6 and Spell Penetration would have about a 30% chance of making this spell stick. Again, your odds are of course much better if you can immobilize the hag first and spam the spell at her. Good luck with that.

Doug M.

Something is lumbering out of the darkness.

A stocky, barrel-like body the size of a bull, lumbering on short, sturdy legs. A mouth... actually, it seems to be almost all mouth. A huge mouth, with lots and lots of teeth. Tentacles writhe around it.


Range is 60' to the paladin, the kobold, and Felice. Nobody else can see it yet.

Osei Otieno wrote:


Knowledge (Arcana) +9
Knowledge (history) +7
Knowledge (planes) +9
Knowledge (religion) +7

You got nothin'.


A weird, warbling cry comes out of the darkness. That strange smell grows almost overwhelmingly strong.

"Oh, holy Abadar. Now what?" whimpers Gwerm.

Busy week -- will have more up in the next day or so.

Osei Otieno wrote:

Still at conference, but need break from practicing my talk, so making a quick post.

It's coming. Brain-eater. Thought-sifter. Soul-crusher. Solace. Must find the light. Climb. Scramble. Hide. Wait ... what?

Whenever Osei is no longer under the influence of magical fear ...

First let's roll a percentile die. Lower is more interesting... 1d100 ⇒ 47

Haruka Shiraboshi wrote:

"Laurine, drop the fragment, it will be your death"

Wow, you guys are really racking up the nat 1s here.

Okay, if there are no further last thoughts I'll be hitting the button soon. Good night, all you evil, evil people.

Yeah, darkness pretty much does swallow the world (if not stopped). Blackness spreads out from a hole in the far north, and if you touch it, you die. If you're ruling Talingarde at that point, you make your way to the center and find a gate guarded by (IMS) two deranged gigantic advanced bad-news shoggoth type things, and if you don't deal with them quickly they summon a Havero to join the fun.

Dip a level of Sczarni Swindler rogue.

Doug M.

Sir Constantine Godalming wrote:

@ Felicia

"No I will not! I will not attack her unless she attacks first, myself or my friends."

"Ach sz'yek-ptah chtung *kek'ha zofort n!ek'r-ziet! Tears are running down Felicia's face, but it's hard to say whether they are pain, grief or rage. "If this is how you fools defended the Wall, no wonder it fell! My father was right about you! Right about you all!"

If you speak Infernal:

Oooh, that was nasty. She used the Insult mode, the pejorative case on both nouns and the pronoun, the verbal tense of superior-to-inferior, and the -ziet suffix to indicate extreme contempt. And that's without getting into what she actually said.

"Dark Lord... preserve us!" Felicia's breath is coming in short gasps of pain, and her grip is digging into Sir Constantine's arm. "Stop... trying to talk to the thing! It's... not your friend any more! Just... kill it!"

"What's happening? Has she been eliminated?"

(That weird smell seems to be growing stronger.)

Haruka Shiraboshi wrote:

Haruka moves back in front of Laurine "Laurine, have I ever lied to you or done something to harm you? Who has saved you from the dwarf and his companion? Please, Laurine let go of that stone, it will kill you.

ready action on stone drop (if possible, picking it up and throwing it away, if not just picking it up)

Well, since nobody else is doing anything this round...

You don't want to hurt them? Okay. Okay. We don't have to hurt them. Now, yet.

Mmph mmph. Mmf o ah mmph ee um ack mmpher.

Laurine steps back and makes a series of quick, jerky gestures. Then she whirls and runs towards the wall... and *up* it, like some sort of huge insect. She pauses for a moment, 20' above you, looking down.

Just a Mort wrote:
Mage tattoo is not core, neither is admixture subschool.

Gahhh! You're right.

Okay then, he's probably better off playing a Gnome Pyromaniac sorceror with an orc or red/gold dragon bloodline. That's not as flexible, but it's 5d4+5 of Burning Hands damage all day long, and when he finally does get Fireball it'll start with 7d6+7 at 6th level.

Doug M.

Okay, Core only makes this a lot more challenging. That said, I think you can have a perfectly good evoker/blaster. Human wizard, 20 point build: Str 8 Con 12 Dex 14 Int 20 (22) Wis 12 Cha 8. Alternate build would be an elf, +2 Dex and spell penetration, -2 Con and lose Greater Spell Focus.

Evocation specialist with the Admixture subschool. As we all know, this lets you swap energy types (fire, acid, cold, electricity) on your spells 8x/day. Not a huge deal at low levels but if you're planning on playing this guy for a while, gets really nice later on -- and do keep an eye out, even at low levels, for Fire and Cold subtype creatures that you can zap for extra damage. Bonded object instead of a familiar.

Feats: Spell Focus (Evocation), Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Mage's Tattoo (Evocation).

Spells: 1st -- Burning Hands, Charm Person, Grease, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Summon Monster I. 2nd -- Flaming Sphere, Fox's Cunning, Invisibility, Web. Ready spells: 1st -- Mage Armor (cast before adventuring), Burning Hands X3, Grease, Summon Monster I. 2nd -- 2X Flaming sphere, Fox's Cunning, Invisibility, Web. If your party's God Wizard already has these spells, no biggie -- swap out either for more Evocations or for situational stuff.

Items: Cloak of Resistance +1 (1,000), Headband of Vast Intelligence (4,000). That leaves you 1,000 for personal goods, ready cash, and the odd potion or scroll.

Play: Your default is to throw Burning Hands for 5d4+2, which isn't a huge amount of damage but is respectable at this level, plus the occasional Flaming Sphere for 3d6+2 ongoing. Your Evocation spell DCs are 18+spell level, or 20+SL if you precast Fox's Cunning, so you'll usually do full damage. And your other spells will make the party happy: Grease to drop a heavy melee opponent, SM I for a flank buddy for the melee types, Invisibility for a quick scout. Burning Hands is 35' range at this level so with careful positioning you can hit most small and medium sized opponents without opening yourself up to a counterstrike. Next level you'll pick up Fireball, which will open at 6d6+3 damage DC 21 or 23, and Haste to make the rest of the party love you _so much_.

Doug M.

What's noncore about the Blockbuster?

[Edit] Sorry, never mind me. Right, there's a bunch of stuff from Advanced Magic et al in the Blockbuster. Hm. Okay.

Doug M.

Thinking about it: 9th level is a reasonable time to acquire an item that costs 11,000 gp. If the build above picked up Voidfrost robes, then at 9th level you would be able to throw Intensified Enhanced Freezeball for (14d6 x 1.5) +5 or about 79 points of area cold damage, DC 22 Reflex save. And you could do that half a dozen times per day without breaking a sweat.

It's actually not sick overpowered: that won't one-shot most CR 9+ opponents. But it'll drop them to the point where a single blow from your fighter or barbarian friend will finish the job, and it'll just sweep the street clean of large masses of lower-level opponents.

Doug M.

Yeah, in the final book you get a rip in the fabric of reality -- basically the Lawful Good rulers of Talingarde were doing a thing that kept the Great Old Ones out, and when you murder all of them, that opens an opportunity. Dren would have had his chance to choose sides then.

Going forward, I'm going to assume that if a player doesn't act within 48 hours, then no action is taken. Obviously, there will be reasonable exceptions if you're out of town or whatever; you can ask me to DMPC you or another player to step in, etc. etc.

Note that this requires you to check in every couple of days. This doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but what do you think?

QuidEst wrote:
Magical Flair trait bumps up the DC to spellcraft a school by two. Grab it for Enchantment. Combine with your bloodline, and its one of the few ways to cast Charm Person in public. Keep Unseen Servant up, pretend to cast that, and then have the servant do something.

Here's Magical Flair: "Choose a school of magic. The Spellcraft DC to identify spells you cast from that school of magic increases by 2. Onlookers who fail a Spellcraft check to identify your spell by 2 or less incorrectly identify the spell as another randomly selected spell of the same school and level."

This improves your bloodline arcana from "completely useless" to "almost completely useless". Taking the two examples above, casting a 3rd level illusion at 6th level the Spellcraft DC to identify it would now be 23. On an 18 or lower OR on a 21 or 22, the enemy will misidentify it as the spell of your choice. If your enemy is a 6th level wizard with max Spellcraft and a 16 Int, she'll correctly ID your spell on a 8 or higher, and will only be fooled on a 1-3 or a 6-7 -- a net 20% chance.

Basically, the trait means that you can occasionally pull this off at low levels or when facing creatures who have Spellcraft but not much of it. Which is rare -- monsters and NPCs tend to max ranks in the skills they have. I honestly don't think this is worth burning a trait, but YMMV.

It won't work with wizards present, but any non-Int casters will have a chance at missing it. If there's a wizard, charm them.

Good luck with that strong Will save... seriously, if you want to cast Charm Person in public, at low levels any NPC with just a single rank of Spellcraft as a class skill will probably not be fooled. Your DC will be 17. An Int 10 first level cleric with one rank will roll at +4. That means they'll know exactly what you're casting on a 13 or higher, will know you're casting *something* on a 9 or higher, and will only be fooled on a 1-8 -- just a 40% chance. And that's about as good as this arcana ever gets.

Doug M.

You know there's an e-collection of his adventures, yes?

Doug M.

IME DMs and groups seem to vary their playing speed across a factor of about three. That is to say, a very fast-playing group will blow through a module about three times faster than a very slow-playing group. You'll notice upthread that you have one guy saying "one 6 hour session ever two weeks = two years", and then almost immediately another guy saying "one five hour session every two weeks = less than a year"? So the first guy is saying about 300 hours, while the second guy's group did it in about 130 hours. That's pretty consistent with my own experience. My last group was pretty average in terms of playing speed. At 5 hours every two weeks, we were midway through book 4 in a little under a year. That suggests we would have needed about 200 hours to finish the job. I think we could have cut that by at least a third -- sharper table discipline, eliminating side quests, handwaving through minor encounters, and the like -- but after that, it would have gotten tight. That suggests the following table:

Slow playing group -- 300 hours or more
Average group -- 200 hours, very roughly, give or take
Really fast group -- 130 hours

This in turn suggests that finishing in 120 hours might be JUST BARELY possible, if you have a fast-playing group, are very disciplined, eliminate all fat, and keep relentlessly on schedule. Whether this will be fun or not... well, if you try it, let us know!

Doug M.

Valandil Ancalime wrote:
We played Kingmaker in 63 sessions, probably around 200 hrs.

~200 hours seems to be right around the average.

You also need complete cooperation with the players in what kind of characters they play. Even 1 Lone Wolf or Special Snowflake could delay things beyond repair.

^^^This. You need buy-in from all the players; everyone has to be, not just on board, but committed to making this happen. Otherwise someone will at some point feel the need for a side quest or some other form of me-time, and others will point out that he's wasting precious time, and things snowball. Discuss with ally players in advance, in detail. If everyone's not down with it, have a Plan B in your back pocket ready to go.

Doug M.

Jaunt wrote:
Way of the Wicked has a fair amount of side systems (book 1, book 2) and open-endedness. Wrath has a tendency to get straight up busted by failing to understand how powerful Mythic tiers are. RotRL sounds good.

I agree with all these. I like WotW, but if you're going to run it, run it straight with no house rules or side systems. As for Wrath, the use of Mythic makes that one really challenging. Even a single tier of Mythic, if used by competent players, is a game-changing power boost. Multiple tiers make gameplay completely different. Less fun IMO, but that's a separate conversation -- the key point here is that unless you've played / run Mythic before, it will definitely slow you down while you figure it out. Also, by all accounts WotR turns into rocket tag well before the halfway point, and by the last module it's rocket tag that the PCs always win. Some people like that, but... well, YMMV.

RotRL, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward. Also, it has the most resources of any AP; also-also, if you ever have a question, just post it and there will be like 300 people who have played it and who can instantly answer. If you're really doing this, blow the money on the 5th anniversary edition: it's upgraded from 3.5 and has pretty art and various nice add-ons.

Doug M.

Carrion, I have to disagree here. The bloodline arcana is almost completely useless. I think that Paizo INTENDED for it to be used the way you describe... but they screwed up the math, so it doesn't work.

Example: at 6th level you cast a 3rd level illusion. The Spellcraft DC to identify it is normally 15+3=18. But for you it's 21, and on a 16 or lower the enemy will misidentify it as the spell of your choice. If your enemy is a 6th level wizard with max Spellcraft and a 16 Int, she'll correctly ID your spell on a 6 or higher, and will only be fooled on a natural 1.

Try again at 12th level with a 6th level illusion, and you'll find that it actually gets worse. The DC is now 21. A 12th level wizard with max ranks and an 18 Int will ID you on a 2 or higher, and will never ever be fooled.

"But not everyone has Spellcraft!" -- yeah, and if they don't have Spellcraft, then your arcana doesn't make any difference. And once you get up past 12th level, a depressing lot of opponents -- most outsiders, for instance, and many dragons -- do have Spellcraft. Try this trick against an ice devil with +21 Spellcraft sometime; do let me know how it works.

There are some things to like about this bloodline, but the arcana is not among them.

Doug M.

Sir Constantine Godalming wrote:
"That was pointless, guys you weren't supposed to let her pick it back up again, though it seems removing it from her grip did not cancel the possession!"

To be fair, it did cost her this round's action. So everyone can act again now.

Stuff I particularly enjoyed as DM:

-- The fight with the Warden, because I had rebuilt him precisely to be an interesting challenge.

-- Pretty much every scene with Zargo, particularly his laboratory and Smoove

-- Pretty much every scene with Irin, particularly her first appearance and the pen-drugs-sex sequence

-- Kate's interaction with her cousin, and the way she grabbed the whole arch-enemy thing and ran with it hard

-- Playing Captain Odenkirk as himself. The final fight with him was maybe a bit too easy but sometimes that happens.

-- Edmin's backstory, including Sir Nonus and his tragic ex

-- The long final fall of Ballentyne

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

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

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

Doug M.

Haruka Shiraboshi wrote:
Haruka takes a step back, mumbles a short prayer and points at Balek. cast stabilize at Balek(I think he is still bleeding)

He was, but now he's not!


"Laurine, please let go of the fragment, it's power will kill you.

Laurine, look into my eyes if you belive I am lying"

She's lying!

She's totally lying!

The lizard hit us ow ow OW! Right in the face! Stupid lizard!

And now the orc is trying to steal our wonderful soul-stone no no NO!

"Soul-stone..." Laurine looks down. Then she bends down and picks the stone up, gripping it firmly in one hand. She turns and scowls at Sir Constantine.

Yes! Hurt him!

Eff! Hurf dem all!

She's gripping the stone tightly, giving her +4 to CMD against future disarm attacks. On the plus side, while she's doing that she can't bite with the mouth in that hand. Also that mouth's raving is muffled, for what that's worth.

1d8 ⇒ 6

Hum de dum.

There's a weird smell down here. I mean, there are a lot of weird smells. But this is different. Like... smoke mixed with wet fungus.

Sir Constantine Godalming wrote:

Constantine turns and sees his friend possessed by a fragment of the ward stone.....

"By the seven knights! Release her from possession!"

Constantine lashes his whip hoping to knock the fragment free.....

Whip Attack 1d20+3
Damage (non-lethal)1d3+2

I'll treat that as a Disarm attack, which is a combat maneuver that does no damage. I believe you can use a whip to disarm someone from up to 15' away without a feat? Correct me if I'm wrong. Also, using the whip this way (1) provokes an AoO if you're within reach of an enemy (you're not), and (2) does no damage, not even nonlethal damage.

Anyway: she has a decent CMD, but it's not 21. So the whip lashes out, and slaps the glowing fragment from her hand!

MiniGM wrote:

i enjoyed the game overall, my only thought would be give all the characters a chance to get tied into the story line, in this game it felt like Edmin, and Zimu were the stars with Judge and Dren being the supporting roles, then Jax and the every rotating Bref, Xen, Ulp kind of just being along for the ride.

There's a grain of truth to that. I tried to bring everyone in and give everyone equal time, but your're right that Edmin and Zimu got dug deeper into the storyline. In Zimu's case it's because Kate was the kind of player who always wants more complexity -- more plot, more backstory, I want to try this outrageous stunt and see if it works. As you may recall, this was sometimes annoying and sometimes really cool. On balance I was glad to have Kate around and missed her when she left. But anyway, she and her character generated a fair amount of demand-driven plot.

Edmin got woven in more because (1) antipaladin, and (2) antipaladin because *angry*. I've always thought the antipaladin was hard to play -- as hard as the paladin, in its way -- and I thought Edmin did a good job with it, and that inspired (or provoked) me to write a lot of backstory and generally work him in.

I don't think the others were "along for the ride" -- I think everyone got plenty of stage time, a plot arc or two, and the occasional Moment of Awesome -- but yeah, you could argue that the story was more /about/ those two, at least for a while.

Misroi wrote:
Do they know what results their actions will yield before they choose?

I would say they do not. Otherwise, you end up with everyone poring over the list and taking the mechanically "best" choices rather than the most interesting ones. However, if you as DM want to tell them in advance, of course you can play it that way.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of separate XP tracking for each PC, so I'd probably drop that and come up with an alternative reward, like money or favors.

I'm a little old-fashioned in this regard. I recognize that the modern trend is away from xp tracking and towards party-wide level-ups at particular milestones. If that's your preferred style of play, then yes, absolutely -- swap out the xp and replace them with something else.

Still, I really like the ideas you've come up with here.

Thank you!

Doug M.

WagnerSika wrote:

Metamagic rods naturally. Depending on which element you favor Blazing, Shocking or Voidfrost robes. Otherwordly Kimono to boost CL checks.

Items that have a fixed cost, but that add ECL, are nice but somewhat abusable. 11,000 for these robes is a lot at midlevels, but for higher level characters it's chump change -- the only issue they face is using up the slot.

To be fair, an extra die of damage is less important at 12th level than it was back at first level. But OTOH, that +1 to overcome SR is always going to be nice.

Doug M.

Here's a question: besides the Goblin Drum, what are some items that would be useful for a blaster in particular?

Doug M.

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

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

Comments and input welcome!

Doug M.

* * * * *

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

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

Not all benefits are equally good. This is deliberate.

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

The choices are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haruka Shiraboshi wrote:
what happend with my casting protection from evil? do I need to roll a touch attack or something?

Sorry, was unclear. I allowed you to cast that on her -- she didn't stop you (this time) -- but it doesn't seem to have done anything.

Archmage Joda wrote:
Except Spell Specialization requires Spell Focus.

Dang, you're right. I'd forgotten that.

Well then, this build gets noticeably less attractive for nonhumans at low levels; you don't get the Spell Specialization boost until 3rd level, and then you don't get Intensified Spell until 5th level. Not crippling, but you'll definitely notice the difference at 1st and 2nd levels.

Doug M.

WagnerSika wrote:
Metux wrote:

You can still get a goblin drum *whistle*
Oh man, that item is hilarious! I doubt the adventure path we are playing has them laying around, I'll have to sneak it in somehow... And no I'm not planning on taking Craft Wondorous Item, it seems we never have time to craft anything.

Yeah, that's a cool item. I will note that it has a limited (30') range, so it won't help with long range blasts. Also that you have to throw some ranks at Perform (Percussion). And you can't really keep it going all the time as you stroll through the dungeon...

Okay, here's a thought: if you play a caster with a familiar? Either get something like a monkey, or go with Improved Familiar for an imp or some such, and give this to your familiar. So you go blasting everything in sight while your gibbering, screeching monkey familiar flails insanely at its drum...

Doug M.

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