If someone gets into close quarters combat with you, you're going to get slaughtered by opportunity attacks.
I think you need to take a hard look at Dodge -> Mobility -> Deft Shootist fairly early on. Then slid in Point Blank, Precise, Rapid, etc. Also look at the Pistolero archtype, which will be very helpful to the build and concept.
Just how high level are we talking?
Lower level: Overland Flight is nice
Probably lots more out there...
Also - take a look at the Blood Transcription spell (if it's allowed in what sounds like a rather limiting campaign for a spellcaster).
Basically - if you manage to kill a enemy spellcaster, you can drink a pint of their blood to learn one of their spells for 24 hours (you choose the spell). Which you can then TEACH to your familiar (thus, adding the spell to your list of spells known). Assumes the spell is on the Witch's spell list - you can't add a spell that isn't on that list.
Another end run around these limitations - have more than one PC with a Witch character. Take different spells. Then put the familiars in a room together and let them teach each other. Allowable by RAW.
I think you have a great opportunity here to have a bit of fun with the Mass Combat rules in KM. Give your players a taste of what is to come, and perhaps put a bit of fear into them too.
Centaur military units taking back various hexes from their Kingdom, pushing in their borders - especially if the players haven't bothered to create any troop units (quite possible early on - military units aren't cheap). Watching their work exploring and taking hexes collapse might wise them up. Or perhaps trigger a rethink on their part to make peace. Think 4-5 Centaur units (not big ones, but still) taking hexes off the Kingdom, every month. That is going to hurt in a hurry and trigger major issues within their Kingdom if it starts to add up.
Some of the crack units should have capable command teams - PC's vs Command Team battle to determine if they win/lose a hex.
Remember that centaurs aren't complete idiots - they are mobile, won't bunch up for the fireball, and their bows can outrange a fireball - remember 100 guys firing bows at max range - a 20 always hits. 5d8 damage on average to your party wizard (barring counter-measures, obviously).
Diplomatic surprises! Perhaps the centaurs have a deal with Mivon to the south - or the players get wind of them trying to setup something with Mivon and have to do a deal with Mivon before the centaurs do (to prevent a two front war). Role play time for your Diplomancy PC's.
In my game, the players gave up Skybolt (and the party Zen Archer Monk wanted it sooo badly too). The centaurs negotiated a border for their "lands" and as part of the deal, provided the PC Kingdom with their first modest military unit (upkeep = free, the centaurs "pay" for it) - a 100 centaur strong mobile cav force w/projectile weapons. It came in very handy. The PC's played it well - so I gave them that unit as a reward for some good roleplaying and diplomacy.
You can make this a real tough, interesting issue for their Kingdom if you want.
How to fix the problem - stop resurrecting him when he dies. Maybe one of those demons teleports away with his body - and no one has a True Resurrection up their sleeve.
It's becoming apparent (in this thread) he really doesn't have a good grasp of the class itself, action economy, situational usefulness, the utility and concepts behind using different kinds of spells, etc, etc, etc. He has invested heavily in a "character concept" that doesn't scale well (or work) given the adventure and the primary opponents. It might have been good at earlier levels, but without some serious adjustments, just isn't cutting it now.
Someone take Leadership and grab a NPC spellcaster cohort built to deal with the threats the party is facing - and relegate your friend to playing a meat shield for his next character...
MythrilDragon does make a good point - keep in mind the intent of where the campaign is heading and where you want it to go next.
Is it retirement/TPK time because killing the King was a stupid move/epic failure of judgement? Is it the next phase of a "Great Escape/The Fugitive" storyline? Or maybe a "Kingdom in Turmoil/Revolution" story where the PC's might figure prominently (if they can escape either the trap OR the prison).
Lots of fun potential, if your group can roll with the punches.
Is the intent to capture or kill? Presumably capture from the tone of your post, though I'd be thinking "Dead or Alive" if they are guilty of regicide, with a heavy emphasis on "DEAD".
So - to capture: A salvo of surprise round Power Word: Stuns. Stun lock the lot of them. Then some Anti-Magic fields, salvos of high DC sleep poisons? Just brainstorming a bit as I write. Definitely focus on the NO SAVE spells/attacks. Have spellcasters on Counterspell overwatch duty to shutdown anyone who does try to get a spell off. Use spells to shutdown teleportation, plane shifting, etc - otherwise, any high level party who gets crippled during a surprise phase might be tempted to bail first and regroup.
However, while party composition is useful for a start - LEVEL of the intended targets might help dictate strategy, as well as levels of the Anti-Adventurer Task Force (though I understand if you keep this under wraps in case PC's are reading).
Hire a 15th level Alchemist with Greater Alchemical Simulacrum (make sure he can speak Aklo, so he can program his creations with some basic instructions). Build a reasonably nice army of 15 HD Tarrasques. Heck, they only cost 1500 gp per unit - a bargain for sure! Turn them loose against the real one.
While you are at it, take that handy Mirror of Life Trapping mentioned earlier, populate it with the maximum number of Sim-Tarrasques and THEN drop it on a target city (Good city, Evil city, Neutral city - whatever flavor floats your boat). Enjoy the chaos.
You might want to look into assassinating any and all high level Alchemists after word gets out and before they destroy the world. Or, make sure that the word gets out so they DO destroy the world.
FYI - I house rule that sims require a piece of the creature to be duplicated. Doesn't necessarily slow down the derp, but it helps a bit.
Have a party in Kingmaker - no clerics, bards or pallys. NPC Witch w/Hedge Witch, along with potions and healing items, is generally holding up ok (8th-9th level now in the campaign). Using all the healing hexes + scar, to do small amounts of healing at range. NPC also has Reach Spell and can do up a few heavier healing spells at range too. Had a couple of deaths so far, three chapters in, but I think only one might have been due to lack of power healing. NPC does a lot of converting spells into healing spells, it seems. Then hexing, when opportunity presents itself.
The group is kicking around purchase of a Staff of Healing - add that into the mix and they'll be fine, I think.
Lack of a cleric hasn't hurt them, yet. I think it might, as the campaign progresses, though.
The group I DM is in the 30's when they hit Varnhold Vanishing. They were at two cities (and planning a third). Post Varnhold they were close to 50 hexes.
Thing is, without giving too much away, your kingdom is going to need a certain level of economic output in order to effectively field military units (consumption costs are high). If your economy can't afford to field units, after a certain point you are going to get into some degree of difficulty.
Think about your economy. Think about fielding units to defend your realm and how you'll be paying for them. If your economy is lagging, you need to be a bit more aggressive. Also, there are set levels for what qualifies as a "Kingdom" (80+ hexes, if I recall) - perhaps in the eyes of other River Nations your realm isn't even on the radar until you get to a certain size.
Sometimes you just have to power through a year or two of "Kingdom building" between books. If that is kind of boring, try and do that out of game session.
Book of the River Nations, by Jon Brazer Enterprises (and available here at the Paizo site).
All the fun Kingdom building stuff from Kingmaker and some extras. I'm DM'ing the adventure path and I picked up this pdf - it was great to have all the info in one spot (and have some nice extra crunch too). It also means you won't need to mess through the KM pdf's and possibly spoil your fun.
Disclaimer - I'm in no way affiliated w/Jon Brazer Enterprises. I just really liked this product they put out.
Also, to specifically answer your questions:
1) Is such a theft possible? Depends entirely on the GM. Any NPC who isn't a complete buffoon should protect such an item with significant defenses against theft/destruction. Think, Fort Knox.
2) I haven't ready any canonical works about Absalom and what might guard a Cornucopia. Others might have and could provide more insight. However, following some basic logic from #1 above, I'd say YES, it is heavily guarded. Why on earth wouldn't one be?
3) I recall reading that Cornucopia's can change hands either openly, or through trickery, theft, etc. The Grand Council just waits to see who shows up with one to claim the seat and may just acknowledge the "mysterious man" (who won't be so mysterious after this) as the new owner and member of the Grand Council. Pretty much falls into the hands of the GM as to how he would have the Council react.
Well, your mysterious man obviously wants to be a member of the Grand Council of Absalom. One would have to assume that if you (I'm using "you" assuming you are playing "The Fox") were successful, he would put adequate safeguards in place to prevent the former owner from liberating the Cornucopia. So, you have to assume the current owner (who you'll be targeting) has also put in some top notch security. Would a level 11 be able to breach that? Not if it was mine. The value a Cornucopia has to the owner is probably huge - can you put a price on Grand Council membership? Obviously, someone is willing to cough up at least 50k.
But, lets assume you are successful - you got the goods! Probably about a day later (maybe sooner) you might start to see:
Wanted DEAD: The thief known as "The Fox". A private party is interested in the removal of this miscreant from Absalom society and is willing to pay the princely sum of 50,000 gp to whomever brings him the head of The Fox (heads are useful for "Speak with dead"). For a level 14-16 level party - you'll be 5 minutes worth of work for 50k (scry - teleport - you die).
So, your mysterious man might also realize that given you have limited defenses against divination magic, scrying, etc - you'll be a ripe target for the former owner. I'm sure your employer will wish to remain anonymous, at least until he can present the Cornucopia to the Grand Council and claim his seat. The best way to do that? Liquidate YOU the second you deliver to him the goods - and he tosses your body into a vat of green slime to completely destroy your remains.
Frankly, this job sounds like a death sentence for "The Fox" unless you take some significant precautions! You succeed - you're probably dead, it's only a matter of time. You fail - either you died in the attempt, OR, if lucky, captured and turned against your former employer (and, if you refuse - you're dead).
I'm seeing a lot of x = "you're dead" calculations.
Your mileage may vary ;-)
I thought you could do a creature with no more than twice your caster level/HD? So, a 20th level Wizard (or Alchemist w/Greater Alchemical Sim) could do a 40th level target. The result being a 20th level/HD simulacrum. I like the Alchemist route - I'll take 20th level casters for 2000 gp, Alex...
To answer the specific question from blahpers - I wouldn't allow it, but there is nothing in RAW that addresses this that I know of.
I've seen a lot of entries regarding sims and dispelling, anti-magic, their nature as "quasi-real" illusions, etc. That's great and all, but then how do you deal with the Greater Alchemical Simulacrums? Worse, those are 100 gp/level/hd per level of critter rather than the more controllable 500 gp of ruby dust/level/hd. Such sims are not illusions, they are flesh and blood creatures.
My genesis of a potential BBEG is going to be a Alchemist who is systematically murdering and replacing an entire town's worth of people. He is, of course, insane. A sane Alchemist would be busy building a proper army of useful "weapons" to rise first from a local, then to a regional, and then to a national, powerplayer. However, if not stopped, his "experiment" will become more sinister, as he starts to implement the same strategy on key government figures...
Fun spell/alchemical ability, but it does create some annoying challenges...
3.X kept it under control, but the gloves are off a bit for Pathfinder on this. As per the above, this is not much more than a time saver, really, but worth doing.
I used to keep the brakes on Sims via the required 1000 gp/hd of rubies required. Rubies don't have to be common (and aren't particularly common here on Earth - most come from the Mogok Valley - see wikipedia). Since they were so valuable - I had Kingdoms declare things like rubies a "strategic resource", and PC's then had to compete against nations to get their hands on them. I also require a piece of the creature to be sim'd - I houseruled that immediately. This still works for Pathfinder too, except for one nasty new hiccup...
The Alchemist and their 100 gp of alchemical materials per HD for Alchemical Sim creation. Sim pricing cut by 90% AND nothing about specific rare materials required. I don't think the folks at Paizo thought this one through, frankly. Now, if that 100 gp was a typo and it was supposed to be 1000 gp (in line with the Simulacrum spell...) well, the price starts to be somewhat more restrictive.
So, I'd expect a lot of low level magic junk being readily available - any nation worth it's salt is going to setup a few Sim factories to mass produce stuff. I mean, I would, and I rather doubt I have a 20+ super-genius INT score that a lot of wizards, alchemists, etc might have. Someone in Golarion has to be smart enough to do things like this - it just seems nonsensical to me that it such things wouldn't appear.
But then, as a GM, I like to adjust my campaign to interesting tidbits and strategies that can appear. Simply disallowing is just as valid for a GM. Different strokes for different folks, y'know.
Scary thing per RAW - Alchemical sims at 100 gp/HD. Knowledge of a 20th level character (wizard, sorc, whatever) or decent monster with fun abilities. No requires piece of the creature (as RAW). Create piles of 10th level casters for 1000 gp per. Or monster armies. Etc.
I think that a piece of the creature to be duplicated HAS to be part of the process.
My choices - if you are likely the party heal-bot, would be to go with something like:
Human Feat: Extra Hex (Sleep)
With a scorpion or compsognathus you get some Initiative boost. If you have Traits, you might be able to scrounge up another +2 Initiative as well. Thus, Improved Initiative can be added in a way without blowing a feat.
Patron: I've always had a soft spot for Endurance. Why? I like the idea of having the Miracle spell eventually (and via that - pretty much every clerical spell from 8th level on down). Nice way to top out the character if your campaign gets to that level.
My feat/hex selections: Scar has been errata'd - you can scar your party members and then heal them at range (up to a mile). As you progress, pick up other hexes to boost your allies and apply them at a range too, then Cackle to keep them going. Keeps your squishy character a bit further away from combat.
I prefer the buff hexes - they always work (like Fortune). If you are going to hex an enemy, the Sleep hex takes them down. Instantly. If my opposition is going to fail a save, I'd rather they be down for the count than just cursed a bit. The Sleep hex scales and has no HD limit too. Do a search about the Sleep hex here on the boards. My 8th level witch was knocking down trolls left and right in one Kingmaker encounter with the Sleep hex. Obviously, won't work in every situation, but crunch the numbers - the DC is decent, scales with your level and gets deadlier with stat boost items (or, Threefold Aspect - which will boost your Int nicely if you are magic poor. Available at 7th level).
I think with a bit of work, you can get a credible healer out of the Witch class, and still have a ton of fun things to do besides just healing.
One of mine, done pretty much upon first reading of the Core Rulebook:
Simulacrum spell/alchemical discovery require a piece of the creature to be duplicated - either a bone or a hunk of flesh (a hair or nail won't do it).
Otherwise, it's pretty much open season for high level wizards/alchemists to build whomever or whatever, they need.
I was thinking that with some actual memorized curing/heal spells I would apply the Reach Spell feat so that in situations where things might get squishy, I could heal at range. The tank-like aspects of the cleric, and backup melee aspects are good points, but I've often found that past clerics of mine are heal-bots - because it's more efficient to keep our optimized power hitters in the game with healing, than trying to out power hit them myself. I've had some excellent melee-capable or missile fire capable clerics in my day, but they almost always pitched in with spells supporting the rest of the party before getting in hits of my own. Except in Rappan-Athuk - when I had lots of fun with the Heal spell vs some undead.
At higher levels, I think a Ring of Invis would be an excellent investment for a high level witch - allowing for a bit more safety when getting close to melee for curing.
Anyone have some really good channeling feats/combos that they like for the cleric?
What I'm looking for is skill in buff/debuff and good healing capabilities. I was comparing the cleric to a Witch built with the Hedge Witch template, so I can channel spells into Cure spells (and packing the cure hexes and the Resurrection Grand Hex at 18th - and yes, I know that those aren't necessarily the best hexes to take). The patron used would be Endurance - to provide access to the Miracle spell (and via that, many other spells clerical, wizard, etc).
Between the more interesting and flexible spells of the Witch (some very useful Wizard spells), the addition of some fun hexing capabilities (split hex and accursed hex feats to help boost those), I can't help but think a Witch optimized for healing is going to be a lot more fun than a cleric. They can do almost everything a cleric can, and a lot a cleric can't. The cleric will obviously be better against undead, but how much better?
About the only thing I think I will miss from the Clerical spell list is the True Resurrection spell I can't access. Pretty much anything else is available (via Miracle in a pinch).
So, fellow Paizo pundits - I think I'm smitten with the witch class as a replacement for the cleric (and as a player, I've played the main cleric in the party for decades - so, I've always been a cleric fan).
Are there any really great 18 levels of cleric (no multiclassing dips, I'm thinking a PURE cleric build) out there? Cool feat combos that allow the cleric to really shine? What fun things are being done with clerics these days? Can anyone make an argument for me to make clerics look as good as the witch class?
I'm very much looking forward to WotC vomiting forth copious amounts of reprinted 4e material (which was regurgitated 3.5e material) for use in the new system. And hey, "modular" is a great buzzword for "lots and lots of expansions we can sell" (see GURPS for the fun of modularity - though I do enjoy a good GURPS session once and a while).
Glad my group boycotted 4e in favor of Paizo and have never looked back and never regretted that choice - we are happy running Pathfinder/3.75 - we know where our gaming dollars are going, and it ain't to WotC.
Paizo has been good for the hobby - keeping it open to 3rd parties, etc. Hasbro, well, not so much from what I can tell. I support the company that has been gamer and industry friendly and bid adieu to WotC years ago.
Sounds interesting. I love lots of political machinations and they can be a blast with a crew of players that you've been gaming with for a long time.
Given the hints, perhaps let Lucandro do what he plans, but as he "morphs" more and more into something less than human, perhaps Unrest points start to accrue - thus giving the Paladin the justification he needs. If the Paladin is on the right side of the equation (as you suggest he is), then, time for some changes!
Why I like "city" management (each player directs the growth of a city) - well, people unsettled by the current ruler can migrate to a city run by the Paladin. People not bothered by it can stay put. Because the "conflict" is relatively muted within the leadership of the nation, the party should still be able to justify adventuring together. Not unlike State/Local government vs Federal. Is City X leadership not to your liking, but you still value living in the country? Move to City Y, whose Lord is cut from a different cloth.
Then the group just has to share BP's month to month so that each city gets its fair share of growth.
My own KM campaign is also less and less "by the book" too - so, how much backstory ends up on a message board often dictates the discussions.
There was a lot of talk of just killing him off but eventually my guys ran him off by creating some new laws to prevent his activities - they effectively used the River Freedoms against him. With little option left to him - he had to quietly slink out of town. It was so well done I awarded bonus xp to the group.
But, poor old Grigori didn't last long. He got jumped by "bandits" and somehow later showed up in the Kingdom again, this time as a staunch supporter. His Simulacra should prove useful down the road...
I'll agree with PJ above also - the Bard has been acceptable to the population thus far. Until there is ACTUAL UNREST generated by the Bard's choice of becoming a Dragon Disciple (and the physical changes don't really start to add up until a few levels in), I don't think the Paladin has a leg to stand on, when it comes to justifying his position.
Now, as a suggested alternative - and one that my group may eventually go with: Each player will eventually "run" his own city. The group rules the Kingdom as a whole, adventures together, etc, but each player manages one of the cities as they see fit (they probably split up BP's in an equitable way for each city to use/develop and contribute collectively to the defense/armies). The Paladin could have his little LG community, and Bard the capital, etc... Even the other players get a community to "play with" too (eg/everyone wins).
That option would allow for theoretical confederation WITHOUT the detrimental side effect of having two smaller, less capable, Kingdoms that will face some challenges in the future modules and may be less able to do so.
I might also add that having someone morph into a Dragon Disciple is probably not as jarring to immigrants from Brevoy as you might think. After all, Choral the Conquerer and his draconic allies have a pivotal place in Brevic history, and ruled that country for 200 years.
I honestly think that a sorcerer dragon disciple is not as far fetched OR as unusual to the common folk as you indicate - with 200 years of House Rogarvia history in Brevoy as a backdrop.
Lucandro choosing to become a DD might play into that (for better or worse), especially if he goes with a Red Dragon for his bloodline, OR goes with a silver or gold choice instead to show how much better the new "heirs to Choral's legacy" can be. And how would the Paladin react to that then?
"The paladin feels very strongly that the population simply won't accept it and that forcing it upon them would cause too much damage."
Frankly, I would ask the Paladin to justify this. Is it based on some real facts he has at hand, or just his "feeling"? Has he (or anyone else in the party) tried using Divination, Augury and/or Commune spells to ascertain if the Paladin's 'feeling' is justifiable? What 'damage' does the Paladin feel will be done to the Kingdom?
Triggering a potential civil war (and the potential loss of life involved) just because the Paladin feels a certain way isn't exactly Paladin-like, IMO - it is very much *selfish*. He appears to be setting himself up to champion the people's cause - but I see nothing that confirms his cause is actually "just" or that "the people" want/need that championing.
A few divination queries SHOULD be the group's next step - and from there the DM can decide whether or not the Paladin's position is correct, or not. A responsible Paladin would have a host of facts/divinations at the ready to back up his position. Anything less would be rather less than lawful, I think, and put his Paladinhood in jeopardy. Triggering a civil war on what I see are flimsy pretexts is a sure "loss of Paladinhood" move in my books.
I think that one should tread carefully with the Simulacrum spell. If you created such a variant, you have to be mindful that the players (and the DM) pretty much start combing the Bestiary's for the best things to sim. The Law of Unintended Consequences could really burn you as a result.
I house ruled the spell to require a piece of the creature to be sim'd (a glaring oversight in Pathfinder, IMO). Otherwise, the abuse that results is unimaginably bad.
Simulacrum is messy as it is. Creating variants that might be open to further abuse won't make things better and have a big potential to make things worse. Even if you make it 8th or even 9th level for your particular variant suggested.
Frankly, I'd leave it be. If you try to argue the variant is equivalent to the original spell, what possible need for the variant spell is there? Other than abusing the full abilities you've added (which doesn't exactly make a persuasive case that the spell should be allowed).
Just a few thoughts.
Ok, I haven't gone through the entire thread extensively, so, apologies if any of these comments are repeats.
First - in these old modules/versions (Dnd 1.0 and 2.0), an ancient Red had 80-88 hp? Dragons got a huge power boost into 3.0/3.5 - which has continued into PF. So, the DM has blown it in adapting the module to the power level of the characters.
But, if you're stuck with it anyways, time to cheese things up. Assay Resistance to give you a better shot at overcoming SR. Then, I know there is a spell out there that drains DEX. Find it. Use it. Dragons have crappy dex - you drain it and they fall out of the sky. Then sit back from distance and bombard with magic arrows (Greater Magic Weapon cast by a cleric or a mage).
Another uber-cheese maneuver - it will cost you a character, but, given the losses to date, I'd go for it: Get/build a portable hole. Get/build a Hewards Handy Haversack. I don't have the rules in front of me, but sticking one in the other will trigger a nice rift that draws all creatures within "x" feet into another plane/dimension. I don't believe there is a save. Load up a couple characters with these bombs and get one, just one of em, up close and personal with the dragon (use energy protection spells). Then go for a trip and take the dragon with you.
If the DM brings the darn thing back from another plane/dimension - I then suggest you grab his module and burn it. Just so he knows what its like to get burned a bit himself.
Lots of good points I agree with here. Sims have been a messy part of my campaign for a long time, and I've adapted only a few rules for Pathfinder. My house rules and guidelines:
1) As per older versions, you need a piece of the creature. Otherwise, the abuse capability of the spell is unbelievable. I instituted that requirement immediately upon reading the spell in PF.
Just a few observations of my own for folks to mull over.