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Belzken Monk

Dreaming Psion's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 1,121 posts (1,294 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 34 aliases.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Could you change his target to something else? Like he's a drug pusher whom victimizes junkies instead of kids? He gives them a fix if they do him a favor.

He could also be a Chelexian slaver and have halfling slaves instead of children.

If those two hit too close to home, you could make Lamm some kind of infernal contractor with a crazy book of contracts that binds those whom sign to his will.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Indoctrinated Victim: Not everybody enters the world of piracy (or the navy) willingly. Some were once innocent souls forcefully kidnapped and taken aboard the ships to join the crew or merely act as a hostage. Living through the hell of abuse, the character later identified with the crew and became one of their own, or at least pretended to until better options were available. A character like this is likely to be a fish-out-of-water everyman, though their skills may end up being useful in unexpected ways.
Examples: Rokuro "Rock" Okajima (from Black Lagoon), Patricia Hearst (not a pirate, but an individual whom experienced a similar situation)

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71. Evil Osiriiani priests just want their mummies.
72. Mummies just want to be left alone.
73. Old Ones cultists are innocent by reason of insanity.
74. Sandmen just want to cure insomnia.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One interesting twist might be to have Irovetti be the bad guy, but not really in the way you might think. His ticktock technology was stolen from Numeria and seemed to get away with it. Yet perhaps they won another way. Although the Numerians could not kill him, perhaps they could subvert. One of Irovetti's stolen toys could have contained numerous nanites that could be triggered to infiltrate the body and mind of the thief and subvert him to command of Numeria's Black Sovereign (or some similar character.) Slowly, Irovetti's brain was altered to subtly serve the Sovereign's will (It may have also boosted his aptitude like the worms from Futurama boosted Fry's; this would explain Irovetti's sudden rise in levels.)

Of course, Numeria's goal may be to set up a proxy state from which to raid/exploit/dominate the river kingdoms. If the Numerians frequently monitor/monitored him, they may have discovered Nyrissa. If so, then perhaps Irovetti has turned on his former lover and the PCs are manipulated by Nyrissa into taking down an (admittedly highly cruel) wall in her way.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One idea might be to limit what can be duplicated in some ways that the polymorph subschool of spells is limited (as in, give a discrete list of abilities that can be provided).

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's supposed to be a "Dark Carnival" or some such in the upcoming Villain Codex. Perhaps something killer clownish will be in there?

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Officially Strange wrote:
In my area, there's a semi-orgainized play campaign going on. I am not in it due to inability to provide an adequate backstory, but I know what happens from one of my friends who is in it. Recently, the party was knocked/poisoned unconscious and left on an island without gear. Since any sort of rolling was bypassed, I couldn't believe that the GM would take away all the gear (effectively destroying several interesting builds)simply because plot. However, everybody I asked about is saying that I'm a bad player for asking the DM to be as bound by the rules as the players. What is so wrong about wanting to try out interesting mechanics, and having them not arbitrarily lost? Especially since the characters were without their main gear for around 20% of the campaign length? (It's five day long sessions, at levels, 4,8,12,16,20)

Nothing's wrong for your behavior/enjoyment for merely wanting to use interesting mechanics, etc. However, you may want to reevaluate your behavior if you seek to influence a game you're not playing in when all those who are playing are enjoying it.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The TV show Supernatural once depicted a Rakshasa as a creepy clown. With shapeshifting abilities and illusion magic, there's nothing saying you couldn't rip off that.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
claymade wrote:

Swarms, incorporeal creatures, and certain kinds of regeneration can all completely shut down an unprepared party, with little chance of a workaround.

Of course, depending on how the regeneration is canceled you can obtain counters at early levels if you're thinking ahead and are willing to shell out the gold. Swarms can be similar, depending on where you fall on the whole "splash weapons against swarms" debate.

Still, they can both technically still serve that sort of "gateway" function, even if its a gateway you can go through fairly early (so long as you're experienced enough to know how important it is to prepare for).

Depending upon the circumstances, suffocation (drowning, burial, choking, hanging, etc.) might work against regeneration, depending on terrain. Once the enemy is down, you can just keep on hitting it until you can find a way to make it suffocate.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
Pretty sure that murder, regardless of reasoning, is still evil. Also pretty sure that a goal such as "I will murder the world" is just as vile and evil when you're killing the tyrant s it is when you're killing the paragons of Good.

In addition, motivations can be layered. One might profession (even to the point of self-deception) a motive (let's say, extreme punishment of the guilty because they deserve it) to cover up a true motive (I enjoy punishing people.)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

64. Daemons just want a little closure.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marculus wrote:

My problem is with the level of Rules-Lawyers that exist in PFS. I simply don't have the time to memorize every new rule that comes out on a consistent basis, and Paizo loves to send out books each month (which I enjoy because it expands the game, yet frustrates me because I can't keep up). I know I could simply just not play PFS or not GM, but it really isn't an option. My son loves the Pathfinder game system and knows it well, and if I sign up just to play I often am asked to GM because I am a Three star PFS GM and they always have shortages at the conventions. Either way it defeats my purpose for attending; having fun with my son.

I don't play PFS, but I've heard there's a Core campaign that restricts characters to just the Core Rulebook. Is that something that that would be doable for you? Or play in a different organized play program that has a less rules intensive game structure?

If neither above will work for you, you have a bit of a dilemma. The duties that you feel put upon you (keeping up with all the rules such that you can manage rules arguments) conflicts with your desire for playing. I'm unfamiliar about how the GM/player dynamics work in PFS, so I'm don't know how much of the duty to keep up to date is actually needed in the organization. Is there anything preventing you from delegating players the duty to know specific parts of the rules material to help you make informed rulings?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

An (evil) pixie? There's close enough in power and appearance that you could use her given statistics for her, reskin and/or maybe switch out minor abilities (give her DR/cold iron instead of silver, fer instance), and change her sting to a poisoned needle or some such. If the players ask why she's different from other pixies, you might say she was altered by the Arcane Nazis using what ever blasphemous, crimes-against-nature sort of augmentation program that these sorts always have. Instead of trying to get back to hell, she might be trying to get back to the First World/Fey Wild/wherever fey come from in your game world.

If your Arcane Nazis have some sort of occultic ideology, perhaps they summoned Blosodriele from there? (Or perhaps she came as a result of a failed summoning of something else?)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmm, I wonder if they will alter the starting ages. If they don't, it's highly possible that some PCs would have memories only up to middle to late childhood.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

here's PAYBACK for all the for all the suffering you've caused, with INTEREST!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zhangar wrote:

@ Patrick C. -- in the Pathfinder universe, the Old Gods, the Great Old Ones and their servitors serve on the Prime Material Plane the same role that the qlippoths and whatnot serve on their outer planes.

They are the ancient evils that have plagued the universe for a very long time.

However, much like Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, the Pathfinder universe also contains entities that can stand up to them.

(Seriously, Elric could fight Cthulhu and possibly even perma-kill Cthulhu with Stormbringer. The Eternal Champion and his many incarnations are probably a good baseline for what a tier 10 mythic character can do.)

The Old Gods are still a very real threat, though.

The demons and devils want to subjugate reality.

The daemons want to end reality.

The Old Ones want to rewrite reality.

Unfortunately, much of the time in practice the difference is more "academic" than practical, as with all of those examples they are effectively Bug Eyed Monsters (B.E.M) with different trappings. (BEMs being generically malicious/hostile towards humanity and therefore things to be put down/ran away from as the genre dictates.) Different motivations are nice, but they don't tend to translate into differenes in behavior. Cultists are still faceless mooks who try to break all the seals and unleash supposedly unfathomable evils whether they serve a fiend or an eldritch abomination. When a horrible creature is tearing you apart and tearing out your soul, it doesn't matter that much whether they want to utilize it, destroy it, rewrite it, or simply swallow it. The weapons and tactics you might use against these different types of foes might vary slightly, but the specifics rarely vary significantly.

Suffice it to say, I'll be interested in seeing if this AP will make the alien truly alien or if the enemy effective transforms into another evil outsider race where their actions are generic evil but under a different name.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
rkotitan wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:
rkotitan wrote:

After reading that the amnesia is just five years or so the idea I have forming is for big strapping brawler who before the amnesia was a happy tavern owner with a wife and two kids.

Dealing with the anguish of waking up somewhere and not knowing what happened to his family would make for interesting character moments I think.

How would you justify not immediately trying to get home rather than following the rest of the AP? Why did a happy tavern owner with a family take a typical adventuring job in the first place?

I would likely leave it up to my DM to decide what kept him on the path rather than going home.

If I were DMing for that character unfortunately it's unlikely that his family or business would have survived. I would also probably make the villains of the path (or his/her minions) responsible.

An alternate take might be some factor that makes it such that the character can't go back. Something quite dreadful, where if the character went back, it would endanger his family, friends, patrons or whatever. There is a theme of alienation in a lot of these things, where once you've discovered what exists beyond the veil of rationality, you can't just go back and associate with those who haven't seen what you've seen. A more mundane alternative might be that the business has come under new ownership, the significant other might have remarried or otherwise moved on, etc. such that coming back may do more harm than good. If the characters are known to be locked up, the characters might be viewed as dangerous lunatics if they escape. OTOH, if they are assumed to be dead, it may reopen old wounds and cause legal or other questions (such as with remarriage) that are better left untouched.

Of course, the situation need not be hopeless forever. Perhaps some part of the AP could be addressing some kind of quest that needs solving before the characters can truly return home. A sort of "Earn Your Happy Ending" sort of thing.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Well, that didn't go well. Skype and Discord pitched fits and refused to cooperate. We spent 1.5 hours trying to get it to work, then gave up.

Second session: Even scarier than the first.

Did you have better luck this week? (I hope)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

-Polymorphing/wildshaping shenanigans
-psionics (provided you don't use Dreamscarred Press' stuff in PF)
-deathless/nonevil aligned undead
-losing level upon death/XP determined by level

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mummy's Mask: Ancient Aliens.

The soul fragments are pieces of a derelict iron god (alternatively: Black Pharaoh-esque eldritch abomination) trying to build itself back together. Ruby Prince Khemet III is the CEO of a vast corporate pyramid scheme of harvesting ancient technology while making it look totally fake by hiring mad-scientist-haired conspiracy theorist nutjobs to rant about it.

1) In Wati, the half-machine city, the Bureau of Technology Sanctification holds a lottery allowing junkfinders to delve the time capsules of the city’s vast storage facility in search of the nation’s lost glories. In the course of investigating dusty tombs and fighting their ancient guardians and devious traps, the heroes encounter a rival salvaging group intent on keeping one pod’s treasures for themselves. At the same time, the heroes learn that a potent artifact, potentially capable of animating the dead, has been stolen from the time capsule. Can the junkfinders defeat their rivals, or will they join the cyborg defenders of the city’s storage facility?

2) Following the opening of its storage facility, the protected enclave of Wati is overrun by hordes of the unquiet preserved organ donor bodies. The heroes must once more brave the abandoned streets and dusty time capsules of Wati’s necropolis in search of the powerful app called the Mask of the Forgotten Numbers and the technomancer who is using it to create the cyborg uprising. But a group of mysterious masked cultists also seeks the app to bring a digital consciousness from the ancient past back to life. Can the heroes defeat the evil technomancer and return the preserved bodies to their stasis captures, or will the half-machine city of Wati truly become a city of the machine?

3)To learn more about the ancient Function Hakotep 3.0 and the secretive cult that wants to revive it, the troubleshooters travel to the protected enclave of Tephu to explore its vast digital archives, but they must first contend with those who want such knowledge to remain forgotten. With the clues they gain there, the heroes venture deep into Osirion Persei XIII’s uncharted deserts in search of the tomb of the architect who built Hakotep’s Space Pyramid, facing dangerous denizens of the desert as well as the cult of the Forgotten numbers, who will stop at nothing to ensure their god-computer remains undisturbed.

(In this one, the must somehow amuse the Vice Executive Chair of Marketing Her Most Jaded Muminofrah, or else find another way around the Auditor of Reality and Minister of Propaganda, Deka An-Keret.)

4) Deep in the wasteland desert stands the blank-faced monument known as the Sightless Coeurl. In search of the stolen memory recording of Chisisek, the engineer of the flying space vessel of the Sky Function Hakotep 3.0, the heroes track the cult of the Forgotten Numbers to its secret headquarters inside the coeurl. There they must face mutant mercenaries and servants of the nanobot collective Areshkagal before finally confronting the masked cultists and their leader, the Forgotten Number 1.0, who has been possessed by a fragment of Hakotep’s digital consciousness.

5. The Sky Function Hakotep 2.0 has risen and launched an attack against the protected enclave of Wati! The troubleshooters return to Wati to defend it against this menace, only to discover that the attack is just the preface to a larger invasion of Osirion Persei VIII, controlled from Hakotep’s own flying space vessel. Journeying to the Drone Trenches of Hakotep, the troubleshooterss must learn how to activate an ancient tractor beam to pull Hakotep’s space vessel back to earth. Will the heroes bring down the flying space pyramid of the Sky Function, or will their bones join the thousands of skeletons that lie crumbling within the Drone Trenches of Hakotep?

6) Hakotep’s flying pyramid has been grounded, but the heroes must enter the ancient tomb to deactivate the fleet of smaller flying pyramids poised to attack Osirion. Deep inside the Space Pyramid of the Sky Function, an untouched from the heights of Ancient Osirion Persei 1, the heroes face undying guardians woken from ageless sleep, climaxing in a final battle with the reborn Sky Pharaoh Hakotep itself. Will the heroes defeat Hakotep and reunite the pieces of his sundered digital consciousness to send it into the Blue Screen of Death, or will Osirion Persei XIII enter a new reboot under the rule of a ghost in the machine from the distant past?

Reign of Whointer- The Hut is the TARDIS, the PCs are the companions of the missing timelord, Elvanna is a different incarnation, and you know Who Baba Yaga is.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First thing that comes to mind is Reign of Winter, since they basically have you on that anyway. Hopping from place to place also allows for you to create a lot of collateral damage without too much worry.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Simeon wrote:

Brigh is more just the process of invention and of contructs. Her followers are ainly the ones who loveinvention.

Everyone loves Friend Briggs because Friend Briggs loves all. Please report to your local re-training center.


Kurgess is more or less about the love of sportsmanship and healthy competition,

Aka the god of bromance?

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

We're playing again this Friday. I really like the "pelts" idea, but I also like the idea that he's actually a worshiper of an evil (or neutral) trickster, cursing those of his followers he declares "worthy" by turning them into wolves with maddened human heads. He might then set them loose, or might keep them in his room, chained up, just in case the mephit betrays him.

Otherwise, Rohkar is already a pretty damn creepy guy. Ten-Penny Tacey will become a caliban, possibly afflicted with Corruption (Taint rules) but otherwise the same potential ally.

I am strongly considering making Argentea deliberately afflicted with lycanthropy somehow. The problem is it won't have much payoff.

Any ideas on how to make the mephit a bit "spookier"?


Assuming your speaking about Izoze, she seems vaguely haglike in nature, so you might consider using any technique you might use to make a (miniature) hag creepy. She could be wearing a necklace of frozen children's fingers or cutesy animal critters with looks of horror frozen on their faces. You could also have her taunt the characters with descriptions of all the terrible things she's done to her victims of in the past (could be lies if you want to keep the TN alignment). Think about all the petty but nonetheless horribly cruel things a creature made of ice might do to its victims.

Her picture also has an oddly bat-like quality to her wings. You could describe it as carrying numerous twisting, winding, and hypnotic veins across it, yet at the same time it shows an almost reflective sheen. She might unnerve them a little bit by relying on the sight of their reflections in her wings as actually seeing them in order to make her attacks. And her wings might also eerily reflect the player characters like fun house mirrors.

I also wouldn't forget to consider the terrain. Describe the bridge as precarious and the water so cold and frigid it chills the PCs bones just looking at it from below. You could also have some kind of (ultimately harmless) shapes floating around in the water to distract them from looking for the mephit. If you wanted to be mean, you could rule the appearance of the mephit startles somebody on the bridge enough to call for a fear check. If the check fails and results in a panicked condition or some such, then the character would probably need to make a Reflex save not to fall in the water.

Heck, if you wanted to play nasty (perhaps as a last ditch effort?), she could zip over to the far side just as the party was crossing the middle and cut the ropes on the far end with her claws.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, okay, here's what happened. They'd been the one to build the gnome player's PC. And they'd missed that a goliath druid could still substitute domains, as well as that megafauna were an option.

So that's how an allosaurus made it into my serious gothic horror Ravenloft campaign. Since the timing matched...

The good thing is that a lot of the communities in Reign of Winter are fairly monstrous or at least wild and woolly. So perhaps an allosaurus might not be too out of place when you have aliens, witches, and frost giants (or at least, not as much it might be in Ravenloft's normal conservative-on-the-fantastic, pseudomedieval setting. The big thing would be keeping the beast fed and warm. Luckily, spells such as Endure Elements should also prove useful.

Conceptually, you could reskin the dino as a primitive ancestor of a white dragon, frost salamander, or some such, before those reptiles became supernatural. Alternatively, it could be a specimen the druid found in the ice and released. It could even be a malformed specimen of the dragons on Triaxian the fled through one of Elvanna's portals. (Of course, the gnome doesn't strictly have to know any of this...)


I am GMing for a bunch of paranoid freaks.

I can use this.

This seems like a very adaptive reaction on your part. You're rolling with what the players give you instead of letting unexpected twists and turns disrupt you from running the game. It sounds like you're walking a balance between allowing player actions to matter the same time keeping things running smoothly.


Anyways, I know this wasn't exactly a top-tier campaign journal—it's late and I'm tired—but I think things went quite well despite the chaos. They should have a witch next session, as well as, hopefully, the Morninglord inquisitor who would have been able to heal. Next up: The Icy Crossing.

Perhaps it went well because of the chaos (and the freedom you gave them on how to respond to the situations)?

Whereas setting the scene and planning is important, there's also something to be said about spontaneous developments that emerge naturally from play. Perhaps because they arise "naturally" and thus seem more plausible.


In the morning, they set out again and encountered the sprites. They recognized the raven effigies from the dream and were very spooked. The sprites went down easy—that handaxe ripped them to pieces. But I had Mist—capital M—building up in the corner of the map. See, the Mists are sort of "malfunctioning" because of the nearby portal, and all sorts of monsters are popping out. In this case, it was a butcher spirit (a creepy awesome little incorporeal monster from Creature Catalogue). They took one look at the thing, turned, and ran.

Grand Conjunction Spoiler:

As an aside, this sounds very much like the Grand Conjunction (or a lesser version of it that only happens in the Demiplane). In the final GC module (Roots of Evil, IIRC), the author intentionally defied the "no random encounters in Ravenloft" as a way to show how the dimensional fabric was unraveling. Perhaps this might be used to some similar effect here?

On another note, if you can somehow fit it into the AP, the 3.5 Paizo module Carnival of Tears seems like it would be an excellent thing to fit into the AP as a sidequest.

I'm planning to connect Rohkar to the Wolf God—maybe he's a secret lycanthrope, or perhaps the "sickness" some of the bandits have is actually him using his Wolf God-granted powers to afflict them with a slow-acting lycanthropy. Maybe he's promising to bless the others with his gift. Maybe he's only pretending to be a lycanthrope to get their loyalty.

Perhaps he is from a sect of the church that actually venerate the loup du noir. This is the kind of werewolf that Gregor Zolnik from Vorostokov and his cronies are. They "willingly" change form by donning pelts. However, I think it's a maledictive curse because the urge to don the pelt is quite addicting. And Zolnik can induce the urge by biting people and then leaving wolf pelts with them. Perhaps Rohkar is doing something similar here, save that he has provided the pelts to the unknowing barbarians and they are going through a "slow burn" transformation as opposed to the more immediate bite-induced lycanthropy?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are is one* for-sure dragon in the Ravenloft canon, which is a shadow dragon named Ebb that formerly worked for Azalin. So shadow dragons or umbral dragons (which seems to be their PF equivalent, see Bestiary II) seem to work ok with mainline Ravenloft. OTOH, you might look at outer dragons (Bestiary IV). If you wanted to add a level of personal corruption to them, then corrupted (tarnished) metallic dragons might be a way to go. A noble in theory goal but twisted and mangled all out of proportion always for me seems like a way to be both alien (in the sense that it would seemingly undo its goal) and corrupt at the same time. You have a

silver dragonkin antagonist
in the module, so there's no reason why you couldn't have corrupted good dragons. Perhaps they might have some scheme akin to some of the darker takes on Hermea?

*two plus eggs to be hatched, if you include the Dread Possibility that Ebb had found a mate.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How much does the government, public, etc. know about the PC's involvement? And why did he instigate the rioters whom presumably want the golem killed?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If they have complained about undead even in the modules where there weren't any, then you have something of a challenge. It sounds like you'll have to intersperse other encounters in as part of the giant force to prevent thematic oversaturation in the first place.

Thankfully, there are a number of creatures that go well with giants. Hags naturally meld with them well, and their magical abilities can offset some of the restrictions giants give. And of course the giants can have pets.

The Graul homestead is a good example- riding dogs, a giant spider, the dire rats, and the plant in the basement.
At lower levels, you can start with giant vermin and assorted animals and then step up with various more magical minion equivalents like winter wolves, salamanders, ankhegs, trollhounds, hell hounds (including Nessian Hellhounds), purple worms, remorhaz, etc. If you have the extra time to go through some of the later bestiaries, you could go through and pick out a few more obscure servant type monsters.

And because of Karzoug's involvement, you can easily throw in creatures created or conjured by him. Evil outsiders could be inserted in place of some of the giant encounters, perhaps as early warnings to hint that there might be more going on than meets the eye. Constructs also fill roughly the same analogous role. (We know that

Karzoug magically animated his statue at the end of one module
so there could be more constructs. (Golems obviously, but you might also get a lot of mileage out of animated objects since they're fairly customizable). Perhaps the constructs could be animated by giant life force bound into the constructs' bodies with runes?

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I'm going to break down my suggestions by topic just for sanity's sake.

Looking over the material available for Iobaria, it seems like it has a long history marked chiefly by empires falling to plagues and invasions. As of shortly after 4606 AR, the latest foray to build an empire there collapsed due to an influx of fleeing Sarkorians and Mendevians from the Worldwound. The influx of refugees was too much for the Iobarians to handle, and, with some more plagues, the nation collapsed. This could be a good "seminal event" if you wanted Iobaria to have recently formed as a domain.

Iobaria's wild and woolly nature makes it a good match for the Frozen Reaches Cluster. The history of plagues (the first of which were man made) makes it

possible minor Ravenloft spoilers:
especially a good match for Sanguinia. The darklord,Prince Ladislav Mircea, is a deformed Vrykolaka Vampire whose motif is diseases. I understand the domain is loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe "Masque of the Red Death", presumably with Mircea based on some distortion of Prospero.

The walled fortress surrounded by anarchy motif of

makes me think of a potential darklord/domain theme of anti-foreigner/xenophobia (regarding them as the true plagues.) Specifically, a darklord of Iobaria/
might have initially designed the plagues to rid his country of foreigners and refugees, but it may have backfired and caused the collapse of his own country as truly horrible forces swooped in to fill the vacuums of power. He safely secured his city behind his walls, but that didn't stop him from meeting his demise. Somebody like Tzakiv Korya might work well as a potential DL.

The thing to do with the "Mother Maiden, Crone" module is to add some disease motifs.

Mother Maiden Crone spoiler:
The centaurs
could be afflicted with it, and curing them could win some points. Many of the creatures encountered in the module could conceivably cause some disease. The various
Mother Maiden Crone spoilers:
half-fiends could represent metaphorical "contamination" of unwanted forces.
The various guardians encountered through the areas could treat the PCs as unclean almost to a paranoid level.

This place is interesting because of the (relatively, in a geological sense) rapid changes in climate and evolution to go along with the centuries long rotation around the sun.. The winterborn Triaxians know the summerborn as almost figures of myth and legend- this reverence could be played up along with the seemingly approaching "changing of the Season" This give you a bit of history motifs to play with and differentiate the Triaxians from normal human communities.

Of course, just because the planet is "alien" doesn't mean its origins have to be. The environmental conditions, the dearth of familiar humanoid races, and the heavy presence of dragons that seemingly came out of nowhere makes me think the world might almost have an artificial origin, in that it is the way a world might be if human(oild) king were allowed to muck about with the environment as they wished. Almost a little bit like a frozen world equivalent of Dark Sun. Perhaps the planet was originally populated by familiar humanoid races, but then they changed their biological structures or were rendered extinct. (As with the Cleansing Wars of Athas.)

Perhaps the reason dragons seemed to come out of nowhere is because they were artificially created, or even once humans who sought to raise them about other humanoids. Meanwhile, the Triaxians are the mixed-blood survivors of the races/peoples that were not slaughtered.

In the Frozen Stars module, you could have several lairs of mystery to discover. They might discover Triaxus is the survivor of a post-apocalyptic world, and then think the Triaxians are the descendants of humans (prhaps as githzerai are the descendants of humans enslaved by mind flayers in D&D). However, it is only later that they learn that the dragons/dragonkin are the true descendants of the humans.

The Vistani:
The Vistani could be turned into a traveling carnival(s) of circus folk and misfits from various places brought together by common survival (ala Carnival). The potion brewers could become snake oil salesman types, acrobats and performers are pretty much built in, fortune tellers might need only a few changes, etc. They could be mysterious by the fact that they don't trust "Georges" and have (usually in Ravenloft) have good reason not to. Their powers might originate from unusual patrons that protect and lead them...

An Golarion flavored alternative: Have the Vistani be a subgroup of displaced Sarkorian god-callers, who are somehow able to summon and commune with the various spirits of the Demiplane.

Possible Ravenloft Spoiler:
Madame Eva, for example, already has a raven companion that is an embodiment of the Dark Powers themselves.

Online Sources: (Iobaria Timeline)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
McBaine wrote:

Thanks for your answers.

Yeah, I have have experienced Rise of the Runelords as a player and now I prepare it as a DM for another group.

I know that it is not always giants, but they are very common. Ogres are close enough to giants. A ranger with favorite foe (giant) will get his bonuses against ogres because an ogre has the type humanoid (giant), so technically, yes they are kind of the same thing.

I understand that this is an Adventure Path has a theme, but my players seem not to happy with it. They complained about always fighting undead in Carrion Crown even when there are many different types of undead and one of the books has not even one undead creature in it, but still the complaint was there.

I see what I can do and maybe add in some more Leng stuff and look into the things Pnakotus Detsujin suggested (the attack/siege at the end seems a really cool idea and shake up).

Which parts of repeated enemies do they dislike? (For example: Thematic/motif repetition, mechanics, or strategy)?

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Is there any way for the Mesmerist to indirectly deal with the BBEG through charming/dominating their minions and thing bringing them along on the fight against the BBEGs?

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CannibalKitten wrote:
Dreaming Psion wrote:
Nothing to do with beheading or the set-up you have here, but the Apparatus would seem like an interesting plot device to separate Demogorgon.
I've not heard of that, is it and artifact or something?

Yeah, it's a big honkin' machine originally from the 1e module, I:10, the House on Gryphon Hill. As such, it's associated with Ravenloft, though it can from time to time be found outside of there. Basically it's a big honkin' machine that is similar in appearance to the mind transfer machines you see mad scientists use all the time. It can switch souls between bodies, but it can also split a soul into two halves using one of the Rods of Rastinon (and rejoin them). The only transformation so far has been into good and evil halves, but others are supposedly possible. Who knows what effect it might have on a creature devoid of good like Demogorgon?

Details on the Apparatus can be found in the non-Ravenloft 2e Book of Artifacts (p. 13-15) and several Ravenloft sources. I'd have to poke around for 3e sources

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It seems like you have some questions that need answering. First, what is at stake here? Is the player negatively impacting the experience of the other players? Is the problem going to involve future campaigns (as in, is he staying around?) How attached is everybody to him?

Second, how much is the campaign worth continuing to you. Is it it worth going all the way through to the last battle in the next and final volume for it? Would cutting out some of the said volume be feasible?

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(This is from a non-PFS perspective) For me, everything's a continuum. "Roleplaying" need not be improv acting, though I like to ask what you're trying to convince people of when using Bluff/Diplomacy/Etc. or in what vague manner you might approach a problem that differs from the routine. Usually my players give me more than that without my asking, but we've gamed together for a long time and have built up a rapport of understanding. Encouragement is employed by far over punishment.

As for level of appropriate optimization, I think there's probably a range I and my group would be comfortable with. Pushing the optimization levels up high or making optimization your main focus would probably put you out of our comfort range. If you didn't fit with our group, that's probably more a goodness of fit issue rather than an indictment of how you play overall. If you ended up not being a good match, I'd still try my best to point you to resources to help you find other players/groups.

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Nothing to do with beheading or the set-up you have here, but the Apparatus would seem like an interesting plot device to separate Demogorgon.

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Continual light cast on various things? A hooded lantern for example might make for a (somewhat large and bulky) flashlight. Plus the ioun stone torch.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

-The baby is the illegitimate child of the king/highpriest/whatever, and the BBEG wants ransom/extortion material.

-the baby is said to be the next whatever-is-equivalent to the Antichrist in your setting.

-a hag has returned to retrieve her changeling child.

-the baby is actually the BBEG's child in the first place but was stolen by the parties currently claiming to be the parents.

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Looking into Polynesian sailors might be a good way to break out of the typical cultural assumptions. They were supposed to be really good navigators.

Other ideas:
The obsessed hunter: A grim, obsessed hunter of sea-born monsters, scarred and maimed from previous fights with the beast. Puts it all on the line for the kill. Wields a harpoon or other really big honkin' weapon.
Example: Captain Ahab

The Patriot Privateer: Sharp-dressed and prim and proper (as far as pirates go), the Patriotic Privateer attacks enemies of the Crown for gods and country.

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If you're on a demiplane owned by a trickster deity, you might think about how that relates to clerics receiving their spells. If the trickster deity interferes, then other divine spellcasting classes or other characters with healing abilities, such as oracles. Alchemists and bards seem to lend themselves to urban campaigns too.

If "allying with powerful entities" includes obscure, largely immaterial spirits you must bind yourself to (akin to the 3.5 Tome of Magic vestiges), then you might look at Radiance House's Pact Magic Unbound stuff (which is quite similar.) The books aren't specific on how much/which spirits a pact-magic user knows about, so discovery and mystery could very much be a thin if you wanted it to be.

The biggest thing I think you'll run into is what to do with "wild" characters like the barbarian, druid, and ranger. The barbarian and the ranger are fairly easy to refluff for urban settings The former being madmen, thuggish gang members, REALLY spoiled aristocrats, etc. and the former being bounty hunters, sewer explorers, etc. Druids are a little bit more challenging. Here's some archetypes that might be appropriate for an urban game:
Advanced Players Guide:
Druid archetypes: Urban Druid, (Possibly) Blight druid
Ranger archetypes: Skirmisher, Urban Ranger
Ultimate Combat:
Barbarian Archetypes: Armored Hulk, Urban Barbarian
Ultimate Magic:
Druid archetype: Menhir savant (provided the demiplane has leylines), Reincarnated druid (especially if souls can't leave your demiplane)

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What about the quality of his relationships? Shayliss, if he is knowingly enabling her jealousy, then that might be a sin of Sloth (because he is just letting her get away with it, not to mention hypocrisy- it would not be an act of love to help someone darken their heart) if not lust. Similarly, if he willfully acts in an irresponsible way thinking
his faith renders him immune to the sin of lust, then that might be a sin of pride. However, if his plans in taking care of his employees are indicative of how he is treating his intimate relations, then he may not be guilty of any of these sins.

I think what will differentiate sin from free love is the absence of love- when it involves a betrayal., viewing somebody as an object, or activity without considering the consequences.

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1026. Punching treants does not bring good luck.

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Well, going by least likely locations, on Golarion

1)Time travel back to ancient Thassilon, Azlant/time travel- I highly doubt they'd ever do this because it has way too much potential of changing stuff in the current timeline, unless the adventure path was really railroaded into preserving the status quo. That and they've always been slow to play their hand about ancient cultures.

2) Jinin- The Inner Seas will always dominate over other continents. And Golarion has always been centered on humans. A nation with samurai elves already has two strikes against it. The third is that if they were going to do elves (again) it would most likely be in the Inner Seas.

3) Crown of the World (other than a pass by) If you go North, there are other more fan favorites.

4) Hermea- this is one of the most controversial, remote, and tightly wound societies there is. I rarely here people championing for Hermea like I do some of the other strongly "themed" places.

5) Druma- merchants and bureaucracies don't lend themselves to widely loved AP themes. There's potential in investigating possible shenanigans behind it, but it's doubtful that it by itself could carry a full AP (unless it turns out to be an aboleth conspiracy, in which case you'd probably be heading elsewhere quick.)

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3.X had the bhut (not the Pathfinder bhuta)

Hellwasps can possess corpses. If you wanted undead, you could throw an undead template of some kind that.

As for ghosts, in Classic Horrors Revisited, there is also the Ghost special ability Reinvigoration, which allows the possession of corpses.

The Haunt from the Tome of Horrors (not the Paizo Pathfinder Haunt, this one: ) can possess people at zero dexterity (it inflicts dex damage with its touch)

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A few things:
first of all, I would advise anything really dramatic and sudden like the instant formation of lynch mobs. I would also avoid antagonism that would be implausible for the people in question. Remember that even if the monsters WERE evil, they're carrying heavy weaponry and are also encountered with possibly equally as powerful and heavily armed potential professional killers. I would imagine most people would want to AVOID rather than cause trouble with these new strangers. Snide comments and jacking up prices are probably also right out- as that could inspire violence from these unknown walking WMDs. Remember, this is a society where politeness is reinforced by violence- insulting a person(ish)'s honor can get an early ticket to the grave, especially for a peasant.

Instead, I would suggest any hostile/unfriendly reactions would come in the form of (subtle) avoidance and misdirection. People might move to the other side of the street, granting them a wide berth- the streets might empty. Or perhaps coming up with excuses on why the accommodations wouldn't fit them- they might say that the rooms will surely not be up to the standards of a great dragon, for example. Questions from the PCs will be met with somewhat inaccurate or speculative answers that might vaguely give what the monstrous newcomers might want- but mostly just to nudge the characters on their way.

The most overt reactions I think you'd get would come from panicky peasants whom would call for help and run away. Hostile confrontations would mostly only occur when the PCs encounter Farmer Joe on his own property. And the main reason for Pig Farmer Joe to call for his pitchfork and his sons to back him up is mostly for deterrence- a demonstration of force to show the newcomers that there are probably more lucrative targets relative to the chore it might take the PCs to wipe the family defenders out. I doubt that Pig Farmer Joe would truly have the idea in his head that his family could wipe out a unit of seasoned man-killers with unknown supernatural allegiances. But if he can provide enough resistance to signal that massacring the lot of them would be more of a chore than his pigs would be worth, that might just be enough to save his family's lives.

Of course, if something horrible happens in the community, then things might change. As (monstrous) newcomers, they may take the blame. With official reason to organize, then this is where you'll be getting the torch wielding unruly mob. (Especially if you have "monster hunters" that can stoke the flames of villager wrath.) Otherwise, I think the most hostile things the peasantry might do is to silently watch and tell any well-loved monster/witch hunters that come along about these new freaks that came to town.

Of course, not all the reactions need be fear. There may be some awe- especially for the angel-blooded summoner. That could attract a fair amount of awe. Not that this will be entirely positive either- the summoner- especially one that's a diplomancer, may be deluged with requests for help, even for relatively petty things like removing Ma Posey's warts. Particularly superstitious locals may assume a cult of personality around the angel or misidentify the character as some sort of divine representative of the local religion. Besides the confusion and chaos such inaccurate assumptions might give, the attention your angel would receive could tip off the monsters that inhabit the so-called "civilized" communities. For example, I imagine the vampires that rule Caliphas would have some interesting things to say to (or do to) the angel summoner...

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Deviantart also has a tool that lets you find pictures that are similar to any one in question- choose "Browse More Like This" on the right side of the screen.

Here are the ones that come up for the nightmre ettercap

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I could find the following images with nightmare creature:

Banderak, from Crucible of Chaos (nightmare creature human sorcerer) ision/latest?cb=20080608152146

Kasatha are somewhat similar in appearance atha.jpg

The animate dream from bestiary II might also qualify as having a resemblance. Denizen of leng may also qualify.

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Tacticslion wrote:

The Hellknights function as independent organizations ("Orders") each of which follow the same basic code, but are not part of a single over-arching organization.

I understand this, but I've not seen any chapter that have a good take on the neutral code. Could you give me a source example on this?

Because otherwise, "results matter" will put in a mix of good, evil, and neutral into any sect without a definitively evil mission. And therefore, a paladin will come into contact with individual evil or darkly neutral comrades that they will have to compensate for and find ways within the system to go around. Hence the distraction.


The bolded part is fundamentally errant - not in its understanding of Hell, but in its understanding of the Hellknights.

This is exactly why there are so many problems that crop up.

People - in a meta sense - have bought into the aesthetic rather than accepting that the over-arching structure is, by nature, a lawful neutral structure.

It is not lawful evil.

"Nothing good can come from Hell." is a fine concept and all, but taking the not-evil parts and stripping out all the evil bits is an incredibly important function that the Hellknights followed when creating the Measure and Chain that many people seem to ignore because, you know, they're fooled by the aesthetic.

Actually, I am not making that general argument. I know the difference between "based on" and "the same". I'm making a very specific argument about what is at the core of infernal legal tenets If they were just buying the aesthetic (as in, appearance and perhaps battle tactics) I would say no problem.

However, they study the legal tenets of hell. And there's not much left of infernal law when you strip away its abuses. It is a system fundamentally based on exploitation of the law. The enforcement of the law only matters as long as it benefits those in power. The talk of the organization of hell's armies being superior to all others I find nonsensical, in that it's true only because the source material says it's true.

If somebody can provide me with good reasoning as to why hell's armies are worth imitating, what is worthy in infernal law of keeping once the exploitation factor is taken out, why law corrupted by evil is better at doing law than law itself, and how principles of hell can effectively be translated into human realms, then I will relinquish my position that paladin hellknights lend themselves more towards being misled (as turning into the pawns of evil, not necessarily turning evil themselves) than to fulfilling their goals.


However, again, let me point back to something oft ignored: there is a "greater evil" in Cheliax, called "the death of everyone and everything via Civil War" and those who are part of the Hellknights definitively remember this thing and have it as a constant, looming specter over everything they do.

This justification is tricky because the the regime in question lends itself to revolution or civil war (as human regimes based primarily on fear and tyranny tend to be.) As best, you're putting the status quo on life support in the hope the regime can change through legal means. It is a valid character option, make no mistake, but it's a very precarious one. (Which is my main point, being a paladin in the Hellknights is one that complicates being a paladin because it gives you another figurative master to please.

My point is that a paladin can't be involved in hellknights or that the hellknights are inherently lawful evil, rather, their methods and allegiances are flawed. And the conflicts that trickle down to a hellknight paladin will very likely cause conflict with a paladin's other paladin-type goals. So I'm saying, if you're a paladin and want to be a hellknight, by all means, go ahead. However, do so knowing the potential consequences and do so at your own (increased) risk.

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EldonG wrote:
Argh - so many great ideas - trying to just iron it out has gotten a bit problematic. Hmmmm.

My suggestion might be to go with a theme that best suits this situation, and then save some of the other ideas for adventures further on down the line. If you would like, you can always throw in hooks to further adventures for said other ideas that don't get used for this adventure. You could do this via various items signaling the presence of these other beings (such as letters of correspondence). Or perhaps a one-off encounter within the adventure that signals that your main foe for this complex has allies elsewhere. (The token serpentfolk or derro, for example, could be allies or trade diplomats from other monstrous organizations or settlements the hags are allied with, for example.)

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Tacticslion wrote:

Oh yeah! And how's this for irony: any claim and attempt to force all to accept the concept that hellknights do, in fact, serve hell and Thrune is basically doing Thrune's own attempted propaganda and historical revision work for them.

By actively slandering said organization for aesthetic reasons (as opposed to individual Orders for moral reasons) one is actively purpatrating a lie and (intentionally or not) assisting the very infernal forces they reject the hellknights over!

(Of course this is a very metafictional argument, but because many people of good alignment will also be pearl-clutching aesthetically-focused individuals as well, this also applies in-world. Meta!)

My biggest thing is that, going beyond things that true because official says it's true, that basing your organizational principles on infernal law and legal traditions (might makes right, laws are written with the intent to allow their drafters to exploit them, basis on fear and lies, etc.) is extremely foolish. The only advantage you might have is an increased ability to scare offenders into kowtowing to your demands. But that's probably more about adopting the aesthic imagery of hell rather than basing the foundation of your philosophy on hellish law.

The overriding philosophy of "only concerned with results" (as in, "the ends justify the means") is one that is usually at odds with the paladin code. So while a paladin could theoretically join their order, he'd almost most certainly be playing a game of keeping her fellows from pursuing evil to achieve order (and thus, dragging herself with them), thereby drawing attention from fighting the war against chaos. (And then you're undermining your whole philosophy of "results matter"). If we go with "everything is permitted in the name of the greater good" (or order, as the case may be), we should not be surprised that the abuses of power like in the Turn of the Torrent occur.

So yes, while a paladin MIGHT technically be able to join the Hellknights, I have trouble with it being plausible in a few notable circumstances.
a) the paladin is a delusional or at least extremely naive fool
b) the paladin hopes to clean up the corruption inside of the Hellknight organization from within the organization itself.
c)the character is a native Chelexian and wants to fight evil in an official capacity while remaining in a nation with an evil power structure.
d) the paladin has some buddies he really likes in the organiztion, and he wants to work with them.

All of the above has a lot of potential for leading the paladin astray over time.

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If you're considering broadening it to include goblinkind and ogres, I would recommend going with hags as your devious masters, since they have a natural leadership role of goblinoids, ogres, trolls, and the like. If you wanted a male equivalent to them, you could style templated satyrs (base CR 4) as an "Old Scratch" type of primal evil you might see in a witch's Black Mass.

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For the description you give, I would recommend derro. They have the alien abduction/horrible experimentation theme going for them (except they're not aliens, and they come from the underground). Mongrelmen would be a good fit for the derro because of the derro's fondness for fleshwarping and multilation However, derro are just humanoids, not monstrous humanoids as per the type. So I'll try to think of some alternatives.

Given the description you're giving, I'd almost suggest gargoyles, but they're generally fairly stupid so it would be hard to imagine any kind of advanced civilization for them. (Perhaps they could have the advanced template representing a higher evolved specimen?) Or maybe they're one of your slave races along with mongrelmen.

If you wanted to make your community seem mundane (if a bit eerie) and play mind games with the players, then doppelgangers might be a good way to go. You might have it seem like part of the town is doppelgangers, only to later reveal the cruel truth that they are all doppelgangers.

Other contenders might include Serpentfolk, contemplatives (Bestiary 4), hags, morlocks (with an advanced template or as a slave race), and maybe even yeti, as the Pathfinder take on yetis leaves them as pretty mysterious beings.

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