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Errant Mercenary's page

487 posts (492 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Diffan wrote:


I hate the full-attack action. With a blinding hot passion. I find it unfathomable that a highly trained warrior that can survive dragon fire, liches spells, takes on giants and trolls, and can be an overall awesome warrior cannot move and swing his weapon 2, 3, 4 times. Completely ridiculous.

And this, Unchained is a little better in general.

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The DC mechanics. Either you suck or you're totally fine.

Hey I'm glad you used it and that you enjoyed it! I'll be writing up the rest of the extra stuff we did with enough detail to run it. Though it'll be in a couple of weeks.

As for Scrimshaw and Anna they havent played a strong part since, I've had Long Nose be a possible campaign-continuation persona, akin to Endymion, Tessa and the Master of the Gales. Anna did make another appearance when the group..erm, spent a couple sessions in the Fey World going through some very weird moments, where she actually guided them a little.
We wrapped up Zheng's/Senchuu Bay story recently infact, it has been as rewarding to kill him as it was to kill Plugg. Or more.

Tidewater Rock is indeed tedious, or at least wouldve been for my group cause they'd have probably sacked and pillaged the place proper and move on. I actually ran an encounter with the Dominator which they ended up taking (there is a thread somewhere in these boards that helped me much in deciding how hard it'd be...).

I would use a Cleric with the Animal subdomain, in fact. Or a druid if dont mind playing one instead.

Clerics are also more versatile in the role-filling department...fight or cast comes more naturally as an option to them is what I mean.

Yeah all mysteries are good. The more obvious are Flames..putting ships on fire is wonderful. Wood, since you spend your time on ships. Battle always great since you want fighty..same for metal.

Waves and Flames can see through fog which is a very commonly used tactic in this AP and one that can reliably shut down many encounters.

If your GM plays meaningfully with your choices, Ancestor can lead to quite interesting stuff. There are many pirates of legends, old mariners lost at sea and tales of the dead to be had from this mystery, as you channel dead relatives. It could be a great way for him to expose some of the setting to all of you.

Juju, while a little amoral (S&Shackles...allowed!) is great and very fitting. City of Seven Spears AP 3 of serpents skull has a gazeteer on general Juju stuff. The Shackles AP has itself the Juju mystery - if you chose it have your GM let you read it!

Lunar oracle is well fitting too. Tides are ruled by the moon. Not only that...there is a very strong faction that would tie this mystery well into the story, again if your GM wants to play a bit with it.

All of Solar's abilities will work well, since all the day can be spent on ship's decks.

Seannoss wrote:
Skull and Shackles is the obvious one, and also the AP where siege equipment may appear in all 6 parts.

Good AP for it, just talk to your GM and work with him to make Siege a bigger part of the game. This means make sure you know the rules inside out. It'll take a little work to get the siege going but there is a lot of it, and this AP will improve tremendously if you manage to get this going.

Hm just one thing, have a look at the S&S forums to how to deal with damage to ships, since at the moment it is piddling. (I.e. x3 damage to ships, no Hardness, or use Fire As She Bears).

Just a suggestion, have you seen the Freebooter ranger? Similar to a Slayer in play, but quite a lot more flavourful for pirating. Of course, mechanics are not necessary to make a pirate pc.

Use cutlasses, or a Cutlass/Whip/punching dagger/brass knuckles combination.

Have you considered Variant Multiclassing? You give up some feats in exchange for some other classes' abilities. For example, Wizard will give you a familiar and interesting school powers. Similarly the Magus can too and give you +hit off-setting TWF penalities.

Familiars help with action economy and could cast a spell for you at the start of combat, for example.

Use a prewritten story - an AP. Then you both know what you are getting into and if well picked can be very satisfying. They allow a lot of tweaking. They are also fantastic for GMs with unreliable preparation times...sometimes you may add a lot of personal things, sometimes it's easier to run it from the book.

Otherwise, formulate a question using Weirdo's words.

lutzsd wrote:
We just had this fight two weeks ago. In the second round of combat, the Bard/Captain cast Hold Person and succeeded. Isabella made her save at the end of her turn, but that was still one turn without an action. The next round, the Bard cast it and again succeeded, this time allowing the rogue to coup de grace and that was that. It was a little anti-climactic for me, but the player's love steam-rolling over the bad guys. They had more trouble versus four Great White sharks than they did versus Isabella and her cronies.

It is sometimes very weird how you imagine things will go and how they turn out..specially when they struggle with low cr encounters with a little terrain-quirk vs a straight out slug fest with a tough cr.

Isabella didnt manage to kill any of the party, mostly because I suck at using casters, they have the "mortally stupid" feat. She did some damage but pissed them enough they killed her off once they were done talking to her.

Council of Thieves or Legacy of Fire. Though I would prefer if LoF had less dungeon crawling from the latter modules (from what ive read).

I believe this comic is very apt - the Genie has different values about what you actually NEED. Need to live? water, food, etc.

In an extreme case "I wish to have all I need" could easily mean being teleported to a gibbet in a prison where you are fed all your life, forever to rot.

Reinforcing the above - Cerulean seas provide a whole campaign setting. Many rules to make underwater campaigns viable.

First part! We ran the first module of Skull & Shackles almost as written - no rum rations though. Plugg & Co got murdered before they got on the island - as they were hitting bad weather, a rather delicate moment but they got out of it. The island proved deadly as many on these boards mention, but none died.

At Rickety Squibs they renamed their ship as The Aberrant, decorating it with tentacles and kraken motifs. At this point I threw them the first side quest, considering that I would not run them through "breaking he Rock". Being the first self made content I had them do, I did give them little choice in whether they did it or not - however it was open after that. I also wanted to make them understand that there are still bigger fish in the Shackles and to beware. This has brewed a rather paranoical way of running crews and a "Bucket List" in which most NPC captains have found themselves in...

ZHILONG'S ENCLAVE aka How to make even more enemies


Just after Rickety Squibs a seemingly powerful captain offers them a collaboration with a strong taste of black mail. They are to infiltrate a sea fortress at the Tian Xia domain of the Shackles
Function: Introduce a little plot into the very sandboxy Fever Sea and establish some Pirate Captains early.
Result: This spurred a hilarious battle at the fortress palace and the birth of a new nemesis, Zheng, who would be a middle step tie-in between them and Harrigan.

The Crew:

Captain Bismark, Gillman Bloodrager
First Mate Kaelmourn, Drow swashbuckler
Chaplain Cutty, Undine Shaman
Carpenter …. Undine Warpriest of Besmara
Quatermaster Zadiuq, Svirfneblin Investigator/Rogue
Cook Quidaz, Svirfneblin Monk/Rogue

The Story

Fresh out from Rickety Squibs. Ready to tackle the fever sea, in control of their destiny at last.

Well, that was to be short lived. Someone’s in the captain’s quarters of what used to be the Man’s Promise. A figure standing by the window, clad in a black cloak (perception: feathers) behind a bird’s mask (Nature: Black Kingfisher). Another is seating on the newly upholstered sofa, a languid man, with a characteristically long nose, dressed in expensive clothes and with his boots on the table drinking a liquor (which he invites the PCs to when they come in). They want to talk.

Introduce themselves as Long Nose and Scrimshaw (knw Local: Crimson Quills crew). They want the PCs to do a favour for them. The catch: They know exactly who this ship belongs to (note, scrying, monitoring, rickety sending message, whatever works) and could throw the information to whom it might concern, however they are actually not in good terms with Harrigan and therefore prefer to call this a mutually beneficial deal. (sense motive: pile of parrot droppings it’s a straight black mail). They mention the PCs can help themselves to whatever they find, plus Long Nose will throw in a couple thousand gold as reward, since he’s keen to have them as allies should they make it in the Shackles.
Long Nose himself is an Illusion being cast by Anna while insivibly flying outside. When leaving, he jumps off the window, disappearing. If attacked, the illusion becomes apparent. Scrimshaw shapeshifts to a large Kingfishers as he jumps out of the window, flying away. If at any point the PCs attempt to fight these NPCs they will avoid conflict and flee, becoming hostile to them for future events.

After explaining their proposition the PC’s have little chance but to accept
The target is Zhilong’s Enclave, a trading outpost smack in the middle of the Shackles under the influence of the Wise Council of 3 (the Tian Xia faction). In this case the enclave is overseen by a greedy war merchant known as Zheng. The fortress is a fortified palace with a few watch towers. The PCs are asked to get there, infiltrate it and steal an item stored at the warehouse. How is up to them, but they are provided a map.

Zhilong’s Enclave and the Map

Everything is depicted with an asian (mainly Chinese) theme, think the harbours of Macao in the age of sail. White walls, red tile rooftops, wooden structures cliches.
Zhilong’s Enclave asks them for one plunder to use their harbour and protection in the viccinity. (Note: The PCs do not yet have a Shackles Ensign so therefore it is dangerous when sailing in these waters.) At the harbour there are two huge Turtle Ships (inspired from the Korean turtle ships), formidable and rare war ships. At the harbour master’s office they have the chance to meet with Zheng, the overseer of the enclave. He is a shrewd man, good memory and keen perception. He asks them of their business here but buys none of it, he recognises new pirates when he sees them, having been a prolific one himself.
The PCs dont need to visit Zhilong’s Enclave, merely optional. It is also a good place for trading (selling plunder) and bragging (try out the notoriety rules).

The fortress castle stands atop a sharp rise overseeing the bay, sheer cliffs on the water side and steep slops towards the town. A path leads up to the main gates. There is also a back entrance, which leads down to a beach outside of the main bay, which passes by a shrine to Hei Feng.
The fortress is more of a walled palace, with carefully cared for gardens, with a stream cruising through, ending up in a waterfall into the cliffs. There are two watch towers, always manned and lit. The warehouse is in the centre of this complex, a long wooden building, in front of some barracks. The back gate to the complex goes through a large garden in which the stream crosses.
The Watch Tower makes perception checks to note ships and approaching threats. There is also a patrol through the complex and a set of 2 guards at both entrances. The warehouse is locked and with a low level alarm trap, but can also be accessed through the roof where a plank can be loosened. Inside there are amassed crates and bags (presumably rice). Two large bulks have cloth draped over them. They are Heavy Bombards, siege engines so valuable only a handful of pirates have a single one – this is the first advent of gun powder in this campaign which would later become more prevalent. There are many crates around which when inspected are revealed to be black powder and another substance (alchemy: Taldorian Fire – akin to the mysterious greek fire of our world, something that would even burn in water ferociously).
The implications of what this equipment means in the Shackles is not difficult to imagine, the amount of powder and the power of these siege engines would quickly make any captain a mayor threat and an influential person in the Shackles.
A perception check reveals a small, brass chest with a mark which Long Nose requested.

Guards: 2 weak guards of each gate. They can be assasinated since they have an abysmal perception (snoozing). The watch towers mostly looks for threats outside of the fortress.
Garrison: Soldiers will come out in force once the alarm is risen. However this is something Zheng will do himself or send someone to do (as the second warehouse alarm goes directly to him not the garrison).
Patrol: 2 soldiers patrolling, can be disposed of any way they want, being careful of the watch tower.

There is a trap alarm of high level inside the warehouse, after the locked door. This is alerts Zheng directly, who will summons his personal guard and try to locate the PCs in the complex – appearing at the back gates from a pass in the hills, where he was meditating at the temple of Hei Feng.
Upon trying to escape the PC’s meet with Zheng and his patrol. These are comprised of 3 long spear soldiers (level 2 each) and 3 Zen Archers (level 3 each) plus Zheng (level 6 Sohei Monk with 10 ring sword). This is a difficult battle.

Confrontation: While difficult, it is possible to beat the patrol. The fortress palace allows for clever use of corridors, rooftops and terrain to fight smart.
Diplomacy: While most encounters I’ve added do have a talk option, Zheng is not interested in actually giving them quarter or to strike a deal. He just wants information before he executes them for thinking they could fool him.
Escape: The most obvious and achievable in a myriad of ways. 2 gates, the town, the path leading to the beach, the cliffs and waterfall, etc.


When they reach their ship Scrimshaw and Anna are waiting for them. Anna, a smaller figure wearing a carnival red owl mask and a fluffy colourful feather coat, hands them over the gold and an item in thanks (A permament Anchor Token: Feather Fan, in the shape of a long feathered red fan), and take the chest. Scrimshaw says little to nothing, then they both shapeshift and fly away. This is meant to introduce some characters that are a little annoying since they are obviously higher level than the PCs but that will be used later on in the plot.
If the PCs try to open the box, it proves difficult to do so without damaging it (mending?) and it is trapped. Inside, you may insert any of the treasures from the back of the AP module…I never had to, but you can make the item relevant later in the campaign. The PCs should not have much reason to not go along with the exchange, since the possibility of having their newly squibbed ship and whereabouts relayed to Harrigan is a big threat for them at this stage.

What the players did!
AKA How my players did everything I did not expect

The players decided to head to Zhilong’s Enclave and sell their plunder, since they did not have a chance yet (there are notoriously few places in the Fever Sea to do so that arent far far away, and Bloodcove, Senghor, Quent and Port Peril were too big for them at the moment) with the nasty surprise of the 1 plunder tax (in return, I let them sell all their plunder at once, something we later introduced anyway). That was the first strike for them!
Then they meet Zheng, a bit of a bully and an attitude of being superior – he smells they have other reasons to be in Zhilong’s, a mostly merchant port for TIan Xia trade. Plugg is dead, we need someone to be an arse in his stead. Strike two!

Then they set sail, letting their ship anchored a couple of miles north of the bay and climbed/levitated the cliffs and waterfall. They came in a small boat, and also had Sandara’s hat. They came up the back gate, the Svirfneblins murdered the guards without a sound and they all proceeded to sneak up to the warehouse without alarming the watch towers. There they opened it successfully and found the first trap, but not the second (this is mean, it’s pretty much impossible, but Zheng must be brought for the setting to advance). There they recognised the gunpower and Taldor Fire and took a bit..very carefully (good alchemy check) and decided that if they couldnt take those cannons for themselves, well, they’d blow them up! So after some damn good alchemy and engineering checks they set up a delayed explosion for 3 minutes or so, then proceeded to get the hell out of there the same way they came out.

They found that at the back garden there was Zheng and his guard waiting for them. There was an explosion with a warehouse full to the brim with gunpowder and even more dangerous alchemical substances about to be set off and these guys ready for a showdown. Suddenly the players decided that it was every man to himself. The fight devolved into a very strange combination of attacking and moving towards the exit – but everyone chose a different one! The Undine Warpriest, the Captain GIllman and the Svirfneblins made for the wall towards the cliffs, attempting to climb over the wall and jump – at 300 feet it was quite a fall. Zheng came in to block their path as they got peppered with arrows from the archers. The Warpriest jumped first..without levitate. Then the captain. The twin Svirfneblins turned around and attempted to escape through the gate instead with the First mate Drow duelist and the Chaplain Undine Shaman, who were having troubles at the stream bridge with the soldiers, and later Zheng. The Undine got dropped and carried by the rest as the Drow threw a Darkness, running out of the gates and jumping out of the cliff when they had prepared their levitate or lowered altitude. At that point, the warehouse lit and the explosion lit the fortress ablaze, a huge thundering sound to which even the ground shook, as they were jumping out into the dark sea.
Back to the Warpriest, who was by now done calculating fall damage at that height into water..found out that put him in negatives at only 4 hp from dying. The Captain eventually reached him with his levitate, finding the warpriest sinking (thanks to Besmara’s tricorne hat which floated above…just over the warpriest’s location, Besmara’s first help in all this mess) and managed to swim him up to the surface and administer healing potions.
They summoned their hat boat and rowed to their ship to make the first escape of many that would follow, when they’d be rowing away from a town in flames and with a desperate urge of get-the-hell-out-of-here.

As a result

Zhilong’s Enclave suffered a large fire as the lit debris fell from the frotress…the latter just a scorch mark on the hill. They would later learn that one of the Bombards had flewn so far as to land on one of the turtle ships, being one of the few people in history who had managed to actually sink one with siege. Zheng and his archers survived..but launched him into being condemned and exiled from Council of 3. Zheng, being the ambitious man he is flipped the coin, butchering 2 of the Council and claim a seat for himself, exiling the surviving council member Half Elf (renamed Chan in this story) and appointing himself controller of the region by forge. He would then begin an ardent search for the PCs in revenge (with very little information) which would lead him to ally with Barnabass Harrigan and help him put in march the Chelaxian invasion of the Shackles.

The battle map
So I love drawing battle maps for my players, colourful and visual. We play with small magnets (a capital letter of their PC name on it) on a white board laid horizontal, with the paper map on top. The fortress was laid out and luckily the showdown happened at the gardens, of which I had drawn a rather detailed map.

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Hello, I've posted from time to time in this subforum and was hoping to this time contribute a little with extra content that I've used in our Skull & Shackles campaign. I will be adding the quests and sub plots that our group has been going through and the things of the AP that got heavily modified.

I started GM'ing with this AP. I had the idea to make it more sandboxy than it is since the Shackles provide a fantastic setting and a great chassis. I also love the age of sail/pirates/anything nautical so that helps in getting into S&S, an AP I strongly recommend.

Rule modifications:
Any race, any class, no resurrection easily available (wish/miracle/gods/very high levels). No long range scrying nor teleporting. Gunpowder/Guns allowed..will be few at start and will become more prevalent as the campaign goes on. Crossbows target Touch AC when using a single Attack Action. Siege does double damage to ships. Cannon does tripple damage. Ships have their hp divided in sections.

I introduce self made content within the story. Generally I dont tell the players what is and what isn't but they know it's so.

I must also admit to have influences from some external sources. First to mention would be One Piece..the idea that each crew has a theme and the officers have quirks or are memorable really appeals to me and I believe makes the game a little more interesting. A combination of the gritty sailing and the exaggerated themed crews. Another is my personal experience, I spend a lot of time sailing traditional sailing ships so I'll throw some fun details here and there. Add pirate tropes, novels and games of course.

Tools used:
Fire As She Bears (only as guidelines)
Isle of the Shackles (fantastic)
Ships of the Inner Sea (another pearl)
Rival Guide
Razor Coast
Plunder and Peril
From Sea to Shore
Heart of the Jungle
Cerulean Seas (some items)
City of the Seven Spears (Serpent's Skull part 3)
Wayfinder #8 Mass Combat
Treasury of the Fleet
Tarin's Crown
Raid on the Emperor's Hand
Pirate Codex
Many of the posts in this forum, great ideas!

Music played on the background..mostly youtube stuff

We dont use figures but we use a white board on which we draw with markers. The PCs/NPCs are represented by small 1cmx1cm magnets (each a colour/letter). When more detail is necessary we use a paper grid on which I've generally drawn a map on. here it is, note that I have written a sort of "planned" event and how it turned out. Not all the details are written, especially the personalities of NPCs etc wont always be described.

Ellioti wrote:

according to a recent statement you will get 1.5x DEX to damage, so that is good.

Combat Reflexes, because reach and dex.
2 levels of Slayer or Ranger for the Ranger Combat Style (Two-handed weapon) for picking up Power Attack without the need of 13 STR.
Gang Up might be a nice addition so you can flank from behind your first-row melees.

Avoid dipping with rogues if you can help it. Level 10 Talents are amazing, specially if you can pick Ninja ones.

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Use a SLING instead.

Probably some already said it..but roll a Barbarian and break it, Pounce on his face and Superstitious his day.

Or a Save or Suck wizard. Or a prismatic ray Oracle. Cause balance.

More on topic and less childish..the Kineticist's damage is really nothing special. Sure, rogue damage is worse, but then again a druid animal companion does more than a rogue.

Great to hear it went so successfully. Very entertaining to read. I wonder if you'd mind giving us some details?

Specifically, how did you evolve the voting of the council, how did those matters they vote on develop to impact in the story?

Have you found alternatives to the fleet battles rules that arent very rules heavy? Doing it all narratively puts a lot of weight on the GM - I have found from the Regatta that narrative + rules lite system is a lot of fun for everyone.

Quick Answer: Mythic Finger of Death CL 25, because GM.

Longer Answer: You dont need to be able to hit the PC, if they are built to not be hit. I suggest adding templates to most of your encounters and running them a bit dry on magic items for a while.
- poisons
- Area of Effect/reflex saves
- will saves and weird s&~# (dream spiders, nightmares, hags, fey)
- pugwympies or however they are called mixed with other creatures
- choice in the encounter: save one of two people. It isnt about beating people to death anymore
- Skill encounters mixed in. Traps, Spellcrafts, Knowledges
- Use many monsters/npcs
- Terrain. Difficult terrain, terrain advantage

Even Longer: Restart the campaign, I would stick to an AP as a new GM, one that is interesting for you as a GM. Stick to 15 point buy and under no circumstance change that and restrict races to a few. Follow it and learn where the balance is, add stuff when you're feeling confident.

Good luck! Look for a few threads on these forums and some blogs out there, you'll find quite a bit of info.

Rogue/AnyClassThatUsesIntelligence + VMC Magus for Intelligence to hit as an arcana. Rogue for important sneak attack moments.

If a PC dies, generally a new one can be inserted in the next session. Either into the story with some work (GM/player need to put some throught) or "hey he was traveling with you all along" depending on the group, story or mood. In general, catering to the player's necessities. Personally, at some point I ask my players to have a backup character ready. Specially if what is coming ahead is deadly (in the case of APs it is sometimes quite easy to predict..).

Everything I mentioned is with the caveat that the players know and have agreed to whatever terms before starting to play.

I suscribe to death being more on the permanent side also because if you need to spend 7k gold that will put you behind and make you more susceptible to future death. It is then up to the Gm to throw that extra gold or favour to make up the lost 7k. I also think that a quest or true ressurection/wish should be available somewhere in the story, however not with a "hey ima charge this ogre, cause ressurection" with I think is what people try to avoid.

In the end, at any given table there are several types of people with all different ideas of what is exactly the sweet spot and what is a fun night of gaming for them. Even the same person at a given role (Gm-player) might have a different view (I am more for permanent death when being a player for example).

It is also worth discussing the difference between a pre-written adventure and a self written adventure. The first creates a foreign entity that can be blamed, the second the GM is the sole orchestrator and therefore responsible for deaths/TPKs entirely (/joke, even when the player was doing something extremely ill advisable). I certainly feel worse when something I made up kills and PC than when something someone else made up kills a PC.

Totally agree with you TriOmega Zero, fun is the most important thing. Though as it happens with these interesting topics is that there are many roads to fun, with sharp, perilous, cliffs right besides ending up in very not fun.

HeHateMe wrote:

I suppose the question is, what is the objective behind penalizing players for raising their characters? Is it because you don't want raise dead to be a viable option? If so, that would probably work. As a GM, do you want that character to come back and be in the game? If so, then permanent penalties are a powerful incentive to just make a new character instead.

So as GMs, the question that should get asked is: what do I want to accomplish by making it more difficult to bring dead characters back to life? Now, I'm not criticizing this at all, I don't think there's a bad or wrong answer here. Just saying having an overall goal in this case is useful.

I will answer this, since i am clearly in the "He's dead, Jim" side of things.

Death being more permanent, punishing or relevant is not to make your players act in a certain manner, it is not to change the story, it is not to demonstrate something to your players.
It is to seek a thrill. This is what this game is about. And there is no thrill without a risk.

The question then becomes, what constitutes a thrill for YOU? The chance to lose something substantial might not be your thrill, but might be for others. So lets hear it.
Me? If there is no risk of actually losing something, then there is little thrill. The winning/losing of a simple match in a game might be thrill enough, if the competition spirit is present.

In Pathfinder, the feeling of my character making it through REGARDLESS of what choices I make feels very boring (to me). It feels unrealistic and plainly just bad story telling. I hate movies about "chosen ones", media with "special powers" just because and returning characters from the death as a plot device without extremely good reason/foreshadowing.

My cup of tea. Yours? What is your thrill in Pathfinder?

The Intelligent Fighter, Lore Warden + Duelist PRC (2-4 levels) + VMC Witch (Hair Hex) combined with: Kirin Strike, Mobility, Spring Attack.

OilHorse wrote:

So the problem is that he takes his NPCS out and the party gets to be the heroes?

Not sure I fully get the problem.

I thought he was going to continue the phrase "introducing NPCs of 4 levels higher.." with "..and overshadowing the PCs so much that we feel like NPCS!". Definitely a different kind of problem (all extremes tend to be detrimental anyway).

Everything explodes in the end, resulting in tpk.

I did write "Or" before Focused shot :)
I would only entertain Focused Shot with an Intelligence build. Thanks to the OP I've found out that these stack>

Scout, Sniper, Underground Chemist.
1 level MoMS, grab Kirin Strike (unchained if possible), rest in rogue.

So: Swift Kirin, position yourself/stealth/fire whatever.

Move - Attack, adding Focused Shot (if within 30ft), Splash Weapon Damage (intelligence), Kirin (intelligence x2), Sneak Attack (Scout), Dispelling Strike/Counfounding Blades/other talents.

Would the Int damage stack?

If you are going to spend a Move Action actually moving, how about Vital Strike? Or Focused Shot if you have a decent Intelligence (if you do invest in Intelligence I would then consider a level dip in MoMS monk for Kirin Strike and go full int - but that is for a very specific concept that needs dedication to be fruitful).

Furthermore, shooting once a round I would then invest in special arrows. Flaming, etc.

Combat Monster wrote:


A few feats you may have overlooked are things like "Bullseye Shot" from 'Faiths of Purity' ....

While a great feat, he needs to move 10 ft per round to get sneak attack. Unless you have Jaunt Boots it isnt a very helpful feat.

I would strongly reccomend Slow Reactions. A lot of damage comes from AoO, just think of those monsters with reach and powerful attacks. You'll be a mayor asset for your team like this.

Bleeding Attack could work well, as you are mobile - depends if your team is setup for mobile combat or endurance. Get a couple of bleed stacking effects and war of attrition everyone. Circumstancial.

As with any rogue I would pick up Ki Pool and Ninja Trick (Vanish), to get away when they do close in melee.

Twist Away feat is fantastic for rogues.

I would also consider Minor + Mayor rogue talents (UNCHAINED), they are actually rather good now.

I've got a Hexcrafter that debuffs and controls the battle field through AoO. It works so:

Spellstrikes Frostbite Rime, Enforcer, Spear Dancer with a reach weapon. To ensure that it hits he uses Fortune hex with Soothsayer and Cackle (latter obtained through item) and Rod of Interminable Hexes.
Add power attack, furious focus and perhaps mirror strike for some damage and fun. Prehensile hair could work well if you have a low stat buy.

The GM wasnt happy when I told him that the enemy was taking that many - to hit.

Great ideas. I run Skull and Shackles and Im having trouble advsncing the main storyline because I keep addimg things, notably npcs and side adventures rich with options (diplomacies, combats..) because the setting lends itself so much to it.
I read Kashikon book and loved's sold me into this AP. I'll be looking for as many additions and settings as possible though. (S&S has isle of the shackles, plunder and peril and a tonne of other otber).

Oh and thanks for the conversion link!

Alternatives, variant rules (as above, nice link Pandora's) and solutions is what I am interested in when talking about death in Pathfinder.

I am very fixated with death in a narrative. I like it when death is meaningful - someone dies, that's it. It warps the story, everybody needs to learn to live with this. Many of the best stories end up with a dead protagonist or have a charismatic character die along the way.
In Pathfinder the boundaries blur, it becomes player investment, story continuation, realism, resources, religious questions (there are "heavens"), villain ressing, etc.

Death is permanent in our game and there is no use of hero points. Some players mind more than others. I would like a middle ground somewhere, but the Dragon Ball bring back or the Greek Tragedy model is really not my thing.

Illiad? Now we're talking. Death or glory!

PS: When I play, I like permanent death. Adds that edge to rolling initiative. I admit sometimes it just feels sour, but it is very difficult to get that feeling of danger without it.

So does anyone have Bloodbender builds to share? Some melee ones perhaps? I wonder if any of the archetypes stack actually.

Tell us what are your ability scores and a bit of what you want to do with the rogue.

As a dual wielder rogue you NEED as many + to hit as possible. When you get a magic weapon, never enchant it with "flame" but instead just add +1, +2 etc, as hitting is your most important stat. The exception is a enchantment called Menacing, giving +4 instead of +2 on flanks.

Advice about twf as above and otherwise remember to get to flanking, use invisibility, high terrain, anything you can to get those + to hit so you can land your sneak attacks!

As for a great talent: Offensive Defense.

I think I am missing something here because I cannot see anything special about building a Spellblade this way. Everything written can be emulated to the letter by a normal magus and have more flexibility doing it.
To me Mike sounds like a standard Magus who uses Spellcombat but not Spellstrike. Generally doing less damage (perhaps hitting more, touch) but doing something every magus can do.

In short, if you were to make a pro/con list, I still from your post and the Spellblade description, do not see the pros in the Athame (apart from small stuff like conjuring a weapon), hence I ask if I am missing something.

PS: I love to play underused archetypes such as Spire Defender, Spell Dancer etc.

Gauss wrote:

Errant Mercenary, being blind does not make you flatfooted.

Ah good to know, will check what penalties there are for it.

Mirror Image could use a good counter. It is filthy powerful, especially compared to other spells. No reason ever that a martial could beat another martial with access to this spell. What other spell does that so strongly?

I think closing your eyes should use invisibility rules and give you blindness. You attack the square and probably flatfooted too.

Vladimir, Hama, Korra...they are all there, and any blood manipulator. I wouldbve liked a creepier implementation, but it does well enough. Would like to see a blood kineticist that uses his blood as a weapon in melee, less about control.
I however love the control part... being able to throw people controlling their blood is amazing. I imagine a guy laying on a sofa sipping wine when the heroes bash in the room. Some rounds later they are all wriggling in pain on the floor as he continues to sip the wine. With a little extra.

chbgraphicarts wrote:
chuffster wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Bookish Rogue, and use all the arcane cantrips you want. If you can only use one, I'd go with acid splash.

The other feat that hasn't been mentioned here yet is Quicken Spell-Like Ability. Three swift action snowballs or true strikes a day is pretty sweet. Even acid splash can be quite good: ranged touch sneak attack damage/effects is strong even when the delivery vehicle is weak.

Yeah, IF Quicken Spell-Like Ability is allowed.

It's not in PFS, and enough DMs don't allow PCs to take "Monster" Feats that you have to assume it doesn't exist unless you can get it from another source.

But, yes. QSAL gives you Vanish 1/turn as a Swift Action, which is bonkers. a ninja? Or a rogue with Ki talent and Ninja talent bonkers?

What about Gillmen talent?

Gauss wrote:

Mirror Image specifically states that the creature has to see the images to be affected.

Closing your eyes has long been a way to bypass Mirror Image. Normally this means you suffer 50% miss chance but if you have Blindsight you don't.

Was this ruled to be a move action in itself? Or not specified at all?

The concept was well done, an escalation of power and investment, and indeed it falls short of viability.

Firstly, I think Chakras should not be tied to a particular score outside the Ki points. In fact, I would suggest that upon taking Chakras you can decide which mental stat to use for Ki, just to open options. Ninjas using Wisdom, for example. (And yes, I would make it for monks to use Cha for all their class abilities if they so desired after investing in Chakras, but that may be out of the liking for many people). With an extra feat I would allow to use Constitution for Ki (this is a trope alright, no reason Mind takes the prize, Body is important too).
I would also scale their opening speed with level and investment. I would also give the option to front load paying to open things faster, at a great cost but more reliable than a DC 38 will save.
I would also lower the level in which Chakras gates are opened and decrease the investment needed (those things are not worth all your career's feats)

Lets give this a whirl...

- Opening Chakra gates:
The Root Chakra can be opened as a swift action for 1 ki. Mantaining or opening a chakra costs 1 ki and a swift action. Alternatively the user can pay Ki up to number of Chakras she wants to open upfront and is instead able to open Chakras as a free action and for no additional costs.

- Opening several Chakra gates:
At levels 5/7/9/11/13/15(?) she adds an extra Chakra gate that can be opened per round. This is a swift action that costs an extra ki + Chakra gate ki (So at level 9 you may open 4 Chakras in one round).

- Maintaining Chakra Gates:
Maintaining Chakra gates costs 1 ki point per round or 2 x HD hit points. Regardless maintaining Chakra forces a will save (LOW) and a Fortitude save (MEDIUM). Failing the Will save renders the user Dazed for one round and with no effect, nothing is otherwise lost. She can instead close all gates to act normally. Failing the Fortitude save she takes 1d6 damage/Chakra opened/attempting to open.

- Examples:
Opening 6 Chakras at level 11
The long way: Spend 1 ki per round, comes online at round 6. 12 easy saves.
The faster way: 7 ki upfront (6thgate + 1ki fast opening), be activated at round 2 (11th level lets you open 5 gates/round). 2 medium saves.
Later, I want to mantain these open but I dont have much ki so I use hp to fuel the mantaining costing me 22 hp/round, plus whatever the activated ability costs (i.e. 1 ki for dragon roar)

- Conclusion
All in all we are spending ki/opening of chakra gate and ki or hp/round maintaining it open. We have the option to open them gradually at the cost of ki+swift actions or to frontload the cost and pay a bit more for a faster opening and free actions after the Root chakra. This serves flavour as it does usability.

The changes to the chakras in posts above are great suggestions, so something like that's fine. We're deep in House Rule territory so it is easy to change things (for example Dragon's roar costing 1 ki not 2, or increasing the damage done).

Much is to be said about being able to keep the Chakras open permanently. I think that this is in the realm of Feats. Remove the need to invest into Chakras as feats so heavily and instead allow for some customisation (such as CON for Ki, having Chakras permanently all day for double the Ki cost, more focus on one of the Gates, etc).

Great thread, I will be encouraging the use of Chakra but with house rules!

For the sake of this awesome build, which I preffer with Kensai:

Riverwhip makes your attacks TOUCH attacks. Remember to take magical knack as a trait.

Spell Combat + Greater Invis + Swift for an extra attack.

Ranged one shot alchemist; the art of war

Can be built in many ways but uses extracts and expensive potions/elixirs with alchemical allocation to be a deadly ranged combatant,focusing on Int, only shooting once a round but adding a tonne of riders (vital strike, kirin strike, bombs,, extracts admixtures, hollowed projectiles, etc).
The idea is that it can take down a priority target in one shot and also choose the battlefield. He has a myriad of tools to accomplish the "never fight" and "know your enemy" of the Art of War. A skirmisher, hit and run specialist.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
I follow the AP recommendation of 1 pt. per trip to port. Our group is level 8 now, with 4 players, and I find the gold values pretty much bang on... challenging, but bang on. Less gold to the PCs would make that group a bit anemic. Plus, I don't want to run into a hypothetical scenario where they leave for months (lost a sea or something) and owe thousands of gold pieces to the crew... that would be silly. To give a weekly pay to pirates... is to no longer call them pirates... just sayin' ;)

Damned good point! Consider that changed to plunder per prey/selling wares.

Are people's players changing plunder into gold straight away? What do they use plunder for? Are they using the gold for themselves?

Bandw2 wrote:
I feel like someone should go around and redo them, and not necessarily make them 1 per class, druids or cavaliers and what not have enough different abilities to fill out a few VMCs on a theme. Also, getting something at every other feat level is pretty limiting, i think they should just swap 5 feats for a whole package.

I agree. There shouldve been several options:

Druid - basic
Druid - animalcompanion focus
Druid " wild.shape focus
Druid - domain/casting.focus

Remember paizo's unchained is just testing the waters - advanced VMC can easily be a future prospect in other books.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
The Captain is the ultimate authority at sea, in every culture

Apparently the Swedish East India Trading Company ship Gotheborg of the late 1700s ( had an agent as an embassador from the Trading Company who could overrule the captain, though it wouldve been very daft of him to do so in many situations and was never called upon. He was the one conducting all the actual trading.

At sea, every culture does have the captain being the supreme authority (unless for exceptions like above). At port and off duty, not always the case. A call to depose of a captain could happen (only in some very select pirate cultures that we know of, i.e. age of sail). I admit to not having a direct source apart from articles and stuff I remember reading.

This thread does deal with the PCs being at port to trade plunder however. Here, it is very important to note that the captain does not have so much power. A crew member could potentially walk off and join another crew. Can the captain say no to this?

I am not trying to contradict that the captain is the most powerful figure on a ship, but that his power was situational, and in the Age of Sail pirate vessels this AP simulates, Ship Articles and such were commonly under effect. Ship Articles were a thing, and an agreed payment proportional to the plunder of a ship was to be agreed upon amongst the crew, so were many of the aspects of life onboard. That is rather democratical (close enough). Not every ship would stick to that, being captain through murderous deeds and fear was most likely a thing...humans afterall.

However give more credit to some of the reasons some of these people lived such a persecuted life; the ideal that one had more say over one's life...amongst a myriad other reasons of course.

There are some interesting pirate cultures in the Mediterranean. For example the Eolian islands, north of Sicily, during the Punic wars. They were mostly without a government, plundered everyone. The people of the islands would share the work between sailing/piracy, trading and making wares/staying in the islands to provide. This lasted until they sided with Carthage and the Romans decided these islands needing purging and brought them into their domain.
Another short lived attempt at a pirate rule was the city of Salé for a while. Not sure how their treatment of the people was though.


If you are running a tyrannical ship in the AP however, ahem...
Make those maggots squirm as the sounds of your boots drum on the deck, make them fear for their lifes should they cross (fearful name here)!

A captain who brands each of his sailors (nevermind the slaves) and if they jump ship get prosecuted would be cool. Harrigan does this to an extent, but a mechanic to find such people would be fun. Perhaps reliquish a personal effect when being recruited?

I personally make the PCs cough up 1 piece of plunder per 7 days.

DM_Blake wrote:

Why would you say the command word at the top of the mast? It's not a parachute that needs time to slow you down. It's magic. Just say it at the bottom of the fall, a few feet above the deck - there are no rules about when in your turn you activate this instant ability.


It made me scratch my head for a while though, so much to consider!

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Being on a ship is never democratic - you enter an autocratic, "Captain is God" zone, and if you don't understand this, you will be made to understand somehow; don't confuse mutiny with democracy.

This is only true under sailing conditions or at-battle conditions. The crew had a right to vote and a right to bring up issues. That things divulged into grey areas depending on the crew/officers is a different case.

The captain in a warship of a nation and the captain of a pirate ship were two very different positions. Also, we dont have much information about piracy conducted everywhere in the world. I am under the assumption, as I mentioned before, that we discuss "age of sail"-new world piracy. Chinese seas piracy was was more akin to mercenary armies, dukedoms or mafias, for example.

"Captain is god" only under stressful situations / at sea / on duty, even in modern times. Armies are always more strict.

Furthermore, in many ships, for example in some trading ships (east indiamans) the captain was not the supreme authority; this was the trading company's representative.

PS: perhaps we're talking about different situations/nations/ship cultures though, were you thinking of any particular background?

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
1 plunder everytime they convert their cargo hold to cash... sorry... being on a pirate ship is not a democracy

Ironically it was more democratic than in any other ship heirarchy. (talking colonial-caribbean age of sail piracy, though many in the Mediterranean were also more democratically inclined than others)

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