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John Woodford wrote:
Remember that lesson Durkon learned as a kid about not stepping into help unless asked, and then Roy teaching him the opposite with regard to their party? I'm thinking Durkula's going to mix that up, and Durkon will somehow get a shot at helping, because the vamp lets its guard down.
Just a Mort wrote:
Hopefully you're half human, or fully human, use the human fcb to increase number of spells you know. Pick up glitterdust (2nd lv spell), summon monster series, haste (3rd lv spell). Those don't bother if foes are immune to mind affecting. Sorcerers have the weakness of having less versatility, but with a little tweaking of spell selection, you can still be fairly versatile.
Just in general, every character should always have a backup plan. When I make a character, I try to have a plan for three things:
1. What's my specialty in combat?
For instance, in PFS, I have a fey bloodline sorcerer, so obviously that character is very good at enchantments. I made sure to pick up some blasting as a backup plan, starting with Magic Missile at level 1, so I always have something to do, even against mindless foes. And obviously, charisma based casters tend to be good at social skills, so that's my primary out of combat role.
Actually, it's my gnome prankster bard that has a bigger problem with mindless foes, since his whole shtick is insulting people (debuffing enemies through intimidation and the Mock bardic performance, along with enchantment spells). His backup plan to be useful in combat against mindless foes is Inspire Courage, Grease, and a wand of Cure Light Wounds. I've gotten to 5th level with this guy in PFS, and the only direct damage he's ever done to an enemy was hitting a skeleton with that CLW wand.
This is also why my barbarian has a composite longbow - that's the backup plan for when "be a melee monster" isn't a viable option in combat. It always amazes me how often I see melee characters that don't even own a ranged weapon.
But on the original topic, I agree with others who have suggested that having a conversation with the GM about the intended direction of the campaign, and your PC's role in it, would be a good idea.
Now when the three directors were mentioned I recall that they didn't want the world to be destroyed... Will they make any move to that effect? Can they currently make any move that would prevent that?
I'm thinking they could take possession of V again, just long enough to deliver some information. ie Send the rest of the Order to back up Roy.
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Yeah, but not all in one place. It's usually just 2 or 3 at a time together. Maybe this is their way of holding a meeting without having to physically get together - make their followers do the work on getting together physically.
Hel herself isn't smiling at Roy. The gods can't see him.
But I do like that Durkula is smiling. He looks like he wants this fight, and was planning for it all along.
And I completely forgot that Durkula made minions before coming into the room. They should be along any time now.
So moving on to predictions about what comes next...
On paper, this looks like a one sided fight. Roy's still down levels from having died, casters are more powerful than martials when you reach these high levels, and Durkula has vampire powers on top of Durkon's cleric levels. So in theory, team evil should win this easily.
So here's my prediction of how Roy not only wins, but relatively easily. Of course, the key word there is "relatively" - this still needs to be an epic fight on some level.
I'm not familiar with 3.5 rules, but I'm assuming "Summon Proxy" is a spell invented for OOTS, so we don't know the exact details of the spell. But it's safe to assume that it's a high enough level spell that Durkula won't have prepared it more than once for the day. And it probably requires concentration to maintain. That means that to keep Hel present for the Godsmoot, Durkula can't take any standard actions - he has to use them all concentrating on maintaining the spell.
So that's how Roy wins. He doesn't have to actually kill Durkula to save the world. He doesn't even have to wound him. He just has to trick/annoy him into fighting back, so the proxy disappears. Of course, Roy probably doesn't know this going in, so he might get some advice along the way, possibly from Thor's representative.
That's my guess anyway. We'll see how far off I am. :)
This one lived up to the hype.
And from a plot perspective, the clues were there. Hel confessing her plan didn't tell us anything that wasn't mentioned earlier, but none of us guessed it, because we just didn't put it all together. That's a well built mystery.
I just love Roy's reaction. He might be smart for a fighter, but he's not smarter than a goddess with a well conceived plan and a very wise undead high priest.
I also loved the dwarven priestess of Thor recognizing Durkon's name, and Roy's comment of "And when did he learn to pronounce the word 'of' anyway?!?" I'm still not sure if Roy's put it all together, as far as Durkula not just being Durkon with a new evil attitude.
And that final panel... I just have to say WOW!!! again.
And am I remembering correctly that Roy has something special on his sword these days for use against undead? Or was that a temporary spell? Given that his life long quest is to take down a lich, being prepared for undead should help him in fighting a vampire.
GM Holden wrote:
My group didn't face these things in isolation. When they started their first fight inside Fort Rannick, on the ground floor (after sneaking in through the basement and using a Silence spell during the one fight there, so it didn't attract attention), all the other ogres inside the ground floor came running. It just took a few rounds to get there, so they were able to handle them a couple at a time pretty easily. This has happened in a few areas of the adventure path so far.
In some parts of the adventure, it specifically says that certain groups of baddies ignore disturbances outside their rooms for specific reasons. Other than that, you do have to remember that some of them live in noisy areas, so they might not recognize fighting noises for what they are, unless a bad guy intentionally raises an alarm. Think of it logically for each area, and don't be afraid to combine fights occasionally, but make sure it takes a couple of rounds of saying "What was that?" and deciding to come, along with traveling time, before the second group arrives to check things out.
More often, the Grand Lodge is the "I don't want to bother with faction politics, so just put me in the default" faction. I know I have two PCs in the Grand Lodge for that reason. It's not loyalty to the Decemvirate so much as just wanting to be a Pathfinder and not bother with factions, which fits their personalities.
I joined Shadow Lodge with my first PC because my first ever PFS game was playing First Steps 3, and Grandmaster Torch's speech about Pathfinders looking out for each other made sense to my barbarian. I had no idea about the back story behind the Shadow Lodge from the previous season. This was relatively early in season 3.
I think that's half the problem. The Shadow Lodge of the season 1 and 2 scenarios was completely different than how it was presented in seasons 3 and 4, so older PFS players viewed it completely differently than those of us who joined after it was already a faction.
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Thank you for the feedback about the puzzle. John and I value your feedback, and will take it into account when making decisions in future scenarios.
I just played this. Our group mostly said that we like puzzles, if they're well done and solvable. Even after the session was over, we didn't understand the puzzle in this one. At all. I have no idea how anyone's supposed to solve this other than random guessing, and our GM couldn't explain it, either. The final clue is the only reason we knew to start on the second floor, but we still don't know how any of the previous clues were supposed to lead us to that.
I haven't read the scenario, as I was just a player, but this seems like an incredibly poorly designed puzzle. So don't take all the b%~ing here as a sign that players don't like puzzles. Take it to mean that the puzzles need to be well edited and proof read to make sure they make sense to random strangers who weren't involved in designing them, because that obviously didn't happen with this scenario.
As for the combats, the first one in town is absolutely brutal at the lower tier. I think parties with Glitterdust will be fine, but our group didn't have an arcane caster. That faerie dragon with greater invisibility and a level 7 scorching ray wand could have killed us all if I hadn't thrown out an obscuring mist for us to hide in. And the only reason I was able to cast that is because the cleric healed me up after I got scorching rayed down from full HP to -3 in a single round.
Our group had a good time with each other. We didn't enjoy the scenario. I'll go so far as to say that this is now only the 2nd PFS scenario I've ever played that I absolutely refuse to ever GM, and I've played around half of them overall.
If Leadership is used properly, with GM and Player sitting down together and DISCUSSING the desired results, it can add a needed role to a group that may have been missing it.
This goes back to my earlier point. Rather than just giving players a banned list, it's best to have a discussion about expectations among everyone when you start the campaign. We're all adults. We can discuss things maturely and agree on stuff, rather than having arbitrary GM declarations.
Rather than having a specific list, I think the best is to have a conversation with the players when you're starting the campaign, and have everyone agree on what kind of game you want. This should happen even before the GM sets the tone on what kind of campaign it is, thematically. Heck, this should probably happen even before you decide who's going to be the GM.
Charlie Bell wrote:
There's still magic involved. The magic that transports them into the mindscape.
"Ex-Shadow Lodgers? Me no ex!!! Me still in Shadow Lodge! And since me Ventoor Cap'n now, me gonna restart Shadow Lodge as new leader."
OOC: Yes, really. Mash is retired, so I haven't played him since the Shadow Lodge went away, so he's officially still a member. And he really did earn a Venture-Captain title. One of these days, someone at Paizo will actually notice these occasional posts of mine and put Mash into a scenario as an NPC trying to restart the Shadow Lodge. That would be friggin hilarious. :)
Charlie Bell wrote:
In a twisted way, this actually sorta makes sense.
Think about how the VC in this adventure converts prepared spells to potions for the PCs in the mindscape. Well, it works both ways.
In the mindscape, PCs have access to use their magic items that they have on their physical bodies, and only the ones that are on their bodies. If they left a magic item at home, they wouldn't have it with them for either the physical or mindscape portions of the adventure. But within the mindscape, they can use those items that are on their bodies, and that magic can be expended.
So if they drink a potion in the mindscape, that liquid is still sitting their in a bottle on their physical body, but the magic has been drained out of it.
Oddly, when I choose a race for power gaming reasons, it's usually human. That bonus feat is just too good to pass up for some builds.
As for people RPing their race, I've seen quite a bit of it. It really depends on the person. Some people get more into talking "in character" and really acting out their character's actions, while others don't. I don't think that has anything to do with race.
In my case, you can always tell when I'm playing a gnome (talk faster, squeekier voice). And my nagaji hisses a little. And my half orc introduces himself as Green Beard the Pirate, because what else would you call a half orc pirate? And my tiefling goes around biting people with his tusks in combat. So you can usually tell what non-human race I'm playing, even if you missed my character intro.
Jayson MF Kip wrote:
Me too, unfortunately.
I wish the recent errata update had included notes on every new weapon introduced in the Advanced Race Guide to say what fighter weapon groups they're in, but it didn't. So I continue to have 16 PCs in PFS, and a 17th concept that will probably never be created, because the question I asked a year ago has never been answered by Paizo.
Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:
Totally agreed. And supported by RAW. Intelligence and wisdom do NOT decrease while raging. You just can't concentrate or show any patience, but anything you can do quickly, you can do just as intelligently as usual.
I've never seen it ruled that barbarians can't drink a potion in battle. I did it plenty, and had to make a save every time for being superstitious, with my barbarian that made it to level 14 in PFS. And I agree that readying an action is something a raging barbarian/bloodrager shouldn't be able to do - that requires patience, which is explicitly called out.
But using a weapon slightly differently than normal, especially if you've got a trait that says you're trained for that weird usage? Not a problem.
My GM had it show us an image of a little house, with an image of my character (since I was the one most directly trying to interact with it) running around in it, until being pushed out of the house.
My character was able to respond by mirroring that with Silent Image, showing my image of my character running around the little house image, banging on the walls, but not leaving because there was no exit available. Our GM was impressed with this one - apparently, we were his only group that managed to successfully convey the idea that we didn't know how to leave.
Having played this one, I'm looking forward to reading it, to learn what details we missed as players. I already bought it, but I haven't had a chance to start reading yet. I'm still catching up on laundry and unpacking from GenCon, in and around working my full time job and other life stuff. Luckily, I've still got a week and a half until I'll be GMing it, so I'll probably read it next week.
My two biggest complaints are pretty much the same as in past years:
1. As others have noted above, GMs were frequently unprepared for the specials. Don't blame the GMs on that one.
When you don't get the special to read until 3 days before the convention, most people won't have time to prep well. This is why I swore I'd never GM a special at GenCon again, after doing it once in the past. I work weekdays, and had to deal with packing, travel, etc. So even if I did have the special the Friday before GenCon, that would still only leave the weekend to prep what's already an extra long scenario to read. And that's best case scenario: Paizo is frequently later than that in delivering final versions of the specials to GMs.
I refuse to deliver a sub-par performance to the players. That's why I'll never run any scenario cold, and I'll never volunteer to GM a scenario that won't be available for me to read and prep at least two weeks in advance. I really believe that not getting to play is better than a bad PFS experience for the players, especially at a big con like this that attracts lots of newbies and casual gamers. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
This is a Paizo problem, not a problem with the GM volunteers. The problem is that Paizo considers the Friday before GenCon to be an acceptable deadline to have all scenarios distributed to the GMs. If they made the deadline two weeks earlier than that, and made sure everyone on their staff knew it 6 months in advance, then you wouldn't have nearly as many complaints about unprepared GMs.
2. Mustering for the specials. Maybe it was just Thursday (my group was a little later Friday and didn't play the other specials), but making all the players wait in the hallway until 2 minutes before the scheduled start time just caused a lot of crowded confusion. I get that you have to have a GM meeting before hand to point out last minute changes, work out hand signals, make sure everyone's on the same page, etc, but if you could find a small side room to do that instead, you could start seating players 15 minutes earlier, and the whole thing would be much smoother and get started sooner.
That's it for the complaints. Other than that, I had a great experience, though I only played 3 PFS sessions. I was just busy doing other stuff through much of the con. Like others, I'd say my GM quality varied a bit, but in my case, they varied from good to very good, with no bad ones.
I also really liked the three scenarios I played. In fact, I like 7-01 Between the Lines enough that I signed up to GM it at a local store in 2 weeks. I'm curious to see what this one's like from the other side of the GM screen. The two specials I played were a lot of fun, too.
Played it at GenCon and loved the scenario. Just bought it to run in 2 weeks at a local store, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.
My group gambled and won, getting down to 1 year. The rest of the group wanted to continue to get rid of it, but my gnome volunteered to take the 1 year off his life, just to see what it would be like. That probably postponed bleaching by at least a few years, so he probably came out ahead.
Yeah, he's definitely turning his head around to look over his shoulder, and the shield is still strapped to his back. Compare to the previous panel, where he's standing behind the tiger, facing the the ship.
And yeah, that cat does seem to be an animal companion these days, while the tiger is just a pet.
Anyway, Durkula wasted time... If he knew the location he could just say that he received sending from high priest with the information and coordinates and convince the party to go to get help in their mission... Sense Motive isn't the party's strong suit, vampires get a racial bonus, and Roy wants to believe him anyway.
Roy would have bought it, but Belkar's already suspicious, and Haley's constantly telling everyone else to grow a Sense Motive, so I think she might have been suspicious, too. With someone other than Belkar calling him out on it, that might have been enough to make Roy and V stop and wonder, instead of just playing along.
By Durkula leaving himself completely out of the equation for how Roy found out, it's far more subtle and easily successful.
So much for my theory. LOL
The black raven wrote:
2) With all this golem-ruckus, we have all overly focussed on Haley and conveniently forgotten about Durkula. I am betting on vampire action in the coming weeks.
Don't even ask about the train of thought that led me to this, but I just had an interesting thought about why Rich may have inserted this side plot at this time.
If Grubwiggler really is a powerful necromancer, you'd think he'd know something about vampires, and also have high enough will saves to avoid vamp hypnosis. My guess is that he'll either 1) blow the lid on Durkula (unlikely) or 2) cut a deal with Durkula to save his own skin and advance Durkula/Hel's agenda (MUCH more likely).
So after all the debate in this thread about how to handle it, this ended up not being an issue. The sorceress took Teleport as a known spell on the level up, though they surprised me by teleporting to Magnimar instead of Sandpoint. They figured it's only a day by horseback between them, so this would give them a little time to sell their loot, get new equipment, and ask the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar for reenforcements.
Then they did a Divination to find out when the attack would be, and realized Magnimar wouldn't have time to assemble an army. They're pretty much on their own, plus Sandpoint's militia and a couple of NPCs who may be a little useful, just as the AP intended. I gave them a day for travel to Sandpoint before the attack will happen, but they decided to teleport that morning instead of riding horses, so they'll have a full day in Sandpoint to prepare for battle and evacuate as many civilians as possible.
So next session, they'll arrive in Sandpoint, prep for battle, and the attack will begin!
Yeah, even when it fails, it's scary. When I ran it a few weeks ago, I got the party paladin down to 2 HP on the behead attempt, and my description of it trying to rip his head off had them all in a panic to kill the thing THAT ROUND before it could try that again. Of course, it was already heavily damaged by then, too, so they did manage to kill it and free the pally before he died, but that sense that it was a tough fight that they barely overcame before another party member was killed made it lots of fun.
I love living in Chicago. It has all the advantages of a big city (tons of good restaurants, museums, live music, summer festivals, public transportation, more Pathfinder groups than I can count, etc), with a friendlier midwestern attitude than most big cities. And as mentioned, the drivers here are pretty tame compared to what I'm used to (just moved here from Florida two years ago).
Worst drivers: Florida. And the further south you go in the state, the worse they get. Miami drivers are just downright scary, and that's coming from someone who learned to drive and spent 2/3 of my life living in the 2 counties just north of there. I was amazed when I first discovered that as bad as the drivers are in Broward and Palm Beach counties, they're actually MUCH worse in Miami.
Back on topic, I've found that most of the maps for Runelords don't quite fit on a single flip mat. You can tell that Paizo started publishing those 24x30 blank mats after they published this adventure path, because there are so many 26x32 maps in the adventure, which I'm assuming was some sort of standard size at the time. As mentioned by someone else above, I just broke Thistletop into two sections, separated by the bridge in between.
But now we're up to Hook Mountain Massacre, and that Fort Rannick map is just huge, if you try and give them the overall map with the exterior, moat, outer wall, courtyard, and all inner buildings. I have a big rollout map (48x36), and I was thinking of using that and just telling them that each square is 10 feet instead of the usual 5. But combat might not occur there, depending on how they handle it, or only in certain sections, so I may refrain from drawing it and just draw small sections as needed when we play that part.
I'm also worried about the start of the 4th book, with all of Sandpoint becoming a giant battleground. Not sure how I'll handle that.
So... funny story. I decided to just go with it tonight. They were in Sandpoint for just one night on their way east from Magnimar to Turtleback Ferry, so I had a farmer report spotting the Sandpoint Devil, and they went out hunting. With two rangers in the group now that Shalelu joined, they were easily able to track it to the Devil's Platter and confront it.
First round, Shalelu wins initiative, rapid shots, and only one arrow hits, for 4 points of damage after DR.
Next comes the devil, and it howls at them (its bay ability). EVERY SINGLE PARTY MEMBER, including horses and an animal companion, misses the save, except for the paladin, who ironically rolled high enough but would have been immune regardless.
So they and their horses run away in a panic. I decided the devil had just eaten a cow that night, so it wasn't particularly hungry, and didn't bother chasing them down. They decided not to try again immediately (the paladin and ranger who really wanted to hunt it got voted down), but they promised to come back and try again after they're higher level.
New update: Craft Wondrous Bauble
Best zinger V's ever gotten on Blackwing. Luckily, Blackwing was too distracted to notice.
Lot of good little details on this one. Love the hat stores in the first panel, and the fact that the gnome's standing on an elevated platform, which is why he's almost V's height.
Jayson MF Kip wrote:
It doesn't come up often to be a prepared spell, but I'd agree that it's a good scroll to have.
While we're on the subject, all spellcasters should carry scrolls of at least 10 times as many spells as their character level. If you're level 1 and played your first adventure, then you've got at least 400 gp to spend on level 1 scrolls for 25 gp each. By level 5, you can easily have scrolls of 40 or 50 different "utility" type spells that aren't worth having as prepared spells, but could be useful to have around once in a while. Comprehend Languages should be near the top of that list for almost any casting class.
And if any non-caster wants a buff spell cast on them, bring your own scrolls, potions, and/or wands.
I can't say I've ever had too much gold on any character. There's always something I still want to buy.
For most of my PCs, I intentionally save up my prestige until I have the 21 for body extraction and raise dead, other than spending the first two on a cure wand.
But I decided that I'd intentionally play one particular character more recklessly, and I've been spending his prestige after every adventure. At level 4, I'm having a hard time coming up with more stuff for him to spend it on. I've used it on wands of Cure Light, Infernal Healing, Protection from Evil, oil of Daylight, potion of Fly, scrolls of various situational spells that could be useful (Comprehend Languages, Air Bubble, etc). I finally decided to save up the 5 prestige for body retrieval, since that can't be paid for in cash, and he's up to the level where he could probably afford a Raise Dead if it came up (possibly relying on other party members to chip in a little).