My group did a character creation session last night. Some of them did more of the "assigned reading" (AP players guides) in advance than others.
The one with the most detailed character and back story idea is doing an Order of the Lion cavalier, which means he has to be loyal to a specific ruler and their domain. He also took the Rich Parents and Merchant Family traits, to start with extra cash and get more money when selling stuff. I think he gets a greed sin point just for those trait choices. :p This also means he's supposed to be related to one of the Sandpoint founding families. The character is LN, worships Abadar, and he prefers the idea of his character growing up in Magnimar rather than Sandpoint.
I'm figuring the obvious choice is to have him be loyal to the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar, and see himself as a protector of Magnimar, along with the villages, towns, farmland, etc that are considered holdings of Magnimar, trying to spread civilization to the wilds in the area. That works for both the cavalier order and Abadar worship. The question is which Sandpoint family to put him in.
The others had less of an idea of what to do for their back stories, though recommending campaign traits from the AP players guide helped. The bard was easy - he's in town for the theater. A player with a ranger saw the monster hunter trait and decided he liked that idea, so his character heard rumors of the Sandpoint Devil and came to town to go hunting for it.
Any suggestions for why a chaotic good elven draconic sorceress who worships Calistria might be in Sandpoint for the Swallowtail Festival? I'm sure we can come up with something eventually, but I figured I'd ask for suggestions.
Has anyone ever done a short handout or something to introduce newbies to the game world?
I'm going to be GMing Rise of the Runelords for a new group, most of whom have played other versions of the game, but only one of whom has ever dealt with Pathfinder before. I don't know if he's ever played on Golarion, or just used the game rules in other settings, and it sounds like he's only played a little Pathfinder, mostly sticking to older 3.5 rules. I know the game world fairly well from playing a ton of Pathfinder Society over the last two years, even though this will be my first time doing an adventure path as either a player or GM, so I'm definitely the Golarion expert in this group.
I've already told them to download the Players Guides for Runelords (both the original and anniversary edition), but I don't know most of these people well enough to know how much prep work they'll do in advance. With 6 players, I'm expecting a mix of people who don't download them at all, some who download and skim them, and some who actually read them all the way through.
We'll be doing a character creation session as a group in a few days, and I'm planning to help them come up with character back stories that fit into the game world. Needless to say, this means telling them about the game world.
I was going to show them the big map of the Inner Sea region from the Inner Sea World Guide, and tell them some basic history, like Aroden, the founding of Absalom, Cheliax and its relationship to Varisia, etc. Then I'll focus mostly on Varisia and Sandpoint, using info mostly from the AP and its Players Guides. But it occurred to me that I'll be throwing a lot of info at them at once, which is why I was thinking that giving them a handout sheet of important information would be useful, both to help it sink in and give them something to reference later.
I'm thinking a single page is probably ideal, from the standpoint of being short enough that I'm sure people will actually read it. Maybe two pages, if some of it is bullet points for easier reading. Now I just need to decide what information to put on this and write it up.
Has anyone here ever done something similar they'd be willing to share?
I'll be GMing Rise of the Runelords, so I bought the anniversary edition hardback. After reading the introduction, I skipped to the appendices before reading the adventure itself. All those details on Sandpoint, its history, residents, surrounding area, etc seemed like good stuff to know immediately. I know a fair bit of general knowledge about Golarion from playing lots of PFS, but I want to learn as much detail as I can about the specific area around this adventure path before my group meets again. We'll be doing a character creation session as a group before the first playing session, and I'll want to help them incorporate their back stories into the setting, so the more I know, the better.
I have a few questions, some of which may already be answered here. But with 2700+ threads already about this AP, it's hard to find answers to specific questions, so I'm starting my own thread.
My first and most obvious question is what year is it when the AP starts? The history of Sandpoint gives years for the town's founding and when the "Late Unpleasantness" happened. Admittedly, I just skimmed the start of the adventure looking for a reference to the year, so I may have missed something that I'll find once I read it all in detail, but I don't see it. How long has it been since the Late Unpleasantness?
Also, there are references all over to the ancient Thassilonian ruins around Varisia, including the Old Light and the 7 stones at the center of the Sandpoint Cathedral, both of which are described as being misunderstood by the current locals. Just how much would the residents of Sandpoint and the PCs know about this stuff? Would they even know the name "Thassilonian" to describe these ancient ruins, and have a general idea about how long ago it was and/or any of the history involved, or would they just view these things as ancient ruins that nobody knows anything about?
That's it for now. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I keep reading.
Since returning to RPGs two years ago after a 20+ year hiatus, I've mostly been playing Pathfinder Society, both in public venues and with a long lasting home group. I've also joined a couple of home groups that tried to start ongoing campaigns, but none of them has lasted more than 3 sessions.
I've just joined another new home group, and this time, I'll be the GM. I'll be running Rise of the Runelords, and I've already purchased the anniversary edition hardback book.
At this point, I've GMed over 50 sessions of Society play, so I'm used to reading and running adventures from Paizo's published material, and I don't anticipate problems in that regard. I think I'll like the idea of having more control, since I can change up details to accommodate the specific group, which isn't allowed in the pure RAW environment of PFS.
My big concern is that I'm not used to playing home campaigns any more. I used to DM ongoing campaigns all the time in middle/high school playing D&D/AD&D (back when they were separate games with no edition numbers), but it's been a while. I'm so used to the PFS-specific "house rules" that there are areas of the Pathfinder game I've never really dealt with. So I'm trying to figure out what campaign stuff I'm not used to that I need to figure out, because it just doesn't come up in PFS.
For instance, here are some specific issues I've thought of already:
1. XP. In PFS, you just level up after every 3 sessions. I'm not used to tracking and assigning XP any more, so I should look up the details to see how that works in Pathfinder. Is that in the Core Rulebook (which I never did get around to reading cover to cover)? Or I've considered the idea of skipping all that math and just having the PCs level up at specific points in the adventure. RotR does say roughly what levels the PCs should be when they hit particular points in the adventure, so that could be easy to make work.
2. Item acquisition/crafting. In PFS, crafting is forbidden, but it's assumed that players have access to buy any magic item, as long as they have the fame points necessary, which is a PFS-specific mechanic. Obviously, I'll have to look up both crafting rules and the rules for what items are available to buy in what size village, town, city, etc to know how to deal with this. I know crafting is spread out throughout the Core Rulebook (some feats, some in the magic item area, I believe). Is the available purchase info in the CRB, or would I need to go to the GM Guide (which I don't own and have never even looked at) for that?
3. Treasure. I believe the AP is written with 4 players in mind, so should I multiply treasure awards (including items) by 1.5 to keep player wealth up to their level when dealing with 6 players? For that matter, what about found magic items that they don't want? I guess I'll have to figure out item selling rules.
I'm sure there are other campaign-specific types of things that I'm not thinking of that I'll have to deal with for the first time in Pathfinder, because they don't come up in PFS.
My players are mostly returning players who used to play older editions (mostly 3.0 and 3.5, though there's a long time 2nd edition player, too), and two total newbies to tabletop RPGs, so I doubt they'll know this stuff better than me. Since I'm the GM, I'll be the one in charge, so I want to prepare as much as I can for all of this stuff before we start the campaign. In some cases (like possibly skipping XP and just telling them to level up when it seems appropriate), I'll probably discuss house rule possibilities with the group.
Anyone have any other campaign-type issues I should be thinking of?
I've just joined a newly formed playing group, made up mostly of people just getting back into RPGs after a while, and a couple of total tabletop RPG newbies. The experienced players mostly have 3.0/3.5 experience, but I'm the only one who has played Pathfinder. I figured an adventure path would be a good way to come up with adventures to play quickly and easily, so I volunteered to GM the group through one as our first campaign, and we agreed to use Pathfinder rules.
We had a discussion of what type of game people want, and "story driven" was the phrase that kept coming up. So I know these guys don't want a dungeon crawl, or anything that's focused mostly on combat. Some combat is obviously ok, even necessary, or there's no point playing this type of game, but I'm thinking lots of interaction with NPCs and story plot outside of just combat would appeal to this group.
Personally, I've played a lot of Pathfinder Society, but never played or GMed an AP. So I'm trying to guess which would be good for this group based on what I've heard or read online.
Rise of the Runelords is obviously the best known, so personally, I'm curious to check it out, but I don't actually know that much about it. From what I've seen, it does focus on some of the classic genre monsters (goblins, giants), and seems like it should provide a good introduction to both the game and the world of Golarion, especially for the total newbies. But is there a lot of plot stuff that ties the different parts together? A lot of NPC interaction? Or are you mostly just moving from one combat driven adventure to the next?
Also, I've heard that RotR has a reputation for being deadly, and I don't want to scare the newbies away. But we're also playing with 6 players, and I've heard these things are designed for 4, so I may just let them steamroll some of the combats and only adjust the difficulty up if it definitely seems too easy, regardless of which AP we're playing. Given the lack of player skill I'm expecting from these guys, I'm thinking too easy is better than too hard.
From the published description by Paizo, Council of Thieves seems like it would be a good choice for this group, except that I don't know if they want to do something that urban focused. One of the players was talking about maybe playing a druid, and I think that they're expecting at least some wilderness exploration, just because it's a classic part of the genre.
Jade Regent seems like it might be good, but I've seen it described as something of a sequel to Runelords. Would it be best to do RotR first?
Skull and Shackles has me curious, because pirates. What else is there to say? But I'm worried about people with lawful and/or good characters having a problem in that one. It seems better suited for a neutral group, and some of these guys have indicated that they're mostly interested in playing good, heroic type characters.
I've ruled out Kingmaker, even though it might be a good fit for this group, because I've heard that it requires more work to customize than any of the others. Since this is my first time GMing a campaign in over 20 years (as opposed to the single session adventures of Pathfinder Society, which I GM all the time), I'd rather ease into it with something easier.
Carrion Crown sounds interesting, but I'm just not sure if I'm a good enough GM to do the horror theme justice. I'm also not sure if the group would be interested in something so horror focused - I'd have to ask them.
What do the rest of you think?
So at this point, I’ve played all 11 characters at least once in a solo game, mostly in pairs, but a couple with just the one character. And I’ve been in larger groups (3-4) with each of them through at least 5 scenarios. I still haven't played with 5 or 6, which I understand is a different enough experience to be worth trying out.
There are some characters that are my favorites, a few that I still don't have a firm enough grasp of, a couple that I just don’t want to ever play again, and one that I didn’t think I’d like that ended up being among the favorites.
In evaluating each character, I've come up with some things that I've found as common preferences regardless of which character I'm playing. I'll put this and the details about each character in spoilers, just to cut down on the "wall of text" factor, because this post is going to be pretty huge.
Common evaluation criteria:
1. I've come to highly value the ability to cycle through your deck to get the cards you need for a specific situation. This means I tend to prefer characters that recharge a lot of cards, allowing them to draw regularly and change their cards in hand to suit the situation. Characters that don't recharge many cards often get stuck with whatever they happened to draw first, and have to discard for no purpose than to get those cards out of the way to draw more, which is effectively taking voluntary damage just to try and draw better cards.
2. At this point in the game, I'd say a 5 card hand is ideal. I've found that characters with only 4 in hand sometimes have a tough time getting the cards they want into their hand when they need them. Those with 6 are more susceptible to damage, and may get into trouble having to draw up after discarding a lot. I think 5 is the Goldilocks zone, at least at this point in the game. Once character decks get larger at later stages in the adventure path, it wouldn't surprise me if that changed.
3. When evaluating characters, usefulness is obviously a top priority. But they're all useful, just in different ways. Some are the best at combat, but not as good at other things. Others are great at acquiring boons, or healing, or scouting, or whatever else, but not as good at combat. So it's a balancing act. When comparing the usefulness of two characters, it's best to compare similar characters doing similar things, rather than completely different characters. Complaining that Lini isn't as good in a fight as Valeros is kinda meaningless, because Lini is much better at other things, and less combat focused. But comparing the healing ability of Kyra and another divine caster (Lini, Lem), and then branching out to comparing other aspects of the characters in question, can be a useful way of looking at things.
4. One other thing to consider is that armor just isn't that useful overall. Yes, I can see keeping one or two damage reduction cards in a deck, but three or more is just overkill, and gets in the way of more frequently useful cards. Needless to say, this hurts the evaluation of characters that start with too much armor.
So here's my thoughts on each character, roughly in order from most to least favorite, though the exact order is subject to change on a whim.
1. Lini the Druid:
Spells are cool, and Lini gets a lot of them. With a couple of starting Inflicts, she's good at combat. With a couple of starting Cures, she's a pretty good healer. With a couple of starting Detect Magics, she's a decent scout. She's not the best character at any of these things, but with two of each of those as her starting spells, she can serve all three of those roles in any party. Or go with different spells to specialize more, or on different areas, depending on what you need.
She has animal companions that give her a pretty much permanent +1d4 on everything. This allows her to succeed on a lot of random checks where her normal skill wouldn't normally give her much chance, such as using her 1d6 dex or intelligence to try and roll a 5 through 7 for something. This makes her the best character in the game at acquiring random treasure or closing locations without necessarily having the perfect skill for it. And since Survival is a common skill to close many locations, she's already great for that one.
She can recharge her animals when others would be discarding them, which helps with cycling through her deck faster. Recharging spells is also good for cycling through her deck, and she has more spells even than most spellcasters. And unlike most characters, she actually doesn't need specific cards in hand to engage in battle - discard anything and she turns into a combat animal... literally. If she happens to have the Amulet of Mighty Fists (basic card, but usually best suited for Sajan, so Lini only gets dibs when he's not around), then she's even better at unarmed fighting. But again, that relies on getting the card into hand.
Her biggest down side is that she doesn't begin with a weapon in her deck. Using a weapon and boosting her strength by wild shaping is one possible strategy for how to play her in combat, but it relies on either borrowing a weapon from an ally, or else waiting until you can eventually get a weapon using a card feat.
So Lini is probably my favorite character overall, due to a combination of flexibility, effectiveness, and the fact that she's such a cute little gnome with lots of cool animals. Yes, she gets bonus points for fluff!
2. Valeros the Fighter:
Speaking of combat animals, Valeros is the ultimate weapon master. He starts with 5 weapons, and it's his favorite card type, so he always starts with one in hand. I always make sure he only keeps melee weapons that have the "discard for an extra die" clause in their power. He recharges them when he discards that way, which is a great way to make sure he doesn't get stuck with too many weapons in hand and no way to cycle through his deck. When I play him, I pretty much recharge a weapon on every fight, unless it's the last one in hand.
His other character power to aid allies in combat at his location is a nice little bonus, particularly since there's no cost, unlike the card recharge costs to use similar powers for some other characters. So not only is he great in a fight, he makes his allies better in a fight for free. Between the extra die from discarding his weapon in every fight, and the ability to boost his allies, I'd say he's probably the best raw combat character in the game.
Besides combat, he has a d8 dexterity, which is useful for some barriers and other things, and 1d6+2 diplomacy, so he's better than average at making new friends.
For downsides, he has 3 armors in his deck, and he doesn't lose fights often enough to need them. Also, his three starting blessings is less than any other character besides the atheist Ezren. Combined with only having two allies to start, he doesn't have the cards necessary to get extra explorations as often as many other characters.
But for raw combat power, I'll choose to play Valeros and cycle through weapons every time.
3. Lem the Bard:
Like Lini, the key here is flexibility. He only gets four spells to start, but he's the only spellcasters that uses both arcane and divine, so neither goes to waste.
With his ability to trade a card in hand for a card of the same type in his discard pile, he can fail his recharge check when casting Cure, and just keep grabbing it back. This makes him just about as good a healer as Kyra, even with only one Cure spell in his deck.
Give him a decent ranged weapon and use his flexible favored class bonus to always start with it in hand, and he should be able to handle himself in a fight, even without an attack spell. Maybe give him attack spells for extra firepower.
His other power lets him aid allies at his location, while also cycling through his deck to find what he wants. He starts with 3 allies and 5 blessings, and he can acquire new allies easily, so he's good at getting extra explorations or boosts on die rolls.
Downside? His d4 strength makes him very dependent on ranged weapon or attack spell cards to survive a fight. I'm not sure if he's got the combat power necessary to survive solo, unless you really load him up with attack spells.
All in all, as an RPG player, I've always liked both halflings and bards, and this one doesn't disappoint.
4. Harsk the Ranger:
You know how I said there was a character I didn't expect to like that ended up being a favorite? Well, it's Harsk. As a Pathfinder RPG player, I've known about this character for a while and didn't like him much as a pregenerated character to use in Pathfinder Society. I just wasn't enthusiastic to try him in PACG. But now that I played in a group with him, I realize he's a great character to have around.
The irony of this gruff loner dwarf is that he works best with a large group. He's got lots of ranged weapons and a nice +3 starting bonus to his Ranged skill that makes him quite effective in a fight, even though it's only based on a d8 dexterity. But his real combat strength shows when the characters at other locations get into a fight. He recharges any card from his hand to give them an extra d4, which helps their fight and lets him cycle through his deck nicely. But because he runs around with crossbows, most of his weapons also have a "discard to help an ally at another location" ability on top of that. So he can easily give his allies 2d4 in the toughest fights, just as long as they leave him alone at his locations.
On top of that, his ability to peek at the top of a location deck at the end of his turn is great for scouting. If need be, he can scout one location, then move to scout a different one every turn. He's got a couple of useful skills (+2 Survival and Perception) and 5 starting blessings, which are always nice to have.
As for downsides, his charisma is terrible, so don't expect to pick up any non-animal allies. And the fact that his most useful features are based on aiding allies at a distance means that he's probably a lot less useful when playing solo.
That's the end of the 4 characters that I'm sure I like. Now we're up to a group that I'm still not entirely sure about. These are characters that I think have potential, and I want to like. But I either haven't played them enough to be really comfortable with their strengths and weaknesses, or else I know enough about their weaknesses to consider them less optimal than some of the best group, above.
5. Merisiel the Rogue:
The elven thief is a character who theoretically revolves around her items. This is good for acquiring boons, defeating barriers, closing locations, or whatever other skill checks come up that she can use items to help out with. Combine all her skill boosting items with good skills in Acrobatics, Stealth, pretty good Perception, and especially Disable, since that one comes up the most, and she's any group's "go to" character against barriers.
But in a game that revolves around combat much of the time, does she have enough combat power to go with all this non-combat ability? Yeah, actually, she does. She may not be Valeros, but she can handle herself ok when things turn violent.
She starts with only 2 weapons, and doesn't get one in hand automatically. With her d12 dexterity, these should be ranged weapons, but she has the d8 strength to use a melee weapon if she happens to find one. As long as she's alone, she can recharge a card for an extra d6 in combat, or discard it for another d6 on top of that, though I wouldn't recommend using that discard... ever. Ok, maybe if it's the final villain fight of the game, but that's about it. The recharge power is not only good for combat, but again, it's a deck cycling method. If she or another character can boost her fighting power with a blessing, she can handle easier combats even if she doesn't have a weapon in hand.
Or if she doesn't want to get into a fight, she can evade anything that comes her way. And remember, that evasion isn't just against monsters. She can evade any encounter. Let's say she flips the top card of a location deck and finds a great spell that she thinks Ezren would want, but she doesn't have the Intelligence or Arcane to pick it up. Evade it, and you'll know it's still at that location for Ezren to come and get later!
Downsides? Mostly just her reliance on weapons, and no easy way to get one in hand. Also, her 2 allies and 4 blessings might not give her enough extra explorations in a large group. So she might be the best character to play solo, decent in a mid-size group (2-4), but not the best in a large group.
Overall, I like Merisiel. I just haven't played her enough to be really comfortable with her, which is why she's not in my top favorites. But I think she's likely to join them once I've played her more.
6. Sajan the Monk:
With the most average stats (no d4 or d12), no weapons, no armor, and no spells, Sajan is pretty much a blessing-based life form. He's got 8 blessings to start, and he knows how to use them. With a blessing or two in hand, he's a combat beast that cannot lose.
The problem? His 8 starting blessings might look like a lot, but since those are the only cards he ever uses, they actually aren't enough. He's got 4 items and 3 allies to start, but he'd rather have more blessings. He discards the allies and occasionally blessings for more explorations. But the items are often unnecessary, other than the Amulet of Mighty Fists and maybe a Thieves Tools, later upgraded to Masterwork Tools, to deal with barriers. So why exactly is item his favored card, when those are frequently the least useful cards in his deck?
And with a hand size of only 4 cards, he sometimes just can't get enough blessings in his hand to be useful. Any time you have to beat a henchman, then summon another monster or henchman to close the location, he's at risk of not having enough blessings in hand for both fights. His first power feat should definitely go into boosting his hand size to 5. And he's the one character I'd seriously consider upgrading from a 5 to 6 card hand.
His other downside is that he may be great at combat, but he's incredibly average at everything else. Remember that his recharging blessing trick only works on combat checks. Non-dexterity checks to acquire most items, close locations, or overcome barriers will be at d6, or d8 if it's a wisdom check, and spending a blessing for an extra die is a discard, just like for anyone else, but it hurts his combat power more than most others. Since he needs the blessings for combat, and only has a 4 card hand, he's unlikely to use them for acquiring stuff, so a lot of good boons will go to waste when he encounters them.
Sajan is a character I really wanted to like, and he's great in a fight, but his downsides make him just barely annoying enough to keep him off my "favorites" list. I like him, just not quite as much as the top 5, above. Still, he's probably great if you just want to play a solo game based on killing everything, without worrying about picking up boons along the way.
7. Ezren the Wizard:
As mentioned earlier, spells are cool, and Ezren gets 8 of them. With his high arcane skill, he should be recharging them most of the time, and he can frequently draw another spell from his deck when he casts one. So deck cycling should be pretty easy for him.
He's also good at exploring locations with lots of magic present. If necessary, he has a d6 strength and dexterity, with a weapon in his starting deck, so he can fall back on beating people with a stick if he runs out of offensive spells.
I haven't played Ezren enough to be really comfortable with him yet. It was actually a tough call for me whether to rank him above or below Seoni - both primary arcane casters are pretty good, but have at least one major weakness. In this case, that would be his lack of blessings. With only 3 allies, and nothing special in charisma to pick up more, he's not going to explore many times per turn. So he's probably good in smaller groups, where exploring only once per turn every time is acceptable.
8. Seoni the Sorceress:
The fact that she's refered to as a sorcerer, instead of the feminine sorceress, has always bugged me.
Like Ezren, Seoni is a primary arcane caster with lots of spellcasting, and one major weakness. Seoni only gets 3 spell cards, but she's got a fire blast she can use any time she wants, so she's one of the few characters that can get away with going into battle without an offensive card in hand. The downside is obviously the discard cost of using that blast.
With 5 blessings, 4 allies, and a good charisma, she's also one of the best characters at getting extra explores per turn, which is great for a large group. Unfortunately, those are discarded, as well.
And that's really her weakness - not just that her blast spell relies on discarding, but so does everything else she does. Her 3 spell cards are just about the only thing rechargeable cards she has. Of all the characters in the game, she's the most reliant on healing. I think this is why I ranked her below Ezren, though it was a tough call.
9. Kyra the Cleric:
Kyra's a great healer, at the cost of a divine card. She's great against undead, and she's got the fortitude to pick up better armor easily. Unfortunately, that's about all she's got going for her.
Like Seoni, I kinda wish Kyra had more than 3 spells. She has 2 weapons, and possible attack spells, but her favored card type is blessings, so she may start without any offense in hand.
And while she's the clearly the best healer in the game, the fact is that Lini and Lem can be almost as good at healing, and much more useful in other regards, because they don't have to give up exploring to heal. Any of them could use Cure spells for healing instead of Kyra's power, but she's got the least spells of the healing characters, so she has the least flexibility in other spells if she does rely on Cure spells
Maybe it's because I played Kyra in a 4 character group, but she spent all her time healing, and rarely got to do any actual exploring. Maybe in a smaller group, that wouldn't be such a problem. As is, I'm just more likely to pick Lini or Lem as the healer for any 3+ character group, because they're better at other things, too. I'm tempted to try her solo (or duo), just to see if she works out better that way.
Remember how I mentioned two characters that I don't want to ever play again? Well here they are:
10. Seelah the Paladin:
I really want to like Seelah. I'm actually a fan of paladins in the classic D&D/Pathfinder RPG. There are a ton of threads here on the Paizo forums about people hating paladins, because they have to play noble, lawful good personalities, and I'm constantly standing up on the side of the paladins. I'm not all noble and honorable in RL, but in a role playing game, it's fun to play that type of character once in a while. As long as they're useful, which they definitely are in the RPG. But here in the card game, she's just not that great.
With 1d8 +2 starting Melee, she's pretty good with weapons, though not quite as good as Valeros or Amiri. But she only starts with 3 weapon cards, and they aren't her favored card type. Armor as a favored card type? Really??? Could you start a character with a more useless card, especially in a 4 card hand? So just getting a weapon in hand doesn't always happen right away, and she doesn't have an easy way to cycle through her deck to find what she wants.
Speaking of lack of deck cycling, she gets one spell in her starting deck, which rarely actually gets into her hand and played. I think in our group she actually got to cast her Cure spell once in 5 sessions.
She's got a decent wisdom and pretty good charisma, though no bonus on diplomacy, so she can still roll a 1 or 2 on the d10.
As for her character powers, scouting the location deck before diving in is nice, though driving away any boons means that she frequently still won't know what monster she's about to face before doing so. And recharging a blessing for an extra d6 on any check would be a sweet deal, if she didn't risk discarding other cards when she used it. But those powers are sometimes pretty good, which is why she isn't dead last on this list, despite my having no desire to ever play her again.
11. Amiri the Barbarian:
So Amiri is great at pounding on things with her 5 starting weapons, just like Valeros. And she has decent survival skill, along with the ability to move at the end of her turn, which can be handy. And that's it.
Unlike Valeros, she has no way to cycle through her deck, because she lacks his power to recharge weapons when using their discard power. Her second character power lets her bury a card for extra combat power - the one thing she really doesn't need. Has anyone actually seen her use this power when it ever mattered? In our group, she'd use it during the final villain fight, when we knew she was going to win anyway, and the buried card was irelevant, because the game was over.
Yes, she's great in a fight. But so are a lot of other characters who have other things to contribute to the group. Kinda like how Kyra's the best healer, but doesn't contribute enough in other ways, so I'd rather play one of the other healer characters. If I want a melee weapon beast, I'll take Valeros over Amiri or Seelah every time.
Ever have a session that was actually too easy because everything went right?
My group's last session, Harsk, Kyra, Amiri, and Seoni beat Black Fang so easily that we've decided not to take the rewards and replay that scenario again, for the challenge.
On the very first turn of the game, Kyra stood there at the Temple accumulating and discarding blessings to explore over and over, until on her fourth exploration, she stood face to face with the dragon itself - Black Fang was there, defiling the Temple! We decided that losing the fight wasn't a bad thing, since she could just heal herself next turn, and at least we'd know where the villain was. So nobody pumped up her combat check, and she stood toe to toe against the beast with nothing but her mace. She rolled well enough to only take two damage, and Black Fang got shuffled back into the location deck.
We then got even luckier at other locations, encountering henchmen among the first three cards at three different locations, so we were able to close two of them early, though one close check was whiffed. While this was happening, we used scouting techniques to get through the Temple cards without exploring randomly, until we saw that Black Fang was on top.
So it only took two turns by each character (7 or 8 turns of the blessings deck) before we were ready to move into position for the final fight. We thought about exploring more just for shopping, but the easy locations to do that were already closed, so we figured we'd go for the jugular.
At that point, people spent their turns moving into position, discarded stuff they wouldn't use in the hopes of drawing more blessings, and got ready to close their locations. Then Amiri's turn came up, and she moved to confront the beast!
Amiri flipped the card to reveal the villain, and the other three had to act to close their locations. Seoni cast the Glibness she'd picked up earlier that session, and easily made an Arcana check to close one of them. Harsk and Kyra needed to burn through blessings to make sure they would succeed in closing their own locales. That left Amiri face to face with the dragon, which had nowhere to run when defeated. Just one problem: Amiri didn't have a weapon in hand!
Amiri proved we were right to send her for the final fight, despite not having a weapon. On top of her initial 1d12 +2, She buried a crowbar to rage for an extra 1d10, and revealed the Sage's Journal for another 1d4. She, Kyra, and Seoni all spent blessings to give her another 3d12, and Harsk provided cover fire with both his character power and a discarded crossbow for another 2d4. Needless to say, Amiri easily beat the target number of 12, and victory was ours, with just 11 cards flipped in the blessings deck the entire session!
Now I know the Sage's Journal is supposed to represent being better prepared for a fight because you've learned about your opponent. But Amiri winning that final fight with that as her only weapon led us to the only obvious conclusion: Amiri is so strong that she can actually slay a dragon by smacking it over and over with a heavy book!!!
So apparently, my putting scouting at the top of the list of important party roles in the character role thread has caused some discussion. This thread is to discuss details regarding the scout role in the game.
So what exactly is scouting?
Scouting in PACG is anything that allows players to look at the cards in a location deck without encountering them.
Why is scouting important?
To find the villain, of course! Well, ok, sometimes you want to know in advance what type of monsters are where, so you can send the appropriate hero to deal with them. If Merisiel doesn't have a magic weapon, she's better off evading the shadow that can only be defeated with magic, and calling in Seoni to blast it for her. Or if you spot a boon while scouting that would be perfect in someone's character deck, then you know what character to send to that location with the proper skills to acquire it.
But the most important way that scouting aids in overall party success is by finding the villain, so the party can plan your attack. Once you know where the villain is, your group can plan what locations to focus on first. Close a couple of the easier locations, then position people at other open locations with the proper skills to temporarily close them. Then, one or two heroes confront the villain directly, those other open locations are closed to prevent escape, and victory is assured!
That's a whole lot quicker and easier than just exploring randomly, hoping to run into the villain when you have the firepower to beat him and the right people with the right cards in place elsewhere to cut off his escape. The more information you have, the more effectively you can plan your attack.
So how do we scout?
There are three main types of scouting, though there is some overlap. In order from least to most effective, they are:
Explore a location, then evade what you find there. This can be done using Merisiel's character power, items like Caltrops and Holy Water, spells like Sleep, Invisibility, and Sanctuary, or other methods that I'm probably forgetting right now. In most cases, the card you evaded get shuffled back into the deck after evading, though Sanctuary is a notable exception, and the best of the bunch in this group because of it. The end result is that you find out what one of the cards in the location is. See above for why that's a good thing.
So why do I call this the least effective form of scouting? The cost is pretty high. You use an exploration without eliminating the explored card from the location deck, which is a bad thing. In many cases, you also have to spend a card from hand. And if you have a lot of those cards in your deck, then that's cards you're not spending on other things. I'd rather have Detect Magic or Detect Evil over Invisibility or Sanctuary, which brings us to our next scouting method.
2. Peek at the top card
Spells like Detect Magic and Detect Evil, Harsk's character power, Seelah's character power (sort of), the ally Shalelu, and probably other cards allow you to look at the top card of a location before exploring and encountering it. Once again, you find out what one card in the location deck is.
This has two advantages over the "explore and evade" method. One, the card stays on the top of the deck when you're done looking at it, unless you're Seelah looking at a boon. Since you know exactly where it is, you can plan exactly what to do about it. Second, you don't have to explore to see the card, so you can save that exploration, possibly moving and exploring a different location instead. Again, more information lets you plan your attack.
And that brings us to the best form of scouting:
3. Multi-card peek, usually with rearrange
Cards like Augury and Spyglass let you look at more than one card from the top of the location deck, and at least partially stack the deck. There's also the Mayor ally card that you can banish to look through an entire location deck, but then you need to shuffle it afterward. Finding out multiple cards at once in a location deck is great information. And needless to say, the ones that let you control where to put back the cards after looking are a great way to set things up to help yourself and your team. There's no downside in terms of needing to explore before doing this, though as with all of these scouting techniques besides the character powers, there is a card cost. But given the advantage of being able to literally stack the deck in your favor, it's usually a small price to pay.
So that's my overview of scouting. I'm sure I left out cards and powers that relate to this. This isn't meant to be totally comprehensive, just an overview. And some scouting methods overlap in their technique, like the Sanctuary spell that fits into both #1 and #2, because it requires starting with "explore and evade", but lets you leave the evaded monster on top of the location deck, so you know exactly where it is.
So that's my overview of scouting. I'm sure I left out cards and powers that relate to this. This isn't meant to be totally comprehensive, just an overview. And some scouting methods overlap in their technique, like the Sanctuary spell that fits into both #1 and #2, because it requires starting with "explore and evade", but lets you leave the evaded monster on top of the location deck, so you know exactly where it is.
Hopefully, this is useful information to help you plan your attacks in the future. Good luck, and have fun storming the castle!
Solo play is obviously different, but I've played with anywhere from 1 to 4 characters. My regular 4 character group got through all 8 scenarios, plus a couple of fan scenarios, all relatively easily. My 3 character group is having a harder time. Though we've succeeded in every scenario we've played so far, we've come close to some character deaths a few times, due to lack of healing. I realized that it's mostly because of party make up, which got me thinking about party balance and the different roles for characters within a group.
Here are the primary roles, as I see them. To keep this list short, I'll leave discussion for how to carry out these roles, and which characters are good at each role, for future posts.
1. Scout - Believe it or not, I consider this the most important role in a 4+ character group (maybe also 3, but I'm on the fence there). Knowing where the villain is can define your entire strategy and allow your team to win. Just exploring randomly will lead to the blessings deck running out before you can finish.
2. Healer - Discards happen. Getting those cards back into your hand and/or character deck is a good idea, and sometimes essential for survival. Certain characters need to work with a healer more than others, so this may or may not be an essential role, depending on party makeup.
3. Explorer - Sure, everyone usually explores once per turn. But every big group needs at least a third of the team to routinely knock 2-3 cards out of a location deck every single turn, even if they're not successfully acquiring the boons. Otherwise, how will you clear all those location decks before the blessings deck runs out?
4. Safe cracker - With enough Thieves Tools and Masterwork Tools, this doesn't have to be just a single character. But some barriers are tough enough that having a barrier breaking specialist isn't a bad thing. This isn't necessarily just the disable skill, either, but all skills that routinely come up when dealing with barriers.
5. Combat - Is it a role if everyone needs to be ready for it? Like exploring, everyone does this, but it's good to know who your team's heaviest hitters are. Once your scout finds the villain, everyone else spreads out and prepares to temporarily close locations, while the team's combat monster goes in for the kill.
6. Survivalist - I know it seems odd to single out this one skill for inclusion on the "must have" list, but Survival seems to be the one oddball skill that comes up the most for closing locations. If you don't have a character on your team trained in it, you'll need to save blessings, or Guide allies, for tackling those locations.
7. Collector - While it's nice for each person to be good at acquiring boons that their character will use, I don't consider this an important general role. I include it on this list merely to rule it out as a needed role in a big party.
This list is roughly sorted from most to least important, though some of those choices could change, depending on various factors. Anyone have any additional roles to add, or anything to say about my list so far?
So I apparently missed out on the first two promo cards, because I didn't subscribe to the game until I already owned the base set and character add-on. Is there any way for newer subscribers to get the older promo cards after the fact, without spending $20+ each to get them from eBay?
When exactly do "start of your turn" and "end of your turn" actions take place? Before or after flipping the blessings deck? Before or after resetting your hand? This is mostly for character powers.
Also, I'm assuming that "play any time" cards outside a check can be played during any step of your turn. I'm also assuming that steps can't be interrupted by other actions. So by this logic, if I draw a Cure or Detect Magic while resetting my hand, I still have to finish resetting my hand before using them, but I can then use them during the "End Your Turn" phase of my turn. In the case of the Cure, it doesn't matter so much, since I can just wait and play it on the next player's turn. But Detect Magic can only be used on your own turn, and I've always assumed that once you start resetting your hand, it's too late, but now I'm reconsidering that.
Personally, I never undestood why "End Your Turn" is even a separate step. I always thought it should just be the last sentence in the description of the "Reset Your Hand" phase instead. But now I'm thinking that it's because you do have the option of doing things after resetting your hand. So maybe that's when "end of turn" actions, like Harsk's scouting power, kick in. In which case, using cards that can happen at any time should also be legal in the "End Your Turn" phase.
I can only think of one situation where the start of your turn timing might matter - Lem's power and the blessing's deck. Depending on what the top card of the blessings discard pile is during his turn, he may want to use his power to switch a blessing in his hand for one in his discard pile. So that's why it might matter if he uses his power before or after advancing the blessings deck. I've always just assumed that flipping a blessing was always the first thing you do on your turn, so you don't forget to do it, and then other "start of your turn" actions kick in immediately after that.
I realize that these are incredibly nitpicky questions. I'm a very detail oriented person, so I notice minor details like these. But I'm also realistic enough to analyze whether or not it's worth caring. Honestly, I don't much care if Mike and Vic give us official answers to these, unlike some of the more important rulings we've seen so far. I just raised the questions because they're there, so I'm curious.
Until there are official answers, I'll play that flipping the blessings deck always comes first, in the hopes that the ritual will keep anyone from forgetting. This means that the corner case works out in Lem's favor, but how often will that actually matter? I'll also play that the "End Your Turn" phase exists specifically so you can still do things after resetting your hand, including character powers that take place at the end of your turn and playing cards that can be used at any time during your turn (Cure, Detect Magic, Detect Evil, Spyglass, etc).
If you acquire a card with the Magic trait during an exploration, you may immediately explore again.
Detect Magic wrote:
Discard this card to examine the top card of your location deck. If the card is a blessing or has the Magic trait, you may immediately encounter it, otherwise, return it to the top of the deck.
Does using Detect Magic to encounter a card meet the game definition of "exploration"? If Ezren successfully acquires the card that Detect Magic allows him to encounter, assuming it has the Magic trait, then would that trigger Ezren's ability to immediately explore again?
I'm thinking "no" to both questions, but I thought I'd ask.
So here's a silly question. When you get a card feat, it means that the total number of cards in your character deck increases by one. Where does the extra card come from?
For instance, let's say Sajan or Lini decides to get a weapon card. They didn't previously have a weapon in their deck. Do they have to take whatever cast off weapon nobody else in the group wants when rebuilding their decks after the scenario where they earned the card feat? Or can they go into the box to pick the best basic weapon for their type?
So the snake gives a bonus on melee combat checks. Since Lini doesn't have the melee skill, it doesn't work for her, even when she's fighting in bear form. The fact that there's an animal that doesn't work well with Lini is kinda sad.
Luckily, the crows, toad, tiger, and dog are better for her. Heck, the crows and tiger are good for any character, and the toad's good for any spellcaster. I could totally see Ezrin walking around with a toad familiar.
Looking at the list of upcoming cards, I'm looking forward to seeing what powers the other animal allies will have, and if they'll work better for Lini than the ones she already has. The upcoming list includes cat, lizard, monkey, eagle, bear, and velociraptor! Seriously, she can get a dinosaur companion in the 5th set. I think its name is Clever Girl.
So I've been playing through all the scenarios with a group of 4 - Lini, Lem, Valeros, and Sajan. We've done pretty well through the first 6 scenarios, finishing Perils of the Lost Coast and the first three parts of Burnt Offerings with no deaths or scenario failures. Each character still had a couple more card upgrades they'd like to get, but the biggest specific card wanted by anyone was that Lini wanted that saber-tooth tiger.
So I'd read online that Approach to Thistletop, the second to last part of Burnt Offerings, really ups the ante on difficulty for the game. Looking at the scenario and location cards, I can understand why. Between the increased difficulty of goblins (including the villain and most henchmen), a henchman that gets to fight everyone at the location instead of just the person who encounters him, a location that summons a bandit for you to fight every time you start your turn there, three locations that make you fight a monster or henchman to close them, one location with 6 monsters in its deck, not being able to move from one location, and penalties when using weapons at one location, this is obviously the toughest scenario so far.
So I started with a careful plan to gang up on the two easiest locations early to close them, and avoid the toughest locations until everyone was ready to attack them at once, as necessary. It started fine, with Valeros and Lini being able to go through the Treacherous Cave quickly, fight a Goblin Raider there, and close it, while Lem and Sajan worked their way through the Waterfront.
Things started to go downhill when Lem encountered a monster at the waterfront without an offensive spell in hand, so he had to use his heavy crossbow, despite the penalties when using weapons. The dice went against him, and he lost the fight. Then, Sajan fought a shadow at the same location without his Amulet of Mighty Fists. He won the fight, but the shadow was undefeated, because his attack wasn't magic. He had used his power feat to increase hand size to 5 instead of making his fists magical, which worked well for him other than this one fight.
So Lem left that location to go help Valeros elsewhere, and Lini brought an Inflict spell and Augury to help Sajan, planning to corner and/or defeat the shadow for him, then help him work through the 5 remaining cards of that location. She cast Augury first, looking at the top 3 cards in that location deck to find any monsters. She found the shadow, but also noticed that the saber-tooth tiger was in there! She put the shadow on the bottom of the location deck to avoid having to fight it... and then she got greedy.
Lini buried her Toad companion to pull her Augury spell back into hand, and cast it again looking for allies. With 5 cards left in the location deck, and knowing the shadow was the bottom card, that meant a 3/4 chance that the tiger would be among the top 3 that she'd be able to position however she wanted, and she wanted that tiger on top to acquire it immediately.
The result? Not only was the tiger in the top 3, so she could put it on top like she wanted, but the villain was also in there! She had to shuffle the villain in with the shadow and two other remaining cards in that deck, but now that the group knew where he was, they could plan their attack. Lini easily grabbed the tiger off the top of the deck (using a blessing to make damn sure she couldn't botch the roll), and the group split up for their strategic assault.
Two other locations were quickly perma-closed. In fact, the location with 6 monsters that I was worried about happened to have the bandit as the top card in its location deck, so that ended up being the easiest of the bunch. Soon, Valeros and Lini (with her new kitty cat) were sent to temp close the other two open locations while Lem and Sajan positioned themselves to face the villain. Sajan had since drawn his Amulet of Mighty Fists and a couple of blessings, while Lem had two offensive spells in hand, so they were ready in case the shadow showed up before the villain.
One flip of the location deck, and the villain happened to be the first card! Lini cast strength on herself to make the strength 5 check to close off the Guard Tower without even rolling, Valeros used his bastard sword to squash a Goblin Raider to cut off the villain's retreat to his location, and Sajan and Lem dispatched the dastardly villain with ease. Victory was ours!
I'm hoping for blank sheets for home made scenarios and adventures.
I originally responded to this saying I'd like blank template cards, but then I realized it should probably get its own thread and deleted that post.
Any chance of Paizo publishing blank cards that you can write on to create your own monsters, weapons, spells, villains, etc?
Just looking at the card types, I'm thinking that we wouldn't need blank card templates for character, role, token, adventure path, adventure, or scenario cards, because those could be done on paper, so they don't need to be on cards. Template sheets in pdf form would be cool for those, but we wouldn't need Paizo to print cards.
So that leaves 11 card types that I'd want to see included as blank templates (locations, villains, henchmen, monsters, barriers, weapons, spells, armors, items, allies, and blessings). Since Paizo seems to print cards in multiples of 55 or 110, that could be a box set half the size of the current add-ons with 5 blanks for each of those 11 card types. Or maybe adjust it to have more or less of certain things, depending on relative need. ie Less villains, more monsters, maybe even leave out blessings. Or maybe sell smaller booster packs of just one type of template (11 blank monster cards for $3, etc).
Or they could make a blank card usable for all of the banes and boons that just has slots at the top for the type of bane/boon, so you can use them for anything. I think the lack of colors to make them stand out would make those less appealing, but they'd be more useful for anyone designing entire scenarios from scratch.
So you get a skill feat when you complete the three scenarios in Perils of the Lost Coast, a skill feat for the first scenario in Runelords, a power feat for completing the third Runelords scenario, and a card feat for completing all the scenarios in the set. What are your choices to take by character?
My group of four is Sajan, Valeros, Lini, and Lem. So far, we've earned two skill feats and a power feat.
Sajan is easy for the skill feats: Dexterity all the way. Combat is pretty much all he does anyway, and that gives him +2 in all his fights. During play, he's frequently had situations where he had too many items in hand, and not enough blessings. And he likes to get allies, since he keeps discarding them for extra explorations. So increasing his hand size to 5 with his power feat was an obvious choice. But he did have to give up making his fist attacks magical in order to do that, so I hope that doesn't come back to haunt him with lots of enemies in next month's deck that require magic to hurt them. For his card feat, I'm assuming he'll just grab an extra blessing.
Lini's power feat is a stupidly easy choice. She took the extra +1 to the aid she gets from her animal companions. Her skill feats were a tougher decision. I put the first one in wisdom to boost her divine rolls, but then I put the second in strength. Even though her strength is only 1d4 normally, her bear shape makes it 1d10, and that's her backup plan in combat if she's ever caught fighting without an Inflict spell in hand. Her choice of card feat is also obvious - she needs all the animal allies she can get.
Valeros was a tough call all the way around. He's picked up some good weapons along the way, so he's already a combat monster. So he really doesn't need more strength. Since he has +2 diplomacy on top of his 1d6 charisma, that was a tempting choice for a skill boost. So he split his skill feats in strength and charisma, then did great picking up allies in the Heroes scenario that revolves around that. For his power feat, like Sajan, he has sometimes suffered from not being able to get the cards he wants into his hand fast enough, so he went with the increased hand size of 5 cards, too. Not sure what his card feat will be. Probably weapons, but I'll see when we get there.
Lem's skill feats both went to charisma, though putting one in dex for his crossbow was tempting. Believe it or not, the power feat was a tough call. Adding +1 to that 1d4 he gives other characters when helping them out seems like an easy choice, except that the party splits up so often that he really doesn't use that very often. So weapon proficiency, to be able to discard his heavy crossbow to help someone at a different location, was tempting. But he went with the +1 after all. His card feat will almost definitely go into spells. Four just isn't enough for a character who can theoretically use any of them.
I've tried almost all of the other characters, but these are the ones I've played the most, so I'm not sure what feats would be best for the others. What have those of you who have gotten that far chosen?
We keep having rules debates stemming from questions about when you can play certain cards, and if certain powers are triggered by certain actions. There are really only about 3 or 4 main questions, repeated over and over as different people ask them about different specific cards. So the purpose of this post is to summarize these redundant questions and give short, clear answers.
Hopefully, Mike and/or Vic will come by and confirm that my answers are all accurate, and maybe even sticky this thread. I'm sure most of the questions I'm attempting to answer here will eventually be in the FAQ. I'm just trying to provide a single, simple place for those answers in the mean time.
First, the explanation of where I got my answers. If you just want to see what those answers are, without the specific explanations, skip the spoiler.
Most of the relevant rules can be found on pages 10 and 11 of the rulebook. Let's start with the obvious:
Page 10 wrote:
Playing a card means activating a card’s power
There's a reason that these are the first words of the "Playing Cards" section of the rulebook. This is a key concept that some people actually miss when multiple cards interact with each other. Remember that if you discard, banish, or otherwise remove a card from your hand, because another card tells you to, you aren't actually playing the card that's getting removed from your hand. You're just paying the price for the other card that instructed you to do so.
So you can play a blessing any time that any character at any location is making a check to give them bonuses on their check. But closing a location that tells you to discard a blessing to close it isn't actually playing that blessing. So only the person who has earned the right to close the location (it's their turn, and they just beat the henchman and/or there are no more cards in the location deck) can discard a blessing to do that.
The same goes for discard a card to power Seoni's blast ability. You're discarding that card as a cost. You're not playing that card. The card you're actually playing is Seoni's character card. Thus, any text on the discarded card is irrelevant. This includes text for how to recharge a spell, so Seoni can't automatically succeed at recharging it, using her other power. There is no recharging it, even if the card being discarded happens to be a spell card.
Note that this only applies to cards played outside of an encounter. What about cards that can trigger an encounter? The FAQ and rulebook cover this.
Rulebook page 9 wrote:
You may never explore on another player’s turn.
I could swear there's another card besides the two Detects that let you look at a deck and possibly trigger an encounter depending on what you find, but I can't think of what off the top of my head. I'd assume the clarification for the Detect Spells applies to any other cards with similar abilities.
So there's only one situation where a character can encounter something when it's not their turn: If the character on turn encounters a card that says other characters must summon and encounter something, usually an enemy.
Next topic - cards played during an encounter:
Page 10 wrote:
If a card in your hand does not specify when it can be played, you can generally play it at any time, with the exception that during each step of attempting a check, you may only perform specific actions, so your ability to play cards may be limited.
This is a key quote.
It's worth clarifying the game definition of the word "check" before continuing. The rulebook doesn't appear to give a single sentence definition anywhere, but the context is clear: A check is a die roll against a target number. Read all of page 11 continuing into page 12 if there's any question in your mind that I'm correct about that.
So given that a check is a die roll, what does the above quote mean? It means that spells like Cure and Mending can be used at any time, unless an encounter is happening. This limitation is enforced by this FAQ entry:
So while an encounter is in play, rules regarding what to do during a check apply. Which brings up the big, contentious question: Which cards can other players use to help a character during an encounter?
See page 11. I'm not going to quote the entire rulebook page here, but there are specific steps when it comes to making a check. The key quote when you reach the step of playing cards is:
Players may now play cards from their hands to affect the check.
Key words: "affect the check". Key concept: A check is a die roll. What does this mean? Anyone can play cards that affect the die roll by giving bonuses, either in extra dice, static pluses, maybe changing the target number if such a card ever exists, etc.
But they can't play cards that prevent the die roll. This is where the oft debated "implied you" comes into play. Cards which evade or defeat the encounter, or otherwise prevent the die roll, should have been played before reaching the "Play Cards That Affect the Check" step of the check procedure. And per the FAQ above, they can only be played by the character who is encountering the card in question.
While this sometimes seems unclear based on the wording of specific cards, a nitpicky grammatical reading of those cards actually shows that they said this all along. As someone else pointed out in another thread, all imperative sentences have an implied subject of "you".
So when an encounter occurs, the person encountering the bane/boon has the first option to play a card to beat the check without rolling any dice. If they don't have a card that lets them do that, or choose not to play such a card, then anyone can play appropriate cards that affect the die roll. Note that cards that say "your check" can only be used on your own turn, while those that don't have that wording can be used to help anyone. Similarly, cards that don't specify "at your location" can be played to help characters at other locations.
So here's the short summary:
1. Cards that don't affect an encounter can be played at any time.
I'm thinking of an idea for a custom scenario and I have two odd ideas for scenario-specific mechanics that I thought I'd run by the rest of you to see what you think. The scenario will be a bandit leader and probably bandit henchmen again. It's becoming generic, I know, but I have a specific source for this one.
The first new mechanic is a "chase down the villain" idea, based on something from a specific RPG adventure. Basically, in order to find the bandits' hideout, you have to follow a bandit back to it. In order to do that, you first have to encounter one of them without killing him. For instance:
The villain must begin at the Bandit Hideout location. No character may begin or move to the Bandit Hideout location until after a henchman has been encountered and not defeated (either undefeated or evaded).
So you know where to find the villain right from the start, but getting there requires some strategy.
The second idea is that the bandits are all a bunch of greedy thieves with no loyalty to each other, so they can be bribed, thus allowing you to defeat them without combat. For instance:
During this scenario, banish one item, weapon, or armor from hand to roll your charisma or diplomacy + 1d4 to defeat any human monster (including the villain and his henchmen!), with a difficulty of their combat difficulty +3. Other characters at the same location can also banish one item, weapon, or armor to add 1d4 to this check. After such a diplomatic victory, take no damage, even if the monster would normally cause damage after an encounter.
I realized that last sentence was needed for the enchanter.
I'm thinking Lem and Seoni will shine at bribing these guys, if they have the cards they're willing to banish to do it.
What do you all think of these custom mechanics for a single scenario?
Not all fan made material has to be scenarios and adventures.
Per earlier discussions, I've been thinking of how to make a fan made PACG scenario out of the Pathfinder Society RPG scenario "Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible". One of the encounters of that adventure led me to come up with this new card idea:
Check to defeat: Charisma/Diplomacy 8
The difficulty to defeat this barrier is increased by the adventure deck number of the current scenario, if any.
If defeated, add 1d4 random allies from the box to your hand.
If undefeated, each character at this location summons and encounters a random monster from the box; banish this card.
And yes, I intentionally stole wording from existing cards to keep it consistent.
I'm wondering about the balance on the difficulty to beat it. Only a couple of characters can make it without boosts, but it's not easy. Most characters will need help from a Troubadour, blessing, or other added die to even have a chance. Given the reward, we don't want it to be too easy. What do the rest of you think?
I do have one suggestion for a "side product" that Paizo should probably publish to go with this game: Booster packs with the 11 character and 11 role cards!
That way, people could write on their character and role cards freely, without worrying about ruining them, and still have fresh versions to use the next time they start a new character that needs the same card.
Everyone seems to love the Amulet of Mighty Fists for unarmed fighters, Longsword for melee fighters, Light Crossbow for ranged fighters, Force Missile and Lightning Touch for arcane casters, and Cure for divine casters, but what are some basic cards that you really like that don't get as much attention? Here are some of my favorites:
Crow - Sure, Lini doesn't leave home without an animal companion, but a recharge that adds 1d6 to acquire most boons is pretty good for any character. And like blessings and many other allies, it can be discarded for an extra exploration, which is always a nice option to have.
Thieves Tools - Again, it's obvious for the rogue, because it's her schtick, but I like this item for any character. Discard to auto-beat almost any barrier in the game so far? Yes, please! It's especially good for characters with Cure that don't have to worry as much about discarding too many cards, even if it does seem like a weird choice for some of those holy types.
Detect Magic - Don't underestimate the ability to scout before exploring. The easy recharge thanks to the errata in the FAQ makes it an obvious choice for Ezren and Lem. It's in their suggested starting decks for a reason, but I've seen some people recommending leaving it out for more blasting, evades, or Arcane Armor. That's why I consider it "overlooked" and mention it here.
Cure - Didn't I say in my first paragraph that this one was already popular, so it doesn't count as "overlooked"? For a divine caster, yes. But why should they be the only ones to use it? Ezren starts with 8 spells, so why not let him use and banish this once per game? Seoni only starts with 3 spells in her deck, so it's a tight fit. But she piles on the discards like crazy, so again, why not use and banish this to get 1d4+1 of those discarded cards back?
What are some of your favorite overlooked basic card choices?
This may come as a surprise, but my biggest complaint is just the lack of fluff on most cards.
For instance, Merisiel's extra die when fighting alone should actually be called "sneak attack". That's what it is. That's what experienced Pathfinder players will call it. But leaving that off the card leaves out the non-RPG gamers from that shared experience of knowing that this is the RPG inspiration for her ability.
And then there are some where the RPG inspiration for certain things were lost on me until someone pointed them out. For instance, losing a fight to a ghoul not only causes damage, but also makes you end your turn immediately. Why? Once someone pointed out that it was because the character had been paralyzed by the ghoul, it made perfect sense, but I missed that at first glance. People who don't play Pathfinder or other RPGs with this ghoul ability will completely miss that information. Again, a few words of fluff could have gone a long way towards explaining the reason behind the mechanic, and immersing players in the game world.
So obviously, a lot of us want to put sleeves on our cards, for a variety of reasons - card protection, being able to write on the sleeves instead of the cards, printing typos corrections to put inside the sleeves, ease of shuffling for small decks, and I'm sure I'm missing at least one other reason that someone will come up with.
The problem is that the main box layout seems to be designed to exactly fit all of the cards in the adventure path, when they're not sleeved. Obviously, with sleeves, Paizo's published recommendation for how to section off the various card types quickly falls apart.
Rant about loot card section:
Even without sleeves, the loot card recommendation doesn't work, because that particular area of the box was molded incorrectly and doesn't even fit the one and only loot card that already exists, let alone eventually fitting lots of them. Seriously, what's the point of wasting space providing a section for these, then screwing up actually creating that section by having a rounded bottom that doesn't allow cards to properly fit the slot?
Rant about poor design:
As for the whole thing, I could rant about this for a while, too. They've got all these sections for cards, and a whole lot of wasted space where people are supposed to keep the original packaging for the add ons, sitting diagonally. The box is tall enough for those add on packages to stand upright, if they'd put spaces for them that way, so that whole section is just a ton of wasted space. If it had been designed better, all of the sections for holding the cards could have been MUCH larger, so they could easily fit all of the cards for the entire adventure path, even if they were sleeved.
And why didn't Paizo see the sleeves issue coming? They obviously put a lot of effort into the box design and making sure there were specific spots for each type of card. As a gaming company that attends GenCon and other gaming conventions every year, you'd think they'd have noticed the popularity of card sleeves among serious gamers at some point. It's not like it's just a small number of people who sleeve their cards. One look at any MtG game night at any gaming store in America would have told them that.
So how is everybody handling this?
From what I can tell, there aren't enough cards for the problem to be major yet, so it's possible that people are still playing along with Paizo's recommended box layout, even with sleeves. It's tight enough now that I'm sure once part 2 of the adventure path hits, that will no longer be possible.
I'm figuring I'll probably buy a card storage box from my local game shop, along with some dividers to section off the types of cards, and just use those instead. Hopefully, I can find some that fit in the original game box once I remove the poorly designed plastic card holder that the game comes with.
Any other thoughts? Specific card box sizes I should be looking for? I'm just assuming they sell dividers for those card boxes, too, though I've never specifically looked. I could make my own dividers, if necessary.
So Lem gets to choose his favored card type when drawing his starting hand. I'm assuming it has to be declared in advance, rather than drawing a starting hand, deciding it sucks, and picking again.
What favored card type do you all recommend for him? Even though he only gets one weapon, making sure he has it in hand at the start of the adventure seems like a good plan. Or I could see picking spells, though he will often have such a mix that this might not provide him with something immediately useful. Blessings are usually generically useful, so maybe that's a good way to go.
What do the rest of you usually choose when you play him?
So now that I've played a couple of times, I'm realizing that the starting character decks recommended in the rules aren't that great. In fact, some of them have some pretty silly stuff in them. Because Kyra's so good against undead, she's the one character who doesn't need Holy Water, so why's it on her list?
So what are some of your recommendations for building starting decks for your characters? Which basic cards do you like for each character? Are there multiple strategies you could focus on depending on how you want to play that character?
I noticed that there are lots of good arcane blasting spells, so why give Ezren stuff like Sleep and Invisibility to evade monsters, when you're better off eliminating them? Max out on those Force Missile and similar cards, along with Arcane Armor for when the gods of randomness work against you (either not having a blast in hand when you need it, or bad luck on the dice). Maybe a Detect Magic or two for scouting. But evasion spells? Bah! Give those to Lem, so he can scout safely!
Speaking of Lem: I tried him with two Cures to be a healer, along with Sanctuary and Invisibility, so he could evade fights while scouting. Making him a totally non-combat support character seems to work, though it's slow going.
I played solo with Ezren and Lem as my two characters in Brigandoom, customized as I describe here, and I actually cleared all 4 locations and reached the last card in the Blessing deck when I finally won. But I did win, which is the point. I think it would have been tougher with the rulebook deck recommendations for them.
On Ezren, though, perhaps having evasion stuff for scouting is more useful if he's playing more of a support role, paired with Valeros, Seoni, or whoever else as the primary fighters. I guess the blast focused build worked well because he was the primary fighter, with Lem as the support guy. Though Lem did win one or two fights with his sling and blessings.
Detect Evil and Detect Magic both have similar wording about checking the top of the location deck and looking for a particular type of card, then you may encounter it. The key word there is "may". I just want to confirm - can I choose not to encounter it and just put it back on the top of the location deck?
For instance, if Ezren casts Detect Magic and sees a divine spell on the top of the location deck, can he put it back and tell Kyra to come and get it? Or if Lem doesn't have any weapons or offensive spells in hand, so he wants to avoid a fight, can he use Detect Evil to scout the location deck before exploring, then choose to put the enemy back and not explore if there is a monster?
So I've been trying out the game solo until I can get some friends together to play with me. I have a couple of questions that have come up in my games, with regard to timing.
1. When can you do things that aren't related to exploring or the other specific steps listed for things to do on every turn? ie Casting Cure, Detect Magic, Detect Evil, etc. Do those happen during your "explore phase", or can they happen at other times? I'm assuming they have to happen on your turn.
2. Ezren's power to check the top of his deck for another spell after casting an arcane spell - when does that kick in? After everything related to the spell he cast resolves, or sooner than that? I'm thinking of a situation like if he plays Force Missile and loses the fight. Can he check the top of his deck to see if there's an Arcane Armor there before taking the damage?
Stupid question, but on your turn, do you have to do optional actions in the order they're listed in the rulebook?
ie Does giving cards to another character at your location have to come before moving to another location? Does moving have to come before exploring? Or can I explore at my current location, then move to another location afterward and give a card to a character who's at the new location?
This is pretty minor, but I thought I'd throw it out there in the hopes that Paizo could make a very minor change in the way they publish scenarios, which would make life easier for GMs preparing to run them.
From now on, if a scenario references something from a particular book that's on the PRD, can you please give the chapter title and section along with the page # from that book? The PRD doesn't give page numbers, so it's sometimes difficult to know where in the PRD to look for a particular rule.
This request is inspired by my experience of prepping the big Siege of the Diamond City special for GenCon. Almost all of the enemies in there have stats from the Bestiaries and NPC Codex. I own the first Bestiary, but not the others, so I was using the PRD to prepare my monster/NPC stats in advance. Looking up monster stats in the Bestiary 2 and 3 this way was simple, because the monsters are alphabetized. But for the NPC Codex, I often needed to guess which chapter to look in, which led to a lot of "Should I look under fighters, or could this guy be a warrior?" moments. I found them all eventually, but it would have been faster and easier if the adventure had pointed me to the right chapter, alongside giving the page number for those who own the book.
Since GMs using the PRD to prepare scenarios is legal, per the Guide to Organized Play, this would just make it a little easier to actually do so.
So I got the GenCon GM boon that allows me to make a sylph character for PFS, and I'm looking at probably doing the Sky Druid archetype from the Advanced Race Guide. Let me say that again, since it's frequently ignored in Advice subforum threads: This is for Pathfinder Society play, so we're talking about RAW only, Paizo products only, and only stuff that's PFS legal, though I can't think of any Paizo stuff that might relate to this that isn't PFS legal.
Since sylphs have a con penalty, I can't imagine trying to play the type of druid that wild shapes and attacks on the front lines. So this will definitely be a casting focused build.
Here's what I'm thinking for a possible stat array:
Str: 7 (-4)
I'd like to keep the int for skill ranks and some decent charisma, so I can be useful outside of combat. I was looking at maybe taking the Ease of Faith and Highlander traits, to get diplomacy and stealth as class skills. Combined with the Whispering Wind alternate racial trait that gives +4 stealth, I could be quite good at that. The 12 charisma and a couple of skill ranks could get me decent bonuses on diplomacy and handle animal. But I'm a little worried about the low strength and wearing armor. I'll have to do the math on encumbrance. If I'm in medium hide armor (probably dragon hide eventually), it shouldn't matter, since encumbrance won't slow me down any more than the armor, anyway.
I have this idea of taking the Cloud Gazer racial feat at level 1, which would let me see through all non-magical clouds, and see triple the normal distance through magical clouds. I'm just picturing walking around with a wand of Obscuring Mist that I use on the first round of any combat. Then, I'd be able to see 15 feet out of the mist to cast spells from a distance without enemies being able to target me back. I'd probably even make a point of moving within the mist every round to keep them guessing. As long as I stay in the back of the group, this plan usually shouldn't interfere with my allies, who would be working entirely outside of my mist. The only problem would be combats in close quarters, where my mist could interfere with my melee allies. Also, I could be targetted by AOE stuff, so I can't rely on this as my only defense - saving throws and HP still matter.
What other feats are useful for a casting focused druid? I know Natural Spell and Wild Speech are typical, but the archetype will allow me to fly almost every combat before I can wild shape, anyhow, so I just can't see using wild shape as often as most druids. I'll just fly around, surrounded by Obscuring Mist, casting at things from a distance, and that starts at level 5. That brings up typical caster feats like Improved Initiative, Combat Casting, Spell Focus, Augment Summoning, Spell Penetration, etc. Any other suggestions?
I'm leaning towards getting an animal companion, probably a roc, since it has to be a flying animal for the Sky Druid archetype. But I might also consider a domain. Besides the obvious Weather and Air domains, and their subdomains, Sky Druids also have access to the Liberation domain, and its subdomains, that most druids don't. So those are all potential options. But a roc would work nicely at low levels, when I could send it into battle at the start of a fight, then hide in the back with my wands of Obscuring Mist and Cure Light Wounds. At higher levels, I'd be more active in spellcasting every round of combat, and animal companions tend not to keep up for damage. But rocs get grab on both talons at level 7, so it could still be useful, even if its damage is inconsequential. And even though I'll be able to fly at level 5, the roc could carry one of my allies for extra flying power. Like I said, I'm leaning towards the roc, though my casting focus would benefit from a domain, so I haven't totally ruled it out.
I'm actually not that comfortable with druids overall, so suggestions for what types of spells I should be focusing on, and general strategies for playing a casting focused druid would be appreciated.
Actually, another reason I'm considering the animal companion is just to learn more about the rules regarding them. From what I've seen, most people tend to glaze over the rules for animal companions, ignoring the need for handle animal checks, training of tricks, etc. As a PFS GM, I'd like to know more about this stuff so I can educate others and get people to play these properly at my tables in the future. Just looking into this while thinking about making this PC has taught me a lot about that stuff.
This will be my first GenCon, and there are a lot of people I've talked to here on the forums who I'd like to meet in person, so I'm wondering who's going to be there.
Also, how will we find each other in Indy once we've got the inevitably insanely long list going in this thread?
So in my mind, the biggest change in the new 5.0 version of the Guide to Organized Play is the one that's gotten the least amount of press, at least outside of thread discussing that newly release Guide. I'm talking about the new Inventory Tracking Sheet. So I figured we could use a thread to talk about it.
My first question: Do we really need to go back and retroactively fill these out for every purchase by all of our old characters?
I really hope not. If we do, then my level 14 barbarian really is retiring permanently, and won't even come out of retirement for future GenCon specials or anything like that. I refuse to hand copy that much junk from all his old chronicles, especially since I have no idea exactly when he used up each of the dozens of curing wands he burned through.
Needing to fill out that much paperwork might also cause the permanent retirement of my level 8 cleric that I was already bored with and only play when we really need another player to make a table at tier 7-8.
I have a question about this spell from the Sylph section of the Advanced Race Guide:
It says "You respond to an attack". Do you have to cast it as soon as the enemy declares their attack, or can you wait to see if they hit? I suspect it's before the attack is rolled, but I just want to find out for sure, to see just how cheesy this is. :P
Either way, this could be a great spell for any pure caster who doesn't get attacked very often. I can just picture a low level wizard, druid, or sorcerer hanging out in the back of the battle, hoping to avoid melee, when someone shoots at them, or moves in close unexpectedly. Or you could even use it after provoking an AOO from movement while getting away from the bad guys.
It seems like Golarion has two nature religions - the deity Gozreh and the deityless Green Faith. Other than existence of the figure head deity, what are the major differences? What would cause someone to choose one over the other?
Yes, I'm thinking of making a druid character.
I'm wondering how crime and punishment work in civilized areas of the Inner Sea. I'd guess most countries use the death penalty for murderers, and I know slavery is sometimes used as a punishment, though I'm not sure for what crimes. When would someone go to jail as a punishment? Would this be the same for juvenile offenders? How old would be considered "adult" for a human in the eyes of the law?
I'm assuming Sarenrae worshipers would be most likely to try and reform criminals, given her role as the goddess of redemption. In a country without Sarenrae worship (Taldor being the obvious, but also countries where she just isn't popular), what other deity's worshipers would take the lead on this sort of thing?
I'm asking because I have an idea for a battle cleric who is big, dumb, and strong (high physical stats, dumped int and cha), has a history as a thug, and found religion in jail (gaining wisdom from experience, despite his low int).
I tried searching for a GM prep thread for this adventure, but didn't find one. Please let me know if I just missed it.
I'm sure I'll have lots of questions as I go through this in detail. I've already read it once, now going back and highlighting important details and making notes in the margins to be REALLY ready to run it at GenCon. For now, I just have one fairly simple question.
How much money is area A4 worth at tier 6-7? Page 10 says the players get 941 gp if they recover the treasure, but the treasure worksheet at the end says it's only 691. The higher number makes the math add up to what's on the chronicle sheet as the maximum possible gold, so I'm guessing that's accurate. Since I'm not sure how the math is worked out for treasure, I'm not sure how much they're supposed to get for finding the
Spoiler:, which is worth 8302, since that's the only difference in that room's treasure between tiers.
Dagger of Venom
An almost 7 foot tall suit of full plate armor walks in, wearing a buckler on one arm, longsword and morningstar sheathed on its belt, and a longbow and quiver strapped to its back. The large warrior removes his helmet to reveal the reptilian, snake-like face of a nagaji.
"Greetingsss, fellow Pathfindersss. I am Norowareta Nagagorjo, but mosst people call me Gorjo for short."
"I originally came to the Inner Ssea and joined the Pathfindersss to earn money to ssurvive. While I have alwayss sstrived to carry mysself with honor, I did not have particular goalsss in mind, other than perssonal glory. But eventsss as a Pathfinder, ssuch as protecting a village of innocent farmersss from wild maraudersss, reminded me of why I dreamed of being a warrior when I wass a child. There is no greater calling than protecting thosse who cannot protect themsselvesss."
[b]"Having been dissmisssed from the sservice of Amara Li, when she rescently closed the Lantern Lodge branch in the Inner Ssea, I have been ssearching for new purposse here in Abssalom. It wass recommended to me that my sstrength and ssword would be helpful in aiding thosse of Andoran in taking up armsss for the causse of freedom. Thisss sseemsss like a good and noble causse, and I would be glad to help."
Gorjo's tall form seems to sag, and his face falls so visibly that even someone who has never met a nagaji before can tell he is upset, and reluctant to continue talking. After a visible pause, he lifts his head again and continues.
"However, I do not know if Major Maldrisss and thosse who fight for thisss causse would want one ssuch as me. I am cursssed."
"I can only sspeak the Infernal language of devilsss in battle. I had alwayss asssumed that devilsss had been toying with me, but rescent evidensce makesss me conssider otherwisse. I am sstill trying to ssort it all out."
"But if you will take me, I will dedicate my ssword to the causse of freedom, helping all thosse who are oppresssed or ensslaved, wherever the Pathfinder Ssociety ssendsss me."
So we all know that readying to fire an arrow at a spellcaster if they start casting is a good tactic. If you hit, you force a concentration check, and they might lose the spell.
But what about readying to disrupt something other than casting?
I was thinking about a whip wielder who disarms an archer from 15 feet away. Normally, on the whip guy's turn, if he succeeds at disarming the archer, then the bow lands at the archer's feet. On the archer's turn, the archer picks up the bow as a move action, then fires it as a standard action. If the archer has rapid shot or high enough BAB for multiple shots per round, then this is useful, because the whip guy prevented the archer from taking a full attack for multiple shots. But the archer still gets one shot off, probably at the annoying whip guy.
But what if the whip guy instead readied an action to disarm the archer when the archer tries to fire his bow? Assuming the whip guy's disarm attempt succeeds, could he disrupt the standard action, thus preventing the archer's first shot as it happens? Would that mean the archer lost his standard action for the round, and could pick up the bow as a move action, but wouldn't be able to fire at all that round?
Come to think of it, same question with the whip guy tripping instead of disarming when the archer goes to fire his bow. The archer can't fire from prone (assuming bow, not crossbow), and stands up as a move action, but did he lose the standard action that got interrupted when he was tripped, or can he just fire after standing back up?
What are other scenarios where readying an attack against someone's action could prevent their action from happening?
I have a PFS character that just hit level 6 and got into the Halfling Opportunist prestige class. The defining ability of the opportunist relies on CMB, and I'm trying to figure out how to maximize my chances.
Since this is a non-weapon maneuver, the usual trick of adding the weapon's enhancement bonus doesn't help, and there are no "improved" and "greater" feats for this like with standard combat maneuvers.
It's a high dex character, and I've already got the Agile Maneuvers feat to use dex in place of str for CMB. And I know about putting a dusty rose ioun stone in a wayfinder for +2 on CMB and CMD, though it'll take me one more adventure to save up the cash for that one.
But that still only gets me to +10 CMB at level 6, which doesn't give me very good chances against CMDs that will almost always be over 20, and occasionally close to 30, even at this level.
So what else could I use to boost my CMB for this?
So we have a thread for least common class, where we're talking about base classes. What about non-base classes? I've only seen a couple of prestige classes here and there, and I can't think of any that I've seen more than once. Are there any that are specifically popular?
So apparently, everyone I've played with has been doing this wrong the entire time. I always thought when you missed with a thrown splash weapon, it landed in a randomly determined square adjacent to the original target. But that's not what it says in the Core Rulebook (bolding mine):
Core Rulebook wrote:
If you miss the target (whether aiming at a creature or a grid intersection), roll 1d8. This determines the misdirection of the throw, with 1 falling short (off-target in a straight line toward the thrower), and 2 through 8 rotating around the target creature or grid intersection in a clockwise direction. Then, count a number of squares in the indicated direction equal to the range increment of the throw. After you determine where the weapon landed, it deals splash damage to all creatures in that square and in all adjacent squares.
I'm a little confused by this wording. By saying the distance that you're off is based on the range increment of the throw, does that mean the range increment of the thrown splash weapon, or how many range increments away you were when you threw it?
For example, if I throw an alchemist's fire (range increment of 10 feet) from 50 feet away and miss, does it miss by 2 squares (the range increment of the thrown weapon) or 5 squares (because I was throwing from 5 range increments away)? How far away from the target does it land?
Posted in the PFS section, because this is for a PFS character, and we have to stick to RAW. I wasn't sure if there was some place more appropriate for it.
This is going to sound silly, but can I assume that my PC can teach my allies a few words in a foreign language before the adventure starts? Two or three words should be easily remembered by any PC, though it might take longer to make sure those with single digit intelligence scores actually remember properly.
I have an oracle with the tongues curse who can only speak and understand Infernal during combat. I can just imagine a group where he's the only healer, or if the only other healer has gone unconscious, and nobody else can tell him they need healing. Of course, he might notice on his own, but he's a front line fighter (Battle Oracle), so he might just be too busy to look around at the state of his allies. I do try to role play his lack of coordination with allies who don't speak Infernal, rather than metagaming.
When introducing himself, he always warns allies that this communication problem will occur during battle. I think it only makes sense that he'd also tell them, "If you need to get my attention for healing during combat, yell <Infernal word for healing>." Luckily, he's cursed to speak Infernal instead of Abyssal, since I doubt if Abyssal even has a word for healing. He might also want to teach them two or three other Infernal words to coordinate actions in combat. ie "flank", "target" (to coordinate everyone focusing fire on one guy), "retreat", etc, though some of those might work just as well as hand signals.
So obviously, clerics and paladins pray to specific deities for powers, and receive those powers every day. That's one form of direct communication.
But other than that, how and how often do the gods communicate with their followers?
I know one PFS scenario where the cleric of an evil god knew where to find the magic items to hatch his evil plan because the god told him directly.
I have a PFS cleric of Desna whose back story involves becoming a cleric because Desna came to him in a dream and asked him to. He also has the Good Dreams trait that gives him nightly warnings of the dangers he'll be facing in the coming day. As the goddess of dreams, among other things, this fits pretty well as her preferred method of talking to her followers.
Also in PFS, I have an oracle cursed by Iomedae who recently found out the source of his curse when she gave him a known spell that only her worshipers are allowed to cast. I'm not entirely sure if that's legal, since he wasn't really a worshiper of hers when he got the spell, but she was always the source of his power. I think it fits his story, and he's destined to become a true worshiper, so I'm sticking with it.
So just how much do the gods talk to their followers, and how exactly does that communication take place?
Forgive me if my writing is not clear. Coming from Tian Xia, the Taldan language that is common here in the Inner Sea is still somewhat new to me.
My name is... was...
Well, let's just say that I am Nagagorjo, and most of the Pathfinders I've worked with call me "Gorjo" for short. I'll get into my name... and why it was changed... later in this story. For now, let me explain the purpose of this diary, then I will begin my story where it belongs, at the beginning.
Like all Pathfinders, I turn in reports of my missions to the Venture-Captains who sent me on those missions. Those which are seen as important or exciting will find their way into the Pathfinder Chronicles, for all Pathfinders to read. The others presumably are filed away for safe keeping, in case they are needed for reference later.
This diary is my autobiography, telling the events of my life before and between those official missions.
I've recently learned things that make me question everything I thought I knew. So I've decided to write it all down, document it, to clear my head and think about the meaning of it all. But I also ask my fellow Pathfinders to read this and tell me their interpretations. Am I right? Am I understanding this new information correctly? Was the matriarch wrong about the curse? Was my banishment all for nothing? Was ...
But I get ahead of myself. As promised, let me begin at the beginning.
Who chooses an oracle's divine powers, such as revelations and spells?
Let me make this clear up front. This is an "in game" philosophical debate, NOT an "out of game" metagame debate. Obviously, the player controls their own PC, and can build it any way they want. They choose what powers and spells their character receives from his or her patron deity. The GM doesn't literally "play god" (or goddess) and do it for them. That's not in question.
But within the game, unlike clerics, paladins, and other divine characters who pray for their divine powers, oracles don't have a choice in the matter. They're cursed. They didn't choose to be cursed, or what their curse would be. So they probably didn't choose their mystery either. So why would they choose their revelations or spells known? So I'd say the deity chooses what spells and revelations to grant them, rather than the character choosing for him/herself.
Why does it matter? From a purely mechanical perspective, it doesn't. Actually, I have one possible exception to that statement, but I'll save that for another post.
But here's why I thought about this and chose to ask the question.
I frequently make mechanical choices for my characters based on personality, not just based on optimization. Role play over roll play, so to speak. I always try to make my characters effective at what they do, but they don't have to be the most optimized PC ever.
So for instance, a selfish divine caster might choose Divine Favor as a level 1 spell to boost their own hit and damage rolls, rather than Bless to help the entire group hit more. Even though as a player, I understand that Bless is the more useful spell for my adventuring party at low levels, Divine Favor might just fit the PC's personality better.
And that's why it matters whether the oracle or their god(dess) chooses their spells. Whose personality do I use when making these decisions? Nagagorjo, the battle oracle, or Iomedae, the goddess who cursed him?
Event #26804. Because this adventure is a module, the GM should get 4 prestige like the players, but it recorded only 2 prestige on the web site. There was no field to change this amount when reporting the session.
I believe I've heard of this mentioned as a known bug on the web site a long time ago (perhaps a year or more ago), but this is my first time GMing a module instead of a scenario, so it's the first time I've personally noticed it.
So someone on these forums recently pointed out the spell Inheritor's Smite. Apparently, it's from the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, and it's PFS legal. A swift action spell that gives +5 to hit is pretty nice, even before the free bull rush attempt.
But since there's no Golarion fluff on the SRD, and I don't own the book yet (yes, I'm considering buying it just for access to this spell in PFS), can someone tell me if there's any fluff associated with this one that I should know about? Given the name of the spell, I'm assuming it's related to Iomedae. Are clerics and paladins required to be her worshipers to have access to this spell or can anyone take it?