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So picking up where the earlier divination thread left off, we're about to start Fortress of the Stone Giants.
My group already knows about Mokmurian from interrogating Barl Breakbones, but Barl didn't know what M's interest in Sandpoint is. They've got one day after arriving in Sandpoint to prep for the attack, and I suspect they'll cast divination to ask about the reason for the attack. Any suggestions for an answer that meets Divination's requirement of a "useful piece of advice", without giving too much away?
Remember that I like to use rhyming couplets or quatrains, but I admit that my poetry sucks. My players get a kick out of my attempts, though. :P
Not sure if this is a Pathfinder rules question or a Golarion specific setting question. This is a question for a Pathfinder adventure set in Golarion, so I really want to conform to the rules of both (though as the GM, I do have the option of making up my own rules, but I'd rather not).
What happens to a devil when it dies? Does it cease to exist altogether, or does its "soul" (is that the correct word when it comes to devils?) go back to the plane that it came from to get a new body? And if it does return to the Hell from whence it came, how long until it can return to Golarion to wreak vengence on the PCs that killed it?
I'm running a Paizo adventure path, and my PCs are in a position to either kill or bargain with a very powerful devil. They're overthinking the decision (they really should just kill it, because they don't need its help nearly as much as they think), and between sessions, they're emailing back and forth about the questions they plan to ask using the spell Divination to determine how they should handle this. So I'm trying to be over-prepared once they decide which Divination questions to finally ask.
So one of my party died retaking Fort Rannick, and nobody in the party can cast Raise Dead. They've got the loot to pay for it, but I'm trying to figure out where the nearest city that would have that service available would be.
Kaer Maga's the closest big city, in straight line distance, but it'll be tough to get to. Magnimar is further than Kaer Maga or Korvosa, but it's a direct boat trip, so that's probably the fastest.
Is there a small town closer than those big cities where a scroll of Raise Dead might be available? I considered having the church in Turtleback Ferry have one available to buy, but that just seems too contrived.
So I'm GMing a group where the party oracle took Divination as a known spell.
They just finished retaking Fort Rannick. Kaven the traitor of the Black Arrows got away, but they killed Lucrecia and all the ogres. Their top priority seems to be tracking down Kaven, and they've got clues that will lead them to Commander Bayden's fae lover, but they seem to think they should have more leads about who Lucrecia serves. They got the name Mokmurian from her, but that's all they know, not where to find him or who he is or anything.
So I'm expecting some Divination castings, and I want to be prepared with intelligent (and rhyming!) answers.
Here's what I've got so far:
1. If they ask about Kaven (where he's going, who does he serve):
2. As I mentioned in another thread, they seem to think the Brothers of the Seven are more crucial than they are. They don't realize that they already killed that entire group in their sawmill in Magnimar. So I would expect at least one question about them. Given that they didn't get my vague hint about them being "gone" in an earlier divination answer, I figured I'd be more explicit this time:
3. They found Bayden's love letters, and no sign of him in the fort itself. Plus, they heard rumors in Turtleback Ferry that he was seen heading into the woods where the fairies live. So they might ask about him, and here's what I'm thinking as a response to that, though I'm thinking this answer might be a little too detailed:
4. And if they just ask a general "What should we do next?" type of question:
Any other thoughts? I'm trying to think of what other subjects they're likely to ask about at this point. And after the flood scene in Turtleback Ferry, they're likely to try another Divination for info on Skull's Crossing, so I'll have to come up with something for that.
So we just finished the retaking of Fort Rannick in Hook Mountain Massacre. My group entered from behind the waterfall and secret passages, and came upon Lucrecia as soon as they entered through the basement. Kaven ran away while the group was distracted fighting Lucrecia, and they discovered his treachery, though they don't know exactly how far it goes.
They've since finished killing all the ogres and clearing the fort. Since there are no obvious clues to pursue as to the bad guys' plans, they're all assuming that hunting down Kaven is their top priority.
The book (anniversary edition) says that he'll try to rendevous with Lucrecia, but that's no longer an option. Where would he go at this point? Should I make it possible to track his movement once he left the fort, or would the heavy rain in the area wash away footprints?
The oracle of the group also took Divination as a known spell, so I'm assuming they'll find useful questions to ask and track him down one way or another. I'm just trying to figure out how that should play out.
So my group is up to Hook Mountain Massacre (Anniversary Edition). Shalelu is tagging along, and I printed her page from the book to use as reference as a character sheet.
After clearing most of the ogrekin out of the farm last time, they're about to check the barn and rescue the Black Arrows next session (tomorrow).
So two questions. First (copied and pasted directly from the Community Created Stuff thread, where it didn't get any answers):
Second, the group will be leveling up soon, which now includes Shalelu. What do you all recommend for her advancement? The group already has an archery focused ranger, so she's kind of redundant, not to mention being nowhere near as good at archery, since the archer PC is just better built. It's probably about time for me to copy her to a real character sheet, so I can level her up easily when needed.
So my group just beat Xanesha last session. And surprisingly, they captured her alive.
Per the tactics in the Anniversary Edition of the AP, she jumped off the roof to Feather Fall down when she knew she was beat, but looking at the spell description, I realized it would take 3 rounds for her to hit the ground. With an archer and blasting focused sorceress on the roof, it was no problem for the PCs to knock her unconscious. The group's main healer was already flying faster than Xanesha was falling, so he got to the ground and stabilized her immediately, and they took her alive.
So the big question is... now what? The published adventure doesn't take this possibility into account. Once imprisoned in Magnimar, how much will she say? They already have proof that she was involved with Justice Ironbriar and the earlier murders, as well as plotting to kill the Lord Mayor, so there's really no way the authorities will cut her a deal that would let her avoid the death penalty. And she has no nearby accomplices that might break her out of prison.
So how much information do you think the PCs should be able to get out of her? I'm actually thinking she won't talk at all, unless offered a deal for her life, which just won't happen. I wonder if my PCs would come up with the idea of using the Detect Thoughts spell to interrogate her. I doubt it - they aren't that game savvy, and I won't bring it up. That could get them too much information too early.
I'm thinking maybe she'll make a threat just before her execution, and mention some other bad guy names to put the fear of Mokmurian and/or Karzoug into the PCs before she dies.
Is it too early to mention Karzoug? I think the group already heard his name once, in Thistletop. Malfeshnekor was talkative after charming one party member and trying to entice the others into his room so he could eat them, so I think I gave them the names Karzoug and Alasnist, but without detailed context. But hearing that someone from thousands of years ago is now Xanesha's boss would likely have the desired "oh crap" effect. But I might just give them Mokmurian's name now and save the big reveal on Karzoug for later.
So the start of Hook Mountain Massacre talks about the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar being contacted from Turtleback Ferry that they haven't heard from Fort Raddick, and he sends the PCs to investigate. This is supposed to be in winter, at least a month or two after the events of the earlier chapters.
But the PCs should find the note at the end of Skinsaw Murders hinting that bad stuff's going down in Turtleback Ferry and Fort Raddick. Why would they wait to go investigate?
So Justice Ironbrar has a wizard spellbook in his treasure. My party's only arcane caster is a sorceress, so nobody in the group can use it. I'm assuming someone else out there has done the math on how much they should be able to sell it for. Anyone want to save me the trouble and tell me what it's worth?
Quick summary: Fighter weapon groups have been defined in multiple books. Each time, they give a "complete" list of all weapons that fall into each group. Notes in Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Equipment have said something like:
Ultimate Equipment wrote:
For the purpose of the fighter class's weapon training ability, weapon groups are defined as follows (GMs may add other weapons to these groups, or add entirely new groups).
But there are plenty of PFS legal weapons that aren't mentioned at all in these lists, such as the new weapons introduced in the Advanced Race Guide. Common sense would dictate that the dwarven longhammer from the Advanced Race Guide would fall into the hammer group, and any home group GM who doesn't allow it is violating Wheaton's Law, but we all know that PFS runs on pure RAW, not common sense.
So here are the questions, as specific as I can make them:
1. In Pathfinder Society, are all legal, non-improvised weapons assumed to be part of at least one weapon group?
2. If the answer is that they're always in a group, can we assume that the obvious, common sense answers can be used to add them to groups? (ie Anything with "axe" in its name is in the axe group, anything with "hammer" in its name is in the hammer group, anything with reach is in the polearm group, any weapon that's worn instead of wielded in a hand is in the close group, etc)
And before anyone says this is a rules question, not a PFS question, that's why I included the quote from Ultimate Equipment, above. Paizo has already published their official answer to the general rules question. I don't expect them to ever clarify that further than the quote above. It doesn't help PFS. That's why this is a PFS specific question.
The new faction sequel to the earlier thread asking the same thing. How many characters do you have in each faction?
Mine, from most to least:
Silver Crusade: 4
If no faction changes are mentioned, then they were always in that faction or its analogous former faction.
What about the rest of you?
I know I've seen these questions come up before, and I don't think there were definite answers, but I thought I'd ask again in case I missed something.
1. When a paladin detects evil, do outside observers know he's doing something? Are there somatic components that would make it obvious he's casting, or is it something he can do quietly without being seen?
2. If a paladin attempts to smite something that isn't evil, then the smite is wasted, per the Core Rulebook. Does the paladin know that? Or would he believe he's still trying to smite that creature?
No, this isn't about necromancers creating undead, though that would probably be relevant to this conversation, too. That is still legal in PFS, isn't it?
In PFS play, I've had situations come up twice now where one of my characters wanted to do something with the bodies of dead, humanoid foes, and either the GM or other players at the table disapproved.
The first time, the PCs protected some peasants on the road from a group of tengu bandits. After killing the bandits, my character suggested cutting the bandits' heads off and putting them on sticks on the side of the road, as a warning to other bandits.
Some of the other players at the table disapproved. As I recall, at least one guy thought I was treating tengu more like animals than humanoids because of their avian nature, so he thought that I saw them as less than human. That's not it at all.
Bear in mind that my character involved in this was lawful neutral, bordering on good at the time. He has since shifted to lawful good (I've got a long, involved back story for this guy, explaining his alignment shifts, among other things). In a "lawless" frontier, this just seemed like an appropriate way to enforce civilized behavior - scare the area's bandits into giving up their evil ways. But the rest of the group didn't want to do that, so I just went along with the majority.
More recently, I played my new tiefling fighter/chef last night. Early in the scenario, we killed some wild animals, and my character made a point of applying his profession (chef) skill towards turning the remains into dinner for the group.
Later, we killed a monstrous humanoid foe (don't want to give away any spoilers, but it's a humanoid race that's not in the Advanced Race Guide). Once again, my character wanted to cook up the body, but the GM insisted that cannibalism is an evil act, so I couldn't do that in PFS without giving up the PC permanently. Since it was just a minor bit of RP on the side, I didn't push the point.
It should be noted that earlier in the scenario, we fought a different group of "probably evil" monstrous humanoids, and my character was the one who wanted to try talking to them first, but the rest of the party charged in swords drawn to just fight and kill them. How is killing enemies without even giving them a chance not evil, but not wanting their remains to go to waste considered evil?
Different societies have different social standards with regards to the remains of their dead, both in the real world and Golarion. If we were talking about the dead bodies of good people, I could see our PCs wanting to treat them with respect, and bring them back to their families for proper burial, cremation, or whatever that society does with them. But if it's someone evil enough that we've already judged them worthy of death, does it really make sense to draw the "evil" line in the sand at doing stuff to their bodies after they're dead?
Since I was planning to make this an ongoing RP quirk for my fighter/chef (he'll cook ANYTHING), I thought I'd ask the question before I play him again. What do the rest of you think? More important, what does campaign management (who I'm sure won't have time to look at this until at least a couple of weeks after GenCon) think?
Blood of Fiends wrote:
Shame and horror fill your subconscious, and you never stop looking for ways to grant yourself the peace of the grave. Once per day, as an immediate action, you can make yourself the target of any attack originally directed against a creature occupying an adjacent square.
I'm playing an AC tank tiefling fighter in PFS, so this is an obvious fit.
As mentioned, this is for PFS, so RAW answers only. No "ask your GM", since it'll be a different GM every time.
So my group just played the walking scarecrows chapter last session, or part of it anyway. They had just leveled up to 5th level right before the session.
The group went straight to the Hambley farmhouse and barn, and only met one "walking" scarecrow along the way (and I believe two normal scarecrows). They defeated the enemies at the farmhouse and barn, and now they want to continue to Foxglove Manor immediately, since they figured out what "The Misgivings" was from their visit to the sanitorium.
So I have two problems with this, as a GM:
1. That means they're leaving a dozen "walking" scarecrows in the field at the Hambley Farm. That could come back to bite them (or the townsfolk) later. Pun intended.
2. I prefer having them level up during logical breaks in the adventure, so I want them to be level 6 before they even enter Foxglove Manor, but they were only level 5 for one relatively short session. Killing a ghast and 7 ghouls shouldn't really be enough to earn a level at this point, but I'm having them level up based on the where the adventure says they should be, not xp, so I could force it, I guess.
So what I'm really looking for is an excuse to force them stick around the Hambley Farm and do a thorough job finding all those ghouls before moving on to Foxglove Manor. Or at least SOMETHING to justify having them level up to 6th level so quickly, since I would feel bad kinda railroading the adventure that way.
Maybe I'll just through in a "random" encounter between the Hambley Farm and Foxglove Manor to have them fight more ghouls to make up for some that they skipped in the corn field. And still have some of the remaining scarecrows come back to haunt Sandpoint and the other farms in the area later.
Sorry, but this is something I've seen on these forums quite a bit lately, and it's starting to become a pet peeve. I'm posting to the PFS subforum specifically because this complaint mostly relates to people talking about the content of PFS scenarios. Please don't move the thread to someplace where nobody will see it.
What's with people not understanding how to use spoiler tags? I'm not talking about people who don't use the spoiler tags at all. That's a newbie mistake, and understandable, though everyone should learn eventually.
I'm talking about people who intentionally create a spoiler tag, but put non-spoiler information inside them, especially the information that should be outside the tags so that readers will know whether or not to click on the spoilers.
Lately, I've seen dozens examples of people spoilering the content of a PFS adventure in spoiler tags (good idea!), but putting the name of the scenario INSIDE the spoiler tag, which at least partially defeats the purpose. You're supposed to put the name of the scenario OUTSIDE the tags, so people can decide whether or not to open the spoiler tag based on whether or not they've played/GMed the adventure and want to see information about its content.
Because two different people have done this with the same scenario lately, I already know what the main monster is in an adventure I'm scheduled to play next week and knew nothing about. *sigh* I looked away and closed the spoiler tag as soon as I realized what they were talking about, but the names of iconic monsters do tend to stand out at a glance.
For that matter, I've occasionally seen the same with thread titles (not putting the title of the adventure or the word "spoilers" in the title, and starting out with spoilers about an adventure), but that tends to be fixed quickly by the moderators, so it's not as big an issue. Again, that's just a newbie mistake, and hopefully everyone learns to use spoiler tags eventually.
And sometimes, people will put information in spoiler tags for no reason whatsoever, which just leaves me scratching my head. And no, I'm not complaining about people who intentionally put a huge list or "wall of text" post inside spoiler tags, as long as they explain why they're doing it. Again, the key here is having a reason to use spoiler tags, and making it clear to your readers what that reason is before they open the spoilers to find out.
So to summarize: Go ahead and put spoiler information inside spoiler tags, but always make sure to have enough non-spoiler information OUTSIDE the tags (name of the adventure, etc) so that people can make an informed decision before clicking to open the spoilers.
Sorry - just had to get that off my chest.
And yes, I'm aware that every single response to this thread will be snarky responses making fun of me for ranting, all of them inside spoiler tags.
Spoiler:I just hope some people will read this and learn something, and start using spoiler tags correctly in the future.
I have enough of a sense of humor to be ok with that.
Why does the planet Golarion have two sun goddesses, when there's only one actual sun?
Yeah, I know Sarenrae is worshiped in the Inner Sea region, while Shizuru is worshiped in Tian Xia. But if there's only one sun, can't only one of them have absolute domain over it? But I guess the same could be asked of why there are two mostly different pantheons for different parts of the world.
Of more immediate concern, how do worshipers of the two sun goddesses view each other, and the other goddess?
I'm actually thinking of doing a Shizuru worshiper for PFS, and I was wondering how such a character traveling to the Inner Sea would react to all the Sarenrae worshipers all over the place. Even if you don't count Kyra, the busiest adventurer in Golarion, Sarenrae is one of the most popular deities for Society clerics, not to mention all those Dawnflower Dervishes and other worshipers.
Would there be a rivalry between the two sun goddesses? Or just mutual respect, as fellow good deities who have the sun and slashing weapons in common?
Core Rulebook Combat Chapter wrote:
You can make attacks with natural weapons in combination with attacks made with a melee weapon and unarmed strikes, so long as a different limb is used for each attack. For example, you cannot make a claw attack and also use that hand to make attacks with a longsword. When you make additional attacks in this way, all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks, using your base attack bonus minus 5 and adding only 1/2 of your Strength modifier on damage rolls. Feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting and Multiattack can reduce these penalties.
Can somebody explain exactly what that last (bolded) sentence means? I'm not seeing it in the description of this feat:
Core Rulebook Feat Chapter wrote:
This is for a PFS tiefling fighter with a greatsword and bite attack. I already created him with 14 dex, but I could easily up that to 15 if it turns out this feat can really help the bite attack.
Because there aren't enough tieflings in the Society. I really was planning this guy about a week before the big announcement.
Before you is the ugliest tiefling you've ever seen. He's large, muscular, covered in scars, with huge tusks, horns, and a tail that won't stop moving. He eyes the other Pathfinders in the room, occasionally growling if someone looks back at him for too long.
When it is his turn to introduce himself, he says: (with a vaguely Russian accent)
"I am called Molos. Molos Pinktusk. Family name is Pinktusk, cause I grow up in Urgir. Is largest city of Hold of Belkzen. Is orc country, very brutal. Orcs call family Pinktusk, cause we have pink skin like human, but big tusks like orc."
"I learn to fight there. Grow up to be strong warrior. Use greatsword, bite enemies with big tusks, hurl stones very fast from sling with big, strong muscles."
"But most important skill, I not learn 'til leave Belkzen. Orcs have no civilization. Eat much raw meat. Know nothing of cooking."
At this point, his tone softens as he continues:
"When leave Belkzen, I learn of fine cuisine. Well cooked meals with variety of ingredients, flavorful sauces and spices, perfectly paired with fine wines. Molos learn of many culinary pleasures since leave home country. Want to travel all Golarion and savor every type food. That main reason I join Pathfinders, agree to be fighter in Society. To travel the world!"
He pauses for just a moment, a wistful gleam in his eye as he thinks, then his face hardens as he continues:
"Pathfinder Society broken into factions. I not know which faction best. Just want travel, see world, taste many fine foods, not care about ancient knowledge, freeing slaves, being do-gooder. Taldor seem very civilized, probably have excelent cuisine. Or could help Qadira arrange trade for recipes and spices, spread great flavors throughout Golarion. Or maybe just join Grand Lodge, stay out of faction politics. Not sure yet."
"What rest of you think? Which faction sound best for Molos?"
Stupid question, but which starting language makes more sense if your tiefling is oni-spawned: Infernal or Abyssal? I'm thinking Infernal, just because oni and devils are both lawful evil outsiders, but I wanted to check and be sure. This is for PFS, so I want to make sure my PC fits in with Golarion lore.
So Seeker of Secrets says that Pathfinders have to go through 3 years of training, but there are occasional, rare field commissions. In another thread, we got off topic talking about this, so I'm starting a new thread.
I wouldn't go that far. I have at least four PCs that I know for a fact went through full Pathfinder training. Three of them are siblings whose father was a Pathfinder. One of them was a Chelaxian slave who was freed by an Andoren Pathfinder and brought to Absalom at 9 years old. He spent the next few years working as a valet for any Pathfinder who would teach him anything in return, until he was old enough to get in for formal training.
I'll have to think about my other PCs, as I'm sure I've got a mix of formal training and field commissions, depending on the characters.
Question for Paizo:
One thing I half expected to see in yesterday's blog post about upcoming changes as of GenCon was an announcement about First Steps, part 1. Given all the changes to the factions, can we assume that this will be retired next month?
It would be nice to know that, so we can plan for "one last run" before it goes away. At this point, I'm just assuming it will be retired, but confirmation would be nice. No, not The Confirmation, though it's nice that we have the replacement.
The Propitiation trait in Faiths of Purity reads:
Your knowledge of the dwarven pantheon tells you precisely which gods have jurisdiction over which aspects of your life, and you can call upon the appropriate deity for help even if that deity is not your patron. At the start of each day, pick one of the following skills: Appraise, Bluff, Craft (pick one craft skill), Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Knowledge (local). You gain a +2 trait bonus on that skill until the start of the next day.
Can this bonus to the Craft skill be used for day job rolls in PFS? Given that it's a full day bonus, and we can assume that the PC will pray for that particular bonus every day that they're doing their day job between adventures, I'd think it would be, but I just wanted to check.
So we've got threads for counting how many characters of each race and class we have. I figured we were due for factions.
Just post quantity of characters based on current factions. Notes about past faction changes can be included, but that's not the main point.
Mine, from most to least:
Silver Crusade: 3
Save discussion about the upcoming faction changes for later. We'll probably need a new version of this thread after GenCon for that.
This is for PFS, so "ask your GM" is not a helpful answer.
From the Tiefling section of the Advanced Race Guide:
Alternate Racial Trait wrote:
Prehensile Tail: Many tieflings have tails, but some have long, flexible tails that can be used to carry items. While they cannot wield weapons with their tails, they can use them to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This racial trait replaces fiendish sorcery.
So both of these talk about retrieving "small, stowed objects". How small? And does it really have to be something stowed?
An obvious use that I could see coming up frequently would be for a fighter going back and forth between melee and ranged weapons that both require two hands, for instance a greatsword and longbow. For most characters, they'd just drop one on the floor as a free action. Could a tiefling just pass the weapon to their tail as a swift action, or is a greatsword too heavy for the tail to carry? I don't think anyone would try to argue that something in your hand is tougher for the tail to grab than a stowed item.
Is there a source somewhere that covers this sort of thing?
So I want to do a single class, non-archetype fighter for Pathfinder Society. The whole idea is to pick a simple combat style that doesn't require lots of feats to be useful in combat, then have some fun picking out weird, fun, and flavorful feat options just because fighters get so many extra feats.
So what would you consider the bare minimum combat feats to make a useful fighter?
I'm figuring two handed weapon with the usual power attack, furious focus, weapon focus, weapon specialization, greater weapon focus, etc. With a good starting strength, I can take all those with the fighter bonus feats to make the character useful enough in a fight, without needing to use many of the normal, non-bonus feats to be effective.
And the main question: For the non-bonus feats (which don't have to be combat feats), what are some fun, flavorful feats that rarely see any use?
I'm thinking of stuff like using Skill Focus to be good out of combat at something fighters aren't known for, but I'm looking for even weirder options. Maybe Breadth of Experience if I go one of those races, or some of the weird racial feats from the Advanced Race Guide. These can be combat feats, too, but I'm looking to intentionally stick to weird stuff that you don't normally see.
So my gnome Deep Earth Sorcerer for PFS just hit level 7, and I'm debating if I should take Persistent Metamagic as my next feat, or just save up for a lesser rod of it. With the money I already have, I should have the 9000 gp to buy the rod after just one more adventure.
The character is a controller type, focusing on conjuration and summoning. I already have Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning. If I don't take the metamagic feat, Greater Spell Focus (Conjuration) is a possible feat choice for this level instead.
My current spells are:
But I get three more known spells now, one for each of levels 1, 2, and 3. Stuff I'm considering that would work with the metamagic include Silent Image for level 1, Web or Create Pit for level 2, and Aqueous Orb, Stinking Cloud, Spiked Pit, or Sleet Storm for level 3. But I'm also considering some non-saving throw spells that wouldn't work with this metamagic, such as Vanish or Liberating Command at level 1 and Dispel Magic or Summon Monster 3 at level 3.
If I take the feat, I'd only be able to use it with level 1 spells immediately (Grease, Expeditious Excavation, and maybe Silent Image) at the cost of a 3rd level spell slot. At level 8, I'd be able to start using it with 2nd level spells at the cost of a 4th level spell slot.
PFS pretty much ends after level 11, which makes metamagic feats in general less useful. At higher levels, 4th level spell slots are more expendable for use on things like Persistent Glitterdust than they are when you first get the level 4 spells.
If I get the rod instead, I can use it 3 times per day with any level 1-3 spell, using the normal spell slot for that spell. Given the high spell slot cost of using it with the feat, I probably wouldn't use it much more than that, anyway, and this would let me cast my higher level spells more by not taking up those slots. So I guess I'm leaning towards the rod.
What do the rest of you think? Also, what do you think about my spell choices for next level?
So I have a Pathfinder Society sorcerer who focused on Use Magic Device, so I could use him as a backup healer with a wand of Cure Light Wounds as necessary. Between fights, he uses a wand of Infernal Healing, as it heals 10 HP per charge instead of 1d8+1, but it's too slow during a fight, and some goody two shoes PCs don't like the evil side effects.
At level 6, with the help of high starting charisma, +2 charisma headband, Circlet of Persuasion, +1 from an ioun stone, and max skill ranks, he finally has his UMD skill up to +19, which lets him succeed with ANY wand without rolling.
So what are some good uses for such a high UMD skill?
Looking at scrolls, I still have to roll for those, and it'll frequently be two rolls, one to emulate an ability score and one to activate the scroll. For instance, Breath of Life seemed like an obvious scroll choice for 1125 gp, but it would be DC 30 to fake a 15 wisdom and DC 29 to activate the scroll. So that's a little too tough to bother with at level 6 with only +19 skill. Maybe once I've upgraded my charisma headband to +4 and gotten a couple more skill ranks in a level or two, I'll consider it. I could even consider the possibility of Skill Focus: UMD as a feat if I decide to go this route, but Breath of Life would clearly take a few more levels to get to.
Mostly, it looks like wands of non-class spells are the best use of this skill, since those don't even require a roll any more. Scrolls are easier if I look at lower level spells and/or charisma based caster classes, but Society rules say that they come from clerics before oracles by default.
I've got Mage Armor and Shield as known spells, with the obvious wands of Infernal Healing, Cure Light Wounds, and Protection from Evil already. And I have a small library of over a dozen different utility wizard/sorcerer scrolls that I can already cast without UMD. Handy Haversack for the win! Not that they're heavy, but just to find the right scroll in a move action without provoking. So it's a question of what non-wiz/sorc spells are worth buying.
I'm thinking a wand of Cure Moderate might be worth the 4500 gp, just to heal more when serving as a backup healer than I can with Cure Light. Another level 2 wand that seems like it could be cool would be Gallant Inspiration. Heh - just thought of Grace. Not sure if I'd get enough use to make it a worthwhile wand, though it would go well with his cowardly personality (he's run from fights before).
This character is non-combat focused, so he usually throws out at Haste first round, then waits to see if the team needs him to cast Grease, Glitterdust, or a Summon Monster spell (he has 1 and 2, along with Augment Summoning). But he frequently doesn't bother with those if it looks like the weapon wielding types already have things under control. That's why the backup healer/buffer roll is so good for him - he literally has nothing better to do after the first round of some combats. And as I said, he's a coward, so he sometimes just tosses out the Haste and/or Glitterdust, then literally runs away, coming back a few rounds later asking "Is it safe yet?"
Any other suggestions for uses for UMD, or non-wiz/sorc spells worth considering as scrolls or wands?
Dumb question, but the PCs are supposed to get half value when they sell stuff, right? So when they find gems, golden helmets, or other valuables, that still applies, not just when dealing with magic items and other adventuring equipment?
I just want to make sure the group has the money they should to equip themselves and keep up with general WBL guidelines.
So my group left off last time having killed everything south of the rope bridge at Thistletop except for Gogmurt the goblin druid, who they captured with 2 HP left. We decided to stop there and start our next session (tomorrow evening) with the interrogation of Gogmurt and go from there.
I know it says Gogmurt will tell them everything since he's that low on HP, and he wants the "longshanks" (Nualia and crew) gone, so he'll try to cut a deal with the PCs to get them to leave the goblins alone. But it also says he won't go with them.
Besides the specific information listed in the adventure, I'm wondering what other detail Gogmurt is likely to provide. Would he warn them about the trap on the rope bridge? Give them directions within the goblins' building for where to find Nualia's crew while avoiding Chief Ripnugget?
I guess some of this might depend on the approach the PCs take. I'm honestly not sure if they'll try diplomacy, or just go for intimidation. If intimidated, he definitely won't tell them about the bridge trap. But if they try to cut a deal to only deal with the "longshanks" and leave most of the goblins alone, would Gogmurt be more forthcoming?
So my campaign is finally meeting weekly again after about a month break for the December/January holiday vacations that everyone took. We're finally making progress into the meat of the story with the Glassworks last week and (hopefully) Catacombs of Wrath this week.
I usually draw maps on the blank fold out grids that are made by Paizo, which are 24x36 squares. In running Pathfinder Society adventures, I noticed that almost every map in their adventures fits on these, which I'm assuming is intentionally planned, especially given how many of them just happen to be exactly 24x36.
But I noticed that in Runelords, the Glassworks and Catacombs maps are both just slightly too big to fit on these grids, I think both of them by only 2 squares each. Is this going to be a recurring problem for me through most of the campaign? Do I really need to go out and by a bigger blank grid to draw on from another company to accommodate a lot of the maps in this adventure path?
This is my first time GMing a long campaign since back in high school, having taken a 20+ year hiatus from playing RPGs since then, and playing/GMing mostly Pathfinder Society in the 2 years since returning to gaming.
Selkirk - Half elf ranger, archery focused, doesn't like humans or cities very much. Enjoys hunting. Came to Sandpoint because he heard rumors about the Sandpoint Devil and wants to hunt it down. Lives down to his 7 charisma, especially for a newbie player who has never played a table top RPG before.
Kalaysa - Elven sorceress (copper dragon bloodline). Granddaughter of a copper dragon and an elf. Her draconic grandfather was killed by a blue dragon, who also stole an heirloom belonging to her elven family. Her long term goal is to eventually find that dragon and get revenge, which is why she traveled to the area, because she thinks he may be in the mountains of Varisia. Worshiper of Calistria, with the lustful personality to go with it, even though she could have just stuck with the revenge theme, given her back story.
Beramy Rollswagon - Human cavalier, Order of the Lion, loyal to the Mayor of Magnimar. Sees himself as a protector for all of Magnimar and its surrounding areas, including Sandpoint. Grandson of the patriarch of the Deverin family, which makes him a cousin to Sandpoint Mayor Kendra Deverin - his mother's maiden name was Deverin. Accompanied by Wilfred the warhorse. Traveled to Sandpoint from Magnimar at this time specifically to celebrate his cousin's town's big day (the Swallowtail Festival and church dedication).
Relyn - Human flame oracle, worshiper of Sarenrae. Came to Sandpoint for the dedication of the new church, and to talk religion with the local clergy.
Kvothe - Human bard. Comes from a performing family that was killed 5 years ago, when he was 10 years old. The Sihedron symbol was carved into one of their bodies. He has become a student of history trying to determine what it means and why they were killed. Fluent in Thassilonian. Came to Sandpoint to study The Old Light and meet Brodert Quink.
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!