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3,711 posts. Alias of JCServant.


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Grand Lodge

Scythia, are you open to online gaming via things like Maptools, Skype, etc? I've run some pretty successful campaigns with players from all over the world using that setup.

Grand Lodge

This is actually a great topic, Zolan. I'm glad you brought it up.

I've run hundreds of sessions, and dozens of campaigns with all kinds of groups. Challenges, such as what you describe here, as well as many others, have killed countless campaigns. Real life circumstances tend to polish off those not murdered by drama.

Among those, I have had a few that did not really care about the game itself. It seemed that they were there more for the social aspect than any of the RP. Thankfully, that number runs low. Usually, I end up asking those people to leave. In a small group like the one you describe, I may just dissolve it altogether.

There are many, serious RPGamers out there... you just have to keep looking :)

Grand Lodge

Personally, I will be houseruling the slide that it still provokes unless used as part of a withdraw option. I know of a player who wasn't just sliding to get out of melee issues, but popping in right where he could do more damage with cone spells and the such. Even with my houserule, this skill is still plenty powerful for that reason alone. You can pop into exact position (in range) and fire off your spell...much easier than running into position while worrying about tripping AoOs.

Grand Lodge

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Over the last four years, I've GM'd nearly a dozen campaigns and dozens of PFS games. In my home games, like most GMs, I use a list of house rules. My rules include the following...


Variant Spontaneous Casting System

The variant spontaneous casting system I use is designed for spellcasters who normally prepare their spells in advance (including clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and wizards). A spellcaster using this variant prepares the same number spells per spell level as normal. However, instead of preparing the exact combination of spells that she can cast that day (such as two magic missile spells and one mage armor spell for a 2nd-level wizard with Int 14), the spellcaster prepares a list of spells for each spell level from which she can spontaneously cast as she chooses. For example, that 2nd-level wizard with Int 14 would three different 1st-level spells. During the day, she can cast any combination of those three 1st-level spells a total of three times. In effect, the characters list of prepared spells is treated like a sorcerers' list of spells known.

Unlike what a sorcerer can do, a spellcaster using this system cannot spontaneously cast a meta version of the spell on the fly (They have to pre-memorize the meta version(s) they wish to use, taking up slots. Example: A 12th level wizard can memorize 3 level 5 spells. He may choose Cloudkill, Hungry Pit and Maximized Magic Missile. During the day, he may cast 3 cloudkills, or 3 pits, or 3 maximized magic missiles, or any combination of those spells...but once he casts 3 of them, he's out of fifth level spells until he rests.

As you can see, its quite similar to the arcanist in structure. While my version cannot meta on the fly, and has no arcane pool powers, they do get the same number of spells/day as the RAW wizard while having the arcanist's flexibility.

So, my opinion is not "armchair general" analysis, but opinion based on years and countless games of observation "in the field".

In short, my qualified, experienced opinion is This set up is not OP'd.

Over the years, I've had players complain to me when they play next to an optimized, pouncing barbarian, certain summoner builds, and a gunslinger. I have nurfed or outlawed most of those.

However, I've never had players complain, once, about feeling that their team wizard was overpowered. I have had other GM players who say they want to use this houserule. I believe there are two reasons for the GM *and* player love.

In PFS, where wizards must run as RAW, I find few wizards. They're very hard to play. You must prepare your spells ahead of time, oftentimes not knowing what you're going to face. And, if you want to cast a certain spell multiple times, you have to memorize it multiple times. The end result is that the fabled flexibility/adaptability of the wizard generally gives way as players memorize multiple copies of spells effective in the majority of situations, and don't bother with the more situational ones that make them feel more special. Taking away their ability to scribe scrolls in PFS(the best way to keep those situational spells on tap outside of arcane bond) makes it more difficult. Being squishy and generally not doing a lot of damage doesn't help, either.

In my home games, even with these rules (which clearly make wizards/casters more powerful) I don't find players banging down the door to play them (though I generally get balanced teams). Now, I've clearly made a powerful class more powerful. Why don't players bellyache, the way they gripe about some of the other, semi-broken classes? Simple. The way the wizard is OP'd mostly makes others shine. When a wizard buffs someone with invisibility, or crowd controls with stinking cloud, sets others up to knock those pins down. The wizard enables team awesomeness. Sure, I get the occasional evocation build that just kills things as often as possible, but true power gamin' wizards go for CC and buffage. Unlike, say, the OPd summoner build of death that consistently kills tough (or even some boss) mobs in on round... which drew comments from my players like "Why are we here? It's like we're the backup singers for the summoner."

So, this gets more people to play arcane (which always seems to be a need), and gives the wizard more ways to shine which, in turn, helps the entire party to feel more awesome. I think I'm OK with that :) The only ones who tend to feel the burn, here, are my lovely monsters. The added flexibility does allow the wizard to be more effective, more often in combat. But, hey, my enemy casters get to use the same rules, so its all good :)

Grand Lodge

I've given this a lot of thought...and I believe the right decision for me is to step down as GM of this campaign. Most of the reasons are personal. Mainly, as I look ahead to 2014, I want to reduce the number of concurrent campaigns I run so I can make the remaining campaigns a higher quality, deeper-RPG experience. Running contradictory to that is the fact that my responsibilities are increasing at work which makes this it more difficult to do just that on these play by posts. And, judging by the number and whatnot of the posts, many of you are in similar circumstances.

With that being said, I've loved this campaign so far, and I loved the roles and characters each of you have played. I brag about this group all of the time, and when it comes to getting in character, this group has been second to none. That's sayin' something since I've run over a half dozen campaigns since PF came out. Brandon, some of your posts are legendary. I love your character and the way you played him. Beppo, you've played the traditional in-your-face warrior I love so much very well. Kyle has made me laugh with his over the top love for the ways of Sheyln. Awesome stuff. And the rest of you too, of course!

Let me know what you think. Happy Holidays to all, as well.

Grand Lodge

You'll want to email all level up changes to me. I handle most of this stuff using my email account as a to do list :)

Grand Lodge

In my day, I was majestic. Handsome. And brave. But now, I am reduced to this. Where are your questions? I do not have long.

Grand Lodge

A...a wayfinder. Yes, you are a most unusually looking one. I assume that if a priest of the good light supports you that you didn't obtain that by unsavory means. You have convinced me, yes! Now, you have questions...I believe. Ask them! Before the madness of death's grasp overtakes me once again!

Grand Lodge

He is, Pathfinder? How can I believe you? Many have tried to lied to take from me!

The bones around the skull shake.

Grand Lodge

Thanks to all of you, as well. I wish I could keep this up, as it could be a lot more fun. But, I'm just not there. You all deserve a better experience as well.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinders...yes...I am, or Good. This is good.

The voice sounds detached as it continues.

Or..wait. You could be lying to me, yes? How do I know you are friends of the true Pathfinders?

Grand Lodge

Did I? I do not recall. Pharasma's voice is loud. My apologies if I did. My questions remain unanswered, holyman.

Grand Lodge

Peach? Peas? Oh, Peace. Yes,... I can see clearly! Your light has driven the madness from me, for a moment. Yes, the fog is still there. Hazy, but clear. Yes. Who are you, holyman? Who are your friends? Why are you here?

Grand Lodge

Kyle looks carefully at the skull and body...and the items being held onto. He hates to interrupt the rest of the dead on one hand... but, on the other hand, he would hate to leave such lovely items behind. Their beauty must be redeemed, not left inside a dusty, dank Pathfinder Lodge.

As he looks carefully, he sneezes from the dusk.

Salud! the skull says, lying on the ground.

Grand Lodge

If we are careful in leaving, hopefully, we won't run into more of those dolls or alert the dotorri that we were here.

Where does the party go next?

Grand Lodge

My apologies for taking so long to post...but I've been tied up.

Its becoming increasing clear to me that I don't have the time to keep up with this as I had hoped. I'm missing a lot of posting times...and even the ones I do hit, I'm often delaying higher priority items to make this happen. Unfortunately, I overestimated my ability to keep up with multiple things at once. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to suspend the game indefinitely :(

I want to thank you all for trying this out with me. In a better situation, I would have had more time to properly explain more and put down a better setting. I can understand why some of you feel lost at times. I just cannot keep up.

If that changes down the road, I'll email you guys first thing.

With that being said, again, thank you. And Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to you and and you family.


Grand Lodge

OH, and Killian...don't think you're getting off just cuz you're taking a siesta at the moment. I have something in mind...but I need to see what way the party goes here.

Grand Lodge

Ok...Well seems like most of you just want to play though. Fair enough. Be aware that for the next two weeks or so, my posting times may be off. Furthermore, there will be no postings from me on the following days...

Friday, Dec 20
Wed Dec 25
Thur Dec 26
Wed Jan 1

Other days I have to play it by ear as I'll be in areas with limited internet connectivity. I'll do the best I can.

Even if I do not post, however, you can still post discussions between each other while waiting. Also, a number of you still need to post yoru background in the dropbox. Even if you have posted, you can feel free to add to what you have.

Grand Lodge

Wow...gotta be careful in this place. I didn't even see anything lay a hand on him! Must have been that skull.

I totally spaced and did not get the items done this weekend...apologies...I'll get that updated soon. In the mean time, the question is do you press forward a man down, or do you retreat?

Grand Lodge

Ayup...kinda gettin' to that level. At level 5 or so, you start getting nasties who are occasionally higher level than you. And PK (Funny how the letters work out there), is only a 4th level spell. Scary stuff!

Grand Lodge

Well, I got some good news and bad news.

Bad news is Killian died. His heart just couldn't handle the fear. Killian, you will need to roll a d100 once revived, assuming you do.

Good news, the party found loot. I'll detailed everything you find on the body, using a take 10 on spellcraft with detect magic, and add it to the loot table this weekend.

Better news. Happy Holidays. The party level is now six.

Grand Lodge

A shining light emanates from Kyle's hand, and the skull fulls to the ground, inert. With the threat neutralized, Kyle looks at his new friend. He bends over, feeling for a pulse, and finds none.

Grand Lodge

Need a touch attack roll on that, too.

Grand Lodge

Kyle, Read first BEFORE declaring your action this round.:
This is some kind of haunt. You'll need to study it more to know what will put it at peace, but putting it down with positive energy / healing magic will at least shut down the spirits' powers for about a day.

Grand Lodge

Round 1

1d20 ⇒ 121d20 ⇒ 21d20 ⇒ 11d20 ⇒ 16

Holy light pours from Kyle, causing the shadows and floating skull to sizzle and burn. Beppo slashes through multiple shadows as Aemon shoots the skull.

The shadows disappear, and the skull shatters into pieces on the ground. As the dust settles, you hear Damaia gasp. Killian? Killian! Wake up...I... I don't think he's breathing!! Killian!!!

Before you can attend to him, you see the bones of the skull coming together again.

Another Know: Religion check

Grand Lodge

I was kind of waiting for you all to declare what you want to do next. At the risk of sounding like a computer RPG or a which way book, you have numerous options at this point. You can drink at a tavern before heading to bed... you could wait out by the guild hoping someone opens the door sometime in the near can follow up on the halfling's invite... you can ask people for information ... you can use diplo/Kn: local to listen/seek out rumors... And anything else you can think of.

Grand Lodge

I would really like to hear from everyone today. What are your thoughts for the rest of the year? Do you want to play everyday except the holiday dates themselves? Or do you want to take one week off? Two? Let me know, please. I would like to declare our plans by the end of the day.

Grand Lodge

I would really like to hear from everyone today. What are your thoughts for the rest of the year? Do you want to play everyday except the holiday dates themselves? Or do you want to take one week off? Two? Let me know, please. I would like to declare our plans by the end of the day.

Grand Lodge

You have fought these before, and recalled that they were incorporeal undead with slightly higher than normal resistance to positive channeling.

Grand Lodge

Killian strides forward, and chops the head off. Instead of falling on the ground, however, it floats up into the air screaming Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!

As it does, chills go up Killian's spine. Three shadows come up from the bones, surrounding the party.

Killian, Will and Fort save. Everyone, COMBAT ACTIONS.

Grand Lodge

Well, let's see how this rolls... but, I would like go gauge how you all feel as far as busy-ness goes for the next few weeks.

Grand Lodge

1d20 ⇒ 5

The door seems locked. It doesn't budge, even a little.

Grand Lodge

We are coming close to when I would normally declare a two week or so break for the it gets harder for people to keep up with all that silly holiday activity and prep. Might be a good time to do that now, eh? Thoughts?

Grand Lodge

We are coming close to when I would normally declare a two week or so break for the holidays...might be a good time to do that now, eh?

Grand Lodge

Taiyan - Spellcraft and Identifying items:
I know different GMs handle this differently. I'm a bit on the conservative side. First, the quote from Spellcraft... "Attempting to ascertain the properties of a magic item takes 3 rounds per item to be identified and you must be able to thoroughly examine the object." For me, 'closely examine' means you need to hold it. Part of using spellcraft is ascertaining tactile properties (an item that does fire damage or protection from fire is magically warm or cold to the touch, offering a clue as to what it does). Until you hold them, you are limited to using Detect magic to figure out their this case, you got a variety of weak to moderate strength auras ranging from enchantment to conjuration, I believe. From the skeleton itself, you sense rather strong necromancy and phantasm magic.

Grand Lodge

You guys are split, but you can easily get back together whenever you want. Ushed isn't that big.

Toriel knocks on the door of the mages guild. Located near the center of town, the three story building's height, as well as its ornate moldings, demand attention from any who pass by.

No one answers.

Grand Lodge

You look more carefully at the skeleton holding the items. You cannot see whats in the bag, but you do see magical leather armor. A magical ring sits on one bony finger, and a magical heavy crossbow sits across his legs. An magical quiver containing dozens of crossbow bolts and two magical javelins of is wedged between his bones and the back of the chair he sits in. A wayfinder is clutched in one hand, a dusty rose prism ioun stone set in the wayfinder’s central receptacle.

Grand Lodge

Toriel brushes against a brutish man. He immediately retaliates with a verbal assault. Hey, pointy ears! Watch where you're going. I guess you don't see too well with those eyes of yours!

He swears as he stomps off.

A halfling who witnesses the incident approaches her and says, Ummm, I'm sorry. Bukanuscanbeabitrudeattimes. Youlooklost. CanIhelpyouwithsomething? He sees that you're struggling to understand him, and he repeats what he said, slowly. Bukanus can be a bit rude at times. You look lost. Can I help you with something? You explain what you're looking for. Ah, well, the mage's guild is right in the middle of town. You can't miss it. It's the only three story building in Ushed.

Toriel thanks the older looking halfling. He replies, The pleasure is all mine. Let me show you a real Ushed welcome! Come to my house tonight at the corner of Main Street and Lanton. I'll make you and any friends you have some nice tea!

The well dressed halfling skips off.

Grand Lodge

Damaia looks carefully over the room. I agree with you, Edmond. You don't need my expertise to tell you that our dead friend here has a surprise waiting for anyone who touches his bag. Still...if it could be figured out...

Another 10 minutes has passed searching this room.

Grand Lodge

You sense various auras around the skeleton and the room. A book on a shelf registers with powerful magic, as well.

Grand Lodge

And that would be a logical thought. Experience has taught me that players don't want to use it. Unless I specifically push for players to do so, I've seen players leave a dungeon/town/etc rather than entertain the thought that they missed something that obvious, lolz.

As long as *you* guys keep it in mind, it is a good thought. Remember, you don't get charged if there's no answer.

Grand Lodge

You try several of the keys. Finally, one of them works. You open the door and walk in. The walls of this room are lined with bookshelves. A velvet sofa along the southern wall contains a single skeleton clad in long-decayed rags, its arms wrapped tightly around a burlap bag bulging with unseen items. A scattered pile of junk sits on the floor before the skeleton, a corona of treasures and clutter alike. A message in Common is scrawled on the wall in huge crude lettering opposite the seated skeleton: “He who steals from me dies by my hand.” The grisly pile of skeletal remnants heaped in a mound in the center of the room seems to testify to this threat.

Grand Lodge

Nevuda is wearing a disguise, such as a heavy cloak, right?

Shallya/Toriel You look around, but you don't see one. Roll a Knowledge: Local (or, you may roll diplomacy to ask around), just in case you're missing something :)

Jark finds the constable, in charge of the Ushed malitia. A hearty man in his late 40's, Jark's story only seems to add lines under his aging eyes.

I'm very disappointed to hear that this small band of orcs pushed its way so far into our lands. Even more devistating, that they were able to cut down a number of our men. That's not good. He sighs heavily. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it. We have enough of our own problems here, and there's always too much on my own plate to worry about farmlands two weeks away. I'll be happy to mention it to the Royale Guard next time I meet with one of them.

In fact, listening to how you and your friends took care of those monsters, you may want to check in with them if you're in Silverfall or any major city that they have a presence in. They're always looking for mercenaries to take care of some of the smaller complaints.

Grand Lodge

I would just hate for you all to get stumped on something, like the keys. It's not the first time its happened, and I don't always have an NPC voice in the party. Some of these dungeons and situations literally become dead ends if you don't remember some of these details.

And as much as you don't have time to write/read...well, searching / scanning and entire month of posts (or more) takes a bloody long time, hahahaha. And it doesn't seem fair to presume that someone else will do it, and/or remind you (as a player) of those necessary details.

I'm open to other suggestions as well. Just trying to address what I see as a re-occuring concern here. With that being said, it's not a critical concern... yet :P

Grand Lodge case someone missed it, I linked it in Damaia's statement above. It has 12 keys. As far as keys for all locked won't know until you try :)

Grand Lodge

Thoughts about lost keys In most of my regular campaigns, I have players maintain a log of events. In the play by posts, I haven't requested that since we can see the full history in writing here. Yet, in talking about this situation with one or two of you, no one recalled the keys found in the cove or anything. And, it turns out it's a bit of a pain to read through page after page of gameplay to find that one thing you need to recall. Perhaps a journal *is* in order? Thoughts?

Grand Lodge

Christmas Present from GM to you all, teeheehee

Damaia looks stumped for a minute...then her eyes light up like a torch at night. Didn't you all find a set of keys when you went to that cove or something? What about those? Do you have them?

Grand Lodge

That's it? Only one post? *blink blink*

Grand Lodge

You head south and at the end, facing west, are two large iron doors.

1d20 ⇒ 81d20 ⇒ 111d20 ⇒ 2

Damaia looks at it carefully, tries to pick it for a minute, then says, Whoever had these built wasn't playing around. This thing is locked tight. There's a very expensive heavy lock mechanism on it, and these doors are heavy enough to stop a battering ram. We'll need the key to get in.

Grand Lodge

You spend the next few days helping them to pack. You then resume your trip towards Silverfall.

The next few days pass with little incident. The mood is very somber as you head to the next town, Mollo. Forzega You Are Here map updated.

Another town not far from the Wolfen Territory (and the nation of Elves), Mollo is a hub of trade and fishing, though not quite as busy, nor nearly as large, as Silverfall. Most of the people here have a deep tan from years of working outside.

You do not spend much time in town . You bid your new friends farewell, and you follow the path south, towards the farming village of Asylan, the entry town of Ushed, and finally to the city of Silverfall.

Asylan is another farming village, about two days from Ushed, and four days from Silverfall. It takes you about 10 days to get there from Mollo. Thankfully, the weather cooperates, and during the trip, you only suffer one short rainfall.

Similar to the last town, Asylan is a small farming village with a few building that form it's town hub. Halflings work side by side with humans to raise and bring in the crops each year. You are relieved to see that there is no trouble in this farming village, and you make your way towards Ushed.

Ushed is the largest town some of you have seen before. Surrounded by a pallaside wall with guards at each entrance, it also seems to be the most protected. Many travelers, merchants and the such stop at Ushed before the final 1-2 day trip to Silverfall.

Local Know 14:
Major Buildings: The Shilo Inn, Hogar’s Bar, Mayor’s house, 2 temples (Good alignments / Farm & community god), Mages guild (Small, about 3 mages in town), town guardhouse (2 guards on duty / time), food & vegetable marketplace, old sewer structure, ruins about 5 miles from town near graveyard, Blacksmith

Shopping: Simple weapons readily available. Healing potions from mages guild. Basic temple services available. More complex weapons (normal) and armor available with some time to make it (1 day) from local blacksmith.

Attitude/Society: Ushad stays busy, and the people complain little. For a medium town, there’s little poverty, and most of the people work hard. Those few who do not work usually move on to Silverfall to try their luck at begging in the larger towns.

Mayor: Kyut Greenfoot (Halfling). Old adventurer that now leads the town with the help of the council. While unusual to see a Halfling in a leadership role in a mostly human town, Kyut is hardly any normal Halfling. Years of adventuring have helped him break the average Halfling mold. He’s clearly too old to be adventuring anymore, but has no problem seeking aid from local adventurers when the town needs it.

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