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6,477 posts. Alias of Human.

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Liberty's Edge

. . . And figured I'd ask for feedback here.


Priests of the following gods can use summon monster and summon nature's ally spells to summon the following creatures in addition to the normal creatures listed in the spells.

Thoth (LN god of magic, the moon, wisdom, and writing)
Summon monster i – baboon*
Summon monster ii – giant ibis (see below)*
Summon monster vi – axiomite, stymphalidies*
Summon monster vii – zelekhut
*This creature is summoned with the celestial template if you are good, or the fiendish template if you are evil; you may choose either if you are neutral.
Planar allies of Thoth include Benet, a LG young phoenix with the appearance of an enormous spoonbill.

Keltheald (CG deity of natural formations, sunsets, and vistas)
Summon monster i – hawk*
Summon monster iv – korred*, werebear*
Summon monster vii – cliff giant*
Summon monster viii – monadic deva
*This creature is summoned with the celestial template if you are good, or the fiendish template if you are evil; you may choose either if you are neutral.
Planar allies of Keltheald include Kvell, a CN jyoti that has abandoned its home plane.

Droskar (NE god of cheating, slavery, and toil)
Summon monster i – duergar*
Summon monster ii – giant scarab beetle (see Dungeon #134)*
Summon monster iv – forge spurned
Summon monster vi - goliath stag beetle*
*This creature is summoned with the celestial template if you are good, or the fiendish template if you are evil; you may choose either if you are neutral.
Planar allies of Droskar include Ember, an ash-colored plasma ooze, and Servant 087365, a sceaduinar which has devoted itself to Droskar's mission of grim creation.

Giant Ibis CR 1/2
XP 200
N Tiny animal
Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
AC 19, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+5 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 6 (1d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +4
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (poor)
Melee bite +7 (1d6)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Str 10, Dex 21, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 19, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +3; CMD 8
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +5, Perception +12, Stealth +17; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth
Environment any swamps
Organization solitary or rookery (2-100)
Treasure none

Are there any obvious balance concerns? Any monsters that would just never be summoned because I missed a better summons of the same or lower level?

Liberty's Edge

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Translated from the Aklo.

Hey there. Name's Romo Slender. 'Cause I'm thin, right? I'm writing down some of the s~#~ I've been through since it's possible I die horribly and someone needs to know what I've seen. And they might like to know that the world didn't use to be snowy.

You could say it all started when I was first thrown out into the forest, but I think a better starting place is when I met Sterris and Elder Natharen Sifander. They were heading south, I was heading south – we figured banding together would make us safer. It was very odd to have snow in Barovia, but there was nothing too odd about our trip until we came to a frozen stream and heard whizzing arrows and the clash of weapons. Some folks were fighting a strange water spirit, so Sterris and I joined in killing the creature and talked to 'em.

I made introductions. There was a strange short man with a high-pitched voice whose name I didn't catch but who I later found was named Tengezil Frimbocket, as well as one ”Mynama Kyneburg” who was the one making all the noise with a big sword I later found was named Aeglac. She didn't speak Balok, unfortunately. The last in the group was a woman named Armillia Fex, who'd been shooting the bow. There was also a gigantic clawed bird with them that seemed half-trained at best. Apparently they were looking for some lady who'd gotten grabbed by some bandits as the storm was coming on. I figured, a noble'd have good money, so why not go along with these folks and help?

We headed west, but were ambushed by a group of bandits with bows. We killed them without compunctions. The big strong fighter Kyneburg had gotten wounded so we went back to a hunter's shack owned by Armillia's mentor. Apparently, the man had wandered off into the woods looking for some sort of oversized ferret. The people looking for the noble (who was named Argentea Malassene of Dimentliu) had previously found some warm magicked tea waiting for them in the shack, but no such boon was waiting for us that day. We slept in the cold single room and the small man healed Cyneburg. The priest Sifander heard creepy noises in the night, and we suspected the shack to be haunted. I did succumb to the urge to see if I could take one of Armillia's arrows that night, but she shifted in her sleep and I managed to scare myself back to bed. That morning, I was all out of spells, so I had to go out into the forest to find it.

Sifander is an old man so we told him to stay at the hunter's shack to try to cleanse the place of spirits; there was also the side benefit of him not needing to hike in the snow for 6 hours and maybe die of cold. We returned to the ford where we first met, but something very strange was there. It was a figure built out of woven stems and grass, from which a terrible stench emanated. Kyneburg chopped off its head, discovering that a corpse had been trapped inside it. It was someone Armillia and Tengezil knew, called Old Man Dansby – a native of their village, who always worried about the fey of the forest. His fear was well-founded, it seemed. We burned his body in its wicker casing and hopefully cleansed his spirit for the Morninglord or whoever it is that'll take him.

After a hard day of hiking through the snow, we reached the High Sentinels' Lodge. Sterris stumbled over a tripwire, though, and suddenly we were mobbed by more bandits with weapons. Some of them seemed very sick. We quickly killed them, too, and entered the lodge to look for Argentea Melassene, the noble that had gone missing. We didn't find her immediately, but Kyneburg found a caliban woman in the kitchen who called herself Ten-Penny Tacey and spoke the same tongue. Tacey said she'd been kept there against her will, and she didn't like being around people so Kyneburg helped her escape – into the woods, I guess. It was when we were heading up the stairs to the second floor when we heard a thudding outside – and saw two zombies reel out of the room at the top of the stairs. Each zombie was wearing little onyx charms around their neck, which we worked out were used for reanimating them. We tried to cut down the ones inside and shut the door, but they kept coming, and we bolted out the back. Where it turned out there were plenty more undead. I tried to use some frost magic on some clanking horror, but it was just my luck that it was immune to cold. Tengezil's feathery companion was getting beat up by a group of zombies while I shouted encouragement to him and Kyneburg, but then they both either went inside or went around the side of the lodge. When I didn't hear anyone else fighting outside except Sterris, I attempted to run back indoors as well. But my good friend Armillia shut the door in my face.

Now, it turns out Armillia felt really bad about it later, but that didn't matter in the moment. What mattered was that she, a skilled fighter, shut the door on me, a very unskilled one, as well as a little less than half a dozen freezybone skeletons and zombies. And Sterris, who from the commentary of the others I gather had been running around in what looked like a prison smock the whole time since I met him and Sifander – he was certainly faring poorly. Sterris ran off north while I ran off east.

Unfortunately, I ran into the zombies. They encircled me, and I felt a brush of air as one swipe missed and then this impossible pain when they stuck me in the stomach.

I woke up with it standing on my chest. I saw myself through its eyes for a moment before I shoved it off. I was lying on the ground, my robes soaked with blood, my glasses askew. Outwardly, I was mostly the same. What changed was inward – I felt a new hunger, kinda like regular hunger where you think ”Morninglord, I really wish I had a pie just about now” but it was now like ”I want to inflict pain and horror on my enemies.” Fortunately that was directed at whoever made all those undead attack in concert, not Armillia.

Carving it into stone feels super wrong in terms of acknowledging what I saw but hey, if you're reading this that probably means you're caught up in my curse, right? In third person, I saw ribbons of blackness wrapping around me, felt them sapping all the heat from my bones, heard the sound they made like knives cutting through grass. The pain in my gut spread to my heart and my neck. I couldn't move a muscle.

The zombies had moved on to other targets – I later learned that they'd seriously injured Kyneburg, and that there was a well-dressed a!%%&%@-looking man in proper cold weather furs who was the one animating folks. I limped back to the front of the lodge and gave encouragement to the warriors, though the way my luck works I don't get to do it on the same people more than one time in a day. We killed the last zombies and that scared off the animator, and then we dumped all the bodies into the well so he couldn't come back and use them. The rest of the folks started going on about oh, how cute was ”Romo's cat” - did it have a name? I tried to warn them but they would not listen.

I went to ask Armillia why she uh, tried to kill me (and maybe succeeded?), but she locked herself in the kitchen and wouldn't come out. Started piling stuff up to barricade herself in. I think I heard her crying. I decided to leave her be.

We finally found Argentea tied up in the cellar, and also checked out the rest of the rooms in the lodge. There was a sick room and a bunch of other bedrooms downstairs, while the upper story just had two rooms. Argentea was whiny, like a typical noble I guess, but she got along alright with Kyneburg and me. I think Tengezil was weird-looking to her. We moved as many beds as we needed upstairs, and eventually Armillia came out. She might've apologised; I don't remember.

The first upstairs room, the one we decided to camp out in, had one advantage in addition to the elevation. It had good glass windows oriented in a way that the others could watch the whole yard to the south of the lodge. It also had more of those onyx charms hanging in those windows. Armillia and I debated selling them, but we decided it would be best to give them to Sifander and see if he could destroy them.

The second upstairs room was like a little closet and had a cache of goods inside. No food, but a blanket or two, as well as a cage holding some sort of little sprite. We released it, but I don't think any of us felt particularly good about doing so – what if it reported to the animator?

Then we ate some porridge made from leftover flour in the kitchen, and some food we'd all brought along, and settled in for the night. The number of groans and complaints I heard from Argentea over the cramped conditions was higher than I could track.

The next morning we went back to the hunter's shack, spent another night there. Argentea was even more displeased with those conditions. A strange flying creature with both feathers and fur slithered in through some crack during the night – it was a witch's spy, undoubtedly, and we killed it.

I tested my stealth again, rifling through Kyneburg's pack (she was a much heavier sleeper), but the small man caught me and sounded the alarm. Then Kyneburg threatened to chop off my hand if I did it again . . . lord. I tried to explain I wasn't taking anything important, nothing she'd miss, that I couldn't control it, but none of them were willing to listen. Gotta control myself. I'm not proud of this.

We made it to the hamlet of Heldren without meeting any more bandits or monsters. (I think we mighta killed the last of the bandits when we raided the lodge. It's too bad we didn't keep any to ask about why they killed the rangers and raided Argentea's caravan. But it's also fine because we found a map in the lodge showing that they were planning to attack Heldren.) We got Sifander home and Armillia went to her mom's house and got Argentea a room to stay there. Apparently the noble actually didn't have much money. We did get some money by selling the bandits' equipment to the general store owner, Vivialla Steranus, and I went and bought us bottled flame from the uber-nervous apothecary Tessarenea Willowbark. Armillia and I took the onyx charms to the spiritual leader of the place, Old Mother Theodora, who said she'd get them destroyed. Tengezil had a house in the village, while Kyneburg, Sterris, and I got spaces on the floor of the Silver Stoat Tavern.

By the next morning, we had left the smoky village and were journeying back towards the High Sentinels' Lodge. Armillia still wanted to look for the old hunter who'd gone missing in the woods, and I and the others wanted to track down the man who'd sent the zombies after us. We made it back to the hunter's cabin and then all the way up to the lodge, though we encountered the frost-burned bodies of several wolves and deer along the way. Kinda worrying, those.

We slept in the high room at the Lodge's top that night. The next morning, we checked out the stable adjoining the Lodge and discovered that it had four hungry horses. The fourth one I identified as a nixie, a kind of fey spirit known for inviting riders onto its back and then flipping them off into rivers. As we were quite close to a river at the time, we decided not to mount it, and took the other horses out. We didn't want someone else to get fooled by the fey horse, so we tried burning down the stable with it inside – but it broke free of its shackles and charged us. The real horses bolted, but Tengezil (who claimed that the horse was actually a ”blood mare,” some sort of demon cannibal – probably false) got his bird in and Kyneburg and Sterris surrounded the fey and slowly chipped away at it, with myself providing support. It was much stronger than I'd expected, but we managed to kill it without losing anyone. Then we gathered up the horses, got them some fresh food and water, and put them back in the stable. We went to the river's edge. The bridge there was apparently slippery-looking (though I could walk on it just fine), so we sent Kyneburg across first to check it out, with a rope around her waist.

It turned out the greatest danger of the bridge wasn't the ice, but a flying fey creature that haunted the crossing and tried to attack us. I tried to reason with it, learning that it was called Isoze and was some sort of mephit, but it seemed to serve someone else. Kyneburg fell off the bridge after a powerful gust of wind, and since I was holding the rope, I started getting dragged down after her. Thinking fast, I jumped off the cliff – but so that our rope wrapped around one of the bridge's posts, helping me use my full weight to counterbalance Kyneburg's. It still wasn't enough, but Sterris helped pull the two of us up and then made his sling sing with the Morninglord's power, throwing magical rocks at the fey. That was kind of the only thing that hurt it – we needed something either magical or blessed. It got Armillia with a burst of some sort of visual illusion. I kept everyone mostly conscious and we eventually seemed to either bore or tire out the fey, which fled upriver away from us. Armillia got back up and we picked our way across the bridge. We'd pick the horses up on our way back.

At the crest of another hill, we found a patch of cleared earth with three tree-like monsters growing in the center. They were frostfirs from the Breathing Forest of north Irrisen, which would be knocked unconscious by the blood of a divine caster. Irrisen is a country I am not very familiar with. I recommended that Tengezil throw some of his blood at them, but he told me to use mine, instead, and so no one threw any blood in the end. Kyneburg chopped the monsters up and we uprooted them to find the body of a human man who was even more poorly dressed than Sterris – it seemed he'd been stripped.

Later on, we found a large metal trap partially ripped out of the ground. Armillia identified it as a weasel trap, but sadly it appeared the thing had gotten free. We followed the trail of its blood westward.

Towards evening (it was colder, which is how I can tell), we reached a strange little hut perching on top of some trees on top of a knoll. The trail of blood ran past the hut, but we decided to investigate when a young girl ran past us into some boulders below the knoll. She looked frozen, according to the others. When we tried to follow her, she called, ”I'm sorry, don't hurt me – I never meant to call you names!” And then she said, ”I don't want your stupid doll!” I noticed that she didn't seem to be making the snow crunch with her movements, and right at that moment the others said she disappeared. When Kyneburg climbed up to the hut and found a strange doll sitting at the top looking down at us, I realized that this was a soulbound doll, a horrible invention that used the spirit of some person to power a magical construct. But it had fragmented in some way, so that the construct in the doll was separate from the spirit of the little girl that kept trying to escape and hide. We destroyed the doll, Tengezil making Kyneburg large with a spell and Armillia and Sterris and I using bottled flame to set the hut on fire. Then the rest of the party went down to where the girl had been moving, and saw no sign of her except for some shadowy faces beneath a patch of ice; the faces melted as they watched. The girl's name was Thora, and that was her and her family they glimpsed under the ice, we somehow knew. We followed the blood trail past the burning hut.

We hiked all the rest of the day. That evening, shortly before camping, more frost skeletons attacked, and I apparently set a tree on fire with my last bottled flame in my haste to destroy them. We cut down boughs of fir and pine and built a little shelter next to the burning tree, but my companions all complained terribly about the cold. Made me feel a little lucky to have my curse of cold resistance.

The next day we kept hiking. It was probably around noon when we happened upon a shredded frozen corpse. Armillia identified it as that of her mentor, the hunter and alcoholic Dryden Kepps. When she touched his quiver, some of the arrows whispered something to her – a remnant of the hunter's ghost, I think. Kepps was infatuated with the idea of fighting a gigantic weasel he claimed haunted these woods, but no one apart from Armillia had believed him while he was alive. Judging by the wounds on his body, he had been at least half-right: there was something huge and clawed roaming the forest. And judging by what those arrows did later, he'd either prepared well or his spirit had enhanced their power, because they tore into that weasel like a hot poker into a block of lard.

We took Dryden's most useful possessions – Sterris took his winter furs, so he was finally dressed appropriately for the weather. Kyneburg took the dead man's snowshoes and bow, and then we built a cairn over Kepp's body and let Armillia have a moment. Kepps had been carrying a flask of something that smelled like whiskey, and Armillia poured that out over his body. Kyneburg made an odd symbol by tying two pieces of stick together in a cross shape and sticking that into the ground at the head of the cairn. I'd been working on learning her language, and I think she said that the cross represented sanctifying the body.

When we continued westward, we discovered the frozen Soulmere Lake. And far out on the ice, Armillia spotted something horse-sized, furry, and snakelike: the dire weasel Kepps had spoken of. Kyneburg charged across the ice towards it, but before she ever reached it, it fell, the two spiritual arrows sprouting from its eyes. Armillia lowered her bow.

In its death throes, the weasel broke the ice, but Kyneburg pulled it out of the water and back to shore. Armillia severed the weasel's head to later have mounted in the Silver Stoat.

We constructed more shelters near the lake that night. I slept soundly until Armillia heard something rustling in the underbrush and yelled out to us. She started talking with something whose voice was guttural and groaning. I was dragged out of bed and went to help her talk.

As it turned out, the creature was some sort of abominable snowman, like that which the legendary Bardo the Greatfoot Hunter had searched for. It was speaking in the language in which I now write. With Armillia translating, we understood that it did not like us resting in its territory, so we offered it the corpse of a deer as payment. The creature was somewhat mollified and agreed to let us spend that one night there – but that would be our last such opportunity. The next time, it wanted our own blood.

I had to sleep a bit longer before I could muster up the strength to go and commune with the monster. Armillia went down to the lake to check on the weasel corpse (perhaps the snowman had taken it as food?), only to find the bloody place where she'd severed the head empty. A trail of weasel tracks led away over the snow. We still don't know if that a~!&%*& in the furs reanimated the weasel, but that's my theory. Gotta kill that guy.

Despite our late start, we made good progress along the path deeper into the cold. Along the way, I got Armillia to teach me some of what she knew about the Aklo language. We were drilling on grammar when, suddenly, the wind picked up, and a horrific combination of wolf and deer was revealed from a flurry of snow in our path. I heard the angry malefic winds condensing behind us, and realized it was some sort of elemental mist being. The wolf-deer named itself Hommelstalb, and we discovered that it was a tiny monster ”riding” the corpse of its victims, something we called a puppeteer. Or puppedeer, you might say. I think Kyneburg was the one to notice the monster and kill it, and then the rest of us defeated the wind creature, which was named Squalb.

That same day, we arrived at the base of a tall cliff and what seemed to be the nexus of the winter that was blanketing this area of rural Barovia. I could feel the wind streaming out, the icy mist collecting on my stubble, the intermittent sting of hardened snow hitting my nose. The others described it as a ring of inverted icicles (some 30 feet high), at the center of which was a globe of whirling whiteness. As we came out of the forest, they saw a group of igloos gathered around the nexus, as well as a cave up to the north. We met another small man (like Tengezil) named Foefane, who was somewhat creepier than Tengezil if I'm being honest. He talked about bringing Tengezil over to his side and about ice in his heart, and seemed to already have ice for hair. When Tengezil refused he threw a thunderstone at us and summoned a bunch of sprites, and we had bitter combat. I think Kyneburg had killed Foefane by the time we heard something else, larger than him, moving in one of the trees. It was singing in a high-pitched voice, in a language none of us recognized. We went around the igloo there and tried to find the new threat, but could not accurately track it. It attacked at the worst moment, surprising me and Sterris all alone (kind of a trend) with Armillia still fighting one of the sprites further off.

Sterris and I attacked the new threat, which he described as sort of a big ugly man, a troll with a long boar spear. Trolls dwell under bridges, and cold iron hurts them. Kyneburg trudged through the snow and caught up with us, but even she and Armillia (who both had snowshoes, after finding Kepps) could not move as fast as Sterris when Sterris was calling on the Morninglord's power. I helped the injured Kyneburg hack the troll up, but the monster retreated, saying that he, Teb Nautumn, would not die the same way as Foefane. He climbed over one of the smaller igloos and then leaped off with its spear, horrifically stabbing Tengezil and pinning him to the ground, unconscious. Sterris and I hurried to heal our companion while Kyneburg slowly wore Teb down. Finally, she sliced off his arm, and he died.

Or so we thought.

We patched up Kyneburg and Tengezil as best we could while Sterris searched the troll's body for useful items. He noticed at the last second that Teb's arm had reformed, and dodged out of the way when the monster grabbed his spear back up and started fighting us again, somehow almost fully healed. It was a long, arduous battle, but now that the troll couldn't bound off into the snow or climb away onto an igloo, Tengezil's slow-moving pet bird was able to stay in the fight, and it helped a lot. We finally killed the troll, and then Sterris chopped it up and started feeding the pieces into a fire Armillia built. We learned: Never turn your backs on the bodies.

Teb had been carrying some flasks of different fluids, a scroll, more thunderstones, a sickle, and a sling, in addition to his magical spear which resized to his height when Tengezil picked it up. We all agreed that Tengezil should take the spear. We investigated the igloos, finding a winter blanket and some piles of furs, which we took. Tengezil also found a pit trap! After joshing him a little for not looking more carefully, we helped him up.

We were still very wounded and tired, but we decided to check out the wintry orb. Maybe there was a way it could be shut down, to return Heldren and the rest of the region to normal? As we approached, though, a heavily armored man riding a horse suddenly rode out of the sphere – what we now realized was a portal. I backed away quickly from the threat, and the others neglected to tell me when the man collapsed onto the ground in front of them. Apparently, he was bleeding, was named Black Midnight, and was ”Baba Yaga's Black Rider, Harbinger of the Witch Queen's Return.” I reapproached partway through his little spiel, once I heard the unstrained voices of my companions and realized the warrior had not simply murdered them all.

Midnight had (apparently) taken the form of a white-haired balding man after removing his helmet, and explained that someone called Queen Elvanna in Irrisen had taken over the country and refused to cede power to her coming mother, the (something like an empress) Baba Yaga. Only Baba Yaga could defeat this Queen, but she was missing. If Yaga could not be found, then this ”demiplane” - ”the World of Mist and Darkness” that we all lived in, could be doomed. He gave us two ”keys,” which we were to put in a cauldron inside something called a Dancing Hut. The keys would be reactivated by the lifesblood Midnight spilled upon them, once he had died. He gave me one of the keys, something I recognized as a plague doctor's mask. The other was a lock of hair, which he gave to Kyneburg.

With his dying few breaths, Midnight set some kind of geas upon us – he called it the Mantle of the Black Rider. Each of us got a dark sigil on our necks (I can feel a raised welt, days later), and we were compelled to find Baba Yaga to stop Queen Elvanna. Personally, I would have been willing to save the world even if he hadn't given the Mantle, but I actually derived some benefit from it. When he cast his spell, I felt my mind expanding, and suddenly I fully understood both Kyneburg's language (Aengles) and the one in which I now write – Aklo, the language of monsters. I also knew where Irrisen was, roughly, and also that Midnight was right about the world being segmented into ”domains.” I even knew a little about the geography of the domains I had visited, something you don't typically pick up if you can't read maps (the fact that I had been in different domains, and not simply different nations, was also revealed to me). Midnight died just after giving us the Mantle. Good timing with that one.

We cleared out the cave to the north of the portal and settled in for a frigid, snowy night. The next morning we debated – should we go straight into the portal, or try to make it back to town and get some more supplies? In the end, the more cautious and more amenities-loving heads prevailed, and we began the long hike back to Heldren. During this journey, I began to carve these tablets.

It seemed that whatever predators there were along our path, we'd met and killed or bargained with, because the way back was free from fights. We did not encounter the snowman, and we made it back to the High Sentinels' Lodge in just a day and a half. We got the horses fresh food (though there's scarce little of it in the snow zone) and then rode on to Kepps' old cabin. The hunter's spirit had clearly passed on, and we heard no more tapping or rattling in the night. Then we finally rode back into the village.

The first thing Armillia did was go to the tavern and show everyone the head of the dire weasel. Folks were shocked, and Armillia was vindicated; she took the head to the tanner's to get it taxidermied. But when Armillia went home to talk to Ma Fex about how Kepps had been right all along, and maybe Armillia'd been right about the disappearance of her brother some 20 years ago, her ma wouldn't listen to a snatch of what she had to say (I was there; I can vouch for the woman's lack of reason). She started telling Armillia that she ought to settle down, marry this nice noble she'd met (Argentea was there too – I suspect at least her ears were blushing), and stop talking about fey and monsters and all that. Armillia cussed out her ma and then we all left, with Armillia offering Argentea the opportunity to come with her to whichever land we were going to enter. Argentea had lost her bodyguard Yuln Oerstag and all the rest of her retinue to the bandits, and she didn't really have anything tying her to Barovia, so she agreed.

Tengezil immediately set to work building a sleigh for the horses to tow. It would take him three days and most of his free time, plus some help from Armillia and Sterris. Several of us stayed at his cramped, messy house.

Kyneburg, who'd befriended Argentea's bodyguard and first learned the trail symbol Tralaks from him, arranged a funeral sans corpse for the man. She and Argentea attended, though I'm told Sifander's eulogy was lacking in details. Kyneburg spent the remainder of her time working at the tanner's, and apparently earned a small wage for her assistance.

Meanwhile, I cased the village – always important to do before you leave a town for a good while. If any of y'all are reading this, sorry, but I needed some cash, and none of y'all were chipping in any money for my sleight of hand acts. I figured out that the town hall only had one guard at night, so that became my target. The night before we'd leave, I snuck up to the front window, stuck my glue paper to the glass, and carefully cut a hole for my hand. When I tapped the glass out, it made a little tinkling sound, but I don't think anyone noticed. I opened the window and slipped inside. This is where having a frame like mine helps a lot. Then I carefully, stealthily crept up the stairs to the central counting desk. There was no money inside! I stealthed into a side room, where I knew the guard slept – and there, sitting out on a table, was a box of metal pieces that felt a hell of a lot like jewelry. I stuffed them into my pockets, listening to the guard snoring, and then stole back outside.

The next day, I visited the town hall again. They say not to return to the scene of the crime, but I've never been one to obey aphorisms. The guy manning the desk was the same as the guard. I asked how it was going, and he explained that he'd been robbed the previous night, but it was otherwise swell. I told him I hadn't heard of the robbery, did they find any clues? He seemed a little suspicious of my question until he realized I was blind, and then he was quite forthcoming. No, no clues except that someone had used a glass cutter, but he didn't even like the stuff he'd been robbed of, and he was glad someone had taken it off his hands, honestly. He asked me why I was in there, and I replied that I was trying to find a bathroom. I was sorry he'd lost that stuff. He said he felt like we had a real connection, and I agreed; we hugged. Then I went out back to use the toilet.

We left on one of the coldest days yet, and drove our new sleigh with our three horses through the woods. Tengezil's bird ran alongside, but the rest of us – Armillia, Kyneburg, Tengezil, Argentea, Sterris, and I – rode in the sleigh.

Unfortunately, along the way we were waylaid by more deer and wolf zombies! A bump in the road and an overly high speed made me fall off the back of the sleigh, and I was nearly lost until Kyneburg jumped down and pulled me back up. Sterris led the horses to the stable behind the shack, but suddenly the zombies had caught up. We hurried into the shack and to our surprise found the caliban Ten-Penny Tacey huddled inside. Sterris was trapped in the stable while the rest of us put furniture against the front door. We were settling in for a long siege when something called a ”mote” tumbled down the woodstove's chimney. It burst out and assaulted us with magic and cold. We shoved it back in and lit the fire, which killed it pretty good but also made the place stink.

We could communicate with Sterris through a knot in the wall between the stable and the shack's single room. Tengezil gave him a few prods with our recently purchased healing wand, and Sterris lit himself a fire in the stable-shed to keep warm. The rest of the group (apart from myself, who had no need) bundled up in blankets and furs and tried to put the scent of burning flesh out of their minds long enough to sleep.

We woke up when a wolf tried to crash through the window. Another zombie deer was doing the same to the door. We killed the wolf and then replaced the boards, but we now had another stinking body in the shack with us.

Tengezil woke us up again when Sterris heard something tearing at the door to the stable. The horses were whinnying nervously. It sounded like something was going to get in and get Sterris while the rest of us were helpless to do anything, and after a few hacks with her axe Kyneburg was uncertain if she could break through the wall between the two ”rooms” without bringing the whole structure down on our heads. And then we would have nowhere at all to hide.

Sterris said he was going to open the doors and try to make a break for it. I told Kyneburg and Armillia to run out and meet him as soon as the door opened, and Kyneburg did – but Armillia hung back. Sterris used the Morninglord's power to smite a zombie panther and a zombie wolf, destroying them, and then ran to meet Kyneburg, who was surrounded by more undead. But Kyneburg was already trying to retreat, and he couldn't make it to her without risking attack. He ran back to the stable and shut the doors. Kyneburg slowly cleared a path back towards the front door, taking scratches and bites and swinging around ferociously.

Just as she reached the entrance, Ten-Penny Tacey turned on us. She jumped off of the floor, apologized to Kyneburg, and started tearing into Tengezil and Argentea with long fingernails. Tengezil fell unconscious just as Kyneburg slammed the door shut on more zombies outside. I tried to get Argentea to help, but she had already been paralyzed by Tacey's first attack. Tacey said if only we hadn't tried to go outside, she could have waited out her commands from the man in furs, which were to attack if we went outside, obviously. She had been bitten seven hours ago, and as an undead was in thrall to the a%+@!#@ in furs. Kyneburg apologized in turn, and together with Armillia (I and Tengezil's bird were by that point paralyzed by Tacey's claws) cut the woman down.

Now we had three dead bodies stinking up the room.

Fortunately, we were not attacked again that night. I slept well after the morning dawned cold and clear and silent, and went out to take spells from the monster. I've found that it carries more of them, now – perhaps influenced by the Mantle, or perhaps by the being that grants our shared powers. At least now the rest of my group, save Kyneburg, recognizes that the creature is dangerous.

We piled all the bodies inside and burned the shack to the ground. Hopefully the Morninglord, or Kyneburg's god, will take Tacey to the afterlife.

Then we hitched up the horses and drove them onwards. In the windows at the top of the Sentinel's Lodge we spotted another spying creature with feathers and fur, and quickly drove past before it could see us. We drove over the bridge, making it to Soulmere Lake very quickly.

That night, the snowman returned. This time, it approached closer to the camp – and got caught in a bear trap Armillia had laid out and lashed to a tree. It started trying to rip up the tree, bellowing obscenities in Aklo. I got up and made Kyneburg and Armillia lucky. Sterris invoked the Morninglord's power and tried to slay the beast, but he could not approach without getting harmed. Tengezil made Kyneburg big, and she joined the fight with her massive greatsword – but then the snowman's gaze caught her, made her stand stock still. Its eyes apparently bewitched those of weak will, which might have affected me but for my lack of sight. I made it unlucky, which made Kyneburg last a lot longer against its repeated slashes. Though the snowman was unnatural, resistant to our more mundane weaponry, we eventually killed it. Kyneburg slumped to the ground, and Tengezil healed her.

The next morning we slept in yet again (how do monsters always seem so bent on disrupting a regular sleep cycle?). The horses carried us past the place where we killed Hommelstalb and Squalb, and we arrived at the portal late in the day. I am currently begging Armillia and Tengezil to get the horses galloping and have us go through the portal flying, rather than just leisurely trotting through. We will see if they allow it. But for now, I will leave these tablets in the cave north of the portal. If you find them, it may be that we failed to fend off the winter, and the land is now coated in ice. In this case, it may behoove you to follow us into the portal – I will try to leave more caches of tablets in other caves, should caves be present in this new land. Or it may be that we succeeded, and this rural part of Barovia is enjoying its misty rainy winters and warm summers once again. Either way, I hope you have enjoyed the read, and that you remember our names, because we will likely not be returning.

With ”warm” regards,
Romo Slender
Adopted son of Pharila of the Vistani
Winter Witch

Liberty's Edge

So, magic fang can make one natural weapon magic, and an inquisitor can make their attacks magic for the purposes of overcoming DR, but what other ways are there of getting natural attacks magic?

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Hitting a financial rough patch lately and trying to get some cash for the books I use least. I've put a Bestiary 2 up for sale on ebay. If anyone on the boards is in the market for that book, let me know and I'll get in touch if no one buys on ebay.

I am also going to put Bestiary 3 up in a bit.

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Players please don't read!

I'm wondering about incorporeal creatures like the shadow demon that are described as having wings. Do they fly supernaturally or extraordinarily?

And as a follow-up question, does magic jar deny the caster access to their own supernatural abilities while in effect?

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Say a 6th-level fighter has 5 Con, rolls 1, 10, 6, 8, 1. They take Toughness at 3rd level and use all their favored class bonuses on hp.

Which is the correct calculation?

1. Add all the rolls together with starting hp (37) and subtract Con (-18), add Toughness (+6), add favored class (+6). Total=31

2. Add all bonuses to each HD, dividing retroactive Toughness for 1st-2nd level, then make sure each is 1 or higher: 1st=10-3+1+1=9, 2nd=1-3+1+1=1, 3rd=10-3+1+1=9, 4th=6-3+1+1=5, 5th=8-3+1+1=7, 6th=1-3+1+1=1. Total=32

3. Subtract Con modifier from each roll, then make sure minimum is 1. Only then add favored class and Toughness: 1st=10-3=7, 2nd=1-3=1, 3rd=10-3=7, 4th=6-3=3, 5th=8-3=5, 6th=1-3=1 (total of 24); +12 for favored class & Toughness. Total=36

4. Subtract Con modifier from each roll, add favored class bonus to each roll, then make sure minimum is 1. Only then add Toughness. 1st=10-3+1=8, 2nd=1-3+1=1, 3rd=10-3+1=8, 4th=6-3+1=4, 5th=8-3+1=6, 6th=1-3+1=1. +6 for Toughness. Total=34

5. Subtract Con modifier from and add FCB to each roll. Since Toughness gives a flat +3 bonus at 3rd level, add +3 to the 3rd-level hp, then add 1 to 4th-6th level hp. After total for each roll is determined, make sure all minimums are 1. 1st=10-3+1=8, 2nd=1-3+1=1, 3rd=10-3+1+3=11, 4th=6-3+1+1=5, 5th=8-3+1+1=7, 6th=1-3+1+1=1. Total=33

Followup: If the fighter had rolled a 1 for 4th level and took Toughness at 5th instead of 3rd, would they gain the additional hit point "for every Hit Die [they] possess beyond 3," or would that be sucked up by the Con penalty?

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My party reached their greatest moral quandary so far last night: the Mzali rangers. I'd intended for them to stalk the party for a while, do some sniping, but when the party made their Perception checks I ruled that the rangers were in fact open to parley. They just wanted these folks to turn around and go back to Sargava. They eventually were convinced to let the party pass, but things went wrong when the party failed a Bluff check to convince the rangers that they were the only people who'd come through on that route (since the Pathfinders were two days behind them, that was a lie). And, well, the Mzali rangers knew that if there was a bigger force coming, they needed to get back to the city and warn the Mzali forces, so they split up and started running. Now the party is faced with the s&!@ty decision of "Do we, as interlopers into the land of this people, shoot them in the back to further our goals, or do we suffer the potential tragedy associated with a Mzali force attacking the Pathfinder Society expedition?"

There are ways around this situation after the fact, and we'll be exploring those next session. But the initial, as-written situation of mindlessly killing these (potentially indigenous, and certainly not colonial) people who are defending their sovereignty is b*&$&%#+ from the get-go. It's true that they're murderers, evil, but that's because they were written that way, and just killing them because they're evil doesn't make the imperialist implications any less apparent. Mwangi land was taken by Sargava, is ruled by Chelish Sargavans, and Mwangi people were taken by Sargava, made into slaves, etc. Decent characters - good characters - shouldn't have to accept the idea of necessary imperialism for an entirely voluntary and (to this date) apparently amoral adventure. Even going around the Mzali-claimed land will still eventually require intruding on other Mwangi lands!

As I discuss this conundrum with my players, I realize it's a much less "good" AP than I'd previously thought on the basis of TTFB and SotSG. SfSS seems ambiguous - you get stuck on an island and are forced to work together with your fellow castaways to survive - and I'd say that it's kind of the choice of the players whether they want to play evil or good characters in that book. Maybe a little tilted away from good, since you're encouraged to be explorers coming to plunder the Mwangi Expanse for its wealth.

RtR, however, immediately amps up with characters putting down a native rebellion and harassing a creature that's religiously important to a tribe of Ijo. And the motivations for going on the expedition don't give many options. Evil and neutral characters have plenty of reason to go - they'll get loot, knowledge and prestige. Good characters are interested in the expedition because of . . . the same kind of goals? Where other APs have looming threats and the like that drive PCs to make long-distance treks, this AP has only the slightest of hints that something bad will happen in Saventh-Yhi. If they actually had some pressing threat they were going to stop, the characters could use that to justify the violent intrusion - they'd feel crappy, maybe, and get a taste of moral greyness, but they could feel they made a decent choice. But here, the Good characters say, "We need to get through your land and bring another 100+ people through as well, so we can make more money/get more power/find more knowledge. If you don't want to let us through, our options are killing you or giving our GM a lot more work."

CoSS is a little better - you finally get to the city, and technically it's ancestral Azlanti land, so it's not like you're looting the artifacts of a Mwangi civilization. But for Good characters? Your motivations are still the same. You're here for wealth, power, and knowledge, and any sidequests where you actually help people are incidental. Sidequests where you actually hurt people (vegepygmies come to mind) are certainly also present.

VoM is better, from my understanding (haven't read it yet). At least here you're a) fighting more objectively evil creatures (undead) and b) now know from Juliver that there are people down there who need saving. But the evil and neutral characters still thrive, because their basic motivators are still there.

TTFB and SotSG are basically the same as VoM. There are good motivations for Good characters - and still a plethora of motivations (money/prestige/knowledge, but now also the motivations of "the city I co-rule upstairs is in danger from this Ydersius guy" and "the Coils of Ydersius tried to kill me - time for revenge") for evil and neutral characters. These and SfSS were the first adventures I read, and they gave me an inaccurate impression of the AP as a whole.

More than most APs I know of, this one has a core theme that's going to eventually force Good PCs to make significant choices in opposition to their alignment. Not greater good choices, not even lesser of two evils choices, but choices that only make sense for those characters in a meta context. I'd honestly recommend this as a legitimately evil campaign, if you could somehow do it without exacerbating the racist elements.

Liberty's Edge

I recently had the realization that the AP I'm currently running, Serpent's Skull, seems to only have old (3.5-era) references to 3rd-party products. I'm interested to know, do more recent adventure paths have the same sort of time gap (4-8 years) between the product being published and that monster or other mechanic being used? Are there any pre-existing lists of such references in adventure paths?

Otherwise, to start one:

Serpent's Skull spoilers:
"Souls for Smuggler's Shiv" - no 3rd party references that I could find
"Racing to Ruin" - page 18, kelpie, Tome of Horrors Revised (2005); page 30, geier, Nyambe: African Adventures (2002); page 39, spriggan, Tome of Horrors Revised (2005)
"City of Seven Spears" - page 24, kech, Tome of Horrors Revised (2005); page 29, amphisbaena, Tome of Horrors Revised (2005)
"Vaults of Madness" - I don't have this one yet!
"The Thousand Fangs Below" - page 52, gohl, Tome of Horrors III (2006)
"Sanctum of the Serpent God" - page 37, thessalhydra, Tome of Horrors Revised (2005)

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Everyone loves more archetypes, and in our current era they're becoming ever more versatile. You might want an archetype for building vehicles, or for taking care of an elderly relative. Some even use archetypes to disable bombs! The fact is, archetypes are as diverse as our collective imaginations. Let's put together some really excellent archetypes and make that 1,001 mark!

The format:
[number]. [Class] ([archetype name])
[List of class features lost and gained]

I'll start us off.

1. Rogue (master striker)
Loses all rogue talents, but now has 1d6 sneak attack damage per level.

2. Fighter (feat master)
Loses bravery and all class skills. Instead of one bonus feat every other level, gains 1 bonus feat per level.

3. Wizard (conjuration master)
Loses arcane bond. Must take the Conjuration school. Gains standard action summoning.

4. Commoner (sneaky peasant)
Replaces 1/2 BAB with 3/4 BAB progression. Gains Good Reflex save progression. Gains d8 HD.
Acquires "sneaky attack" class feature. The sneaky peasant's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the sneaky peasant flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the sneaky peasant score a critical hit with a sneaky attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneaky attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a sneaky peasant can make a sneaky attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneaky attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.
The sneaky peasant must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A sneaky peasant cannot sneaky attack while striking a creature with concealment.
Gains "see traps good" class feature. A sneaky peasant adds 1/2 her level to Perception skill checks made to locate traps and to Disable Device skill checks (minimum +1). A sneaky peasant can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.
Gains "avoid" class feature. At 2nd level and higher, a sneaky peasant can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Avoid can be used only if the sneaky peasant is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless sneaky peasant does not gain the benefit of avoid.
sneaky peasant Talents: As a sneaky peasant gains experience, she learns a number of talents that aid her and confound her foes. Starting at 2nd level, a sneaky peasant gains one sneaky peasant talent. She gains an additional sneaky peasant talent for every 2 levels of sneaky peasant attained after 2nd level. A sneaky peasant cannot select an individual talent more than once.
Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a sneaky peasant's sneaky attack. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual attack and the decision must be made before the attack roll is made.
Bleeding Attack* (Ex): A sneaky peasant with this ability can cause living opponents to bleed by hitting them with a sneaky attack. This attack causes the target to take 1 additional point of damage each round for each die of the sneaky peasant's sneaky attack (e.g., 4d6 equals 4 points of bleed). Bleeding creatures take that amount of damage every round at the start of each of their turns. The bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or the application of any effect that heals hit point damage. Bleeding damage from this ability does not stack with itself. Bleeding damage bypasses any damage reduction the creature might possess.
Combat Trick: A sneaky peasant that selects this talent gains a bonus combat feat (see Feats).
Fast Stealth (Ex): This ability allows a sneaky peasant to move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.
Finesse sneaky peasant: A sneaky peasant that selects this talent gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.
Ledge Walker (Ex): This ability allows a sneaky peasant to move along narrow surfaces at full speed using the Acrobatics skill without penalty. In addition, a sneaky peasant with this talent is not flat-footed when using Acrobatics to move along narrow surfaces.
Major Magic (Sp): A sneaky peasant with this talent gains the ability to cast a 1st-level spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list two times a day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to the sneaky peasant's level. The save DC for this spell is 11 + the sneaky peasant's Intelligence modifier. The sneaky peasant must have an Intelligence of at least 11 to select this talent. A sneaky peasant must have the minor magic sneaky peasant talent before choosing this talent.
Minor Magic (Sp): A sneaky peasant with this talent gains the ability to cast a 0-level spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. This spell can be cast three times a day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to the sneaky peasant's level. The save DC for this spell is 10 + the sneaky peasant's Intelligence modifier. The sneaky peasant must have an Intelligence of at least 10 to select this talent.
Quick Disable (Ex): It takes a sneaky peasant with this ability half the normal amount of time to disable a trap using the Disable Device skill (minimum 1 round).
Resiliency (Ex): Once per day, a sneaky peasant with this ability can gain a number of temporary hit points equal to the sneaky peasant's level. Activating this ability is an immediate action that can only be performed when she is brought to below 0 hit points. This ability can be used to prevent her from dying. These temporary hit points last for 1 minute. If the sneaky peasant's hit points drop below 0 due to the loss of these temporary hit points, she falls unconscious and is dying as normal.
sneaky peasant Crawl (Ex): While prone, a sneaky peasant with this ability can move at half speed. This movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. A sneaky peasant with this talent can take a 5-foot step while crawling.
Slow Reactions* (Ex): Opponents damaged by the sneaky peasant's sneaky attack can't make attacks of opportunity for 1 round.
Stand Up (Ex): A sneaky peasant with this ability can stand up from a prone position as a free action. This still provokes attacks of opportunity for standing up while threatened by a foe.
Surprise Attack (Ex): During the surprise round, opponents are always considered flat-footed to a sneaky peasant with this ability, even if they have already acted.
Trap Spotter (Ex): Whenever a sneaky peasant with this talent comes within 10 feet of a trap, she receives an immediate Perception skill check to notice the trap. This check should be made in secret by the GM.
Weapon Training: A sneaky peasant that selects this talent gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat.
Gains "see traps better" class feature. At 3rd level, a sneaky peasant gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to danger from traps, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses rise to +2 when the sneaky peasant reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.
See traps better bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a sneaky peasant can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dex bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A sneaky peasant with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action (see Combat) against her.
If a sneaky peasant already has uncanny dodge from a different class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A sneaky peasant of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.
This defense denies another sneaky peasant the ability to sneaky attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more sneaky peasant levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum sneaky peasant level required to flank the character.
Advanced Talents: At 10th level, and every two levels thereafter, a sneaky peasant can choose one of the following advanced talents in place of a sneaky peasant talent.
Crippling Strike* (Ex): A sneaky peasant with this ability can sneaky attack opponents with such precision that her blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of her sneaky attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage.
Defensive Roll (Ex): With this advanced talent, the sneaky peasant can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the sneaky peasant can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the sneaky peasant must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll—if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the sneaky peasant's evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.
Dispelling Attack* (Su): Opponents that are dealt sneaky attack damage by a sneaky peasant with this ability are affected by a targeted dispel magic, targeting the lowest-level spell effect active on the target. The caster level for this ability is equal to the sneaky peasant's level. A sneaky peasant must have the major magic sneaky peasant talent before choosing dispelling attack.
Improved Avoid (Ex): This works like avoid, except that while the sneaky peasant still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless sneaky peasant does not gain the benefit of improved avoid.
Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, the sneaky peasant can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as an attack of opportunity for that round. Even a sneaky peasant with the Combat Reflexes feat can't use the opportunist ability more than once per round.
Skill Mastery: The sneaky peasant becomes so confident in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions.
Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A sneaky peasant may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for skill mastery to apply to each time.
Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the sneaky peasant's ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel her. If a sneaky peasant with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.
Feat: A sneaky peasant may gain any feat that she qualifies for in place of a sneaky peasant talent.
Gains "super sneaky attack" class feature. Upon reaching 20th level, a sneaky peasant becomes incredibly deadly when dealing sneaky attack damage. Each time the sneaky peasant deals sneaky attack damage, she can choose one of the following three effects: the target can be put to sleep for 1d4 hours, paralyzed for 2d6 rounds, or slain. Regardless of the effect chosen, the target receives a Fortitude save to negate the additional effect. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the sneaky peasant's level + the sneaky peasant's Intelligence modifier. Once a creature has been the target of a master strike, regardless of whether or not the save is made, that creature is immune to that sneaky peasant's master strike for 24 hours. Creatures that are immune to sneaky attack damage are also immune to this ability.
Commoner class skills replaced with the following: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha). Gains 8+Int skill points per level.

Liberty's Edge

I couldn't easily sum up this character in the title, so here's a long form breakdown:
Halfling cleric with the evangelist archetype, who just advanced from 8th to 9th level. His domain is Animal with the Feather subdomain, and his animal companion is a Large roc with Throw Anything who drops rocks and halflings on enemies. (Also, he calls himself a "kender," but those probably don't actually exist in this world. And we used rolled stats, and I got PRETTY lucky.) His sheet is here.

Some background about the situation: Currently we are about 2 sessions away from the end of the campaign, and right now we are pursuing a vampire back to its coffin. We're in a mansion with fairly low ceilings (probably mostly 20 feet high) that's made of wood. We have no reason to think there will be anything but undead for the rest of the campaign, so a few of my character's abilities will be mostly useless. (Most obviously, his spontaneous casting.) I think we will be able to take a 15-minute power prayer session before we go downstairs and have our last battles, so my character's new spell slots (plus some slots I left unprepared) can be filled. This will almost certainly be the last spell preparation we get before the end of the campaign.

Now finally to my question! Since we're ending so dang soon, I want to have this character go out with a bang. One of the choices that's hardest for me to make is, what feat should he get?

Some options I'm considering:
Evolved Companion to give the roc an evolution like Improved Damage or Tentacle (it actually qualifies for very few). Of the two I'd lean towards Improved Damage because vampire DR is a pain, but Tentacle would let her actually take advantage of her new Multiattack bonus feat. Also, it would be VERY unexpected.
Power Attack - if my character prepares beast shape iii as his 5th-level domain spell, he could turn into a dire bat, wolf, or ape (animals encountered thus far) and deal some respectable damage with this feat.
Maybe Quicken Spell? Quickened spiritual weapon could be handy.
Turn Undead: Actually potentially a good trick - the DC isn't lowered despite fewer damage dice, so I could get a couple uses off of this.
Alertness: I'm literally only considering this one because my character has a +22 Perception already and maxing out that skill has become a hobby. A +2 on top of it will probably not make a difference in these two sessions.

Liberty's Edge

Situation with an animal companion (with nonmagical talons) that damaged a vampire and tried to grapple with the same attack. It dealt exactly 10 damage, which is reduced to 0 by DR - does the animal companion still get to grab?

Liberty's Edge

I'm curious how different groups run divine spell preparation. Do you track the specific time of day each divine spellcaster prepares their spells, or do you just assume they have their new spells after resting like arcane casters?

What about the recent casting limit?

Magic wrote:
As with arcane spells, at the time of preparation any spells cast within the previous 8 hours count against the number of spells that can be prepared.

Do you enforce it for divine spellcasters who adventure during the day and prepare spells during the evening?

Liberty's Edge

Just checking - if something is "immune to fear" from a spell, it can still be demoralized with Intimidate and given the shaken condition, yes?

Liberty's Edge

I was cleaning a bookshelf and found a few map folios still in their plastic, completely unused! And then I felt kind of bad about buying them in the first place, but perhaps I can recoup some of the costs? If anyone's interested, they are:
Rise of the Runelords (no longer in print on Paizo store)
Curse of the Crimson Throne (no longer in print on Paizo store)
Legacy of Fire

I also have a Second Darkness folio, though out of the plastic - would anyone be interested in that?

Liberty's Edge

Scrying and clairaudience/clairvoyance cost nothing except for a focus that you will use again. But false vision costs 250 gp per casting, and nondetection costs 50 gp. I get that it is useful to be able to stop people from spying on you - potentially even giving them false information - but why is it more expensive than the spell used to spy on you in the first place?

Is this a holdover from old editions, or is it actually balanced?

Liberty's Edge

Does anyone know of a 5E condensed character sheet format similar to monster stat blocks, that can work as a Google doc or in a forum with BBCode? My computer can't handle Google spreadsheets and I don't want the hassle of constantly updating a PDF.

Basically I want something like this or this, or like the pregen sheets of PFS, but for 5E.

Liberty's Edge

Not putting this in the rules forum as I doubt there's an actual rule about this very corner case . . .

My players want to know if they can use create water rain to cool down in an environment with very high humidity (so minimal evaporative cooling) and very high temperature. The adventure they're on involves surviving the heat of a dry season savanna for an overland journey lasting nearly a month.

If water can be reliably summoned at a temperature of the caster's choosing, say 0 C, then their plan would work perfectly. If it is summoned at a random temperature between 0 and 100 C, then the party would get the benefits of a cooldown about half the time . . . but the cleric could just keep casting it until they rolled well. I'm currently leaning towards making it summoned at the ambient temperature, but this could lead to some unfortunate corner cases in very hot situations like forest fires (where ambient temperatures could be above boiling, and hence you'd just be summoning steam).

While I'm all for clever applications of spells, the first two interpretations seem to just completely circumvent this significant terrain hazard with a single cantrip - is that balanced?

P.S. I don't think I can hit them with the Hustle rules (taking more than a single move action per round during overland movement eventually adds up to nonlethal damage), because it's not like they'd need to cast create water every round as they move.

Liberty's Edge

The Proxima Centauri exoplanet looks to be tidally locked. Its orbit is a lot smaller, though.

Liberty's Edge

Say you are an alchemist with fast bombs and a +8 BAB. You want to conserve them, so you don't want to waste them on iterative attacks that might miss. If you're hasted, can you choose to take the full attack action and make your normal attack and your haste attack, but not your iterative?

What about if you've only got two shots left in a pistol but have a +11 BAB? It's fine to only take your +11 and +6 shots, right?

Liberty's Edge

Might be something I'm missing, but I checked the Magic chapter in my Rulebook and the Spell-Like Abilities text in Universal Monster Rules, and I can't work out if constant SLAs can be cast on other creatures.

Context: I'm building a winter witch who gets endure elements (cold only) as a constant SLA from his Cold Flesh ability*. I know I can renew this SLA as a swift action (presumably on myself), and that it should last 24 hours - but can I cast it on other people in my party? Would it still be a swift action to cast it on them?

*Now that I look at it, cold flesh is extraordinary yet somehow grants a spell-like ability???

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

In this thread, I am hoping to gather statistical evidence of the martial-caster disparity, or of the lack thereof. Since it is a very hot-button issue on these forums, I want to ask everyone to please be chill and not like flame or whatever. The idea is just to see if we can add new evidence (beyond play experience, which is still likely the most valid) to the discussion.

Also, I should state some caveats: I am a pretty strong believer in the disparity, and I really only know enough statistics to be dangerous (some college classes). I couldn't find a test appropriate to this data, but did a Z test for difference between proportions to at least show off some of the data I collected. As I have not seen any similar efforts on the boards here, I figure questionable results are better than none, and will hopefully spur brighter minds to make their own comparisons.


The analyses I conducted checked to see if any given class or race was significantly more prone to death. Since I have only fully read through the Rise of the Runelords and Serpent's Skull APs, I chose those subforums and collected data from 1) obituary threads and 2) threads where players and GMs posted their starting parties' compositions. The second set of data established a baseline - if, say, 1 out of 10 characters created in Serpent's Skull is a ranger, then if deaths were unbiased we would expect 1 out of 10 deaths to be of a ranger - but as you might expect, the first set of data was often quite different from this baseline! A statistical approach was necessary to determine if deaths were "biased" or not.

I calculated Z scores for each* class and race to test whether or not two proportions were different. The two proportions were 1) the number of character deaths of class/race** A divided by the total number of character deaths and 2) the number of characters of class/race A recorded as being created divided by the total number of characters created. Basically, I was testing to see if the proportion of deaths was similar to the proportion of characters of class/race A created - if they were similar, it meant that race or class was having its "fair share" of deaths. A Z test calculates a "Z score," and you can either use this to calculate the probability that the proportions are truly different (inconvenient; requires referencing a table for each class and race), or you can choose a probability cutoff beyond which you say the differences in proportion are not solely the result of random noise. I chose the second option and set the probability cutoff at 0.05. Since I wanted to check whether a class/race was significantly more death-prone AND whether it was significantly less death-prone, I wanted a two-tailed test, which set my Z score cutoffs at -1.96 and +1.96.

*Classes and races which did not have at least one death entry AND one character created entry were ignored. Technically, I should have ignored every one that didn't have at least 10 entries, but then the results would have been very trivial.

**For the Serpent's Skull thread I assumed that anyone not listed as a specific race was human, but when I applied this method to the Rise of the Runelords thread I didn't realize there was no race suggestion in the obituary template. So, "human" deaths are likely over-reported in RotR.


The links below are graphs! Note that each individual class and race in each AP had its own individual two-tailed Z test for difference of proportions. A positive value means my data have that class/race dying more often than one would expect, and a negative value means my data have this class/race dying less often than one would expect - but this does NOT NECESSARILY mean the differences in these data are statistically significant. The difference is only significant if a bar tops 1.96 (spoilers: none of them do).

Z scores for Rise of the Runelords classes; n1=52 and n2=125

Graph for RotR races omitted due to aforementioned issue with data potentially over-reporting human deaths.

Z scores for Serpent's Skull classes; n1=47 and n2=170

Z scores for Serpent's Skull races; n1=41 and n2=173

"Bad" here only means that there are significantly more deaths reported than there should be if death occurred equally often to all classes and species.


There is no significant difference.

With the major assumption that this Z test is a valid approach (and it's not), there was no significant difference between the proportion of characters (of class/race A) reported as dead and the proportion of characters (of class/race A) reported as being created. This means that I found no significant evidence that fighters are dying more than anyone else, although from some of the graphs it certainly looks that way. It also means I found no significant evidence that rogues die less than other classes, or that wizards die more.

While writing this up, I thought of a better test: divide up classes into caster and non-caster, which will increase sample sizes drastically. I'll try that tomorrow, perhaps after collecting another few pages of data. Also on my to-do list is to check if non-core classes and races are more or less likely to die than core.

I also want to note that character deaths are probably not the best measure of fun. That ranger who keeps dying keeps getting brought back, because he puts himself on the front line and has fun shielding his allies. Surveys and any of the other, more robust statistical methods out there would be valuable to the discussion, I think.

Statistical stuff:

Data sources:
Rise of the Runelords parties (page 9 only) - recorded number of PCs of each class and race
Rise of the Runelords Obituaries (page 22 only) - recorded number of deaths of each class and race
Serpent's Skull parties (page 2 only) - recorded number of PCs of each class and race
Serpent's Skull Obituaries (pages 4 and 5) - recorded number of deaths of each class and race
Raw data is here

Sampling the most recent pages of some threads is sufficiently random.
Unchanging populations (i.e. even though I was grabbing SS party composition posts from 2011 AND from 2016, the average party composition has not significantly changed). A big assumption, given that people are using new books and new classes and new races!
Sample sizes are large enough - MAJOR ASSUMPTION. Populations are likely much larger than the samples, but numbers of "successes" (deaths, or characters being created) were only above 10 for humans and below 10 for everything else.

Null hypothesis: p1=p2. Significance level: 0.05.

Let me know if you spot any errors! It's been over a year since I took these classes and I'm working off some pretty fuzzy memories.

Liberty's Edge

My campaign journal was previously posted on another forum, but since that forum's been down for over a month I think it's time to port it over here. Unfortunately, the Web Archive did not have the latest version of the thread, so some posts are missing. I pasted in the backups I had, but it's clearly incomplete :(

WARNING TO PLAYERS: Don't read any other threads in this section! They're pretty much guaranteed to have spoilers.

Archive w/ commentary:
Posted by Fish at 03-17-2015, 01:54 AM

I figure this is a little outside this forum's normal purview, but four of my friends are playing a Pathfinder game online and we've decided to start up a campaign journal (basically, summaries of each session). We all have accounts on MSPAF so this seemed like the best place to put the journal for everyone to post on easily.

The adventure path I'm running is Serpent's Skull. Players/characters are Loather/Chester A. Arthur, a cleric of Keltheald who stowed aboard in Magnimar, Morhek/Athelstan Twice-Dropped, a bard from the Five Kings Mountains who boarded in Cheliax, genteelGunslinger/Notmerlen Wyvernmane, a fighter also from the Five Kings Mountains contracted as Athelstan's bodyguard, and goblinDroll/Thornton Poer, a sorcerer from Thuvia who's been on the ship's crew for several years now. Sessions are weekly, and the first one was on Saturday!


In the year 4710 AR, on 19 Arodus, an Oathday, the passengers and crew (minus First Mate Alton Devers, Captain Alizandru Kovack, and a passenger named Ieana) of the Jenivere sat down to eat in the spacious messdeck. As usual, Cook Bergen had made a simple, blandish stew of salt pork, onions, and potatoes, but something about it must have been off, for everyone's memories shortly thereafter jumbled into sensations of nausea, panic, and drowning.

Some time later, Notmerlen Wyvernmane awoke in an oppressive darkness, feeling wet sand beneath him and hearing the rushing sound of waves close-by. He gradually noticed a heavy weight pressing down on his legs, and then suddenly a sharp pain in his foot jolted him fully awake. Above were low-hanging, swirling grey clouds, and from the light it seemed to be another warm tropical morning (20 Arodus). An ochre, crustacean-like creature with a long stinger at the end of its tail was at his feet, and had its pincers around his ankle. Shouting in confusion, the warrior tucked his feet away from the monster and slammed his gauntleted fist down towards its mandibles. As he swung, however, he was overcome with a sensation of sickness, and the dog-sized crustacean managed to skitter out of the way.

Looking around, Notmerlen saw two more of the lobster-like monsters coming out of the surf. About ten feet away from where Notmerlen lay on the sand was a haphhazard pile of weapons, backpacks, and other gear, and up and down the beach on both sides were Athelstan Twice-Dropped (his charge) and most of the other passengers - Thornton Poer, Chester A. Arthur, Ishirou, Gelik Aberwhinge, Sasha Nevah, Aerys Mavato, and the manacled prisoner, Jask Derindi. Notmerlen saw one of the lobsters moving toward Chester, then, and before he could stop it it had pinched painfully into her leg, jolting her awake as well. The monster further down the shore nipped Athelstan awake, too.

Both dwarves seemed just as nauseous as Notmerlen, if not worse, but they managed to get to their feet and scramble away from the unusual lobsters. Athelstan moved back very carefully, fearing to open himself to attacks. Chester ran up the beach and shook Thornton (who had been muttering something about second breakfast) awake, and the halfling was then able to get up and run down towards the melee with Notmerlen. Notmerlen swung his spiked, gauntleted fist again, this time bashing open the lobster's shell and nearly dropping it, then stood up and stepped back towards the pile of weapons, catching the glint of his four-foot greatsword at the bottom.

The lobster Notmerlen just struck reared back and stung him with its stinger, piercing a soft spot in his armor. It pumped a painful toxin into his blood, but with his hearty dwarven constitution he was able to shake it off. Then, seeming to wobble, it fell into the surf, unconscious. Somehow sensing that its ally was wounded, the other lobster went into a frenzy on Notmerlen, grabbing for him with its claws and trying to stab him with its tail, as well. However, he was growing used to the sensation of oily unease in his stomach, and easily dodged each strike.

Down the beach, the last lobster skittered up to the insensate Ishirou and gave him a tentative nip with its claws. He seemed not to wake, immediately, so Chester went to grab her halberd from the gear pile with the intent of protecting him. Thornton, meanwhile, stepped into the waves near the other still-standing lobster and grasped its shell briefly, pulling some of its life force into himself. The monster wobbled, but jabbed Thornton with its pincers and stinger. As the stinger pierced his flesh, the halfling felt a burning pain, and his limbs began to feel slightly heavier and slower.

Athelstan picked up a bit of sand and blew it towards the monster that'd engaged Thornton and Notmerlen, beginning to weave a bit of dwarven magic. The monster nipped Thornton again, but before it could do any more harm, Notmerlen and Chester picked up their weapons and swung down at it, quickly knocking it unconscious. Chester then ran down the shore towards Ishirou and his carapaced assailant, holding her halberd in front of her. Ishirou was crawling away from the lobster, which decided to abandon him and instead charged to meet Chester, who it failed to hit when she dodged out of its way. Athelstan's sleep spell went off without effect, so he picked up his bow and fired an arrow at the lobster. Notmerlen ran after Chester and cleaved through the lobster before she could strike, defeating the last of the strange creatures.

In the aftermath, Athelstan realized that the strange creatures were "ochre eurypterids," a sort of scorpion of the sea with a nasty venom in their stingers. Looking to the faint brightness in the clouds that signified where the sun was, and remembering the route the Jenivere had been sailing before the group's sickening meal, Chester was able to determine that the group was shipwrecked on Smuggler's Shiv, an island about 30 miles northwest of Eleder that is renowned for its shipwrecks. The island's coastline is rocky and its interior is choked with thick rainforest, but there are reports that the island has been host to a number of failed colonisation efforts. Unfortunately, there are also numerous rumors of ghosts and ghouls haunting the waters around the island, clinging to undeath after they perished on the jagged rocks and reefs surrounding the island. The dwarves exchanged this information with the others, who had just spotted the wreck of the Jenivere about fifteen minutes up the coast, below a steep cliff. Thornton hoped to check the wreck for supplies, but it seemed the tide was too high to safely walk out to it, so the group stayed on the beach with the other groggy castaways.

After a minute or so, Gelik, Aerys, Jask, and Sasha began to groggily stir. The last four, along with Ishirou, seemed very disoriented, but Gelik hopped up and came over to talk to the party. He asked what happened - but the group was just as mystified as he. Thornton's stomach was growling, so he sent Notmerlen into the jungle behind the beach to find firewood, and began the task of hauling the eurypterids out of the surf and cleaning out their edible parts. Chester considered using the hollow shells for a raft, but didn't know a lot about crustaceans, and thought the creatures could be naturally buoyant. She tried floating a few of them to no success.

Twenty minutes later, Notmerlen returned from the forest's edge with a heavy armful of dead, mostly dry wood. Athelstan lit a fire with his flint and steel, and lent Thornton his cooking pot to boil the eurypterids in. The halfling made an unremarkable breakfast - about as good as Cook Bergen's, but with considerably less salt. Smelling the food, the other castaways came over to eat, and it seemed everyone had overcome their nausea. Aerys, Ishirou, Jask, and Sasha still seemed numb, however - they ate quietly, huddling around the fire for warmth. Gelik had a bright shine in his eyes, however, and Athelstan went over to ask him to help set up a camp.

After a brief exchange, which mostly revolved assuring Gelik would be kept safe from any more monsters like the eurypterids, Athelstan won the gnome over, and Gelik agreed. Unfortunately, he was really quite terrible at camp-building, despite his time as a Pathfinder, and Thornton, Notmerlen, and Chester took over. Thanks in part to Chester's wealth of experience travelling and surviving in the wilds, and Notmerlen's wealth of camp-making tools, the group finished the three wooden lean-tos in about six hours. The noonday heat beat down through the clouds, making the air sticky and warm, but in the time since the group began their labor, the tide had slowly receded, exposing a rocky causeway out to the Jenivere that they could see even from camp.

Shouldering their packs and leaving the other castaways on the beach, Athelstan, Chester, Notmerlen, and Thornton walked down the shore towards the Jenivere. As they approached, they heard a relentless clattering noise coming from inside the ship, which looked to have lost both its bow and much of its lower decks. Seeing as the lower decks were where the crew slept, it was unlikely that any of them still survived in the wreck.

Tied to a timber protruding from the shattered ship's ruin, the group saw a piece of wood tumbling around in the surf just below - this piece of wood, Thornton realized, was the bow of the Jenivere's only lifeboat. It must have washed up between the ship and the cliff and was crushed by the action of the waves.

Cautiously climbing through a hole in the hull, the party found themselves in the brig. The single cell was empty, with its door hanging ajar - this was where Jask had been held since he was ushered aboard in Corentyn. Seeing nothing else of note in the room, the group opened the door. Athelstan and Notmerlen wanted to go to the captain's cabin, but Thornton had other ideas - he made a beeline for the larder, and the others followed.

Unfortunately, just outside the larder was another carapaced crustacean creature. About twice as large as the dog-shaped ochre eurypterids, and with a bluish shell instead of brown, the common eurypterid was much deadlier. It abandoned the larder door - which, Thornton noticed, had been gouged significantly by the monster's claws - and raised its stinger. Chester charged forward, swinging her halberd, but the creature skittered away from the blow, and she struck only wood. Notmerlen, however, was able to run around her and split open the top of the monster's carapace, dropping it instantly. Looking down at the creature, Chester remarked, "Looks like we've got our next meal!"

Thornton turned the knob and stepped inside, and was shocked to see the body of Cook Bergen lying on the floor of the small storeroom. He was elated, however, to see barrels of salted meat, jars of pickled fish and vegetables, several wheels of farmer's cheese from Corentyn, and a small sack of pepper from Senghor. Thornton set to organizing the food for transport while Chester examined the cook's body.

Chester determined the cause of death almost on first glance. A pair of large fang marks in Cook Bergen's pallid neck could only have come from a venemous snake - but a venemous snake larger than any she had ever before seen. Cook Bergen's body was very stiff, as if he'd been killed before sunset last night - but as far as Chester could remember, supper had been served several hours after darkness. She stood up and faced the others. "There's snakes on this boat. Time-travelling snakes."

Posted by genteelGUnslinger at 03-17-2015, 01:59 AM

Name: Notmerlen Wyvernmane
Race: Dwarf
Age: 64
Appearance: Long, dark brown hair and beard tied carefully to prevent snagging on his armour. A number of small facial scars line his cheeks and one larger scar runs up the bridge of his nose. Clothes are practical and comfortable for wear in warm climates, and for wearing under the burden of mail, though he might switch out to lighter armour if the jungle climate proves too difficult for heavier armour.

Class: Slayer


Notmerlen has spent much of his life doing one thing. Protecting wealthy people. Protecting powerful people. Protecting the people in general. Where he found his skill with a blade and with an axe in need, he served diligently and without fault. If there was one thing that could describe Notmerlen's professional life, it was that he was loyal to a fault. Even when he joined the great merchant drives of Highhelm, he faced every danger with a cold indifference, something which even among dwarves is considered...unusual. But such talent made him quite popular among merchants and councillors needing personal protectors and guards. Particularly a guard who had a reputation for unbending loyalty.

But such a unbending loyalty and will had a purpose. A plan years in formulation. Garnering such a considerable reputation and recommendations from many of the most notable merchant groups would bring him closer to revenge. For years, he had resented the owner of the Half-beard Mining Company for forcing his father out of business and leaving his family to fall into poverty. It was only through years of dedicated work that Notmerlen was able to scrape his way out of poverty through training with militia and mercenary groups. Even then, he was not able to prevent his parent's deaths before sickness overcame them, and his sister died trying to follow in his path, being crushed to death by an Ogre's club on a caravan drive. Alone, angry and without any other purpose, Notmerlen saw his opportunity when he was approached by a Half-beard recruiter. Apparently, Halfbeard's nephew and apprentice was travelling to a Sargarvan mine, where he would negotiate and organize a merger that would see both parties profit heavily. 6 months in Sargarva. Enough time to get revenge. However that might come about. He'd find a way. But Notmerlen could not find it in himself to extend that same hatred towards his charge. Athelstan Twice-Dropped, though expressing all the attitudes that come with a life of privilege, had the strange effect of making people around him like him. He hated Half-Beard, but he could get used to Twice-Dropped. Even if what he intends to do will certainly ruin him as well. But maybe he would be a valuable asset in his revenge. Time will tell how useful he will be.

Entry 1

1 Sarenith 4715 AR:

Mother, Father, dear sister Kelma. I swore on our family, our ancestors and all the stone of the Five Kings that I will see my duty fulfilled. I swore that I would ruin Half-Beard and leave him as destitute as he left us. Today is the first day on that journey. I will avenge you.

A contract organized by one of Half-Beards cronies got me in as the bodyguard of his adoptive son, Athelstan Twice-Dropped. Athelstan is...well, if it not for his adoptive father, he certainly would make for interesting company. Unfortunately, he reminds me too much of that beard-stunted bastard for me to get all that attached to him. Too pompous and clearly hasn't seen a day of action in his life. Things are going to become a lot more exciting for him soon enough. He suspects nothing. Believing me to be nothing more than another hired muscle, guiding him to his important business deal.

Poor bastard. He seems to mean well enough, and I hear he's a genuinely good businessman. Unlike his father. But things have a price, and Half-Beard cared not when he threw my father and all of our family into the streets to die like rabid dogs. He gets no special treatment.

The ocean...the ocean is vast. I had not seen the ocean from more than a great distance away, atop the outer ridge of the mountains. Now, I stand at the waters edge, looking out toward the moving sea. I'm not sure how I'll feel on the boat.

3 Sarenith 4715 AR

It's rocking. All the time. I am rather glad I have a strong stomach, because I'm handling it better than Athelstan. Two days in, and he has had a bucket with him wherever he goes. This will be a long journey. Dwarves aren't meant to be on boats.

19 Arodus 4715 AR:

Blast everything, and particularly, blast that damn cook. I am as groggy on the details as I am physically, but seemingly, the entire crew of the Jenivere had been drugged. Apparently, it was potent enough to have rendered all of us unconscious, and strong enough to keep us in that state as the ship dashed itself against the rocks. Unless someone threw us all overboard, I think being alive at all is a miracle. I can see the boat from here, impaled on the sharp, wet stones. It's lower deck and bow torn from the rest of the ship. The water lashing at her remains. How did we survive...

And so many of us. Only one member of the actual crew is among us, but almost all passengers save for one, Ieana I believe her name was, has washed ashore. The captain is absent. Most likely rolling at the bottom of the ocean right now, or wedge between those razor sharp rocks. Whatever the case, we have been stranded on a island known as Smuggler's Shiv. Notorious for being used by smuggler ships in throwing off pursuit by making dangerously close voyages to the island. Any boat unlucky in navigating it's surrounding waters winds up much like the Jenivere.

Among the passengers, only a few catch my eye. My charge is alive. Shaken by the event and combat, but alive. His great business deal will have to be put on hold. Actually, considering this will most certainly
disrupt the merger between Half-Beard Mining Company and the Sargavan mining company, maybe this is a boon after all. If I wasn't stuck here as well. I guess I'll take my blessings as they are. I just have to bide my time.

The halfling, Thorton, apparently cares for little more than when he's next eating. He was a part of the crew, but he has an airs about him that reminds me far too much of the gentry of the Five Kings. Always nose first up their arse. And frankly, he smells like it too. Probably putting it on and has forgotten about the 'shower twice a week' habit of the rich. He does, however, have magical powers. I saw him try something to one of the oversized lobsters that attempted to eat us during our sleep. The air around his hand seemed to...condense. Like breath high up in the mountain. Did he try to freeze the monster? Is he a hedge wizard? What is he doing living as a sailor?

He also has a chicken that somehow survived the event. For what purpose, I cannot ascertain. He is certainly an odd duck.

But an even odder duck is the third dwarf in our company. Chester something. Sounds lowland dwarf for sure. She is just weird. Seemingly, she is a cleric. Her trappings give away her devotion to presumably one of the deities of the sun. Most sun-worshippers tend to act like as though they've spent too long standing under it, but this one is just beyond me. And a dwarf at that! She wears a featureless bronze mask on her face, and refuses to take it off. I'm not even sure I remember her wandering the ship much on our journey. This is possibly the first good look I've had since I first spotted her aboard the Jenivere. She seems capable with her halberd, I'll give her that, but a dwarf worshipping the sun? Not right....clearly she has lost her stonesense, along with any other sense with it.

We will set off to the wreck of the Jenivere soon. Hopefully, we don't run into any more of those large lobster creatures. As much as they were tasty, I wouldn't like to meet any more. And maybe, I'll be able to retrieve some gear to construct a raft. The cleric apparently does have a few bright ideas after all. We might also be able to retrieve something from the captains belongings. He's sure to have gold or treasure lying around, and I wouldn't imagine a dead man minding too much if we take some for ourselves. To the living go the spoils, as they say.

Entry 2

19 Arodus 4715 AR:

We located quite a number of supplies and useful tools within the wreck of the Jenivere

I'll list an entire itinerary here:

From the Storage Room:

block and tackle, three large canvas sheets, two fishing nets, a grappling hook, two bullseye lanterns, 12 flasks of lantern oil, 150 feet of hemp rope, and five shovels
Alton Devers' equipment: Masterwork studded leather armor and masterwork short sword

From the kitchen:

Dried beans from Magnimar
jars of honey from Magnimar
1 cask of wine from Pezzack
2 casks of water from Senghor
Oranges, limes, and lemons from Senghor
Crates of hardtack from Magnimar
2 casks of rum from Quent
Millet flour from Senghor
Jars of sauerkraut from Nisroch
Olive oil from Corentyn
Wheels of farmer's cheese from Corentyn
Barrels of salt pork from Corentyn
Barrels of salt fish from Port Peril
Black pepper from Senghor

From the Captain's drawers:

Several keys
Several sea charts and maps
Alizandru Kovack's captain's log
Bottle of fine brandy
Darkwood model of ship in a bottle
Small coffer

From the Coffer:

350 gold pieces

From the Footlocker in the Captain's Room:

Leather satchel with 12 potions (10 conjuration, 2 transmutation)
Masterwork dagger, suit of leather armor, two potions with conjuration auras, a holy symbol, and a spell component pouch
All above belong to Jask. We have returned his armour and his holy symbol along with his component pouch, but have withheld his weapons for now.


1 bed
1 eurypterid body

The supplies withheld, we have made other discoveries since our journey to the Jenivere. Namely, we discovered the body of Alton Dever. The First Mate aboard the Jenivere. I was able to determine that the man was killed by repeated stab wounds from a slim weapon, too large and too deep to be a knife, and most likely a rapier given the locations of the wounds being consistent with the rapier techniques I know myself. The man has also seemingly been attacked by one of the Eurypterids, if not the one we ourselves dealth with. He had on him a number of useful tools, so I relieved him of his belongings. Dead men have not much use for armour or weapons, particularly if they did him no good in life either.

We also came across the journal of the Captain of the ship, and my charge, Athelstan, has discovered a number of very concerning things within. Apparently, as the ship reached near the end of it's journey, the Captain's sanity began to clearly deteriorate. He became infatuated with Ieana, the scholar who was missing from the other passengers. He wrote numerous and very sloppy love poems to the woman, and began to grow suspicious of the intentions of the other crew members and passengers, believing them to be scheming to steal her away from him. Namely, he believed his First Mate most responsible for such a scheme. The captain was one of the only people wielding a rapier.

What troubles me more is the fact that it was apparently on Ieana's request that the ship be steered closer to this forsaken island. The crew began to grow suspicious about our course, and so the captain orchestrated a means to make sure they would not get in the way. He poisoned us. All of us. And so now we are here.

This does answer a number of questions, but raises new ones. Who is this Ieana. She was supposedly a scholar of ancient ruins, but no. I do not believe that. She is something more than what she first seemed, and even though Athelstan believes the cause of our shipwreck to be circumstantial, I think it holds the answer this situation. This woman is clearly something unusual. The death of the cook, the oversized bite marks, the strange behaviour of the captain. This is something...supernatural. It has to be. But I cannot possibly think of what would be the cause of this. What is this woman?

Regardless....she must be somewhere on this island. We must find her and bring her down. And take whatever she aimed to use to get off the island for ourselves.

What's more, we have other problems. Apparently there once was a Chelixian army force that attempted to invade Sargava at some point in time. Whatever the case, they wound up shipwrecked upon this very island. Rumors abound that they have since degenerated into a group of savage cannibals that prey upon those stranded upon the island and on each other. This will more than likely hinder our progress should we discover them to be real.

We have delegated tasks to the passengers. Sasha is tasked with hunting. Gelik has taken to sharing stories and trying to maintain the others spirits. Clearly, these people are more accustomed to an easier life than this. They've never had to live without a bed for more than 24 hours. Jask we have discovered is a cleric of Nethyrs. I know of these lot. They are as unpredictable as their god. He is not getting his knife back until we are certain he is going to work with us. Ishirou, the silent one with the katana, has not said anything or done anything. Useless git. The half-elf, Aerys, has agreed to help guard the camp so long as she's boozed up. I like her style. Furthermore, inspecting the way she moves about and her stance on guard indicates probably a background in martial techniques. I expect her to be a capable warrior much like myself. If she isn't drunk that is. We'll see what happens in the morning.

20 Arodus 4715 AR:

Trying to get that idiot Ishirou to do something failed miserably. Athelstan and Thorton attempted to reason with the man, but apparently a screw came loose up stairs and he began to shout about dueling Athelstan to the death. I immediately stepped in and reminded him that a challenge upon my charge's life is a challenge I will step in to take. This has always been the Dwarven way.

A dwarf is sworn to protect their charge and to put their life on the line to fulfill that duty. It was what my father repeated to me and my sister every day of our early training. It was what the world demanded of me. Back home, weaker dwarves could vie for power by force. Such things result in a duel between the challenger and a champion. Those who choose this route believe themselves to be able to overcome any obstacle so long as they have the will to achieve it. What they fail to account for is that martial skill surpasses any ridiculous notion of dwarven spirit and strength. The dwarves have long since had that indomitable will crushed out of them, but I still have the might of my skill. That is all the force of will I need.

I asked him the terms of our duel. I stated that he must choose whether this was to first blood, or to death. As dwarven custom, the challenger must choose the terms, and those terms must be respected by both parties. A duel in dwarven culture is one of extreme seriousness. There are no loopholes. Your word is your word. He chose to the death.

I allowed him first blow. His footwork was sloppy. This man might be used to his weapon, but he was no trained warrior. I could see it in the way he shifted his feet that he had no proper martial training, and was not taught on how to defend yourself against a much larger weapon. The untrained are usually oblivious to the fact that a great weapon is not, in fact, a slow weapon in the hands of a trained warrior. I have spent my life handling blades twice my size. I was able to bring my blade around faster than he could even adjust his body to avoid the blow. My sword cleaved straight through his neck, decapitating him and ending our fight faster than it started. His head fell to the ground. Etched with shock, marking his last thoughts.

I have taken his weapon. A final sign of respect to the dead, and a trophy of honour for myself. At the end of my service, typically, I must relinquish such a trophy over to my charge, as it was in his name that I accomplished this task. Athelstan might not get the chance to see that happen.

This day has started poorly. The rest of the passengers now look at me with fear. They should know better now. They should understand how dwarves do.

Posted by Morhek at 03-17-2015, 04:04 AM

Name: Athelstan Twice-Dropped
Race: Dwarf
Age: 49
Appearance: Light red hair and beard trimmed to a respectable length, braided and looped to keep out of the way. Red cheeks and nose, from a naturally ruddy complexion or perhaps the Sargavan heat. Wears respectable, though not obtrusive, travellers clothes on top of a chain shirt for protection, though the chain shirt is more often kept in his luggage in the tropical heat unless trouble is expected.
Class: Bard


(Courtesy of Fish)

Tolskeinn always loved Athelstan best. The youngest son, he was only a few decades older than the child of Thormar and Scinna, and treated the boy like a younger brother. When Athelstan was still toddling around the mine-keep, scarcely past ten years, Tolskeinn showed him how to use a dagger, and showed him how to find veins of ore with only a few taps of the knife.

Unfortunately, this love did not extend to Tolskeinn's brothers. Thormar the Many-Horned, brash and violent, was gone from the keep every few years, joining crusades into the Darklands below Highhelm. Thormar and Scinna were warriors, and had little time for Athelstan once he was weaned. Vendel Glitterfinger, the eldest, left Tolskeinn to manage the mine's expenses while he spent away its profits, casting gaudy, amateurish works of gold and silver to decorate his tower enclave and his unusually long fingers. Vendel was softened first by the death of his father, then of his husband, and as the years wore on he became a blubbering mess. Tolskeinn begrudged their free lifestyles, which would surely doom his family to poverty, but the resolution to their slow-brewing conflict seemed far more grisly than he ever could have wanted.

When Athelstan was about fifteen, Thormar returned home in a great rage. The funding for his Angradd-blessed fight against the orcs had been suddenly cut short by what purported to be Vendel's order. Yes, the border dispute would go on without him, and yes, his warriors could last a while with the stores of rations already purchased, but Thormar himself left as soon as he heard, intent on getting answers. He left Scinna, Athelstan's thick-armed and quick-witted mother, in command of the platoon.

All Athelstan remembers is a great argument up at the top of Vendel's tower, and the sound of crying. Uncle Tolskeinn took him into the mines, then, further than he had ever been before. Uncle Tolskeinn told him the story of the first dwarves and the Quest for Sky. Long ago, the dwarves lived in darkness, very, very far below the surface. They were beset on all sides - by orcs, and creatures worse, and even by their own kin. It was only by the strength of one leader, a general who united the race towards one purpose, that dwarves could ever make it to the surface. The general used diplomacy, trickery, and even violence to force disparate clans and subcultures together, and fulfill the Quest. It was unfortunate, but some clans were too vicious and evil to make it to the surface, and the general expunged them without hesitation.

Before Uncle Tolskeinn could complete his tale, a mineguard came running down the tunnel. Athelstan remembers Uncle Tolskeinn's hands on his beard going white as the messenger said that Glitterfinger and the Many-Horned were dead - apparently, Vendel ordered everyone out of the tower so the brothers could speak alone, but Thormar took it as a cue to try to kill his brother and assume control of the family holdings. There was a brief struggle, but a retired jewelrist is no match for a seasoned delver, and Thormar's cold-forged battleaxe was found in Vendel's head. Then, in what must have been a fit of guilt, Thormar smashed through a window and jumped from the top of the tower, landing on his head in the dried-up fountain Grandfather Orgrim built when he founded the mine three centuries earlier. The mineguards rushed upstairs, but only found Vendel and his blood slowly sinking into the cracks in the slate-tiled floors. So, the messenger said, she had come to proclaim Tolskeinn the new owner of the Orgrim Mining Company.

Uncle Tolskeinn's knuckles only grew whiter. "Do you think I care? Gods, I just lost half my family!" In a flash, he whipped out a small blade of mithral and sliced his beard in two. "It is no longer the Orgrim Mining Company. It is Halfbeard, for my father's sons - my kin, my older brothers - have perished, and the Company can never be the same." He heaved Athelstan onto his shoulders, saying, "Stay close, nephew. Only you, Scinna, and I remain."

The aftermath of those two deaths is a blur in Athelstan's memory. Tolskeinn gave the child his father's battleaxe in a slight break of tradition - normally, such weapons are interred when the bearer dies, but Tolskeinn reasoned that Athelstan had little else of Thormar to remember by, and anyways Thormar had died in disgrace. Scinna brought the platoon to the surface for the funerals, but seemed to have contracted some sort of disease in Nar-Voth, and was bedridden soon after. "Uncle Halfbeard," as Athelstan took to calling him, contracted an expert chirurgeon from Thuvia, but even her ministrations proved unable to break Scinna's deadly fever. The warrior held on longer than a normal dwarf, but she seemed to burn up from the inside-out. Athelstan visited her three times before the end, but at each she was unconscious, and Uncle Halfbeard dared not let him into the tower more for fear of contagion. After some weeks of sickness, Scinna passed, and was quietly laid out in the mausoleum where Grandfather Orgrim and all the rest had been taken.

The least personally momentous event, but certainly a topic of relentless economic gossip in Highhelm, was the rapid expansion of the new Halfbeard Mining Company. In just three years, Halfbeard's assets doubled. Dozens of smaller mines, smelters, and smithies around Orgrim's were soon bought out by a man some described as Torag-blessed (though Uncle Halfbeard would explain to Athelstan, there were no gods involved - you simply had to cut out frivolous expenses and focus on efficiency). Athelstan, meanwhile, learned letters and axe-fighting and proper management ettiquette. In his thirtieth year, he began handling some minor contracts for his uncle. Slowly, over decades, he built up a considerable reputation among his adopted father's advisors - his legal writings were ironclad, and his instincts for investment were akin to those of the young Tolskeinn.

All was not golden for the adolescent Athelstan, however. His curiosity and excitement to learn the family traditions waned as he grew, and he grew cold, emotionless in all but the direst of circumstances. Part of him always wondered if Uncle Halfbeard hadn't arranged for Thormar to return home, hadn't intended for him to kill Vendel - and part of him wondered why he didn't seem to care. But he kept quiet, and fulfilled his obligation to the only family he had left. Besides, Uncle Halfbeard was a better parent than Thormar and Scinna combined, and Athelstan could not bear to disappoint such a great man.

In his late 40s, Athelstan figured himself an adult, and went to Uncle Halfbeard's home, a three-room building with high ceilings and comfortable chairs but little else to connote the man's success and power. Athelstan found his uncle talking with a Chelish human who was curiously devoid of hair, garbed in flowing purple robes. The two seemed to be arguing heatedly, but broke off immediately when they noticed Athelstan.

Quelling his irrational nervousness, Athelstan explained to Uncle Halfbeard that he felt ready to become a real partner in the Company. Uncle Halfbeard paused a moment, then looked over at his human houseguest. "I think, friend, I will be needing you no longer." Turning his head back to his nephew, he said, "How would you like to go to Sargava? I've had the maps ready for Gihellent here for nearly a week, but he keeps trying to squeeze me out of a little more comission." He straightened a sheaf of papers and motioned for Athelstan to sit down. "If you accept, you'll go down to Farsouth Mine and oversee a merger between our companies. I know a few of the managers down there - they're looking to retire about now, so you'll have to act as head management for six months before I send down some of our own overseers. It's dangerous country, with demon-worshippers and worse in every little valley, so I'll send a bodyguard along with you."

Athelstan was surprised by how readily his uncle agreed, but never one to lose his wits when an opportunity presented itself. Before Gihellent could cut in, Athelstan nodded once, and the deal was done. The spurned Chelaxian rose. "Halfbeard, you'll regret not sending a native. I know that country as well as anyone, and the Farsouthers don't take kindly to other dwarves." He whisked out of Uncle Halfbeard's home, leaving the dwarves to plan.

In another week, Athelstan was ready. His companion was one Notmerlun Wyvernmane, a veteran of the Darkmoon Vale caravans and a warrior of some skill (so Uncle Halfbeard said, at least). After a cursory evaluation of this particularly taciturn dwarf, Athelstan decided he liked him, and the two set off for Highhelm.

From the Journal of Athelstan Twice-Dropped
19th of Arodus, 4170

Entry One

Dear Reader:

I have never put stock into the concept of diaries. Repositories of secret knowledge are to be distrusted, unless intended for scholastic distribution. A mage who keeps a log of his work uncoded is as much an idiot as a merchant who records all his transactions without obscuring names, dates and figures.

Nevertheless, I fear that I am not long for this world. My companions consist of a dwarf woman who appears to worship the sun to a garish, possibly grotesque extent, and seems mildly insane; my dwarf escort who, while certainly competent, his only loyalty to me is financial; and a Halfling sailor around whom hangs the stench of death and poultry. That isn’t to mention the human woman who hasn’t said a word to anyone since one of the sailors tried to get lucky with her to his injury; the self-important gnome who loves to hear the sound of his own voice, but cannot even set up a camp; the assorted other survivors who washed ashore with us; and the giant eurypterids that have harassed us this morn. If you find this, I hope that you are kind enough to have it delivered to my uncle, Tolskeinn Halfbeard of the Halfbeard Mining Company, offices in Highhelm, Five Kings Mountains. With luck, my family will learn of my fate, instead of endlessly waiting for news. I promise that you will be well rewarded for your efforts, if not in wealth then
in some other debt. If you find this and decide NOT to return it, may you be forever cursed by Abadar.

Today has been…eventful.

I had been travelling to Sargova. I have business to attend to, business that is vital to the interests of myself and my family. Again, I tell the hypothetical reader that he will be well rewarded if he returns this to my uncle. I set sail from Cheliax with my bodyguard, where I spent my time learning of my destination. I had hoped to conduct my business negotiations with a variety of people – the natives tribes of the Mwangi Expanse, and whatever humans, elves and dwarves I could find of interest. I cannot say that I approve of Cheliax, or its patron deity, though they did not seem quite as repressive or miserable as tales had led me to believe. That isn’t to say that I approve, but I suspect exaggeration. From Cheliax I learned enough of the Mwangi trade language, and my elvish is serviceable. I doubt my skald will come into play this far south. I stocked up with rations for the journey once we disembark. I also purchased a map of Sargava, which I expected would be useful.

The ship wrecked. I know not why or how yet, only that it has since washed up, and we awoke upon the beach. My last memory is of the worst meal I have ever suffered through in my life. I suspect food poisoning, though if deliberate or through ineptitude I cannot say. I roused to find a sea scorpion nipping at my toes, and soon joined the fray. Knowing that rations were scarce, I suggested that we supplement them with sea scorpion meat to make them last. I then convinced the gnome – Gelik Aberwhinge, as much a whinger as his name suggests – to help organise the camp, while my party set out to scavenge what we could from the wreck, despite my better judgement. As I told uncle Halfbeard, it’s not right for a dwarf not to have solid earth under him, even if it’s through a few layers of wood or stone. We have have not set out yet.

Given the calibre of my companions, I feel obliged to go. None of them possess what could be called leadership material, so it is up to me to organise this band of assorted characters and see that we make it back to civilisation, or at the very least shelter. I heard tales of this island during my time in Cheliax. Smuggler’s Shiv they called it. Supposedly haunted. I wish I could dismiss their tales as fantasies, but one hears tales. I know little of the wildlife beyond the fact that I expect them to differ from what I am familiar with. I only remembered the sea scorpions by chance from the books I read as a child, of the fossils occasionally dug up from a time soon after Torag forged the world. I cannot expect this luck to hold out, no matter how well read I am. I must learn more of this place, of its secret places and its hidden threats, if I am to make it home.


Entry Two

We made it aboard the ship, lowering ourselves from the cliff to the deck of the wreck. My suggestion that we scrounge the captain’s quarters, where no doubt he stored anything we could navigate with, was summarily ignored by the Halfling nitwit who made a beeline to the galleys and ran into another of the wretched sea scorpions which was summarily dispatched, as well as the body of the ship’s cook, who seems to have been bitten by some sort of snake and perished long before our eventful meal. Chester thinks it was time travelling snakes. She’s quite mad of course, but something odd clearly did happen. By this time, though, the heat had begun to set in. Chester, the mad one, was looking in a bad way.

We continued our search, managing to find a few potions, some maps, the captain’s journal, and a footlocker containing a significant amount of gold, as well as the body of Alton Devers, the first mate, and a few members of the crew. Devers had been run through with a rapier. The crew had been on the unfortunate end of a eurypterid stinger. We reclaimed some rations from the ship’s supplies, some fishing nets, a length of rope and a grappling hook, and the sea scorpion. Meanwhile, we appropriated the captain’s keys and his bed, dumping our haul upon it and dragging it all back with us to the camp. Notmerlen ran off into the underbrush screaming on the way back, and attacked a snake that seemed to be minding its own business. I drew my axe and aided in dispatching it, though not without a bite. I still feel woozy as I write, but I have since had some healing and should be fine.

Upon return to the camp, I read through the captain’s journal. It started out well enough – mundane facts and events, such as buying the ship, paying the crew, and passenger manifests and transactions. Over time, though, the entries became less legible and more erratic. The captain had become obsessed with out of our fellow passengers, a Varisian woman who said she was a scholar, interested in ancient ruins. It was for her he diverted the ship from its set course. He believed the first mate was seeing her in secret. There was more – something about a sea serpent myth. Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? At any rate, he believed the crew was getting suspicious of his actions, and plotted to be rid of them. Which explains the poison.

I realise that I have yet to meet a sane person on this entire venture. I worry over this fact.

We also confirmed the identity of one of our fellow survivors, Jask Derindi – a former employee of the Sargavan government, who began pocketing money from the Free Captains of the Shackles before eloping. Evidently, he was recaptured many years later, and was being returned to Sargava to be brought to justice. He's also a devotee of Nethys, which makes me apprehensive. I don’t approve of giving him free reign, but he’s a competent healer and hunter, so we agreed to free him from his shackles. Under such desperate circumstances, we cannot afford not to. We're sorting out night watch shifts.

I hope we don't run into more snakes.

20th of Arodus, 4170

Entry Three

We agreed to split shifts for night watch. The half-elf, Aerys Mavato, agreed to take a watch. Thornton, Notmerlen and I took shifts too. Seeing the sea stretch out in the glimmering light of my dancing lights in the dark was a haunting sight. I will be glad never to see it again. I took the last shift, so I was already awake when dawn came.

As if being stranded on this island is not bad enough, we’re turning on each other. The night was peaceful enough, but Ishirou took exception to being asked to help the rest of us survive, and challenged me to a duel – at which point Notmerlen stepped up, and declared that no one lays a hand upon his master. Under normal circumstances, I would have accepted the duel. I am not eager to die by any means, but I have my honour. But the duelling rules allow the challenger to accept a change of duelist, and Ishirou decided my bodyguard would make a better target. He also decided that it would be a fight to the death. More fool him. The two fought on the edge of the camp. It was a quick fight. Ishirou’s head fell clean from his shoulders.

Thornton wasn’t happy about it at all, but frankly, if you’re stupid enough to challenge a dwarf you get what you deserve. He tried to convince Jask to heal whoever lost, unable to accept the idea of a duel to the death. I suggested that if Ishirou was in any mood to reconcile, he would have done it before challenging a dwarven warrior to a mortal combat. Nevertheless, not wanting to seem petulant, I helped Thornton to dig the grave. None of us had much to say, but we did get Jask to say a few words. He’s the closest thing we have to a priest on hand. It seemed the right thing to do.

Now the other members of our camp are giving Notmerlen and I dark glances. I doubt anyone else will gives us such trouble, but I wanted to convince them to help, not make them feel forced into compliance creating resentment. This is going to have repercussions, and I doubt they will be pleasant.

We are debating over who shall gather food, who shall guard and continue setting up camp, and who shall set out to explore the island interior. We suspect there will be all sorts of threats – more animals, cannibals who inhabit the island, and ancient ruins. Not to mention Ieanna is still unaccounted for. We are hopeful that, if she planned to come here, she would have some way to get back to civilisation. We intend to take it for ourselves in our escape.

I am hopeful that we can avoid further bloodshed among the party, but I doubt we can avoid shedding others’ blood. This is a violent place, savage and wild. I am not accustomed to it.

Entry Four

We set out southward into the island’s interior, climbing up a ridge looking down over the inland bay that occupies the centre of the island. We could see the distant shoreline, but not much beyond it. On the ridge, we saw a dimorphodon nest. We were talking about their eggs, and the similarity to Ostriches, and Chester opined that they were a ward against poison, and Thornton decided he wanted an omelette breakfast, so up we climbed. Unfortunately, the mother was keeping watch nearby, and swooped down onto Thornton. I’ll tell you, dangling on a rope from a cliff face and shooting a bow is not easy, but I somehow managed it. We eventually reached the nest, but one of the eggs had already hatched and the rest were presumably not far. We decided that while an egg big enough to make half a dozen omelettes is a valuable commodity, ones filled with stillborn Dimorphodon embryos are simply not worth it. We did, however, decide to keep the chick. I’m hopeful that I can train it, and keep it – some of my books have claimed that Dimorphodons can speak, parrot-like. I’d like to find out.

Thornton thinks he’s keeping it to eat. I will allow him his delusion for the moment.

Tying the chick with a length of rope as a leash, we decided to leave it on a makeshift nest out of the way of predators until we returned. Heading south-east into the island, we found a fresh water spring where we could drink out fill. Regrettably, we think it’s infested with snakes. More bloody snakes. We hadn’t brought much in the way of carrying tools, and Thornton wasted half his day’s rations trying to absorb some in a futile gesture. Chester decided to name the Bergen Memorial Spring. Dejected, we tramped back to camp, only to be met with a heavy downpour that relieved the heat but replaced it with humidity. Notmerlen graciously leant me his leather armour – a chain shirt in this heat is a ridiculous idea, and I regret ever having it. At least the rain allowed our campmates to replenish some of our freshwater.

The half-elf, Aerys appears to be an alcoholic, and had gone through a bottle in one day. On top of that, I was joking with Thornton, about hypothetical worlds without elves, and said something along the lines of “some would say they were better worlds.” Aerys heard me, I fear, and I didn’t get the chance to apologise or explain that it was merely a bad joke, before Chester stunned us by dumping water over her head, and then making a pun before fleeing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stunned and horrified before. Chester eventually returned, and we managed to convince Aerys not to kill her – she can make fresh water, a valuable skill until we can find a source that isn’t infested with serpents.

Sitting around the camp with Gelik, Jask and Sasha, we started talking about our reasons for coming to Sargava. I explained that I was on my way to Sargava to negotiate the buy-out of one of their prominent mining companies for my uncle back in the Five Kings Mountains. Gelik explained that he was in the Pathfinder Society’s bad graces at the moment, and had been hoping to find the wreck of a Pathfinder-owned ship, the Night Voice, and recover something of value aboard it to get back into their good graces. On the subject of my stay in Cheliax, Jask started talking about his home in Corantyn, and went on to insist that he is innocent of the crimes he has been accused of, and in fact is a scapegoat for the corruption of his former employers. While I’m still suspicious – a guilty man would say the same – given the level of corruption among Sargavan officials I heard about in Cheliax, it sounds plausible. He also claims that proof of his innocence exists aboard a shipwreck, the Brine Demon, lost a few years after he fled Sargava to Cheliax. Sasha said nothing, and I didn’t press her. Aeryn I left alone, lest I end up with another Ishirou on my hands.

Chester just returned to camp. Together, the rest of the camp managed to convince Aerys not to tear her limb from limb. Thornton blamed it on her being a dwarf, and I declared that she’s crazy even by Dwarf standards. Which is entirely true, and I hope she isn’t the death of us all. Between us, and with Thornton’s “generous” offer of more rum, she decided to leave well enough alone.

We’re planning to explore the south west tomorrow.

Feel sick, probably food poisoning. Bugger.

21st of Arodus, 4170

Entry Four

I convinced Thornton to share his rum hoard with Aerys – intimating that if he didn’t capitalise on his “generosity,” I would, and he would not like it. He wasn’t left with much choice, but as long as it keeps the party calm and reasonably amiable, then it improves our chances of survival. Aerys seems considerably less hostile to us than she did last night, and as a whole, the party seems to be coming together. I hope it lasts. While discussing whether to move the camp or to leave it where it is, Chester suggested todays itinerary:
• Find researcher
• Kill snakes
• Befriend cannibals
• Monetise water
I don’t know about the “monetise water” part, but the rest of it seems perfectly sensible (for once), and I especially seconded the killing of snakes. Do not like them.

Entry Five

We decided to explore to the west of the island, and were almost immediately ambushed by another dimorphodon. The island seems infested with them, though I’d rather face one of them than the snakes that keep cropping up. I landed the killing blow as it dived for Thornton, and ended up toppling backwards under a crumpled ball of leather and fur, thrashing to get it off me. Not harmed, but quite alarmed. Thornton then decided to go crashing through the undergrowth after an animal. It looked to my eyes to be a fox, but Thornton swears it was a goat. Notmerlen and I fired our bows at the animal, expecting them to miss and Thornton to return empty handed. To my surprise, one of the arrows landed, slowing it down for Thornton to catch it. So now we had a goat to haul with us, as well as the dimorphodon. Had to heal Thornton of his heatstroke. No use letting one member slow the whole party down, I suppose.

Later in the day, we discovered a shipwreck. Thornton and Chester decided to explore it, suggesting that it belonged to the time travelling snakes. While I still believe they are both insane, I agreed to allow them the use of my grapple to rappel down. They tried to be stealthy, in their own ways – Thornton utterly failing, flailing and thrashing around as he descended, and somehow the sun caught Chester’s face mask (face?) turning her into practically a glowing beacon. If there had been anyone aboard the ship, I doubt we could have gotten the drop on them, even literally. Notmerlen and I descended after them, far less ostentatiously. Fortunately, there appeared to be nobody aboard. Unfortunately, there was nothing much of worth aboard the ship. I found the name – the Tattooed Lady, a Shackles pirate/smuggler ship I read was lost at sea about 50 years ago while in Cheliax. Other than that, the only thing we managed to find was copious amounts of seaweed, which Thornton and Chester immediately stuffed their pockets with. Thornton doesn’t even like the taste of seaweed, which didn’t stop him for some reason. Chester, of course, loves it.

Getting back to camp, we discovered the huts in disarray, the tent burnt down, and Gelik and Jask cowering in terror. Aerys has run off, Sasha has been grabbed by an apparent cannibal raiding party bearing the pentagram tattoos of Asmodeus, and our camp is now decidedly unsafe. Thornton advocated getting a meal in us, a good night’s sleep, and then finding the missing members of the party in the morning. I disagreed, trying to convince the others to set out immediately, without success. Possibly for the best – Aerys was the best tracker, and she’s somewhere else. At the mention of a meal, Chester started handing out the tainted seaweed. We debated goats for a while (are there Seagoats? Spacegoats?) as Thornton and I somehow scraped together a decent goat and seaweed soup, with Chester and Thornton eating the goat tongue and Chester particularly relishing it. I didn’t touch it, and gingerly removed as much of the seaweed as I could.

23rd of

Entry Six

We set a watch for the night, but it passed uneventfully. When the sun had risen, we set out – Notmerlen, Thornton and Chester tracking the cannibals south-west, and myself leading Gelik and Jask south-east to track down Aerys, agreeing to meet up at the dimorphodon nest from the other day if both groups accomplished their tasks. I thought I could hear some sort of ruckus at one point, carried across the jungle, but couldn’t make out what it was. Presumably, the other team had gotten into some sort of bother.

My own group found Aerys fairly quickly. Both Gelik and Jask seemed angry at her, but I believe I managed to smooth the situation. Aerys herself seems suitably contrite at fleeing the attack last night, but I reassured her that the past cannot be helped, and that she should try to make up for it by helping to get her back. She seemed to take heart from it. We are heading west now, to link up with the others – I know not whether they have had much luck finding Sasha, but we are following their trail south. Aerys seemed interested in some bushes, but we haven’t the time to gather food now. We did, however, pass another decapitated snake – this island is infested with sea scorpions, dimorphodons and cannibals, and yet it is the snakes above all else that I loathe. If I never return to this place, it will still be too soon.

Entry Seven

This entry will be spare. Have had a rough day.

Pressing on, we found an abandoned settlement. Thornton explored, discovering another plant zombie. I don’t know what the problem is, but Thornton tried to back away as fast as he could before we agreed to attack. Gellik shouted racist Gnome jokes to bolster our morale as we attacked. I dare say it didn’t work, succeeding only in filling us with mild contempt for the man. While Normelen, Chester and I closed to engage it, Thornton, in his infinite wisdom, decided to throw a Molotov cocktail, splashing on us too. It seemed to work, drawing its exclusive attention to Thornton, and allowing me to catch it with my battleaxe as it passed, showering me in gore. Chester was kind enough to use a water spell to give me a shower. I accepted it graciously. Note to self – when we get to civilisation, find the nearest public bathhouse and buy the most expensive pachage I can to cleanse my body if this filth.

The zombie was about three years dead, and the shelter is about that old. The zombie was a woman, dressed in ragged clothes. Nothing else to identify her. We briefly discussed leaving Gellik and Aerys behind to set up our new base, but decided against it and set out to track the cannibals. Barely setting foot outside of the camp, Notmerlen was hauled up into the air by a snare, but managed to free himself, falling back down. Thornton made an abominable pun about it. “We’re getting close, so there’s some good noose.” We agree that Thornton goes first. I managed to find the cannibals’ trail, and Thornton was immediately hauled up by ANOTHER trap, with Chester tossing her halberd and me throwing a dagger to try to cut him down. We both missed. Aerys was concerned at this, but not concerned enough to say anything, or help. I tried to climb the tree but was unsuccessful. Chester made it up there, as I swung my grappling hook for Thornton and Chester to climb down when he was freed. We continued down the trail, with myself taking the lead this time, watching out for more traps, but even so I nearly stumbled into one, barely managing to escape being flung into the air. Notmerlen tracked the cannibals southward.

Food poisoning caught up with me, and I immediately regretted eating the seaweed. We tracked them to a vertical cliff, with a wooden structure at the top, and started to climb – Chester found and dodged a trap, and then we were accosted by a quadruplet of barbarians at the top who injured Thornton and Chester with javelins. Thornton started lighting and tossing molotovs. Jask heals the two, looks up nervously at the cannibals. I missed twice with my bow, before managing to hit one in the shoulder, and the Cannibals sank two spears into poor Jask. One of the cannibals hurled a spear with a rope, and Notmerlen grabbed on, hoping they would haul him up where he could take them on at close quarters. Gellik and Aerys droped, prone, Gellik managing to stabilise Jask. I helped light one of Thornton’s molotovs, which sailed up and set fire to the cannibals’ structure. With their structure on fire, the barbarians started climbing down, fighting Notmerlen as he was still on the rope. Notmerlen managed to knock one off, unconscious; another fell, dead; I managed to hit another Barbarian with an arrow, while Notmerlen dealt with the last two; I managed to pierce one of the last Barbarians through the heart – he fell, crashing onto Thornton, who somehow shrugged it off. We focussed on the last one, images of Asmodeus and hellfire swimming across our visions in weariness, Jask trying to climb up to heal Notmerlen but thinking better of it. I missed with yet ANOTHER arrow. In desperation, Chester wrapped a Red Pearl Amulet around a rock and tossed it. It failed to hit. Finally we managed to get the last barbarian to plummet off.

It was at this point we discovered that Sasha was INSIDE the structure we had succeeded in setting on fire. Notmerlen managed to rescue her from it with only light burns which Jask easily healed.

I hate this island.

I hate it so much.

Fakedit: Looks like I need to break the posts up into smaller sections. Part 1/3.

Liberty's Edge

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I've seen a few users do this, and I've got a "boni" to pick. The traditional English plural of the noun "bonus" is "bonuses." What's up with the new spelling?

(prescriptivism mileage may vary)

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Heatstroke is from Sargava: The Lost Colony. Here is it on the Archives of Nethys.

My question is, what happens if you make your Fortitude save against the spell? It "functions as ray of exhaustion," but that spell imposes the exhausted condition and there a successful Fort save means the target's only fatigued. Fatigued is the condition imposed by heatstroke. Does this mean a successful save completely negates the fatigue? Should that also halve the nonlethal damage?

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1. You nearly tripped.

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I'm looking to run a sort of skill challenge where my PCs have to prove their organization is operating within the law in a court hearing. However, I've never seen rules for this kind of thing, so I'm hoping for some feedback on a homebrew.

The situation is this:
The 5-6 2nd-level PCs are adventurers in Eleder (in Sargava, in the PFCS). Eleder is renowned for its harsh and baroque legal system, where whether you are hanged or awarded damages is largely determined by the legal finesse of your legal team. The biggest power player in the city, called Lady Daugustana, is also very anti-adventurer, and the PCs have been on her radar (and have been warned against adventuring by the city guard) for some time now. Nevertheless, the PCs decided to try and found an "Explorer's" Guild on a ship they came into possession of. Last session they met with a bureaucrat pawn of Daugustana, and while they tried to allay her suspicion, she still gave them an order to appear for a hearing. There are a bunch of issues that this bureaucrat wants to address, including threats against some of Daugustana's cronies, an issue of the ship's ownership, and whether the Guild is really an adventurer's guild (which is illegal).

Fortunately, the party is friends with a skilled defense attorney (who they liberated from some slavers) and has a trio of real estate barristers on retainer (the Explorer's Guild is basically squatting on the ship, so they anticipated legal troubles). Obviously, I don't want to make the hearing just some NPC lawyers arguing with each other for three hours, so the PCs will also be contributing.

How should the PCs contribute? Sort of inspired by the PFS scenario "Library of the Lion," I'm thinking they'll be able to use any skill, as long as they can explain how it's useful. However, lawyerly skills like Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge (local), and Sense Motive will be more useful than the others. Any check the players make may receive a circumstantial bonus for a good argument.

How will the hearing be structured? I'm thinking the three points mentioned above - threats, ownership, and adventuring* - will be the core of the trial. For each point, four checks constitutes a side's argument, and each side is allowed a rebuttal to the other's argument (another check - so 5 checks total, for free). Each check is made against the judge's Diplomacy DC, but again, any skill can be used (with legalistic skills* getting a +5 bonus). Every success is tallied, representing strength of that side's arguments. An objection check can be made at any time with the opposing team's most recent check as a DC, which gives you an opportunity to negate their check (if you succeed), but carries the risk of reducing your argument strength by one success if you fail.

*In addition to Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge (local), and Sense Motive, each point has a specific additional skill that counts as "lawyerly": threats is Linguistics because these were threats encoded into the Guild charter for some reason, ownership is Appraise because maybe the ship isn't worth anything anyways, and adventuring is Disguise as the adventurers attempt to hide their nature. Profession (barrister) gets a +5 bonus as well but none of the PCs have it.

(I'm having trouble figuring out how to make sure everyone gets involved - I know some folks will look at their best skill rank and say "yeah I'll just aid." But if I say that everyone has to contribute an argument, it'll strain credibility and make it hard for the Daugustana side to keep up - that side will probably only have the bureaucrat and a couple lawyers on the team. What about something like, everyone in the party rolls a check for each point, and only the best roll is used - and then has to be explained by the roller?)

At the end of each point, the success tallies for that point are compared for each team. If the PCs have a lower tally for any point (aka charge), they lose that point. Losing the threats charge means the Explorer's Guild is ordered to suspend all activities for one year. Losing the ownership charge means their ship is confiscated and placed in the government's hands. Losing the adventuring charge means the guild leader goes to jail (150 gp bail) and everyone associated with the adventuring aspect of the guild (aka all PCs) is charged with at least one count of adventuring-related offense, with a full trial later.

(Are these penalties too harsh? The guild and ship are only a couple sessions old so logically it wouldn't hurt too much to lose them, but the players have high expectations for them. I think I'd make appeals an option, but there would be fees (or bribes).)

How does this look as a system? Too complicated? Too unrealistic? I know a little about the American justice system but 85% of it is just from movies and TV.

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Male Underpowered Warrior 1

I am making an executive decision to make a discussion thread in case we want an easier place to talk to Loather. But you can also just do ooc in [ooc] tags in the main thread.

Journal | Drive

While Loather has a bad web connection, we're going to be doing a play-by-post using this web forum. Paizo has several good tools for PBP, including embedded dice rolling ({dice=Great.}1d20+1{/dice} looks like Great.: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 if you swap out the curly brackets for square brackets). It also has an out of character format, which is what this paragraph is in (the tag is {ooc} but with the curls replaced with squares). The forum also has a bunch of images to use as avatars, though it unfortunately does not allow you to upload your own. Also unfortunately, you can't embed images, so I'll just link relevant ones. I will be arranging maps on Roll20 but if Loather can't access those I'll also link a screenshot here before her turn.

More Paizo info:
Yeah, there are spoilers. Use {spoiler=stuff}things{/spoiler} to open and close one. You can't nest them, unfortunately.

Also, you can make in-character dialogue most noticeable using quotation marks and {b}{/b} tags. "This is Gelik talking," Jask said.

The easiest way to quote someone is to just click reply, but you can also copy text and go like {quote=someone}text{/quote}.

Also, there's {bigger} and {smaller} tags but honestly I never use them?

This guide has more info, though some of it obviously doesn't apply to us.

I'm gonna get the actual re-introduction game post up in an hour or so but for now, here is a thread to bookmark or whatever.

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I was reading about Shub-Niggurath and planning a Sargava game when something clicked. Could the "Black Goat"'s name be a pun on a racial slur? After a bit of searching online, I haven't found much agreement on the subject: some folks say it's only a play on "Sheol-Nugganoth" in "Idle Days on the Yann," while others say it's also incorporating the Latin word niger, and yet others say it surely has racist underpinnings. Regardless of the truth, I'm now a bit reluctant to reference this entity in my games.

Is it any worse to use Shub-Niggurath if you've already introduced concepts Lovecraft created? Is that even so bad?

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I'm trying to decide between the Sargava, the Lost Colony and Racing to Ruin PDFs for some extra Eleder information. I have the Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting, but it obviously only has an overview.

The main reason I'm looking to buy one of them is that I'm running a game set in Eleder tonight. It's a backup to our regular Serpent's Skull game, which is still stuck on Smuggler's Shiv, and we're introducing new characters with the idea that they'll replace any who die on the Shiv or in the early phases of RtR. Obviously, I'm going to want both books eventually, but we probably won't finish Souls for Smuggler's Shiv until after Christmas so I'm trying to leave options in case any of my players want to get me something. I'm okay with homebrewing and using the wiki (we did that last backup session) but I'd like to take some of the strain off my shoulders in imagining the city, and a PDF I can sit down and read really helps there. Does anyone have an idea which would be better, for my purposes?

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As I am currently running Souls for Smuggler's Shiv, I have been modifying and creating stuff to make the game flow smoothly and help everyone have fun. I'm not doing anything particularly special but in case anyone needs some specific permutation of a stat block or something, I'll post what I make on this thread.

I made a trio of handouts for Ishirou's maps, two of which could lead to later side adventures. Unfortunately, my handwriting is bad enough that it was a puzzle all its own to decipher the journal entry.


Map 1

Map 2
Quellig's Map

I decided to time Yarzoth's entry into the temple based on how long it would actually take her, rather than waiting for the PCs to fight the cannibals. Unfortunately, the PCs took too long to begin exploring the southern portion of the isle, and saw the lightning before they'd begun even planning an assault on the cannibal camp. (They did get within a few miles of it, though.) As they were resolute on investigating but still only level 2, I'm scaling down a few of the encounters by 1 CR.


Z3. Priest Cells (CR 1)

Human skeletons (3)

Z5. Cleansing Shrine (CR 3)

Flensing Room CR 3
Type mechanical; Perception DC 15; Disable Device DC 25; Bypass hidden switch (Perception DC 25)

Z6. Sunken Chamber (CR 3)

Soulbound dolls (2) CR 1
XP 400 each
NE Diminutive construct
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +2
AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 size)
hp 11 each (2d10)
Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +0
DR 2/magic; Immune construct traits
Weaknesses mind-affecting effects
Speed 20 ft.
Melee dagger +4 (1-3/19-20 plus poison)
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd; concentration +1)
3/day - light, mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation
1/day - inflict serious wounds (DC 12), levitate
Str 5, Dex 16, Con -, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 9
Base Atk +2; CMB -5; CMD 8
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Perception +2, Stealth +12
Languages Aklo
SQ soul focus

Z7. Dark Lake (CR 4)

Young gibbering mouther CR 4
XP 1200
N Small aberration
Init +5; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12
AC 18, touch 16, flat-footed 13 (+5 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 38 (4d8+20)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5
Defensive Abilities amorphous; DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune critical hits, precision damage
Speed 10 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 6 bites +9 (1d3-2 plus grab)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks blood drain (1d3-2 bite), engulf (6d3-12 plus 2 Con damage, AC 12, hp 3), gibbering (DC 11), ground manipulation, spittle (+8 ranged touch, DC 16)
Str 6, Dex 21, Con 20, Int 4, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +0 (+4 grapple); CMD 15 (can't be tripped)
Feats Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Perception +12, Swim +6; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
Language Aklo

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This is a bit of a longshot, but is there anything in the rules (archetype, feat, magic item) that would allow a ghoul bloodline sorcerer to affect a serpentfolk with its ghoulish claws paralysis effect? For that matter, is there anything at all in the rules allowing any creature to circumvent an immunity to the paralyzed condition?

I am running Serpent's Skull and one of my players is ghoul bloodline, so if there's no way for him to get around that immunity I'm planning to let him know.

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Odds are, if you've got inventive players, you've had a character create these in game. My question is, how good should they be?

A bit of context: A player wanted to load a lit oil flask into a sling (they're a halfling, so they wanted the bonus). The player was envisioning the bottles as small and round, so aerodynamically at least it should work. I was skeptical, though, about whether flasks of oil would actually be shaped that way and be small enough to load into a sling. We agreed to get an answer on the forums later.

So, can you sling molotovs?

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If a creature's stat block has

Immmune illusions

is it completely immune to these spells?

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Neither the incorporeal subtype nor the monster ability give fully explicit rulings on how attacks work while incorporeal. Gaseous form has specific rules, but obviously those can't generally apply.

From the incorporeal monster ability, you lose your Strength score and get your Dexterity modifier to attack rolls. You also get to bypass armor, natural armor, and shields. Can creatures who become incorporeal make attacks with their normal weapons with no other alterations?

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Situation: A wizard has confined a low-Will enemy in a walled prison using silent image. He would like to allow his allies to attack the enemies in the prison without the enemy getting concealment or the allies needing to roll to disbelieve. Therefore, he described himself as being ready to open a "window" in the prison in the blink of an eye, allowing the arrows and magics of his allies to pour in.

The question is, what kind of action would that be? Is it possible to edit an illusion outside of the caster's turn?

Journal | Drive

It was market day in Lamid, the regional center of the Eyefjell Valley and a key food provider for the southern metropolis Indar. Along the waterfront, ferries powered by brawny wollipeds crisscrossed the Rime River, bringing carts and wagons to the eastern landings. All through town, triaxians, gnomes, and elves bustled towards their destination, while an odd dragonkin or two could be spotted flying overhead. And in the Town Square, dozens of stalls hawked egg-gourds, jugana fruit, and five different kinds of shellfish. Staying in a bar until near sunset to beat the heat, Aught and Podrick also heard that a theater troupe had arrived in town to perform a play, and Mayor Geoff Bresnik himself plans to attend.

After departing Lamid, Aught and Podrick began their hike to the smaller town of Kiltar. The track to Kiltar is still heavily rutted from the rains of three weeks ago, so the six-mile path took the flopping poet-whale and his plodding bearlike companion a couple more hours than anticipated. When they arrived at the inn, Podrick flung a purse of silver at the innkeeper and collapsed into the dragonkin stall to sleep.

Aught had hoped to reach the Overlook of Angels some time before midnight the next day, where he would monitor the health of the ley lines and check for graffiti. With Podrick moving only under his own power, though, the Keeper was beginning to think they might not reach the Overlook until the day after. He stayed outside the rest of the night, brooding on this.

In the morning, the cetakin and Keeper went inside for breakfast and to watch people eat breakfast (respectively). They noticed a serpentine sky-priest and a burn-scarred triaxian eating at a central table, along with a trio of triaxian women digging into shyrtak roots and eagle eggs by the window and the weary-eyed innkeeper from the night before conversing with a brown-scaled laialar.

As Aught and Podrick sat/laid down, they couldn't help but overhear the sky-priest and triaxian discussing the same Overlook they'd journeyed to see . . .


After leaving the town about midday to beat the crowds, Sachak Iskalar and Horn made swift progress along the Upper Rime. Around midafternoon, they stopped at a riverside shrine to Desna, which appeared to not have been kept up since Sachak's last visit. The sky-priest left a few rations in the cache and dusted the bird droppings from his goddess' statue, then ushered Horn back on the track. As the sun set, they came to the Kiltar inn, ate supper, and paid for private rooms upstairs.

In the morning, the companions ordered breakfast and re-packed for the journey to Forestdal. They'd ford back onto the western side of the river a couple miles north of there, then push on through Hallowfeld and get to Glacier that night. Horn was slightly nervous about the Eyefjell Glacier - he was not used to such cold, and worried about the strange winter-beasts that sometimes rise up out of the snow. Sachak assured him that they could best any threats in the mountains, but perhaps another climber or two would convince those threats to leave them alone entirely . . .

The four of you are all in the same inn common room and have the same destination in mind. We'll do a bit of RP here (hopefully joining the groups together, but there's a chance for that later as well) and then fast-forward again.

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Ctrl-F for "soft grenade."

Are grenades meant meant to act entirely like splash weapons but for the radius? 5d6 nonlethal to the target of a soft grenade on a successful hit, then 5 splash nonlethal to everyone in a 20' radius?

Or are they only meant to act as splash weapons for the purposes of throwing - 5d6 nonlethal to everyone within 20' of a soft grenade?

Liberty's Edge

Male Underpowered Warrior 1

The first order of business is for everyone to get their characters finished. I think we're fairly close to having that done. Tomorrow, I'll post some more info about backstories and so forth.

Reminder to Rynjin and Echos Myron: If you want to roll hp, you'll need to do so in your first alias post. Otherwise just use the average.

And welcome!

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Antonal Telthin died as he lived – alone. His sprawling manor lay empty at the edge of the village of Hallowfeld for many years until a famous bard moved to town. Sophia Lasilaran chose Telthin Manor as her home because of its remote location, hoping it would give her a relaxing place to work. Little did she know that Telthin's legacy waited, patient but potent, in the basement below, and that on the night she discovered the hidden chamber her life would change forever.

The planet Triaxus, whose eccentric orbit slingshots it around the sun and skirts the edge of the solar system, is entering its sweltering summer. As glaciers melt and ecosystems shift, a cosmic horror is discovered, and a band of four heroes must step up to prevent apocalypse.

I am opening recruitment for a short adventure designed for four 9th-level PCs, set on the planet of Triaxus in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. This adventure, “And Madness Followed,” was originally published in Dungeon Issue #134. Triaxus info is taken from articles in Pathfinder Adventure Path #14 and #70.

General Application Info:
Include in your submission your expected posting rate. If you cannot manage at least one post every day, most days, this game will probably run too fast for you to have fun! I plan to make at least two Gameplay posts every day.

Submissions will close 24 hours after the sixth application. At that time, I will select four people from the pool and open the discussion thread. It is okay to post only a short character concept and a bit of backstory – you will have time to finish working on your character if selected.

Time/Place Info:
The starting time will be the beginning of the next Triaxian summer (4795 AR), or about three triaxian generations after the current date in the Pathfinder campaign setting. As no one knows what the state of the campaign setting will be so far in the future, you can feel free to incorporate all kinds of cataclysmic events into the backstory of extraplanetary characters.

The starting location will be the small town of Lamid in the Kingdom of Aylok, which is a member of the expansive Allied Territories. These territories occupy the entire continent Ora, having banded together long ago to defend themselves from the north-western Drakelands. Lamid sits at the mouth of the Eyefjell Valley, where the Upper Rime River joins Gora Creek and runs south to the port city of Indar. North along the Upper Rime are the villages of Kiltar, Forestdal, Hallowfeld, and Glacier, each at higher and higher elevations in the Mountains of Luz. East around the Luz Peninsula is the free city Preita, renowned for its vast stores of knowledge. Lastly, to the west lie the Great Plains of Aylok and the capital of the kingdom itself.

Character Creation Guidelines:
  • You have the option of rolling 3d6 straight down or 15-point buy. You may roll before deciding which to use.
  • Characters should be level 9 (including CR of base monster, if applicable). We will be starting at 50000 XP and using the Fast experience track, though it is unlikely that anyone will level up over the course of this adventure.
  • Any class is suitable for this adventure.
  • Suitable races for this adventure include dragonkin, dragons, elves, gnomes, laialar*, ottiks**, poet-whales**, sky-priests**, and triaxians (transitional or summer-born). Other races may be suitable, but you'll need a reason for them to be on Triaxus and interested in the well-being of this planet. Races with racial hit dice use the rules in “Appendix 4: Monsters as PCs” on page 314 of the Bestiary; you may switch out racial HD skills and feats for ones more appropriate to your character.
    *Homebrew stats given below. **No stats available yet. If you want to play one, post your ideas about the race and we'll try to work it out.
  • Hit points are maximum for the first hit die, even for monstrous races. For subsequent hit dice you can either take the average (8d8, for example, becomes 36) or roll in your first post with your alias.
  • You may choose one trait, or three if you take the Extra Traits feat.
  • All alignments and Pathfinder religions are suitable for this adventure, but nihilist or chaotic evil characters must have a reason to help prevent an apocalypse. Common religions in Aylok include worship of Abadar, Apsu, Asmodeus, Calistria, Dahak, Desna, Erastil, Gozreh, Nethys, Pharasma, Shelyn, and the demigods of various extraplanar realms. There are also an unknown number of local Triaxian deities; feel free to invent ones you think appropriate to the culture.
  • Triaxus has two major languages: The language of the native triaxian humanoids, called Triaxian, Common, or Triaxian Common, and the language of dragons and dragonkin, called Draconic. Other languages that a native might know include Adlet, Aklo, Elven, and Gnome, along with the multitude of extraplanar languages.
  • Equipment is largely the same between the two planets. Feel free to create Triaxian variants if an item seems like it wouldn't fit in the setting.
  • Starting WBL for a 9th-level character is 46000 gp. You cannot spend more than half of this on any one item.
  • Triaxus at the time of this game uses the Emerging Guns rules set.
  • For races without height/weight and aging tables, you can just pick statistics that sound reasonable. For races with those tables, you can pick statistics within the possible ranges of those tables, or roll.
  • Please include at least a sentence of backstory in your final submission.
  • If you have any issues reconciling the Triaxian lore with mechanics in the Core Rulebook and other sources, let me know and we should be able to work out something more appropriate to the world.

Play Info:
This is just a normal play-by post, where you post your in-character actions, speech, dice rolls: 1 = 1, and out of character comments in the Gameplay thread. The Discussion thread will be available for more tangential out of character discussions.

I plan to use Google Drawings for maps. If everyone in the party is willing to use roll20, we can use that instead. To make your movement more obvious to me, draw an arrow from your initial to your final position, and delete that arrow some time before your next turn to prevent clutter.

Combat will proceed through the following steps: 1) Opposed Perception/Stealth checks, if applicable, are made. Surprised parties are identified. 2) I roll initiative for each individual creature and rank the rolls. 3) Surprise round occurs. I will wait for PCs to act in the surprise round, but no more than 24 hours after they are prompted to act. 4) Normal initiative begins. Again, I will wait for PCs to act for up to 24 hours. 5) Combat ends.

At any time anyone may post advance actions for as far ahead as they want and with as many conditions as they want, and I will try to NPC those actions exactly as stated. If you miss the 24-hour mark, I will try to NPC you with an action that consumes minimal resources and doesn't put your character in greater risk, and then move on to people lower in initiative. With advance warning, the 24-hour cutoff can be extended.

House Rules:
Apart from those covered elsewhere in this post, I have a few additional house rules and interpretations. They're pretty malleable and most of them are very unlikely to come up, but here they are . . .
  • Turn Undead can synergize with Alignment Channel or Elemental Channel, effectively creating Turn Outsiders (subtype).
  • For percentage rolls, high is good for PCs, low is bad for PCs.
  • The DC to identify that an invisible creature is present is equal to the creature’s Stealth check, without bonuses from invisibility. Any invisible creature moving adjacent without Stealth allows an automatic Perception check (DC 20) to pinpoint its location.
  • Greater Feint denies the opponent their Dexterity bonus to AC against all attacks, not just your own.
  • The falling rules in Environment take precedence over those in Acrobatics.
  • We will use the “Sanity and Madness” rules in the GameMastery Guide. These conditions result primarily from psychic shock and magical trauma, and since permanent mental disorders by similar names exist, I have renamed the following: “mania” to “philia,” “multiple personality disorder” to “spirit-ridden” (where the spirits took advantage of the character's weakness and were able to possess it), “psychosis” to “amuk,” and “schizophrenia” to “palinopsia.”
  • Experience is awarded whenever a creature is slain; I will track each party members' experience in the Campaign Info tab. If you gain enough experience to level up during a fight, you can do so in the middle of that fight, or wait until you have time to do so. Characters will only get experience for fights they are present for; additionally, if an NPC or allied monster assists you in a fight, the XP will be divided between both PCs and that NPC.

Laialar Homebrew:
Laialar, humanoids with third eyes on top of their heads, inhabit the teeming jungles of the equatorial region during the hot Triaxus summer. These long-lived reptiles rarely take part in the political disputes of drakes and mammals, but a small number still choose to live among other species.

Laialar have no permanent culture of their own – in each autumn, a powerful instinct compels them to migrate to the poles and lay hundreds of eggs, after which they die. In each Time of Floods, rubbery laialar eggs thaw and hatch, and the lizard-like young gorge on arthropods and small mammals as the tundra bursts into life. The young fledge as they grow, eventually resembling scaled, ungainly birds, and begin flying to the equator. The laialar memorize the flight path with cues from their light-sensitive third eye, and it is this memorization that triggers a burst of sapience in the adolescent laialar's mind. By the time a laialar reaches the equatorial region (a leisurely journey taking approximately a year), it is the intellectual equivalent of a two-year-old human.

In the equatorial region, the adolescent laialar congregate in young forests, roosting together and hunting together with increasingly cunning tactics. As they mature and the summer canopy grows denser, the flocks take more often to chasing their prey on foot; as their feathers molt off, they wield primitive wooden clubs and spears in their newly available wingtip claws.

The halfling-sized young laialar are secretive around most creatures larger than them, but are possessed with a penchant for spying and a high-fidelity memory. When a triaxian caravan drives through a jungle, it typically passes on at least a dozen useful phrases to a listening laialar, who then repeats those phrases to their flock. Over the course of 10-20 years, a laialar flock assembles a formidable pidgin from Draconic, Triaxian, and an assortment of instinctual whistles and shrieks.

As the decades pass, some bold laialar leave the flock. Depending on the kind of settlement they enter, these laialar may be enrolled in education, given work, or outright slain. If the prevailing culture is progressive, many of these adventurous laialar will return to their flocks and teach them the culture's language, magic, and crafting techniques. If the prevailing culture is cruel, few laialar will return to the flock, and those that do will warn off future exploration.

As the summer wanes, laialar frequently seek out mates. Through a process not worthy of detail, each member of the pair is able to fertilize its eggs before Portent begins. When autumn does eventually fall, the laialar's wings begin to refeather and it feels compelled to fatten up and eventually fly back to the pole by the path it first took as an adolescent. Some laialar ignore these urges, but as the light fades their body deteriorates; no laialar has lived more than three years into winter without powerful magic.

An individual laialar's cultural experience has extreme variation. Some laialar, living on isolated islands or in remote wilderness regions, go their whole lives without learning a smidgeon of Triaxian or Draconic and manifest a kind of hyperperceptive magic with the aid of their third eye. Some laialar lost their flocks to war or natural disaster, and have adjusted to life in a settlement or have set off to roam the world alone. Other laialar simply left their flocks and never looked back.

Physiology: An adult laialar stands between three and four feet high and has mottled green scales. Its eyebrows are heavily ridged, with a small spined crest going down from the base of its skull, and its two front eyes are black. The third eye, which is usually white or yellow, is just above and between the eyebrow ridges.

The wings of an adult rarely bear any feathers, but are well-muscled and end in a pair of grasping claws and an opposable thumb. An adult's torso leans forward, balancing the body on thin, sinewy legs, each ending in four blunt-taloned toes. The neck spines continue all the way down to the end of the laialar's short, tapered tail.

Laialar have only one physical sex, and are able to both fertilize and lay eggs. They may have any gender, but it is commonest for them to feel affiliation with neither masculinity nor femininity, or with both. Laialar living in Ning sometimes identify with the androgynous ukara, though none have ever actually become Battleflowers.

Personality: Laialar occupy a full range of humanoid personalities, with three commonalities. Firstly, the reptilians often tend to shyness, and will only contribute to a conversation when they think they have something very important to say. Secondly, those living away from other laialar for long periods grow jaded or apathetic; especially as the light fades, these laialar feel cut off from the world, and may behave erratically. Lastly, laialar who know of their species' natural history are unusually cavalier about their fates. They are excited about retracing their first flight, which most laialar remember as a sublime, joyous experience.

Alignment and Religion: Laialar tend to be more chaotic than triaxians, having acted on instinct for a good portion of their lives. They have no particular predilection on the morality axis; some laialar value the lives of other intelligent beings, seeing them just as the flock they grew up with, but other laialar are bitter or xenophobic, seeing dragons and humanoids only as prey that is too large to take down.

Laialar who come into contact with other cultures often take on the pantheons of those cultures; thusly laialar in the Drakelands may worship Apsu or Dahak or another minor draconic deity, while laialar in the triaxian-dominated continents are more likely to worship mainstays like Asmodeus, Desna, and Pharasma. If a laialar is friends with an elf, gnome, or season keeper (Triaxian druid), it may choose a deity such as Findleadlara, Ketephys, Nivi Rhombodazzle, or Gozreh.

Laialar with no contact outside their flock may instead look to the natural divinity in the world, focusing their third eye with an ascetism rarely seen outside a monastery. Meditating over fresh kills, they contemplate their world's path around the sun, and can sometimes catch glimpses of their world's past and future.

Relations: Forest-dwelling races like elves and gnomes are sometimes the first friends a laialar flock ever makes. These humanoids, sharing a distaste for civilization and its confusing laws, often lend their experience and tools to the learning young adults.

Green dragons variously see laialar as vermin to be eradicated, subjects to be conscripted, or, rarely, as children to be taught. A few laialar do work out a beneficial arrangement with these creatures, but generally they avoid all true dragons.

Summer-born triaxians and dragonkin of the Allied Territories often trade with matured laialar flocks, and many season keepers form stong bonds with the small humanoids. Some dragonkin take laialar as riders. However, ignorant triaxians and dragonkin in the Drakelands are also known to hunt laialar for food and sport, seeing the small creatures as no different from animals.

Adventurers: The most common adventuring laialar is one who has lost its flock. Displaced, and often tormented by loneliness, these laialar itch for the opportunity to hunt in a pack again and the chance of financial security for the rest of their lives. As the Portent approaches, single laialar also feel compelled to seek out mates, which leads them naturally to a nomadic lifestyle.

If a laialar still has a flock, it may venture out into the world just to learn more to bring back. These trips can last years and the laialar's quest for understanding may put it in danger, but bringing home powerful magic and technology will ensure their flock's safety until migration. As it is still early in the season, currently most adventuring laialar hail from such young flocks.

Names: A laialar is just as likely to be named after a general as after a flower; however, where this adventure takes place, the local flock has a few conventions. The Eyebite, as the flock is known, use single syllables to call on each other. These syllables often end with a -t or -k and are said as quickly as possible.
Examples: Et, Cac, Hok, Lat, Hig, Queph, Suk, Tret, Tust, Ull, Veck.

Laialar Racial Traits

+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength: Laialar are not as strong as larger humanoids, but move with precision and are closely connected to the rhythms of nature.

Small: Laialar are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Laialar have a base speed of 20 feet.

Bond to the Land: Laialar gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC when in forested terrain. They also gain a +4 bonus on Stealth checks in forests.

Celestial Alertness: A laialar's upward-facing third eye grants it a wide visual field. It gains a +2 racial bonus on all Perception checks.

Light Sense: The third eye's primary purpose is navigational. A laialar who spends at least an hour outdoors can determine both the day of the cycle and the linear distance to the equator (in hundreds of miles).

Bite: Laialar gain a natural bite attack, dealing 1d2 damage on a successful hit. The bite is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the creature is wielding manufactured weapons. If the laialar gets a bite attack from some other source, that attack is one damage die higher than normal.

Languages: Lailar begin play speaking any one language of the player's choosing (excluding secret languages, like Druidic), along with their flock's pidgin, if it had one. Laialar with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, Elven, Gnome, and Triaxian Common.

Few of the typical Golarion animals and vermin can be found on Triaxus. I do not have Distant Worlds, which may contain more options, but in lieu of those choices we can assume that there is a close Triaxian equivalent for any animal statistics you want to use. Animals I know to exist during summer include the wolliped (a large herbivorous creature with animal companion statistics already available), mountain-dwelling fire-horned acelopes, sun-loving karbalands that crawl into niches to die before winter, great silver hunting cats, leech-bats, stilt-runners, porabees, and echo moles. Any of those could be made into animal companions or familiars, with a bit of work.

I tried to cover the basics, but I could think of a hundred questions not covered by this post. If you have any, ask away!

Liberty's Edge

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This is a work in progress, but I'm trying to homebrew some different rules for the "Sanity and Madness" section of the GameMastery Guide. As is they seem pretty far removed from reality and in some cases insulting to real-life people with mental illness.

The most important issue, maybe, is the game's definition of psychosis. A psychotic person being chaotic evil is the epitome of Hollywood ableism and severely misrepresents actual psychosis. I was thinking of just removing that option from the list.

Another idea I had was to replace references to "insanity" and "madness" with analogues that make more sense for the rules and flavor. A lot of mental illnesses have no permanent cure and are not brought on by events in a person's life; real-life mental illnesses might be better reflected with a different mechanic. Instead, the mechanics in this section could be called "trauma" or "taint," to reflect that in many cases they are brought on by inhuman pain/stress or contact with alien monstrosities. Some options on the list could be renamed to reflect these causes.

Would these ideas actually help, or am I making it worse? I'd like some way to make interactions with creatures from beyond the Dark Tapestry existentially horrifying, but I really want to avoid punching down. Does anyone have any additional fixes?

Liberty's Edge


Stand Still (Combat)

You can stop foes that try to move past you.

Prerequisites: Combat Reflexes.

Benefit: When a foe provokes an attack of opportunity due to moving through your adjacent squares, you can make a combat maneuver check as your attack of opportunity. If successful, the enemy cannot move for the rest of his turn. An enemy can still take the rest of his action, but cannot move. This feat also applies to any creature that attempts to move from a square that is adjacent to you if such movement provokes an attack of opportunity.

Is there a feat, ability, or item that switches out "adjacent" for "threatened?"

Liberty's Edge


If the rider uses As One, am I right in thinking that the mount does not get an attack? Or would the mount be able to if it took Spring Attack?

If the rider has Trample, can the rider gain the benefits of As One when the mount successfully overruns?

You are getting worried. Early this morning your uncle found Laumdae's bed empty and one of the skiffs gone, and, of course, you agreed to help look. But even with the whole family out and nearly a day of searching, you have yet to find any trace of the child. He has always been quick to complain about unfairness, always a bit of a loner, and you suppose he really must have intended to leave. If he is still on the river, even Ampuae's narrow skiff might not be able to find him. In the forest, oxbows and backwaters make a maze to befuddle even the most alert.

So, with your friend Phoyaa, you set out into the woods to look for your cousin. You followed deer trails, mostly, and blazed your own paths when no others seemed apparent. Phoyaa complained about the rain a great deal. Somewhere around noon, you ran into your aunt. She instructed you to go down along the river itself, looking for the skiff Laumdae took. Therefore, after sheltering under a fallen log for a brief lunch of bread and salmonberries, you began that long and stumbling trek. It is very difficult to hike along a forested river's length, and it is even more so in an unfamiliar area. You did play in the forest when you were young, but you never went more than a few kilometers, and now the tortuous waterway is your only guide home. If you do find Laumdae's skiff, will you be able to find Laumdae?

You call his name as you walk, hoping for the slim chance that he will come running up and beg to go home. Hoping he has not drowned or fallen afoul of a forest cat. The rain and the river and the leaves seem to dampen your cries, though, and Phoyaa has stopped calling entirely. The sun is beginning to set.

But just now, as you crunch down a stony beach covered in snail shells, with undergrowth to your right and water to your left, you spot a dark shape 20 meters across the river. It is the skiff!

> Enter command.

Liberty's Edge

Allowing Turn Undead to also work against outsider subtypes (with the applicable feats): Overpowering, or just pretty good?

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