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Gordon the Whale's page

274 posts (1,103 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 15 aliases.


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M Elf Wizard 4

I took a look at the calendar the other evening, and saw that my deadline to get my thesis finished is rushing up. I hate to do this, but I'm going to have to take a break from PbP for the next month or so. I just uploaded Tol's level 3 character sheet to my profile, so he should be current. It's up to you guys what you want to do; if Bloodgargler wants to DMPC Tol for a while, or if you want to put the whole campaign on hiatus, then I'd like to join up again in late November, but if you'd rather kill him off and get on with it, then I'll understand.

M Elf Wizard 4

Do those get a leg-hump attack?

M Elf Wizard 4

Don't be silly! It will be something sensible and responsible, like... an Allosaurus... ;-)

M Elf Wizard 4

With three casters who spend time in melee, Shielded Caster might be another one to consider. It stacks with Combat Casting, and applies to all concentration checks, not just defensive casting and grappling. With Tol's heavy shield, he'd give +6.

DM Bloodgargler:
There's one level left before Tol is able to switch out Gorra for an exotic mount. I'd kind of like to leave it up to you to introduce the creature into the story, and things will flow better if Tol has a chance to meet it and befriend it before he abruptly switches. Depending on the creature, a situation where we kill an adult, and then realize that there's a defenseless baby left, would be fitting, if perhaps a bit cliche.

My top choices mechanically would be Allosaurus or Lion/Tiger, with Elephant/Mammoth being another good one.

Incidentally, my plan for Tol's future is not to emphasize the mounted combat, lance-charge aspect, but rather to use the mount as a flanker and combatant in its own right. I'm planning on getting teamwork feats and maybe some TWF/Shield bash stuff. If I can get Handle Animal high enough for it to be worthwhile, I may also get some mundane animals too, so that we can mob opponents with pack tactics.

M Elf Wizard 4

But that's the point of Lookout... It lets you avoid surprise rounds. If you wouldn't have gotten to act, now you do. If you would have gotten to act (say, because you are the one doing the surprising), now it's like a regular round instead of a surprise round. Sneak attack is icing on the cake, but just being able to attack the enemies (or reposition, buff, etc.) one more time before they attack you is awesome.

M Elf Wizard 4

Situational in that it requires a surprise round?

I have a much extended reincarnation list, which I try to keep current with chances for all 0hd races (76.2% chance), as well as quite a few other options up to CR 3. It also breaks humans down into the various human subraces from Golarion. Right now, my LoF party has a half-elf -> elf -> tiefling and a human -> bog strider.

I generally let them keep their same gender, by default. Once a female NPC got reincarnated as a Skum, which are all male, so that was a switch.

In the game I am playing, I am a half orc -> ondine. It turned out to be a good change for a pirate captain, though I do miss the intimidate bonus.

I split up ability modifiers and racial abilities into mental and physical, and reincarnate only affects the physical abilities. This has the general effect of making it have a greater potential effect on martial characters than casters. The risk of becoming a kobold is much more serious for martials, but so is the benefit of becoming an ogre.

I mean, in the current rules, a 20th level Barbarian can possibly attain a Strength of 44 (18 Base, +2 racial, +5 level, +5 inherent, +6 enhancement, +8 rage), which lets him dead-lift 5,600 lbs (enough to dead lift a Ford Expedition, hold it over his head, and move 5' every round!).

This isn't something that I am suggesting for Pathfinder, but instead it is a question that I am posing: does the ability to expand ability scores ad infintium have a postive or negative effect on the play of the game?

Nitpicky, but it's not really ad infinitum if the most that can be attained is 44.

My personal feeling is that if a 20th level, raging, magically enhanced barbarian can pick up a Ford Expedition and stagger around with it, then that is perfectly consistent with the rest of 20th level play. It barely even raises an eyebrow compared to the things a 20th level caster is doing. The real world doesn't have people who can lift that much because the real world doesn't have 20th level barbarians or magic. If the current world-record lift would have required a Strength score of 22... Then that makes sense. The lifter was a 8th+ level human expert, who started with a 20 in strength, and raised it at levels 4 and 8. In the real world, there are no inherent or enhancement bonuses. I'd say 8+ is very high level for the real world.


M Elf Wizard 4

Hahaha! I assumed that the crate was empty, because everyone else had spoilers I wasn't reading, and none of them were looking in it.

John Woodford wrote:
Gordon the Whale wrote:


If it actually came up, I might treat underwater and vacuum differently. Hideous laughter underwater would make you not only exhale your air, but inhale water. In space, the inhalation shouldn't make much difference.
Interestingly, it does. Pure nitrogen (or any other inert gas) will knock a person unconscious fairly quickly if it's inhaled; the equilibrium partial pressure of oxygen is low enough in a pure nitrogen atmosphere (or under vacuum) that oxygen passes from the bloodstream to the lungs.

Good point. There are probably also issues with the blood in the lungs boiling. Space sucks.

Per strict RAW, I would say that Hideous Laughter does not prohibit you from holding your breath, because it doesn't say it does.

Common sense obviously dictates otherwise, so I think resolving the situation would have to be up to the GM. Hideous Laughter would make you exhale, but in real life, exhaling without anything to inhale does not immediately cause you to go unconscious. It does reduce the amount of time you can hold your breath though. I would probably treat it as 1x Con rounds, instead of 2x, and still take away extra rounds for standard/full round actions taken.

If it actually came up, I might treat underwater and vacuum differently. Hideous laughter underwater would make you not only exhale your air, but inhale water. In space, the inhalation shouldn't make much difference.

And if you can actually get someone to laugh while immersed in acid or lava...

M Elf Wizard 4

I'm going to be camping this weekend. I might have a post tomorrow morning, but after that I won't be able to until Sunday.

M Elf Wizard 4

Sorry, everyone, I've got a really busy week right now. I won't be able to post until Thursday at the earliest. Feel free to DMPC Tol if necessary.

The combination of a falling risk and the unluck aura mean the big pugwampi fight is already extremely difficult and frustrating for players, and the shatter spell-like ability of pugwampis means that they are already dealing with item losses as well. Add a rust monster only if it is your goal to make them cry.

It also poses some mechanical problems for the rust monster itself. As a medium creature, the rust monster would automatically fall through the floor of the pugwampi nest after 1 round, and also has a 75% chance of breaking the rafters each round it is on them. Also, to make things a little better for the PCs, the rust monster, since it is not a pugwampi, gnoll, or animal, is effected by the aura of unluck. It still shouldn't have much trouble making its touch attacks with a +6 bonus.

M Elf Wizard 4

@Gatherine: How did you get a 19 by taking 10? You don't have any points in Handle Animal, so it's just a charisma check; at +1, taking 10 should get you 11.

More generally on the baby shocker lizards: Tol thinks this is a colossal waste of time, but, like all RPG dwarves, beneath his gruff exterior, he has a heart of gold. Plus he's a beast rider, he loves animals. He will bluster and fuss, but he will try to raise them for Gatherine if she goes on about how cute they are. Even so, it will be a tough roll for him; After leveling up, he'll have +6 to handle animal. Looks to me like the DC to rear shocker lizards is 23 (15+3 for HD +5 because they are magical beasts). Maybe if the roll is made independently for each, we can hope to get one or two? How many are there? Maybe Aid Another? Also, the roll is made halfway through the process; I don't know how long it takes shocker lizards to grow up, but at the pace APs go, Tol may be quite high level by then...

M Elf Wizard 4

It's my birthday!

Well... With Kardswann dead, Xulthos will be looking for someone else to dominate. For instance, whichever beefy fighter in your party has a low will save?

You're the GM, so you can ignore it as much as you like, but Xulthos clearly has power to turn events in the town to strife, even from his prison. If they want to go build up their strength in the hinterlands, that seems reasonable, but moving in to Kelmarane with Xulthos still there seems like a bad plan.

I would definitely recommend level 3 before the Refuge of the All-Seeing Eye. Some groups don't even do it until after the Battle Market. Having the big fight against Haidar happen inside the Breath of Nethys can make things go very badly for the players.

On the other hand, I think the Battle Market at level 3 is doable for good players, especially if you space out the opponents, and make good use of Haleen to the benefit of the PCs. This is more true if they are rolling with the Three Jaws.

I'm pretty sure my group succeeded in the crypt of Sarenrae at level 4 too; they got to 5 at the end of the adventure.

So I would say:

Monastery: 1-2
Digger, lower city: 2-3
Battle Market, Refuge of Nethys: 3-4
Temple of Sarenrae: 4-5

M Elf Wizard 4

Yeah, Tol's going to be mad, and he's going to make Gatherine feel guilty about it. But we're about to win the fight, I think, and like Gandal said, combat is a big part of what the game is about.

In the face-to-face game I GM, the players are all really careful and want to plan everything out and be cautious, and it just ends up taking SO much longer than if they had someone impetuous in the party, who just rushed in. So having Gatherine being trigger-happy is kind of a breath of fresh air for me.

Hope everything works out at the hospital.

Yeah, that could definitely explain it. I think it sort of reduces the magic of the 1001 Nights meta-story, but that does get made up for by being able to rescue her.

Although, I think it might make sense if Shazathared had been telling Jhavhul those stories... He likely sympathizes with different characters than you or I, and might find them more humorous, but the stories about the Firebleeder, for example, seem to be something he found very interesting.

I am toying with the idea that, at some point in the past, a mortal managed to sneak into Bayt al-Bazan and overhear Shazathared's storytelling, and when Jhavhul had gone for the night, they wished aloud at the magic fountain that the people back home could hear those stories.

The Songs of Shazathared are obviously patterned after the Arabian Nights. A lovely princess (Shazathared, Scheherezade) is captured by a lord, and tells him a story every night to preserve her life. Cool.

The thing is, in 1001 Nights, after 1001 nights, the lord agrees to let the princess live, happy ending, and the stories get dispersed.

In the Golarion version, Jhavhul gets bored of Shazathared, and she moulders in his mansion for centuries, still trapped, even to the present day. Why does anyone know the stories? How do the stories get transmitted from a secret chamber in a palace in the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire to the Material Plane? Does Jhavhul repeat them? He doesn't seem like the type.

One of my players is really taking the Songs of Shazathared as a personal quest, so I know this is going to come up. Any ideas?

M Elf Wizard 4

Here is a translator that does fantasy language. It's just a simple character substitution cypher, but it's cool. I wonder if it is unicode-capable, so that it could do non-Roman scripts.

Without really going into the sexuality-in-a-magical-fantasy-world issue:

When choosing random genders, link characters that are in a romantic relationship. Rather than choosing each gender independently, first pick one character's gender, and then make the other character's gender compatible; say, the opposite gender in 90% of cases, and the same gender in 10% of cases. (Or pick a different statistic; that's just one I've frequently heard.)

Certainly, an easily fixed problem like that is no reason to call the blind gender assignment suggestion "terrible."

M Elf Wizard 4

Yeah, despite Tol's complaints, after we've killed the big ones, there's no reason not to raid the nests for young/eggs. Except that then you have a pet that electrocutes you. ;-)

Gauss wrote:

Gordon the Whale: This is why BBEGs dont work as well against the paladin. Use several creatures instead.

If the paladin is level 10 and I want to use a CR+3 BBEG but wanted to build in a better challenge for the paladin I would probably choose to use two CR+1 guys instead. The battle would have the same CR.

- Gauss

I'm not complaining that paladins are overpowered; I'm just explaining to John-Andre why Smite Evil is more useful in PF than 3.5, because it seemed like he hadn't noticed the change. Personally, I think it's cool. Going toe-to-toe with the BBEG is the Paladin's shtick. It gets old if it's every fight, but they should definitely get to do it sometimes.

It's intended to be a Bard/Druid/Rogue triple-class, though there have always been ways to make it work for other classes (I had a primarily Favored Soul/Sorcerer/Chaos Monk FL in 3.5).

Requires Bardic music and arcane casting -> Bard
Requires Divine casting and Druidic -> Druid
Requires Evasion and nonlawful -> Rogue

In 3.5, bards couldn't be lawful, and the alignment requirement for Fochlucan Lyrist basically meant, "alignment compatible with both Druid and Bard." Since bards can be lawful now, you might consider relaxing that. On the other hand, non-lawfulness is what bars (most) monks, and relaxing that would open the class to druid-sorcerer-sensei builds.

You might consider adding Rogue Talent as a prereq instead of evasion. Archaeologist couldn't qualify, because they give up bardic performance. (But druid-archaeologist-sensei would still qualify.) I don't recall what other non-rogue archetypes can get rogue talents.

John-Andre wrote:
I... don't get it. Smite is only usable once every so often. With the average adventuring day being 3-4 fights each lasting 5-6 rounds apiece, the Paladin only gets to use that wonderful Smite ability a smattering of times before he's out. Also, it adds a little accuracy and his level in damage. Again, one or two times. How is this overpowering?

In PF, smite lasts until the target is dead. For fights against large numbers of mooks, it's not that great, but when there is one (evil) opponent who is the primary threat, the paladin shines. At four fights/day, the paladin has enough smite for all of them by mid-levels.

M Elf Wizard 4

I wouldn't want to use translation software to actually translate something I intended someone to read in the target language. I do sometimes use it to translate something in another language to English, so that I can read it. But for the purposes of PbP, the point is to make phonologically consistent gibberish, assuming nobody in the group speaks the language. For that purpose, Google gets the job done fast.

When I was in college, I really wanted to learn Quenya. I read about the Tengwar, and I wanted to understand more about the logic behind it. I ended up getting a linguistics minor, and making some headway on my own constructed language... But I never learned Quenya.

M Elf Wizard 4

@Syndlara: I actually went straight to the roots of the roots; Tolkien was inspired by Finnish when he designed Quenya. More to the point, I don't know of an online translator which can translate arbitrarily large chunks of English text to Quenya (or Sindarin, for that matter). The vocabulary really just isn't big enough for general-purpose use. Furthermore, the Tengwar aren't in the Unicode standard, so they wouldn't show up on most people's displays. (There is an outstanding proposal for inclusion, and a few fonts that have them in user-space.)

M Elf Wizard 4

Haha, it's generally best to put the translation in the spoiler Gatherine. Reverse-translating from Google is a good way to make gibberish: "I do not even know why my father would appoint me guardian first. My sister has, as I have not arrived?" I can sort of make sense of that...

M Elf Wizard 4

I generally wouldn't use Italian in a PbP, because it's fairly likely that one of the players will be familiar enough with romance languages that they would be able to read it. If I had to pick a Golarion language for it, though, it would be Common/Taldane, as spoken in Cheliax. Of course, I would only bother with that if the standard language of the campaign were not Common; for instance, in Legacy of Fire or a Tian Xia adventure. (Actually, I prefer Esperanto for Common, haha!)

I actually just posted my languages list today, here.

If it were in Google Translate, I would use Romany for Varisian, but it's not. Romany is actually much more closely related to Hindi than it is to Romanian or other European languages. I picked Hindi for Sylvan, though, because it has a neat alphabet (and a related Google-ified language, Bengali, using the same alphabet, which I used for Druidic). Google Translate doesn't have any Indo-Iranian languages that use the Roman alphabet, so I settled on Basque. It looks neat, very few people speak it, and Basque country is, more or less, in the right place on the map to be Varisia.

M Elf Wizard 4

I've seen some other PbP's where people use Google Translate for dialog in other languages. I think it's awesome! I'm using Ukrainian for Dwarven, because Cyrillic is the most runic-looking alphabet used by a language available on Google Translate.

Also, just want to say that that whole tirade is intended in fun. Tol hasn't been berating Gatherine enough recently. Also, he's too polite to call Syndlara "the elf" in Common, but I had to work it somewhere. ;-)

The ironic thing is, in a few more levels, he'll actually have some sort of crazy exotic pet himself. Remember this moment, so you can give him a hard time about it!

Here's my list. All of them are available on Google Translate. No offense to Serbs, or any one else!

I have attempted to keep the relationships between languages similar, including which languages use the same alphabets. I have also tried to shy away from languages which use the roman alphabet and which are commonly spoken by people not from those countries; e.g. German, French, Spanish. Common languages which use another alphabet (Russian, Chinese, Hindi) I went ahead and used, because there just aren't that many non-Roman alphabet languages on Google Translate.

For games played in English, one of the languages should presumably be English, typically Common, but varying depending on the nation in which the game primarily takes place.

Common/Taldane: Esperanto
Hallit: Polish
Kelish: Turkish
Osiriani: Urdu
Polyglot: Swahili
Shadowtongue: Welsh
Shoanti: Irish
Tien: Japanese
Varisian: Basque
Vudrani: Tamil
Skald: Icelandic

Ancient Osiriani: Persian
Azlanti: Greek
Jistka: Latin
Tekritanin: Maltese
Thassilonian: Gujarati

Draconic: Chinese (Traditional)
Druidic: Bengali
Dwarven: Ukrainian
Elven: Finnish
Giant: Bulgarian
Gnome: Filipino
Goblin: Serbian
Gnoll: Belarusian
Halfling: Haitian Creole
Orc: Macedonian
Sylvan: Hindi

Abyssal: Kannada
Aquan: Armenian
Auran: Georgian
Celestial: Hebrew
Ignan: Thai
Infernal: Telugu
Terran: Russian

M Elf Wizard 4

Man, mine too. Finally got fixed today though!

M Elf Wizard 4

Yup, blue line is my suggestion.

M Elf Wizard 4

I dunno, in my tabletop game, this sort of dilemma will take an entire session. I play with a bunch of overplanners.

My vote is to go around the coast if possible; looks like some of the shore might just be cliffs down to the water, though.

Failing that, either follow the tops of the bluffs (on the side opposite the ambush) or strike out through the bush.

In any case, attempt to make for the lighthouse. The captain is probably there. If not... Then we can find him after we fight the cannibals.

M Elf Wizard 4

Let's just stand in the middle of the path arguing loudly about which way to go until the cannibals come, and then kill them! Problem solved!

M Elf Wizard 4

Hey, fellow halflings! You guys all seemed like good, interesting players, and I'm sorry this campaign never really got off the ground. The campaign I am GMing is recruiting for new players, though, in case any of you are interested.

M Elf Wizard 4

My campaign is recruiting for two new players. Here's the thread if any of you are interested.

M Elf Wizard 4

@Gandal: How were you intending for the PCs to ally with Jhalisiel? It sounds like they saw the possibility, but then were rebuffed, and then she was captured by the gnolls. That may have felt to them like you didn't want them to try to find allies. Letting them notice the symbol of Calistria gave them a clue that she really was a potential ally, but that isn't necessarily enough. If the PCs had already given away that they were there to try to free slaves, then I would at least have had her give them a wink as she's telling to go away, or look to them for help when she was captured. If the PCs were still maintaining their disguise, and she was still maintaining hers, then there's no reason for her to have been given away to the gnolls. It sounds like you forced a situation where the PCs would be able to win with the aid of their allies, but they didn't necessarily trust the lamia, they didn't know that the cleric was powerful enough to be of use, and they never even had a chance to interact with the bodyguards; so all they saw was their party against 80 gnolls, and felt powerless. I would have given them more time to make contact with and befriend their potential allies before attempting to push them to action.

Especially our current generation (myself included) who have been raised up on video games tend to want to see all the pieces lined up before they jump in; the idea that they should follow their ideals and trust to fate, come what may, is not natural to many players.

M Elf Wizard 4

Glad to hear everyone's still around. Carry on. :-)

M Elf Wizard 4

Is everyone else still here? Not many posts the past few days. I know I'm hogging the NPC, but you guys can feel free to interrupt if you want...

I'm not sure that the story does work that far if the PCs are just in it for themselves... If they don't care about slaves or freedom fighters, why don't they just turn in Nashwa as soon as they know it's her, and let al-Husaam take the fall with her? Why bother messing with the amulet of aluum control? I guess if they don't, it's no harm done... They just skip part of this side-adventure.

If they do try to get the amulet of aluum control working, then they end up in a frustrating situation, where the plot depends on them being enough in the dark that they cause something horrible to happen through their own misguided efforts. Clever PCs (and clever players) may see this coming, and try to avert it, stalling out the side-adventure. If they fall for it, they will be on their guard against something similar happening in the future... Like, say, accidentally letting an efreeti lord and his army loose on the material plane?

I would prefer giving them a path through this whole side-quest that doesn't leave them wondering if they did the right thing. It's a duskwalker guild adventure, so they're bound to wonder if they should really be associating with these people at all, but having them lead a sympathetic character to his death might be a bit much.

Perhaps have their be a way to genuinely unattune the amulet of aluum control, but it triggers something less dire... for instance, a high caster-level mark of justice on al-Husaam. This makes him a fugitive, since the rest of the Zephyr guard can see the mark. He can't go to work, and people will ask questions if he doesn't show up, so he has to be smuggled out as fast as possible. It adds urgency to the quest without the PCs feeling like they screwed up.

M Elf Wizard 4

Welcome back, Merck. How was the salt desert?

DM: I'm guessing that Iolana and Mugambi have finished off the crawler, since it seems they both hit. Waiting on confirmation of that before I post.

M Elf Wizard 4

I'm here, just waiting my turn.

EWHM wrote:

Hehe, here's a functional definition:

Optimizer: Somebody who makes characters that are more optimized than the average in our party
Min-Maxer: Somebody who does it that we feel mildly negatively towards
Powergamer: As above, but we really dislike them
Munchkin: Not only do we dislike them, we consider them the 'OTHER'tm

This sounds about right.

If you are an ifrit, then efreeti bloodline makes the most sense, since ifrits are part efreeti. It also goes very nicely with the theme of the AP. There's an efreeti right on the cover of the player's guide!

Elemental (fire) is also a good choice, because of the Fire Affinity racial trait. (If you were in my campaign, I'd let you use that with efreeti bloodline as well, but you'd have to talk to your GM about that.)

As you are thinking about backstory, think "Arabian Nights." Unless your GM is changing things up a lot, you will start somewhere in Katapesh.

Vardishal can be a being skilled in both swordplay and magic, who can teach advanced and forgotten techniques, without saying, "I am a magus." And you don't have to build him as a magus, or keep his described abilities within the bounds of what a magus can do, because he's a genie who's been dead for centuries.

Don't let me kill your fun though. If you want to define a class and even a build for Vardishal, go for it.

He could still be a fallen paladin, though.

Ah, fair enough. I didn't remember that.

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