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Ezren

Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 3,054 posts (4,485 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 22 aliases.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Filby Pott wrote:
Have you ever run any D&D adventures converted to Pathfinder, and if so how did they go?

All the time.

I'm currently running Necropolis (a 3.5 adventure) and Temple of Elemental Evil (a 1st edition adventure) and they're a blast!

Cool! I was thinking of doing something similar with I6: Ravenloft.

When you convert an adventure from an earlier edition, how do you do it? Do you re-work each encounter area ahead of time (effectively re-writing the earlier work)? Or do you convert on-the-fly, running it straight out of the module and just substituting in the Pathfinder version of the monsters/NPCs?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What? A meeting of old grongards and you didn't invite me?

I'm re-running Runelords as a PbP on the boards. I'm still not sure what I want to change vs. run straight. When I ran Runleords a few years ago, I tinkered with it extensively... so far I've been running this version more-or-less straight.

I think I'm going to add in a couple of side-quests to Burnt Offerings from Wayfinder #7. I'm still debating on whether I want to run the Toadstool Goblins side-quest I wrote and shared years ago.

I had been a player in the PbP, and took over GM duties when the GM went AWOL. He had set up the Glassworks battle with more goblins and Tsuto in the fight from the beginning. I had the goblins be extremely ineffective fighters, which didn't let them really make their superior numbers an advantage. When the battle turned against Tsuto, he used Acrobatics to run downstairs. Eventually, he ran into the tunnels, and I ran a Chase through the tunnels. I figured that Tsuto knew there was a rowboat on the beach at the end of the tunnels, and he was running for it.

I ran a long role-playing interlude through Sandpoint. I did this in order to bring the town more to life. With Ven Vindler hostile to the PCs (either overcharging them or simply banning them from the General Store), the PCs have to interact with other shops in town to get what they want to buy. This gave me the chance to do some role-playing in order to make the town seem more real and endearing to the players.

They're in the Catacombs now. One thing I'm adding to that encounter is a mechanism that Koruvus can use to release the zombie prisoners. I did the same when I ran the Catacombs last time, and it worked well then. It puts a timer on the fight: after Koruvus throws a switch, the zombies are all raised up and released after 3 rounds. If the PCs can't drop Koruvus and switch the lever in 3 rounds, they'll have a MUCH harder fight on their hands!


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Here's what I'd do if I wanted to run an AP with only two players...

1. Use 25-point buy.
2. Use Hero Points
3. Give each PC the Leadership feat for free at 1st level.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

John Steed: Obviously a human rogue, no archetype. Perhaps with a level of fighter.

Cathy Gale: expert/rogue, given her Ph.D. in anthropology.

Emma Peel: Swashbuckler, given her fighting style and luck in hand-to-hand combat. Probably with a couple of levels of Investigator given her expertise in chemistry.

Tara King: Fighter/rogue, with the feat "Catch Off-Guard"

Hard to say about the leader of...

Wait, we're talking about The Avengers, right?

Oh...

Never mind.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll preface this by saying that I don't play PFS.

In my home game, I had ignored the previous FAQ that allowed SLAs to count as spellcasting. That ruling had seemed very much against rules-as-intended in my opinion. So, by Rule Zero, I ignored it.

So, this ruling seems to restore the way things had intended to be in the first place, bringing back a bit of 3.5 sensibility to prestige class entry.

That said, the whole argument is pretty much moot in my experience.

I haven't had any players be interested in entering prestige classes since we switched from 3.5 to PFRPG back in 2010. In fact, I have never seen anyone play a character with levels in a prestige class since we switched.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am the modren man!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The gods and their heralds were originally detailed in the backmatter of adventure path volumes; typically (but not always) the second and fifth volumes of each AP.

Stats for the heralds of the Core 20 deities are in Inner Sea Gods. This book reprinted/revised the earlier articles and updated any 3.5 stats to PFRPG. In case of discrepancies with earlier versions, Inner Sea Gods is definitive.

Other gods (and their heralds) have been detailed in the Bestaries of Adventure Paths in which their respective Deity articles appeared...

Ydersius: The Emperor of Scales (Pathfinder #42 Sanctum of the Serpent God)
Besmara: Kelpie's Wrath (Pathfinder #55 The Wormwood Mutiny)
Groetus: End's Voice (Pathfinder #64 Beyond the Doomsday Door)
Lissala: Kurshu the Undying (Pathfinder #65 Into the Nightmare Rift)
Milani: Courage Heart (Pathfinder #68 The Shackled Hut)
Szuriel (demigod: doesn't have a herald) (Pathfinder #71 Rasputin Must Die!)
Brigh: Latten Mechanism (Pathfinder #86 Lords of Rust)
Zyphus: Gravedragger (Pathfinder #89 Palace of Fallen Stars)

I may have missed one or more...


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NobodysHome wrote:

It's pretty much a fundamental rule for which I've never seen an exception: The player who wants to screw over the other players is the one most offended and most likely to quit the game if he himself gets screwed over.

Another reason my sympathy for such players is actively negative. (They complain, they get booted. Period.)

NobodysHome: I've been GMing a mere 33 years (almost as long as you have), and I am with you 100% on this!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And, let us not forget the 1983 swords-and-lasers cinematic classic:

Krull

(When this film came out, it caused SO much confusion in my AD&D game about what exactly a 'glaive' was...)

And since we're digging into the drek, I think a case could be made for Battlefield Earth being in the same genre...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CrinosG wrote:
IIRC I heard somewhere that Sarenrae, Desna and Shelyn are all lovers (I think it was those three).

Well, I can't say I've seen any canonical references, but I've seen some fanart...

(And, no, I'm not linking it.)

Spoiler:
You naughty, naughty perv!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a GM, I would hope that if I inadvertantly stepped on a player's landmine, he or she would tell me what happened. I'm a pretty perceptive guy, and I can usually tell when someone suddenly becomes upset-- particualarly at the gaming table. That's the time for an out-of-game discussion.

I've accidentally hit a triggering situation for players in the past. It's very uncomfortable all around. These days, when I start up a new campaign with new players, I always ask players individually before we start playing together if there are any themes, situations, or storylines that would be a potential problem.

For example, I had a player resign from my Runelords campaign because of the themes in The Skinsaw Murders. I hadn't known that he'd once worked as a forensic anthropologist in El Salvador to help identify victims of death squads-- and had to quit that job due to the emotional stress of digging up mass graves with bodies of children. In real life.

In a much earlier example, I made a very grave error in running a scene that included a zombie child. One of my players had witnessed his 5-year-old sister killed in a car accident decades earlier, which I had not known.

No one was in the wrong here. If I'd known that the situations would have caused pain to my players, I would certainly have run something different. Now, I always have that discussion ahead of time, individually with each player.

The bottom line is that this is a game and is supposed to be a fun time for everyone. Dredging up old emotional trauma is not fun for anyone. The only way to avoid is is open communication channels; the only way to fix it after the fact is to be respectful and understanding.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dirk of Treachery
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 18,302gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
The blade of this long, thin dirk appears black as night, and its hilt and crossguard are likewise unadorned and colorless. Invented by the cult of Father Skinsaw, and now favored by assassins and conspirators throughout the Inner Sea, this +1 keen dagger strikes deep when its victim is unaware of its presence. Against an opponent that is flanked, flat-footed, or denied its Dexterity bonus to AC, this weapon's enhancement bonus increases by +2.

When attacking an opponent that had considered the weilder to be a friend or ally (GM's discretion), the dirk of treachery deals an additional +2d6 pecision damage. This additional damage is not doubled on a critical hit.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, disguise self, inflict moderate wounds; Cost 9,302 gp

My own commentary:
I came up with the idea of the item while thinking of the TV show Warehouse 13. That's the show about secret agents tracking down historical items that had become magical due their proximity to historial lynchpin moments and/or particularly influential people. That line of thinking led me to consider the dagger Marcus Brutus used to assassinate Julius Caesar-- and that was my concept: A dagger that you use to kill your friends.

The name could have been a bit stronger. The last line of the first paragraph should have read, "..the weapon's enhancement bonus increases to +3." I sould have referred to the extra damage in the next paragraph as, "...deals an additional +2d6 damage, as a bane weapon." That would have allowed me to to kill the final line of the description.

I also forgot to list keen edge in the construction requirements. I also probably should have left out the "(GM's discretion)" note... that sort of thing really goes without saying.

I didn't come close to using all the word count-- I thought that these were enough powers and that additional words would have either muddied the core concept or gone into an unnecessary backstory. I was on the fence about the reference to Norgorber, and I'm not sure if it helped or hurt.

Disguise self is in the construction requirements purely for flagor: it's a nod to the weilder pretending to be a friend to a potential victim.

As for pricing, I figured that its unusual properties were roughly equivalent to a +1 enhancement, so I priced it as a +3 dagger.

Finally, and I had the word count to do it, I should have given the weilder a +5 bonus to Sleight of Hand checks to conceal the dirk of treachery when searched for weapons.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gregory Connolly wrote:
I always picture the defense attorney worshiping Asmodeus, the district attorney worshiping Erastil...

Funny, I usually picture the reverse...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In one of my Runelords games, Tsuto escaped into the smuggling tunnels, and the PCs chased after him. I put together a Chase for that situation, figuring that Tsuto had a rowboat on the beach at the far end of the tunnel.

Tsuto ran into the room with the tunnel, and then slammed and locked the door. He then took off down the tunnel.

Here's what I came up with:

--------------------------

Glassworks Basement:

Obstacle: Locked Door*

Pick Lock: Disable Device (DC 15) or
Kick Down: Strength check (DC 18) or
Bash Through: Hardness 5, hp 15

*Once overcome by any PC, this room has no obstacle.


--------------------------

--------------------------

Tunnel Entrance:

Obstacle: Tripwires

Notice & Avoid: Perception (DC 15) or
Catch Yourself: Reflex save (DC 12)


--------------------------

--------------------------

Tunnel:

Obstacke: None

--------------------------

--------------------------

Fume-Filled Tunnel:

Obstacle: Bad Air

"I know that smell!" Know (dungeoneering or nature) (DC 18) or
*Cough!* Fort save (DC 12)
--------------------------

--------------------------
[spoiler=Intersection]

Obstacle: "Which way?"

Listen for sounds: Perception (DC 15) or
Look for tracks: Survival (DC 12)


--------------------------

--------------------------

Trapped Tunnel:

Obstacle: Open Pit (10 ft wide, 10 ft. deep)

Broad Jump: Acrobatics (DC 10} or
Climb Around: Climb (DC 13)


--------------------------

--------------------------

Bats!:

Obstacle Sleeping bat swarm*

Sneak Past: Stealth (DC 15) or
Calm Them: Handle Animal (DC 18) or
Soothe Them: Wild Empathy (DC 10)

*If disturbed, party attacked by a bat swarm for 1d3 rounds


--------------------------

--------------------------

Dead End?:

Obstacle: Secret Door*

Notice Door: Perception (DC 15) or[i]
Deduce Door's Location: Know (dungeoneering or engineering) (DC 18) [i]or

Follow Tracks to Door: Survival (DC 13)

*Once one PC overcomes this obstacle, this card has no obstacle.


--------------------------

--------------------------

Beach:

Obstacle: Loose, fine sand

Tumble Over: Acrobatics (DC 10)
Power Through: Fort save (DC 10)


--------------------------

--------------------------

Finsh: Tsuto's Rowboat:

Obstacle: None*

*Tsuto needs 2 full round actions to cast off and row away.


--------------------------


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

On the boards, I'm playing a Varisian Harrower in Shattered Star and a physician from Lepidstadt in Carrion Crown. IRL, I'm playing a gnome sorceress in Skull & Shackles. (The gnome is the fist non-human PC I've run since the 1990s.)

I view my characters holistically, and not as the class/race/alignment combination. I advance them as the plot of the story dictates. Sometimes that leads to non-optimal choices.

I tend to prefer human characters, mainly because I have an easier time role-playing them. I've never seen the appeal of playing way-out-there race options, but I know that's just me. And, honestly, I tend to stick with the Core classes, depending on the character concept I've come up with.


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NobodysHome wrote:
Chyrone wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
Talking about 1990's kids is just mean

What context, talking about kids from the 1990's or "kids" talking about the 1990's?

I was only 6 in 1990.

Both! People like me and Haladir (and I think Gorbacz) like to play the "cranky old man" card whenever possible. One of these days I need to plant onions so I can yell at the kids in my front yard to get out of 'em.

...or at least put up an "onions" sign...

Hey you damn kids! Take your web-pods, and e-phones, and rap-hop music and GET OFF MY LAWN!!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unexpected underwater encounters.

No one is ever ready for an unexpected underwater encounter!

Also-- when the PCs are fighting the Big Bad, I metagame big time-- that's how I simulate super-genius intelligence! I know the PCs' tactics, and a sufficiently intelligent mastermind should also know their tactics, and plan for them speficically!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Walking in to work yesterday. I had to go in about an hour early, so when I left for the two-mile walk, the sun was just rising.

Part of my commute is a foot bridge that spans a gorge that's about 400 feet wide and about 100 feet deep. The land below in the creek bed is a designated natural area-- mostly dominated by the creek itself, as it's wide and shallow, with two little waterfalls. The banks of the creek are dominated by huge, old trees: Sycamore, sugar maple, white oak. With the steep cliffs of the gorge, that area is almost an old-growth forest-- at least 150 years old. Several trees tower past the span of the bridge. All the trees were bare, and I could see the forest floor from where I stool. A gigantic column of ice stretched from a storm drain exiting from a brick vent all the WA to the bottom, like a crystalline stalagmite.

We'd had overcast skies for the past several weeks, but this morning the skies were perfectly clear. The temperature was bitter cold (-5F), but there was no wind. The sky was turning from white to gold to blue as the sun rose. I glanced down at the frozen creek below, and saw a red fox scamper across the snow-covered ice. Those are rare in the city, and I savored the contrast of its red-orange fur against the stark white of the snow.


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I'm old enough to remember the word "queer" as being solely a hate-filled epithet: The go-to "N-word" for gays.

It was the AIDS epidemic, the Reagan Administration's complete ignoring of the issue, and groups like ACT UP and Queer Nation that defanged and re-empowered the word.

There were a LOT of LGBT people back in the '80s who objected to the antics of what they considered a fringe group using such a hate -filled term. But now, "queer" isn't deemed an epithet at all. We won.

That talk in June at U Chicago was about attempts to defang an offensive term. Savage was active in ACT UP back in the '80s, and he was doing the same thing again with a different term.

That's not transphobia: That's someone who's pushing back against an individual they think is being hyper-sensitive and not understanding the gist of the conversation at hand.

I listen to the guy's podcast (I actually pay for the 90-minute weekly version, rather than the free 45-minute version), and I hear someone who is passionate, compassionate, smart, witty, and who really cares about people.


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Gaberlunzie wrote:
KSF wrote:
Gaberlunzie wrote:
Haladir wrote:
He is very much an ally of people who are bi and trans.
Honestly, anyone who's advice for people in relationships with bi people is to solve the issues by going with a True Homosexual Gold Star Gay (tm) isn't an ally of mine. And he seems to be quite universally loathed by every trans community I've ever seen mention him. I agree with you on religion though, it's like the atheist movement is some marvel of acceptance.
The impression I have of Savage is that he's improved and become more educated on the subject of transgender people of late.

That may very well be, and has his transphobia doesn't hurt me personally, I won't try to act like some final arbiter. Regardless, I have a very hard time forgiving anyone who hasn't asked for forgiveness, and afaik he at least has not done that about his comments about bi people yet, which I am one of. And this is less than a year old and seems to be about as digusting as you can get.

In a half-decade or so I could perhaps get behind him, if he doesn't do any more horrible things and he's humble and not defensive about his past aggressions.

I never thought I'd take a position as Dan Savage's apologist...

Back in the '90s and early '00s, Savage was, more or less, a bi-denialist. Since then, many bi activists have taken these out-of-date quotes and run with them, ascribing to malice what was actually ignorance. Savage has appologized multiple times for his mistaken past beliefs (and the advice that came from them) over the past several years.

Here's the context, as Savage himself described on his podcast (paraphrased, from memory)...

Back in the '80s and '90s, many gay men would first come out as bi, either because they weren't yet certain of their own sexuality or because it was easier to tell Mom and Dad that, while they liked guys, they still liked girls too. Savage himself (and most of his similarly-aged gay male friends) all came out that way. These men weren't bi-- they were gay, but not yet fully admitting it.

(And, while I know that a bunch of anecdotes isn't data... every one of my own gay male friends who came out in the '80s or '90s did the same thing when they first came out.)

So, back then (remember: 20-30 years ago), there really were a whole lot of gay-but-claiming-to-be-bi men out there. This experience colored Savage's advice into the early '00s. Based on his personal experience, he really believed that there were very, very few actual bi men in the world, and his advice reflected this "fact." Since there was basically zero actual sociological research on that subject at the time, there really wasn't much of a voice speaking against this opinion, which was the conventional wisdom of the day. (Serious study of bisexuality didn't really begin until the 2000s.)

Now that he knows he had been wrong, Savage has apologized for his mistaken bi-denialism bad advice many, many times.

And, honestly, haven't you said or written stuff 15 years ago that you now realize was totally wrong? (Heck, back in the '80s, I was actually a Reaganite!)

Recently, his advice to bi folks is to come out of the closet, so that the public knows we're out there. According to some studies, only roughly half of bi people are out. This is a far higher percentage of closeted bi people than people who are gay or lesbian. (A big reason for this is that many bisexual people are in heterosexual relationships, and don't really see the need to come out.)

Here's Savage himself defending himself against accusations of biphobia.

I'm still not exactly sure why Savage is so villified by the trans community. I'm not trans, so I'm certainly not as sensitive to seemingly trans-phobic language. I know he's used the derogatory "T-word" on his show and in print, although in the past several years it's been in the context of the use of the word itself. (And the fact that a few trans people openly embrace the word as a means to defang and empower it-- much like the LGB community did with the word "queer" in the 1990s.) But he's had numerous trans callers, and trans activists as guests on his show over the past several years, and has always treated everyone with respect they deseerved. Or, at least it seemed so to this listener.

Re the Open letter to Dan Savage quoted above:
Savage talked about this incident on his podcast a few months ago (I didn't have time to find the actual link, and this is also from memory). On the podcast, he said that they were discussing the context, history, and whether it was ever proper to use the "T-word" at the time, when one audience member asked everyone to stop that entire line of discussion because using the word made that person uncomfortable. Savage said that he at first respectfully refused to end discussion about the word itself, as it was germaine to the discussion. In the podcast, Savage then admitted to using some insulting language when the objector became disruptive to the assembly, and attempted to shout Savage down. Savage also said that he hadn't realized that the objector was a minor, and would have been gentler in his response if he had known.

At this point, if anyone wants to talk more about Dan Savage, let's start another thread on the Off-Topic Discussions forum.

Personal Aside:
Of course, I haven't yet taken Savage's advice to come out as bi publicly. I'm married to a woman and we're happily monogamous, so I'm socially straight. I don't think coming out as bi would have any real negative effects on my career or relationships. (I live in a very liberal town.) But since I have no plans to be with anyone other than my wife (male or female), I'm not sure what purpose that would serve in my life. My wife knows that I can find men attractive, and when my daughter came out to me as bi last year, I told her, "Oh, okay. Me too."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rodinia wrote:

The Enlarge Person spell, which the Original Poster clearly doesn't understand, is most useful for the extra attacks it gives from having increased reach, not for the piddling extra damage. Note that Haste is generally considered a great buff spell because it gives one extra attack with the Full Attack action. Enlarge Person can give multiple extra attacks, no Full Attack action required.

This is a common misunderstanding: there's a published Paizo adventure where you fight druids with the Plant (Growth) subdomain swift action Enlarge Person power, yet who lack the tactical smarts to effectively use their primary ability. I.e. the druids only use Enlarge Person to slightly boost their damage and hinder their Armor Class, rather than using it to get extra attacks. If these druids had a better tactical understanding of how to use Enlarge Person they could probably crush the PCs.

Also note that Enlarge Person can increase average damage per hit by +6 HP, not just +1 HP or +3 HP, if it's used intelligently. That's still trivial compared to multiple extra attacks. Note that the +6 HP damage will apply to those multiple extra attacks. Seems like Enlarge Person is a bit overpowered, and perhaps ought to be a higher level spell.

I'm not sure I follow. How does extra reach equal extra attacks?

(The only way I can think of is if you have Combat Reflexes: You threaten many more squares, which increases the chance you'll be able to take more AOOs. But that's pretty situational.)


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Also-- let's lay off the blanket statements about religion. We can all agree that some faith communities are actively hostile to sexual minorities. But let's not paint all religions with the same brush.


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I haven't built characters with no intention to run them since I was in high school, playing AD&D 1e.

These days, I build characters specifically for the campaign I'm going to play in (or will run as NPCs in games I'm running.)

I find theorycrafting really boring, to tell the truth. I build my own PCs organically, reacting to the events of the campaign. I rarely plan more than a level or two ahead.


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If you don't mind converting from 3.5, "Curse of the Crimson Throne" is probably the best AP they've written. It's primarily an urban campaign, with a lot of RP, and a fair number of dungeon crawls.


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The best Christmas present I could want is my amazing wife and daughter, and the more than two dozen friends and neighbors who came over for our 12th annual Christmas Day open house.

As for actual presents, I got copies of Ultimate Magic and Inner Sea Gods, a mixed case of Belgian beers, a new French press coffee maker, several CDs (including Brill Bruisers by New Pornographers, The Both by Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, and Cursed to See the Future by Mortals. Yes, I have eclectic taste.), and a whole lot of delicious-looking chocolate. And some new shirts.

But, really, the best part was the party. I have some wonderful friends and the best family anyone could hope for.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


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Your humble narrator

Okay...

1) Let's use the dice roller on the site, like in just about every other PbP. I'll roll for monsters/NPCs behind a Spoiler tag.

2) Instead of formal Hero Points, I may just occasionally overrule a dice roll if things would go very badly for the party.

3) For personal time management reasons, I don't think I'll build a new campaign site. I'll just link externally as needed.

4) Excellent! I have a couple of side-quests in mind that I hope you'll enjoy!

On Haladir's GM Style

To me, the magic of a role-playing game is the collective storytelling aspect. As a GM, I strive to spin a fun, engaging story where the players take on the roles of the protagonists. As a collective experience, I very much encourage players to add to the story. Go ahead and build references to your own (or other PCs'!) backstories in your posts. Make up minor NPCs to interact with. Take the story down an unexpected path.

I'm not a fan of pointless PC death. It's one thing to make a heroic sacrifice to defeat the Big Bad, or to hold the pass to let innocents escape. It's quite another to get decapitated by an owlbear in a random forest encounter, or to get your throat cut during a fight with Thug#3 who happened to score a two critical hits and roll max damage both times. Consequently, my philosophy is not to let a bad die roll derail the plot. (Complicate the plot? Certainly. Derail? No.)

I'm not a huge stickler for rules-as-written, and try to live by rules-as-intended. (This is why I'd make a lousy GM in PFS.) I have no problem with ruling "No. Because that's dumb." Usually, I'm pretty liberal with interpretations, unless it leads to absurdity. None of the PCs in this game use bizzare combinations of corner-case rules, so that's probably not going to be a big deal.

It's less a thing with PbPs, but in the case of rules questions, I like to make a table ruling to keep the encounter moving, and then figure out the real rule between sessions. Since PbP is asynchronous, that's less an issue.

On alignment: To me, alignment is descriptive not prescriptive. Your alignment does not impose upon or limit your actions; your character's personality (of which alignment is a component) should guide your role-playing decisions. Alignment paints with a broad brush, and there are many interpretations. Alignments can shift with character development; indeed, I encourage that as part of character growth. If I think you've been consistently playing a character that's not in accordance with the alignment written on the character sheet, I'll let you know out-of-band.

That's probably about it for now. As soon as the folks at Paizo hand me the reins of this campaign, I'll get new maps and campaign info up on the tabs. Once that's done, we'll be able to continue the fight in the Glassworks!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Only about 50 votes in so far, but the quality defintely seems up this year!

I'm really impressed with the creativity I've seen. Not everyone nailed the mechanics, but even most of the items I've had to downvote showed a great degree of creativity!


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Trick question! Both the bloodied condition and displacer beasts are only found in D&D, so you will never see either in PFS!

Would you rather play in a D&D 5e game set in Golarion, or a PFRPG game set in the Forgotten Realms?


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I've played PFS exactly three times (all with pregens) and really had a lousy time each time. And in the third game, I decided to walk away from the table after two hours.

It wasn't so much the PFS system, it was the PFS players/GMs that I've played with that really soured me on organized play. I just did not have any fun playing with them. If those are the kinds of gamers who go to PFS (at least in my area), then I'll stick with home games.

I've been playing in / running home games exclusively ever since.


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Original Xanesha. Because I'd rather the last thing I see be easy on the eyes.

Would you rather be a cleric of Desna stuck in Cheliax or a cleric of Asmodeus stuck in Kyonin?


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I would say that you could use the suggestion to compel the subject not to do or say anything about what he just saw, but you'd need the modify memory spell to make the subject actually forget it.

I just combined the two effects in a trap for a dungeon I designed. It's triggered by stepping into the tomb of a lost wizard-king. If you fail your saving throw, you get hit with a suggestion to turn around and walk back out the door, combined with a modify memory that the door had opened into a small closet that had nothing in it.

I'm planning to actually change the map if the PCs trigger it.


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Rynjin wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

problem comes in when there are several rules mechanics that go "Nah, it's no subjective, these things are unequivocally Evil/Good/Blooper because I said so".

Best to just terminate those with extreme prejudice.

I'm talking about PC alignment.

Aside from aligned outsiders [which are objectively aligned, by definition], what are you talking about?

-Undead are always evil. Making undead is always evil. Because.

-Drinking blood for some benefit is always evil, no exceptions. You're a Dhampir who bites Evil McEvilton and gets some Temp HP to stave off imminent death? Evil.

-Casting Aligned spells changes your alignment. Because.

Just a few examples.

Defiling a corpse by using dark magic to make it walk and do your bidding? Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!

Drinking the blood of a humanoid is cannibalism. Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!

Summoning dark powers via unspeakable eldritch rituals and incantations? Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!


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Rynjin wrote:

problem comes in when there are several rules mechanics that go "Nah, it's no subjective, these things are unequivocally Evil/Good/Blooper because I said so".

Best to just terminate those with extreme prejudice.

I'm talking about PC alignment.

Aside from aligned outsiders [which are objectively aligned, by definition], what are you talking about?


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I've never pulled the mask off the monster revealing it to be Old Man Henderson, who was trying to scare away the tourists.


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I've never been in a Mexican standoff.


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I've never successfully swung from a chandelier.


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I've never played a Pathfinder conversion of a classic AD&D module.


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I use alignment, pretty much as-written in the rules.

Alignment is descriptive of character action/motivation, and is a useful shorthand for a character's morality/ethics. It's not a straightjacket or a constraint to roleplaying. They're guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

As a GM, I subjectively determine what a PC's alignment is, based on the overall actions of the character. This is almost always what the player has written on the sheet, but not always.

The inherent subjectivity of the alignment system is a feature, not a bug. I've been using alignment for 30 years, and have no intention of changing it.


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Don't split the party!


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I've never really understood why there's so much debate about infernal healing. The spell invokes the powers of Hell to briefly imbue the recipient with a small fraction of a devil's infernal powers. By any standard, using the powers of Hell is an evil act.

In my home game, I've replaced the text of the spell description with the following, to draw a slightly heavier line about what the spell is actually doing...

You anoint a wounded creature with unholy water or devil’s blood, imbuing it with a devil’s fast healing 1 for the spell’s duration. This spell cannot heal damage caused by silver weapons, good-aligned weapons, or spells with the good descriptor. While the spell is in effect, the target gains an evil aura as if it were an evil-aligned creature of the same level (see detect evil for details). The target can also feel the evil of the spell as it works on his or her body, as tempting images of greed, lust, envy, wrath, etc. fill the subject’s mind. Occasional use of this spell does not necessarily have long-term effects on the target’s alignment.

In my game, the spell temporarily imbues the subject with a fragment of a devi's soul. That's what causes the fast healing, and also the alignment aura. It's also why the spell can't heal the same kinds of damage a devil can't heal. Both casting and acceptance of this spell is an evil act. A minor act of evil, but it's still evil.

If a character receives the spell, I'll actually describe one of the images-- usually it's of the PC succumbing to temptation in a way that's according to that character's personality. (e.g. "You have a vision of yourself at the marketplace. The merchant turns away from you for a moment, and you nonchalantly pick up an expensive bauble and slip it in your pocket and casually walk away. You smile to yourself in satisfaction that it was so easy to rob this idiot. You think to yourself, 'If he can't keep his merchandise safe, it's his own fault if he's robbed!'")

Asmodeus released this spell into the world to make people think that he's not such a bad guy after all-- and to make them willingly fall into his clutches. The fact that this spell causes so much debate on the boards about whether it's really evil just makes the Prince of Darkness smile.


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Vincent Takeda wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Vincent Takeda wrote:
I remember reading an article somewhere that 'Sometimes having more choices isnt a good thing.'
"As the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase. The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases." Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
Thats the one. Good find!

I have no problem restricting player options right out of the gate. Just make sure that everyone's on the same page at the outset.

For example, my current campaign is:

Core Races only.
Core Classes plus the Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Magus, and Witch.
No alternate race or class features.
Archetypes considered on a case-by-case basis. Check with GM before proceeding. You may not take an archetype if it's the first time you've played that class in a regular campaign.
Feats from Core Rules plus Advanced Players Guide only.
Only spells from the Core Rules, plus any spells specifically on a class spell list in the class description from the book.
2 Traits, one must be a Campaign Trait.
No Drawbacks.
We are using Hero Points.
Other rules from Paizo sources will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3PP sources will not be considered, nor will rules from any Paizo source that the GM does not own.
GM's ruling is final.


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I like the Mrs. Renfro's ghost pepper salsa because it actually has a really good flavor-- it's got a nice smokiness to it along with the searing heat.

A few years ago, I walked into a hot sauce store called Pepper Palace in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They had samples of all of their sauces, with many baskets of tortilla chips. I tried a few, and my favorite was their Ghost in the Darkness. It had the perfect balance of heat and flavor-- it was pretty much exactly at the edge of my heat tolerance, and it also had an excellent flavor.

And then I tried The Hottest Sauce in the Universe- 2nd Dimension

Oh. My. God.

This stuff is liquid pain.

The bottle comes with a medicine dropper. I picked up about four chips and put one drop of this stuff on them, then ate them all at once. It took a moment to have its full effect, but DAMN!!! As the owner of the shop laughed at me, I ate an entire bowl of chips to try to cut the spice. I handed a bottle of Ghost in the Darkness to my wife and gasped, "Buy this one," and went across the street to a coffee shop. There, I bought an ice coffee, and proceeded to dump a lot of half-and-half into it. (Capsascin is more soluable in alcohol and oils than water.) After finishing that in about five minutes, I ordered another. Seriously-- I could still feel the burn in my mouth for about three hours. From ONE DROP. And I eat ghost pepper salsa regularly.

Spicy food is about the only thing I'm macho about. That one beat me.

(And we're not going to talk about the time I went out for drinks at a Tex-Mex place with co-workers after the busiest week of the year, and after my third margarita-on-the-rocks, I got talked into drinking a half-ounce of habanero hot sauce from a shot glass. That was not on the "Smartest Things Hal Has Ever Done" list.)


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When I was younger, I used to be way too heavy-handed. I hung on to the old-school AD&D "GM vs. players" mindset for too long.

For example, if the PCs came up with a way to do something that I hadn't thought of, I'd often contrive a way for it not to work, forcing the players to do it the "right" way. In other words, I used to stifle player creativity.

I've gotten better.

Now, I see the game as a collective storytelling process. I love it when the PCs come up with things I haven't thought of-- it forces me to be creative and adapt the story accordingly. And sometimes they come up with an idea about what's going on that's so much cooler than what I had planned that they're right!

And it makes the players feel so clever when they "figure it out." Of course, I don't want to tell them that I've adapted the story because their suspicions were just so perfect they had to be right. I have to keep some level of mystique!


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Misroi wrote:
How super-spicy are we talking, Haladir? Serranos? Habeneros? Ghost peppers?

My go-to is Mrs. Renfro's Ghost Pepper Salsa.

That stuff means it, but it's SO delicious!

I've tried salsas that were even hotter, but they were too hot even for me.

I'm the kind of guy who goes through a 17oz. bottle of Sriracha in about six weeks.


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Chyrone wrote:
Mannequins stalking the party.

And speaking of mannequins, I acutally ran this encounter last night...

(The encounter was inspired by a similar encounter from Shards of Sin, plus my running across this image on the iterwebz...) [might possibly be construed as NSFW by the extremely prudish]

In an otherwise empty room of the dungeon they're exploring, they found a battered brass mannequin lying on the floor in the corner. It was female in form, and had fully articulated joints. They saw wires and cables running through openings in the brass body plates of the mannequin, near the joints. They also noticed that it had a keyhole in its side, about 12 inches below its right armpit. Not knowing what it was, and realizing that it weighed about 250 lbs, they decided to leave it there.

In a later encounter, they found a strange crystal key. Returning to the mannequin, they found that the key fit, and they could turn it, as if winding the mainspring of a clock. What ensued was a 90-minute discussion of whether or not to wind up the automaton-- half the players assumed it would attack and advised against winding it; and the other half just really wanted to see what it would do, for good or ill.

After they turned it as far as it would go and removed the key, they heard a distinct ticking from the mannequin. Its eyes glowed with a faint blue light, and it shuddered to life, standing up. Seeing the person with the key, it then spoke words in a strange language using a halting, mechanical-souding, but distinctly female voice.

One of the PCs (not the one holding the key) spoke the language and translated: "Greetings, master. I apologize for letting myself wind down. What task shall I perform?"

The mannequin is a variant intelligent clockwork servant that serves whoever last wound it up.


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This was back in 2nd Ed AD&D...

Relatively low-level PCs were playing cat-and-mouse with a vampire. I
The vampire was winning. At one point the crossbow-specialist successfully makes a called shot to the vampire's heart-- staking him. The vampire falls dead.

Before the rest of the party can stop him the player says, "Awesome! I take the quarrel as a souvenir!"

The vampire then wakes up and attacks.


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I absolutely love it when the PCs piece together clues about what's going on... and come to a conclusion that's COOLER than what I'd planned.

I usually then change the story to match what the players came up with.

It happens rather frequently. I have awesome players.


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Liranys wrote:
Magical Item: Necro-Gnome Icon - A small Gnome figurine dressed in sorcerer's clothing. With the command word "Jinkies" 5 HD worth of Zombies will be summoned. However, these Zombies are uncontrollable unless a Control Undead spell is used after they are summoned. If Item is used and no Control Undead spell is cast, roll percentiles. On a 1-45, Zombies attack the party, on a 46-89, Zombies attack the nearest non-party member. On a 90 or above, Zombies ignore everyone else around them and tear each other to shreds.

You should specify that they're size Small zomibies... necro-gnomes, if you will!


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Alignment is descriptive of a character's motivations and actions, not prescriptive of what a character's motivations and actions should be.

So many people seem to get this backwards.

To me:

Law represents a deep-held belief that everything has its proper place; that there's a "right way" and a "wrong way" to do things; that legitimate authorites must be respected; a sense of duty to abstract causes; a tendency toward personal organization (making one's bed in the morning, keeping a tidy desk, organizing one's filing cabinet); a preference for routine and predictablilty; belief that society as a whole is more important than individual members of that society.

Guiding principle: "Let's do this the right way."

Chaos represents a belief that all things are constantly in flux; that everyone has their own best way to do things; that authority should be respected if it's worthy of respect; alliances are personal; a tendency to just keep stuff in piles; a preference for always keeping options open; a hesitation to being pinned down to obligations; a belief that individuals are more important than society at large.

Guiding principle: "Let's do this and see what happens."

Good represents a belief that others are more important than oneself; that the weak should be protected from the strong; an innate desire to share what one has with others; a willingnes to sacrifice one's resources to benefit others; a desire to make the world a better place for everyone-- not just oneself and one's friends.

Guiding principle: "How can I help?"

Evil represents a belief that oneself is more important than anyone else; that the strong have a right to take what they want; a desire to keep what one has and to always be getting more; a willingness to sacrifice others' resources to get what one wants; a desire to make a better place for oneself and one's friends regardless of what it costs others.

Guiding principle: "What's in it for me?"


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Since 3.5 was released, I've played exactly one character that made it to 14th level. (A sword & shield fighter that only used feats from the 3.5 Players Handbook. He was easily the most combat-effective character in the party.)

I've never played or run a Pathfinder game that went over 11th level. Even campaigns that I intended to go higher fizzled out around level 9-10.

I think level 4-9 is the sweet spot, both as a GM and as a player.

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