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Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 3,310 posts (5,329 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 26 aliases.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Have the party run past a weapon merchant's wagon, who just happens to have most or all of the kinds of weapons & shields that the party uses. Three goblins have the merchant cornered, and she screams for help. The PCs can borrow the needed gear from the merchant, with her immediate blessing. Once the PCs have defeated these goblins, they can suit up into borrowed armor to help defend the town.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think Jiggy has summed it up this situation well.

The old-timer is totally in the wrong here: He's trying to dictate how another player RPs her character and he's not taking hints or blatant requests to tone it down. I totally agree not to try to correct out-of-game behavior with in-game penalties. It sounds like you have spoken with him out-of-game, and he's switched his criticism to in-game, in-character RP decisions. That's better, though he's walking a very fine line.

If "Josh" is still being a jerk about it, pull "old school" right back at him (out-of-game, of course)... You're the GM, you think "Theresa" is playing the character just fine, and if he disapproves, that's his problem, and his alone. He's acting like a bully, and needs to knock out off, or you might have to ask him to sit out this campaign because he's making the game less fun for everyone.

I may be reading into the situation, but this also sounds like 'Josh' is being sexist too. I have a feeling that his knickers would be in less of a twist if 'Theresa' was 'Terrence.'

It sounds like 'Theresa' is being a good sport about this. Continue to encourage her RPing the way she wants.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

[Gorbacz: You might want to edit out that last line. The mods do not appreciate that kind of joke...and it's not funny.]

I believe that it's a retcon from a very early product. Paizo no longer publishes content with strong sexual voilence; any such references are now oblique if present at all. Establishing a villain as a rapist just to make him more vile is a tired trope that's lazy writing, in addition to being offensive.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Things that seem like a big problem on the boards but have never been a problem in any games I've run...

1) The 15-minute adventuring day. My players consider resource management to be a big part of the game; no one novas then needs to rest for the day.

2) Martial/caster disparity. If anything, martials tend to be more powerful than arcane casters in my games. (See #1.)

3) Underpowered rogues. Rogues tend to do pretty darned well most of the time in my games.

4) Alignment issues. I'm clear about what alignment means, and my players are on board.

5) (Subset of #4) Paladins have never been a problem: the players promise not be be disruptive, and the GM promises not to put them in no-win situations.

Because, honestly, the vast majority of the problems harped about on the boards are really about someone being a jerk and ruining others' fun. Rules changes can't fix people being jerks.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At University. I was living in a co-ed cooperative residence house with 27 other students, and she moved in to fill a vacancy. We both tended to be early risers (unusual for college students), and we both noticed that the other would be having breakfast about the same time every morning. Whomever got to the kitchen first would make a pot of coffee to share with the other. We would have breakfast together just about every morning, and got to know each other pretty well. Eventually, I asked her out on a real date, and she said "yes." We moved in together a few months later, married a few years after that, and celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last week.

We still share a pot of coffee with breakfast every day.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Feiya...the foxy lady.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:
These same friends tell me that part of being a black woman in our society is a persistent masculinization whenever you get outside of a very narrow band Western beauty standards. (This is true to a certain extent for all women, but I'm told it is *especially* pervasive for black women.) Masculinization of women is a common part of "othering" them.

On NPR's "Morning Edition" this morning, they played an interview with African-American ballet dancer Misty Copeland.

In it, she talks about dealing with critics who assume she's bigger/stronger/bustier/unsubtler than she really is, just because she's black.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Yuugasa wrote:
Another random note: This video. Just cause it's awesome.

I would see that full-lenth movie in a heartbeat! Take my money!

I loved all the allusions to other sci-fi/fantasy/action movies/TV...

In no particular order...
The Matrix
The Bionic Woman
The Fifth Element
The Road Warrior
Kill Bill
Blade Runner
Fight Club

...and more that I can't quite place!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do like to use puzzles that require knowlege of the campaign world and that are not language-dependent.

I don't have my copy with me right now, so I can't refer to it, but I recall a great riddle in Wrath of the Righteous that involves several different statues of Nocticula and some in-world knowledge to pick the right one. And a different puzzle in Curse of the Lady's Light that similarly involves picking the correct statue of a Runelord. If players have paid attention, they'll figure it out; otherwise, appropriate Knowledge or other skill checks can resolve the encounter.

You can always take an abstract approach as well, and simply describe a puzzle in general terms that needs to be solved by making appropriate skill checks. There's a puzzle like that in the PFS Season Zero scenario King Xeros of Old Azlant that needs to be solved to use the controls of a fantasy spaceship.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dave Setty wrote:
Korvosa. The Guide to Korvosa is some of Paizo's best setting material. A vigilante character would be perfect for the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP too.

And there already is a canonical vigilante character in Korvosa known as Blackjack!

Between the Guide to Korvosa and the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP, Korvosa is probably the most-detailed city in the setting.

And Magnimar isn't all that far behind.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

77. Incessant Monty Python jokes after being told to tone it down.

78. Kicking the host's cat. Happened at a game I was thankfully not hosting. Granted, the cat did scratch him, but you DON'T DO THAT!!

79. Casually taking your actual real-world handgun from its holster while arguing with the GM, and only returning it when the GM backs down. Heard about this one from a friend. According to the story, the GM called the cops and reported the incident after the guy left, and the player got arrested and charged with menacing. He also got his handgun permit revoked.

80. Throwing a full-on temper tantrum at the gaming table (for getting killed/not getting the best magic item/GM says 'no'/etc). These are annoying with three-year-olds, but just pitiful with thirty-year-olds.

81. Regularly calling the GM at odd hours with "awesome ideas about my character!" Including in the middle of the night when the guy KNOWS the GM has young children who don't sleep soundly.

82. Bringing illegal drugs into the host's house. I don't care if you use drugs, but I don't want that $#!T in my house!

83. Showing up for the game while having a full-on psychotic episode. That was one of the scariest nights of my life.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Based on anecdotal evidence from every anti-LGBT rights person I've ever spoken with, the anti-LGBT argument seems to boil down to: "I think gay sex is icky. Here are convenient justifications for why my opinion should be imposed on everyone else."

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've never liked either the mechanics or the flavor of D&D psionics, as far back as AD&D 1st ed. They always felt like a bolted-on subsystem that uses completely different rules. And the flavor is based on mid-20th-century parapsychology, not the older real-world psychic traditions. Even the word "psionics" is a bit suspect: It was coined by a scifi author in the 1950s, and was never really embraced by professional parapsychologists. Gygax picked up the term in the 1970s for a D&D supplement, and those rules made it into the 1st ed AD&D Players Handbook.

That said, I've read DSP's psionics rules, and they look really, really good. It's just that I don't want to play the X-Men in a fantasy setting. I have used 3.5-style psionics in a d20 Modern: Agents of PSI game, and they worked very, very well.

I'm really looking forward to Occult Adventures: both the rules and the flavor of psychic phenomena are more in line with my tastes for fantasy gaming.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've been GMing for a long time. PvP is not a good thing.

I have never seen PvP work out well in a group. PvP erodes trust, it causes storytelling to break down, and increases tension between players that can have real-world negative ramifications on interpersonal relationships.

When I was younger, I used to reluctantly allow a little PvP as long as it didn't get out of hand. I won't do that any more.

I'll spare you the details, but I was GMing a group that ended with a huge real-life blow-out over in-game PvP. That incident ended the campaign, the gaming group, and some real-world friendships. That incident left such a sour taste in my mouth that I stopped playing any RPGs for almost a year, and quit GMing for almost a decade.

So... PVP: Don't do it.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've considered abstracting money with the Wealth system from d20 Modern.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This was in a 3.5 game about 10 years ago...

My character Dawn was a ranger/Demon Hunter (homebrew prestige class). In the campaign world, a thousand years ago a BBEG opened up a permanent gate to the Abyss in the middle of the desert, and led an army of demons to try to take over the world. In the past, an Elven paladin sacrificed herself to seal the gate and destroy the BBEG. The gate was still there, but it was sealed such that nothing could pass through from the Abyss. (Things could pass into the Abyss, but travel was one-way.)

Fast-forward to now. The PCs had been tracking cultists dedicated to the old BBEG to learn the ritual to unseal the gate. The new BBEG had already started the ritual on the summoning platform suspended above the gate, and we could all see countless hordes of demon roiling behind the seal. The ritual involved sacrificing a descendant of the aforementioned paladin who'd sealed the gate... and he was tied to an altar with the BBEG about to slay him and complete the ritual.

My turn.

Me:I charge the priest, and slam into him. Bull Rush attempt to push him off the ledge.

GM:There's no railing. You'll need to make a Reflex save to avoid going over, but he'll get one too. And... do you have Improved Bull Rush? If not, he'll get an AOO with his magic ritual dagger.

Me: Let him take that AOO. I want to pin his arms when we collide, so he can't grab the ledge. I want my momentum to carry us both over. If I forfeit my save, can I deny him his?

GM: *pause* You know the gate to the Abyss is directly below, right?

Me: Yes. I intend to make sure, personally, that he goes through.

GM: *realizing what I meant* Wow. Okay. Take a +2 for the charge as well.

Me: I also burn all my Action Points on this, for a +10. *rolls* 19!

GM: He stabs you in the gut as you slam into him, and your momentum carries you both over the edge. The rest of you see the cultist and Dawn fall into the gate. The surface ripples like a pool of water, and you then see scores of demons attack the two when they land. Dawn attacks them in a whirlwind of fury, but the demons swarm and surround her...

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just thought I'd share this here...

My daughter's sixteenth birthday party is going on in our TV room. My daughter is out as bi, and around the table include one out lesbian, one other out bi girl, a trans guy, an out gay guy, and two straight girls (one of whom is Mormon).

They're eating cheese fondue and watching My Neighbor Totoro.

Apparently, being a sexual minority just isn't a big deal at her school.

I love living in New York!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This was back in the '90s. We were playing a GURPS: X-Files game, set in modern-day (1990s) New York. We were trying to get information out of a street-corner drug dealer.

PC: I show him the photo of the guy we're looking for. "Have you seen this guy around here over the past few days?"
GM: "I ain't seen nobody like that."
PC: "Take a good look. You sure?"
GM: "Yeah, man. I'm sure. I ain't seen this guy."
PC: I take out my wallet and pull out a bill, and say, "Would Mr. Jefferson jog your memory?"
GM: (pause, looks at player dumbfounded.) You're trying to bribe him with a two-dollar bill?
PC: What? No! Jackson! I meant Jackson!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Early editions didn't really have the concept of "wealth by level." You got the items your DM wanted you to have (or rolled randomly from the treasure tables). The item creation rules in AD&D 1e were very complex and it was very difficult to make a magic item. Part of that was the need to cast the spell permanency, which permanently drained 1 point of Con.

Individual campaigns were all over the map. Some were swimming with magic; in others, magic was very rare. There was a whole lot of tablet variation.

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CG Female Human (Varisian) Witch (cartomancer)/VMC Cleric 3
hp 17/17 | AC 16; touch 12; flat-foot 14 | Fort +2; Ref +3; Will +5 | Init +2 | Perception +2

Zee awakens about half an hour before dawn. Standing on the balcony, she looks north to the pole star Cynosure and the surrounding constellations as they fade in the brightening sky. Closing her eyes, she extends her arms and sways in the morning breeze, dancing in an unrehearsed and unplanned pattern, moving as her dreaming spirit wills. When she opens her eyes, she sees that a blue butterfly has landed on the railing. With slow and deliberate motion, she places the index finger of her left hand beside the insect, and it crawls onto her finger. With a delighted smile on her face, she slowly brings the creature close to examine the patterns on its wings. Then, a bracing breeze blows by and the butterfly flits into the wind, fluttering out of sight. That is a good omen! "Praises to the Starsong!" she whispers after it.

Returning to her chamber, she lays out a Harrow read for herself.

Summarizing the reading with a single card...

The Queen Mother:
suit: 1d6 ⇒ 5 ...Stars (Wisdom)
Ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 1 ...lawful
Moral: 1d3 ⇒ 2 ...neutral

Ah, the Queen Mother. The card represents the wisdom of the ages and respect for tradition. The Old Ways will serve me well today!

Today's Harrowed bonus: Wisdom.

Zee then spends the next half-hour laying out her Harrow cards in several different patterns, gaining the knowledge of more arcane magicks in their esoteric arrangements. i.e. she prepares her spells for the day.

After a brief breakfast with her friends, she heads out to do a little business. First, she drops by the Bazaar of Sails to procure some magical items: specifically, she's looking for a scroll of cure moderate wounds, a scroll of false life, and a scroll of enthrall. These are all from the Core Rulebook and list for 150 gp each. Next, she procures two flasks of alchemist's fire from a traveling alchemist. While passing a silversmith, she notices that he has a beautiful silver pendant in the shape of a butterfly, which she cannot resist purchasing. Silver holy symbol of Desna.

He shopping complete, she heads to Carent's Camp to inform Donal Carent that she will be leaving today for an unknown length of time, and that he is free to rent her tent to someone else. She then heads over there to gather her belongings, and puts them all into a large satchel.

Her business concluded, she rejoins her friends at Bartoque's and climbs aboard the carriage.

Zed: I bought these three scrolls with the intention of encoding them into my spell deck via a ritual. Can I do this in the carriage? It takes two hours for a second-level spell, and I'd need to make a DC 17 Spellcraft check or lose the scroll.

Also: I think we should use 750 gp of party funds to buy a wand of cure light wounds.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:

It varies from person to person, but:

1) Most trans people don't want their old name shared, especially without their permissions. To most people, especially women who've transitioned and live fulltime, it is a vulnerability, like sharing their medical information or allergies without their permission.

Is there a place I can find the statistics on this sort of thing?
It was a giant mistake for me to come back into this thread

And I'm sad now, too.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kildaere wrote:

1) Do you use magic item shops? If so do you roll for item availability?

2) Do you use the settlement purchase limits?
3) Do you use random magic items in shops for the specific reason of providing items that exceed the limit?
4) Do you allow unrestricted crafting? If there are restrictions what are they?
5) If an item is in a Paizo book. Does your GM always allow it? Are there ever discussions over overpowered items? Does your GM ban certain items?
6) Does your GM allow custom items? (for example: Custom slot less (+ 4 STR scabbard) or out of standard slot items (a +4 INT BELT) or downgraded items (the above mentioned +1 Celestial Armor.)

1) Sort of. When PCs are adventuring primarily in a single location, I usually design a bunch of specialty shops that may have magic items of one sort or another. (e.g. an alchemist who sells potions; a sage who sells scrolls; a curiosity shop that may have some oddball wondrous items; a leatherworker who stocks magic items made of leather; etc.) I pretty much never have a "one-stop-shop Magic Mart" because I think they're boring and too easy.

2) I do use the settlement purchase limits. Again, if the PCs are in a location for a while, I'll have a full Settlement write-up, and will know the marketplace information.

3) Yes, I tend to roll randomly. I also pretty much limit magic shops to having items from the Core Rulebook. That said, if I know the PCs are looking for a specific item (and I think it's OK for them to have it), I'll either just make it available for purchase, have them encounter an enemy who will be using one (that the PCs can claim as loot), or write a short quest adventure for the PCs to obtain it.

4) I allow unrestricted crafting by the PCs for standard items. They can also hire a crafter to make things on commission (50% down, 50% on delivery). The only limitation might be time if the adventure is on a clock. That said, I may object to a specific item for specific reasons; I'll have an OOC discussion with the player in that case.

5) I don't necessarily allow every item in every book. For that matter, anything non-Core in my games usually requires GM permission. (I usually say 'yes' unless I have a reason to say 'no.')

6) I will allow custom items on a case-by-case basis. They are never available for simple purchase, though. They must be either found as loot or crafted. And for truly non-standard items, those are things the PCs will have to craft themselves.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would not allow an evil PC cleric in Runelords. This campaign really requires that the PCs be heroes, and assumes heroic action on their part.

That said, if you want to do a whole lot of work, there's an article in Wayfinder #7 called "Heirs of Thassilon" that presents how to run "Rise of the Runelords" as a Way-of-the-Wicked-style evil campaign. If you have players with their hearts set on running evil PCs, let them be villains who want to claim the power of the Runelords for themselves!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Not to mention, invoking a trans woman's deadname grants you the power to summon her. But not to bind her. It's just safer for everyone involved.

That line made laugh unexpectedly while sipping coffee... and blow coffee out of my nose.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unfortunately, racism is indeed alive and well-- it's just gone underground in a lot of places-- especially in areas deemed "liberal" like New York or Massachusetts.

A friend of mine who's African-American and originally from Alabama once told me that it's sometimes harder to succeed in seemingly-liberal places: the racists smile, shake your hand, and talk to you as if they like you. And then they don't hire you/promote you/rent you an apartment. He said that, with overt racism, at least you know where you stand.

Which reminds me of a not-joke...

Q: What's the difference between a Southern racist and a Northern racist?
A: A Southern racist doesn't care if Black people live nearby as long as they don't get 'uppity.' A Northern racist doesn't care if Black people get 'uppity,' as long as the don't live nearby.

Alas, most of my relatives are Northern racists... who don't seem to realize that they are racists.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A while ago, I had a barbarian PC in my game, and the player decided that he was from a tribe akin to the Scottish Highlanders. So, he wore a kilt an wielded a Claymore (grestsword).

They were in civilized lands, and a drunk in a bar was looking to pick a fight.

Drunk: Hey! Look at you! Forget your trousers?
Barbarian: It's called a kilt. You know why we call it a kilt?
Barbarian: 'Cause that's what you get if you call it a skirt!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I always forget that one can never have a civil discussion on the "Rules" or "Advice" boards without it turning into a flame war.

Okay, fine. I'm wrong, you're right. You win the Internetz.

Happy now?

Hiding thread so I'm no longer tempted to post here.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Close... I was going for the '67 Avengers: Steed & Mrs. Peel.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
Special: The Vital Strike Feat may be used in conjunction with the Spring Attack Feat.

That's pretty much how I've house-ruled it at my table.

I freely admit that I'm not a rules maven, although I do have a pretty decent working knowledge of the Core Rulebook. (Other books... no so much.) I find that I end up making Old School table rulings a lot of the time to make the game move, and then look up the real rule after the session is over.

Example of a recent table ruling:

PC: I jump off the 20-foot wall, sword down, and try to land on the orc guard below. I want to use my momentum to add more damage.
Me: Huh. Okay. Make an Acrobatics check, followed by an attack roll.
PC: [rolls] 26... and 24.
GM: Okay. You land on the bad guy, impaling him with your sword. Roll normal damage, and add your 2d6 falling damage to your regular weapon damage. You made your Acrobatics check, so take [rolls 1d6] 4 hp from the fall. Also, make a Reflex save, or you're prone. The DC is... [pulls out of the air] 15. [Rolls saving throw for guard... a 4.] You also knocked him prone.

Mark: When you GM, how much "Old School" ad-hoc table-ruling do you end up doing? Especially if the PCs try stuff that isn't directly covered by the rules.

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Easter eggs. You know, those little gems the writers drop in that are subtle (or not-so-subtle) in-jokes, messages, or references to other things outside the game.

I have two.

1) The description of the prostitute from the NPC Gallery in the Game Mastery Guide that references the Random Harlot Encounter table from the 1st ed AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide.

2) The message at the end of the credits page in the sixth volume of every AP.

What are yours?

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess I'm old-school, but I only bother drawing a map if there's going to be combat there. Then, I draw it with Vis-a-Vis wet-erase markers on a 1980s-vintage Chessex battlemat.

Non-combat areas I describe verbally, and let the players draw their own maps.

For that matter, I don't bother with tactical maps for small combats that I know the PCs are going to win easily. I just describe things old-school.

Worked in 1985, still works now!

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Haladir wrote:

There is no Christ figure either.

I'm fairly sure that this is untrue, since "Christ figure" is a label applied by the reader, not the writer.

I meant "Christ parallel" in my game world.

However, I believe you are mistaken about the term "Christ figure" in literature. Deliberate use of Christ figures by the author is a long-established literary technique.

Much less common and less well-established than you think. Don't confuse a Campbellian hero with a "Christ figure"; in fact, that's a common mistake that leads to the "Everyone is Jesus in Purgatory" trope I cited earlier.

Thanks for the info!

I'll tell my old thesis adviser that she was wrong.

Oh, sorry, that's an "appeal to authority" fallacy.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The PCs are exploring the dungeon of a temple of Urgathoa. They get into a room that a necromancer wizard is using as his study. The wizard likes nice stuff, and has his study decked out with a lot of nice furniture.

I draw the rooms on a vinyl battlemat, and I decided to draw a few pieces of the furniture in case the fight I know they're going to get into in the next room spills into this one. Anyway, I draw what's intended to be a desk chair, but it comes out looking a little like a toilet.

Player 1: Is that a toilet?

Player 2: I check it for traps.

Player 3: If it doesn't have a trap, it's not much of a toilet.

Player 2: [not getting the plumbing joke] I disable the trap.

Player 3: Well, if you disable the trap, it becomes an uncomfortable, smelly chair.

Player 2: [now gets the joke] *laughs*

Player 4: The wizard sits on the throne!

Player 1: The Throne of the Necromancer?

Player 4: No, the Bidet of the Dead!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I'm a Christian, and I run a game setting with lots of deities... and none of them is Yahweh. There is no Christ figure either. In fact, I try my hardest to exclude all real-world religion from my game world.

I bet that would make your friend's head explode.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm with wraithstrike on this question. I think a paladin should be able to use Smite Evil on a worm that walks... or any evil-aligned swarm for that matter.

My reasoning doesn't get into parsing the rules too deeply. The question is: Would it be more fun if the effect worked? At my table, the answer is a redounding "yes." So, smite away, Ms. Paladin! Making a PC's signature power fail in an encounter with a worm that walks seems like a petty "Gotcha!" to me.

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I consider individual 3.x rules on a case-by-case basis, which is my policy on 3PP PFRPG stuff.

That said, one feat I always allow is Practiced Spellcaster (from Complete Arcane) which is pretty much necessary for a multiclassed caster.

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Greatest published adventure of all time?


1. Ravenloft (AD&D, TSR, 1983) What Deusvult said, above.

2. Masks of Nyarlathotep (Call of Cthulhu, Chaosium, 1984) A world-spanning Call of Cthulhu adventure path. Some have called this the greatest module of all time for any game system.

3. Burnt Offerings (D&D 3.5, Paizo, 2007) The first adventure set in Golarion, the adventure that kicks off "Rise of the Runelords" really knocks it out of the park.

4. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (AD&D, TSR, 1980) The classic "swords and lasers" adventure, written by Gary Gygax himself.

5. The Sunless Citadel (D&D 3.0, Wizards of the Coast, 2000) Fantastic introductory adventure for the new Third Edition of D&D. Meepo lives!

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I did SCA back in the '80s. It was kind of fun, but not really my thing.

I did a few of those "How to Host a Murder" parties back in the early '90s. Those were kind-of 'LARP Lite' events, but got repetitious and seemed too canned for my taste.

In the late '90s I got talked into joining a Vampire LARP. It was interesting, but got really weird. I think a few of the players may have had some trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality... or were on something. It really wasn't my scene.

It's been more than 15 years, and I really don't have the urge to do it again.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This isn't exactly an old rule I want to bring back. It's a thing I've noticed in play under 3.x rules that I don't recall ever experiencing with AD&D.

My issue is buff spell duration. As written, I think they encourage rushing through encounters and running through dungeons.

Specifically, I'd like to eliminate the buff spell durations of "1 minute/level" and "10 minutes/level," replacing them with durations of "5 minutes" and "4 hours" respectively.

With 1 min/level spells (and to a lesser extent 10 min/level buff spells), players start to adopt a "No time to look around! GO! GO! GO!" attitude when exploring.


It's almost impossible to build ambiance or a sense of place when the cleric or wizard keeps saying, "How long does that take? Hurry up! Only 6 more minutes of this awesome buff spell! Come on!"

Dropping the duration of the "1 minute/level" spells to "5 minutes" means that the spell is obviously intended to be used in a specific single combat and its immediate aftermath (or preparation). It's still long enough that it's OK to cast it a bit before the battle starts. But now, it would be so short that there would be little incentive to start rushing through the dungeon looking for more enemies to fight before it wears off. The idea of those spells is to use them "once per combat" (or possibly "through a very short series of closely-timed combats").

Extending the "10 min/level" spells to "4 hours" means that you'll only need to cast them once (or possibly twice) in a given game-day, which would allow the PCs to explore at leisure without a self-imposed ticking clock.

I haven't implemented this in my games yet, but I'm strongly thinking about it.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the points of the "Shopkeeper's Daughter" encounter is to make some enmity between the owner of the General Store and the party. I played it such that Shayliss' paramour was blackballed from the store, and Vindler charges a 50% markup on everything for all of the other PCs.

This means that the PCs can't one-stop-shop for anything they might want to buy. The town is statted up very nicely in the "Sandpoint" appendix of the ROTRL Anniversary Edition (which is essentially verbatim from the Sandpoint Gazetteer from Pathfinder #1). If you look at the shop descriptions, just about any item is available from some other specialty shop in town. This gives you an excuse to actually role-play any shopping the PCs need to do, and have the PCs interact with various Sandpoint townsfolk.

If you can, pick up Rise of the Runelords Face Cards, and use those to really drive home who the PCs are interacting with. NPCs really stick when the players have a face to go with a name.

EDIT: I now see that this deck is sold out, and going for over $100 in the aftermarket. Instead, grab the art from the RotRL PDF and print your own face cards onto card stock.

You can also design a few short encounters in town, akin to the ones presented under the "Local Heroes" section. Some of them don't even need to be encounters: just interesting interactions with the NPCs. For example, one thing I've stolen from another GM is that a number of children in town start playing "Sandpoint Heroes," and sometimes follow around the PCs dressed up like them. (Here's an example of my use of that encounter in my Runelords PbP. Pardon the typos-- I posted that from my smartphone.)

Reference to above link:
If the PCs had followed the mini-versions of themselves, they would have had to rescue the kids from a pair of very real goblins that were harvesting useful garbage from Junk Beach.

In short, make Sandpoint out to be a friendly, quirky place filled with friendly, quirky people. Give the town itself a chance to be a character in your story.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I were the GM, I'd allow Smite Evil to work on a worm that walks. Not letting it work seems like a technicality.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

48. Open the Bestiary to the doppelganger page, and set it where the players can see it. Send one player an otherwise innocuous note.

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Your humble narrator

Sorry for lack of update today. Busy day at work, and my wife and I went out for dinner and a movie. I'll get things moving tomorrow.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

About 10 years ago, I was jogging on a trail that went around the shore of a small lake. It was about 6:30 AM, and the sun hadn't fully risen. As I'm running, I hear the sound of rustling leaves above me, and then something fell on me, landing on the side of my face and shoulder. It was fuzzy, but squirmed and half-fell, half-jumped off.

I screamed like a little girl at the squirrel that fell out of a tree and landed on me.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For rules, I keep my laptop on the table, open to the PRD in 3 or 4 browser windows. "Find on page" is very useful.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Back to the topic of the thread...

In my Runelords PbP, the combat is technically still going on, but the party is pretty close to winning.

The party consists of five second-level characters: Fighter (sword & shield), Rogue (no archetype, but archery-focused), Oracle of Flame, Sorcerer (arcane bloodline, enchantment/pattern focused), and an aasimar (gnome stock) druid of Gozreh. All of them are pretty much generalists, and none have any weird ability combos.

The fight is currently in Round 15, and will probably keep going another few rounds.

The Setup:
I rebuilt Erylium slightly as a 3rd-level witch with the bouda archetype from the Monster Codex-- that let her not have a familiar, and the archetype seems tailor-made for worshipers of Lamashtu. I also changed up her hexes to Bouda's eye and Misfortune. (Slumber seemed a bit too powerful.)

In my version, I had 10-foot-tall stone double doors separate the Cathedral of Wrath from the Shrine to Lamashtu, locked with a Superior lock (DC 40 Disable Device to open.) That's pretty much beyond the capabilities of a level-2 party, because I wanted the fight with Eryllium to be the the boss fight of the Catacombs. A set of keys to all locks in the complex could be found floating in the Meditation Chamber; Eryllium herself had a duplicate set.

Anyway, the party took their time checking the doors for traps, and Eryllium noticed them there-- and that they weren't using the "secret knock" that she had previously established with Nualia and Tsuto.

I decided that the Cathedral of Wrath would be lit with four continual flame orbs suspended from the ceiling on chains, so that the party could observe what the quasit was up to.

Also: the party had been warned via Tsuto's journal that there was a quasit down there, and they had also gone shopping. But none of them thought to buy cold iron weapons.

The fight:
Round 1: The party entered the Cathedral, and saw the Runewell and larger summoning pool, along with the rune-carved walls. Eryllium hovered above the pulpit, screaming obscenities and threats at the party. She then cut herself with her dagger, letting a drop of blood drip into the Runewell. Both pools bubbled vigorously. The party charged in to attack the quasit.

Round 2: The demon became invisible, and a sinspawn erupted from the summoning pool, attacking the druid. The PCs then focused their attention on the sinspawn.

Round 3: The quasit began casting summon monster II, intending to summon a fiendish giant centipede. Since she was making noise while casting, I let the PCs pinpoint her square with a DC 20 Perception check. Both the rogue and fighter pinpointed her, firing an arrow and crossbow bolt, and both successfully hit their targets, but neither weapon penetrated her DR 10. The rest of the party dropped the sinspawn.

Round 4: The quasit's summon monster went off, and a centipede appeared adjacent to the sorcerer. The two would fight in melee combat for the next few rounds, with the sorcerer using the wand of shocking grasp recovered from the Meditation Chamber. At the same time, the quasit cast hold person on the fighter, who failed his save. The party then attacked the now-visible quasit. Everyone blew their Knowledge (planes) checks, and no one knew that the demon was resistant to fire. Both the oracle and the druid wasted fire spells on her that couldn't get through her energy resistance.

Round 5: The quasit cut herself again, causing the summoning pool to bubble violently again. That's when the magic of the runewell began to diminish. (On subsequent attempts to use the runewell, I was going to have it create a fleshdreg twice, then a fleshdreg swarm before running out of Wrath Points.) The fighter remained paralyzed. The druid then started to cast summon nature's ally i to bring in a celestial eagle. [Note: At the time, both the player and I confused summon monster with summon nature's ally. The eagle shouldn't have had the celestial template, but it turned out to be the only truly effective attack they had; I just let it go when I realized this a day later.]

Round 6: Another sinspawn rose out of the summoning pool, biting the oracle and causing her to succumb to its sinful bite. The summoned centipede also bit the sorceress, poisoning her. The fighter finally saved vs. the hold person. The demon then became invisible while the rogue and oracle fought the second sinspawn.

Round 7: The quasit began casting summon monster i as the druid's summoned celestial eagle appeared. The eagle made its DC 20 Perception check, and attacked the quasit, hitting it rather severely. Since it had the celestial template, its natural attacks bypassed the quasit's DR. The quasit lost its spell while defending itself.

Round 8: The quasit fought the celestial eagle with its natural attacks, doing all of 3 hp damage. The eagle did considerable damage to the quasit, but then disappeared at the end of the round. The rest of the party dispatched both the sinspawn and the fiendish centipede.

Round 9: The demon used its Misfortune hex on the druid, but he saved. The sorceress hit the quasit with color spray, stunning it for 1 round, while the rest of the party missed.

Round 10: The rogue hit the stunned demon with a crit, plus sneak attack, and the demon went below 10 hp for the first time. (Alas, that would be as low as its hp would go.) Everyone else's attacks failed to penetrate her DR or energy resistance.

Round 11: The demon used her cause fear spell-like ability, and the fighter and sorceress both failed their saves, running out of the room. The druid cast some healing and the oracle climbed the pulpit to get a better angle on the quasit.

Round 12: Eryllium used her fetish to cast touch of fatigue on the oracle at range, but the oracle made her saving throw. The sorceress shook off the fear effect and returned to the room, but the fighter kept running. The druid cast more healing, and the rogue continued to hit her with arrows that failed to bypass her DR.

Round 13: Out of spells, I decided that hexing the PCs would only serve to prolong this fight, so I had her throw her returning dagger. She missed. The sorceress hit her with color spray again, stunning the demon again while it was hovering over the summoning pool. The oracle then decided to take a running jump at the demon, intending to grab it out of the air and drown it in the pool! She rolled a 24 on her Acrobatics check, and successfully grappled the stunned demon, and the two fell into the five-foot-deep summoning pool! I decided that the pool was so cold that it would do 1d3 nonlethal cold damage per round. I also decided that a stunned creature would not be able to hold its breath before being submerged, so it would have to start making Con checks immediately.

Round 14: The demon wakes up, and tries to escape the pin, but the oracle holds fast. The druid also enters the pool to assist the grapple; and the rogue does too, stabbing the demon with a sneak attack. The quasit makes its Con check.

Round 15: The demon fails to escape the pin, but makes its Con check. The rogue sneak attacks again but doesn't get past its DR. The oracle holds fast. The fighter gets to the edge of the pool, intending to attack the quasit with his masterwork mithril ranseur (from the statue of Alaznist) next round.

At this point, the quasit is probably dead, but I want to keep playing it out to see what happens.

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Your humble narrator


Lightning flashes across the black sky, briefly illuminating the circle of brightly-colored, yet run-down wagons. Rain pours down on the encampment, deepening the gloom. In one of the wagons, the light of an oil lamp seeps out of canvas shades over the windows, indicating someone is still awake.

Inside the wagon, an ancient Varisian woman sits at a felt-covered table, hands waving over a crystal ball, muttering her thoughts aloud to herself. "Yes. Yes. They are coming. They are coming. The lord of the castle calls them, and they come, even if they do not yet know it. And who are these newcomers who will arrive yet never leave? Time will tell. And what will they be doing? What do the cards tell us...?"

She asks herself a question, then turns over a card.

Card #1
Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 1
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 2
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 3

Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 4
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 3
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 3

Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 2
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 3
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 2

Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 3
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 3
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 3

Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 1
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 3
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 3

Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 6
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 2
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 3

mystery roll: 1d6 ⇒ 3
Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 1
ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 1
moral: 1d3 ⇒ 2

"The tool they want... The Foreigh Trader, crossed by...The Snakebite."

"The weapon they need...The Fiend, crossed by... The Cyclone."

"The knowledge they seek... The Liar."

"And the Lord of the Castle... The Theater, crossed by... The Waxworks."

She studies the cards for several minutes, as she curls her lip in a wicked smile. "Yes! Yes! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" She cackles loudly to herself, as another crash of thunder drowns out the sound.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My usual reaction to a TPK is that the bad guys capture the party and stabilize their wounds, for later use as slaves/sacrifices/lunch. This allows me to run a "prison break" scenario where the PCs break out of jail, find their captured equipment, and open up a can of hurt all over their former captors.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my view, animating the remains of the dead is desecration of a corpse. It's an evil act. I would not want the remains of my dead loved ones made to dance like a puppet by a necromancer. It's a foul abomination. The dead should rest in peace.

Animating the dead will be an evil act in just about any game I GM, whether or not "evil" has any level of in-game objective reality.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not exactly a one-liner, but we all had a good laugh...

One of the players meant to make a comment about the party being a bunch of "murder-hobos," but accidentally said "murder-hippies" instead.

Me: Wait-- murder-hippies? Like the Manson Family?

Player 1: *sings* "Helter-skelter... helter-skelter... helter-skelter.. yeah!"

Player 2: You harshed my mellow, man. Now ya gotta die!

Player 3: smoking a POUND of weed!

Player 2: ...and dropping 20 tabs of acid!

Player 3: Not acid like LSD, real acid!

Player 1: Ooh! Look at the pretty colors... LIKE YOUR BLOOD!!!

Me: Peace, love, and... MURDER!!!

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