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Ezren

Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 3,113 posts (4,646 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 22 aliases.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The magical school of necromancy is not inherently evil.

Whether or not animating corpses as undead creatures is evil depends on the game-rules of your campaign world. In canon Golarion, animating corpses through necromancy is an inherently evil act.

In my version of Golarion (i.e. in my home game), the dark magic used to animate a corpse uses Evil energies from the Lower Planes. The act also messes with the normal Order of Things, which makes Pharasma unhappy. I also say that creating undead pulls a fragment of a living soul and binds it to the undead. In the case of mindless undead, this doesn't prevent the soul from being judged and sent to its destination in the Great Beyond, but does diminish that soul in some way. This also means that unintelligent undead hate and envy the living in an instinctual way, and will seek to destroy life when not controlled by magic. Creation of sentient undead corrupts the soul of the creature, retaining it in the ghoul/mummy/vampire/etc, turning it evil (usually).

The other thing about animating the dead: it's desecration of a corpse. Would you want a necromancer to make the bones of your dead husband, mother, or child dance like a puppet? The dead should be respected, and animating them to do your bidding is anything but respectful.

I happen to like the "undead are almost always evil" concept. However, if you want to use a different metaphysical backdrop in your campaign world, go for it!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would totally buy a revised hardcover edition of either Curse of the Crimson Throne or Second Darkness.

Of the two, I'd actually vote for Second Darkness. Crimson Throne works very, very well as-is with the Pathfinder rules. All you really need to do is substitute in PFRPG versions of the monsters, and run it straight. Honestly, I think Crimson Throne is still the best overall AP that Paizo has done!

A revised edition of Second Darkness would give the devs a chance to fix the way-too-choppy transition between the Children of the Void and Armageddon Echo; re-write the elves so that they're not a bunch of xenophobic jerks; and just generally address the complaints.

I know that James Jacobs has mentioned on his "As Me Anything" thread that he has a whole bunch of ideas on how to fix Second Darkness and make it into the amazing AP that it deserves to be.

And the 10th anniversary of the Adventure Path line in 2017 is only two years away...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had it be Katrine Vindler got involed with the PC Ulfen barbarian during the Swallowtail Featival, while she and Banny Harker were on the rocks. They carried on for a while during the course of Burnt Offerings, until Banny Harker pulled a romantic stunt in the Rusty Dragon to woo her back. It worked, and the PC was somewhat humiliated. Two days later, when both Katrine and Banny were dead, the PC was Hemlock's suspect #1!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, yeah, but I thought a lecture on Biblical studies was beyond the scope of this thread.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Krensky wrote:

And apparently the Presbyterian Church has changed its constitution to recognize and allow same sex marriage.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/us/presbyterians-give-final-approval-for- same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0

The Presbyterian Church (USA), to be specific. (There are other, more conservative Presbyterian denominations that do not support LGBT Christians.)

I'm an ordained Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). I've been a member of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians since 1995, and my local congregation as a whole joined the network in 1998. We;ve been working for full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the church for a very long time. It's good to know it's finally come true!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm pretty sure the devs talked about optional rules that monkey with the action economy was something they were considering to include in Pathfinder Unchained. I would not be surprised if they presented a new optional combat mechanic that got rid of iterative attacks.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Joshua Hagan 64 wrote:
I have been looking for as much information as I could find for Shemhazai,Empyreal Lord of Vision to no avail. I have a player that was hoping to play a character that worshiped Shemhazai, with the ultimate goal of trying to free his god. Currently he looking at an inquisitor, but he was also interested in possibly shifting to a Mystery Cultist, if we could find more information on domains, obedience, boons, favored weapons, etc.

As Adam said above back in October, the listing is from one of the hardcover rulebooks, meaning it's not necessarily canon for Golarion. This name is not listed in either Chronicle of the Righteous or Inner Sea Gods. There do not appear to be any Golarion references to an entity of this name. I suspect it's included in the Bestiary for a GM to define as she sees fit for her home game.

The name itself is from real-world mythology.

'Shemhazai' is from the Book of Enoch, an ancient Hebrew religious text that Christian scholars consider to be part of the Old Testament Apocrypha. (The Apocrypha are Hebrew texts were written at the time of the Old Testament, but are not considered to be canonical books of the Christian Bible.)

According to the Book of Enoch, Shemhazai is one of the fallen angels who sided with Lucifer. The fallen angels fathered a race of giants with human women called the Nephilim. Yawheh considered the Nephilim to be abominations and destroyed them all in the Great Flood.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Far Too Many Shades of Gray

The campaign that's all about the moral ambiguity. Quest-givers all run their own agendas. Bad guys have noble aspirations and are just misunderstood. Authorities are almost as corrupt as the cabal of cultists, who are really only trying to improve their lot in life. No one's a good guy, no one's a bad guy. Every actions the PCs take have questions of morality, and discussions of right-and-wrong take precedence over the overall plot.

Solution: If that's the game you like, great. If you'd rather be the Big Hero Who Saves The World, you might want to find another game.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

16. A kitten.

Spoiler:
Bonus points if you are Skeletor.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As GM, I would certainty rule that ascension to godhood is well beyond the power of a 9th-level spell, regardless of how perfectly it was worded.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Who Needs a Writers' Circle When I've Got a Gaming Group?

The campaign is set in the world of the GM's unpublished/incomplete novel, and the events are the plot of same. The GM reacts very badly to any player action that deviates from the preconceived storyline.

Similarly, a PC might be the protagonist of a player's novel, and refuses to bite on plot hooks that could besmirch the purity/nobility/ruthlessness/etc of the novel version of the character.

Solution: Have an out-of-game chat with the offenders to gently remind them of the difference between a story and a game.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This RPG is for porn...

Encounters with NPCs invariably turn sexual, with emphasis on the scandalous and explicit details. The "maturity" of the scenes tends to be inversely proportional to the maturity of the players.

Solution: This usually corrects itself with the players' acquisition of a real-world sex life.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
RIZZENMAGNUS wrote:

a willingness to kill a PC.

i dont mean that as a tongue in cheek comment, but as a serious one.

If you have a DM that is willing to fudge rolls, to tweak rules, and modify encounters simply because players get struck with bad luck, then that is a DM, IMO, that doesnt value the life and hard work that a player puts into his/her character.

By telling the players straight out "i will kill you. I do not hide my rolls, i do not fudge encounters, if the goblin crit kills you, then you will die and may need to roll up a new pc." i have had pcs laugh at this until they did die, and then they get all pissy because i didnt save their pc. i just look at them and say "what did i tell you at the start?"

I'm going to have to completely disagree with you entirely on this point.

As a GM, I'll let PCs die due to stupid tactics, obviously bad decisions, heroic action to save others, or in the final battle with the BBEG of the campaign. I'm not going to kill a PC due to Thug #3 getting lucky and scoring two critical hits. This is why I roll ALL my dice BEHIND the screen: I'm not going to derail the story just because of a few particularly unlucky dice rolls. (Complicate the story? Sure. Derail it? no.)

This is for the very reason you cite: I value the work players have done to craft a character that fits my campaign, carefully nurtured over several weeks/months/years, and that I've incorporated into the storyline of my game.

Getting killed isn't fun. The PCs are supposed to be the heroes of the story. While it can be dramatically appropriate (and a fitting end) for a PC to die in the right circumstances-- especially if the player chooses to sacrifice the character for the greater good (of the story). But it's just not fun to get killed in a meaningless random wilderness encounter.

Of course... I don't actually TELL my players this...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In Korvosa, there are established temples of Sarenrae and Shelyn as well. Their high priests aren't detailed in Guide to Korvosa, so I'd assume that they're lower level than D'Bear, Reebs, or Tuttle. (They can't cast 7th-level spells.)

Non-canonical Korvosan NPC clerics in my campaign:

Ellandra Velloria, high priestess of Shelyn. Bard 5/cleric of Shelyn 3/mystic theurge 5
Viorec Korvaski, high priest of Sarenrae. Rogue 2/cleric of Sarenrae 9.
Zeldra Rallick, cleric of Urgathoa 4, priestess of the Pallid Princess at the Pantheon of Many.

Depending on your version of Varisia and where you are in your version of Golarion's timeline, the retired PCs who saved the world in Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, or Second Darkenss, might be around somewhere-- probably running a tavern somewhere out-of-the-way, as that's the typical retirement plan for former adventurers.


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CG Female Human (Varisian) Witch (cartomancer) 2
stats:
hp 12/12 | AC 12; touch 12; flat-foot 10 | Fort +1; Ref +2; Will +5 | Init +2 | Perception +2

Zee stands at the ledge, looking down at the crashing surf a thousand feet below. The wooden platform stretches 50 feet away, and she grasps a flimsy rope, steeling her nerves to swing across. "Don't fall, Zee! It's a long way down!" observes a disquietingly cheery Nalathi. "NO, DON'T FALL, ZIOMARRA!" booms the voice of the animated face of The Fiend from the oversized Harrow card hanging from her friend's neck, "BUT IF YOU DO, I WILL CATCH YOU! HA HA HA!" She looks back to her friends standing behind her... Brianna ignores her while she paints the facade of Kaer Maga on a canvas at an easel; Joanna stares at her impassively while standing in her Hellknight armor, clutching a black-bladed two-handed sword in her hands. Somethings's not right about that... "Are you going over or what?" asks Teldon. Wait, that's not Teldon, that's 'cousin' Milos Drendori from the family carravan. What's he doing here? Another voice cries, "Swing across, my dear! The cards show it's easy!" The Amazing Zograthy turns over a battered Harrow card... The Avalanche. That's not a good card. The old man laughs menacingly, and he and Milos grab Zee's shoulders and push her roughly over the edge. She swings through the air far too slowly. She sees the gargoyles carved on the opposite pillars turn to look at her with glowing red eyes and their stony mouths turn to evil grins. "I got you, Zee!" says Embyr, standing on the wooden platform. Zee reaches out to grab the Tower Girl's arm, but now there's a Thassilonian dagger in her own hand. As she passes, she unthinkingly stabs Embyr in the neck, and the girl falls backward off the platform. Then the rope snaps, and Zee falls after her... falling... falling to the angry surf below...

"AAAGHHH!" Zee bolts upright in bed, trembling uncontrollably. Her eyes dart around the unfamiliar room, and for a moment, she doesn't know where she is. "What?! Where...? Pathfinders. Heidmarch Manor. I spent the night at Heidmarch Manor...

He hearbeat stops racing, and she rises from the bed. She walks to the small writing desk in the room, and opens her Harrow deck. She shuffles and lays out the cards in numerous complex patters, which etch their own magical patterns in her mind; her spells for another day. Completing that, she lays out a short reading for herself.

Summing up the reading in a single card...

The Brass Dwarf:
suit: 1d6 ⇒ 3 ...Shields (Constitution)
Ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 1 ...lawful
Moral: 1d3 ⇒ 2 ...neutral

Today's Harrowed feat: Constitution

The fiery dwarf represents strength and steadfastness in the face of danger. Though the road be perilous, I will stand my ground and not succumb to my own fear.

She then closes her eyes and prays a silent prayer to the Starsong: Blessed is the long road, the destination, the homeward path, and all who make the journey. Please bless my dreams to be bright stars in the night sky of my mind, and may your blessed starlight illumine my path.

With that, Zee gets dressed and heads downstairs to join the others for breakfast.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen McAlibert wrote:
California man files ballot measure to execute all homosexuals by firing squad.

Huh. That was an interesting read.

I seem to recall someone important once saying, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..."

And something else about "Judge not others lest you be judged yourself..."

And another suggestion to "Remove the log from your own eye before you remove the speck from someone else's..."

And that the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor.

And something else about putting away weapons drawn in his defense.

The fact that Mr. McLaughlin is advocating murder in the name of Christ indicates that he hasn't actually read this book he purports to be defending.

I think the guy needs to see a shrink.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

[My low-level PCs are lost in the mountains, running out of food. They just killed an elk and need to preserve it so they can travel.]

Barbarian: I'm going to make venison jerky.

Rogue: I'm going to scout ahead while you jerk your meat.


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CG Female Human (Varisian) Witch (cartomancer) 2
stats:
hp 12/12 | AC 12; touch 12; flat-foot 10 | Fort +1; Ref +2; Will +5 | Init +2 | Perception +2

At Teldon's statement of confusion, Zee smiles the smile of a mother who is gently correcting the misbehavior of a child who didn't understand what he'd just done. She places her hand on Teldon's shoulder and leans in to speak quietly to him.

"Teldon, eu nu te blestemat, mai ales nu în numele Desna. Tu și cu mine suntem prieteni și aliați..." She speaks in rapid Varisian, speaking softly yet firmly, while looking Teldon right in the eye.

Varisian:
"Teldon, I have never cursed you, especially not in the name of Desna. You and I are friends and allies. But friends can get upset with one another. What upset me was your callousness and disrespect to the dead-- especially in front of our prisoners. That woman Embyr had been their friend. I was shocked that a man of your intellect and scholarship would behave in such a manner.

You see, when you volunteered to retrieve the body, my heart warmed that you would so something so selfless and compassionate. We all expected that you would lower her body down to us gently and respectfully. But when you just dropped her into the water, we were all horrified-- you turned our expectations on its head. That is why we all reacted with shock and anger. Speaking just for myself, that woman was the first person I had ever killed. I am still very much upset with myself for letting her fall, for I had no intention of killing her. I feel that any loss of a person's life to be a tragedy. Watching her body fall made me re-live killing her all over again. Honestly, I fear that I'll be re-living her death in my nightmares for a very long time."

Zee shudders a moment, re-living the experience of watching the body fall one more time.

The Varisian woman inhales deeply, holds her breath a long moment, then lets it out slowly. She switches her language to Taldane, "I do value our friendship very much. You are a very learned man, Teldon, and probably have the keenest intellect of anyone I've ever met. You have reached heights of scholarship that I doubt I'll ever achieve. You are an integral part of our little team here. I had been afraid I'd misjudged you, but the fact that you are seeking to understand speaks volumes to your character. I think we can chalk this up to a difference in expectations. Here, we respect the dead-- even the bodies of our fallen enemies. I have never been to Absalom-- perhaps your rites are very different than what I am accustomed to."

She pauses a moment, and then asks, "Are we okay?"

* * *

Joanna's powerful arms propel the boat steadily toward the wharf in Dockway. Zee takes one of the ties, hops off the boat onto the pier, and secures it to a piling. She speaks very quietly to her friends, "We are in agreement-- let's go straight to Heidmarch Manor. We should take the objects we found with us: some of these things are artifacts that the Society should study. The others... well, Lady Heidmarch can perhaps store them for us overnight before we can have them assessed tomorrow."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The head of Vecna! Man, I haven't seen reference to this in YEARS! I fist heard this story in the mid-1990s, and it was old then!

I don't like to trick my players, and don't tolerate PvP in my games, so this would never happen at my table. But it's still a great story!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...and I still don't hire people if they cuss during the job interview.


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CG Female Human (Varisian) Witch (cartomancer) 2
stats:
hp 12/12 | AC 12; touch 12; flat-foot 10 | Fort +1; Ref +2; Will +5 | Init +2 | Perception +2

When she notices unwelcome eyes watching the transfer of salvage, Zee returns the baleful gaze. To her friends, she whispers, "Hurry. News travels quickly in Underbridge, and we won't want to be here when they return with their friends..."

* * *

In the journey back to Dockside, Zee answers Teldon's question. There is no sense of lingering anger in her response.

"You don't know the Starsong? While I'm surprised that a man of your scholarship does not know her, I am more than happy to tell you about her. That is another name of the goddess Desna. She is the goddess of travel, dreams, fortune, and the stars. Some of her other names are The Song of the Spheres, Lady of Fortune, Tender of Dreams, and Queen of the Stars. Desna blesses and protects travelers; the road is her temple and the journey is her blessing. We Varisians sometimes call ourselves the Children of Desna, for we all have a natural wanderlust. That is why the traditional Varisian lifestyle is on the road, and why my people have founded so few cities. For there is so much to see and experience in the world, and Desna wants us to see and experience as much as we possibly can. After Desna blessed her people, she wept in joy; the glittering tears fell into the eyes of the Varisians, which is why so many of us have the gift of prophecy--in dreams, or in reading the stars, or through the Harrow. But Desna does not want us to place too much faith in prophecy: she shows those with the Gift possibilities-- goals to strive for or warnings against folly. For we all have the freedom to forge our own paths; to journey with those who choose to accompany us. We are all travelers in the great journey of life. Desna wants us to delight in discovery of the novel and to savor the experiences we encounter along the road, trusting our instincts and intuition as our guides. For the possibilities are as limitless as the stars themselves."

She pauses, gauging her friends' reactions to her mini-sermon. "Sorry. I could go on like that for hours. There is a Desnan way-shrine on the Lost Coat Road about three miles north of Magnimar, if you know where to look. An inscription is carved over the entrance: 'Blessed is the long road, the destination, the homeward path, and all who make the journey. Let each dream be a bright star in the night sky of your mind, lighting your path in the day.'"


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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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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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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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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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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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