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Ezren

Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 4,499 posts (8,852 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 31 aliases.


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Your humble narrator

Hey, folks.

Just to let you know, I'm going to a four-day outdoor music festival later this afternoon.

I probably won't be posting again until Monday. We can start the boss battle pick it back up then.


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Haladir wrote:
I ran a game where the PC stayed at inn that I named "The Shield & Sherpdog" completely off the top of my head... which became thrir home base for the rest of the campaign.

That was supposed to be "Shield and Sheepdog".


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In one of my games, there's a brothel that caters to clients attracted to men that's called "The Stallion's Hammer."

I ran a game where the PC stayed at inn that I named "The Shield & Sherpdog" completely off the top of my head... which became thrir home base for the rest of the campaign.

I also use "The Green Griffin", in homage to a piece of line art in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide.


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CG Female Human (Azlanti) Witch (cartomancer)/VMC Cleric of Desna 5
stats:
hp 22/22 | AC 15; touch 15; flat-foot 11 | Fort +2; Ref +3; Will +6 | Init +1 | Perception +1

Last night:
Still sobbing, Zee shakes her head at Joanna's apology. "No, it nothing you did at all. It's me. I think I'm only now truly coming to realize that I... died! And then I woke up in a body that isn't mine. It's hers. Sorshen's... one of the most powerful evil wizards in history." Zee's anguished gaze meets Joanna's again. "And there's more. Some part of her is with me. I'm having... urges... impulses... memories... and thoughts that just aren't mine. And some of my own memories are cloudy. And there's some kind of veil between myself and the Harrow... I can still feel its presence, but it's... distant. I don't know if I'm losing myself to her. It's weird, and confusing, and... terrifying."

Zee embraces Joanna and buries her face in her friend's shoulder, sobbing for several long moments and hugging her tightly. And then the sobs begin to ebb. With a deep sigh, she releases her embrace, but keeps her hands on Joanna's shoulders.

"I'm sorry... I'm kind of a mess right now. Putting yourself in a tomb and then walking away can do that to a woman!" She chuckles mirthlessly at her own morbid comment. "Thank you. You are the closest friend I've ever had." She strokes Joanna's hair again, and at that Hali plunks down between them, apparently wanting some attention, too. Zee smiles and scratches the wolf between the ears. "And yes, you're very nice, too!"

At that she lies back down for a fitful sleep.

Later that night:
Sunlight and the smell of the Jeggare River streams through the open window of the caravan, as do the sounds of Varisian voices throughout Trail's End. She glances out to see Korvosa's Old City Hall atop Garrison Hill above the docks of Old Korvosa. Looking back down at the table, Zee lays the final card in the spread and then looks back up at her grandmother, seated across the table. "Well, Ziomarra, what does the Harrow tell you?" She looks at the spread, holding her tattooed hands above it...

The Theater / The Marriage / The Courtesan
The Empty Throne / The Betrayal / The Tyrant
The Twin / The Unicorn / The Liar

Her eyes scan the first column... The past, she thinks to herself. Two partial matches, with the Theater and the Empty Throne partially aligned, and The Twin almost exactly misaligned.

"My childhood was idyllic. The Theater represents being my being born with the Sight. The Empty Throne represents the loss of my Varisian family...especially you, bunică. But also the strength that my family and our traditions continue to give me. And there's The Twin... the card of indecision. That represents my doubt at leaving my original family to strike out with a new one."

The sunlight streaming through the window dims as the sun dips below the Irespan. She hears the bustle of the Bazaar of Sails and smell the salt air. Looking out the window, she gazes upon the grandeur of the Irespan high above the city, and muses on what other riches or horrors it still contains.

A deep, resonant voice asks, "¿Και τι λένε τα χαρτιά για το μέλλον σου?" Thassilonian? She asks what the cards say of my present... Looking up, Runelord Sorshen regards her with a regal, impassive gaze, her bejeweled glaive held in her left hand.

She scans the middle column. The Betrayal is partially aligned, while the Unicorn is misaligned. "The Marriage shows a union of disparate elements. That means my new family of outcasts: Joanna, and Teldon, and Brianna, and Arsith, and Shadlah, and poor lost Nalathi. We are stronger together than we are as individuals. I draw my strength from them, and willingly give them my own. The Betrayal represents the risk of opening up one's family. I tried to help Gnaeus, and he repaid my kindness with death." She taps the bottom card in the columm, her Varisian tattoos on her hand almost glowing in the dim light. "And the Unicorn, misaligned, emphasizes that betrayal, for which I lost my life."

More dusty air blows through the window as the hot desert breeze blows past the jumble of the Warren. Voices in many languages shout and call, from the guttural orders of orcish slavers, to the whimpers of Chelish slaves, to the laughing exclamations in Shoanti, to the eerie grunts and moans of tamed zombie servants. She looks out the window to see the gaping crumbled wall leading into Kaer Maga. It is a strange place.

A kind and intimately familiar voice asks, "Și acum, Ziomarra, ce părere ai despre viitorul tău?. Looking up, she sees her own face looking across the table. The former her fans a tattered Harrow deck, which she then collapses, passes her hand in front of it, and the deck disappears. She asks me of my own future... She places her hands above the cards. The seven golden rings on the bronze skin of her unadorned fingers glint in the desert sun. The cards seem a bit farther away than she's used to, and then Zee remembers that she's taller now.

Looking at the final column, all of the cards signify danger. "Most positive, and partially aligned, is The Courtesan, the card of intrigue. I wonder if I must again play the part of Teldon's spiritual adviser with his next dealings with the Aspis Consortium." ... and it might be difficult doing so, looking as I do now, she muses. "In the neutral position is The Tyrant. Sorshen." Zee just knows this implicitly. She looks up to meet the gaze of her former self. "I must face Sorshen directly, but whether that is literal or figurative, I do not know." The old Zee that faces her raises her hands in a gesture indicating she does not know either... or if she does, she's not telling. But the card that makes her tremble is the final card, perfectly aligned in the negative future position. She taps it with a trembling hand. "This final card is the only perfect match in this spread." A smiling lamia offers a bouquet of dead flowers, dripping with poison. "The Liar, the card of dark love or of succeeding at a false quest." Staring down at the card, the lamia looks back at her, her face becoming that of Sorshen. The bouquet becomes a seven-pointed star. The Sorshen-headed lamia smiles seductively. "Are you sure you really want want this?" The lamia holds up the Sihedron... and then she throws it at Zee's face.

. . .

Zee snaps open her eyes, gasps, and bolts upright in bed. Hali whimpers and looks at her, but Joanna snores quietly. "A dream," she whispers. ...and also a prophecy? Perhaps I am not as distant from the Harrow as I'd feared... and I will face Sorshen, mind calm, and with my friends at my side and with Desna in my heart.

Zee curls back up under the covers, her sleep uninterrupted until morning.

Earlier this morning:
Kneeling beside Joanna, her friend suddenly sits up while pushing Hali away... clonking Zee in the forehead with her own. "Ow!" Zee rubs her forehead and then starts to giggle. Her giggles increase as she tries to say, "Look at us, the mighty Pathfinders! We've disbanded the Tower Girls... explored the lost mysteries of The Crow... destroyed the derro menace of Magnimar... fought giant spiders, and devils, and demons, and an avatar of Ghlaunder... and we can't manage to get out of bed without hurting ourselves!" Her laughter increases until she can barely breathe, and she hugs Joanna for support. Eventually, she stops laughing, and a glimmer of the mysterious half-grin that was the old Zee's normal expression appears on Sorshen's face.

She then gets up to prepare for the day.

Later...

In response to Joanna's question about dancing, Zee nods. "I do. That wasn't a traditional Varisian dance. Its a morning ritual of devotion to Desna. Normally, one would do it before sunrise under the still-dark sky, so I was envisioning the stars and constellations, naming them as I imagined them."

Now...

Zee purses her lips and nods as the secret door slides open. "As I suspected. Thank you, Brianna!"

Stepping into the room, Zee draws a Harrow card and casts a spell. She hold the glowing card to her eye, and then closes the other, and then scans the room, as if she were looking through a lens.

Casts detect magic.


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Harold Ervin wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Might you be able to take a Venture Lieutenant position? You'd be able to join the content review task force and help make sure the reviews are of the best quality and finished in a timely manner.
Thank you for the offer, but no thank you.

I'm just going to point out that you wrote a very long post criticising the quality and timeliness of work by the staff and volunteers, but when asked to step up and help them out, you said "no."


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CG Female Human (Azlanti) Witch (cartomancer)/VMC Cleric of Desna 5
stats:
hp 22/22 | AC 15; touch 15; flat-foot 11 | Fort +2; Ref +3; Will +6 | Init +1 | Perception +1

The previous night...

As she removes her satchel and weapons to ready for bed, Zee finds her gaze falling on her friend get out of her armor. She is momentarily struck with her friend's beauty... and a very erotic thought crosses her mind. Surprised by the vivid image, she quickly wills it down. That's not like me... she thinks to herself. At that point, she also catches herself about to slip off her dress, and immediately stops herself. How much of Sorshen is still with me??

Trying her best to hide these thoughts, Zee then gets in bed. The feeling of lying on a soft mattress with clean sheets is luxurious after nights in a ship's berth or (worse) in a bedroll on the ground.

As Joanna also gets into bed, Hali hops up and nestles between them. At that time, Jo asks her question about her sisters and a Harrow reading. The request snaps Zee out of her odd thoughts.

"You would like a reading? We could do a reading now, if you wish. You wish to see how your sisters fare? I can try, but the Harrow typically shows a glimpse of your own fate, not that of someone else."

Taking out her deck and one of her Varisian scarves, she lays the scarf on the bed between herself and Joanna. She sits cross-legged across the scarf from Joanna, who likewise sits up in the bed.

Zee performs a standard 9-card Harrow spread, which I am going to summarize in one card...

Harrow Reading:
Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 2 ...Keys
Ethic: 1d3 ⇒ 1 ...Lawful
Moral: 1d3 ⇒ 2 ...Neutral

The Locksmith

"The Locksmith represents the tools your have at your disposal... or a special tool that you will find in a time of need. In this case, I see nothing particularly dire nor particularly fortunate with your sisters' fates... But there is something they need... Something that is... here. You are the special thing they will need when the time is right. But that time has not yet come to pass, and you will be there for them when it arises." She looks up, deep into Joanna's eyes. "And I believe that you will be finding something precious, as well." Zee smiles mysteriously, then reaches out and strokes Joanna's hair with her fingers.

Seemingly just realizing what she's doing, Zee takes her hand back quickly. "That was too forward of me. Forgive me. I... I'm not sure what is happening with me. It's not just that I am now in a body that isn't mine... something within me has changed, too..." Zee then gathers her cards, hands trembling. As she puts her cards away, she begins to sob quietly, tears welling in her eyes.

In the morning...

Zee wakes up to the sound of Joanna falling out of bed and cursing. She throws off the covers and rushes to the side of her friend, while Hali moves to the other. Joanna is only out for a brief moment, and comes around to find Hali licking her face. "Are you all right?"

Once Zee is confident that her friend is, indeed, okay, she heads back into the hallway. She raises her arms and her head to the ceiling, and murmers a prayer to the Starsong. With her eyes closed, she begins to dance while murmuring a song to herself, seemingly oblivious to anyone who might be watching. She does this for a solid ten minutes before she concludes, then returns to her room to study the patterns of the Harrow.

After breakfast, the topic turns to what to do from here. Zee again examines the various Thassilonian inscriptions on the ten doors, and on the blank wall at the end of the hall.

"'Thou wouldst enter? Then thou must touch!' It's writtem on all nine of the wooden doors, and on that blank wall at the end of the hall. And the inscription on that tenth door, with the frost, is different... I still think we shoud avoid that door."

Zed: How, exactly, do the doors to the various bedrooms open, again? Do they slide, or latch, or do you simply touch them and they open?


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Java Man wrote:

Velocirator - dire chicken

Deinonychus - giant dire chicken
Allosaurus - run! no, seriously, run for your lives!

This has nothing to do with names, but I love the fact that Allosaurus was as distant in time from Tyrannosaurus as we are.


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Many of the creature names in the game come from various mythologies and the folklore of different regions. Also remember that many if the same tales and legends appear in different languages, so similar creatures have different names. Also remember that in folklore, a given creature can have different attributes depending on the specific tale.

A problem with codifying creatures from myth and legend with game statistics is that you have to pick and choose specific tales to use for inspiration. This frequently results in having different game monsters that were stemmed from the same mythological beast. And sometimes, misunderstandings, mistranslations, and flat-out mistakes in the lore have made it into some creatures' game stats. (Gary Gygax was not particularly knowledgeable about Classical mythology, for example.)

"Bugbear" is English/Germanic for "monster." It comes from the same roots as "bugaboo" and "boogeyman". It doesn't sound scary now, but it did in the past.

"Goblin" is English/Latin for "evil faerie or imp."

"Hobgoblin" uses the Old English prefix "hob-" which means "elf" or "faerie", with "goblin," emphasizing the otherworldliness of the creature.

"Bulette" was made up by Gygax and Arnesen in the 1970s for D&D, inspired by a plastic toy. If the word was inspired by French, it should be pronounced "buh-LET."

(Speaking of French pronunciation, "coup de grace" should be pronounced "coo-deh-GRAHSS". The silent "e" at the end of the word signifies that the prepreceding consonant is pronounced.)


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Just to reiterate what Deathquaker and Hmmm have said: A positive attitude really does go a long way to make forums a better place for everyone...

Assume people who are being negative are just having a bad day.

Assume that people who are wrong about a matter of fact are simply mistaken and have no ill intent.

Assume that people who have a different opinion about the game are entitled to play it as they (and their friends) see fit. There is no "wrongbadfun."

If someone is trolling or has posted something racist/sexist/offensive, flag and move on.

And if a thread is pushing your buttons, disengage and hide it.

That said, I do still think another body at Paizo dedicated to forum modetation would be a good addition.


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CrystalSeas wrote:

Good morning everyone.

I need some help finding a really good coleslaw dressing. I'm not looking for a mayonnaise base; what I really want is oil/vinegar/spices, with maybe some sugar. The online dressings I've found have overwhelming amounts of sugar.

Anyone got a go-to recipe for coleslaw dressing?

I don't measure this exactly, but my coleslaw recipe is...

1/4 head of cabbage, sliced thin
1 carrot, grated
1 small red onion, minced

Dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
Salt & pepper to taste

Dump everything in a large bowl and toss.


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I've been a regular forum participant since 2011.

When I first started posting on the Paizo forums, I loved the general frendliness and openness of the Paizo online community. Many (most?) of the creative staff regularly engaged in the discussions. While things did get heated from time to time, the mods had a very good handle on keeping things civil.

Fast fowrard to now.

Over the past year or so, I've really seen a sharp increase in the overall negativity and amount of outright trolling on the boards. I think it really increased shortly after Liz Courts (the community coordinator) left Paizo for greener pastures. That left just one forum moderator. At the same time, Paizo creative staff seem to have pulled back significantly with engagement on the forums. I think that's a loss to the community, although I understand that creative staff have other priorities and need to kerp themselves safe and sane.

In the current climate, I really think that the forums need much firmer and more active moderation to keep things civil. While the forums were a big draw for me to play Pathfinder, I've heard many anecdotes that the current level of hostility on the Paizo forums is turning some people away.

With the imminent launch of Starfinder and the probable influx of new people to the Paizo boards, I really hope that Paizo will be able to increase the moderation. I know that they have said they don't want volunteer mods. Would it be posdible to hire a dedicated full-time moderator/forum administrator?

There are entire sections of the boards I now hide due to their toxicity. ("Rules" and "Advice" are at the top of that list.)

Moderation is a thankless and taxing job. I truly appreciate all the hard work done by the current team. It's a Herculean task, and I applaud you.

However, unless and until the moderation team can be strengthened and backfilled, I fear the forums will continue to lose utility and value to the community. And that would be a shame.

Thanks for your time to read this.


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So sorry to hear that you're leaving!

I wish you the best in all of your new adventures!


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Your humble narrator

Theodora: Awesome icon switch!


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Pathfinder conversion of AD&D module I6: Ravenloft.


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Best of luck to Jessica! I'm sorry to see her go, and I hope her new adventure is a success!


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A while ago, I played Valeria Baladin, a Varisian hidden priest of Desna who lived in Cheliax... where open worship of Desna was illegal. She pretended to be a bard, and made her living as an intinerant fiddler and troubadour, covertly spreading Desna's message of freedom and liberation.

Valeria's typical setlist
(Full playlist on Spotify)

And here's the themesong for Zoreck, my Numerian gunslinger:

The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone (from soundtrack of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)


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If "add more cheese" is wrong, then I don't want to be right!


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The Game Hamster wrote:

Did you butter the steaks?

Mmmm...

No. Patted them dry, sprinkled a grind or two of black pepper and a scant pinch of coarse salt, then dropped them on the hot, oiled grill.

I have made finishing butter for steaks in the past (lemon-tarragon is my favorite), but not last night. I just served them up unadorned.

They were delicious.


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Father's Day dinner last night was very nice, despite the weather.

I'd fired up the grill to cook a pair of local grass-fed organic NY strip steaks (my favorite cut). I had just dropped the second steak on the grill and heard that lovely sizzle, when the sky flashed and a huge boom of thunder shook everything. About 5 seconds later, the skies opened up with a torrential downpour.

I dropped the grill hood to keep the rain off, and beat a hasty retreat to my garage. I then got our big umbrella and went back out to keep cooking. The steaks turned out perfectly, despite the storm.

My wife made a big kale salad, and my daughter made some delicious garlic toasts from a loaf of locally-baked organic ciabatta bread. The only concession to the storm was that we made the garlic toasts in the toaster-ovem rather than on the grill.

And I had a glass of my favorite beer with dinner.

The steaks came out perfectly medium-rare. Everything was delicious.

An excellent Father's Day dinner, shared with my two favorite people in the world!


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I thought Wonder Woman was fantastic. As played by Gal Gadot, the character Diana struck the perfect balance between fun, seriousness, idealism, incredulity at unfairness, and a willingness to risk everything to do the right thing.

WW is easily in my top 5 superhero movies of all time.

I've watched it on the big screen three times now (once in 3D... which I didn't think added very much).

My only critique was that the villains were boring, and the final 20 minutes were yet more uninspired CGI "stuff go BOOM!" that was full of phrenetic visuals with next-to-no character developement or emotional impact.

A more fitting ending (with spoilers for the actual movie):
I thought a better ending would have been that Ares was a metaphor for humanity's propensity toward violence rather than the literal God of War.

In my version: After Steve's speech following the death of Gen. Ludendorff, Diana comes to the realization that Ares isn't a literal god she must slay, but a concept that must be overcome. She realizes that she must be an example to the world of the kind of person that can overcome humanity's warlike tendencies.

No CGI green-screen pyrotechnics for the final act, just some more amazing fight choreography as Diana single-handedly fights an army then defeats Dr. Poison. Include a scene where Diana and Steve have a final moment where she doesn't quite realize that Steve intends to sacrifice himself to end the war.

I would have liked that Act III a lot better. And it probably would have been cheaper to film.


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Math aside, make the encounter more than a toe-to-toe slugfest.

Add enemy archers that are hidden behind arrow slits. Give the bad guy a trap he can spring on the PCs. Add some kind of countdown that makes the PCs have to do something before time X or Very Bad Things happen. Threaten hostages or innocents. Provide interesting terrain that the bad guys can exploit to their advantage. Steal the "lair actions" idea from 5E. More mooks. Have all the dead mooks suddenly rise as zombies or ghouls or vamprie spawn.

If the bad guy has put up enough obstacles for the PCs to get through before they reach him, then it doesn't matter if he has a glass jaw when they do.


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CG Female Human (Azlanti) Witch (cartomancer)/VMC Cleric of Desna 5
stats:
hp 22/22 | AC 15; touch 15; flat-foot 11 | Fort +2; Ref +3; Will +6 | Init +1 | Perception +1

Elsewhere...

Jump-cut to following scene:
Still somewhat disoriented, Zee tries to remember the last thing that happened. Demons... and... With another gasp she says aloud, "They took Teldon! And then the dhampir turned on me..." She instinctly clutches the side of her abdomen where Gnaeus had drained out her life-force with necromancy, and looks down. And then she sees an odd brown mark on her exposed abdomen... a belly more toned than she remembered. The mark looks like it's a darker shade of skin tone, as if it were a birthmark. Yet, it was clearly a designed mark... a rune... and then realizing that she's looking at it upside-down, she recognizes it: The Thassilonian rune for "lust", also associated with the arcane school of enchantment.

And then Zee remembers exactly where she'd seen such a mark: the abdomen of the clone of Sorshen.

She touches her own hair, pulling a handful before her eyes. He hair is no longer thick, coarse, wavy, and dark brown... it's now jet black, smooth, and straight... almost like the hair of people from Tien Xia. Her hair is also longer than her own had been.

She steps down from the dais, and finds that it was lower than she remembered. No, it's not lower... I'm taller!

With a sinking feeling in the pit of her gut, she comes to a horrific realization: I am in the body of the clone of Sorshen!
But what happened to my body?

She then assesses what she has on her person, and also examines the now-empty sarcophagus. She is wearing jewelry: a necklace of blue stones on a silvery chain; a pair of emerald-studded earrings, gold rings on seven of her fingers, and an anklet of pink pearls. Remembering her spells, she instinctively reaches for her Harrow deck, but then realizes that she doesn't have it. She instead casts it in the more difficult manner without it, and her perception shifts, allowing her to see magical auras. The sarcophagus's formerly overwhelming magic has ebbed greatly; even now, she sees the lingering aura ebb. The flimsy dress she wears does radiate faint magic. She then examines the sarcophagus itself, and finds a small metal door that had been under where Sorshen's body had lain. Opening it, she discovers a bejwewled dagger in an ivory sheath, with small leather leg straps. Drawing it, the silvery blade seems lighter than it should. A scene of entwined succubi in a lascivious pose is etched into the blade. Also in the small chamber are six glass potion bottles, but all of them are empty, as if the contents had evaporated over the millennia.

Strapping the dagger to her thigh, Zee casts another spell, and four glowing Harrow cards appear, illuminating the shadows beyond the sepulcher. Remembering the beach with the boats, she decides to retrace her steps in the hopes of determing how long she's been here and where her friends might be.

She approaches the closed red door, and she regards the images carved thereon. Remembering the correct panel to push, the doors swing open. Zee then steps onto the beach. There, she discovers the same four rowboats that she and her friends had taken deeper into the cavern. Yet, looking at the footprints in the sand, she finds no signs of any leading back to the door.

She approaches the water, letting it splash onto her bare feet. While she remembers falling into the water and that it was bitterly cold, it now feels refreshingly cool. "I guess I'll have to row..."

And then another almost alien thought crosses her mind... a memory of rising into the air and flying, high above the Grand Mastaba of Xin-Eurythnia...smiling at the sight of a hundred-foot statue of herself... "That wasn't me!" she says aloud. She also realizes that her feet no longer feel wet. Looking down, Zee sees that she is hovering about six inches above the water. Suprised, yet not, she wills herself into the air, flying above the water to the next beach.

Flying past it, she glances at the island where Teldon had wanted to camp. The glass shards of the destroyed golem are still strewn across the rock. Zee then glides over the beach, looking at the footprints in the sand. Again, no footprints seem to lead back out. She alights just before the door that leads deeper into the subterranean chambers. She opens it, stepping into the chamber beyond.

I'd say that scene takes about ten minutes to play out...


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At my table, gems, jewelery, artwork, and other inherently-valuable items are priced at what they can be sold for. So if you find a 500 gp emerald, you can sell it for 500 gp.

If you want to buy an item to more easily transport wealth, there's a 10% markup. So, buying a 500 gp gem costs 550 gp. A successful Profession (merchant) check drops the markup to 5%.

I also usually require a 5% fee to change money. So trading in a chest full of 50,000 cp will net you 475 gp.


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Do svidaniya, comrade!


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Chicago deep-dish is very tasty, but it's not really pizza. I think of it as a related dish.

And if your "New York" pizza is soggy...you're not really having New York-style pizza. The crust should have a crispness to the bite.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Like how New York pizza sucks compared is sublimely superior to a Chicago deep dish pizza.

Fixed that obvious typo for you.


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Poster since 2011 here...

I support the banning of political threads on the Paizo boards.

Those threads tend to increase the general level of hostility and IMO hurt the online Paizo community.

Very, very few people ever change their opinions or worldview because of Internet discussions. In those threads, you just get angry people shouting past each other as the vitriol rises. And seeing how some posters react on such threads often greatly lowers my own opinion of them...further weakening the sense of community.

Furthermore, political issues are emotionally charged. Writing text on a screen increases the distance, making it harder to understand the emotional context of a discussion, which can muddy the topic and cause further misunderstanding.

Consequently, I choose not to engage. I've been hiding the political threads for years.

On slurs: It's the members of a minority group that get to say whether or not a trem is a slur. Members of the majority (i.e. cis white dudes like myself) don't get to say, "Well, actually, 'blergie' is just an historical term and I don't mean anything by it, so people from Blergland should't get so bent out of shape when I use it." That's not how it works. Doing that marks you as a racist.

When you're corrected after using a racial term ignorantly and without malice, you apologize and STOP USING IT.

It's also the responsibility of everyone to point out use of such terms and tell the user to stop.

Personal anecdotes:
Back in the early 80s when I was 12, boom boxes were a thing, but the term "boom box" hadn't really taken hold. The terms used in my very, very white city in New Hampshire were "ghetto blaster" or "n***er box". None of my friends or I had never met a non-white person before, and we had no concept of what these terms actually meant. So we used them. Until a teacher in school pointed it out, and then we stopped.

Likewise, when I was 14, I had no idea that to "joo your way out" of something was a slur against Jews until a Jewish friend pointed it out. I apologized and stopped using the term.


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The Brain From Planet Auros (1957)

The Bad: An evil disembodied brain creature from the Planet Auros named Gor comes to Earth and possesses the body of a young scientist, promptly goes on a murder spree, and uses his SPACE BRAIN POWERS to try to to destroy the city. A good disembodied brain creature from Planet Auros has chased Gor across the stars and possesses the body of a dog to try to stop Gor. Why a dog? SCIENCE!! Wooden acting, laughable special effects, and for being a giant disembodied brain, Gor's master plan is really, really dumb.

The Good B-movie 1950s sci-fi hijinks. And the climactic fight scene looks like the hero is fighting a giant piñata... because the actor is fighting a giant piñata.


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John Napier 698 wrote:

Hey, everyone. What I'm about to tell you will make you upset and sad, but there's no getting around it. It seems, sometime last night, that I suffered a mini-stroke. I was fine when I went to bed, with only a headache. When I woke up a little while ago, I had double vision. I checked my eyes in a mirror. My right eye no longer aligns with the left. It points, at rest, outward and slightly down. And it no longer reacts properly to bright light.

It's okay for everyone to worry about me. It's okay for everyone to be sad about what happened. But please, don't be sad for me. I'm still here, okay? Aside from the inconvenience of no longer having depth perception, I'm fine. I've got no muscle weakness on the right side, my speech is fine, and my face doesn't sag. But I won't tell you not to cry, if you want.

Yeah, I'm tearing up while trying to give some comfort. That joke I made several months ago about being made from bargain-bin parts doesn't seem so funny now. Karma, I guess.

John: If you even suspect that you might have had a mini-stroke, get to an emergency room immediately!!

A mini-stroke can be a warning sign of an imminent major stroke or cerebreal aneurysm... either of which could kill you with no warning.


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John: If you suspect you had a stroke, go to the ER immediately!


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Freehold DM wrote:
John Napier 698 wrote:
Then, it's a good thing that I chose mathematics (and Computer Programming) over a career in medicine. Besides, cutting open dead frogs with a dull scalpel wasn't all that interesting.
I miss dissection. So much.

If you can, take a class on butchering. It is dissection... but you can eat your work!


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Kileanna wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Pasta for breakfast? Hmm...
For some reason in Spain there is something called drunken macaroni (aka hangover macaroni). It consists on going out until 6 in the morning or later, getting home drunk and hungry and eating cold or microwaved macaroni with tomato sauce lefovers that the myth says they taste like heaven and then going to sleep.

Back when I was in college, cold pizza for breakfast was pretty common.

Also back then, the morning-after hangover "cure" that everyone swore by was the Oil Slick Method: Bacon and eggs from the neighborhood diner... the greasier the better.

(My experimentations indicated that it doesn't actually work, buy, hey-- bacon and eggs!)


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My daughter and I just came back from our church's first annual interfaith LGBTQ Pride service. It was incredibly moving. We're Presbyterian (PCUSA). Our associate pastor is an out cis gay man (which we knew when we hired him). Other local clergy participated in the service, and there were people from a diverse number of local communities of faith: American Baptist, United Methodist, Congregationalist, Unitarian Universalist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, AME Zion, Roman Catholic, Conservative Jewish, Reform Jewish, a Muslim community (not sure which one), Tibetan Budhist, Zen Budhist, and Wiccan.

The amount of love I felt in that space moved me to tears...and I don't cry easily.

The experience really gives me hope for the future.


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I made burgers for dinner last night. I was going to grill them on my gas grill, but my propane tank was empty, so I pan-seared them on the stovetop.

I used the "Smashburger" method: roll the ground beef in your hands into a loose balls of roughtly 1/4 pound. Get your skillet very hot, then put the balls of ground beef in the pan. Immediately press the ball flat with a spatula to that the patty is about 3/4-inch thick, then season with a little salt and pepper. Sear for about 2 1/2 minutes per side.

I served them Southwest style: A slice of Monterray Jack cheese, sliced tomato, sliced avocado, sliced pickled jalepeños. I also used black bean dip on the bun instead of ketchup.

They were delicious!

The only downsides to that cooking method is that you get beef fat spatters EVERYWHERE, and the kitchen gets filled with smoke. (Thankfully, I thought to unplug the smoke detector before cooking.)


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John Napier 698 wrote:
189birds wrote:
I got to meet Neil Degrasse f@!#ing Tyson today at work! My boss got us into an award ceremony where he was getting an award and it was amazing (i might've cried oops)
Neil Degrasse Tyson?!!! Whooo! I loved how he did the new Cosmos series. Congrats!

I have to share this...

A friend of mine had his youngest child at 42; the kid is six now. Said friend recently helped his parents move out of his childhood home and into a retirement community, and in the process of cleaning out his parents' attic, he found a large collection of his childhood toys... including a bunch of well-loved Star Wars action figures from the late '70s/early '80s.

He decided to give the action figures to his son, who hasn't actually seen the original Star Wars movies, but had some level of familiarity with the characters. ("R2-D2! Darth Vader! Luke Skyhopper! Gold Robot!") The kid was especially happy with the Lando Calrissian figure, and told his dad that it was "the coolest" and "his favorite TV guy!"

Slightly confused, my friend asked his son what the character's name was.

He held the figure aloft and shouted, "Neil DeGrasse Tyson!"


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He's there as a contact point/ally/foil for more "criminal underworld" type PCs.

In one of my Runelords games, he played a role in a couple of segue adventures I'd written between the events of Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw Murders...

Spoilers for Books 1 & 2:
I decided that Vishki was aware of the smuggling tunnels beneath the Glassworks, and that he had been working with Lonjinku Kaijitsu to use them to smuggle illegal drugs into and out of town for years. (Pesh in; flayleaf out.) Vishki had been using a secluded beach north of town to bring the illegal goods in and out by ship. Tsuto's discovery and use of the tunnels to bring goblin raiders into the town, (and subsequent murder of his father) has jeopardized Vishki's lucrative drug trade-- especially after the PCs informed the Sheriff about the existence of the tunnels! The mayor ordered the tunnels guarded until she could secure the service of a mining company to perform a controlled collapse of the tunnels.

I had Vishki approach one of the less-heroic PCs to make an offer: Volunteer to take over the tunnel guard duty, and then let his Sczarni smugglers come and go. He would then reward the PC with money and access.

After that plot came to light, the PCs brought in the authorities. Vishki was able to weasel his way out of any legal action, but the tunnels became closed to him. He then sent some heavies after the PCs to try to chase them out of town, but that didn't work, either.

And later, Vishki turned up dead as one of the Skinsaw Murders: The Skinsaw Man left him as a "gift" for the paladin PC by eliminating a notorious criminal.


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Some titles I haven't seen mentioned...

Melanie Rawn: The Dragon Prince trilogy. (Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll, Sun-Runner's Fire)

Marion Zimmer Bradley: Mists of Avalon; the Darkover series

Anne Rice: Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. (Don't bother with the further sequels...diminishing returns)

Barbara Hambly: The Darwath Trilogy (The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight)

Raymond Feist: The Riftwar Saga (Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Adept, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon)

C.J. Cherryh: The Chronicles of Morgaine (Gate of Irvel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, Exile's Gate)


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Today is the opening day of our fair city's annual festival!

My favorite parts of the Festival are the wonderfully weird parade (that includes such regular favorites as the Volvo Balet and the He-Man Chainsaw Marching Band), and all of the amazing street foods. And the music. And the beer tasting.

Should be a fun time!


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As a fortysomething cis white bi guy who's been happily and monogamously married to a woman for more than 20 years, I don't exactly feel welcomed by a small but vocal minority in the LGBTQ community, either. I've been accused of being a "tourist."

I will identify as bi when it comes up, but most people pretty much assume I'm straight because I blend into the patriarchy.


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icehawk333 wrote:

Pathfinder publishes lots of lore books.

I have no interest in the lore whatsoever, only the mechanics.

So I have no interest in buying most of the books.

I woudln't know the context of a spell because I don't usually care.

I don't use galorion at all, and in my next campain, I'm writing homebrew deities instead of using galorion ones.

I don't want to purchase a book that is mostly lore and opponents, when all I care about are the mechanics.

I also don't want to purchase or use adventure paths. Because at that point, when it's all written out beforehand by somone else, the players may as well be playing against the book, rsther then with a dm.

To each their own! For my next campaign, I'm doing exactly the reverse: Using the Golarion setting with a completely different game system. (Still undecided: either Fate or Dungeon World.)


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As a huge Superman fan since I was a very young child, who fondly remembers watching reruns of the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman on the local UHF TV channel back in the '70s, and who subscribed to Action Comics until the early '80s...

I absolutely hated Man of Steel.

Zack Snyder did not know, understand, or care about what makes Superman such a memorable character. Or, for that matter, that superhero movies are supposed to be fun.

I liked Superman Returns WAY more than I liked Man of Steel.


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Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
How many years canonically has it been since Rise of the Runelords?

Canonically, the events of no AP have occurred until a given GM runs one. Unless and until a GM decides otherwise for her campaign.

That said, some adventures do make assumptions... Shattered Star assumes that the events of Runelords, Crimson Throne and Second Darkness have all occurred. Hell's Vengeance assumes that the events of Council of Thieves has occurred. The module The House on Hook Street assumes that the events of Crimson Throne occurred about five years earlier. The campaign setting Lost Cities of Golarion presents the city of Xin-Shalast after its discovery by the adventurers who completed Runelords.

But other than those specific examples, the world is as it's presented in The Inner Sea World Guide, unless a specific GM says otherwise for her campaign.


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The game is a social contract between the players and the GM. The GM agrees to write/run a fun adventure, and the players agree to play in the GM's sandbox.

I acknowledge the existence of the "martial/caster imbalance" because so many other players and GMs experience it, but in 35 years of playing the game, I have never seen it as a problem at my table. Maybe my players work very cooperatively (with each other and with me); maybe my campaigns tend to end at too low a level for it to rear its ugly head. (We tend to wrap up around L12 or so.)

Many of the problems are because the GM isn't being forceful enough about making sure everyone is having fun. For example, I don't allow "scry and fry." Scrying shows a creature and not enough of its surroundings to teleport there.

I always enforce the miss chance, too. When my PCs appeared 50 miles out to sea in the middle of a raging storm, and the fighter's and cleric's magic armor ended up on the seafloor, and all of them almost drowning... they really cut back on the teleportation!

I also rule that the only spells that can be taken for free by prepared casters are those from the CRB. Same for spells available for sale on scrolls. Spells from any other source must be found as treasure, learned from an NPC (who will want more than money), or discovered by the PC using the spell research rules.


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Judas
I don't need your blood money

Caiaphas
Oh, that doesn't matter
Our expenses are good

Judas
I don't want your blood money

Annas
But you might as well take it
We think that you should


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Your humble narrator

This is a total aside, but after I spent most of the afternoon yesterday putting together the combat maps for the Spires of Ravenloft, I decided to pony up for the Castle Ravenloft VTT combat maps for Curse of Strahd from the Dungeon Masters Guild.

I had been using some very nice fan-made combat maps for Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. However, that version radically changed several encounters from the original 1983 version, meaning I had to modify the maps rather extensively in places. Curse of Strahd hews much more closely to the original, so I won't have to do nearly as much work on the maps.

Bottom line: We're about to have much better maps for the Ground Floor, Second Floor, and dungeon levels.


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You're the GM. When they return, just set the wight's hp at a point where you think it would be a challenge to the PCs. Keep it somewhat damaged to reflect their previous encounter, but change its tactics because now it knows how the PCs fight.

How would it heal? Maybe it had a potion of inflict moderate wounds. Maybe it prayed to the dark gods, who gave it a boon in return. As the GM, you're not strictly bound by the rules.


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Male Human (last I checked) Techie 2 / Bureaucrat 5

I'm back home. I did rent a car and drive home yesterday.

The SeaTac Doubletree gave me a full refund with no cancellation fee due to the canceled flight.

I invoked the "trip in vain" rule, and American Airlines re-credited all of the frequent flier miles I'd used for the trip. There's a chance they will also refund the hotel stay and rental car fees, too. That's "under review".

Chris Lambertz responded to my request for a refund for my badge and banquet ticket...they'll take care of that after everyone is back at the office on Tuesdsy.

My wife and daughter had planned their own trip to Washington DC this weekend. I decided to let them have the one-on-one vacation together, so I'm staying at home by myself. I'm trying to get some of my gamer friends together for an RPG one-shot...I'd run one of the games I'd prepped for Paizocon.


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Paizocon is a bust for me this year.

My flight to Seattle was eventually canceled after a six-hour delay. There were no flights that could get me there today (Friday), with the possible exception of getting on standby for a 8:30 PM arrival. Best guaranteed seat would arrive at 1PM Saturday...which would have meant missing half the con.

I made the decision to just cancel the trip.

So many flights were canceled that there were no rooms at any hotel with airport shuttle service, so I had to take an Uber across town to a so-so Hampton Inn. Checked in at 2:30 AM. At least I got five hours of sleep.

And there are no flights home today, either. Soonest is a 6PM Saturday flight. I'm looking at a one-way car rental for a 5-hour drive home...assuming that I can get a car.

"Disappointed" doesn't really convey how I feel right now.


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Not sure if this is embarrassing or a humblebrag...

My first real PFS game ever will be this year's PFS Special at Paizocon.


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What the others said: This is a question for your GM.

I don't really see a redemption arc for that character, but if it was important to my players, I'd see what we could work out. While there are some optional rules for redeeming evil characters, they first of all must seek redemption on their own...and I'd prefer to role-play that out in the narrative rather than by rolling fice.

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